Chapter 18: The Temple of Nayru
Splash! Kid, after a small bout of hesitation, jumped down from the cliff after his best friend. What had compelled him to leap over the edge as well, he couldn't say. He, along with everyone else, needed some time to catch their breath from the terrifying trial they had just endured. Now wasn't the time to go waltzing into a temple blindly. Still, he had jumped anyway, and the laws that Nayru had set in motion at the beginning of time would not allow him to do anything but plummet toward the water below.
Kid hit the sparkling liquid with a bigger, if not just as impressive, splash as Tetra. He had expected to feel a sting as he shattered the thin protective layer cast over the liquid, but instead he slid through without any resistance. His eyes, which he had instinctively closed seconds before impact, did not burn like he expected them to, and though he was holding his breath a quick test through his nostrils told him that there was no need. When he opened his eyes, he saw why. Surrounding him was an air bubble, so transparent he almost didn't see it. The bubble of oxygen he was encased in outlined his body, and if he concentrated, he could see it slowly depleting, crawling ever closer to him. He figured that when he could no longer see the translucent outline, his supply of oxygen would be gone and there would be no barrier between him and the no doubt cold water.
He had wisely slipped the necklace on before jumping, and so he assumed these were its effects unless of course, stumbling magically into the past had granted them crazy powers they were only now discovering. That was highly unlikely though, and while Kid told himself that it would be amazing if it were true, the notion in his head was sadly false. Another thing he noticed was that his clothes didn't cling to him as if they were wet. Kid knew the uncomfortable feeling that almost everyone on the Great Sea had learned to tolerate. It showed no signs of assailing him which he was actually finding to be grateful for since wet clothes and damp dungeons don't mix very well.
Ahead of him, Tetra seemed to be testing out the limits of the new items, having had already gotten over the initial shock of being able to breath underwater. Sure, they had done it before, but not like this. Kid swam over to Tetra who was just completing an underwater backflip.
"Cool, huh?" Tetra said, her eyes locking onto his. Her voice sounded distorted and muffled. He had to take a second to process her words.
"Very," Kid agreed with a nod of his head, after realizing what she had said.
"You're voice sounds weird," Tetra commented.
"So does yours," Kid assured her, grinning. Whoosh!Kid and Tetra turned around to face the culprit of the sound. Link floated there, quickly recovering from the realization that the necklaces did exactly what Lanayru had told them they did. He seemed to be more fascinated in the bubble around him rather than the actual breathing underwater part.
"Finally decided to join us huh?" Tetra smirked, directing her gaze at Link.
After a few seconds he made sense of her warbled words and replied, "Sure. I can't let you guys have all the fun can I?"
“Well, you could," Tetra shrugged her tone implying that she would rather not have him come along. Kid couldn't tell if Link picked up on the hostility towards him, but regardless, Link chose to not say anything which, Kid felt, annoyed Tetra even more.
Attempting to change the subject before Tetra had another chance to open her mouth and cause a scene, Kid spoke up, "Where's Princess Zelda? Is she coming?"
It turned out that Princess Zelda claimed that she didn't want to get her cloak wet and therefore did not want to jump into the water even when her companions insisted that the water wouldn't even touch her. However, everyone else speculated that her reluctance was a result of her fear of heights. After much coaxing, and a couple insults, courtesy of Tetra, the threesome managed to persuade the princess who had shed her cloak to reveal her un-princess-like attire. She did not wear a dress, yet still wore her crown atop her head along with her golden armor. Her brunette hair hung in a single complex braid down her back. Instead of her fancy dress she wore a silky corset-like top with sleeves that came to her elbows. The sleeves ended in white lace while the rest of the top was a sky blue. She wore dark blue leggings and brown boots. A belt crafted from leather and woven with gold hugged her waist along with multiple pouches, their contents a complete mystery. A sheathed sword hung at her left hip. Overall, the attire was modest, yet the princess seemed out of place in it. Kid couldn't help but wonder if she was skilled with a sword or if was just for show.
