The air was fresh and chill as the sun rose over the horizon. Streaks of pink and yellow filled the sky just before the sun was fully up. Most of the people in and around the castle were just waking up to the rising sun, or the calls of the cuckoos. But over one of the green hills the figure of a teenage boy riding a brown horse could be seen. He had not just woken up, like the others; in fact, he had not slept the previous night, as he had been traveling the whole night. As he approached a bridge that crossed the small stream that flowed into the castle, he slowed his horse from her gallop to a walk. He crossed her over the bridge, then stopped and dismounted.
As he walked to the stone steps he barely glanced at the wooden sign that was inscribed with the village’s name. He knew well enough where he was. This was Kakariko, the village where the guardian of the Princess Zelda had been raised. It seemed only a matter of a few moments since he had last been in this village, but he knew that to everyone else it had been seven years. To most it had probably seemed more than that, since Ganondorf had been able to come into power through his travels into the Sacred Realm. It was entirely his fault that the world he had once known had been screwed up, and now he was going to fix it. He may not be able to reverse the seven years of suffering that everyone had endured, but he could try and rid the world of the evil he had released, and slowly the world would be healed. He knew that he would triumph. He HAD to. Was he not the one who had been chosen by the Great Deku Tree?
As the boy was thinking of these thoughts, the ominous sky opened up, and a heavy rain poured down onto the earth below. Link ran for cover into the nearest building, a shop.
The shopkeeper looked up at the boy that had just walked in. Something about the face and the green clothing struck him as familiar. He saw a pink fairy fly out from behind the boy. This seemed odd to the shopkeeper, since only the small group that lived in the Kokiri forest had fairies that stayed with them. And surely this boy could not be one of them. The people of Kokiri never seemed to be older than ten years old, and this boy appeared to be into his late teens. Besides, the forest people did not carry weapons around, especially not swords.
“Can I get you anything?”
“Umm, no, just getting out of the rain.”
“You look somewhat familiar. What is your name?"
“My name is Link.”
“Link? But that’s impossible. People say that you disappeared seven years ago, right before Ganondorf took control. In fact, those who had talked to you a little more, they said... well, the rumors surrounding the timing of your disappearance and his rise to power did not exactly picture you in the best light. But others said that it was impossible that there was any connection between you and him. One of your staunchest defenders was the daughter of the Lon Lon Ranch.”
Link blushed slightly at the mentioning of the Malon. It was, of course, her horse, Epona, who he was now riding. It was she who had taught him the song that had allowed him to tame the horse. At first she hadn’t recognized him, and he could not believe how lovely she looked, how much change can be wrought by seven years, but she quickly recognized him as the “fairy boy.”
The worst of the storm had soon passed, and Link decided to venture back outside. A light, mist-like rain still fell. It had now become somewhat cold, and the rain was slowly penetrating Link’s clothes. He ducked under a piece of roof that jutted out from the side of a building. Bored and cold, Link decided to take out his sword and swing it around a bit, trying more and more complicated techniques. As he was swinging the sword behind himself he felt the broad side hit something soft. The impact of his sword was followed by an indignant squawk.
He turned quickly to find out what it was he had hit, fearing that maybe he hit a person. Fortunately all he saw was a small, white, feathered creature. In other words, he had hit a cuckoo.
“Stupid bird,” he muttered to himself. “But hey, I’m pretty bored, why not have a bit of fun?”
Link prodded the bird with the tip of his sword, using just enough pressure to annoy it. He had no intention of killing someone else’s bird and getting them ticked off. The bird again let out its silly noises. Link decided to give it another poke. This time the bird seemed even more annoyed. It lifted its head into the air and began to crow. Link wondered what it could be doing, but it just kept on crowing. Then, out of nowhere, there appeared a huge flock of very angry looking cuckoos.
“Oh, just great, what are they up to?”
But before Link could even finish his sentence, they began to attack him. They pecked and poked, and clawed, and pretty much hurt him in any way that the fat birds could manage, which was a surprising amount considering how tiny they were. Just goes to show that you can’t underestimate an angry crowd.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cuckoos have gone insane! They’re attacking! Run for you lives!”
Link promptly followed his own advice and ran for the nearest house. He pounded on the door, and deciding not to wait for an answer, opened it, ran in, and slammed it shut. When he looked up he saw two very astonished faces. He then noticed that there was hardly any light in the room. The curtains were shut and the room was filed with lit candles. The man and woman were sitting at a table with a bottle of wine and two filled glasses. Link realized that he had just interrupted a couple in the middle of a romantic dinner, and began to apologize profusely.
“Sorry, very sorry, I had no idea. But the cuckoos, they were attacking. They were everywhere, little feathery bodies of fury coming at me from every direction. I had to get away.”
