A/N: What? Eight months? ...psssssh... It hasn't been that long. Crazy? No, you're crazy!
...Yeah. Um, hi.
Hope you didn't give up on me. How many times have I told you I NEVER give up on a story I've begun? I'm not stopping until this is over, no matter how long it takes.
A lot has happened since my last update. I last uploaded a chapter on February 3rd, and now it's October 29th... The site added this weird... image feature... thingy. My avatar works surprisingly well for my other Zelda story, but it doesn't match this one at all. I'm trying to convince my extremely artistic sister to draw me a cover for this story, but I doubt she ever will. Oh well.
Also: OMG SHARDS OF TIME IS ONE YEAR OLD! How'd that happen? I got through seven chapters in one year. Woo.
Enough of my talking (writing); I'm sure you guys didn't wait eight (almost nine) months just for me to discuss my bewilderment over how much has happened. Please enjoy the chapter.
Shards of Time
"So... what's our plan again?"
"What do you mean?" Link asked, somewhat absentmindedly. He was staring at the stairs that led from Hyrule Field into Kakariko, visualizing their entrance in his head. As far as they knew, they were wanted criminals. Would their descriptions have spread so quickly? Probably not. But it was possible that at least one person would recognize them. He gripped the hilt of his sword. Maybe it was best if he just charged in, catching them off guard. But could the princess handle that? Maybe if he just went in quietly at first, until he was in their midst, then he could attack later...
"...So then the purple Cuccos ate the Lizalfos, and they all lived happily ever after. Isn't that nice, Link?"
His head snapped to her, having only caught the last few words. "Um, what?"
"You idiot!" Zelda moved to smack him, but he easily avoided it, despite his immense shock. "You weren't even listening to me! I just related this stupid nonsense story, and you didn't react at all! This just proves how inconsiderate you are!"
Link glared at her. "Well, at least I was doing something with my time, rather than stand around talking about... Cuccos. I am trying to figure out a battle plan."
"'A battle plan'?" Zelda repeated incredulously. "This isn't a battle! Those are innocent villagers in there! They've probably never touched a sword in their lives!"
"But there are sure to be a few fighters, and they might fight back–"
"Okay, so what exactly was this 'battle plan'? Run in there like a fool swinging your sword pointlessly?"
Link struggled not to grimace at the accuracy of her guess. "Of course not."
"Uh-huh. Sure." She blew a stray strand of hair out of her eyes. "Lucky for you, I actually have a plan. And no," she added, seeing Link open his mouth, "it doesn't include harming anyone."
He scowled. "I wasn't going to harm anyone, just fight the ones that were armed–"
"Trust me. No one goes around Kakariko with weapons. No one except you. Now shut up and listen. We're going to have to find disguises."
"Yes, disguises. Don't tell me you don't know what that means, though I wouldn't be surprised. It might be too complicated for your vocabulary."
"I know what it means! Seriously, what happened to our truce?"
"You voided it because you were being mean."
"When did I–" He stopped and shook his head. "Okay, you know what? Fine. No more truce. I don't even care. So where exactly do you plan on getting disguises, hmm? I doubt we'll find anything lying out around the field."
"Well..." She tapped her chin thoughtfully. "I can go as Sheik – I think the magic will still work, even though I never tried it at such a young age. But for you, I'm not sure." After a moment of thought, a grin slowly spread across her face. "Ooh, I have an idea."
He grimaced. "Oh goddesses. I have a feeling I'm not going to like this idea."
"How do you feel about... wearing a dress, Link?"
"I was right. I was completely right. Oh gods. Farore help me."
"It's not that bad!" Zelda said cheerfully.
"It is," he moaned. "I refuse to wear a dress. There is nothing that you can say that will convince me otherwise."
Zelda crossed her arms and huffed. "Come on. I'm dressing up as a boy. It's only fair that you pretend to be a girl."
"Where would you even get a dress?"
