The Potionmaker’s Lament

Some say potion making is a science, others, an art. I say it’s a Nayru-damn hassle.

I’ve apprenticed with literally the crème de la crème of potion making for the past 40 years. 40 fucking years! That’s how long it takes to learn how to make every one of the 912 potions in Kotake’s Mysteries of Potion. Why that woman sat around thinking up so many recipes, I have no clue. By the 25th year, it was just making the previous 251 potions except in different random colors. Do you know how many colors there are?

Finally, when I reach the end of my training, Rauru, my teacher, gives me a 15-minute spiel about the business of selling potions and then kicks me out the door. I’m 52, single, and have been sleeping in a dusty basement for my entire adult life. But now I’m a potions master! Chicks dig that, right?

In addition to imparting ancient potion-making wisdom, Rauru was also kind of enough to front a few month’s rent for a small shoppe in Kakariko. With the starter set of herbs and other potion stuff he gave me, I figure I’ve got about six months of runway, which should be enough to get going.

It takes three weeks in the back of a wagon before I finally reach Kakariko but as soon as my feet hit the muddy road, I bolt down the thoroughfare to see my shoppe. When I arrive, I realize I should have savored the walk over.

It’s. A. Dump.

The wood facade is crumbling, the door is resting in front of the misshapen hole where the door should go, and the less said about the landscaping the better. I look to the left and right to see if I  am the proud renter of a dump on a street of dumps or the bad neighbor that is lowering everyone else’s property values and am dismayed to realize that it’s the latter. Luckily everyone is still asleep so I walk quietly up the front stairs and try to pick up the door to rest it on the front wall silently hoping that the added weight does not send the structure toppling over. Thank Zora it doesn’t.

I could bore you with the details of how I was able to spruce up the ol’ shoppe in just under three months, but this story is already too depressing as it is. Let’s just cut to my grand-opening celebration where the whole town turns out to sample my wares and I make lots of new friends and even a potential love interest.

At least that’s how it went in my dreams the night before. I need to stop taking those dream potions every night. They are messing with my perception of reality.

The opening was an unmitigated disaster. I ended up over-boiling the Eye of Newt stock solution, which is used in 86% of all potions, so the whole town spent the night vomiting on my front stoop.

But when Din closes a door, she opens a window, right?

I had been trying too hard to make up for lost time, when I should have kept things simple. One potion – the Potion of Rejuvenation, which given how last night went seems prudent; two strengths, and that’s it. Let’s call it a pivot. No splashy opening, I’m going to just clean up this vomit and do a free giveaway week or something.

Weeks pass.

There are no customers.

Evidently making everyone in the town vomit was bad for business.

Fine. I get it.

So I spend my days either staring at the door hoping someone walks in or in the back trying to perfect a love potion to help me woo the mayor’s older sister.

One afternoon I’m minding my business, trying to recall from memory the 361 steps to making the Elixir of Youth when the entrance bell begins to jingle and the door slowly opens.

A customer!

“Welcome to Steve’s Potions Emporium!” I say. “We’ve got only two potions but they can’t be beat.”

I look at my potential first customer. He’s dressed in all green – green pants, shirt, and hat, and carrying a wooden shield and a wooden sword. He can’t be more than 15 years old, but maybe he’s the son of a rich noble or something. He eyes the potions silently.

“I haven’t seen you around town. Are you new or just visiting?”

He looks at me and starts opening his mouth to respond, but then closes it again. Instead, he walks over to the lower-strength potion and taps it with his wooden sword.

“Interested in that one? That’ll be 100 rupees.”

The green-clad customer looks at me with a perturbed expression before he bolts out of the shoppe.

So close.

The next morning though, he returns. Even though his clothes are green, I can see a smattering of grass stains on his pants and shirt. He walks up to the same potion, taps it with his sword again and detaches a pouch from his belt. I take the pouch, weighing the amount with just my hand (another one of my activities to pass the time) and nod.

“The potion is yours. Just need your bottle.”

He again looks at me like I’m a crazy person, but fishes around inside one of the other pouches on his belt and pulls out something to show me.

“No, that’s a glass, not a bottle. Potions can only be stored in bottles. Surely you must know that!”

He shakes his head no.

“OK, well, I don’t have any bottles for sale, but the guy down the street has one I think. It’s 4000 rupees.”

The customer’s eyes go wide. He holds out the glass again.

“No, sorry, there’s nothing I can do. If I get caught selling potions to people without bottles, I’ll lose my license.”

The customer frowns, stares at the potion vat again, before quickly grabbing the pouch of rupees out my hand and bolting out of the store.

Farore-damn it. I should have been a bottlemaker.