Chapter 14: Tetra's Idea
Under the blanket of twilight laid upon the land, six figures crept into the courtyard of Hyrule Castle and ducked down behind a long neatly trimmed hedge. The night was cool and much like any other except for the fact that there were unknown intruders of course. Sentries stood as straight and just as still as trees at their posts, oblivious to any unusual activity, but Link had expected that. The guards weren't the brightest or bravest around as they liked to boast. He often wondered why Zelda even kept them around, but he supposed that that was none of his business, and as princess she knew what she was doing.
The real question was what was he doing? After he had helped Tetra and Aryll reunite with their companions they had conversed over the matter and Tetra had a "brilliant" idea to sneak into the castle, track down the princess, and demand her help. At first, Link was firmly against it. Zelda might have been his friend, but that didn't mean that he'd be excused from breaking into the castle. It felt wrong to him for this reason and yet he had to go through with it. He had promised Tetra and Aryll that he'd help them and he wasn't one to go back on his word. No one else had come up with a better or more legal plan, after all.
As for the other three, he didn't quite know what to say or think. When the girls had said that they were separated from their companions he had thought that they're companions would...well, be Hylian. He didn't anticipate encountering two entirely new species or a boy that was practically a younger version of himself! In fact, now that he thought about it, why hadn't Tetra or Aryll voiced the similarity that he seemed to share with one of their friends? They were being vague with the information they divulged, so he supposed that that wasn't too unusual, but what really sent bells ringing through his head was the fact that when he had touched Kid when he was helping him onto Epona, the sacred mark on the back his hand had pulsed with a dull pain. He had ignored it at the time, figuring it didn't mean anything, but now he was addressing it. Why would the Triforce of Courage react to a small action such as that? It didn't make any sense.
Link had tried to find some type of clue as to what would prompt the reaction but couldn't find a mark of any kind on either one of Kid's hands. When they had first met, Link had noted the sword and shield strapped to Kid's back, but when they had been attacked in Hyrule Field he was surprised to find that the child could wield the weapons almost as well as he could, which was no small feat. He could do nothing but wonder about it though. Kid, while he seemed to be a bit more open about information than Tetra, wasn't going to answer the questions that Link wanted to ask. Then there was the possibility that Kid didn't even know himself and was just as confused.
As for Medli and Makar, he found it surprising but not too strange. On his last adventure he'd met many different races, some familiar, some unfamiliar so their presence didn't bother him. What did trouble him, was the fact that he had no idea where any of them were from. On his twilight adventure he had known where each person he had encountered originated from, but these kids were a complete mystery to him. They obviously had a home since he had heard them say the word once or twice before but for some reason they were unwilling to disclose any details about it.
"Hey! Did you hear anything I just said?" Tetra demanded, her voice muted but her tone implying that if she didn't have to be quiet, she'd be yelling. Link snapped out of his thoughts to address the girl next to him.
"No, sorry. I was-" Link replied, being cut off abruptly in the middle of his sentence.
"I don't care! Just listen this time. There's a window that's open over there," Tetra stated, pausing to point it out, "That is our ticket in. The only problem is that there are two guards stationed to our right. If we go darting out from here over to the window they'll see us, so we need a distraction."
"That window is too high for even me to reach. Even if we do manage to distract the guards, how do you propose we get up there?" Link questioned, eyeing the window in doubt.
"If you were paying attention earlier, you would already know the answer to that question," Tetra sighed in exasperation, "We're going to use Kid's grappling hook."
"Can I be the distraction?" Aryll wondered, excited to help.
"Depends, how are you going to distract without being seen?" Tetra challenged the little girl. Aryll thought about it for a few moments before shrugging.
"Maybe Makar should do it," Link suggested, "He's the smallest of us all, and he won't be the easiest to spot in the courtyard.” Everyone else nodded their agreement.
"What should I do to get their attention?" Makar queried.
"Play your viola," Medli told him smiling, "I'm sure that'll get their attention." "Viola? Where does Makar even keep an instrument?" Link thought, seeing no type of storage pouch visible on the Korok.
