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A Fool's Bucket - Ch. 13.2

by ExOmelas


The courtyard was quiet – which made sense because half the town was dancing to Fusane’s fiddle playing. But the people who were dotted around whooped and cheered as the carriage rumbled to a stop in the centre of the grass. Pires was standing there in a long black and purple dress, and she greeted them all as they clambered out.

“It is wonderful to see you again, Erson,” Pires said, reaching out to clasp his hands with both of hers.

Erson was still for a moment, but eventually he swallowed and said, “And you, my lady – Pires. I am glad to return to this fine city.”

“And you must be Myal. Why, it shall be an honour to have you for my sister.” Pires smiled and gave Myal a slight bow.

“I love this place,” Myal said. She tittered and shuffled her feet. “Er, your Grace.”

Pires grinned rather wide at that, Buck noted. He wondered if the two of them would in fact get on – he hadn’t thought about how much time they’d be spending together. But then Pires turned to face him.

“And who might you be?” Pires asked, loudly. Buck was proud of her for not winking at him, for he was sure she’d have desperately wanted to.

He shook her hand and said, “My name is Buttane. This is my mother, Dorrea, and my mother’s – er – friend, Victane.” Erson looked around at him, frowning. His gaze drifted to the side as if he was thinking something through. Buck focused on Pires. “I’ll be advising the princess on a little quest we’ve devised. She wishes to bring more life to her newly reformed court, and since I have spent time here before I am going to be her guide in this endeavour.”

Pires nodded calmly as Buck relayed the speech he’d practised to Simone at nights on the way here. But he could sense the tension radiating from Erson – a quick glance showed a popping vein in his forehead and another on the side of his neck.

As they made their way inside to get ready for the welcome ceremony, Erson sidled up to Buck, letting the others get slightly ahead.

“Can I talk to you, Buttane?” he muttered.

“Uh… sure,” Buck said.

They had reached the small meeting hall, which was often used as a staging area for ceremonies taking place in the main performance hall. Pires was standing on the dais, presumably waiting for Erson to join her.

“I’ll just be a moment,” Erson called, then dragged Buck out the room by the top half of his sleeve.

Since Buck couldn’t let on that he knew all the best places to have a quiet chat, they just stepped a few yards away from the door to talk.

“They were calling you Bucket, those people dancing to the music of that boy wearing face paint,” Erson said. Buck would have expected a question, but as he’d learned the previous week a stressed Erson was a particularly blunt Erson.

“Uh… you’re not asking, are you?” Buck said.

“I was asking if you have an explanation for this that isn’t what I’m currently thinking,” Erson said, his jaw clenched. “You’ve spent so much time in Resador, been this popular – you can’t possibly not have heard of Resador’s most famous Bucket.”

Buck rubbed the back of his neck so hard that some of his hair got pulled out. “I… yes, I know what you’re talking about.”

“Well, do you have an explanation?” Erson glared at him, hands on his hips.

“I had one, once,” Buck said. He sighed and lowered both hands firmly to his sides. “I had scripted exactly how I would explain this. In fact it’s probably on a piece of paper in my bucket, which is under my seat in the carriage. I was going to go get it when I got the chance.”

“So you are that Bucket. The one with the actual bucket,” Erson said. “I can see it now, I think, if I just imagine you in brighter colours, with paint on your face, looking irritating and smug.”

“Yes, that’s me,” Buck said, “And I’m not going to lie to you anymore.”

Erson put his thumb and index fingertips to his forehead and just stood there for a moment, breathing loudly. Then he said, “But you are still going to try to manoeuvre my marriage to your precious Duchess?”

“That was your idea!”

“Like you weren’t loving it! How am I to know you didn’t get rid of Raddig on purpose?” Erson was spitting with every angrily pronounced consonant.

“We spoke to Ikilyn, remember?” Buck exclaimed, stepping backwards to get out the way of Erson’s spittle and his wrath.

“No! Buttane and I spoke to Ikilyn!” Erson screamed. “My friend, Buttane, with whom I shared intimate details of my personal life and who gave me guidance and advice. Not Bucket the court fool whose sole purpose in life seemed to be to play with the people in his city like a selfish, callous board game!”

“I – that was me! That’s me, now – who I am. I was going to help Myal properly. I thought about everyth–”

“And it is the whole city,” Erson went on. The whole place is so fake, even your names. Buttane, Victane – wasn’t your other friend called Hilene or something? What sort of city co-ordinates literally all its names by the last three letters? A vowel then ‘ne’, right?”

