Hey, well whaddaya know! I actually updated semi-on time! (Two weeks after updating Harry Pride). Ah, not many people reviewing, though... shame. Oh well, I'm flattered by those of you who do review! Who, for the last chapter, were alemery, ultima-owner, Nerdwen (3x, but why didn't you log in?) and ocarina921! THANK YOU!
Nerdwen: Oh, thanks! I like reading battle scenes, so maybe I picked up some stuff. Plus, anime... :D
Disclaimer: Don't own LoZ, if I did this would be canon and not a fanfic.
"So, this… is not a good situation. Not good at all," Vaati muttered as we sat on the banks of the large waterfall in Zora's Domain. It was almost midnight by now, and the moon was high in the sky, a silvery white crescent among the star-speckled black.
"Ah, no kidding," I groaned. I flopped backwards and lay flat on my back on the grass, shifting slightly as a sharp rock dug into the back of my shoulder. "S***... Castle Town's the only place where we can resupply cheaply and in bulk, since Kakariko's got a population of, like, ten, and the gorons are pretty expensive. Plus, the Resistance is based in Castle Town, and we need their information network… d***, we're screwed."
"Tell me about it," Vaati replied. He was dressed only in his pants and tunic, hooded cloak and boots hung over a draw patch of grass to dry when the sun came up. "But just because they saw us doesn't mean all is lost."
Dark raised an incredulous eyebrow. "What do you mean? You know the speed gossip travels; the news will be all over town like stink on s*** by tomorrow. The end of the week at the latest," he accurately predicted.
"Yes, that's true, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Castle Town is completely off-limits for us. There are still ways to sneak in," the Wind Mage pointed out. "Like the tunnels. And we could always fly."
Link, who was wearing his zora armor as he wrung drops of water out of his green outfit, looked up. "But I can't fly," he said.
"Then use the tunnels." Vaati pushed a strand of damp hair out of his eyes. "They're a little narrow, but you should be able to make it." He eyed Link's sword and shield. "You might have to store the shield in those magical pouch-things, though. It's a bit wide. Or… actually, it would be easier if we all went in our animal forms," he mused.
"Yeah, but how are we supposed to stock up once we get in? Not to mention that the tunnels actually lead right into the town's jail," Dark argued. "The moment we show our faces we'll be mobbed."
"Wait, wait." I propped myself up on my elbows. "What if we go through the tunnels, sneak through town to Telma's Bar, and get the Resistance to do our shopping for us? They've got the funds, and nobody will notice if they start buying stuff 'cause Ashei's always going on those expeditions to Snowpeak."
Vaati tipped his head to the side and looked at me. "That's… actually a good idea," he said slowly. "Why didn't I think of that?"
"Yeah, but that plan means we go through the tunnels and pop out right in the middle of the jail, which will have guards, whom we will have to sneak past and then make our way all the way to the other side of town, which is also packed with people and guards. Who will all be looking for us, which is not good because we are not exactly the most inconspicuous people in the world," Dark said.
"Eh? I thought you guys were thieves, wouldn't you have to know how to blend in? Not be noticed?" Link asked quizzically.
"Yes, we can act so as not to be noticed," I replied. "But, as a group, it's not in our natures. That's why we have a tendency to show off; even when we make a heist we'll usually let someone know. It's actually part of how we built up our reputation. We're just flashy people."
"Yeah, that's true," Vaati laughed. "We do like to show off."
Dark snorted, then released a jaw-cracking yawn. "Heh, almost got us caught once. Ugh, I'm getting tired..."
"Yeah, me too," the rest of us agreed. Within another few minutes conversation petered out into silence and we came to a mutual, unspoken agreement- figure it out in the morning. Or, rather, later in the morning when the sun was actually out.
About six or seven hours later, I awoke to cheerful birdcalls and the bright mid-morning sun. The stupid birds were chirping their little hearts out, seemingly for the sole purpose of taking me from my wonderful sleep.
