The Legend of Zelda
A Novelization by Kerian Halcyon
Chapter 7: Journey to the Tower, Part 1
Link's back felt like it was about to break. He had cuts, bruises, and welts all over the place. He felt as if he had just been in a battle of international proportions, and that he was lucky to be alive. All he got out of it as a reward was a sword, shield, and a recruit's badge.
Kind of hard to believe that was basic training.
It turned out that you had to be more than a recruit to get access to certain areas of the castle, most notably the secret passages. You had to go through basic training, learn your swordsmanship, get wacked by a bunch of soldiers who looked unfit for battles but longed to be in it to the point that they'd love to take out their frustrations upon a person half their size…and that was just the preliminary exams!
Link could not believe it had only been four hours since he and Zelda agreed to a plan of action. At first, they wanted to get started right away, but since the soldiers wouldn't allow Link inside of the tunnels without proper clearance, and since Zelda was a bit stuck when it came to instructing her guards, he had no choice but to go and deal with basic training for the royal guards. Now, after a grueling match between three guards armed with spears and a drill instructor that looked like he would use his head for a hood ornament, Link finally managed to get his weapon, and his badge. He now, officially, had two different professions.
I hope I never have to use a sword again, Link said darkly to himself as he glanced at the blade. Although the sword felt okay in his hand, the responsibilities that it carried with it seemed to weigh the thing down like a lead brick had been tied to one end. Sheathing the thing, Link made his way down the hall, hoping that the badge he had on his person would allow him to enter the restricted end of the castle.
"So, how'd it go?"
Link glanced up rather irritatedly at Zelda's ghostly apparition. She had chosen to stay outside during the match. Since the door was open, Link knew very well that his voice carried out throughout the castle. The fact that Zelda had to ask the question was quite infuriating to someone who didn't like hearing the obvious.
"It went…fine," Link muttered.
Zelda took the hint, and didn't push the subject. The two of them made their way through the castle, passing the elegant windows made of crystal glass, the beautiful tapestries, and the fine paintings; all of which having lost their beautiful hue due to the strange tragedy befalling upon the castle. Link trudged along drearily while Zelda floated by his side, both uncomfortable about the situation and afraid of what was to come in the future.
Link felt slightly annoyed. It was rather unfair that he had to do all the work in order to get to where they needed to be. He never felt so sore since the time he accidentally mixed up the train polisher with pink paint and was ordered by Alfonzo to scrub all the paint off right after he did at least 200 push-ups. All for just one measly sword and a badge indicating he was an official trainee.
Link looked up at Zelda, who was staring adamantly in the direction they were going as they made their way through the many hallways and passages in the castle. Then again, things could be a lot worse. Zelda is the real victim here, he mused. I would hate the idea of being dead and having to wander the earth for all eternity. Is that how you naturally end up when you are dead?
Zelda glanced down at the boy. Link quickly turned his gaze back to the latest hallway they were descending and mentally cursed himself. The fact that he kept staring at the princess was suspicious enough, even if she was a ghost. Why did he find himself looking at her like this all of the time? It's not like he—
"Link, pay attention!"
Link broke his daze to find that he had stopped. He was standing in front of the entrance to the dungeons, which was the way to get to the secret pass to the tower that Zelda spoke of. The guards were looking at him like he was from outer space, so Link guessed that the only reason why was because he had been standing there for a little while.
"Oh, I'm sorry," he said to the two soldiers in green uniforms, "I must have blanked out for a second there. Um…permission to enter?"
"Do you have your pass this time, kid?" one of the guards asked.
Link gulped. He remembered the hassle that occurred when he last tried to get in. The guards immediately accused him of being an imposter the moment he said that he didn't have a trainee's pass. If it weren't for Zelda's quick thinking and Link's passion for survival, he was sure he would have gotten into the dungeons anyway…as a prisoner.
"Uh, yeah. Sure," Link said nervously. Reaching into his pouch, he pulled out the simple card made out of wood and fabric weave and handed it to the guard. The guard took it out of his hand, inspected it, and smiled.
"Good to have you aboard, recruit," the man said, "Most trainees that get sent down here are supposed to be really good. I guess you must have really, 'impressed,' the sergeant to get send down there. See Maximillian when you get down there. He'll give you your assignment."
