The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 17: Silence at Lanayru's Spring

The cave that contained Lanayru's Spring was the same as Link remembered it. It was quiet yet not silent. Everything was serene. The water stood still and unwavering. The grass and various plants that grew inside were surprisingly lush for being cooped up in a cave for the duration of their fragile lives. No matter its peaceful appearance, Link still clearly remembered the images he had been shown by the light spirit that resides here. He also distinctly recalled the events that had transpired in this very cave a little over a year ago. He swiftly shook the unwelcome memories out of his mind. He didn't have time to think about things like that right now.

"Where's the spirit?" Kid wondered.

"I must call on him now. To do that effectively I need everyone to be quiet," Princess Zelda replied, briefly glancing at Tetra before directing her attention ahead of her.

The small stare did not go unnoticed by the feisty girl. "What's that look supposed to mean?!" Tetra demanded, throwing her hands up in the air. No one offered an explanation, but Link figured by the annoyed look on her face that she knew exactly what it had been implying. She stayed silent though, just like the princess had requested.

Princess Zelda strolled over to stand on the small, narrow ledge that hung over the water a little. Link, Tetra, and Kid stayed a few feet away from her. They watched as their companion bowed her hooded head, why she didn't take the cloak off now, Link couldn't guess. Zelda stayed like that for a full minute before there was a small rumbling beneath their feet. The serpent-like spirit shot up out of the water like a geyser of light. Light carved symbols into the cave walls and crawled up nature-made pillars. The pool of water had seemed to change into a liquid sun. Despite the sudden illumination of the cave, the temperature did not rise. The air maintained its cool dampness. The light wasn't harsh on the eyes, and even though it was bright, it did not become blinding as long as one didn't allow their eyes to linger on a single spot for too long.

Lanayru's voice echoed throughout the light filled chamber, "What business have you, Princess?"

Princess Zelda wasted no time in answering, clearly not intimidated by the serpent-like spirit before her. "My companions and I," she paused briefly to gesture at the three standing behind her before continuing, "have come to request your assistance."

"My assistance? In what, pray tell?" rumbled the light spirit. Link had to wonder how Lanayru could even speak with that orb of light in his jaws. It couldn't be easy to talk around.

"These two, along with their friends who are back at the castle, are lost, and they were given a riddle by your brother, Faron, which is supposed to help them in getting home. The second part of the riddle mentioned 'reaching deep into the light' so I figured that it meant we had to speak with all of the light spirits, and they would assist us in some way," Princess Zelda explained as she motioned for Tetra and Kid to step forward.

"Ah, I see. Faron had sent a message to all of the light spirits about this situation a day or so ago. As for the riddle, I know it even without hearing it. The goddess long ago blessed the riddle upon various sacred ears, hoping that this would help the message get passed along to whoever it is destined for. I do believe that Faron was correct in unleashing this knowledge now." Lanayru moved slightly, so he had a better view of the two children behind the princess. After seeming to scrutinize them for a little longer than was necessary, Lanayru repositioned himself so he was visibly addressing the entire group.

"Along with the riddle the goddess also bestowed upon us all instructions. I believe that these instructions pertain to the riddle. You see, each light spirit was long ago entrusted with a tear of one of the goddesses. The tear each of us possess is hidden away and cannot be stolen or given. It can only be obtained by defeating the guardian at the end of the temple it rests in. Evil has not and cannot touch the place. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself. Before I can allow you entry to the temple you must first complete a trial to prove that you all really are the four chosen and are worthy of stepping into holy grounds. I shall send you into the trial myself. Climb up and go through the door. At the end of the hallway there is a circular platform. Step onto it and wait. I shall do the rest," Lanayru instructed.

"What's the trial?" Tetra asked, raising an eyebrow in question.

"I shall explain it once you are inside," Lanayru replied, seeming quite serious about how and when he disclosed his information. Tetra rolled her eyes but followed after Link, Princess Zelda, and Kid, who were already walking down one of the grassy slopes that hugged the walls. They all stopped at the bottom near the edge of the liquid gold and peered up at the vines hanging over the side of the ledge that the door was on. Link had no problem scaling it himself but with three other people lacking clawshots it would be more of a challenge.

