Chapter 34: Into Enemy Hands
The light breeze disturbed half colored leaves from their branches and sent them spiraling to earth. They looked like someone had begun to paint them in colors of orange, red, and gold, then abruptly forgot to finish. Rays of sunlight poured from the cloudless sky, the sun a single bright ball of white against the blue backdrop. The temperature was warm but not uncomfortably so. Overall, it was a perfect autumn day. A completely average day; if you were an average person that is. Tetra wasn't one of those people. Neither was her best friend for that matter. Normal was just a generalization. A category. The normal ones were the people living dull lives. The abnormal ones, well, they were the ones with the crazy lives. The exciting lives. The confusing lives. The hard lives.
Tetra couldn't help but wonder what a normal life consisted of. She'd never experienced it. What she and Kid were doing at the moment wasn't exactly normal either. To be fair, anyone could hide out behind trees in Hyrule Field if they felt like it. It could be classified as normal in the instance of children playing an innocent game of hide and seek. However, they weren't playing, and no one was making it their private mission to find them. The two of them were hiding behind a tree as a part of the crazy plan that Midna had come up with yesterday. If it succeeded, they would be one step closer to getting home. If it failed…Tetra didn't want to think about that particular situation. Hyrule was a nice place, she wouldn't deny that, but she could never call it home. Her home was made up of water, not land.
She inched closer to Kid, peering over his shoulder and trying to stay out of sight at the same time. Any second now, their companions would stage their act. It was just a matter of time until the show started. There were two Lizalfos in sight a safe distance from their hiding place. Finding the correct spot for such a performance hadn't been easy. They couldn't do it in front of one of the gates because of the soldiers stationed there, and many other locations that they scoped out were crawling with too many monsters. It had taken the four of them a half hour to find this vantage point. It was perfect since there were many trees to provide adequate cover dotting the landscape, and there weren't any human witnesses unless some travelers decided to show up in the middle of the act.
Tetra knew that Link and Midna were currently hiding out behind a different tree, finalizing their preparations. They had purposely made sure that the amount of monsters that would behold the spectacle wouldn't be more than one or two since Midna would most likely have to be able to handle them on her own to break free later.
She disentangled herself from her thoughts as she spotted Midna, disguised as her, running away from Wolf Link who was some distance behind, howling to capture the attention of their unsuspecting audience. This scene quickly piqued the interest of the two monsters. Tetra had to admit that it looked real even though she knew it wasn't. Midna's disguise was spot on, and she appeared to be a good actor, glancing fearfully over her shoulder to see if her pursuer was catching up. Tetra knew this action was actually a signal though.
Tetra and Kid watched eagerly from behind the tree as Wolf Link swiftly closed the distance between him and Midna in just a couple of bounds. He appeared to leap at her and tackle her to the ground.
"That looked real," Kid breathed, eyes wide as he kept his gaze trained on their two companions.
"That's the point," Tetra whispered back, not daring to remove her eyes from the spectacle either. Kid was right though. It had looked real. Link and Midna hadn't had an opportunity to practice their performance, so it was possible that something could go wrong.
A couple seconds passed which consisted of Wolf Link standing over the fallen "Tetra" and growling as he waited for his next cue. Midna must have given it for he jumped over her a second later and bolted in their relative direction. Everything was alright then.
As discussed prior, he would circle around before joining Tetra and Kid behind the tree to make sure that the monsters didn't pursue him. However, that didn't seem to be an issue since the Lizalfos were much more interested in the girl lying in the middle of the field, presumably unconscious from the wolf attack.
The two monsters made their way over to Midna and seemed to inspect her for a full minute. In that short span of time, Wolf Link had run around and joined them in hiding, panting from the effort. Tetra kept her attention focused on the monsters who had begun moving around, conversing in their warbled language.
Tetra sincerely hoped that they hadn't misjudged about the monsters having a way to communicate with Zant. Wolf Link nudged Kid with his head to get his attention. Kid placed his left hand on the wolf's head to hear what he had to say.
When Kid took his hand away, he turned to her. "Link said to get back out of sight. He'll let us know when it's time to run." Tetra reluctantly retreated behind the trunk of the tree with Kid, so both of their forms were completely concealed. A few more minutes passed in silence before Tetra witnessed Wolf Link tense up, peering around the rough bark of the tree that served as their cover. Tetra inched closer to the side, despite knowing that she shouldn't, and glanced into the field.
Zant was standing with his back to them saying something that was hard to hear. Tetra could only catch snatches of it but by what words she could identify, it sounded like Zant was taking the bait. It was difficult to tell exactly what the Twili was doing, but a few seconds later he made a motion with his arm as if he was flinging opening a door. A portal appeared before him, blocky and red around the edges. Zant barked an order at the two monsters who were standing there motionless and watching him like they'd just noticed his presence. The two Lizalfos picked up the "unconscious Tetra" and followed Zant through the portal.
As soon as the blurred wall of red and black swallowed their forms, Tetra, Kid, and Wolf Link burst out of hiding, making a mad dash for the portal. Tetra could see as she ran that the portal was beginning to close and hoped that it would stay open long enough for them all to make it through. Even though it was her realm, Tetra didn't want to leave Midna in there all alone with unwelcome company.
Just as she expected, Wolf Link reached the portal before she and Kid did and leaped through it. Kid increased his speed in desperation upon seeing the portal waver and Tetra followed suit. When Kid ran through it, Tetra was still about a foot behind him. She saw the temporary gateway flicker as if it was a dying ember and gritted her teeth, praying for it to stay open for a couple more seconds. Whether her prayer was heard or not, she didn't know. All she knew was that she jumped for her goal and slammed into someone, knocking them down and falling on top of them.
Tetra knew even before Kid had made a sound that he had been the one she had accidentally tackled to the ground since her forehead had slammed into his mirror shield when she fell. "Ouch," Tetra winced, hissing in pain, and rubbing the sore spot as she slid off of Kid.
"You're telling me," Kid groaned, picking himself up from the floor.
"Shhh!" Midna shushed them, "Do you guys always have to make a grand entrance?"
"I wouldn't call that a grand entrance," Kid muttered, fixing his hat since it had slipped down when he fell.
"Never mind that, just keep it down," Midna said, waving it off and glancing behind her in a distracted fashion. "Zant went off to report to Ghirahim just like I predicted he would. Right now we're in the dungeons. Just beyond that door is the main hall of cells." Midna indicated the door behind her with a wave of her hand before continuing, "The other way leads to the main entrance."
Tetra took in her surroundings as Midna spoke. Sconces leaping with bluish green flames decorated the grey walls. The doors on either side were tall, narrow arches ingrained with faintly glowing turquoise symbols. Overall, the corridor was poorly lit, but Tetra could see perfectly fine which she found a bit strange. So far, the Twilight Realm didn't appear much different from Hyrule aside from the dreary atmosphere but that was probably because they were currently in a dungeon and dungeons in general weren't very lively places.
"So which way are we heading? Towards the main entrance?" Kid wondered.
"Yes, but we'll have to be careful. There are probably monsters lurking nearby. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have your weapons ready," Midna notified them, her tone implying that they should do as she suggested. Tetra drew her dagger and Kid his sword.
"I'll change you back later," Midna promised as she settled herself onto Wolf Link's back, "For now, we have to move fast." He gave a low growl of indignation. Midna ignored it and urged him forward by tapping his shoulders with her hands. She didn't expect him to break into a sprint and nearly fell off when he did so. Kid and Tetra trailed after them. They didn't stop running when they reached the door for Midna used her hair as a second hand and flung it open for them. The door slammed shut behind them, causing them all to cringe. Right now they had the element of surprise on their side, and they all knew that it would be in their best interest to retain that.
Before them stretched another expanse of hallway that broke off into two separate corridors, each of which looked exactly the same.
"Make a left up here," Midna instructed Wolf Link, who had slowed down to a trot. The four of them progressed down the leftmost hallway at a slower pace, the only sounds their echoing footsteps and the clanking of the chain on Wolf Link's paw scraping the ground every now and then. Midna instructed them through another series of hallways, and Tetra soon got the impression that it was a maze to prevent convicts that escaped from their cells from escaping the building. Many times it felt like they had doubled back the way they had come, but Midna assured her countless times that they hadn't.
