The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 28: Silencing the Temple of Hylia

The sunlight danced through the window and straight into Tetra's eyes, arousing the young girl from her peaceful slumber. Attempting to cling to the thin threads of sleep that were rapidly slipping from her grasp, she shifted her position slightly so the rays of natural light were less irritating. This only brought her further out of sleep and she frowned, annoyed that the sun had interrupted her surprisingly dreamless sleep. Knowing that trying to return to her prior state of unconsciousness was futile, Tetra reluctantly allowed her dark blue eyes to flutter open.

The room that greeted her vision was fairly familiar by now, but it left her feeling disappointed. Part of her was hoping to see her own bedroom. Even a random beach would be fine, or adrift in the ocean somewhere as long as it was her ocean that waved back to her. Her watery kingdom. Her home.

She was jostled out of her thoughts by Link. "Morning Tetra," Link greeted her.

"Morning," Tetra replied, sitting up and stretching, "Is breakfast an option because I'm starved."

"Yeah, give me a second," Link answered a bit sheepishly, "Sorry, I should have woken you for dinner last night." Tetra shrugged it off. She was used to eating irregularly, although she admitted that that wasn't the best habit to have.

"Where's everyone else?" Tetra wondered, noticing the absence of her best friend and the princess.

"I'm here," Midna announced, popping out of Link's shadow and shooting her a toothy grin. She returned the greeting with a small wave.

"The others are outside feeding the horses. They left a few minutes ago so they should be back soon," Link added. Tetra was slightly surprised that Kid was up. He almost never woke up on his own. She hoped that she hadn't scared him too bad last night.

As she ate her breakfast while Link tidied up around his house, she waited on the edge of her seat, expecting him to say something about last night and prophetic dreams. When she'd finished eating, it became clear that Link wasn't going to say anything because he didn't know. Midna really had been telling the truth after all.

Tetra decided that she liked their new companion. She could trust Midna. The girl originated from a different realm entirely, so the Triforce and royal family would mean nothing to her. There wouldn't be any way for her to figure out their origins if she tried, and besides that, she was actually being somewhat friendly towards them. Midna was the one person that didn't pose any sort of threat, unintentional or otherwise, to them and Tetra decided that she liked it.

About half an hour later the foursome departed for Ordon Spring, each equipped with a potion just in case the temple proved troublesome. Midna remained at Link's house since she could not enter the temple and waiting for them outside in the light of day was not particularly alluring to her.

Ordon Spring was definitely the smallest spring out of them all. However, it was proving to be Tetra's favorite as a result of its simplicity. The light colored dirt covering the ground had a sand-like quality to it, and she couldn't help but notice how shallow the spring was compared to the others. Three tall and narrow water falls cascaded down the moss covered rock wall at the rear of the spring.

Princess Zelda silently called on the spirit and light seeped into the miniscule cracks etched into the rocks strewn like decorations around the area. The golden light consumed the edges of the clear water and the liquefied gold spiraled toward the center of the spring in a brilliant swirl of light. The intensity of the shade of gold mellowed out to the point where it was not blinding to behold. A single drop splashed into the pool from out of seemingly nowhere and a ball of swirling light rose out of the shimmering display. This light spirit took its time revealing its full form, starting with its head and ending with its large tail. Once it was finished, Tetra tried to distinguish what animal it was supposed to resemble. After a few seconds of scrutinizing it, she concluded that it was supposed to be a goat, judging by its horns curving protectively around the sphere of light hovering just above its head.

"Time grows short," rumbled Ordona, "The enemy gains more strength the longer they're left to their own devices. With all haste, complete the final trial so you may enter the last temple to retrieve Hylia's Tear. Step into the circle of blue light to enter the Silent Realm."

"Who is the enemy; do you know?" Princess Zelda questioned the great spirit at the same time that Tetra asked, "Who's Hylia?"

"Just like yourselves, I've no information regarding this new evil. However, we were warned by the goddess that once the riddle was given away, the state of the world would begin to decline fairly quickly. That is why you must make haste," Ordona replied, completely ignoring Tetra's inquiry.

"Who is Hylia?" Tetra demanded once again, her tone conveying her impatience at having to repeat herself. Ordona however, appeared to be done speaking to them for the light spirit faded along with the golden hue that had washed over the spring. A ring of blue petals unfolded to their right, but Tetra couldn't care less about that. She wanted to know more about this Hylia person.

"Hylia…like Lake Hylia? Or the Great Bridge of Hylia?" Link mused, staring at the ground in thought.

"Or like Hylian. Is that where the name came from?" Kid wondered.

"Who cares? I want to know who this goddess is!" Tetra exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air in exasperation. "Why wouldn't Ordona tell us? I asked twice!"

