Friday, April 6, 2018

Page 1675

((TZKS 5th Anniversary -- Page 24 of 24))
Wait a minute. Humiliation? Maybe that was another solution.

Once Parson was sure that he wasn’t going to start crying, he walked over to Steven again and crouched down. There was only one thing he could think of that might set the other boy off.

“Steven,” he tried one last time, to no avail as expected. That was fine. “...Jonah.”

No reaction.

Parson was ready to give up, though. After all these months, he’d almost forgotten Steven’s actual name and was therefore briefly concerned that he’d said the wrong one, but after a moment, he became certain again. “Jonah,” he said more forcefully.

Steven’s eyes twitched, then moved to meet Parson’s.

“Finally,” said Parson. “Get up, Jonah.”

“...My name’s not Jonah.”

“Hmph.” On any other day, that might have been enough to make Parson laugh. “Yes, it is, Jonah.”

“No, it isn’t...!”

“Well, then get up if you want us to start calling you Steven again.”

“My name’s not Steven, either.”

Parson would’ve sighed, if he wasn’t so relieved just to hear the other boy’s voice again. “Oh yeah? What’s your name, then?”

“It’s... it’s Damian.”

The actual Damian scoffed. “No, it isn’t, you ass! Pick a different one!”

“F-fine... my name’s Germal.”

“Germal?” said Damian. “Is that even a real name?”

“It is! I read it in a book once!”

“Liar. You can’t read.”

“Can so!”

“What was the book about then, huh?”

“It was about a hero who brings light to the whole world!”

“Yeah, sure, it was.”

“It’s true, idiot! He saved everyone from the darkness!”

“Uh-huh.”

“Whatever! My name’s Germal now! You have to call me Germal!”

Parson stood back up. “Fine, whatever you say.” He held out his hand. “But you have to give me the knife, if you want me to start calling you Germal.”

The boy hesitated. “...It’s my mother’s.”

And at the look on his face, Parson couldn’t help hesitating, too. He had to be strong, though, he told himself. “...I’ll give it back to you, just as soon I’m sure that you won’t use it against either of us.”

“What? I wouldn’t... uh...”

“Yeah, you would,” said Damian, showing his cut again.

“...Okay, but you better give it back soon.” And he gave the weapon to Parson.

Parson wiped the blood off of it with his tunic. Some of it had dried and required a few extra passes and hard scrubbing, but he managed to get it all and return it to its accompanying leather scabbard. That was when he noticed an engraving thereon. He didn’t know how to read, though. He looked over at the newly dubbed Germal. “Hey. You really know how to read?”

“Yeah!”

Parson showed the engraving. “What does this say, then?”

“It says, ‘Courage before Evil, Preparedness before Courage.’ It’s a quote a from a famous guy.”

“Hmm.”

“What famous guy?” said Damian, still sounding doubtful.

“Arkos,” said Germal, though his expression diminished into a frown. “That’s what my mother said, anyway...”

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