AN: Been away for far too long.
Chapter 4: The Library
Link awoke sometime later. With no way to judge the time of day from the comfortable living room of the Yeti's, he had no idea how long he had slept. He only knew one thing.
Ilia wasn't next to him.
Just as Link was about to draw his sword and jump to his feet he realized slightly too late that his legs weren't quite up to the task. He tumbled out of the chair and onto the ground. Link slowly climbed to his feet, rolling out his shoulders and trying to remove a crick in his neck.
Mental note, never sleep with a sword and shield on your back.
Link drew his sword, this time managing to get it out of its sheath, and approached the door that he knew led to the kitchen. He had his sword held and ready to cut down anything that might come out if it wasn't a Yeti or Ilia. He slowly reached towards the handle, making sure not to bring his skin in contact with the actual metal. That had been a lesson he learned last time he was here. If the room on the other side of the door had lost its heat, the door handle would easily freeze his hand. He grasped the handle and slowly turned it…
And was caught off guard as the door slammed him right off his feet, through the air, and to the ground. Link quickly recovered with a back-flip and landed on his feet, ready to cut the perpetrator in half.
Only to see that the offending creature was actually Ilia, on crutches, with soup.
She hobbled through the door quickly and it was only then that the one who actually opened the door came through. Mr. Yeti stepped in after her.
"Link! You're awake!"
Link smiled at her, glad it hadn't been an emergency, before sheathing his sword and taking it and his shield off.
"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"
Ilia frowned and made her way over to him.
"Link… you were asleep for two days. Yeta said you were suffering from hypothermia as well as a poison."
"Yes, she said it was the same poison she was afflicted with."
Link frowned at that information. Yeta had probably meant that he was suffering from something dealing with the twilight… but… that shouldn't be possible. Midna took it all with her except the shard… didn't she? Link decided to think about it later, when his stomach and head didn't hurt so much.
"Well, I feel fine now…"
"No, you don't. I can see it in your eyes. Here, eat this. It's… good." Ilia struggled to get out the last word and Link found out with the first taste why. It was all he could do to take the first sip from the bowl without dry heaving. It was, in the nicest of terms, foul.
"Good soup, green man, I made with one keg of salt and two keg of fish!" Yeto seemed proud of his concoction, so Link took another sip. It was slightly easier to get down the second time. "Two type of fish in kegs, sa-quid and lef-tover. Yeta say that what kegs say."
That made Link start choking. Squid and leftover? Leftover fish? Like the… eyes and brains? Ilia gave him an apologetic smile and mouthed the words 'cheese' and 'pumpkin' to him as she patted his back.
That made Link smile.
"Ilia, you really don't have to bring me lunch every day. I can cook."
Link looked slightly down into the hair of a downward facing Ilia. He had been working for the ranch in Ordon for months now and Ilia had not once forgotten to bring him at least a snack every day around lunch. Link had to admit her cooking was infinitely better then his own. Her muffins topped his own acorn surprise one hundred percent of the time. A young Ilia looked up into his eyes and stuck out a cloth holding what looked like biscuits to him.
"I know… but you can't cook well. And I really don't have that much to do anyway…"
That was a lie, and both of them knew it. In a small farm town like Ordon the chores were endless. If you worked eight hours a day you might have one free day a week. And that was when it wasn't harvest season. Ilia, as a young girl, had less chores to do then Link, but she was still kept busy.
"Thanks Ilia." He was willing to ignore her avoiding chores as long as it got him treats like this. Ilia smiled at him, that cute little smile that forced him to smile back every time.
"They're a new recipe, cheese and pumpkin biscuits. I think they're really good…" Ilia glanced at the ground shyly and clasped her hands in front of her body. Link took this as his cue to try the food. He took a biscuit and took a big bite out of it, determined to prove Ilia true.
"Wow, Ilia these…" And Link was forced to stop talking as the taste hit his taste buds. To Ilia it looked like he froze in mid chew. Link was about two steps ahead of stunned and one behind heaven.
Link finished chewing his large bite and then took another. Same as before, the biscuit tasted like heaven was supposed to be.