Link opened up his items pouch and rummaged around inside it looking for the clawshots. He had decided that he would go first with one and give Zelda the other to use. Then they'd throw them down so Kid and Tetra could get up as well. However, it seemed that the two children had other things in mind and zipped right past Link and up onto the vines so fast that Link had trouble processing what exactly had just happened. Kid and Tetra scaled the vines as if they had done it a thousand times before, and when they reached the top Tetra called down, "Hurry up!" Their success in being up there in the first place seemed to be the blue-tinted metal hookshot Kid held firmly in his left hand.

‘Why does he have a hookshot?’Link wondered silently, returning to his task of searching for his clawshots. He didn't understand so much about his new companions and wished that that was not the case. Hookshots weren't terribly common, and no one except for adventurers seemed to have much use for them. Did that mean that Kid was an adventurer? Link honestly didn't know what to think at this point. The two children just kept surprising him. Tetra with her feisty attitude and Kid with his ever increasing arsenal. Link finally managed to find his clawshots and removed them from the pouch they had been hidden in.

"Just aim, press the button here, and then let it pull you," Link instructed Princess Zelda, handing one of the clawshots to the princess. Even though they could technically do it the way that Kid and Tetra had with only one clawshot, Link was sure that he knew the princess well enough to know that she valued her space and independence. Link went first to demonstrate and made it up to the ledge in a matter of seconds. Princess Zelda followed without an issue. Once she made it to the top, she returned the clawshot to its rightful owner, and Link led them through the door that Faron had indicated earlier. Once inside the small room, which was better classified as a hallway than an actual room, they continued to the very back where the chamber expanded enough so that they could all stand next to each other instead of in a line.

Before them Link expected to find the open treasure chests that he had collected the contents of so long ago but instead the middle of the circle was bare aside from a strange teal light splayed out like the petals of a fallen flower. They all stepped onto the circular platform, and thus into the strange light like they had been instructed to. Then they waited. Nothing seemed to happen for a while. Just when Link was sure that Tetra was about to make some type of snide remark a sudden dizzy spell hit him and he sunk to his knees. He didn't seem to be the only one for he could tell by the small moans of his companions that they had felt it too. Link tried to shake it off like water but whatever the sensation was, it was persistent. He shut his eyes, willing it to subside. To his surprise, it faded quickly, along with all sound, and he opened his eyes.

When he raised his head he had to blink a few times to test his vision which seemed to be tinted blue. Blinking seemed to have no effect, but the strange sight didn't seem to be obscuring his vision so he decided to ignore it and stood up. His companions were getting to their feet also, looking just as bewildered.

"Please tell me I'm not the only one seeing blue everywhere," Tetra said looking at everyone to confirm if she was crazy or not.

"You're not the only one. I see it too," Kid assured her. Link and Princess Zelda nodded their agreement. Before anything more could be said Lanayru's voice cut through the eerie silence that had made Link momentarily think he was deaf.

"Heed my words for they are of utmost importance. They will not and cannot be repeated. Therefore, please restrain yourselves from stepping out of the circle, for once you do our connection will be broken and you'll be at the mercy of the trial. With that said, welcome, chosen ones, to the ancient trial of the goddess: The Silent Realm. It is designed to test the spirit and mind, which is why you find yourselves defenseless at the moment."

At these words, Link noticed the lack of weight on his back, indicating the absence of his sword and shield. He'd seemed to be stripped of his items pouch and even his potions. Anything that he had been carrying was nowhere to be found, as if they had evaporated into thin air. His companions were also checking themselves and coming up empty-handed.

"Do not be distressed," Lanayru continued, "All of your weapons and items are still in your possession in the physical world. This trial takes place in a sacred world of spirits and to enter it is required that you be reduced to the essence of your being." Link looked at his hands and noticed that though he could feel and move them, they looked almost transparent. Suddenly a strange feeling that he could only describe as somewhere between tickling and numbness spread through his torso. He put his hands to his chest hoping it would end the new sensation. Instead a ball of white light floated out and the feeling vanished. The sphere burst and dropped an item in his awaiting hands.

It looked similar to the vessel of light he had used to collect the stolen light of the spirits when perpetual twilight threatened the kingdom. At the peak of the vessel was a white flower with nine silky petals. Stemming from the flower were fifteen small glass orbs. Glancing around him, he noticed that his companions each held an identical object in their hands.

