Chapter 13: Too Many Links of Defiance
Secluded behind the many branches, leaves, and underbrush of Faron Woods, laid the quiet village of Ordon, and in this village a young girl sulked, sitting and gazing out a window as the first rays of morning peeked out from behind the trees. This window happened to belong to the house of the mayor who had kindly agreed to allow Tetra and Aryll to stay the night once he learned that his daughter had been put in charge of them temporarily. Everyone within the house was fast asleep, except for Tetra of course. She was quite used to waking up extra early in the morning, and it had become automatic after numerous years of doing so. Usually, she'd awaken to the cry of seagulls and the slap of waves striking the side of her ship. Waking up to the chirping of birds and the rustling of treetops didn't feel natural. Even the sunrise looked different from home, something she thought would stay the same no matter where she was.
Tetra let out a quiet sigh of exasperation. She knew that they needed Link's help if they were to ever return home to their ocean, but at the moment she wondered if she could tolerate his presence. He irked her. He acted as if she was just a mere child and knew nothing. She was far from a child. That title had been severed from her name when her mother had died and became official when she took on the task of finding New Hyrule. Tetra agreed that she was many things, but a child was not one of them. She'd lost that innocence years ago.
Overall, yesterday hadn't been that bad, especially since she refused to do many of the tasks handed to her. The only time she recalled helping was at the end of the day when they had to get all of the animals, which were apparently called goats, into the barn for the night. The animals were more stubborn than she'd expected, and so it took a lot of yelling and running around to get them all where they belonged. The only reason why she had even agreed to helping was because her normal everyday job entailed much yelling and screaming and giving orders. While the goats didn't compare to her crew, she hoped that yelling like usual would help her mood improve.
She supposed that it had since she hadn't snapped at anyone last night. To her surprise, she'd even managed to keep her cool when they were eating dinner and Aryll had knocked a glass off of the table, thus shattering it into pieces and spilling milk all over the floor. She had apologized for Aryll's clumsiness and cleaned up the mess herself which wasn't like her, but Ilia and her father wouldn't know anything about that. Aryll had noticed her odd behavior but dropped it after an hour or two for which Tetra was grateful. The little girl could be extremely annoying at times.
Tetra was growing impatient. She hated waiting. Normally, she wouldn't be fazed by it, but ever since that incident a little over a year ago when she had been forced to wait under the waves by herself, she couldn't stand just sitting around. It made her feel exposed. Even though she had a weapon now and she wasn't alone in the room, it still didn't quench her anxiety.
"Hey….Tetra, what are you doing?" Aryll yawned. Tetra turned her head slightly so she could see the bed. The little girl sat there rubbing her eyes.
"I'm just looking," Tetra replied returning her gaze to the window which she thought would be more appropriate for a castle.
"Looking at what?" Aryll wondered. She hopped off of the bed and climbed up onto the window seat that Tetra was sitting on.
"The sun," Tetra answered shortly.
"My grandma says not to look at the sun too long. You could go blind," Aryll warned the young pirate.
Tetra shot a glare at Aryll, "That's not what I meant idiot!" Tetra sighed then, lowering her voice and turning back to the window she muttered, "I'm watching the sunrise."
"You don't have to be so mean!" Aryll pouted, propping herself up against the wall and stretching her legs out in front of her. Tetra didn't respond and continued to stare out the window.
"Do you think Big Brother and the others are okay?" Aryll asked in a small voice.
"They're fine," Tetra said without tearing her gaze from the glass.
"How do you know?" Aryll queried, tilting her head to the side.
"I just do," Tetra sighed, becoming agitated. Why did little kids have to question everything?
"Oh…" Aryll trailed off turning her attention to the window as well. It was silent for a few seconds before Aryll spoke up again, "Um, do you think that maybe…when we get home can I…..come with you and Big Brother? Please?"
Tetra was surprised at the request. Why would she ask to come along now? The answer was obviously no. It was too dangerous and there was no telling when they would find what they're looking for. "No," Tetra stated, "You're not coming. Just because this happened doesn't mean that you have any more reason to come with us. If anything it enforces the reasons why you shouldn'tcome with us."
"No fair!" Aryll exclaimed, "I want to come with! You and Big Brother left me behind last time! When we get home this time you can't leave me behind again!"