"Perhaps an explanation will take up time that could be better spent completing our task," Princess Zelda suggested. "We should do as Ordona says. We will not figure out the answer ourselves. Hopefully we will receive an answer later when time permits." They all nodded their agreement, Tetra somewhat more reluctantly than the others. The name Hylia sounded familiar, but she didn't know why. Sure, she'd heard the name before now, but that wasn't why it rang a bell which was causing her even more confusion. Where did she know it from? The answer was locked away somewhere in her mind. It was like a dream wanting to be remembered, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't recall it. She found that the more she concentrated on figuring it out, the fuzzier the image became. She felt like she should know, but she didn't which was troubling her.

Forced to push her curiosity and frustration of words that she couldn't quite form to the back of her mind for the moment, Tetra stepped into the makeshift circle of light. Almost immediately a dizzy spell was cast over everyone's minds. She didn't even attempt to resist it. She simply allowed her eyes to close, knowing that the unwelcome feeling would fade quicker that way.

Once her mind stopped spinning in circles, she dared to open her eyes. A familiar blue tint covered everything from the loose sand-like soil at their feet, to the expanse of sky that had previously been overcast with bits of sunlight poking through. Tetra noted the guardians that were in close proximity before darting out of the teal blossom of protection. The sacred tear was in her possession almost immediately. The guardians barely had any time to make a move against her before they were sent back to their previous frozen positions.

When she glanced back at her companions, Link was giving her a disapproving glare. She simply smirked and gave it no further attention. Tetra didn't understand Link sometimes. He seemed to think that he was the boss of her. He obviously wasn't though, she'd made that clear, or at least had attempted to, earlier.

Besides, he had no tangible reason to be cross with her since they'd already been through three of these trials before. They now knew how they worked, so it wasn't like she didn't know what she was getting herself, and ultimately her companions, into when she stepped out of the circle. The look of disapproval was the only thing that passed between them, as no words were exchanged. The group of four simply continued collecting tears, being sure to ignore some of the sacred tears for the trip back.

Ordon Village looked like an abandoned town, haunted by wandering Watchers and supervised by the sleeping sentries placed haphazardly around the area like forgotten game pieces. The Waking Water mostly kept to itself hidden in the natural water sources of Ordon. The ever vigilant Watchers posed more of a challenge, and Tetra caught herself wandering closer to the outskirts of their beams of white lantern light more often than usual.

Most of the sacred tears were nestled inside the various homes of the village which were miraculously unlocked. Of course, danger lurked indoors as well, especially in the house with the waterwheel attached to it since, for whatever reason, the window was open and water would spray into the house every now and again, forcing them all to become more alert as even contact with the tiniest drop would alert the guardians of their presence.

Somehow they managed to collect all the tears in the waterwheel house without being touched. However, when they left the house they had all failed to realize that a Watcher was patrolling the area, and Kid unknowingly stepped into its beam. The silence erupted into mayhem as the guardians were pulled out of their slumber to proceed with their only job: To shatter the spirits of trespassers.

The group of four evaded every attack thrown at them, and Tetra briefly contemplated how easy it really was to dodge their assailants. Because they were so large, it was impossible to miss them coming, and since the guardians' weapons were of impressive proportions as well, dodging a hit was as easy as ducking or jumping out of range of their blades. Eventually, Tetra found a tear. Once it had settled into her spirit vessel, the chaos was suppressed by the return of the blue silence.

The foursome progressed through the remainder of the realm with relative ease. Aside from a few bouts of rooftop jumping while trying to avoid Watchers, nothing posed much of a threat to them and the guardians were not reawakened. Returning to the fallen teal flower that was the trial gate turned out to be an easy feat since, like last time, they had neglected tears along the way. Once the last sacred tear was collected all they had to do was turn a corner and they were at Ordon Spring.

Not a second after everyone had gathered into the reappeared gate did their spirits vessels float up out of their hands. Instead of bursting like they normally did, the vessels flew up above their heads, gathering at the center as if to converse. They burst suddenly in a shower of pristine white petals. Slowly a single item floated down from the air, and they all put their hands out towards the middle to catch it. Before it reached their hands, it stopped its descent and hovered just above their open palms. The item appeared to be a lyre. It was craftily made, the design complicated yet simple at the same time. Even in the strange blue light of the Silent Realm, this object was unaffected as it was a gleaming gold.

Tetra had no time to inspect the instrument any further for a dizzy spell decided that was its cue to take over. When she opened her eyes again, the morning sounds of the woods greeted her ears and her surroundings were now bursting with various colors.

"The object you hold is a gift from the goddess. It is called the Goddess's Harp. This instrument is magical, for certain objects will respond to its sound. Playing sacred songs will procreate various results. Little information was given to me about this particular gift, so I've no further information for you. However, I was told that the Goddess's Harp is a last resort," Ordona explained to them.

"Last resort?" Tetra repeated, "Last resort for what?"