"After I turn into Sheik, you can have mine."
"No! Especially not if they're yours!"
She placed her hands on her hips indignantly. "And just what is wrong with my clothes?"
"They're so... so... princessy."
"Really. You can't be serious. Have you seen how dirty this dress is at the moment? If I walked into court like this, I'd be mistaken for a beggar. The nicest thing they'd do is violently toss me out."
He had to admit that the princess looked like she seen better days – her appearance was disheveled and ragged and tired, with dirt caking certain parts of the pink dress and a small tear near her shoulder from her struggle with the Cucco Lady. Still, it didn't change his mind in the slightest. "I won't. What makes you think anyone would believe I'm a girl, anyway?"
Zelda chewed the inside of her cheek thoughtfully as she scrutinized him. "Hmm, you're right. You're too ugly to be a girl."
"I'm not sure whether I should be offended or thankful."
"It was an insult, you idiot. Be offended."
"Alright, then I'm thankful."
She frowned. "Come on."
"I'll give you rupees."
"You know as well as I do that you have no rupees."
"Well... once I'm reinstated as princess I will. Look... I promise I'll find some way to make this up to you. Pleeeeeeease?"
He met her pleading expression and big blue eyes with a frown, sensing the sincerity in her last statement. She really thought this was the best course of action. And he had to admit that if things did get bad, then no one would expect the grubby little girl in a dress to pull out a sword...
He closed his eyes and sighed. "Fine."
Zelda let out a squeal of joy. "Yes! I get to make you look like a girl!"
As she giggled with joy, Link had a strange feeling that he'd come to regret this decision.
"I... am a genius," Zelda announced. She was currently disguised as Sheik, minus the cowl around her face and the red eyes. She stepped away from Link to admire her work.
Since Link had violently protested to borrowing her dress, she had snuck into town and stolen one, along with some makeup. Now he was garbed in a long, simple, faded blue dress, looking as though it had belonged to some young village girl.
"I look awful," he stated.
"No, you don't!" she declared brightly. "You haven't even seen yourself yet!"
"I don't want to," he moaned. "I'm just doing this so that I don't get recognized, okay? I don't want to see what you've done to me."
"Oh, relax," she mumbled, wandering over to the clump of rocks by Zora's River where she'd put his things. "You may be the ugliest girl I've ever seen, but at least you look like a girl."
"Thanks," he muttered sarcastically, following her. He picked up his sword and was about to sling it over his shoulder, but Zelda stopped him.
"Oh, no," she said flatly, grabbing it out of his hands, "You're an innocent little ten-year-old girl now. Holding on to your sword would ruin the image."
He glared at her and tried to snatch the sheathed sword back, but Zelda moved it away from him. "I can't go in there without anything to protect myself with! Girls use swords too."
"Not any as young as you, and especially not ones wearing simple village dresses like that," she growled. "It was weird enough when you were a guy. Children don't travel around Hyrule and carry deadly weapons." She hefted it over her own shoulder, setting it on her back. "I'll take it. I'm a Sheikah – there's so few of them that the only thing anyone knows is that they're warriors for the Royal Family, so I'll have an excuse. I'm going to go in first – it's probably best if we don't enter together. You wait a few minutes for me to make sure that no one is going to recognize us, and then you come in too. Head straight for Death Mountain, okay? No distractions!" she paused. "Um... I hadn't considered what might happen if there's a guard."
"There usually isn't. I should be fine..." His voice trailed off before he realized that he should have been using that to his advantage. "Wait! That's why I need my sword. If I show the guard–"
"No. You can't have your sword." She paused. "If it really makes you feel better, though, you can keep your pouch of items. However, don't, under any circumstances, use them. Okay?"
He sighed. He hated when she was right.