Buck nodded. “That is the custom.”

“It’s alarming, is what it is. What puppeteer stands over the cradles of newborns and scratches the last three letters onto the birth certificate?” Erson exclaimed. “And except from Pires – what is that about?”

“PiresResador,” Buck murmured. “All the nobles have names ending like that.”

Erson shook his head. “This place is ridiculous.”

“Are you leaving then?” Buck’s voice sounded quiet and thin after Erson’s ranting.

“I can’t! You think my mother will let me go back on this now?” Erson shouted, waving his arms around.

“So what will you do?”

Erson finally went quiet, staring at him. Buck could only take it for a few seconds, before he had to focus on the tips of his shoes. They were chunky and grey, and he’d been so looking forward to getting his green and yellow ones back out. He’d thought about maybe fitting them with little bells to celebrate his return to the life of foolery.

Erson never answered the question, instead marched back into the meeting room. Buck ran to catch up, just in time for Erson to shout up to Pires, “This ‘friend’ of mine here has just admitted to being your fool, Bucket! And I reckon you knew this all along. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if you sent him up north to manipulate me into this very marriage! Actually, in case he hasn’t told you, he did very little to affect the situation and just sort of tagged along as the mess unfolded. But I will not have such a charlatan in a place that is to be my home. I demand that you banish him as you did before!”

Erson leaned over slightly, shoulders heaving as he caught his breath. Pires met Buck’s eyes, and Buck desperately held her gaze. She wouldn’t… not again. There was no way he could help her from outside the city anymore. Although, it wasn’t like she needed help, now that the betrothal was official. But still, they were friends, weren’t they?

“Dismissing the linchpin of my court was harmful enough to this city once. You saw it yourself – the palace is deserted. My people spend their time in the vicinity if his treehouse, dancing their sorrow at his absence away,” Pires said. Buck couldn’t help but smile. That was what the haunting violin had been mourning? Pires added, “I will not grant you this.”

“But – but you did so before!” Erson exclaimed. “It is what I require to remain here.”

“Yes, but before you could leave at any moment. Somehow I’m guessing you don’t have that option anymore.” Pires raised an eyebrow.

Buck winced as Erson glared at him. He raised both hands. “Don’t look at me. I didn’t say that to her. We just have similar thought processes.”

“Ugh, you do, don’t you,” Erson muttered.

There was an awful silence that went on so long Buck accidentally glanced at Myal. He had heard a scraping screech and instinctively looked to his right to see her stumbling into a chair and putting her head in her hands.

Finally the silence had gone on too long and Buck had to do something about it. But all he could think to do was repeat himself from earlier.

He said to Erson, “So, what will you do?”

Erson turned to face him, then farted. He farted long and loud, loud enough for everyone to hear. He even lifted one leg.

Then much quieter, he said to Buck, “I shall play the fool.”


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Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:00 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



As they made their way inside to get ready for the welcome ceremony, Erson sidled up to Buck, letting the others get slightly ahead.

“Can I talk to you, Buttane?” he muttered.

Oh boy, I honestly thought he hadn't noticed!

“Like you weren’t loving it! How am I to know you didn’t get rid of Raddig on purpose?” Erson was spitting with every angrily pronounced consonant.

He's gone from quiet anger to pronounced range quite quickly...

I kind of empathise with Erson here. First, the person he's in love with turns out to be a fraud and now a similar thing is happening to him with Buck! It must feel like a great betrayal, especially after Buck was the one to comfort Erson after last time. My little heart also hopes it's because he's started to develop feelings for Buck... please?

Buck could only take it for a few seconds, before he had to focus on the tips of his shoes. They were chunky and grey, and he’d been so looking forward to getting his green and yellow ones back out. He’d thought about maybe fitting them with little bells to celebrate his return to the life of foolery.

How was he intending to return to this life without Erson finding out?

Erson turned to face him, then farted. He farted long and loud, loud enough for everyone to hear. He even lifted one leg.

Then much quieter, he said to Buck, “I shall play the fool.”

Ohhhkay was not expecting this! I don't know what to say... except I can't wait to read the next bit!!

Icy




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Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:34 pm
HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world)

Moving towards the last two reviews of the day.

