They don’t know what happened. One minute they were trudging through Wild’s Hyrule trying to make it to Zora’s Domain to follow up on some rumors about a black blooded lynel of all things: The next they were falling through another portal that scrambled their mind more than usual. They were so out of it they didn’t even realise that something else was different, at first, in their attempts to sort out themselves. Ourselves. Us. We.
What the fuck kind of shit was that, the portals don't do that!
Ow… Blue please stop… Your yelling isn’t helping.
He’s right though, Red, they’re not supposed to do that. All of our trips through them have been voluntary after the first few that brought us together. Vio, what do you think?
...I think the shade is trying to lead us somewhere on purpose this time. Maybe he believes he has a plan that could take our chain down.
Did you just make a damn pun?!
No, you must have imagined it. Anyway, there was something else weird when we went through. It felt similar to the minish portals but… darker.
Dark doesn’t mean bad though remember?
Unfortunately with Dark Link being involved most of the time, recently it does. So what happened?
Where are we? What happened to the others? Who’s in charge?
Fucking hell its me. Hold on.
He slowly opens his eyes past the headache threatening to trap him back within unconsciousness once more. What he sees doesn't make any sense at first. He sees Legend and Sky and Wolfie, but none of the others. Just a bunch of animals. Also they look so big too, like they do when he’s shrunken. Legend looks pissed, he probably didn't appreciate being dropped through the portal and is griping about it, but Sky and Wolfie are looking panicked. Which they suppose is normal when they can’t find the others after a switch, but its not until he tries to get up that he realizes what's happened. His limbs feel wrong, his weight distributed differently, everything is loud and smells weird. It’s only when he looks at himself that he realizes he's not human anymore.
WHAT THE FUCK, WHAT ARE WE?!
I think we are a mouse, but I can’t quite confirm.
Mice are cute though!
We arent supposed to be a fucking mouse?! How did this happen?!
Maybe it was what felt weird with the portal?
Most likely, it’s also likely that the other animals are the missing members of our group, given that we are an animal and Twilight is now Wolfie.
Why the fuck are Legend and Sky alright then?!
Sky has the master sword!
That doesn't explain Legend!
It’s possible that this is part of his world and this has happened to him before so he has an item to prevent that. If this is true then he probably has an item that can help the rest of us.
He’s got a lot of explaining to do then, I’ll beat it out of him if I have to!
Blue No! That’s not right! You know we have our secrets too!
Bullshit, we were supposed to tell everyone the basics of our worlds, if this is his he should have mentioned it! Seems kind of important to know!
Blue has a point Red, what if we had been dropped into a group of enemies?
What if he didn’t know?
Hah?! How could he not know!?
Well, If i remember a few of the stories Hyrule told us about him, he purified the Sacred Realm in his first adventure. In their time it had become the Dark World, right Vio.
Yes, exactly, Legend most likely didn’t even assume this place existed anymore. We’ve heard him talk of visiting Lorule, but not this place.
Well it fucking matters now doesn't it!?
Legends talking Blue! Pay attention until we settle again so we can hear!
Blue tunes into what he now can tell is Legend cussing up a storm as Sky tries to calm him down. Wolfie is going around nudging the various animals to make sure they’re awake and aware. There's a tiny fox with scarring like Wild’s, a seagull that is probably Wind, a one eyed owl that is clearly Time, a dog that has a blue scarf that marks him as Warriors, and the last one is a… fairy? What the hell?
“Hyrule, get the hell over here, it's dangerous for fairies to be flying around free in the Dark World,” Legend grunts at the small panicked fluttery light that’s darting around checking on all the animals as well. He has to gently catch him in his hands to settle him down. It seems Legend has calmed down enough to be serious now.
“Fucking hell this is a mess. Okay headcount, so I’ve got Hyrule. Sky you’re fine. There’s the cook, the sailor, the old man, the captain, where’s the smithy?”
Wolfie barks at Legend and noses at the ground near where he, fuck, THEY are. He squeaks defiantly at him. Damnit, they!
You can't force a merge, Blue, you know that. We will settle when we settle but for now you’re in control so do what you can.