Dressed as Sheik, Zelda made her way through Kakariko fairly easily. She received a few odd looks – after all, Sheikah were extremely rare these days and nearly extinct. Fortunately, this was the hometown of the shadow people; almost all of the natives had at least a small bit of Sheikah blood in them, so perhaps she was just a little boy trying to feel brave by using one of his family heirlooms to dress up. Not that she was certain she looked like a boy; without the wrapping covering her face, she still looked quite feminine.
Straight to Death Mountain, she reminded herself, keeping her gaze straight ahead as she marched through the village toward the gate. No distractions.
And suddenly, something grabbed her hand.
Zelda took in a sharp intake of breath and then quickly twisted her hand out of the weak grasp, spinning around, her body tense and ready to fight. With her heart pounding in her ears from the fear of being caught, it took her a moment to recognize the figure in front of her.
He was a skinny man, looking up at her from under a mop of red hair with pleading eyes. "Please wait! You... are you a Sheikah? Please help me!"
Zelda vaguely remembered this man dressed in green as the one who always wanted to buy things, no matter how useless they were. He was particularly fond of items that could be kept in bottles. Zelda was mildly unnerved by distraught look in his eyes as he gazed up at her. Despite her previous vow to not get distracted, her heart told her to help him as best as she could. "What's wrong?"
"It won't leave me alone! Please... I can't stand it anymore! Just take it! No one will take it... but I'm going to lose my mind if I have to hear it anymore!"
"What?" Zelda's alarm grew as he thrust a bottle into her hands. He never, ever gave people things, especially not something bottled; those were his life! That was what he collected! What could possibly be in this bottle that was so horrible?
She peered inside, expecting some kind of horrible monster – and frowned. Instead of some horrid creature, she found a relatively normal-looking fairy. The only difference that she could see was that this one was blue, rather than the typical pink.
"I don't understand," she began. "What's so scary about this tiny little thing?"
"Ohhh, you'll find out soon enough," he mumbled, backing away from her. "It never shuts up for more than a few minutes."
She tilted her head to the side curiously. "What–"
"Hey! Listen! Let me out!"
"Nooo!" the man moaned, clasping his hands over his ears. "No more listening! I don't want to listen! Make it stop!"
"Wait a second," Zelda murmured, gazing at the fairy again. "Are you Navi?"
The fairy's wings fluttered to life. "Hey! I know you! You're the princess! Do you know where Link is?"
"So you are Navi!" Zelda exclaimed, a smile gracing her face. While she hardly knew the fairy, she was certain that Link would be grateful that she'd found his traveling companion. She looked back up at the man, who still had a grimace on his face and his hands carefully covering his ears. "Thank you very much for finding her. If you wait here, I can go and get some rupees–"
"Rupees?" the man repeated, finally uncovering his ears. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a huge pile, shoving them into Zelda's arms. Many of the gems fell onto the ground, as Zelda was too shocked to properly grab them. "Here, you can have them. Just take that... that... thing away from me. No one else would take her..."
"I didn't want your money, sir. You misunderstood..." Trying to gather up the rupees in order to hand them back to him, a thought occurred to her. "Wait, where did you get her from, anyway?"
"Two old women. They were wearing hoods... called each other 'sister', so they might have been related," the man said, still glancing nervously at the fairy on occasion, as though he was afraid it would explode at any moment. "Look, boy, or girl, or whoever you are – I suggest you take her far, far away from here, and just leave her there. You'll know exactly why I didn't want her very soon, I'm sure..."
The man's cryptic speech was beginning to annoy Zelda, so after gathering the last of the money, she held it out and said, "Um, I can tell that something happened, but I'm not sure–"
The man was gone.
She froze for a moment, confused as to how he could have disappeared so quickly, and then she took a quick look around herself. The man was nowhere to be found. The only way he could have escaped so quickly is if he'd ran for his life...
Sighing, Zelda held up the bottle again, glaring at the fairy. "Okay, I have no idea what you did to that poor man, but if you hurt him in any way–"
She made an indignant noise. "I didn't do anything! He just didn't like me. Where's Link?"