"We can, and we will," Tetra shot back turning to face the younger girl, "and stop being so loud. You'll wake everyone downstairs."
"I don't even know what you're looking for. What's so important anyway? Why can't I help?" Aryll wondered, lowering her voice to a whisper.
"Are you always like this in the morning?" Tetra questioned, raising her eyebrows.
"Always like what?" Aryll asked, confused.
"Always annoying and full of questions," Tetra supplied stretching her arms over her head.
"Hey! I'm not annoying!" Aryll defended, "You're just moody."
"That's true, and moody people don't enjoy playing twenty questions, so shut up," Tetra ordered.
"Okay, fine. I'll just ask Big Brother when he gets here," Aryll shrugged nonchalantly.
"You'll do no such thing. Listen Aryll, you have to be careful what you say here. This place isn't like home," Tetra said seriously.
"Why?" Aryll inquired innocently.
"Remember when we were talking to Link and then Hyrule was mentioned?" Tetra began. Aryll nodded and the pirate captain continued, "Well, we really are in Hyrule. Even though the Hero of Time was a story, it was a true story and so there once really was a Hyrule."
"But if Hyrule doesn't exist anymore then how are we here?" Aryll interrupted.
"I was getting to that. Let me finish talking before you start asking questions," Tetra huffed, exasperated.
"Sorry," Aryll apologized, "I'll be quiet now."
"As I was saying, I think that when we got teleported we somehow ended up in the past. At first I thought that we were possibly sent back before the time of the legendary hero, but it seems that Link already knows about him which is strange. He couldn't know about the Hero of Time because that would require him to be able to see into the future and he can't. Since that's the case, if he knows the legend and he isn't the Hero of Time then there must have been some hero that came immediately after the Hero of Time which would be Link. The point is, that the people here can't know that we come from the future. No talking about the Great Sea, boats, pirate ships, beaches, seagulls, islands, or anything else pertaining to our home, and most importantly, no talking about how Hyrule doesn't exist or was flooded. That'll only lead us into more trouble."
"I…uh…kind of already mentioned seagulls," Aryll replied, a guilty look on her face.
"YOU WHAT!" Tetra exclaimed forgetting to be quiet and covering her mouth with her hands as if this gesture would take back her loud outburst. Both girls listened and didn't dare to move a muscle. After a minute of suspense Tetra lowered her hands to rest in her lap. She didn't hear any noises that indicated that someone had awoken downstairs. That was something that she had noticed about the other inhabitants of Ordon. They all had rounded ears instead of pointed. Maybe that affected their hearing? Either way, she was thankful for it. She didn't need Ilia or the mayor awake at the moment. She had important things to discuss with Aryll.
Tetra took a deep breath to calm herself before speaking again, "Why would you mention seagulls? Did he question you?"
"I mentioned them because he asked about my telescope and no. He didn't ask any questions," Aryll answered truthfully.
Tetra let out a sigh of relief. She was glad that it hadn't been a major issue, but she suspected that Link was curious even though he didn't say anything about it. They would have to be more careful. "That's fine then," Tetra nodded, "but don't talk about it anymore. Don't talk about your family or anyone's title."
"Title? Like, yours is pirate captain?" Aryll asked.
"Yes, don't say that or even mention pirates around Link or anyone else from here. Got it?" Tetra confirmed.
Aryll nodded to show that she understood. Silence fell between the two like a sheet. Aryll lifted it when she spoke, "Hey, do pirates like making deals?"
"Yeah, why do you ask?" Tetra queried skeptical of what the little girl sitting across from her was planning.
"Well, how about we make a deal," Aryll suggested, moving into a more comfortable position.
"What kind of deal?" Tetra inquired, suspicion never leaving her eyes.
"If I can pass whatever pirate test you want to give me, then you have to take me along on your quest when we get home. If not, then you can leave me again. Deal?" Aryll questioned, sticking out a hand for the pirate captain to take.
"The test can be anything?" Tetra checked.
"Yup," Aryll smiled, her hand unwavering.
