The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 35: Life or Death

"No!" Link cried, pushing against the barrier that separated him from his fallen companion. He was surprised that he wasn't reprimanded for touching the golden barrier of diamonds, but didn't spend more than a second contemplating it. His gaze was focused on Tetra, Princess Zelda. At first, he had his doubts about her being a princess, but now that he was seeing it with his own eyes, there was no arguing with the notion. The fair-skinned girl lying on the ground was definitely a princess judging by her regal attire. In fact, it was a princess that he didn't recognize, but that didn't matter. He still knew it was Tetra even if he didn't fully comprehend why her appearance had changed since the last time he'd seen her a few minutes ago. He vowed to save her, though he had no idea what he'd do even if he could get to her at the moment.

"Shame I had to waste one…" Ghirahim frowned, prodding Tetra with a foot as if checking to verify that she wouldn't get up. This action didn't provoke any sound from her. She simply laid there, completely still.

"Leave her alone! You have what you want. Now leave!" Midna demanded, positively seething.

"Leave? Why would I leave at a time like this?" Ghirahim wondered, almost as if he expected her to answer. He continued before Midna could retort. "One piece of the Triforce is useless on its own as I'm sure your people know."

Midna balled her hands into fists for lack of a better thing to do in her position, stuck as she was in the air with lethal daggers trained on her. "You're asking to die," she growled, murder standing out clearly in her eyes, "It's more than enough to hurt one of my friends, but you're well over the line when you degrade my people!"

"Your people, degrade themselves my dear," Ghirahim informed her as if it was old news and she'd just now got the memo, "Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to collect some courage before I depart this realm and move on to more pressing matters."

Link tightened his grip on the Master Sword. It buzzed in his hand as if sending him its reassurance. He was still clinging to the hope that his strength, combined with Kid's, was enough to best Ghirahim.

The demon lord snapped his fingers and disappeared in a flash of white, red, and yellow diamonds. Beside him, Kid tensed preparing for battle. Link scanned the bleak courtyard for any sign of his enemy. Suddenly a bright white light lit up his peripheral vision, and he found himself in the air for a brief second before the unyielding gray tiles that decorated the ground caught him.

"Now this is disappointing, I expected more of a fight," Ghirahim sighed. Wincing from the newfound pain in his left shoulder, Link sat up so he could clearly see the sword spirit. He found it odd that Ghirahim and Fi were both sword spirits, yet Ghirahim displayed more abilities. Not to say that Fi wasn't helpful, because she was, but Ghirahim took on a form that better imitated a human's, and he could use magic. He also seemed to have a wide range of emotions from what Link had witnessed thus far. Ghirahim was truly Fi's opposite.

"If it's a fight you want, I'm more than happy to give it," Link announced fearlessly, getting to his feet and twirling the Master Sword in his hand as if to taunt the demon lord. The pain in his shoulder had subsided to a dull ache, but Link suspected he would have a bruise to show for it later.

Ghirahim looked him over and scoffed as if displeased by what he saw. "You'll cause problems certainly…" Ghirahim's eyes flicked to the sword in Link's grip. "However, dealing with you will take up more time than I am willing to sacrifice, so why don't you be a good boy and stay out of my way?" Ghirahim waved his hand in Link's direction and a wall of flames suddenly ignited in front of his face, causing him to stumble back. After getting over his initial shock, Link inspected the flames more closely. He could clearly discern the diamonds that made up the fire, bending and weaving themselves back together like real flames would. However, unlike the golden fence, Link detected heat emanating from this new blockade and concluded that touching it wouldn't end well.

Link focused his gaze on Ghirahim, the leaping flame-like gems distorting his vision slightly. Kid, who had been thrown by the explosion earlier as well, was now on his feet, sword and shield held at the ready as Ghirahim slowly advanced. Even through the shifting barrier, Link could see that Kid's stance was slightly off.

Endeavoring to find a way to help his counterpart, Link searched for a way around the flames. However, there wasn't any way for him to get by. The flames stretched from one side to the other so going around wasn't an option and they were too high to simply leap over. He redirected his attention to Kid and Ghirahim as he wracked his brain for a solution.

Link watched as Kid stood his ground. As soon as Ghirahim was within hitting range, Kid jumped up, intending to perform a helm splitter to get out of the corner he was backed into. Ghirahim calmly reached above his head and grabbed the blade in two fingers. Carried by his momentum, Kid's sword was relinquished to Ghirahim. Surprised by this unexpected turn of events Kid was startled into surrendering his form before he hit the ground behind Ghirahim which resulted in him landing on his stomach.

