To Kakariko Village
"I want to know why," Impa begin, staring at the trembling soldiers, "why did you let the green garbed invader pass?"
"It couldn't be helped, Sir, she slipped pass security, Sir." the speaker lowered himself and prayed she wouldn't hurt him. Everyone knew how important protecting the princess was to her, and she'd never been so angry before "Please, I know nothing more."
"To your feet, man! It is as I thought...Zelda." Impa looked up at the clouds that now twisted into a spiral as a darkness flew to the heavens, in a straight line. She followed it down to a lone figure, with two others on either side being thrown to the ground, "You, I locked you up earlier!"
"These are the Prince and King of Hyrule!" the Iron Knuckle yelled as Impa approached her, "Surrender the Triforce of Courage and Wisdom, or they die!"
"Don't listen to this madwoman!" Daphnes II yelled as she stuck him to the ground. He looked up at her as she leaned back, shaking in laughter.
"Right! This madwoman...ah-ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ah, ha, ha, ha!" she held her fingers under her face plate and lifted it. He grinned at the shocked group and threw his flame red hair back to fly into the wind.
"Ganondorf?!" Impa and the Daphnes I cried at once.
"Who's Ganondorf?" Prince Daphnes inquired.
"He's the current King of Gerudo." his father replied, "If I'd known it was you who broke in...I'd have known it was an invasion by the most powerful wizard in my lifetime."
"Why, Your Majesty, I'm flattered, but don't think I've come alone, even now my forces have gathered in case I need an extraction! Now, tell me...who hear has either piece of the Triforce I'm messing?!" Ganondorf demanded, as the stream of darkness expanded into an air crackling pillar that collapsed nearby buildings and threw everyone else backwards.
Zelda heard a particularly loud thunderclap and peered over Malron's shoulder, "Guys, we don't have time for caution, run!" Linkle and Malron briefly turned to see a large cylindrical cloud that seemed more like a rod that a cloud, and as it grew wider, dust flew up and buildings could be heard as they crashed into the ground.
"Good thing these woman are distracted, too bad it's because of what we're running from!" Linkle said, leading the charge as she pulled out her ocarina. She waited until she was outside the gate before playing Epona's song until the heard a horse's whinny, "Malron, help Zelda up!"
"But they'll catch you! Besides, you've been running longer!" Malron asserted, helping the princess into the saddle.
"There's a bunch of people wearing green, I'll vanish like a ghost!" Linkle yelled, "Now go! Save our princess, Malron!" Malron stepped forward, but Linkle pushed her back and turned her around, helping her up onto Epona before sending her off with a wink, "I'll be expecting dinner at the usual time!"
"Linkle...good." Malron had climbed up behind Zelda, who held the reins for Malron, who took them and charged off, with Linkle running swiftly behind them, her clawshots off the ground in and on her hands, "Your Majesty, take the reins."
Zelda accepted the reins grimly as the ranch girl turned to see Linkle, who had her arm outstretched as the shadows rushed after her. A strange sound like chains running against gears met her ears before Linkle vanished. Zelda gripped Malron's wrist in case she did something inadvisable as Malron cried out to Linkle. Suddenly something zipped out of the shadows, and Malron felt rage overtake her as she turned to face whatever had showed up, but to her surprise Linkle had used her clawshots to pull herself into a tree.
"Stop turning around and get out of here!" Linkle ordered, shooting her way to another tree, then checking her compass before letting herself down and running towards the next tree. Soon Epona passed her and she started to reset the clawshots risking a quick glance, hoping the spread of darkness had slowed, but by no means disappointed when it had only gained speed. She fired at another tree branch and saw the were several more ahead of her, when she reached the tree, she released the claw seconds before firing at the next tree, turning her head to find the next.
She saw bright red hair in the distance and smiled as she sailed through the air, all she had to do was get to Malron as quickly as she could.
Ganondorf looked at the fallen people around him, "I will find anyone not bearing a mark like this, and I will kill them...one less grain of sand to sift through!" he held his hand to show his Triforce of Power. He held the first Hylian by the head and turned to smile at the knight.
"My friend, show me your hand." he soothed. The knight shook his head faster and faster before showing the empty hand to Ganondorf, who frowned and tossed him aside, a bolt of lightning not far behind him, "Show me your hands!" he roared.
Impa stormed up to him and pulled her knife off her back, and crouched into a fighting stance, "Let's go, Ganondorf, you and me!"
"Ha, ha, ha, how quaint." he strode across the stonework and charged two bolts, then fired them off quickly, sending out ten in quick succession.
"I'm afraid you'll need better than that if you hope to defeat me!" Impa taunted.
"I didn't miss. I wasn't aiming at you." Ganondorf said calmly.
