Chapter 19: The Serpent of Sagacity
The blackness was cut through with a soft blue glow, the strange light driving the darkness away and breathing life into intimidating shadows. The blue light started at the neck of the serpent and continued following the rest of the track it was connected to until finally stopping at the tail. Darkness still pressed in from all sides, but it lingered at the edge of the new light source threatening to spill over the tracks, or rather the guardian's body, once again.
The serpent let out a screech of displeasure and shot over their heads, surprisingly not striking like everyone had anticipated. Little did they know that it actually was a form of attack. The mine cart that they were in was jerked back into motion as the guardian's body followed in its wake. Tetra gripped the front of the cart as they were pulled backwards against their will. How in the world were they supposed to fight the thing if they could barely see and were at the mercy of its erratic movements?
"Does anyone have an idea?" Princess Zelda dared to ask, trying to snap them all out of whatever trance the serpent had temporarily put them in.
"Not at the moment, no," Link replied, gritting his teeth as the cart screeched around a sharp turn, nearly capsizing them.
"Hold on for dear life," Kid supplied.
"Yeah, thanks. I wish I thought of that one sooner," Tetra rolled her eyes, sarcasm dripping from her words. After a few more wrenching turns and fruitless wracking their brains for ideas, the track's glow became duller, and the guardian's body began to drop out of the air. Thankfully, they didn't have a long way to fall and were on the ground before they knew what had happened. Unfortunately the serpent head seemed to still be active judging by the bright blue glow zipping around above their heads. The fall had wrestled the cart free of the rails that had been holding it captive to the track, and it also caused the cart to discard its passengers who were just now getting to their feet.
"Did it do that on purpose? I thought the track was its body," Kid wondered.
"Don't know, but at least we know that attacking the tracks isn't going to get rid of it," Tetra shrugged, peering up at the creature who seemed to be going in circles as if vying for their attention.
Link and Princess Zelda righted the cart in the meager light. "It looks like it is beckoning us to follow, doesn't it?" Princess Zelda spoke up indicating the armored head with a small nod. Everyone directed their attention to the inky sky. It did seem to be waiting for them.
'Does it want to kill us or play with us?' Tetra pondered to herself, crossing her arms in annoyance.
"Come on then," Link encouraged them starting to push the cart towards the guardian, "If it wants us over there then we'll please it. Who knows, maybe it'll give us the tear for obedience."
"I really doubt that," Tetra muttered as they all followed Link, who had taken out his lantern again, much to her chagrin. They weren't inside anything that could burn though, so she decided to keep her mouth shut until he attempted to climb inside the wooden cart again. The guardian kept a few paces ahead of them, always spinning around in circles. Eventually the cart clicked into place on a new set of tracks. The guardian stopped abruptly in its predictable circuit. It then shot up into the dark, disappearing until it was barely a speck.
Familiar sapphire runes began to consume the track, outlining it and allowing them to see that it spiraled up into the sky. The blue glow was rapidly making its way down the dizzying spiral towards them.
"Get in the cart, quick!" Link ordered, snuffing out his lantern and hastily stowing it away. There wasn't any time to think, so Tetra complied, climbing into the cart as swiftly as possible. Yet, if time was not of the essence, Tetra would have refused. She would have questioned the serpent's behavior and come to the realization that the guardian was willingly allowing them onto its body, and that only ever meant one thing. It meant that it was a trap. However, Tetra realized this just as the blue light consumed the entire track, and she was thrown roughly forward as the guardian pulled its new skin out of the black pit.
Tetra dared a glance behind her, wondering why they hadn't been thrown off the end of the track yet, seeing as there was nothing to stop them from doing so this time. She was surprised to witness the princess using what she supposed was magic, gusts of wind flying out of her hand and giving them a respectable distance from the end of the track.