"Oh, right!" Suddenly remembering her own instructions to reach Death Mountain Trail as quickly as possible, she started walking again at a brisk pace. "Link's waiting for me. We've got to hurry. I'm sure he'll be very happy to see you!"
"'Happy'? Are you crazy?"
Much to the princess's surprise, Link was about as far from happy as he could be. Navi fluttered her wings angrily, flying up in front of his face and glaring at him. "Hey! What's that supposed to mean? Seriously, you can't do anything without my help! You need me."
"You know, I was hoping to have one little adventure without some annoying little fairy hanging over my shoulder. Just one," he groaned. "Is it too much to ask for a little bit of time to myself?"
"This is unbelievable. I've been looking everywhere for you – don't look at me like that! I really was! I was so relieved when the princess said she knew where you were, and – Hey, Link! Listen to me! You can't just look away from me while I'm talking!"
"I can too, and I don't need you for anything."
"When you're not with me, you always get into all sorts of trouble."
"I do not. I do not need you. I can handle myself just fine."
She snorted. "You know, this is coming from the guy who's dressed as a girl right now..." Link swiped at her, but the fairy nimbly dodged out of the way, giggling. "You're just upset because it's true."
"It is not true!"
"Well, I am pretty sure you're wearing a dress. And is that makeup?"
"Shut up, Navi!"
Zelda watched the pair argue, more than a little bemused. "I don't understand. I thought you two were friends. Navi seemed excited to hear you were okay, Link. Maybe you should try being more thankful that she was searching for you."
"Stay out of this, Princess," Link snapped, not even bothering to turn his glower away from the fuming fairy in front of him. "It doesn't involve you. You can't solve everything."
Zelda huffed. "I'm not trying to solve it, I just want to understand. Why do you guys seem to hate each other so much? Didn't you travel together?"
"It's because she won't shut up," Link stated.
"It's because he never listens to me!" Navi complained.
As Link denied that statement and Navi yelled some kind of rebuke, the princess shook her head and sighed. If only she had known what a huge rift this would create; she should have never gotten distracted on her way through Kakariko Village. Now she would have to deal with these two bickering all the way up the mountain – assuming she could even get them to climb with her to begin with.
Not to mention that after fighting with Link for so long, it was odd to hear him wasting his energy on someone else. She almost felt left out.
"Remember, we have to get going," she reminded him. "We have no idea where this shard is. We need to start looking as soon as possible, especially while we still have daylight. What if we stay here all day? Then we'll have to be outside during the night!"
Link managed to turn his attention away from Navi for just long enough to give Zelda a doubtful glance. "Princess, have you ever been to Death Mountain?"
She glared. "Of course I have. I met you there as Sheik. What kind of question is that?"
"Did you just say that you wanted to be out there during the day?"
"Yes. Why? What's wrong with that? Don't the monsters come out at night? And it will be harder to see. It wasn't exactly easy for me to traverse the mountain in the dark when I saw you–"
Navi started laughing, as though she'd just gotten some kind of personal joke. The sound was so radically different from her arguing that Zelda actually jumped. "Oh, I see." Navi looked at Link again. "She hasn't been here in daylight hours."
A smile of understanding graced Link's face. "Oh. Princess, maybe it's best if we waited until night–"
"No! I've waited long enough! We're going now. What's so bad about daytime?"
"You really don't get it, do you?" Link stared at her and grinned at her confused expression. "You have no idea. Navi, should we tell her?"
Navi shook her head. "Nah, just let her find out on her own..."
"What are you guys talking about?" Zelda demanded crossly.
"Nothing, Princess. It's a surprise."
She clenched her fists, furious at the pair's frustratingly cognizant smirks. "I thought you were angry at each other! You're not supposed to be conspiring against me and hiding secrets!"
