Storm Over Hyrule
Linkle finally made it to the bottom of the rock wall and what she found as she turned inspired great awe, but she couldn't admire the view of the castle, there were many more pressing matters to attend to, holding the monsters back from the castle and thus Malron in Kakariko Village, was the first thing on the list, but first she needed a feasible way into the castle. She looked down at the edge of this raised ledge she was on, it was tall and there was no convenient way down, but there was water, quite a lot of water, it was a narrow tunnel that was deep enough for her liking, but falling in the right way didn't look easy.
She needed a way down, swiftly and safely. Linkle pulled out her ocarina and took a deep breath.
She played what she called Cojiro's Song, and within moments, a blue feathered cucco ran up to her, clucking as he flew up onto the ledge with her, "Alright, Cojiro, time to go for a swim." she grabbed the bird and jumped, floating slowly towards the ground.
"Yeah, I saw two of our men riding ahead of a Gerudo just now," Linkle heard guards and wondered what it meant as the guards continued talking, "if I were them I'd have at least sent her ahead on foot...those two are such idiots, but I guess they want to get her back to the castle."
"Alright, men, in summary, if you see anyone wearing green, anyone at all, notify me immediately!" that was Impa's voice, Linkle felt her heart leap, if Impa was outside the castle, then surely the castle was safe! "As I must reiterate, the situation in the castle grows dire-"
"What?!" Linkle heard the guards shouting and saw a spear round the corner, so held out her compass in hopes they'd realize who she was, but a bright light burned through the air and they only yelled in anger and threatened a heavy retribution, so she threw Cojiro to safety over the fence, then jumped into the tunnel, swimming down to stonework that resembled a doorway, so she went in before the guards recovered and chased her.
The Iron Knuckle observed the messy fight below, and searched all the grounds, but couldn't decide where on the castle grounds the Triforce would be.
She knew one easy way to find it, but she'd need something first...or someone. Suddenly a cry rose up from the gates, two guards who were apparently unaware of the battle in the castle. She observed the two soldiers as they tried to avoid the battle, and the red haired Hylian girl they were preventing from aiding in the battle seemed familiar, then she realized who she was, "Perfect."
Malron screamed at her escort and tried to grab her bow, but her arm was always restrained until the group took a few more steps, only for the cycle to repeat, there were monsters and she knew she could fight them. Suddenly a loud thud caught her attention and that of the two guards, "Ah, here's you're little friend, now!" a guard cried in delight.
"Oh, she's my friend, alright, she and that stupid kid that tried to stop me yesterday...I need her, though, so give her to me, or I will create more monsters for you to deal with!" the Iron Knuckle said, pulling her ax off her back.
"You created these?" the guards held their spears out at her, and Malron at shot her helmet, but blocked with her ax.
"Foolish girl, do you not see that I have won?" the Gerudo charged at the guards, who were swift and jumped around the Gerudo, even using their hands to springboard each other into the air, with Malron shooting though, surprisingly, the Gerudo dodged every shot, parried every stab, and even kicked the guards when she got the chance.
The dual went on a few minutes before the first spear was severed, and the other quickly dropped his spear soon afterwards, while the Gerudo chuckled before hitting them with a blast of yellow lightning, knocking them down before she turned to the farm girl, her bow drawn, intently watching the Gerudo, "What is it you want with me?"
"You are an...instrument, and so, I need you alive...but only if you make it easy for me, otherwise I will find another way to get my hands on that pesky brat." she laughed as Malron paled, "That's right, that little friend of yours, how many ways are there to end someone?"
"You won't...I won't let you!" Malron was trying to hold off the Iron Knuckle, it was painfully obvious that if she shot first, it'd be wasted, she needed to get away, or wait until more soldiers could join the fight.
"You're not firing, though...afraid you'll miss?"
"You'll dodge, I know you will."
