The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 21: Eldin's Silence

Shadows were creeping into their domain as the group of four drew close to the peaceful village of Kakariko. The journey took twice as long as it was supposed to as a result of the ambush early on and their lunch break which they had tried their best to keep brief. High rocky ridges stood tall on either side of them, the right hand wall practically glowing gold in the waning light.

Link had quickened their pace to a light trot so they wouldn't be stuck riding at night again. Kid found himself inwardly wincing every time the animal beneath him moved. The potion hadn't done as much to ease the pain as he had hoped it would, but he didn't want to bother anyone else by speaking out about this fact. For the time being, he chose to deal with it. After all, Tetra wasn't complaining. Then again, she didn't get hit by an axe at least twice her size.

When an iron gate, that Kid presumed to be the entrance to the village, came into view, he didn't feel as relieved as he thought he would. Actually, he would have been elated if it wasn't for the fact that the gate was locked shut. Link noticed this too and stopped Epona a foot from the blockade.

"I didn't think Kakariko locked these gates anymore," Link muttered in frustration.

"Do you think it this might have something to do with the gorons?" Princess Zelda inquired.

"Maybe," Link replied. "Whatever the case, we're going to have to jump it. If it is a result of the goron's problem then there's no guarantee that it'll be open in the morning."

'Jump it?' Kid wondered silently as the princess and hero backed their steeds up so they were a respectable distance from the gate. Any other time, Kid would have been eager to try it, but not now. Not when his side hurt this badly.

"Lean forward, but don't press too hard on her neck," Link instructed Kid as they got ready to charge at the fence. Based on the fact that the princess had never jumped a fence riding double before, Link and Kid had been elected to go first to demonstrate. Kid did as he was told, biting his lip when the movement caused the pain in his side to increase in intensity. Link urged Epona forward, and they gradually accelerated, each burst of speed jarring Kid's side even more.

Right before Kid thought they would hit the gate, the horse leaped up and cleared the iron gate with room to spare. While they were airborne, Kid actually forgot about the aching in his side. That all changed when they landed though. He let out a small moan when the pain made itself known once again, and unfortunately this didn't go unnoticed by Link.

"You okay, there?" Link asked, sitting up straighter so Kid could do so as well.

"Honestly, I'm not sure," Kid admitted, touching his right side gingerly.

"The spring will heal you. It's not far from here, so don't worry," Link assured him, as they watched Princess Zelda's white horse hop over the gate, barely clearing it.

"Hey, Zelda," Link said as the girls came closer, "Take them to the spring, but don't call Eldin yet." Link hopped off of Epona and turned to leave when the princess stopped him.

"Wait! Where are you going?" Princess Zelda wondered, adjusting her hood which had slipped down when they had jumped the gate.

"The inn. I'm going to arrange for us to stay there for tonight," Link answered before walking away. The trio followed the dirt road until they came to the spring. The water was clear and sparkled in the fading light. This one seemed larger than the last, the sacred water continuing even past the mini waterfall towards the back.

Kid carefully dismounted and stepped into the spring. He was surprised to find that his boots didn't get wet until he remembered that he still had the water dragon scale necklace on. Tetra smirked at his stupidity as she removed her own. He watched her as she waded deeper into the spring before plunging her injured arm into the water.

Kid took off the necklace and let it dangle from his right hand as he ventured deeper into the liquid. The pain didn't seem to fade.

"Didn't you hurt your side?" Tetra inquired coming closer. She had unraveled the bandage from her arm to reveal smooth, unbroken skin.

"Yeah, so?" Kid replied.

"So, you have to put it in the water for the spring to heal you," Tetra informed him, crossing her arms in a know-it-all manner. Kid did as she suggested and instantly regretted it. The water lapped at his side, but it might as well have been fire.

"Oww!" Kid cried out through gritted teeth.

"Oh yeah, it hurts too," Tetra added.

"Thanks for warning me," Kid said sarcastically as the pain began to subside.

