The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 25: Silence at Twilight

The warning replayed in her head like a catchy tune she couldn't forget no matter how hard she tried. Tensing, her hand unconsciously slipped down to the dagger at her side. She resisted the urge to pull it out of its sheath though. The air was still as it held the words that the spirit of light's disembodied voice had whispered a few seconds prior.

Nothing presented itself. A shadow didn't block out the sun as she'd expected. Light remained and with it, their apprehension. No one dared to move for fear of setting off whatever malevolent force was apparently approaching them.

"What a surprise meeting you here," a sinister voice, dark and cold uttered calmly from somewhere behind them. Whirling around to face the speaker, Tetra was slightly taken aback at his appearance. It was odd to say the least. Baggy black clothing decorated with turquoise runes donned his tall frame. The sleeves of the robe were longer than was necessary, the tassels on each one brushing the ground. A strange metallic mask obscured his face.

"Zant, why aren't you dead?" Link questioned, his left hand on the hilt of his sword, face full of anger trying to cover up confusion.

"I'm the King of Twilight, need you any other explanation?" the being, Zant, scoffed as if there was no other answer. "However, that is not the question you should be asking; don't you wish to know what I want?"

"I already know what you want," Link growled, drawing his sword.

"Is that so? Then enlighten me, hero," Zant mocked him.

"You want to cover this world in twilight. I've got news for you, it's not going to happen," Link announced with certainty.

"Eventually, yes. That is what I wish, but it's not what I seek at the moment," Zant returned. At Link's surprised expression Zant continued, "Give me the girl and I'll take my leave."

"Never," Link narrowed his eyes at the self-proclaimed king, stepping in front of Princess Zelda in an act of defiance.

"I see you still misunderstand me," Zant sighed, "I do not want her. I want the little one." Tetra knew that he was talking about her, but she couldn't fathom the reason why. She'd never seen this guy in her life. He couldn't possibly know about her true heritage, or her Triforce of Wisdom. Even if he did, that wouldn't make her a different prize than Princess Zelda herself, so what did he want her for specifically?

"That's not happening either," Link pushed Tetra behind him, much to her annoyance. This guy didn't seem so tough.

Confident that she could take him, Tetra unsheathed her dagger, raised it, and yelled, "You want a piece of me, you can have it!" Before she could take more than two steps towards Zant, she was restricted by Link. "I can take him," she insisted.

"No, you can't," Link pulled her back, so he was in front of her again. She didn't know what made her stay this time. Maybe it was the lack of amusement in Link's eyes that signed to her that he was serious, and she was in over her head, or maybe it was his dangerous tone of voice that held her back. Whatever it was, she stayed behind Link even though she didn't really want to. She could protect herself, she didn't need anyone else doing it for her, but for some reason, Link persisted.

"Resisting are we?" Zant asked rhetorically, seeming confident. "That is rather foolhardy of you, but I expected nothing less" He raised his right arm and waved it with a single flourish as if motioning someone to step into plain sight. A small being literally came flying and stopped abruptly beside Zant, hovering in the air.

The newcomer was an imp. She, judging by her feminine body Tetra was positive that she was indeed a female, was suspended in the air, hands behind her back as if she was a prisoner restrained by chains. Her skin was a mix of black and white with turquoise symbols, similar to those on Zant's sleeves, crawling up her arms and legs. Her head was bowed, showing off her fiery orange hair which was held in a high ponytail. She lifted her head as if in a daze. At noticing their small group, her expression turned to one of joy.

"Midna!" Link and Princess Zelda exclaimed in unison, surprise and happiness in both of their voices.

"Link, Zelda…" the imp girl, Midna trailed off seeming lost in thought.

"Let her go now, Zant," Link ordered, his voice hard.

"Give me the girl and I will," Zant bartered.

Link glanced back at Tetra briefly before responding with a defiant, "No."

"I could kill her you know," Zant threatened, rising Midna up in the air as if putting her on display. The imp girl cried out in protest, straining against her invisible bonds to get free.

"You wouldn't. You would lose your hostage," Link pointed out, seeing through his bluff.

"It appears I'm not being persuasive enough. I need more than one hostage to convince you. How about my Shadow Beasts devour that other child of yours you have with you, hmm? His feeble life is insignificant, and I would be doing myself a favor in getting one pest out of the way."

Zant waved his other cloaked arm, and Tetra looked to her right where Kid was supposed to be. Instead she found a red see through barrier, strange black and red crystals posing as posts for the fence. Kid looked bewildered, wondering how he had become imprisoned in such a short period of time. He reached out to touch the barrier, but Link stopped him from doing so with a frantic, "Don't!" Kid lowered his hand and turned his attention to the portal made up of black squares with red tainted symbols that materialized in the sky. From it fell three creatures, all large and black, as if they were solid shadows. The creatures wore otherworldly masks over their faces.

