Linkle really didn't want to get out of bed this time, she just felt too comfortable, and then a cucco crowed outside hr home. She slowly sat up and stretched, and yawned, "Hmm."
She sat lazily where she was and wondered what would be for breakfast, she wondered if Malron was going to knock on the door, give a suspicious reply, and surprise Linkle with a special breakfast. That said, she could settle for regular scrambled eggs and milk.
"Hey, Linkle!" a man's voice, decidedly not Malron, it did sound slightly urgent, though, so she ran outside to see what was up. The first thing she noticed was that the cuccos were all out, then she noticed the two guys talking.
"Have you heard?" began one of the villagers, one of the new ones, he was here for a couple of days, if she remembered right, and was in charge trying to organize the village boats, "Hyrule Castle is beset by monsters!"
"What?! Really?!" Linkle turned to the lumberjack, who seemed to have something he wanted to add to this.
"Princess Zelda herself is fighting, but it's not doing much good. If those monsters make it here-" he fell silent, afraid to complete that thought.
After very little consideration, she bolted back for her house and closed the door, then went to where she was storing her compass. Even though she only went for the compass she smiled on her cloak and made the choice to don the cloak as well. She thought the clothes she had in mind would look very cool as she joined the princess in fighting monsters. She removed the cap and quickly dressed for battle, she took up two crossbows, Malron had considered keeping one to practice with and they could compete sometime, but after that attack decided that one bow would cover the gap in the other's reload timer.
Stepping outside once more, she found the two guys still talking, but now she had their attention, "Hey, what's with the getup?"
"Isn't it obvious? I'm joining the battle and stopping those monsters!" she giggled as she stared at the compass, "My grandmother always told me that, secretly, I was the legendary hero!"
"But, everyone's grandmother says that-" he began, before letting his arms drop as she held out her compass.
"Look! See this compass? My grandmother gave this to me. It's a magic compass. Proof!" she walked between them and pulled up her hood, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a castle to protect!"
She ran while playing Epona's Song, and turned to find that no horse was behind her, "Epona's still in the stables...Malron doesn't usually let the horses out until later...oops." Linkle muttered to herself and continued onward, still brimming with confidence, even though she did feel a little embarrassed. And daunted, the path ahead was long by herself, but Malron would be sick with worry if she learned of Linkle's plan...so Linkle decided to run fast and be back before Malron was done with dishes.
Zelda dragged herself through the courtyard, nauseous and stumbling, trying to focus as she swung her rapier like a drunk, and seeing as how she kept missing the skeletal apparition, she charged forward holding her blade pointed outward.
"Zelda," Impa yelled, "you said you were fine!"
"I—ugh, I was—oh, dear," Zelda stumbled backwards as she tried not to be hit or throw up, and turned around, and ran back to Impa's side, "please, I cannot do this anymore...either the poison will knock me back down, or I'll be sick and then the poison will take me back down."
"Men, carve a path and hold that front, archers, I'll notify you of enemy archer positions, take them out!"
"Impa, no, if you stand still...you're chances of getting hit-"
"Go. If you stay out here longer, your chances of getting sick increase. I know the risks...no one said my job would be risk free...now go!"
Zelda stumbled, tried not to fall asleep again, not in the midst of battle. "The poison was applied again...I can't afford to fall here."
Zelda fell at the door and she turned to see a plump red monster run at her, she held her rapier up weakly as the little monster raised it's blade and readied it's strike, all to be kicked against the wall.
"Impa." Zelda groaned, holding her head.
"I've got you." Impa promised, and opened the door then carried Zelda inside, and a guard closed it back. Impa actually felt calmer now that they were inside, but suddenly a part of the wall fell in behind her, she knew it was probably those giant, spear wielding monsters.
Zelda turned a little and held out her hand, and Impa heard a weak grunt as the magic fire charged forward, and heard the monster cry out as the fire exploded, then Zelda fired off another bolt of flames, but missed, from the sound of things.
"There's two of them?"
"No, this one has an iron shield, fire won't do much good."
"Just what we need!" Impa turned around a corned and dove through a wall, then stepped lightly along the floor, to a part of the wall that fell inward. A water bounced up from the floor, and Impa stepped onto it, then hummed an old song from long ago, back when the princess was a baby.
"The Royal Family's song." Zelda remarked.
"Not what I call it...Zelda's Lullaby." Impa sighed as they were shot up the narrow hole in the ceiling, "You know, I never thought I'd be doing this again, it takes me back."
"Running from giant monsters with sick princesses in your arms? Sounds mentally exhausting."
"Ha, still well enough for some wit, I see." Impa stepped off the platform of water and ran up a flight of stairs, and ran to the door to Zelda's room. Once at the door, she set Zelda down on her feet and helped her to the bed, where Zelda finally gave up trying to keep her eyes open.
