Linkle sneaked pass several lizalfos, her thoughts on a Goron who's face she never met. Apparently he was alive, unless the Golden Compass didn't discriminate between dead and alive, but a subtle change in the needle told her that the Goron chief was moving, the lurch told her that the Goron was probably swinging his fist into a handful of lizalfos...or getting tossed around by them.
She thought back to Ohirume and found that the light pointed at the same place. Linkle sighed and resumed her quest for the hammer, which led her to a strange door that was bent and warped in places. She cringed as a desperate Goron came to mind, beating the door and kicking it in an attempt to escape, though a larger bulge in the middle made her think of a Goron attacked on the other side of the door. She noticed how some parts of the door was burned, and in one place, about where an average sized Goron's head would reach, were three claw marks.
Did Volga swipe and leave those claw marks?
She let out a deep breath, wiped her arm against over her eyes. Linkle jumped as her back touched something, and kicked off the solidity behind her. In mid air she grabbed the bows on her boots and yelled. She fired at whatever she backed into, but let go of the triggers when a screech broke through the air, and ran into the shadows. She really didn't want to confront the lizalfos, they were deadly and alive and she wanted them to leave her. Linkle covered her mouth to stop the sharp inhalation that followed her surprise as a spark flew from one of them, about where the head was, and ignited a torch.
Another one bent forward and spat into the next torch. Linkle's fingers twitched over the triggers, motioning to squeeze but never touching the smooth surface of either gun's handle or trigger. She instantly relaxed when the monsters stopped approaching.
The lights went out and two screeches shattered the silence, answered by her own cries and the firing of her crossbows.
Linkle stepped out of the darkness and back into the network of caves, blood pounding against her ears as she lumbered along the wall. The door's path was blocked just behind the wall. She took a deep breath as her mind continued to reel from the sudden attack, fingers twitching. She resisted the urge to settle them on the trigger, the last thing she needed was to shoot by accident, waste arrows, and possibly alert the lizalfos to her presence, and came to a stop in front of a statue like the Guardian Stone outside Kakariko Village.
"...it's said the Hero could receive counseling from the fairies within them."
"I'm past caring if I'm the Hero or not, just help me...so I can help the Hero!" Linkle glared at the silent stone, "What about this?"
Linkle showed the compass to the silent statue and unspoken words reached her ears, "The way forward was blocked by Gorons to keep the dragons from finding Drake's Bane, a solid impact should clear the path forward, it lies somewhere on this side of the bent steel door I saw before the wall behind me was built up."
Linkle stepped back, startled by the voiceless words that she heard. She turned around in case a Lizalfos was behind her, and saw Ohirume fall from a ledge and roll, only to go from rolling to walking, a bag in both hands. She took a moment to admire the fluid movements of the Sheikah warrior.
"I sensed an interaction, here, I didn't know there were Sheikah Stones here...I suppose their light has gone out, so now I'm unable to see them at all." Ohirume remarked.
"Um, so, the hammer's hidden, and I need a strong impact because there's a wall somewhere between a door, I don't really need to go through the door, since the hall it led to opened up from a hole in the wall, I need to clear it to reach the hammer." Linkle reported.
"Take these bombs, they should be strong enough. A trick to find places like you described is to knock on the wall, there are many accounts of Gorons blocking holes with rocks, a few big rocks, usually so you should find them by listening for inconsistencies in the hollowness of the rocks, that way you don't end up blasting the hardy walls."
"I can cause a lot of distractions with these."
"That's true, you'll also find a few growing in places around here, so keep an eye out for those."
With that, the Sheikah vanished in a blast of light, though she felt like she'd been stunned.
Tsuki followed Linkle's footsteps, following her as the line between reality and the glimpse to the past overlapped. Using Sheikah Stones always made one feel strange, even as Tsuki walked her path, that strange feeling of anxiety she felt only grew stronger. It would wear off soon, then the journey to Death Mountain would be less blurry, for now relying on Sheikah training would aid the warrior.
