The fire eventually died down, leaving nothing but glowing embers. The stars, little pinpricks of light in the vast darkness that settled over Hyrule, winked and sparkled. Finally, the three of them slept. The coming of the dawn silenced the calls of the night animals and brought light to the sky. The sun, a big orange fireball, began to show over the hills. The dark blue of early dawn began to fade, bringing the pink and lavender colors, the start of another day.
It was around this time that Istas awoke. The remnants the evening's fire still smoldered a bit, sending sharp smelling smoke drifting up. Link and Anna still lay sleeping. Rising, he stretched, and, careful not to disturb either of them, he sat again, reaching into the bag at his side. Luckily, he had managed to bring it with him before fleeing from Hagen and the rest of the guards. They had still been searching for the "intruder" when he'd run off. They probably knew by now that it was all a plot to free Link......he also knew they'd be looking for him, so that he could receive the proper punishment.....
Istas had barely managed to sneak through one of the secret passages to his room to retrieve his bag. On top of that, he'd retrieved Anna's dress and bow. Then, he'd made his way back outside to make a quick escape. Stumbling through the blackness, he made his way down the mountain. Fearing he wouldn't find Link and Anna, he was relieved to see the light of their fire at the base of the mountain. He had been greeted by Anna's beautiful face beaming up at him. He had known from the moment he found her lying unconscience that she was different.....special somehow. Suddenly, it hit him. He liked her. Istas was a bit surprised at this realization, yet he had sensed it from the moment he'd laid eyes on her. However, it wasn't just the fact Istas liked her......he also sensed that, like all Hylians, she was clairvoyant. Yet, her power seemed strong, in spite of the fact the Hylian blood line was growing thinner over time. He'd known this from the moment he'd moved her limp body from the rock where she'd lain to his room. He'd also found her pendant with the image of the Triforce in it lying near her. The clasp had come undone as she fell, and as he picked it up, he could sense its power. Next, he'd found the piece of the Tetraforce, lying half buried in the dirt near her. It only seemed right that he give it to the girl he'd found.....
For awhile, he sat, cross-legged, watching as the sky began to turn the light blue color of day. The sun grew brighter, stronger, as it began to rise in the sky. Istas reached into his bag again. Beneath the assorted objects in the bag, Istas found one of the most important things he'd ever owned. He took it out, holding it in his open palm. It winked like a drop of water in the rising sun, bending the light and sending a dotted rainbow of color across his skin. The diamond ring he held had been his mother's, the mother he'd never had the chance to know..... It had been him and his father until he'd been six years old. Then, his father had gone off to fight some monsters that had come in the vicinity of the village....and he never returned.
Istas sighed. There had been a void in the center of his life since his father had left him alone in the world at the age of six. Somehow, when he found Anna, that void had been filled. He held the ring close to him, watching as it winked and sparkled, much like the stars he'd seen last night. He looked back at where Anna lay. He looked down at the ring. Yes, that was perfect.
Anna awoke with the early morning sunlight shining in her eyes. She rubbed her eyes and sat up, looking around her. Istas smiled. Even with her hair a mess, she was still one of the prettiest girl he'd ever had the privilege of lying his eyes on.
"Good morning," she greeted him, walking over to where he sat a few feet away. She sat down beside him. A light wind ruffled her hair, making her look better than ever.
"Hey," he said, gently, rising to a kneeling position and holding out his hand to her, "I have something for you....."
" What is it?" she questioned him. She wished he wouldn't leave her in suspense like this. Slowly, he opened his hand. For a moment, she didn't speak. She looked up at him, into his eyes. They twinkled with merriment. She smiled at him.
"It's....beautiful," she said finally, for lack of better words. He grinned at her, happy that she was pleased. She held out her hand to him, allowing him to put the ring on. Her smile grew wider, more beautiful.
"Hey, it's not like we're getting engaged or anything...." he said, jokingly.
"Oh, so you don't want to get engaged to me one day?" Anna asked, pretending to be hurt. Istas smiled. Slowly, he began to lean close to her, hoping for a kiss.....