"Thanks," Link said as he took the card back. The other guard eyed him as he placed the card back in his pouch. Link gave both guards a quick nervous glance each before descending the stairs. He kept on looking back to see whether or not one of them would follow him or shout out that there was an intruder that was where he didn't belong, but no such sound came. He let out a quick sigh of relief.
"Halfway there now," Zelda whispered, "A little bit further, and we're out of here!"
"Yeah, and for all I know it'll be out of the cooking pot and into the fire," Link whispered back.
They were descending some stairs now. A spiral staircase went down a couple of flights before coming to a stop and leading to a long hallway that led behind the castle grounds. Link guessed that this must lead to the dungeons. Zelda began to guide him straight forward and warned him to avoid any guards along the way. If he looked even remotely suspicious, they were in trouble, and one of the empty cells could permanently be his.
"Geez, no pressure, huh?" Link muttered after Zelda finished explaining.
Zelda gave him a look of disproval before transforming into a little ball of glowing light. It was one of her more interesting powers. Link had found out the hard way that Zelda could be like this anytime. During his quick bathroom break while training, Zelda managed to sneak into his pouch so that they could talk…right when he was in one of the latrines. He had never felt so hot in the face in all of his life, and he could almost swear that Zelda had gone two shades darker in the cheeks. If it weren't for the seriousness of their situation, it would have almost been comical.
There was an office nearby. Link could hear the sound of men talking and laughing inside. Zelda quickly zoomed up towards the door that was ajar and had a look inside. After bobbing once to let him know he could move, Link walked slowly and silently around the corner until he was in the left side of the dungeon. Zelda had told him earlier that the majority of the inmates were kept on the right hand side of the castle, which meant more guards on that end. Although the way out was also on the right, Zelda had informed him that the whole dungeon was symmetrical minus the passage, and that there were other routes that led towards the secret route without having to go straight there.
Of course, Link had to be especially careful. The inmates on the left hand side were all supposed to be very harsh criminals; either that, or people in and out in a hurry. The few guards there were supposed to be the best, and there were no trainees or recruits allowed. Link had to be especially careful to avoid being seen by anybody.
Luckily for him, Zelda was always nearby to help. The princess was like one of those fairy guardians of old that were told of in fairy tales about Hyrule's ancient past. Whenever she saw trouble, she let Link know either verbally or by bobbing up and down rapidly as a tiny ball of light. Link paid close attention to every cue she made, thanking the Goddesses that he was the only one who could hear her or see her. It was truly a blessing to have her around.
They had gotten about halfway through when Link suddenly heard a recognizable voice. It was coming around the corner in a small room that sat between a group of cells. The door was ajar, and from what the two of them could hear the person inside sounded as if he was being tortured. It didn't take long for Link to figure out who it was…though the bird-like squawking helped out a bit.
"Riko!" he whispered.
"Riko? Where?" Zelda asked.
Link pointed to the room. More squawking could be heard, followed by mumbled, but rather angry, conversation. Link guessed that there could be only one purpose for the room in front of them; interrogation. Whatever was going on, Link betted that they were blaming the Rito on Zelda's disappearance.
Link and Zelda quickly turned a corner and got themselves just beyond seeing distance of the door. In their little hiding spot, they listened carefully to see whether or not any of the guards would leave. From what Link could hear, the guards probably wouldn't be heading out anytime soon, and judging by the sounds of Riko's voice, they weren't going to stop until he "squawks."
"I've got an idea," Zelda whispered in her ball form, "I'll be right back. Don't let them see you!"
Link began to protest, but Zelda was too quick for him. She quickly darted away and into the interrogation room as Riko's squawks suddenly became very infrequent and sickly. She had been gone for a long time, but Link knew he'd be helpless to go in and get her now. He doubted he could either way, for at that moment he could no longer hear the Rito's voice.
"Dammit, Jacque. I told you not to hit him too hard! Now we've got to wait 'till he clears."
Link's ears pricked up as he heard the guards talking rather loudly through the ajar door. He paid very close attention; this could be his opening.
"No problem. We just dunk water on him again and he'll come right to, remember?"
"We used the last of the water torturing the freak!! Now we've got to get some more. Dammit…the sergeant won't be too happy if we have to have the doctor come and see him again."
"Well, if he finally squawks we won't have to worry about it, will we? Come on…help me get the water. It takes two people to get the whole tub full."