"Oh, shut up," Vaati growled as he raised his head from the ground. "I'm still tired. Go away, you stupid bird."
The obnoxious chirping continued.
Dark looked over at the flock of little brown songbirds that were hopping around on the other side of the waterfall. Even across the small river and the sound of rushing water they were annoyingly loud. His eyes narrowed and he frowned. "Okay, if those things don't leave in about two seconds, I swear to Farore-"
The birds scattered as Link threw a rock into their midst. "There. Gone."
"Ah, problem solved," I said. I stood up and stretched, twisting as I heard the bones in my back pop satisfyingly. Thankfully our clothes were all dried out now, if a bit stiff. I picked up my cloak and shook the dirt out of it, and Link changed back into his green outfit. Vaati overturned one of his boots and a small lizard fell out, before it scrambled to hide under a rock. When Dark shook out hiscloak, though, a small metallic object fell and bounced off the dirt. The flashy metal caught my eye and I looked over curiously.
"What's that?" Vaati asked as Dark slung his cloak around his shoulders and slipped the metal object- a silver ring, I thought -back into a hidden pocket.
"Oh, just a little souvenir from Ednus. Should fetch a good price; 500 rupees at least," Dark replied with a smirk. I laughed.
"500? More like 1,000 if you play your cards right," Vaati elbowed him playfully. "Hah, when do you think he'll notice?"
Dark shrugged. "Who knows? I think it's his Heir ring, so probably soon if he hasn't already. Maybe we can ransom it back."
Link sighed. "Really, guys? Why don't you just give it back? It's as if we really need money anyway, what with all the rupees we get from monsters, chests, and dungeons."
"But that's no fun!" I protested as I looked over the edge of the waterfall, wondering off-handedly if I should jump. Nah,I thought, That'll just get me all wet again, and my clothes have only just finished drying out.
The blond-haired hylian rolled his eyes, but dropped the subject. He put his hat back on his head and pulled out the small wooden statue that we'd gone through so much trouble to get. "Well, since we've got the statue," he said, "let's go give it back to Ilia. We can get at least somesupplies in Kakariko, and then we can go to Castle Town."
Midna popped out and giggled. "Ehehe! Okay then, boys! Let's go!" Then she spun and dissolved us into a storm of black twilit squares.
"Mm, this is good," I mumbled around a mouthful of bread- freshly baked and dipped in stew, it tasted like heaven.
"Yeah, it's delicious!" Vaati agreed as he downed another slice. "What kind of stew is this?"
"Potato, carrot, and beef," Renado answered. We were all sitting in the shaman's home eating dinner, arranged around a long wooden table. Link, who had given the statue back to Ilia several hours earlier, was regaling the kids with tales of our adventures. All six of them were listening attentively, even Ilia. I listened with one ear as Link talked about how he'd nearly lost his hat in the Temple of Time, and watched as they shuddered at the description of Armogohma. Beth looked pale, but they all laughed when the hero dramatically mourned the loss of Freddy the Statue.
"Poor Freddy," I mock-sniffled. "He was such a good smasher…"
Dark rolled his eyes. "We've been over this," he said with a long-suffering groan. "Freddy had to stay behind. He was too big to bring around everywhere anyway."
Vaati snorted into his meal. "Ha, that would be funny. If we just walked down the streets with a giant statue following us, and if anybody tried to get in our way they'd go splat!" He mashed his bread into the table in emphasis. Talo laughed, but Colin frowned slightly.
"That's mean," he informed my purple-haired brother quietly. "You can't smash people just because they're in the way."
"Well, I know that," Vaati replied, a bit miffed. "But it would be funny to think about as a fantasy. It wouldn't be practical in real life anyway; making people go splat usually creates either death or serious injury. And hurting that many people just isn't practical. We'd be overrun by the Guards in a heartbeat."
"True," I agreed. "Plus, it would be annoying to run with Freddy since he's kinda slow."
