Meanwhile, Dezla was just arriving back at Hyrule Castle. Out of curiosity, she was going to see the Ordonian swordsman that had managed to kill one of Zenai's guards. She came into the dungeon area and, after some searching, found the cell she was looking for. Inside, Link was curled up cat-like on the straw bed, sleeping.
This must be him, Dezla thought to herself. But he can't be more than a teenager! And he's so...scrawny. But...kinda cute... She leaned in closer and noticed the nasty injury on his left shoulder.
Damn that Zenai, she thought. One of his guards must have stabbed him! I hope it's the one that got killed. For some reason, Dezla found herself looking at Link's left hand (which was draped over his face). It would have been quite unimportant were it not for the fact that a very familiar symbol suddenly began to glow on the back of it. Dezla gasped, and suddenly noticed that the back of her right hand was glowing with the same golden symbol.
Is it possible...? He's been chosen by the gods, too...? thought Dezla. Suddenly, she heard the sound of a heavy iron door being opened and slammed shut. It would be one of the guards making his rounds.
I have to get out of here, Dezla thought. Taking one look back at Link, she ran off.
Morning finally broke on the Plunderer's camp. Lank was exhausted. Being tied upright to a wooden pole was a very poor way to sleep. Even worse, some of the more nocturnal Bokoblins and Moblins had taken to poking him with sticks whenever he tried to doze. But now, Lank was the only one who was awake in the whole camp.
"I...need...sleep," he mumbled to himself. He allowed his head to droop against his chest, and managed to fall asleep. But not for long. The camp was beginning to stir with drowsy life. Hoggart, who was nearby, walked over to Lank and poked him in the chest with a pointy stick.
"No more badgers, please, I'm full," Lank mumbled. Hoggart poked Lank again, much harder this time.
"Ow!" Lank yelled, jerking from his fitful doze. Hoggart grinned nastily.
"Had a nice snooze, eh?" he asked mockingly (he was one of the ones that had harassed poor Lank in the middle of the night, after all).
"Ugh...you wouldn't let me sleep last night..."
"Ah ha ha ha! Yew shoulda just tried to ignore the poking!"
"How could I?" Lank asked. "You nearly poked me in the eye!"
Hoggart just laughed and walked away, shaking his head and snorting. Lank sighed.
"What would Link do in this situation?" he asked himself.
He'd escape and kick all of their butts, that's what, said a voice inside Lank's mind.
"I wish I was brave and tough like my brother. Then I could get outta here and help him get away from Zenai," Lank said to himself.
Ah, but if your brother's so brave and tough, why is he in the dungeons of Hyrule Castle in the first place? the voice retorted coolly.
"It's because Zenai's a jerk!" Lank answered loudly. This got some of the Plunderers to stare at him. Lank felt his face grow hot with embarassment.
"I need to stop talking to myself," Lank said to himself.
Meanwhile, inside of a dark and creepy castle, a tall, powerfully built man was looking out a large, open window. He seemed to be waiting for something. Suddenly, a Darknut came running into the room.
"Master Ganondorf!" he said. "He's back! And he says it's urgent!"
The tall man (Ganondorf) looked around.
"Really?" he said. He followed the Darknut out of the room and into the hallway. Standing there, flanked by two more Darknuts, was the black-cloaked, draconic stranger.
"It's him, Master," said the stranger. "The Hero of Time, the one that holds a part of the Triforce! I could sense the power in him! He's locked up in Hyrule Castle!"
"At last," said Ganondorf. "We've found the Triforce of Courage." He looked at the back of his left hand, where the Triforce of Power glowed.
"I only need him and Zelda...then Hyrule will be mine!"
Ganondorf looked at his black-cloaked messenger again.
"You've done well, Kotuumath," he said. The black-cloaked stranger, Kotuumath, grinned his sharp-fanged grin.
"I never fail to please, Lord Ganondorf," he said.
Meanwhile, back at Hyrule Castle, Link was sitting quietly on the straw bed, terribly bored. And worried. He was worried about his friends back at Ordon Village, he was worried about Epona, and he was especially worried about Lank. The little munchkin was very headstrong and stubborn (just like Link sometimes) and he had a bad feeling that Lank would stray from Ordon Village and attempt to travel to Hyrule Castle and stage a rescue. Hyrule Field was dangerous enough during the day. But during the night, the monster population exploded, especially with Stalhounds, Poes...and The Plunderers. They wouldn't think twice about taking someone like Lank hostage, perhaps for ransom, or just for sport. The thought of his little brother in the hands of those murderers and thieves brought both anger and guilt to Link's heart. The anger that only an older brother could feel. Guilt, of course, because he could do nothing to help Lank. Link's left shoulder throbbed fitfully, but he ignored it.
"When I get out of here," he said to himself, "The first thing I'm going to do is go hunting. Moblin and Bokoblin hunting."