The princess entered the water in the same fashion as the others and after a few minutes of getting used to the extraordinary ability they were granted they decided to continue on to the temple. By that time, they had figured out that if they stayed completely still underwater it took exactly ten minutes to run out of air. If they moved around underwater at a leisurely pace and didn't talk they had about five minutes before the blessed bubble abandoned them. Talking and any movements that demanded more energy, and in turn air, depleted their time drastically, so it was decided that they would all try to refrain from talking unless it was absolutely necessary.
Everyone returned to the surface once more to refill their oxygen supply. Once that was done they dove down to the bottom of the spring where a hole had opened up. Curiously enough, the addition of it did nothing to the water level of the spring which Kid thought strange, but as he neared the hole it became clear why. The left side of the opening pushed out water while the right took it in. This balance prevented the spring from being sucked dry or overflowing its banks. However, going against the current would require them to use up more precious oxygen than they'd like, so they were all forced to proceed in single file. Link went first followed by Tetra, Kid, and finally Princess Zelda.
The tunnel was straight for the first few minutes, and then it began to curve to the right before straightening out again. After a couple more narrow turns and inconspicuous inclines they were all becoming short of breath. At first it hadn't been so bad because the water current had been pushing them, but the current had dulled after a while and now there was barely any force behind it. The only good thing about the lack of current was that they could move out of their single line formation.
Kid was becoming worried. There didn't seem to be an end to the tunnel, and they were running out of time. He could barely distinguish where the transparent bubble was since it was so close to him. As they rounded yet another corner he swam into a large bubble that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Instead of bursting like he had expected, the bubble was absorbed into his own, supplying him with more oxygen.
Fortunately, everyone else had seen what had happened as soon as Kid had touched the bubble, so he didn't need to waste any of his regained breath explaining. Once everyone restocked, it turned out that the bubbles were produced from a fissure on the bottom of the tunnel and slowly floated up to the top from there, the foursome continued. They swam up steeper slopes and maneuvered through the winding tunnel with ease, being sure to pick up oxygen bubbles whenever the opportunity presented itself. Ten minutes later the tunnel widened to a point where it could be considered a room and not a measly passage.
One glance at the ceiling revealed that it was still present and this room did not grant them access to any type of surface. In the middle of the underwater room was a geyser. There was not another entrance to a tunnel in the room. The only visible opening was back the way they had come. Since the geyser seemed to be their only option, and no one wanted to waste oxygen on distorted words, they all headed for the geyser. Tetra reached it first and as always wasted no time in leaping into it. Kid was right behind her and became alarmed when the water proved to be powerful and whisked her upwards. He grabbed her wrist before she could be taken away and they were both shot up the stream of water. The gray walls flew by in a blur, and the room they were in was left behind in the blink of an eye. Kid was surprised when they didn't go crashing into the ceiling as the geyser took them higher. After what felt like forever but must have only been about a minute they were launched out of the water and onto a stone floor.
They were unprepared for the sudden appearance of solid ground and were therefore unable to stop themselves from tumbling to the floor. Tetra swiftly shook off Kid's hand which was still attached firmly to her wrist.
"A little warning would have been nice," Tetra muttered, standing up and dusting herself off.
"You can't complain. You're the one who jumped into it in the first place," Kid pointed out, getting to his feet.
Tetra was about to retort but didn't have time as Link was spit out of the geyser in the same manner they had been. They dodged to opposite sides to avoid being knocked down while Link somehow managed to land on his feet.
"Show off." Tetra glowered, crossing her arms and glaring at Link who had stepped to the side anticipating the princess's arrival. Sure enough, about ten seconds later, Princess Zelda was discarded from the water and landed gracefully on her feet.
Turning his attention away from his companions, Kid surveyed the room. Stretching out before him was a stone floor that stopped and gave way to stairs. The stairs weren't so steep that he had to strain to see what was beyond them. There didn't seem to be much. A single door was positioned straight ahead while two waterfalls flanked each side of the walls, rushing water being continuously dumped into rectangular pools. A glance behind him proved that there was nothing of significance to note aside from the geyser that had brought them to the room.
In unspoken agreement the group of four made their way up the steps and towards the door, the rushing of the waterfalls drowning out the noises their feet made on the smooth stone. In the middle of the floor was an intricate circular carving of Nayru's symbol. They reached the door, and Kid tried to make sense of the strange carvings etched into it. An upside down crescent was carved in the middle with a circle below it. The circle contained a single gleaming blue gem. Beneath the circle was a smaller crescent, successfully trapping the sphere in the center of the door. Seemingly random curving lines decorated the rest of the door.
