Linkle and Rutilah managed to reach the shores of Zora's Island without getting hit by any waves or monsters, or knocked over by wind or rain, and were greeted by suspicious Zoran guards.
"She's with me!" Rutilah cried, hand raised, "The Hero to guide us through this darkness is here!"
"Your Majesty," a guard growled at Linkle, who defensively raised her elbow to face him, "tell this Hylian to unhand you!"
"No, she saved me, she's the Hero...she's even wearing the blessed compass, so there's proof!" Rutilah tugged at her hood, "Besides, she kept me from drying out and gave me her cloak so I would survive the journey back, at least give request audience with the king for her."
"Very well, Princess Rutilah." the guard bowed before leaving the two.
"May as well go inside, standing out here will do us no good." Rutilah advised.
"Ma'am, the king's not in any mood for uninvited guests," one of the guards stepped in Linkle's way, "so she must remain her until the king gives orders regarding her...he already learned of one guest."
"It's my expressed wish to remain under the guardianship of the Hero until further notice," Rutilah replied evenly, "it looks like I'm waiting here as well."
"Your father will be furious...do we let them in?" the one guard asked another.
"I don't know...a little rain won't kill anyone, but to forbid the princess entry...yet the king's orders-"
"Look, I'll order you aside," Rutilah waved the back of her hand at them, "You're absolved from any responsibility for allowing whatever havoc she might wreak."
Linkle took a step forward and passed the guards, "What a dilemma, is the king-"
"Stupid?" Rutilah laughed, "Debatable."
"I was going to say paranoid, what happened for him to be so...adamant?" Linkle inquired.
"I'm not sure, he's never liked your people, really." Rutilah sighed, "He just needs a good talking to."
"Seeing the Hero will change his mind!" Linkle decided confidently.
"Ha, there's that naivete again." Rutilah chuckled.
"Lady Rutilah, the stranger is admitted to the king." a guard announced.
"Very good, let's go, Linkle." Rutilah covered her mouth and yawned on the way in.
"King Zora-" Linkle began, when Rutilah quietly coughed, "are you okay, Princess?"
"Hmm, thank you, I'm fine," Rutilah's voice dropped to a whisper, "respectfully use his title, King Zora XXV, to try to appease him, remember, we want to access the temple as a team."
"Very good, Princess." Linkle nodded, then turned to the king, "King Zora XXV, I request permission to escort your daughter as she investigates the temple for signs of any...intrusion."
"My daughter?" the king turned to Rutilah, who pulled her hood back and waved.
"Rutilah, you were in the temple!"
"And then I left to find the Hero...I've found her."
"Then...where is the proof?"
"Her compass-" Rutilah began.
"The Master Sword is the proof of the Hero, not some gilded compass."
"It's not gilded, it's solid gold!" Rutilah stared at the king, turned to Linkle, "Go ahead, tell him about how you saved me, Lady Linkle, tell him how you found me!"
Linkle looked up at the king and cleared her throat, "She was pale and feverish, but the-"
"But then she saved me, and gave me her coat and some water!"
"Speaking of which!" Linkle knelt down and sat Rutila on the marble floor, then poured some water on the princess's head.
The king gasped and raised his voice, "That kind of disrespect is not tolerated!"
"Oh, thank you, Hero!" Rutilah yelled, eyes on the king, "I had to use a lot of the magic you let me absorb from you on the way here, and my head's much cooler now!"
"U-uh, okay." Linkle sighed, feeling nervous around the Zoras. Rutilah slapped Linkle gently and the hero sat upright, "I mean, just doing my duty, Your Highness!"
"The princess is still unwell." King Zora XXV decreed, "Take her away from the Hylian peasant and sit her next to me until she recovers. Someone go to the temple and retrieve the stores of water!"
"Hey!" Linkle yelled as two Zoras pulled her away from Rutilah, and, while she was getting up, carried the crossed princess away.
"Put me down, I'm very well now, this is the only way to save us, might as well swallow our pride and get it over with!" Rutilah struggled, but wound up next to her father. She pulled the green cloak she still wore around her defensively, "At least let her eat before sending her on away, she brought me-"
"We can handle it." the king replied, "We have no need for outside assistance. You can leave, now, Hylian."
"She's my guest, Father, and you're disrespecting me by sending her away."
"You should have thought about that before-"
"Trying to save us? Fine, next time I'll let us rot with ocean, this time we'll try my plan."
"Do not interrupt me!"
"Well if that's not hypocrisy, then I don't know what is!" Rutilah angrily slid forward to leave, but then remembered how weak she still was and screamed in fear. Before Linkle could reach her, a voice cried out from behind her.
