Chapter 30: Wisdom's Rescue

Link and Tetra trudged across the sand and pushed against the fierce winds of the Gerudo Desert. Link could recall saying good-bye to Ghashar and he had actually felt a little sad. Odd; once his enemy, now his friend. I hope he has a safe journey, and figures out what that medallion is for, he thought, pressing the wind from his face.

"Link?" Tetra's voice croaked next to him. "Can you use the Wind Waker to stop this terrible sandstorm?" she asked, sounding irritated.

He frowned, and tried to shake his head, but could only manage a gentle shake. "I'm sorry, Tetra, but I think I need to stand still to control the wind. I'm really sorry," he repeated.

"Oh, don't worry about it, Link," she said. He caught a smile on her face and Link's muscles relaxed. "We can make it through a storm like this. What little I know about the Gerudo Desert is its weather. Sandstorms tend to be around the main area of the desert. No one knows why—maybe except the gerudos—so once we get into the middle of the desert, we should be fine."

"Wow," Link said, still squinting. He could barely see what was in front of him. "If only I knew more about the desert. Sturgeon didn't teach me anything about the Gerudo Desert back on Outset."

Tetra chuckled, and then coughed—probably from swallowing some sand. "Well, I bet he couldn't teach you everything," she said.

"That's true." Link coughed out some sand. "Do you know if we're going the right way, though?" Link asked her.

"I'm merely using my instincts, kid," Tetra said to him. "We could be walking around the clear area of the desert."

"That's not good. Hm... I know!" Link exclaimed, then coughing again. He spoke again, hoarse. "Let's stop, I'll use the Wind Waker to see what direction we need to go."

"If we stop, we'll get blown away," Tetra said, her voice still louder than the thick sand which was buffeting them.

"Then, I'll stop it first." He took out the Wind Waker with his free hand, holding it tightly.

"Didn't you say—?"

Link didn't hear Tetra's last words as he stopped and began to conduct the wind. He felt the sandstorm lighten and then vanish entirely, making it easy to hear Tetra's approving reaction.

"That worked," she said with a friendly snort.

"Which way should we go?" Link asked, keeping his focus on the Wind Waker; his eyes closed.

"We're going the right way," Tetra said. "We just need to keep going forward." Link felt a hand on his shoulder. "Good job."

He opened his eyes and looked to his right to see Tetra smiling at him. His face felt a little warm, but not as much as before. "Thanks, Tetra," he said, lowering the Wind Waker.

They looked forward just in time as the sandstorm picked up again. Link kept hold of the Wind Waker with all his strength; he could not afford to lose it again.

He and Tetra pressed against the storm; heading onward to their destination.

-S-

After what felt like an hour of travel; Tetra and Link finally arrived in the center of the Gerudo Desert. Tetra paused to spew the sand out of her throat. Next to her, she heard Link do the same. Gasping, Tetra held her neck, and it felt scratchy and dry inside.

"Ugh!" Tetra exhaled. "That was disgusting," she remarked. "I never want to go through that sandstorm again."

"Water... I need some water," Link said, gasping.

"We both do," Tetra said to him. "Look!" She pointed to a mass of buildings in the distance. They looked like caverns that were covered in sand, yet it was obvious they were buildings due to the rectangular shape of the cavities and of the structures. "The gerudos should have water. Let's go."

Link nodded at her, and the two trudged on toward the city; at least, Tetra thought it was a city. I hope they are friendly, she thought, biting her lip.

"Halt!" a loud voice commanded. Before them stood a female gerudo dressed in poncho pants and a vest covering her breasts; she wore a red mask on her face and her belly was exposed. Spear in hand, the gerudo glared at the two. "What are you doing here?"

"We were sent by Rashu, we need to find him, " Link spoke first; although Tetra knew he was bluffing a little. Neither of them knew if they would find Rashu here or not. "But... first can you please provide us with some water?"

"You two are both heavily armed," the gerudo noted. She narrowed her eyes, and Tetra could sense a frown underneath her mask. "And I know nothing of this 'Rashu.' For all I know is that you're Ganondorf's spies."

"No, we are not," Tetra said, feeling insulted. "Both of us are fighting against Ganon." When she said his alias, she saw the gerudo stumbled back.

"Where's your proof?" the gerudo asked, regaining her composure.