"You're playing for time...that works, too, I have all the time in the world." the Gerudo chuckled, "I see that we're both anticipating how soon you'll be able to shoot another arrow, or if I jump first, if or not I'll be able to dodge, or if I'll jump into the line of fire. But if I hold my ax's side to you, like so, I'm hardly in any danger."
Malron glanced at the battle and back to the steadily advancing Gerudo, and decided to take her chances in the fight. She jumped to the side and fired, then turned and ran into the fray.
Linkle emerged from a pool of water and took a deep breath, then jumped towards the ledge on the other side of the waterfall, but the curtain of water knocked her into a shallow trench filled with water, and flowing ahead of her. She tried to run, but her soggy boots made it difficult.
She opened her compass and found it was still pointing the usual direction, she was glad that she found the tunnel, and contemplated if that meant she was closer to the castle now. She saw a river and she jumped in, only to find it was quite fast, pulling her in what seemed like an endless stream until it swept her outside, where the pace dropped considerably.
"At least that should lose them for a while." she remarked, swimming along with the river, until she reached a shore, there was a convenient bridge just overhead. She ran to the drawbridge, but as the sun lowered in the sky, she heard the chains of the drawbridge.
She tucked the compass in her pocket and leapt onto a raised stonework that bordered the drawbridge when it was down. She leapt off and jumped over the side of the bridge, but started slipping as she only fell onto the bridge above the waist, so couldn't use gravity aid her in sliding down into behind it, and instead she fell into the moat, momentarily submerged. Suddenly the bridge shattered, and she was glad that she fell into the water when she did, she decided that couldn't have just been luck. She climbed onto the broken bridge and faced the monster that smashed the bridge.
It was large with an eye and too many legs, great pincers, and a tail that had a hole in it, it had already started laying red, white spotted eggs, "This seems like that target practice game!" she exclaimed, and drew her crossbows, letting arrows fly in rapid fire, shooting everywhere, from the eggs to the eyes until the big monster was all that was left, but the eye closed every time the shots closed in, "Eyelids, of course."
She stepped back and reloaded quickly, then saw the large eye turn red, she let out another rapid fire before bemoaning her bad reaction...which caused the large eyed monster to fall, she let out a joyful cry and unleash the rest of her arrows, causing the monster to rise up and throw its weight around sporadically before it burned up altogether. Suddenly she felt a rush of power hit her, but before she had time to wonder what it was about, a group of shiny helmets—guards, she assessed—rushed down the hill.
She bolted into town and found a store, they had a shield and a chain necklace for sale, to her surprise, the money she won from the other day was enough to buy the chain necklace, she considered the shield, but didn't have a sword, or money for either, so decided she may drop by later.
Quickly she attached the chain to the compass and put it around her neck, bid the store owner a good day and left, happy with her purchase, and more importantly, happy to see the guards looking around and moving on.
"Ha, ha, wow, just one more gate and I'll be at the castle...though I may need to fight in a few sec-" her jaw dropped and she did her best to take in the large swath of green clothed people, at the center was a man holding what seemed to be a tablet, said to have been lost long ago, if the man holding it up was to be believed. She looked down at her cloths and smiled, moving closer she found many had hats of sorts, and as she neared the man the crowd had formed around, she noticed the hero, or the person in the tablet said to be the hero, also had green on his head.
"Ha, ha, so you liked you hood up, too, eh?" she said, pulling her hood up and walking through the commotion. She noticed a gate not too far ahead, were a guard seemed to be letting people into the gate, "So, how much is the fee?"
"Huh? It's not a fee, I'm not letting people in." the guard lied, crossing his arms defensively.
"But I saw-" she begin, but he groaned and gestured for her to quiet down.
"Fine, you really want to get in...ten rupees." she stepped back, startled at the price, she wasn't sure she had more than fifty rupees, that was five chances to get in and get caught.
"Wait, what...are you letting people in against the rules?" she briefly considered that this guard had a way of notifying the others, but dismissed it, the man was making money from this under the table.