"Hey, that's what friends are for," she winked, smirking. Some friend she was. Still, he supposed that's why they were best friends. Opposites attract after all. She held out a hand to help him up which he accepted as soon as the dull ache in his side ceased to exist. He put the necklace on again so he wouldn't lose it and was surprised when it caused the water clinging to his clothes to evaporate. There seemed to be multiple uses for the valuable item, and Kid hoped that they wouldn't have to give their prizes away once they found a way home.

The pair made their way to the shore of the spring where Princess Zelda was waiting. Kid looked to the sky and wondered how he hadn't seen the large mountain in the distance before. Against the darkening backdrop of the sky, it looked like someone had decided to unprofessionally splatter orange all over the mountain which almost certainly guaranteed that it was active.

"Is that mountain supposed to be spewing fire?" Tetra queried, pointing to the distance.

"Yes, that's Death Mountain," Princess Zelda replied calmly, stroking her horse's immaculate coat, "It's a volcano."

"Nice name for a mountain," Tetra commented, grinning wryly. "Judging by its name, there must not be very many people who are bold enough to live there, right?"

"Certainly not any Hylians, but the Gorons find it quite livable," Princess Zelda responded, "Still, few Hylians inhabit Kakariko."

Link approached them a few minutes later announcing that he had gotten them rooms at the inn and proudly stated that the deal included free breakfast and the use of the hot springs on the inn's roof.

"Are we going to speak to the light spirit or not?" Tetra wondered as Princess Zelda and Link started to walk to the inn.

"I was thinking we should do it tomorrow. I mean, we did get ambushed this morning and besides that we had to travel all day to get here," Link said, stopping to address Tetra.

"Oh please, Kid and I are fine now," Tetra rolled her eyes waving her now fully healed arm to prove her point.

"The spring doesn't recover blood loss," Link argued.

Tetra continued as if she hadn't heard him, "There will no doubt be people walking around in the morning. Won't it be a bit awkward talking to a light spirit then?"

Link was silent for a few seconds, seeming to mull over her words before countering with his own, "While that's true, if we talk to Eldin now we'll have to do one of those trials again." Kid still remembered the last one vividly and was surprised that he didn't have nightmares last night. He wasn't sure if it was the most terrifying thing he'd ever done in his life, but it was definitely one of them, and he didn't fancy the idea of doing it again.

"I'm up for it," Tetra stated fearlessly. She then turned to him for support, and who was he to deny it to her?

"It might be better to get it over with," Kid added honestly. Link shook his head, not seeming to believe what he was hearing.

Finally he relented, "Fine, but on one condition."

"Which is…" Tetra prompted.

"Which is you're the last one to step out of the circle," Link replied.

Tetra shrugged. "Fine by me." Everyone then looked to Zelda expectantly. She stepped into the spring and bowed her head, closing her eyes in concentration. The spring lit up quickly and in a matter of seconds, light swirled around large boulders in and around the spring. Only when the water was bathed in light did the spirit shoot up from the rippling liquid.

The light spirit seemed to be composed entirely of holy light just like the last spirit they had seen. However, that is where the similarities stopped between the two beings, for while Lanayru had appeared to be a snake, this new spirit, Eldin, took the form of a magnificent owl-like bird with enormous wings. Eldin gripped a ball of light in his powerful talons which seemed to serve as his perch.

"Ah…." Eldin hummed, "Lanayru told me to expect the four chosen to approach me. I didn't think I would receive the honor so soon. As you know, the treasure you seek, Din's Tear, is protected inside a hidden temple that evil cannot touch. I cannot allow access to this temple until you all undergo a trial placed by the goddess. I shall send you into the trial myself. Behind me, there are three rocks gathered close together in a loose circle. Step into the center, and I shall transport you into the trial."

The foursome made their way to the rock formation like Eldin had instructed, using the cave to the left to get to the rear of the spring. In the middle of the three rocks was a circle of teal light. Kid was the last to step in. This time he expected the dizziness and was prepared when his head began to swim. He closed his eyes and shook his head to clear it. When he dared to open his eyes again, everything had been dyed a pale blue and all sound seemed to have died along with every other color. A strange feeling constricted his chest, and he soon found himself holding a spirit vessel, topped with dainty white petals.

