Chapter 3:

Fool's Paradise


The break of dawn caught me sitting upright on the bed with a pillow cushioning my back against the wall and one of these dumb books in my hand, bags in my eyes.

The book had an odd way of keeping me interested in the adventures- well misadventures of the stubborn knight. They used tension and buildup to trick us into thinking he would finally feel his back braced up against a wall and be forced to draw his sword and then BOOM! He finds an alternative.

In the end, he only ever draws his sword in situations he feels comfortable doing so; never allowing the situation to force him to. I actually grew quite attached to his character. Only his choice of weaponry; the dull blade that caused me to mistake this masterpiece for a boring piece of childish entertainment wasn't quite to my tastes.

I'd always seen a man or even woman with a bow to be much fiercer. Unlike the sword that required you to be within the wielder's reach to be a threat, the bow on the other hand only required you to be within the wielder's field of vision. You see, you're more likely to be aware of yourself being within someone's reach and avoid danger but their eyesight? That's a different story.

Don't even get me started on speed and stealth.

I've had the arrow versus sword discussion mainly with Kraily and Barlo. Once with my dad. Sword saints all of them. Barlo had an open mind though. He did acknowledge the perks that would cause some to see the bow as superior unlike his single-minded contemporaries. Dad said the sword was a symbol of both morale and fear making it the ultimate weapon. Kraily said it just has suave to it.

All of them would've loved this book. Too bad they'll never get to read or hear about it.

I was in the middle of the eighth book when a slight knock on my door interrupted me. When I got out of bed and went to open it, I was greeted by a knight clad in, you guessed it, rusty armor.

Shit, I forgot about her! What'll she say when she sees that I've went through her stuff?

"Uh....umm...... give me five minutes to erase this from history." I said in a cold sweat closing the door on her hoping I could hit the reset button on the matter.

A metal leg came in the way of the door that was helping me to do this.

"*Gulp*" I swallowed my spit while I still had the chance.

" Sleep in exsex is fah the battle bitched and those dah got dicked so bad dah belly swollen!" the person that was clearly not my savior responded. They spoke the tongue in broken bits.

"In yah smells similar to a balance in both. Some water to ya rust will be first then!" the figure continued pushing the door away, grabbing me by the shoulders.

"A bath huh? At least let me put my hood on." If I was to patrol these streets once more, I thought I'd be safer if I followed instructions from yesterday.

I figure that if this person where a knight and they were the first thing I've seen in the morning they must've been connected to my savior. I also figured that she must be preoccupied since she hadn't come for me herself. She didn't seem like the type to lazily push her responsibilities onto others.

She seemed fond of me as well. I was even given a night though alone, at her house and even promised a second meeting.

I went back into the house for my rag torso that slept on the table. I threw it on, blew out the candles that were almost at the end of their journey and closed the small window over the bed.

I took up the yellow book I'd been reading and stuffed the ones that I had bow tied after reading back under the bed. I then made the bed with the book in my hand.

"Ya lag but ya tidy." commented the observing knight.

"What can I say? Just carrying on my mother's legacy." I replied thinking of the one who nailed the concept of tidiness into my brain.

"Hmph. Could bring ya places."

"Yeah. Probably." That comment marked the end of the bed making and was the signal for us to leave.


She took me to the fouwer that I arrived on. I stared at it briefly, reflecting on the past day until I had realized the knight had already ascended the steps and was waiting on me to get a move on.

We walked until we were about five stories high. That was when I saw the knight sink her hand into the stones opening a small door before us. I would've never thought of that. How neat.

When I stepped behind the knight through the door, I realized where exactly I was.

There were women, of all different shapes and sizes, washing themselves with some of them chatting, relaxing and even playing with each other (some inappropriately) while doing so. Ah. God's Grandeur.

"Utopia as common as ya street brains." the knight replied, tapping my left shoulder.

"I'd wisdom ya ta go in a getway spot so they won spot dah family name ya got bagged up under em' legs. And wait till dey done n' washed they fill and get out fore' ya do da same. Ya were probley gone' done deh second stuff even if a didn't say so most likely."


