Zelda sat in the corner of the room on Auru's comfy office chair, staring up lamely at the Hyrulian flag that hung just over her head beside the chalk board. She'd drawn her knees up to her chin, pulling Link's soft green hoodie over them for warmth as she waited for the police to rescue them, anxiety eating away at her. As a nervous habit, she kept pushing the sleeve up to examine the marking on her hand before groaning in frustration and tugging the sleeve back down, completely hiding her hand… until she pushed it back up again a moment later.
Even the concept that one of the three Holy Goddesses had decided to impart part of her power to a teenage girl was completely insane to Zelda. But she couldn't deny the voice that she'd heard, nor the visions she'd received. For whatever reason, Nayru had chosen Zelda, and like it or not, she was just going to have to learn to deal with it.
But how was she supposed to hide the mark? Sure, most teenagers didn't know anything about the ancient religions of their country, but there were certainly people around who would, and you could bet that they would recognize the symbol. She might be able to pass it off as a tattoo… though her father would kill her. Maybe she could just wear gloves for the rest of her life. Yeah, that wouldn't be weird at all…
"Whatcha lookin' at?"
Zelda jumped, letting out a terrified squeak as she hurriedly shoved her hand back in her sleeve. At her side, Colin chuckled.
"Relax, it's just me." he said bemusedly, and Zelda offered a weak smile.
"Ha, yeah, sorry… you just…" her heart was pounding furiously in her chest as she struggled to catch her breath. Had he seen? Would he know what it was? Would he tell people?
"Took you by surprise?" he supplied helpfully.
"Yeah. That." Deciding on the spot that he hadn't noticed, Zelda quickly cleared her throat and regained her composure, trying not to look too relieved. "So… what's up? Did you need something?"
Colin shrugged nonchalantly. "Nah, just wanted to get away from 'Ralphy' for a bit."
Zelda snorted at his use of Veran's pet name. Now that was something she could understand. Despite the moral implications, the dark part of Zelda was beginning to regret saving that boy…
"What's he doing now?"
"Trying to come up with a 'team name' for everybody in the room."
"Yeah, that's one way to put it." Colin sighed, sitting down of the edge of one of the desks.
They were quiet for a moment as they both regarded Ralph from across the room. He was leaning up against the wall with his arms folded casually across his chest, his odd blue jacket flaring out on either side. For some reason, the girls among the group they'd rescued seemed to think that Ralph had been their savior, and were fawning over him as though he were some sort of hero. Had they not noticed her and Colin? Were they not even paying attention when she busted in and saved his life?
Deep down, Zelda knew that though she had saved Ralph, he'd saved her in return… He was a butt, but admittedly he was a heroic butt. …But that didn't mean she had to like him.
Across the room, she could see Veran's inert form lying on the floor, partially obscured from view by a handful of desks. Ralph and the others had made short work of binding her using belts and shoelaces. It was actually quite impressive when you paused to think about it.
Liberating her legs from the inner folds of Link's sweater, she stood up and stretched her stiff and tired limbs; today had been one long stress-fest and she was feeling it in all sorts of places.
Colin shot her a look from the corner of his eye. "You going somewhere?"
She shrugged. "I just need to stretch my legs, maybe walk around the class a bit. All this sitting and waiting is driving me crazy."
"Ok, just… be careful. We don't need you keeling over on us." he replied hesitantly, giving her a concerned look which she promptly ignored. He still thought she was suffering from the injuries she'd received fighting Veran and, to a lesser extent, Vaati. He had no way of knowing that Nayru had somehow managed to heal her, for the most part, and that she now felt good as new. Well… less hurt, at least. She was still sore.
"Yes, dad." She said teasingly, and he grinned.
"Whatever. See if I ever help you again."
"Like you could ever resist a damsel in distress." She scoffed, "I know your type."
"What's that supposed to mean?" He asked, sounding a little offended.