"Wait…what about the bird? We can't just leave him unguarded!"
"Relax…he isn't going anywhere. Besides, all I have to do is lock the door. Hopefully he'll still be sleeping like a baby when we bring this back; otherwise, we'd have gone all this trouble for nothing!"
Link moved back behind the corner as he heard the two soldiers leaving the room. He heard them shut the big iron door, and a series of loud, metallic clangs and clicks meant that they had just locked it. Inwardly, he cursed. Now he would never get Riko out of there! He waited until their footsteps faded into the distance before poking his head out and approaching the door.
He looked through the iron bars. Riko was a mess. His feathers were ruffled and were stained red, likely from blood. He was soaking wet in some places, and from bare patches of skin Link could see big purple blotches from bruising.
"Damn," Link whispered.
"There isn't a call for bad language, you know!"
Link turned suddenly, but sighed in relief when he saw it was only Zelda. She had changed back into her Hylian form and had a nice, sly grin on her face. Her hands were behind her back, obviously holding something of importance. She floated off of the ground and moved about like a little girl who had done something naughty…or was about to.
"Guess what I have," she said with a smile.
Link smiled. "The key to this room?"
Zelda's smile turned into a look of surprise and disappointment. "How'd you figure that out?!"
"You're a ghost, remember?" Link giggled, "I can see right through you."
Zelda looked down. Sure enough, she could see the keys right through her stomach. She suddenly felt very vulnerable as she held out the metal objects to her friend.
"I hope my clothes aren't see-through too," she said.
"Actually, you just turned solid again," Link whispered, noting the lack of transparency now that Zelda was back on the ground, "I guess you can control whether you can become invisible or not."
Zelda looked back down. Sure enough, her clothes and stomach were back to their original, pale, otherworldly color. She sulked.
"Well, that's not fair," she said.
Link wanted to shush her, but he knew that nobody else could hear her, so he didn't worry about it. Taking what he hoped was the right key, he quickly slipped it inside and opened the door. Quietly as he could, he walked in and gently picked up the unconscious Riko, who was breathing heavily and looked as if he had seen better days. Both of his eyes were covered in big, black splotches, indicating that the guards must have punched them both while trying to torture him. Although Link felt anger towards the people that dared to hurt his friend, he focused his mind on getting Riko out of here without alerting the guards.
Carrying the Rito on his back, Link exited the room quickly. Zelda speedily locked the room back up and tossed the keys aside to make it seem as if the guard had dropped them when leaving. Link was surprised about how light Riko really was, though he guessed it was because the guy was part bird. Looking around to make sure they wouldn't be seen, Link and Zelda quickly tried to sneak around the room and back into the hallway, ensuring themselves that they wouldn't get caught by guards along the way.
At long last, Link and Zelda both reached the hallway that led to the secret passage. Zelda ensured him that it was safe to walk through, while Link turned around to make sure that none of the guards would come from behind. As they both quickly went through the hallway, Link almost let out a big sigh of relief. At long last, they were home free.
Or so he thought.
Neither of them had expected this, but as they turned the corner of the hallway, there was a guard standing in front of the big wooden door that led to the way out. Link froze as the guard looked right at him. The guard was rather confused at the boy's appearance, but his confusion soon turned into surprise as he saw the burden Link was carrying.
"You there," the man growled, "What are you doing with that…bird-man? Isn't he supposed to be interrogated?!"
"Uh…" Link muttered.
Come on, Link, think! He said to himself. Don't blow it all now!!!
"I asked you a question, boy," the man growled. Link could see that he had his fingers on a whistle, likely meant for warning the others of a prison break. "Now, answer me!"
"Uh…the prisoner's no good anymore," Link said, "The...Commanding Officer, Maximillian, said that he wasn't worth asking questions. I was supposed to dump him out there or something."
The guard looked towards the big wooden door behind him. "That's kind of cruel for Max," he said, "but I suppose he probably deserves it. Nobody messes with our princess. Alright…go ahead."
Link smiled weakly. He was about to go forward when all of a sudden…
"PRISON BREAK!! PRISON BREAK!!"
A series of bells, gongs, and trumpets followed along with the screaming voice of the guards beyond the hall. The guard took a quick look at the door to see what was going on, but his mood quickly changed from surprise to anger as he looked back at Link. Link gave the guard a nervous smile as he tried to hold tight to the "escapee," on his shoulders.