"Impa...green...green clothes...Impa." Zelda's mind was hazy, and her vision blurred, what she heard with her ears she repeated when uncertain if she had said them, and then she passed out.
Daphnes II marched into the prison room and sent the guards up to fight, then stared at the lone Gerudo prisoner, "What have you done?"
"What does that mean, little prince?" she looked up at him, watching him as he fumed, "Ah, she died in battle?"
"What have you done?!" he roared, grabbing the bars as he glared at her, "I didn't want Zelda dead, just out of my way!"
"Then you'll be happy to know that I didn't want her dead either, I wanted her crippled, and you to be framed."
"Why me? I'm innocent!"
"You're ordered me to remove her...wish granted, little boy, now deal with the consequences...who was in Zelda's room when Impa found her? Who was safely hiding in the middle of 'an important' meeting when the monsters attacked? And right when the princess was having her tea in the garden...how delightful."
"You witch! You've slain her, haven't you? I will reveal you as a magician, and a murder-" the gate opened quickly and he found himself stumbling backwards, and fell against the wall.
The Gerudo sidestepped and threw the gate the prince clasped dearly to, and held her hands under his shoulder, and shoved him to his knees, she rested her head on his shoulder and hissed, "I will reveal you."
"You can't kill me...who will make deals with you if I'm dead?"
"I will...the ruler of the world."
"High aspirations for a peasant." he jeered, then found himself thrown into the prison, and the gate was placed back where it was, and frozen in place, then she threw a yellow orb of energy at a blue gem on the other side of the room.
"There, now the anti magic field is active...thank you, by the by, for closing it down so I could kill your sister. It's been...fun, I will see you around, young prince."
Linkle eventually made it to the end of the road, but saw two paths, and knew one of the lead to the castle, "Which was it?"
As she couldn't remember-and that she might recall the chase in greater detail than she cared for-and that there was a good chance she'd pick the right one anyway, she took the road to her right and hoped for the best.
Linkle stumbled up a hill and a forest greeted her. Uncertainty and determination in her heart, she decided to advance into the woods.
It was very quiet and she didn't think that was a sign that monsters were near, so she began to turn around and find her way back when she realized she had no idea where "back" was.
"Great, Linkle, you're lost in some strange woods and...ah, I'm such an idiot!" she held her forehead in her palm as she realized she forgot about the Guardian Stone she hadn't passed, "If only there had been a sign up there on that road!"
Malron heard a cucco, that wasn't uncommon, what was uncommon was that when she turned to the window above her bed, she found a white feathered bird, watching her eyes widen, then seemingly laughed, jumping up and down as she realized Linkle would have never let them out of sight, and she wouldn't have brought them out to the ranch, either.
After speedily dressing, she ran outside and downhill towards Linkle's house, where she found two men talking, "Hey, has anyone here seen Linkle?"
"Huh, yeah, she said she'd be back in a bit, she's going to Hyrule Castle." the bulkier one replied, "I thought she'd be back by now, so I took a break from chopping."
"When did she leave?" Malron inquired anxiously.
"An hour, two hours ago?" the scrawnier of the two wondered.
"Why would she go to Castle Town and stay gone for so long? Maybe she just had to talk to the royalty...maybe she finally decided to ask if there was a way they could know she's the hero?" Malron wandered through hopeful possibilities.
The two stared at each other and shook their heads, and at once replied, "The castle's under attack, she went out to fight."
"And you just let her?!" Malron turned around and ran back to the ranch, she was going after Linkle, and she was going in with her bow and arrows.
Linkle sat under a tree and stared at the map she found in a picture frame above her table, she took it in case she got lost on her return journey, but now it was going to get her out of this mess, if she ever found the location she was in.
"Okay, castle's here, and Kakariko's here, and the other way that I must have taken...ugh, what is this, there's no forest! There's just diagonal lines...'Lost', how perceptive! Wait...'Woods', uh, hmm, 'Lost Woods', well...that explains it! I'm lost...and I just stepped into the forest! This place is weird."
She saw several paths she could take and wondered how many would lead to dead ends, and pulled out her compass, smiling absentmindedly at the golden surface, and the Hylian Crest, when suddenly something fell next to her, and a hand fell on hers, wrapping its fingers around the compass and pulling it as soon as the strange thing fell on it's feet. It happened so quickly, she had to look at her empty hand again before it fully hit her.
She stood up and ran after the short person, following to a dead end. She approached slowly, the head turned with strange eyes, curious and unblinking as she calmly closed the gap, then it leapt up and vanished. She stood wide eyed for a moment when she heard leaves rustling, and turned to see the forest sprite on a tree limb, "Please, give that compass back, alright? It's the only proof I have that I'm the Hero of Hyrule...and besides, my grandmother gave it to me, it's mine!"
