Hey, readers. Long time no update. I'm sorry for the long wait. I've been. . .busy? Lazy? A bit of both? I dunno. Anyway, I should have plenty of time this summer to write, and I plan to post a new chapter every week for this story until I run out of chapters. I do have up to chapter eight written, and I just finished editing chapter four. I'll post that this weekend sometime, assuming that I get computer time. I have changed my writing style slightly, so hopefully it should read a little smoother than before. So. . .please read and review!
"Okay," Link said when he and Erika were outside. The sun was just rising to the east. "Where are we heading to first?"
Erika opened the map and marked off where the three known power sources for the barriers were. "This one is closest," she answered, pointing to the one in the center of the lake. "It's not that difficult to get to, either. All we have to do is dive."
"I've been in a place that had a similar means of getting in," he commented. "That'll be no problem. Which way do we go?"
Erika pointed to the south. "It'll take us a day or two to get there," she explained. "I have everything that we'll need. Are you sure you want to leave before you've fully recovered? This is your last chance to change your mind."
"I'm sure," he replied without a second's thought. Erika sighed, and he gave a small grin. "Don't worry. I have the ride there to recover over."
"Alright, then. Come on." She began walking south, and Link followed close behind her. Getting a sudden idea, she looked back at Link and asked, "Did you get here on horseback?"
"Yeah," Link said. "I rode Epona. She's waiting for me outside of the fortress. I'll call her. She should be close enough to hear." He pulled out the Ocarina of Time and played a short song on it. A few minutes later, they heard hoof beats. A chestnut colored horse with a white mane and tail was galloping toward them. She whinnied loudly when she spotted Link and she came to a halt in front of him.
"She's happy to see you," Erika observed as Epona nuzzled Link roughly in the chest. He winced, and Erika grinned. "You should be careful," she advised. He rolled his eyes and mounted the horse.
"Do you have a horse?" he asked. "I don't think Epona can carry both of us."
Erika nodded and whistled loudly. A horse whinnied in the distance. A black mare was trotting up to them a few moments later. "This is Alraune," Erika told Link after she had climbed onto the horse's back. "Let's get moving." She nudged Alraune's sides and galloped off, followed closely by Link and Epona.
They rode the entire day, taking short breaks now and then to rest the horses. By the end of the day, they could see the lake in the distance. They made camp and started a small fire for warmth. Link told Erika about some of his past adventures while she listened quietly, staring into the flames.
"And after that, I had to go to the Shadow Temple," Link told her. "It was a very unsettling place. There was a ship that I had to take at one point to get to the next area, but it got attacked by a couple of Stalfos and sunk. Luckily, it had gotten far enough so I could just jump off the front of it to reach the final area in the temple."
Erika looked up at him. "You say the boat sunk?" she asked, and Link nodded. She thought for a moment, her eyes narrowing. "I wonder if it was replaced…"
"Why?" Link inquired.
"That boat, if it reaches the end of the underground river, takes you to the power source for one of the barriers. If it hasn't been replaced, then we'll have to go in another way."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Very. The only other path is a lot more dangerous than the Shadow Temple."
"That's only if another boat isn't there, though," Link pointed out. "If we're lucky, it'll be there." Erika nodded pensively. "It's getting late. We should get some rest."
"You get some rest," she responded, returning her gaze to the fire. "I hardly ever sleep." Link didn't argue. He went inside his tent and closed the entrance. I hope that boat is back, Erika thought. It would be catastrophic for us to go the other route. I haven't been there in years. I don't know how much it may have changed. Now that I mention it, I haven't been to any of the power sources in at least two years. Has anything changed? I suppose I'll find out tomorrow. The sound of wings stirred her from her thoughts. She looked up to see the same crow-like bird from before. It dropped the letter it was carrying above her, and she caught it.
I really didn't think that you would go with the Hero of Time on this little venture. You aren't the kind of person to do that. Furthermore, I didn't think that you would betray me in this manner. I gave you permission to tell him where they were, not escort him to them. I assure you that your betrayal will not go unpunished, but I still have a use for you. I want you to report on the progress of the hero, along with any weaknesses he has, besides the obvious overconfidence in his own strength. I'm sending Kai to keep an eye on you. Tread cautiously, Erika, or your fate is sealed.
Erika frowned as she read the note a second time. She was afraid of this. Now, he was after her, as well. On the back of the letter, she scribbled a quick response and tossed the letter into the air. The bird caught it in its beak and flew in the direction of the Dark Nut's fortress. To play the spy, or to play the friend? she asked herself. That is the question.
Author's Note: That's chapter three, folks. Tell me what you thought of it.
Next time-Link and Erika explore the temple.