"Fine, you got yourself a deal," Tetra said, accepting Aryll's outstretched hand by grasping it in her own. "I just hope you know what you're getting yourself into. We haven't shook to seal the deal yet. Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Positive," Aryll replied narrowing her eyes to show just how serious she was. The two girls then shook hands and broke contact. Tetra contemplated all the tasks and challenges she could pose to her younger companion. It couldn't be anything too harsh or dangerous since she was supposed to be protecting Aryll, not putting her in harm's way. It also had to be something that could be done in the village and doable but nearly impossible.
"So, when do we start?" Aryll wondered, eager to begin and prove herself.
"Right now, come on," Tetra smirked getting up and hopping off of the window seat. Aryll slid off too.
"Get your telescope and put your shoes on," Tetra instructed as she shrugged on her blue vest and began to slip her own sandals on her feet. Aryll complied right away, not wasting a moment. Tetra affixed her wallet and dagger back onto her waist and then grabbed Aryll's wrist, putting a finger to her lips as a signal to the other girl to be quiet. Aryll copied the gesture with her free hand, to display her comprehension. The two girls crept down the stairs while being mindful of where they stepped. Thankfully, the steps didn't seem to be that old and were quiet for the most part. When they made it to the bottom of the stairs Tetra stole a glance at the bed where she knew Ilia was sleeping. The teenage girl was fast asleep and didn't show any signs of waking any time soon.
‘Good,’ Tetra thought smiling to herself, ‘Let's hope she stays like that for a while.’
The two slipped out of the house unnoticed, and Tetra led Aryll far enough away from the building that they could talk in private.
"Alright, this test is going to have multiple parts to it. If you pass all of the challenges I give you here, then I'll let you try Niko's obstacle course at home. Keep in mind that if you fail even one challenge here, you can't try the second part. If you do, by some miracle, manage to complete the first part of the challenge then you would move onto part two once we get home, but you'd have to pass that also. If you fail the second part then you fail the test," Tetra explained, hands on hips.
"Why does it have to be so complicated?" Aryll complained.
"You're lucky I'm giving you a chance at all, and besides, the deal was I get to test you in any way I see fit. You should've known that it wouldn't be simple so stop complaining and deal with it. If you don't like it and want to back down then you automatically lose," Tetra chastised her companion.
"No! I'll do it!" Aryll cried in a rush, not wishing to be disqualified before the test started.
"Good," Tetra nodded in approval, crossing her arms over her chest, "Your first test is to…get up there," Tetra announced pointing to the purple tinged roof of Sera's shop across the bridge.
"Um…okay…" Aryll said, a bit hesitant.
"Wait, I wasn't finished. You have to get up there using….a cucco," Tetra added indicating the animal that was minding its own business a little ways away from the pair.
"You're not serious," Aryll pleaded.
"Of course I am. You play with seagulls all the time. I would think that you'd be happy to fly," Tetra sneered.
"Cuccos don't fly; they glide, and you have to jump to make them carry you. There isn't a place high enough for me to jump and land on the roof," Aryll explained.
"That's your problem, now either get going or I'll assume that you quit," Tetra commanded.
"I don't quit!" Aryll insisted. Tetra just gestured to the cucco nearby as if to say, “Well? I'm waiting.”
Aryll handed her telescope over to Tetra and marched up to the cucco, determined to complete her mission. As soon as she reached down to catch the animal, however, it hopped out of the way in a flurry of feathers. Aryll put her hands down just in time to prevent herself from falling over. Tetra watched with amusement as she witnessed the younger girl's attempts to capture the cucco.
"Is…there a…..trick to it?" Aryll panted, plopping down on the ground after at least ten failed attempts to capture the bird and looking to Tetra for advice. The pirate captain, however, had none to give, and settled for shrugging her shoulders in a casual fashion.
Aryll jumped to her feet. "I will do it this time!" the child declared defiantly. With those few words she got back on the ground to try a different tactic. She crawled up to the animal who was mindlessly pecking the ground, probably delving for food was Tetra's guess, and pounced on it, successfully preventing escape. The cucco flailed, feathers falling down like rain, as Aryll lifted it over her head in a more comfortable position.
"Hee hee! Look Tetra! I-" Aryll paused to readjust her grip on the panicked bird, "got it!"
"That isn't your goal. Stop messing around, and find a way to get on that roof," Tetra glowered refusing to praise an accomplishment so minuscule.
