“Before you leave there is something I want to give you.”
Is it going to be that stupid sword of our grandfather’s he displays in front of the house?
“This belonged to your grandfather, a great and noble soldier. The warrior Callibor gave this to him in recognition of his constant loyalty and companionship.”
Yep, it’s the rusty sword. What else could you expect from dad, after all?
“With this sword in your hands you’ll be able to seek assistance from Calibor’s descendants on your journey. They will not break the promise made upon this sword.”
“Alright, I’ll take it.”
“Not so fast! First you must prove yourself worthy of wielding the blade.”
I must do what, now?
“See, these twelve men?” he asked.
All of a sudden there were twelve strong looking men in front of me. Don’t tell me I have to fight these guys?
“These men come here bearing gifts of my choosing. Among these gifts I have prepared, lies your grandfather’s sword. You must select from these twelve, three men. If you find the warrior Callibor’s sword that means you have now passed the test and are now its rightful owner,” he said.
Thank god. So I don’t have to carry around 12 random things, just 3.
“Can I only choose one?” I asked.
“One? You wish to make this more challenging for yourself? It seems you’re finally developed some resolve!” Dad looked quite pleased.
But hey, dad – that’s not the case. It’s just that carrying one object is easier than carrying three, you know?
“That may not be the wisest course of action,” said Evon.
Seriously? How many times does this bastard have to get in my way?!
“Frankly speaking, your son needs the extra help,” he continued, ignoring my glares.
“That… is true,” Dad said. “All right, three men it is.”
“First I choose… Evon.” Whatever Evon has it’s bound to be something I can easily get rid of.
Evon’s tawny skin bleached pale white. He and my dad exchanged worried glances.
“Why don’t you pick again?” My dad asked, smiling brightly at me.
“Alright. I pick Evon... again.”
If they were worried that I’d picked Evon, odds are that whatever gift he had, it was completely useless. In that case maybe I could convince them to let me discard it.
“S-Sir…” Evon protested.
“He has made his choice. We must respect it,” my dad said.
“Then, may you have success on your journey George and I hope this item proves useful to you on your travels,” Evon said, reluctantly holding out a tall, smooth object.
“That’s your walking stick.”
“Indeed it is.” Evon sighed heavily.
“How is a walking stick supposed to help me?” I asked.
“We just put that in for fun. No-one actually expected that you’d pick Evon
of all people,” my dad admitted.
I guess they thought I wouldn’t pick him because we were always fighting. Whereas I picked him because I thought it would be funny for him to have to give me a going away present, even if it was from my dad and I was going to eventually chuck it.
“Well, now that it’s come to this, you may as well keep it,” Evon sighed.
“Seriously? Don’t you need this to walk?” I asked, giving the walking stick a little twirl.
“I have a spare,” Evon said, looking a little unhappy at the turn of the events.
“I guess I’ll keep it, then.” After all, the situation was pretty funny. And once I was clear of this place I could just throw it away.
“…Would you like to make your second choice now?” my dad asked.
“Roche.” My dad immediately smiled and I began to feel worried.
“For you, master George,” Roche said.
Roche handed me a thin, white envelope. I couldn’t imagine what could possibly be small enough to fit inside. Least it doesn't weigh much.
“Open it only when you encounter trouble,” my dad cautioned.
“Yeah, yeah. Alright let’s get this over with. Next I pick Samwurst,” I said.
“Samwurst, huh…” my dad looked lost in thought. Ugh, can we just get this over with?!
Samwurst stepped forwards and silently placed a large object wrapped in blue cloth in front of me. I had no idea what it was but I already knew I didn't want to be stuck carrying it.
“And this is…?”
“It’s a canoe,” Samwurst replied.
“It’s a magical canoe,” he explained.
These are the most useless presents I have ever gotten in my life. Even that handbook on courting was better than this crap.
“Thank you very much.” I said politely.
“So you didn't get the sword, after all,” my dad said, looking put out.
“I guess I wasn't worthy of it. Maybe a better successor will come along,” I said, not really caring much either way.
“Ah! That humility means-“
“Sir, I hope you weren't going to try and convince us that being humble makes him worthy of the sword. There’s one test to get the sword and only
one as you and I both know,” Evon replied.
Evon. I could kiss you!
“I guess you’re right. Well then George, this is as far as I can help you. You’ll have to do without the assistance of Callibor’s people.”
That’s just fine. I’m travelling to discover a grand hero, not the remnants of a musty old history book.
“Alright, dad. Thanks for supporting me all this time. I’ll see you when I return as an accomplished Teller that far surpasses you.”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself. You’re still just a brat,” Evon said.
“Looks like I might die before we meet again if that’s the case,” my dad joked. “Well, I have no trouble believing you’ll surpass me… maybe in 800 years?”
Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up while you can, morons.
Just wait till I come back, tales spilling out my pockets.
----------------------------------------- Skipped ahead to next scene here, being lazy -----------------------------------------
“Are you serious?”
“Leaving the forest is expressly forbidden,” he repeated.