"I do not know. I am only relaying the divine words as I heard them," Ordona replied, "Now, the entrance to the temple is open. It is at the back of my spring. Make haste to enter the Temple of Hylia, the goddess of the skies, sacrifice, protection, and devotion." With those words, the light spirit faded, and they were left to their own devices. The Goddess's Harp had long ago fallen, only to be saved from the unforgiving ground by their net of hands.

Princess Zelda suddenly gasped as if in recognition and pulled the harp closer to her, forcing the rest of them to release their grip on the instrument.

"What?" Link wanted to know, turning to the princess who was inspecting the golden lyre carefully.

"This instrument…it's just like the one we have at the castle," Princess Zelda announced, still scrutinizing the harp almost as if she was searching for something. She appeared to find what she was looking for and turned the lyre around so they could all see it too. "Look here," she ordered them pointing at a mark near the bottom of the instrument. "See this scratch?"

At their simultaneous nod of confirmation, Princess Zelda continued, "This proves that it is the same one."

"How?" Tetra wondered.

"Well, I do not know much about the instrument aside from the fact that it has been passed down through my family for generations. Of course, I was never allowed more than a glimpse of it, but one day when I was little I became more curious than usual and snuck into the room it was being held in. I picked it up but, no sooner than was it in my hands, my nursemaid caught me. In fact, she startled me so much that I dropped the lyre and it got scratched in this exact spot," Princess Zelda explained, tapping the mark marring the smooth surface for emphasis.

"If it does belong to the royal family then why is it a gift from the goddess?" Link asked her.

"I am not positive, but since it seems that it will be used in our quest the goddess most likely gave it to us because she knew that I could not retrieve it myself if needed," Princess Zelda speculated.

"What goddess are we even talking about now?" Kid wondered, utterly confused. Tetra was about to answer him, but found that she had no clue either. Each light spirit referred to the gifts as objects that the goddess left for them, but which goddess they were actually speaking of was never clear. It could be that they were all speaking of the goddess that they were guarding the tear for but that couldn't be. Each spirit seemed to be speaking of the same goddess. Could it be Hylia, the ever mysterious goddess that they know nothing about? Or could it be that the spirits were referring to all the goddesses as a single entity and reduced the term to "the goddess" to make things easier?

No one else appeared to have a solid answer either, and they eventually decided to move on to the temple since standing around like statues wasn't getting them anywhere fast. The entrance, if it could be classified as such since it seemed to be no more than a narrow crack in the rock wall, was positioned at the rear of the spring close to the middle water fall. While the opening was not wide, they were able to wriggle their way through to the other side.

Once inside, Tetra gasped at the sight before her. All of the previous temples had held a certain beauty that was their own. However, there was no arguing that those temples were old, and while preserved, they'd been falling into their own states of disrepair. This one appeared to be brand new. If she didn't know any better, she would say that it was just finished yesterday. The ivory-colored ceramic floor tiles were shaped like rhombuses and fit perfectly into each other, each tile outlined in striking gold. The gold walls, which were bordered by white, widened out as she walked further in. Looking up, Tetra could clearly see a glass fixture placed over the ceiling revealing the cloud speckled late morning sky and allowing natural rays of sunlight to filter in.

Her attention returned to the ground and she noticed a pale purple and gold display of oddly shaped tiles in many different colors towards the middle. She hurried closer to have a look, knowing that her companions had the same idea as their footsteps echoed behind her. She reached the arrangement first and instantly knew that this was to be their map. Nestled inside an orb of lavender outlined in gold tiles was what appeared to be the royal crest. However, the gold splayed out wing design did not hold the Triforce at its center. Instead, the ancient relic was absent. The talon shapes near the bottom, that always made her envision a bird, were also missing.

"Is this the symbol of Hylia?" Tetra wondered aloud.

"Probably," Link answered her after inspecting it for a few seconds.

"It’s similar to the royal crest," Princess Zelda observed.

"Do you think Hylia has something to do with the royal family?" Kid asked, turning to the princess for her analysis of the evidence. This thought had never entered Tetra's mind until now. Could the forgotten goddess have relations with the royal family? While this news should have been interesting, Tetra found it the exact opposite. She didn't want to know a lot about the family she was supposedly descended from. While she should be curious, she wasn't. Any more surprises and she feared she'd go insane. She could barely cope with the thought of being a princess and, ultimately, a completely different person.

“It seems likely, yes," Princess Zelda mused, "but what kind of connections the goddess Hylia shared, or shares, with my family…I've no idea. She was never mentioned before."

"Why does it even matter?" Tetra said, nonchalantly attempting to change the subject, "Let's just keep going."

"Tetra, you were curious earlier. Where did that go?" Link wondered, quirking an eyebrow in question.

"I'm still curious," Tetra assured him, "but we're obviously not getting answers, are we? Someone'll probably explain it later, or maybe the temple will explain Hylia's story." She barely believed what she said. After all, going through the temple would most likely make everything more confusing, but part of her hoped that it wouldn't; that there'd be some solid answers as to who the goddess was or had been.