Ten minutes later, they emerged into the main entrance which happened to be entertaining monsters. The creatures instantly caught sight of them and drew their weapons. Wolf Link bounded forward, and then crouched down low as the Bulblins began to surround him. The same pool of black and red electricity that they'd used to fell the Shadow Beasts, spread out around the pair, trapping the monsters in close proximity. Wolf Link dealt with them in quick succession, instantly killing them all.
Seeking revenge for the death of their comrades, the remaining Bulblins charged forward, four at Wolf Link and Midna, and two at Tetra and Kid. These creatures differed from other Bulblins that Tetra had seen. They appeared to be touched by the twilight, vaguely resembling Shadow Beasts in their attire and markings. Despite this, Tetra found that the method of killing one wasn't any different than killing a normal Bulblin. The Bulblins were soon eradicated from the room and the four of them exited the structure.
When Tetra stepped outside after her companions, she instantly bumped into Kid. However, he didn't seem to be fazed since he was too occupied with gawking at the scene before him. Tetra soon found herself mesmerized as well. The ground dropped off after a few yards to reveal an almost eerie expanse of sky. Dark clouds were visible from every angle. Some sections of the sky appeared to be a deep purple while others were a brighter shade of gold. Square black particles dominated the outside world. They reminded Tetra of a strange type of rain. A rain that was black and blocky and fell in reverse, from the ground up to the gloomy-looking sky. Surveying the area further, Tetra concluded that there appeared to be islands, heavy with shadows, suspended in the air.
A flash of orange suddenly cut through her vision, redirecting her attention to Wolf Link who nimbly dodged the random projectile. She searched for the source in the sky and was surprised to find what looked like a twisted version of a Kargarok with a Twilit Bulblin archer poised on its back.
"Hey! This is actually a good thing!" Midna exclaimed as her ride continued to evade fire arrows. "If we can defeat that archer then we can use the Shadow Kargarok to get around." Tetra wasn't sure if that was a wise idea or not. It certainly didn't seem safe considering that it was a monster. What hope of controlling it did Midna have?
Kid seemed to snap out of his awe towards the realm itself and grabbed his bow and arrows. They had restocked on everything that they'd deemed necessary earlier that morning which included arrows. It also included keeping potions within easy reach for all of them. This had actually been Link's idea, and while Tetra didn't exactly write it off as a bad one, she thought it was a little obsessive. After all, if one of them needed a potion, then how hard would it really be to dig one out of their possessions? However, she had fastened a bottle containing the blood-red liquid to her sash anyway, just as Kid had secured one to his belt, as had Link.
Tetra and Kid stepped out of range of a fire arrow headed their way. She watched as Kid notched an arrow of his own, a brilliant light shooting out from the tip of it.
"Kid, don't do that!" Midna yelled at Kid, startling him out of his concentration and causing him to not only lose the light magic he was pouring into the arrow's tip, but also to drop the projectile entirely.
"Why not?" Kid wondered, confusion knitting his brow, "Wouldn't this kill the Bulblin in one shot?"
"Yes, but it'll also hurt my realm!" Midna shouted back, ducking low as Wolf Link barely managed to prevent the Kargarok from grabbing him. "So while you're here, please, don't use light arrows."
"Okay," Kid agreed, retrieving his fallen arrow and notching it once again, leaping fire coating the arrowhead instead. Tetra easily evaded another arrow shot her way. While the Bulblin was busy reloading, Kid took advantage of the distraction to fire his own blazing arrow at the archer. The fiery projectile struck its target in the side, causing the Bulblin to let out a shriek of pain.
Unfortunately, the creature didn't die. The Kargarok, began to circle around the area. Eventually it began to descend, talons stretched out to capture Wolf Link in its grip. Wolf Link ran straight at it without hesitation, leaping into the air and digging his own claws into the Kargarok. After he was finished attacking it, the Bulblin archer fell off of its mount and onto the ground where Tetra was waiting. She swiftly ended its meager existence with her dagger.
This left the strange Kargarok lingering in place as if unsure of what to do now that its rider was deceased. Midna floated off of Wolf Link and over to the abandoned Kargarok. As soon as she sat down in the saddle attached to its back, the bird monster gave out a loud trumpeting cry in protest and attempted to shake her off, flailing in the air.
Tetra thought that Midna would be instantly flung off, considering her size, but the Twilight Princess stayed upon her new throne. "Stop it! I'm your new master. Now, settle down." To Tetra's astonishment the Kargarok actually listened to its assertive new rider.
Midna then turned her attention to them. "Who wants to ride up here with me?" she questioned them.
"Is that even safe?" Kid wanted to know, more than a little skeptical about Midna's choice of transportation.
"Of course it is," Midna replied, completely nonchalant as she leaned back a little in her seat. "How do you really think us Twili get around the Twilight Realm anyway?"
"But isn't that a monster you're riding?" Tetra pointed out, indicating the Kargarok with a nod of her head.
"Yeah, but these guys are abundant in the Twilight Realm. It's only common sense to use them. Riding Shadow Kargaroks actually isn't that dangerous as long as they're tamed," Midna explained.
"How do you know if they're tamed or not?" Kid wondered.
"Tamed Shadow Kargaroks will have saddles strapped onto their backs," Midna clarified, "Now I'll ask again, who wants to ride with me?" Tetra was still a bit apprehensive about the concept but found herself volunteering anyway.
Midna helped her up and Tetra soon found herself seated behind the Twilight Princess atop a monster. "Okay, Kid, first, toss your bow and quiver up to Tetra," Midna instructed from her perch.
Kid complied, and Tetra caught the weapons, slinging them over her shoulder. "Why do I need the bow and arrows?" Tetra queried.
"Because we'll probably run into more Bulblin archers like the one we just fought. We need some type of defense," Midna responded as if it was common knowledge.
"Where are we even going in the first place?" Kid wanted to know.
"To my palace," Midna answered, "The Palace of Twilight. We should be able to find Ghirahim there."
"How far away is your palace from here?" Tetra wondered.
"It's all the way over there. See it?" Midna said, pointing to a large piece of shadowed land that almost touched the horizon, or what Tetra perceived as the horizon. It was difficult to gauge distance in the Twilight Realm since, when Tetra glanced down, it seemed that the sky was reflected in the open expanse below. Midna then focused her attention on their companions on the ground.
"Kid, you'll be riding Link, okay?" Midna informed him.
"How's that supposed to work if the palace is all the way over there?" Kid inquired as he mounted Wolf Link. "I don't think he can jump that far even with your help.
"Don't be ridiculous. Link isn't jumping anywhere. The Shadow Kargarok will carry you two," Midna announced, "so I suggest holding on tight."
"No way! I want to switch with Tetra now!" Kid cried, fidgeting on Wolf Link's back.
"Too late!" Tetra gloated, a smirk on her face. It was his own fault for hesitating when Midna asked them both who wanted to ride the Kargarok.
Kid muttered something indistinguishable under his breath, but Tetra wasn't sure if it was directed at her or Link. Either way, it didn't matter, for Midna ordered the Kargarok to scoop up Wolf Link in its talons, and before she knew it they were all suspended over the never-ending twilit sky.
Fortunately, Midna seemed to know what she was doing as she guided the Shadow Kargarok to their destination. Unfortunately, that didn't stop them from confronting other Shadow Kargaroks and their riders. Tetra quickly notched an arrow and pulled back the bowstring, Midna reminding her not to use light arrows. Tetra nodded her understanding but knew that she wouldn't have attempted to use light arrows anyway. Without the entire Triforce of Wisdom at her command, she would only be harming herself if she fired one.
She let her arrow fly at the nearest Bulblin archer just as it released a fire arrow toward her. Midna jerked the Kargarok out of the way and the arrow went singing past her head. Tetra was a bit unnerved that she'd felt the heat from it and reached up to make sure nothing was burned. Thankfully, she was untouched. Tetra fired another arrow at the archer. This one buried itself in the Bulblin's chest and it fell off of its ride, plummeting down through the sky until Tetra lost sight of it among dark, billowing clouds. This reminded her that she didn't want to fall off, and she situated herself in the saddle a little better before focusing on her next target.
She finished off the second rider after expending three arrows. Despite progressing towards their destination as soon as possible, they were soon being tailed by three more of the black, concave faced Kargaroks, two with a rider and one without. Midna was charged with the task of keeping their mount moving, so they didn't get struck by an attack. This caused Tetra's job to become ten times harder as everything was moving at once.
The loud, trumpeting cry that had been consistent for the last five minutes began to give her a headache which didn't make aiming any easier.