"What? No, of course not, don't be silly...it's a fee." he said, defensive.
"Uh, I...no thanks." she watched as he got back to absentmindedly guarding his post and figured he didn't care one way or the other what she did or if she said anything, so ran around to the other side of the cliff above her.
Linkle saw people getting kicked out over and over again, she didn't know why they kept rushing in, there were too many guards, more importantly, though, was the question of why the guards were here and not fighting the monsters.
She climbed the vines she knew so well, and got ready for the guards to take their posts again after tossing out another person. She was very confused by it all, and began crawling along the ground, thus avoiding the attention of the guards, and ran towards two guards blocking the way to the castle. They both stabbed forward but she shot the spears, then shoved one guard into another, knocking them both into another moat. She climbed up a building's ladder and skipped along roofs to the wall, which also had a ladder, and used it to get onto the wall, shouts of guards closing in.
Linkle pulled the ladder that she used up with her, and set it against the tower next to her, and climbed it until she until she was at the top, though the ladder was shaky now, and she was a little uneasy, she set her foot on another rung, slowly and fearfully, and sprang towards a windowsill, grabbing onto it as the ladder clattered uselessly behind her, and with one hand struck the stain glass window until it shattered under her palm, and pulled at the frame, sliding her now bloody fingers up the window frame before finding a lock, pressing against the hook until the window was loose, and pulled the window open, and crawling inside just as the guards were able to climb each others shoulders and reach the wall, she locked the frame and called down to them, "I'm here to fight the monsters, not you!"
"The monsters are mostly gone, there's a few big ones but nothing we can't handle! Now get down from there!"
"You don't understand, I'm the Hero of Hyrule, the legend spoken of is standing before you!" the guards laughed a the statement, "I'm destined for this fight! Well, me or Malron...I'd rather this not have to be her fight, though."
"You? Alright, first off, the Hero isn't needed, and second...the Hero was a guy! As in, not you...a woman, right? Do you understand?"
"Say what you will." Linkle nodded and ran to another room in the tower, following the compass' needle whenever it changed, and found herself outside, there was a slender catwalk that she was sure she shouldn't even attempt to go across, and took a deep breath, she began to think of Malron as she pulled out hr compass, and tried to envision her on the other side of the walk, for some reason the compass needle jumped to point slightly westward, "Huh? What...you better not turn out to be broken!"
She looked up again and closed her eyes, "Yes, I do see it...I see you, at the other end...I won't look down...I won't." she gritted her teeth and began the treacherous walk across the catwalk. She tried to imagine Malron slowly become less blurred, watching the sunset orange smudge become hair, and focused less on how she was trying to get across, putting all her focus into getting to the other side. She glanced down briefly before looking back up, and resumed setting one foot in front of the other, and eventually reached a banner, and held onto it's staff, watched Malron effortlessly walk along the narrow surface, and remembered that all she had to do was put one foot in front of the other, but up here she was starting to feel distorted, and felt as through she was swaying. Linkle looked down at the narrow stone walk, and continued forward, the compass pointed at tower, and that's where she would find the means to...do something, related to saving Hyrule, she was sure.
She started forward again and noticed how dark the clouds had gotten, she hurried, not wanting to be caught in a storm.
Rain began to fall and she realized how that would cause her—her quest—to come to a quick ending. She made it to the ledge and tried the door, but it was locked. She looked down at her compass and sighed, walking around until the compass flew from her grasp and pointed down.
She let herself hang over the edge of the roof, and saw that there was a small hole in the frame the window may open, but it didn't look easy to get in, the space was small, considering she needed to get into the tower that way, and opening the window itself seemed like a task. She squinted to see what was inside and saw red eyes turn from her view and left the room. She could have sworn Impa had looked right at her. Linkle felt her breath catch before she turned her attention back to the task at hand. She pulled out her golden fork, and swayed until two of the tines found the keyhole. She heard a click after frantically moving the fork, then took the fork out, and noticed the windows were hinged, and gently pushed the window out of her way.