While intimidating, they didn't deter Kid. He unsheathed his sword and shield, ready to fight.

"You have to kill them at the same time or the remaining one will resurrect the other two," Link advised as everyone's attention turned to the area.

"Don't waste your breath," Zant cut in, clearly underestimating the young boy's power.

They all watched as Kid engaged the three creatures in combat, dealing a decent blow to all of them without being touched once. It was unclear if he had done any damage, but Tetra had seen him strike each monster, so he must have. Distancing himself from the Shadow Beasts, Kid crouched down low as if he was about to execute a spin attack.

The creatures seemed to lose interest when Kid retreated, but that didn't stop him. Light seemed to be absorbed into his blade, and after a few seconds, it burst into a display of brilliant yellow sparks. The magic covered the entire sword, and he waited a few seconds before releasing it with a yell. Kid spun wildly around the arena, easily cutting down his foes in synchronization.

The monsters exploded into black squares which then morphed into a portal in the sky which was riddled with turquoise runes. The barrier disappeared, and Kid slowed down a moment later, dizzily stumbling as he tried and failed to remain upright.

"No! No! That isn't right!" Zant cried out in frustration, stamping his feet like a child having a temper tantrum, "You weren't supposed to be able to best them!"

Tetra's attention returned to the imp girl who had been struggling to get free before. She seemed to be able to wrench free from whatever had been restricting her, and Tetra smirked. In losing his composure, Zant had momentarily released his hold on his prisoner.

Midna quickly flew over to them and turned to face Zant arms crossed, a smug expression on her face. Zant momentarily halted his flailing to notice that his victim wasn't next to him like she should be. Upon realizing his mistake, he became even more furious and continued his fit, much to the amusement of his spectators. Tetra could safely say she'd never encountered anyone quite like him. He seemed controlled at first, but when things didn't go as planned, he was laughably immature.

"You're in trouble now. All you had to do was give me the girl but no. You stubbornly refused. Defying me will not end well for you. We will get her eventually, and then there will be nothing you can do to stop us!" Zant declared twisting and contorting his body in ways that shouldn't have been humanely possible. He disappeared in a flurry of black particles, leaving them all unsettled.

For a few seconds no one spoke as if they were debating whether Zant was actually gone or not. Once it was confirmed that he had left, they all burst into conversation which became so chaotic that everyone's words jumbled together to the point where no one was making sense to anyone but themselves.

Just when it started to transform into a yelling match Princess Zelda silenced them all by stirring up a gust of wind to knock them all off balance.

"Oi! What was that for?" Tetra exclaimed, jumping to her feet and glaring at the princess in annoyance.

"I only did it because you're all acting like children. We won't make any progress by shouting at each other. See some sense," Princess Zelda explained calmly.

"Ah, Princess Zelda, the ever wise one," Midna mused, righting herself in the air and giving the princess an impish grin.

"Midna, you must know more than all of us, so you should speak first. Start at the beginning, and once you're finished we'll ask you anything you haven't cleared up and go from there," Princess Zelda announced eyeing the imp.

"Wait a minute!" Tetra interjected, addressing Midna, "Kid and I still don't know anything about you. For instance, what are you exactly?"

"You light dwellers really are ignorant," Midna rolled her eyes, "I could be asking you two the same thing, you know?"

"Midna's a Twili from the Twilight Realm which is a realm connected to this one," Link quickly summarized, then turned to Midna in question. "Or at least it was connected, but the mirror is gone, so how did you and Zant even get here?"

"That was Zant's doing," Midna stated, "Zant could always create portals to travel between the world of light and the world of twilight. It's a lost art that he somehow mastered. It was only ever meant to be used by the ruler of the Twili, but that was a long time ago. Now it's not meant to be used at all. Still, he used it to get us both here. Now, if you'll excuse me I think that the best place to start my explanation would probably be the last time I saw you two," Midna began tapping her chin in thought as she addressed Link and the princess. "Shortly after I shattered the mirror and returned to the world of twilight I learned that Zant had not been killed in the Twilight Realm when we fought him for the final time. He had faked his death using his copy and teleportation magic and managed to escape to another part of the realm. I hunted him down and was faced with the decision to execute him or imprison him.

Taking into account everything he'd done, it should have been quite obvious that I should end his life. However, I was…merciful. Don't ask me why, but I locked him up instead, confiscating his remaining power and sealing it away. I set up an intricate guarding system just in case he somehow managed to get free.

