The streets of Parcelyte are flooded now. Not that they hadnít been earlier; donít get me wrong. Theyíd been packed when two of the three heroes came back with news that Gades was no more. But now theyíre really noisy, because everyone has something to be happy about. Parcelyte is going to be okay. Seim Island isnít going to sink into the ocean. The people are safe. The kingdom is safe and so are its surrounding cities. The empire of Parcelyte has a lot to celebrate.
Iím happy for them; Iím not that self-centered that I canít feel their joy a little. Iím happy that theyíll live another day and that the monsters are pretty much taken care of and that Maxim and Guy and everyone else will finally be able to relax.
Relax? I meant settle down. Settle down, the one thing I always wanted Maxim to do. Well now heís going to do it, but not with me. And that hurts.
Itís my fault, isnít it? I followed him. I insisted on coming along, and you want to know why? Because I loved him, damnit. People always worry about the ones they love, especially if those loved ones happen to like living on the edge. Especially if those loved ones like hunting down things that could very well kill them. Maxim gave me a hell of a lot to worry about; I never lacked in that department.
And he cared for me. Iíd be lying if I were to say he was totally heartless. But he cared no more than any normal friend would, no more than one good buddy to another.
Yes, celebrate, Parcelyte. Throw your parties and may the king host a great ball in the palace. May no thieves come in and try to take that pretty sword of yours and may no rebels seek your throat. May you live in peace and prosperity, blah, blah, blah...
I feel so bitter.
Itíd be a nice day if I didnít feel like every tear down my face would burn. Really nice. Skyís nice, blue, blue like the hair I kept long and pretty for him, not that I donít like long hair myself. Itís autumn so everythingís a little chilly. I always liked fall. Not hot at all, but not too cold. The cobblestone streets of Parcelyte are littered with fallen leaves, gold, red, brown... I hope Micahís keeping the shop in good order, or else Iím going to have lots of leaves to sweep out...
The road beneath my feet cedes now to grass. Thereís that great meadow that we saw, Maxim, Guy, and I, when we were heading to Parcelyte for the first time. Right before the woods, itís a very pretty clearing, dotted with white flowers thatíll all be gone when the snows come.
I love meadows. I love picnics in meadows. I love...
No. Not anymore. I canít. Because now heís hers.
I want to hate her so badly! If it werenít for her, Iíd... I really wish weíd never stopped in Parcelyte. I wish we had never met her. Couldnít that have been prevented somehow? Couldnít fate have intervened?
Couldnít something have stopped me years ago and told me right to my face that loving a warrior was one of the dumbest things I could do, since I canít really support one? Couldnít something have tried to stop me from foolishly clinging to him? Ugh... Know something? Iíd like to hate him too. But like with Selan, I just canít.
Iím trying though, I really am...
Nice couple, huh? She, the beautiful swordswoman who just happens to know magic too, and he, the traveling warrior, stronger than most and undoubtedly the best looking man I have ever laid eyes on in my entire life. No wonder I fell for him. Heck, there were other girls who liked him too, but funny enough, he never showed interest in them at all.
I got more attention from him than those other girls did, but I never got what I really wanted. I never got love beyond that of friendship.
Was that a lot to ask for, after waiting for as long as I have? Was I being too demanding, oh great gods? Was I asking for too much?
I didnít realize how far I walked until just now. Parcelyteís pretty far away, but the noise still prevails. I can still hear the crowds; I can still see the merrymaking of the people. I canít see Dekar anymore though; he mustíve left a while ago.
I didnít lie when I told Dekar that talking to him made me feel better. It didÖfor a while. Ha, heís a little deeper than I thought. I never knew he had a sensitive side. He always came off as totally thickheaded and so full of himself... I guess thereís always an unseen side to people, and it only comes out when things get to be too much or when someone really needs to see that nicer half, because theyíre so upset...
Oh, you helped, Dekar, you helped, but you werenít enough. Nothing will be enough right now. I donít know what I need or what I have to do other than to go home and try to pick up the pieces...
Iím falling apart, bit by bit. But I just canít cry. I canít. I canít give in; I canít give fate or Maxim or Selan or whoever that satisfaction of having broken me. I need to stand on my own now, because I have no one to help me. My hero is gone; he belongs to someone else now. My savior is no more.
Itís funny. He was always there to save me from others, but now heís not here to save me from myself. My tears are the worst enemies I could ever face and here I am, all by myself with them.
I just donít understand how fate could be so cruel! Why would it want to abandon me like this? It already put me through the torture of watching those two grow close. I saw it all, from start to finish, considering I was too stubborn to leave Maximís side. I saw those two as they laughed and talked and shared old battle stories and I watched as the laughing and talking turned to flirting, and how the flirting turned to such obvious displays of affection that it nearly made me sick. Guy was practically oblivious to their flirting most of the time, though sometimes there was a gap in his insensitivity and heíd see it too, and then make some sort of witty comment... But he wasnít there in the North Dungeon, when things really hit a peak. No, heíd been spared of all that.
But then again, he has someone waiting for him. He doesnít know what loneliness is like anyway.
Maxim and Selan no longer know. Well, I donít think Maxim ever felt it—he was so used to being by himself and doing things on his own. Selan... Oh, well she wonít admit it, miss wannabe Ice Princess, but she was lonely. Thatís why she fell in love with Maxim. I guess sheís more like me than I thought. But she and Maxim donít have the history that Maxim and I have.
Oh, but sheíll make her own history with him! Theyíll probably end up married and have a bunch of kids and Maxim will spend the rest of his days as the great dad I always thought heíd be, in the company of a fellow warrior. How quaint. Iím looking for the white picket fence now, and the rainbow in the sky and the white puffy clouds...
And theyíll be sung in all the poetsí songs forever and a day: Guy and Dekar, the invincible swordsmen, and Maxim, ultimately the savior of Parcelyte, and his pretty lady waiting for him in her hometown, who very well would have led her people to safety had her hero failed. Theyíll all be remembered. Theyíre heroes, and no one forgets heroes.
But the bards wonít write about the one woman who followed the great Maxim from the start, the one who knew him since he was a child. Their songs wonít sing of the original lady in waiting in her hometown, waiting for her hero to come out to the stretch of grass in back of the schoolhouse, to come and save her from those awful other boys. No, she wonít make an interesting story to those bards. Sheís nothing, in spite of her efforts. Her story is of love that never was. Thatís not verse worthy, is it? No, love is supposed to be either total bliss or total tragedy, and I guess my storyís not total tragedy. It didnít end in the death of someone. The only thing that died really was love itself.
Or actually, itís slowly wasting away. It didnít die yet.
I guess Iíll always love Maxim no matter what, even if I have to let him go like this. Even if Selan took him from me. Even if fate didnít want me to have him.
I guess this is my lesson in life: You canít always have what you want, even when you really want it and youíre so sure that itís best for you. Maybe Maxim isnít best for me; maybe thereís someone else...
Well, the poets wonít write me sonnets, but my friends back in Elcid will hear everything. I helped get the crown back in Alunze. I helped rescue a woman held captive. I helped a small glass craftsman get back on his feet—financially, anyway. I did a lot. Where would Maxim be now if I hadnít come along? Would he ever have met Selan? Or even Guy?
Maybe, but I know I made the journey more bearable.
Go on, celebrate, Parcelyte. No oneís stopping you. Iím not there to make things miserable. Iím not there to be the cityís wet blanket. Go on. Live in the peace youíve earned.
As for me, itís back to Elcid. I wonít be mobbed, but Iíll have a lot to tell everyone. Maybe I can be the bard for my own story.