The Pagemasters Vol 2 Chapter 36

 


Author: Literataku


Chapter 36:
In The Crevice That Time Constructs

 

 

We continued our ride past the village and heading toward the central plains of the kingdom. There was no reason to stop there, the village would be evacuating the remaining able-bodied men and women and heading for the woods to hide out until the invasion as over, one way or the other. The rest of the village would remain as normal to keep the village going.

Despite his bad reputation, Baron Ran seemed to have simultaneously become known for not ransacking every village and town he came across during the times of war he has been involved with. That’s not to say he doesn’t take things like women and valuables, but that he seems to handle it less violently and more threateningly, I guess.

After Clarion had told us of Blue’s current location we had ridden on in silence for several hours, everyone lost in thought about the implications of this sudden change. What the hell was he doing there? I shook my head and sighed to myself.

“You don’t think he’s got some twisted idea of saving the story this way, do you? Like some kind of betrayal from within sort of plot?”

Clarion shrugged slightly. “Could have been a kidnapping, though how or why the Baron would know about those two is extremely sketchy.”

“Captain Hook has been several steps ahead of us this entire time. What if he told them?” Violet interjected, and it did make a compelling reason.

“I haven’t seen or heard a peep from Hook since we left the capital. While his ship could indeed make the trip quickly enough, that man would have set off something in my |{Search}| powers long before now. He’s not come this way, with any hope he’s left the….”

Clarion trailed off and suddenly took to the sky, clipping Violet’s head with his wings and ignoring her protests as he flew away from us. We exchanged puzzled looks before kicking our horses into a gallop and chasing after our mentor. Racing down the dirt road while trying to keep an eye on him through the trees we raced past.

“There!” Violet called out pointing to him as he hovered above a particularly tall tree and looked out to the east. I tried to see if I could get anything about what he was looking at from below and coming up with nothing.

“Can you see anything?” I asked her not expecting any different answer but well it’s a force of habit and who knows?

She sighed and shook her head. “Nothing at all. I wonder what made him so agitated to-”

Boom!

The noise echoed across the valley, a massive sound of an explosion. A very particular kind of explosion I’ve only heard at war reenactments. Something I hadn’t seen at all since we got here. No one even talked about that at the war camp so obviously, this wasn’t something that was spread around in this part of the world.

Clarion flew back down to us, his feathers rustled and sticking out in agitation as he perched onto my shoulder He growled deeply and started preening as we looked at him for an explanation. We waited in silence until he finally snapped at us.

“Ye know damn well what that sound was! Hook is going to aid the kingdom with cannons and his ship. The assault will be brutally devastating for the Baron’s troops. They won’t have any way of stopping him, he can single-handedly wipe them off the face of the earth.”

Violet half-smiled. “Well, that’s good. He can kill the Baron and then we can seal him away without worrying about him.”

Clarion shook his head then stopped as he started to realize something.

“Ye two were killing the troublesome books. Weren’t ye?”

“How else are you supposed to deal with them? That monster deserves to die.”

“Perhaps he does. But, when ye seal away a book like that ye lower yer overall power as a Pagemaster and increase The Silence. That’s why ye two have been going over this timeline again and again. Ye didn’t even realize that ye two have been dooming yerselves.”

“What?”

“Aye. In some cases it is inevitable but a Pagemaster should try to bring resolution to a story and seal it away normally before resorting to such drastic actions. Otherwise, you only make the demon stronger and make it harder to stop him from changing reality.”

Violet looked completely deflated as she sat on her horse, her eyes almost vacant as they stared at Clarion. I shifted and tried to move closer to her, extending my arm to offer comfort before she pulled away from me.

“So, Is this why Blue went over there? Because he thinks he has to stop Hook?”

“It could be part of it. Before we left I did mention to him that stories can be flexible with how they turn out. It could be he has an idea to use the Baron to run the story of Sleeping Beauty. There is a variant of the tale where she is the daughter of a lord.”

“How in the world did he convince that woman to go along with his plan, though?” I had to ask because everything was hinging that if they weren’t kidnapped she would have been the one to get them where they are right now.

“She calls him Maitre. Master. His future self trains her in magic somewhere down the line. So I guess he found some way to convince her using the version of him she knows from her past and maybe pass a message to his past self on what to do now. I really hate time travel.”

I nodded in agreement while trying to wrap my head around this comment. Using your future self to set up your past. This smells of some old eighties film for certain. Should I look for a phone booth hiding around here? Maybe play air guitar?

Clarions shook his head and sighed. “So then. The question goes. Whose side are we on?”

We all exchanged looks, nobody really wanting to speak first. The choice was balanced like a rope on knifepoint and either way we choose the consequences were going to be felt majorly in one direction or the other. Kingdom or Baron?

“If we stay with the Kingdom, we’ll be unable to help Blue directly and probably end up cut off from him until we resolve the entire issue. Depending on the deal he has made, it could mean he ends up in a lot of danger for failing. And even then would that stop a future invasion?

“Siding with the baron we betray the entire kingdom and possibly make bigger enemies of the fairies and Pan. But we can be closer to supporting Blue, and together we might be able to find a way to seal his story without killing him and strengthening our power greatly.”

“I would like to point out that I would be in the greatest danger around that man. I don’t intend to find myself chained to his bed again.”

“We could send ye into Elysium while we resolve the matter. Ye’d be safe and depending on how time works there it would be a shorter time for ye. Out of danger and not having to worry for long.”

Violet shook her head stiffly. “And while you guys spend weeks or months dealing with that man out here. Let that witch get more chances to seduce him?”

I chuckled inwardly at that comment. Though she did have a good reason to fear another assault from the guy. He seemed to have little concern for his women. Or at least his slaves, even for a yandere it felt like her spirit was broken into something perverse, not what she had once been.

Taking a deep breath I look at her. “So I take it we are talking like this because we’ve already decided haven’t we?”

“I guess we have… My loyalty is to Blue and the Pagemasters over anyone else. It hurts that everything I did is going to waste but if I have to throw it away to make sure he stays safe. Then it’s what I have to do.”

“Lass, it hasn’t gone to waste. Ye did what ye had to, and no what must be done has changed. And it will always do this for us. We cannot hold attachments to anything except each other.”

Those last words sounded slightly wistful there. I wonder if Clarion was speaking from his own experience there.

“We shouldn’t waste too much time here then. Even though I’m sure he’s pissed at me, it might go well if we jump sides now instead of later. I’m hoping the Baron won’t be too mad at the guy who humiliated him in battle.”

“You did what!”

Oh right, Violet wasn’t watching after I jumped into the battle myself.

“I found his weakness to heat and basically wore him down into exhaustion with fire and heat. Turned his suit of armor into a contained heater. I left him panting and wheezing in the middle of corpses with his unconscious slave girl.”

“And you didn’t try to kill him?”

“A guy like him was hitting all the overpowered main character tropes for large scale battles. I had a feeling if I tried to kill him in such a small battle there would be something that happened that would stop it or backfire on me.”

“So, you were worried about the deus ex machina that an author might have made up for protecting their main character from a Pagemaster?”

“Yup.”

Violet put her face in the palms of her hands and moaned out of frustration.“Why didn’t we think of that before? Oh my god! How many trope pitfalls have we fallen into over the years?”

While I was trying to comfort her, she turned away and started off down the road heading back the way we had come and towards possibly the second greatest danger we could be facing right now. Hold on Blue! Don’t do anything more stupid than what you’ve already done. You know. At least not until we get there to help!

***TO BE CONTINUED IN VOLUME 3!***


 


Leave a Reply