"Morning, you two," a voice said. Turning red, Istas leaned away from her. Link sat up from where he'd been asleep. He looked at them in amusement. He knew that the two of them really liked each other. Now, if only Zelda had the same feelings for him.....
Breakfast, served a short time later, consisted of gruel. To add more flavor, Anna, who knew the most about cooking, had added dried fruit to it. It wasn't half bad, Istas thought, sneaking a quick glance at Anna. He could see the ring on her finger as she held the bowl of gruel.
"I wish we had more to eat," she said.
"It's not as if we have much of a choice," Link replied, finishing the last of his food. He stood up, putting his sword, sheath, and Hylian shield on his back along with his pack. He scattered the last of the fire's ashes with the toe of his boot, extinguishing the last of the glowing embers.
"Well, let's get going," Link said, watching as Anna and Istas scrambled for their things. Suddenly, Anna remembered something.
"Oh, great! I forgot to bring my dress last night!" she exclaimed. Istas held it out to her.
"Nope, I remembered for you," he said. "Oh, yeah, you also forgot this. Don't leave home without it," Istas teased, holding her bow and quiver out to her. She took them, thanked him, and started after Link.
" So have a destination in mind?" Anna asked her brother as they walked.
"Well, I was hoping we could find the next piece of the Tetraforce," Link replied. Anna wondered how they were going to do that, considering they didn't even have a map.
Ganon watched the trio through his crystal ball. So, they were going to try and find the Tetraforce, were they? Pathetic, puny fools, he thought, chuckling. Then, he heard the girl say,
"We'd better hurry and find the next piece. We have two, counting my pendant, but Ganon is searching for the others...."
"BLAST!" Ganon screamed, pounding his fist on the pedestal that held the crystal ball. The image disappeared, leaving fog swirling in the crystal ball. They already had two pieces? Impossible! In a rage, he began calling for his army.
"You called, Master?" asked the leader of the stalfos.
"Yes. GO OUT THERE AND FIND THAT TETRAFORCE!" Ganon boomed. His minions, seeing Ganon was in an unpleasant mood, scattered as quickly as possible. For the moment, Ganon's rage subsided. He looked up to where Zelda floated inside the magic crystal.
"Ah, dear Princess Zelda....heh, heh. Hope you're enjoying it up there. Pity that as soon as I get the Tetraforce, the world will be mine."
Princess Zelda turned scarlet with anger. "No, it won't," she said defiantly. "Link will prevail, you evil pig!" Ganon simply laughed at this. "Oh, dear Princess Zelda, how naive you are," he said, chuckling. "Little do you realize that after the last battle with your "hero", I have gotten even stronger." He glanced up at Zelda. "And," he added, "so have my minions!"
Link, Anna, and Istas continued to search for any signs of the next piece of the Tetraforce. Morning began to wear into afternoon. Still, they walked, finding nothing. Finally, Anna said, "Link, this is hopeless. We've been searching for....what, five hours now? We haven't found a thing. Not a clue."
"Keep going," Link urged. He could tell that Anna and even Istas were getting tired a little bit impatient. Still, he knew that the sooner that they found the pieces, the sooner Hyrule would be safe, the sooner Zelda would be safe. Link stopped, wiping the beads of sweat off of his forehead. Suddenly, something occurred to him. Yes, that was it! He began to run, Anna and Istas trying to keep up with him. Before they got to the graveyard, however, a trip to the castle was in order. The three pendants in the castle would allow him to retrieve the Master Sword that was in the stone in the Lost Woods. He continued to run, heedless of his pounding heart and legs, which had begun to ache. Finally, after a long run, the castle began to come into view. After a short rest, they ran on until they reached the castle. A somber mood hung over the castle, pervading the air. The feeling was so strong, it was almost tangible. Impa, seeing Link approach the castle, rushed from her room, down the staircase, toward the garden where Link, Anna, and Istas stood waiting.
"Link, is there any news?" the older woman asked him, hope shining in her eyes.