“I have the Chief’s permission right here! Look… you don’t know who I am. I’m George, son of the current chief and future chief teller.”
“Oh,” the guards round black eyes widened in surprise. “You’re the one they call ‘the worst teller to ever tell
“People often decry things they can’t comprehend,” I said, crossing my arms and looking sternly at him. “My genius isn't something ordinary people can understand.”
“Lying corrupts the purity of tales,” the guard said.
“It isn't lying, it’s embellishing
! I've always said that telling is a culture that’s stagnating because people are unwilling to innovate. If we don’t move on from simply repeating the tales of others, our culture will steadily-“
“Whoah, whoah! What’s all this you’re talking about?! Did your dad drop you on the head as a baby or something?” he asked.
“Just… let me pass, please. I have permission right here,” I continued.
The guard squinted. Finally, he shook his head. “Afraid I can’t read that.”
“Surely you recognize my father’s seal?” I asked.
The guard squinted, then again shook his head. “The only thing I recognise is the honour won from a man to man duel.”
“…Is that so?” I asked.
“Indeed, that is so,” he repeated.
This stupid fucker! He’s just bored of standing around guarding all day - (Why do we need a guard here anyway, it's not like anyone wants to invade this shitty little hidden forest or anything.) - and wants a fight!
“Fine,” I clenched my teeth and gave in. There seemed to be no other way, after all.
“You’ll fight me?” he asked.
“No, I’m going home,” I said.
I’ll set a trap for him, lure him into it and then leave. Clearly this is the only option left to me.
“…You can’t leave.”
What? Oh come on, he can’t possibly be dumb enough to-
“Draw your sword!”
Oh god, he is. This is just like a tale. A really sad upsetting tale that no-one ever listens to because it sucks so bad.
“I don’t have a sword, sorry,” I shrugged.
“Whatever, draw something. I’m coming at you-!”
Freak really did lunge right at me, sword in hand. I leapt back quickly but my legs tangled on a branch and I ended up falling to the ground.
“The final blow-!” he shouted.
H-He’s really trying to kill me! Ah what the fuck what the hell what do i…-
That could work.
“Take this, you mouseblooded idiot!” I roared.
“…Is that a walking stick?” he asked, looking somewhat bemused.
Is that a walking stick, you ask. Indeed my friend, it is. This stick and I have quite a history together. You see, when I was young I misbehaved quite often and nothing hurt more than this here leaded up piece of fuckhittery.
And now it’s your turn, mouseblood.
“Squeal, fucker!” I threw the stick at him – which was more difficult than you’d think, considering all the lead – and he calmly walked to the side, dodging.
“Is that all you-“
The stick hit him solidly in the back of his head.
“That is a walking stick made for invalids and old people, you mouseblood. It’s charmed to return to the idiot that loses it, which you would know if you were at all aware of consumer culture or say, if you ever left this place and tried walking down the street,” I smirked, easily catching the returning stick in my outstretched hands.
Ow. Kinda stings.
“You think a little lovetap like that will stop me?” Mouseblood snarled, looking ferocious.
“I don’t think one hit from this will have much effect on you….” – he’s got that gigantic body, after all – “but maybe 100 will be enough to bring you down.”
“It looks like 100 wasn't enough to bring me down, after all,” he said.
“Yeah,” I wheezed, leaning heavily on the walking stick.
The muscular guy scanned my face then shrugged and smiled at me. “Good enough, I guess.”
“You mean my fighting?”
“I definitely do not mean that. But I guess you showed enough spirit to meet your dad’s requirements.”
“My dad’s requirements?” I asked.
“Written on that sheet there,” he said, pointing at my permission for exit papers.
“That just says you’re supposed to let me through…”
“It’s written in a secret code developed during your father’s time as a young teller.”
“A code you can read… Wait, you can
“Very well,” the man smiled at me, displaying his very even teeth.
“So this was a set-up by my old man from the beginning... But hey, I have a question.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Why would my dad need to invent a code?”
“Some people can get very emotional over tales. It’s a precautionary measure.”
“…Whatever. I can go now, right?” I asked.
“Of course you- wait. Where’s your canoe?” he asked.
“That thing?” I shrugged. “It was heavy so I left it at home.”
“But outside the forest we’re surrounded by water on all sides. You can’t leave without one,” he pointed out.
“…Wait here and I’ll bring the canoe over,” he said.
“But I won’t be able to carry it after travelling through the lake,” I said.
“I’ll show you how to compress it,” the muscular man sighed. “And I’ll carry it to the lake for you.”
“You’re really not as dumb as you make out, are you?” I asked.
“Well, I wouldn't consider myself smart but I can read at least,” he replied.
“And I find your opinions on the craft of telling very interesting.”
“You do?!” I asked.
“But they’re completely wrong,” he said.
“Maybe not for the reasons you think, but they’re wrong. Try not to get too caught up looking for tales in the outside world, ok?”
Of course I will, regardless of what this pseudo-intellectual mousehead thinks. After all, that’s the only reason I’m even bothering to think about coming back to this village after I leave. If it wasn't for the sake of finding a good tale, I’d run away completely.