Zelda laughed. "Oh, you know, the whole 'knight in shining armor' deal. It's against your manly pride to not help out a girl in need."
Colin snorted. "You're not a girl, you're a masochist." He dodged the playful swipe she took at his arm. "Besides, I think you're getting me confused with Ralph. He's the one with archaic ideals about women."
Zelda opened her mouth to say something insulting about Ralph, then froze.
Taking a couple steps towards the door, she quickly turned to him and asked, "Can you hear that?"
Colin frowned, looking confused. "No? Hear what?"
"That! It sounds like…" She trailed off, her eyes going wide as she recognized the noise. Suddenly, she felt her adrenaline pumping, her heart rate quickening in anticipation. It felt like every muscle in her body had suddenly gone taut.
"Everyone!" Zelda called out desperately, turning to the gaggle of students that was hero-worshipping Ralph. "Everyone, quiet down! Quiet!"
After a moment, silence reigned in the classroom as the students stared peculiarly at Zelda. She, however, stood completely still, all of her attention focused on the sounds coming from outside.
Finally, one of the student's eyes widened in horror. "Is that…"
"Gunfire." Colin confirmed, striding forward to stand beside Zelda. "It must be the police."
True to his word, the vaguely distant sounds of gunfire could be heard echoing throughout the halls. The students exchanged fearful looks as they shifted around, looking for all the world like a herd of frightened cattle.
"Well, why so glum?" Ralph chimed in cheerfully. "This means our rescue in imminent. We ought to be rejoicing!"
"It means we need to get away from the doors." Colin interjected flatly. "We don't know if the shooters are going to fall back to the second floor and try to regroup, and we don't want to give them any reason to come in here and try to finish the job they started before the police can take them out."
Ralph didn't seem the least bit worried by Colin's words, but the other students did. They instantly bolted across the room, upsetting desks and chairs alike in their mad scramble to get away from the door and what they likely perceived as their impending doom.
Chortling, Ralph casually walked forward to join Colin and Zelda in the middle of the room beside Auru's overturned desk, idly twirling the brass telescope in his hands. "Well, you managed to give them quite a fright, didn't you?"
Zelda chose to ignore him. Biting her lip, she turned to Colin and asked softly, "How long do you think it'll take them to get here?"
Sighing, Colin took a seat on another desk, shaking his head. "It's impossible to say. It depends on how long it takes them to fight off Ganondorf's men, and also how long it takes them to find us. Even then, we won't be removed from the school until they secure a passage between here and the exit. It could be another hour before we make it outside."
Feeling dread course through her at the thought of staying in this school for another minute, Zelda opened her mouth to complain, when suddenly the mark on her hand began to burn.
Caught off guard, she hastily yanked the sleeve down over the back of her right hand, though she was unable to help the sudden gasp that emitted from her mouth.
"Zelda? You ok?" Colin asked, giving her a concerned look.
"Y-yeah, I just…" To her horror, the now-familiar feeling of pressure began building up in her head. The mark on her hand was glowing; she could see it through the fabric of Link's sweater. She quickly clasped her hand over it, feeling sick.
She didn't have time to respond before all of her senses went dead, and she was once again floating in the endless swirling nothingness that she'd come to know and loathe.
Part of her felt like screaming in frustration. Why did Nayru keep doing this to her? Couldn't she just leave her alone for awhile? Weren't there some other pour souls with Courage and Power the Goddesses could pick on?
As though summoned by her internal dialogue, the swirling eddies of fog began to shift and melt, merging in a familiar manner until they coalesced into the image of a tall, broad-shouldered male, striding impassively down what she recognized as a hallway of Ordon High. Recognizing the man, Zelda felt her heart leap into her throat.
As she watched, he reached into the folds of his large overcoat, pulling out a walkie-talkie. Never breaking stride, he held the small plastic device up to his mouth and said, in a deep, cruel voice, "This is Ganondorf. Heed my words. The police have infiltrated the school. We have been compromised. Any moment now, they will be upon you, and will kill you without hesitation."
