It was pitch dark now. The only light given to Link, Anna, and Istas as they stumbled along was the light that the moon, round and full, provided. Link fought the urge to lay down where they stood and sleep. He knew that Ganon's troops would probably return soon to look for more pieces. They still had a long walk to Lake Hylia ahead, and he could hardly stay awake as it was. Anna and Istas were having an even harder time of it. They lagged behind him a few yards, stumbling along in the dark, hardly seeing what they were doing.
Anna's eyes felt like weights, and her injured arm ached more than it had before. However, it was this pain and the thought of Ganon getting the Tetraforce pieces that kept her from dropping on the ground. Reaching into her quiver, she retrieved the chest her aunt had given her. It was not the original chest Impa had spoken of. The evil minions that had killed that young sorcerer years ago had probably removed the piece from it, then dropped the chest it had been in.
She had not been paying attention to where she was going, and tripped over a rock. She stumbled, falling to the ground. A momentary jolt of pain ran through her, but she did not have the strength to rise again. It felt good to lay there, unmoving....She sighed, closing her eyes.
"Anna, come on, get up. It's not much further." This bit of encouragement was from Istas, who gently helped her up. She groaned as she stood.
"Oh, Din, I'm so tired...." she mumbled, feeling as if she would collapse again. He squeezed her hand gently. "Yeah, I know how you feel. I feel like going to sleep, too," he told her sympathetically. Link stopped, turning to where they stood.
"I want to sleep, too," he began, "but we can't. Oh, Farore, I wish this whole adventure would end. But it won't until we get the pieces and save the princess. Be strong, keep going. The sooner we find the pieces is the sooner we sleep." Both Anna and Istas nodded in agreement, then began to walk again. Link led the way. Lack of rest was beginning to ravage him, and he did not know whether they would even make it to Lake Hylia. But they had to try. Drawing in a deep breath of the cold night air, he forced himself to walk quicker.
Zelda watched as Ganon sat, brooding in his throne. His army, a score of moblins and stalfos, stood at rapt attention in uniform lines in front of him. She knew that his twisted mind was thinking up a way to capture Link, and it infuriated her to know she was powerless to stop it.
The Dark Faerie appeared, floating above the army. "Master Ganon," she began, and Ganon glanced up at her sharply. "Yes?" he snapped impatiently.
"I, um, I was wondering if...if-" she stammered.
"YES?!" Ganon snarled.
"I was wondering if this plan is such a good one."
"DON'T QUESTION ME!" Ganon growled, standing up in his throne, eyes flashing like fire. All the moblins and stalfos in the front line shook and backed up a step or two.
"Oh, no, I wasn't questioning you, Master Ganon," the Dark Faerie said, her voice high-pitched with fear, "I was just saying that maybe we should continue the search for the pieces so that-" Ganon held up one hand, signaling for her to be quiet. She silenced herself mid-sentence.
Ganon paced back and forth in front of his army. " It is best we wait. I have yet to make a plan for the army's attack. We must time this so that that pest Hero has no idea what we're up to. Also, without all the pieces, he can't unite the Tetraforce. So, he'll need the piece I have. By the time we bring him and those other two here, I'll be ready for my revenge." Ganon finished his statement with an evil laugh.
Zelda sank to her knees inside the crystal. Oh, Nayru, how I wish I could do something, she thought, hearing Ganon's laugh and all the laughter of his minions echo throughout the underworld chamber.
As the sound of rushing water reached Link's ears, he sighed in relief. They were not far from Lake Hylia now, and it was a good thing. Istas and Anna could hardly stand as it was, and even he himself thought that it was nothing short of a miracle that they had made it to Lake Hylia. By now, he was so tired, he no longer concentrated on the road ahead of them. He simply wandered blindly along, letting instinct guide him.
Just ahead, the water shimmered like thousands of tiny diamonds in the moonlight. In the center was the small island where Venus, the Queen of Faeries, lived. Link turned to where Anna and Istas were standing, just behind him.
"Anna, did the map say exactly where the piece was?" he asked her. She shook her head, and replied, "All it said was that it's someplace around here." Link said nothing further. Instead, he took a running start toward the water, then dove gracefully in. The water was extremely cold, waking him instantly.
"Come on in," he called, laughing, to where the two stood. They approached the water, looking at it doubtfully. Anna put a hand in, then withdrew it, grimacing.
"It's cold," she complained, watching as her brother continued to swim and dive around the lake. She stood, backing up, taking her map out of her pocket, shoving it inside the quiver, and putting the quiver on the ground. Istas came up from behind her.
"You go in first," Anna said to him. Istas smiled.
"Oh, no, I insist that you go. After all, ladies first," he laughed. Then, before she could do anything, he took her hand, led her up to the water, and gave her a light shove. She wasn't expecting it, and so she tumbled right in.
She came back up, choking on some water she had inhaled, shivering from the cold. She turned to glare at Istas, pushing dripping water out of her eyes.
"Gotcha!" he laughed. Anna, in reply, climbed up the bank next to him. She got behind him, then pushed him in. She laughed as he came back up, dripping wet, looking at her in amazement.
"You were saying?" she asked, giggling.
"Come on, you two, we have a piece to look for," Link called from the middle of the lake. Anna dove back into the water, and, together, the three continued to search for the piece.
Holding his breath, Link dove under the water. It got colder and darker as he went further down. Where is it? he thought, opening his eyes under the water. He looked around for a brief moment, seeing nothing. Finally, he returned to the surface to catch a quick breath before going down again.
Anna and Istas were doing the same thing behind him. So far, none of them had turned up anything. Link looked up at the sky. It was getting lighter, and the stars were beginning to fade. Taking another breath, he went under again. This time, as he looked around, he saw something glint at him from the lake's bed. He swam closer. There it was, the Tetraforce piece! He surfaced, took another breath, then swam down to it. He managed to grab it before he had to resurface. He held it up triumphantly. Anna and Istas swam over to him.