I know that, bastard, but it's hard to remember sometimes!
You’re overthinking it, just let it come naturally. We have to Flow, be in harmony, or Four won’t be able to function with all of us being so loud. It’s better for a single color to be in control than for Four to deal with us each being too distinct. We don't want to cause an overload like in the beginning.
Oh, definitely. Having to come back together after that first split on their second adventure was awful but not as bad as the second time. The first time the sword did what it was supposed to, split them evenly, so while becoming one was disorienting they were able to meld back into a singular Link after a while. The second time something went wrong, and the sword split Link into pieces of his personality. It was probably because the sword wasn’t supposed to be pulled twice, or maybe it was corrupted by holding Vaati, but either way they were tricked. Blue doesn’t blame Shadow, not after seeing Vio’s memories, but the little shit caused so much chaos and the adventure lasted so long that they were not able to merge into Link again at the end. That’s how Link became Four. For good.
It's not all that bad honestly, he would do anything for his siblings. However the year of time right after they replaced the sword was terrifying, all of their thoughts and feelings tumbling and twisting together. They couldn't talk, they couldn't even walk because it was so bad. Focusing was an almost impossible task, let alone even understanding what was happening around them. Dot, Zelda, had them pull the sword again since the dark shade of Vaati was actually slain and they were granted a brief respite from the torment that was the whirlpool of thoughts as they split once more. They weren’t complete like that though, and being apart for so long was tearing them apart at the seams. So with Dot and Grandpa’s help they were able to readjust until they found their Flow and the rest was history.
But anyways, back to the dumb dog nosing at him. He squeaks angrily again and climbs up on his nose in retaliation. The cross eyed look he got for his trouble was hilarious and worth it, but the gut lurching feeling of being lifted up too quickly wasn't. He lets his displeasure be known in a myriad of curses that come out as disgruntled squeaks. The wolf lets out a huff of laughter before deciding to scare the hell out of him.
‘Wow, you’re sure riled up for once Four. We don't usually see you this animated, then again we don't usually see you as a mouse. I wouldnt think you would have a problem with it considering your ability.’
Blue nearly jumps out of his tiny skin, it sounds a lot different than when Four is a minish.
‘You can understand me like this?!’
‘I can talk to animals in this form, which can be helpful sometimes and annoying other times. Thankfully it's helpful this time but… Yeah my secret isn't about to be secret much longer.’
‘If it makes you feel any better, Pup, I think many of us are going to have our secrets exposed soon based on the veteran’s expression,’ Time hoot mournfully as he hops over. If ever an owl looked more disgruntled. Blue can feel the wolf shaking as he struggles to keep in his laughter. Apparently he doesn't do this well enough because Time flaps enough to get off the ground and settle on Twi’s back.
‘Deal with it, Pup, we don’t have enough time for me to learn to fly.’
‘Wind is doing just fine!’
‘Wind also has spent his life on islands watching seagulls fly so it wouldn't be too hard to apply what he’s seen, now stay still.’
Blue snickers and crawls up the wolf’s nose to settle on his head and turns to focus on Legend’s conversation with Sky. Seems like Sky is worrying about where Twilight is. Oh, this will be fun. Poor Sky, he hasn’t realized it yet.
“But Legend! Where is Twilight!? Wolfies here but all the others are turned into animals so Twilight should be here as one too right?!”
Oh my goddess, this is so stupid. How hasn't he realized what he just said! Even Wind and Warriors seem to realize it, look at their dumb wide eyed stares!
Not everyone is that observant Blue, you wouldn't have known if we hadn't found out as Four.
Damn know-it-all. He’s supposed to be quiet!
When you make hypocritical statements I have to call you out on them.
YOU NEED TO STOP!
“Sky… Really? Damnit. Yo, you mangy mutt, can I tell him? It's not like we don't all know now.”
Twilight huffs but barks out an affirmative as he wanders over carefully to scruff Wild who's sticking his new nose into everything.
“Okay, so Sky.”
“You know how none of us have ever seen Twilight and Wolfie at the same time?”
“Yeah what does that ha….. No.”
“This entire time!?”
