Part 15: Homecoming
That is a plague of locusts.
What? Is that bad? I mean, aside from the obvious?
Nothing to worry about. Aside from the obvious, like you said.
We said we'd head back to town after this, right? You still wanna go?
Are you hurt? Do you need any help? I can't believe you went in there! Have you gone crazy?!
I'm fine. Did you give Fana my message?
I forgot! I was worried about you so I came back, and now there's a war starting and we had an earthquake and, and everything's just-
Whoa, whoa, slow down. War?
Yeah, with Waisen. They attacked Wargliss Fort, I think. Everyone was always saying they were up to something, but...wow.
I heard about it right after I got back. That's why I didn't...
Right. Don't worry about it.
I'm thinking about signing up. To fight, I mean. They're taking everyone they can get.
You're sure you don't need any help getting back? Have you even slept?
...no, you go on ahead. I'll be fine.
This is perfect.
This is it! If I fight against Waisen, it'll prove I'm not a spy!
How you gonna pull that off? You show up at their door and they'll throw you right back in prison. In a secure cell this time.
I have to try. I have to clear my name somehow.
They didn't put up posters of me, did they? Most of them probably won't know my face. As long as I don't tell them who I am...
I hate to interrupt when I don't know the story, but we're talking about a war here. Wars are not nice. Don't you think you're a bit young?
No. I don't.
How hard could it be? I handled that chimera just fine. And everything else since I got the book.
'S true. I saw it.
Convention would have me say I felt I'd been away forever. Honesty, that I'd only popped out for a few hours. Even as a monster-slaying swordsmaster on the run, home, or at least the perception of it, was still home.
Find a recruitment officer. Review the notes I'd taken. Wash. Food. Bed. Too much for too few hours.
I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry! I've just been so busy!
I, I asked someone to tell you I wouldn't make it but he forgot to do it, you know, with the war and all. I really wanted to be here, it's just-
You've come here every single day for how many years now? I can't even remember. You were bound to miss one sooner or later. I'm not going to drop dead just because...
Okay, that...that was a bad choice of words. But you know what I mean. You've got other things to do. I understand that.
So you're not upset?
Look at me. C'mere.
I am not upset. Okay?
The problem wasn't that I thought she was lying. It was that I knew she was telling the truth.
Oh, could you get that? Granny's out.
Can I help you?
I have a letter here for a Miss Fana. Are you a relative?
Caregiver. I'll bring it to her. Thanks.
Letter for you, madam! From the orphanage, looks like.
Hm. They said they liked their toys very much, and could I please send a bear as well.
They've got a new one in. Bears are his favourite.
Mine too. You're good at bears.
Oh, nothing. Just, "A new one." That's never nice to hear.
Reminds me how lucky I am that I still have granny. And you.
Here's your flower.
Though it was quicker to cut through the town square market than go around, I normally avoided doing so for two reasons. At that hour, I hadn't expected either of those reasons to be present. A mistake on my part.
Yes, you always seem to catch me in a bad mood. Can't imagine why.
Isn't it a little past your bedtime? Why are you still open?
Because, my beloved barbarian, entrepreneurism never sleeps. Why, with all this talk of war, closing would be downright immoral! The people need provisions, and it is our duty as loyal Kaleilans to deliver. Day or night, rain or shine.
Perhaps you'd care to browse?
Oh, but we have such a fine selection today. Won't you at least have a look?
Well, if you insist, hmm yes some lovely items here, very high-quality as always oh look at that I can't afford any of it as you bloody well know. Are we done?
How about a little wager, then?
Ten seconds to explain, then I'm gone.
A game of chance. Win and double your money.
How is this a game of chance?
How is it not?
It's just perception test. An easy one.
Hah. I knew you wouldn't be up to it. If you're too scared, just say so.
Look, I can hear you! I can hear where you are!
This is a chance to take money from people you obviously hate. Why you fucking it up?
I won enough money to buy their entire stock. Then I won back the money I'd spent. Then I won some more, just for fun.
Well, how about it? Want to go again?
No. Please. Let's not.
I don't suppose we could talk you into investing?
I don't know. This place looks a bit pedestrian for my taste.