Story

Kuro in Baccalor

19 Aug 2021 · 756 words

"…And never come back again, boy!"

You fall to the ground with an oof! as the bartender tosses you out of the tavern. Scowling, you yell behind his retreating back, "You're wrong! All of the goddess cities are wrong! The only way for people like us to prosper is to take control of our own lives!"

It's been only a few hours since you entered the goddess city of Baccalor, but since then you've been forcibly removed from nearly every business you've gone into. How incredibly rude — but to be expected of a goddess city, filled with entitled, lazy sheep who refuse to look ahead past the blindfold in front of their faces.

The symbol of the goddess cities on the tavern sign, a heptagon inscribed in another heptagon, cowers before your knowledge.

Brushing some dirt off from your rear, you think that the library across the street must contain people who are even somewhat more enlightened than the women — with the occasional man — drinking their problems away.

"Welcome!" a young woman greets you warmly with a smile as the bell above the door rings to signify your arrival in the library. It's only natural that she would.

You nod politely in return, attention stolen by the rows upon rows of bookshelves that fill both floors of the building. There are many more books in Baccalor's library than in your hometown of Stuco's. But of course, unlike Stuco, you scoff as you skim the titles across each shelf, goddess cities don't curate their selection and so the junk such as the (false!) glorious history of the goddesses lies on the wooden racks.

The book is worn, well-read. It appears that the disease that is worship runs much deeper in this city than you had imagined. You'll need to work harder if you want to show them the truth.

Strutting up to the nearest group of women reading at the long wooden desk — seriously, where did all the men in the library go? — and clear your throat to announce your presence. Only a few raise their attention from their books.

"Yes?" asks a rich woman with glasses. "What do you want?"

You have to admit that less than half of the people there giving you attention is a little disheartening. "Ah — I'd just like to ask you all if you knew the goddesses' role in the destruction of Malum?"

Collective exasperated sighs come from all around you, even from those who weren't looking at you.

"Look, child," says the rich woman again, "How old are you, exactly?"

Ad hominem. A classic diversion tactic. You'd never fall for it —

But she questioned your age! Really, even as a teenager, you'd know way more than these Baccalorean snubs.

"I'm fourteen," you declare proudly.

The woman places her open book face-down, resting her elbows on the table with clasped hands. "Please understand," she says firmly, "that Malum isn't real, no matter what Stuco always says. Historians from across the six goddess cities have investigated our history and found no evidence of another goddess city. There are only six goddesses, anyway, so who would rule over this supposed Malum?"

The clear disrespect from the uneducated women is really testing your limits. You can accept blissful ignorance, yes, but to actively defend lies even when the truth is right in front of them? Utterly unacceptable.

"Lady," you don't quite mean to but your tone comes out a bit harsher than you'd like. "I know you've all been brainwashed by your so-called patron goddess, but think with your own heads for a moment, okay?" You spread your hands as if lecturing a child. "That's what the goddesses want you to think. They have you all wrapped along their little finger. They just want to control us people so they can exploit us! They just want to —"

A finger taps your shoulder, interrupting your tirade. You whirl around to see who dared to interrupt the truth.

"Excuse me." The librarian who greeted you earlier still smiles as her voice turns hard. "I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave. You're disturbing our guests."

The rich woman shakes her head as if she thinks she's so much smarter than you. "You'll understand when you're older," she says off-handedly, returning to her book. The rest follow.

As you're led by the shoulder to the exit, you call back, "When the goddesses take all your crops and force you to kill, don't say I didn't tell you so!"

Revision:

Ⓒ 2022 Daniel Chen

Licensed under the AGPL-3.0 on GitHub and Gitea