The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 15: The Princess of Hyrule

Crickets chirped outside, beginning the nightly orchestra. Inside the newly constructed walls of Hyrule Castle business went about normal, unaware of the abrupt meeting being held in the princess's chambers. Kid had thought that Princess Zelda would call for reinforcements, and they'd all be whisked away to the dungeons before they could explain themselves. Much to his surprise, and relief, that was not what had happened. Link had stepped forward as quickly as he could and told the princess that they needed to talk. The pair had then went onto the balcony to discuss the situation with the glass doors closed tightly so no one inside could hope to hear what they were saying.

Now, it was just Kid's small group alone in the ostentatious quarters that the Princess of Hyrule designated as her room, waiting. Tetra hopped onto Princess Zelda's king sized canopy bed and lounged among the many frilly pillows and meticulously hand sewn blankets as if she owned it.

"Tetra, I wouldn't do that," Kid warned his friend.

"Why not? We should be getting used to this. After all, once we find what we're looking for, we'll be living like this for the rest of our lives," Tetra pointed out, picking up a small throw pillow in her hands.

"What are you looking for?" Aryll questioned.

"Nothing," Tetra answered, tossing the pillow at Kid who was forced to catch it to prevent it from striking his face.

"It can't be nothing! You wouldn't be looking for nothing. You have to be looking for something. Why won't you tell me what it is? Everyone seems to know what it is except for me," Aryll whined, stamping her foot in frustration.

"Aryll, calm down. It's not something you need to know right now," Kid tried to calm his younger sibling.

"But why can't I know?!" Aryll pressed, visibly annoyed.

"Because it's a surprise, and if we told you then the surprise would be spoiled," Kid explained.

"A surprise?" Aryll wondered, "For who? Me?"

"Yes. You, and Grandma, and everyone else at home," Kid confirmed with a nod of his head. Aryll brightened at this news and busied herself with looking at everything in the large room with Medli, who occasionally pulled the smaller girl away from expensive-looking objects she felt opted to touch.

"I wish we knew what they were saying," Tetra frowned, directing her gaze to the glass balcony doors where the backs of Link and Princess Zelda were visible, their heads bowed together in quiet conversation. Kid just shrugged and sat on the edge of the bed. Link was just informing the princess of the situation while trying to also explain their castle infiltration, so they didn't all get sentenced to life in the dungeons. He didn't see why they needed to hear every single word they spoke to each other.

"I hope they're finished talking soon. I'm hungry," Kid commented. His response was a pillow to the face. "What was that for?"

"This is serious and all you can think about is food?" Tetra exclaimed in disbelief.

"I've barely had anything to eat all day," he defended himself. It was true. He hadn't had breakfast, and the only thing he recalled eating today was the small lunch that Link had prepared for them all, but that had been hours ago.

"You'll live," Tetra rolled her eyes, "Aryll and I hadn't eaten for at least a full day before we stumbled upon Link."

"Really? You never did share what happened to you two. Care to enlighten me?" Kid inquired.

"Fine. It's not that interesting," Tetra warned him.

"I can live with that," Kid replied.

"Okay, well, we both woke up in a wood of some kind, and then Aryll found this stone that was "singing". Then this weird creature appeared, and stole my wallet, so we were forced to play hide and seek with it and chase it down. It eventually led us to a clearing where we battled it, won, and it disappeared. Then we found the Master Sword in a pedestal. After that monkeys came and helped us get out of the clearing we were stuck in. The end," Tetra relayed her tale with a bored expression on her face.

"That's not interesting?" Kid wondered, raising his eyebrows, "I'd love to hear what you consider interesting then. Are you sure it was the Master Sword? And what are monkeys?"

"Positive. It was definitely real, and monkeys are just normal forest animals. I showed you a picture of one in a book I have at home, remember?" Tetra explained.

"I don't recall you ever showing me a picture of any animal," Kid shook his head. Tetra threw another pillow at him which he easily dodged. "You're going to run out of pillows to throw eventually," Kid said smiling.

"No, I won't. The princess practically hordes pillows from what I can tell. I'll never run out of ammo. There's probably enough here to have an epic pillow fight," Tetra answered, tossing a small pillow from one hand to the other.

"That's probably not a good idea," Kid advised. They were already in trouble for breaking into the castle. Having a royal pillow fight wouldn't give the best impression.