Zelda blinked, caught off guard. Was he giving up? Was that the point of this vision, Nayru telling Zelda she'd done a good job and that everything was going to be ok?
Ganondorf, however, didn't wait for response from whomever he was talking to before pressing on. "Here are you final orders: kill everyone. Leave no survivors. Let Hyrule forever remember your deeds this day. That is all."
The fog suddenly began overtaking the image, obscuring everything in sight, signaling the end of her vision. Zelda, who had been struck speechless in horror by Ganondorf's words, suddenly began screaming.
"No! No, stop! Wait! Nayru, you can't do this! You can't just show me this and expect me to save everyone! Stop! Stop!" Nayru, however, apparently wasn't listening, and the image continued to fade despite Zelda's frantic pleas, Ganondorf's triumphant smirk the last thing she could see before it, too, was consumed in the white nothingness.
With a pop, she crashed back into reality with jarring suddenness. Stumbling awkwardly to the side, she clumsily tripped over the overturned desk and toppled to the floor.
In a flash, Colin was at her side, helping her up. Ralph was standing beside him, looking pale and worried, his eyes as wide as saucers.
"'m fine…" She muttered weakly, fighting down the vomit that threatened to spew out at any moment. Ganondorf face seemed to be imprinted on the insides of her eyelids, mocking her whenever she blinked.
"What happened?" Colin asked, helping her back to the chair she'd been sitting in earlier. His eyes looked fearful and cautious. Ralph followed them, albeit more hesitantly.
"I…" Suddenly, she remembered the way her Triforce had been glowing. Quickly jerking her hand back over it, she was relieved to feel that it was no longer burning. Hesitantly, she removed her hand. No glowing. Good.
"What is it?" Colin asked, noting her movements. "Does your hand hurt?"
"What? No! No, it's fine. I'm fine. It's just-"
Zelda was truly beginning to hate that little voice in her head, Goddess or no.
"Zelda?" Colin repeated, his brows creased in concern, and Zelda gave a reluctant sigh.
There was no way she could save them all before Ganondorf gave the order. As she'd overheard him say in the hallway earlier, there were six rooms that still contained students; the one they were in now, and five others. There was no telling how long until Ganondorf issued the command, but judging by the commotion outside she had minutes at most, though even that was pushing luck to the extreme. She had no choice. She needed Colin's help.
But… How was she supposed to convince him?
She jerked her head backward as Colin began waving his hand in front of her eyes.
"What are you doing?" She asked, flabbergasted, and he sighed in relief.
"Oh good, I thought you blacked out again!"
"Blacked out?" She asked, puzzled, remembering a second too late that she must have looked odd while she was getting her glimpse into the future.
"Well, you were standing there all rigid-like," Ralph said helpfully, gesticulating with his hands. "And your eyes, they were as wide as saucers! Also, your mouth-"
"What he means to say," Colin cut in, a hard edge to his voice; he apparently thought Ralph was embarrassing her, "is that you had us worried. I think you must've hit your head harder than we initially thought. Maybe you should lie down, or-"
"No." Zelda said quickly, cutting him off.
"But…" He said hesitantly, and Zelda shook her head curtly.
"Colin…" She said, taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, "What I'm about to tell you probably won't make any sense. And I know you're going to say that I don't know what I'm talking about, or that I'm just confused because of the injury I took to my head, but I'm not. I need you to promise me that you'll listen to what I'm about to tell you without interrupting, and that no matter what you decide, you won't try to stop me."
"Zelda, are you… feeling ok?" He asked, holding a hand up to her forehead.
"Yes! Colin, please… This is important."
The desperation lining her words surprised even her. Colin hesitated, staring deeply into her eyes. She could see worry and apprehension in his cloudy grey irises as clearly as if they'd been written there.
Finally, after a torturous pause, he gave a slow nod.
Swallowing hard, she gave him a brief smile while she carefully arranged the words in her mind.