"What?!" Impa turned around and her men on the ground, as still as the man who killed them, "Ganondorf, you'll pay for that!"
He smiled and chuckled, "I'll hold you to it, then!" he blasted five bolts, the last from both hands. Impa dodged it and was about to laugh, but the fifth bolt had split off as it hit the ground, and caught her in the side.
"Aw, I was looking forward to paying for that...the death of your men!"
"You're not so powerful, Ganondorf." Impa charged at him, but he knocked her back, tumbling to a stop.
"No, you...you are the weak one!" Ganondorf roared, charging his yellow power. Impa laughed heartily, slamming the ground with her fist, "Oh, Ganondorf, that—ah, ha, ha, ha! Ha...ha, ha—Ganondorf, ha, ha, ha! I didn't plan on killing you, I know the Triforce of Power grants near immortality! The idea was to buy time. I have done what I planned, my mission is complete. The Royal Family has escaped you clutches!"
"What?!" Ganondorf turned around and stomped angrily, "You've caused yourself more pain, then."
Impa looked up, smiling defiantly, "You won't be able to lay a hand on me without killing me, and I don't know where those two ran off to, besides, I'm sworn to protect one of them with my life."
Ganondorf snapped his finger so they were outside the arch, and before him was a red haired woman riding away from the castle. He remembered her from earlier, and the one riding up front must have been Zelda.
"We have company!" Ganondorf took his ax in hand and readied to cut down the horse they rode upon, but the red head saw him first, and halted, "Everyone, look behind those trees! See my soldiers? Watch them!"
Linkle saw Malron stop up ahead, and heard shouting behind her. She turned and saw several Gerudo being pulled into the darkness, and turned back to see that Malron stopped in front of a red haired, heavily armored person. The armor was that of the Gerudo from the other day, she was sure of it.
Linkle decided to approach stealthily and remained on her feet instead. Up ahead the Gerudo women she saw swallowed up in shadow were spat ahead of her upon the ground. They slowly transformed into monsters, and someone laughed. The Gerudo from before had a strange sense of humor.
"See that, Impa?!" she heard a man yell proudly, "They readily lay their lives down for me!"
Linkle saw his captive and squinted through the rain, Epona was sitting still and Ganondorf had Impa underfoot. Impa was furious, and trying to pull herself out, clawing her way out from under him, only for him to take a step forward. Malron and Zelda were watching him, he was watching them. Linkle frowned deeply and pulled out one crossbow, holding her other clawshot with her pinky, and unleashed a barrage of arrows. When he turned around Linkle was already riding the clawshot towards a tree behind him, and rammed her boots squarely into his chest.
To say she was horrified would have been an understatement, but when her feet connected, Ganondorf turned around and tore her from the clawshot, tossing her against a tree and stormed at her. She let out a shaky breath as her sliced fingers found themselves held close to, tears well in eyes that didn't blink. His face was determined and happy, a chuckle shaking his chest as he clutched her by the throat, unblinking until she closed her eyes.
"Nope, it isn't you either!" he cried gleefully. Suddenly she started struggling for air, tears falling onto his hands, when suddenly she heard a cry that wasn't her own, but his. She opened her eyes and found that Malron had jumped on his back, and had taken an arrow used a rock to hammer it through the back of his neck so that only the clink of arrow against armor told her how deep the pierce had been. All at once the wave of shadow that had been slowing ceased altogether, suspended like he was, and then he fell, trapping Linkle between him and the tree until she easily pushed him to the ground.
"Come on!" a distant voice shouted as the ocean rolled in her ears. One hand was taken from her temple and she let herself rise. It was so natural, like standing up was the only option, yet it was as though she ran with feet that weren't her own, her eyes merely followed the path that someone behind a red haired woman was taking, "Linkle, hurry!"
"No, you go!" Impa was pointing as words appeared in her ears, "I'll get her out of here! You protect the princess!"
"No, I-" Malron stopped and looked at their hands, then walked away, got up on Epona and left, meanwhile Impa took her to a tree and sat her down.
"Huh?" Linkle's voice echoed in her head as Impa knelt before her, arms outstretched.
"Safeguard the princess for me!" she yelled over the roar of the wall of death stacked up behind her.
Linkle's ears rung, stinging as they did, and she heard someone on the other side of the kingdom yell as darkness enshrouded the pair.
When Linkle's eyes opened she saw a desolate wasteland before her, most of the trees had been destroyed, any that stood were damaged except the last few behind her. The one she rested under was destroyed. On shaky legs she rose to find a belt fall from her arms, which were lazily held out before her, but she thought it was a snake at first, so jumped back and fell, as though it were a dream where she fell no matter how many times she rose. She watched the snake as she slowly realized it wasn't a snake and crawled over to the pouch laden item, and wrapped it around her waist. In the pouch she found a bottle of red liquid and drink it before considering what it was, only to find any scrapes and bruises healed. Her clawshots and crossbows were inside the magic pouches. Suddenly she realized Ganondorf was still there, his eyes unblinking, like a snake, watching her. He smiled from his place on the ground, scaring her, and rose to his feet, laughing. She turned and ran away, the sound of his feet close behind her.