"These plants are spirit vessels. They represent your spirits," Lanayru explained, "Scattered across this strange realm are sacred tears. To complete the trial you must collect them all and return here without getting caught by the guardians. If you are hit, even once, your spirit will shatter, and you'll fail the trial."

"So, we collect all of these "sacred tears" and then come back here, all while avoiding the guardians," Tetra summed up.

"Correct. Alas-" Lanayru replied, about to continue. Tetra, however, had other plans and had silently declared that any other information the great spirit had to offer was insignificant. She stepped over the glowing teal line that marked the edge of the circle. As soon as her foot touched down on the ground the world became animated and the petals of all of the flowers wilted immediately. The tranquil blue from before was painted over with a pulsing red and the circle they had been standing in disappeared altogether along with the eerie silence. Clanking sounds reverberated throughout the room, not seeming to have any tangible source and noise that sounded more like screeching than the music it was trying to be kept climbing up the scale in a haunting wail. Link couldn't tell if it was getting louder or if it was just his imagination.

Tetra, who had frozen as soon as the realm came alive, seemed to come to her senses and took a few steps back, probably hoping that it would stop the chaos. The circle that had been their protection was gone though, and it seemed that stepping back into it was not an option. They could only move forward now. Link spotted one of the sacred tears up ahead in the doorway, which was missing its door.

Gathering up whatever courage he possessed in his terror, he ran for the golden tear. When he was almost there, what must have been one of the guardians came through the wall to his right wielding dual scimitars. It made to take his head off in a downward X motion, but being smaller and, therefore quicker, he easily dodged it by rolling forward and continuing towards the tear. He reached it just as the guardian was about to attack him from behind. As soon as he touched the tear everything returned to how it was before Tetra had stepped out of the circle and the flying guardian disappeared. Link breathed a sigh of relief. One of the orbs on his spirit vessel was filled, and the flower's petals had returned but seemed to be slowly wilting as the seconds ticked by.

Link glanced back to see his companions coming towards him, and he turned around to address Tetra. "You have to learn to think before you act. We could've died just now and we still don't know everything about this place because you cut off our connection with Lanayru!" Link exclaimed. He was getting tired of being pulled into risky situations because of Tetra's impulsive behavior. He could understand her wanting to get home but rushing through everything wouldn't get them any closer.

"We can figure it out," Tetra shrugged, refusing to look at him.

Link was about to reply but Princess Zelda interrupted, "Look, we're supposed to work as a team here. That's one of the points of this trial. If it wasn't then I'm sure Lanayru would have sent us in one at a time. You two can quarrel all you want later, but right now we have a task to complete. There's no time for petty arguments. I think that these flowers indicate how much time we have before the guardians wake up, so we should get moving if we don't want to go through that again."

Link certainly didn't want to relive that, and even if Tetra wouldn't admit it he knew that she had been scared out of her wits as well. He could reprimand her later if he thought it necessary, but for now Zelda was right. They needed to get going and stop wasting precious time. With their temporary truce decided they progressed with Link in the lead since he knew their surroundings the best out of everyone. Link spotted another tear far to the left in front of a guardian. The white sentry with robes of black and gold towered over him, maybe nine feet tall. Even its mace was taller than him. Link approached it cautiously, but there was no need. It didn't seem to register his presence. He grabbed the tear and watched as it was added to his spirit vessel. It seemed to reset the flower as well.

There was an intricate purple fence put up around the edges so dropping down into the water below wasn't an option. The fence stopped short of the ledge with the vines on it that they had climbed up originally to reach the trial gate. They headed in that direction since it seemed to be the only place to go. A narrow piece of land had been added at the bottom so there wasn't any reason to get wet. Tetra started down the vines and Zelda went next. There were four other tears in the cave as far as Link could tell. Tetra had rushed forward to collect the tear closest to her when she touched solid ground. Kid climbed down the vines with Link close behind. Tetra quickly hopped across two small gaps to gather the tear placed on the farthest fraction of land. Once that was done their only option was to leave the cave since there didn't seem to be any tears left in this area.

The foursome stepped out of the cave and surveyed the twisted mirror image of Lake Hylia that they had unconsciously stumbled into. Link hadn't noticed it before since he hadn't been focused on the water in the spring, but now that an expanse of the liquid stretched out before him, he noticed that it looked different. It seemed to shift from a milky blue to clear to an almost a red hue and back again. Two dormant guardians were posted across from them. Each stood in front of a serpent statue.