Link and Tetra exchanged glances. She could show the gerudo the Ocarina of Time, but what if she stole it? At the same time, Link could present the Wind Waker, but it could suffer the same fate.

To risk nothing is to gain nothing, Tetra thought. She took out of her pouch the Ocarina of Time. "This proves we are allies of the Royal Family and are Ganondorf's enemies."

The gerudo stared—possibly dumbfounded—at the ocarina. "Is that... really the Ocarina of Time? Can you prove that it isn't fake?"

Tetra's irritation was growing, but there was an easy way to establish the ocarina's legitimacy. She put it to her lips, and coughed; more sand. She shook the instrument free of the sand and then began to play the Song of Healing.

When she finished, Tetra opened her eyes and saw that the gerudo's eyes had softened. "That truly is the real thing," the gerudo said. "I felt its power. Very well, I will take you to the city. But, first, take these." She handed Tetra and Link each a cold flask. "Give them back when you are done drinking."

Tetra immediately downed the flask, and her scratchy throat was no longer dry nor painful. She noticed Link slurping the water down messily and getting his tunic and all wet. Link, after finishing, sighed and smiled.

Tetra rolled her eyes and handed the flask back to the gerudo. Link followed suit, though, the gerudo gave him a disapproving look.

"Very well, I will take you to our leader Nabooru. Maybe she knows something of this... 'Rashu' you speak of," she said. She turned and headed toward the city without a backwards glance.

Tetra frowned. "How polite of her," she muttered to herself—quietly enough so Link couldn't hear her. She marched after the gerudo, beckoning Link to follow.

"Why don't they know about Rashu?" Link asked her. "If Ghashar said Rashu wanted us to come here... then wouldn't he be here?"

"Beats me, Link," Tetra said, shrugging, and not looking at the islander. "Though, it's got me thinking... if Rashu told Ghashar about our battle against Ganon, then how did Rashu survive? The way the ship was destroyed... the way Ganon attacked us... I don't think the boys survived."

"We survived," Link said.

"I think we were lucky, kid."

"If we the only lucky ones, then Rashu wouldn't have survived either, Tetra," Link said to her. She shot a warm glance at him. "What? Do you want Gonzo and the others to be dead, Tetra? Do you really want to believe that?"

"Oh, stop it, Link," Tetra said to him sharply. "... of course I don't want to believe it. ... but there is hope versus reality. And I think... I don't want it to be... but it's highly possible that they are dead."

"What about Rashu then?"

"He didn't survive by luck, kid," Tetra said; she smirked. "He's a pretty powerful magician, remember? I don't think he needed luck." She felt her face curve back into a frown. Gonzo, Senza, Nudge, Niko, Mako, Zuko... are you really dead?

"Here we are," the gerudo's voice said ahead of them. The city was massive, and despite being covered in sand, it was quite discernible.

"Just watch your step for unstable ground—Molgera is feeding this time of year," she added, warning the two.

"What or who is Molgera?" Link asked.

"You don't want to know," the gerudo answered. She turned around, beckoning Link and Tetra to follow and led them straight to the heart of the city.

-S-

"So, Rashu sent you here?"

Nabooru was garbed in a similar fashion to her fellow gerudos. Save she had beautiful jewel above her breasts, and she wore no mask. Not to mention, like Ganondorf, a jewel was also implanted onto her head. Her hair was bright red, and her blue eyes examined every bit of Tetra and Link.

They were inside the main chamber of the city's palace. Surprisingly, the room was clean; no sand lay anywhere on the floor. There was a nice longways crimson rug on the floor that led to a very modest throne. Nabooru, however, didn't sit in it; she stood instead.

For a palace, it was very modest—unlike Hyrule Castle—there were the typical columns aligned to hold up the ceiling, but there were no intricate designs or engravenings that Link could see.

He also felt a little uncomfortable; all the gerudos were women. He had not seen a single man among them; not even a boy or a male infant. In fact, there seemed to be no children at all. Was Ganondorf the only man among the gerudos?

"Yes, he did," Tetra's voice said next to him. "At least, he told a friend to bring us here, so we assumed—Link! Why are you staring everywhere?" He jumped and looked over to see a narrow-eyed Tetra.

"I'm just... confused."

"About what?" Nabooru asked, raising one of her red brows.