"It looks kind of like a snake," Tetra commented, tilting her head to the side and staring at the door intently. Kid did likewise, and after a few seconds, he saw what Tetra had been talking about. It did look vaguely like a snake with its jaws wide open, ready to swallow the orb in the center.
"Do you think it means something?" Link asked.
"I doubt it. It looks like it's an interpretation of Lanayru to me," Princess Zelda answered.
"Why would there be a carving of Lanayru on a door in a temple meant to protect something that belongs to a goddess?" Tetra questioned, not convinced.
"Well, other than the fact that Lanayru holds an orb of light in his jaws, Lanayru was also protecting this place which is said to hold a tear of the goddess Nayru herself. The orb in the center must represent the temple and the gem inside the circle must represent the tear. As for the snake getting ready to devour the orb, it is simply a symbol meaning that Lanayru hid the place away, not necessarily in his stomach but in his spring," Princess Zelda explained as everyone gaped at her.
"Okay then, now that that's cleared up, is everyone ready to go?" Link inquired cutting through the swelling silence.
"Yes, open the door already," Tetra huffed impatiently as Kid and Princess Zelda nodded their agreement in a more polite manner. Link stepped forward and lifted up the door with ease. It slid into place into the doorframe on the ceiling and everyone walked through into the new room. As soon as the last person was through the door came down with an echoing BANG!They all jumped and whipped their heads around to look back. Slamming doors in temples or dungeons never meant anything good, as Kid had learned quickly on his previous quests. A metal grate had slid down over the stone door as well, successfully locking them inside.
Everyone tensed up, ready to fight. After a full minute of nothing but their quiet breaths and pounding hearts to fill up the reigning silence, no creature had showed itself. Despite this, Kid was still alert. It didn't mean anything if they didn't see an immediate threat. Sometimes you had to step farther into the room to get the danger to show itself. However, no one seemed willing to do that quite yet. After a few more agonizing moments of silence Link motioned for them all to remain where they were before taking a cautious step forward. When nothing presented itself he lowered his guard to see if that would trigger anything. The room remained dead.
"I don't think there's anything in here guys," Link announced, speaking slowly as if daring some entity to prove his words false.
"I still don't trust it," Tetra spoke up glancing around the circular room suspecting it to turn on them any second. "That door wouldn't close for no reason."
"And I agree with you but maybe it just slipped out of the frame. This place is old," Link replied.
"Yeah, and a metal grate came down as well. Not to mention it happened once everyone was inside. That seems a bit too convenient to be a coincidence," Tetra argued.
"Coincidence or not, we did come here for a reason. While we're here we might as well look around. I'm sure the tear is in here somewhere," Princess Zelda pointed out. They all nodded their agreement.
Kid took the moment of silence to gaze at his surroundings. They were in a circular room, the only grains of light spilling out of the unnecessarily massive hole in the middle of the ceiling. The room was dimly lit, making it impossible to see much else except for the shape of the room. Kid wandered around the area like everyone else and noticed that there were mine cart tracks on the floor. The strange thing was that they didn't seem to be built into the ground like normal tracks were. He followed alongside the wooden tracks, and nearly fell when the stone ended and the tracks continued. Kid realized his mistake just in time to prevent himself from putting his foot down on air. He backed up a couple steps and followed the tracks with his eyes. They spiraled down into darkness, making it impossible to tell where they ended.
"Hey! I found a tunnel!" Tetra called from behind him. Kid abandoned the unreachable tracks and made his way to where Tetra was standing. He reached her first, and sure enough, a large airy tunnel stood its ground behind her. Princess Zelda and Link joined them a few seconds later.
"Nice work, Tetra," Link complimented her.
"Yeah, well, I wasn't really trying," Tetra shrugged, shaking off the compliment and turning towards the yawning mouth of the tunnel. Even though the light was dimer on the edges of the rooms and the tunnel was black as pitch, Kid could make out tracks leading into it. Just as he was beginning to wonder how they would explore the unlit passage, Link pulled out a lantern and lit it. The surrounding area immediately became a little brighter.