I'm dead, Link thought.
"You're dead," the guard said as he raised a crossbow.
My thoughts exactly.
It was at that moment that the guard suddenly recoiled hard, grasping his stomach and yelping in pain. He looked around to try and see the source of the disturbance, but was shocked to find that there was no one there. He was about to grab the crossbow he dropped on the floor when he suddenly felt a tremendous spike of pain in his face, his head launched off to the right as if someone had…kicked him.
Only Link could see who it was. Zelda, in her ghostly form, was quick to take advantage of her newfound powers. The guard had no idea what was coming to him.
Link did himself a favor and closed his eyes for most of it. He had never seen a girl fight before, and the way Zelda twisted her body caused her dress to go flying around her. Link didn't think that anybody could have used their legs to inflict so much pain. The fact that the man was wailing for most of it didn't help either.
When she finally was done, the guard fell on the floor, his nose bleeding and his body covered in bruises. Zelda tossed her head to one side and smiled at her handiwork for a moment or two before looking over at Link.
"Come on! We've got to get going!" she said hastily.
Link gulped. Hearing the guards starting to rush towards where the wailing came from, he quickly reached down and grabbed the keys from the guard's pocket. Rushing towards the door as fast as he could with a Rito on his back, he quickly turned the key and opened it. He plunged headfirst into the darkness inside, with the door swiftly closing behind him.
The guards were quick to enter the room. Upon seeing their bruised and bleeding comrade, they quickly fanned out and searched the room. It didn't take long for them to realize that the room was empty, and that there was only one other way out.
"Do you think they went…in there?" one guard asked.
"They can't have," another guard said, "The door is still locked, see?"
"Yeah, but the key's in the lock," the first guard said, "Jack always keeps the key in his pocket. It wouldn't be like him to do that."
"Then how in the hell did they manage to lock themselves in?!" a big burly soldier asked, "Did they just politely ask Jack to do it right after they beat him to a pulp? I don't think so!!"
"It could have been a psychic, or a magician."
The group turned to the man who had spoken up, who looked young and inexperienced. The young guard instantly blushed.
"Rookie," the bigger man said, "I don't know why we put up with you. Psychics and magicians without licenses are illegal, and most of them are maintained and monitored…and even those are a rare few! There can't have been a rogue magician about, and even if there was; why in hell would he need a stupid half-bird freak?!"
"Maybe…it has to do with the p-p-p-princess?" the rookie mumbled.
The bigger man threw up his hands. "Sure," he growled, "And I guess that the chancellor's working for him, eh? What's next?! A phantom ghost running about in the castle?!?"
The group of them suddenly stood rigid when they heard the keys drop, one by one, from the key ring. It would not have been too frightening if they were falling from a key ring attached to a person's waist belt; then that way the sergeant, who was the bigger man, would have been able to reprimand the person who did it. However, the key ring in question had originally been attached to the key locking the door…and it was floating!
The key ring floated for a few seconds more before it suddenly flew into the group. The guards jumped aside and allowed ample space for the chain to hit the ground. Turning, they gazed upon the silent, wooden door. All was still as fear rose and gripped the hearts of the men.
"Rookie," the sergeant said, "Get…get in there and open that door."
"No way I'm going there," the rookie said quite openly, "You do it."
"I ain't gonna do it! You do it!"
"I'm not going in either," said the second guard.
"Me neither," said the first.
"Well, somebody's got to go in there, even if I have to pull rank to get you all to do it!"
"You'd only pull rank because you're too much of a pansy-ass to do it yourself!"
"I…I'm no pa—I'm not going in there! Get in there, you lilly-livered sissies!"
"Where'd you get that kind of talk from? Your mom?"
The guards continued arguing with each other in the room, and Zelda could hear it all in the hallway as she went down the stairs, laughing the whole entire time.
Link felt sharp pain grace the inside of his head as he awoke. His head throbbed madly, like he had managed to hit a gong and the sound waves decided to stick inside of his head instead of bounce off of walls like they should. In short, he hurt. A lot.
He guessed that it was the fact that there was no light, because his toe graced the bottom of a series of stairs. Riko was not far from where hey lay down, though it seemed as if the Rito had been cushioned from the fall by Link's shoulders. The boy got up and rubbed his back a bit, until he realized that it was pitch black where he sat.