Everything was peaceful until a few days ago when Zant managed to break out of the prison I had placed him in. He didn't do it alone, though. He had outside help. Anyway, long story short, Zant and the other guy stormed my palace, and cursed me and my people. Then Zant took me captive and came to the light world. He managed to plunge Ordona Province into perpetual twilight, but he seemed to be doing so only to draw attention, to lure you I imagine."

"Wait, so you're telling me that Ordon is…" Link trailed off.

"Yes, there was nothing I could do to stop him," Midna sighed, "The curse placed on me this time is weaker, but even so, I don't have my full power, and when Zant's confident about something he's fairly hard to best."

"What do you mean cursed?" Kid chimed in hesitantly, as if he was unsure if he had the right to speak.

"You honestly think I look like this?" Midna exclaimed in disgust motioning to her body. "I've been reduced to this state by the magic of Zant and whoever he's working with. In reality, I'm quite beautiful. Aren't I, Link?"

"Uh…do I have to answer that?" Link blushed madly.

"What? Are you implying that your answer would be no?" Midna quipped, hands on her hips in a testing manner.

"W-What?! No! Not at all!" Link replied hastily, raising his hands in defense and vigorously shaking his head.

Midna rolled her eyes, "Eee hee hee! Messing with you is still fun!"

"Returning to the matter at hand, Midna, you mentioned a second person that was helping Zant. Who was it?" Princess Zelda interjected.

"Oh right, him," Midna said, her facial features losing their lightheartedness. "I don't know who he is or where he comes from, but I do know that he's powerful. After all, he broke Zant out like it was nothing and helped him curse me and my people."

"What does he look like?" Link questioned her, his previous embarrassment gone.

"White hair, white clothes, a weird cape…" Midna listed, "In truth, I didn't get more than a few glimpses of him amidst all of the confusion."

"I don't know of anyone that fits that description," Link confided.

"Neither do I," the princess shook her head.

"How about you two, hmm? You seem equally mysterious, and I don't even know you're names,"

"The name's Tetra, and that's Kid," Tetra responded, nodding her head in her friend's direction, "And we've never seen anyone like that."

"Kid? What kind of name is that?" Midna wondered.

"It's not my real name. It's a nickname," Kid defended.

"What's your real name then?" Midna tested him.

"Link," Kid replied which caught Midna off guard.

"This just got ten times more interesting!" Midna smiled. Turning to their older companions she said, "I told you my part of it, so why don't you guys tell me what you're doing and who these kids are?"

"Well, these two, along with three of their friends, are far from home and we're trying to get them back, but apparently it's not very simple because a light spirit gave them a riddle to solve which would help them return home. Right now we're visiting all of the light spirits and trying to collect goddess tears from temples that I never even knew existed," Link summed up.

"That seems like a lot of crap just to get a few kids home. Where are you guys from anyway?" Midna asked, returning her gaze to Tetra and Kid.

"Look, it's not important…" Tetra stated in a matter of fact tone, wishing that the imp would drop it.

Midna persisted, "Yes, it is. If you're lost you should tell people where you're from, so they can take you there."

"Well, we can't do that," Kid said, and Tetra immediately wished that he'd leave the talking to her. She knew that he was no good at lying.

"And why not?" Midna wondered.

"Because the place that we come from is a secret and if other people know about it, well, it won't be a secret anymore now will it?" Tetra answered.

"A secret, hmm? Once upon a time I kept quite a lot of them, so I guess I can respect that," Midna mused. Just when Tetra thought she was off the hook Midna spoke up again, "but Zant and his mysterious colleague seem to be pretty focused on capturing you. Mind telling us what that's all about?"

"I don't know what those lunatics could possibly want with me," Tetra replied honestly, crossing her arms over her chest.

"You must have something they want. Can you think of anything?" Link added.

Tetra sighed, "No, I honestly don't know. I don't have anything that someone else doesn't."

"Are you sure you don't know the other person?" Princess Zelda checked.

"Positive," Tetra nodded.

"Okay, well, what do we do now?" Link wondered after a few seconds of silence.

"It's pretty obvious that we should keep doing what we're doing," Tetra commented.

"It's not that simple," Princess Zelda cut in, "The twilight covering the Ordona Province can't be ignored."

"You know, now that you mention it, I think I remember Zant letting loose some shadow beasts in the area too," Midna recalled.

"What?! If that's true then we have to go now!" Link exclaimed in shock. "Everyone at Ordon is in danger."

"But what about-" Tetra tried but was interrupted by Link before she could pose her argument.

"That's not as important as this right now. No one's lives are in danger if we don't complete the temple as soon as possible," Link pointed out.

"It'll be nice to actually get under the cover of twilight again," Midna mused, stretching her arms above her head. "This light's bothering me."

"I thought the light couldn't hurt you anymore," Link spoke up.