"Here," Link, said, giving the piece to Anna. She swam over to the bank and climbed out, walking over to where her quiver lay. Removing all the arrows, she took the pieces they collected out and lay them out over the grass. They shone at her in the ever-waning moonlight. Slowly, she began to fit them together, like the pieces of a puzzle. There was a bright light as the pieces joined. Finally, as Link and Istas climbed out of the water, she held the large Tetraforce piece up for them to see.
"Looks like we need a few more pieces," Anna said, studying the prism critically. She removed the map from where she had put it in her quiver. "Hmmm....we have a few more to go. One's up at Death Mountain, another in the Lost Woods, and a third is out in the desert. Oh, and here's another one in the swamp."
"All right," Link said, leaning over Anna's shoulder to see the map better, "let's go to the swamp first, after we rest and dry off."
Until dawn's light lit the sky, the three of them slept and dried off. Suddenly, Anna sat bolt upright, shivering, but not from cold. She was relieved to find herself sitting near Lake Hylia. In her dream, she had been somewhere evil, dark....the underworld lair! Ganon had been there, as had the Dark Faerie, and thousands of moblins and stalfos. They had all been ready to attack her. She had screamed, and there had been a bright light....
Drawing in several deep breaths, she could see images move briefly before her, re-living her fear. It had to be another vision. There was no other explanation for it. However, she didn't know what it meant, which was frustrating. Sighing, she stood. Walking over to the lake, she gathered some water into her cupped hands. Splashing her face with it, she let the water run down her face and drip off her chin.
From behind her, Link and Istas were waking up. Link was surprised to find Anna awake, staring pensively into the lake's clear water. She was deep in thought about something, apparently. Istas rose, then walked over to her.
"What's wrong?" he asked her, putting a hand on her shoulder. She turned from the water and looked at him, eyes grave and clouded with worry.
"I had another vision. It's not good, either. I was in Ganon's underworld lair. He was there, all his minions were there, too. They were all about to kill me...." she finished, sighing. Istas stared at her for a moment, saying nothing.
"What's going on?" Link asked, standing beside them.
"I had another vision. I have a feeling we're going to find Ganon's lair soon, Link. He'll be waiting for us, too, I know he will," Anna replied, shuddering.
"We'd better get going to the swamp. We have to find these pieces as soon as we can, in case Ganon's still out looking," Link said, handing Anna her quiver. The Tetraforce, minus a few pieces, was placed into her hands. She could feel its power, in spite of the fact that it still wasn't completely formed yet. Istas took it from her, then placed it in his bag.
"It's getting a little too big for you to carry on your own," he explained, and she nodded.
Then, they set out for the swamp.
Ganon stood before his army, polishing the new plan he'd come up with. "Those fools won't have a chance against us!" he told his army, laughing evilly. A few of his minions chuckled along with him. Zelda covered her ears with her hands.Ganon's laughter made her sick, and she no longer wanted to hear any more of his vile plan.
From above, the Dark Faerie appeared. "What is your plan?" she asked, floating down to where Ganon stood.
"You're just in time to hear it, so shut up and listen," Ganon replied. The Dark Faerie glared, but did not respond.
" Here is my plan. Dark Faerie, you will find the location of those three pests, and get the army into ambush positions. Then, at your command, they will attack. However-" Ganon said sharply, "I don't want any of them harmed in the process." There were mumbles of surprise from the army.
" I need that blasted boy for a special reason. And those other two will be useful, too. It is more than likely that one of them is the holder of the Tetraforce. I need whichever one it is for the Essence they hold within them. Then, I will rule both dimensions!"
"But Master Ganon," the Dark Faerie said, "what is to be done with the remaining one?"
"That, you simpleton, is quite easy. I will destroy the one we don't need," Ganon replied, eyes flashing a deep, evil red.
"When will we be ready for the plan?" the Dark Faerie questioned. Ganon did not reply directly. Instead, he went over to his crystal ball, waving his hands over it. He could see that there were only four pieces left to collect.
"Soon," he finally said, "very soon." A wicked smile spread across his face.
"Oh, Din, Link, please be careful," Zelda whispered softly from inside her crystal.
Link slashed the long green grass with his sword, looking at the ground beneath. Nothing. He sighed. They'd been looking for about an hour now, turning up absolutely nothing. He turned to where Anna and Istas were looking.
"Any luck?" he called to them. Anna looked up at him, shading her eyes from the sun. She shook her head, then continued searching. It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack, she reflected dismally. She continued to part the grass, searching every square inch of ground that had been hidden by it. Just as she was about to give up, she thought she saw something. It was a depression in the ground, sunk in from a recent rain storm. "I think I've found something!" she called over to Link and Istas, who came over to her. She pointed out the depression in the ground to them. Carefully, she walked toward it. Suddenly and without warning, the ground gave way. She cried out with surprise as she tumbled into an underground tunnel.
"Anna? Are you okay?" Link called down to her.
"Yes, I found a chest down here," she answered, voice echoing in the tunnel. Moments later, her hand, caked with mud, emerged from below, gripping a golden shard.
Istas put it away, then he and Link helped Anna out from the depths of the tunnel.
"We have only a few more pieces to go," Link said, then they began toward the area where they could find the next piece.
Ganon looked at them from the crystal ball as they walked. "Yes, you certainly have," he chuckled. It won't be long now, he thought, looking at the army which stood in wait. Settling back on his throne, Ganon laced his fingers together and thought, Pathetic fools, I'll soon rule over all.....He began to laugh evilly....
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