"Um... I'm not trying to be rude," Link said, licking his lips. "But where are all the men?"

Nabooru's face split into a smile and she chuckled. "You do not know then? There is only one male every one-hundred years among the gerudos. All others are women."

Link's jaw opened. "Wait... you mean...?"

"That's right, kid," Tetra said to him, her eyes flashing. "Ganondorf is the only male gerudo in the whole world."

Link felt as if a brick had fallen onto his head. Dazed by this information, he rubbed his head. "Really...?" he asked out loud. "I'm sorry, my teacher didn't get around to the gerudos before I left Outset."

"Outset? So, you're an islander?" Nabooru interjected.

"Yes," Link said. "But I've been traveling with Tetra, her pirates, and Rashu, and others all over the earth." He smiled and scratched his head. "This is the third time I've been on the mainland." He recalled the second time—the time Tetra had been caught by the Royal Family.

Nabooru nodded casually. "Well, yes, it is true that Ganondorf is the only male gerudo in all of Hyrule, but..." She frowned and bit her lip. "It didn't take very long before we banished him."

"... I can guess why," Link said, also frowning.

"Yes, that's obvious, despite the fact he was our king," she said.

"Wait... your king?" Link asked, blinking.

Nabooru nodded. "Yes, the male gerudo rules over the desert, but, again, we banished him," she said with a disgusted voice. "The specifics are too personal for us to share with you and Tetra."

"That's fine," Tetra said, waving the subject aside. "So, have you seen Rashu?"

"Yes," Nabooru said. Link's hopes shot into the air; if Rashu was alive, then were Gonzo and the others also alive? "My fellow gerudos did not meet with him. Hence why Ilissia was confused when you asked about him." She motioned to the guard who had brought them here.

"The old moblin was here a couple of moons ago," she continued. "He told me to expect you, Link, and Tetra. He left with me a white medallion, not telling me its purpose. Regardless, I do not think that's important now," she added. Link assumed she noted Tetra's shocked expression. It made him curious.

"Rashu also said that you have proof of your trustworthiness, Link," Nabooru continued, grabbing his attention. She placed her hands on her hips. "I know you have the Master Sword, but Rashu was referring to something the Great Deku Tree gave to you."

Link's eyes fluttered. What was that? Oh, right! The pendant! He searched through his Adventurer's Pouch and took out the pendant with its green spherical gem.

Nabooru knelt down and examined the pendant; she felt the gem and then nodded. "Yes, this is one of the Pendants of Virtue," she said.

"What are those?" Link asked, curious. "The Deku Tree told me nothing about this pendant except that it was left by the Hero of Time. Is this one of those pendants?"

Nabooru stood up, and nodded. "There are three pendants, like the three pieces of the Triforce. One of Courage, one of Wisdom, and one of Power. The three pendants, together, are the Pendants of Virtue. Legends surrounding the Hero of Time say that these pendants are the key to unlocking the Master Sword's full power. I believe you hold the Pendant of Courage there."

That makes sense, Link thought, gazing into the shimmering emerald. It took a lot of courage to enter the Forbidden Woods to save Tetra's life. "I... I see."

"So," Tetra said, folding her arms and furrowing her brow. "What you're saying is, first, the Master Sword is not at full power, and second, we need the other two pendants. Right?"

"Indeed," Nabooru said. She pointed to the sword. "Didn't Rashu tell you that? Just look at it, Link was it? Look at the sword."

He nodded and unsheathed the Master Sword, and looked at it. It looked fine to him, except something stuck out: the gem in the crossguard was... empty. It existed, but it was too dark to be normal. "The gemstone..." he muttered.

"It's more than that," Nabooru said. "The crossguard is 'crushed' together. The crossguard is supposed to be spread like a pair of wings, and the gemstone—as you've noticed—is supposed to be a bright yellow. Not to mention the sword's blade is supposed to glow."

"No wonder Rashu said its power was 'sleeping,'" Link said, gazing at the legendary blade. "Why... is its power asleep? I don't understand, if the Hero of Time left the pendants, then he knew the sword would go to sleep. But why didn't he keep it at full power?"

"I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer to that, Link," Nabooru said, her voice solemn. "It have waned on its own; certainly, I agree that we need its full power at the this time. Courage alone cannot defeat Power. You need Wisdom, too. That's why Wisdom and Courage are at the bottom of the Triforce. Together, they have the strength to topple Power if the need arises."