"Midna, stop moving around so much," Tetra ordered, clenching her jaw as she tried to aim correctly.
"I can't help it!" Midna shot back, obviously just as fed up with it as she was. "Do you want us to get knocked out of the sky?" Tetra bit her tongue to prevent herself from retorting. She finally managed to dislodge one of the archers after a few more minutes filled with frustration. From there, defeating the rest became easier, and they soon found themselves on their way to the Palace of Twilight.
When they finally reached the palace, Midna directed the Shadow Kargarok closer to the ground. It released Wolf Link, and Tetra slid off next, dropping a couple feet to the ground and landing expertly on her feet. When Midna dismounted, the Shadow Kargarok flew away without any prompting. Tetra hoped that they wouldn't need it again.
Kid was barely off of Wolf Link's back before Midna touched the Shadow Crystal to the wolf's head, and he transformed back into a human. Link stood up, dusting himself off and looking around.
"The palace looks different than I remember," Link noted as Tetra returned Kid's weapons.
"You don't know this, but the palace used to be a lot bigger before Zant took it over last time. He did some…remodeling, and, just like Princess Zelda, I've had to rebuild things. It's nowhere near as beautiful as it used to be but at least Zant seemed to leave it alone this time. Mostly," Midna added as she drifted closer to what Tetra presumed served as the center of the palace courtyard. The exterior of the palace reminded Tetra of some kind of fortress, its walls smooth and unscalable.
"What do you mean mostly?" Tetra wondered as her eyes drank in the sight before her. None of it looked broken to her. It was all very neat, not to mention huge.
"The Sols are gone, but that's not really a surprise," Midna sighed.
"What? We have to do that again?" Link groaned, "I hated it enough last time."
"Well, get ready to hate it all over again because we have to restore the Sols to their original places," Midna declared with a mischievous smile.
"What are Sols?" Tetra asked tentatively, feeling like it was common knowledge since Kid seemed to know what they were talking about while she was clueless. It sounded like they were saying "souls", but that couldn't be right.
"Sols…they're like the Twilight Realm's equivalent to a sun," Midna explained, "except that there are two of them and you can actually hold them."
"Since there are two, then wouldn't it be quicker if we split up into two teams?" Link suggested, "I know my way around. Probably not as well as last time but well enough."
"Right. We definitely need to hurry, and I want to break the other Twili out of the spell that Zant put on them. If we do, he won't be able to use any more Shadow Beasts which will make him less of a threat to us," Midna mused.
"So what are the two teams?" Link asked, looking to all of them for their input. Tetra preferred to be with Kid but knew that wasn't an option, so she remained silent.
"I think you and Kid should go together," Midna said, addressing Link, "I'm not saying you will, but in the case that you do come across that dark fog, he's going to need someone to coach him through it, and I'm not exactly qualified for the job."
"You mean the dark fog that…" Kid trailed off a look of horror on his face.
"Don't worry, you'll be fine. I doubt that the security around here is tight. After all, they're not anticipating any trouble, and why should they be? The mirror's broken, and the only way here now is through one of Zant's portals," Link pointed out. Kid nodded as if in agreement, but Tetra could tell he was a still little apprehensive even with the consolation. Tetra herself didn't know what the dark fog was but didn't press for an answer.
"What should we do if we get here before you two?" Link wondered.
"Wait for us," Midna replied, "When we're all regrouped then we'll talk about what to do next. In the meantime be careful. Our objective is to get the Sols back. Don't even attempt to go to the throne room yet."
"Got it. Come on, Kid," Link said motioning for Kid to follow him.
"They have the east side covered, so we'll take the west." Midna announced, flying over to the opposite side, implying that Tetra should follow. She hurried to keep up with her partner, finding it a bit unnerving that, besides themselves, no one, not even a monster, was in sight.
The interior of the palace was meagerly lit by a chandelier hanging from the tall ceiling, leaping with blue flames that cast further shadows into the far reaches of the empty room. Midna wasted no time leading her up a staircase laced with shining runes and to another door. The door lit up in a multitude of turquoise symbols, opening for the pair without either of them having to do anything other than stand in front of it. Tetra decided that she liked the convenience but couldn't even begin to comprehend how the door opened automatically.
They stepped into a long, slightly twisting hallway. Doors lined both sides as well as fire-lit sconces. Midna flew right past them, and Tetra assumed that they were either servant quarters or half-finished rooms designated for other activities. Whatever they were for, Midna and Tetra didn't explore the rooms. Instead they progressed to the end of the curving hall where another automatic door led them into a different room.
The new area was just as grand as the rest of the palace. What appeared to be some type of benches bordered most of the squared room while the rest of the floor was made up of carved symbols that made no sense to Tetra. Once again, a chandelier lit up the room with the aid of four sconces, snuggled into each corner of the room. Tetra briefly pondered why every castle or palace had to be so large and filled with rooms that didn't seem to be used. As they progressed Tetra found herself peppering Midna with questions about the palace, being a princess, and every other thing that pertained to life as a royal. It was just as overwhelming and confusing as she'd imagined it.
Just as quickly as she'd started, she stopped posing questions. Tetra didn't want to think about any of it, even after what Link had told her yesterday. She still remembered their conversation clearly and knew that she couldn't forget it even if she wanted to. Not that she really did.
Looking back on it, she supposed that the only reason why she accepted Link's request to step into the hall was because she didn't want to cry in front of everyone. Crying was a weakness. It was a poison that claimed to be medicine, and it never was because it didn't help anyone. It didn't fix anything. Tetra had known that, but yesterday she could barely hold the emotion back. She'd admitted everything which made her finally realize that she couldn't go on the way she was. She needed serious help. So when Link asked her to come out to the hallway with him, she was actually relieved for the escape even though she tried to act like she wasn't.
As soon as they were alone in the hallway Link told her that he knew exactly how she felt. At first she shook her head, wiping her eyes and nearly yelling at him for lying to her. For saying something so stupid. He couldn't possibly know how she felt. Not really. Link persisted though, and she was too busy trying to stop the flow of tears falling from her eyes to do anything but listen to what he had to say.
Link informed her that when he first turned into a wolf as a result of being pulled into twilight and bearing the sacred mark, he was beyond disoriented. Thoughts that he swore weren't his were being pushed into his head. Thoughts that belonged to the divine beast that he had become. They were wild and instinctive and actually caused Link to fear himself. He told her that, at first, he was afraid he would hurt someone since the thoughts almost turned into actions countless times. He also said that at one point, he wondered if he'd been a beast his entire life instead of a human. He even confided that his senses as a human were heightened as a result of being a wolf, a permanent reminder of his other form.
Tetra now knew where his incredible hearing came from. She was quick to look past that though and got straight to other matters. She admitted that when the Triforce of Wisdom was whole it changed her appearance as well. Tetra then questioned him, wanting to know how he dealt with it. He then told her the last thing she expected him to. He didn't tell her that he just accepted it one day. He didn't tell her some story of finding himself or even that he just ignored it. Instead, Link told her that he hadn't coped with it. When she asked what he meant by that, he said that he'd made up his mind by deciding who he wanted to be.
This answer confused her, and Link had went on to explain that at one point in his adventure he had decided that he wasn't a divine beast no matter what other forces argued otherwise. He was just Link. He was a ranch hand turned hero. Link said that after making that decision, when he transformed into a wolf, he pushed every thought that he knew wasn't his to the back of his mind. Over time he managed to silence the thoughts, so even when he was in wolf form, he could be himself. Unfortunately, he could do nothing for his appearance, but with his mind sound, it didn't bother him as much. He also told her that even now, when he was in wolf form, some of the divine beast's thoughts found themselves out of the cage he'd placed them in, and he had to corral them once again. However, it was never as hard to do as it had been at first.
She immediately wanted him to teach her how to cope with her situation, and he asked her who she wished to be. She had three choices. Tetra: pirate captain and terror of the seas, Zelda: future princess of New Hyrule, or Hylia: the white goddess of the skies and protector of the Triforce. She, of course, chose Tetra. Tetra quickly protested though, saying that, while she could ignore Hylia, she couldn't ignore Princess Zelda. The fact that she was a royal and was expected to run a country that she established herself, combated against her being Tetra. Link told her to focus on who she wanted to be despite all of that. He told her that next time she transformed into Princess Zelda, she had to try to push away thoughts that she knew she, as Tetra, wouldn't be having. Once she did that, she could be Princess Zelda on the outside but Tetra on the inside. He told her that that was the first step. She didn't dare ask what the second was and doubted that he would answer her currently if she posed the question. Tetra was fine with that though. Just knowing that she wasn't on her own made her feel better. Link had also told her at the end that she was the first person he had ever divulged this personal information to. They had left the hall with each other's secrets locked away in their minds.