Link led them into the wide tunnel, and they were sure to keep the wandering off to a minimum since he carried their only light source, which he kept attached to his belt so both his hands were free.
"Before I forget, I should probably mention that in the other room there was a plaque on the wall to the right of where we came in and it said, ' To reach what you seek, unleash the guardian who sleeps from its chains and peer into its crystal eye. There the treasure weeps,'" Princess Zelda recited.
"Well, you're the one with the wicked interpreting skills. What do you think it means?" Link queried, looking expectantly at the princess.
"I'm not exactly sure at the moment since we haven't explored the entire temple yet, but my guess is that when we do find the guardian we need to free it from something. The treasure must be the tear, so the tear is in the guardian's eye," Princess Zelda responded. A few minutes passed in silence as they walked deeper into the tunnel.
"What are these for?" Tetra wondered stepping over the rusted metal rail and onto the wooden tracks that had suddenly piqued her interest.
Kid shrugged, "I saw them in the other room too. They look like mine cart tracks, but they aren't secured to the ground, and I haven't seen any carts either."
"That's definitely peculiar," Princess Zelda commented gazing at the tracks as if they would give her the answers she sought.
"Tetra, get off of those," Link ordered, glancing back at the young pirate captain.
"Why?" she challenged him.
"Because we don't know if they're safe or not," Link answered.
"They're tracks. What are they going to do, start moving on their own?" Tetra retorted, crossing her arms across her chest.
"Of course not, that's ridiculous. Just do what I say," Link sighed, obviously tired of her rebellious attitude already.
Tetra begrudgingly complied and instead settled for annoying Link with mindless banter. They continued like this, Link and Tetra exchanging half-hearted insults, for about five minutes before being forced to stop.
Before them was a prodigious dark blue hued stone that spanned the width and height of the tunnel.
"Heave ho boys," Tetra joked gesturing to the stone blocking their path.
"I don't think it works that way," Kid said looking at his friend in doubt.
"No, there's something written here. I think it's a puzzle," Princess Zelda reported, gesturing for Link to bring the light closer.
"It says, 'When darkness falls, you're led astray, follow this eternal guide and you'll never lose your way. Below are eight panels of which you may only move one. This guide is lost. Direct it to where it once stood in relation to the sun,'” Princess Zelda said, reading the carved script carefully.
They all directed their attention to the five by three panel below the riddle. In the top left corner was a square panel with what looked to be a crescent moon carved into it. On the top right corner panel the carving was hard to make out, but Kid decided that it was supposed to resemble a cloud. On the bottom left corner was another panel, this one with the outline of a raindrop in it. The bottom right corner held another panel with a jagged bolt of lightning etched into the stone. In the very middle was a square panel with a four point star. To the right of it was another panel that had a sun symbol on it. To the left of the star was another sun symbol but it was slightly different from the first because the carving was towards the bottom of the square instead of in the middle. Finally, the last panel which was housed directly under the star, boasted a carving of what appeared to be a spotlight. The remaining seven spaces were empty, waiting with anticipation to be filled.
"Well, we can rule out the cloud and the raindrop because they don't produce any light and if you're in darkness you won't be following either of them," Link started, pointing to both panels in turn.
"And we can get rid of the lightning bolt as well since it isn't there long enough to guide you anywhere," Princess Zelda added.
"And also the spotlight because the riddle said 'eternal guide' and a spotlight can be turned on and off," Tetra continued, eliminating yet another panel.
"That leaves the two suns, the moon, and the star…." Kid puzzled trailing off and wishing that he could read the hylian script in front of him for himself to see if there was something he was missing.
"As far as I'm concerned, they're all guides," Link remarked, frowning at the lack of sense the puzzle seemed to be making.
"Well, it wouldn't ask us to move either of the suns since its asking us to put the guide in its rightful place in relation to the sun," Princess Zelda pointed out. Kid stared at the panels intently. If they could move multiple panels as many times as they liked Kid could see it working. However, only being able to move one in one direction seemed to make no sense at all.
"Hey, wait a minute!" Tetra exclaimed, seeming to realize something.
"What?" Link wanted to know.
