Categories > Games > Zelda > Gatecrash0 Reviews
Chapter 5: Bar Fight Tonight
The arrow wiggled up and down, embedded in the haystack where it was fired. It was a little off center of the target in the yellow concentric circle. That would be the third 'almost-bull's-eye' she'd gotten today. I must be slipping, /she thought. She reached down below for the quiver and pulled out another arrow. Nocking it on the bow, she concentrated and released the string. The arrow flew into the border of the red and yellow circles. /Better, /she thought. She grasped the bowstring and tugged it. /May have to get this tightened though.
Zelda stepped over the door of the stall to retrieve her arrows. Her makeshift archery range was in the castle basement in an abandoned stable, a new one having been built years ago. Dirty and grungy, unkempt for years, hardly a place for a princess to be. But it was just about the only place to find some peace and quiet.
Since Link had defeated Ganon and recovered the Triforce, peace had returned to Hyrule. Nevertheless, Zelda had felt extremely vulnerable during the whole ordeal, having been kidnapped by Agahnim and imprisoned in a crystal within Turtle Rock, she realized just how important she was and how necessary the ability to defend herself would be. It certainly wouldn't do to rely on Link as the sole protector when he was only an 'independent knight' of the kingdom. Although it certainly would be nice if Link would stay at the castle, after all he did for the world it was the least he could do. But Link had politely declined when offered, preferring his house just south of the castle grounds as a residence.
Never mind that though. Zelda shook her head to stop her aimless mind wandering. There was still plenty of practice left. She plucked out each arrow embedded in the hay block, and cradled them in her hand. Stepping over the door of the stall again, much easier to do with her riding pants rather than that incessant skirt she was always supposed to wear, she reset her position for firing. She picked up another arrow and held it at the ready on her bow.
"Keep doing that and you'll get calluses."
Zelda lowered her weapon and looked to her left. Horace, the captain of the guards was standing a little ways down the hall, walking towards her. He was dressed in his basic light chain armor and orange tunic, sans helmet.
"So?" Zelda held her nose in the air and returned to the aim of her bow.
He continued, "It's very unbecoming of a princess to have rough hands."
"I've never been very becoming of a princess. You have my six sisters for that," she said as she steadied her aim and fired. "You came down here for something, I gather?"
"Aye, I've come to give you the report of our findings regarding the theft of the pendants."
Zelda again dropped her bow, and faced Horace. Horace hesitated to speak.
Zelda said, "And?"
"And... I just gave it."
"What? But you said nothing."
"Exactly. There is nothing to report. We haven't found anything."
Zelda grunted in frustration and walked over to a wooden pillar. She hung her head and leaned on it, looking back at her captain. "Well, what are we supposed to do now, I'd like to know. Our only hope is Link out in the field, and he's got as little to go on as we do. Has the king been consulted on this?"
"He has, but has left the decision making up to you. You know the situation better than the rest of us. We could send out the soldiers to scour the land, but..."
"But that would be a highly ineffective waste of resources." Zelda looked down at the stone floor and pondered, scraping some hay off her shoe that she had noticed. "It's so strange. What would someone want the pendants for anyway. The purpose of the pendants is to awaken the Master Sword, but only the Hero can wield the Master Sword. So, what other purpose do the pendants have?"
Horace put a thinking finger to his lips. "Interesting question. I'll have the archivists find the answer to that as soon as possible."
"Good. If we can find that out, we could cut them off at the pass, so to speak."
"There is one other thing I have noticed, off the record. The vizier has been acting strangely as of late."
"The vizier? Noktwor? What in the world would make you think that?"
"Absolutely nothing," was all Horace could respond with. Zelda put a hand on her hip and looked at him like 'you're going to have to do better than that'.
"All I can tell you is his behavior is quite odd. Sneaking around in early hours of the morning. Stammering excuses of where he's been. It's all disconcerted me."
"But nothing you could arrest him for," Zelda said confidently. She was heavily displeased with this lack of professionalism in her guards.
"Unfortunately, other than that, we have no leads, no suspects, no motive, and no clue."
"Fantastic," Zelda sighed. "Very well, if that's all we have to go on. Continue on the best you can. There's always a clue somewhere."
"Understood, princess, I'll tell my men to continue their investigation." The captain bowed graciously and left the stables. Zelda watched him depart, then picked up the bow and an arrow. She knew deep down that these jobs would be delegated down and down until the lowest bidder would be working on it, and she was tired of duties and tasks being shuffled off on someone else's shoulders. It was the very bane of bureaucracy. There was only one thing she could do, she resolved. That would be to return to the scene of the crime and start making her own personal investigation. It was the only way anything would ever be done around here. There had to be something that they missed.