The foursome progressed to the back of the room that Tetra thought almost resembled an upside down teardrop. They were stopped by large, bright red double doors, with swirling golden accents serving as the border. There were no handles. Instead a golden harp was painted in a fastidious manner in the center. They first tried to push the doors open, but when that failed it was painfully clear what had to be done.

Princess Zelda produced the Goddess's Harp from where she had stored it and regarded it with a hint of doubt as she did not have any knowledge as to how to go about playing it.

"I think you have to touch the strings to make a sound," Link advised her.

"Thank you, Link. What would I do without you?" Princess Zelda nodded to him, sarcasm heavy in her tone.

"Absolutely nothing, Princess," Link replied with a mock bow. Princess Zelda used the underside of the harp to hit him on the top of his head while he was still in his fake bowing position.

"Ow…" Link whined, rubbing the spot she had struck him. "Okay, I was asking for that one."

"You may want to reflect on your words before you spit them out," Princess Zelda agreed with him, positioning the lyre, so she could play it.

"You might not want to hit people with sacred instruments," Link muttered under his breath. It was so quiet that Tetra was only able to hear because she was standing right next to him. Unfortunately so was the princess, but instead of hitting him again, she just shot him a glare that clearly said, "Shut up." This silenced him immediately, and they all waited expectantly for Zelda to bring the harp to life.

A bit hesitantly the princess graced her fingers over four of the strings, producing a pleasant sound despite her lack of expertise. She strummed a few more times before the door started to react. The golden designs glowed with a bright light and the grand red doors began to open inwards. The doors needed no further prompting and operated solely on the echo of the lyre's sound.

Once the doors opened all the way, Princess Zelda replaced the harp, and they all walked farther inside the temple. A deep red painted the walls, lined with gold. The floors looked the same aside from the symbol in the middle. It was not made up of tiles. Instead, it was a different type of material all on its own, possibly metal. Pale purple in color, the new piece of interest reminded Tetra of a gear. If that's what it was, then it was a fairly large gear as it took up much of the floor. She also noticed that different symbols were etched into its shiny surface. Instantly, she recognized the marks of the three golden goddesses surrounding the symbol of the Triforce in the center.

"It looks like pieces are missing," Kid noted pointing to the outer edges of the display. The more Tetra stared at it she realized that her friend was correct. There were a total of twelve square shaped blocks jutting out from the circle, which caused it to give off the impression of a gear. Four of them blended in with the pale purple of the rest of the symbol while the remainder were holes which could clearly be peered into to discover complicated zigzag designs inside, waiting to be filled in by their match.

"We need to find eight pieces then," Link concluded after counting the empty sockets to make sure he had the number right. Tetra tore her eyes away from the uncompleted symbol and looked around the room. The room was shaped vaguely like a diamond with its bottom half missing. Rich red walls continued diagonally to either side and met at a point ahead of them. On both sides were doorways which lacked doors. She pointed them out to the others, and they all made their way to leftmost one.

They stood in the doorway since the elegant floor dropped off into nothingness. The floor continued some distance away yet the edge was not jagged. It was cut cleanly and deliberately. The gap was too wide to simply jump across, but a white platform was placed in the middle which was accessible from both sides with a small leap. The platform was somehow suspended in the air over the blackness, possibly made to resemble a cloud. The material it was made out of was unclear, as it did not look like tile, stone, brick, or anything else she recognized that floors were generally constructed of.

Kid didn't seem to be fazed by the strange appearance of the platform and jumped onto it. Upon landing he was launched high into the air with a surprised cry that quickly turned into a laugh as he nearly touched the glass ceiling. Tetra had to lean out of the doorway a little to keep him in sight. He was pulled down by natural forces, and when he touched the platform again, he was bounced back up towards the sky. Kid didn't go nearly as high this time yet decided to do a flip in the air anyway, causing Tetra to roll her eyes. When he landed he bent his knees to absorb the shock and came to a complete stop. Kid pouted, visibly disappointed that he wasn't bounced into the air again.

"Hurry up and jump to the other side, it's my turn," Tetra ordered him pointing at the other section of white and gold tiled floor. Kid, if a bit reluctantly, obeyed. Tetra then leaped over to the resilient platform. Even though she was expecting it, the sudden lack of ground beneath her feet startled her a bit. Being slightly lighter than Kid, she was bounced higher and as a result was able to brush her fingers along the cool glass of the ceiling before she began to descend. As she was presented to the sky a second time, she noticed the appeal it had on Kid previously and why he hadn't wanted to stop. Up in the air she was presented with a sensation that, she imagined, was almost identical to flying. Still, she knew that she couldn't do this forever and performed a backflip. Her landing stopped her from taking to the air again, and she turned towards where Kid was. She joined him on the other side and they both focused their attention to their companions. Link and the princess soon followed. They weren't launched quite as high as Tetra and Kid had been and had caught on as to how to stop and did so without the fancy aerial tricks that their younger counterparts had used.