Colin nodded and smiled. Then the conversation turned to other topics, and we talked amongst ourselves for about another hour before turning in for the night. Link had talked to Ilia and determined where we had to go next, but before that, we needed to get into Castle Town and arrange things with the Resistance. We were all sitting in the guest room we were sharing as we discussed our next move.
"It's decided. We'll use the tunnels in beast form, then sneak out and contact the Resistance. From where we can just warp out to wherever Ilia's clues lead us next," Vaati declared. We all nodded in agreement. Link groaned and flopped back onto the carpet, staring up at the ceiling.
"Oh, joy," he grumbled. "This isn't backwards at all. Sneaking into jail as shapeshifted creatures. My life has become so surreal…"
The three of us just laughed.
"First rule of hanging out with us, Link," Dark laughed jokingly. "Expect the unexpected and be prepared for everything to get so f***** up it's not even funny at any moment."
The tunnels were just as I remembered them- cramped, dirty, and just a little bit slimy near the end.
"Y'know, I was raised as a good, law-abiding citizen of Hyrule," Link commented as he stepped over a puddle of questionable origin. "I was taught to obey the law and abide by the rules of this country. So how in the name of Farore did it come to this?" He let out a gusty sigh. "Sneaking through illegal tunnels as we break into jail because it's the only way we can safely get into Castle Town, covered in dirt and muck and who knows what else, accompanied by a trio of thieves."
"Don't forget that we're all doing this for the sake of a quest given to you by the Goddesses and one snarky little imp," Vaati added. Dark snorted in laughter.
"Hey, do you know how backwards this is for us?" I huffed good-naturedly as I turned around to look at the grey-green wolf. "We spent our entire lives trying to stay outof jail. But now that we're traveling with the Hero, a 'good guy', we find ourselves breaking ininstead of out.Which we have done before, by the way."
Dark nodded. "Yeah, and it wasn't that hard either. We just waited until the guards got drunk and passed out, then I stole the keys and we all escaped within, like, six hours of first landing in there. How did we get caught in the first place, anyway? Wasn't that when they brought in that mage from the far east or something?"
"Yeah, apparently he was passing through the kingdom and helped out the Guard. Then he left, we escaped, and it didn't really matter anyway. That binding spell he used was pretty strong, though. I wasn't even close to breaking it then, and even now it wouldn't be easy," Vaati recalled.
"I think that was the only time we ever got captured," I remembered. "All the other time we were able to just fly away. Even when they tried the net we could just slice through."
"You panicked for a moment there, though," Vaati laughed. "Until Dark just ghosted through and cut the whole thing to ribbons."
If I were still hylian, I would have flushed. "Well, so did you!" I defended myself.
Link just sighed and shook his head. "You guys are so weird," he muttered.
In their entirety, I estimated the tunnels to be about a quarter mile or so long. Luckily the jail was right on the edge of town, close to Hyrule Fields, so they didn't take too long to crawl through.
"Okay, the hidden entrance is just above us, under some cobblestones," I whispered as we came to the end of the tunnels. "Stay quiet. It doesn't sound like there's anyone in there, but Dark, can you check first?"
"Sure," he nodded as he dematerialized and floated up. The rest of us waited as he poked his head through solid rock, and I snickered inwardly at the sight of him half-in and half-out of the ceiling. It looked almost as if he had been decapitated.
"It's clear," he reported as he dropped back down and become solid again. "Cell's empty and the guards are half-asleep. We shouldn't have any problems."
"Good. Then Dark, can you open it from the other side? It's easier with opposable thumbs," I asked him. He agreed and went ghostly before vanishing up into the ceiling, and a second later there was a grinding sound and the stones shifted away to reveal a glimmer of light. I stepped forward and clambered out of the hole, shifting to hylian form as I entered the cell. Vaati and Link followed shortly, and soon the tiny cell was a bit stuffed with all four of us.