"Okay, Makar, I want you to fly over that wall, and then go in a little and hide. Then start playing. Make sure you're far enough away, but don't go too far because they need to be able to hear you. Once you've lured them in, try to keep them distracted as long as you can without getting caught," Tetra instructed. The Korok then gave his form of a nod, which was basically a small bob of his whole body, and then jumped up into the air, a leaf propeller appearing out of nowhere, and began to fly over to the wall separating the courtyard from the gardens. This action surprised Link, and he seemed to be incapable of tearing his eyes away. Where did the leaf propeller come from anyway?
Once Makar had disappeared over the wall, they all stayed silent, waiting for their signal. A minute or two passed in complete silence, causing them all to wonder if guards had been positioned beyond the wall also. Sweet music erupted suddenly from the other side of the garden wall. It was audible, but just barely. The music was just loud enough to capture the interest of the sentries who immediately went to investigate upon realizing that none of the castle staff played an instrument.
"Come on guys; we don't know how long Makar can keep them distracted," Tetra urged them, standing up a bit straighter but still keeping low to the ground. The group of five made their way cautiously to their destination, keeping a wary eye on the guards stationed at the front doors of the castle. Once they were beneath the window they were completely out of sight of anyone that could raise the alarm.
Kid pulled a grappling hook out of a small pouch that was on the back of his belt. The pouch must have been enchanted since there wasn't any other way an item so big could fit in a place so small. Link himself had a few similar pouches, but he knew that they weren't easy to come across. Kid twirled the grappling hook in his hands before sending the claw flying at the open window. It caught the sill, and Kid tugged on it a few times to make sure that it would hold.
Once he was sure it was stable he nodded to the rest of his companions, "Okay, it'll support us, but not everyone at the same time. Who wants to go first?"
"Me!" Aryll exclaimed, jumping up and down giddily.
"This isn't a game, Aryll," Tetra reprimanded, "I'll go first to make sure there isn't anyone in the room. Once I say it is clear then you can go next. The rest of you can figure out the order yourselves." Tetra then began climbing up to the window, using the side of the building to give her leverage. She made it to the top in less than a minute and peered inside cautiously. She hoisted herself up onto the sill and called down as quietly as she could while still being loud enough for the others hear her, "It's clear!"
When Aryll began to climb up next, the music stopped unexpectedly as if someone had wound up a music box and abruptly slammed it shut before it could reach the climax of its song. They all tensed, feeling exposed without the music as if it was some magic spell that had been cast on them all to make them invisible but had just worn off. A full minute passed.
They all breathed a soft sigh of relief when a high note sounded from beyond the wall and then the music continued in its former melodic flow. Aryll resumed slowly climbing, her brother standing at the bottom ready to catch her if she fell. Thankfully, the little girl made it to the top without slipping, and Tetra pulled her inside. Kid started up next, scaling it quicker than his sister and pulling himself in without any assistance. Link motioned for Medli to go next. He wanted to make sure they all got in before him. If it came down to it, if he got caught by himself he could probably talk his way out of it, but if one of them were caught….well they wouldn't get off as easily.
Medli shook her head, "You can go first."
Link was about to reply when Tetra stuck her head out the window, "What are you two doing?" she demanded, "Just get up here already. I'll make your decisions easier, Medli, come on we'll stand off to the side so you'll have plenty of room. Once she's in Link, climb up here, and then we wait for Makar." She then disappeared from view.
Medli backed away from the window, and Link thought that it was her way of saying that she was too scared to do it. Once she had taken about ten steps back she lifted her head and directed her gaze at the window, inspecting her target. She took a running start and Link wondered what good it would do her in climbing up to the window but as she got closer he realized that her eyes weren't on the rope, but on the window. She extended her pale arms out to either side of her and they instantly sprung into wings with a barely noticeable twitch of her shoulders. She pushed off of the ground and into the air. Link gaped at her as he watched the girl fly, with her white feathered wings, up into the rapidly darkening sky and into the window where she disappeared from view.