Now she was embarrassed about the occasion, seeing as she had cried, and Link, of all people, had consoled her and provided her with what no one else could. Suddenly, she was glad that she was teamed up with Midna and not Link.
She was startled out of her thoughts when a red barrier touched down in front of her, its posts giant crystals of red and black. Tetra drew her dagger, turning around to face whatever enemy she was sure was there. She'd honestly been expecting a horde off Shadow Beasts, so when she saw Zant, she nearly dropped her dagger in surprise. Tetra wasn't positive that it was Zant. It looked more like an apparition than the real thing, seeing as it was turquoise and a bit fuzzy around the edges.
"What-" Tetra began to inquire.
Midna cut her off with an answer, "It's not really Zant. It's just a hologram, but watch out because he can still hurt you if you're not careful."
"So he's like a phantom?" Tetra wondered, on full alert as her enemy teleported and reappeared on the other side of the fenced in arena.
"Sure, if you want to put it that way," Midna replied. Phantom Zant raised his arms and a huge sphere of dark matter appeared above him. He flung it out to the center of the room and it opened up a portal from which a bunch of Keese, changed slightly by the twilight, flew out and made their target Tetra and Midna. The pair made quick work of the Keese and turned their attention to Phantom Zant who repeatedly teleported around the room, causing Tetra to become cross since he waited until she was almost close enough to hit him before disappearing and relocating.
Eventually, he raised his arms up again and prepared another black and red orb. "Don't let him do that!" Midna advised, flying as fast as she could to reach the apparition. However, Tetra knew that the Twilight Princess wouldn't make it in time to strike him with the magic she was preparing to hit him with, so she threw her dagger at him, interrupting his spell casting process and causing him to reel back in pain. If holograms could feel pain, that is. This opening allowed Midna to release her growing orb of magic toward Phantom Zant. It burst against him, injuring him further.
The battle proceeded, and as it did, Tetra found herself becoming short of breath. When she once again attempted to hit Phantom Zant by throwing her dagger, she missed, and it bounced off of the barrier next to him instead. Midna attempted to hit him with her third hand, curled into a fist. However she was a second too late, and Phantom Zant released his sphere before disappearing. Creatures that closely resembled Deku Babas instantly littered the floor, and Tetra found herself forced to evade the many attacks directed at her since she didn't have her dagger anymore.
"Behind you!" Midna warned her. Tetra swiveled around to see what Midna was shouting about and was greeted by a Deku Baba lunging at her face. Tetra back flipped out of the way with mere seconds to spare, tripping backwards over another Deku Baba's stem as she landed. She was reluctant to admit that she needed a break. For some reason she felt like she'd run a mile without stopping even though they'd only been fighting for about five minutes. Tetra knew she had more endurance than she was exhibiting, and she had actually gotten sleep last night. There was no reason for her to be suffering from exhaustion already.
"What's up with you?" Midna demanded. "This isn't any time to be messing around!"
"I'm not…messing…around," Tetra gasped as she struggled to regain her lost breath. This response transformed Midna's annoyed expression into a concerned one.
The Deku Babas disappeared just then and both of them turned to where Phantom Zant was creating another ball of dark matter.
Midna muttered something under her breath. It sounded like a foreign word from a different language. Needless to say, it made no sense to Tetra, but she had a feeling that it was a curse. Midna then addressed her saying, "I'll deal with him. Get to the sidelines if you can and stay there." She then rushed over to where Phantom Zant was, forming her hair into a third arm as she flew.
Tetra got to her feet and made haste to sit down as close to the red barrier as she dared. She was mad at herself. She was stronger than this. Why was this particular battle taking such a toll on her? Tetra despised the fact that she couldn't do anything to help Midna, weaponless as she was. Forced to watch the battle, Tetra knew that it was taking away magic that Midna would most likely need to use later.
After a couple of minutes passed, she found herself breathing easier and the fatigue in her limbs nearly faded to nothing. Deciding that she was recovered enough to assist the Twilight Princess in defeating Phantom Zant, Tetra hurried over to where her dagger was waiting on the floor and joined Midna in the battle once again.
"Tetra, what are you doing?" Midna exclaimed as soon as she spotted her.
"Helping you. What does it look like?" Tetra replied tersely.
"I told you to sit out!" Midna reprimanded her, irritation lacing her words.
"And I'm telling you that I'm fine now," Tetra retorted with sass of her own, wary of Phantom Zant who was teleporting around the battlefield at the moment.
She didn't wait to wait to hear Midna's reply and rushed towards their holographic foe. Unlike the other instances, she managed to reach Phantom Zant this time and landed at least five blows on him before he resumed his teleportation game. She shot Midna a triumphant smirk to which the Twilight Princess glowered at her. Apparently she was still sore about Tetra's disobedience.
The princess of twilight and the pirate captain managed to take down Phantom Zant a few minutes later. As soon as they did, Midna ordered Tetra to sit down and take a breather. Tetra was more than happy to comply, as she once again found herself lacking oxygen. Midna studied her the entire time, her eyes quietly calculating.
When Tetra had recovered enough to speak she said, "I think we can move on now."
"No, we're not," Midna shook her head, crossing her arms over her chest in defiance. "Not until I understand what's going on with you. One minute you're acting like you just ran a marathon and the next you're completely fine."
"It doesn't make sense to me either, Midna," Tetra informed her companion, "This doesn't normally happen to me."
"Huh…I wonder if it's the Twilight Realm. Maybe this is the consequence for possessing most but not all of the Triforce of Wisdom," Midna mused, "Now I'm kind of regretting bringing you. This is going to be a drag."
"Hey! It's not my fault," Tetra cried in indignation.
"I know, I know," Midna rolled her eyes, "It's just that running with that Sol isn't going to be easy."
"Why do we have to run?" Tetra wondered. She didn't see why they couldn't take it slow.
"Because we're going to be chased all the way to the exit," Midna sighed.
"Chased? By what?" Tetra asked even though she was sure she didn't want to know.
"By that," Midna answered her nodding to a giant hand holding a white sphere in its fist.
"What happens if it catches us?" Tetra questioned, figuring it would be helpful to know whether they would get hurt or not if they messed up.
"It'll take the Sol and come back here, but if you're holding it while it takes the Sol then you'll be hurt some," Midna explained, "Besides that, watch for the shadow of the hand. If it's above you then get out of the way."
Tetra nodded, getting to her feet and walking up to the giant hand.
"You have to hit it to get it to drop the Sol," Midna supplied. Tetra unsheathed her dagger and struck the huge hand once. It instantly released its hold on the Sol, and she quickly put away her weapon. Tetra was surprised that the large hand stayed frozen in place, but didn't argue with it and bent down to pick up the Sol. She immediately realized that their mission had gone from unnecessarily difficult to downright impossible.
The Sol itself was actually quite pretty. It didn't hurt her eyes to look at as she'd anticipated. The sphere of white was encased in a cage of blue symbols. However, it was larger than she'd expected, not to mention heavier. After picking it up, Tetra was sure that she'd drop it accidentally. Its size combined with its unexpected weight made the Sol difficult for Tetra to hold, much less carry all the way to the entrance. She would have asked to borrow Kid's power bracelets if she'd known that they'd have to do this. Unfortunately, they were on their own, and while they did have the option of going back empty handed and asking the boys to help them, that would waste precious time. Somehow, Tetra and Midna had to do this themselves.
"Is it really that heavy?" Midna wondered, "Link made it look easy when he did it."
"Yes, it really is heavy, and I can't carry it all the way back," Tetra confessed, setting it down on the ground. Midna transformed her bright orange hair into a hand and grabbed the Sol with it, testing its weight.
"I might be able to carry it a bit but not the entire time," Midna announced. "Let's try something, back up." She gestured for Tetra to take a few steps back. She had no idea what Midna was up to but took a couple steps back anyway. Midna gestured for her to keep going and she did.
Once she was about a foot or two away Midna said, "Catch." She tossed the Sol to Tetra who caught it but stumbled under the sudden weight forced into her arms. Midna then flew a little ahead of her and instructed, "Now throw it to me."