The new section they had gained access to was a long curved hallway of red walls trimmed with a gold border. Along the left hand wall were arched doors placed at intervals. Looking farther down the corridor, Tetra counted exactly four golden doors. Most likely, a missing piece was behind each one.

They decided to enter the arched door that was closest to them. Link opened it by turning the handle that was provided, and they all filed inside. The floor tiles remained white but the golden outlines turned aqua and the walls were painted a royal blue. The room was more or less a small rectangle. Looking around, Tetra noted that there wasn't really anything in the room. The back wall seemed to be the only place of interest, and so they all wandered in that direction, cautious of their surroundings.

When they reached the back wall, they could clearly see that there were small padded cases with depressions in them coming out of the wall. It looked as if something specific had to be placed in them. Princess Zelda seemed to notice something they hadn't and removed her water dragon scale necklace, then stepped forward and arranged it so that it fit perfectly into the soft depression in one of the cases. Link did the same, followed reluctantly by Kid. Tetra removed hers with extra care since she had it concealed under her bandana with the fragment of the Triforce of Wisdom. Fortunately, the two necklaces hadn't tangled and she managed to remove the dragon scale necklace without an issue. She fit the pulsing blue scale into the last case. Immediately after she had done so the cases all simultaneously retreated forcing Tetra to jerk her hands away so it wouldn't snap shut on her fingers. A click met their ears and a different case slid out of the wall a little way above their heads. It was larger than the others had been so it clearly held something of importance. Tetra was too short to see what it was though. Princess Zelda, being the tallest of the group, reached up and retrieved whatever it was that had been presented to them.

The object that the princess now held was one of the missing pieces. A strange linear symbol was painted on its square face while the rest of it was a rectangular prism with blocky cut outs.

"Well, that was easy," Kid declared. They all took another look around the room, searching for something to contradict that statement. However, there was nothing. The golden door was just as they'd left it, slightly ajar, and no monsters spontaneously appeared to defy them. The foursome then left the room with their prize. Tetra was a little disappointed that they had to give up the necklaces, but she supposed that just as they could be given, the gifts could also be taken away.

The next room was much like the first, except slightly bigger and with a fiery red and orange color scheme. They were forced to give their Ash-Fire Rings in exchange for the next missing block of the puzzle. The following room wasn't quite as basic though. It was about as big as the previous room and the floors were the same as the floors in the hallway, as were the walls. At the back of the room was a large rat about the size of a cat, made of gold affixed to the wall as if it was climbing down it. The rat's mouth was open wide, and one of its front paws was frozen in the air expectantly.

"Feed the animal of greed half of what it thinks it needs," Link recited from a sign to the right of the statue.

"So...rupees?" Kid wondered.

"Probably, but how much is the question," Link replied, silently reading over the Hylian script on the sign.

"Half of a whole maybe?" Princess Zelda suggested.

"Half of one rupee? That's not even possible," Tetra pointed out.

"Maybe it's half of ten rupees," Kid proposed, "So we give it five."

"But I wouldn't classify wanting ten rupees as greedy," Link countered.

"One hundred perhaps?" Princess Zelda said. They all seemed to agree on this amount. Tetra dug into her wallet and produced the fifty rupees she had conveniently happened upon in Link's house roughly one week ago. Since the statue of the rat was too high for any of them to reach, Tetra threw the rupee into the mouth of the rodent. The rat's jaws snapped shut instantly, trapping the fifty rupees in its mouth. A pale purple block was pushed out of the wall, and Kid retrieved it.

"You didn't have to use your rupees, I would have done it," Link informed her.

Tetra smirked, "Oh don't worry, Link, you did. Those weren't my rupees; they were yours."

"What?" Link asked, confused.

"You're so oblivious, you know that?" Tetra rolled her eyes.

"You stole that from me!" Link accused her.

"You should really invest in some locks," Tetra advised him, verifying the validity of the accusation with a nonchalant shrug and turning to leave the room.

"Why the heck would you steal from me?" Link questioned, following her with the others close behind.

'Because I'm a pirate,' is what she wanted to say. However, she knew that saying so could be dangerous. Pirates were native to the sea. If she suddenly declared she was one, they'd become confused, and then she'd have to continue her explanation which wouldn't end well. Instead, she simply declared, "Why should it matter? By what you said a minute ago, it seems that you would have lost fifty rupees either way."

"That's not the point," Link argued.

"Look, I took it in the span of the first couple days we knew each other. It's not like I'd take anything from you now, so drop it," Tetra ordered him as they left the room and stepped back into the hallway. Link, however, refused to "drop it" as she insisted which resulted in them arguing all the way to the next room. What lay behind the last golden door in the hall, silenced their quarrel immediately.