"Oh-kay." she set the fork back in her pocket and thew herself at the window, catching the windowsill and scrambling up.
Linkle crouched down and waddled into the space, consulting her compass, which was pointing at the large bed in the room. Her eyes adjusted as she tried to think what that sound was, then realized it was no monster's hiss, but the sound of breathing, and realized the bed did have an occupant. She studied the sleeping figure for a while, then blue suddenly appeared in the darkness, watching her as thunder roared in the distance.
They shared the gaze for more than a minute as rain pattered on the roof above them. At first Linkle was startled, but somehow knew the person was hurt during a fight against the monsters, and wished she arrived sooner. She watched on as though it would help whoever was watching her.
"You," the girl across from her broke the silence, and took deep breathes between words, "you're...here...but why...tonight?"
"I don't know...I heard there were monsters, I tried to be here sooner, but I...hit a detour...miss, if you could, how did the battle go earlier? I need to know if Princess Zelda is alright...I'd ask the soldiers, but they, for some reason, don't seem to like me much, and I heard fighting from where I was on the catwalk."
"You were up there?" the bed's occupant inquired, "And during this weather...you must be driven."
"Yes, I...I don't know how to explain it, but this compass was pointing here, I just...believe it, it glows brightly sometimes, it floats...sometimes, and it seemingly changes directions, while unfailingly guiding me to you." Linkle pulled the compass up and held it out for her company to see.
"Do you plan to protect Zelda?"
"Yes...her and the hero, both...I will protect you, too, by fighting off the monsters that plague the courtyard." Linkle felt like she had already fallen behind and clinched her fist, "I promise to help protect all of Hyrule."
"I thought there was something in your eyes, something seeking to protect, the way you watch me from there, just as in my dream...I expected you the other night, honestly, but I suppose I expected rain then, too."
"You know who I am?"
"No, but you can't hide the weary look in you eye, you've come so far today, haven't you? And then you saw me...you seem tired, but driven, I expect you won't be satisfied with a short answer, so let me explain in deeper detail why the compass guided you to me." she sat up with some effort and held her head against her palm a moment before pulling herself up higher in the bed, beckoning Linkle to her, "I am she who you wish to see."
"Huh, what?!" Linkle whispered.
"Yes, may I see that compass?" Linkle swiftly pulled the compass' chain out from around her neck and placed the golden compass in the other woman's hand, "This compass, do you see, is no longer pointing at me? Just as I thought...you sought out the named Zelda...and so you have found her, but not in the best condition, I'm poisoned."
"That's horrible! What can I do?"
"There's little to be done...I have the blood of the Royal Family, in time I will recover, so I must be patient, but brief...let me teach you how to use the compass." Linkle held out her hand to receive the compass again, "Focus on something, anything at all, that you want to...make your way to. You seek out whatever you wish."
"Wait...if I envision something, or really want to see it, then the compass will point me to it?"
"You catch on fast."
"Then there's no need to seek out anything. I was on the catwalk, when the compass changed directions, I tried to imagine Malron on the other side to help me get to the other side...then it changed...briefly, but it settled on one point."
"What will you do?"
"I need to bring her back home, there was fighting below, she still be down there!" Linkle turned to leave but Zelda shouted for her to wait.
"Those crossbows...that choker, they're magical, they allow you to use arrows and reload without ever needing to handle the arrows, they were stolen a while back, I suppose they were sold and resold afterwards, ending in your hands...um, wait, I have something for you."
Linkle watched as Zelda stumbled out of bed and caught her, and assisted her to the fireplace. Zelda grabbed a fire iron and stuck it in the far back of the fireplace, and started to lower herself, "I'm alright, you can let me go now, but here, you can hold onto this for me."
Linkle handed the poker after Zelda settled on the floor, and she focused on the fire place, angling the fire iron so it went up, and rotated until she heard a click, and a side door opened, "Through that door you will find a sacred treasure."