"Hello?" Link mumbled. His voice echoed as if he was inside of a cathedral. It was unnerving. Link couldn't see, and the tunnel smelled very dank and musty. The only sound other than his steadily fading echo was the gasping breaths of the Rito in front of him, and even knowing that he wasn't alone was not comforting.
"Zelda?" Link said in a voice barely above a whisper.
No answer. The ghostly princess wasn't to be seen or heard. Link felt icy fear grip his insides as he frantically looked around in a panic.
Still no answer.
"Zelda!" Link's voice echoed rather loudly in the tunnel this time. Suddenly, there was a reply in the form of shallow, raspy breathing. Link's blood turned to ice as he heard the deep voice come closer and closer. A faint light began to shine from behind him, and as the back of Link's hairs stood on end, he slowly turned around. Cold sweat began to pour from his forehead as he cautiously began to face the—
Link screamed. The scream echoed throughout the tunnel. On the other end, Link almost could swear that he heard a swarm of bats flying off from the sound. He didn't care. Right now, he was rather mad at a ghost that was laughing hilariously at the foot of the stairs.
Link glared at Zelda. "You know, I bet you wouldn't be laughing if you were the one down here in the dark," he said.
Zelda tried to cover up her mouth to hide her smile, but her sniggering just kept on prevailing. "Well," she chuckled, "I couldn't resist. I'm sorry." She openly laughed for a minute or two before finally calming down and saying, "You know, being a princess cooped up in a castle gets really boring at even the best of times. I'm almost glad that I'm a ghost. Now I get a chance to scare the heck out of everyone I see!"
"Like me?" Link asked, "What happened to the guards? I thought they'd be chasing us by now."
"No, I took care of them," Zelda explained, "They think this place is haunted. I gave them a real reason to stop having thoughts to the contrary!"
Link rolled his eyes. The princess was more immature than he was.
As Zelda's laughter died down, Link looked down the tunnel. His sharp eyes had adjusted enough to the dim light given off by Zelda's body that he could see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. It didn't look that far off; perhaps just a brisk walk could get them there within five minutes. However, it made him wonder whether or not there was really very much distance between the castle and the Tower of Spirits.
Thinking about the Tower of Spirits brought Link's mind about their current situation. He felt a pang of regret reach his heart. He realized that he could never go back to Castle Town now that he had helped with the escape of a prisoner. Though Riko was his friend, and Link was sure that the Rito would not hesitate to help him if he were in the same situation, Link knew that Castle Town was possibly the only prospective home that he could have while the Spirit Tracks are down. He wondered if he would ever get a chance to see Aboda Village again.
"Shouldn't we get going?" Zelda asked.
Link broke from his daze. "What?"
"I said, shouldn't we get going?" Zelda repeated.
"Oh…yeah, sure," Link looked up at the ghost, "Do you know how far it is?"
"Well, this tunnel just goes for a while beneath the castle," Zelda explained, "And then after we reach a field, the real tunnel to the Tower of Spirits begins. It's rumored that it was originally a cave complex that was here before the castle was built, so it provided an easy use means to get to the tower without problems. Of course…there are dangers."
Link shrugged. "Shouldn't be anything harder than what we're doing so far," he said.
Zelda looked at him with a worried glance. "Do you realize what you are getting yourself into?"
Link opened his arms, emphasizing the point he would be presenting. "Look at me, Zelda," he said, "I just went off and committed a crime. I rescued someone who was being blamed for your kidnapping. I'm at least a hundred miles from home, with no place to call residence to, and my mentor happens to be in a coma upstairs in the castle. I sincerely doubt that my life could get any more difficult than it is now, okay?"
Zelda kept her worried glance. It was obvious that she wasn't convinced. Link sighed and bent down to pick up Riko.
"Let's get going," he said, "The sooner we get out of here, the better."
Zelda nodded in silent agreement.
Zelda didn't like this at all. Not one bit.
She silently followed Link down the tunnel. The boy was carrying Riko on his shoulders, occasionally shifting his gait so as to make sure that the Rito was not going to fall off. Zelda felt worried about him. She had noticed his change from a happy boy into someone who just wanted life to go by easily. It was something that she couldn't bear, because she knew she was responsible.