"As I understand, you four have successfully completed a Silent Realm before. Will an explanation be in order?" Eldin's voice echoed around them.

"Yes!" Link answered for them all, not hesitating for a second.

"In that case, listen carefully," Eldin continued, "This realm, appropriately named the Silent Realm, is a distorted reflection of the normal world. In this realm of spirits you are defenseless and must obtain fifteen sacred tears each. As there are four of you, there are a total of sixty tears to collect. These tears are held in your spirit vessels and the flowers on the top of each vessel are timers. The flowers will slowly wilt as you progress. If all of the petals fall, the guardians will wake up. The only way to put the guardians back to sleep is to obtain a tear, which immediately resets the timer, and you will have exactly ninety seconds to reach the next tear before the guardians awaken. If a guardian manages to land a hit on you, your spirit will immediately shatter and everyone will fail the trial. Because this is a teamwork effort, you can continue to collect tears even when your personal spirit vessel is full. The sacred tear will simply find its way to the vessel that is nearest to completion. Once all the tears have been collected you must make your way back to the trial gate.

Aside from the tears there are white fruits placed periodically across this realm. These fruits are called Light Fruit and picking one up will cause beacons to appear above every remaining tear for thirty seconds. These fruits do not grow back, so use them wisely.

Besides the guardians there are other dangers in the Silent Realm. Not everything sleeps as long as the realm is silent. Watchers are poe-like entities that will awaken the guardians if they catch you in their beam of light. They have very acute hearing so the more noise you make, the more likely you are to get caught. Waking Water is the only liquid that can be found in this realm, and it is by no means normal. Stepping into it prematurely wakes the guardians from their temporary slumber. There is little you can do to avoid this threat aside from stepping carefully. I believe that is all the information I have to disclose about the trial. Good luck chosen ones."

They certainly had more information than last time, but it brought little comfort. Stretching out before them was the rest of the spring, its sacred water transformed into Waking Water. Kid saw no problem with it at the moment since the realm will come alive anyway as soon as one of them stepped out of their sanctuary. The tricky part will be getting back undetected. The closest tear appeared to be on the shore of the spring which was a good running distance away. He spotted a mace wielding guardian on the shore set against the right wall. Even though that appeared to be the only threat, Kid remembered how a flying guardian had materialized out of nowhere last time. There was a possibility that the same thing could happen. The only good thing about it now was that there was more places to run.

"Okay, since everything will turn into chaos once we step out of this circle, let's make our strategy now," Link spoke up after assessing the situation.

"If the first person to make it to shore grabs the tear then it will not stop the guardians because everyone else will still be in the water. It might be hard keeping track of each other when we start, so how about everyone announces when they're out of the water," Princess Zelda suggested.

"That could work," Link nodded. "Let's do this: When you reach the shore shout 'here' once, so everyone knows that you're not in the water. Once you hear that four times, then go for the tear." Everyone nodded in comprehension and got ready to run.

Link was the first to step outside their protective flower. Unlike last time, no one faltered as the world around them became consumed in mayhem. Kid ran after him, the strange liquid licking his ankles as red flashed across his vision. He jumped off of the tiny waterfall and into knee deep water which made running a bit more of a challenge. Link reached land with a shouted, "Here!" as he veered to the right to avoid running into the tear.

A flying guardian passed through the wall to Kid's right, aiming a hit at him. Kid side flipped to avoid the attack at the last second, and continued running. Another flying guardian blocked his path after just a few steps. As it brought its twin blades down he rolled forward and they missed him by a good foot or two. He reached the shore safely and yelled out a relieved, "Here!" He couldn't relax yet though. The guardian on land had ceased chasing Link as soon as it caught sight of him. Go figure.

He gave the sacred tear a wide berth, ducking under the weapon swung at his face. "Hurry up, girls!" Link called towards the spring. Kid would have added his own input if he hadn't been running for his life. A faint call of, "Here!" somehow reached his ears over the pounding of his heart and the eerily clanking wails that somehow passed as a repetitive song.