"Oh, right..." Link blinked, and then looked toward Navi. For a moment he looked as though he was going to continue their previous disagreement, but instead he relaxed with a sigh. "Okay, I guess it wasn't very fair of me to call you annoying – even if it's true. You can be helpful. You know, every once and a while."
Navi flew over and perched on his shoulder, crossing her arms. "As unflattering as that was, it was still an apology, and knowing you it's probably the best I'll get. So I guess I forgive you. Hey, listen, I'm sorry for always telling you to listen. ...Not that that means I'll stop."
Zelda watched the pair impatiently, rolling her eyes. "So everyone's friends again. Fantastic. Can we get going now?"
"Yeah, sure, as soon as I change back into my tunic..." Link looked at her. "You have my tunic, right?"
Zelda rolled her eyes. "No. It was sitting on that rock near the river, remember? You were supposed to bring it."
"Wh... What?" His eyes widened. "No... I wasn't. That was your job."
"I'm not in charge of your stuff, Link. It's your responsibility to carry that around." She couldn't help but grin as horror dawned on his face as he considered the consequences.
"Oh no." He looked to Navi desperately. "Can you fly and go get it?"
She shook her head, smirking. "Nu-uh. I like you in a dress. It's a good look for you."
"Navi! Please, this is serious–"
"You were yelling at me under a minute ago. I'm not helping you – and considering my size, I'm not sure I could carry it anyway."
"No, no, no! I'm begging you, Navi. You have to try!" She shook her tiny head, smirking. "Oh gods. I can't..." He paused, and then, with a sigh, he grabbed his pouch and sword that Zelda had leaned against the mountain wall. "Fine. Then I'll go back in, maybe knock a few people out, and get my tunic. Forget the disguises. I am not going to go any further with the goddess-cursed dress." He lowered his voice. "And that Cyrus kid definitely has something coming for touching me..."
Zelda laughed, but she stopped when he started striding toward Kakariko's gate. "Wait, you're serious?" She ran over and grabbed his arm, pulling him back. "No, wait, stop it. It's okay. I mean, you practically wear a dress anyway."
Navi giggled. "That's what I was going to say!"
Link glared at both of them. "Tunic. It's a tunic. Lots of guys wear one, especially in the forest. You of all people should know that, Navi."
She scoffed. "Of course I know. It doesn't mean I won't tease you about it."
"Link..." Zelda suddenly grew very serious. "We can't afford going back into Kakariko at this point. We're here... we're almost to the next shard... Won't the Gorons have some sort of clothing?"
"Not in my size," he said dismally. "They have adult clothes."
"Well..." She glanced at the tiny fairy, desperate for some kind of assistance in convincing her companion that he was absolutely crazy, but Navi was too busy shaking with silent laughter to help her.
Link paused for another moment, examining Zelda's pleading expression before sighing and then walking to the gate. "I'm sorry, Princess, but I really, really can't stand walking in this outfit anymore."
"No, Link, please! We can work something out. You don't need to–"
A loud boom interrupted her speech, and, quite abruptly, a flaming rock of death fell out of the sky right in front of the gate and exploded.
There was a beat of silence.
"...Um... I really didn't think that anything could surprise me anymore," Link said, "but I'm really quite stunned right now. In fact, I'm beyond stunned. I think I've passed into the realm of insanity. The realm beyond insanity. I think I'm now in that world where those purple Cucco are eating Lizalfos. I swear that some of those Cuccos will appear any second now. You know what I mean?"
"...No. I don't," Zelda said.
"Not really," Navi added.
"Yeah. Neither do I." Link turned around, his face hollow and defeated. "Okay. I've determined that fate hates me."
"Since when is that news?" Zelda murmured absently, her mind still not caught up to the fact that a giant boulder had just exploded in front of them. "I think the Goddesses are specifically trying to make our lives miserable."
Navi let out a slightly nervous sounding chuckle."Oh, that's just silly. I don't think the Goddesses really care about your lives so much."