Link was becoming more and more fascinated in these children as time progressed. He didn't have time to dwell on it though, for the viola music had faded once again. There was no sense in waiting for it to return since it wasn't guaranteed to at this point. Link started to climb up toward the goal as fast as he could. He got to the peak quickly and pulled himself inside without a problem. The room was plain with not much in it. Either it was unused or the room hadn't been a top priority in the reconstruction and was forgotten about. Fortunately for them, there wasn't another soul present aside from their little party. The others stood waiting there impatiently, and Kid stepped forward to retrieve his grappling hook and stow it away. Medli's wings were once again arms. He wondered if it hurt, having her limbs change so quickly like that. He had been transformed before and had his bones shifted and he clearly remembered the pain that came with it, but he wondered if the same applied with Rito.
"Did you always have those wings?" Link ventured, figuring that the question was innocent enough so she shouldn't object to answering it.
"Huh? Well-" Medli replied about to explain when Makar flew in through the window, landing in Aryll's outstretched arms.
"Okay, everyone's here. Let's go," Tetra said, head held high and clutching the red bandana at her neck with her right hand. Link wondered if she was afraid or nervous about getting caught.
"Do you know where you're going?" Link asked, raising an eyebrow in question.
"I like to think I do," Tetra responded, not sparing him a glance and making her way towards the only door.
"So….that's a no then," Link stated coming to a conclusion quickly.
"Do youknow where you're going?" Tetra countered, whirling around to face him, her deep blue eyes piercing his.
"They rebuilt the entire castle since the last time I was here," Link answered shortly.
"I didn't think so," Tetra scoffed, "Just trust me, I have a pretty good idea of where the princess is."
"And how would you know that?" Link retorted.
"Just a feeling," Tetra replied confidently, turning away and breaking the eye contact between them. A feeling? He doubted a feeling would get them anywhere. This plan couldn't be more flawed, and he couldn't believe that he was going through with it. Tetra put her ear to the door, listening for any evidence of people on the other side of it. She might have been impetuous but she also wasn't stupid. Link himself couldn't sense any noise and apparently Tetra couldn't either for she stood up straighter and gripped the glass door handle. Tetra opened the door just enough so she could see into the next room. Seeing no one, she opened it wider to reveal a royal blue carpeted hallway. She motioned them to follow her, and they complied, Kid shutting the door quietly behind them once they had all stepped through the doorway.
Link watched as Tetra walked to the left a little before changing her mind and heading to the right, still clutching the scarlet fabric at her neck. The unexpected guests made their way to the door on the right end of the hallway. Tetra repeated the process she had with the previous door. Hearing nothing but silence she cautiously opened the door and motioned them all through, closing it quietly behind her after she had stepped through.
They now stood in another hallway. This one was much smaller and upon closer inspection seemed to be a landing between stairs. There was a staircase in front of them leading up on the left and one leading down on the right. Link doubted that Tetra had any idea where she was going, but then again, neither did he. If the castle hadn't been blown up at the conclusion of his adventure then maybe this would be easier. Unfortunately, the entire castle had had to be rebuilt, and he hadn't been in it since then.
Link was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't realize that Tetra had made a decision and the rest were already climbing the stairs on the left. He would have still been standing there if it wasn't for Aryll catching his attention and telling him to hurry. They climbed the staircase up to the next landing without incident. Link could hear footsteps at the top of the next flight of stairs. They faded away quickly though, thankfully not heading in their direction.
Tetra seemed to hear the noise too and stayed low as she climbed the stairs, gesturing for them all to wait where they were while she scoped it out. She slinked up to the top, and then, after a minute or two, made her way back to them. "We're going to need a distraction, and I nominate Link," Tetra announced.
"Wait a minute! Why me?" Link protested, he had no inclination of being bait.
"Because if you get caught it won't matter, now will it Mr. Important Hero?" Tetra smirked, putting her hands on her hips in a bossy fashion. Her last words echoed through his head and he instantly thought of Midna. That had been her nickname for him. He swiftly snapped himself out of his reverie, not wishing to get caught up in the past and have it distract him from the task at hand. Pushing the all too familiar mocking title to the back of his mind, he wondered what gave Tetra the authority to push him around. He was older than her after all and he didn't have to do what she said. She had nothing hanging over his head. If anyone had to be careful about what they said and did, it was her.
"Not happening," Link objected. "Let's go with a different plan. My plan."
"What's your plan then?" Tetra sneered, crossing her arms in mock interest.
