I have the worst job in Hyrule.
Please, don’t laugh. Trust me, I get that enough whenever I mention this at the local pub. Just hear me out.
I have the worst job in this entire land. Sure, you have Her Highness, who, Goddesses bless, does her best day in and day out to keep us all together and keep the forces of evil at bay. She bears the weight of all her people with grace and dignity, and she does so well.
Then, there is her chosen Hero, the descendant of Hylia’s own, tasked with saving us time and time again, at great risk and cost of his own. He will forever remain a beacon of Courage that Hyrule turns to in its time of need.
But those aren’t the worst jobs. No, that spot is reserved for me. The cleanup detail, the one stuck picking up this whole mess. You think the bearers of the Triforce are the only ones reborn through the ages? Ha! I have seen every rise and fall of this land right alongside them, because someone has to be around to clean it all up.
Did you think this place cleaned itself?
Though, to be fair, I have taken several forms and figures, playing varying roles in the Hero’s journey. I don’t know why, but while the Hero and Princess tend to stay relatively similar in iteration, I change.
That part, I don’t much mind, though some of my forms I have enjoyed more than others. Once, I was a carpenter with a great big pot belly and big ol’ hands that could craft just about anything I wanted out of even the softest, most twisted slabs of wood. And, I mean, I enjoyed that — had the chance to put my name on not only the homestead of the Sheikah, but the rebuilding of Castle Town. That was fun; ate plenty of good foods, too.
Once, I was a janitor in the castle, stuck cleaning chamber pots after Ganon and his cronies were given the boot. That, I didn’t enjoy as much; took me a season to get the stench out of my clothes.
Or the time I had to spend years buffing dents and scratches out of an ancient train? That was just weird.
I guess my biggest stress is that, this is a thankless job. Especially during this most recent fall — stupid Blood Moons. Literally every single time I would think I was all clear to go in to Castle Town and pick up the remains of those big mechanical turrets, which hardly deserve their “Guardian” moniker, that red ball would rise in the sky and I would be holding up my tool belt and pants as I hightailed it out of there faster than a frightened doe. Can’t I just do my job in peace?
I suppose not. Not since the White Goddess met me. “You take such great care of these blades. Your craftsmanship is unparalleled!”
I should have thanked her and walked away, but… Well, you try just walking away from those big, beautiful blues. You try ignoring an ethereal deity. You try telling Hylia no, and see what happens to you. I will probably be there to clean up afterwards.
“Your grace flatters me.” Those words sealed my fate. Some days, I even kind of regret them, and always will I remember them, until the last of my cycles. The Hero, the Princess, Evil Incarnate, and me. Each time I am reborn, it is with a hammer in hand, or a mop, or a sponge and polishing cloth. And then, I wait, and I wait, and I watch Hyrule fall, the Hero prance his way around the land, and that is usually my queue to get to work.
It’s rough, but someone has to do it. So when I say I have the worst job in Hyrule, please don’t laugh. All I ask is this: the next time Hyrule is conquered by evil, the next time Castle Town gets leveled, the next time the Hero leaves a path of dead monsters in his wake, think of me and wish me luck.
I’m going to need it.
Kat Vadam is a Copy Editor for Zelda Dungeon. She always wondered who got stuck cleaning up after Ganon — like Viscera Cleanup Detail. Theorize with her on Twitter!