The room laid out before them was not much wider than the others, but it was noticeably longer. The tiled floor was a pure white. The walls were painted black, and a silver border completed the look. A few feet beyond the entrance the floor continued normally before dropping off. Venturing closer to the edge Tetra found that there was actually a bottom but dropping down wouldn't be preferable since there didn't seem to be any means of getting back up. There were curious looking tiles interrupting the dirt in the pit at regular intervals, sort of a like a checkerboard. She was sure that they were significant in some way.

Kid had noticed a tile in the floor that was different from the others and called everyone's attention to it. Instead of white, it was a shining silver speckled with black. Kid stepped on it in experimentation, and the room briefly rumbled. They focused their attention back on the gap taking up most of the room. The tiles that had caught her attention before had risen up to floor level.

Tetra's eyes quickly scanned the area. The gap was riddled with tiles. As the length of the room continued the tiles climbed a step or two higher, finally ending level where the other section of solid floor was situated at the back of the room. Kid stepped off of the button and it miraculously stayed down. She waited to hear some type of timer start ticking. Upon hearing none, she approached the edge and jumped onto the tile in front of her.

She felt the tile sink down a little under her weight and all of the tiles began to descend. She let out a surprised cry. She would have fallen to the bottom of the pit if Kid hadn't grabbed her hand. He helped her up, and Tetra noticed that the silver tile that had been pressed into the floor had returned to its original position. As soon as Link stepped on it again, the tiles rose just as they had the first time. This time Link offered to try and jumped over to a different tile. This yielded the same result as last time, however Link was a tad less fortunate and wasn't able to get back to solid ground in time before the platforms lowered themselves to the ground. Fortunately he was able to clawshot his way up because there were some vines hanging conveniently off the edge of the floor that Tetra had failed to notice before.

"I think there's a certain path we have to follow," Princess Zelda announced.

"How do we know where the path is?" Kid wanted to know.

"We don't. We will have to find it by trial and error," Princess Zelda replied.

Tetra counted the rows of tiles between the gap and their destination. There were eight. She quickly calculated how many tiles were in each row. Since the room's width grew the further the room went the least amount of tiles in a single row was twelve. The most was twenty.

"This is going to take forever," Tetra blatantly informed her companions. They agreed, but there was little they could do about it. Another missing piece of the puzzle was at the end of the room, that they could be sure of. It took a little over ten minutes to locate their first step which frustrated Tetra greatly. Kid had been the one to find the first correct tile and, knowing that the next step could be futile in their mission, the others took great care advising him on which step to take next. They had agreed that the path probably wasn't linear and so advised him to jump onto the one to the right of him. As soon as he did so the tiles fell and they all sighed heavily. Kid's hookshot was useless with vines, and so he positioned himself on the one tile they knew to be correct and waited for one of them to raise the tiles again.

The further they progressed, the more frustrating the puzzle became and the more devastating was the loss of a wrong move. This prompted more and more curses to be uttered, for the most part quietly, under Tetra's breath, most of which her companions heard but chose not to comment on. When Tetra had reached the fourth row and made a poor guess as to where the path continued she accidentally screamed a pirate profanity at the top of her lungs in exasperation.

"Tetra!" Kid exclaimed, aghast. Having been an unofficial crew member aboard her pirate ship for months on end, he'd been educated, mostly by Niko, about pirate phrases and choice words so he knew exactly what the words she uttered translated to. "It's not that bad, calm down."

"What does it mean?" Link wondered, obviously confused.

"You don't want to know. Just raise the stupid tiles," Tetra demanded, positioning herself on the tile in the fourth row that she knew to be safe.

"Did you make it up?" Link pressed as he did what she asked.

"No," she snapped in annoyance.

After what must have been an hour or two the foursome finally reached the end of the room. Four silver tiles were placed in the middle. They all stepped on one and were rewarded with another strangely shaped block of the puzzle they were attempting to solve. More than happy to leave the time consuming room, they all hurried to the exit, thankfully able to remember the correct path.

They backtracked to the main room, and then took the other doorway. They were forced to jump across by similar means to the next hallway which was a perfect mirror of the other one. They opened the first room to their right and were delivered into a room with a green color scheme. It was here that they abandoned their compasses for yet another piece.

When they reached the following room, Tetra tried to open it only to find that it was locked. She pulled on the handle to make sure, but it didn't budge. Kid tried it for good measure after her, but even he couldn't force it open which was strange since there was no key hole.

Shrugging it off, they moved on, pledging to try it again later. The next room was the most interesting by far. They didn't dare venture farther than a few steps in for the rest of the room was covered in a strange mist-like fog.

"Be wary all who enter. Everything that breathes inside the cloud will wither," Princess Zelda read off of a stone sign that stood in front of them.

"So the fog is poisonous, that's fun," Link said sarcastically.

"I'll go," Tetra volunteered. By no means was she seeking a thrill by playing with death, but she did know that she could hold her breath for an impressive amount of time. It was one of the benefits of living on a sea all her life as a pirate.

