Link was beginning to grow restless in the cell. The circulation was being cut off to his wrists and ankles, and he flexed his fingers in an attempt to get the blood running in them again. It was getting hard to breathe as well. There were no windows in this village, so there was no fresh air. He sighed. He was worried about Zelda. He knew that Ganon was trying to lure him into his clutches, but how long would he wait until harming Zelda? Link peered around the dimly lit room. There appeared to be no way out, and he hoped the dawn would arrive soon so Anna could break him out.
Anna, in the meantime, was lying in Istas's cave, trying to think of a way to get Link out. Istas had told her that the village Elder would question Link eventually, but what would they do afterwards? Anna shuddered at the possibilities. For a time, she slept in spite of herself, and was awakened by Istas.
"Come on, Anna, get up. We have to think of a way to get Link out," Istas prodded. Anna sat up and rubbed at her eyes. Her body was stiff from sleeping on the ground, and she stretched her arms and legs.
"What will we do, Istas? With Hagen and many other guards running around, they aren't just going to let us take Link out of there. Also, I need to get going as soon as I can so that I can find those Tetraforce pieces before Ganon does." Anna felt a pang of despair run through her as she said this. If she didn't hurry, Ganon would unite the Tetraforce, destroy Hyrule, and all would be lost.
"Try not to worry about that right now. We need to get the Legendary Hero out as soon as we can," Istas said. "Besides," he added, "he can't do anything without all the pieces." Istas then reached into a canvas bag that rested at his feet. He held something out to Anna in his closed fist. When he opened his hand, there was a shard of something golden that glinted in the torchlight. Anna took it from him, holding it closer so she could examine it.
"A piece of the Tetraforce! Where did you find it?" Anna asked, astonished.
" When I went out yesterday, I found this buried close to where I found you. And, I also found this near you too," Istas added, taking another object out of his bag. Anna could see it was her pendant. "Thanks," she said, taking it from him and putting it back on."It's nice. Where'd you get it?" Istas said, in reference to the pendant. "It's a pretty long story, but I got it from my mother," Anna answered.
For a moment, they sat in silence. Then, Anna asked, "So, have any ideas how we're going to get Link out?" Istas thought for a moment, the said, "Well, I have an idea. It'll have to wait until tonight, though. The guards posted at the jail area are less alert then."
"Well, what's your plan?" Anna asked.
"We'll have to go together when we execute my plan. One of us will have to distract the guards while the other steals the keys, goes into the rows of cells, and frees your brother."
" How will we distract them?"
" Did you notice how the entrance to the village is on Death Mountain, then there's this big, sloping tunnel that leads underground? When we have guard duty later, I'll go up there with you. You come running down the tunnel. Tell Hagen there's an intruder. He'll send some of his guards up there. I'll tell him the intruder escaped, so that you can go to the jail area. The keys are hanging on a peg on the doorframe. The guards are normally there, but with the confusion we'll create, all of them will be outside. After that, get out the back exit. I'll show you how to get there on the way to guard duty tonight. Let's just hope this works. If it doesn't, we'll all end up in trouble."
"Thanks for helping, Istas," Anna said. "No problem," Istas said, grinning.
Then, there came the distant clanging of a bell. "What was that?" Anna asked.
"That's the breakfast call for the trainees. After that, we have to spar for awhile. According to Hagen, it'll 'help us trainees' to be ready in case there's ever an attack. Let's go." With that, Istas led the way to a large room with a long, large, wooden table. There were quite a few people sitting on either side on two long, wooden benches. Everyone there was about Istas's and Anna's age. They were all dressed in similar clothes, all wearing armor. In front of them sat ceramic bowls full of what appeared to be porridge. Istas and Anna took the first available seats. Picking up her spoon, Anna stirred the porridge with it. Istas was already eating his as quickly as possible. Sighing, Anna picked up her spoon and tried some of it. And nearly choked.
"What in the name of Din is in this?" she asked Istas. Istas laughed, nearly choking himself. "It's just porridge, nothing that great," he answered, still laughing. Suddenly, the bell Anna heard earlier clanged again. Istas stood up, leaving his empty bowl at the table. "Come on, it's time for our training," he told her, walking out with the others. They walked to an even larger room. Torches burned in the corners, and Hagen stood at the front of the room. Everyone formed lines, and Hagen began.
"All right, trainees. Let's get one thing straight. As you know, there will be no foolishness. You will obey me at all times. And let me tell you, if there was ever a real attack, half of you would be destroyed in an instant....." Hagen went on and on, and Istas and Anna glanced at each other. "Blah, blah, blah, it happens everyday," Istas said. Anna laughed. Suddenly, the room was silent and still. Hagen was red with rage, and the other trainees turned to look at Istas and Anna.
"So, Istas thinks he and his little girlfriend are exempt from the rules," Hagen boomed. "Well, let's see them spar with each other, here and now!" Istas gave Anna an apologetic look. Together, they went to the front of the room, in front of Hagen. Istas adopted the sparring position, and Anna imitated him. They hesitated for a moment. "Well?" yelled Hagen.
Suddenly, Istas threw a quick punch. It was meant to fall short, but Anna blocked it skillfully. She delivered a quick counter blow that would have hit Istas had not Anna deliberately made it fall short. She swept his legs out from under him, and he landed the way he had been taught to.
"All right, you two. Get back in your places and don't let me hear another sound out of either of you," Hagen said.
"Wow," Istas breathed as they stood together again in one of the lines, "you're pretty good. Where'd you learn?"
"Link and I practice almost all the time, in case either of us is ever caught without weapons," Anna explained. Istas nodded in approval. Hagen began giving out his orders for that day's training when suddenly, a voice called out, "The exalted Elder will now judge the prisoner." Everyone turned to see one of the Elder's messengers at the entrance to the training room.