"What's this? Kid asked. He had been the first to step forward and collect the tear that had been in front of them and was now pointing to a small white sphere on the ground.

Link shrugged. He had no idea what it was. ‘If Tetra hadn't been so stupid we would have known what it was,’ Link thought to himself. He quickly pushed the bitter thought away, though. If he really thought about it, her impulsive behavior was something he couldn't change. Through this entire journey they'd probably be thrust into even more dangerous situations than this because of it. He couldn't get mad at her every single time for something she had little control over. He untangled himself from his thoughts. He'd been getting too caught up in them lately.

Kid, who had been debating whether or not to risk it, touched the sphere. It disappeared almost immediately and vertical beams of golden light shot up all around them. Looking to his left Link noticed a beam close to them and walked over to it to find that it was a tear. He picked it up and smiled. This wasn't that hard. The tears were practically being given to them, and with the use of the white spheres, it was even simpler. Link noticed that there was another piece of land added so they didn't have to get into the water to swim to the next section. He let Princess Zelda grab the next tear since she had only obtained one so far. Kid called the following sacred tear which was on a separate island farther away. The water receded enough to show that there was a small winding trail of land leading to the tiny island. About five seconds later the water covered it again. Link didn't get the point of the water doing that in the first place. It was obvious even without the water moving that there was a pathway underneath.

Kid stepped onto the evident path and, in doing so, into the water. The world around them shattered in response, causing them all to jump and freeze in their tracks.

"Tetra what did you do?!" Kid yelled running for the island and the tear that would muffle the madness for another ninety seconds.

"What did I do?! I didn't do anything!" Tetra shouted back, crossing her arms in an annoyed manner. Kid touched the next tear and it was automatically absorbed into his spirit vessel. The world around them returned to silence.

"What just happened?" Kid wanted to know turning around to face his companions for an explanation, "We had plenty of time left; I know we did."

"Time wasn't the issue," Princess Zelda answered, "It was the water. That must be why it's receding like that. The water in this realm must be some type of catalyst."

"Well, that's unfortunate, seeing as it's everywhere," Tetra commented gesturing around them.

"That just means we'll have to be more careful then," Link said, watching as the water receded. Once the pathway was revealed, he darted across it and joined Kid on the island. Tetra waited for the right moment before running over to join the boys. Princess Zelda was the last to make it over, and they turned to face the next obstacle. This one was exactly like the first. The water receded for five seconds before covering the land. The next island seemed to be smaller than the one they were currently standing on and the one after that was even smaller. They'd have to keep going instead of waiting for each other if they didn't want to risk accidentally touching the water. Tetra decided to take the next tear and dashed over to the island when the water revealed the path. She grabbed the tear with ease and was going to wait, but Link told her to keep going. The young girl nodded and complied, having no problems with continuing. Link followed her when it was clear. By the time they all made it to relative safety the beams of light indicating where the tears were located had faded.

This wasn't a problem though since there was another sphere in front of them which the princess had stopped Link from retrieving since she claimed that it was worthless to pick up limited items without needing them. Link had supposed she was right and let it be, collecting the tear ahead on the wooden platform instead while Princess Zelda collected the tear on the right, and Kid collected the one to the left. After that was done they progressed to the left side of the island where three poe-like beings carrying lanterns seemed to be guarding a tear. Link had no idea what would happen if they stepped into their pool of light but whatever it was, it probably wouldn't be good.

They seemed to dance around the sacred tear, dipping in the center close to it but never quite touching it and then shying away in synchronization. The ghosts then circled around switching positions and repeated the simple choreography. This would have to be timed well or they'd be caught.

"I'll do this one," Princess Zelda volunteered.

"Are you sure?" Link inquired. He had been planning in his head the best strategy to obtain it.