Ghirahim flipped the sword around so he was holding it properly. He inspected the blade for a few seconds before stating, "Ha! This is the blade you wield with pride? It doesn't even shine. It has no style. No beauty. This piece of metal is worthless! Such a dull thing couldn't possibly mar my exquisite features." Ghirahim then tossed Kid's sword carelessly aside, nearly sending it over the edge. Fortunately, the sword skidded to a stop before it could fall into the abyss of perpetual twilight.

Realizing that he was now weaponless, Kid scrambled to his feet, shield held up in defense as he backed away from Ghirahim who regarded him with an apathetic air. Link knew that he had to step in now more than ever. Sure, Kid had weapons, but Link doubted any of them would deal actual damage to the demon lord. Kid's sword had been cast aside as if it were a mere toy, and Link had a feeling that the rest of Kid's arsenal, no matter how impressive it was, was just as useless.

Link was positive that he had a chance of defying Ghirahim though. There was a reason why Ghirahim chose to prey on Kid instead of him. He wielded the Master Sword, the only weapon that could actually harm the evil sword spirit. It was only natural that Ghirahim would choose to ignore its presence. However, Link's opportunity was currently nonexistent and would remain that way unless he found a way past the flames constructed of diamonds.

'That's it,' Link realized, his eyes drifting from the fight down to the light encased sword in his hand. The Master Sword was the solution, if only temporary, to get Kid out of the predicament he was in.

"Kid, catch!" Link shouted, waiting for Kid to turn around before throwing the Master Sword over the hungry flames. Kid, thankfully, caught it by the hilt and whirled around to brandish it at the demon lord. Confident that Kid could handle himself for the time being with assistance from Fi, Link began to contemplate a way to snuff out the flames separating him from the ongoing battle. Water might work but he'd need copious of it, and he didn't even have a drop to expend. The blaze was too large to stamp out and attempting such a feat would probably just earn him some burns. The only other way that Link could think of to end the barrier's existence was to blow it away. However, he'd need a strong gust of wind for that, and the Twilight Realm barely offered up a whisper of a breeze.

Suddenly Link was struck by an idea. Praying that it would work, he dug out the Gale Boomerang from his possessions. He threw the wind-blessed weapon directly into the magical fire before him. A mini tornado of wind trailed in its wake, snuffing out the flames just as he'd hoped. Link caught the boomerang, silently thanking the fairy of winds that had made his escape possible as he put it away.

He ran through the opening in the wall of flames without a second thought. Alerted by his hurried footsteps, Ghirahim's attention was momentarily diverted from Kid, and came to rest on Link. When he saw that Link had managed to snuff out a portion of the cage of flames, his features contorted in anger.

"You can't just sit quietly, can you?" Ghirahim yelled, infuriated by Link's defiance.

"You'll have to do better than that to keep me away!" Link informed him.

"So I see…" Ghirahim trailed off narrowing his eyes at Link, "However, you seem to forget that I have your friend in a most unfavorable position. All it takes is one snap of my fingers, and she'll be in pieces. Neither of you want to be responsible for her death, now do you? So why don't one of you step forward and surrender your Triforce piece to me?" That froze Link in his tracks and he seriously took the time to consider Ghirahim's words.

"No way! Don't do it!" Midna exclaimed. Link was about to argue with her. He couldn't allow Ghirahim to kill her. Not only was she his friend, she was the ruler of the Twilight Realm. Without her, her realm would be sacrificed to the awaiting hands of Zant. However, he detected a spark in her eyes. Midna had a plan. She silently begged him to trust her and he did.

Without a word, Link and Kid charged forward, aiming for opposite sides. Their enemy snapped his fingers and Link's attention was immediately redirected to Midna. The glowing diamond-shaped daggers swirling around her congregated to the center in unison, yet they met with a flurry of twilight particles instead of their initial target. Satisfied that she was safe, Link focused his attention on Kid who caught his eye, sending a silent message. Link understood immediately and gave the tiniest of nods in acknowledgement. Ghirahim paid no attention to Link's advance since he had no weapon with which to harm him with. Kid acted as if he was going to execute a horizontal slice on Ghirahim's side and the demon lord was already in position to block to the attack. Little did Ghirahim known that it was a diversion. At the last minute Kid overshot his target and tossed the sword to Link who caught it in his right hand.

Ghirahim swiftly turned around to face Link, obviously caught off guard but attempting to redeem himself. He wasn't able to reposition his defenses in time for Link didn't have to waste time switching hands. He was ambidextrous, so his right hand served him just as well as his left, and he managed to make two clean cuts before the shocked demon lord could regain his enough of his composure to teleport away.

"You're like irksome puppies nipping at my heels!" Ghirahim shouted in agitation when he reappeared some distance away. He snapped his fingers and a thin black sword materialized in his hand. "It seems I have to kill you to get across the message that I'm not in the mood to play!"

