A Contradiction Of All
And that leads us back to where you first found me. I had managed to change back into a human, now running down the road, huffing, and puffing as I jogged through the forest, trying to give chase to the blur of gingerbread that had left us in the dust. The forest was oddly silent now, though I suppose having a small cookie moving at the speeds of a Concorde Jet would put anything into silence.
Trees were knocked over, leaves scattered and ripped off healthy trees near the road, leaving them barren in the middle of summer. The road was spirling with dust devils and mini tornadoes rolling across the path. So much destruction from such a tiny guy, this was quite an unbelievable sight.
“I don’t think we can catch him like this. He’s too fast. like this.” I panted, looking up to Master, who was flying above me trying to keep sight of the trail of destruction that was being left behind.
“Agreed… We’ll have to acquire the help of the Fox to catch him then.”
“Fox? How is a fox going to help us catch him?” I asked looking a bit puzzled. I could feel an annoying air coming from Master as he looked at me.
“In the story, the Gingerbread Man comes across a river and he can’t get across it, so he asks for a ride from a fox to help him across.”
“Ah. So he’ll be stuck in the river and we can catch him there… But at the speed he is going couldn’t he just jump across any of the rivers around here?”
He nodded and looked at me. “Which is why it’s quite fortunate that you are the Blue Pagemaster, isn’t it?”
I had a slightly bad feeling where this is going…
We could hear the alarms coming from the village as we managed to make it to the edge of the forest, looking across the way I could see people frantically trying to put out fires and scramble around gathering up the debris that had flown across the way. Again I could feel a tugging at my heart, but there would be more to come if I didn’t stop the source.
“Herr Blue! You survived the Demon attack?” The busty girl ran up towards me, I wish I had a way of knowing names around here. I’m going to get caught without knowing anyone around here, it seems to be another faulty point of the rewrite spell.
“Y-yes, I’m fine, it just knocked me over… how are you feeling Fraulein… Heide..?” I try saying a name out loud, something that sounded German enough. I tried to phrase it like I wasn’t completely ok so I could claim a bump on the head if she got angry with me for using the wrong name.
“The demon didn’t go near my house, it flew past the center of town and headed south away from my home.” She didn’t say anything against me. Did I just guess her name like that? There is no way I could be that lucky. She moved forward and wrapped her arms around me, placing her head into my shoulder. Soft…. Heaven… Is this what bliss feels like?
“That noise was so scary. Even the dragons don’t sound that horrible, it was like some roaring noise from hell.”
Master floated above my head, looking a little annoyed but at least he wasn’t trying to attack me. “South. That means he is trying to fight the draw of the river. Trying to delay his story as much as he can. He might already know we are here to deal with him.”
“But he quite literally just came to life. How is that possible?”
Master sighed landing on top of my head. Hey, now! I know what birds do! Don’t you try anything, please?
“We might already have others working against us. I thought the faster we could deal with his birth the easier the job would be but someone else is a step ahead.”
Heide continued to stay pressed up against me, I was a little surprised she wasn’t taken aback with the conversation going on around her. Not that I would ever complain about such contact at all with a woman like her, in part I was a little surprised with myself being able to do this without stumbling over my tongue or getting a nosebleed.
She looked up from my shoulder and blushed, pulling herself away from me slowly and adjusting her clothes. “You have to go stop the demon don’t you?”
“Yes,” I answered simply. Finally, my tongue remembered I wasn’t some ladies man and I found myself a little speechless now that I was seeing her so cutely vulnerable.
“Please, do what you must, Herr Blue. I pray you will stay safe. I’ll be waiting here when you return.”
I feel like a death flag was being raised but that wouldn’t be happening. I was a Hero, and a Hero certainly doesn’t die to the first problem he encounters. Not for this kind of story, right? Right?
“Thank you, Fraulein. I will be back as soon as I can,” I promised and took off for the village exit.
Master continued to ride on my head and tapped his beak against my skull. “Head north toward the river, we need to prepare that way. He can’t fight the Story forever.”
I nodded and turned at his direction, keeping a steady jog going while being quite pleased with my new body for being able to handle so much exertion without really feeling tired yet. And thanking whatever luck was keeping me from tripping.
The northern side of the village was mostly downhill, continuing to carefully head down the road I knew had a couple of kilometers to go before we would reach the river, so I decided to get a couple of answers.
“Master, how did I know her name?”
“But, if she is supposed to be someone the hero-”
“She didn’t have a name until ye gave her one. Otherwise, she would have reacted differently. Chances are she is just a random village girl he, ehem, enjoys a night with, and then never has anything with her ever again. Or she never becomes important enough to be named.”
It was an odd moment of reflection for me hearing this. A thought that never occurs because you never actually think that such a problem exists until someone points it out to you.
“So, all those people back there?”
“Are all probably nameless villagers that only exist for the sole reason of the author mentioning them. They serve no other purpose aside existing for that short time they are mentioned in the story.”
I jogged in silence for a little while, trying to wrap my head around this new concept. My fantasy heroic story was starting to get a little heavy right now, how many existences had I created that existed in this same way?
“Don’t start getting all attached to anyone or feel bad. These people aren’t real, not in the way you and I are. They have no memories, intelligence or history beyond what the writers give them. They are only human-shaped puppets doing what the author created them to do.”
“So her attitude and reactions?”
“Are only the personality given to her. Since she is nameless she probably has little depth to her unless ye turn around and start putting more into her, and then she just becomes a puppet of yer’s. She won’t be anything more than what ye make her.”
His voice sounded a little regretful, making me wonder if that was a voice of experience talking. I couldn’t see him at all so I couldn’t tell for certain, though his body did feel a little heavier perched on my head.
“Now, if ye still want to have fun with her, don’t let it stop ye. But don’t believe that she is anything more than a character in a story.”
I continued to stay quiet as I mulled over his words. I only knew her for a short while so it wasn’t like I had any real attachment to her. Still, I wasn’t entirely sure how to proceed while knowing such things now. I never intended to think of her as anything more than a fun time but somehow my desires had died just a little. Would this also be the case in my Isekai adventure if I had done things the right way?