“And you knew?!”
“A few of us did.”
“Well you know how Time calls him pup?”
“Oh. Who else?”
“The cook and the smith.”
Sky looks like the world has collapsed around him. Hyrule gently flutters over to him trying to give him comfort. Legend sighs heavily and then gets a serious face back on.
“Alright, so we’ve got a problem. We’re in my Dark World. Which is stupid because it’s not supposed to exist anymore. I’m pretty sure we are in the Haunted Grove so thankfully this area is safe. Unfortunately it's one of the only safe places in this world so until we get you all back to normal we aren't going anywhere soon.”
He sighs and sits down heavily on the ground looking visibly tired for once. He usually tries his best to hide anything that's going on with him so for it to be showing this heavily means he's really out of sorts.
“I guess I have to explain this place now…”
“You don’t have to explain more than the basics if you don’t want to Legend,” Sky says softly to him, ever the people pleaser.
“No, you need to know, this place is chaos and if the creatures here have been infected we are all going to have a rough time. I’m going to have to leave because I don’t have enough moon pearls to turn everyone back to normal.”
“What’s a moon pearl?”
Legend pulls a pendant out of his collar. It's a small blood red orb hanging from a black chord. The orb glows softly with hidden power.
Huh, that doesn't look anything like the moon pearls from our time.
Cut it out, peanut gallery, I get it.
“This is a moon pearl, during my journey the first time I fell into the Dark World I was transformed into an animal that reflected my nature. I was lucky enough to find a portal to get back, but in order to save Zelda and the other maidens I had to journey through the Dark World. Couldn't do that as an animal so I had to find one of these, it lets you keep your normal form in the Dark World.”
“After the end of my first adventure I got a hold of the triforce and wished for Ganon’s influence to be reversed. People who were hurt or killed because of him trying to get out of the Dark World were healed and returned. And the Dark world itself…. It returned to being the Sacred Realm.”
Times head snaps around at that, one good eye opened wide. Apparently he recognizes that name too. Blue remembers a little bit about the Sacred Realm from what Vio has said about it. It was created right before the founding of Hyrule to hide the sacred power of the goddesses. He also remembers a comment about Time opening it in his time. Of course Time’s time is really messed up because of the time travel he was forced to do. Whatever went wrong ended up splitting the timeline for a good while until it converged somewhere during Warriors time. They do know that the hero failed in one of them, is this what happened to the Sacred Realm in that timeline?
“Yeah, you heard me right. My Dark World was once the Sacred Realm. But it shouldn't exist anymore which is why i didn't say anything about it. However,” here he smirks smugly,” Even though I thought it didn't exist anymore I went out of my way to locate more moon pearls in case anything like it happened again. I’ve got 4 more on me, and I know where to go to find more for the rest of us.”
“Oh wow, so your hoarder tendencies came in handy for once?”
“EXCUSE YOU?! For ONCE!? I’ve saved our asses hundreds of times at this point! Wild has too!”
“Anyways! I need to go to a specific place to get more and I can’t lug you idiots along with me the entire way. We wouldn't all be able to make it. So, i’m going to give some of you the pearls and you are going to STAY HERE until I get back with the other pearls. Got it?”
Cue the various barks, hoots and squeaks of protest from the rest of the chain that drown out Sky’s own protests. Hyrule is vigorously fluttering around Legend’s head making his own displeasure known. Legend shoots everyone a very serious glare, “Shut up.”
“You can’t go alone Legend, what if something happens to you?” Sky wrings his hands a bit in worry.
Legend sighs, “If I take Twi, Wolfie, with me will that make you all feel better about it? Then only two of you would have to stay transformed here.”
All eyes go to Time who dips his head in approval. Twilight does not look pleased to have to be separated from his precious Cub, but we know he is worried about Legend too. Legend is an enigma to all of us, he’s got more experience than all of us barring Time who only has experience due to age and time shenanigans. Yet he sucks the most at taking care of himself, both emotionally and physically. He mentors the youngest of the group, then he turns around and does the exact things he says not to do right afterwards. It’s infuriating. However, they can tell that Legend is serious right now. He looks… scared. When Legend shows his fear you know things are bad. He seems to notice our looks and controls his expression once more, changing it back to his ever present frown.