The couple looked at the boy before them. They noticed that his clothes were torn, his face and hands were scratched and bleeding, and that he seemed to be quite out of breath. They looked at each other and then back at him.
“Well, so much for our romantic evening alone,” said the man ruefully.
“Oh well, there’s always tomorrow night,” sighed the woman. “For now, let’s take care of this guy. You said it was the cuckoos, right?”
“Yes. It was insanity. I have never seen anything like it. One moment I was just having some good, clean fun at the expense of this one, lonely cuckoo, nothing harmful, just annoying, when out of nowhere a whole army of those evil creatures appeared. I never saw it coming.”
“They never do,” muttered the woman.
”You mean others have had similar experiences? I didn’t know that they attacked like that. I thought that I had just had the luck to find some insane mutant breed.”
“No, they are all like that. Most people don’t see them for the evil that they truly are, but we know, we know all too well.”
The woman just sort of trailed off. A look in her eyes told Link that she had been a victim to the pointless violence of the cuckoo attacks.
“It had all started off so innocently. About three years ago a few friends and I were bored, so we decided to spend the day out in the fields outside of here. It was a very nice day. We brought along a picnic lunch, and started off a little before noon. We ate lunch and began to walk some more. It was then that we spotted some cuckoos. Seeing them we decided to have a little fun, you know--chasing them around; that was all. We ran until we were tired out. Then we sat down and talked some. That was when it happened. My one friend, Briana, reached her arms out to stretch, accidentally hitting one of the cuckoos that were standing behind her. Apparently that was enough to push it over the edge. It stretched its neck out, crowed, and we were surrounded. They seemed to really want to go after Briana, but they weren’t against hitting whoever was near enough. We ran as fast as we could, running until we were far away from the site of the attack. It was only then that we realized Briana wasn’t with us. We went searching for her, calling her name and looking everywhere. When we arrived at the scene of the attack, all that was there was a bunch of feathers and Briana’s hair ribbon. We never found her.”
Link stood there a while, wondering about what he had just been told. Up until now he would not have believed the seemingly peaceful birds could have carried out such a thing.
“Then it’s final. It is time that we took our revenge on this scourge. We must clear this town of all cuckoos. Let it be known to this entire village that war has been declared on the evil that inhabits here by Link, and, umm... by the way, we haven’t been officially introduced. My name is Link.
”I am Anders, and this is my wife, Katarina. We would be pleased to help you in your quest.”
Over the next week the three warriors prepared for the struggle that lay ahead of them. They purchased weapons and armor, and they made battle plans. Finally after long days and even longer nights of preparation, all was ready for the first attack. The trio was waiting behind one of the houses. Right around the corner one of the enemy birds could often be found. They slowly crept along the wall, inch by grueling inch, coming ever closer to their powerful enemy. Just as they reached the place of attack, Link, who was in the front, stopped. He turned to Anders and Katarina, and whispered a few last instructions to them.
“Remember who we are dealing with. This may not be the most intelligent enemy, or the most terrible, but they are ruthless, and they have the advantage of numbers and great communication. Do not let your guard down for a second. We must attack with full fury. Remember who you are doing it for, this is not just for yourself, or for those friends who have been lost to this plague that infests this peaceful Kakariko, but for all those who will ever live here. We are fighting for their freedom as well as ours. So fight valiantly, my friends.”
With these words of encouragement the group appeared from behind the building.
“On the count of three we attack. One, two, THREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Attack! Fight the evil blight that mars our land.”
But our brave heroes did not have very much time before the lone cuckoo called in for reinforcements. Each had taken several shots at the bird, but to no avail. As the bird stretched its neck out and opened its mouth to utter its fatal call, the three heroic soldiers froze, knowing what this signaled. They tried to fight against the army that attacked, but all of their efforts were for naught. Link knew what he had to do.
“RETREAT! RETREAT! There are too many of them. Run now, while you can.”
The three defeated warriors ran as fast as they could back to the house. They shut and locked the door and stood there for a few moments recovering from the failed attempt. They then began to take off their gear and sat down. They sat in silence for a few minutes, each thinking their own thoughts on the battle. Link was the first to speak.
“We can’t let them get away with that. We must fight again, and again. We must go after them until they are defeated. But for now we must figure out how it is that we can kill them. Does anyone have any suggestions?”
They all thought for a while, trying to figure out how they were going to defeat the hated enemy. Most of the ideas that they came up with were rather ridiculous, including Anders’ idea of an elaborate trap to get the birds stuck under a large basket. Other ideas were okay, and possibly worth trying if no others came up. Then Katarina came up with an idea, the only one that seemed feasible at the time.
“I’ve got it!”
At this the two others were startled from their own thoughts. They turned to Katarina expectantly.