Tetra blinked. "So, what you're saying is to stop the Bearer of Power, you need the Bearer of Courage and the Bearer of Wisdom to fight together? Neither of us hold those shards," she said, pointing at the top of her hand. "Yet Rashu thinks we are the only ones who can stop Ganon."

"Perhaps the old wizard knows something we don't," Nabooru said. She sighed, and shook her head. "Anyway, it's best you two rest from your journey. I imagine the desert storms were harsh on your bodies."

"All right," Link said. "Thank you."

"... Nabooru?" Tetra said, her voice anxious. She clasped her hands together and gazed at the gerudo.

"What is it, Tetra?"

"Did Rashu mention... any survivors from the ship wreck?" she asked, hopeful.

"He didn't," Nabooru said. "But he didn't say there weren't any survivors either. Keep your hopes up. You may find your fellow pirates soon."

Tetra looked down, nodding. Link bit his lip, possibly wondering the same thing. Were they truly dead? Or were they alive somewhere?

He didn't have time to ponder as he and Tetra were ushered out of the palace.

Outside, Link's eyes felt sharp pains as the sand came into his face. "Wha—?"

"It's just a small storm," Ilissia's voice said from his left. "Wipe your eyes now and then wash them later. There's a well near where you'll be resting."

Link rubbed his eyes and despite the lingering pain, he opened them. He saw Tetra glancing at him with a smirk on her face, and Ilissia... well, she was wearing her mask. "Let's go, kid," Tetra said, pushing him forward playfully.

-S-

It was a five minute walk from the palace to the building where the resting quarters were laid. Ilissia had been completely silent during the trip, and Tetra wondered what the gerudo was thinking about.

Then, she stopped them in front of a large building with a stone door—much like the palace's door. The gerudo turned to them. "Here we are," she said in a bored tone. "Your rooms are on the ground floor; just take whichever room you want."

"Uhm..." Tetra blinked. "Is something wrong, Ilissia?"

"Nothing, except that I always have to guide travelers to the resting quarters," she said, rolling her eyes. "I wish there was something else I could do."

"Really? You mean Ganondorf hasn't attacked the desert yet?" Link asked. Tetra wanted to shove her hand in front of his mouth to silence him, but he spoke too quickly.

"No. He doesn't want this land. He wants the lush land of Hyrule, and all the islands that have the same type of weather," she explained. "He might attack when he's done conquering, but chances are—with the Triforce of Power at his command—we won't stand a chance against him. No one does."

Tetra frowned. How did Rashu expect Link and herself to defeat Ganon? They were teenagers, merely kids (as much as she hated to admit it); if adults could do nothing to stop him, then what could a couple of fourteen year olds do against him?

Sighing, Tetra nodded to Ilissia, thanked her and entered the building. She heard Link skip behind her to catch up. She turned to him. "All right, separate rooms this time, Link."

He nodded. "Yeah, that would be best," he said. "... rest well, Tetra? I guess?"

"Oh, c'mon," Tetra said, rolling her eyes; her arms folded. "What's the 'I guess' for?" She snorted. "Relax, kid."

Link blushed and nodded. "Sorry," he said. "I... just... I dunno, something's wrong."

"What's wrong?" Tetra asked. The concern in his voice made her worry.

"I don't know, that's the thing," Link said with a nervous shrug.

"It'll be okay," she said, patting his shoulder. "Go relax, I'll see you later, all right?" She winked at him, and he smiled.

"All right."

-S-

Later that evening...

Tetra awoke from her nap, and the sun was descending past the horizon. Instead of the intense heat of the morning desert, she felt the cool air of the setting sun. Sighing with satisfaction, Tetra walked over to Link's room.

However, the door was open. Curious, Tetra peered inside and saw all of his equipment laying in the room. The Master Sword and the Wind Waker were carefully placed at the window, and everything else was neatly organized.

Where's Link? She wondered; a cold shiver went down her spine, but why? He was a fine warrior, why did Tetra have to worry? Yet, she did.

She ran outside, only to stopped by a guard she was unfamiliar with.