'She can use magic?!'Tetra wondered, bewildered as she faced forward again. The most magic she had ever performed was light arrows, and they weren't nearly as powerful as they were fantasized to be. Tetra knew that her magic came from her Triforce piece, and she knew that Princess Zelda had to possess it as well. If she could do that then was it possible for Tetra to do the same? Link and Kid seemed to be almost matched in their skills, so why was there such a dramatic difference in hers and the princess's?
Tetra sighed inwardly, shaking the thoughts away as her hungry eyes drank in light, famished after being deprived of the necessity in the dark. The light that struck her dark blue eyes was the same dim beams of sunlight from before. They seemed to be in the same room that they had descended into the darkness from.
"I think I have an idea," Princess Zelda announced, raising her voice to be heard over the rushing of the artificial wind around them.
"Go for it. I've got nothing," Link invited her.
"The head seems to be the guardian's power source so if we take it out we can stop it," Princess Zelda explained.
"But how do we take it out? It's covered in armor. We can't burn it or even make a dent in it," Kid pointed out.
"We don't have to," Princess Zelda replied confidently, "All we need to do is take out the power source, which isn't exactly the head because the power source is inside the head."
"I'm not sure I follow you…" Link trailed off.
"What I'm trying to say is that Nayru's tear is the power source. That's what's giving life to the guardian. The tear is in its eye according to the riddle I read on the plaque earlier, so that means we need to get to the head to grab it. Once we have it, the guardian should stop, and we'll have our prize," Princess Zelda clarified.
"Oh, I get it now. Yeah, let's do it," Link nodded, determination written on his face. Princess Zelda used her magic to give them a speed boost whenever the track leveled out or they were forced into an incline. The serpent-like creature seemed to have a penchant for circles and wound its body in a loose coil that covered the entire room. In no time, they were nearing the head. After the next hill they'd be on it. Tetra leaned forward in anticipation. She was finding the battle thrilling and thought that it'd almost be fun if it didn't threaten their lives. At the peak of the hill, Tetra noticed an issue that sent the small triumphant smile gracing her lips into nonexistence. The drop was the highest one yet, but that wasn't what worried her. The back of the head of the serpent was open. The cart wouldn't glide smoothly onto the golden tracks fixated into its skull like she had imagined. Instead, it would glide straight underneath the desired tracks onto red ones. In other words, this course would deliver them inside the creature's mouth.
The metal rim of the cart pressed harshly against her palms as she squeezed it in a death grip. A scream was caught in her throat and her heart raced at the realization that she couldn't make a sound as gravity pulled them down, chastising them for attempting to touch the heavens. Just as Tetra feared that she had lost her ability to breathe as well as her voice, the track leveled out and they flew into the tunnel-like head of the guardian.
"SLOW DOWN!" Tetra cried. At this rate, they'd crash into the firmly closed mouth up ahead. Princess Zelda sent a gust of wind in front of them, in hopes of fulfilling Tetra's request, but it didn't do much as a form of brakes. They neared the blockade quickly. Just as they were about to crash, and Tetra began to wonder how much pain she should expect, the guardian did the unthinkable. It opened its mouth and stuck out its crimson tongue which was also a track. However, this track had an end to it and it forked off in three completely different directions. While they were safe from being flattened, they were now faced with a spur of the moment decision that, if chosen wrong, could end them as well.
The guardian had stopped its motion. Its head was completely still, facing a tunnel at an angle. The current route they occupied was on a collision course with the edge of a wall. Their left hand option wasn't much better but the track to their right led directly onto the dull track of the tunnel.
"Everyone lean to the right!" Link commanded. The order was more for the two companions behind him than the one in front. Tetra didn't need to be told. She could see what she needed to do for herself. They tilted the cart to the right just in time to switch routes and glided safely onto the lifeless tracks, the comforting light of the last room abandoning them.
Blue embers rained down from above and Tetra tilted her head back to look. The armored scarlet head of the guardian floated near the ceiling of the tunnel before shooting off ahead of the slowing cart. It had shed its last skin just like the first and was ready to inhabit a new body.
"Any new plans? That obviously didn't work," Tetra huffed.