"Yes! Let's do a pillow fight!" Aryll exclaimed coming over to them, giddy with excitement.

"Let's not," Kid tried to persuade his little sister.

"I agree with him," Medli voiced her opinion, coming closer, "We are in a princess's bedroom. I don't think that pillow fights are proper or tolerated by royalty."

"Who cares? I say let the pillow fight commence. Every man for himself!" Tetra declared, pegging the pillow she had been playing with in her hands at Medli, eliciting a small squeal of surprise from the Rito girl.

Aryll giggled and jumped onto the bed, gathering as many pillows she could carry into her arms from Tetra's throne.

"No, no, no," Tetra objected, grabbing the pillows back, "You can't just take them you have to fight me for them."

"No fair!" Aryll pouted, "We should have teams."

"Then team up if you want. To get a pillow from the bed you have to get me off of it first," Tetra smirked. Aryll abandoned her mission and slid off of the bed. Kid motioned his sister over to where Medli, Makar, and himself were already huddled up, formulating a plan. Aryll hurried over.

"Here's the plan," Kid began, his voice low so Tetra couldn't hear what they were saying, "Some pillows are already on the floor. She has no claims to those so we can use them. You guys gather all of them and hit her from different angles. Make sure her attention is on one of you at all times. If we get lucky she might even throw some pillows of her own and give us more ammo. Just keep firing until you can't anymore. I'll sneak up and tackle her off of the bed. Then everyone get on the bed so then she'll have to get all of us off of it if she wants it back. Got it?" Everyone nodded in confirmation and they dispersed. Medli, Aryll, and Makar gathered all the pillows from the floor that they could find and began to fire.

Kid dropped low and snuck around to the side of the bed. While Tetra was distracted with deflecting the other's attacks he jumped up and hopped onto the bed so fast that he was almost a blur and pushed Tetra with enough force to unbalance her. She refused to go down alone and grabbed his sleeve, dragging him down with her. They both fell the short distance to the ground and his accomplices wasted no time in initiating the final step in the plan.

"Yay! We win!" Aryll cheered hopping up and down on the bed, a pillow held up in victory.

Kid got to his feet, and Tetra stood up also, an annoyed expression on her face.

"Don't be like that," Kid chastised her matching the look on her face with one of his own, "Just because you lost doesn't mean it's the end of the world."

"Shut up," Tetra mumbled, punching him in the arm, not hard enough to be serious but not light enough to be playful either. The balcony doors opened just as Aryll had settled down into a seat on the bed beside Medli and Makar. If either of them noticed the few misplaced pillows that were on the floor, they didn't voice it. Instead the princess and hero walked back into the room, closing the doors behind them to keep out the slightly cold night air.

Kid hadn't had a chance to take in the princess's appearance before since Link had practically dragged her onto the balcony before anything else could be said. Now he realized that light brown locks replaced the blonde hair he had expected to see. Her eyes were a cobalt blue color, and Kid noted how they stayed firm, steady, and unyielding towards whatever they were directed at. Despite this, he couldn't bring himself to describe her gaze as cold, for it was warm like a blue flame, pulsing every now and then but otherwise still, beautiful to look at, nice to feel from a distance, but up close it was not as harmless as it seemed. Her dress was an elaborate, yet a simple, combination of white, gold, and lavender. She wore armor around her shoulders like a shawl and the tiara atop her head was fashioned from gold and twisted into the shape of leaves to support a single shining blue gem in the center. A solemn air surrounded her.

"Normally, I would accept no excuses for these circumstances but…..I'm making an exception," Princess Zelda announced, glancing at Link briefly before returning her gaze to them, "Link has explained the situation to me and we both analyzed the riddle that two of you uncovered."

"Great, so you know how to get us home?" Tetra queried, her eyes meeting the princess's. Link and Princess Zelda exchanged apprehensive looks before returning their attention back to the others. "What did that mean? That they don't know or that they don't want to tell us?" Kid wondered silently.

"We have a…general idea," Princess Zelda replied, choosing her words carefully.

"An idea is better than none at all. Let's go!" Tetra exclaimed, uncrossing her arms and seeming to forget about her brief enmity toward Kid and the others for their success.

"We can't," Princess Zelda objected, holding up an elegantly gloved hand.