Then the ground ended and she fell. Without thinking she pulled out her clawshot and fired at the tree near the beginning of the path, and turned in mid air to find Ganondorf chasing her. He adjusted his flowing red hair as he walked fast behind her, and she broke into a crowd of bystanders, falling and flailing her arms as she tried to get deeper into the crowd, then got to her feet and stood with the rest of the green clad on lookers.
"Who's that? Where's the princess?" questions rose up and traveled like a ripple through a pond.
"Ahem, I am King Ganondorf of the Gerudo Desert, please, allow me to humbly accept the late king's request, and act as regent until his children decide who among them will be the ruler." Ganondorf smoothly gestured to the crowd, a smile on his face that seemed rather small compared to his earlier grin, "It will be my great privilege and honor to serve the masters of my closest friend and ally, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule the First. I see that many of you come dressed as the fabled Hero, and I request that any with blonde hair and blue eyes step forward, for it has been said among my people that the hero appeared with just such features, and I wish to ascertain who among you is the hero. I'll let an agent gather those among you and bring you to the Master Sword, where the chosen hero will rise...but I also ask that any females dressed as the Hero be sent forth so I may address them directly!"
Linkle gasped as she was pushed forward through the crowd, she managed to pull herself out of her cloak and walked through a highly focused group of spectators, and tossed the cloak in her pouch, then waded through and away from the crowd, and made a break for the ruined gate.
"No monsters anywhere, like they just vanished, and the crowd's out...as though there were never any monsters, and that wall of shadows...gone, like the monsters, and now Ganondorf's being nice?!"
Suddenly she turned to find Ganondorf gesturing angrily with his finger pointed.
"Well, maybe not nice, but he's certainly expressing the sentiment of the guards here."
Linkle ran and looked down at her compass, "Show me the way home!"
A bright light appeared and she followed it as she put the compass in her pouch, along with everything else she had on her.
As she neared the beginning of the woods, she noticed a gate had blocked the way. She fell against the gate and growled, she knew Kakariko Village had a gate, but they never had need of it before. She lay against the gate and decided to rest for a while.
"Malron, I'm sure she's fine." Talron hoped it'd settle his daughter down enough, but if anything, her strides across the room as she paced the floor grew swifter.
"Maybe, maybe not, that's what worries me!" Malron clenched and unclenched her fists as she marched across the floor, "Besides, I'm going to fidget anyways, I can't help it!"
"I know, Malron, but she's highly capable—crossbows are a different kind of animal than regular bows, but you've still got to aim, and they're easier, too, as soon as you're used to reloading, Linkle has fine aim, and if what you told me is true, she's braver than I am! That woman she helped arrest the other day-"
"Wasn't a woman."
"Doesn't matter much, Linkle kept her cool and brought both of you back safe and sound."
"Ugh, where's Aryll?!" Malron stomped as she remembered her sister hadn't been around for a while.
"She had business and left early, said something about finding Linkle in Castle Town."
"What? No, tell me she went armed!"
"She said she was going to find her sister...I don't know that she went armed, but she's got a good head on her shoulders."
"I need to go back!" Malron whistled Epona's song as she walked outside, and by the time she mentally prepared herself and rolled her shoulders, Epona stopped in front of her, already saddled, since Malron's father and Zelda both assured her Linkle would be alright, and while her father was mostly wishfully thinking, Zelda had an eerily confident air about her, "Father, check in on the princess every five minutes."
"I better make myself some coffee." Talron noted, shaking his head, disbelieving that any of this was happening.
Talron went back and called out Zelda's name, and, checking in on the guest room Malron always had ready, found the princess laying on her side, the warm glow of a candle on a nearby desk turning her hair reddish orange.
"You alright, here, Your Majesty? If you need some coffee or anything, just holler. Or tea, princesses drink tea, not coffee, Talron!" he whispered, chiding himself, "Anyways, need anything, I'm down stairs, if I fall asleep just wake me up!"
As the ranch owner's father left the room, red eyes opened and covers were thrown aside, "Her Majesty is safe." a soft but gruff voice whispered before opening the window, climbing out, and pulling the window down as low as it would go from outside the room, then scaled down the wall.
Ganondorf frowned as he pointed out that the Hero was always depicted as a man to all the women in the crowd. That bothersome girl wasn't here, though it hardly mattered, she wouldn't tell anyone about Ganondorf, especially not when everyone forgot her face and she returned to talk bad about him, he had to make the people like him before then, and fast.