"Look at the suns," Tetra demanded, "The sun that's carved in the middle of the right panel is rising and the one on the left is lower, showing that it's the sun setting. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Then look at the spotlight. It's not really a spotlight. It's a symbol for the Southern Lights. So that means we have East, South, and West. What's missing is North. The star in the center is the Northern Star. That's our guide. Everything else is already arranged as a compass so naturally the guide's spot is in the North. That means we do this," Tetra declared stepping forward and pushing the star panel up one space. It clicked into place and the carvings lit up with a pale blue light.
Tetra stepped back, wary of what the stone would do next. The blue light snaked up the dark blue stone, and it was soon consumed in a bright neon light. Everyone turned away to shield their eyes and only when the tunnel grew noticeably dimmer did they risk a glance. The stone had disappeared as if it had never existed and before them stretched out more tracks that curved to the left at the end and disappeared behind a rocky wall.
"How did you figure that one out?" Link asked Tetra as they continued through the tunnel.
Tetra shrugged, "I used my brain. That's kind of the point of puzzles, you know?"
"That's not what I meant," Link pressed.
"Well, it's the only answer you're getting so deal with it," Tetra replied, stretching her arms and tucking them behind her head, "I don't see why it matters anyway. You're just shocked that I'm smart. Is that it?"
"What? No. I never accused you of being stupid," Link denied, shaking his head. Here the conversation petered out but Princess Zelda started it again before the silence could overwhelm them.
"I've been wondering, what are Southern Lights?" Everyone looked to Tetra for the answer. Kid hadn't even heard of them before until Tetra had mentioned them.
"I haven't seen them for myself, but I heard about them from some travelers once a few years ago. Apparently far to the south there are colored lights that appear in the sky sometimes," Tetra explained as they turned another corner that curved to the right instead of the left.
"I'd like to see that," Kid commented.
"Me too," Tetra admitted. Nothing more was said on the matter because they caught sight of the end of the tunnel and everyone broke into a run to reach it first. Link had gotten a head start and made it into the new room first, but Kid was right behind him. He was surprised to enter a room that looked almost identical to the first. It was circular, just like the last one with floors of smooth stone and jagged rock walls that could somehow be described as neat. The tracks had stopped at the end of the tunnel, but looking immediately to the left Kid noticed that they started again, beginning to wrap around, but the floor ceasing to exist before it can get too far, and the track continuing its winding descent into pitch black. Small rays of sunlight filtered in through the distinct hole in the ceiling and ahead of them, positioned slightly to the right, was the entrance to another tunnel where Kid noticed that more tracks began.
The girls had caught up to them by then, and they slowly made their way to the other tunnel. Nothing made to challenge them and there was little to note in the room. With no choice but to progress, they moved forward and entered the tunnel. Again, Link used his lantern to light the way for them. After a few minutes of walking along the tunnel that seemed to be an extended curve to the right, they came to a fork. The tracks were no help in determining which way was correct since they continued down both passages.
Link kneeled down in front of a stone set against the wall in the middle where the tunnel branched off in separate directions.
"It says, 'Consult the map to find the true path'..." Link trailed off.
"Is that all it says?" Tetra inquired, looking at the poorly illuminated stone doubtfully.
"Yes. That's all it gives us," Link confirmed, re-reading the words silently to make sure he hadn't missed anything.
"Did we miss something in one of the other rooms? A chest? A plaque?" Kid wondered. They hadn't come across a map and the rooms they'd been in so far hadn't provided them with much of anything.
"I don't think we did, but it's possible. Maybe there was a map in the last tunnel, and we just didn't see it," Link suggested, standing up and turning to his companions.
"There could be a map in here somewhere, raise the light, Link," Princess Zelda commanded. Link raised his lantern, and they all gazed at the ceiling, searching for some indicator of a map, but a blank rocky surface greeted them. Link swept the light over the surrounding walls and even the floor, but no one could see anything that resembled a map.
"Why don't two of us head down the left path and two head down the right path? Then we'll be able to see which one's correct," Tetra proposed.
"I don't think that's a good idea. What if the wrong one is rigged to collapse or something? Then we'd be in trouble," Link interjected.