Tetra found that it was easier to hold it over her head to toss it, so that's exactly what she did. It didn't go very far, but Midna managed to catch it with her magical hair, dipping briefly in the air as a result of the extra weight.
"So? You think we can keep this up?" Midna inquired, "The hand is pretty slow anyway."
"We can try," Tetra replied with a nod of her head silently instructing herself to keep up even if she got tired.
"Oh, and don't worry if you drop it. Sols can't be broken that easily," Midna told her.
As soon as Tetra and Midna got to the middle of the room with the Sol, the hand came to life, red runes racing across its surface. Midna, who currently had the Sol in her possession, flew forward a bit, and Tetra jogged ahead, turning back to assess their situation after a few feet. The ominous hand was slowly drawing closer just as Midna said it would.
When she caught the Sol next, she thankfully didn't have to go more than a few steps to activate the door. After stepping into the next room Tetra threw the Sol up to Midna who used her third hand to grab it. They continued through the many rooms and hallways of the west wing of the palace playing a game of catch with a giant hand threatening to slam down on top of them and steal their prize away if they so much as paused for a breath. On one occasion around the halfway point, they were forced to stop because Tetra needed to take a break, however hesitant she was to admit it. They found a spot to place the Sol where the hand could not grab it no matter how many times it slammed itself down.
After Tetra had recovered enough to move on, they grabbed the Sol and resumed the arduous task of taking the white and blue orb to the entrance. At one point the hand actually succeeded in reclaiming the Sol but Midna quickly struck it with a sphere of magic and it released the orb which Tetra wasted no time in grabbing.
When the two of them finally emerged victorious Tetra instantly sat down and let the Sol drop out of her arms. She knew that they wouldn't be pursued now that they were outside of the palace. The pair moved on shortly with Midna carrying the Sol. It was no surprise that they found Link and Kid waiting there in the middle of the courtyard, sitting on the ground beside the Sol that they'd collected.
"Took you long enough," Link greeted them in a joking manner, "We've been waiting for almost twenty minutes." Tetra was almost positive that he was exaggerating.
"Glad you two had an easy time of it," Midna muttered as she placed the Sol into the remaining depression in the ground. The tile around it lit up and both boys scrambled to their feet. Link drew the Master Sword and stepped between the two Sols which instantly disappeared, the runes reaching out across the ground and lighting up an oval beneath Link's feet.
Tetra became startled when pure light skimmed the edge of the Master Sword before encasing it entirely until the sword almost hurt to look at. The blade was the brightest object in the realm by far. Fi flipped out of the sword, somehow remaining graceful in every motion she made.
"Master, the sword has been infused with light. I can confirm that the effectiveness it has on beings of darkness has increased by seventy percent. However, this upgrade will disappear once exiting this realm," Fi reported. Then, without waiting for a reply, the sword spirit disappeared back into the Master Sword. Link sheathed the sword, sparing them all from the enhanced shine of his weapon.
"So, what made it so hard for you two?" Link wondered.
"Well, the Sol was heavier than expected and Tetra slowed us down too," Midna answered honestly.
Tetra glared at her, not taking kindly to be referred to as a burden. "I did not."
"Run ten laps around the courtyard and I bet you'll faint before you finish your fifth," Midna wagered. Tetra wasn't about to take her up on the challenge. After all, she knew that Midna was right. She probably would pass out if she did that.
"Why would that happen?" Link asked, confused as to what Midna was talking about.
"Because apparently if you don't have a whole Triforce piece in your possession then you can't do a lot of physical exercise in the Twilight Realm without nearly collapsing as we found out the hard way," Midna replied.
"Seriously?" Kid inquired in disbelief, "Are you okay?" This second part he directed at Tetra.
"Of course," Tetra responded in a huff, "As long as I take breaks I'm okay."
"Alright, well, I guess it's better than a time limit," Link sighed before changing the subject, "So what are we doing next? Confronting Ghirahim?"
"That was my plan," Midna said, "But I think it'll be better if we enter the throne room from different sides."
"I thought there was only one entrance," Link interrupted her.
"There was, but it was remodeled since the last time you were here," Midna informed him, "Now there's the front entrance and two side entrances. I was thinking that Tetra and I could enter through the front while you two enter through one of the sides. That way, just in case one of them is rigged with a trap or something then two of us could help the other two get inside, and we can go through with our plan of convincing Ghirahim to face us in Hyrule."
"Okay, how would we get to the side entrance?" Link wanted to know.
"I'll show you where to go once we're inside," Midna assured him and the four of them set off to enter the middle of the palace. Upon entering, Midna led them over to a staircase towards the left side of the room which they all quickly ascended. After passing through a doorway they found themselves in a hallway that split off in three directions.
"Go right," Midna instructed the boys, stopping in the middle of the hall and pointing down the dimly lit corridor, "That'll lead you to a door and beyond that there'll be another turnoff point. Whichever way you choose is the opposite side of the throne room, so if you go right, you'll enter from the left and vice versa. There'll be steps in front of you. That leads to a guard station, so don't go in there." With their instructions in mind, Link and Kid detached themselves from the group, and Tetra soon found herself alone with Midna.
"If you don't mind, I'm going to hide in your shadow. I don't really want them to know that I'm here just yet," Midna said, "Just keep going straight and follow the hall. You'll eventually reach the throne room, but be careful. I know we didn't really run into any trouble besides the security in the one room before, but there's a good chance that they posted some guards in the main hall." With that, Midna slipped into her shadow, and Tetra started forward on full alert. The feeble light provided by the sconces on the walls didn't do much to illuminate the massive corridor. Tetra found that she was adapted to the poor lighting by now and didn't mind it quite as much as she had at first.
After a while of walking down the corridor, she wondered if it ever ended. It seemed much longer than was necessary but maybe that was because there were so many twists and turns incorporated into the intricate maze of the hall. She followed the path faithfully like Midna had instructed, knowing that she'd reach the throne room at some point.
She eventually stopped listening for the scuffling of monsters, knowing that she wouldn't hear any, and instead listened to her own footsteps which echoed back to her as she walked down the deserted corridor. Tetra had no idea how much time had passed. Whether it was only five minutes or fifteen, she felt alone. She knew she wasn't truly alone though. Her shadow was her company.
Tetra's thoughts wandered to her other companions. She wondered how they were faring, if they'd reached their shared destination yet. She had a feeling that the path to the side entrances were longer than the path to the main entrance and knew that she'd probably be the first one inside.
She slid a wary hand to her dagger, feeling as if something was off. A faint headache pulsed briefly in her temples before dying. It made her uneasy. If something was going to attack her, then she wished it would get it over with rather than keep her in suspense. Up ahead the corridor curved to the left and she quickened her pace to meet it, hoping to find something. The something that was causing her unease, in particular. She wasn't disappointed.
The room that stretched out before her was the throne room. It was exactly where she was supposed to be. Tetra knew that she'd never been there before, yet it felt familiar. In fact, it looked familiar. Near the back of the room an uncomfortable looking chair rested against the wall, imitating a multi-legged bug that nobody dared to touch but one. This one appeared to be a man and she squinted, taking a small step forward as if it would help her discern the figure better. The new presence was cloaked in shadows, making it impossible to make out any features other than a faint outline, and even that was a stretch.
Tetra suddenly let out a quiet gasp. 'Eerie atmosphere, throne room, figure of shadows…NO!"It was her dream! Tetra couldn't believe that she didn't realize it earlier. Of course she wasn't alone in that corridor. She'd been with her shadow. With Midna. Only she hadn't known Midna when she'd had the dream. Kid was with Link… Tetra drew her dagger, deciding that she'd fight. She had to. No more of her prophetic dream was allowed to come true. She wouldn't let it.
A light chuckle met her ears. It was one filled with amusement. She knew it belonged to Ghirahim, whom she still couldn't see well at all due to the throne room being almost completely dark. She could see just enough to know when he disappeared from his throne, Midna's throne, and glanced around momentarily forgetting where he had appeared in her dream. He quickly reminded her by teleporting behind her and gripping her shoulders a little too hard.
This sent a new wave of panic washing over her, drowning her. She couldn't move. She was terrified. She hadn't realized why in the dream but she knew why now. Ghirahim was a merciless demon. He wouldn't display any restraint because she was a child. She knew that. He would kill her if she did anything other than what he wanted her to. 'No, he'll torture me first,' Tetra realized in horror. Just as it was in her dream, her dagger was useless. She clutched it tightly in her right hand, and yet she didn't move. She liked to claim that she was fearless, but she knew the truth deep down. She wasn't fearless. She was afraid of so many things.