"Positive," she replied, "I'm good at timing things." With that the princess took a few cautious steps forward making sure to stay far enough away and to the side to stay just out of range of the lantern light. When the ghost moved away from the tear Princess Zelda took the opportunity to dart in and collect it. Then she stood as still as the guardians as the ghosts came closer and spun in a circle before getting close to her. The light was almost touching the princess but seemed to come up a centimeter too short. The ghosts pulled away and Princess Zelda progressed on to gather the tear further ahead. She reached it successfully and was making her way back to the others when her foot momentarily skimmed the edge of the light of one of the creatures. It made a jingling sound and started towards her. The princess tried to run in the opposite direction while still staying on a course towards her companions since if she turned back she would be cornering herself. Unfortunately the other ghosts were coming back in for the circling segment of their ritual, and she ran right into the middle of another poe-like being's light. It rang its bell to wake up the sleeping sentries and disappeared into the air along with the others. Their vision turned red once again and an explosion of sounds tormented their ears.

Link, Kid, and Tetra had been waiting for the princess next to a guardian which, Link had to admit, might not have been his best decision. Link grasped for a sword which he did not have and cursed under his breath as he back flipped to avoid the attack. Kid and Tetra had rolled out of the way and were already running back the way they had come. They seemed to have exhausted the island they were on of all sacred tears so their only option was to backtrack and pray to come across a tear before anyone was struck.

"Come on, Link run!" Kid called over his shoulder. He didn't need to be told twice and ran towards the two children. Princess Zelda had had plenty of time to catch up to him and he grabbed her hand to urge her to run faster. The guardian was surprisingly swift. Up ahead was a flying guardian, and Link called out to admonish Kid and Tetra. They seemed to already know and broke off in different directions aware of the fact that it could only go after one of them at a time. It decided to go after Tetra, and she screamed in fright as the blades just missed her.

This scare gave her more encouragement to run faster, and she quickly outran the much slower guardian. Link watched as she ran across the islands and splashed through the water. It didn't matter if they touched it now anyway. The guardians were already awake. Kid seemed especially daring and followed after her, sliding under the flying enemy and rolling to his feet. The twin blades came down too late and missed their target.

The guardian pursuing Link and Zelda didn't seem to be as mobile for as soon as they stepped on the second small island it looked around as if it had lost sight of them. They both breathed a sigh of relief and made to continue when their world suddenly became encased in blue once again. Either Kid or Tetra must have found a tear. The pair vigilantly made their way to the others who were waiting patiently on the other side.

"Now that was not my fault," Tetra informed them.

Princess Zelda smiled and shook her head, "No, it was mine. Sorry about that. So much for good timing huh?"

"Next time, don't try to impress me," Link joked.

"Impress you? I was doing nothing of the sort," Princess Zelda replied defensively.

"Obviously," Link laughed.

"Shut up, Link," Princess Zelda retorted, pursing her lips in annoyance.

"Shut up? That doesn't sound like a royal insult," Link teased her. A while ago Link had found out that Zelda wasn't as cold as she seemed on the outside. If you gave her time she would eventually shed the formal skin she constantly wore and she turned out to be a very fun person to joke around with when that happened. Unfortunately, Zelda still had some adjusting to do before she revealed that side of herself in front of the others.

"Stop. This isn't the time to be messing around. We're wasting time. Let's go find another tear," Princess Zelda sighed trying to regain control of the situation, but Link could see her hiding a smile. He let it go because he knew that she was right. This wasn't exactly the best time to be teasing her anyway.

The group continued their search for tears and crossed the first wooden bridge they came to. Up ahead were two similar poe-like creatures patrolling near a sacred tear.

"I'll get this one," Link offered. The other three stayed back as Link stepped off of the wooden bridge and onto the island. Link watched the ghosts' patrol route. It was fairly simple and they never got very close to the tear. They mostly floated around the perimeter of the island. He waited for the closest ghost to pass him before darting in to collect the tear. While he was at it, he also grabbed the white orb on the perimeter and golden beacons immediately shot up towards the sky.

They all made it over to the next bridge while avoiding the light of the lanterns with Link in the lead. The closest tear was on one of the posts of the bridge that connected the barrier. It was far too high for even Princess Zelda to reach, who was, in fact, a couple inches taller than Link. Trying to climb up the wooden barrier was impossible since there were no beams to serve as a proper support. Why the barriers were built so high, Link honestly had no idea.