Link decided to try to help him but only ended up in getting them both pursued. Kid couldn't tell how long it was until the fourth "Here!" sounded, but as soon as it did his eyes searched for the tear. Luckily, he was close to it. He bolted for the shining object and as soon as his fingertips made contact the world of crimson chaos turned into a realm of eerily silent sapphire once again. Everyone paused where they were to catch their breath.

"Those guardians are relentless," Tetra sighed, shaking her head, "A stupid flying one almost got me."

"And that's why we're going to be extra careful to not let the guardians wake up again," Link said, recovering from the chase.

"It would wise to keep some tears near the spring so we have a better chance of getting back to the trial gate at the end," Princess Zelda interjected.

"In that case, let's go to the top of the watch tower. We'll have a good view of the entire area," Link proposed beginning to lead them away from the spring. They strolled through the center of the village cautiously, the buildings about as lively as they were outside of the Silent Realm. Link collected a tear that was directly in their path. Up ahead the light of a Watcher came into view and everyone immediately tried to make their footfalls unnoticeable. The creature seemed to already have a specific route planned out, just like the others they had come across in the previous trial, and unfortunately, they were in its path.

The foursome hurried to the side of the road, attempting to blend in with the murky blue shadows. As the Watcher passed by, Kid held his breath. He wasn't sure if it would help, but it was certainly a smart precaution to take if the Watcher's keen ears could detect even the softest sound. It passed them by without incident and when they dared to move, and breathe, again they did so as quietly as possible. Link led them over to the steps of a shop where a tear rested. Princess Zelda grabbed it as they made their way up the steps and into the building where they climbed a metal staircase, ignoring the sleeping guardian inside, and found another tear. Tetra claimed this one as her own before they left the shop and emerged on its roof.

Kid collected the tear on the left side of the roof while Link grabbed the one on the right. They made their way to a cliffside that presented them with two options, collecting two additional tears on the way. To the left three Watchers danced routinely around the ruins of a building, greedily keeping the tears stationed there imprisoned. To their right a wide puddle of waking water covered the entire width of the cliff, leaving no room to sneak by. Beyond the waking water, a flying guardian slumbered.

The group chose to take their chances with the poe-like beings first. After watching their route for a few seconds it became easy to time. Princess Zelda managed to pick her way swiftly through the rubble and come away with two tears added to her spirit vessel. Kid slipped past a dozing guardian to get to a tear placed on a small wooden overhang while Tetra made her way behind the wreckage to grab the last tear in the area.

Kid had just collected the tear and was about to make his way back to where Link and the princess were waiting when everything flashed red. Taken aback by the sudden change in the atmosphere he foolishly froze in his tracks. Unfortunately, he had stopped right next to the guardian he had slipped past just a few seconds before to retrieve the tear. It swung its mace horizontally, and it would have gotten him if his reflexes weren't as good as they thankfully were. He instinctively back flipped to avoid the weapon, and it passed harmlessly underneath him. While the maneuver saved him from having his spirit shattered, it unfortunately doomed him at the same time. The platform was too small for him to hope to land on his feet, and so he only succeeded in leaping backwards off of it. In an attempt to save himself from falling to his death, he reached out with both hands and managed to grab the edge of the platform. He hung there attempting to catch his breath and trying not to think about the consequences of his grip slipping.

The haunting noises of the realm persisted as the crimson glow soaked everything. Kid peered upwards, hoping to find the guardian gone so he could climb up. His hopes were crushed. The guardian hadn't lost interest in him as he'd hoped, and it was now towering over him. Annoyed that it had not succeeded in killing him, the guardian brought its mace down vertically, aiming for his hands. Kid quickly weighed his options. Let his spirit be smashed into a million tiny pieces or fall off of a cliff. He let go.

The weapon just barely missed him and came smashing down on the wood, somehow not splintering it. Kid hardly cared about that though. He was more focused on trying to slow his descent, but with nothing to grab on to it was a lost cause. He let out a scream even though he knew that there was nothing anyone else could do. He tried to grab something from his weapons pouch, dread filling him when he realized that it wasn't there. He had promised Aryll that he'd come back. He had promised along with Tetra that they would find New Hyrule. He couldn't die!