She aimed the bow along her eye line, muttering to herself, "There's always a clue..."
She let go. The arrow hit the bull's-eye squarely.
Link sipped slowly on his deku tea, leaning over the bar and staring blankly ahead at the shelves behind the bar, reading the names on the labels of the bottles: Zora filtered water, poppleberry wine, spiced apple cider, octorok juice, Goron beer, Lon-Lon Milk, aged fairy spirit wines, carbonated caramel water...
"Hey there, the bottles are for drinking, not reading," the bartender glibly said. Link just glared up at him.
He continued, "So who's your friend over there?"
"He's not my friend, he's just someone I picked up on the way."
"Sure has got some funny clothes. I guess bright blue is the new fashion."
"I wouldn't know." Link reset his posture to sit up straight and took another sip of tea.
"Is he your new partner?"
"I don't have partners. I work alone. I never needed anyone to help me before, and I don't need it now."
The bartender hummed in affirmation as he wiped out a beer mug.
Link had been essentially isolated during his quest for the Triforce. From the very start of his adventure he was a wanted man by the royal guard, and in the Dark World, well, the pursuit of him there was self-explanatory. He had learned to fend for himself, because no one else was going to do it for him.
"Looks like he's having a good time, though," the bartender said.
Link twisted around on his stool to see the bright blue soldier sitting at a table playing cards, contrasting heavily with the other roughnecks around him in drab green and brown. Link smiled to himself.
The bartender leaned in closer to Link, "You realize that's the Card Club mafia, right?"
"I do. He can defend himself. If he doesn't, he'll learn." He finished off the rest of his tea.
Suddenly, one of the card players jumped up from the table, kicking back his chair. "That's it, that's the last time you win, punk."
Link's eyes bulged out from the above his mug. "Uh-oh."
Mega Man's attacker pulled a knife from his belt and lunged at him. Mega Man leaned slightly to the side and let the blade deflect off his armor. His attacker fell forward behind him.
"That's some armor you've got there, punk," another said.
"I didn't want any trouble," Mega Man responded. "I just wanted to gather sociological information from you by playing this game. You see, the problem is there's an inherent strategy flaw in the game's rules-"
"I don't wanna hear nothin' 'bout no rules. Youse is cheatin'!" the third card player exclaimed.
"Hold 'im, Gus."
Another sizeable opponent snuck around Mega Man's back and pinned his arms over his head in a full-nelson, leaving him open for attack. "Go for it, Ungar," Gus said in a snide, ratty voice to the big man.
Ungar pounded his fists together, ready to give Mega Man a beating. "Heh, time to show you a little boy shouldn't play a man's game." Ungar took off Mega Man's helmet, unveiling his ratty brown hair. "Take this stupid hat off." He wound up and punched him with a right cross across the face. Mega Man's head slightly bobbed to the side as the punch connected.
Ungar clutched his hand in pain. "OW! You got yourself a hard head there, kid," he said as he shook his hand out. He picked up his switchblade again. "Let's see how it looks all cut up." He pulled his arm back-
-And felt someone clutching his arm from behind. He looked and found Link grabbing tightly onto him.
"Say there, wanna take it a little easy on the kid?" Link asked innocently. "It's his first time in Hyrule after all."
"He knew what he was doing," Ungar responded gruffly, yanking his hand back and facing Link. "Guess they don't make 'em too bright where his kind comes from."
"Well, all the same, I suggest you stop and leave him alone."
"Or what, little man?"
"Or I'll have to get- aaRGH!"
The third card player smashed a wooden chair on Link's back, shattering it to pieces. Link careened forward and landed on his hands and knees.
"Hey, you can't do that!" one of the miscellaneous patrons said, and threw his bottle at Ungar. It missed and smashed against the wall above a booth. A riot began breaking out around them, bottles thrown, fists flying, chairs tumbling along the ground.
Ungar kicked Link in the stomach as he lay on the ground. The Hero of Hyrule dropped to the floor and breathed deeply. The big man laughed heartily, when suddenly Link spun around and kicked his legs out from under him. Ungar fell backwards, landing on his backside. Link propped himself up on his hands and kicked out, smashing him in the face and standing up at the same time. He saw Mega Man was standing placidly in the middle of the brawl like an idiot.