"It can't, but it's still not comfortable," Midna said, beginning to drift in the direction of Ordon, "Anyway, Link, let's go."

"Wait, what about us?" Tetra wondered.

"Yeah, can't we come with?" Kid asked.

"No, you kiddies are gonna stay here with Zelda," Midna announced her tone mocking.

"Why can't we come with?" Tetra wanted to know, feeling insulted.

"Because it's too dangerous," Link answered her.

"Nothing's too dangerous," Tetra proclaimed, "We can take it." Kid backed her up with a confident nod of his head.

"I can't decide if you two are fearless or just plain stupid," Midna sighed, shaking her head, "Kid, I don't know what sword technique you pulled off earlier, and Tetra I don't know if your attitude is all talk or not, but I do know that you two are no match for the twilight."

"How do you know that if we haven't even set foot in it yet?" Tetra shot back.

"Because, all you light dwellers are the same. It's not possible for you to exist in twilight," Midna stated, matter-of-factly.

"Then why's Link going?" Kid inquired, asking the question before she had a chance to.

"Because I'm special," Link declared.

"Oh…you're special all right," Tetra muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Hey! I heard that!" Link objected.

"That's the point genius!" Tetra shot back in a haughty tone.

"You two aren't going and that's final," Midna announced for the second time.

"We could follow you," Tetra pointed out.

"You could, but you wouldn't get very far," Midna countered with a smirk on her face. "The only way for light dwellers to enter the twilight from the outside is if a being from the twilight, such as myself, pulls them in, and the only one I'm pulling in is Link."

"Well, how long will this take?" Tetra sighed, coming to the realization that she really had no choice in the matter.

"A half hour," Link responded at the same time that Midna answered with, "At the least an hour and a half."

"Hour and a half? It won't take that long," Link protested.

"You haven't been in the twilight for over a year, Link. Remember how it got easier and easier last time? Well, the longer you're out of it, the harder it becomes," Midna explained as if it was common knowledge. Tetra had no idea what she was talking about. What got easier? What did the twilight do exactly?

"Tell me you're joking," Link requested to which Midna just giggled.

"Aww, what's wrong? Scared?" Midna taunted.

"No, let's go," Link said, turning on his heel and strolling in the direction of Ordon with Midna not far behind.

Once the pair were out of earshot Tetra whispered to Kid, "He just doesn't want us to go because he wants to spend time with his girlfriend." Kid snickered and a second later they could all hear Link yelling, "SHE'S NOT MY GIRLFRIEND!"

"How did he hear that?" Kid wondered, startled out of his laughter. Tetra simply shrugged, just as puzzled.

After a minute of silence Princess Zelda spoke up, "We should talk to Faron, so we'll be ready to go into the Silent Realm when Link gets back." They both wordlessly agreed and Princess Zelda turned her attention back to the serene pool of water. A couple seconds later it turned a shimmering gold and the surrounding trees were bathed in light, causing them to shine as if they were made of stars. A sphere of light shot out of the golden liquid and the light spirit followed it, wrapping its body entire body around the pulsing orb.

"Faron, do you have any insight on what just happened here?" Princess Zelda questioned the monkey-like spirit.

"My knowledge of its presence is limited," Faron admitted, "Ignoring it seems to be the wisest option for the time being. Continue on with your quest. I believe it will lead you to an answer eventually."

"But you can't just ignore things like this!" Tetra objected. "They're obviously going to be chasing us from this point on."

"While that is most likely true, it cannot be helped. Avoid them when you can, fight and escape as quickly as possible when you can't. Whatever you do, don't get captured," Faron advised. Tetra glowered. That didn't help them all that much. He was practically telling them to run away. She didn't like running away. It was a cowardly action and one that she, as a pirate, had practically pledged to never execute.

"I see…" Princess Zelda trailed off in thought before changing the subject slightly, "Will you allow us access to the Silent Realm?"

"Yes, but I cannot send you in until all of the four chosen are present," Faron answered. They all nodded in comprehension, and the familiar circular blossom of blue materialized on the shore of the spring. "Step into it when you are ready, and I shall place you all into the trial," Faron instructed the trio before fading away with the golden glow of the spring.

With nothing left to do, they all found a comfortable spot on the ground to wait. Patience was a virtue, and it was something that Tetra did not possess. Distracting herself was unsuccessful since she had nothing but her own jumbled thoughts to assess. Facts mixed with assumptions and suspicions created a war in her mind which began to call forth the migraine from yesterday.

The prophetic dream bothered her even more after learning that there really was someone after her. The person in the vision had not been Zant, she was almost positive. He had moved calmly, danced hand in hand with the shadows, moved faster than her mind could comprehend. Maybe that guy had been the one working with Zant.