"Ya junk help me think of that."

The only real evidence of my transition into manhood had decided to show itself at the worst possible time. It seemed it truly was in good health despite what happened to it the day before.

I did as I was advised and sought out a place in the circular stone bath house that didn't attract much attention and discretely stripped hoping no one would see me.

I brought my book with me in the bath. I figured that if I was going to wait so long for the girls and women to leave, then I needed a distraction. I also didn't want to stare too much and attract unwanted attention.

The bathhouse was as beautiful as the women using it. It had a circular, stone spiral type walkway from the entrance leading to the bath. The bath itself was a gigantic circular spiral of water that was five levels high but spacious enough to hold at least 25 people on each level. Each level was isolated from the next and one needed to climb a small ladder to get to the next level. The spiral from the door was a downward one that started from the highest level to the lowest. The levels were all wrapped around a thick stone column which supplied all the water as it emerged from various holes designed like aquatic animals on various parts of the column. The place was designed similar to the fouwer itself.

Fortunately, enough, the lowest level; the most spacious of them all, was the least populated. I found a place by the corner to station myself.

I was two pupils deep in the book for most of the bath. In this tale, the stubborn knight was travelling with his princess to "The Land of Broken Wood" in order to have a wizard reverse a curse placed on the princess by the flower he gave her in the first book that changed her hair from pink to white. Of course, the knight also stumbled upon perilous situations that tried to force him to draw his sword along the way.

I know I know. The author paid unnecessarily serious attention to the plot. Even the picture books in this place were otherworldly.

Ironically enough, I bookmarked the page with a rose I picked up on my way to the bath. I was planning to give it to my savior and cleverly slip the stubborn knight's words into the exchange. I guess I grew some respect and slight admiration overnight for the stubborn bastard and the way he did things. So much so that I was about to follow his lead into letting her know what was up. That I was snooping. Reviewing the whole thing, even the story itself, maybe that wasn't the brightest of ideas.

The simple story was at my heart... but sleep was underneath my eyelids and pretty soon, the book was open over my face and my head on the stone tiles I walked on to get into the bath.

I was awoken by the sound of someone dipping into water nearby. As I regathered my consciousness, I came to realize that I had been knocked out so long that my fingers caught wrinkles and the bathhouse had been almost completely vacated. Well.... except two, the shaved-headed intellectual dissecting a picture book and the one entering the bath.

The one who entered was not that far from me as about five steps directly ahead would instantly close the distance between us. The figure was definitely that of a woman. Slightly taller than me though as the water stopped slightly above her waist when she was completely submerged when it had cut me cleanly into two-thirds. She had a grey scarf-like cloth wrapped around her tiny stomach with her rice cake sized cleavage hanging over it.

Her form struck me as effortlessly slender-seductive, reminiscent of a swimsuit model's. Especially when she rose her hand beginning to scrub her short, spiky-green hair that was groomed into a jersey cut.

I must've been admiring her too loudly as it wasn't long after I started that she noticed me.

Shit! I'm in trouble. I might end up even more broken than that knight's English by the end of this!

The now alert bath lady turned to confirm her suspicions causing me to confront yet another pair.

These were wildly green and black but glittered like a healthy but unruly forest illuminated by the night's accompanying stars.

In the very next instant, her tender, smooth lips curiously separated to release some words in a fashion similar to gentleman getting the door for his guests:

"Ya flip flippa flong for eh? Yas miss yas flame!"

It was then that I realized. Yeah. I could never be as broken as her English.

What was really crazy was the fact that her tone-deaf manner of speech, even though it violently contrasted it, didn't do the slightest bit of damage to the atmosphere I was getting from her before she talked. She still glistened even as her mouth leaked garbage.

".... You!" I was at a loss for words.

"Yas? Oh. Paradise mugged ya mouth." She was saying as she examined herself by touching her boob. She understood that she had it going on well enough to refer to it as "Paradise."

"W-well...I uh...." I didn't want to seem too affected by this, but I was too affected to think of a way to show that I wasn't. Nude model figures weren't exactly my every day.