He shut his eyes, bracing for impact. It came quicker than he had expected, and he was surprised that pain didn't go shooting up his back and through his entire being. He could breathe just fine. Kid cracked his eyes open experimentally, shocked when blue embraced his vision. Daring to open his eyes completely, he was left staring up at the cliff he had fallen off of, two frantic faces appearing over the edge. He sat up slowly and looked himself over. Nothing was broken or even bruised. Then he remembered what Eldin had said. In this realm they were nothing more than spirits and as such nothing but the guardians could physically harm them.

"I'm okay!" Kid shouted up to his companions after getting to his feet. The pair simply nodded, not wanting to risk drawing the attention of the Watchers near them. Kid ran back into the shop and climbed onto the roof, rejoining with the girls rather quickly.

"Well, now we know a quick way down once we get to the watch tower," Tetra smirked, as he drew closer.

"Not funny," he informed his friend, frowning disapprovingly. He had really thought he was going to die for a second.

"Yes, it is!" Tetra insisted. "It's even funnier because I was the one to wake up the guardians, by accident of course."

"Yeah, well if I had died, it would have been your fault, and then you would have to live with the guilt of killing me and be tormented by my ghost for the rest of your life," he countered.

"I'll keep that in mind the next time I almost kill you," Tetra promised.

"Please do," he said, cracking a smile. "But don't make almost killing me a habit."

"Hey!" Link called from behind them, catching their attention. He was on the other side of the puddle of Waking Water, "I'm glad you're okay Kid, but could you hurry up with the chatting? We are on a time limit you know. We've got less than thirty seconds."

The time limit had temporarily slipped his mind. The reminder of it instantly silenced them though and they returned to the task at hand. The puddle of Waking Water seemed easy enough to jump over, but Link stood beside a tear on the other side just in case one of them slipped up. Tetra went first, surprisingly clearing it with room to spare. Kid hurdled it next, barely making it due to his legs still shaking from his near death experience. Princess Zelda went last. Out of everyone she should have made it without a problem since her legs were longer. However, she didn't quite make it and the heel of her foot skimmed the water's edge.

Everything flashed red, but it didn't last long. Link retrieved the tear and the realm was silenced before the guardians could so much as move from their designated resting places. They progressed up the cliff, following the sloping path while they claimed sacred tears along the way. They entered a small building to their left when they reached the wooden platform. Inside was a dozing guardian and a tear which Tetra grabbed before she started climbing up the ladder. When they emerged from the building they scaled another ladder to get on the roof.

A flying guardian was positioned in the back right corner. In front of them was a light fruit and another tear. Kid claimed the tear as Princess Zelda grabbed the fruit. The foursome then peered at the land below them. Link had been correct when he had said it would give them a good viewpoint. A large number of golden beacons riddled the landscape below them, showing them the location of each tear. It was a bit discouraging to see how many they still had left to collect. Kid was sure that the beacons would disappear if he took the labor of counting them all. A single Watcher patrolled up and down through the center of the village. Besides that, there didn't seem to be much to worry about except for a small patch of Waking Water near some sheds close to the shop that they had passed through to get to the cliffside.

"There are three beacons close to the spring. Two of them look like they are coming out of that cave we went through to get to the back of the spring. We should retrieve them last," Princess Zelda suggested.

"That should work," Link agreed. "We should make the graveyard one of the last places too since it's close to the spring."

"So we'll work forwards from here, basically," Tetra summed up.

"Yup," Link confirmed with a small nod.

"Okay then let's go," Tetra said, stepping closer to the edge of the roof. Link grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"What are you doing?" Link demanded.

Tetra shook her arm free before replying, "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm jumping."

"Why?!" Link asked, thoroughly confused.

"Because we've collected all of the sacred tears here and trekking back down will take too long. By the time we get to the bottom the guardians will already be awake. This is much faster. Besides, you know what they say: If your friends jump off a cliff you should too!" Tetra returned, stepping close to the edge once again.