The demon crouched down in a battle stance and Link and Kid were sensible enough to recognize it as an attack. They scattered to opposite sides to evade it. Ghirahim chose to target Kid since he was defenseless. Link attempted to hit him while his back was turned, but this particular action had been anticipated for metal soon grated on metal as Ghirahim's saber-like sword met his.

Link broke the connection and stepped to the right, tossing the Master Sword to Kid. Once again, Ghirahim wasn't fast enough to react and damage was dealt before he could free himself from the barrage of attacks. For the next few minutes the battle proceeded in much the same fashion with Link and Kid exchanging the Master Sword between the two of them and Ghirahim becoming increasingly infuriated with every successful hit they landed.

When Ghirahim disappeared next, he let out a growl of irritation. The garish demon lord reappeared between Link and Kid, an equal distance away from both of them. With a snap of his fingers, a ring of red and black daggers appeared around Link. Glancing at his companion, he was sure that their alarmed expressions mirrored each other. They were both the center of which gleaming daggers circumnavigated.

"Fi," Link immediately called on his sword spirit hoping that she had a solution. Never one to disappoint, Fi appeared with the information that he needed.

"My data suggests that executing a spin attack will dispel the daggers," Fi announced in her now all too familiar monotone. Link nodded his thanks and performed a spin attack as she suggested. The daggers immediately disappeared, however a cry of pain met Link's ears, and he snapped his head up to locate the source.

Kid was now on his knees, head bowed. Link was puzzled at first as to why since Ghirahim hadn't moved an inch. Then he noticed the smirk on the demon lord's face and realization hit him full force. The ring of daggers that had previously been swirling around Kid was now absent. There was no way for the younger boy to have dispelled the daggers like Link had though which only left one option. At the same time that Link had repelled the daggers surrounding him, Ghirahim had activated the daggers targeting his counterpart. Which meant that Link had just accidentally hurt Kid to protect himself.

Link attempted to run to Kid's side. He still had his potion. Even if it didn't heal his counterpart completely it would still help. Unfortunately Link failed to notice Ghirahim crouching down into an attacking position and before he knew it the demon lord was rushing to meet him as he ran. Link noticed his presence too late to dodge. Evading the attack was impossible and it seemed to occur in slow motion as Ghirahim passed him and pain exploded like fireworks in his right side.

He soon found himself being supported by the ground, glaring at Ghirahim as he witnessed the demon flick out a disturbingly long tongue and lick the edge of his blade. Link grit his teeth. This guy was seriously repulsive. The Master Sword lay a few inches away, but Link was too preoccupied with attempting to push the pain to the back of his mind and force himself to his feet to care. Just as he managed a somewhat unstable standing position, a golden barrier appeared, obstructing his path for the second time that day. Kid had dropped his shield but snapped to attention when he realized that Ghirahim was approaching him.

Link pressed his hands to the barrier, partly to support himself, and partly because of his wish to push past the fence and aid his counterpart. Powerless to do anything but be a spectator to the awful scene before him, Link watched as Ghirahim forced Kid to his feet, restricting his movements by pressing the black sword he held to the child's neck.

The Triforce stood out on the back of Kid's left hand, shining brightly through the gloom of the Twilight Realm as if in a feeble attempt to protect its bearer. Kid instinctively tried to pull away when Ghirahim began to repeat the same spell that he had used before on Zelda's counterpart. However, Kid was quickly reminded of the ebony blade threatening his life and chose to remain still. A single golden triangle appeared hovering over the back of his hand. Once it had raised to Ghirahim's eye-level, he swiped it out of the air, claiming it as his own. The Triforce of Courage that Kid had worked so hard to obtain. In just a few seconds, it was gone. It was funny how long things could take to build, and how easily they could be knocked down, stolen without any remorse. With that, Ghirahim released Kid and stepped back, waiting expectantly.

Link watched as a strange expression passed over Kid's face. He couldn't describe what his counterpart was feeling. His emotions seemed to be caught somewhere between fatigued and panicked. Kid collapsed, and Link cursed at his own helplessness.

Ghirahim then turned his attention to Link. "As much as I'd love to drain every last ounce of blood from your body, I simply don't have time," Ghirahim sighed in a disappointed fashion, twirling his sword in his hand as he spoke, "Shame I can't stay to watch the suffering. That's my favorite part. Oh well… I suppose I'll have my adversary finish you off. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have additional business to attend to." With that, Ghirahim drew a circle in the air before him and disappeared in a shimmer of white and black diamonds.

The golden barrier vanished along with its creator and Link stumbled forward, failing to realize that he'd been pushing against it the entire time. Ignoring the sting in his side, Link bolted over to his fallen companion, kneeling down next to him to assess the damage.

