For the next two days, Link spent time by himself. He visited Lake Hylia, watching the calm waters, thinking about the coming danger. He also thought about the girl in the market place. Who was she? When would they meet again?
Finally, the meeting took place. Link walked into the Great Hall to find it filled with his friends, all sitting at a round table. The sages were there: Ruto, Sage of Water; his best-friend Saria, Sage of the Forest; Impa, Sage of Shadow; Nabooru, Sage of Spirit; Darunia, Sage of Fire and Rauru, Sage of Light. Representatives of the races were there as well: King Zora, father of Ruto was there for the Zoras. Darunia's son Link (named after the Hero of Time Link) for the Gorons, Nabooru (there already for being a Sage) for the Gerudos and Saria (who was there since she was a Sage as well) and Mido for the Kokiri. Link found a seat next to Saria and sat down. She smiled and they sat silent, waiting for the King to speak.
Link could see Zelda from where he sat. Her long blond hair had been decorated with precious stones in honor of the occasion. Her gown brought out the blue of her eyes. She looked beautiful, but tired. She probably hadn't been sleeping well lately.
The King stood. "Friends. You have all heard of the threat to Hyrule. We have two choices of action to take against Canovan and his army. Give into his demands or fight. We had dispatched soldiers, twelve soldiers to be exact, some days ago to the place Carnovan told as to meet. Only one returned. He returned saying of the vast demon army Carnovan controlled. He will give his full report later. First I would like to ask, is every race here? I would not like to start until I know we have all come safely."
Murmurs from the group conformed that all were present. Suddenly, the door flew open. Everyone turned to stare. In walked in the girl from the market place. She was wearing a different outfit; this one was a short gold-colored dress. Embroidered on was a firebird. Link's eyes grew wide; he had that symbol on his shield! Also on her dress, sewn in under the neck of her dress, was an eye with an tear. Impa had that on her clothes! And they were on the gossip stones. Link smacked his forehead. They were also called the Sheikah Stones! And when Zelda dressed as Sheik, she pretended to be a Sheikah! Link stared as the stunning girl walked farther into the room.
"Who are you? Guards!" The King ordered the soldiers to capture the intruder.
The girl appeared unconcerned. "Not all the races are equally represented Your Highness." She smiled coyly. "Impa! How nice it is to finally meet the Great Sage."
Impa paled visibly. "I...I thought I was the only one left!"
The King stopped the guards. "Who are you?" He asked, sitting down again and motioning the girl to come forward.
The girl bowed. "I am Tellikah, my King. The Sheikah chose me to come to help."
"The Sheikah?" The name traveled around the room. People stared at wonder. And they had thought Impa was the last!
Tellikah smiled, "Greetings Hero of Time." She addressed to Link, "I told you we would meet again." She then turned to Zelda. "And greetings to you Princess Zelda. You're knowledge is known even to us."
The Sheikah remained standing, appearing to like the commotion she had caused. She let everything sink in before continuing. "My King, the Sheikah have been living peacefully for many years. We saw the fight between Ganon and the Hero of Time and we knew of the trouble Hyrule faced. We did not interfere then; we didn't want to be discovered. We also knew that it was being dealt with." She cast a sly smile at Link. He blinked as all eyes turned to him and sunk down in his chair. "But, you cannot fight this new evil alone. That is why I am here. The Sheikah believe the best idea is to fight. And personally, I think we should open the Gates of the Void and throw this Carnovan in with his master since he wants to see him so bad."
Ruto stood up. "I agree with what this Sheikah say. The Zoras are fine fighters."
Darunia rose as well. "Yeah! And we'll help too!"
His son Link stood as well. "Yeah!"
Nabooru of course had to say something for her people. "And everyone knows the Gerudos' fighting skills!"
A cheer erupted from the gathered people. Soon everyone was on their feet, declaring their abilities and willingness.
The King smiled, pleased at the group's pride. He stood and the cries quieted. "I believe it's decided then. We shall now listen to the report of our brave soldier who returned from Carnovan's army."
A knight walked into the room and stopped in front of the King. He bowed, turned to face the crowd.