"Ok… I know this is going to sound completely insane, but… I have reason to believe that Ganondorf is about to order the other guards who are watching the last of the students to go ahead and kill them before the police can make it in time to save them."
Ralph scoffed loudly, but Colin held up a hand to silence him.
Frowning deeply, he asked quietly, "And why do you think this?"
Zelda hesitated. "I… I can't tell you. I'm sorry… But I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it's going to happen. And soon."
Colin was silent for a moment, and she could see his eyes slowly move up to search for the goose egg she'd received from the butt of Veran's pistol colliding with her temple.
"Colin!" she exclaimed, seizing his chin in her fingers and forcing him to look her in the eyes. "I know you don't believe me, but think about this; I knew about Ganondorf's trap for the police!"
"You told me you overheard Ganondorf mention that aloud while hiding from him in the hallway." He replied, his tone unreadable.
She winced. "I lied… I'm sorry, but I had to get you to believe me."
To her horror, he looked unconvinced.
Ralph, however, was quite vocal on his opinion. "Oh please." he said, his tone laced with deprecation. "This is clearly a cry for attention. Or perhaps insanity. Or both. The blow to the head, combined with her need to make up for her miserable failure at defeated the villain Veran has created a crazy scenario in her mind. What else could possibly explain this madness?"
When Colin said nothing to defend her, she felt indignation and anger well up inside of her.
"Fine!" She spat, rolling her chair backward, away from Colin and Ralph, and getting angrily to her feet. "Stay here! Hide, for all I care! I, however, am going to try to save who knows how many innocent lives before Ganondorf murders them all!"
"You don't think we're about to allow an injured woman such as yourself roam the halls alone and unprotected do you?" Ralph asked, sounding horrified at the mere suggestion.
"You don't have a choice!" She snarled viciously. "Colin promised he wouldn't interfere."
Whirling around, she stormed furiously towards the door, mentally cursing the Goddesses for giving her this impossible task and then not providing any assistance. And it didn't help that everyone she tried to get to help all ended up thinking she was a mental patient. Seriously, how did the Princess of Destiny put up with this crap?
"Wait!" a voice called out as she reached the door, and she turned around in surprise to see Colin jogging towards her.
"You can't stop me." She said petulantly, turning away from him to face the door. The hallway outside was empty, but she could still hear the gunfire. It sounded closer now.
"I know." He said. "I'm coming with you."
Zelda turned back to him, shock evident on her face. "You… You believe me?" She asked, incredulously.
"I don't know…" He replied slowly, and she scowled, placing her hands on her hips. He spoke again before she could respond. "However, I do think it's likely that Ganondorf will try something like that, especially if the battle downstairs starts to go poorly for him. He won't want to give the police a victory over him, even if it means upsetting his plans."
Zelda caught the double-meaning. Did Colin know something about Ganondorf's plans…?
"Also," he added, giving her a weak smile. "I can't just let you wander the hallways alone."
She felt a smile slowly growing on her face. Rolling her eyes in an exaggerated fashion, she groaned loudly, "Geez, you definitely have white knight syndrome…."
He caught her joke and grinned. "Well, what can I say? Damsels in distress and all that."
Before she could respond, a voice drifted from over Colin's shoulder.
"So you're going along with her mad plan, eh?"
Ralph was standing behind Colin, an oddly amused expression on his face, the old brass telescope laying across his shoulders, both arms resting on it.
"Yes." Colin replied. "You stay here and watch the others, Ralph. Make sure nothing happens to them until the police arrive."
The red-head sighed despondently. "Well, I'm afraid I can't do that Colin."
Colin blinked, dumbfounded. "Er… Excuse me?"
"My dear boy," He said, clasping Colin's shoulders briskly, holding the telescope aloft in the other, "Did you truly think I'd allow you two to scurry off and steal all the glory? Goodness no! I shall be there beside you, leading the charge! Victory shall be ours, the captives will be saved, and Ganondorf's cruel plan shall be for naught!"