Even if it had been Zant's colleague, the fact didn't help much. She still didn't know their goal or why they wanted her in particular. She only had two precious things which were the Triforce of Wisdom and her life. No one in Hyrule could possibly know she had the Triforce of Wisdom, and even if they did, if that was what they wanted then the Princess of Hyrule would have been their target. Tetra concluded that they must want to take her life, but what they would accomplish by doing so was not clear to her.

Part of her wished that she could talk to someone about it, but there was no one to talk to. Princess Zelda, the one that would probably be able to help her the most, was out of the question because she might connect the few dots between the prophetic dreams, and the Triforce of Wisdom which would ultimately lead her to the conclusion that Tetra technically shared the same name as her. She didn't like talking to Link on a regular basis so coming to him about such an issue would never happen. Kid knew a little about her prophetic dreams since she'd told him about them before, but there were a few problems with that. Tetra didn't want to admit the fact that she thought that he had died in the dream and risk scaring him to death. There was also the fact that there was nowhere for them to safely talk without taking the risk of someone, namely Link who displayed acute hearing abilities, overhearing their conversation.

Suddenly she reprimanded herself. What was she thinking? She hadn't needed anyone before, and she certainly didn't need anyone now. She could handle it on her own just like she always had. As the minutes ticked by, Tetra felt herself drifting off. Sleep hadn't come easily to her last night. Her dream, combined with the mental ordeal from the previous temple, made sure of that. She could still picture her mother when she closed her eyes and while the scene should have been comforting, it was the exact opposite.

Besides that, the prophetic dreams drained her without her consent. The only reason why she hadn't collapsed during all the battling in the temple yesterday was because her life was at stake and she was unbelievably stubborn. Tetra was sure that her fleeting sleep the previous night had only lasted a few hours before she couldn't fall asleep despite her fatigue.

Now that the sun was shining it was a different story. Falling asleep wouldn't be a problem now. 'A nap can't hurt,' Tetra thought to herself, 'After all, it will probably take Link and Midna a while to get back.'As soon as she had the thought she opened her eyes which had closed while she was toying with the prospect of catching up on her sleep. She couldn't fall asleep. They would be back soon. It'd already been at least a half hour. Tetra forced herself to stay awake. She lasted for another hour before surrendering.

She didn't know how long it had really been before Kid was shaking her awake. All she knew was that it felt like seconds. Tetra reluctantly opened her eyes, and her ears took in the complaints of Link while Midna argued with him how it was his own fault. Tetra had no idea what they were talking about but didn't try to process it, wary of her pounding head.

She quickly got to her feet, grabbing Kid's wrist when her vision swam.

"Are you okay, Tetra?" Kid asked her, noticing her lack of stability.

"I'm fine," Tetra responded, despite knowing it was a lie. She wasn't fine. She was tired, and her head ached. There was no way she would admit any of that though. She released him and crossed her arms in her usual bossy manner, hoping the familiar gesture would help her feel better.

"What took so long?" Tetra called to her companions who were near the other side of the spring.

"It was Link's fault," Midna loudly accused, gesturing to him as she said it.

"It was not!" Link argued, "I couldn't help it! Besides, even after we banished the twilight I needed to check on everyone in Ordon."

"Is everyone okay?" Kid wondered.

"They're fine, just confused and a little shaken up," Link answered him.

"Can we do the trial now?" Tetra asked, eager to get it over with.

"What trial?" Midna inquired, "I thought you guys were doing temples."

"We are, but we need to go through trials to gain access to the temples," Princess Zelda explained.

"Well, have fun with that," Midna said, pretending to yawn as if she was bored. "I'll be here."

"You don't think Zant will come back while we're gone, do you?" Link asked her.

"No," Midna shook her head, "He most likely went back to report to whoever he's working with that he failed. Hopefully, we won't see him again for a while. Even if he does come back, I won't let him capture me. The only reason why he succeeded last time was because I was caught off guard. This time, I'll be ready."

"Still, be careful," Link warned her, "Zant's unpredictable."

"Like I don't know that Link," Midna scoffed rolling her eyes, "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. Just get your stupid trial done quickly. I feel that we're pressed for time."

"I do too," Princess Zelda admitted, "Which is why we need to complete this trial as quickly as possible."

"What are you waiting for then? Get over here," Tetra ordered. She was already standing in the circle with Kid, tapping her foot impatiently.

"You've got some guts talking to the Princess of Hyrule like that. Eee hee!" Midna giggled, "This adventure should be interesting." Tetra didn't respond to that. She wasn't sure how she felt about Midna yet. From what she gathered, it sounded like Midna herself was a princess or possibly a queen of her realm. As she thought about it, the little facts she had gathered about the Twili being were similar to herself in many ways. Sure, there were major differences but the one thing that she knew she liked about Midna was that she had nothing to do with Hyrule.