"That's not how the saying goes!" Link exclaimed as Kid protested, "I didn't jump! I back flipped and fell."

"That works too," Tetra shrugged. She then proceeded to backflip off of the roof.

"Is she insane?" Link wondered in disbelief as they watched her fall.

Princess Zelda shook her head in astonishment as Kid answered him, "She's done crazier things."

"I don't even want to know," Link said as they witnessed Tetra landing on her feet and waving at them to join her.

"Yeah, you really don't," Kid agreed, grimacing at the memory of the time she had shot him out of a catapult in a barrel against his will and missed.

"She may seem crazy, but she's right," Princess Zelda spoke up. "We will run out of time if we attempt to make our way down there on foot." Princess Zelda then surprised them both when she jumped off as well.

"And…they've both lost it," Link sighed.

"Well, if you can't beat them, join them," Kid advised. He jumped off of the roof. He had already fallen once. The second time didn't seem as terrifying as the first since he had done it voluntarily and knew this time that he wasn't capable of getting injured in his spirit form. As he landed, he instinctively rolled forward. Link joined them soon after.

"Now was that so hard?" Tetra taunted. Instead of responding Link simply made his way over to the closest tear and added it to his spirit vessel. Kid approached the entrance of Kakariko. The iron gate they had hurdled earlier was locked tight and barred by a pale purple fence for good measure. He collected the tear in front of the double barricade before regrouping with his companions who were puzzling over a new obstacle.

Stacked up sheds created makeshift steps up to the sloping shingled roof of a small shack where a lone tear rested. The problem was that Waking Water lapped the base of the first shed. After a few seconds, it receded. Kid counted how long it took for the water to reappear and barely cleared three seconds before the shifting liquid started growing again.

Link was nominated to retrieve the sacred tear since neither Kid nor Tetra could get onto the shed without assistance and the princess feared that she wouldn't be fast enough. Link slowly inched forward as the Waking Water receded. When he could tread safely, he dashed forward and grabbed onto the rim of the small structure, pulling himself up just as the water crawled out from its hiding place. With no other threat, Link easily scaled the remaining shed to get onto the roof and collect the tear.

"There's another tear behind this thing. I'm going to get it," Link turned to inform them before sliding off of the roof and out of sight. He returned a few seconds later and they continued, grabbing tears as they went, while keeping a wary eye out for the Watcher they knew was lurking through the ghost town. They were forced to stop once and slip into an alleyway to avoid getting caught in the Watcher's pool of light. When it was a safe distance away, they darted out from hiding, Link leading them. He led them past a shop where Princess Zelda collected another tear.

They made their way up a small hill. Tetra ran ahead and collected another tear. Kid claimed the one on a small wooden platform overhanging a shop below before joining the others. There was a small gap between the raised slope they were standing on and a wooden deck that could be described as both broken and unfinished was positioned a good distance away. Link jumped it easily, and motioned for them to follow after retrieving the sacred tear. Kid obeyed, taking a few steps back to give himself a running start. He landed on the deck and moved out of the way for the next person. Both girls leaped across without incident, and they all continued, climbing higher.

Kid slipped under the support beams for the second flight of stairs to collect a tear. At the peak they found a pool of what was probably once the hot springs Link had mentioned earlier but was now mirrored in the Silent Realm as Waking Water. A tear lay near the water's edge. Princess Zelda carefully collected it, and they made their way to the other side of the village where buildings that Kid had presumed to be abandoned even back in the normal world stood.

From their aerial view of the town earlier, they knew that on the roofs of the houses were tears waiting to be found and given a home in one of the glass orbs of the spirit vessels. Link volunteered to retrieve them since the effort of everyone climbing up to the rooftops would waste time. They all watched as Link disappeared after he crested the first roof. A few seconds later a sacred tear darted towards the threesome seeming to be pushed by an invisible force and nestled itself inside Kid's spirit vessel. He was perplexed at first, but then remembered what Eldin had told them. That meant that Link's spirit vessel had to be full.

Link returned shortly after that brandishing his now completed spirit vessel for them all to see.