Aryll's beaming face dimmed a little at her words, but her determination still stood tall and unwavering. Tetra watched as the little girl ran across the small wooden bridge with cucco in hand and made her way towards the side of a house that appeared to be built into half of a tree. That's what it looked like from her angle anyway. For all she knew the house could have been constructed just underneath the tree.
Aryll made her way up the slope to higher ground. She positioned herself so she was facing her destination and then jumped. As she drew closer it became apparent that she wasn't going to make it. She was too low which was exactly what Tetra had been hoping for. When Aryll touched down on the ground a few feet away from the house. Tetra watched as she ran back to the slope to try again. This time the child, with some difficulty, climbed up onto a narrow piece of the tree and climbed up even higher.
Tetra was impressed that Aryll hadn't given up on it after her first attempt failed, but she supposed it was to be expected. Aryll is Link's little sister, so she obviously shares the same sort of defiance and determination as her brother, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it didn't make Tetra's job any easier.
When Aryll leaped off this time she had a better height advantage and managed to land on the goal that Tetra had set for her. Tetra ran over the bridge to meet the little girl and help her get down since she had dropped the cucco in her euphoria.
"Jump to those and climb down these vines," Tetra instructed pointing to the fragments of land that were reaching toward the sky, acting as natural platforms. Aryll followed her companion's instructions and was on the ground and ready to receive her next task in less than a minute.
"So? How'd I do? Did you see how high I flew?!" Aryll cried, seeking Tetra's elusive praise.
"Yeah, yeah, you did okay," Tetra waved her hand dismissively, "Are you ready for your next challenge?"
Realizing that this was all the praise that she was going to receive from the pirate, Aryll replied with enthusiasm, "Yes! What is it?"
"There are targets set up near Link's house. You have to knock them all down," Tetra announced, beginning to head for the next challenge destination.
"What? That's it? Knock them down? There's no crazy rules like using blades of grass or water?" Aryll wondered, jogging to catch up with Tetra.
Tetra stopped in her tracks, "Yes, that's it. Why would I ask you to use grass or water to knock them down?" Tetra asked, confused.
"I don't know. After the last challenge I wasn't so sure. You had me use a cucco when all I had to do was climb up some vines and jump," Aryll pointed out.
"Well I had to make it challenging somehow!" Tetra exclaimed, annoyed with the child beside her, "For you, knocking anything down is challenging enough."
"Oh…" Aryll trailed off and they began walking again. Then after a few seconds she realized that it was an insult. "Hey! What's that supposed to mean?"
"What do you think?" Tetra retorted, "It doesn't matter, we're here. Now get to knocking things down."
Aryll dropped the matter knowing that she had no hope of winning against Tetra and silently assessed the task she was to complete. There were a total of five targets. Tetra leaned against the ladder leading up to the porch of Link's house as she watched Aryll look over her new challenge.
"Do you have arrows or something that will make this easier for me?" Aryll inquired, turning to Tetra who replied with a shake of her head.
After ten minutes of pondering and throwing rocks that fell too short Aryll came to the conclusion that she would have to physically climb up to where each target was located and use her hands to hit them down. Tetra found this highly entertaining, seeing as the small rocky ledge that separated Aryll from the targets was mostly smooth so finding hand and footholds was difficult. If Aryll had been taller and stronger she could have grabbed the edge and hoisted herself up onto the vegetation that grew there. Since she was small, it took Aryll another ten to fifteen minutes to get up onto the ledge. Knocking down the lower targets didn't take long, but the targets set up high in the trees was more challenging. Even so, this did not deter the child's determination, and she found a way to knock them all down after a good half hour.
Tetra frowned. If Aryll kept succeeding then she'd lose, and she couldn't accept defeat in this matter. She had to come up with something Aryll would never do, and to make sure she had to be certain that it was something that her brother also wouldn't do unless it was life or death. As Aryll made her way back Tetra bowed her head in thought and the perfect "challenge" came to her. She couldn't believe that she hadn't thought of it before! The task itself was simple, but it tested personal morals.
"Okay, Aryll, are you ready for your final challenge?" Tetra asked, lifting her head up and looking straight into Aryll's eyes.
"Bring it on!" Aryll exclaimed, eager to get on with the test after her two victories.
