Setting Sail568Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJA7OFb56H9
Linkle looked up at the sound of Aryll's feet on the planks, stepping over to the waiting trio.
"Okay, everybody, grab the sarcophagus and toss her over!" Aryll cried, clasping her hands together.
"Wait, don't you guys want to put me in the box?" Linkle pointed at it and Aryll grinned.
"Okay, Linkle, hope you can hold your breath in your sleep!" Aryll jabbed at Linkle's shoulder and the bewildered recruit turned to Malron and Sheik for reassurance.
"Aryll's all talk, but can't back up her teasing with action," Malron rubbed her jaw and patted her knuckle against her split lip and glared at the blood, "specifically because she teases unrealistically, but also, she stands four five, you do the math."
"Don't bring my height into this!" Aryll ordered.
"Ah, she's got a short fuse, too-" Malron turned to Sheik, who bored Malron's eye with her red one.
"Don't...I have a feeling you can get another split lip if you're not careful." Sheik warned, "Now let's sink the ship and get our diving bell and crane set."
Linkle turned around and found a deep blue ship with red trimmings anchored in the midst of the river. Aryll steered them alongside the larger vessel, and sailed around it, then called out to Sheik, "Okay, you and Malron can throw the loot over!"
"Linkle," Sheik turned to the recruit, "she's talking to you, I'll go set the crane, you'll guide the arm under and lock the arms into place...I suspect you're an excellent diver, and Malron really doesn't want to get salt water in those wounds, Aryll has to torch the boat, and I'm the fastest climber."
"What can I do, Master Sheikah?" Malron wondered, standing to aid Linkle in lifting the coffin.
"Today you took one for the team, kept our recruit alive, and swallowed your pride, take your pick, but given the lack of tasks, I can let you rest up." Sheik turned as Malron whooped happily, and groaned as Malron pulled her hands from the rungs on the case that had been built for the sarcophagus, a smirk playing on her bloodied lip, "After you help Linkle with this."
"Aye, Captain Master Sheikah!" Malron returned, hoisting the box with Linkle, who had an absentminded smile stuck to her face, "What are you think about?"
"Um, nothing...you don't seem so bad, despite throwing me around and slamming me into walls." Linkle explained.
"Oh, wow, Grasshopper, I have to say, I was worried you'd hold that grudge, I wouldn't have blamed you for it personally, but I'd rather not fight with teammates, so I'm relieved you're not going to use your Hidden Blades on me...whenever you get them." Malron turned to Linkle as they came to a stop by the boat's edge, "On three!"
"Right." Linkle nodded.
"One!" Malron called out.
"Two!" Linkle shouted.
"Three...splash!" Malron cried out, "You know, that river's actually deeper than it looks...at first I thought Sheik was crazy, talking about tossing that thing into the river, I was about to point her to Lake Hylia for all her sinking needs, but she checked it herself first."
"Hey, Linkle," Aryll pointed Linkle to the roped object riding alongside the chain of a bell, "there's your task, pull the lever on the metal box one way to open the claws, then the other to close them. Right, now the crane is in the closed position, secured to the chain, what you'll do is hop into the water, open the claw, dive to the riverbed, find the coffin, and close the claws around it, then swim back into the bell, and strike the inside twice, that let's us know you've got it. Inside the bell you'll find a place to catch you breath, and a rung, after you strike the knocker against the bell just hang onto the rungs, and you'll get a quick ride up to the top, I'll catch the Macabre Express, and Malron should be about halfway up the ship by then...oh, and if you hear an explosion, don't be alarmed, that's just Sheik shooting our barrel of bombs with a flame tipped arrow. Feel free to look down, the blast will be spectacular."
"That's our resident pyromaniac for you," Malron teased, donning her gauntlets, "always ready to have a blast!"
"Jump onto the ship, Red." Aryll retorted, going back to the cabin, "I'll start the ship going again when I hear you strike the knocker in the bell, the inside of the bell is red, so I painted the knocker black."
Aryll was at the helm, Malron had leapt onto the ship's hull, and Linkle searched the river for the coffin. She thought it'd be easy, but it was dark enough to be difficult, but she found it and set the claw, then turned around, following the crane's chain, and located the bell, she struck out two solid clangs and heard Malron yell something about Grasshopper, and the bell started rising. Linkle looked down and saw Aryll jump on the hull, then she jumped backwards and caught a part of the chain that had rope wrapped around it, for traction.
She also noticed that the flatboat was moving, just before something bright hit it and it exploded, and Malron and Aryll cheered from their respective sides of the bell, which resulted in an echo, Linkle would talk to them about yelling so loudly when she was in the bell after she was out.