"Let's observe it some more. There has to be a way onto its head. Why would there be tracks on it if it there wasn't?" Link suggested. Blue light flashed from ahead, and Tetra, who had momentarily loosened her grip, tightened it again, all of her senses on high alert.
"Get ready. It's going to take us on another wild ride in a minute," Tetra warned the group, her eyes never leaving the approaching sapphire runes for a second. The light passed under them, illuminating their faces in a ghostly pallid blue glow. A few seconds later the tracks writhed to life, creating hills of their own, big and small. Princess Zelda used just enough of her magic to get them over the inclines and let gravity do the rest when she could.
It felt like forever before they emerged out of the tunnel and into the next circular room. This time, the serpent unexpectedly whipped its head around to face them. It was a few feet away from them, but it was still uncomfortably close. It let out a screech of what Tetra interpreted as exasperation and dove at them in its fury, opening its jaws wide and showing off its two ivory fangs that were as big as pillars. Purple liquid gathered at the tips. Tetra had no intention of find out what the strange liquid was, but if she had to guess she'd say it was poison.
The guardian made to snap its jaws shut over them and that's when Tetra noticed it, even if it was just for a second. The access into the serpent's mouth from the back end was blocked. Suddenly a ball of orange fire was shot into the creature's closing mouth and the cart was forced back into motion by the serpent's hungry lunge. Its jaws snapped shut on nothing but empty air, the translucent liquid dripping down to the floor.
The smell of burning wood fermented the air, and the guardian relinquished possession of its newly obtained body, making for the next tunnel and ignoring the foursome, much to their confusion. They got over it quickly though upon seeing the flaming piece of track narrowly miss them on the way down. Everyone was yet again thrown out of the mine cart when it hit the ground. Tetra landed on her back, painfully close to where the cold stone floor gave out. She sat up wincing at the slight pain in her back. That was definitely going to bruise.
"You okay?" Kid asked coming over to help her up. She nodded, refusing the hand he offered her and getting to her feet. The pair joined up with Link and Princess Zelda who were waiting by the next tunnel with the cart already in place. Tetra rushed to get in and everyone piled in after her in their set order.
"Sorry about that. I wasn't aiming to set the tracks on fire. I was hoping that the tracks in its mouth were flammable, but evidently they're not," Princess Zelda apologized.
"Wait! You did that?" Tetra exclaimed, incredulous. The woman could shoot magic balls of fire now?! Now she really had to learn how to wield the power she was blessed with.
"It's fine, Zelda. If you didn't do that we'd probably be in much worse shape," Link assured her.
Tetra then remembered what she had realized as they were about to be eaten. "I know how we can get on the head now!" Tetra announced.
"Really? How?" Link wondered.
"It's simple. When the mouth opens the back is blocked, meaning there's a straight path onto the head. It seems to like keeping its mouth shut when we're behind it so we'll need to split up into two teams. A distraction team and an action team," Tetra explained.
"How do you propose we accomplish this?" Princess Zelda inquired, "We only have one mine cart and creating a diversion on the ground seems too reckless." The topic became closed for the time being as the familiar wave of blue washed over the tracks and they were propelled into motion, the princess working to prevent them from falling off the end, although once they got far enough ahead her assistance wasn't needed as often.
A few feet away from them, Tetra noticed that the tunnel forked. Both tracks were lit up in the sapphire glow, but she knew better. The right path was the correct one. She remembered from earlier when they had solved the puzzle.
"Lean right up here. This is the same puzzle from before," Tetra instructed as they approached the misleading track. As they drew closer Tetra noticed the glow of the left-hand tracks was considerably duller than the rest, proving that it was false. The foursome successfully made it onto the right path and were pulled along with little effort on their part.
The hills that the serpent was providing seemed to keep their momentum high enough so they could keep moving even on flat or steep ground without the use of the princess's magical abilities through the rest of the tunnel. When they entered the next circular room their ride of "relaxation" seemed to be officially over as the guardian spiraled upwards towards the oversized hole in the ceiling where light filtered in.
