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Ridiculous Optimization: The Art of Finding the Right Tool for the Wrong Situation

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Chapter one: They're big pots, really

 

Wild's Hyrule was, for lack of a better word, a pain.

 

Now, if you were Warriors, who regularly tangled with nobles and their ilks as part of his duties, you might describe it as 'a temporary yet persistent sort of agony, so scandalous, good sirs and ladies'. Or, if you were Sky, who serenaded his Zelda with loving devotion, the description might resemble 'a land broken but resisting, a primal kingdom for the ambitious to remake'.

 

But the average Link was neither, and the general sentiment came out as 'Wild's Hyrule is a giant pain'. (One should recall that both Legend and Wind existed in the general sample and drastically lowered the ability to describe Wild's Hyrule in polite company.)

 

The weather conditions were, all in all, quite tolerable outside of the occasional lightning storms which threatened to violently roast them all (Time especially). Wild's one recurring grip being the rain making it impossible to climb cliff sides and barely-standing-towers – which, in all honesty, had become Twilight's favorite weather for this exact same reason.

 

The few tribes of monsters could provoke violent swearing, in good part after the Links had assimilated the color system that ruled Wild's Hyrule. (Four could never look at golden monsters the same way now.) No, no, a Link knew to adapt to their circumstances and would learn all the right tricks to fighting any sort of monster that showed up in his path.

 

In fact, Time had gone on record to say that he'd gone on an adventure in a much more stressful kingdom, because at least the moon was only red and not looming.

 

The real challenge was so many of his enemies being outright mini-bosses at least. Wind's Hero's Charm had confirmed their health being far superior to the average roaming monster, and, to the general disbelief, added that no, Lynels did not count as minibosses for some goddesses-forsaken reason.

 

“That's three!” Warriors called out, slashing away at one twisting limbs. “One to go!”

 

“Get down!” Hyrule shouted just in time for Warriors to duck under a blue-ish laser.

 

The two heroes felt air woosh over their backs, cold and sharp despite the explosion that ravaged a rock formation down the hill. Despite the sheer damage done, none of them gave the ruins even a passing glance. Normally, some Link like Four would wonder out loud about the marvels of technology that had led to the creations of robots as powerful as the Guardians. That would, unjustly, earn him a slap upside the head from the others who just wanted them all exterminated.

 

But, if anything, their mechanical structure should be glorified, as unlike almost every other enemies the Links met in their travels, the Guardians could not be further enhanced by black blood.

 

No, the Guardians were a special pain in the Links' anatomies all on their own.

 

Legend had already written down the tirade he reserved for the Sheika elders that had thought beamos weren't mobile and powerful enough in his journal. One day, he would travel to the past of Wild's Hyrule and give them all the dressing down they deserved and it would be beautiful.

 

Three grappling hooks latched onto the last Guardian's limbs just in time to stop it from running over the downed Warriors and Hyrule. Now, against, say, a Lynel or an Hinox, pulling such a maneuver might have given the monster pause, but the Guardian's head merely rotated and aimed its tracking light at Time.

 

He alongside Twilight and Sky dispersed to avoid the lightning quick retaliation and even then, Sky felt the flames lick at his heels.

 

Rolling away, he ended up in a huddle close with Legend and Four, behind a large, mossy rock. "You know," Sky said, nervously chatting instead of saving his breath, "they kind of remind me of pots."

 

Legend's eyes twitched. “Ah, yes, they're tougher than most of my bosses, faster too, shoot laser beams, but they are a little round-ish. I see the resemblance.”

 

"Oh!" Four exclaimed, thunderstruck. "I've got it! Cover me," he shouted to the others.

 

Without even a moment's consultation, Wind and Wild both rushed out of their hiding spots and pelted the Guardian with bombs, their supplies of arrows depleted during the ambush. It only made the Guardian's base tilt slightly, though, a few seconds were all Four really needed. His hands found the handle of the cane with the ease of many adventures' worth of practice.

 

Not a second too soon either, for one of the Guardian's limbs had snaked through the barrage and swept Wind aside. And now threatened to grab the little rolling pirate.

 

Four swung the twisted branch. A staff, Wild realized as a glittering ball of energy flew off its head and struck the guardian head on. For a split second, he allowed himself to hope that it would have a bit of an effect on the thing. He'd seen (schemed for, though he never admitted it to Twilight) a Guardian struck by lightning before, and it had shrugged it off as easily as a breeze. Those things just wouldn't-

 

The Guardian flipped over.

 

Wind's shocked cursing translated the general gobsmacked bafflement of the eight heroes over five feet tall.

 

The Guardian landed on its head, its top carvings digging into the soil. The legs frantically expanded to try and right it, but could find no purchase. Their articulations had not been created to allow the legs to reach the head area. Combining those facts effectively condemned the feared contraction to reenact a flipped turtle's dying moments, with half the dignity.

 

Wild staggered backward into Time's waiting arms. “Wh-what, I don't… how?”

 

“Magic,” Time replied with the air of a wise old man, “you never know what kind of stuff it can do. Also,” he cleared his throat and spoke louder, “watch out for the laser beam, boys."

 

Hyrule and Wind flinched back from the upside down Guardian, like kids with their hands down the cookie jar. The eye turned from blue to red.

 

"It only shoots in a straight line," Wild said, recovering from his shock.

 

The dreaded red dot stuttered in place, stuck in a very narrow margin.