Now that he was closer he could see exactly what the daggers had done. Cuts laced his form, dripping red. None of them seemed to be that deep though. He was more concerned about Kid's breathing which was coming in short gasps as if he couldn't exactly catch the air and keep it in his lungs.

"Kid," Link said, practically pleading with the younger boy to open his eyes. Link was surprised and relieved at the same time when he did, even if it was only halfway. He appeared to want to say something, but Link was quick to shush him, telling him to focus on breathing instead.

Midna slipped out of his shadow, which had served as a safe haven during the battle, and stood beside him. "This is bad…this is really bad…" Midna muttered more to herself than to him.

"What do we do?" Link questioned her feeling lost. He loathed the fact that he didn't know what to do. Kid's eyes had slid shut again when Link returned his attention to his counterpart. He gently tried to shake him awake, calling his name, but to no avail. Kid wouldn't open his eyes again no matter what he tried, and Link felt hot tears burning behind his eyes. Not because he was sad. Well, he was, but he was mostly angry at Ghirahim, at himself for not seeing the trick, and at the goddesses for bestowing such a power to children younger than himself. He'd barely been able to handle the pressure at times, so how were they supposed to cope with it? All the Triforce did was put its bearers, and the entire world, in danger. It didn't save lives. It destroyed them. Bitterness caused Link to ponder why the Triforce was even created in the first place.

"We can still save them, I think," Midna announced.

"How?" Link demanded. If there was hope, he'd follow it blindly so long as his companions were guaranteed to be okay at the end of it.

"Well…remember when I was hurt by that light spirit in your realm? Lanayru?" Midna asked. At Link's urgent nod, she continued, "This is sort of the same thing."

"So if I give him my piece of the Triforce then he'll be fine?" Link clarified, fully prepared to do so even though he didn't exactly know how.

"No! Don't do that!" Midna cried, quickly stopping him before he could run away with the notion. "It would work, but it would put you in the same predicament as him right now, and in case a certain princess has slipped your mind, there's two of them. There's no way you'd be able to choose only one to save." Link immediately felt ashamed. He had momentarily forgotten about Tetra.

"What do we do then?" Link wanted to know, his voice a bit softer than it had been before. Now wasn't the time to freak out. He had to keep a cool head, which was sometimes a challenge for him in dire situations. Snapping at Midna wouldn't solve problems, it would only create more.

"The way I see it, we have two options. Either we get their Triforce pieces back or we get them to the light realm," Midna answered.

"Those are two very impossible things, Midna!" Link exclaimed, despair creeping into his voice despite his not wanting it to, "Ghirahim has their Triforce pieces and goddesses only knows where he went! And we never even thought of how we would be getting out of the Twilight Realm! We were too focused on devising a plan to get in!"

"You're right," Midna admitted but quickly continued before Link could cut her off, "but I actually do know a way out. We can't reclaim their Triforce pieces but we canget to the light realm."

"How do we do that?" Link wondered.

"Zant's the key. When they brought me in here, and I was pretending to be unconscious, I finally discovered Zant's little secret to switching between realms. It's all in his helmet. There's a red gem at the base of it. That's what gives him the power to create portals. If I can just touch it, I'm sure I can tap into its power and create a portal to the light realm for us," Midna explained confidently.

"Alright…then where's Zant?" Link inquired.

Midna shrugged. "I don't know, but if Ghirahim's parting words are anything to go by then I'd say he'll be coming to us shortly."

"We don't exactly have time to wait around though," Link pointed out.

"We shouldn't have to wait long," Midna assured him, "For now, go get your sword. If Zant shows up and you're unarmed then we really won't be getting out of here. I'll need you to distract him for me. Oh, and drink your potion. Your side doesn't look too good."

Link obeyed her first order but ignored the second. He intended to save the red potion for Kid. Midna stored away Kid's sword and shield for the time being, and they were left waiting once again. Midna left his side once to see how Tetra was doing. She came back to report that she was in the same condition as Kid, which only invigorated Link to get them out of the Twilight Realm even faster. Midna pestered him until he drank the red potion in his possession, claiming that they could always get one for Kid in the light realm later. Link only agreed because he was beginning to feel light-headed and would rather not pass out and leave Midna alone to fix things.

Zant appeared in the courtyard quite suddenly, and Link found himself startled by the Twili's presence even though he'd been expecting his arrival. Zant wasted no time in idle chit-chat, for which Link was grateful. During the battle his injury slowed him down considerably, but Link managed to prevent himself from earning any new wounds.

While Zant's fighting style was just as erratic and unorthodox as Link recalled, he simply knew it was taking up precious time. The openings that he was guaranteed if he were patient were not enough for him. He wanted to beat Zant now, or at least get him in a position where Midna, who was concealed in his shadow, could dart out and touch the gem that would be their ticket out of the Twilight Realm.