Tsuki stopped suddenly as a sound reached the covered ears that struggled to tell reality from history's reality. After a moment's consideration, the spear hanging on the warrior's belt ring found two trained hands holding it at the ready. Quiet breathing and practiced steps kept the Sheikah from detection as two lizalfos wandered aimlessly, "Laying in ambush?" Tsuki speculated.
A loud roar startled the monsters as Tsuki stabbed one, the spun, the blade at the end of the spear's haft cut both of them, and three quick strikes saw the first lizalfos stumble, a back flip in case of a fire attack, and several strong jabs finished off the second, "Why have they left their lair, the Gorons can't have fallen, they know Linkle's present...I hope that's all it is."
Just as one of the entrances to the Dragon Mines was within sight, the volcano's unrest grew more violent, before the volcanic bombs were ejected just on the summit, above the Goron's city, but now the volcano had became more active...if things got anymore aggressive, the volcano would erupt, something that never happened before so long as order remained on Death Mountain, and order had always been on Death Mountain, so no one had an idea of the destruction that would be caused by an eruption, but it was safe to say that the forest and city would be effected.
Tsuki's mind flashed back to the Sheikah in training, and girl in green that the Sheikah Stone revealed to be in Death Mountain. Fate, for better or worse, brought these elements together, it would be a large undertaking, but if they had the time, this wouldn't be the end.
Linebeck turned around as he passed maybe the fifth port since leaving Castle Town's docks, and saw no sign of Jolene's ship, which was a great relief to him, "Crazy girl should just stop following me...well, there goes my cover! I wonder how she found me? My business is small and I rarely leave port!"
Linebeck growled as nothing came to mind, and turned his eyes to the sea ahead of him. His destination was close, now, and soon a flat piece of land broke the continuous blue, he knew that was Bannan Island. His best informant was here, a man who could learn any secret in any tavern anywhere in safe waters.
Linebeck turned his gaze to the sky and smiled at it's orange tone, night would be falling soon, perhaps his informant would have dinner done soon? The man was a great cook, but when "cook" was solely practiced on the bounty of the seas, a certain level expertise was expected, perhaps, on occasion, implied.
Linebeck eagerly jumped out of his ship after lowering the anchor, and smelled the seasoning that the Wayfarer used in his dishes whenever they got boring, considering he'd been here for ten or so years, monotony was implied and expected, "Hey, old man!" Linebeck called out, letting himself inside, "Door's unlocked!"
Linebeck's eyes scanned the cabana, but all he saw a was a basin of water in a broken floor, the Wayfarer's favored chair close to it, but not enough to soak his feet in it. Linebeck turned around when he heard a splash and a laugh. He wheeled around, shouting for the Wayfarer again, when he saw that the girl in the water was not Jolene, too happy.
"Hey, old man, you know you can't just keep people in the water, right? She's not a fish." Linebeck sighed as heavy footsteps approached.
"Sorry, Linebeck, I didn't hear you, I was skinning supper." Linebeck chuckled at his friend's excuse, and winced as the older man whistled, gesturing at the basin's resident, "That's my mermaid, beautiful, huh?"
"Um, yeah, no, sorry, looks too much like Jolene, speaking of which, what is Joanna doing in your house?" Linebeck crossed his arms and narrowed his gaze, "You haven't been tattling on me to the crazy pirate, have you?"
"Nope, but she did say Jolene was off to see about the monsters in Castle Town." the Wayfarer replied.
"Hey, Linebeck!" Joanna waved at him with her fingers and rested her chin in her hands as she watched the pair, "When's dinner, Wayfarer?"
"In a bit, Lady Mermaid." the Wayfarer bowed, "Would you like another drink?"
"Yes, please! Mango this time!" Joanna turned to Linebeck as the Wayfarer left them, "You're friends with him too?"
"I don't get it, he never makes me a mango drink, and I made him the cyclic blade thing, along with a Hyoi juicer, but you're the one living it up!" Linebeck gestured at her and she frowned, "What's your secret?"
"He likes mermaids and thinks I'm one...I tried to correct him, but he ended up busting a hole in the floor and tunneling to the sea, just so I could have a place to come in from the hot sun, isn't that sweet?"