 

“Yeah, but can't it turn its head?” Hyrule asked hesitantly, not looking away from the dot.

 

They distinctively heard the noise of some gears inside the thing turning, like a low-humming buzz of energy. Where the head met the body, the whirring flashed in rapid succession.

 

The head remained unmoving.

 

The other half of the guardian span.

 

“It's going to start flying now,” Wind said with clear apprehension.

 

Twilight nodded to that. The motion was eerily similar to a mad peahat preparing to soar the skies.

 

Legend shot them both an annoyed look. “With those legs?”

 

“It's a Guardian!” Wind protested. “They don't just fucking flip over and die?”

 

As if to punctuate the point, the Guardian's beam shot out of its frantically beeping eye. And, as if to immediately contradict itself, the beam missed them all by a mile, roughly, though it did strike on a stray lizalfos.

 

“Huh, didn't notice that one,” Warriors mumbled, as Legend burst out laughing at the madness of it all. “What kind of item is that anyway?”

 

Four gave the twig a twirl. "The Cane of Pacci. It flips things over."

 

Legend scoffed and crossed his arms over his chest. "What kind of wizards gives their name to a staff that's good for flipping things over? I know magic-users can be lazy bastards, but that's a bit much, even for me."

 

Four shrugged, unfazed. "Who knows? It came in handy surprisingly often. Case in point," he waved an arm toward the flipped guardian.

 

A shrieking noise caught them off-guard, momentarily.

 

Wind had lodged a giant broadsword in the guardian's eye up to its hilt. The whirring machinery slowed, smoke leaking out of its gears and plates. If it hadn't been made completely helpless before, it certainly was now. Warrior looked inordinately fond of their young and bloodthirsty pirate for finishing off a helpless killing machine.

 

 

 

“Four,” Wild said, his face frozen in the most serious expression any of them (except Twilight) had ever seen.

 

“W-what?” Four replied, startled by the hands grabbing his shoulders.

 

“Name your price. Do you want rupees?” Wild asked, pulling out his slate. “Because I will bury you under more rupees than you've ever seen before.”

 

“Anyone else feels like that came out vaguely threatening?” Hyrule pondered.

 

“Vaguely?” Legend snarked, prompting Twilight to facepalm.

 

Wild apparently heard nothing but the silence Four was shoving his way. His voice hiked up in pitch. “Armor? I've got more sets of armors than I know what to do with them? Ancient Sheika armor? It's super mechanical, you like mechanisms, right?”

 

Four raised an eyebrow. “I like understanding how they work. Can you imagine me wearing your stuff? I would have trouble moving.”

 

“My recipe book?” Wild tried again, desperation creeping in his voice. “It's not written yet, but I can do that. Four, please?”

 

Twilight gasped. Hyrule's stomach loudly growled. And the rest nodded sagely. Wild truly was pulling out all the stops to get his hands on that cane, besides outright theft (which none of them were exactly strangers to).

 

“… No.”

 

The fingers let go of his shoulders, now aching from the grip.

 

“I thought we were brothers,” Wild whispered, leaning against Twilight for support. “Backstabbed like nothing.”

 

“I do actually need that item, you know?” Four replied, halfway between amused and annoyed.

 

"Alright, boys, no fighting," Time announced, his mouth struggling not to stretch into a smirk, "and new strategy. If we run into a guardian, we let Four handle it. All in favor?"

 

The surge of agreement ranged from 'mildly sorry' (Sky) to 'gleeful' (Legend, of course, and Wild).

 

"Oh come on!"

 

 

 

BONUS:

 

The eight Links stared at the Guardian stumbling over the fields of Wild's Hyrule whilst Twilight mimed around like a drunk puppeteer. Wind's pictograph was out and flashing the moment the herd of bokoblins shrieked in panic and fled for their lives from the clearly malfunctioning monstrosity. Wild's Sheika Slate had been given to Hyrule for the task of recording the moments whilst he mourned yet another way the Goddesses had seen fit not to help him fight off Guardians.

 

“Anyone else feels a little sorry for them?” Sky asked, scratching his head as the camp was bulldozed through.

 

“Not as such, no,” Hyrule replied without skipping a beat. He might also have a few bruises on his shoulder from their last encounter.

 

“How do you laser with this thing?” Twilight grumbled, face scrunched up in concentration.

 

“Pfft, it had to be the bumpkins that gets the power to control ancient automatons,” Legend snarked, his hat still fuming from where he had dodged the Guardian's first beam.

 

In the distance, the bokoblins suddenly exploded.

 

“Ah, unbridled rage,” Twilight deadpanned. “That'll do.”

 

The Links carefully took a step back. And didn't get closer until Twilight had driven the Guardian off a cliff. You never knew with the quiet ones. The second the possession was over, however, Wild broke through the ranks with a determined look, opened his mouth-

 

And Twilight beat him to the punch. “Your recipe book.”

 

“Deal.”

 

“YES!”

 

“Wait,” Four called, narrowly avoiding the death glare Wild sent him, “are you sure you won't need it when this is over?”

 

Twilight shrugged. “I mean, I've used it all of once after I finished the dungeon with it? My Hyrule's not exactly big on statues and contraptions to magically possess. Good food though? Not like I'll ever stop having to need that.”

 

“Spoken like a true bumpkin.”

 

Poor Legend never saw Wild leap through the air with the righteous fury of an avenging angel to defend the honor of his mentor, the best man he ever met and the soon-to-be recipient of a great deal of cakes.