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A Fool's Bucket - Ch. 11.1

by ExOmelas

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

A/N: I have been warned that I sometimes write my characters like hormonal teenagers, which is maybe more appropriate here than in the story about the 60-year-old zookeeper. Anyway, just let me know if any of this angst is gratuitous :P


"Do you think it's weird that we haven't seen Raddig all day?" Myal asked Buck. They were standing at the corner of the main hall, just to the side of the stage. In front of the stage, Erson was sat at a fold-away wooden table with a stack of papers in front of him. Before him, a long queue stretched all the way out the doors at the back of the hall, as farmers lined up to detail their livestock and crops for the month.

Buck sighed and leaned against the stage. "I don't know... He might just be at the back of the queue."

"I don't just mean that," Myal said, briefly glancing at Erson. He seemed engrossed in the figures he was scribbling down. "He missed his shift as steward, and we had to go without because Holyon was tending the field. Now Holyon's stuck up there because Raddig still hasn't showed. He sent a note down with one of the cowherds who passed him."

Buck rubbed the back of his neck. When he had offered Raddig the money he needed to buy a ship, he'd taken it immediately. Buck was wondering now if he'd left the valley that very night. He hadn't been expecting an emotional goodbye from the man who was literally scamming Erson, but he could at least have left a letter so it wouldn't be up to Buck to explain what had happened.

"Myal, can you keep a secret?" Buck said. He actually felt his voice crack a bit as the weight of the past two days hit home.

Myal's eyes widened and she leaned forward to whisper, "What? What is it?"

"Raddig's gone," Buck said. The words came out all rushed, and slightly louder than he'd have liked. But at least they were out now.

"What?" Myal exclaimed. She gulped and spun around. Buck saw that a few people had glanced in her direction, but she just giggled and turned back around to Buck. Buck laughed and leaned in with his hands steepled as if he was concocting a fun scheme for the next performance night. In a way he was scheming, because everyone rolled their eyes at them and went back to their business.

"That was quick thinking," Buck said.

"People leave you alone if you seem like you're planning a party," Myal said.

"Fair enough," Buck said. "We should probably still go somewhere else though."

Myal nodded and led him out into the corridor. "Okay, what's going on?"

Buck explained as much as he could without giving away the fact that he had paid off Raddig with Pires's money. He had been wondering what lie to tell to explain why he'd done it, so that he wouldn't have to reveal he wanted Erson free to marry Pires. But when it came to that part of the story, he found himself narrating his argument with Raddig with a fury that had been rumbling in his stomach for days. He had to fight to keep his voice low. So it was fairly easy to suggest that his motivations had been to keep Erson safe.

When he was done, Myal said. "I fucking knew it."

"Myal!" Buck hissed. But he found himself laughing. He'd never heard her swear before, and the absurdity snapped the tension in two.

"I'm sorry but I did! There was something so cold about him. He wasn't just quiet. Your friend Victane is quiet. Loilyn the singer - she's quiet - when she's not singing about backsides. But Raddig's just mean," Myal said, folding her arms. After a moment, her arms dropped to her sides and she said, "Uh... do you want me to tell him?"

Buck could see the panic in her wide eyes and her mouth left hanging open. How could he ask her, after she'd spent all that time trying to show him how much fun life could be up here, to tell her brother that the man he wanted to marry had disappeared, and had never loved him in the first place?

"No, that's okay," Buck said. "I'll tell him. I just have no idea when. Won't he be worn out once he's finished with this?"

"Sort of," Myal said. She tilted her head back and forth. "He will be tired, but he and I usually go for a walk afterwards to stretch our legs. I can just have you go with him instead. I'll say I have, you know, a party to plan."

Buck smiled and wondered if she'd ever considered a career in Resador. "Okay, that sounds alright. Should we go back in there now?"

"I actually don't think it would make all that much difference. Erson gets so focused on report day - it's probably why he hasn't noticed that Raddig is missing," Myal said. She fidgeted with her hair. "Buttane, can I have a hug?"

Buck nodded vigorously and wrapped her up in a hug, squeezing tight. When they pulled apart, her eyes were slightly wet, and he could feel some moisture seeping through his linen shirt.

"I'm going to go to the bathroom for a bit," she said.

Buck nodded, not wanting to make her try to get more words out. He took a deep breath and walked back into the main hall. Erson looked up briefly, but if he noticed that Myal was missing he didn't show it. It was handy that he was so absorbed, because Buck couldn't take his eyes off him as his mind strayed again and again back to how devastated he was going to be.

Eventually Erson was finished with his business for the day, and Myal never did return.

"Er, Buttane, hello," Erson said, standing up and coming over to the stage. "Have you seen Myal?"

"Uh... not in a while," Buck said, wondering if he said it if Myal had stayed away on purpose.

"We usually take a walk together after these notes have been taken," Erson said, scratching his head.

"I think she wasn't feeling great," Buck said, which really was not a lie. "I can come for a walk if you'd like?"

Erson smiled, and Buck's heart broke all over again.

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1349 Reviews

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Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:41 pm
JabberHut wrote a review...

I am so pleased to see that Buck told Myal at least. There was some hesitation, but he did eventually tell her. And that pleases me 'cause he cares about Erson and Myal and it's a huge secret, a huge scam -- Raddig is a nasty man.