Ever since Link had found her, comforted her, assured her that everything was alright, his mood had changed. He was no longer acting like the boy that easily got embarrassed whenever he was around her. He was starting to become more serious; almost like an experienced warrior. He was becoming resentful, and less like a friend and more like someone who was being told to do something against his will.
Zelda didn't like that. She didn't want to force Link into doing something he didn't want to do. Although neither of them had much of a choice; Link being the only one who could see her; she still didn't really like the idea of forcing him to do something didn't sit well with her conscious.
Gosh, listen to yourself Zelda, she said to herself. You're a princess. You shouldn't have to worry about this kind of stuff. It happens to everyone that you command. Why grow so self-conscious about it now?
Her eyes glanced down at Link as he stumbled while carrying Riko on his back. She suddenly felt very guilty. Part of her wanted to come down and help him out, but she knew that it would be pointless. She was a ghost after all. The full extent that she knew she could even lift was a key ring.
She sighed. I wonder what the consequences of this will be.
The moment Link walked out of the tunnel, he heard the scream. Bright light shot down from above, causing him to cover his eyes. However, his ears worked just fine, and he could tell someone was in danger.
"Zelda, stay with Riko," Link said, quickly hiding the Rito behind a bush.
"Wait, where are you going?" Zelda asked as Link quickly ran off.
Link didn't bother answering. It was obvious, wasn't it? Someone was in trouble, and it was likely that he was the only one available to help.
But who would be way out here? He asked himself. It can't be one of the citizens; people are too scared of the disappearing tracks. It's probably going to be—
"Hey, I need some backup over here!!"
To be continued…
Kerian: Hey everybody! You miss me? It's been a while since I updated anything, huh? I'm glad that I decided to update this early, otherwise I mighty go crazy! lol.
I'm not going to lie to you guys; this Spirit Tracks release is early. My heart wasn't into it for some odd and unknown reason, so I decided to cut the chapter short and turn it into two different parts. The next part will continue Link and Zelda's trip to the Tower of Spirits, including going into the tower itself. Hopefully I can still stick true to the overall style of the story, and I sure hope I haven't disappointed people yet. lol.
Ciela: You'd be far less disappointing if you kept to your schoolwork instead of goofing off and watching anime!
Kerian: Okay, very funny Ciela. Besides, the anime I was watching was rather inspirational.
Kerian: And no, it wasn't anything unacceptable. I'm not that kind of guy. Actually, I've been watching the full out, blood n' gore, absolutely beautiful Claymore series, in its original Japanese (well, it has subtitles of course. There's no way I'd be able to identify all of those words at once. lol. Anyway, Claymore's been inspiring me in the circles of writing, and I'm thinking of setting up actual outlines of some of my own original stories. Although many of you will never be able to see these at all in your lifetime, there is a chance that you could see them as novels sometime in the next decade. I can't guarantee anything, but I've got my fingers crossed and I'm hoping for the best. lol.
In other news, on DeviantART I've released a series of artwork involving adaptations of Zelda art. I've released only six so far, and all of them are categorized as creatures/races from the Kokiri Forest. These artworks include the Deku Baba, Skulltula, Deku Scrub, Gohma Larva, Kokiri, and, my personal favorite, my adaptation of the Queen Gohma. I'm planning on releasing more artwork in the future, but it all depends on whether or not I can find a gap in my schooling. For those of you who want to have a look at the stuff or are willing for the wait for future submissions, here's a link to the gallery: .com/gallery/#Zelda-Art
Ciela: Well, that's all the time we've got for today, right Kerian?
Kerian: Yup. I've still got a lot to do before summer. I've got art to finish, writing to work on (Legacy of the Sages' has an ultimate chapter I've got to work on. Maybe watching Claymore will help me get ideas for the style that I want the chapter to undergo), some outlining to plan, and of course schoolwork to finish. In a month my Senior year comes to an abrupt close, so I've got to get my butt working ahead on subjects if I want to be able to...you know what, nevermind. I'll reveal it to you guys in about a month. Until then...
Both: We, out!
-Kerian and Ciela
P.S. I'm hoping on getting Xbox Live for the Halo Reach Beta tonight. When I do, I'll let you guys know my gamertag on my profile. See you on the Xbox soon!