Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


“So what I’ve determined is that when it is dark, and you don’t know where you are going,” Patrick says, “You should probably just stay home.”

“We have been walking for three and a half minutes,” Gerard replies.

“Yeah, but someone needs to doubt this whole adventure of yours or we’re going to die.”

“I don’t need more than one person being a cynic here, okay?” Gerard replies, and Patrick just assumes that Gerard is talking about himself, but the truth is that Mikey, Patrick, and Gerard are all completely full of doubt. Only Gerard has the striving courage in himself to know that this will all be worth it. Patrick doesn’t have that. So Patrick has the right to have as much doubt as he needs.

“So do you have any plans on how to deal with ogres?” Patrick asks,

“Well, my immediate goal is to not run into any ogres at all.”

“That’s really reassuring. But what do we do if we do run into ogres,” Patrick asks.

“Well presumably there’s going to be a serious language barrier, given that neither of us speak ogre,” Gerard says, “So my assumption there is that instead of trying to reason with an ogre, we just run the fuck away.”

“How fast are ogre’s though?”

“You know, I could never find a textbook that detailed the average rate at which an ogre can run per minute, but I’m assuming that however fast it may be, our will to not die will let us run faster.”

“Your strategy is to just run?” Patrick asks.

“Well, sort of.”

“This will be fun,” Patrick says. “When do we sleep?”

“Soon,” Gerard says.

“This couldn’t have waited until the morning?”

“I don’t know how long this fairy will be in Giantville. It looked like some sort of gathering. It might go on for a few days or a few hours. He could be gone already and I won’t know. I may not be able to guess so well the next time he moves.”

“How did you guess this time?” Patrick asks.

“It wasn’t too hard. Big furniture tells the way.”

“Big furniture?” Patrick asks.

“Yeah well, when I saw him, he was surrounded by huge furniture. Either he’s a tiny ass fairy, or he’s in Giantville.”

“How did you see him?” Patrick asks. “Magic mirror?”

“Do I look like I’m made of money? Where the hell am I going to buy a magic mirror?”

“Well how else could you know where this fairy is?”

“Magic book,” Gerard shrugs.

“Book?” Patrick asks, “Okay, so correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s no such thing as a magic book.”

“Oh so there’s no fairy smart enough to create a magic book? If they can market magic mirrors, then what’s so outlandish about a magic book?”

“Well seeing is believing man,” Patrick replies. “Show me your magic book. And that is not an innuendo by the way.”

Gerard nods, and reaches into his bag, pulling out Mikey, but he’s hiding because when Gerard shows Patrick the book, Mikey’s face is nowhere to be found.

“How does it work?” Patrick asks.

“Well,” Gerard says, “speak to it.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Patrick groans.

“Here. Show me Brendon,” Gerard says, and he pulls the book open to a random page, angling it towards Patrick so that his candle can illuminate what’s there.

“No way,” Patrick says, looking awestruck at the page where a very dimly lit room shows a man sleeping in a bed that isn’t a bad size for him, but compared to the huge chair in the background, it’s not hard to guess that he’s still in the same place.

“Cool, right?” Gerard asks.

“You could say that,” Patrick replies, grinning, and totally adding kindling to Mikey’s ego while he’s at it. “So this is where we’re going? How do you suppose we find him when we get there?”

“I figured we’d just ask for Brendon and hope for the best,” Gerard says. “I’ve never heard anything bad from the giants. I mean there have been a fair share of accidental killings, mostly by squishing, but they seem pretty chill if you ask me.”

“Oh man,” Patrick groans, “It’s times like these I really wish I were taller. Nothing worse than the prospect of being crushed by something thirty feet tall, especially when I’m already short as it is.”

“A couple of inches doesn’t matter to someone who mistakes humans for toothpicks,” Gerard replies.

“Well that is quite reassuring.”

“I’m laying everything out to you here with as much honesty as I can.”

“So what’s the story on this mysterious fairy then?” Patrick asks, “does it have something to do with your magic book?”

“No, Ray is behind the magic book,” Gerard says.

“Really?” Patrick asks, “I was under the impression that Ray was not-so-fantastic at the whole magic thing.”

“Well he’s not. This book was an accident. A major accident of which I have not and probably never will forgive him for.”

“Why would you be angry, it’s a cool book,” Patrick says.

Gerard hears a quiet noise of approval from the magic book and hisses at it to shut up which thankfully, Patrick does not hear. The last thing Gerard needs is to have Patrick think he’s going insane on top of everything else. Gerard does intend to tell him about Mikey. He really does. Patrick deserves to know. He’s just got to convince Mikey of that first. There’s nothing Gerard can do if Mikey refuses to show up in Patrick’s company, so until then, Gerard will play it cool, and only argue with his book when Patrick is none the wiser.

“It’s a long story. And I can’t tell you any of it until someone grows the hell up,” Gerard says, indirectly talking to Mikey.

“Okay?” Patrick asks.

“Just please know that I would never have invited you if I didn’t think you could be helpful. If only to keep me from losing my own mind. That, and we need someone of sense on this little outing or I’d be dead before even crossing the edge of town.”

“I’ve never been so far away from home as Giantville,” Patrick says. “Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been away from town more than a couple of times. It’s very nerve-wracking, being away from home.”

“I agree,” Gerard says. “I’m not used to not having a bed. Or a roof. Or clean water. Or any of that shit. We’ve got about thirty miles to the nearest town. If we walk about five hours tonight and take a break to rest, it should take us less than half a day until we hit it. But we’ll have to wake early. I want to be up a little after sunrise.”

“Great so we can have four or maybe even five whole hours of sleep,” Patrick says, unenthusiastically.