"Then why aren't you using it?"
"It's dark in there, and not a weapon, besides...Impa only ever told me it was like a hammer, a tool for constructing peace." Zelda pointed at the door, "I'll be here on the floor when you get back."
Malron squinted through the rain and found a ladder that led up a wall, after scrambling up she turned to pull the ladder up, the Gerudo was watching her and stepped away as the ladder was pulled up the wall, disappearing in the curtain of rain.
She didn't know where Linkle was, but someone had to notice her, the were many people in the streets, talk of a test by a holy sword, and an ancient tablet long lost, security was high and the only other people was Malron, an Iron Knuckle, and a girl running around in green, she wouldn't believe no one wouldn't noticed Linkle and where she went.
She ran with the ladder and came across a small group of guards, there was a ladder that led to a smashed frame, and no one was doing anything about it.
"Hey, what is this? Are you guards or mannequins?" Malron demanded over the roar of thunder, "What's going on here?"
"Some crazy girl thinking herself to be Hyrule's hero broke the window and climbed in...I guess the thing was unlocked, but it's shut now, and there's blood-"
"O-on the glass, I guess she cut herself on the way in."
"Then why doesn't someone with gloves go up there and unlock the window?"
"She has to get back somehow, we're waiting here."
"She could travel downstairs and come out at the base of the tower. I'll show you." Malron grabbed the ladder and hoisted it up, crashing it into the glass and scraping all around the inside of the frame.
"Glass problem solved." she said as she climbed up the ladder, where she unlocked the window and let herself in, "You guys watch out for the Iron Knuckle running around!"
Linkle reached the end of the invisible floor and found that there was a treasure chest, very visible now that the compass had started glowing again. Linkle opened the chest and found two golden items, both with a claw like feature at the end of a gauntlet, she could wear them like gloves. She consulted the compass, her mind focused on the other side, the goal perfectly clear, yet the compass insisted the way forward was a straight line, even though she could tell from the compass' light alone that the floor ended just over half a step, and wasn't too eager to discover what lay below. She took a deep breath and gaze at the point the compass referred to, and did see something on the other side, for the compass had shot forth a beam of light following the path of the compass' needle, affording her some visibility. It seemed that there was a now lit torch behind a screen.
"Here goes a thing." she whispered, and extended the gauntlet, and, finding a switch inside, pulled the trigger, and sailed towards the other side. She looked down and found the floor was beneath her, and, taking a quick breath, released the trigger, falling safely to her feet.
She emerged from the room and found Zelda weakly finding her feet, "You must hurry, time is short and I fear for the castle!"
"What?" suddenly the wind picked up and thunder roared viciously as lightning lit the sky for several seconds. Linkle looked outside and saw, in the distance, a red blur. Holding her compass and envisioning Malron, the needle pointed towards the red, "Malron, I found her!"
She turned back to Zelda, and wondered at the sound of heavy footfalls, they were rapid but distant. Looking out, Linkle found monsters that resembled the one that crashed through the castle drawbridge before, but there were more of them, "I need to get you out of here, there are more monsters."
"I have to stay, in the worst event, I can hide in the room you just came from, I can take my time and crawl to the end."
"You've been poisoned, and the monsters...look what they're doing to that building! We need to go before those monsters climb up this tower or Malron's!" Linkle held Zelda up and walked her to the window, "Look, Princess, the monsters are climbing that tower, shattering the windows, think of your safety!"
Linkle walked around Zelda, then used her compass, focusing on a way out, and found that the compass's light bounced from a different wall and landed on a banner on the side of the wall of the tower Malron was on, and backed up, wrapping her arm around Zelda's waist, "Can you think of anything you need to take with us?"
"No...thank you." Zelda said, bracing herself and holding onto Linkle, who pulled up her hood.
"I'll hold onto the ledge, you'll climb onto my back, I'll turn around and shoot for the wall banner." Linkle said, dropping onto the windowsill.