"If I give one of you a boost will you be able to reach it?" Link asked, directing his question at Kid and Tetra. Kid stepped forward while Tetra hung back, hands on her hips. Link took that as a yes and stood next to the post, cupping his hands to create a makeshift step. Kid took a few steps back before getting a running start and stepping onto the boost that Link provided for him, letting the bounce in his step give him more height to grab the top of the post. He readjusted his grip and quickly took one hand off. He managed to touch the tear before he lost his grip. Kid landed on his feet and the tear found its way into his spirit vessel. That had been their twentieth sacred tear. That meant that they still had forty tears to find and collect.

Link sighed inwardly, thinking of how many more times they were likely to be pursued between now and the end of the trial. Up ahead was the sky cannon which Link was surprised to see since the realm wasn't an exact copy of Lake Hylia and the cannon was a fairly new addition to the vicinity. He noticed the golden glow of a tear behind it though and collected it after making sure the ghosts in the area were nowhere near it. While he did that, Tetra wandered off to snatch a tear that she had spotted.

They all seemed to branch off in different directions then which left Link alone and wondering when they had all decided to split up. He headed in the direction of the first person he saw which happened to be Tetra who was in the process of climbing up a small incline to retrieve a sacred tear while giving one of the poe-like creatures as wide a berth as possible. Apparently this was not quite enough to satisfy the space hungry ghost and it caught Tetra in its light.

Everything flashed red, and Link stumbled in surprise. To his right was a flying guardian which wasted no time in trying to end him. He was too stunned to do much but brace himself for whatever pain came with having your soul shattered into fragments. The dual blades were headed straight for him ready to pierce him. Time seemed to slow down and Link watched in horror as his doom grew ever more certain. Suddenly the guardian froze, its blades poised so close to his head that the smallest movement would deliver him to his grave.

The shift between eternal mayhem and fleeting peace was so quick that Link had to take a few seconds to realize that he wasn't dead. He relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief. That experience was the new definition of too close for comfort, and he wasn't eager to relive it.

"Everyone get over here now!" Link shouted, cupping his hands over his mouth to make sure his voice projected out to all of his companions. They eventually complied, some more begrudgingly than others. Once they had all reunited Link continued his speech, "We are not splitting up anymore. It's too dangerous. I want to get out of here fast too and while splitting up would ensure that, it makes it more risky for all of us if the guardians wake up. I'm more concerned about getting out of here alive rather than seeing how fast we can finish, so can we all agree to not to wander too far away from each other?"

"Oh come on, it worked so well," Tetra complained, holding up her spirit vessel which had a total of ten glass orbs occupied, "What if we go in groups of two?"

“Stop being ridiculous. I'm serious. No more splitting up. Pairing up doesn't make it any safer," Link argued, rejecting the new preposition instantly.

Tetra huffed in exasperation and muttered something under her breath, but Link didn't care enough to try to figure out what she had said. Knowing Tetra, they weren't words that were pleasing to the ear. Everyone, more or less, was on the same page. Their brief moment of separation had earned them seven more tears.

The foursome progressed onward and collected the next five sacred tears by jumping from one island made platform to another with the threat of the peculiar water shifting below them. They gathered all of the tears on the cliff and by the time they were finished Link had obtained eight sacred tears. Princess Zelda and Kid were tied at nine each, and Tetra had the most with a total of eleven. They jumped down from the platform that was raised slightly higher than the others to the area where the sky cannon was positioned.

They then made their way up a wooden board to their right which acted as a small, slightly unstable bridge to a higher ledge where two tears rested. Link collected both of them as his companions started up the ladder where they knew they would find more sacred tears because of the tell-tale beacons that lit up a scattered path of the tears they sought.

Link followed them and made his way towards a tear that was placed behind the howling stone while the others grabbed the first tears they had spotted. Looking ahead he inspected the upcoming challenge. There seemed to be four of the poe-like beings scattered around the area and a total of six tears to retrieve. Link was also sure to note that there were two evenly spaced out mace wielding guardians that were bound to be a problem if they were awoken. The flying guardian was another thing to consider.

"Be careful," Link warned as Princess Zelda approached the first tear.

"Naturally," came the reply. The princess waited for the ghost to move away before stepping forward to retrieve the sacred tear. Once she had it she was forced to continue since turning back would alert the ghost who seemed to be quite persistent at its job of being a nuisance. She almost ran into the light of another poe-like creature but realized her mistake just in time to prevent it from detecting her. It drifted away, taking its circle of light with it, to meet up with another ghost. Princess Zelda took this opportunity to collect the tear that had previously been held captive in the spotlight.

