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It had been a long time since she had been free like this.

After watching the now-liberated Link get out of her tent, Nabooru felt a little troubled at what she had done and what she believed had been done to her. With mixed feelings about using this ancestral and dangerous technique, even for beneficial purposes, the unease she felt would not go away as even though she had probably helped a great hero in his time of need. It was not the fact that she could have messed him up even more than he already was or that she could relate to his plea even when he was under her control. What disturbed her most was the fact that she had, deep in her mind, enjoyed the performance she had put. Even though she had been brought in a trance against her will for so long, there had been a definite thrill to what she had done, to the way Link had been subjugated and seduced by her prowess, on how he couldn't resist her dance. Was it a curse for the Gerudo to be able to dance and enslave people, to make them love and lust for them to the point of utter obedience? While she had just proved that it could be used for a better purpose, these troubling questions ailed her as she sat down to meditate, to not run away from the problem but to confront it directly, to keep her spirit up and to reach a conclusion, no matter how magnificent or terrible it could prove to be. Crossing her legs and sitting down, she closed her eyes and then took a deep breath, trying to find her center in this mind that was hers once more.

Her thoughts being calm, yet plagued with doubt, she attempted to find the source of why exactly she felt that way. Was it attraction to Link, a lust for power, an unknown desire for more control over even trivial things? As she lost herself in meditation, she went on to have a vision of rock and fire, of lava and power as it flashed within her mind with raging strength as it began to trouble her, until she heard a voice that was familiar, yet also entirely mysterious to her.

''Welcome to your awakening, sage of spirits. It took a long while to find you, but I am happy to see that you were not lost in the void of crushing submission.''

Confused about this happenstance, Nabooru kept on meditating, not letting her fear of the unknown dictate her action anymore as the fierce spirit of the Gerudo tribe flowed within her, demanding for confrontation. ''Who are you?'' she asked, keeping her eyes closed yet her mind open. ''Are you saying I'm a sage?''

''My name is Rauru and, like you, I am a sage. Light is my domain, as yours is of the spirit. Terrible things have been happening, which forced me to go into hiding. However, your emergence might prove to be the hope that we needed to turn the tide, to banish Ganondorf and his evil for good.''

''I see,'' Nabooru retorted, with a certain clarity that was surprising of her, as the knowledge of her role and her domain began to permeate her, as if she had known all along, yet only discovered all of this in this instant. '' What is my role, then? Are there any others like us?''

''Your role is, with the other four sages, to vanquish the evil that has installed itself in these lands. Your power, that should become more and more familiar in time, shall prove to be a worthy addition to the fight as you have restored the spirit of the Hero of Time. Many more are lost and shall have to be found, to be restored as well, as the fire is dim, the sea too tranquil, the shadows more hidden than ever and the forest is about to be crushed. All the sages need to be brought back so that we can restore things to how they were, to how they were supposed to be.''

With these words, Nabooru went on to see a huge Goron, trapped in a statue, followed by a Zora woman imprisoned within a globe. A woman, one of the Sheikah tribe, was in chains, while a Kokiri was encased in wood. Their freedom being as taken away as hers was, they were no longer master of their own destiny as she instinctively knew who to blame for all of this. ''If the sages are trapped, then how can they help us? How can we save them?''

''As powerful as the sages are, a greater power exists: that of the people. As much as I wanted to not turn to this, warfare is our only option. The Gerudo tribe shall have to ally itself with all the people in Hyrule, to make sure we can reach them all to repair the madness caught within this land. It is not the prettiest of solution, but it is the one we are stuck with.''

Nabooru, in contact with this Rauru, went on to take a deep breath, the gravitas of the situation catching up to her, as her questions died away with her resolve and the quest she had to undertake. ''My problems shall have to wait then. Very well Rauru, I shall inform the hero of time and shall try, down to my very last breath, to save Hyrule for all its people.''

Opening her eyes once more, she rose up and then darted out of her tent, her spirit fired up.

