Categories > Games > Zelda > Gatecrash0 Reviews
Chapter 19: Down by the River
Link poked his head out of the waves, taking a colossal breath. Waves of water rushed over him. He had to time his breaths so he wouldn't end up swallowing a gallon of water. He was disoriented from the fall, looking around for something recognizable, but the walls of the river were all he could see, although he knew he was swiftly being carried east.
"Mega Man!" he yelled. Searching blindly for him. Little did he know Mega Man had sunk beneath the river.
He could feel the torrent pulling at him. His weight and density made him sink to the riverbed where he could see debris and particles rushing forward, fish swam around him and high speeds. Errant bubbles emerged from under his helmet. He looked up and saw Link's legs thrashing around at the river's surface. Thankful he made it all right, he leaped forward, carried by the river current and the water's buoyancy, following Link's little legs.
Link flailed about, looking for his friend. He spied a rock in the middle of the rushing river and swam for it, desperately hoping to grab it in the violent flow of the water, for he might not have another chance. The river's current carried him towards it and he grabbed onto the rocky surface. The river continued pulling at him with unseen arms, almost like it was beckoning for him. Link clutched on for dear life, hanging by the traction of his fingertips. Carefully he pulled himself towards the craggy island, clutching onto a spiky outcrop. Now he had enough torque to pull onto the land. He sat on the rock, catching his breath.
Mega Man saw the unusual spike in the middle of the river bed and Link's body stopping as he hit it. Hopefully, Link hadn't hit his head on it. He launched himself towards the earthy spike and clutched onto the side. The river's rapids picked up and it took all his strength to hang on as the water beat at him. He shut his eyes and grimaced.
"Mega Man!" Link shouted above the water. He hadn't seen him since he lost his grip when they hit the water. "Where are you!" He scoured the waves looking for a blue body in blue water, a challenge in itself. He looked behind him and in front, his mind racing at what had become of him. He must have really meant it when he said he couldn't swim and he suddenly felt a stab of guilt for forcing him into something so rashly. Link stood up and steeled himself to dive back into the water to search for him.
Suddenly, a blue helmeted head popped out of the water, gripping onto the rock. Link thanked the power of the Triforce inwardly as he helped him up onto solid ground.
"Well, that was fun," Mega Man said as he took off his helmet and shook the water out. His brown and black hair was tousled from the water.
"Were you swimming? I couldn't see you," Link asked.
"Not quite. The armor is so heavy and dense I sink to the bottom But the buoyancy adds to the power of my legs so I can jump pretty good distances in water. I was all right."
Link marveled at the power of that suit. It even had special features in certain situations. "Well, it looks like we're not going anywhere for a while."
"I know," Mega Man answered. "The current's picked up. It's too strong for us to try and navigate through now."
Link nodded. He toyed with the idea of trying to snag some of the driftwood that was passing by and constructing a raft, but any wood that came close was swiftly taken away. Plus, the quality would be dubious, and what was he going to tie the raft together with?
The hero picked out a spot on the rock and got comfy. There would be no telling how long it would be before the river swells wound down. Hopefully it wouldn't be a matter of days, as this rock was no place to get some shut-eye.
Mega Man stared out from his place. He could go nowhere without Link, he would not survive in this world long without guidance. He thought about going for help, but he didn't know the land, nor how far they had traveled. The current would not allow him to return where he fell in so he could backtrack to the castle. Going further down the river was not an option either as who knew what perils lived deep down in the water. They were essentially stranded.
"How long does it take for the current to die down?" Mega Man asked.
"I don't know," Link said. "Could be a while." He dug into his knapsack and pulled out a blue-colored flute. It was made of a fine wood, shaped squat and rounded, like a long egg with a small mouthpiece, not like a standard flute. The finger-holes were situated strangely at first glance, but when Link held it up to his mouth they fit just where his hands were supposed to go.
He began playing a slow melodic tune. Sustained fluid chords filled the tiny rock, giving the music a rich texture. He began descending into a low tune that reminded Mega Man of the songs of birds in the forest. It was very beautiful, though Rock could only appreciate the aestheticism of it.
"Where did you learn that?"
"I taught myself. I picked up this up along my last adventure, from a boy who used it to talk to animals. I played it to the rooster statue in the village and it became a magical bird that could take me around Hyrule in a flash."
Right, magical bird, Mega Man thought. It just gets stranger and stranger around here.
Link continued, "I just kept playing it after I got it. Came very naturally to me for some reason." He blew a quick comical chord. "You wanna try it?" Link handed out the flute.
Mega Man held up his hand. "No, thanks, I can't play."
"Go on. Try it. See what you sound like."
"No, really, I mean I can't play. I can't breathe into it."
"Oh, fine." Link took the flute back. This man said and did the strangest things sometimes. He was an amazing warrior, but his idiosyncrasies and quirks were strange drawbacks. He could fight a slew of moblins, but he didn't have the breath to play a flute. The sun was beginning to set, casting an orange glow over everything.
"It would be difficult for me to live here," Mega Man said. "Everything here is based on nature. On natural life and it's related components. Biological, in a sense. Things other people have, even their energy. You use it like we use electricity, just taking it for granted. I didn't realize how difficult it might be for me to live here."
What did he mean by electricity, Link thought.