“We’ve got to snipe them out. There are six of them, and three of us, right? Then what we need is a plan to take them out secretly. Each of us will need a bow and some arrows. Link, you already have one, and Anders and I have one, so we’ll need to buy another one. That won’t be too hard. Then, early in the morning, just before the sunrise, we will each go to an advantageous hiding position, where the most amount of Kakariko is in view and in range. When one goes by, we send out an arrow from our hiding place. They’ll never know where the attacks came from. Each person will have two spaces chosen. When you have successfully taken out one cuckoo, quickly retrieve the body, put it into the container of ice that I will have ready, and go to your next hiding place. That way, if they do figure out where the arrow came from, you will be in another spot.”
“It’s simply brilliant!” exclaimed Anders. “Only, why are we putting the bodies into a container of ice?”
Katarina looked startled by the question, but she quickly regained her composure and answered her husband with a sweet smile.
“Well, we can’t exactly leave their mangled corpses to rot in the street, and we can’t dispose of them properly if we are too busy dealing with the others. So, this way they’ll be kept where they won’t begin to stink until we can dispose of them.”
“Oh, I see. Well, I say we try Katarina’s idea. How about you, Link, do you agree?”
“Yes. This may be the chance to triumph over evil.”
Three days later, the soldiers-turned-hunters were in position. The sun was to rise in five minutes, and each person was left alone in the chill pre-dawn air to consider what had to be done. The sun was soon visible just at the horizon, and it quickly began its ascent into the sky. It was Link who spotted the first cuckoo. It was walking slowly past a set of stairs, stopping now and then to peck at the earth. He set his arrow, got his aim, slowly pulled back the string, and let the arrow fly through the air. The feathered arrow raced though the sky to its feathered victim. The sharp point plunged itself into the unsuspecting cuckoos heart, and the white feathers became a bright red. The cuckoo fell over. Link ran to the place where the foul fowl had fallen. By the time he got there, it was dead. He picked up the body and marched triumphantly to the house to place it into the ice. He then went to his next spot.
Soon after Link’s victory, Katarina also took out one of the cuckoos. It was only a matter of a few hours before all six were dead. The three victorious heroes returned to the house, where the six corpses lay in wait.
“So, Katarina, my wonderful wife, what are we to do with these bodies?”
“I say we cut off their heads and place them on pikes, and march through town.”
Katarina and Anders stared at Link in horror at such a barbaric suggestion.
“What?” Linked asked innocently.
“Well, all sick suggestions aside, I have a wonderful idea for what to do with these creatures. Why don’t you two go do something for a few hours? Go get something to eat, or go celebrate by getting drunk or something. I don’t care. Just leave me alone until around six. Come back then, and all will be ready.
Anders looked at his wife suspiciously, but since she had just given him permission to go get drunk, he didn’t see any reason to ask questions. He’d have to get rid of Link first, though. He was sure that he wasn’t old enough to get any alcohol.
At six the two returned to the house. They came in and were welcomed by a very delicious scent. The appearance of the kitchen told them that Katarina had been busy cooking all afternoon, but it now appeared that dinner was ready. Anders was glad. He hadn’t been able to get rid of Link. Anyway, the only tavern within in walking distance was closed. This tavern also happened to be the only place that they could have gone to get something to eat, so by now they were both very hungry.
“Ah, welcome. I’ll be there in a moment, just have to wash up, then I’ll be ready to serve dinner.”
In a few minutes dinner was out, and three were ravenously devouring the delicious meal. It was some sort of wonderful meat with gravy and some fresh vegetables cooked in a light and airy pastry crust. It wasn’t until everyone had finished their second serving and were about ready to begin the third when someone brought up the subject of the cuckoos.
“So, aren’t either of you at all curious as to what I did with those birds?”
Link lifted his head from his plate, suddenly remembering the reason why they had left the house for the whole day.
“Yeah, what did you do with them?”
“Well, I had remembered an old recipe that my mom had made years ago. She only made it once, and I asked her why. She told me that the main ingredient, the meat, was an extremely dangerous animal, and it was very hard to catch. I asked her what this creature was. She told me it was the cuckoo. At the time I didn’t believe her, and it wasn’t until the attack on Briana that I realized how dangerous they really are. But I had completely forgotten about the recipe until I came up with the way to kill them. So, enjoy your meal, especially since there will be quite a few cuckoo dishes for a while.
At first Link was shocked by the revelation that this delicious dish was made of cuckoo meat. But then he realized that it was no different from eating any other animal flesh, and besides, this was a particularly tasty animal. And so the three warriors, Link, Katarina, and Anders, had their revenge. And Link could not help but remember the old saying about sweet revenge. Who ever knew that it could be taken so literally?