After a few more agonizing minutes passed, Link finally spotted the perfect opportunity to strike when Zant finished his deadly spin with his dual blades. Disoriented as he was, Zant barely noticed as Midna slipped out of his shadow and touched her hand to the scarlet gem at the base of his helmet. She flew out of range before he could retaliate, and Link sheathed his sword, running past him as well. He focused on Midna who was flying closer to where Tetra lay. She opened the portal there, a blocky black and red doorway to the light realm. Knowing that she'd get Tetra through, Link aimed for Kid, redirecting his path slightly. He barely even paused to scoop up the younger boy in his arms, stumbling as he did so but fortunately able to keep his footing despite the reminder that his wound sent screaming through his brain of its unfortunate existence.

Zant suddenly appeared in front of him, but Link wouldn't let the Twili usurper prevent him from reaching his goal. He narrowly ducked under Zant's blades and continued running. Up ahead he could see the portal wavering like an image disturbed in a once calm pool. Midna had already taken Tetra through the portal with her, so he doubted that she'd return, and if he didn't make it in time then he'd be officially stuck unless Zant had a change of heart in the next five minutes and decided to create a portal for him. The likeliness of that happening though was zero to none.

Link put all his energy into running, each step propelling him closer to his goal. He was certain that the portal was closing at the exact moment that he stepped through it. However, this didn't seem to affect the end result for he found himself in a new place and skidded to a stop, breathing hard as he attempted to regain his lost breath. He'd made it. Somehow.

"Good timing. I thought you weren't going to make it," Midna commented.

"Never…again," Link managed to gasp. When he could speak without taking a breath he questioned Midna, "Where exactly did you put us?"

"Well…I don't really know," Midna admitted, glancing around, "I mean…it looks like the sewers. You know, the way we went when we first met in the twilight? I was trying to warp us into the castle, but this works too, I guess." Link wrinkled his nose as his heightened senses picked up the unpleasant scent of the underground waterway. Definitely the sewers. Thankfully the portal had placed them on a dry outcropping of stone towards the side, well away from the water, so they didn't have to get wet.

Link carefully laid Kid down next to Tetra. Both of them were still unconscious, but their breathing appeared to be improving already.

"Do you think Zant will follow us?" Link wondered, glancing up at Midna.

"He might try, but I don't think he knows where we went. To be fair, Ididn't where I was taking us before we got here, so even if he wanted to follow us, the chances of him doing so successfully are slim," Midna declared, floating closer to the ground.

The silence that settled over the pair didn't last long for Midna shattered it, feeling the need for discussion. "She looks so different," Midna commented scrutinizing Tetra.

As Link took the time to register her new appearance, he truly couldn't believe she was the same feisty and self-willed girl he'd known for over a week. If he didn't know any better he would have said that she was a stranger. Her sun-tanned skin that he'd grown accustomed to seeing was now pallid, almost completely white as if the sun's rays had never touched it. The pale blonde hair that framed her face and traveled down her back in gentle waves contrasted the bright blonde updo that she had previously sported. There was even a nuance in her facial features. They were softer, more delicate than before. She certainly fit the image of a typical princess. Link could only wonder if she'd act like one when she woke up.

"How did you guys find the other piece of her Triforce of Wisdom?" Link questioned Midna.

"Apparently Ghirahim had it. I don't know how, but he did. By the time I showed up Tetra was already fighting him, and when I intervened she was really determined to get the other fragment that Ghirahim had suspended in the air with his magic. I helped her get it and when she combined it with her necklace you should have seen the light it created! It was so bright that I could see it even when I closed my eyes and turned away. When I looked again a girl I didn't recognize stood in Tetra's place. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was actually her…" Midna trailed off, studying Tetra once again.

"If Ghirahim wanted the Triforce of Wisdom then why was he only targeting Tetra?" Link inquired.

"Huh…good question. Maybe Tetra can answer it when she wakes up," Midna suggested, putting her head in her hand in a bored fashion.

"When will that be do you think?" Link asked, growing impatient.

Midna shrugged, "Hard to say. I'm not really an expert on this concept. They'll definitely be okay now that they're in the light realm, but I don't know how long it'll take for them to be back to full health." That wasn't what Link had wanted to hear. He'd wanted her to tell him that they'd bounce back right away, but even he knew that wasn't realistic. Their breathing was just beginning to skim the edge of rhythmic. It would take some time before they could shake away whatever shadowy threads that had bound them to sleep and enter the conscious world.