"No way," Link refused, "I'm going. You're staying here."

Link was really testing her nerves when he uttered such things. Treating her like a child, something she was obviously not, only resulted in her becoming more stubborn.

"I am going," Tetra declared with certainty, crossing her arms in defiance and glaring at him.

"Why don't you guys just have a breath-holding competition right now and whoever wins goes?" Kid suggested, interrupting their stare down with each other. They both agreed and it was no surprise to Tetra when Link had to take a breath after barely a minute had passed. She stopped holding her breath as soon as he lost and stated, "As I said before, I'm going."

After she regained the breath she had lost in their little competition, she walked into the mist. It was fairly easy to see through but she noticed the change in the air as soon as she stepped into it. The fog caused the air to grow heavier than normal and cold fingers of mist wrapped around her bare arms and legs, chilling them. She hadn't anticipated the sudden change in temperature but forced herself to imagine that it was freezing ocean water that was surrounding her instead of poisonous fog and the pressure she was feeling was that of the waves pushing her deeper. She did notice, as she continued, that the air pressure seemed to grow.

Her lungs did not scream for fresh air just yet but she knew that they would in time. With all the fog surrounding her, it was impossible to judge the distance that she had to go before she reached her prize. She didn't dare break into a run, knowing that doing so would only shorten her supply of air. She needed to keep herself calm or she wouldn't be able to last. When her lungs began to constrict, and she still wasn't at the end of the room, she struggled to maintain her composure. What if she wasn't even halfway there? What if she'd unknowingly wandered in the wrong direction? That was impossible though. She'd been walking straight the entire time, hadn't she? Just as she began to doubt herself, she noticed an object up ahead. Once she reached it she could distinguish it as a glass table. On it were two things. The pale purple piece that she'd came for and a vase of flowers. They were all drooping out of the container completely blackened, although she imagined that they were once colorful as she had never seen a completely black flower before. The petals were frail, and at a single touch they flitted down to the table. She then noticed hylian script etched into the pale ceramic of the vase. While she could not distinguish what it said she still got the overall message. The sign in the beginning was not a hoax. The fog could and will kill anything that relies on it for oxygen.

Tetra swiftly grabbed the block with its strange cut outs and unique marking. It wasn't quite heavy enough to require the use of two hands to carry it, but she did so anyway in an attempt to keep herself balanced. She knew that her breath was escaping her despite her best efforts to hold it inside. As she made her way back to the others, her air supply diminished and her head grew lighter even though the pressure in the room was so heavy. Her skin was colder than it'd been before, and she was sure that if she were to breathe out she'd be able to produce frost.

However, she had no interest in pursuing the theory and kept her mouth firmly closed, struggling to resist the urge to breathe in through her nose. Finally she could see the shapes of her companions through the shifting mist and broke into a run. All she had to do was hold her breath for a few more short seconds. Unfortunately the lack of oxygen to her brain was making her dizzy, and she soon slowed to barely a walk, fearing she'd fall over if she continued at a fast pace. After what felt like forever she emerged from the fog, yet a heaviness still tried to push her down and she soon realized that tendrils of fog clung to her. She shook the wisps away and the heavy feeling dissipated into the air with the mist.

Tetra then allowed her mouth to open and gasped for air.

"Are you okay? You didn't breathe any in did you?" Link questioned her in concern.

She breathlessly shook her head in response to his latter inquiry, still trying to regain her breath without passing out. The sheet of cold had slipped off of her as soon as she'd stepped out of the fog, for which she was grateful. Once she'd recovered enough to speak she confessed, "That was a little more challenging than I'd thought it'd be."

"Why? Did you have to fight something in there?" Kid wondered, tilting his head to the side in curiosity.

"No, it was freezing cold and the air was heavy which made everything more difficult," Tetra explained, "but it doesn't matter now 'cause it's over, and I never have to do anything like that again. Let's go to the next room."

Just as she'd requested, they left the room filled with poisonous fog that dutifully stayed in the place it was meant to. The next room that they stepped into was not much better than the last. Except for a tiny section that was barely large enough for them all to squeeze onto together, the entire room was covered in sand. A rounded stone had writing scratched into it. Unfortunately Link and the princess chose to read it silently to themselves, so Kid and Tetra were left in the dark. Kid shot her a helpless look as he could not understand the lines and curves that were supposed to hold meaning. She returned the look, although it was more of one bred from annoyance, seeing as she had no way of deciphering a single letter either, so she really couldn't help him.

"So what-" Tetra began to ask, but she was cut off sharply by Link who shushed her. She tried again and got the same response except this time the princess joined in. For reasons she could not discern, they were required to be silent in this new room. It was the longest room in the hall, and from what she could tell, the object they had come for was at the very back. Link motioned for them all to follow him as he stepped onto the sand, taking care to step lightly. The princess followed his example, and Kid and Tetra did likewise, although they had no clue as to why they were trying so hard to be furtive.

