Part 11: Goblin Astronaut
Irony was a bitter tang. The course I'd chosen to shield myself from the world had instead thrust me into it, and under the worst circumstances.
"Fugitive." The word flared bright in my brain, blinding me from all others. Though little time had passed, my fear of pursuers was so great I almost walked backwards. They would surely take my escape as a sign of guilt. Guilt of a capital offence. I wasn't a spy, but by then I might as well have been.
Even so, the urge to return to Rhoan took all my will to resist. It was home. If I couldn't go home, it wasn't home anymore, which was ridiculous. Of course it was home.
I envisioned myself explaining the soldiers' mistake with such eloquence and charm that they couldn't help but agree, or thundering into town with sword in hand, damning the absurdity of it all, daring them to step forward and accuse me again. They would yield, of course, and I would walk away proud and free.
Any child deserves their fancies. One might even say they need them. I recognised mine for what they were and crushed them beneath cynicism.
A girlish scream shook me from my thoughts.
Duran? What are you-
Why? What's wrong?
Come on, before he catches up! Come on!
Is this all there is?
What, you want more? One's enough! And keep your voice down. Maybe he'll think twice with two of us here.
Relax. I'll handle it.
If you were me? Yes you would.
Um. Thanks, but you can sit this out.
No way. If dad finds out I let his favourite student die...
Well. I'd rather this thing kill me. At least it'd be quick.
Nothing. Let's do this.
Saw that coming.
So did I. And I don't even know the guy.
I'm not finished yet! I've still got my trump card!
Okay, that? You need to try.
That's done, then.
What...how did...when did...
Fucking hell, Yumil.
You should really get home. What were you doing out here?
I was picking flowers. For my hat. I kind of do it every day.
How is Gustav anyway? I...haven't seen him in a while.
Oh, you know. Same as always.
Sorry to hear it.
Oh! If you're going back to town, I need you to do me a favour. You know Fana?
You mentioned her a couple of times, I think. The sick girl?
Right. She lives in the town centre near the market. I need you to tell her that I might not be able to make it over for a while, because...
No. That's it. Just that I can't make it. And that I'm sorry. Very sorry.
Got it. She's not, like, contagious or anything, is she?
Wait, what do you mean if I'm going back to town? Where are you going?
...okay. Granatum Forest. So should I let her know you're committing suicide? That seems important.
I'm just going for a walk.
It's swarming with monsters!
Monsters like that goblin?
Don't stay too long. She doesn't like visitors. Actually, her grandmother will answer the door, so just give her the message.
I will not.
What's that look for?
"Fana doesn't like visitors"?
Ohhh. I get it. Ladies' man, is he? Afraid he'll put the moves on?
...sort of. Yeah.
I wouldn't worry. That hat could keep me from getting a date.