"Let her go!" yelled a voice that she recognized as Link's. It snapped her out of her petrified state, and she looked up to see Kid right beside him. They were both running towards her, swords drawn, determined to save her. Tetra remembered her dream. It didn't end with them saving her.
"No, don't!" Tetra cried even though she knew it was futile. For as she shouted the warning, Ghirahim was already lifting his hand from her shoulder. Neither of the boys had time to falter or register her plea. They were suddenly halted in their tracks, picked up off of their feet, and thrown backwards by an unknown force into a wall that she couldn't see due to the dimness of the room. "Link!" she screamed as the crumbling of a wall met her ears. It had been a scream of concern for both of them in her dream. She now realized that it wasn't concern she was expressing. It was a cry of lamentation. She already knew what had become of them, but that didn't stop her from wrenching herself free from Ghirahim's grasp and bolting forward.
Ghirahim didn't follow her, but Tetra didn't pay him any mind. There was still a little ray of hope shining through. The rest of her dream had come true but maybe the ending didn't. 'Please Din, Nayru, Farore, let them be okay,' Tetra silently prayed as she skidded to a stop in front of the demolished wall, hastily waving away the dust that obscured her vision.
As soon as she could see the debris clearly her eyes sought to discover even a thread of green. The grey bricks were broken into pieces, some crushed to dust. Even as she surveyed the scene she was clinging to the little piece of hope she had left. Hope was holding her up, directing her movements.
Then she caught it. A flash of color that caused her hope to let go off her hand. It let her fall and blend into the shadows of the room. Red, not green, was the only color she saw. The bright crimson slowly pooled out, dying the broken bricks with its shade.
Tetra wanted to wake up. She wanted to close her eyes and open them again to see the light of morning. However, when she tried, the scene in front of her remained unchanged.
"How rude of me. Here I am, brushing pests aside, and I haven't even properly introduced myself," Ghirahim stated calmly from behind her. Tetra whirled around on her heel, shedding tears she didn't even know had been pooling in her eyes. As she did so, the room lit up. Sconces lined the walls, dancing with flames, and a chandelier in the middle of the throne room provided further illumination.
Now she could see the demon lord. Unlike Fi, he appeared to resemble a human with a tall and slender figure. His skin appeared to be grey, but Tetra couldn't discern if it was an illusion cast by the lighting or not. There was no mistaking his white hair though. It nearly covered one side of his face, but the color didn't make him look old as one would expect. Tetra was shocked to find that he seemed to be wearing some sort of make-up and would have felt less intimidated if it wasn't for the fact that he'd just thrown her friends into a wall so effortlessly. She noted his strange attire, white clothes with diamond cut outs that exposed his skin, white gloves, an oddly designed crimson cape, and other diamond accessories that seemed unnecessary.
"You may address me as Ghirahim," the evil sword spirit informed her, striking a pose as if he was some spectacle to be admired, "In truth, I very much prefer to be indulged by my full title: Lord Ghirahim. But I'm not fussy." He shot her a pointed look as if urging her to respond.
Tetra took a deep breath to calm herself. It was a shaky breath, but it was a breath nonetheless. She assumed a battle stance, dagger held out before her in a threatening fashion and dark blue eyes stormy. The plan was to make a deal with Ghirahim and fight him in Hyrule. That had been the plan but as far as Tetra was concerned, the plan had crumbled to dust as soon as the wall had. With Link and Kid…gone, there was no hope. There was only Wisdom. Courage was now a lost art. Tetra decided then that she certainly wouldn't let Ghirahim obtain what he desired. She would fix the mess she made. She would avenge her friends.
"I'm not afraid of you," Tetra stated, "I'll kill you." It wasn't a threat. It was a promise.
"Why the hostility? That's certainly not very appropriate for a princess," Ghirahim reprimanded, calmly strolling towards her.
"I'm not a princess," Tetra argued, narrowing her eyes at him. Inside, Tetra was beside herself, trying to figure out how he could possibly know the truth.
"Denying it, are you? Then I suppose you won't know what this is, correct?" Ghirahim then snapped his fingers, disappearing in a flurry of white, red, and gold diamonds. Tetra attempted to pinpoint his location and soon found him lounging on the back of the throne.
He held up a gold object between his thumb and forefinger, waving it back and forth as if taunting her with it. Tetra dared to inch a little closer, so she could see what he held. She couldn't help but show her surprise. Ghirahim held the other fragment of the Triforce of Wisdom. The little gold triangle glinted in the torchlight.
"How did you get that?" Tetra questioned him, dropping her act of ignorance.
"Ah, so you do know what it is." Ghirahim smiled which only amplified her unease. "Lying isn't a very good habit to get into," he advised her in a mocking manner. Then he began to sound hurt, "I'm honest with you, after all, Princess Zelda, my little goddess. I'll even answer your question. It's quite simple actually. I found it lying in Hyrule field. Quite convenient, wouldn't you say?"
"I'd call it stealing. The Triforce of Wisdom doesn't belong to you," Tetra shot back hotly. Ghirahim was really making her skin crawl. His nonchalant manner of speaking, his confidence, it wasn't right. He was acting as if he'd already won and was waiting for her to realize it too.
"No, it doesn't belong to me," Ghirahim agreed, pausing to inspect the golden fragment he held in his hand from every angle. He then stopped, and his chilling eyes met hers, "but it could. If you agree to give me the rest of it, that is."
"You'll have to kill me first," Tetra replied, head held high as she glared daggers at him.
"No, no. As much as doing so would delight me...I can't kill you," Ghirahim mused, shaking his head. It didn't even seem like he was speaking to her anymore. "Obtaining the Triforce of Wisdom, well, that's a small piece of my plan." He held the fragment up to the light as if searching its surface for imperfections, "I also need the soul of the goddess." Here he once again turned his attention to her, regarding her with disdain, "I must say, Hylia, all of your other forms were much more…radiant. This new form of yours doesn't even begin to compare."
Tetra gripped her dagger even tighter than before. It wasn't an action of fear. It was one of anger. First he degraded her by addressing her with names that weren't her own, and then he insulted her appearance. She refused to tolerate it.
"Have you looked in a mirror lately?" Tetra retorted, "Your fashion sense is lacking."
"What are talking about? I'm fabulous," Ghirahim declared as if it was common knowledge. He flipped his hair with a flick of his wrist as if it would prove his statement.
"Don't flatter yourself," Tetra scoffed.
"Still your tongue before I cut it out of your mouth, whelp," Ghirahim ordered her, his demeanor suddenly changing from light-hearted to deadly in a matter of seconds. 'Good job,' she congratulated herself sarcastically, 'you managed to tick off a sadistic Demon Lord!'With whatever amount of wisdom she had left, she refrained from replying.
"Honestly..." Ghirahim sighed putting a hand to his head as if speaking with her exhausted him, "I'll give you one more chance to answer me correctly. Only one." He held up a finger as if to clarify. "Normally I wouldn't be this courteous, but I suppose I owe you. After all, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be blessing the world with my stunning presence at the moment."
Confusion clouded her mind. "What do you mean by that?" Tetra asked, puzzled.
Ghirahim began to reminisce, recalling memories from the past. His facial features contorted in anger, and he began to speak, "Long ago when that wretched sky child defeated my Master, I became trapped. My Master had reverted me back into my sword form and when he was defeated I was cast aside, teleported to an entirely different location. However, that goddess sword not only claimed my Master's essence, but the majority of my power as well. Without my power, I was weak. I couldn't escape and so the sword became a prison for my soul. My Master managed to return just as he'd promised and found me. Yet, he didn't even recognize me!" Ghirahim disappeared once again and Tetra looked around, frantically searching for the demon.
He reappeared on the other side of the room, madly pacing and continuing his violent rant, "He didn't know who I was. He didn't even know that a spirit resided in the sword he wielded! I was just a weapon to him. And that happened time after time again. My new Master would always be defeated by the hero and the princess of the surface. That accursed Kingdom of Hyrule! Each time the seal keeping me imprisoned in my sword form would weaken, changing my outward appearance little by little."