There was a moment of silence as all three of them stared at the now-impassable path to Kakariko Village. After a long pause, Link finally spoke up.
"So, are we heading up the mountain?"
Farore tackled Din, taking them both to the ground again. "Now say it!"
"Say what?" Din growled.
"I'm better than you! Courage beats Power!" Farore shouted triumphantly.
"You two have been at this for hours now," Nayru commented from the sidelines, watching the battle impassively.
"Well if she wasn't being so stupid about it–"
"Shut up, Farore!"
The green-haired goddess was forced to duck as Din sent a fireball over her head. The trio watched as the huge rock careened off toward Hyrule, falling vaguely in the direction of Kakariko Village.
Nayru and Farore turned to Din.
"Um... Oops?" she said.
There was a beat of silence, and then Farore shouted, "Now look what you've done! That could hurt some Hylians!"
"Oh, don't worry about it," Din said. "It'll be fine. Look – that's closer to Death Mountain than the village! No one will get hurt."
"But it was a possibility! How could you be so irresponsible?"
She shrugged innocently. "You know, if you hadn't dodged it, it would have hit you and never would have fallen into Hyrule."
"Doesn't matter. Right, Nayru? She shouldn't have been so careless."
Nayru frowned, too consumed by her own thoughts to respond to Farore. "How peculiar. In order to reach such a position, the projectile's path must have been quite aberrant. I am also unable to determine how or why it detonated in such a violent way. In fact, it should not have even been capable of reaching Hyrule in the first place; there should be protections in place against direct interaction between our realm and theirs." Her eyes narrowed. "Upon further investigation, it appears to have emanated from the top of the volcano itself, not from our immediate vicinity."
Din rolled her eyes. "Do you really have to analyze everything? There's nothing to worry about."
Nayru finally gazed at her. "Do you mean to claim that you are not concerned by this conundrum? You are not curious about how such a phenomenon occurred?"
"No, I'm not, and you shouldn't be either," she said dismissively. "Really. What could possibly happen because of one tiny little rock?" She smiled. "I'm sure it won't change a thing."
And then she lunged at Farore, and their battle began again.
"The volcano is erupting. The spell worked perfectly."
"Good. The Bearers are heading this way. The Sorceress may have failed, but they cannot escape our wrath for much longer.
"I'm looking forward to this," the first voice cackled. "It has been a while since we have performed such large scale magic, sister."
"I agree," said the second voice. "Our revenge will soon be complete, and then we can resurrect Ganondorf."
"And what about the goddess who summoned us?"
The second speaker smiled. "Do not fear. I have devoted my full attention to that issue." Their gaze turned to the distance. "Soon, even the Goddesses will be powerless to stop us."
A/N: I just love how I can write so much without making any progression at all.
So, I brought in Navi. I love her to death, and her infamous reputation was just too perfect to pass up leaving her out of a humor story. If you're wondering why Link didn't have his own section in Kakariko... it's because he did originally, but I hated it so much that it was just delaying the updating of this chapter and I took it out. I could have spent another couple of months trying to mould it into something I could live with, but it didn't really have any significance to the plot, anyway.
There were a few other things in this chapter that I didn't like, but I've had this ready for a while now and I keep bugging my sister about things to improve, changing tiny things that probably no one else would ever notice. I just need to post this before I decide it needs to be completely rewritten.
Hey, does anyone have suggestions for some good Zelda stories? I prefer long ones – like, over 30,000 words. More if possible. I'm starting to feel like I've read every good story on the site; it's so depressing. I keep rereading things over and over to satisfy my craving for a good fic...
Oh! And who's been/is going to the Symphony of the Goddesses? I went in April, and it was the most incredible night of my life. I wish I could go again.
'Kay, that's all. See you in a time that's hopefully sooner than eight months! Happy early Halloween! I'm going as SS Zelda this year. I'm very excited. ^^