Part 26: Thorndyke II
Chapter 15: Thorndyke II
Well, we got back on the road again this morning, and headed for Muku Village. Why the hell did we go back to old-personville again? We needed them to take care of the cultists who were left behind at the town of Thuris. No we didn't. We could have just left them. Duh. You know, Gig, I have to agree with Thuris on one thing: Nobody cares what you have to say.
And they asked for very little in return.
So we used it to rebuild the defenses for the village.
I couldn't believe it. They only asked for 10% of the market price for everything. We're very thankful.
And I know it's not much, but we wanted to give you a gift in return for your help the other day.
It's the Thurist Cult emblem...
Could it be...?
It's exactly the sort of thing Endorph would do.
Father, do you know where these goods came from? I think you do.
All things, physical and spiritual, must cycle throughout the world.
Just as water is cleansed by ascending to the heavens and falling back down to earth as purified rain.
So you're saying the gods themselves won't intervene.
In my experience, no. No god will look after those who refuse to stand and think for themselves.
The will of the gods tells us to do good, to act with meaning, to not stand still and grow stagnant.
You would, pond scum. You've got water on the brain. You're obsessed, really.
We've been granted this one chance to stand against our aggressors.
So we will not wait to accept our fate and call it a blessing.
Instead, we will shift fate according to our will, and consider it a greater blessing to do so.
This is in accordance with the will of the gods. This is how we show our devotion to them.
We should talk about the Thurist Cult.
We told him what had happened since we left the village.
I'll try to help them as best I can.
All flows from the guidance of the Gods of Apis...
We left the village. With Thuris having fled to points unknown, we were back down to only one World Eater whose location we knew for sure: Feinne. It's still hopeless, kid. She's so far out of your league. It's like a baby fighting a god! I never get tired of you telling me how much I suck, Gig. Seriously. We didn't get far, though, before something came up.
Of course not. I was there the whole time.
For some reason, people seem to lose track of me. You must be mistaken.
Oh, look there. Here comes a Nereid.
Sure enough, though, a Nereid was approaching with a message for Juno.
Oh, um, no... I have a message from Queen Alexemia.
A civil war has broken out in Raide. Please return immediately for further details.
Oh, and... Penn is anxiously awaiting your return.
I have to go right now. If you'll excuse me...
Juno ran off. Meanwhile, we decided to see if we could find out what happened in Raide while we were gone. The place was in chaos, but one of the knights that had been with Thorndyke filled us in.
Ladies and gentlemen! Here is undeniable proof to attest to the character of our glorious king!
Legislator 1: Preposterous! How dare the Grand Cordon insult the king like this?!
This is nothing less than treason!
Legislator 2: And even if the Crimson Tear is real...
What proof do you have that the king knew anything about it?!
You want proof? Here's the binding legal document verifying the trade.
I'm sure you all recognize this stamp.
That's right. It's the mark of the Great Bird, royal emblem of the kingdom of Raide!
I believe our esteemed Chairman can testify to that.
After all, he was once known as Royal Mage Gooden, was he not?
I must admit that I feel an intense power flowing from the jewel.
It would not be inaccurate to say this is indeed a Crimson Tear.
But you claim you found this in the Coral Tower? Former Palace Mage Hilde is imprisoned there, is he not?
Isn't it possible he's responsible for its presence there? Maybe he faked the royal stamp, somehow...
Hilde was a very powerful magician.
So powerful, in fact, he usurped your own royal position.
And you better than anyone, Chairman, should understand his ambitions.
He was found out, and for his crime he was imprisoned for life.
But the decree was given in secret by the king himself. Nobody in the assembly witnessed the arrest. Correct?
Yes, that's correct...
Meddling with the World Eater is not allowed.
The coexistence with the World Eater was the will of the people, its government, and its king.
At least, it was supposed to be...
But what if Hilde and the king were acting together to betray us all?
What if it was all a lie? Cooked up so they could keep experimenting, away from the prying eyes of the assembly!
Legislator 1: This is madness! Thorndyke is the traitor!
Legislator 2: Well, now... he has brought us evidence to consider...
Legislator 1: You honestly believe a fantasy like this has any credibility whatsoever?!
Quiet, all of you! We must remain calm!
Do not forget that you represent the people! We must talk this out in a calm, reasoned manner!
We must consider every possibility and search out the truth.
You may be knights of the king, but you have no right to enter the assembly without permission.
You are compelled to lower your weapons!
We are here at the behest of the king himself! Grand Cordon Thorndyke, you are hereby under arrest for treason!
Just wait a minute!
Sir, we've taken Thorndyke into custody!
And the Crimson Tear?
He doesn't appear to have it...
What? No, he has to!
Looking for this?
I order you to hand that over immediately!
The Grand Cordon followed all proper procedure to submit this evidence to the assembly.
Chairman, you must understand...
That object is incredibly dangerous. This is a national emergency!
We are well aware of its power. And it's safer with us than anyone. We will not allow anyone to touch it.
Personally, I know of nobody better equipped than myself to take care of such a potent item.
What you're trying to do is in violation of the rights of the people!
And as their representative, and as the Assembly Chairman, I cannot allow this to continue.
Would you disobey the direct order of the king?!
A king without the blessing of its people is no king.
Even the king himself must follow proper procedure to make an appeal before such an assembly.
Procedure my ass. The king told us to take it. So we're taking it!
It seems the disgraced Palace Mage has lapsed into dementia. We can no longer trust his judgement.
Legislator 1: This is an outrage!
Stay your swords! This is no place for a battle!
To draw your blades before the assembly...