"Wait, Tetra!" she said in a warning voice. "Molgera is feeding this time of year and it is best that all stay inside. That thing will eat anything, including Hylians. It'll be weeks before we have enough strength to bury him into the depths of the earth."

"What about Link?" Tetra asked, worry escaping her voice. "He's not in his room."

The gerudo's eyes widened. "What?!" she exclaimed. "Hurry, go to the palace and find Nabooru, but stay close to the buildings!"

Tetra nodded, and then rushed to the palace. Nabooru was already outside with a group of gerudo warriors; her eyes betrayed her own concern. "Search! Quickly! That boy is in danger!" she commanded. The warriors bowed, and each one headed in different directions in groups of two.

Then, she saw Tetra. "You noticed he went into the desert, too?" she said.

"Yes," she said. "Wait, how do you know Link was missing?" Tetra blinked, staring at Nabooru. "The guard who stopped me didn't seem to have a clue."

"Ilissia saw him leave his quarters when the guards weren't looking," Nabooru explained. "She tried to stop him, but for some odd reason, he was too eager to leave."

That's not like him to dive into danger senselessly like that... well, not usually, Tetra thought. "What is this 'Molgera,' anyway?"

"A large worm-like creature," Nabooru explained, approaching her. "It has a pair of monstrous jaws, and a hunger to match them."

Another cold shiver went down Tetra's spine. "No...! Link left his equipment in his room! He'll be helpless!" Of course, what could Tetra do? She didn't have any of her weapons either. "Why would Link ignore a warning? That's not like him!"

"Ilissia said he wanted to explore the desert," Nabooru said. "Come, we'll search as well. Walk with me." She motioned to Tetra and the pirate nodded. The two ran more than walked, searching the desert. Fortunately, there wasn't a single storm in the atmosphere to impair their vision.

"We believe he might have been compelled by Molgera to explore," Nabooru continued, drawing her scimitar. Her eyes scanned the desert horizon, and Tetra did the same. "Molgera can 'call' out to prey it hungers for, playing on the desires of the hapless person to fall into his trap. I'm assuming since Link knew little of the desert that he wanted to explore and that the monster sensed that. We have to find him before he gets swallowed or worse."

Tetra's eyes widened, the mere thought of Link being eaten alive frightened her. She would never be able to forgive herself if that fate befell him.

It wasn't long until they saw a familiar green cap on the head of a clothed boy ahead of them. Tetra pressed herself further and shouted, "Link! Get your butt over here, you idiot!"

The islander spun around, and smiled at Tetra. "Hey! You should see the things I've discovered here in the desert." His voice was completely oblivious to the danger he was in.

"Stop standing there!" Tetra exclaimed. She drew closer to him and began to slow her pace. "I don't care what you've discovered! You could be eaten by that beast!"

"I'll be fine," Link said. "Besides, I was planning on returning anyway. And—!"

Suddenly, a large, sand-colored worm—at least as big as the gerudo palace itself—flew out of the sand and bore itself down on Link. The islander made a mad dash for Tetra and Nabooru, but he was too slow. The worm opened its jaws and then buried them upon Link entering the depths of the land.

"No!" Tetra shrieked. She ran to the exact spot where the monstrosity had taken Link. "Give me your weapon!" She said to Nabooru, her voice frantic.

"Tetra! There's no way you could save—!"

"Shut up!" Tetra snatched the scimitar from the gerudo and stomped on the ground. Her guess was correct as the the sand gave in and she fell into a deep cavern.

"Tetra!" Nabooru's voice called from above. "This is suicidal! There's no way to get you out of there!"

She didn't respond to Nabooru and instead, brandished the scimitar. "Come out, you cowardly worm!"

It would have struck her as odd that the cavern was not as dark as she expected, but she was too concerned about Link.

Then, she saw some green on the ground before her. "Link!" she yelled, rushing toward his body. Fortunately, he stood up and shook his head.

"Tetra? ... Um... I think I made a mistake," he said sheepishly.

"You think?! Get—!"

Then Molgera jumped out of the sand in the cavern and, again, plowed into Link. To her horror, Tetra watched helplessly as the islander was swallowed by the monster. It let out a roar as if to claim victory.

"You—!" Tetra's rage peaked, and she dashed at the creature. It buried itself into the sand; Tetra glanced around for it.

It wasn't long before Molgera showed itself again. Tetra could see a lump in its structure. "Link!" she exclaimed as if he could hear her.