"Ilia… this is probably the best thing I have ever had in my entire life!"
Actually, that was what Link wanted to say. What actually came out of his mouth was random mumbles and crumbs. Ilia watched in fascination as Link consumed fourteen biscuits in one minute. She, herself, took the last two and took a small bite out of one. She thought it was pretty good, but not great. Her father had said it was 'interesting', whatever that meant. Rusl had taken a bite, frozen, and then ran into the bushes to, she assumed, eat the rest of it while making funny noises.
Link had a really… interesting sense of taste apparently.
"Wow… Ilia, those are amazing!"
"Really?" Ilia was overjoyed to hear it from the boy she had a crush on.
"Yeah, those biscuits were the most amazing things I have ever eaten!" Link was not kidding in the least. In fact, the last biscuit in Ilia's hand looked particularly good.
That lunch break ended with both Ilia and Link covered in hay and neither satisfied with the half of biscuit they got. It would be years before Ilia made them again, claiming they were to much trouble.
But mainly because she was still sore at him for tackling her into the hay.
Even if it had been fun.
Link mouthed a 'really' back to her, and she nodded. Link managed to quickly down the rest of the 'soup' before sitting back down into the massive chair and having Ilia plop down next to him. He held the nasty stuff in before turning to the lovely woman beside him.
"Better?" She asked him.
"Yes, much." He smiled back at her before laying back into the chair once again. She took a seat next to him, the chair easily being large enough for both of them, and leaned against him. Link relaxed when her head rested against his shoulder, like the stress of the past few weeks was draining away. He was still tired from the long and cold hike up the mountain, but at least the side Ilia was against felt good.
"You come back at bad time, green man. Evil things come in my house, take over snowy parts. I kill, but they come back."
Link's mind went back to the unknown monster in the cave. Even its presence had given him shivers.
"What do they look like?"
"Like little white man, with red eyes. They turn to snow when I hurt them. I crush one as I saw you."
So they were a new kind of monster. Interesting. With the defeat of Ganon and Zant no more monsters should have been appearing. At least, no more monsters under their control. If his instincts were correct, they were like redead, only with the soul and no rotting corpse for a body.
A soul with no body.
Link thought back to his past experiences with the redead of Hyrule. In all of his fights and with the advice of many people, he had finally come to the conclusion that the redead were the restless souls of the innocent lashing out at a cruel and merciless world from the corpse of their previous body. If their bodies no longer existed, the souls obviously would.
My past enemies are coming back to haunt me?
That was not the answer. They were like redead, but not exactly. Something about them reeked of Zant, but he was dead.
The next few days were spent carefully exploring the ancient home of the Yeti. Link investigated every room as thoroughly as he could while remaining human. Most of the time was spent eliminating enemies and placing lit torches everywhere. He systematically went through ever room between him and the multiple rooms with books and cleared away large piles of snow capable of producing snow wolves or the new enemies Link had dubbed snowdead. He placed lit torches that Yeto prepared for him in every corner and dark area of every room.
He wasn't being paranoid.
Ilia would be looking at the books with him.
She, on the other hand, spent most of her time helping the Yetis clean out the rooms Link had cleared out. It was agonizingly boring work, and the only excitement came from nearly being crushed by Yeti almost every few minutes.
Whatever Link thought was so dangerous about those extra rooms had to be safer than what she was doing.
It was only a few days later when most of the entire house was cleared of snow as best as could be done. Floors had been patched together to be fully repaired later. The courtyard now was filled with lit torches every meter or two. No snow was able to land without being melted, day or night. With months left until the thaw of their path home they figured that they had plenty of time to help around the house and look at the books, so they took it at a leisurely pace. Generally Link and Ilia would each take a couple of the books that looked either ancient or close enough and went into the fireplace room to read. Yetis, for the first time, was excited about the remodeling and clean up of his home, and as such was not often around. Yeta, on the other hand, insisted that she listen to at least one book a day, usually read by Ilia. Ilia would sit in one of the enormous chairs with Link and read whatever was in her book. Sometimes it would be an ancient legend of hero's conquering evil, other times an instruction manual for building what seemed to be a hand cart. Link had even less luck, usually getting what seemed to be bank records or, quite often, books about how to cook various extinct creatures.