I never imagined our beloved king would fall so far...
I should have stayed by his side... Even if it meant my own demise.
But that chance is gone now, never to return.
We got what we came for! Everyone, out! We must get this back to the king!
It was our duty to protect the assembly from the chaos brought on by the Crimson Tear. We had no choice.
Our hands were forced! Those driven mad by the pull of the Crimson Tear must not stand in our way!
There's no turning back...
Helen... Alan... And Richard-no, Penn... I'm so sorry...
I need two people to keep Thorndyke in custody! He must not go free!
Now get moving!
This is of the utmost importance! Cut down anyone who interferes!
Clear the way!
I couldn't believe it. What's more, there was a stream of people moving towards the Oceanside. We decided to see where they were going.
Yeah, isn't this Nereid territory?
These are refugees from Raide.
There's been a revolution.
Does that mean...? Thorndyke went through with it?!
Revowasshun? Wuzzat? Is it food? Does it taste good?
You need to shut up for a while.
Huh, such a complacent nation like Raide is having a revolution...
Have the times changed...? Or maybe it was there all along...
Come with me to our home. There's someone I think you'll want to meet.
We followed Juno to the Nereid Palace. With all this chaos I had no idea who to expect at the palace. I was pretty surprised to see who it was. Yeah, didn't see that coming a mile away.
Hey... you're that knight!
Ohh, yeah! That... guy! Who is he again?
It's Galahad. I don't blame you for forgetting.
I suppose you'd like to know what happened.
Grand Cordon Thorndyke and a few of his most trusted knights suddenly began investigating the king's personal life.
I was one of them. When I asked why he was doing this, he told me of his meeting with you.
I was suspicious at first, of course. But as we dug deeper, I found the king was the one unworthy of my trust.
We figured as much.
Needless to say, I was shocked.
For a king to steal and swindle. Humans truly know no shame... Nothing surprises me now.
So, what of the Grand Cordon?
When all was laid bare, he turned inward.
He asked himself what he should do, what was the right thing to do, who was friend or enemy...
Finally, he came to a conclusion.
He decided he had to tell everyone the truth.
He chose the people over their king. He presented everything he'd found before the National Assembly.
But to convince them, we needed solid evidence. So the night before, we snuck into the tower holding the Crimson Tear.
And despite all our efforts, we didn't know if the gamble at the assembly would pay off.
Hmph. It seems the gamble worked.
Yes, the people have opened their eyes. The flame of revolution has been ignited.
But revolution always demands sacrifice. Often larger than one can ever imagine.
So where's Thorndyke? Didn't he come with you?
Didn't he fight back?
No. He didn't resist at all.
Looking back, I think he was prepared from the beginning to give up his life, so long as it served a purpose.
So it took the death of an honest man to push those timid fools into action.
A man of honor gave his life so that they might know the truth. He moved their hearts.
We stood against his knights, but he was a good man with a strong spirit.
I'm truly sorry he's gone.
I wish all humans were half as good as him. I'm proud Penn can call a man like that his father.
The rest of us will take whatever we can and search the land for a new home.
Eventually, we'll find what we're looking for and begin again.
A nation without a king... A nation that exists only to serve its people.
I think that's friggin' impossible. I think your mouth's writing checks your dumb ass can't cash.
Perhaps. But we must try.
I didn't understand Thorndyke before. Actually, I was jealous of him.
It's embarrassing now to admit that...
But I have to be honest with myself, of I won't be able to face him when we meet in the afterlife...
Well cheer up, buddy!
I don't really understand all that complicated stuff you said... but I'm sure everything'll work out just fine!
Once we kill all those big World thingies, you can live wherever you want without worrying!
And don't worry about those who choose to remain. They'll be safe with us.
Thank you all...
And now, we must get going! Some have already left, and I must catch up.
You've really changed...
Well... I vow to change, too! I vow to change the world and help everyone live in peace!
With that Galahad and the rest of his group left. It was just down to us.
The World Eater is only guarded by a few men who stayed behind, and the armies of the local nobles.
But I'm guessing even those private armies have packed up and left the area.
So we can assume that all they have left are the few remaining sentries.
So now's the time for us to take action!
I'll just sneak up behind it and snap its neck!
What's with you and snapping necks? Its neck is bigger than... you.
Even if that's all that's left, it's still going to be tough.
Who's gonna fend them off? Us? The Nereids?
That's not what I'm saying.
But failure's not an option at this point. We have to be at our very best.
If you gotta guarantee victory, you're gonna need to call on me.
Isn't that right, soulmate?
No. It's not.
Yeah, I knew you'd say that. I know just how damn stubborn you are.
Fine then. Do things your way. But don't come crying to me after you're dead.
Sure, some more help would be nice. But all we have in Endorph, and who knows where he is. We gotta make do.
What about you, Vitali? Don't you have any friends you could ask for help?
I'm somewhat of an introvert. Even if I asked the few friends I have, I doubt they'd come running. Heh.
We can't hesitate. We have the momentum. This may be the only chance we get.
It has been the one goal of the Nereids for the last 200 years to slay this terrible giant.
We have not come this far, only to lose it all now. Never again...
Oh, hey... how's Penn doing?
He's a strong boy.
He has dealt with his father's death like a man.
Penn's dealt with it better than I have, clearly. You'd better learn to live with this stuff, kid. People die all the time. I know that, Gig. It's just... never been someone I've known before. I'll deal with it. I don't have time to mourn right now. We've got a World Eater to kill. You're doomed, by the way. I mean, seriously, Feinne's going to butcher you all. But we have to try, Gig. That's what makes us human.