Leaning to the same side as the helix seemed to increase their speed automatically, so they kept at it until they were at the top and the serpent's body leveled out. The new room was massive and filled with late afternoon sunlight. Looking down Tetra noticed that there were three main circles arranged in Nayru's symbol and connected by what appeared to be a tunnel that branched off in three directions in the middle. The rest of the room appeared to be an endless abyss.
In the center of each circle was a large hole that was surrounded by twisted golden gates. The outside of each circle was connected by long sections of mine cart tracks, somehow suspended in the air. Tetra hadn't realized that they were nearing the head again until they were in a dim tunnel. Just like last time the guardian stopped and opened its mouth at the last second, flicking out its pronged tongue.
"Left!" Tetra alerted the rest of the group, her eyes quickly scanning their options for the correct path. Everyone took her word for it and leaned to the left. They were rewarded by zooming into a pitch black tunnel. Tetra waited for the familiar blue glow to appear above their heads before racing ahead of them, but it never came.
"Where's the guardian?" Tetra asked no one in particular, her eyes delving into the darkness around them for a speck of blue.
"No idea, but there's two paths up ahead," Link replied.
"How do you know that? I'm in front of you, and I can't see anything," Tetra complained.
"I don't know. My eyes adjusted a little. I can barely see it, but I know it's there," Link answered.
"Okay, then which way?" Tetra queried, willing her eyes to adjust so she could see for herself what Link was talking about.
"I don't think it matters, so everyone lean left again," Link ordered. They followed his directions and soon were able to see fast approaching light. When they emerged from the dank tunnel they expected the guardian to be waiting for them, but the snake-like creature was nowhere in sight. A familiar click reached their ears and Tetra looked down. They weren't on track anymore. Instead the cart was sliding along freely on smooth gray stone.
Focusing her attention ahead her eyes widened as she realized they were going to crash into the golden barrier set up around the hole. She couldn't get out a warning fast enough, and before she knew it she was on the ground, flat on her stomach. She pushed herself up to a kneeling position and looked over to her companions who had also been spilled out of the cart when it had crashed. The mine cart itself seemed to be fine, and Tetra was starting to wonder how durable it was. It had certainly been through more than she thought it could handle.
"Is everyone okay?" Link checked once they all regained their footing. Tetra nodded along with everyone else.
"I don't get it though. Why didn't the guardian follow us?" Kid wondered.
"Maybe it lost interest?" Tetra suggested as she helped Princess Zelda right the fallen cart.
"Or it's planning something," Princess Zelda chimed in.
"Let's hope that's not the case. We're completely vulnerable down here," Link sighed.
"Hey guys, over here!" Kid called from the other side of the circular platform, where he had wandered looking for any sign of the suddenly elusive serpent. They hurried over to him to see that he stood proudly beside an overturned mine cart, identical to the one they'd been using.
"Awesome! Now we can get onto its head!" Tetra exclaimed, coming over to help her friend straighten the cart.
"Once we find it, that is," Link reminded her.
"So you suggested that we should spilt into two teams earlier. Did you have certain pairings in mind?" Princess Zelda inquired, addressing Tetra.
"Well, I was thinking that the distraction team would be you and Kid and Link and I would try to get onto the head," Tetra admitted.
"Why do I have to be a distraction?" Kid objected.
"Because I said so," Tetra shot back, "Besides, you're the perfect distraction. You have lots of items that you can use to call attention to yourself, and Princess Zelda is also good for a distraction team because she can use her magic to get you two out of sticky situations fast. Besides that, each cart needs a balance which is why I'm suggesting us to be split up this way. I'm good for the action team because I'm small and fast and Link's just basically there to help me control the cart."