Despite Midna telling him that their companions would be fine, Link couldn't help but worry. The light realm didn't fix the numerous cuts that Ghirahim's daggers had made on Kid's skin, and he didn't have another potion. By now he supposed he should expect the unexpected and bring extra supplies regardless of their mission, but, like the fool he was, he hadn't done so. Link searched through his belongings anyway. Just as expected, he didn't find anything, but it gave him something to do. Midna decided to slip into his shadow upon coming to the conclusion that they couldn't do much of anything until Kid and Tetra woke up. Until then it was an anxiety-filled waiting game for Link.

Now that the adrenaline from earlier had dwindled down to a nonexistent flicker, the wound in Link's side vied for his attention. He eventually gave it, examining the injury. It wasn't as deep as he'd first imagined it was, though it was deep enough to hurt every time he moved, and even when he didn't for that matter. If he hadn't drank the potion earlier, he was positive that it would be much worse than it currently was. Link supposed he deserved it though. He'd been reckless after all and had unintentionally hurt Kid for which he remained adamantly guilty about.

His eyes wandered to his unconscious counterpart. If he didn't know any better, he'd say that Kid was simply sleeping. He still looked paler than normal but had regained some of his color at least. Bright crimson streaked his tunic in various places, mostly on his sides. There didn't seem to be that many now that Link took the time to look. Nonetheless he still wanted to give him a potion when they got a chance.

The day had started off so well. Link couldn't believe that it had fallen apart like this. Every single detail of their plan had engrained itself into his brain. He knew it forwards and backwards. They had accounted for everything except the possibility that Ghirahim wouldn't allow them to pose their offer. Fi had said there was a good chance of him accepting the deal, but Link realized that even Fi had her limits of credibility. Her calculations could be wrong. Adding a foreign variable mixed up the equation beyond recognition so no one could possibly put it back together, much less solve it. Reflecting on the plan he realized that it wasn't as grand as he'd first thought. It wasn't well conceived. There were loose ends everywhere, and that had been their undoing.

Yesterday he'd been so excited to hear about Kid and Tetra's world that he overlooked those hanging threads. He was still astonished that the Hyrule in the alternate world had been flooded. He was aware of oceans, he'd just never seen one. He couldn't imagine the vast expanse of water even with the help of Kid's sea chart, which was about as foreign to him as the ancient texts that Shad poured over so diligently. As for Kid's adventure he definitely had to give the younger boy credit where it was due. Kid had literally been forced to go on a rescue mission on his birthday no less. The way that his self-driven rescue mission had transformed into saving the world still awed Link. The monsters he had faced, the challenges he overcame and all, more or less, on his own! For the most part he'd been alone in it all. He had guidance of course, and there's nothing wrong with guidance, but on long journeys you need company. Kid didn't have anyone to talk to in those temples, with the exceptions of the last two where Medli and Makar joined him, so Link thought it a miracle that Kid seemed to be, more or less, unbroken after it all.

Link knew that if he himself didn't have Midna's companionship during the invasion of Twilight, he would probably have gone insane from the stress of everything. Even though she'd been a bit cruel at times, company was company. The fact that Kid had killed Ganondorf was a strange concept to wrap his head around. The notion became harder to accept when Link recalled the brutal manner in which Kid had elaborated that he'd done so. While he didn't doubt Kid's strength he couldn't imagine the younger boy stabbing anyone mercilessly in the head, evil or not.

Tetra was an interesting case as well. Raised a pirate, sailing the seas with no boundaries, free to do anything she pleased with no one to defy her. It made sense why she thought she had authority over every living thing. According to her, she wasn't just a pirate. She was a captain. While he didn't directly shoot down the prospect as false, he couldn't put full faith in it either. Tetra had said her crew was composed of six men. Men, not boys. From what he'd seen, Link knew that Tetra could intimidate other children without a problem, but he had yet to witness her work her magic on adults. Link did have to feel sorry for her even though he knew she didn't want him to. He felt sorry for Kid too. They were both orphaned, forced to follow fate down a dark path that would shape their futures which didn't actually seem all that bright the more he thought about it. What did they have to look forward to? A New Hyrule? That was only if they managed to find it and after the existence of the Great Sea for centuries Link would think that if there was an empty expanse of land out there waiting to be discovered then someone would have already uncovered it by now.

After all of the time that they'd traveled together Link found it silly that he was just now feeling as if he truly knew his companions. They were more than just random kids that the goddesses, correction, Hylia, had dropped from the sky.

Movement pulled him out of his hazy thoughts and refocused his concerned gaze on the unrecognizable girl next to Kid. She slowly opened her eyes and Link was surprised that they had not been painted a different color by the magic that had transformed her. Her deep blue eyes appeared to be the only trait that she retained as Princess Zelda. Even so, he noticed differences right away. Her eyes were naturally wider and more innocent looking than they'd previously been though maybe it was just the make-up she wore that gave off the impression. She sat up unaided which Link took as a good sign. If she could sit up, that meant she was regaining her strength.