"Okay, fine. What do we do then? Do you really want to backtrack? I don't think we missed anything. This place is pretty empty, if you haven't noticed by now. We would have seen a map if there was one," Tetra insisted. Kid was beginning to agree with her. It would have been hard to miss anything unless they had done it deliberately. They must have seen a map somewhere in this place, but maybe it didn't register as a map at the time. Kid tried to think back to the layout of the temple so far and any puzzles or items that had attracted their interest. The puzzle that they had solved in the other tunnel had been shaped like a rectangle and the temple certainly wasn't. Even if he left out the blank spaces the panels were still square, and putting them together in the end result or their original positions did little to resemble the temple layout.
He hadn't seen the plaque that Princess Zelda had read the first riddle off of, but he doubted that it had any significance aside from the riddle it contained. There had to be something else that he was missing. There had to be more to note.
'Think back farther,' he silently willed himself, 'Think back to before the door slammed shut. What was in that room?'
Kid remembered the geyser that had spit them out and the two waterfalls spilling into separate pools. Then there was the door with the strange carving of a snake creature that they had determined to be Lanayru, and there was something else that was evading him. Kid gasped upon realizing what it was which caused his companions to turn to him in question.
"There was a map," Kid announced.
"Really? Where?" Tetra wanted to know, hands on hips.
"In the very first room that we entered, the one with the geyser, there was a carving on the floor of Nayru's symbol. I overlooked it at the time because it didn't seem too unusual to see Nayru's symbol in a temple made to protect something of Nayru's, but now that I think about it, the symbol was a bit more complicated than it usually is. There were lines connecting the circles. I think that they represented the tunnels. So the map, more or less, is Nayru's symbol," Kid explained, proud that he had figured it out.
"Do you remember the lines?" Link asked, hopefully.
Kid frowned at that. He hadn't stared at the thing long enough for it to imprint itself in his mind.
"He doesn't need to remember it. If it is Nayru's symbol then all we need to think about is what path would cause us to circle around, which, in this case, would be the right path," Princess Zelda spoke up, indicating the right passage with a nod of her head.
"It figures that the right path is the right path," Tetra quipped as they progressed down the tunnel. It took about ten more minutes until they could see the end of the passage. This time, no one was surprised when they stepped out of the tunnel and into yet another circular room with the same features as the last. The foursome entered the next tunnel, and after a while, they were stopped by another puzzle. A stone slab that took up the entire width and height of the passage stood defiantly in their way. Link brought the lantern closer so everyone could see the words, or what looked more like gibberish to the two youngest members of the group, written on it.
Thankfully for Kid and Tetra, Princess Zelda chose to read it out loud, "State the answer to this riddle and the path will be clear: Those who don't want it, should have it. Those who don't need it, have it. Those who need it, don't have it. Most are deprived of it. Some seek it, and those who think they need it will go to great lengths to get it. What is it?"
"Um…money?" Tetra hazarded a guess. The stone stood still, standing lifeless and cold in front of them. Kid opened his mouth to put in his own guess since they didn't seem to be penalized for wrong answers, but the tunnel was suddenly plunged into darkness, and he wondered if he had gone blind for a second.
"Tell me that I'm not the only one that can't see anything," Tetra pleaded.
"The oil in my lantern ran out," Link's voice said through the blackness.
"I trust you were sensible enough to bring a refill," Princess Zelda spoke up calmly.
Link laughed weakly, "Yeah…about that…"
"You've got to be kidding me!" Tetra exclaimed in exasperation, "If I could see where you are right now I'd slap you."
"Pretty bold threat there Tetra," Link taunted.
"Would you two stop? Link, please tell me that you're joking," Princess Zelda requested.
"You want me to lie, Princess?" Link asked, his voice somewhere between incredulous and sarcastic.
"No…I'm just hoping that you're joking," Princess Zelda replied lamely, trying hard to keep the desperation creeping into her voice at bay.
"That makes two of us," Link sighed.
"Do you have anything else that makes light?" Kid wondered.
"No," Link responded, dejectedly. Kid didn't know what to do. The darkness was so great that his eyes refused to adjust. Just as the girls started to panic, despite their resolve to stay calm, and Kid was wondering if turning back was an option, the surrounding area was bathed in familiar orange light. Kid, who had directed his gaze to the floor while thinking, raised his head to see Link smiling and holding his lit lantern in one hand and an empty bottle in the other.