"So eager aren't we?" Tetra teased, "You don't even know what it is."
"Come on! Tell me!" begged Aryll.
Tetra shrugged, "Okay, this one is simple. All you have to do is go into Link's house, go into his basement, I'm sure he has one somewhere, take any rupees you can find stored there, and bring it back to me."
"Wait…why? Link's helping us and stealing is wrong besides," Aryll objected.
"Got her," Tetra smirked to herself, "Now all I have to do is reel her in."
"So, you're saying that you won't do it?" Tetra feigned shock.
"N-no…Aryll stuttered but changed her answer after Tetra smiled in success, "Well, maybe…but…it's-I…."
"Where did all of that eagerness run off to?" Tetra wondered, looking around as if she could spot the fleeing emotion if she looked hard enough.
"Well, it's just…uh, how do you know he even has any money in his basement?" Aryll questioned attempting to drag out the topic and talk Tetra into changing her final task.
"Well, I know that you and your brother have, or at least had, one hundred rupees hidden under your porch and since Link is the counterpart of your brother then he must also have something of value stashed in the earth," Tetra reasoned.
"How did you know about that money? It was a secret! Big Brother and I were given that when we were little and we hid it there so one day when we gathered enough rupees we could go off on an adventure of our own, and you're telling me that Big Brother took it?!" Aryll cried, upset.
"Of course he took it. Right before his whole adventure started to find you I saw him crawl under his porch and come out with an orange rupee in his hand. He tried to put it away as quickly as possible, but I had seen it anyway. At the time, I figured that I'd be nice and let him keep it. Turns out he used it to buy a sail and without that sail he would have never been able to continue traveling to get you back, so stop whining. In case you haven't noticed, Aryll, things have changed since that day. Whatever you two were planning to do with the money doesn't matter now. Those plans no longer exist. Besides, we're on an adventure now, aren't we?" Tetra explained, not caring how harsh her words sounded because they were the truth.
"How do you know that the plans don't exist anymore? Big Brother said that one day he would come back for me and we'd leave Outset together," Aryll argued.
"Look Aryll," Tetra sighed. This was getting off topic and she didn't need Aryll to start crying because her brother's words don't mean what she thinks they do. "Are you going to do it or not? I'm not changing the challenge, so either accept it and do it or say no and walk away."
"No, I won't do it," Aryll answered.
Tetra smiled inwardly and handed Aryll her telescope back. "Good then," Tetra nodded her approval, "However, I've no qualms about taking it myself."
"What?!" Aryll cried, "You're just going to take it? Why?"
"That's what I just said, didn't I?" Tetra replied nonchalantly, beginning to climb the ladder, "I'm a pirate. Do you need any other reason?"
"I'll tell," Aryll threatened, head held high.
"No, you won't," Tetra laughed, "Unless you want your big brother to never come back for you when we find what we're looking for, that is. I can make that happen you know."
Aryll was scared into silence. "Come on," Tetra called over her shoulder, "even though you're not doing anything I still need you with me." The little girl wordlessly climbed up after Tetra, and they entered the house together. Tetra immediately made her way to the right side of the house since she knew that what she was looking for wasn't on the left. She came to a ladder leading down into the dark. Now all she needed was a light source.
Tetra walked over to the fireplace and lit the tip of a piece of fire wood so it acted as a temporary torch. She ordered Aryll to stay put and descended the ladder. Once she hit the bottom she raised her torch to chase away the darkness that filled the room like spilled ink. She spotted a treasure chest in the back of the room and hurried over to it. She opened the lid with one hand and reached inside, being awarded with a rupee. The exact color was hard to tell in the feeble light.
Tetra closed the chest so it appeared as if it had never been touched and ascended the ladder. When she reached the top she blew out the fire and looked at the rupee in her hand. It was purple. "Fifty rupees, huh? Not bad,"Tetra thought to herself, stowing it away in her wallet.
"How much?" Aryll wanted to know.
"Fifty," Tetra replied, placing the firewood in her hand into the fireplace.
"You should put it back," Aryll advised.
"Nah, I don't think I will. After all, if you want something then you wouldn't just leave it in an unlocked treasure chest. If he really valued it, then he'd have the sense to lock it and keep the key with him. Same goes for all other people I take stuff from, so it's not really stealing, it's finding. Finders keepers, right? It's not like his name is engraved into it or anything."