Link and the princess joined them in the trial gate and just like before a lightheaded feeling assailed them. Tetra sunk to the ground, willing it to leave before she passed out. She didn't feel well enough as it was. A dizzy spell was not helping matters. Fortunately the feeling passed in time, and Tetra opened her eyes.

Her surroundings were bathed in blue. It was almost as if they were underwater. Tetra stood up with her companions. Their spirit vessels were presented to them and they took in their surroundings. A guardian was positioned behind a tree, probably meant to be obscured, but the lack of foliage made it a poor hiding place. A tear was on the other side of the rough path.

It didn't seem like a long way, but Tetra felt tired already. The trial hadn't cleansed her of her symptoms. If anything it made them worse. She refused to give in though. She'd go through the trial and temple like everyone else today, and then try to actually sleep tonight.

Before she knew it, the world around her came to life, and she had no choice but to run forward to avoid guardians towering over her like buildings. Princess Zelda was the first to reach the tear and their surroundings became frozen in time for another sixty seconds. They continued on, opting to leave the sacred tears closer to the spring for last in order to lower their chances of getting caught.

As the foursome progressed through the trial they deftly avoided the ever present dangers, Watchers and Waking Water, while trying to get accustomed to the distorted version of Faron Woods. It seemed to Tetra that there were more guardians this time, but she could have been mistaken. Gathering the tears was an easy task until they got down to the last few.

Their time of peace and tranquility was nearing its imminent end. They had mere seconds to reach the last tear before they were supposed to head back towards the spring to collect the tears they had wisely neglected in the beginning. The tear itself was in sight, affixed upon a pedestal guarded by twin Watchers. Tetra had volunteered to retrieve it because she had wanted to prove to herself that she was up to the task. After all, if she couldn't do this, then how was she supposed to survive the rest of the day?

Sneaking past the Watcher's white-lantern gaze had been fairly easy, as well as scaling the small display. After she successfully captured the tear in her spirit vessel and bought them more time, she instantly wasted it with a single movement. The fact that the Watchers could detect sound momentarily slipped her mind, and she made the mistake of moving into a better escaping position as one of the Watchers drew closer.

Its light wouldn't have brushed the bottom of her perch if she had stayed still, but she hadn't and her small action caused noise which attracted the investigative attention of the strange being. Upon noticing her mistake Tetra tried to back up so it wouldn't catch her in its pool of light. This only created more noise, and she nearly fell backwards off of the pedestal. She caught herself but remembered too late that if she fell it would actually be a good thing since nothing could hurt her here except for the guardians.

The Watcher directed its spotlight onto her and rang its lantern like a bell, signaling the guardians to wake up. The background of blue was replaced with crimson, and Tetra was startled when she heard the clanking of a guardian behind her. Either she was hearing things or she hadn't noticed one there before. She chose to believe the latter and instinctively leaped forward off of the log.

It was a smart move on her part as she felt the wind from the force put behind the guardian's attack a hair breath's away from her neck. All fatigue was suddenly pushed to the back of her mind as adrenaline filled her, and she ran towards her companions who were occupied dodging the attacks of other guardians while trying to make their way back towards the spring. The problem was that the spring was on the very other side of the woods. It would be a long run back and with goddesses only knows how many guardians pursuing them it would not be the least bit safe.

It was funny how she'd always imagined forests as calm places of nature's tranquility protected by a cage of trees so ancient that none could surpass them if they tried. Tetra was finding that this wasn't exactly true as she ran through the secluded wood pursued by enemies that she could not defy with a weapon.

Everyone else had bolted ahead of her when the realm had become encased in a bubble of red chaos in an attempt to reach the next tear quicker to silence the realm. Tetra concentrated on dodging all of the guardians intent on extinguishing her minuscule spark of existence. She rolled out of the way of two dual blades and leaped to her feet, stumbling a bit as she did so, but managing to stay upright and move forward.

After what seemed like hours of evading strikes from both land and airborne sentries, one of her companions drew close enough to a tear to touch it. Eerie crystal blue light covered their surroundings as if they had suddenly become encased inside a raindrop frozen in time. Tetra slowed her pace, letting the beating of her heart level out to a steady rhythm as she caught her breath. Ahead of her, the others stopped to wait. She caught up in little time, and they continued down the path, hopping over puddles of Waking Water that turned the path into a shallow river with small pieces of dry land posing as stepping stones.