"Updraft!" the voice commanded the still air, "Gale Wake!"
Linkle watched in awe as the last magic gently pushed Rutilah back onto her perch. The voice itself was familiar, but there was a practiced, commanding depth under the light surface. She turned to find Aryll, hand raised but slowly lowering, attempting to control the hand that would have fallen to her side from fatigue. Linkle ran to her sister, who had started stumbling back or forward.
"Gale Wake!" Aryll shouted, her palm held out to Linkle.
Linkle thought her sister wished to push her back, but felt that she was actually running a little faster than usual, before she knew it, she was about to catch Aryll, when her little sister bounced forward and landed in her arms.
"Hug pounced, Big Sis," Aryll grinned, holding her head, "we were worried about you for a minute."
"Huh, worried about me?" Linkle inquired, ignoring the looks the Zoras were giving her.
"Yeah, Linebeck, Rustle, and me, we were worried for a bit," Aryll smiled, "but you're the Hero, aren't you? I'm just glad you're not harmed, when I saw Ganondorf-" Aryll covered her mouth and closed her eyes.
"It's okay, Aryll." Linkle glared at the Zora guard staring at her across the table.
Rutilah sat upright and grunted, "You there, Lady Hero, introduce us to this girl!"
"This," Linkle smiled, ruffling Aryll's hair, "is my sister, Aryll. Who I haven't seen since my birthday."
"Very well...I believe I told you we had food, why don't I make a last minute invitation for your sister as well." Rutilah turned to the large Zora next to her, "Come now, Daddy, don't be rude, Lady Linkle traveled so far just to return me, over the putrid sea...just to return me! How about that?"
"Hmm, our search party would have found you." King Zora XXV regarded Linkle and waved his hand, "Fine, they'll have lunch in the infirmary and then go."
"Ah!" Rutilah turned to her father and crossed her arms, "Lady Aryll has magic exhaustion, and you'd send her away now, when she killed the sea monster that's been terrorizing our waters?"
"Magic exhaustion indeed, I'm surprised she didn't fall to corruption, but if you made it back in one-"
"I used the Hero's magic to get us this far, besides, you can't just lock up our troubles and hope it will starve to death before we do." Rutilah chided, "Open the gates and let Lady Linkle into the temple, she can slay whatever ails us and we'll have more than just a room full of frozen fish, and she'll-"
"No, if she's the Hero, then where is the Blade of Evil's Bane? All that matters is that you are safe."
"Very well, Father." Rutilah turned away, "As we starve to death, too weak to find her again...I'm afraid you must go, Linkle...but the least we can do is give you an hour to catch your breath. Someone take me to my fresh water basin."
Malron sensed the presence of the Sheikah in hiding, their shadows seemed more connected to them than the rest of the people.
She ran her hand through her lavender colored hair and leaned against a building. She focused on the first Sheikah she'd recruit, and manipulated his shadow. As she thought, he sensed it and turned to find it waving back at him. He looked up to see her running the back of her hand over her eye, a Sheikah gesture that Aya taught her about.
Malron sensed him following not far behind, and climbed the back of a building. She smiled as he continued walking pass her, "Up here."
"You summoned me?" he looked up at her and crossed his arms.
"I have, and I'll summon more," Malron stood up and backed away, "the Sheikah are returning today, the princess needs us."
"Huh? The princess is alive?"
"Keep that to yourself and wait for my sign, I'll be around the square." Malron sank into the shadow on the roof and emerged out of a wall, falling into a crowd of shoppers.
She waded out of the group and looked for her next target, who was very near her. Not only was she silent but the woman also seemed disinterested in what the vendors were selling. Malron stepped alongside the woman hummed loudly, ceasing when woman turned to her and smiling, but never turning to face her. She smiled at the staring Sheikah, "Well, I think that's enough standing around."
"Is that so?" the other inquired.
"Yes...I should go now." Malron shifted the shadow that one arm cast on the other as she turned around, "Good day."
The hidden Sheikah watched Malron leave. They both knew that the woman would seek Malron out, and that Malron wouldn't make such a great effort to hide, but in the meantime, the Sheikah had to find a inconspicuous approach, and Malron had more warriors to locate.
Linebeck consulted his maps for a few minutes before turning back to Joanna, "We're halfway there!"
"I hope so, I'm hungry." Joanna sighed, staring bored at the water, "And why's it smell so bad?"