Zelda had to hand it to him. That was quite the pep talk.
Colin turned to Zelda, asking her opinion wordlessly with a glance. Zelda shrugged. They would need all the help they could get. Even if Ralph was obnoxious, he still brained Veran pretty well with that odd telescope he'd taken to carrying around. He could be useful.
"Welcome to the group?" Colin said, his statement sounding more like a question.
Ralph beamed, his pearly white teeth flashing brilliantly. "Perfect! Alright, what's the game plan?"
"Er…" Colin said, scratching the back of his head. "I'd actually like to know that too."
"Well…" Zelda said, wracking her brain. She hadn't actually thought about this either. "We know that there are five more rooms with students, right? So we just need to go and… save them…"
Ralph and Colin both gave her flat looks, and she blushed under their scrutiny.
"Well?" She burst out angrily, "Do you two have any better ideas?"
"We definitely need to split up if we're going to make it to all five rooms in time." Colin stated simply, ignoring Zelda's burning glare.
"Righto!" Ralph said brightly. "Er, I don't suppose you two know where the prisoners are being held?"
Without pausing to think, Zelda said, "Miss Tina's Algebra 2 classroom, Miss Dina's Government and Econ. Classroom, Mrs. Ruul's Environmental Science classroom, Dr. Left's Current Affairs classroom, and Mr. Adler's Physical Science classroom."
Colin stared at her, baffled, and Zelda felt her own surprise evident on her face. Where had that come from? She didn't even know any of the names she just listed, but despite that she could see clearly in her mind where they were located, as though she'd been to each location numerous times. Was this Nayru's doing?
"Well, Tina and Ruul's classes are down this way. The other three are in the opposite direction. I suggest that I take Tina; I know the layout of the room well." Ralph replied, not noticing anything odd with Zelda's knowledge. He tightened his grip on the telescope, posing dramatically.
Zelda nodded, really having no reason to object. It didn't matter to her who went where, so long as they were all reached in time.
"I'll take Ruul then." Colin said, shaking his head to dispel his confusion. "I would have had her right now anyway."
From out of his button up shirt, he withdrew the gun he'd taken from Veran. The black metal seemed to gleam cruelly under the florescent lighting. Zelda turned her gaze away with a grimace.
"What about you, Zelda?" Colin asked, and she shrugged.
"I guess… I'll take one of the others. Adler is the closest." To her surprise, Colin didn't question her. Hmm… Maybe he was starting to believe what she'd told him about knowing of Ganondorf's plans…
"Alright, let's hurry up. Get it done as quickly as possible, then move on to the closest room. But no matter what, don't take any unnecessary risks. You won't do anyone any favors if you get yourself killed."
Zelda nodded grimly, her face set with determination. Colin wasn't that bad at pep talks either. Maybe he and Ralph should both take coaching jobs…
"Ok. See you guys later. Hopefully." Colin offered Zelda a weak smile, then darted off down the hallway to the right, back towards Ezlo's classroom, the way they had come from originally.
Ralph offered a short bow, flourishing the edge of his sweater like a cape. "Take care." he said formally, then turned and hurried off after Colin. After a moment, Zelda was alone.
Swallowing back the rising sense of fear, Zelda steeled her nerves before turning and heading off down the hallway in the opposite direction of the boys as fast as her feet dared go. She hugged her arms to herself, taking comfort in Link's sweater as the sounds of the battle downstairs drew nearer.
For the first time all day, her thoughts turned to her father… How was he handling knowing that she was still trapped in this nightmare? Did he even know? He must… surely the entire nation new by now… Had he called Tetra? Her older sister, she knew, would be terrified. The two of them had been incredibly close all throughout their childhood and she'd missed her terribly ever since she'd gone off to college a year ago. She was probably driving home as fast as she could. She wished there was some way she could let them know she was ok… But was she really? Was she going to survive today? Or would she be just another name on the six o'clock news?
