Part 49: Back to Rhoan
I WILL SET MY COCK ABLAZE AND FIREFUCK Y...
Okay. First question. What? Second question. The hell?
I really should have written this down or something.
You ever wonder if this is all part of the plan?
People being assholes.
Some fire spirit jerk shows up out of nowhere with a book. Hey, your world's not good enough, so it's gotta go. Make a better one. Who could just go along with that?
Then the world screws you and suddenly, letting it all burn doesn't seem so bad. You don't want to fight it anymore.
Food for thought.
I sort of let you down, didn't I?
...look, what you do with your friends is your business. We shouldn't be sticking our noses in. It's just, you seemed like a good-
You're a good kid. Kinda caught us off.
In any case, you have us all back now. If you go to Sunny Hill, there's still a chance you can set it right.
Ur, listen. If you're just telling me that to keep my hopes up, stop. There isn't time for me to go on a wild goose chase. Do you really, honestly think there's any point in me trying this again?
I've been contemplating that for some time.
The real question is, could you live with not doing it?
To Sunny Hill, then. At least, that was the plan.
Plans are fragile things.
No! Not yet!
Stop it! Not yet! I'm not ready yet!
What was that?
That is what happens when a Great Spear springs a leak.
All that power, dissipated. It's nothing but stone and steel now.
Why did it stop? Is it over?
"Hey guys, thought I'd let you know this is still happening. Just in case you were getting your hopes up."
I'm not sure that was an accident.
Yumil. You said Kullervo was killed with that spear, didn't you?
I said Ellie said that. Take it with a grain of salt.
Think about it. Kullervo's still in the prince's body, but he shouldn't need it anymore. He only used it to spread chaos, to make the book appear.
If he knows Valdo can't control the book, the next step would be to return to his old body. He should have done it by now. Unless...
...it were compromised somehow.
He's still there. Impaled. That's why he had to work through proxies. It's been holding him there this whole time.
And now it's broken.
It doesn't matter.
I don't have time to worry about it. I have to finish the book.
The way things are headed, you won't have time to do that either.
Yumil. Kullervo's behind almost everything that went wrong in this world, and he's still making trouble. If you could stop him, maybe it'd postpone things.
I don't know.
And how big is that "maybe"?
...I don't know.
And to do this, I'd have to go back to Rhoan. And probably get blamed for the sky falling, because they're all idiots.
The one place in the world I really don't want to see again. I even crossed it out of the book because I was so fed up with it. I have to go there. And kill a demon. So I can maybe buy some more time that'll maybe be enough.
Let's go, then.
Let's go. I've had enough. I'm not being jerked around anymore. I'm not sitting here saying "What if I can't, what if it won't, what if there isn't" anymore. We're going back, and then I'm going to make a liar of everyone in every world who says I didn't do everything I could.
And you are going to wait until I'm finished or, and here's a vision of the future for you, I'm feeding you to that volcano. How does that sound?
Look at me. I don't care what you can do. You're just paper. I've got the pen, so I'm in charge. Understand?
Everyone? Follow me.
Look. At. This. Man.
Nothing we can add to that, I think.
Did you feel that? His balls dropped harder than those meteors did.
Make us proud, Yumil.
God damn. Our little boy just flowered. Can somebody wipe my eyes?
Where do you think you're going?
Use your eyes.
Oh wait. Your eyes don't work, do they?
I'm going into town. Is that a problem?
I'll call the guards.
The guards will all be at the tower. You'll have to call pretty loud.
...did you do this?
It doesn't matter how I answer that and we both know it. So don't ask.
If you're leaving town, I'd think twice. There's an army of monsters coming. You bump into them and you're dead.
And what happens if we stay here?
I'm just saying, you might want to do something nice with the next few hours, instead of running. Eat a good meal, maybe.
Aren't you going to stop them?!
Is that a joke?
Look, if this is about...I'm sorry, alright? I-we changed our minds while you were gone. We know you didn't-
Go on. Finish that lie. See what happens.
(Don't browbeat him. Leave him be.)
I'm not browb...
...I'm not letting him abandon them. If we forgave him, he can do the same for them.
(You forgave him after being angry.)
And after he was sorry. Which, hey, these people aren't. Not yet.
That doesn't mean they should have to die!
(Mieli. You know your approval matters to him. If you tell him to forgive them, he will. But only for you. He'll choke down all the bitterness, all the anger, say the words, save their lives, and it'll be one big act to make you happy. He'll go to his grave wearing a mask.)
(Is that what you want?)
...I just don't want anyone else to get hurt.
(You seem pretty sure he'll let that happen.)
(Do you think he'll fall if you let go of his hand? Or are you just too used to holding it?)
(You've taught him plenty. Now give him some space and he'll show you what he's learned.)
You'd better be right.
(I'm always right.)
You said he was evil.
(Yeah Ur, you said he was evil. What were you thinking.)
I don't know. I always seem to end up making these claims I have no recollection of. It's the strangest thing.
It'd take too long to explain and you wouldn't believe it anyway. And it isn't to help you fight the monsters, so you probably don't care.