"Yeah, must be sweet." Linebeck grumbled, referring to her life here and not the Wayfarer, though she seemed to not hear the sarcasm in his voice.
"Here you go, Linebeck." Linebeck turned and found a mango drink in a fancy glass waiting for him. He accepted it and took a drink, watching as the Wayfarer reverently offered Joanna her drink. The Wayfarer jumped up as Linebeck started coughing and frowned at the faces he was making, "That's why I never make drinks for you!"
"Sorry, but, ugh, there's...hair or something in mine!" Linebeck wiped his finger over his tongue to show the strings to his host.
"Plant fibers, just drink through your teeth or learn to appreciate the unrefined texture they impart." the Wayfarer stood behind Linebeck and held his hands out, framing Joanna with his fingers, "See that? She's enjoying it like it's ambrosia!"
"Well, I may not have her...unrefined tastes...but you say 'impart' like it's a good thing." Linebeck chuckled as he caught wind of the fish the Wayfarer was cooking, "I don't mind a little dinner with my company, if you don't mind a little company with your dinner."
"You know you're welcome to steal a seat here, but I have some permanent company, so you'll have to change your...invitation now."
"Ha, ha, more company, then!" Linebeck laughed, though he turned a wary eye to the resident mermaid.
Aryll must have been six or seven when Linkle disappeared. She opened the door to follow Malron, who had closed it behind her, out to find Linkle as usual.
Aryll didn't know why she didn't stay back, Malron was an experienced hunter, she kept Skulltulas away from the village with her father all the time, eventually replacing him when he could no longer outrun a Skulltula.
As Aryll opened the door, she instinctively pulled herself back from the ground, and found there was no ground. She turned and saw no house, only a door. Aryll found herself staring down the rolling ocean below and fell through some trees, where she saw a ship that had been smashed into the cove below the village. It was stormy and she barely heard the shouts from below. She went to investigate and found sailors stranded some distance from the shore.
She tossed a rope at the edge, but the wind blew it back, so she tossed a black anchor down, and tried to pull it back as it fell toward the captain. She pulled and pulled, then tossed herself over. She was older, now, and with feet pressed against the tree, she could finally keep the anchor that fell from the sky from crashing on the captain, who now wore a long, green riding hood. The wind pulled it back and Linkle's eyes met hers, "What?" Aryll asked herself.
"I said," Linkle shouted, despite not having said anything, "that you can't keep me safe! You're not my mom, Aryll!"
"Linkle...but-" Aryll felt tears spring to her eyes, and then she realized she was falling. Her mouth fell open as an anchor, perhaps the same anchor from before, sat on a green cloak, pressing it into the sand, the wind rustling the leaves moved the tail of the cloak mockingly as she thought of the girl buried under it.
Aryll jumped up at the sound of thunder and took a deep breath, collected her thoughts, and remembered that Linebeck and her had just been discussing Linkle the other day, so she was fine, it was just a couple of days since Linkle ran away for, what, the billionth time by now?
She ran up to the deck to see what all the scurrying was about, and saw for herself the tall waves and the whirlpool between them and an island she couldn't determine. The former captain stepped up next to her, his gaze fixed on it, "I believe we've got our culprit for this nasty squall, that Octorok is messing up the weather of Zora's Domain, it looks like it's blocking the cove, there's no way we're investigating the Kargaroc's on the Isle of Death now, unless you think we can handle that beast."
"Someone has to take it down, may as well be us! After making repairs we can sail through." Aryll turned to the helmsman and nodded.
"The winds are too strong!" someone cried out from the mast.
"Fine, then take us around the island and surrounding archipelago!" Aryll ordered, "Come on, men, we're taking the long way around and strike from behind!"
"That would take days as it is, the fighting might take hours!" Aryll turned to find the voice and nodded at the awkward looking fellow.
"We're the only ones who can fight it at the moment, it could be days for us, but weeks for word to get around—I can only feel compelled to take this monster down a notch!" Aryll tossed her arms in the air, "Are we going to just pass it? No, we'll sink it! To your places, men! If the crew of the Aloft can't handle it, no one can!"