"How are you feeling?" Link ventured, figuring he should say something. His voice seemed to spook her, and she turned to him, confusion and something that Link couldn't quite place swirling in her eyes.

After a few seconds she realized that he was waiting for an answer and dropped her blue gaze before saying quietly, "Little sleepy, but I just woke up." Her voice startled him. She'd informed him about the physical change yesterday, but she never said anything about her voice sounding different. It wasn't a major change, but it was enough of one for him to think that she was someone else. Tetra normally spoke with a confident, assertive air, with the exception of yesterday, but this girl in front of him didn't even come close to speaking in the same manner. She spoke in a restrained fashion with a small voice as if she was afraid to be heard or worried that her words weren't the right ones.

"T-that's it?" Link checked, unable to keep himself from stammering as he was still taken aback by her altered voice. "You're completely okay otherwise?"

"Yes," she replied. If he'd been speaking with the Tetra he was familiar with he wouldn't have believed her right away. However, something about the way she said it now made him sure that she was telling the truth. The hesitance in her voice somehow caused him to believe that her answer was sincere.

"Where are we?" Tetra asked, raising her head to look at him.

"We're in the sewers underneath castle town," Link answered her, quickly continuing when an uncertain expression passed over her face, "It was the only place that Midna could get us to on short notice, but we're back in Hyrule anyway."

Her eyes drifted down to her hand, and she traced the place where the Triforce had once been. "It's gone," she stated simply, sadness weaving her words.

"Don't worry, we'll get your pieces back," Link reassured her.

"Pieces?" she wondered, daring to look at him again. He wordlessly pointed to Kid.

When she caught sight of him she gasped, "How…how did that happen?" Before he could answer her, she took notice of the wound on his side and he could see her deep blue pools beginning to shine. Alarmed and attempting to stop her from crying, Link quickly exclaimed, "I'm okay! Really, it's not that bad, and I already took a potion for it."

She dropped her gaze to her lap again whispering one word that took Link a few seconds to comprehend. Sorry.

"Sorry? Sorry for what?" Link wondered, puzzled as to why she was apologizing. She didn't have anything to apologize for. It wasn't like she was the one that had injured him.

"It's my fault that you're both hurt," Tetra clarified, nearly choking on the words as she forced them out.

"No, it's not," Link attempted to reassure her, "It's my own fault. I was being reckless."

"You wouldn't have even had to fight if I would have figured it out sooner," Tetra replied, struggling to keep her voice steady.

"Figured what out sooner?" Link asked.

"I knew everything that was going to happen before it did…" Tetra said, seemingly without acknowledging his question.

"What are you talking about?" Link questioned her, a bit louder and more insistent this time to make sure she heard him.

"What happened back in the throne room," Tetra answered, "I knew it was going to happen. I should have stopped it."

"If you knew our plan would fail then why didn't you tell us?" Link wanted to know.

"I didn't know the plan would fail," Tetra shook her head a little at his misunderstanding, "I didn't know when it would happen. I didn't know where it would happen. I just knew that it would happen at some point."

"How did you know it was going to happen?" Link inquired. If he could just get one clear answer out of her he might be able to follow her train of thought. As it was at the moment, he was hopelessly lost.

"I had a dream," she replied simply as if it explained everything.

"A dream?" Link repeated uncertainly, "Dreams aren't real though."

"Prophetic dreams are," Tetra countered, though not with the bite that an argument from Tetra would normally warrant.

"You have prophetic dreams?" Link wondered in awe. That was practically like having the ability to see the future!

"Yes. I had one a while ago. The night before we went into the second temple," Tetra said, "I didn't tell you or Zelda because I thought that you two would be able to figure out that I was…well." She gestured at herself to explain the rest but Link understood what she was saying and urged her to continue. "I told Kid and Midna about it later, and we came up with a solution to prevent it from happening, but we should have thought about it more, or at least I should have."

Midna slipped out of his shadow just then and added her own opinion, "That's not true and you know it! The entire point of coming up with a solution was to make sure you didn't have to worry about it anymore, so there was no reason for you to give it a second thought."

"But-" Tetra attempted to argue.

Link abruptly cut her off, "Stop. None of it was your fault, got it?"

She reluctantly nodded, biting her bottom as if to keep herself from saying anything else.

"What I want to know is what happened after I teleported the boys out of there. I couldn't come back for a while because I had to recharge my magic, so besides fighting, what happened? Did Ghirahim tell you anything exclusive?" Midna questioned eagerly.

