Rise of Glie Chapter 47
Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 46: Flight of Sadness
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 47: A Number of Stones
Washi can hear the whistle of his feathers as he swoops low over the cart handler. King and Wally climb again and continuously swoop low over the heads of the Toga. [Real crows will do this when you get close enough to their nests; the author has experience.]
She interrupts Two-long Two-short with a terse, "Wait" gesture and marches to the cart handlers. "The grounding line should still be connected," she signs angrily.
The Toga are perplexed. Three look. The grounding line obviously is connected, and so is the cart's wheel grounding strip and slip ring. She must be off her rocker!
The one the crows were bothering plainly did not understand her rediculous statement. The Saviour has taken the secret language away from her.
Realizing her cover had been blown, the traitor raises both her hands, and in front of red glowing eyes, a powerful fireball forms. The beast throws it with an overhand swing.
The Communicator turns aside and lets the fireball hit her back. The Communicator's uniform is unharmed, except that the wooden wings are blasted to slivers. "Why?" she asks aloud as she turns to face the traitor again.
"Cam-?" the Toga rasps in a high pitched voice. "Campbell, how can it be you?"
"Get out!" the voice of an angry old man bellows from behind the Communicator's mask.
The Toga screams and collapses to her knees. A green plasma rises from her and dissipates into the sky.
The Communicator stoops in front of the traitor and grabs her shoulders. "You knew the love of God, why would you give it up?"
"Power!" the Toga rasps, "Give it back, now!"
"As if," Washi snorts, "I haven't eaten in four days to make sure it left you. And surely you must know that the power of God is greater than the power of those He created!"
The traitor laughs, "What power? Fools. Love is weak. Love is nothing! Did it hurt when you gave your wings? It means nothing, ex-haibane. Only one who hates you would ask such a thing."
"And somehow, you came to believe that after you came to know love," Washi weeps.
"Fools," she scoffs, "Fools, you all are."
"Love is foolish to those who are not saved," Washi whispers, "but is the power of God to those who are. Love does not boast or demand, make bargains and cheat; love can't lie or steal," she explains.
"Power is all that matters," the monster grunts.
"Does it?" Washi asks, "Or, why did you give up yours in the first place?"
The monster struggles, but can't move. Even after the Communicator lets go of her shoulders and stands, she is stuck on her knees.
"This is not our power," Washi says softly, "and what we shall do is not vengeance, but for the love of those you betrayed. I love the Toga and Sudden City enough to do this ... enough to throw the first stone."
The Communicator turns her back and walks away from the immobilized hellspawn. Little splinters pour from the holes in her uniform as she slowly paces away.
"Fools!" the monster screams as each Toga picks up a small stone, "We rule the world! This is all that's left of you on the whole planet! We have all the power!"
The Communicator stoops to pick up a stone, turns to face the traitor, and lifts up her mask. "It does not matter," she whispers in her "old man's voice".
The monster is shocked at her face. Is it the revelation of the old man's true gender, or the tears pouring down her cheeks?
"We have all the love," she pulls her mask back down over her face, "That's what we really need."
Washi pitches the stone with all her might. In seconds, the monster is smashed from all sides as the entire company of Toga release their cobbles. She screams in pain, falls over bleeding. The Washi, and the Toga all continue to throw stones at her until she is not moving or making any sound.
Fushoku, sitting on the cart, is absolutely horrified. The blood oozing out of the victim's tattered robe is unusually dark.
"Do not approach," Washi signs as he watches.
The monster's body begins to glow red, and bursts into orange sparks. The Toga robe bursts into flames.
Washi picks up her walking stick again and tucks a small leaf from some unseen pocket in her uniform into a knot on her staff. She holds it out in front of her as she approaches, waving it about the smouldering, empty robe. Fushoku initially gets the impression that the Communicator is casting some sort of spell or blessing on the traitor's remains, but suddenly remembers the threat of the radiation his computers are so carefully designed to tolerate. Washi is merely checking for its presence.
The leaf is still green, although wilted by the heat. All that's left of the traitor that matters to anyone are the small flakes of glowing halo metal Washi takes from the ashes with tongs and sets into a glass jar. After finding all she can see, she shakes the jar to get an impression of how much of the metal is in it.
The rest of the exchange takes twice as long as normal, and then seems twice as long again to Fushoku, who quietly helps load the cart with the sand and grain for Wire Factory and Old Home.
"As far as I know, that's never happened before," Washi says as she sits down beside Fushoku on the cart when all has been loaded.
"For a second," Fushoku says quietly, "You reminded me of Bangou. But she would never throw a stone like that."
The Communicator looks at him. Fushoku tries to imagine a face that he's never seen. Is the old man in the mask angry? Sad? Patient, like Bangou? "You'd probably find it easy to see Bangou with children of her own," the voice utters, "so you might be able to see what Bangou would do if they were ever attacked or threatened."
Fushoku nods, "I see." He bows his head, "I hope I never have to do something like that."
"I do too," Washi says. After rolling a few hundred metres further along the road, and nearing Wire Factory, she finally says, "Can you stop by Jabez's wood shop for me tomorrow or Thursday?"
"Huh?" Fushoku says, jarred from his contemplation. "Oh, your wings, I see," he realizes, "You're not hurt, are you?"
"No," the Communicator answers, "That light we see the wall glow with every winter, you know."
"The Bell Nut Festival?" Fushoku asks.
"Yes," Washi confirms, "That light is with us, always..."
Fushoku glances up at his halo.
"...even if you don't always see it."
Fushoku smiles with gratitude, "I'm so glad. Aware's light must still be with us."
"Yes," the Communicator confirms, but adds, "Light does not come from Aware. Like us, he was merely a vessel, a conduit of that light. Like a bulb doesn't have a power of its own, Fushoku, we are the light unto the world."
"I understand," Fushoku says, "Somehow I've always known that."
"Good," Washi whispers.
Hane rushes up to the cart, "Was it really that boring, Fushoku?"
"Well, hey, lunch won't be, as long as you like eggs," Hane says, "Kiniiri and Crystal are over helping Teisei cook it up."
"Wasn't that two hours ago?" Fushoku asks.
"It would have been if the generator weren't low on fuel," Hane says as she grabs a fuel can from the cart, "Haoto's newest wind turbine tripped its clutch overnight, so he's out there checking it out. We didn't have enough electricity to run the stove and wafer oven at the same time. Crystal rushed out here to warn us this morning. Something kept you too, so I guess it worked out," she giggles.
"It's a great day!" someone cries from the barbecue.
"Check this out," the Communicator nudges Fushoku, pointing at a dark cloud just across the bridge.
The numerous little birds settle to the ground, revealing Taka, smiling and feeding them.
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 48: A New Rule