"I don't know about this, if people don't recognize my dress at the gate, I'll be surprised...besides, I don't know if I can do this, my arms are too weak, the poison-"
"That won't work...back inside." Linkle pulled herself back up and grabbed the princess' hand, "You have to trust me, without question."
"What are you plan—never mind, I trust you, hurry!" Zelda squeezed Linkle's hands as tightly as she could, Linkle nodded.
"You need to back up, outside, I'll hold you up while you grab the edge of the roof, I've got you."
"Yes." Zelda replied, and backed up, Linkle held her with both hands, lifting her by the waist, "I've got it, I'm holding, hurry before I slip!"
Linkle hopped onto the windowsill and stretched her legs slightly, so she stood as tall as she could within the frame, and aimed at the banner, "That wall...then that banner, two steps."
Linkle wrapped her arm tightly around Zelda's waist and clenched her jaw, "I've got one chance at this!"
"Um, we have a plan?" Zelda inquired.
"Yes, I've got you, when I say so, loosen your grip, but don't let go, all the while, be ready to hold your arms around my neck for balance, I'll do the rest."
Linkle pulled and held the trigger, the claw didn't fired. She breathed out, relieved that it didn't automatically fire, and aimed at the banner on a nearby wall. She fired at the wall next to it and felt the impact travel to the her gauntlet, "Okay, loosen your grip, we're about to fly!" Linkle set the claw again, tightened her hold on the princess, then released the claw, and held tightly as Zelda fell into place, trying to keep her from falling too fast, and held out her knees and leaned back so Zelda's head wouldn't so much as bump into the wall. She was amazed by how much the end posture differed from that of the starting point.
"Ah, we made it!" Zelda cheered.
"Yeah we did!" Linkle confirmed, looking up and holding her feet against the wall, feeling slightly dizzy.
"Now how do you reach the other banner, it's up there, right?"
"Well, you see, I didn't...huh, well, I guess I fall back and fire up before I hit the ground. Compass, light, please." Linkle smiled in surprise as the compass floated up and let its light shine on the banner, "What do you think, could I hit the banner from the ground?"
"No...your turn to trust me, I'll hold my arm above yours, tell me when it's aligned with the top of the banner, and as soon as you let go—listen to me, just as soon as you let go, swing your arm up, when it hits mine, fire! Give me a moment." Zelda said, looking Linkle in the eye, grimacing as she tightened her grip on Linkle, placing her arm under Linkle's and reaching to the back of the blonde's head, sighing as she found the hood, and extended her arm, gripping onto the hood.
"Higher, higher, okay, that's perfectly lined up...now?"
Linkle let go, holding onto the princess tighter than before, and raised her arm, all in the same instant, and in between that moment and the next, fired, resisting the urge to close her eyes as the chain slowly flew away. Lightning crawled across the sky and lit the clouds above it, light falling like a sheet upon a mattress, drifting, "We've only got one shot at this! Fate...the woods, the drawbridge, and now this, the princess here before I appear, ready to move yet unable to refuse a rescue...and now this...this moment is fate."
Malron saw something sail through the sky, and now it seemed a woman in a dress was standing on the wall, looking down at the ground, "Something must be wrong with my eyes...and ears, do I hear Linkle?" she squinted and was sure she saw a red ribbon holding blonde hair, and shook her head, "That's impossible...Linkle's holding her up...but she's standing on a wall? The banner may be magic."
Suddenly monsters started marching towards the tower and she readied herself for an attack, but as she reached for a bow, the two started falling, and a claw flew towards the wall. She was stunned and couldn't move as Linkle and the woman fell to the ground.
"Linkle!" she cried out as the claw reached towards the wall. Malron closed her eyes and wished to wake up.
A/N: Linkle got the clawshots! With those she can traverse great distances with a speed that would kill a man, fortunately, they're all elves here, so no one but keeses will be dying by clawshot!