It wasn't until she was once again alone and lost within the labyrinthine passages of Ordon High that she really began to miss the presence of Colin. She was even starting to miss Ralph, obnoxious as he was. At least he was some company.
She was grateful for the comfort that knowing where she was going provided her. Sure, she still couldn't tell one hallway from another, but she felt like she was being pulled towards something, as though something was guiding her forward…
As she rounded the nearest corner, she abruptly came into contact with something that was very warm and solid.
With a cry of surprise and alarm she felt a pair of strong arms wrap around her midsection, and together the two toppled to the ground.
Groaning as her sore muscles shrieked in protest, she groggily lifted her head, opening her eyes slightly as she attempted to understand what had happened…
As the figure below her let out an agonized cough, her eyes snapped open in horror. She was lying on top of someone!
Struggling to get off of whomever she was on top of (her mind suddenly began flashing to images of Ganondorf, or perhaps one of his numerous lackeys, or maybe a police officer), she became acutely aware of a very strange sensation within her. Almost like a humming… or a vibration… Whatever it was, it was strong, and it felt like it was originating from the back of her hand.
Completely unnerved, she managed to push herself up on her hands. Blowing the hair out of her eyes, her gaze fell upon the figure below her… and she froze.
She was staring into a pair of very familiar cobalt eyes… Eyes that were staring back at her with shock clearly written into them. His face, framed with his shaggy blonde hair, was the picture of disbelief.
"Link?" she whispered softly, stunned.
"Zelda?" he replied, his tone matching hers perfectly.
The hum had grown louder now, as though it were singing inside of her. For whatever reason, she couldn't bring herself to tear her eyes away from Link to check if her Triforce was glowing. It just didn't seem important at the moment.
Before she could say or do anything else, she heard a polite cough from somewhere above her.
"Um… Should we leave you two alone?"
Zelda blinked, then flushed violently. She had just plowed into Link, knocking him onto the ground, had fallen on top of him, and now here she was laying on him?
She quickly scrambled to her feet, hurriedly mumbling numerous apologies as she helped Link up. He looked too stunned to respond, however, and she quickly diverted her gaze out of sheer mortification.
"Oh look, Zelda. You swept Link off his feet… Again!" came an immensely amused voice to her left.
Letting her eyes snap back up, she was surprised to find Midna standing beside her, her hands on her hips, a suggestive grin on her face.
"I dunno…" Muttered a guy standing behind her who Zelda recognized as Sheik, the boy who she'd seen in the graveyard with Ganondorf and yet had helped her and the others save Anju. "I'm pretty sure it's all Link's doing. It's like it's his life goal to crash into people."
"Midna!" Zelda exclaimed, rushing forward and enveloping the girl in a tight hug. "Oh Farore, I thought you were dead or… or something! I can't believe you're ok!"
The gothic girl giggled and hugged her back fiercely. "It's good to see you're ok too, Zelda. After we got separated…."
"I know…" She whispered, feeling the tears welling up in her eyes. Midna was ok… And if she was ok, maybe everyone else was too. Anything was possible. They just might make it out of here alive after all…
Pulling away from Midna with a watery chuckle, she turned to Sheik, unsure of what to say to him.
"Um…" she started, and he laughed, waving his hands in front of him.
"Don't worry, you don't need to feel obligated to hug me." He chuckled. "Besides, I think Link might get jealous."
Midna punched him playfully on the arm. "Shut up, you."
Zelda couldn't help but laugh.
Before she could turn her attention back to Link, she felt something small collide with her with a surprising amount of force.
"Zelda!" the figure exclaimed gleefully.
"A-Aryll?" Zelda stammered, staring in surprise at the blonde pigtailed girl who was clinging to her midriff.
"The one and only!" She replied, beaming up at her. Now that they were so close, she could definitely see the family resemblance between her and Link. Though her hair was lighter and her eyes were brighter, they had the same facial shape and the exact same smirk.