"All right, everyone get out and go to the village square," Hagen said, and with that, the whole class dispelled to their rooms.
"The Elder's coming now?" Anna asked Istas, slipping her armor off. Istas looked worried. "Yes, and he's a bit earlier than I expected," he answered.
"What will they do to him?" Anna asked nervously.
"Well, the Elder passes judgement on him, and if he's guilty, they usually....well, do whatever the Elder says to do. We normally don't do too much, but if the Elder thinks he's one of Ganon's men, he'll....be put to death."
Anna felt her blood run cold as ice. "Then we have to get Link out of here now!" she said frantically.
"Relax, they usually take awhile to pass an actual judgement. By the time the Elder announces it, we'll be ready to execute our plan and get out of here," Istas said.
Link, in the meantime, could hear the shouts of the Elder's messengers from his cell. He was a bit apprehensive. What was going to happen if he was found guilty? He didn't have too much time to mull over it, however, for he was soon being forced from his cell by some guards. He was led, hands behind his back, to the village square. Murmurs ran through the assembly that had gathered. Link could see Anna among the crowd. Link, she said to him telepathically, don't worry, we'll get you out. We? Link asked her, Who's we? She was about to answer, but a hush fell over the crowd. A man dressed in richly colored robes strode out, surrounded by several messengers. He was bald, a long, white beard running down from his face like a waterfall. He was nearly as thin as the staff he carried. He addressed the crowd with piercing eyes that seemed to know all. Everyone looked up at him, waiting for him to speak.
"People of the Sheikah, we have before us today an intruder in our community. It will be my decision that decides his fate. He has been accused by the captain of our guards, Hagen, of being a follower of the despised Ganon," the Elder started. He let his words sink in before continuing. " It is because of this despised Ganon that we have suffered much. The forest that was once on our side of the mountain has been burned, leaving only the Lost Woods. Long ago, we were forced to move here and take arms and appoint guards to defend ourselves, when we were once a peace loving race. And this person, people of the Sheikah, may be one of his followers!" The murmur of the crowd rose again, filling the room. The Elder held up his hand for silence.
"And so," the Elder said, his voice filling the room, "I must decide what is to be done with this intruder. I shall be in my room. I do not wish to be disturbed. I will return to this place in an hour with my decision." With that, the Elder turned, and, accompanied by his guards and messengers, went to his room, one of the largest in the village. Link was taken from where he was placed on a chair near the Elder and returned to his cell.
Istas and Anna returned to Istas's room. "The Elder must already have a decision mind," Istas said, sounding a bit worried. He slipped his armor on. "Come on, it's nearly time to go to the village entrance to guard. I'll show you our emergency exit, though," Istas said, taking Anna out into the center of the village. He led her to a corner where a heavy stone block covered a hole in the ground. Istas and Anna grabbed it, heaving it up, revealing a dark hole. "When you're inside, get on your hands and knees to crawl up out of the tunnel. It should take you to some tunnels inside the mountain. Follow it out, and you'll end up near Kakariko Village," Istas explained. Anna nodded. She felt giddy with the knowledge of what they were going to do.
Istas led the way up the steep, sloping tunnel that led to the village entrance. For awhile, they both stood, spears at their side. Finally, Istas said, "Well, it's about time. Remember what to do?" Anna nodded. Istas yelled, "Stop, intruder!" as loud as he could, blowing on his whistle. Anna rushed down into the village screaming, "Hagen! There's another intruder!" Hagen, who was talking with some other guards, cried, "Everyone stay in your homes! Come on, men!" With that, Hagen led a dozen or so troops up to where Istas was still screaming. Anna looked wildly about, trying to find the jail area. Spotting it, she ran over to it. Sure enough, just as Istas had told her, there were the keys,hanging on their peg on the door frame. Snatching them, she ran inside the room of cells only to bump into another guard. "Hey-!" he exclaimed, trying to grab her. Dodging him, she slipped the key into the lock at Link's cell. The door opened, and they both ran past the confused guard.
"Help! Another intruder is releasing the prisoner!" the guard shouted, rushing out into the tumult in the village. Anna led Link to the emergency exit Istas had showed her. She crawled down the dark, narrow passage with Link at her back. As Istas had told her, they came up inside one of the many passages inside Death Mountain. With Anna leading the way, they both ran until Anna could see the light of the outside world. Finally, their breath spent, Anna and Link stopped outside the cave. By now, it was nearly sunset.
"Anna..." Link breathed, "just what went on back there?"
"My new friend, Istas and I, made that plan to get you out," Anna panted. For a time, they were both silent, trying to catch their breath. A million thoughts at once ran helter-skelter through Anna's head. Where was Istas? Was he okay? Would she see him again?
After a time, the sky darkened and the moon came out. The cries of the night animals filled the night air. Link and Anna built a fire, and around its comforting warmth, Anna told Link about the events that unfolded since she'd left the castle that night a few days ago.
"....and he gave me this," Anna finished, showing the piece of the Tetraforce to Link.
"I don't believe it," Link said, taking the piece from Anna and turning it over in his hands. "It is real. I wouldn't have believed you if you hadn't shown me this."
"I wonder if I'll see Istas again," Anna mused.
"Did you miss me?" Istas asked, coming up from behind Anna. He grinned at her as he sat down alongside her. She smiled back.
"It looks like you like him," Link teased, smiling slightly.
"That's ridiculous, Link,"Anna began in protest. Then, she turned to Istas to see him smile at her. Suddenly, a rush of an unexplainable emotion rushed up inside her. He likes me, she realized. Strangely enough, she liked him, too......
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