* * *

It was strange for Link to be in control of his thoughts to this degree. While he had been an adventurer and a hero for so long before all of this happened, he had close to no recollection of being ever so focused by his own will. Even though vestiges of suggestions implanted by Namira remained, such as his attraction to Gerudo women, he finally had regained the drive to concentrate himself on other matters, on the greater good as he went over plans with Namira and Shakti on just how to proceed with the ongoing battles with Twinrova and her army. ''We shall need a new plan if she ever returns to attack us,'' he declared, looking at Namira and at his daughter, a serious expression on his face. ''Her first offensive was devastating to our troops, as even though we won it, too many are left wounded for us to take another wave like this.''

''We have some of the villagers, but we do not have Shehra and her ferocious disposition,'' Shakti further explained, trying to come up with something, yet doing poorly as she was as stuck as her father on the subject.

''Worse yet, we do not have Fiora and her stealth to scout ahead and give us the advantage of getting to know Twinrova's position. Too many of those who could try to replace her are in need of rest to do the job properly and we shall need all available hands to defend ourselves if need be,'' Namira added, leaving all three to ponder about any possibilities that they had overlooked.

''We shouldn't count on Shehra right now, not because of the fact that we cannot trust her, but because we do not know when she will return, nor if she will be successful in finding the Gorons,'' Link continued, until he was interrupted by the arrival of a villager carrying a list with him. Taking the list, Link's face remained focused as he then looked at both Namira and Shakti. ''Our inventory is unfortunately low, as that first attack took more than we believed out of our stock. We have plenty of arrows left, yet our bombs, bombchus and potions took a serious dive in terms of numbers. What we need is to end it as quickly as possible...and that means taking down Twinrova, which shall be up to me.''

''Are you sure you're up to the task, father?'' Shakti voiced, trying not to let her worry show too much, yet failing as her concern was openly expressed on her face.

''Are you not afraid that you might fall to her technique again?'' Namira asked, trying to be honest with her own concerns as she looked at Link. ''We do not even know what she did with Fiora and we cannot afford to lose you in the process.''

''I shall be fine. Even though I did fall prey to her dance, it shall not happen again,'' Link said, feeling his courage well up as he looked at Namira with no hesitation. '' If we make her fall, she won't be able to summon any spirits or undead to torment us, which shall reduce her forces considerably. Only then shall we be able to snatch victory.''

''He is right in this,'' Nabooru said, entering their tent as she joined the discussion. '' However, what we need even more than to defeat Twinrova is to have a long-term plan and I have a suggestion to make.''

With everyone looking at Nabooru, it was Shakti that spoke up first, her own curiosity making her quick-witted and speedy enough to reply. ''And what is your plan? What strategy do you propose we take, then?''

''We need an alliance of the people. More than a large inventory, more than raw power, we need to have numbers. While I believe that sending one of ours to get the Gorons is a good idea, we shall need everyone to make sure we can properly fight,'' Nabooru said with conviction. ''We need the Kokiris and the Zoras as well.''

''It is quite an obvious approach,'' Namira replied, not exactly enthusiastic about how Nabooru took control of the situation so quickly. ''But how are we to achieve this? From what I've gathered from the villagers, there has been no sights of the Gorons, Kokiris and even the Zoras for over a decade. How shall we find them if they are lost or dead?''

''Rauru, the sage of light, spoke to me after I cleansed Link's mind of his doubts and troubles, of his lack of control. He told me that this was the best solution right now. In this, he is right and I believe that he would not have suggested it lest he knew that they were still alive in some fashion,'' Nabooru explained, looking at Namira with a calm, yet determined expression. '' He told me that my power as the sage of spirits woke recently, thus why I was able to help Link with the problem plaguing his mind. We need to free the other sages and, for this, we shall need their people.''

''I agree,'' Link proclaimed, looking at Nabooru then switching his gaze to both Namira and Shakti. ''However, we do not necessarily have the time or the resources to put up a party to search and convince the others to come and join us. I cannot leave as well, for I believe I might be the only one that could properly confront Twinrova at this point and she'll need to be distracted so that the others can confront her army without being skewered by her power over fire and ice.''