"One down, three to go," Tetra announced as Link led them to the graveyard entrance. Kid grabbed a light fruit that was in front of him and six beacons lit up the locations of the tears. Graves littered the ground, most slabs of stone partially broken or faded. He spotted three guardians and two watchers, one wandering among the graves, the other patrolling a higher ledge in the back.

The group of four waited until the grave Watcher returned to the left hand graves before moving towards the right. A beacon signaled that a tear was in the second grave but no one could see it.

"Maybe it's under the grave," Princess Zelda whispered, so as not to call attention to their small party. Link moved the grave as suggested and a sacred tear was revealed. Tetra grabbed it, and they moved on. Kid retrieved a tear from behind a dead looking tree. He had begun to notice that all of the trees in the town had looked just as lifeless even in the normal world. Kid blamed it on the volcano, though. It made the entire village warmer, which couldn't be beneficial to many plants.

The Watcher was looping back around to their side, so they swiftly changed direction to avoid it, being rewarded with another tear. They then decided to claim the tear guarded by the second Watcher. Princess Zelda retrieved it without managing to set off an alarm, and they quickly moved away towards the graves they had ignored earlier. They retrieved the last two tears in the graveyard and hurried away just before the Watcher could catch them in its light.

They made their way towards the cave, Tetra collecting a forgotten tear on the way. Kid's spirit vessel was now full as well. Princess Zelda grabbed a tear near the mouth of the cave before they all ventured inside. The flying guardian that had materialized out of thin air in the beginning was snoozing inside along with the second to last tear which Tetra retrieved, completing her spirit vessel. They followed the tunnel and came upon the last tear. All the tears had been collected, the white flowers atop each spirit vessel showing no signs of decay.

They emerged from the cave. There was no choice but to jump down into the Waking Water for they couldn't reach the trial gate without doing so. Deep tones of scarlet painted their vision as the realm was awoken from its eerily peaceful slumber. The guardians had no time to seek out their souls though. Kid and his companions reached their blue blossom of safety in a matter of seconds, thus successfully completing their second trial.

The spirit vessels simultaneously floated out of their hands and burst in a blizzard of soft white petals. A new object replaced it. Their new prize appeared to be another piece of jewelry. This time a ring of some sort. It was a glowing reddish orange in color at first glance, but it seemed to be made of glass. Looking closely, he noticed that beneath the glass shield a thick liquid, which reminded him strongly of lava seemed to flow, bouncing off the sides and causing certain sections of it to be blackened.

A dizzy spell assailed them all without warning, and a few seconds later they found themselves back in the realm of flesh and bone. Kid shook the last remnants of the dizziness away and turned to the light spirit that was towering over them.

"You have done well, chosen ones," Eldin praised them, flapping his great wings lightly in approval. "The items you now hold are gifts from the goddess, awarded to you to help you navigate the temple and other challenges you may be faced with in the future. It is called the Ash-Fire Ring. It protects the wearer from extreme heat. In addition, it will allow you to run across lava or fire. However, be warned about this particular power. It will only work if you run. If you walk or stand still the ring will not be able to function properly and it will not protect you from direct contact. While it is not being used the ring will turn black. When it is using its power to protect you it will glow a bright red, the intensity and exact shade of this color varies depending on how much the ring must work to protect you or function the way you want it to.

Completing the trial has broken the seal placed on the temple so you may enter it when you wish. The temple's entrance is under the water in the back of my spring. Diving down a short way should enable you to access the tunnel set against the farthest wall. When you are ready, enter the Temple of Din, goddess of power, strength, earth, and fire. May fortune follow you." With that the great spirit of light faded away along with the golden tint of the water and the runes swirling around the rocks.

While they had undergone the trial, night had settled its cloak over the land of Hyrule. The group of four chosen ones made their way toward the inn, sleep in mind. However when they reached it they were greeted by three people. Two men and a woman. The new people hurried them all over to a table where they all began to chat. After just a few sentences out of the mouth of one of the strangers, Kid knew that he probably wouldn't be getting the sleep he'd hoped for tonight.


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