Without thinking, Tetra lunged at Molgera and swung; her weapon tasted the dusty air as she missed. How am I supposed to strike a creature so fast without getting swallowed myself?!

Molgera popped out of the ground again, and Tetra saw that the lump was lower down Molgera's body.

"No!" Tetra threw the scimitar at the lump, and it bounced off the worm's body without denting the skin. The lump moved down lower again.

Tetra dropped to her hands and knees; tears streaming down her eyes. "No, no, no! Link...!"

Then, she felt something tingle on her right hand. She opened her eyes, and to her shock saw an engraving of the Triforce on her hand; much like Ganondorf's, save that the triangle was on the left side. The triangle let off a light blue aura. The... Triforce of Wisdom?

Now, she knew what to do. She stood up and then began to focus on the Triforce shard in her hand. Soon, magical power flowed through her and she was surrounded by a blue aura.

Molgera dived into the sand again; Tetra waited. And then, the creature came back up, this time rushing her in an attempt to eat her.

"No more meals for you!" Tetra bellowed. She shot bolts of lightning from her right hand and shocked the creature, knocking it the ground. The thing squirmed on the ground in agony; Tetra noticed that the lump was halfway. "I'm not letting you do this!"

She formed a ball of blue energy into her hand and then floated over to Molgera's back. With all the force she could, she thrust the sphere at the lump and it smashed into it, knocking Link up and then out of Molgera's mouth.

The boy climbed onto his hands and knees, covered in stomach acid. He coughed out yellow liquid and grasped his neck. Tetra managed to hear over Molgera's screams: "My... neck... burns..."

She pushed the Triforce shard's energy and then teleported in front of the monster. With another orb of magic, she hurled it int Molgera's throat. The creature let out another scream of agony, glowed bright blue and then slammed into the ground, lifeless.

Tetra lowered herself to the ground, and took Link into her arms. The stomach acid slid onto her skin and she winced from the burning pain.

"Tetra...?" he gasped, his voice hoarse, and his eyelids heavy. "How...? Magic...?"

"Shut up and save your strength, stupid!" Tetra said. There were still tears in her eyes. "Let's get out of here." She focused on the Triforce of Wisdom once more and flew up past the hole. "You need to lose weight," she muttered, straining her muscles.

She landed on some stable sand next to the hole and ignored the shocked looks of the gerudos who had gathered around. Her attention was completely on Link. "Hey! Hey! Wake up!" Link's eyes closed, and he grew limp. "No, no, no! You can't die, moron!" She tried to reach for the Triforce of Wisdom's magic in an attempt to heal him, but she felt exhausted.

Then, she felt a hand on her shoulder. "It's going to be all right." It was Nabooru, she turned her guards. "Quickly! Go to the storehouse and get a bottle of red potion!"

Tetra forced herself to keep awake, holding the unconscious Link in her arms. He can't die. He can't die. He can't die. She licked her lips, trying in vain to hold back her tears. Each drop fell on his face, washing off some of the acid.

Within minutes, a gerudo returned with a red potion. Before Nabooru could say anything, Tetra snatched the potion from the other gerudo and popped the cork. Opening Link's mouth, she forced it down his extremely red throat.

She emptied it and dropped the bottle, her eyes stuck on Link. Despair filled her heart as a minute passed and the islander did not move. "... we... we... were too late," she muttered, her lip quivering.

Then, to Tetra's surprise and joy, Link's green eyes fluttered open. He gasped and red smoke left his mouth into her face. The foul smell did not turn Tetra's head away from him, she wiped her eyes, and said to him with a scolding voice, "don't you ever do something like this again, Link."

"Tetra...?" He winced, and then nodded. "I... I promise. I... felt like... I was drawn to the desert... and..."

"Hush!" she said to him, covering his mouth with her hand. "Save your blasted strength, kid. Don't die on me."

He opened his mouth, but then closed it and nodded.

"Let's get some water," Nabooru's voice said above Tetra. "We need to wash off that acid quickly. Those clothes are thick; that will buy us some time."

Tetra nodded, and allowed them to carry the barely conscious Link away. She looked at her right hand; the Triforce was still there, but the triangle was gold instead of blue. Tetra stood, and looked up at the sky. Thank you...