The sailors nodded and ran to their preassigned positions, even the most wavered were emboldened.
"Rousing speech, kiddo, I feel twenty years younger." the retired captain chuckled, leaning against the wall of the cabin, "Twenty years ago, I was delivering speeches like that!"
"Makes me wonder why you stopped." Aryll crossed her arms like him and leaned against another mast, doing her best to imitate his pose, down to the angle of her right foot as it braced forward, her way of saying she learned everything from him.
"Oh, you know why I stopped," he grinned casually, "my voice doesn't quite carry like it used to, and my men here—oops, your men—are used to loud, thunder rivaling bellows!"
They shared a solemn silence as they remembered why he really left, but he made a point to look forward to the future, so she would, too, and joke around with him only half as much as he would.
She remembered crawling into a break in the hull of the ship and lowering the anchor upon which the helmsman had himself secured. She lowered and raised the anchor on Alfonzo's word, and was made an honorary member of the crew, and was taught many knots.
That day the unlikely teacher and student learned something.
Captain Rustle learned of a girl named Aryll, mechanical prodigy, her talents at the helm not discovered until he and Talron inspected the damage to the ship. Talron brought his daughter and Linkle, who drew the attention of Aryll.
Aryll learned of Captain Rustle, who tossed one of his crew to the others, lost his balance, and fell in, and the risks he thought were worth taking, which inspired her to learn from him and his crew of colorful men and women, she even learned how to cook fish, which was—unsurprisingly—the main food prepared in the ship by the crew.
Rustle resigned and named her captain as she imagined the ship was whole and she was the captain, and taught her using smaller ships as soon the Destroyer underwent repairs and changes that Linebeck—the dry dock's overseer in that time—guaranteed made it better than new, Aryll named the reborn ship Aloft, after the time Alfonzo pulled the captain out of the water with her help.
Malron made swift cuts as she cried out, charged at the automatons with her twin knives, then jumped back, a club came down where she was, and she jumped onto it, sheathed her blades in a dual blade scabbard, then climbed up the arm.
The arm she was darkened, and she forced herself to let go before she was whacked by the golem's left hand. She drew her left hand blade and held it underhanded to slow her fall, caught the wrist of the titan with her free hand, sheathed her blade, and waited for the next move, which turned out to be raising it's arm.
Malron held her left hand palm up and prepared to kick up, swipe her right hand to join the left on the wrist, and moved her hands clockwise, braced her feet against the wrist, turned to see what was behind her, and kicked off the wrist, and drew her blades as she back flipped.
She landed on the head and flipped back again, bent her knees and struck both blades down as hard as she could, and slid down the giant's neck, and walked along the neck, then fell with her arms up and blades drawn. She watched the stone surface pass her until the red mark on the chest came into view. She lowered her arms and bent her elbows, took a breath, and struck into the red mark. It tried to shake her off again, but she pulled her right blade out and stabbed again, then again, until the golem stopped.
She took a breath, only to loss that breath once the titan started collapsing. She dug her blades out and let herself free fall for a while before kicking off and turning in the air. She sheathed her blades and got ready to land, which she did, and ran until she didn't hear anything falling behind her.
She turned around and crossed her arms at the rubble, and turned to find more rubble behind her, some from smaller foes, but there had been at least one giant for each weapon so far. She felt like that was enough practice. So far she tried out the spear, naginata, and dual blades, after the first
Suddenly her cube glowed blue and she held it up, "Eh, what's up with this?"
"Ronran, have you met the mailman?" Tsuki inquired.
"Yes, the package is due the day after tomorrow, I'm going to finally cook without having to go to the surface...keeping this from my dad is rough...I feel bad going up just to eat." Malron sighed, "I get the urge to stay and help with the dishes or something."
"You 're here for a bigger reason, you know that, right?" the inquisitive voice huffed, "Guilt will only distract you...if anything, think of what will happen if you plan for the short term tasks."