She gracefully slipped past the two ghosts and found a rare patch of land that the lookouts' vision never examined. Kid, Tetra, and Link carefully picked their way through the maze, making sure to keep their footsteps as light as possible. One thing Link had noticed and later informed the rest of the group about was that the poe-like creatures seemed to be able to distinguish sounds and the louder they were in sneaking past them, the higher their chances of being caught were. Fortunately, they all made it to Princess Zelda without incident. A ghost circumnavigated the base of the tower and in doing so created a precarious situation for the foursome. According to the beacons, which had disappeared a few seconds ago, there was a tear on top of the tower, in the very back, and on the right side of it.

Link glanced at the flower on his spirit vessel. They had about twenty seconds before it wilted.

"I'll get the ones on the bottom. Someone else can grab the one at the top of the tower," Kid announced before tailing the poe-like being on its route around the tower, taking care to stay a safe distance in case it decided to stop suddenly. As soon as the ghost disappeared behind the tower Link started up the ladder, climbing faster when the creature drew close. It was slightly harder to climb with his spirit vessel clutched in one hand but somehow he managed to get to the top and touched the sacred tear. He peered over the edge, checking to make sure the way was clear. After confirming that it was, he slid down the ladder and reunited with the others.

Tetra picked up a white sphere from the ground before they started to make their way back. It seemed that the only tears left were near the Human-cannonball Ride, as it was dubbed by Fyer, which would eventually serve as their exit when they were finished their business at Lake Hylia. They were able to avoid all of the guardians on the way back and make it to the wooden bridge that led to the attraction. There was a tear up ahead which Tetra rushed forward to collect. There were no poe-like creatures visible, but they proceeded onto the wooden dock with caution anyway. Kid touched the sacred tear in front of the structure and it was added to his collection. Princess Zelda collected the tear to the left side of the shack that was no longer as colorful as it normally was, having had adopted a dull blue tint like everything else in the Silent Realm.

They then began to jump across each poorly constructed floating log platform and retrieved a total of four tears in the process. What awaited them made Link's stomach drop. The floating structure that was the target for Falbi's Flight by Fowl game was crawling with ghosts and dormant guardians. A sacred tear was placed on every tier of the square pyramid except for the rotating platform on the very top where a flying guardian was perched.

"We should have done this first," Tetra observed, voicing what everyone else had been thinking. This obstacle was the most complicated and hazardous yet. However, they couldn't let that stop them. They were so close to completing the trial. A poe-like creature passed by them, and they waited anxiously for it to move away. Once it did, they all leaped into action, jumping over the small gap between the new floating platform and the small one they had been standing on. Kid branched off slightly from the group to grab the lone tear next to the purple gate to their left. Once he had it in his possession, he joined the others. The tiers of the pyramid were purposely too high for one person to climb up by themselves. After all, if they were easy to reach by normal methods anyone would be allowed to open the treasure chests containing prizes whether they had landed on the structure with a cucco or not.

Unfortunately, they did not have cuccos to use and could not reach the shack on the cliff side even if they were able to use the cannon since another intricate violet fence blocked off any possible landing. Instead they were quickly trying to give each other a boost to reach the next tear. Link lifted Tetra up despite her protests, and she pulled herself up onto the next step of the square structure. She collected the tear on the far left of the platform being careful not to fall. Then she kept a wary eye on the ghost patrolling that tier as everyone else scrambled onto the higher ledge.

"It's coming; hurry up," Tetra ordered, not taking her eyes off of the enemy.

"We're here," Link spoke up, coming over and helping her up onto the next section which was smaller than the others had been. The poe-like creatures seemed to get faster the higher they went, but that could have been an illusion caused by the lack of space.

By the time they were near the last tear, everyone's spirit vessels were full except for Link's. They weren't positive that it mattered if someone whose vessel was full collected another tear they couldn't carry, but they decided to not test it out, so Link was the one who had to retrieve the final sacred tear.

"Don't mess up," Tetra smirked her encouragement as they all gave him a boost onto the smallest platform where a ghost had its back turned.

"If you haven't noticed by now. I'm the only one that hasn't set off an alarm," Link replied, pulling himself up onto the platform.