“It’s an elf town,” Gerard says, ignoring Patrick’s sarcasm. “Right on the edge of ogre country. We could go through on the safer route, but to be fair, that would eat up a huge chunk of our time, since it’s not as direct and could set us back several days. And by then, Brendon could be gone, off somewhere far further than this trek.”

“So what you’re saying is that we have to go through the death trap in order to even find this guy. Great. At least being among elves will make me feel better about my own height.”

“It’s a myth you know,” Gerard says, “about them being merely a few feet tall. I believe they’re, on average, only a few inches shorter than most humans.”

“Great. So I don’t even get to have the satisfaction of looking down on someone for the first and last time in my life,” Patrick groans, “but hey, at least it’ll be a laugh.”

“Are you inferring that all elves are entertainers, because I’ll have you know that that is a flagrantly disrespectful stereotype and-”

“You need to calm down your politics,” Patrick groans, “I was implying that it’ll be laughable that I’ll be mistaken for an elf.”

“Oh,” Gerard says, “I knew that.” Elves have a certain negative connotation in the Kingdom as being nothing but silly and disposable to human’s whims. The same can be said about most non-human species, but elves are one of the only enslaved races. As far as Gerard is aware at least. He’s not sure how kindly elves will take to them, but Patrick really can pass as an elf, so they should be safe from anything short of a few dismayed stares.

“You are so empathetic,” Patrick says, “emphasis on the pathetic.”

“What is it about caring for other races that makes me so pitiful.”

“It’s not that you care, it’s that you’re fighting a giant boulder,” Patrick says, “You can punch all you like, but you are not going to get yourself anywhere. Shout all you want to the heavens; no one is listening. Except maybe the Prince, but you didn’t like him anyway.”

“Drop it,” Gerard says.

“I’m not here to push you, though I feel I have the right to be a little spiteful if I so feel like it. I have earned as much.”

“Yes,” Gerard says. “You have earned that, but that does not mean I have the obligation to allow it to demean me.”

“My goal is not to demean you. It’s merely to make you realize that neither of us have any say as to what this Kingdom is. The sooner you accept that; the sooner you’ll realize that complaining about it is futile.”

“Complaints are all I have when I have no opportunity to take action,” Gerard says.

“For now,” Patrick replies, sounding all hopeful and making Gerard fall deeper into his own naiveté.

Gerard, thankful for their light loads, is already feeling his legs cramping and his back aching. It’s probably caused mainly by fatigue, but he does so wish that Mikey weren’t such a heavy ass book. Couldn’t he have been a little book? Or one that wasn’t made out of the heaviest parchment ever? Gerard is only one person. Even with what little provisions he’s got, he knows he’s going to have a tough time at this, and it’s mostly because of this damn book.

“How much time do you think we’re going to make?” Patrick asks.

“At this rate? Steady, I suppose. It should take us, by my estimate, five days to get to Giantville. If only we had horses, we could cut that in half, or more. Alas, I haven’t even a fraction of what it would take to buy a saddle for a horse, let alone the actual horse.”

“We might have luck in this elven town,” Patrick says, “they might have a better market.”

“I think what we need to focus on in the way of spending is not on horses, but rather food and water.”

“I have a little more money with me than I think you would expect,” Patrick says.

“And where did you acquire it, might I ask?” Gerard asks.

“I’ve been saving up for my own adventure, though I assumed it would be much less treacherous and have a more absolute destination. I haven’t enough for a horse, or anything so luxurious, but should we find need of it, we have somewhat of a contingency. Emergencies only of course. I still plan on leaving town someday, and setting up shop somewhere else, but I don’t want to be unprepared.”

“I don’t want you spending your money on this,” Gerard says, stopping and looking at Patrick seriously, though only the bottom half of his face is visible because their torch is held in Patrick’s hand at waist’s height.

“I don’t want you to believe that you have any right to tell me what I can and can’t do.”

“I’m not saying you can’t, I’m asking you not to waste it on me,” Gerard says.

“I am, at the end of the day, your friend, Gerard. I would see you through in anything that you need if it is required of me, or not. Do not tell me that this is not what I should spend my money on. I will support you through whatever idiotic scheme this is, even if it means immediate ill on either of our parts. I trust you, Gerard. Just allow yourself to trust that I know what I am doing.”

Gerard shakes his head, and looks around at the grasslands around them. They seem to be in a large field but with a return to forest not far ahead of them. It’s a large clearing nevertheless, and it allows visibility to some extent.

“You are too good,” Gerard sighs, “I swear it, your kindness is going to get us into trouble at some point. You are just too good.”

“And you are far too selfless for me to believe that this adventure isn’t important beyond words,” Patrick replies.

“That’s why you’ve come?” Gerard asks.

“Gerard, I believe that whatever it is you need from this fairy, it’s going to make a huge difference in you which will allow you to make a huge difference in others. I believe that of you. You are far too concerned in the well-being of others for this big grand quest to be anything but of vital importance.”

“It’s selfish of me, what I’m doing, Patrick,” Gerard says, because it is. This whole thing is to ask for Brendon to give him back his will, which only he can be aided by. No one else gets anything from Gerard not having to do what he’s told. It’s incredibly selfish, and Gerard wouldn’t make it out to be anything but.

“That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the struggle,” Patrick says. “Now come on, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.”

Patrick starts walking again, and Gerard stands there astounded for a moment. He doesn’t know how Patrick manages to be so kind. It’s beyond Gerard. Gerard doesn’t see himself as selfless, and he doesn’t know why Patrick sees him that way, but maybe it’s not the point that Gerard sees exactly what Patrick does. Maybe it’s just good enough that Patrick sees anything at all in him that makes all this worth it.

Gerard smiles thinking about this as he continues to walk off behind Patrick. That is, until he hears the sound of someone screaming not too far ahead of them.
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Hey I so love all of ya'll for still reading this story even when I update so infrequently.