LIAB Epilogue 06:1/Text
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"What am I supposed to do? Huh? I've trusted four people since I cam to Erfworld." Parson counted off on his fingers. "Bogroll is dead. Jack is Wanda's puppet now, so he's prob'ly a write-off. I'm pretty sure Sizemore hates me after today. And you've been playing me since the beginning."
Maggie looked at him sadly, but did not seem like she had anything to say in her own defense.
"You were the one I went to with the questions that were really important. I kinda thought you gave a crap about me, y'know?"
Parson had ordered Maggie here to his quarters, as his first point of business. The Thinkamancers had generously granted Gobwin Knob the use of ten apartments-rent free (for now)-in one of their two main marble buildings. They were small and spartan, but it would at least give his Commanders a little privacy.
"Yeah, okay. My point is, I've got nobody left," said Parson, struggling to communicate. "Like, I want to ask you about these guys before I talk to them. But I can't, right? Because how do I know you're not just...telling me what they want me to hear?"
He sat on the edge of his child-sized bed, while Maggie stood there looking pained.
"I don't suppose you do, Lord."
She wasn't being very helpful, and Parson had a lot left to do today. There was just too much to sort out. He needed to know where he stood. He leaned forward, putting his forearms on his knees.
"Loyalty is more complex than you know, Lord. That is one of the many secrets we protect." She tilted her head, looking worried. Her voice softened. "That is all they want, Lord Parson. Someone to protect their secrets. That is why they summoned you."
Parson grimaced. "No. It's why you summoned me, you mean."
She shook her head. "I am not a Great Mind, Lord. And I was not a party to this plan, although I fully support it."
"What are you, then? Like...their agent?"
"As I say, Lord: Loyalty is complex. And you've...complicated my own," for the first time, she broke eye contact with him, staring at a corner of the empty room. "When you were last here, after the Battle for Gobwin Knob, I interceded on your behalf, you know. I convinced them to allow you to leave the Magic Kingdom and seek your own path."
"No, I didn't know," said Parson. He only remembered waking up where they'd dropped him. That was interesting, but... "But of course, they had you to watch over me."
"So what happens now?" he asked, trying to cut to the chase. "When I meet with them. Whose side will you be on?"
She looked down at her feet, thinking for a moment, then raised her eyes to him. "You must destroy Charlie," she said emphatically.
"I will." He meant it.