As he spoke, the ambitions of the races started to fade. The knight spoke of a vast number of Moblins, Lizalfos, Stalfos and other such warriors of evil who had aligned with Carnovan. He also told of a new enemy, one he had never seen before. This one had a skeleton body with eyes that rolled in their sockets. Its arms hung to the ground and instead of fingers, it had claws. Its touch alone could kill a person. Carnovan had told the knight that Ganon was communicating with the Dark Commander. He had told the knight to share what he had seen with the King of Hyrule. He wanted everyone to know of the death that would come if Ganon wasn't released.
The room ached with scared silence. Ruto stood again. "Let's kill this freak! We can all do it if we team up! He won't expect that!"
Another cheer arose. Tellikah smiled. Zelda covered her face with her hands. Saria grabbed Link's arm and they grinned at each other. Mido scowled at them. King Zora hugged his daughter and wiped away tears of pride. Darunia slapped high fives with his son. Nabooru sat back, pleased at the outcome. Impa walked over to other Sheikah.
"How are my people?"
Tellikah's smiled disappeared and her eyes filled with sadness. "Alone. We have long wished to return to Hyrule, but were afraid. Other than that, we have been fairing well. You are a hero to us. You have removed the shame from our name."
Impa nodded. "May I return with you? I would like to be with them again."
"Certainly. I will be going there tonight." Tellikah walked over to Link. "Please come with me tonight. I want you to meet the Sheikah. And Princess," Zelda had been watching them and now stood when she heard Tellikah calling. "I would like if you joined us. I believe it would be for the best if you learned more about us. And don't worry," Tellikah added for the King's sake. "No harm will come of you."
Zelda smiled, the first time Link had seen her do so in a while. "I would be honored."
Tellikah bowed. "Good, I shall meet you all in Hyrule Field at midnight. Bring a horse, unless you would like to walk."
Link rode to Lon Lon Ranch. "Malon? Malon!"
Talon walked out of the barn. "Link! How nice it is to see you again. How's Epona? And your cow?"
Every time Link met with Talon, he would ask the Hero how his livestock was. Well, if you could call it livestock. Link had won a cow once, and it lived in the Kokiri Woods, being taken care of by the elves who found her enchanting.
"Both are well, thank you." Link replied politely. "Where is Malon today?"
"She went down to the Gerudo Valley. Imagine that! My little girl helping the Gerudos. She's training a horse for them. That's all she's been talking about lately."
"Thank you! I'll meet her down there." Quickly, Link mounted Epona and they sped down to meet Malon.
When they reached there, Link was directed to the stables. When he walked to the pen where Malon had tamed the stallion days before, he was surprised to see Malon riding the horse bareback, racing around the ring.
The biggest surprise was what Malon was wearing. Instead of her normal outfit, she was dressed in traditional Gerudo clothing: loose pants that tightened around the waist and ankles and a mid-drift top with a collar. Her fire red hair was kept out of her face in a pony tail. Her clothes were a soft blue that matched her eyes. She looked fantastic.
Malon spotted Link, and steered the horse over. Her face was flushed with pride and joy. "Link! Isn't he divine? He runs so smoothly. And he's the fastest mount I've ever ridden! And do you like my outfit? The Gerudos said that I could be an honorary member! Kind of like you, only I'm their sister! I can come whenever I like! Nabooru said that if I like, I can become a horse trainer for them! Of course, I could never leave my father or the farm, but I really want to live here with them! What do you think of that?"
Link was stunned. "Wow! That's great! You'd be the best trainer they'll ever have!"
Malon nodded. "Thank you." Her face clouded suddenly. "What s Hyrule going to do about Carnovan?"
Link frowned. "We're going to fight. Everyone is going to work together. Everyone. Even the Gerudos and the Kokiri."
"I thought the Kokiri couldn't leave the forest?"
"Well, since Saria's a sage, her power can allow them to leave when ever they like. Granted they'd rather stay in the woods..."
Malon dropped her eyes, then raised them to meet Link's. "Fighting is probably the best solution."
Link shrugged. "Probably. But the reports of Carnovan's armies say that he has a huge supply of warriors."