"What? Why not? Just tell us what we have to do. Kid and I will handle it just fine. We're both more than capable of defending ourselves if we need to," Tetra argued.

"This isn't a problem of whether I think you can or can't defend yourselves. In fact, I don't doubt your abilities. I've figured out that the second part of the riddle, something about gathering light? Correct?" Princess Zelda waited for Tetra to confirm her words with a nod before continuing, "Must mean that you are required to visit and speak with all of the light spirits in Hyrule. There are a total of four. A few issues present themselves. One, you don't know this land well at all, or at least I am assuming. Therefore, you'll need an escort like Link. Another issue is that the spirits don't reveal themselves to just anyone which is why you need me, but I have a kingdom to run."

"Well, can't you just have someone cover for you while you're away? You know, like a second in command?" Tetra asked, a hint of desperation in her voice.

It was silent for a little too long before the princess spoke up again. More hesitant this time, "Yes. However, it's only for emergencies, not for whenever I decide to take a random journey around Hyrule."

"Faron revealed himself to Aryll and me, and we didn't have to do anything. Are you sure that the others won't do the same?" Tetra inquired.

"It is possible that they could, but it's extremely unlikely," Princess Zelda responded, "To be guaranteed an audience, I have to be there. The spirits can call on whoever they please, but it doesn't work both ways. Citizens of Hyrule do not have the power to call on the light spirits. As the leader of the kingdom, I am the only human that can call on them."

"There must be something we can do!" Tetra cried in frustration, "You have to get breaks sometime right?"

"Yes, but I am restricted to the castle grounds, and if I did leave a handful of guards would accompany me whether I want them to or not," Zelda said, her tone a bit sad.

"Your guards are pretty useless if you ask me," Tetra muttered, just loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Tetra!" Kid cried, astonished that she would say something so rude to royalty. The glare she directed at him told him that he shouldn't have expected anything else. Kid reminded himself that Tetra was technically royalty, as hard as that was to believe sometimes. She was a princess of a drowned and forgotten kingdom seeking a land that is currently undiscovered so she can rule it, but he supposed that it still counted. Princess Zelda smiled in what Kid interpreted as unspoken agreement.

Link, who had been unusually quiet, laughed. "Tell me about it, if you ask them to escort you somewhere they're all for it until you mention that there's monsters. Then you'll never again see a man run so fast. I should know."

"Why? Did you need them as an escort before?" Kid wondered.

Link shook his head, "No. Someone else did and I ended up having to escort them instead. I didn't mind of course but still…."

"If the guards are that bad then why can't you just sneak out, Princess?" Makar suggested from his perch on Medli's lap. Princess Zelda seemed mildly surprised at first but recovered quickly. Link had probably explained about their races in their little private discussion on the balcony.

"My guards may be cowardly at times," Princess Zelda admitted, "but they are not vacuous. They would notice my absence if I did leave." The room was plunged into silence. Kid wasn't sure if he welcomed the quiet or not. Quiet could mean thinking which could be good because they needed a plan to get the princess to accompany them. Silence could also be his enemy because it gave him time to think about home. He recalled to memory the familiar ocean breezes that carried various smells on their invisible tails, the slightly irritating cry of seagulls, the way the sun was spit out of the sea every morning and swallowed whole every night, and even the faces of Tetra's cowardly yet loyal crew, and his grandmother. He quickly shook the thoughts out of his head. He couldn't allow himself to think about any of it too long. It only made him yearn to return home even more passionately than before.

The princess spoke up, creating a welcome distraction to pull Kid out of his thoughts completely, "I think I have an idea. Wait here." The princess then left the room. Kid hoped that Link had explained about how they had to knock out two guards to get in her room, so she didn't freak out when she noticed two unconscious men outside of her bedroom. He didn't hear any scream or other alarmed sound, meaning that Link must have informed her.

"So…pillow fight?" Link asked nonchalantly.

"How'd you know?!" Aryll exclaimed, eyes wide.

"While we were on the balcony I glanced inside to see if you guys were behaving yourselves and witnessed everyone throwing and deflecting pillows," Link explained, smiling. "The princess didn't see it, so don't worry."

"You're not mad at us?" Medli wondered, tilting her head to the side slightly in question.

"I'm not mad. Princess Zelda might be if she found out though…" Link trailed off implying that he had the power to make that happen.