The next sacred tear was chased into her almost full spirit vessel and the soft petals of the white flower were renewed with life that started to waste away a second later. The remaining tears were easily collected, and they carefully made their way to the trial gate at the shore of the spring. The flowers topping their spirit vessels were now a pure white showing no signs of wilting, but Tetra knew not to be tricked by this welcome sight. The flowers could still die. All it took was one slip up and the red light would instantly poison and kill the delicate blossom.

There was no need to be concerned though. The circular trial gate of permanent safety was close. As Tetra stepped into it she reflected on how well the trial had gone. They'd only slipped up a total of two times. The rest of the trial had been a favorable breeze at their backs. The spirit vessels floated out of their owner's hands and momentarily lingered in the air as white buds which exploded into numerous petals that showered the foursome like falling leaves.

A new item gently floated down to rest in her palms, and Tetra instantly recognized it as a compass. However, the more she stared at it, the more she began to doubt herself. The needle, which was at the moment spinning clockwise in the middle of the object was protected by a glass face, but the circle behind the glass bore no indication of directions so Tetra had no way to tell if she was holding it upside down or not. The sphere of glass was encompassed by a larger circle with four shallow holes on the top, bottom, left, and right which, if connected by two invisible lines, would form a cross. The last thing she had time to notice was that the outer circle was separated evenly into four sections that all showed off a unique symbol.

The familiar lightheaded sensation interrupted her inspection of the new gift. When Tetra opened her eyes, her vision drank in the golden light of the spring. Faron had returned to inform them about the items they had been rewarded for completing the Silent Realm.

"The objects you now possess are gifts from the goddess to aid you in your quest. Its most common name is the Compass of Clover. As you may or may not have noticed by now, they are not ordinary compasses since they are not used to navigate in the normal sense. Instead they are equipped with the power to point the holder in the direction of another compass. There are four panels with symbols on each compass and four compasses. Similarly, each compass has one of those symbols engraved on the bottom," Faron explained. At this, Tetra flipped the dark blue compass over so she could view the bottom. Just as Faron had said, a symbol was engraved there. She ran her fingers over the two wavy lines indented into the otherwise immaculately smooth surface. They gave her the distinct impression of waves. She compared hers with the others. Kid's compass was silver with a swirling line meant to resemble wind decorating the bottom. Link's was a glossy black with a crescent moon carved into the underside of the compass. Princess Zelda held a golden compass with a fancy symbol meant to represent the sun etched into the bottom.

"At the moment none of the compasses have a set course so their needles are spinning. You can only set a course for one compass at a time. To set the compass to find another, simply turn the outer ring and click one of the panels into place at the top of the compass," Faron continued.

"How do we know where the top is?" Tetra wondered.

"There's a small arrow engraved on one of the sides," Faron supplied. Everyone turned their compass over in their hands, searching for the arrow. Tetra found it easily and turned back to Faron for any other information he had to offer them before they parted ways.

"Once the course is set the needle of the compass will point in the direction of the destination. All you must do then is follow it. If you don't wish to be found for whatever reason, turn the dial so the arrow points at the panel containing the symbol on the bottom of your compass. Doing so renders the compass in a state of limbo until the arrow points at another hole or panel. This means that it cannot be tracked by the other compasses. If it is already being tracked, the compass tracking it will automatically cease to function. That is all the information I have on the abilities of the gifts.

The temple is accessible at the back of my spring, beyond the waterfalls. When you feel well prepared to face the dangers that lurk inside, enter the Temple of Farore, goddess of courage, wind, life, and nature. Good fortune to you, young ones," Faron announced. After his speech was complete he faded along with the golden light of his spring.

With his absence, Midna reappeared out of nowhere.

"What kind of trial was that? I didn't even see you guys move. You just sat on the ground with your eyes closed in that circle for five minutes," Midna commented. Five minutes? Surely they'd been in there longer. Tetra began to wonder how time flowed in the Silent Realms. Still, she wasn't that shocked to hear the news. After all, her encounter with the Ghost Ship had been much more than the mere ten minutes it was rumored to be.

"That's the thing about the trials," Link sighed, "We have to do it in spirit form."

"How does that work? Do you fly?" Midna wondered, showing off her flying ability as if to demonstrate.

"I wish," Kid muttered.

"No, we run for our lives," Tetra replied as she stashed the compass away in her wallet where she kept all of her valuables, aside from the Triforce of Wisdom of course. That she kept around her neck, carefully concealed under the red cloth of her bandana.

"I'd hate to be you then," Midna said, showing no signs of remorse for her lack of sympathy towards them and the challenges they were forced to face. "If the temple's open now, then let's go." Tetra doubted that Midna would be allowed inside the temple since it was apparently an exclusive club that only the “chosen” could gain access to according to the light spirits. She chose to not say anything though since no one else did. Maybe they were hoping she'd be allowed to come along anyway.