In reply, the head shook quickly, rattling the mask, the strange wave of energy gave her a headache. She saw a tree stump in front of a stone pillar, and imagined she could make that jump, so darted ahead, eager to stop the mask wearing kid from doing whatever it was doing.
As she reached the top of the stone pillar, the kid leapt away again and she searched for a place he'd land, then she felt what she realized was the kid sized imp kicking her in the back, sending her careening into the pillar, then fell on her back. The thief walked up to her and tilted it's head, watching her, and pushing her back down when she tried to sit up. She used this to her advantage and grabbed firmly onto the strange hands when they reached down to push her down again. With a strange voice the child like creature ran away again, but Linkle was behind it, skipping swiftly to stay right behind it, not more to the left or the right, and held her hand out to try to slow down whoever or whatever had her compass.
"Please, I need that back!" she pleaded, "If only because it might help me save Hyrule!"
She knew the tree ahead was where the mysterious creature planned on disappearing again, and as it leapt up into the air, dread settled in her heart or stomach, or wherever it was dread usually settled in, and she held her hand up towards the figure elevating with a powerful jump, when suddenly, a light began shining, and then it was gone.
Half awestruck and half despaired, she watched up the tree limbs, and then, just as suddenly as it was gone, the compass fell to the ground, shining like the sun, a curious light that never was thrown from it's smooth, golden surface before.
She scooped it off the ground and held it in her hands, wondering why it was glowing before she realized she never asked how the compass was magic. She opened it and found the compass needle plainly pointing north, and thought a little while before deciding that since west was where the castle was, west was where she should go, and found there was a path that coincided with that particular direction.
It didn't take long for her to realize that, for how long she was gone, and the distance on the map between the village and the "Lost Woods", she should have been at the castle by now, instead she was still in the forest and could've sworn she'd passed the same trees five times by now, "Oh, I'm lost...I did it this time...and Malron won't get me out of this mess...granted, it's a pretty big mess...bigger than usual." She kept walking and found that muttering helped to take the edge off the daunting reality she faced. She glanced at the compass and found it was telling her she was going south...but she'd been going going straight for as long as she'd been walking.
"Well, magic compass...magic, maybe it wants me to follow it...what if I'm not even going west, what if...it's a magic needle, maybe it's pointing at a thing instead of a direction?" she unfailingly followed the needle after offering up a final prayer, throwing out all reason and logic, and just following the compass, "This is my proof...an enchanted compass granted by the gods, down the ages to me, perhaps the only one who has ever known this secret, so guide me! Ugh, I'm really talking to a compass, now."
The Gerudo walked through the halls feigned a limp as she wandered among the fighting, trying to seem as harmless as possible as she sought out a place to hide, and started her way through a doorway off to the side and down a long hallway. At the end of the hall was an intersection, she watched one guard pass the way, and waited until he went back, then glanced inside. One guard by himself, she stepped inside, knocked him down, and nodded as a crack announced his head's meeting with the floor, while his helmet was knocked to the other side of the hallway.
She passed along her way and found out where the side doors lead, barracks. She laughed and snapped her fingers. A few of the monsters outside were now inside, and whatever was outside now grew larger, though fewer. She went down the hallway directly across from where she entered the castle and searched for another place to hole up, summoning fresh monsters and having them storm the rest of the rooms, silently taking over the castle as she searched for something to replenish her magic.
After a while she found the doctor's room, and took as many green potions with her as she could carry, before fortifying her claim to the room with monsters in strategic points along hallways, and blocking the way to the Grand Hall to the hall that lead to this room with lines of statues, and in the center of the room placed a lone eye, which turned slowly so as to take in all of the room, and walked up the stairs, flying monsters she placed in the chandeliers, and along the banisters overlooking the hall she placed skulls, and opened the central door, climbed up some spiral stairs and found herself out on the roof.
She saw four archers aiming at monsters below, and, starting with the furthest, threw a yellow ball of magic, waited a moment, and cast another, and at about the same time, all of the archers fell to the ground. Crawling along the roof she made it to a keep, ran up the stairs, and kicked in the door, "Don't worry, prince, I'll wait right here and wake you shortly after you go to bed. You'll not oversleep with me present."
"Okay, why do I get the feeling I'm way deep in the woods?" Linkle looked up and sighed, "I'm lost in the woods and Zelda's fighting monsters, just great!"
She followed the compass a little further before it took her to a dead end and continued to point forward.
"There's nothing here, just a brick wall! What am I doing here?" she glanced at the compass, then stared as the center of the compass morphed from just a pin holding the compass in place, to an eye, and glowed brightly. She turned away and let go of the suddenly bright compass, then turned to find it stopped falling when the face of the compass was facing her way, and it floated until it was eye level with her, a soft, orange glow still present, the compass needle pointing up, she grabbed it and turned around, the needle slightly tilted back the other way, "You're...pointing...up, aren't you?"