Back at the Plunderer's camp, most everyone had left to go out and loot the unsuspecting populace, leaving two Bokoblins behind to watch the campsite, and also to make sure Lank didn't escape. The two would-be guards were busy sleeping. Lank was sleeping as well (or probably just passed out). Thus, he didn't notice the two small figures approaching from behind until one of them tapped on his arm. Lank (who was rather out of it) looked around blearily.
"Whoozat?" he asked.
"Shhh," said a rather squeaky voice. "Don't say anything, or you'll wake up Sleeping Ugly and his friend there."
"We're going to get you out of here," said another voice, this one being just as squeaky, but female.
"Ruh...really?" Lank asked, hardly daring to believe his ears. Escape, at last!
"Yes," said the first voice. "Just hang on a second."
Lank felt tiny paws fumbling at the ropes around his wrists. Withing a few seconds he was free.
"They sure tied you tight," said the female voice. "But no knot is a problem for me!"
Lank looked around, anxious to see the faces of his rescuers. He was astonished to see that they were Miniblins...at least, they looked like Miniblins. But they didn't look evil at all! And they had no horns! And they were so cute! One of them was blue and black, and the other (presumably the female) was pink and grey.
"You look surprised," the male asked.
"You're...Miniblins! I thought they were...you know...evil!"
"Oh sure, most of them are," said the male Miniblin. "But we, meaning me and my sister here, weren't born like that. We don't like being evil."
"And we sure don't like the Plunderers, either!" said the female. Lank smiled.
"I can't thank you enough for rescuing me!" he said.
A few seconds later, the three were away from the Plunderer's camp.
"I'm Lank," said Lank.
"Why are you out here anyways?" Ritori asked. "It's dangerous for kids, and we should know, we're technically kids too."
"My brother was kidnapped by Zenai!" said Lank. "You know, the crown prince of Hyrule?"
"Him? Zenai? He kidnapped your brother? What'd he do, step on his royal foot?" Skrap asked.
"No...Zenai got mad and brought some guards to Ordon Village, where I live, and they ganged up on my brother and hurt him, and then Zenai took him away! I'm trying to get inside Hyrule Castle and rescue him!"
The three were soon at the boundaries of Hyrule Castle Town.
"Hmm...well, technically, only those that actually live in the castle are allowed in, meaning the guards, the maids and the royal family," said Skrap. "You couldn't just walk in there. But...there is a secret entrance that goes through the castle sewers. You could get in through there, but it's infested with Skulltulas and Keese. Really dangerous."
"I'm not scared!" said Lank.
"Have you ever seen a Skulltula, my friend? They're as big as a horse. No lie." said Skrap. Lank did look scared now. But he shook it off.
"I don't care! I have to rescue my brother!" he said.
"Alrighty, then," said Skrap. "We'll help you get into the sewers."
Inside Hyrule Castle town, no one paid any attention to Lank and the two Miniblins as they led the young Hylian boy to Telma's bar.
"Is this it?" Lank asked. Ritori pointed at a small, open window above some crates.
"That'll get us into the upper level of the bar. From in there, we'll find the sewer entrance."
So the three climbed up onto the crates and went through the open window. Inside, the three found themselves in the bar's upper level (which was really just a series of ledges with ropes connecting them). Sitting at the table in the back room of the bar were Dezla, Shad, Ashei, Auru and Telma. They were all deep in discussion.
"I...I'm not so good at tightroping," whispered Lank.
"It isn't that hard," Skrap whispered back. "Just grab the rope with both hands, then loop your legs around it, and just inch across, upside-down."
"What if I fall?"
"You won't. But...you may have a problem getting onto the ledge upside-down, so we'll help you there."
Thus, both Skrap and Ritori scampered across the first rope and waited patiently for Lank. Lank gulped. If he did fall, it was bound to be very painful. And having been deprived of sleep, he wasn't sure he'd have the strength or the energy to pull himself across the rope. But if he wanted to rescue his brother, this was the only way. So he gathered his wits, grabbed onto the rope with both hands, and then hooked his legs around the rope, just like Skrap told him to. Slowly, Lank began to inch across the rope, upside-down. It wasn't as hard as he thought it would be. He was soon below the first ledge, where Skrap and Ritori were waiting. They both helped Lank climb onto the ledge.
"One ledge down," Skrap whispered. "Two to go."
For the two remaining ropes, the same pattern was repeated; Skrap and Ritori went across the rope first, then Lank went across, and then both Miniblins helped Lank onto the ledge. Everything went without a hitch, and Lank and the Miniblin siblings were soon inside the sewers of Hyrule.
Non-evil Miniblins?! What is this world coming to?! D:
Link had a bad feeling that Lank would stray from Ordon Village...he (meaning Link) must be clairvoyant or something, eh?
Hmm...by the way, Dezla's a very mysterious character, isn't she...?