She felt the object sway and stop, then looked down to find the floor of the ship's deck under her.
"You can drop now." Sheik called.
Linkle dropped, rolled, and turned to Sheik, "Where's Red?"
"She's up!" Malron pulled herself up on the railing and Linkle winced at the trail of blood from her lip, "Ha, Sheik made it look good, eh?"
"How can you laugh like that?" Linkle breathed, pointing at her lip.
"Simple: I don't think about the pain, just the gain! We've captured the coffin of Sheik's dreams!" Malron cheered, "Now we can rest, reflect on the damage, and lick our wounds. As that saying goes, There's no victory until the day defeat is in the shadow of our heroes!"
"Speaking of wounds," Sheik turned after lowering the bell to a cart, "you ought to go dress yours."
"Ah, yeah...well, I'll see you guys around, don't stick Grasshopper in the box without me!" Malron squeezed an eye closed and waved extravagantly.
"So, you guys going to explain this to me?" Linkle tossed a braid behind her and crossed her arms, "I'm still confused."
"Ask Malron for the long and short of it," Aryll blurted, "but Sheikah were defenders of the Royal Family, not the first line, not the last line...they were the Shadow Guardians, they were around every corner...or at least, key corners, and no one knew from where they would strike...but they didn't expect Ganondorf to act with such brutal force, and in the end...they were shattered, there were more monsters than they could keep up with, and they fell. Now we're fighting again, recruited by the survivor of the Sheikah herself to take back Hyrule...from the shadows, very, very quietly. We have to be extra careful because there's just a few of us, but we're closer for it, that kind of trust keeps us safe from any Gerudo hiding in our midst...Malron is...a very special case. Basically, all of us have sob stories that that leave us...lost, in a word, lost to everyone, no friends or family, and no one the Gerudo can use against us."
"The cuccos!" Linkle turned back to the village and jumped when a shoulder fell on her hand.
"They're free, and too fast for the Gerudo." Sheik assured.
"So...I don't have a reason not to fight?"
"And every reason to fight." Sheik nodded, "There's such a thing as too much of a good thing, order taken to the extreme...in a way, we there to remind the Royal Family of Hyrule where their place was, kept them...in line, it worked for a long time, once or twice there were occasions where a king or two got a little...ambitious. We protected the Royal Family from itself like a doctor save's a person from their infected limb: By cutting it off."
"That's extreme!" Linkle recoiled.
"True, but the moment Hyrule's made to suffer, the king becomes the enemy. We're trained assassins, Linkle...it's certainly not the kind of life I'd wish on anyone, sometimes even our people take it to the extreme...and end up like the people we hunt down." Sheik sighed, "Honestly, the choice is still...on the table, as it were. You're not obliged to stay, I'm a Sheikah...the ruthless murderer and troublemaker, I released your flock and caused trouble for you. I don't blame you for wanting to leave, and either way-"
"No, wait, I do want this...the other day I was thinking of quitting, I could only do so much until the people started being suspected...I'd have to reveal myself at some point...I was thinking of a large scheme to go out with...what gets bigger than this?" Linkle looked between Sheik and Aryll.
"Better question: Linkle, what exactly gets bigger than taking out Ganondorf?" Aryll crossed her arms, "Ambitious, but with a good plan, anything's possible!"
"We still need time to study the Animus, you go look around the ship. Aryll, take us out to the sea and then find me." Sheik gestured to the blonde, and after a tip of her tricorn to Linkle, Aryll ran to the helm.
Linkle went under deck and wandered around the hall that had a sign indicating this as the quarters. She found an open room turned to see what was inside. She saw a bed and some shelves, a wardrobe, and a nightstand. The covers were thrown onto the bed, mounded up, and looked a lot like her bed in that respect, then the covers move and two blue eyes opened to find her.
"Hey, Grasshopper, what's up?" Malron asked, startling Linkle.
"Sorry!" Linkle jumped back and turned to leave.
"Why?" Malron called out.
"Um, I didn't mean to disturb you." Linkle backed up into the doorway and held her arm.
"Ah, it's fine, I don't really mind...so, about when I shoved you around...we're, um-"
"Thanks! I was afraid you'd hold a grudge!"
"You gave me a lot of reasons not to, Mal."
"Ha...ha, 'Mal', eh?"
"Well, why do you call me 'Grasshopper' so much?"
"Because, your face is just—hey, kidding! You wear green, right? I know they come in brown, too, but the best looking grasshoppers are green...also, that jump of yours, I had two seconds to pray Sheik gave you the empty gauntlets and not one with blades in it."
"Speaking of which...when does my training start?"