"Still, it's his house. So everything in it must belong to him," Aryll asserted.
"Oh well, this will teach him to install some locks. See? Everyone wins. I get money and he learns a lesson," Tetra declared, pushing past Aryll and heading for the door. The pair made their way out of Link's house and back to Ilia's. By now there were villagers up and going about their daily business. Ilia was just coming out of her house, a look of worry painted onto her delicate features. When she spotted the two girls she hurried over.
"Where were you two? I woke up and made breakfast. Then I went to go wake you two up and found you gone! My father and I searched the whole house, but we couldn't find either of you, and I just stepped out to ask around the village," Ilia explained glancing between the two girls.
"We were playing around the village," Aryll answered, rocking back and forth on her heels.
Tetra nodded in agreement, "I was watching her the whole time."
"Alright then, but next time please tell me where you're going so I know where to find you," Ilia requested, "Let's go back to my house. I imagine that you two didn't have anything to eat yet?"
They both shook their heads and began to follow Ilia back to her house. As they walked Tetra wondered why Ilia was making such a big deal out of their absence. She didn't think that they would actually try to leave Ordon, did she? There wouldn't be a point. Link was out possibly retrieving their companions right now so the two of them leaving wouldn't accomplish anything. Tetra also didn't see why they had to pass what they were doing by Ilia first. If she wanted to do something, she did it. No interrogations first. ‘She was probably just worried for her own skin,’ Tetra concluded, ‘If Link came home and we weren't around he would probably be mad at her for losing track of us.’
They entered the house where they were greeted by Ilia's father in much the same fashion before sitting down to eat a breakfast of eggs and toast with pumpkin preserves. Pumpkin seemed to be a theme here as Tetra was beginning to notice. After they ate, Ilia allowed them to leave the house but accompanied them this time. After she officially introduced Aryll and Tetra to the other village kids, they were then taken to the front yard of Link's house where there was a scarecrow set up that the boys liked to practice on. No one questioned the fallen targets, and Ilia set them up again without a word. Tetra noted how it took her less time to set them up than it did for Aryll to knock them down. Ilia and Tetra then watched the boys swing around their sticks and wooden swords while Aryll and Beth played with Beth's doll a safe distance away.
Malo preferred to observe instead of participate. Talo acted big and tough as if he knew what he was doing which, by his performance, he clearly didn't. Colin, however, had some sort of skill with a sword. His stance was off a bit and he needed to loosen his grip and tense up his posture. Other than that he was doing fine for a kid around Aryll's age.
She viewed the children's skills for a while, making mental notes in her head. By the time that Talo had failed to successfully complete the jump attack for the tenth time, Tetra was fed up. Did they learn nothing from their mistakes?
"You're doing it wrong," Tetra informed the children, hands on hips.
"Oh yeah? And what do you know? You're just a girl. Girls can't fight," Talo taunted, twirling his stick around in his hand as if it somehow made him superior.
Infuriated by that remark Tetra stomped over to Talo, "Listen, you little brat, I know more about fighting than you do. I bet you've never taken down a single monster and unlike you, I have a real weapon, but I wouldn't have to use it to split that scarecrow down the middle!"
"Okay fine," Talo shrugged, "If you can do it then prove it. Use Colin's wooden sword. I bet you can't; girls are all talk."
"Not this girl," Tetra retorted, accepting the sword that Colin wordlessly handed to her. Talo and the other boys stepped to the side to give her some room. Tetra took a few practice swings to get used to the feel and the weight of the sword in her right hand. Then she backed up a little, and leaped forward bringing the sword up and back as she was in the air and down hard as she landed. The makeshift helmet that the scarecrow had been wearing was split in two by the force of her attack, as well as the pumpkin itself. She whirled around and twirled the sword in a much more impressive fashion than Talo had.
"And that, is what will happen to your skull if you ever mess with me. I hope you took notes," Tetra proclaimed tossing the sword back to Colin who caught it. Talo just gaped at her in shock while Malo still showed no sign of showing any real emotion which was starting to creep her out.
"Nice one, Tetra," Ilia clapped from the sidelines. Tetra nodded her thanks.