"You're ok!' Zelda exclaimed, hugging her back and laughing in joy. "I thought Sakon captured you!"
"Psh, like he could ever stop me!" the smaller girl giggled brightly and Zelda laughed.
From behind her, she heard the hesitant sound of a throat being nervously cleared. Releasing Aryll, the turned around and found herself being taken aback once more as her eyes landed on the final member of the group; the purple-headed Kafei Dotour.
"Zelda…" he said quietly, before cutting off with an 'oof!' as Zelda ran to hug him.
"Kafei!" she cried in relief, "You're ok! We all thought you were dead! Oh, Nayru…"
"Zelda," he said again, grabbing her shoulders and holding her out to arms length. He looked nervous; scared even. "Listen, I'm really glad to see you're ok too. It's just… If you're still here, then… did Anju…?"
His voice choked off, unable to bring himself to finish his sentence. The air around the group was suddenly tense.
Zelda stared at him in confusion for a moment before suddenly realizing what he was trying to say.
"Oh! Oh, no, Kafei, she's fine! She made it out in time!"
"Completely." She said firmly, "I watched her leave with my own eyes."
All the tension left his body in a rush, and he visibly sagged with relief.
"Oh, Goddesses, thank you… When I saw you, I thought…"
"I know." She replied, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Zelda," Aryll asked curiously, "If you saw them leave, then… Why didn't you go with them?"
"I stayed behind to cause a distraction so the other girls could escape." She replied simply.
Aryll seemed stunned. "Really? That's amazing!"
"Not really." she chuckled, feeling a little embarrassed. "All it got me was a massive bruise from where Vaati kicked me and an elongated stay in this death trap."
Aryll looked like she wanted to ask another question, but Midna suddenly spoke up.
"Zel, why are you wearing Link's sweater?"
Sheik snorted obnoxiously, and Zelda felt her face once again turning cherry red.
Turning away from the now laughing Midna and Aryll, she sought out Link's face to see how he was handling the situation and if he wanted his sweater back. It wasn't until their eyes met that she realized he'd been silent nearly throughout the entire exchange.
Link was standing silently in a corner, a troubled look on his face. As they locked gazes, the humming inside her seemed to magnify in intensity, and the mark on the back of her hand began to tingle. Subconsciously, she moved her hand to massage the mark.
To her immense surprise, Link mirrored her movement, only with his other hand. Slowly, her eyes tore themselves from his own intense, piercing cobalt irises and traveled down, passed his Skull Keeta T-shirt, to the hand he was massaging.
There, on the back of his left hand, was a trio of golden triangles.
Zelda felt like she'd been punched in the stomach.
Link? Link had a piece of the Triforce? Did that mean he could see the future like her, or… No, that was what Nayru's blessing from the Triforce of Wisdom did… So which piece did he have? Power? Courage?
She opened her mouth without thinking, ready to blurt out whatever question first came to mind, when suddenly Nayru's voice rang out in her head in warning.
Time grows short, daughter. Hurry.
Suddenly, Zelda remembered why she'd been roaming the halls in the first place, and she felt dread wash over her like a tidal wave. How much time had she just wasted? Was she too late? How were Colin and Ralph fairing on their end? Had Ganondorf already given the signal? Goddesses, help her!
She came back to reality just in time to hear Kafei ask curiously, "Zelda, do you know what that sound is downstairs? Who's fighting? Is it-"
"It's the police." She said quickly, cutting him off. "They're fighting off Ganondorf's men. They're on their way to rescue us."
That seemed to surprise everyone in the group.
"That's fantastic!" Aryll exclaimed happily. "We're almost free! We can go home!"
Link, however, had noticed Zelda's expression. "What are you not telling us?" he asked softly, and once again all attention was on Zelda.
She swallowed nervously; would they believe her? "Ganondorf is about to give the order for the remaining students being held captive to be executed. He doesn't want anyone to make it out of here alive."
There was a stunned pause following her words.