"Wait a minute, what are you planning to do to get the tear out of the eye?" Link asked Tetra, skeptical. Before she could respond a loud screech cut her off and the guardian's disembodied head shot up from below and made its way towards the track on the circle far to their right. As the track lit up in a slightly less noticeable blue glow there was no more time for arguing teams. Link and Tetra claimed the newly found mine cart while Princess Zelda and Kid hurried to the original one.
Tetra aided Link in pushing the cart over to the tracks that the guardian was in the process of inhabiting while the princess and Kid made for the lifeless track on the other side of the stone platform. The cart clicked into place, and Tetra climbed inside. Link continued to push it a little farther until gravity began to take over, and he hopped inside at the last minute. The cart was pulled down the now mostly blue hued track, and this burst of speed allowed them to stay ahead of the tail as the guardian gained control and took off on a wild rampage around the large room. Tetra focused on holding on for the most part, occasionally scanning the room for their companions who were supposed to be calling attention to themselves.
A yellow blur flew through the sky, hitting the guardian's armored face with a clank before returning to the hand of its owner. This drew the interest of the serpent and it dove down arching its back.
"Whoa!" Link shouted, as they were shot up into the air and the cart tilted precariously forward. As it did so Tetra could see that the mouth of the serpent was wide open and just as she had predicted the wooden tracks connected with the gold ones embedded into its head. The cart was propelled into motion and they shot down the steep slope, their screams being snatched away before they can be made known. She gripped the rim of the cart, butterflies carrying her stomach into her throat. Finally they made it to the bottom of the hill, and Tetra was grateful for the sharp incline onto the golden rails because it helped her stomach find its place again.
She loosened her grip, getting ready to leap into action. Link still had no idea what she was planning once the eyes were in sight, and she didn't have any intention of telling him since he'd probably try to stop her. They passed the copper frills that were displayed on either side of its head, and then the hollow eyes were in view. Now that they were closer, Tetra noted that the blue flames pouring out of its eyes wasn't actually fire. It was light. Comforted by this new fact Tetra had no lingering qualms about her plan and initiated it immediately without hesitation.
Tetra jumped out of the cart, her target the furiously glowing eye on the left side of the snake's head. She could hear the disapproving protests of Link from behind her, but she chose to push them to the back of her mind. Her full attention was on her goal. Without warning the copper frill jerked into motion and slammed protectively over the eye just as Tetra was almost there. She gasped upon realizing that her plan backfired and tried to find traction as her sandals hit the copper that covered her objective. Unfortunately, the strange metal was unbelievably slippery, and she slipped right off, too shocked to scream as she began to fall off the guardian all together.
Before the air could embrace her too long, she was jerked backwards and slammed into something. This something turned out to be someone and that someone turned out to be Link.
"You have five seconds to get your hands off of me," Tetra said calmly her tone deadly.
"You're in no position to make requests. What the heck was that? Care to inform me next time you're going to do something so reckless?" Link replied, matching her dangerous tone.
"Whatever," Tetra sighed, managing to break the contact between the two of them herself, "It would have worked if it didn't decide to suddenly guard itself. I thought those things on the sides of its head were just decoration."
"Well, they're not and because of that I had to save you," Link responded, making it sound like saving her was something too much of an inconvenience to waste time on.
"How did you even manage that anyway?" Tetra wondered, her tone still bitter although she couldn't exactly explain why. She should feel indebted to him, or at the very least grateful, but for some reason she felt no such thing, and she wasn't going to put forth the effort of fake emotions to make him think otherwise.
"With this," Link answered, holding up his left hand and brandishing one of his clawshots.
"What?! You caught me with that stupid thing? That's a weapon!" Tetra protested, furious at his audacity to use a weapon on her. Of course, it prevented her from falling goddesses only knows how many feet to her death but still.
"Yeah, a "stupid weapon" that happened to also be your lifesaver. I wouldn't complain," Link chastised her, putting it away in his pouch. Tetra huffed and faced forward again, holding onto the front of the cart. Somehow Link had managed to land on the guardian's body when the cart went flying off of the head and constant dips kept them moving forward.