"Yeah, because you're so perfect," Tetra muttered rolling her eyes. Ignoring her sarcastic remark, Link touched the tear which was automatically pulled into his spirit vessel by an invisible hand. The ghost decided to turn around at the same moment, and its lantern hung positioned over Link's head. A loud clanging bell sound emitted from the lantern and the ghost disappeared into the air as the realm came alive.

"You were saying?" Tetra raised her eyebrows, a contemptuous expression painted onto her features.

"Shut up and run!" Link commanded, jumping down and pushing her slightly in an attempt to get her to move. She did so without hesitation.

"How do we stop it?" Kid yelled, over the din of the unpleasant noise that now assailed their ears.

"We can't stop it now. That was the last tear, but Lanayru said that we had to return to where we first entered once we had collected everything so we should head there!" Tetra replied, ducking to elude the guardian who had swiped at her. They leaped across the floating platforms faster than seemed humanly possible and bolted back the way they had come. However their path was blocked by a guardian. It lifted its weapon up and brought it down in an attempt to hit Kid, who narrowly dodged it. Before their opponent had a chance to strike a second time the group of four sped past him, and over the wooden bridge that connected to the island the sky cannon was on. They veered right, and Link was forced to side jump out of the way of an attack aimed at him by a nearby guardian. He quickly regained his footing and ran after his companions with two guardians not far behind.

They dashed for the next wooden bridge after hitting solid ground and nimbly dodging their new pursuer. Their feet pounded on the bridge like heavy rain on a roof but the added noise was barely audible among the roar of the Silent Realm's wailing siren. They made it to the spring's entrance, and Tetra would have gotten hit if Link hadn't pulled her out of the way. He let go of her arm when he was sure she had regained her balance and could run without stumbling. They ran into the spring with Princess Zelda in the lead. She ran to the vines hanging over the side of the ledge and began to climb. Kid was right behind her.

Link risked a glance behind them and immediately regretted it. There were three guardians on foot and two flying ones who were penetrating the cave walls as if they were made of water. Link faced forward again and ran to catch up with the other two. Link and Tetra scaled the vines, which provided them relief from the enemies stranded on the ground with the inability to climb but exposed them to the airborne guardians. The pair made it to the top and spotted Princess Zelda and Kid waiting for them impatiently in the doorway. The guardian on the other side of the ledge took notice of them and started towards the group of four.

They didn't allow it to get very close and charged for the teal blossom that had magically materialized at the end of the hallway. Princess Zelda reached safety first, then Kid, and Link shortly after. Tetra was slightly farther behind and the guardian was almost upon her. She jumped just as it brought its weapon down, successfully getting out of range of the weapon and into the blue haven. The terrible noise had diminished and they were all left panting and trying to regain their composure.

Their spirit vessels all floated up out of their hands and formed into ivory buds which burst in a flash of white petals and revealed a new item which drifted down into their awaiting hands. Link examined his prize. He wasn't really sure what it was, but it looked like a necklace of some sort. He wondered about its value. The charms themselves didn't look too special. The largest one was shaped like some sort of scale and was a dark teal color that seemed to be reflecting water that was eternally flowing inside of it. White, purple, and golden beads were placed on the string as well as two red charms that resembled coral. He didn't have time to scrutinize it any further, for it was then that another dizzy spell hit him. This time it didn't last nearly as long, and when he opened his eyes his vision drank in a variety of dull colors. The best part was that none of them were blue or red.

He got to his feet still holding the necklace in his hand. His companions had received identical items. They made their way out of the room to see Lanayru waiting for them outside.

"I commend all of you for passing the trial. I know it was not an easy task, especially with your limited understanding of the trial. Nevertheless, it was completed and you were rewarded. The items you now hold are gifts from the goddess for the chosen ones. They are dragon scales from the water dragon that existed when time was still young. They will allow you to breathe underwater for an extended period of time. Your completion of the trial has unlocked the divine seal placed on the temple to obscure it from intruders. Nayru's tear is hidden in its depths. The temple entrance is at the bottom of my spring. I have done all I can. The rest is up to your performance. When you are ready, dive down and enter the Temple of Nayru, the goddess of wisdom, time, law, and order. Good luck, chosen ones," Lanayru then spiraled up to the ceiling and dove down into the golden water. The light that embraced the cave faded quickly, and the four chosen were left alone.


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