Ghirahim teleported to another location the room, beginning to sound insane as he rambled on, practically shouting, "Do you know how it feels to be trapped inside your own body without a voice for thousands upon thousands of years? For years I watched and listened inside my prison. I could see and hear every event that went on around me. Around my Master. Over the years, I began to realize something. The one thing that separates me from my Master in incredibility is this: He never learns but me…" Ghirahim suddenly appeared behind Tetra, grabbing her shoulders, shaking her slightly and putting his face uncomfortably close to hers.
"I learn," Ghirahim whispered in her ear as if it was some exclusive secret. Tetra suddenly remembered that her dagger was in her hand and whirled around, intending to strike him with it. Ghirahim predicted this reaction and disappeared before the small blade could make contact. It was then that Tetra learned that Ghirahim lacked the concept of personal space.
"I learn!" Ghirahim repeated, louder this time as he reappeared, sitting on the throne properly. "I analyzed every plan and every mistake so that when I finally broke free, I would know exactly how to prevail. I would succeed where so many reincarnations of my Master had failed. The last time I clashed with the goddess sword, I was almost free, but I needed one final burst of divine magic to completely undo the seal. That came with you my dear. You set me free, earlier than expected, and for that, I thank you kindly," Ghirahim bowed his head in mock gratitude. He then raised it saying, "Oh, but your kindness didn't stop there! You reawakened the goddess sword for me, allowing my power to escape and find its way back to me. I was willing to retrieve you myself with my renewed power, but no! You made my life even easier by coming to me! Given all that you've done, it's not unreasonable of me to give you another chance to give me what I want, now is it?"
Tetra was stunned. She couldn't believe it! By coming to this alternate world she had unleashed an ancient evil long before its due date. To make matters worse, they had disrupted the eternal sleep of the spirit of the Master Sword. It hadn't unleashed Demise's essence. That had withered away long ago. Awakening Fi had actually unleashed the remainder of Ghirahim's power. How could they have been so stupid? So far they hadn't done anything except break a seal on a demonic sword spirit and then give him a free power upgrade! Not to mention she'd just willingly delivered herself to his doorstep.
"Why come after me specifically though?" Tetra wondered, genuinely curious. Even with Ghirahim's excessively dramatic speech, which scared her quite a bit, she still didn't understand why he wanted her in particular. Princess Zelda had the same soul as her, as well as the Triforce of Wisdom, so what made her so special?
"Because you're convenient," Ghirahim announced, "I don't have to go through the trouble of extracting the Triforce of Wisdom from you since it's already in this physical form." He tossed the fragment he was holding up in the air once and caught it in his opposite hand when the air failed to sustain its weight and forced it down. "Now, last chance, will you give me the rest of the Triforce of Wisdom or do I have to take it from you? Choose wisely. You can only answer once."
Tetra knew that she wouldn't give it to him. She'd been digging her own grave for too long. Now it was time to find a way out of it, even if she had to do so alone.
"No," Tetra answered, "I won't give it to you."
"Tsk. Wrong answer," Ghirahim sighed as if she disappointed him, "But don't fret. I can't kill you."
This was little reassurance coming from a Demon Lord and Tetra found herself worrying her lip as she contemplated what exactly she'd just gotten herself into. Killing Ghirahim was out of the question because she didn't have the Master Sword, and even if she did, there was no guarantee that she'd be able to use it. It was for the chosen hero to wield, not the princess. Princess... A solution began to formulate in her mind. If she could get the second fragment of wisdom from Ghirahim and combine it with her own piece, then she'd be transformed into Princess Zelda and the Triforce of Wisdom would go inside of her. Even if it wouldn't stop Ghirahim, it would make it harder for him to achieve his goal.
The doors suddenly slammed shut, startling Tetra out of her thoughts. Ghirahim pushed the small triangle up into the air. Firelight lit up the golden surface, causing it to shimmer in its place near the ceiling. "I'll just place this here for now where you can't get to it," Ghirahim smirked, his tone similar to one would address a small child with. The golden fragment continued to float there as Ghirahim stood up and his flowing red cape, which reminded her of petals belonging to some type of poisonous flower, disappeared in a flash of diamonds.
Ghirahim snapped his fingers and a row of daggers lined up before him in response, each one glowing red around the edges. With a wave of his hand he launched all of them at her. Tetra's swift reflexes spared her. The flamboyant Demon Lord then teleported closer to her, causing Tetra to back up involuntarily. She quickly swung her dagger at him. Instead of dodging it, Ghirahim calmly captured the blade in two fingers. How he managed this without earning even a scratch amazed her and terrified her at the same time.
Tetra attempted to pull her weapon free, but Ghirahim displayed an incredible amount of strength and held it in place. She even resorted to using two hands but after a few more seconds he effortlessly flipped the dagger out of both of her hands and into the air. He caught her prized dagger by the hilt and brandished it at her.
Her eyes widened in fear. She was supposed to swing up to get him to release. Fi had told them that, but Tetra hadn't remembered it until now. She took a few wary steps back. Ghirahim advanced, forcing her to retreat towards the wall. Tetra's eyes flicked up to the fragment of wisdom suspended magically in the air over the throne. There wasn't anything she could climb to allow her to grab it. It was too high to reach.
She felt her back hit the wall and this snapped her attention back to the enemy towering over her. She balled her hands into fists in frustration. Turning it into a hand to hand combat fight wouldn't end well either, seeing as he had magic and she didn't. Besides, he also had her dagger at the moment.
Ghirahim took advantage of her lack of attention and teleported a few feet away before throwing the small blade straight at her like a dart. Tetra side stepped in an attempt to avoid it but wasn't exactly fast enough to evade the attack entirely. She felt the cold metal lick her skin as it passed. The dagger clattered to the ground, its sound reverberating around the chamber. Tetra put a hand to her neck. Her fingers came away colored with dots of blood.
"My apologies," Ghirahim taunted her, bowing in a gentleman-like fashion, "Did I nick you? Perhaps you should surrender before I let one of these blades of mine take a bite out of you."
She quickly reclaimed her weapon and moved away from the wall, trying to prevent herself from shaking. Tetra dropped back into her previous fighting stance as if nothing had happened. Ghirahim was toying with her. He wasn't even fighting seriously and already he'd managed to mark her skin, with her own weapon nonetheless! This infuriated her, yet she forced herself to calm down. If she made a mistake, it was the difference between a tiny scratch and a stab wound. If she'd had a choice, then she would have retreated by now. However, all of the entrances were locked shut, and she had no hope of opening them. Ghirahim fired another round of daggers at her, all of which she dodged. After doing this the feelings of fatigue began to creep back into her limbs.
Ghirahim licked his lips with a disturbingly long tongue and summoned a black sword for himself to wield. He then teleported behind her, attempting to land a blow. Tetra barely managed to evade the saber-like sword, and stumbled on her feet. As Ghirahim moved to approach her, a figure suddenly appeared in front of him, halting his advance.
Tetra couldn't believe that she'd forgotten that Midna was with her. Why the Twilight Princess waited so long to make herself known, Tetra didn't know, but she was relieved that Midna was coming out to assist her now. Goddesses above knows that she needs it. Midna formed her hair into a huge fist and attempted to punch Ghirahim. However, the sword spirit deftly jumped back, out of range.
"Ah, the Twilight Princess. I don't have time to deal with you. Why don't you go run along and play with Zant?" Ghirahim suggested.
"Why don't you get out of my kingdom?" Midna countered, drifting back towards Tetra while keeping her gaze trained on Ghirahim.
"Actually, this is Zant's kingdom now. He's allowing me to maintain a temporary base here," Ghirahim informed her.
"How did you even get into the Twilight Realm?" Midna snapped, obviously irritated by his presence.
Ghirahim teleported behind the pair, and they both whirled around to face him. "Teleportation of course. I can teleport anywhere I've been before." With that he launched another series of daggers at them, ending the conversation.
"Midna, do you see the fragment of the Triforce of Wisdom up there? Near the throne?" Tetra whispered to her companion as they distanced themselves from Ghirahim. When Midna's eyes fell on the object she nodded. "Try to get it for me. I'll distract Ghirahim as best as I can," Tetra said. Midna slipped into the shadows of the room while Tetra switched onto the offensive, advancing towards Ghirahim. She feinted to the right, acting as it she was going to attempt to strike him. Ghirahim half-heartedly moved his sword into a defensive position, and Tetra skipped away from him before her blade would have met his. Ghirahim seemed to notice Midna and launched a row of daggers towards the ceiling.