A few moments of silence passed before Link spoke up again, "You know, your idea could work, but we need a way to keep the eyes uncovered."
"Yeah, I know. Do you have any ideas of how we can go about accomplishing that?" Tetra asked, still facing forward.
"Hmm…actually, I think I do. When you got close to the eye the frill covered it and as soon as you slipped off the frill snapped back to its original positon. I think its guard is triggered by motion," Link explained.
"So? How does that help us?" Tetra queried.
"Well, if we send down an object of some kind before you then the defense will be triggered, the object will slip off, and when it does its guard will be lowered. Of course, you'd be right behind the object, and there wouldn't be enough time for the frill to move back to block the eye since it'll react a second too late, and in that time you can easily slip inside," Link elucidated, surprising Tetra by how much sense his plan made.
"Huh, I guess it's worth a shot," Tetra shrugged. "Are those two still being distracting?"
The pair searched for their other two companions and found them easily. They were practically flying off the track with how fast they were going, and Kid seemed to be using his boomerang once again, although most of his shots appeared to be missing. As Link and Tetra neared the head once again, having the first actual plan they both agreed on formed, Kid had finally been successful in drawing its attention once more, and it dove at the speeding mine cart, opening its mouth, and permitting access to its crown. The drop this time wasn't as great as the last and their mine cart barely managed to clear the incline. It succeeded though, and Link dropped down an arrow like they had discussed he would. Tetra waited the designated three seconds before leaping out of the cart. She tried to slow her descent slightly but there was absolutely no traction on the crimson armor attached to the head of the serpent. The arrow neared the eye and just as before the copper metal closed protectively over the opening. The arrow bounced once and slid off. As soon as the contact between the arrow and metal was gone, the frill snapped back into place, and Tetra took her golden window of opportunity.
She grabbed onto the cool rim of the red armor that stopped at the hollow eye and swung herself in just before the barrier slammed down again. Tetra just barely let go in time to prevent her fingers from getting crushed. Inside the light was blinding but she directed her squinted gaze to the floor and rushed forward her hands striking out blindly to capture whatever they could find. They closed around something cold and hard. She grasped the object, sapphire light spilling through the gaps in her fingers. With the dimmer light Tetra could direct her eyes in front of her to see that the eye ahead was uncovered. She leaped out of it, the metallic clang telling her that the frill had closed protectively over the eye. She could care less though. She had what she wanted, thank you very much.
Link used the clawshot to pull her to him, but he aimed a little low and instead of being pulled inside the mine cart she slammed into the side, nearly dropping the object cradled in her hands. Link caught her before she could fall and lifted her inside, apologizing the entire time. She shook his mistake off faster than she normally would and straightened. She couldn't be mad at him at the moment. She was too happy. They had won!
"I can't believe that worked!" Tetra exclaimed.
"Why didn't you think it would work?" Link wondered.
"Because it was your idea," Tetra smirked, shooting him one of her signature winks.
"Ouch. That's cold," Link feigned hurt.
"If you want to talk about cold things why don't you hold this for a while?" Tetra commented, nodding at her hands that were concealing the object she had obtained from the guardian's eye.
"Sure, let me see it," Link agreed. The blue light had long ago ceased to emit from the object, and Tetra wondered why. She opened up her hands to get a good look at it. It was a clear, reflective crystal sphere that seemed to be composed of numerous tiny hexagons.
"It doesn't really look like a tear, if you ask me," Link pointed out, staring intently at the object.
"You're right. It doesn't," Tetra agreed.
"HEY GUYS!" A loud shout startled them both. They directed their attention on their companions who were coasting along on their own mine cart on a separate track a little ways away.
Seeing that he had got their attention Kid continued to yell, "What did you do? The guardian's still up and kicking!"
"What?!" Link and Tetra exclaimed in unison turning to look. The guardian was indeed alive and well. The only difference was that blue light no longer poured out of its empty eye sockets. Looking at the glowing track they were on, proved that the serpent was still functioning. 'But how? This is the tear, right?'Tetra wondered silently, looking down at the fragile orb nestled in her palms.