Malon's eyes flashed fire. "I'll help. We can use our horses on the farm." She paused, worried. "Where will all the people who don't fight go?"
Link shook his head. "I don't know yet. Maybe they'll stay where the Sheikah live..."
"Sheikah? They'll still alive? I thought Impa was the last!"
"So did everyone else. But, a girl named Tellikah came to the meeting today and told us about how the Sheikah will help. In fact, she's taking Zelda, Impa and me tonight to meet them."
"Can I come?"
"I don't think so."
Malon nodded sadly. "It would be interesting to see them..."
"Are you going to go back to the farm now?"
"No, I think I'll stay here a little while longer. I'll see you later, Fairy-boy?"
"Yeah. See ya."
Malon watched as he rode off. She sighed and started the horse into a gallop.
That night, Link waited in Hyrule Field. He soon saw Zelda and Impa riding up.
"I thought Tellikah would be here by now." Zelda looked around. "I mean, she did tell us to be here at midnight."
"I am here." Out of the shadows came Tellikah. She was wearing the same gold dress and rode a beautiful white horse. "I was waiting for you."
"How did you...?" Link hadn't heard anything that would have given away Tellikah's presence.
She shrugged. "All Sheikah are silent. Come on. If we hurry, we'll be there by dawn." With that, she turned her horse around and headed to Death Mountain. The others followed closely behind.
When they reached the part of Death Mountain where the Goron's lived, Tellikah turned back to face her followers. "Please tell no one of this path. None of you can speak of it. It protects us from danger." She looked over all of them, eyes solemn. "And Malon, you can come with us."
The group turned and stared. Malon and the stallion walked up quickly. Cheeks burning, Malon apologized. "I wanted to see for myself. I wanted to see if Sheikahs were still alive. I'll go backů"
Tellikah shook her head and smiled. "You are welcome to come with us. I have watched you. You are brave and resourceful. Please join us. I know we can trust you."
Malon flushed again at the compliment. "Thank you. And I will not tell anyone of this path."
Link grinned at her. "I didn't even hear you! Your horse is really something else." He raised an eyebrow. "And I see that you got a saddle on him."
Malon grinned and nodded. "Nabooru can't believe the progress I've made with him!" She said quietly. "His name is Shadavelle. It means 'Midnight Fighter' in the ancient language." Turning to Zelda, Malon bowed her head. "Its nice to see you again Princess Zelda. And the same to you, Sage Impa."
Zelda waved her hand. "Just call me Zelda. We're all equals."
Tellikah motioned them to be silent. Walking up to a boulder, she became to chant quietly. Before they knew it, the boulder wavered and disappeared. There in front of her lay a path. She moved her horse to the side to let the rest of the group pass, them chanted again and made the stone reappear. Kicking her horse, she moved to lead again. They walked on for a long time until they reached an entrance to a dense forest. Tellikah stopped abruptly and raised her arms.
"I am Tellikah, child of the Sheikah. I ask you to let us pass."
Link looked around, but couldn't find whom she addressed. In fact, all he could see were his friends, some trees and the path. Everything else was darkness.
Suddenly, a voice floated in the air. "You are recognized Tellikah, child of the Sheikah. You bring others, identify yourselves!"
Princess Zelda walked her horse to stand by Tellikah. "I am Zelda, Sage and Princess of Hyrule."
"You are recognized, Sage and Princess Zelda."
Impa followed. "I am Impa, Sage of Shadow and fellow Sheikah."
"You are recognized Impa, Sage and Sheikah."
Malon and Shadavelle walked up next. "I am Malon, daughter of Talon and Deedra, subject of Hyrule." She wished she had something else to add!
"You are recognized Malon, honorary Gerudo and trainer."
How did the voice know those things? Swallowing hard, Link joined them last. "I am Link, Hero of Time."
The voice remained silent for a time before answering. "You are known and welcome Hero of Time. We have been waiting for you."
The trees parted, giving off a strange white light. "You may enter."
Tellikah was in the lead again. She guided them down the trail and finally they reached the home of the legendary Sheikah.
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