Part 4: A Princess Forever
So. What's wrong with your friend?
I know, smartass. Sick with what?
A disease. I don't know what it's called.
Bad enough that I've never seen her up and about.
So you're gonna help her, right?
I don't really think I can.
Hey. You know what happens to pessimists? They get kicked in the balls. By me.
Maybe yesterday you couldn't. Today, you have the book. Screw "can't." Once you get the hang of things, we'll see what we can do for her. Sound good?
Sorry, I don't speak "half-ass". DOES THAT SOUND GOOD?
Yes. Sorry. It sounds great.
Oh! I know who I should talk to!
How are you?
I'm. Er. Hello.
I'm writing a book. I was wondering if you could help.
I'm having some trouble getting started. Maybe you could give me some advice?
No, um. Don't know. I don't know how.
You don't know how to write?
How to tell you. It's in my head. It's...I just...
Kamui called this "losing his words." He knew, nebulously, what he wanted to say, but couldn't give it cohesion. Something in his mind, some maelstrom, tore away sentences as they formed, dragged them into the Lethean depths and left him mute.
His lips twisted, eyelids squeezed, hands wrung themselves white, and silence prevailed.
Okay. Don't worry about it. It was just a thought.
What's it about?
The book? Um, just the town. Rhoan. And some other stuff, maybe. I'm not sure yet.
Can I see? Maybe I can...
Go on. Only you know what it is. Won't hurt to let him look.
At Rempo's urging, I handed him the book. Hesitantly.
He seemed unperturbed by the sinister cover. So had Fana, at that. As he read, I wondered if some glamer was imbued within, presenting a mundane facade to all but myself.
He frowned. Whether at my writing or because he still couldn't force himself to speak, I don't know. That was until he saw the flower.
Blazera, lilium ignis. Herbaceous perennial...
This flower is passion. On the page. Passion.
What is? The flower's called passion?
No. It's called Blazera. Blazera is...is passion. When you look. You see it.
Oh. You mean like a flower language thing? Blazera means passion?
Yes! Blazera is passion. I can see it. You draw? You drew it?
It's good. It's like it's...like it's real, it's here. Blazera, passion. I can see it properly. Pictures don't look real, with flowers, most of them. Not the same. Has to be real.
Are you drawing more?
I don't know. I might.
Can I see them? Flowers, flowers help.
Another pause, but with no sign of frustration behind it. No frown, no knotted brow.
He had the words. He just didn't want to say them.
...if I do any more, I'll show them to you.
You should jot that down. That stuff about the flower.
Well, why not? More info can't hurt. Besides, you're the one stuck for what to write about.
That's not real information, though. Flowers don't actually have meanings.
Sure they do. Who says they don't?
They don't. "Flower language" is just made up. To sell flowers.
So what are you saying?
...I'm saying what I just said. Did you not understand it?
No, I didn't. What are you saying? What am I saying? What is anyone saying?! All these words are just made up! Language is a lie! Aaaaah!
That's not the same-
Yes it is. It's exactly the same thing.
Of course it's made up. The whole idea of meaning is "made up." That doesn't mean it's not worth something. If it does then everything is just a bunch of pointless, random shit. Why even breathe?
But hey, you're the one with the book. If you'd rather just let flowers be plants...
Ah, so you got a soul in there after all. I was starting to worry.
It's just so I have something down. Filler.
Normally I'd get all sarcastic and be like "Yeah, sure it is," but with you I actually don't know.
...yes, I am. Am I in trouble? How do you know that?
No no! I just make it a point to learn everyone's name. Mayoral duties and all that.
Just between you and me, the personal touch is the only thing keeping me in office.
Oh yes. I actually don't know a thing about running a city, but I can wave and call people by name and they think "What a nice man! I'll be sure to vote for him."
Ah. I'll have to bid you farewell, I'm afraid. I have work to avoid.
You have elves here?
One elf. I've heard a few people say he has a daughter, but I've never seen her.
Huh. Didn't think they got out of their forests.
He seems alright, though. Not too uppity. Hell, I'd vote for him.
There aren't actually any other candidates.
Definitely vote for him, then.
Why had I come to the park? This was the wealthy district of Rhoan. The upper level filled with upper class. I'd barely managed a complete sentence about my own neighbourhood and already I was wandering out of my way.
Receiving the book had thrown me into a fugue, a realisation that came far too late.
I just noticed where we are. We have to go before-
What gives? I even tried a fresh new greeting. You're no fun. What are you doing?
Just taking a walk.
Ha ha. I know what it is. Yup, no doubt. Aw, to be young again.
I was pretty good back in my day. How about I teach you a trick that'll knock them dead? It works every time!
First you find a moving target. Sneak up slowly, and...
Ah, what a glory to behold! This is nothing short of fate!
Then you slip out a present from this "pick-up" sack. Be sure to woo 'em good!
He is literally insane.
I'm not even kidding. You need to get out of here. You are in danger.
Yeah. Okay Vis, I-
don't say goodbye just go
What's with the book? Trying to educate yourself now?
You know it's way too late for that.
It's just a storybook.
Really? Let's see it, then.
...alright, you got me. I'm studying flowers.
Hah! Flowers? Seriously? So you're a nerd and a girl. Anything else you want to get out in the open?
Flowers. What the hell are you gonna do with that? Studying's for the "haves", my friend. You and I are the "have-nots".
Yeah. Just seems like it's worth a try sometimes, you know?
Gotta lose those ideas, man. Focus on your day to day. Stay alive.
I know. Sorry.
S'alright. Listen, I gotta head. See you around.
Remind me. What was it I said about pessimism earlier? Something to do with balls.
Trust me, I did us a favour. I disagree and the rest of our day is listening to him whinge.
"Oh, life dealt us a bad hand. Oh, there's no way out of this pit. Oh. Oh."
What's his problem? And what's this town's problem? All the kids here are so damn gloomy. Except that Meenya girl who I instantly dislike and you seriously need to go back and scan her because how the hell did she see me.
I don't know, okay? And I'm not a kid. Or gloomy.
Didn't say you were. Guilty conscience.
Where we headed?
Oh. Great. Now I'm convinced.
Hey, you know what's funny about graveyards?
Kinda depressing. Do we have to be here?
You said to go around town. This is part of town.
Yeah, well. Don't be too long.
Anyone you know in here?
That's very tactful. No.
Glad to hear it.
Come on. You don't have to write down every single headstone.
I'm not. I'm just...
What? What's wrong?