"Won't condemn yas. This romances yas as robs yas. Only yas victim enough know." she was slowly making her way over to me gliding across the bathroom in the way how she walked like a leaf floating atop a lake.

She was definitely more physical than verbal with her demeaner.

My heartrate was going crazy. The closer she got, the more unhinged it became. It kept building until we were finally a hair's breadth away from each other.

At this point, I was barely keeping my breathing, body temperature and facial expression in check.

Instinctively, I tried to retreat by crawling backwards as if I was being cornered by a beast. She helped with this by slowly crawling forward on all fours. She looked like a natural cherry picker.

My retreat failed miserably seen as midway me pushing myself backwards, my palm pressed down on the picture book that had fell into the bath whilst I was asleep. The book slipped from underneath my palm causing me to lose balance crashing my head into the tiles behind me.

She got a mouthful out of it.

"Hehehehehe. Yas fearing paradise! A first!"

"Ya happy now?! Your teasing caused me a possible concussion and a perfectly good boo-" as it flashed to me, I instantly grabbed the book beside my left hand to examine exactly how damaged it was. As I drew it up from the water all that echoed through me was Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit! upon realizing that my carelessness destroyed someone's prized possession.

What happened afterwards pulled a different type of Oh SHIT! out of me.

When the book had arrived at my face hanging from my hand, not a single drop of water fell. It was as dry as I had brought it in.

"Yas fear stems from unfamiliarity." was the rhythm of the voice that came to my ear outside of my awareness as I was still lost in bewilderment. She used the distraction to completely close the distance.

Her next move was to slide her right hand up to where the book was on my left shifting it to replace the image before my face with that of her own.

The bewilderment I felt before slipped and fell from my face as a drop of sweat into the bath welcoming my new situation.

Slowly perching herself on top of me, she went on, "It'll look a lil' whelming at distance. As ya put ya foot down...."

My junk was getting involved. It was Forced to play along really. Forced by the left hand underwater directing its path. Where was it headed you might ask? By the smooth movements of the pelvis that followed, right through heaven's gates.

The tension I was feeling prior evaporated instantly. I was condensed into euphoric energy. My body unified under the sensation and focused itself into a celestial point. Again- all in an instant.

My head humbly fell back to the tiles it crashed into earlier, forgetting the previous altercation completely. Every fiber of my being was dedicated to experiencing this foreign sensation.

Ah. So, this was what she meant by becoming celestial.

Ignoring my soul imprisoned in utopia, the bath knight continued shockingly:

"And as your foot's base sinks into the soil...." in the smoothest English I've heard from her so far, "You'll forget that this place might already belong to someone."

The left hand that acted so graciously before betrayed that nature completely latching on to my neck squeezing it with almost robotic tightness.

"What-" my resting neck rose restlessly in order for my descended from celestial plains-self to be able to make sense of what was happening.

The face I was reintroduced to was the same one as before in both figure and expression; only surrounded by a colder atmosphere.

She gave me a coldly cute smile in response.

Afterwards, her right hand shifted to the cloth around her stomach revealing:

"It doesn't matter what happens afterwards because the footprints remain." Multiple stab wounds around her stomach.

My eyes almost tore their sockets.

"It's just self- satisfaction after that point." she shifted her left arm once more; this time to strengthen her already devastating grip.

"But I still go on with it because it's better than nothing." She began banging my head against the tiles and though I tried to fight her off holding unto her hand, she was just

that much stronger than I was.

"And I hate nothing. Why? Because that's all I have left." I began foaming out the mouth. I no longer had the strength to fight back as I was fading. The end was fast approaching.

Just as my eyes were beginning to roll back into their sockets retreating to the next life, I heard it.

His sins will pollute the waters.

The next instant, the pressure vanished from around me.

When my eyes rolled back down to check to see if everything was okay, they realized a change.

In the scenery. I was now in a lake surrounded by so many trees in what could only be called a forest.

As I fuddled my scorched throat coughing vigorously, I realized.

The book in my hand had also dropped to the water and was completely soaked.