"Right, let's go," Dark whispered as he took point. Vaati and I flanked him on either side and Link brought up the rear, then the four of us snuck out of the jail. Getting past the guards was easy, but once we were out on the streets we needed to move fast. Even if the good citizens of the town were all asleep at this hour, there were still the denizens of the Beggar's Circle who usually conducted their… activities at night.
"Where are we? I don't think I've been to this part of town before," Link asked in a hushed whisper.
"Oh, you probably wouldn't have. This is where the jail and the garrison are, so more soldiers and fewer citizens," Vaati replied. "Most of them will be asleep, but we still gotta watch out for the Underworlders. Like vampires, most of us come out at night."
"Or like poe souls," I muttered. Then I shuddered slightly at the memory of hearing those things beating… like a heart… ugh.
We quickly made our way through the streets as we slunk through alleyways and stuck to the shadows, eventually winding up at Telma's Bar. I knew it stayed open until almost four in the morning most nights, and it was confirmed as we saw light spilling through the half-open door. The sounds of drunken chatter drifted through the air and I winced as I heard somebody singing an off-key, very annoying drinking song.
Link turned his head slightly, then blushed red. "Um, did he just-?"
"Yeah, they're all like that," I said. "Just don't listen to 'em." Another verse was heard and Link turned even brighter red, if possible. I chuckled. He was so innocent.
"Ah, I didn't think of this," Vaati frowned. "The bar's filled and it'll stay like that for another few hours at least…"
"Why don't we just sneak in through the ropes up top? They're all so drunk I doubt they'd notice anyway, and then we can sneak up to our rooms," I suggested. "Or we could wait out here for another few hours, but I don't really want to do that."
"Sure," Dark shrugged. "The window's unlocked. Let's go."
The four of us walked over and climbed up the crates that led to the closed but unlocked window. Dark swung it open and hopped in first, followed by me, Link, and then Vaati. It was closed behind us and we were in.
I cracked one eye open and glared balefully at Louise, who had decided it would be a good idea to meow quite loudly and insistently in my ear. "Go away, you stupid cat," I grumbled as I lazily flapped a hand at her. "Still sleeping…"
She glared right back and continued for a few more minutes until I growled at her, a deep rumble that sounded remarkably like my wolf form. Then she hissed and backed off, strutting daintily out of the room like she owned the place. My brothers, though, had been lucky enough to sleep through it, and we all knew that Link slept like a brick.
I huffed, then rolled over on the mattress and went back to sleep. The Resistance could wait a few more hours…
My head shot up as the door was slammed open with a bang loud enough to wake the dead, or so it seemed. The other three occupants of the room were startled awake as well, and there was a comical moment when Vaati yelped and rolled off his mattress. Then it was Dark who yelped as Ashei's dagger pierced the wall right next to his ear, lodging itself a good inch or two into the wood.
My eyes widened as she stalked into the room, very annoyed. S***, what did we do?! I thought frantically. We hadn't done anything to her lately, had we?
"Ashei! Calm down! I'm sure they have a logical explanation," Shad begged as he appeared in the doorway. By we were all very much awake and out of bed, though I mourned the loss of my nice warm covers.
"They'd better," the female warrior snarled. I still didn't understand why she was so mad. What…? Oh. Oh.The rumors… I'd forgotten about those.
"Well, we can explain…" Link said weakly. "It's kind of a long story..."
Ashei took out a knife. "Start talking."
A day later, we were all set and ready to go.
"We'll send you letters with information if we get it," Shad assured us.
"And we'll try to boost your reputations and clear up this whole mess with the transforming. Maybe if we all deny it we can convince them they were just hallucinating," Rusl added.
"Sure, you can try," Dark replied, "but good luck with that."
I laughed, then turned to Link. "So? Where to next?" I asked. He grinned.
"A place just north of the Bridge of Eldin," he replied. "Apparently it was known as the Hidden Village."