"My plan entails a beautiful strategy I like to call: winging it," Link informed her.
Tetra raised her eyebrows, "Winging it is not a plan."
"It is if you're me," Link shrugged, "Now come on, let's go."
"Who made you leader?" Tetra inquired, narrowing her eyes as if this would somehow make her more intimidating. It didn't.
"I could ask the same of you. I'm older, it only makes sense that I'm leading," Link replied honestly.
"Age has nothing to do with authority," Tetra argued.
"Actually, it does," Link countered half-heartedly. Getting into a verbal argument over this right now wasn't worth it.
"Actually, it doesn't. By your logic, if a king was a year or two younger than you then he'd have absolutely no jurisdiction over you," Tetra retorted.
"That's not what I'm saying," Link sighed.
"Then what are you saying?" Tetra huffed.
"That no one wants to take orders from a little girl," Link shot back, aiming to shut her up. Her insistence on prolonging the dispute was starting to annoy him. He didn't care if it wasn't particularly the nicest thing to say. He obviously couldn't deal with her in the same manner that he had Midna. At least Midna had known when to keep her mouth shut. Tetra was different from Midna, and he realized that he was wrong to compare the two before. They were nothing alike and certainly couldn't be handled in the same manner. The only way he could see of dealing effectively with Tetra was to fight fire with fire.
At these words Tetra didn't waste time on a comeback and instead put her effort into lunging at him, fury glinting in her eyes. Kid grabbed her by the waist to restrain her before she could even touch Link and covered her mouth with his free hand to muffle the string of curses she threw at him. Link ignored the display and pushed past the two, cautiously approaching the peak of the steps. No one was in sight. After about a minute a servant hurried by, too focused on their destination to pay attention to their surroundings. As soon as the figure vanished behind the left wall, Link counted to ten in his head before darting out from hiding and heading in the opposite direction than the servant had gone.
Tetra, calmed down as much was possible given the still fresh quarrel, leaped out of hiding also, "If you're going to wing it, at least have some common sense," Tetra glowered, "Servants serve the royal family. If we go in the same direction as them it'll lead us closer to our goal."
As much as he didn't want to admit it, she was right. The servant had been carrying something. Probably something that they were going to deliver to someone important if their haste indicated anything. Wordlessly, he jogged over to where she was waiting with the others. They all progressed vigilantly down the hallway at a reasonable pace with Link in the lead, much to the irritation of Tetra. She was silent, but he could sense her displeasure by the eyes he knew were boring into the back of his skull. He could care less at the moment if she was angry with him. She had asked for his help, and he had no problem giving it. If she didn't like the way he was running the show, she could leave by herself. He knew that she wouldn't do that though.
They passed a door or two before coming to a pair of white double doors with two sentries stationed in front on either side. Somehow they all managed to duck down behind a nearby laundry cart, which was unusually large, without being spotted. Tetra was clutching her bandana again, "The princess is behind those doors," she whispered almost inaudibly.
"How do you know?" Link wondered, his voice hushed.
"There are guards stationed at those doors. None of the other doors had anyone guarding them. They have to be protecting something," Tetra explained. She had answered him almost immediately, but he had noticed the slight hesitation in her voice at the beginning. She must have been more nervous than he had first expected.
"Uh oh," Aryll exclaimed quietly, her eyes widening as she raised her arm to point out her fear. Link followed her accusing finger. It was pointing to a maid who seemed to be heading straight for the cart that was concealing them from view. They couldn't be caught. Not now. They were so close!
"Hurry, get under here!" Tetra ordered lifting up the sheet covering the bottom of the over-sized cart. There seemed to be enough space for them all but just barely. They all piled in, and Aryll, the last of them to enter, let the ivory sheet drop back down, obscuring them from prying eyes. Fortunately, the laundry inches above their heads were clean. It was a tight fit and Aryll was practically sitting on top of Link with Makar in her arms.
"Well, it could be worse," Link consoled himself silently, "The clothes above me could be dirty, or the cart could start moving." Link smiled at the latter notion. When the cart suddenly lurched in the direction he assumed was forward, it wasn't so funny anymore.
"Hey! Why's it so heavy?" he heard a young voice complain from above.