"Midna, watch out!" Tetra warned the Twilight Princess who was almost to her goal. Midna turned halfway around in the air. When she saw the daggers flying her way, she slipped between them, narrowly dodging the ebony blades. She grabbed the golden shard with her magical hair and threw it away from the throne just as Ghirahim launched another attack towards her.
Tetra only had eyes for the piece of gold, catching the light as it flew through the air. She sprinted to catch up with it, paying no attention to anything else around her. Tetra fumbled with her bandana, shaking her necklace free and taking it off as she ran. Once Tetra was more or less below the second fragment she threw her pendant up in the air and both pieces lit up in recognition, pausing in the sky. They connected a second later, kicking up a gust of wind and shooting out golden beams of light into the throne room.
Tetra closed her eyes as the warm, golden light enveloped her. It chased away all of her weariness and filled her with strength. She felt her hair shaken loose from its bun by an unknown wind and flow like water down her back, past her shoulders and to her waist. She felt the weight of a golden crown, affixed with some precious gem, settle itself onto her brow. Her signature bandana was whisked away and a silky wrap was placed around her shoulders by an unknown hand. A necklace consisting of three pearls was fastened to her neck, making up for the absence of her treasured necklace. Tetra felt a new material wrapped around her chest, and a skirt of satin flow past her waist to brush the floor. The change didn't last more than a few seconds, but for Tetra it seemed to last an eternity since she felt every new addition to her attire. When the golden light faded, Tetra slowly blinked open her eyes as if she had just woken up.
The back of her right hand pulsed and looked down at it to see why. There, shining through the pure white of her glove, was the symbol of the Triforce. The leftmost triangle burned the brightest.
"No! You impertinent brat!" Ghirahim exclaimed in rage. Tetra, Princess Zelda now, snapped her head up to attention, her wide-eyed gaze drifting over to the demon lord who was glaring at her, making dramatic hand gestures as he spoke, "Why do you children always meddle in these affairs? Can't you leave well enough alone and do as you're told?" Ghirahim took a threatening step toward her. As Zelda, she was defenseless which amplified her fear of Ghirahim. Midna quickly flew over to her, still a bit awestruck by Tetra's new appearance, and declared, "We're leaving now." Tetra soon found her vision blurring out of focus and realized that Midna was warping them both. To where, she had no idea, but anywhere was better than the throne room.
When she could see properly again, she surveyed the area. They were outside of the palace in the courtyard, towards the east side. Tears suddenly brimmed in her eyes and threatened to overflow. Link. Both the one from her world and the one they'd stumbled into were…. Tetra couldn't bring herself to finish the thought. One part of her mind said to cry the other said to stay strong, yet both of them screamed that it was her own fault. Midna tapped her shoulder, and Tetra reluctantly raised her bowed head.
The Twilight Princess smiled. It was a sincere smile and this confused her. Why should Midna be smiling like that? She had to have seen what had happened to their companions. She had to care about the boys! Tetra knew that she did, so why was she smiling? Midna seemed to pick up on her confusion and gestured silently for her to follow. Tetra did so a bit skeptically, her curiosity briefly overpowering her grief.
Midna led her up an incline, and she trailed behind, a bit unsteadily since she wasn't used to walking in heels with a floor-length dress on. When they crested the small hill, Tetra gasped in surprise and disbelief. Link and Kid were standing in the middle of the courtyard completely unharmed. Kid was the first to spot her and Midna. His face lit up when he saw them, and he waved to them in greeting. Tetra hesitantly waved back, still trying to understand the scene in front of her. When Link saw her, he seemed confused at first but quickly recovered upon realizing who she was.
Tetra suddenly realized the reason for Midna's hesitance to show herself to Ghirahim. The Twilight Princess had been preoccupied with teleporting Link and Kid out of the palace to aid her at first. Tetra then noticed that the red potion that had been loosely fastened to Kid's belt was absent. That must have been the red liquid she'd seen covering the bricks! She had thought about telling him to secure it better and look what had happened. It had fallen out and shattered!
Tetra didn't know whether she wanted to go over there and slap him for making her think he was dead, or go over there and hug him to death for being alive. Midna drifted closer to the boys, looking over her shoulder, implying that Princess Zelda, Tetra, should follow. A genuine smile concocted of relief and pure happiness found its way onto her face, and she took a step forward.
Suddenly a hand shot out and grabbed her wrist, pulling her back and snatching her smile away.
"Did you really think that you could whisk away my little goddess so easily, Twilight Princess?" Ghirahim wondered, creating a barrier of diamonds around the two of them, separating her from the rest of her companions. Midna attempted to fly over the barrier, and Ghirahim raised a hand, stopping her in midair. With a careless wave of his hand, she was flung backwards with a cry.
"Midna!" Link, Kid, and Tetra shouted out their cries of concern at the same time. Midna managed to right herself and flew back to the barrier. She was halted once again by Ghirahim.
"I've had more than enough of your blasted interference, imp!" Ghirahim spat in anger, "I told Zant that he could have the pleasure of disposing of you. It seems that he endeavored to keep you as a plaything. I had no problem with that decision until you escaped and became a nuisance. Surely Zant won't mind if I return you to him in pieces?" He summoned more daggers. However, instead of appearing in front of him, they appeared in a dancing circle around Midna. Startled, she attempted to get rid of them by flying higher into the air. The deadly ring followed, an ever present hazard.
"Now, I suggest you don't attempt any more rescues. If you so much as take one more step closer, that little ring of blades will impale you from every angle," Ghirahim informed her. Midna appeared to want to say something in retaliation, but Tetra shot her a pleading look in desperation. She didn't want Midna to be hurt because of her. Midna seemed to understand this, though she didn't exactly agree, and reluctantly settled for glaring at Ghirahim.
Link and Kid ran over to the barrier, drawing their swords as if they believed that they had some hope of cutting through the fence. Tetra knew that they didn't though. Ghirahim's magic was strong. She doubted that they could cut through the barrier so easily.
"I'd suspected as much," Ghirahim stated upon seeing the two heroes trying in vain to hack through the diamond fence. "You heroes can't die quietly can you?" He then addressed Tetra, whom was struggling in his grip. "As for you child, I gave you multiple opportunities to surrender, but now you've forced my hand. I have no choice but to murder you."
"Ghirahim, if you hurt her, I'll kill you," Link promised, his face contorted in anger. Tetra hadn't ever seen him look so angry before and it almost scared her.
"Child, if you're going to threaten me, at least make it believable," Ghirahim sighed in irritation. "And you don't have to worry about me, harming the little girl. I'll simply take what I want and be one my way. This realm will do the rest for me." Before Tetra had time to register his words, Ghirahim grabbed her right hand and pressed down hard on the center of it, causing her to cry out. Tetra tried to pull her hand away. Of course she couldn't simply wrench her hand free. That would be too simple. Her Triforce stood out on the back of her hand, shining brightly like a star begging to be noticed. Ghirahim chanted some words in a language she didn't understand.
She suddenly felt an uncomfortable tugging on her right hand and stopped struggling long enough to see what was happening. A golden triangle hovered just above the back of her hand as Ghirahim held her wrist. It almost felt like there were strings attaching the Triforce of Wisdom to her hand. Those invisible strings stretched as it raised upward, causing Tetra even more discomfort. It wasn't exactly pain, but it wasn't a light tickle either. It was pure pressure. Ghirahim made sure that she couldn't move by holding her tightly around the waist. Before she knew what was happening, Ghirahim snatched the Triforce of Wisdom out of the air and the threads that bound the Triforce of Wisdom to her, snapped.
Immediately she felt all of the power that the Triforce piece had poured into her earlier flow out like a rushing river. Ghirahim released her, but she didn't even notice. Heaviness weighed down her limbs, practically forcing her eyes closed even as she tried to fight it. Her mind fogged up as well. She couldn't think straight. In fact, she couldn't see straight. Everything in front of her was a blend of dark colors. Tetra found herself on the ground next, though she didn't remember falling. Coldness crept into her lungs, freezing her breath. Barely conscious as she was, this caused her to become alarmed. Each breath was a plea for oxygen and each time she was given an icy coldness that just barely satisfied her aching lungs. She could hear shouting that faded into insistent whispers, though she couldn't discern any words.
Even with the haziness in her mind, she could conclude what was happening to her. She was now in the Twilight Realm without any remnants of protection. Because of that, she was prey to the realm. A simple meal. The shadows were overwhelming her light, slowly smothering it. Her spark of life would eventually flicker out. It was only a matter of time until her light would die.