"As soon as Sheik learns how dangerous burying you alive is...without the dirt, I mean." Malron's face fell a moment and she glanced briefly at Linkle, "Let's hope you're not claustrophobic."
"Little spaces are cozy, and I have...probably a little smaller frame than most people, so I'll be fine...and I'm not scared of the dark."
"Me neither, but I'm terrified of what might be in the dark, knowing the dangers and weighing the factors is Sheik's job...mine's to follow orders and keep my wits about me, and Aryll...she keeps the boat afloat." Malron sat up and watched Linkle, "You should go get some rest, you've had a busy day...or you can go cook dinner, if you know how."
"Um, I...I wanted to say that you were pretty brave."
"You haven't seen brave yet, sure I took a punch and got a busted lip, but you...risking your life like you do, that takes some nerves, I need to step up my game."
"Ha...again, you shrug it off."
"Ha, I'm just glad Sheik didn't knock any teeth out, I kind of want those!"
"Only kind of?"
"Well, my teeth don't do me much dead, and that's just how it'll end up if we're not careful."
"True...Sheik made it look good, though."
"Believe me, you, it feels good. In a bad way, of course."
"You look like you want to say something...what's on your mind?"
"I don't know...I want to talk more, get to know the team better."
"Oh, we're a fun bunch, we actually don't talk much, it got lonely when the only people I could talk to were...so oppressive, I was afraid I might end up becoming them, it was hard to hide there, allow them to get away with pushing the helpless around while...rejecting everything they stood for."
Linkle sat next to the quiet Gerudo and tried to think of something to say, but found nothing to say that sounded right to her, until she thought about what Malron said again, "I'm glad that you stayed yourself."
"Me too...I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bring you down, my mind just drifted. Let me tell you about Aryll, though, she's a couple of years younger than me, but she seems more mature at times, since she often supplies me with gifts, courtesy of Sheik trying to boost my morale and updating me on our status, or just a hello to let me know she didn't die...I honestly had nightmares where Sheik ended up dying, anyone's death is...basically the end of operations." Malron growled and shook her head, "I ended on a dark note anyways! Ah, never mind, I'm hungry, there's probably leftovers, the stoic Sheik doesn't eat a lot, from what I hear, and Aryll hasn't had a growth spurt in centuries, so it's up to us to make sure leftovers don't go bad."
"A worthy mission." Linkle nodded, and followed Malron, who leapt off the bed and ran to the wall of the hallway.
"I'll race you, Linkle!"
"You used my name." Linkle remarked.
"Ready, set, go!" Malron yelled, before Linkle was out of the room.
"So, um, the coffin thing's set up right?" Aryll called out to Sheik, who stood over the dark shape, appraising it.
"Yes...the Animus is prepared. I'll go in there for a moment, but bind me to it, I will...access a memory. Walk in another one's shoes." Sheik picked up a chain that laid inside the coffin. The chains were so long that they stretched from the handle of the Animus to the wall of the other side, but that would only make it easier for her to be contained if anything went wrong. Sheik tugged more roughly until she was pulling, then relaxed her grip, "If something...happens...if I struggle violently, close the lid on me and find the others...if I don't wake up, go get the others."
"Um...maybe I should go in, you Sheikah can interact with this thing, right? Like if a pupil gets sick or something and needs to be pulled out? Not that that happens, but-"
"Aryll...thanks, but I believe it's best this way...I have measured twice." Sheik waited for a concession, and when Aryll nodded, she put one chain on her wrist and pointed at the other, "A little help with this one?"
"Sheik...you're taking a big risk." Aryll grabbed the cuff and tightened it around Sheik's wrists.
"I know, but I also know we're running out of time." Sheik wriggled her wrist and growled.
"No, just tight enough, I was worried you'd try to make me comfortable."
"If that was supposed to be your attempt at a joke-"
"I suppose one cannot be perfect at everything."
"Yet you try so hard to disprove that notion."
"Nothing is true." Sheik closed her eyes, and waited for Aryll to reply, nodding when she did.
"Everything is permitted." Aryll stared at Sheik and started muttering her way to thirty.
Sheik opened her eyes and thought. She thought about her mission and her place. The world slowly changed around her, going to the memory before hers. She found herself in the castle's courtyard, Impa directed her to climb through the course, and she did as she was instructed, but something strange happened as she climbed. She didn't know what it was, but she fell, and found Impa standing over her.
"Are you alright? What happened?" Impa asked.
"Uh, I don't know, I slipped or something." Sheik replied, feeling very unlike herself, and unable to control her words.
"You never did apply yourself seriously, so why are you here?" Impa crossed her arms and stared at her.