The sand shifted slightly under her feet but didn't give or hold her in place like she'd been half expecting it to. While she was curious about the exact reason for her elder companions' peculiar behavior, she refrained from inquiring about it. After all, she was supposed to be literate, and she was, just not in Ancient Hylian. Asking about what the sign had said would provoke questions that she'd rather not answer. While she didn't have any qualms with lying, she preferred to avoid doing so as much as possible since her companions were no doubt suspicious of them and piling lies on top of that wouldn't help their case much.

They crossed the small sea of sand in a tedious manner. When they finally reached the end it took them about ten minutes just to pull out the lavender block from the wall since every time they moved it, it was compelled to make a noise which, in the overwhelmingly silent room, sounded like a loud clap of thunder. Making their way back to the entrance wasn't much better. It was in no way fast, and Tetra swore that they moved slower.

When they finally emerged from the room, they decided to attempt to enter the room that had been sealed shut before. To their amazement, the handle turned easily, and they had instant access to the last room. The foursome stepped inside and hurried to the back of the room where a treasure chest waited. Link opened it, and they acquired the final piece of the puzzle. They then hurried back to the main room, and Link spread out all eight hard earned pieces on the floor.

Piecing everything together should have been easy, but they were quickly finding that it was not. Each rectangular prism was cut differently and the symbols of nonsense painted on them didn't give any indication as to where they were supposed to be placed. On top of that inconsistency, each had to be turned to fit perfectly, much like a puzzle, into a hole with opposite cutouts. Most of the time, they couldn't tell whether they were trying to put a block in the wrong place or if they simply didn't have it positioned correctly.

After twenty agonizing minutes, they finally managed to get all but one to fit into the strange symbol. Tetra picked up the last block and carefully adjusted it over the last opening until she felt that she'd matched the cut outs correctly. She then lowered it and pushed it down into place. Immediately after she did so, the completed gear-like symbol glowed with a pulsing luminescent purple and blue. They all distanced themselves from it, wary of the otherworldly reaction to being whole. The symbols etched into its face lit up with a teal light and the gear began to turn, its symbols pulsing every now and then, fading in and out of view.

"That's it?" Link spoke up, a hint of disappointment in his voice. Tetra was disappointed too. They did all that work to see a gear start to turn? A glance at her surroundings told her that the room hadn't budged an inch. Nothing had resituated itself in the short amount of time that they'd been intrigued by the symbol's show so what was the purpose?

"Maybe it's a door to where the guardian is," Kid speculated after a second or two of uncomfortable silence. "The pieces we found were the keys, and now we have to open it."

"How?" Tetra wanted to know, noting the lack of anything resembling a handle or even a seam indicating a door.

"Uh…touch it, maybe?" suggested Kid, with a hint of doubt.

Tetra shrugged, figuring it was worth a shot. She cautiously approached what she now presumed to be, not a gear, but a door and crouched down. She reached her arm out and hovered her hand over the ever turning gear. After a brief bout of hesitation she tapped the smooth surface and was shocked as the place she had touched seemed to liquefy and spread out like a ripple in a calm pool. That wasn't the only reaction that occurred as a result. She felt a small pulsing against her chest, gradually growing stronger the longer she remained in contact with the door. She stood up with a gasp, putting a hand to her chest and taking a few steps back in an attempt to stifle the reaction that the Triforce of Wisdom seemed to be having. A faint golden glow flickered beneath the bright crimson of her bandana, and she lifted her head expecting her companions to be staring at her in shock and confusion. To her surprise, and relief, they were preoccupied with their own hands. She could plainly see the Triforce of Wisdom standing out against the princess's bare skin and Link's Triforce of Courage was shining through his glove. Kid was trying, much like her, to hide his Triforce piece, clasping both of his hands behind his back and covering the triangle symbol on his left hand with his right.

They needn't have worried so much about concealing their secret though since the reaction lasted scarcely for a minute, and their companions paid no attention to them in that time. Directing their attention back to the door, they found that it was wide open, the narrow steps leading down, much like a spiral staircase into darkness were all gear-like and colored an ominous shade of black, edged with teal. They turned with the outer ring of the door, but this did not appear to stop the steps from being useful, as their positions never truly changed.

Link produced his lantern and lit it so they'd be able to see even when the natural light coming from the ceiling failed to penetrate the ink spill before them. After glancing at each other as if to silently affirm that they were ready for whatever lay below, the foursome began to descend into the darkness. All the while, Tetra listened to the rhythmic ticking sound that seemed to fill the circular chamber, almost like it was counting down. She amused herself with the idea as they climbed down the steps. In their current situation, she knew that they were in a rush. Not only did they have to get home, but they also had to deal with this new evil that was intent on capturing her for whatever reason. It was as if the gear-like door was calmly counting down the moments they had left before everything turned to ruin. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.


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