ALSO MYAL SWEARING LOL <3 <3 <3 I had a feeling Myal might have had her own opinions on Raddig. Siblings always do about this sort of thing. It pleases me greatly that Myal's opinions slipped here. She will clearly be a good support for Buck -- and for Erson when he finds out.

Though poor Myal. She's totally feeling Erson's grief already now that she knows. :(

Buck is so cute though omg. He really cares about Erson and it totally shows. He's really worried about sharing this info with him. I think Buck's going to share it, too. It's possible he'll chicken out, but now that Myal knows (and Buck's already practiced telling the truth once), I think he'll be able to tell Erson too. It's just going to be hard dealing with the aftermath.

oh gosh is Erson going to rage like he did in resador tho


I might be shipping these two ahaha just a little bit *teensy bit*

We definitely jumped into sharing the news with Myal really quick, though. There wasn't really any time to digest Raddig's absence, which I think would have been nice, but that'd be at risk of stretching things out, too. But at least Myal made it pretty clear that Raddig's absence was noticed and even explained how it affected court already.

RADDIG IS SUCH A JERK THOUGH GOOD LORD. He was CLEARLY a bad egg if he ALREADY LEFT. Part of me expected him to just show up late BUT NOPE. HE'S A SELFISH JERK SO. SO THERE'S THAT.

Gosh I hope this conversation goes well. And boy does Buck have an update for Victane and Hilene ahahahaha aha.. *anxious*

ExOmelas says...

Hmm yeah you're now the second person to mention that it was maybe a bit quick to be sure he was gone. It's not like Buck has access to my plotting notes so how could he possibly know :P I think maybe I'll have him be less than sure in the conversation with Myal, like it'll be explicit to her that he's putting two and two together. Could write out the full conversation as well, just seemed a bit repetitive, but might be useful if it's showing to what extent Buck is sure.

I. HATE. RADDIG. I actually do need to check - is his motivation at all clear? Like, he wanted freedom, he doesn't particularly care about Erson's feelings because Erson has an admittedly slightly rusty silver spoon in his mouth? I'm worried it seemed super silly and underwhelming.

You are allowed to ship them... I did a lot of maths to make the age differences between Buck, Erson and Pires all make sense :P Buck is about 23, Erson 27, Pires 31. Does Erson seem younger than that actually? I want him to be old enough that marriage to Pires wouldn't be too gross but that also that ship can float along alright xD

Thanks for the review! :D

ExOmelas says...

I could go for 19, 23 and 27 but idk if that makes sense for Pires being Duchess for that long and I'd have to look back at the start and stuff. I'll let their ages be indeterminate until I figure it out but those are roughly the sizes of the gaps

JabberHut says...

Erson at 27 makes sense to me so far. He's clearly experienced enough in his duties and has a decent grasp on how to handle himself, so I think 27 gives him those years of experience to make it believable. :D

YES! I think Raddig's motivation is very clear and makes a LOT of sense as to why Raddig acts the way he does. He's certainly selfish and such, but at least it makes sense. He has one goal in mind, and that's to get out and travel. I feel like there might be a reason as to why Raddig really wants to get out SO badly that he had to scam Erson to make it happen, perhaps a personal relationship like he has no family or he hates how the city is run or a political/economical reason. As long as there's a reason to justify his scam tactics, I think it's totally doable. The idea of Raddig feeling trapped COULD provide MOVE incentive for Erson to become king and create a better world, like clearly the economy is failing or some political issue deemed by his mother CLEARLY has to be undone -- anything really. Motivation is tricky stuff!

ExOmelas says...

ohhhhh yeah and Erson would be the only one who's thought of it because looking back on his memories of Raddig (Erson, stop torturing yourself) he'll notice moments where Raddig was letting the mask slip slightly and showing his frustration with society. So like he'll want to make a better world where a) nobody has to hide their sexuality and b) people don't have to scam others to achieve their dreams. ahhhh that's sparked so many ideas in me :D

JabberHut says...

AHHH YAY!! I'm so happy hear!! That all sounds marvelous and I think you're on the right track with that thought process! YOU GOT THIS!!! *squee!!*

ExOmelas says...

:D :D :D

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696 Reviews

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Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:27 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...

Ok, I came straight to the next one when I noticed it was in the green room too! With all this extra time on my hands, perhaps I'll go back and read this thing the whole way through. I won't make any promises because I'm notorious for forgetting these things, but I'm intrigued to see how you've set this whole thing up also I'm a little bit in love with Buck

Onto the review!

"Raddig's gone," Buck said. The words came out all rushed, and slightly louder than he'd have liked. But at least they were out now.

I thought he wasn't sure that he was gone? Maybe you could have a sentence in between where he resolves to tell Myal what he's done or decides that Raddig isn't coming back?

"Uh... not in a while," Buck said, wondering if he said it if Myal had stayed away on purpose.

I think you mean 'as he said it'.

Erson smiled, and Buck's heart broke all over again.

Oh Buck, I just want to give him a big old hug. Also, Buck is short for Buttane?!? Wow, no wonder he shortens it xD

I hope Erson isn't too upset that Raddig has left, and finds solace in Buck's arms!

Happy Review Day

ExOmelas says...

ahahaha yes you ship well... though my plan for them is still a ways off xD

Buck is actually short for Bucket, which was his nickname back when he was a court jester... it's a whole thing aha

Thanks for the reviews! :D

Despite everything, it's still you.
— TobyFox