She walked away from the dead end and held the compass out, it still pointed at the dead end, but this time she noticed a couple of beams that crossed over, one above her and one laid over it, one end had vines under it growing from the ground, the other had a pile of rocks that stacked up to her height, which was blocked by a large net of fine thread, the beam on that end had a large shrub blocking the way anyways, and she had nothing to clear it with, but it was so fascinating that she decided to come back here someday for fun...if the compass cooperated with her, she was sure those trees danced around her after she passed dark spaces between two sections.
She grabbed a fistful of vines, they felt tough in her grasp and sturdy, if she pulled they didn't budge much, having woven an intricate pattern through the dirt and each other, like roots growing on a wall. She grabbed a clump of vines and put her foot against the rough surface of the vines, then after spending longer than she wanted on deciding how to move forward, just used her foot to raised herself, and reached up with her opposite hand, that hand's corresponding foot left the ground and she glanced down, taking a moment to assure herself that this was only as safe as she could hold onto the vines, and calmly began reaching for the next one. Even as she looked back on the distance she covered she found that she didn't really feel worried about falling.
She soon made it to the top and walked along the path to the beams. Linkle didn't care too much for this, but the compass was burning bright orange, and pointing towards the way the beam under this one went, there was a break in the wall and she sighed as she watched the balanced beam ahead, knowing that a fall from that height would be a less than pleasant experience. Slowly she took one step and took short steps, watching her feet and glancing up quickly to see the distance between where she was, and where the beams intersected. She hoped her mission wouldn't be filled with more things that were outrageously easy to mess up on, even though she did make it to the other side without falling.
Linkle glanced down from where she was on the ledge and found a pool of water beneath her, she looked up and saw a vine some distance away. Glancing up and down she decided that was the only way across, and leapt for the vine, and swayed back and forth until she had enough speed to sling herself to the opposite ledge, and then pulled out her compass, whatever the compass was leading her to, it was a little further ahead.
What she found ahead of her was a short tunnel that led to the edge of a cliff. She stood there for a moment, glancing down below her and above her. Looking down, she saw that the face of the cliff wasn't steep at all, and seemed to have myriad footholds for her to use.
"I question my sanity...of course," she held the compass out, and the more she lowered it, the brighter the burned orange eye glowed, "you would want me to do that."
She looked around for an alternative, but saw none, "If the monsters overtake the castle, then...the princess has to flee, but that villager seemed like there was something else going on, he seemed afraid...or reluctant! Reluctant to let on the consequences...oh...oh!" Linkle held her temples with her hands, eyes as wide as she put the vague remark indicative of dire consequences together with the Gerudo apparently after the wagon, it all made sense to her now, "Malron is the legendary hero!"
Linkle turned to the edge again and let out a low whine as she looked at her palms, "Sorry, fellas, but Malron needs a hero now...ironically enough."
Malron rushed across the fields of Hyrule urging Epona to break into the wildest gallop she ever wanted, the one she always restrained herself for, it was now allowed—necessary, moreover.
"Come on, Epona, tear the earth under your feet!" Epona seemed to either like that idea or understood the urgency of the situation, perhaps a bit of both. Suddenly two mounted guards rode up to great her, holding their spears across each other to indicate guardianship of the path ahead, and since running around them was a bad idea, she slowed Epona to a light trot, "What can I do for you, guards?"
"We'd like to question you for a moment, please dismount the horse." the guard said, and Malron reluctantly, but immediately, complied.
"What's going on?" she inquired.
"The prince has ordered all Gerudo be halted, even if they aren't in suspicious armor or carrying a weapon...is that a bow?" he raised his visor and squinted, "My cousin went out there on holiday, he got dumped by his girlfriend and witnessed the supreme talent of Gerudo marksmanship."
"Sounds like quite a holiday." Malron remarked, "Though I fail to understand the pertinence of your cousin's...interesting romantic tragedy and my being here."
"Do you think me stupid!? I see a bow, and I see red hair, and I hear that...way of speaking, like you're so proper, 'Sounds like quite a holiday', she says, 'pertinence', she says, oh, come on, now you're not even trying! Get back on your horse, Gerudo scum, we're taking you to visit your good friend...the prince was right when he said she had a visitor coming to visit! Try anything stupid and we put you and your beast down."
"But I'm not a Gerudo!" Malron asserted, "I live a simple life in Kakariko Village, just ask my father, he's the mayor!"
"I hear talking." the other guard said to the previous speaker.
"I know, it'd be a pity if she fell into the Zora River, you know? Lots of people drown in shallow water."
Malron huffed and waited to arrive in Castle Town, it was the only thing left to do.
A/N: Alright, sorry, but for an easy read this has to be where we stop for the chapter. I wanted to get to the next point in the story that I've been wanting to jump to for a while now, but I have to wait. From the looks of it, though, that will be next update.