"We took the tear from the guardian's eye though!" Link called back.
"Hold it up, let's see it!" Princess Zelda commanded. Tetra held it up careful not to drop it. The rays of sunlight from above were consumed by the orb and unleashed in different directions.
"I don't think that's the tear!" Princess Zelda informed them.
"Then what is it?" Tetra shouted, lowering the object.
"I'm pretty sure it was a diversion from the real treasure. It reflects light, so it must have been reflecting the light of the tear and making it greater than it actually is. I'm positive that the tear is its power source though, which means that it's still hidden somewhere inside the head," Princess Zelda explained.
"So we basically grabbed something worthless, is that what you're telling me?" Tetra asked, becoming frustrated. She had really thought that they'd won a minute ago.
"Essentially, yes, but it might be worth something, so hold onto it," Princess Zelda replied.
"What's the riddle that you read on the plaque earlier again?" Tetra inquired, confident that she could figure it out.
"It was, '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 answered her.
'Let's see…' Tetra mused to herself, 'we seek Nayru's tear, the chains of the guardian must have been the riddles that held down the tracks since solving them made all of its many bodies available for it to use against us, and we grabbed a crystal from its eye which is where the treasure is so…is the tear inside the crystal?'
Tetra stared at the sphere in her hands, trying to peer inside it. She couldn't see anything, but maybe it was designed that way to conceal the tear?
"What are you doing?" Link wondered.
"Wondering if the tear's inside the crystal. The riddle said that the crystal eye is where the treasure is so I'm guessing…" Tetra trailed off. She stepped back and held the clear orb out in front of her, releasing her hold on it before anyone could stop her. The crystal shattered into pieces and they both stared down at the broken sphere, waiting for the tear to magically appear. When it didn't, Link snapped, "Tetra! Why would you do that if you weren't sure?"
Tetra shrugged, "I couldn't be completely sure if I didn't break it."
"Could it be inside the gem on the guardian's head?" Kid shouted his suggestion before Link had time to respond to Tetra's sly remark.
They directed their gaze to where the serpent calmly slithered around in the sky seeming to gloat at them for falling for its clever trick. The gem set into the golden tracks in the center of its head seemed far too obvious yet that was also what made it the perfect hiding place for the tear.
"Maybe; we'll check it out once we get onto its head again," Link called back. Princess Zelda and Kid took this as their invitation to get back to distracting and raced ahead. Now that she thought about it, it did make sense. The eyes carved out of either side of its skull was just a place for the false treasure to lie. That's why the defensive barriers were triggered by motion because it couldn't see since its single eye, the gem, was positioned at the very middle of its head. It figured that a creature created to protect the goddess of wisdom's tear was designed in such a cunning way.
A few minutes later the pair were nearing their destination, and unfortunately, their path wasn't set up as nicely as the previous two times. Their companions seemed to be having a hard time getting it to open its mouth. It arched its body and forced Link and Tetra to endure yet another breathtaking drop. Tetra prepared to go flying into the tunnel of its mouth, but by some miracle the serpent snapped opened its mouth at the last second and their speed was slowed by the incline.
"Every other time I've gone flying over the gem because of the way its head is shaped," Link warned her as they neared the top of the hill, "The gem might be too hard for you to break, even if you do manage to jump off at the right time."
"We don't have a choice. I have to do it because if you were to do it, I have no way to save you if you fall," Tetra pointed out, "I'm sure I'll be able to break it somehow."
"Fine, get ready," Link sighed. She nodded. They had switched places earlier, so that she was standing behind him. They stood back to back in the cart, and as the golden tracks passed by Tetra tensed and got ready to jump out. As the mine cart went airborne Tetra knew without being told that now was the perfect time to act. She jumped and landed on her feet just a few steps away from the large blue gem. She pulled out her dagger and approached it, being careful not to slip on the slick surface beneath her feet. It looked like it was made of a similar type of crystal as the sphere that she had shattered.