"Idiot! Get over here!" Link called to him as he flipped over the table to use as a barricade. Mega Man picked up his helmet, put it on, and quickly came to Link's side crouched behind the tabletop.
"Well, you'll never be able to show your face in here again," Link said in a deadpan voice.
"What happened? Why did they try to attack me?"
"Don't you know any better than to play with the Card Club? They're hustlers, they'll take your money."
"I was able to play the game without losing any money. You see, there's an inherent flaw in the strategy of the game-."
"Never mind, let's get out of here." Link grabbed the table legs and started dragging his makeshift shield back towards the door.
"Not so fast, punks." Link and Mega Man turned and saw the three Card Club members standing in front of them, the middle one tapping a broken-off table leg against his hand. He swung it down over Link's head. Mega Man's hand shot out lightning-fast and grabbed it in mid-flight.
"You're dead meat," Ungar made several quick knife thrusts at Mega Man's torso, shrieking against metal each time.
"Punch him or something!" Link exclaimed, looking back at him while holding off the two others with his sword. Ungar pulled back his broken knife and looked at it sadly.
Link pushed off the other two with a grunt. "Errgh, enough of this." Link held his sword readied behind him. A trail of sparkling energy traveled up the length of the blade and sparked at its tip. "Take this."
Releasing the magical energy, he spun around in a blazing whirlwind. The card players were blown back as Mega Man ducked under the path of the sword.
"Time to go."
Link and Mega Man made off out of the bar's door. Muffled sounds of fighting and crashing still continued behind them.
"What is your problem!" Link yelled at Mega Man as they headed north. "Are you some sort of peace nut or something? You didn't even tap him! Did you want to get hit?"
"I can't hurt humans."
"Well, you better learn how if you're gonna be here a while."
"No, you don't understand. I mean, I really can't. I'm incapable of causing harm to humans, it's in my programming."
"Your programming? What's that?"
"It's a set of laws in my land that ... my kind have to abide by." He left off the word "robot" as that would have likely started more confusion.
"Well, you're not in your land anymore."
"I still can't break them. They're ingrained in my behavior."
Link looked forward, off into the trail. "But you had no problem fighting those moblins."
"They weren't human, you said."
"So my rules don't apply to them."
"Hmph," Link grunted and kicked a small rock along the road. "I don't get it. If you can't harm humans, then what about all those people in the bar who got hurt in the riot. Didn't you cause them harm? What about if you let them harm others?"
"There used to be another part to the law that said we cannot let humans come to harm through inaction, but that was repealed when they found it was too impractical. We kept preventing humans from doing their work, even if it was slightly dangerous."
"So... does that make you... non-human."
"I told you, I'm a robot."
"Right, right, a human machine, something about complex tasks. Anyway..."
"Anyway are we going back to the castle now?"
"Look, I want to get you back to your own land as much as you do, but right now, I'm sort of on a quest here, and I can't really stop to take you back anywhere. Besides, you've seen the sort of things here, we don't have any of what... you can do. Do you really think there's anything here that can help you?"
"...Perhaps not." Mega Man cast his eyes down at the floor.
"All right, so your best bet is to stick with me, unfortunately. But whatever you do, try not to get in the way. Fine?"
"All right, let's get going."
Dr. Light sat against the corner of the tiny vault, doing his best not to move at all. Moving meant using up energy, which meant using up breath. Precious oxygen was starting to fade, and he had been in the tomb for hours. Roll had spent that time going over every inch of the vault, looking for weak spots in the wall, testing the strength of the door, trying to find any way out. Unfortunately, Roll, while still much stronger than an average human, was not built for brawn. Tearing down the door was not an option.
"How are you doing, Dr. Light?"
"Fine, dear," Dr. Light rasped.
The sound of Dr. Light's voice told Roll that he was obviously not fine. It wouldn't be too long until he would pass out from lack of air and eventually die. "The weakest spot I've found is on this wall," Roll pointed to a blank, cemented white wall. "I'm going to try to break through it." Roll wound up and started punching the wall at the spot where she pointed. Thunderous vibrations echoed in the small chamber as she repeatedly pounded.
"Roll... no... careful..." Light tried to protest.
"What?" Roll paused her destruction and turned to Light, her knuckles crusted in white dust.
"I... never mind." Light remembered that robots don't feel pain and doused his natural instinct to protect his children. Roll returned to punching. A spider-web of cracks began to appear in the wall.
"Don't worry, Dr. Light. I'll have you out of here in a jiffy." She glanced back at the old man. "Dr. Light?"
Next Chapter: Grizzled to Perfection