"I got all of you!" Link laughed in victory, "I can't believe you all fell for that. I always bring extra lantern oil with me."
"You little…that's no fair!" Tetra cried, stamping her foot in frustration.
"What? Don't do that! You sounded like you were serious. I thought we would be stuck here forever!" Kid exclaimed, exaggerating a bit more than necessary, but no one seemed to mind.
"You conniving little lowlife! Why would you do that?!" Princess Zelda shouted, "I should've known too! You never address me as 'Princess' unless you're being frivolous."
"I did it because I thought it would be funny," Link answered truthfully, "which it was."
"For you maybe," Princess Zelda shot back.
"Calm down, Princess. Take a joke. I don't favor his sense of humor either, but he didn't harm anything so…." Tetra trailed off feeling that she'd said enough to get the point across.
"Yeah, it was just a joke," Kid agreed trying to calm the princess as well.
"What they said," Link interjected. "Plus, the longer we argue here, the longer this puzzle goes unsolved, and the longer this oil burns. If we take too long it could burn out again and next time I promise that I won't be joking if I say that I don't have a refill because I really won't."
Princess Zelda sighed in defeat and looked back to the riddle. A few moments passed in silence until Princess Zelda spoke up again, "The answer is power."
As soon as the last syllable left her lips the hylian written on the stone glowed a neon blue and sapphire lines streaked up the entire stone as if they were being chased by an invisible force. They turned away as the stone was absorbed in light and dared to uncover their eyes when the light had faded. The stone was no longer standing in their way, and they could progress. They did so cautiously, for they noticed an object up ahead on the tracks. As they neared it, Link raised the light in an attempt to cast its artificial rays on the object. It looked to be made of wood, and Tetra jogged up to it before anyone could stop her.
"Finally these tracks make sense," Tetra breathed a sigh of relief. Kid joined her and realized that the object in front of them was a wooden mine cart. It was larger than the ones he had seen before and would probably be able to fit them all if necessary.
"Should we take it?" Link wondered.
"I don't see why we wouldn't. It must serve some type of purpose since there are tracks laid down almost everywhere in the temple," Princess Zelda voiced her opinion.
"It's decided! We take it. Come on, Kid, help me push," Tetra ordered motioning for him to join her. Kid stepped over the rail and got behind the cart. They began to push and were both surprised to find that it rolled smoothly with little resistance. While the track itself seemed to be a little rusted, the metal wheels on the cart were not. Link walked on the side of the tracks a little bit ahead of them to light the way while Princess Zelda walked beside them. After a few minutes, Link ordered the pair to stop, and they complied without complaint. He went on ahead where they could clearly see the mouth of the tunnel. Link came back to report that the end of the tunnel was set into the wall so there was a bit of a drop.
Tetra and Kid continued to push the cart and let it go once Link assured them that it would fall over the edge. The mine cart hit the ground with a resounding thud!They all peered over the edge. The cart had landed upside down which was actually perfect since it would allow them an easy way down from the high ledge. Tetra lowered herself with her hands and then let go, bracing herself for the small drop that the cart didn't cover. She landed on the overturned cart with ease and jumped down to the stone floor. Kid went next, not anticipating how unstable the cart was when upside down and nearly face planting onto the floor but catching himself at the last second while Tetra smirked at his lack of balance. Link followed soon after, and Princess Zelda joined them last, with Link helping her down from the wobbly mine cart in an attempt to apologize for the stress he had forced upon her earlier. The princess seemed to be forgiving enough, but Kid caught a look in her eyes that strictly said, 'Never do that again.'
They righted the cart and wheeled it over to the tracks that weren't too far away. It had turned out that the temple really was constructed to resemble the Goddess of Wisdom's famous crest, and the last tunnel had led them back to the first circular room they had entered. Unfortunately, solving the puzzles hadn't unlocked the door as Kid had hoped, but they did get a mine cart out of it, so they could explore the underground portion of the temple, or at least that's what Kid assumed it was since the tracks spiraled down.
The mine cart clicked into the rails, and they pushed it as close to the drop off point as they could without it threatening to leave without them inside.
"We'll have to distribute the weight so the cart doesn't capsize while we're in it," Princess Zelda reminded them.
"Okay, what do you suggest then?" Kid queried turning to the princess.