"Could you help me with the other moves?" Colin asked just as she was about to head back to her former viewing spot. She was about to say no, but then changed her mind. She had nothing to do anyway, and she didn't mind helping him since he actually had some hope of learning how to correctly wield a sword.
For the next hour Tetra helped Colin practice the basic moves and sword techniques. He actually improved some, so she couldn't have been that bad of a teacher. By that time it was afternoon, and the sun had just reached its peak in the sky. Beth and the other children excused themselves and headed for home to eat lunch. Ilia suggested that they do the same. Tetra and Aryll were about to follow when they heard the pounding of hooves on the ground. They turned around to see nothing but the sound was steadily getting louder.
"Come on guys," Ilia prompted them.
"Wait, I hear something," Tetra protested.
"Me too," Aryll agreed. A few seconds later Epona and her riders popped into view. Tetra’s eyes widened when she saw her Link sitting up front with Medli and Makar behind him. She almost didn't believe that it was really them.
"Big Brother!" exclaimed Aryll running up to the horse who was just slowing to a stop.
The teen dismounted and helped Medli, Makar, and Link down as quickly as possible so Aryll didn't have to wait a second longer than she had to. As soon as Link touched solid ground Aryll tackled him in a hug.
"I'm so glad to see you!" Aryll cried as Link picked her up and swung her around.
"How are you? Tetra give you any trouble?" Link joked.
"I'm great now that you're here. Tetra's the same as always," Aryll giggled.
"Nice to see you Tetra," Link greeted, setting Aryll down and snapping Tetra out of her frozen state.
"You too," Tetra winked, raising a hand in greeting, "How was the trip?"
"Minor difficulties, but we made it here in one piece," Link replied.
"Minor difficulties? What happened?" Tetra wondered, coming closer.
"Let's talk about that over lunch," the older boy interjected, then turning to Ilia he said, "Thanks for watching them while I was gone."
Ilia nodded and waved goodbye before heading for her own home. They all entered Link's house and sat on the floor talking quietly while Link quickly prepared something for them all to eat.
"What was the town like, Big Brother?" Aryll wondered as she sat in his lap.
"It was big and crowded," Link answered his little sister.
"We met this girl that had a lot of bugs in her house," Medli added.
"Bugs?" Tetra asked, wondering if she'd heard correctly, "Why would someone have bugs in their house? An infestation problem?"
"Nope. She was having a bug ball," Makar spoke up.
"So, you met a crazy person. Congrats," Tetra smirked.
"She was ten or eleven," Link defended.
"Ah, now that makes more sense. You should have said that in the beginning. Children are crazy," Tetra rolled her eyes.
"I think a bug ball sounds cool!" Aryll chirped, "As long as the bugs don't bite and they aren't spiders."
"They're harmless, and I don't recall seeing any spiders," Link reported.
The food was ready just then and the other Link joined them on the floor since there wouldn't be enough room for them all to eat at the table.
"Okay," the older boy began after they had all been eating for a while, "on the way here we encountered some monsters."
"What were they anyway?" Link wondered, "I've never seen anything like them."
"They were some type of lizalfos. I've never seen lizalfos look quite like that before, and I was surprised that you could even take them down at all. How did you manage that?" the teenager asked.
"Um, well, a retired adventurer and swordsman taught me pretty much everything I know about sword fighting," Link explained. He was being careful of his wording as Tetra noticed and appreciated. At least he was smart enough not to talk about everything and anything freely here.
"Still, that was impressive. That couldn't have been the first monsters you've taken down," the teen complimented him.
"I've taken down monsters before. It wasn't that great. I'm sure you can do the same thing," Link replied modestly.
"Anyway," Tetra interrupted drawing all eyes to her, "I don't see why it matters. He killed them, no one got hurt, end of story. Now, I'm sure that Link didn't mention to you the riddle Aryll and I were told we must solve to get back home?"
"You knew a riddle this whole time and didn't tell us?" Makar squealed accusingly, whirling around to face Link.
Link held his hands up as if they would protect him from the accusation, "No! I don't know any riddle! How could I possibly know a riddle that they know? I was with you guys the whole time."
"No, not him Makar!" Tetra yelled in frustration, "I meant him!" she pointed instead at the elder boy.