As they started forward, Midna seemed to sink into Link's shadow, and Tetra could no longer see her. Kid had noticed it too.

"Where did Midna go?" Kid asked, hoping someone else could tell him.

Midna herself answered him, although they couldn't pinpoint the exact location of her voice, "I'm a being of the shadow, so I can blend in with them. Simple enough for you?"

"Uh, sure?" Kid nodded slowly, seeming to wonder if she was mocking him or not.

They scaled the small waterfalls, managing to stay dry because of their Water Dragon Scale necklaces. Tetra couldn't stop herself from wondering if Midna was getting wet during all the climbing while she was hiding in Link's shadow. Could shadows even get wet or feel for that matter? Her thoughts quickly turned back to her fatigue which was slowly returning.

At the very back of the spring a narrow waterfall trickled down in between the bark of two thick trees, posing as walls. Tetra could see through it though. The thin stream of water was obscuring a small cave, the entry way to the temple, she assumed. They began to file through, but Midna's cry of alarm stopped them in their tracks. Tetra had been behind Link so she had watched as Midna was thrown out of his shadow and into the open, away from the mouth of the cave.

"Huh, it won't let me through," Midna frowned, crossing her arms and staring at the entrance as if thinking of ways of coercing it to let her pass.

"I thought this might happen," Princess Zelda admitted. "Midna, you'll have to wait for us again."

"Ooh, fun!" Midna exclaimed feigning excitement, but Tetra could tell she was disappointed. She couldn't imagine why though. Going through temples weren't her idea of fun unless there was treasure at the end. Sure, goddess tears were probably a valuable treasure, but she didn't really know what they were supposed to be using them for in the first place.

Tetra entered next and the princess followed her inside. The interior was pretty dark at first, but after walking for a while, the corridor opened up into a large semi-circular room that appeared to wrap around almost completely on both sides, forming the room into more of a crescent shape than a half circular one. It was impossible to know for sure how far it went without investigating. The strange thing was that there was no door in front of them. Somehow dim rays of sunlight battled their way through the thick canopy of leaves and twisting vines that served as the roof and illuminated the oddly shaped room. In the middle of the floor was the mark of Farore. It didn't look much different from the one she knew but she didn't know if that was a good thing or not.

Their crude map was not entirely reliable as it did not mark the location of doors or anything else for that matter.

"This sign says we have to each stand on a tile. There should be four placed somewhere in the room," Link announced, and Tetra lifted her head to see where he was. He was standing farther into the room, examining the wall which was made up of what appeared to be a mix of bark, dirt, and stone. A particular stone stood out from the rest, though, and from the distance she was at, Tetra could barely tell that there was an inscription written there.

She looked around for a tile on the grassy floor and found one not too far from the right of Farore's symbol. By some miracle the grass was not overgrown and unruly and the dark green and white tile stood out against the healthy bright green of the grass. She stepped onto it and waited for her companions to find one. Kid had found a tile to stand on to the left of Farore's symbol while Princess Zelda and Link were forced to walk farther into the room on either side. Link appeared to find one to Tetra's right. From where she was standing she could not see Princess Zelda.

Tetra sighed, wishing that the princess would hurry up and find the last tile. She wasn't sure what they were doing this for exactly, but she presumed that it would make a door magically appear. Temples had a weird way of functioning that she learned long ago not to question. In a way, it did open a door, but not in the way that Tetra had been expecting.

Without warning the tiles simultaneously dropped out from under them and they all fell. Tetra didn't even think to scream or be afraid. She simply tried to slow her descent, but it didn't exactly work. Tetra didn't fall for long. She felt herself caught by the ground, but it wasn't level. Instead it was a steep slope that she was forced to slide down. The farther she went the darker it became. Foliage slapped her arms, legs, and face as she slid down the tunnel whose turns came quite unexpectedly. She could feel the pinprick of sticks or thorns as they raked their grasping claws across her exposed flesh. By the time the tunnel spit her out, she was sure that she had too many scrapes and bruises to count. She was also pretty sure she'd gone through a spider web on the way down too which unnerved her. She detested spiders. They didn't even have to be big. Small ones were just as terrifying.

Tetra sat there for a moment before coming to a sudden realization that caused her heart to skip a beat. The darkness pressed in on either side of her like large shadowy hands holding her in place. The space was devoid of all sound aside from the pounding of her heart in her ears. She could sense that there were walls to either side of her, wide enough to give her some personal space but close enough to give her the impression of being trapped. The claustrophobic space and the prospect of unknown enemies lurking in the inky blackness was not what caused fear to course through her. It was something far worse than any physical obstacle or foe. It was the fact that she was by herself that scared her. She was alone. Completely alone.


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