His eyes rake over us slowly, “Now we just have to figure out who gets these pearls.”
“Well… Time and Warriors for sure. Without you or Twi around they’re the strongest fighters.”
“Yeah sure, as long as Wild and Wind get the other two. I don’t trust them to not wander off somewhere and get eaten.”
‘Hey! We aren't that bad!’ Wild yips at Legend in protest while the sailor dive bombs his head to make his opinion known.
“Hey! Cut that out you fucker! I’m not wrong! Without Wolfie around to reign you animals in you’d run off and get hurt. This entire fucking world is out to get us, this is literally one of the only safe havens nearby as I said before! The fairy fountains are too far away and I need to go to a tower on Death Mountain and I have to transfer to the Light World a few times to do so.”
“What about Hyrule and Four. I thought you said it wasn't safe for Hyrule to be a fairy in this world, and Four is so small he could get lost so easily. Is it really okay for them to stay this way?”
“They’ll be fine. And honestly I was considering bringing Hyrule along with me too, just so you all don't freak the fuck out over us potentially dying.”
“Why not just bring them all with you so you can give them the pearls when you get them?”
“Then I’d have to lug their asses back across the entire fucking country, no way, it’s better to take just Wolfie with me. We could move faster and he won't be affected as much moving back and forth across the two worlds. Time and Sky can keep a hold of Rule and Four.”
‘Can we just get the pearls already, the longer we argue about this the longer we have to sit here,’ Warriors barks anxiously.
‘Try telling Legend that,’ Twilight snaps at him.
‘Boys, stop it. This is an unusual situation, we don't need any infighting,’ Time glares at Warriors and digs his talons in slightly to Twi’s shoulders. The two canines go quiet in admonishment.
“Alright,” Legend claps his hands to get everyone's attention, "Line up and I’ll give you the pearls. And no pushing, you damn animals.”
There’s a lot of grumbling and, yes, pushing before the members of the chain get into any form of a line. Thankfully once everyone settles down, the distribution of pearls is pretty quick and soon only Twilight, Hyrule and we are left transformed. Hyrule has taken to hovering around Wild’s shoulder with Time trying to coax him closer, and Sky has us nestled on his shoulder. Legend has a serious expression on his face as he stands by the entrance of the grove. Twilight stands by his side, his ears slightly down and back in his own distress. Time looks at them both seriously.
“Are you sure it has to be this way Legend? You remember what happened the last time we all split up on purpose…”
“How could I forget? If it wasn't for Hyrule’s healing, we’d have been fucked. Half of us were incapacitated and the other half were just plain lost. It was a miracle we all ended up being able to find each other again in time. This is different though, old man. It's only two groups and you seven are staying put right here the entire time. With any luck, If I hurry, we could be back by the end of the day.”
“You shouldn't push yourself like that Legend,” Sky interjects like the mother hen he is, “Death Mountain is dangerous is it not?”
“It is, but a lot of the enemies you can dodge and outrun… most of the time anyway. Regardless, I have to do it this way, then when I get back maybe we can figure out what we are doing in this place.”
“Is there anything we can do while we wait?!” Warriors is agitated, maybe because he was a dog, but he does have a good point. One of the traits that the chain all shares is the inability to sit still, Wild and Wind being the most affected of the lot. Leaving them with nothing to do is like asking for a disaster to happen.
“Maybe you could take up a worthwhile hobby other than hair and skincare,” Legend snarks at the captain.
“Boys!” Time’s glare of disapproval pierces both of them. Fastest way to shut them up. Fastest way to shut anyone of them up honestly.
“Whatever… Anyway, I’m sure you’ll all find something to do. Just stay here and keep your guard up. This grove is usually monster free but with the havoc Dark is causing I wouldn't put it past him to try an ambush or anything. I’m off, see you guys in a day max. C’mon Wolfie.”
They all watch as the two turn and exit the grove quietly, leaving a foreboding feeling in their wake.
“....20 rupees says they annoy each other to death before they get back.”