Categories > Games > Zelda > Gatecrash0 Reviews
Chapter 6: Grizzled to Perfection
Zelda stopped before she turned the corner and smoothed out a ruffle in her light blue dress. /Obnoxious skirt, /she thought. Two guards standing in front of the closed vault door waited for her to approach them. They held spears upright and wore helmets that seemed too big for their heads.
"Princess," one of them greeted and bowed his head.
"Good morrow, gentleman. Please open the vault."
"Open the vault door, please. I assume you know the combination."
"Er, yes, Princess, but why would you want to go in there?"
Zelda's anger level began to rise inversely to her patience. "I want to inspect the scene of the crime for any clues that may have been missed."
The guards looked at each other. "Isn't that a job more for the royal investigator?"
The other chimed in, "Yeah, and hasn't that already been done?"
Zelda held her breath for three seconds. "All right, listen, buddy, I'm the princess of Hyrule, I'm in charge. So you'd better open this door or you will be licking Kakariko Village's main street with your tongues. Understand?"
The guards quickly opened the vault.
Zelda stepped in. The place was exactly as it was left. To the normal eye, it was just a vault for holding the three pendants. Nonetheless, that vault should have been secure with all the physical and magical barriers surrounding it. No one could have teleported into the room. No one could have opened up the vault door. No one had even opened the vault door since the Master Sword was laid to rest and the pendants were no longer needed.
Zelda ran her hands over the mahogany table. There were three impressions made specifically for the pendants. One made of sapphire for courage, one made of emerald for wisdom, one made of ruby for power. They mirrored the three parts of the Triforce, testing the mettle of the Hero who would awaken the sword. She thought maybe it would have been better if they were kept in a lock box or a treasure chest for safekeeping, instead of on display like this. As if anyone would be able to come and see the artifacts like in a museum.
Zelda rubbed her hand along the impression for the pendant of wisdom. Nothing felt suspicious, no hollowed out wood, no invisibility spell traces. She sat down on her back, shifting her dress to a semi-comfortable state, and gripped onto the edge of the table, using it to slide under. Nothing going on there either. The wood was as solid as a rock, so to speak. No holes, no sliding cubbies. She switched onto her hands and knees and inspected the floor. The tiling covering the rock hard cement enclosure was immaculate. No one had ever been in this room at all for a long time. She thought about going over every line of grout, testing every tile, but that seemed fruitless.
No, wait, that's what she would have to do if she was going to make an even more thorough inspection than the previous investigators. And then if she was going to keep her mission statement enforced, she would have to inspect all the walls and the ceiling, make several magic scans, and so on. She growled to herself. She didn't want to do something so tedious, that's precisely why she hated being a princess so much. If the frickin' idiots working for her were doing their job, this wouldn't be necessary. She slammed her hand into the floor in frustration.
A corner of tile popped up next to where she had hit the floor.
Zelda eyed it curiously. Just a triangular edge of the ceramic tile was poking out of the ground. If her eyes hadn't been in straight view she wouldn't have even noticed it. Using her fingernails she delicately caught hold of the corner and scraped it up out of place. She lifted it out of the slot, revealing a hole in the floor leading to some crawlspace. At last, this had to be the way the pendants were snuck out.
"Guards, call the captain! Tell him I've found something," she called to the two outside.
"Yes, princess." She heard them skitter off as she inspected the hole, trying to find anything else, even the tiniest clue. She narrowed her eyes down, trying to increase their magnification. She noticed the corner closest to her had a short purple thread barely hanging off it. Delicately, so as not to let it fall into the hole and disappear, she scooped it into her hand for closer inspection. The vizier has a purple robe, she mused. I wonder.
knock, knock, knock
Link chose to knock on the door, rather than heed the signs nailed to it that read 'BEWARE!', 'GO AWAY! This means you!', and 'Trespassers will be harmed... a lot!'. Waiting for an answer, Link looked back behind him, where he could see the backs of signs posted out in the yard that displayed essentially the same thing. There was a well near the house and a stump for cutting logs with an axe embedded in it. The red wood above Grizzled Jack's door was practically rotted away. Ants and wasps crawled in and out of the termite-bitten holes. The bartender sure wasn't kidding when he said he liked to keep selves to selves.
Dusk was quickly approaching, and it was hardly sound thinking to be outside in the dark in Hyrule. They would need shelter quickly.
"This place doesn't look too structurally sound," Mega Man commented from behind Link.
"Yeah," Link begrudgingly agreed. This area was near where the lumberjack brothers used to live, constantly trying to cut down that tree. But this shack was much farther north. Almost into the mountains.
Link knocked again. The wood even felt soft. "Hello?" he called out. "Is anyone in there?"
While Link stood near the door, Mega Man circled the perimeter of the house, looking for anything else of interest. How anyone could be allowed to live like this was abominable. This was practically living homelessly. In his world, the government had long ago set up affordable housing tracts that were well maintained, with the cheap labor that robots brought in. Homelessness was virtually eliminated.