Wait. Yumil, wait. If I'm going to die here, at least let me say something.
I know what happened wasn't your fault. From the beginning, I knew. Everyone else-
Stop lying to me! I'm sick of hearing that! "Oh Yumil, I believed in you all along, really I did!" Every single damn person I've met! You're pathetic! At least die honest!
I'm not lying. I wish I was.
I believed you. The townsfolk didn't. That's why I didn't say anything.
You must have seen the damage. So many people grieving, terrified. I couldn't...I needed them to believe we caught everyone responsible. That it wouldn't happen again. I had to give them that.
You used me.
I'm sorry. I had to.
Okay. I'll do you a favour. When this town dies, and it will, you can blame me for that too.
Yumil. Please. I did it for Rhoan. For the people. It wasn't out of spite. I had no choice.
If you help us, I'll make sure they know you're innocent. I can fix everything. Please. We need you.
If I help you? Why is there an if? How do you have any right to say if?
IF you were really sorry, you'd already be out there telling everyone the truth!
Just get out of my way. I'm not wasting any more time on you people.
I guess you saw what happened.
...pretty hard to miss.
Yeah, well. Never liked that tower anyway. All that good stone wasted 'cause of some architect's tiny dick.
Got a present for you. Here.
You found them all?
Didn't think I could do it, did you?
Or did you just not think I would?
It's okay. I wouldn't trust me either. Not after that.
I really wanted you to meet her, you know. I wasn't kidding when I said you'd like her.
Where are you going?
To see her, I guess.
...I'm not going to follow you.
Good luck with whatever you're doing. I'll see you when I see you.
How dare you show your face here? You led these monsters to us, didn't you?!
Oh, what's wrong? Can't you just throw them in the dungeon?
Coward. You coward. You couldn't even face your trial. Face justice.
By my blood, you will not see a prison again. I will not be that merciful. I'll drag you to the gallows myself.
Hey. Look over there.
I don't think he'll listen to empty threats. Did you bring anything else?
Considering your performance in the tournament, I'm guessing no.
You can't let him off that easy. Don't you want to hear his "I screwed up" speech?
Waisen bastard! Have you not tortured my people enough?
Me? I thought that was the kid's fault.
It's my fault! If I'd listened to my guards from the start, I'd have both your heads already!
Milord. I'm about to be a little brusque, and I apologise, but believe me, this is for your own good.
If I see that beard wag again, I'm taking it. Shut your goddamned mouth.
Yumil. How's the fistfighting coming along?
Yeah? I knew you'd take to it. How about you and I kick these freaks outta town?
Don't make nice. I'm not falling for it.
Nothing to fall for, sport. If you want to let Rhoan die, you do it. Makes no difference to me. But you'd better be damn sure. You can't take it back.
You're tired, you're emotional, and I'm guessing they've all been bugging you non-stop. Do you really want to make this decision now?
I have to make this decision now. Or do you expect those monsters to wait for me?
The main force is still on its way. This is just the front line. Turn them back for now, and you can make your mind up later.
He's right! Listen to him!
Oh, for god's sake.
Have mercy on us! Please!
What are you all doing here?
No! I said no! I'm not helping you! That's it!
All you people ever had to do was trust me! How hard was it? I won a war for you! Me! A child! I went into battle and kept you safe from Waisen! They would have sacked this place if it wasn't for me! You'd all be dead!
But that wasn't enough for you, was it? So too bad. This is what happens.
Something to say. Please. I need to...
I've had this...this problem, for as long as I can remember. It's hard for me to talk to people. Especially lately, with everyone bustling about, wrapped up in their problems. It takes a long time for me to say what I need to say, and not many people want to wait.
So far, I've only found two things with the patience to listen. The first is paper. That's why I write.
The second is Yumil. That's why he's my friend.
On the day the tornado came, I did something stupid. I said my friend was guilty. I said it because I was very scared and confused, and because other people were saying it. And I know I'm not the only one.
The day after, I went back and tried to tell them I made a mistake, that he would never do something like that. But it was too late. My voice against everyone else's wasn't enough. Like always, nobody wanted to listen.
So listen to me now, Rhoan! Listen to me, speaking clear and loud for the first time in my life, to say that I was wrong! That you were wrong, that the king was wrong, that all of us to a man were wrong!
And I don't expect forgiveness. None of us deserve forgiveness. I do this because it should be done, and I intend to die knowing it was. If I'm alone in that, so be it. But if any of you have even half the courage to follow my lead, let necessity be the other half. You will not have a second chance. Step forward now.
I'm sorry, Yumil. Accept that or don't, but please believe it.
Wrote first. Wrote it down. Practiced. Weeks.
Why is everyone staring.
You decided all this weeks ago?
Only found the words weeks ago.
Everyone get somewhere safe. I'll handle this.
And for the second time, I fought for Rhoan. For Kaleila. I struck down its enemies and spared its people their fate.
And they cheered for me, just as they had when I stood beside the king, beneath showers of confetti, atop the highest balcony of Frannelle Castle.
I became their hero once more.
And then I left.
Kullervo, Rhoan, and everything else could wait.
I had my own mistake to face.