"Whatever curse this is, it makes the water deep purple...too bad it's a curse, I know of a few natural poisons t-that give of...fumes like...ugh, so lightheaded," Linebeck fell to the deck and stared at the sky, "Whatever it is, it must not be immediately deadly...it's purpose must be to cause suffering, but why would a wizard make people suffer, unless they had a treasure or something that they're guarding...maybe he's not sending an armada? Maybe both...maybe he's killing two seagulls with one stone, but what treasure...unless he turns the ocean into a moat, not so he can steal a treasure, but to keep out of the hands of others!"
"And why not frame the Zoras at the same time? They can manipulate water." Joanna pointed out.
"True, it's simple but effective." Linebeck stood up and grabbed the wheel, "We need to hurry, then."
"I know a little magic." Joanna stood up and extended her arms, "Current Dash!"
The ship lurched forward and Linebeck lost his balance, immediately falling on his side, "Yeah, yeah, tell me when it's over!"
Linkle quietly ate next to her sister, until Aryll spoke up, "Why is the king trying to send us away?"
"I don't know, but it may have something to do with his dealings with Hylians in the past," Linkle tried to riddle out what the reason was, based Rutilah said and found no clear answer, "it could be a grudge, but a lot of us aren't respectful enough for his liking...then again, he may just be paranoid."
"Well, his kid seems nice enough, so I feel bad for her," Aryll hummed softly before continuing, "you know, she seemed pretty desperate, what's that all about?"
"There's something in the temple, which they locked up...well, he ordered to be locked up."
"So they closed the whole temple to seal a monster...is that why the water seems off?"
"Uh-huh, the monster's turning the whole Great Sea to poison, the place where it's strongest is Zora's River, but that river's current has something special about it...it isn't fully poisoned, but some does make it downstream."
"It's a paradox...unless the river is protected...the sea is said to be Nayru's home, she's often called the Goddess of the Sea, maybe there's a reason why she's called that?" Aryll turned to the doorway as three Zoras entered the room, "Hello, we'll be done eating soon and then gone, don't worry."
"The king wishes to speak with this so called 'Hero', if you please." Linkle turned to her sister and shrugged, then followed the Zoras to the audience chamber.
"You claim to be the Hero." the king stated. He gestured to his attendant, who brought Linkle a bottle.
"What's t—a letter?" Linkle was surprised by the contents, "What's this about?"
"Read it." the king replied bitterly.
"'Dear Father and loyal subjects of Zora's Domain, I have run away and will not return until Linkle is admitted to the temple, Obstinately yours, Princess Rutilah of Zora's Domain.' W-wait, is this real? She can't run!" Linkle looked up at the king, "Did the water you gave her have some powerful magic?"
"No, it was pure water, enough for her to get away with...I have no choice but to send you away with this, keep the jar, keep the letter."
"I should probably use my compass to find her, I'll need a few bottles of that water she was in, and-"
"Before that, you should go to where my men are attempting to move the rocks to block the water temple, some of the seals inside have moved."
"Compass," Linkle began, "where-"
"Why are you still here?" he demanded.
"But your daughter-" Linkle shot back, irately.
"Is safer once the temple's horrors are permanently sealed!" King Zora XXV pointed at a path off to the side, "Now go and share your magic with my people!"
"Fine, just send me with some of your men in case the others are too tired to use it!" Linkle advised, trying to keep her voice low. She shook her head and turned around to follow the others.
Linkle found the Zoras outside on the ground and shook her head, "Sheesh, what a lazy king...alright, let's do this, then take these guys to the infirmary!" she pointed at the rocks around her, then held out her hands, the four Zoras with her laid a hand on her hand and forearm and she instantly hunched forward. The four of them sounded strained as they laid two of the rocks on their side, one on the other, while the other two sat before them, keeping them firmly against the temple entrance.
After a while she stepped away from them as they engulfed the rocks in water and moved the boulders away and leaned against the earthen dome walls, "Alright, I'll be here, see to your friends."
"Big Sis!" Linkle smirked as she heard her sister call out to her.
"No pouncing for me, Ar." Linkle teased, holding a palm out to where she heard Aryll call out to her.
"Wasn't planning on it," Aryll held her hand up on Linkle's shoulder and stepped to the side, "come on, let's go...what were they thinking, was this supposed to be an execution?"
"I'm alright, I walked away." Linkle breathed, leaning on her sister.
"That's still dangerous! That move is also a Zora's attack, I've seen it in action before, it's very effective against the heavily armored Iron Knuckles, their armor itself is magical, and can withstand damage from blade or blast, but that attack can bypass the armor and drain the life out of the Gerudo inside!"
"I thought it would make a good attack." Linkle sighed, holding the wall as they returned to the audience chamber, and turned to address the king, "Temple's blocked, I'll begin my search shortly."
"How colloquial, do try to be more respectful in the future." the king rumbled.