''Then what do you propose? If you can't go...'' Namira began to say, her voice tinted with a certain worry as she looked at him.

''Then Shakti shall head to the Zora River and enter their domain, to see if she can find vestiges of the Zora people and perhaps learn of what happened to them,'' Link declared, looking at a map that was set on a table nearby. ''This river is close to our encampment and she can get there silently without alarming the other army should they be close to us.''

Shakti, rather surprised that such a heavy task would be set on her shoulders, looked at her father, Namira and Nabooru as she tried to steel herself for what would be a massive ordeal. ''If you believe I'm up for it, then I shall try my very best,'' she answered to this demand.

''I wouldn't ask this of you if I didn't believe you could do it,'' Link said, placing a hand on her shoulder. ''To gain access to their domain, you shall have to play the song of the royal family in front of a waterfall at the end of the road. It shall give you access to whatever answers that can be found there.''

With naught a word said, Shakti then grabbed her gear and then went out of the tent, heading to find her horse. With time being of the essence, she had no opportunity to wait or to send word to anyone about her task. Darting out of the camp with haste, she had to make her tribe and her father proud, for the sake of all Hyrule.

Unbeknownst to her, she was watched by Namira, Nabooru and her father, with the latter being especially proud of her...

* * *

All was calm in the castle, as he intended things to be. About to play some music to calm himself, one of the few activities that brought some actual joy to his heart, Ganondorf went on to test the organ that was set atop the castle, tapping on the keys to make sure everything was in order. About to actually play, he was then interrupted as he felt a sensation of warmth and cold on his back, a familiar one that irritated him as all he wanted was some peace and quiet. ''You better have some good news for me, Twinrova. I do not like to be disturbed when I explicitly state to my servants and slaves that I want to be alone for a while. Even if you did raise me, that gives you no special treatment.''

Smirking mischievously at the sight of her surrogate son, Twinrova clapped in her hands, applauding the panache that Ganondorf was showcasing. ''And you felt me before I even announced my presence, as expected of the great lord Ganondorf,'' she said with amusement, knowing full well that things would be quite fine for her in this conversation they were about to have. ''However, I know that you wouldn't enjoy my simple company, especially with some problems that are plaguing you right now. I come with gifts, you see~''

Turning around to face her, Ganondorf could feel his anger rising, as he abhorred how Twinrova could get when she had good news. Teasing, a smug attitude, all things he could do without as he got closer to her, left unimpressed by her size. ''Tell me now or I shall make sure that you do. I am not in the mood for games, especially yours.''

''Very well, my lord. As my reports have shown, the Gerudo tribe has rebelled against your authority and are waging warfare against your reign. In their ranks, they have a most potent enemy: the Hero of Time,'' she began to explain, her amused attitude not pushed away despite the demand of her lord. ''However, I have made some advances on your behalf and I come with this.''

Clapping her hands, a Gerudo woman with her hands chained together and a look of confusion stuck on her face was brought here by two Moblins. Unimpressed, Ganondorf looked at her briefly before responding. ''If you've just brought me a slave, then I can safely say that I am left absolutely uninterested by what else you might have to say. Leave now before I really grow tired of you.''

''Ah, but you are missing the best part. You see, this woman is none other than Princess Zelda in disguise. In truth, I have brought you the Triforce of Wisdom, my lord.''

Turning around with a curious look on his face, Ganondorf then went on to check up on the woman, picking up her hand as it reacted to the Triforce of Power lodged within his own. ''Very well, you have my undivided attention. What more is there to tell?''

''Oh, plenty my lord. If my plans go right, I might even bring you another slave entirely...The Hero of Time, with the Triforce of Courage along with him...''

Here we are, with the twelfth part of the ongoing saga. In this chapter, the sages are brought back to the forefront, Nabooru understand more about her role and decisions are made. It's pretty much some setup with some small reveals, as a more quiet chapter was probably what was needed as :iconj4rre77: and I prepare for what will be coming next.

Stay tuned. ;)
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