"This is confusing," Medli commented.
"Maybe for your bird brain!" Tetra shot back.
"Let's refrain from insulting each other," the teenager cut in trying to maintain the peace that was rapidly coming undone among their little group.
"Hey! Birds are smart!" Aryll protested jumping to her feet and glaring at Tetra who had a feeling that the little girl was defending her seagulls more than she was Medli.
"Not if they fly to you!" Tetra countered, also getting to her feet.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Aryll questioned.
"Exactly!" Tetra exclaimed, letting Aryll's clueless response prove her point for her. By then it was a mess of Tetra, and Aryll yelling at each other while Medli, Makar, and Link were trying to yell over them to get in their own point of view on the subject across.
"EVERYONE SHUT YOUR MOUTHS AND SIT DOWN!" the eldest of the group shouted over all of them. They were all startled into silence and sat down save for Tetra who defiantly stayed standing. She wasn't going to let anyone order her around.
"Sit down," he ordered again, addressing only her this time.
"I don't see why I have to. Maybe I want to stand," Tetra retaliated, crossing her arms and confirming her act of defiance.
"Seriously, Tetra. Sit down," Link interrupted, reaching up and grabbing Tetra's wrist before dragging her down beside him. She glared at him to which he glared back. They stayed that way, their gazes locked, a silent battle raged behind their eyes. They both broke eye contact at the same time, making it impossible to tell who had won or if there had even been a victor at all. Tetra adjusted herself so she was sitting in a more comfortable position, frowning at the floor.
"Now that we're all relatively calmed down, I'll give you each a chance to speak. Tetra will go first, then Medli, then Link, then Makar, and then Aryll," the teen instructed.
"I don't think that there's anything confusing about calling you both Link," Tetra declared.
"I think that it's confusing," Medli stated honestly.
"I don't really care," Link sighed.
"I find it confusing," Makar voted.
"I think that we should call you Link," Aryll announced, pointing to the older boy, "and we should call Big Brother, Kid 'cause Tetra already calls him that most of the time. I'll just call him Big Brother like I normally do."
"That works," Medli and Makar agreed in unison.
"Fine, at least it won't be weird for anyone," Tetra sighed in reluctant tolerance.
"Okay, now that that's solved, let's get back on topic. You guys need a way home and I already agreed to help. So, Tetra and Aryll were given a riddle which Tetra can tell you because I honestly don't remember every word of it," Link said turning over the spotlight to shine on Tetra.
"It goes like this," Tetra began to recite from memory leaving out certain parts in the beginning and replacing them for safety's sake,
"'Search for your counterparts; Find a boy in green and princess in gold,
And reach deep into the light.
Reawaken the servant who dreams,
Then enter the castle within,
And bless an ancient life with light.
A path shall be opened.
Only then may you have the means of returning home.'"
"So far, all we've accomplished is reuniting all of you and you've obviously found me. Now all that's left of the first line is getting to the princess which isn't exactly the easiest goal to accomplish," Link admitted.
"Didn't you check while you were in town? I thought that's where the castle was located," Tetra wondered.
"I tried, but I got denied entry or an arrangement for a meeting because I am not yet eighteen years old, and I have to be that old to arrange an audience with her. Even if I was the right age, which I will be in about a month, but I doubt you want to wait that long, it could still take weeks or months to get to speak with her," Link explained.
"That's a problem," Kid agreed, nodding.
"That's why we need more ideas…" Tetra huffed closing her eyes and drowning out the rest of them so the only thing she could hear clearly were her own thoughts. "Let's see…we could lie and say that Link is eighteen, it's not like they'll ask for proof, and if they do then we can just shove a forged official document in their faces. That could work, but there's the waiting time to consider. Or we could go there and say that there's a threat to Hyrule and raise a false alarm so we can talk to the princess." Tetra began to formulate plans in her head but each one had a flaw. Suddenly Tetra gasped quietly and her eyes snapped open. A faint smile danced on her lips. She raised her bowed head and closed one eye in her signature wink.
"What's that look mean?" Link inquired.
"Oh no. That means she has an idea," Kid gulped.
"Tell me when we should start running," Makar squeaked.
A nervous laugh escaped Kid’s lips. “It’s too late for that!”