Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
Fictive continued to laugh as more and more explosions tore through the camp, now followed by the shouts of soldiers and the sound of gunfire. He sneered as he looked down from the witness stand and saw Will step out from behind the defendant’s table.
“And here’s the little savior, the fraud who defies the will of Copyright! What are you going to do now, fake? Your patron is going to fade, and soon you won’t even remember his name. Your claims are shown to be false, and the Coalition will soon overwhelm the decrepit Bar, and then we’ll finish your people’s rebellion!”
“You’re a fool,” Herald contradicted. “Your coalition will never prevail over The Bar. We are guardians, not conquerors.”
Fictive shifted his weapon toward the Attorney General. “You have no one but yourself to blame. I didn’t want this, but you had to come out to the fringes of unreality and meddle. Don’t you see? If this rebellion succeeds all copyright will fall!”
“And if it’s not a rebellion, Fictive? What then?”
“You might have been deceived I don’t believe their claims for a moment. Nor do I believe their empty threats of a weapon of mass destruction!”
“Your funeral,” Bug growled.
Finch scowled and shifted his weapon toward his gnomish adversary. He placed his finger on the trigger and tensed as though we was about to fire, but was interrupted by Will. The teen now stood on his own in front of the witness stand, with his fists clenched in defiance.
“I won’t forget him.”
The belligerent lawyer shifted his gaze toward the lonely teen and smirked. “What did you say?”
“I said I won’t forget him. Even if the Professor does fade, even if I can’t save him and the Penny Ore detonates when he’s gone, I will never forget him.”
Most people stood transfixed by the sight of a young teenager facing down a gun-wielding lawyer intent on murder. But Isme had heard something in Will’s speech which broke him free from the hypnotism caused by the scene.
“What was that about the Penny Ore being detonated when Professor Nobody’s gone?”
Fictive ignored the General’s interruption, choosing instead to challenge his opponent. “And how is it that you won’t forget him? No one in your territory is immune to the effects of fading!”
“Because I’m real. The Realm might be the source of imaginative energy, but people like me are the source of The Realm. We create it, I think we might even have created you. And nothing you do, nothing, can ever hurt me.”
Sills, ever the professional, felt compelled to answer the question of The Realm’s Commander-In-Chief. “Sir, Nobody made himself the trigger switch for the detonator. If he fades, the bomb goes off.”
“And good riddance to all of it!” Sindy shouted in defiance as she cradled her father’s head.
“Now, dear,” the stricken gnome spoke between gasps. “I don’t think that’s a very social attitude.”
“I can’t hurt you? We’ll see!” The master of the Copyright Horde raised his weapon and pointed it at the teen.
“Will! No!” someone shouted, but Will couldn’t make out the voice because he was fixated on the gun barrel now facing him.
With a mocking sneer the Fictive spoke, “Goodbye, fraud.” And he emptied his clip at the teen.
And nothing happened.
The injunctions fired at Will weren’t hovering in the air, they didn’t ricochet off his body or tear his clothes. They just vanished, as if they never existed.
The color drained from Fictive’s face. “How?”
Silence followed the attempted assassination. Not only in the tent, where those who remained were too shocked to speak, but throughout the entire camp as well. The gunfire and explosions had ceased, and the soldiers who’d been engaged in combat had yet to overcome the shock of their weapons’ sudden uselessness.
“I’m real, and I’m tired. And I’ve had enough!. I’m ending this, now. Goodbye. The world will be better off without you or your Horde.” Will took a deep breath, but was interrupted before he was able to exhale his vengeance upon his enemies.
It’s not your job to end their story, Will. You’re a preserver, not a destroyer.
Will twisted his head to the sky and shouted, “But they deserve it! Look at everything they’ve done!”
I know, but you were right. Unreal entities like the Horde were created by real people. They’re real people’s darkest impulses and musings, brought to life. If they deserve to be faded, so does reality.
“But I can stop them!”
It’s not your job. You’ve got healing to do. Do it.
Will shrieked his rage out to the sky, causing everyone in the court to flinch in terror. When he stopped he lowered his gaze upon the terrified Fictive Kindle. Tears rolled down his face as he whispered.
“What?” gasped Fictive.
“I said, run. I’ve make every weapon in camp is now, but it’s only a matter of time before The Bar figures out it out numbers your people and turns the tide on your attack. So, run. Now. Go away.”
Fictive scowled. “This isn’t over, pretender.”
“I know it isn’t, but it’s not my job to end you. I’ve got more important things to do.”
With a huff, but no further words, the head of the Copyright Horde turned and ducked out of the courtroom tent. Upon his exit he shouted, “Withdraw, all our forces. Quickly!” Those still inside heard footsteps and whispered orders follow after their disgraced leader. The tent had been surrounded.
Finch was dumbfounded. “Why did you let him go?”
General Isme concurred, “I agree, you could have ended all this. Why would you stop?”
“Because it’s not my job. I’m here to make sure stories continue, not end. If The Bar and The Realm want to end the story of the Copyright Horde, that’s up to you.” Turning, Will gazed down upon his wounded friend. “Nobody?”
From his prone position the gnome breathed out a single struggling word, “Yes?”
There was no glow, or other special effect 1, but the academic’s breathing became steady and color returned to his face as he sat up.
“Oh? Well, that was rather undramatic,” the gnome stated as Sindy sobbed and threw her arms around her father.
Fineflin was not impressed. “You have no sense of style, Will.”
His partner, however, was concerned about something more substantive. “So… that’s it? You’ve saved us?” asked Grimby.
Will shook his head. “No, but I’m done with the Horde. I think I’ve set Narrative back to where it needs to be, but all of you have to finish the chapter.”
Bug stood up from his position next to Nobody and approached Will with an outstretched hand. “You did great, kid. And once things settle down here I’ll get you through the lines and back home.”
Will took his friend’s hand but also shook his head. “Not yet, Bug. There’s one more thing I have to do before I go home.”
Before anyone could ask Will what his ‘one thing’ was, a shriek of terror pulsated through the tent. Oscar, who’d been standing with his mouth open in a silent scream for the last several minutes, had rediscovered his voice. When he regained his composure 2 he collapsed and whimpered, “Can I go home now? Please?”