Part 22: Prince Kullervo
There she is.
Rise and shine, ice queen! Or just rise, whatever.
Let me demonstrate how to rouse sleepy babies.
FIRE ALARM, DING DONG
THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM AND DOES NOT BURN TO DEATH
See? Works every time.
Caution: Baby may be vengeful.
Are you alright?
Yeah, she doesn't hit hard.
(Could one of you idiots please look behind you?)
Which of you unsealed me?
Um. That'd be me, I guess.
Much obliged! You die cleanly. The others scream.
Well aren't you just precious?
Wait. I know of you.
The spirits. The book.
I have promised your companion a quick death. One act of mercy. Surrender the book and I will permit myself two.
It's funny. Everyone who's said that to me so far is dead.
Think carefully about what makes you different.
Hah! I think your spine is too big for you, child.
Shall I tell you what makes me "different"? Those before me were peons. Cattle. I am Amorphes, demon of the sword, divine instrument of Messiah Kullervo. And I will tear that book from your sinful fingers, in His name.
Kullervo's dead, chief. Long dead.
Yes! Slain by these filthy creatures! And when he returns, I will await with book in hand, and the reckoning shall be upon you at last!
Someone needs to tell me who that was. And who Kullervo is.
Dead and dead. Not important.
But didn't he say...
He said a lot of things. He was also locked in the freezer for god knows how long, so they were all ancient history. Don't worry about it.
Neaki? This is Yumil. Our chosen one.
(Is it too late to get our money back?)
(...it's too early for this.)
For what? Oh, for the book to show up?
(No. For breakfast.)
(Too early for a dippy egg. Clearly that is what I meant by that statement.)
Rempo and I said the same thing. What do you think happened?
I already told you. They just screwed up a little sooner this time. It sucks, but there's nothing we can do about it.
(I am sure that's well and good, but what happens when all this delicious runny yolk goes cold?)
(That's what I'd like to know.)
Is she...are you talking to her? It just sounds like she's sighing.
Yeah, sorry, we should have said. She doesn't have a voice.
Or, she does, but...
Don't worry. We'll interpret.
(tell him to make some toast, quick)
She says she wants a toast.
This just leaves one more spirit, right? The lightning one. What was his name again?
Ur. That was it.
Where do you think he'd be?
Oh, you've gotta be kidding.
This is because I said he was dead, isn't it? Sure Rempo, why don't you just tempt fate? That always ends well. Guarantee he wouldn't be there if I'd kept my mouth shut.
What are you on about? Who wouldn't be there?
They're surprisingly capable. I do believe we've been routed.
Well then! Let them have their victory, I say. Let them feast and drink. Let their bellies grow soft and bloated. All the easier to cut when we return.
You agree, my prince?
...he must return immediately!
Kullervo was the author who came before you. The one who made this world.
Wait, if he was part of the last world, how can he still be alive?
He wrote himself in, obviously.
But that's the prince of Waisen. Isn't it? I thought his name was Valdo.
Kullervo must have taken control of him.
He's a demon. He does that.
Why would the book give itself to a demon?
'Cause it's stupid. How should I know? You think we get told anything besides what to do?
(And what happens if we don't. We get told that.)
I don't really count that as "telling."
So what does this mean for us? How bad is it?
What do you mean "good question"? It's very bad.
Is it? We knew Waisen was after the book anyway. Now we know why. Besides that, what's changed?
Invading didn't work. They got their asses kicked. Sending knights after us didn't work. They got their asses kicked. And Kullervo's in that weedy little prince's body. If he tries anything, he'll get his ass kicked.
He's not the chosen one anymore. Yumil is. So what's the big deal?
...I suppose when you put it like that. He's not just going to give up, though. How do we know what he'll try next?
We don't. So Yumil's gotta watch his back. Which he was doing already, right?
See? Nothing's changed. This is a non-issue.
Why didn't you tell me I could write myself into the new world?
...because you can't.
But you just said-
It won't be you. Not really. You'd just be creating another person who looks like you, acts like you. It wouldn't be your life.
Sorry, man. Some things there's no way around.
Can I go home now?
Yes, dear. You can.
I really hope that's just a skin condition.
Attention subjects! This very day, our beloved Kaleila stands triumphant!
We offer our utmost gratitude to our valiant soldiers, and to the two heroes who turned the tides of battle!
First, to our brilliant scholar, inventor and tactician, who holds innumerable Imperial death throes to his name! Haochy!
Thank you, thank you all! Too kind!
They'd never cheer like this if they saw the bodies.
And secondly, to this brave child, whose lone sword struck down a foul Waisen monster that a thousand Kaleilan spears could not pierce!
In his hands, the mystical Book of Prophecy, capable of performing miracles beyond believing! Citizens of Kaleila, I give you...
Look at that smile. I was starting to think his face just didn't move that way.
Mm. Now if we could get Neaki to smile as well, I'd be ready to retire.
(When hell freezes. And only if I make it happen.)
And you were worried this'd end badly.
Alright, alright. I'm glad it didn't. That still doesn't mean children should be fighting wars.
He says he's not a child. Always says it. Personally, I'm starting to buy it.
A child would be complaining about how unfair it all is. A child would have to be bribed into doing every little thing. A child would only be using the book for what he wanted.
He's more grown-up than most of the grown-ups who've done this.
(This'll go to his head. He'll turn out just as selfish as the rest. Wait and see.)
...be thankful you aren't male, Neaki.
I'm honestly not sure he will. Do you know why he did all this? Why he fought?
(Doubtless you will tell me.)
It was so he could go home. That's it. He has a friend in town who's very sick, and he wanted to be with her. To look after her. That's all he wants in the whole world, I think.
(Ha ha, yes, what a saint, people like that aren't a myth at all.)
(He flays babies.)
He does not flay babies.
(He does. He flays babies while you aren't watching. There's a vice in there somewhere to balance things out.)
Nobody's saying he's perfect. He isn't. We know. But he's still the best we've had in a long time, maybe forever.
We got ourselves a real little trooper here. He deserves this.