"Okay," Tetra sighed in defeat, "What do we have to do to persuade you not to tell her?"

"Give me a real pillow fight," Link replied picking up a small pink pillow with an intricate design stitched into it and firing the first shot thus setting off a war of soft fabric and feathers.

When the princess returned roughly fifteen minutes later everyone froze as if her presence had automatically paralyzed them all. They stayed that way for a full thirty seconds before dropping whatever they happened to be holding and pointing fingers as to who had started it. Link seemed like the best candidate to blame, so most of them directed their silent accusation at him. Princess Zelda just chuckled softly, breaking her regal posture for the first time since Kid had met her. She reclaimed it quickly, though he could see remnants of humor linger in her eyes.

"So….how'd it go?" Link wondered casually.

The princess closed the grand doors behind her before answering, "It went well. I told them that I just caught wind of a monster infestation near the light spirits and that I must go with you to restore any damage the monsters may have caused to the spirits. Thankfully they didn't question why you or anyone else was here. I think they just assumed that I invited you and they didn't notice me lead you in. Either way, it's good they didn't ask because I wouldn't have had an answer to give them."

"Wow. I'm surprised the guards didn't try to persuade you to allow them to come with you," Link said, leaning against the bed frame.

"Oh, believe me, they did. That's what took me so long," Princess Zelda sighed, sitting down on the arm of a plush chair, "Convincing that bunch about my safety is next to impossible but somehow I managed."

"Great, so when do we leave?" Tetra questioned, impatiently shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

"In the morning. There's no sense in spending the night in Hyrule Field if we don't have to. As we speak supplies are being gathered for tomorrow," Princess Zelda responded, "I requested enough for four people.

"Four people? But there's seven of us in all," Kid objected.

"I'm well aware of that, but I'm also aware of the threats that are currently outside too. According to what Link has told me monsters have become more active recently. That means that there's a good chance we will be ambushed or encounter enemies multiple times as we travel to each spirit spring. That being said, this journey will be a dangerous one. That's why I am requesting that Medli, Makar, and Aryll stay here."

A chorus of protests arose from the trio and the princess held up her hand for silence. Once it was granted she spoke, "I understand you don't want to be separated from your companions when you just got reunited, but it's for your protection."

"She's right," Tetra cut in before the threesome could retaliate anymore, "Kid and I can fight. You three can't. It'll be safer here and while you're here you can research things for us. I'm sure there's a library or something somewhere in this place."

"Research what?" Aryll wondered.

"The riddle of course," Tetra replied glaring at the trio. The words she spoke were false though. Kid could tell, for while her mouth ordered one thing, her eyes demanded another. She could really care less about the riddle. She wanted them to research things about the recorded past that they had here. Specifically, the story of the Hero of Time. He knew no one else could see it aside from himself and his companions. You had to know Tetra and the way she thought to truly begin to understand anything about her. Aryll seemed to catch on after a few seconds passed, her mouth forming into a small o.

"I guess that's okay. We'll still get to help in a way," Medli nodded to show she understood the decision and what Tetra was asking of them. Aryll looked downcast for a moment but swiftly shook off the negative emotion upon realizing she would be able to stay in a castle for a short time.

"I've already informed the entire staff that you three will be staying here so you don't have to worry about sneaking around. There is a library. You can either look for it yourselves or ask someone passing by in the hall. They'll escort you almost anywhere in the castle. Anyway, it's getting late, and we'll all need a fresh start in the morning whether we're going anywhere or not. I'll show you all to your sleeping quarters and have someone deliver supper to your rooms," Princess Zelda announced, standing. The princess then led them all to their temporary rooms, boys separated from the girls, and in little time they were all feasting on a vast dinner of delicacies in their respective chambers.

Kid didn't recognize some of the food but ate it without question since he was famished. None of it tasted terrible, although he naturally preferred some dishes over others. The conversation among Link, Makar, and Kid was minimal, but no one seemed to mind.

As Kid drifted off to sleep later that night he couldn't help but let his mind wander to all the possible outcomes of the journey they were embarking on tomorrow. Would it be simple compared to his previous adventures, or would it be the most difficult quest he’d had to face yet? There was no way for him to know, he decided as the invisible tendrils of sleep wrapped around him to selfishly claim and manipulate his spirit while his body rested. Only tomorrow would tell.

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