"I'm not saying it's primitive," the robot continued. "It's just different from what I'm used to. So different I don't know how long I can last here. What about my power levels, my programming error recovery, regular maintenance, upgrades, memory, parts degradation. I have no known lifespan, so theoretically, I can live forever. But what happens if part of me becomes detached. There aren't any factories here, there's no material I can used, nobody's even discovered titanium yet." He whispered to himself. "What if I become... full? I can't self-delete data from my memory drives. Would I stop remembering things?" He turned back to Link. "There's no one here who could help me. You just haven't advanced past the subsistence stage of civilization. No one really does things for the good of everyone else. Everyone here depends on themselves and themselves alone."
Link, who was cleaning his flute responded. "That's true. The monsters keep people separated. They have to band together in random places in Hyrule. Kakariko's the biggest village in the countryside. People aren't courageous enough to go out and fight them off. Someday that might change... I hope."
"We had a system very similar to yours way back in my world's past. We called it the medieval era. People lived on their own on farms, very rarely in villages. Each land had a king, and the center of commerce was in or around the castle. Of course, it wasn't as benevolent as your world. Many kings were corrupt. They used their influence to gain wealth and dominate citizens."
"Hyrule's always been peaceful, I think. Long as I can remember."
"I think someday, your world will become similar to mine. Maybe." Now Mega Man was very curious as to how this world would evolve. Would it become a technological utopia or still retain the scattered villas and disjointed people it always had. Many events in his history involved people becoming united over a common enemy or unfavorable conditions. But here, peace was the status quo, so the people had no reason to rise up, and became detached from one another.
"Maybe," Link responded. "Some day, I'd like to see what other worlds have in store though. I've explored every inch of Hyrule in my travels. It's starting to feel confining. We're somewhat closed off from the world with the mountains and plateaus around us. But I know there're other worlds out there. I want to explore them. See what else is out there. I'm starting to feel claustrophobic here. Like I've done the same thing over and over again."
Link dug into his bag, pulled out several tube-like sticks, and began attaching them together. "I figure I'd like to go out on the ocean. Maybe find this island of yours. Sounds pretty interesting."
"Uh, yeah. Interesting. I don't think you'll be able to get there by boat, unfortunately."
"Well, maybe I'll find something on it. The ocean, it... it's almost like I've got a repoire with it. Besides, what I bring back may help Hyrule in unimaginable ways."
"What are you doing?" Mega Man asked, referring to Link's activities.
"Fishing. Don't tell me they don't have fish where you come from."
"Yes, but they're... fished on a large scale. At least for food. Otherwise it's done recreationally."
"Well, I can definitely see that." Link said as he strung out his line and cast it into the waters.
The rushing water took the tiny artificial fish used for bait and played with it like a cat. The bobber rose up and down, tossed about like a tiny boat. They sat there as the sky darkened, hoping to catch a bite for supper. But all Link succeeded in catching was driftwood.
"Well, we could make a little hut, if we wanted to," Link said glibly. He was quite used to bad fishing days and it was useless to stress out about the lack of catchables.
Time passed. A blanket of stars soon swept over their heads, casting the two in deep blue light. Mega Man stared at the water, contemplating a life plan for his existence here. Link leaned back and kept his hand on his reel, waiting patiently for a bite, knowing the more time that passed was less time until he hooked something. Nothing but twigs and weeds so far. Suddenly, Link felt a tug on his line. He did not immediately jump as he had become accustomed to false news. Nonetheless he leaned up and took hold of the rod, reeling in the object.
The reel suddenly stopped. Link's first thought was that his line had snagged on something. The line was extremely far out, almost to the end of the reel. Link noticed the line slack off again and reeled it in. Again it stopped short.
"What's going on?" Mega Man asked.
"I think I'm snagged on something, but I'm not quite sure what. The line keeps going taut and slack every time I reel it in." Link tried it again with the same result. "I can't tell what it is. Feels like it might be big. It's not a fish. I hope." Link tried to pull the line up with the rod, but that yielded nothing. He was restraining his strength so the line wouldn't snap. He was more curious about what it was. "Maybe it's a rock? Or a turtle."
"It's moving forward," Mega Man suddenly realized. "It's coming towards us. That's why you're reeling up line."
"But what is it?"
"What is that?" Mega Man excitedly pointed down the river. A thick mist was rolling down the river, tumbling end over end like an unrolling cotton blanket.
"A fog?" Link asked. The vapor rapidly enveloped them, cold and clammy. The mass of the river and surrounding land became obscured as they look around bewildered. Link momentarily forgot his rod and began spinning line back in. "It's close whatever it is, I'm almost to the beginning of..."
Both Link and Mega Man's eyes widened and their jaws dropped as the fog cleared away. Link almost dropped his fishing rod.
A gigantic wooden sailing ship was navigating down the river, taking up nearly its entire width. Decaying holes were punctured in the upper hull. The sails looked in little better condition than a tattered rag, some sort of ink design long faded away printed on them. The bow was wrapped in rope, frayed at several ends dangling below. Ghostly lanterns swung back and forth on the deck and at the tops of darkened windows and portholes, like the invisible night watchmen. They realized that the ship was about to impact on their little rock and braced themselves to jump out of the way, even though hitting them was inevitable.
Suddenly, though, it stopped just short of the rock, the bow hovering over their heads. The two stood there, necks craned upwards, staring at the enormous vessel.
A rope ladder dropped down the side of the ship, landing in front of them. Link and Mega Man looked at it for a second, shrugged, and began climbing up.
Next Chapter: Ghost Ship