They went about this daily routine for almost a month before the home was invaded.
Link sat across the fire from Ilia, each with a book in hand, and was getting fed up of studying his book of ancient mathematics hoping to find some reference to sages, twilight, or even a mirror. The Yetis had gone to sleep for the evening leaving Link and Ilia to do whatever they needed to do. Which was read until their eyeballs shorted out.
"I think I found something."
Instantly Link was at her side and looking over her shoulder from the other side of the chair.
…Continuing on, the recent magic performed by the sages of Hyrule was pulled off successfully. The goal being to create a door to an alternate world, one to be used as a proposed prison. With the use of the large black stone found years ago in Lake Hyrule that has shown to hold powerful magic properties and a mirror created from ground up chips of the stone from which was supposed to block entrance to the sacred realm, the Door of Time. The same door which once held the hero of time…
The article faded into illegible writing at that point, but Link had what he needed.
"This is it, Ilia! You found it!"
Before his celebration went any farther, the door leading into the main hall blew open in an explosion that could have only come from a bomb. Instantly, Link had Ilia behind his back and his sword in hand. He only had instants to react when three helmasaurs came sprinting through the smoke and debris.
Link kicked the chair over in their way as he brought out his claw shot, but froze when he saw at least two stalfoes, fully armored, come charging in after.
Link had Ilia over his shoulder and the door to the courtyard open before even he knew it.
"Link! Put me down!"
Link had no time to reply a negative because he was forced to swing around a pillar to dodge a helmasaur. Ilia was squirming more than usual and he had no idea why until he reached the courtyard to find nearly every torch extinguished and snow coming in faster then was natural. He quickly barred the door he came from just in time to hear something hit it hard
Link looked to the door he came from, then to the ladder towards the bedroom of the Yetis. Yeti would be a great help in the fight that was coming, but Link knew that reaching there in time was probably impossible. In his frantic search he saw the cannon that was still in the courtyard. During his clean up he had placed all the ammunition directly around the cannon, for easy reach.
That should work.
He finally let Ilia down off his shoulder and sprinted at the cannon, quickly aiming it at the door and loading a large metal ball before reaching for a bomb.
Ilia's cry caused Link to dive to the ground, just in time to miss a large swooping bird that he assumed put out his torches. He was about to pull out his bow when he saw the thing go down with an arrow in the head. That was when he remembered that Ilia had his bow, first of all, and that she must have been getting it out as she was on his shoulder on the way here.
His reply when unanswered as the door almost shattered from an impact from the other side. Link quickly drew a bomb and placed it in the cannon. There were a few agonizing seconds before the bomb detonated, and just before it went off the door broke and a stalfoes charged through.
Only to get hit by a hunk of metal traveling fast enough to completely destroy it and the stalfoes behind it, as well as the helmasaur directly behind that. Two more helmasaurs came through, not fazed in the least, only to find two prepared fighters on the other side of their comrades bodies. One went down with an arrow in the eye, avoiding the metal plate on its head, and the other soon found his metal plate in the hands of Link before he was cleaved in two by a combination of its own head piece and the Master Sword.
Link stood ready to fight the next thing that came through the door only to see nothing.
That was it?
Link quickly turned to find Ilia only steps away looking towards the far side of the courtyard. Link noticed it too. Moments ago the sky had been late afternoon and snowy. Now it was pitch black and the wind was picking up. The wind seemed to chill the two to their bones, blowing snow around till vision was extremely limited. It cleared moments after it started, but all the torches had now been extinguished and a thick layer of snow now covered the courtyard.
And it was moving.
The wind was blowing towards the pair from the corner of the courtyard farthest from them, but the snow seemed to be drawn towards that corner against the wind. Soon the entire area was clear of snow except a growing pile in the corner that was splitting into smaller piles. The wind no longer had anything thing to do with the chill they felt in their hearts now. The first pile took shape and Link cringed at the vague shape of a man.