"I'd say the lightest person in the front, and then someone heavier to balance it out, then the second lightest, and then another person that weighs more," Princess Zelda elucidated.
"I guess that puts me first," Tetra said hopping onto the metal support for the wheels at the bottom of the cart and climbing over the rim.
"I think that Link is next, and I'll be last," Princess Zelda added helpfully.
"No!" Tetra protested as Link made to get in the cart.
"What's the matter now?" Link asked, "Do you have a problem with me riding behind you or something?"
"No, that's not it," Tetra shook her head, "You have your lantern lit and this thing is made of wood. Wood and fire do not mix. Put it away."
"But it's dark down there," Link objected, pointing to the hole that the tracks led down into, "How do you expect us to see?"
"I don't. I'd rather be in complete darkness than burned alive in a rickety mine cart. You don't know that it's completely dark down there. Who knows, there could be some light source that we don't know about," Tetra pointed out.
"Fine," Link sighed, putting out his lantern and storing it away. Tetra then let him climb inside the cart without any objections. Kid stepped onto the metal support like Tetra had done and heaved himself up and over the rim of the cart. Princess Zelda climbed in behind him, and Kid was surprised to find that they all still had plenty of room to move around.
"I can give us a small push if we need it," Princess Zelda volunteered. Kid couldn't tell how far away they were from the edge since Link was taller than him and peering around the older boy in a cramped space wasn't exactly the easiest task.
"I think we might need it," Tetra reported.
"We definitely need a little push," Link confirmed glancing behind him at the Princess, "We're a few inches away from where it begins to dip down."
Princess Zelda nodded and Kid turned his head to see what she would do. He didn't think that she was strong enough to push the cart with all of them inside it. This didn't seem to be how Princess Zelda aimed to complete the task though. She kept one hand gripped on the side of the cart while she faced the palm of her free hand behind them. Kid watched in amazement as a sudden gust of wind erupted from her open palm and the cart lurched forward. Kid instinctively grabbed the sides as they literally shot down the swirl of track while Link yelled, "Zelda I said a little push!"
"Sorry!" Princess Zelda, who was now facing forward and gripping both sides of the cart tightly, apologized as they swiftly left the dimly lit circular room behind and darkness greeted them. After a few seconds in complete darkness, Kid lost all sense of direction. He had a feeling that they were still on the helix, but he couldn't be sure. All he felt was cold makeshift wind whipping the sides of his face.
Without warning, the cart bumped over something and clicked as if it had suddenly switched to another track. Their speed diminished only slightly, and Kid tried to concentrate on which way the track might be leading them by leaning to whichever side seemed to be demanding his attention. Eventually the cart slowed, and they were all pitched forward as it came to an abrupt stop. Kid struggled to retain his footing and prevent himself from crashing into Link's back. Link had apparently been throw into Tetra judging by her irritated grumble of "Watch it" and Link's mumbled apology.
"There's a barrier in front of me I think," Tetra announced.
"How do you know?" Kid wondered. He couldn't see anything.
"Because I'm touching it, stupid," Tetra answered him.
"Should we get out?" Link asked no one in particular.
Kid looked to both sides. Darkness waved back at him. No surprise there. He turned around to see a dancing blue flame. Again no surpri-wait…blue flame? Kid whipped his head back around to see nothing but black. He rubbed his eyes. Was he so desperate for light that he was imagining it now? No. There was a blue ember that floated down a little ways away. Something compelled him to look up and once he did he instantly regretted it.
The dancing blue flames were eyes that belonged to the colossal red armored head of a serpent. What looked like golden tracks ran down its head to the end of its nose. A blue gem was set into the middle of the golden section of its skull. Copper tinged frills were spread out to either side of its head, making it appear even more intimidating. Kid noticed that its head seemed to be attached to the tracks as it swayed slowly back and forth eyeing him as if trying to decide which angle would be the best to strike at.
"Guys," Kid whispered, not daring to take his eyes off of the serpent-like creature.
"What is it?" Tetra asked, a bit annoyed that he had interrupted the heated argument she had been having with their fellow companions seconds before about whether or not they should leave the cart.
"I think I found the guardian," Kid stated.
"Really? Where?" Link wondered.
Kid gulped. "We're on it."