"After you, my good sir." Linkle smiled, waving briefly.
"You'd better recover my daughter." King Zora remarked bitterly.
"That is the plan, but you wanted the temple blocked first, so I did that." Linkle quipped, "Now I'll have to rest, Aryll, will you be able to sail me to...wherever when I'm ready?"
"Yes, I'm feeling much better now...but as soon as we come back, I'm looking for Rustle."
Linkle hobbled alongside Aryll, and when she fell onto a bed, she handed Aryll her map, "Okay, take this for a minute. Compass, where's Rutilah?"
Aryll watched intently as the light pointed over Linkle's left shoulder, "Isn't that the direction we just came from? So...he basically locked his own daughter in the temple?"
"Well, I see what she was plan was...clever." Linkle sighed, "A little too late, though."
"The king won't believe you...he'll just keep interrupting you," Aryll remarked, "and don't you need to command the compass? When he talks right in the middle of your order...well, it's pretty hard to hear someone else and talk. Let's get back to the Aloft, we can think of something there!"
Ohirume climbed the castle, searching for the window that belonged to the royal library while avoiding the line of sight of any guard. The Sheikah found the window touched the shadow on the sill, and slipped into the shadow.
The Sheikah began searching for a book on the Sheikah legends, it had a false cover that rendered it invisible and rested against a wall somewhere in the room.
Ohirume moved cautiously through the shadows, it was a dangerous mission, but so far it looked like the Gerudo hadn't deemed this room important enough patrol, or if Impa had the foresight to hide the room before the castle fell.
The Sheikah grabbed the book and turned to leave, but cast a glance to the remaining texts in the room, "It's foolish and greedy, but I want to see if there are more...I must trust this is all I need, I can't afford to be captured...I can always come back, they would only transport the books if they thought there would be secrets in them, so even if they're found the books are safe, and the guards will want to report the disappeared door of the royal library soon!"
Begrudgingly, Ohirume turned to the window and sunk into it, emerged, and climbed up to the roof. The way back required leaping from keeps and walls, fortunately there was a tree that allowed access to the castle, one of the better kept secrets of the castle.
"Now," Aryll declared, drawing her blade and pointing with it at the look out, "you'll need to climb up there, call you cuccos, and sail all the way over Zora's Island, what do you think?"
Linkle smiled, "I think that's a nice blade."
Aryll sheathed her blade and sighed, "I take it that's your way of telling me you can do this?"
"It's a less ominous way of telling you that there's only one way to find out." Linkle corrected.
"Oh, boy, well, you won't be able to use bombs, that's another problem with my plan...I could retrieve the bird, but it'd have to be after you're in there." Aryll hummed, "Looks like we'll have to jump ship together, I'll cushion our fall with some air!"
"I guess, but who will steer the ship?" Linkle inquired.
"Leave that to the helmsman, he should still be under, I'll tell him my plan!" Aryll ran to the door to the stairs and turned to Linkle again, "I'll remember to take some magic potions with me, their expensive, so let's try not to need them."
"Got it!" Linkle turned around and stared at the islands around the one that held the temple and awaited her sister's swift return.
"Alright, let's get ready for some Zora style backlash!" Aryll cried exuberantly.
"They won't be happy, will they?" Linkle agreed, "Hopefully we'll get out alive."
"Politically speaking, we shouldn't be doing this since we might need help fighting Ganondorf, but with the king's 'me, me, me" attitude, maybe it doesn't matter anyways...and we need them alive and able if we want to build an army against him."
"My compass can keep me safe," Linkle informed, "but I don't know how many people it can protect."
"True, an army would give us away...I'm growing my Heart's strength, for a dual with him, even if I'm only good with wind magic, if I'm strong enough with even that, then I can face Ganondorf's dark magic!" Aryll snapped her fingers, "You probably know how that works, though, since you had enough magic for the princess to use to get back home, you must have trained back home! I guess you were under Syrup's tutelage, then. So, what's your element...I bet it's wind, isn't it? That's how you always outrun me and Malron!"
"Um, I guess my element is fire, I actually didn't know about this stuff, not until Ohirume told me."
"A Sheikah I met in Death Mountain...Ohirume didn't know I had magic, either."
"You're something else, Big Sis!" Aryll laughed, "An unlikely mage!"
"Y-yeah." Linkle looked ahead to the temple, growing anxious as they neared it.
Author's Notes: I tried to add something to all the Linkle, but there's not much to say of the others.
So, Ohirume's going to be buried in the pages of that tome for a while, and Linebeck's...fishing in the wrong pond...or, you know, barking up the wrong tree. Also, here's Aryll looking up to her older sibling, same as always!