What could only be described as soulless red eyes glowed out of the snow from sockets that didn't exist.
Soon others were formed, ten, twenty. Thirty two was the final count after only a few seconds of waiting since the first had been formed. It came to Link quickly exactly what the attack at the front door had been.
The purpose of those monsters had been to lure Link and Ilia to the courtyard.
"Link… what do I do?"
For once in his journeys, Link had absolutely no idea. He had never had to take out this many redeads at once. And redeads that could simply disassemble themselves and reassemble at will just made things even more difficult. Link's hand quickly went to the book in his belt. They had what they had come for. It was time to leave.
"Ilia, take this…" Link handed her one of the many magical bags from his belt while never taking his eyes of monsters in front of them. While they hadn't started moving yet, and Link wasn't sure why, they might start at any time. "… and before you fire your next arrow, put the tip in the bag and pull it out. Only when I say so."
Link's eyes quickly darted to the upper levels of the courtyard and in an instant had found what he wanted to see.
Just as Link was about to put his plan into action he felt a chill go down his spine.
Link had his sword out of the scabbard and slicing through the air fast enough to completely demolish the snowdead that had come up behind him. He was shocked to find that they actually had resistance similar to a regular flesh and bone body as his blade passed clean through. For a moment he had wondered if he had even killed it, but a second later the eyes dimmed and went out and the body collapsed into a pile of snow.
Link sheathed his sword and reached for his clawshot, now seeing exactly why the snowdead had been waiting. Five more were close behind them and the massive group was slowly advancing. Link grabbed the clawshot and reached for Ilia just as she fired a bomb arrow into the massive group of monsters. The explosion took out two or three, but by the time the smoke cleared Ilia and Link were on the top level and heading towards the entrance door.
Link and Ilia burst from the Yeti's home only to meet a snowstorm twice the strength of any they had gone through on the way up. Ilia had left her coat and gloves inside, so there was no way for her to go much further than a few feet.
Link quickly grabbed her shoulder and tried to block most of the wind from reaching her, to negligible effect, and trudged as fast as he could. Only a hundred feet from the Yetis home was a large rock which, Link knew, had a sheltering cavern in it. All they had to do was reach it.
Link's concentration was broken as a snow wolf jumped from the snow bank beside him and knocked him over, throwing Ilia and him to the ground. Link was up before the wolf could return and this time had his sword ready. The wolf impaled itself upon the sword point. Link looked around for Ilia, only to find a small piece of her clothing sticking out of the snow. The storm was picking up and Ilia looked unconscious.
Can someone actually get hypothermia in such a small amount of time? Yes. In this supernatural wind and snow, it is probably freezing her nearly as fast as she can think.
Link wasn't willing to take the chance that she would die before getting far enough away from the infested castle. He needed to speed up. Instants later, Link had Ilia over his shoulder and he was taking the shard out of his bag and jabbing it into his leg. Instantly Link was a wolf with a human girl over his back, making his progress much quicker. Only a minute later he had reached the top of the small spire and dug into the safety of the hole.
Inside was as empty as he had left it all that time ago. Instantly Link went to work on creating warmth. He pulled about five bombs out of his bag with his mouth and threw them into the middle of the room before covering Ilia with his fur covered body. The explosion shook the cavern, but Link had accomplished his goal, if temporarily. The rock floor in the center of the room had become hot to the touch from the explosions and Link gently laid Ilia on the warmest area he could find that wouldn't burn her.
Her lips, which had been blue moments ago, began to become a more healthy pink and the rest of her body looked to be quickly heating up.
Link almost had time to sigh with relief.
But stopped when he remembered something.
I smell something… evil.
With his enhanced senses as a wolf, Link was able to notice something he hadn't noticed minutes ago as a human.
There is magic in the air. This storm is not natural, or even the work of the snowdead.
But there was nothing he could do about it, he only could work on keeping Ilia warm and alive. That was all that mattered now.
For an outsider it would have been a strange site.
A massive wolf laying next to a beautiful girl, each keeping the other warm, each just trying to survive.