"Of course, but...it just feels strange. I guess my stable routine falling apart makes it all so strange, though."
"You did it for Hyrule. How's your training?"
"Ah, back to business, huh?" she laughed, "I've trained with the spear, naginata, and dual blades, I like the focus of the spear and the range and heft of the naginata, the dual blades are light and let me strike quickly, I found some bracers for my forearms, and the dual blade scabbards are...I never thought something like that existed."
"It helps that the angles are opposite entrances slant, keeping the blades from touching to maintain sharpness. Take a new weapon, and go out to try it on some monsters in the plains between Death Mountain and the Kakariko road to Castle Town, there's ten Tektites out there that you can practice on."
"Got it, consider them dealt with!" Malron remarked.
"Be careful...I may have been spotted by some guards, and it's dark out, so you can fight tomorrow after we determine the area's secured, I doubt Ganondorf would send anyone out a great distance until reinforcements arrive to secure his authority and tighten security to keep anyone from getting past, the larger the range the guards take up, the longer information takes to travel, the more blind spots there are."
"Then he probably has them staggered out and arranged signals, sent them to blind spots and set them on high grounds to maximize the area they can cover visually."
"Quite right, so wait until you can see, which means daybreak, but just barely, the rising sun will cast shadows and make you hard to see for a small window, then go see what the situation is, don't speak, just keep your cube on you, I'll be able to see what you see, since mine is a King's Cube, so you won't have to risk being heard or your cube giving you away with it's blue shine. If I can, I'll walk you through it, once you determine the area is secured, go handle the monsters."
"Wait, when can we expect Ganondorf's reinforcements to arrive?"
"A few days, maybe after the stove's delivered."
"They're coming by sea or land?"
"I don't know as of yet, I'm coordinating with an...unknown agent...they're Sheikah, that much is certain, but we haven't met. This is typical, Sheikah on duty hardly meet."
"Can that Sheikah use a magic cube to hear us?"
"That's unlikely for many reasons, I'll explain now: Whisper Cubes all require synchronizing, that is done by simultaneously squeezing all desired Whisper Cubes for five seconds and letting go at the same time, which is why you only squeeze for one second to activate it, only enough time to check the time, no accidental synchronizing is likely. We do this to cut down any chatter, no use having hundreds follow the same general if they're not coordinating, so generals have two Whisper Cubes, one to talk with the king or queen, one to talk to his troops, but Sheikah generally fight solo or with little groups, so many times we only have four linked at a time. We strive to exercise stealth and efficiency, and smaller groups give everyone a learning, team building experience."
"I see...how do you know it's a Sheikah?"
"Because, 'Our one eyed gaze can see the truth', not too straightforward, but the truth, in practice, means the hidden things you can't see, 'one eye' may have meant 'focus', which can allude to skills of observation, insight, or the magic used that narrows vision for the duration of the spell, which allows us to see the invisible, that is the power I use to see what another Sheikah has written." Tsuki explained.
"When can I learn the spell?" Malron inquired.
"Another thing Sheikah say, 'Patience is half the stealth', which is quite straightforward."
"Bah, fine, I'll wait until you teach me." she heard a chuckle on the other end.
"I doubt I'll be back before you learn the spell, but you have good insight, it'll take you far enough until you learn it." Tsuki paused a moment, "That makes you an official Sheikah in training, a Master becomes from skill and will power, the more driven you are, the sooner you will become."
"This is all very mystical, but can you tell me more?"
"Only that it takes some a few years...others decades, there are a rare few who draw the power to themselves, they rise to the top and do great things, eventually becoming a Master Sheikah."
"Well, use Whisper Cube when I need to wake up, I'm going to rest a while. Goodnight, Tsuki."
"Rest well, fight smart."
Malron had a lot of questions about what Tsuki meant, she felt like he knew she would learn the spell herself. She focused on keeping her mind blank and soon fell asleep.
Author's Notes: Ah...finally! This chapter kicked me around a while until things were right! "Concept is easier than portrayal by leaps and bounds" is the lesson for today. And on that note, Linkle finally got bombs!