Rustling from the dark forest that bordered the square of land alerted him. He relaxed when he saw it was nothing more than two birds flying out. When he reached the back of the house he found an animal skin stretched out for tanning on a board leaning against the wall. Mega Man looked at it curiously, deducing it was some sort of a bear creature with leopard-patterned fur and a spinal back. More evidence that this world had no relation to his own. It was a lot like being thrust into the past, but not his past. He came back around to the house's front. "Nothing much back there."
"Hmm..." Link decided to skip formalities and just go in. He'd been waiting long enough and he needed the info as soon as possible. If Jack was home and sleeping or out, Link would just have to wait inside until he came back. He lifted up the handle of the door, which promptly tore off the weak wood. Link stared at it in his hand. "Oops."
He tossed the handle on the ground and pushed open the door. It creaked open slowly, eerily, as Link and Mega Man stood side-by-side, looking in with wide eyes. Dim, orange light gradually streamed into the dank and decaying room.
"Nice touch," Link commented.
He cautiously poked his boot across the threshold. The floorboards creaked with neglect, wide slits permeated the surface. A large pile of paper next to an inkstand sat on a table standing on three and a half legs. A fur rug was crumpled in a corner that had to be Jack's bed and a pile of bones on the other side of the house made the grisly scene complete. Mega Man stepped in as well.
"Please tell me you don't all live like this."
"Hardly. This guy must have some serious issues with civilization." Link squinted his eyes. "You can barely see in here." He fetched out his lantern from his pocket and sprinkled a dash of magic powder in to light it. A moth flew out from the unused lamp.
"What's that?" Mega Man spun around and leveled his arm cannon at it. He stopped short once he realized it was harmless.
"Aaah," Link stumbled back. "Don't point that thing at me!" Link's lack of balance forced him backwards as he stepped onto a metal clutch. The trigger fired and closed the bear trap set on the floor around Link's boot.
Link's eyes burst open with surprise and pain, "YEOWTCH!" He tripped and fell onto the floor. Quickly, he grabbed his foot in pain. "Ow! Ow! Ow!"
Mega Man came over to his side. He was programmed to provide medical aid to humans and that program had just fired up. "How deep is it?"
"Argh, you idiot! I knew you'd do nothing but get in my way. Now I've got this stupid bear trap digging into my leg." Link could feel it penetrating the leather of his boot and blood seeping out of the punctures.
Mega Man took hold of the steel trap in his hands and pried it apart swiftly. Link looked somewhat taken aback at this feat of strength, but it hardly changed his attitude as he glowered up at the blue-clad soldier.
"Let's take that boot off and treat the wound," Mega Man said.
"I'm fine with my boot. The wound didn't go that deep."
"You sure screamed a lot for it not being that deep."
"It's thick leather. It just took me by surprise."
"Just take off your boot, or it'll get infected."
"I like infections. It builds character. I get them all the time."
"Not as long as I'm here-"
"Why don't you just get out of here then. I'm sure you'd have as much luck finding a way back home on your own."
"I don't have anywhere to go! You're the only person I know here who hasn't acted hostile to me."
"Then find someone else, cause I feel pretty hostile right now. I do my questing alone, and I don't need some foreigner stepping on my toes. If it wasn't for that stupid prophecy, I would have left you in the Lost Woods!"
"That spacy Seer said there was some prophecy that I would meet a man of metal with an arm of light and we'd solve the mystery of the pendants."
"That's ridiculous. If the only reason you're helping me is because of some foolish prophecy then I can find help else-"
"Shh, wait... do you hear something."
Mega Man attuned his listening sensors. There was some metallic clinking sound above him. They both looked up. An assortment of knives, blades, axes, all chained up to the ceiling were hanging above them, dangling with the breeze. Most of them were rusty and way beyond safe use.
"Oh, that... that's not good," Link said.
"I don't think civilization's the only thing he has issues with."
A meat cleaver broke off from the chain and plummeted down to the floor, landing right next to Link's leg, wedged into the floorboard by the point of the blade. He could feel the coolness of the knife next to his skin.
"Eep," Link said timidly.
Mega Man whispered, "Try not... to make... a sound."
"Okay." Link's eyes were glued heavenward at the precarious sharp objects. "Get up slowly... and walk towards the door."
Mega Man leaned back and pushed himself up by his knees. Link suppressed a grunt and gritted his teeth as he put weight on his injured ankle. A wind rushed through the trees outside. Link held his breath as he waited for the breeze to come into the house, looking up like a puppy about to be disciplined. The knives dangled back and forth in wider arcs like sadistic wind chimes. Both of them shuffled their feet quietly towards the door.
"What thur blazes are you doin' in ma house!"
Link and Mega Man's head darted to the doorway and saw a great big brutish person holding a wood-chopping axe, blocking the only way out.
Next Chapter: Chiseled and Grizzled