"Because...I'm not good at anything else...my dad pushed me as a carpenter...and that's all I've ever known...I didn't want that life, but I wasted my childhood learning the trade."
"I see...you know how many times you've fallen? Perhaps you aren't using your legs enough, you have to think about these things as you climb, right?"
"Okay, we'll start again, if you're ready, take it slow and maybe tell me what you're doing, where your focus is, okay, Grog?"
Sheik felt herself nod, and tried again. Strangely, though Sheik was able to somewhat keep up with the Master—few could, though—this...memory slowed her down, she had to act as she went, her own experience went into it, yet the memory was ultimately dependent on the Sheikah in question.
She was frustrated with the lack of progress, and somehow remembered how long this took, then Aryll called out to her, and she left the memory.
"Sheik, are you okay?!" Aryll shouted.
"Yes, I'm fine...I just," Sheik tried to step forward, but but the chains rattled against her effort and she leaned back, "okay...unbind me, Aryll...and if I seem snappy...I've had a busy day of falling and climbing and falling, whoever that was, I learned little. So far it feels like when I was training, but even with my skills, the actual speed is determined by the possessor of that memory...I'd like for her to get her mind around Impa's memories, back when she was first starting out...perhaps her pace would be optimal."
"Did you find records of the best Sheikah in the temple?" Aryll inquired.
"No, those records were destroyed by rogue Sheikah...I could use this to find those records, possibly recreate the documents."
"I think it's a worthy goal, you'll be a famous Sheikah, and if those documents are lost again, your memories will contain the information."
"But traveling through the memories aren't easy, I couldn't decide who I wanted to study...and as for using my memories...I don't know if the interrupted Animus training session will result in one access point, or if the memory would be strung together. In other words...will going in their and accessing my memories put people back in my training before I went into the Animus the first time, or will the explorer find only the memories prior to my latest session, or will they have to travel through my whole life?"
"Good question...could Linkle figure that out?" Aryll wondered.
"We'll see...I'll ask her to seek me first, and we'll see what happens."
"Seek you for what?" Linkle asked. She took a sip of soup as she regarded the two discussing the Animus.
"When the time comes, I want you to search through my memories." Sheik replied.
"Why not go now? If it's safe-"
"I'll go in again and try to navigate the stream of memories, report back to you, and let you have it...I'll seek out Impa's past." Sheik backed up and bound one arm, "Aryll, the other one."
Aryll nodded and shut the bracelet around Sheik's wrists. Malron and Linkle watched as Sheik closed her eyes. Linkle gulped down some more soup and Aryll cleared her throat unnecessarily, "So, do you think Sheik can hear us? She talked a little in...her sleep, if you want to call it that, and...I don't know, she never said if she heard me or not.
"Maybe I should throw some insults at her?" Malron smirked.
"Malron, please don't." Aryll crossed her arms, "If we distract her-"
"Hey, Sheik, you hit like a girl! Ha, ha, because you are, and a pretty deadly one!" Malron shrugged at Aryll's incredulous but entertained expression, something between a scowl and a smirk, "I'm just trying to lighten the mood...I imagine Sheik's rolling her eyes in there, though, me and my bad jokes."
"I couldn't do it," Sheik stepped forward and stumbled backwards, "ah...this again...anyways, I couldn't navigate, the Sheikah you get is random...that, or one similar to you, after twenty or so tries, I think it's best to just set you up with a Sheikah memory and go from there. Aryll, a little help?"
Aryll freed Sheik and Linkle stepped forward, emptied the bottle, and turned to Malron, "Hang onto this for me?"
"Sure, I'll go check up on our surroundings, we should probably start moving soon." Malron took Linkle's bottle and watched as the blonde held her arms out.
"So, um, any risk of possession?" Linkle inquired as Sheik bound her wrists.
"Well, what we're talking about is novel, and involves taking the memory of those who proceed us...so there may be risks involving an altered personality, maybe even dreaming their dreams, thinking their thoughts...and not all Sheikah were what you'd call a good guy, there's plenty of blood in our past, too much of it innocent. Take care, Linkle."
"Remember who you are." Malron nodded.
"I'll do my best." Linkle sighed, "How does this work?"
"Just...let your mind respond to the Animus, it wants to guide you to sleep, just drift, it's like floating." Sheik answered.
Linkle nodded and yawned, and closed her eyes.
Author's Notes: I didn't want to end it on a cliffhanger, but this actually looks good like it is, the next chapter should be more of Linkle in the Animus! Also...I'm pretty sure traditional magic stuff will be here, just...consider this like Asgardian magic, if you've watched the Thor movies, "magic is just science we don't understand" is the view you'll want to take on things to understand how Assassins get mixed up with magic.