A couple of days ago I was experiencing the joy of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, getting lost from the main objectives and quests of the game, and exploring the world of Hyrule at random, as per usual. I was passing by Riverside Stable when I noticed the animal pens in the background and took a quick look up close. It was here when I noticed there were a couple of eggs in the Chicken pen, so I jumped the fence and grabbed them for my inventory.
And then, right as I was about to leave, a certain prompt caught my eye. I could pick up a Chicken. I immediately acted on this, hoping that I’d get at best a good laugh, and at worst some mild amusement as I continue to abandon the main storyline to save Hyrule in favor of playing with the animals.
Immediately the Chicken began clucking and frantically flapping its wings while I held it over my head so much that I thought I might unlock a secret flying device and take to the skies. Naturally, I took this opportunity to literally become one with the Chicken, impersonating the headless variant of the species as I ran circles around the poor friends of the flapping menace for a good thirty seconds or so. Honestly, I’m surprised that the Chicken had any plumage left at all after the feathery, tornado-like mess it created due to my antics.
Once I decided that the poor Chicken had gone through enough trauma for one day, it was time to put it back down and part ways. Or at least it would have been, if I didn’t notice the ‘throw’ prompt, allowing me to hurl the Chicken through the air, much like Link’s ability to fling rocks and weapons, among other things. Staring out into the calm, flowing river in front of me, a single intrusive thought crossed my mind; I wanted to see it float, now.
I’d seen all sorts of ducks and various other birds just chilling on the water during my time roaming Hyrule, and a part of me was just dying to see the Chicken become one of these specimens, hanging out and (pun most definitely intended) going with the flow. Unfortunately, when I threw this Chicken in for a dip, it vanished completely with a splash, disappearing for good.
I thought this must have been some sort of unlucky bug or error, so I picked up another unfortunate Chicken test subject and repeated the throw. Just like the previous victim, this Chicken was suddenly a goner too, never resurfacing like I had so desperately hoped.
However, now I was curious. Was this some sort of bizarre bug, or can Chickens just not float on water in the world of Hyrule? For no reason other than my bewilderment, I went straight to testing this out with the rest of the Chickens in the pen, throwing them into various locations of the river. Much to my disappointment, the Chickens all vanished, even when they landed in the shallow water of a depth less than Link’s waist.
When I turned around to look at the empty Chicken pen, a somewhat disturbing question washed over me, and I stood there in horror. Had I just single-handedly drowned a significant amount of Chickens in the river? Of all things in this game, I had not expected to become a mass murderer of Chickens, and now I had to live through the rest of my adventure with this in the back of my mind, haunting me every time I stumbled across another duck or pond bird.
And besides, where the hell did these Chickens even vanish to? Did they enter an alternate universe? Are they stuck exploring the backrooms right now? Or are they patiently adapting and evolving to underwater life, biding their time until I one day return, so they can strike back in a frenzy? After all, there’s the unspoken rule in Zelda Games; you don’t mess with the Chickens… and if you do, they will mess with you.
This was both an amusing waste of my playtime and a valuable learning experience that has somewhat pushed me back into following the story of the game. After all, I don’t know if I want to keep exploring. Part of me is terrified I’m going to be minding my own business one day, and then just hear clucking in the distance, getting louder and louder as they close in on me. Or worse, maybe I’m going to witness something else equally horrifying, like goats in trees, or wolves that can fly. I don’t even know anymore, this game is so full of surprises.