"How do you know?" Midna asked in a horrified whisper, her red eyes growing wide in shock
"Look, I don't have time to explain!" She quickly, carefully skating over that touchy topic; she didn't have time to convince them to follow her, they needed to act now.
"There are only five more rooms containing prisoners, the rest have already managed to escape one way or another. Me and two other people set out to try and save the other students before Ganondorf killed them all, but I don't think we can do it alone… Please, will you help me?"
There was a definite note of pleading in her voice, and she gazed at them all imploringly, desperation in her eyes.
Kafei spoke up first. "You saved Anju's life, so I owe you mine. If you needed me to march with you against the Goddesses themselves, I would."
Zelda blinked with surprise at his conviction, but then smiled at him broadly. He returned it with a wink.
Midna voiced her assent next. "Girl, do you even have to ask? Walking into dangerous situations is everyday stuff for you and me."
With an unexpected laugh, Zelda gave her another quick one-armed hug, grinning from ear to ear.
At her side, Sheik gave a nonchalant shrug and said, "Well, I guess that means I'm in too."
To Zelda's surprise, he reached down and caught Midna's hand in his own, entwining their fingers. She wanted to coo at the cuteness of it all, but then she remembered they were in a life-or-death situation and she quickly schooled her feelings.
Aryll casually linked her hands behind her head and stretched. "You know I'm in. I don't know how much help I'll be, but…"
When her eyes landed on Link, he nodded. "I'm with you." He said softly.
Something inside of her soared. Inexplicably, she no longer felt as though the task before them was impossible; with Link on their side, they could do it, no problem.
But… that didn't make any sense. Why did she feel that way again?
"So what's the game plan, captain?" Sheik asked, and Zelda started.
"Oh! Um… well, I guess we should divide ourselves and tackle different rooms…"
"Sounds good to me." Kafei said, clapping his hands together in eager anticipation. "Though we should probably make sure there's one gun per group."
"Gun?" Zelda asked, confused.
As one, Kafei, Sheik, and Link all withdrew guns from various places on their persons.
Midna whistled softly. "Dang. Our guys are packing heat!"
"I'll take Midna." Sheik replied tersely, and Midna flashed him a grin. "Where should we go?"
"Let's see…" Zelda said, wracking her brains for the names of the last three classes. "Do you know where Miss Dina's Government and Econ. Classroom is?"
"Yup!" Midna said. "I had her last semester. It's not too far from here."
Without another word, the couple turned and jogged off down the hall.
"Ok, I think Link should stick with Aryll, since she's his little sister." Kafei said, and Zelda felt inexplicably irritated. It was the logical decision, after all, but she couldn't help but wish Link would stay with her; she felt safer around him. She glanced surreptitiously at Link out of the corner of her eye. She could have sworn that his eyes had darted to her then away again.
"Ok, then how about you two take Dr. Left's room. It's a-"
"History class." Aryll chirped. "Gotcha. See you later!"
And with that, she snagged her brother's hand and dragged him down the hall after Sheik and Midna. Zelda's eyes trailed him until he was out of her line of sight, sighing despondently.
As if on cue, as soon as he was gone, the humming inside her ceased. Her hand had even stopped tingling. Now that was odd… Could it have been because Link had the same markings she had? Which Triforce piece did he carry? And why him? For that matter, why her? What was going on?
"Ok!" Kafei exclaimed, stretching his arms over his head, cracking his back loudly. "Where to, General?"
In spite of their situation, Zelda couldn't help but chuckle. "Mr. Adler's. Physical Science."
"Ok. After you." He replied, bowing, and Zelda laughed.
As one, they turned and jogged off the way she had come from, a smile on her face. Her, Link, Kafei, Midna, Sheik, Aryll, Colin, and Ralph. Between the eight of them, Ganondorf didn't stand a chance.
Maybe this Triforce thing wasn't so bad after all.
From below, the sounds of the violence steadily grew nearer.