"Too weak to even push a laundry cart now, huh Paige?" teased another voice, this one just as feminine as the first.
"Oh shush, Amisa," the first girl, Paige, returned matching her friend's joking tone.
"I'll help you; I bet one of the new girls overfilled it. Next time we'll just be clearer about how they're not supposed to fill the bottom," the second girl, whose name must have been Amisa, laughed. Both girls pushed and the cart moved more easily than before.
"Is it even possible for laundry to be this heavy?" Paige grunted from above.
"Please don't look underneath," Link silently pleaded. The maids both giggled, and returned to their task, much to the relief of the six stowaways. Link wished that the maids would abandon their job so they could get out. He was getting more claustrophobic by the second. After what seemed like a long period of time, the cart's motion ceased and they listened with bated breath to the girls conversing above. They had apparently decided that the cart was too heavy for them to push all over the castle to the correct rooms so they were leaving to enlist the help of the new girls that they thought had created the issue.
This was their chance. Once the footsteps of the maids had receded into the distance they all tumbled out of the cart, glad to be out of the confined space. Link picked himself up from the floor and helped pull Aryll to her feet. By the time he had done that, everyone was standing and ready to go on.
"Which way did they take us?" Medli wondered, glancing around the unfamiliar hallway. This hallway seemed unfinished, as the floors were not yet carpeted and the walls bare. The only light in the hallway came from the moonlight seeping in through the curtainless windows.
"Come on, follow me, they didn't manage to take us that far," Tetra said, grasping her crimson bandana once again and gesturing for them to follow her. Link let her lead since he hadn't been paying that much attention to where they had turned or if they had even turned at all. In no time Tetra had successfully led them back to where they originally were. With the absence of the cart, there was nothing to hide them, so they stayed back in the shadows cast by the lit sconces on the walls.
"Alright, I have an idea of how to get rid of the guards," Tetra announced.
"It doesn't include anyone as bait, I hope?" Kid questioned.
"No. Not this time. It's all on you though," Tetra answered truthfully.
"Great," Kid feigned alacrity, "What is it?"
"It's simple. I want you to use your boomerang to hit those guards on the head. It should knock them out, but make sure you get them both at once so the other doesn't have time to signal an alarm," Tetra commanded, pointing to the fully armored sentries positioned at the double doors that the princess was thought to be behind.
"I don't like this but….okay," Kid sighed finally, fishing out a yellow boomerang from his seemingly infinite pouch. Tetra stepped back to give him room and let him concentrate. He took careful aim before flicking his wrist expertly and letting the weapon fly in the direction of the two clueless sentries. Thunk. Thunk.Both guards fell in succession and the boomerang returned to the hand that had sent it on its mission.
"Yay! It worked!" Aryll cheered quietly. Kid nodded a little guiltily as he stored the boomerang away.
"They'll be fine," Tetra assured him, clapping a hand on his shoulder, "You didn't kill them; they're just unconscious." She made it sound like casual conversation! That was another thing that he found concerning about these kids. They didn't really act like children their ages would. Well, Aryll did but the rest of them didn't and he couldn't help but wonder why. Tetra approached the double doors, a hand to her bandana. The rest of the small party made haste to stand next to her as she took a deep breath and reached for one of the cold glass door handles. She pulled it open slowly and gestured for them all to be quiet. They entered one by one.
Link was the last to enter, and so he was ultimately the one to close the door. He meant to do it quietly so as not to disturb the princess who had her back to them and was gazing out the glass doors leading to her balcony. Quicker than he could register what was happening the door he was holding open slipped out of his nervous grasp and slammed shut with a resounding BANG!The princess jumped and whirled around, startled by the unexpected noise. ‘Great, now it's going to be even more awkward,’ Link groaned inwardly. He had imagined coming in, explaining everything right away, and the conversation between Zelda and himself flowing smoothly. That fantasy was shattered rather quickly and soon crumbled to dust when Tetra made it worse by speaking up, a smirk painted on her face. He swore that that was the only time she got close to an actual smile. "Hello Princess," Tetra greeted, her tone somewhere between a serious and mocking one, spreading her hands out to either side of her as if their encounter was a complete surprise to her and closing her right eye in her now all too familiar signature wink.