"Well, none of Zelda, but we have some Tetraforce pieces," Link said to Impa. Impa nodded, then asked, "So, what brings you to the castle?" she asked. "We need the three pendants in the castle museum," Link replied. Impa ran in to retrieve them. "Here they are," Impa said, presenting them to Link. Link took them, thanking Impa. "Please, Link, I implore you, if you hear anything about our princess, come and tell me." Link could see the worry in the older woman's weary eyes. "I will Impa," he assured her, then turned and began to walk toward the direction of the Lost Woods. Ignoring Anna's and Istas's requests to go slowly, Link started into the cool shade of the leafy forest canopy. They had to on their guard here, for if they weren't, the thieves that inhabited the forest would make them an easy target. Also, the bushes and trees hid many of Ganon's servants, and they would be ambushed if they were not cautious. Link could make his way to the glade where the Master Sword lay blindfolded. Unfortunately, he knew that the thieves and monsters would not make the trip there an easy or pleasant one. No sooner were they in the forest than Anna could see the eyes of a trained thief peer at them from over the protection of a bush. Link noticed this, too, and began to move away from the bush. Istas, naive to what went on in the forest, figured it would be safe to walk past the bush. No sooner had he begun toward it, the thief sprang out, bashing into him and making him lose some of his rupees. However, before the thief could retrieve his ill-gotten prize, an arrow sailed through his hat and pinned it to a tree. The thief stared in wide-eyed surprise, as did Istas. Istas saw Anna holding her bow, reading it with another arrow from the quiver at her back. She squinted, pulling the bowstring back, preparing to fire again. The thief gave a cry of surprise, and, minus his hat, ran and stumbled off as fast as he could.
"Jerk," Anna muttered, putting her arrow back in the quiver. Istas hastily gathered his rupees and went to where Link and Anna stood.
" You have to be more careful in a place like this. Stay close to me," Anna chided him. Istas nodded and followed Link and Anna as they started walking again. Link led them through a large hollow log. "We're almost there," Link said. No sooner was this said than they were in the glade that held the legendary Sword of Evil's Bane. Small animals fluttered out from either side of the foliage that surrounded the glade. The three of them started toward it. Small stone steps led up to the stone that held the Master Sword. An inscription on the stone was written in the old Hylian language. It no longer took the Book of Mudora for Link to read the inscription; he knew it by heart. Getting behind the sword, Link put his hands on the hilt and pulled. The pendants took on an eerie glow as he removed the sword from the stone. Link held the shining sword up for Anna and Istas to see.
As Link began to walk toward them, he handed his family sword to Istas. "Here," he said, "you'll need this more than me." Istas took the sword, feeling privileged. Imagine, having the honor of holding the sword of the Legendary Hero! He wished he knew how to use swords a little better. He was more accustomed to spears.
On their way out of the glade, they were jumped by some of Ganon's minions. Link finished them off with some quick hits from the Master Sword. With this task finished, Link turned his attention to the real reason behind their coming here. "Let's go find that graveyard. I have a feeling we'll find another piece of the Tetraforce there."
For a time, all three of them searched for the old graveyard. Finally, Anna spotted the remains of an old wooden fence. The sunken graves left indents in the ground. At the heads of the graves were the chipped gravestones, made from rocks from Death Mountain. Painstakingly, they began to look around for any thing out of the ordinary. Finally, Link found what appeared to be a Triforce mark on the ground. A large headstone stood in front of it. This headstone was up on a little hill away from the others. Suddenly, Link had an idea. Taking out his flute, he played Zelda's Lullaby. The princess had taught it to him herself one rainy afternoon at the castle. Suddenly, the sky grew dark, and a light rain began to fall. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and lightning flashed. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning hit the tombstone, shattering it into chunks. Anna screamed, startled, and Link and Istas stood back. Where the tombstone, now scattered about on the ground, had stood, there was now a dark hole. Without a second thought, Link jumped down into it. Anna and Istas started toward it. Istas, sensing Anna was apprehensive, took her hand. Together, they stood at the edge of the hole. Taking a deep breath, they both jumped in and were lost in the darkness below......
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