Tetra silently prayed that she could hit it with enough force to do some type of damage with her small dagger. She pulled her arm back and struck the gem. It pulsed and small cracks appeared to snake up the entire gem. Encouraged by this welcome sight, she struck it yet again, the cracks becoming larger and imitating the look of an intricate spider web across the bumpy surface of the blue gem. She was a bit surprised that the guardian wasn't filing any type of complaint at her actions. It didn't even seem to register pain, and Tetra began to wonder if it was even capable of feeling the sensation. She attacked it for a third time, and to her delight, it shattered. A pulsing blue orb was laying inside a diamond shaped glass bottle set into an indent in the skull of the serpent.
She slid her dagger into its sheath and carefully stepped over the broken fragments of the gem. Tetra grabbed the bottle, pulling it out of its resting place. She was sure it was the tear this time. The head shuddered beneath her feet causing her to drop to her knees. Tetra looked to the side to see the glowing blue of the track begin to recede quickly. It was good to know that she had shut it down, but she wasn't out of deep water just yet. She was still on the guardian which was probably going to drop out of the sky any second now.
Thankfully, the pieces of the gem weren't quite sharp enough to cut her, and she stood up without a scratch. She picked her way through the rubble as fast as she could and jumped off. There was nothing else she could have done. The thing was coming down anyway, and she had no intention of finding out what laid at the very bottom of the room. She was sure Link would save her again since he had many times before, but this time seemed to be taking longer. If he was toying with her, then it wasn't funny.
Agonizing seconds ticked by, and she was still free falling, knowing that any attempt to scream was futile. She began to wonder if Link was still on the guardian's body once it started to shut down. If that had happened then he could be in the same position she was at the moment. Before her imagination could run off without her she felt a familiar tug on the back of the red sash around her waist and she was tugged backwards. Tetra held tightly onto the glass bottle containing their prize. She was surprised to suddenly find solid ground beneath her feet and stumbled backwards.
"Are you okay, Tetra?" Link asked her, his tone seeming genuinely worried as he steadied her.
"I'm fine. What took you so long?" Tetra returned, wasting no time in portraying her displeasure.
"Sorry about that," Link apologized, "As soon as you shattered the gem I tried to get to solid ground as fast as possible. It took a bit longer than I expected though and by the time I got here you were already falling."
She nodded, straightening up and waving Link's assistance away. "Where are the others?" Tetra wondered, scanning the surrounding area.
"Making their way over here," Link said, indicating their companions with a nod of his head. They were almost to the platform. Once their companions reached them they wasted no time in climbing out of the mine cart and hurrying over to them.
"Are you two alright?" Princess Zelda queried, searching them for any hint of a scratch.
"We're okay. How about you two?" Link replied.
"We're fine too," Kid answered for them both. "More importantly, it looks like we won!"
"Of course," Tetra smirked holding up the bottle in her hands, displaying it for all to see.
"That's the tear, no doubt about it," Princess Zelda confirmed peering at it closely. Link took the oddly shaped bottle out of her hands and put it away for safekeeping.
"So, you guys ready to go after the next one?" Link joked.
"NO!" They all collectively shouted in unison as Link laughed.
"We're resting first," Princess Zelda announced, "As if that wasn't terrifying enough, it almost completely drained my magic power."
"Well, you can't be afraid of heights now, right?" Tetra chimed in.
"No. I was never afraid of heights," the princess denied shaking her head, "I just don't enjoy them very much."
"It's okay to admit it, Zelda," Link reminded her, smiling, "We already know, so you can't tell us otherwise."
"Shush you," Princess Zelda retorted, blushing slightly and refusing to admit anything.
"There's something I'm still wondering about though," Tetra spoke up her tone turning serious.
"And what's that?" Kid asked.
"How do we get out of here?" Tetra wondered, looking expectantly at her companions for an answer. Unfortunately, no one knew the answer to that question either.