"We unintentionally gave him everything he wanted," Tetra announced, "Ghirahim had been trapped in his sword form for years, centuries, probably millennia or since somewhere near the beginning of time, whenever that was. Needless to say, he'd been imprisoned for a very long time and the seal that kept him quiet gradually began to weaken. By the time you had defeated Ganondorf in this world, the seal just needed one more burst of magic energy to undo it completely. That would have taken at least a couple more hundred years though. However, when my friends and I came here the magic that was released for us to travel here became the key to unlock his prison. We let him out early."

"No way…" Link breathed in shock. Tetra wasn't finished though and Link braced himself for what she'd tell them next.

"Then we got the riddle that the goddess had left for us and found you and Princess Zelda. We all traveled to the temples, collecting what we were instructed to. We were led to the Master Sword and awakened Fi from her slumber which should have lasted for an eternity. Awakening her released a power she had guarded within her. Ghirahim's power, not the Demon King's. After that we basically delivered ourselves to his doorstep which let him take what he wanted."

"We did all that?" Link wondered, stunned. He couldn't believe it. They'd been tricked from the very beginning. Everything they'd been working towards had lead them closer to the destruction of both of their worlds.

"Then this plan of the goddesses…it's been completely wrong this whole time. It helped what it was intended to prevent," Midna stated, just as shocked as he was, "It was doomed to fail from the beginning!"

"If we deviate from Hylia's plan now then we should have a chance though, right?" Link suggested.

"What's left to deviate from? We've already followed it faithfully. There isn't a path left to follow. We're on our own anyway. Whatever we do now…I don't know it we can possibly fix what we started," Tetra confided, raising her bowed head and locking her eyes with his. Link didn't know what to say to that. She was right after all. How could they fix something that seemed to be so broken beyond repair?

"Well, we're still alive," Midna pointed out after a brief pause, "so there's no way we lost yet. We can still stop him. Did you figure out his plan by any chance?"

"No. He wouldn't tell me," Tetra answered, "All I know is that he wanted the Triforce of Wisdom and my…" She didn't finish her sentence. Instead she drew in a sharp intake of breath and leapt to her feet, a familiar fire burning in the depths of her eyes. Suddenly there was no mistaking her identity.

"What is it?" Link ventured cautiously, startled by her sudden action. She'd been hanging her head in shame just a minute ago.

"Zelda. Princess Zelda. She's in trouble! We have to go rescue her!" Tetra exclaimed, desperation glinting in her eyes.

"How do you know Zelda's in trouble?" Midna wondered, "You don't have the Triforce of Wisdom anymore, so you can't possibly sense it."

"No, no! It's not that! Just trust me. We have to go, now!" Tetra insisted.

"Whoa, calm down," Link instructed, getting up to steady her when she wavered on her feet, "Explain to me what you mean. Why is Zelda in danger?"

"Because Ghirahim didn't get everything he wanted from me!" Tetra cried, practically pleading with him to go now and ask questions later, "He didn't just want my Triforce piece. He also wanted my soul!"

"Your soul? Why?" Link interrogated her.

"It's divine," she explained in a hurry, "He needs the soul of a goddess for his plan. Princess Zelda has the same soul as me, just like you and Kid share a soul. That's why he must have gone after her!"

Suddenly the pieces clicked together, and Link realized what Ghirahim's "additional business" was. Zelda had Hyrule's army to back her up, but he knew they wouldn't be enough. Compared to Ghirahim's power, they were sticks, and he'd break them all to get to Zelda.

Link knew that they needed to reach the princess as soon as possible but he couldn't ignore the condition his group was in. He himself was injured, Midna was low on magic, Kid was both unconscious and wounded, and Tetra was defenseless as far as he knew. They weren't exactly ready to face Ghirahim so soon after just barely escaping with their lives.

"Don't you get it yet? Link, we have to go!" Tetra reminded him, urgency lacing her tone.

"Alright, I know but…Kid still hasn't woken up yet," Link indicated Kid with a nod of his head. Tetra's eyes found Kid's sleeping form on the ground and concern for her friend momentarily replaced her fear for her counterpart.

"Look, we can't wait for him to wake up," Midna announced, "Link you'll just have to carry him. I can recharge at least some of my power in your shadow, so by the time we reach Ghirahim and Zelda maybe I can do something to help out."

"Okay," Link replied as Midna disappeared into his shadow. He then turned to Tetra. "You can walk, right?"

"Yes, I think so," she responded, her tone bit dubious. That was good enough for Link. He carefully picked up Kid, becoming concerned once again when his counterpart didn't even stir. There was little he could do at the moment. They had to get moving now if they wanted to help Zelda.

"Follow me, and stay close," Link ordered Tetra.

"I will," she promised. That was it then. They were on their way to save Princess Zelda.


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