"In conclusion, you are disrespecting the grandness of the Hero by dressing like him, thinking you could honor him by hoping to carry the fate of the Hero by realizing that you are some...reincarnation of the Hero, when such a thing is impossible, but I recognize your good intentions, and hope that I have imparted some gift of knowledge to my friends, the Hylians." Ganondorf bowed deeply and made his way back to the castle, teleporting once he was out of sight.
Ganondorf looked over the castle from a balcony with a grim set expression, and watched as some guards and an agent went down to collect women like the one who escaped earlier, they had been told to be wary of red heads and blondes, now he waited. He looked at the marking on the back of his hand, "Goddess of Power, tell your friends I'm after their Triforce pieces next!"
Linkle sat against the gate for long enough, she decided, no one was coming, and the gate blocked of the long trail that led into the village, there was no one who would hear her calling for the gates down. Only in Kakariko, a village worth more than it's population let on, could a security measure be set in place and left largely alone. No, Linkle lingered for too long. Impa sacrificed everything to let her get this far, if Linkle wasn't the Hero, then Malron was, and if Malron was the Hero, then Linkle had to leave. She would make a name for herself as the Hero, though, and plan for her return and Ganondorf's downfall.
She turned back and watched the silent gate as a tear left her eye and, and decided that was long enough.
She ran as fast as her feet would take her, she decided green would stand out in a mountain, and if her deeds of valor spread among the Gorons—presuming that she could find something to do—it would soon reach the ears of everyone else and Ganondorf would never hear about anything Malron ever did. The Gorons could hold their own against everything nature could throw at the, surely they would recognize the disadvantage she was in against whatever she decided to do, so her success as a Hylian would be more impressive than they would be able to expect.
Her planning was the only thing that made her strong against the powerful feelings of leaving behind her old life and everything she loved about it, but Malron needed to be safe.
Though it would help her if she simply forgot everything she left behind, she wanted to never forget her reason for fighting.
Aryll couldn't find anyone in the crowd who looked remotely like Linkle. Sighing she lowered her spy glass and compacted it. She left the roof of the store owned by her friend and city contact, Linebeck, who quickly noticed her desolate expression.
"I won't lie to you, you're not good at hiding your worry...but he was left in charge by the king, supposedly." Linebeck seemed otherwise oblivious to the world outside his ship in a bottle that he was working on.
"You heard that from in here?" Aryll remarked, laying on the counter, Linebeck noticed.
"A little birdie literally whispered it all." he replied, focusing intently on the ship and his instruments, "Come to think of it...you're not worried about Hyrule, no, you're concerned for your sister's well being."
"How—I did not say anything like that!"
"I'm right, though? Hmm, trust me, just because your sixteen does not mean you get to worry like Linkle's older sister and then neither confirm or deny that statement, especially when you fail to use contractions."
"What, are you analyzing my words or fixing my ship?"
"I'm working on both, my little friend." Linebeck chuckled and set the ship down, "All done, thanks again for the puzzle!"
"You're welcome...oh, Linebeck, where is she?"
"She's probably back home, I'm telling you!"
"You know nothing, she came here for a fight, and now Ganondorf's in charge...something reeks."
"That would be dinner...I'm never cooking for myself again, I promise!"
"I mean something's fishy, Linebeck."
"How did you know?!"
"What? I'm not talking about what you had for dinner!" Aryll slammed the table and backed up, "Okay, I think I'm the Hero, what do I do?" she wondered aloud.
"Stop having delusions of grandeur?"
"Stop talking." Aryll ordered.
"Well, if you think you're the Hero, that might work, at least you'll never bring it up in conversation." Linebeck jeered.
"That's it! Someone must have heard her! Knowing my sister, she probably leapt into the fray without a second thought and got asked who she was, of course she would say Linkle, the Hero reborn, and that's how I'll find her! Thank you, Linebeck, you disobedient, uncooperative, stupid genius!"
"Wow, that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one!"
"I know, that's why I'll never be able to use your name in the same sentence as genius!"
"That's not what I was talking about and you know it!"
"I think we have an understanding that neither of us ever actually knows what you're talking about."
"You're right about—hey!" Linebeck chuckled as she left and smiled, satisfied with himself, "I am such a genius!"
Author's Notes: I wonder where this is going? Time for an adventure, people! We're really going places now! But you knew that when you noticed Linebeck in an earlier chapter, right? The great thing about Linebeck is that there's so many Linebecks, and he was never in the position of working with someone way younger than him who he acted as an informant for! Those last seven words prevented me from being wrong, since Link was younger than him in the games featuring Linebeck. And since Aryll is an influence on him, he's going to be slightly more responsible, but I'm still going to give him a smart mouth!