The Consequence of Saving the World
As Timon lead us out of the room, an untoward realisation nestled into my mind.
How in the world are they going to investigate when they stand out this badly?
One was clad in green with a huge flowy hat, while the other was a suit of armour that walks and couldn’t even talk to save his life.
I should have brought this up over lunch, but oh well. While I still have qualms over their character, they’d surely be able to get their jobs done, right?
“Timon! Over here! Kyaaaaaah!”
Some of the patrons from the floor below were screaming in our direction as we walked across the balcony. I had to stop the urge to ram myself into the wall just to avoid the attention that Mr. Music was getting.
Being the celebrity that he was, Timon didn’t even bat an eye. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a single rose, tossing the poor plant into the unholy abyss of screaming fans.
Like some sort of monster sprouting out tentacles, they all stretched out their arms at the same time, trying to grab the falling object. As it fell towards one of the tables, some poor sod was suddenly swarmed by women, all clawing and screeching in an attempt to accept their idol’s “love”.
Beer and bodies fused into one sweaty mosh pit as onlookers cheered in their afternoon stupor. For the guy who was buried under all those girls, my condolences. I hoped he was hammered enough before that happened—he was either having the best or the worst day of his life depending on how buzzed he was.
“Don’t mind them. ‘Tis an everyday occurrence.”
Because of YOU, idiot. You don’t get to say that when you’re the damn cause it all happened!
I shook my head, trying to put behind his ridiculous statement and the hellish imagery implanted into my brain from the floor below. As a silver lining, the rose throw served as an adequate distraction for us to leave the establishment. The fans fought for the flower instead of the person who threw it. I couldn’t help but feel that it was some sort of reflection on humanity’s greed. Chilling.
The matron of the bar stood by the exit, struggling to keep her smile up as she bowed to Timon in thanks. I couldn’t blame her—despite how much extra business he brought, someone still had to pay for the broken tables and mugs.
I prayed that no one would remember me as one of the people walking next to Timon. If this was his everyday life, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it.
Luckily, the hysteria was only localised in the bar. Outside, the sober people of Breven had the common sense to worry about their own lives instead of some sort of celebrity. We made our way to a house not too far away on a quieter street.
As Phalanx reached for the keys and unlocked the front door, it became apparent to me that this house belonged to Timon. Was this bastard seriously from my hometown?!
“Wait Timon, you’re from Breven?!”
“No. Why’d you ask?”
Ah, I get it now. He’s rich.
Unlike the rest of us who stayed in inns, Timon could buy a house wherever he went. Perks of being in the 1%, huh.
“Nevermind. What about all your fans, though? I’m surprised they’re not camping outside of your house.”
“Yes, that was an issue at first. The peace and quiet you see now are brought to you specially by this fine chap.”
Timon gave Phalanx who was opening the door a pat on the back. There was a soft ding, but an even bigger reaction from the knight which I didn’t expect, as if he jumped momentarily.
I pitied the guy inside the armour. Imagine being a Dragon-ranked adventurer just to chase away some guy’s fans. What was motivating him, I wonder?
“My dear friends, meet Genevieve—your new home!”
As the door flung open and Timon’s arms stretched outwards to welcome us to his abode, the most unbelievable part of all this was…how rundown the house looked. Why someone as extra as him would even go near, much less own such a poor-looking house was a complete mystery.
“Timon, you named your house Genevieve?”
Ah right. That too. Thanks for asking that, Sereya.
“Yes. Each of my properties is named after girls who have broken my heart in the past. Their designs reflect that of the actual person. Genevieve was from a poor family, and isn’t the most well-groomed lass around.
However, she taught me that inner beauty is what’s most important in the end, which is why this lot in Breven reminds me of that. Oh Genevieve, if only your parents were as understanding as you, maybe you’d still be caressing my hair as I played you a love song…”
I needed a cup of water. Badly. Not to drink, but to spit from the obnoxiousness of that story.
“Wouldn’t it be a bother if we stayed here?” I asked, secretly hoping that we could stay away from this lunatic. “I mean, Sereya and I could always stay at a—”
“Don’t worry, Genevieve doesn’t mind. A lot of guys used her, too.”
I sure hoped that he was referring to the house and not the person.
“But alas, I’m getting sidetracked. You could familiarise yourself with Genevieve all you want later. This is now your base of operations in Breven, after all. Come with me.”
I could sense that Sereya had a lot to say, just like me. Somehow, we both felt that it might be better for us to hold our piece, lest our minds get blown into smithereens once more.
The homeowner brought us to his backyard. The grass was tall and the bushes were untrimmed.
Damn it Timon, your stupid story is giving me stupid ideas.
There was also a small pond near the side of the fence. I highly doubted any actual landscaping took place here.
However, the most surprising thing here, besides the bushes, was the number of bird cages here. There were several tables with cages stacked on them. There easily had to be around thirty or so cages here, each with a similar-looking bird inside of them.
I wasn’t sure what kind of birds these were—they definitely weren’t local to Breven. Seriously, why must rich people have such bizarre hobbies?
“Evan, could you help open the cages?”
It was Sereya who asked me to do that, but why? Before I could even question, both she and Phalanx were unlatching the door for each cage without any hesitation. I get Phalanx, but why was Sereya in on this?
I turned to look at Timon. For once, he didn’t say anything, only giving me a smile.
Screw it. This was probably going to be some dumb welcoming ceremony anyway. I joined the two of them in opening the cages.
These birds were pretty well-trained, though. Whether it was Phalanx or Timon who was behind them, they were pretty comfortable around humans. Even with freedom laid out in front of them as I unlatched each door, they refused to fly out, staying comfortably perched in their own homes.
After opening the last cage, I joined Sereya and Phalanx who were standing next to Timon. It was as if they were doing nothing but admiring the opened cages. I tried mimicking them, but I had no clue what was the appeal.
All of a sudden, Timon began to play his flute. It was the complete opposite of the loud, “metallic” music that he played in the bar. This melody felt like it was dancing, freely flowing in the air.
As the hairs on my arms and neck began to stand, so too did the birds at the edge of their cages. As the song reached its chorus, the birds too, began to sing. It was so surreal—almost like Timon was “talking” to the birds in their own language—song.
By the time the music reached the bridge, one by one, the birds took flight. Like fireworks shooting up into the afternoon sky, they spread their wings and covered my vision, casting a mesmerising pattern of shadows onto us.
With all the birds gone, Timon reaches the end of his song. It sounded lonely, sad even. I finally understood that this wasn’t just a performance. He was using his Blessing on those birds.
This was the information network that Sereya mentioned. The birds were his eyes and ears all over Fallcross.
“There you have it, my dear Evansmi—Now, we wait a few days before word of someone with the same necklace as you comes back from the nightingales. Fal, please pour our guests something to drink.”
I stood there, still speechless from what I saw.
“What’s the matter, Evan? Did my performance also put a spell on you, hmm?”
“Timon, the birds looked so happy even though they were mind-controlled, but are they really happy?”
“Perhaps. We all want freedom, but don’t you think we’re our happiest when we’re locked in our own cages, blissfully unaware of the real world?”