First Impression: Well this chapter was much funnier than I expected. Good that Buck decided to come clean though. Shows that he is taking Hilene's advice to heart. And it looks like the next chapter will be very entertaining.

And let's get right to it,

“I love this place,” Myal said. She tittered and shuffled her feet. “Er, your Grace.”

Pires grinned rather wide at that, Buck noted. He wondered if the two of them would in fact get on – he hadn’t thought about how much time they’d be spending together. But then Pires turned to face him.


Well that's very interesting.

Pires nodded calmly as Buck relayed the speech he’d practised to Simone at nights on the way here. But he could sense the tension radiating from Erson – a quick glance showed a popping vein in his forehead and another on the side of his neck.


Trouble is brewing.

“I had one, once,” Buck said. He sighed and lowered both hands firmly to his sides. “I had scripted exactly how I would explain this. In fact it’s probably on a piece of paper in my bucket, which is under my seat in the carriage. I was going to go get it when I got the chance.”


This part shows some great character development from Bucket. Its nice to see how far he has come over the course of the story.

“So you are that Bucket. The one with the actual bucket,” Erson said. “I can see it now, I think, if I just imagine you in brighter colours, with paint on your face, looking irritating and smug.”


Took him long enough.

“And it is the whole city,” Erson went on. The whole place is so fake, even your names. Buttane, Victane – wasn’t your other friend called Hilene or something? What sort of city co-ordinates literally all its names by the last three letters? A vowel then ‘ne’, right?”


That took a very weird turn. Why would he randomly chose to insult that?

Erson leaned over slightly, shoulders heaving as he caught his breath. Pires met Buck’s eyes, and Buck desperately held her gaze. She wouldn’t… not again. There was no way he could help her from outside the city anymore. Although, it wasn’t like she needed help, now that the betrothal was official. But still, they were friends, weren’t they?


These are some really interesting thoughts here by Buck.

He said to Erson, “So, what will you do?”

Erson turned to face him, then farted. He farted long and loud, loud enough for everyone to hear. He even lifted one leg.

Then much quieter, he said to Buck, “I shall play the fool.”


*summons gas mask* *puts it on* Anyway that is a very intriguing ending there. The last one I'm planning to review promises to be very interesting indeed. I do hope that Myal is still his friend.

And that's it.

Overall: Pretty good chapter. Captures this sort of reveal well. Hopefully we get to seem Myal's reaction in more detail in the next chapter.

As always take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Sun May 31, 2020 12:30 am
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JabberHut wrote a review...



LOOOOOOOL

okay I give you this one, I did NOT expect this to happen and I am so excited. That was the most un-Erson thing to do, but he is so broken and out of his mind right now that anything could happen and anything DID happen.

lmao omg

I literally have no words, I just want to read the next chapter.

Okay, okay, so the biggest thing here is that Erson did nOT ignore the Bucket thing. He obviously DID make the connection and addressed it almost immediately. I appreciated Buck making the observation that Erson wanted the marraige anyway, but I admit to not considering Erson's POV. I liked that he turned it around with the idea that Buck could have manipulated Raddig's departure -- which was partially true, but we do know as the reader that Raddig WAS bad news and that Raddig had to go. So we believed and knew itw as a good thing, but naturally Erson wasn't there and his observation is 100% fair. Buck's only defense/witness is Raddig himself, and who knows where the man is now.

So I like the development of their discussion. I like the solid defense of each individual and how clean the development was for their current messy situation.

Poor Myal now. It's hard to read her, but I think she's just bummed that Erson was upset again. She's just worried and sad for him, I think. She wasn't there to witness Buck and Erson's original circumstance, but she does know enough presumably from Erson's side of the story so she's of course going to be upset. There might even be a small part of her who's worried they'll head back home early, but I think she's more focused on Erson. She's rather caring and concerned for him.

And oh my god, I love Pires here. I think this is such a STRONG chapter re-introducing Pires. I cheered her on the whole time. I admit I wasn't 100% sure what she'd say in response to Erson's request to banich Buck again, but I had a sneaking suspicion Buck would somehow stay in Resador somehow anyway, so I'm not too surprised by her response. Still, I think it was strong and Pires IMMEDIATELY resumed being one of my favorite characters. She clearly knows her job and has the skills to do it, including diplomacy or persuasion.

The ending was superb. That hilarious twist was just perfect. Another re-introduction to the craziness of Buck's job as the fool or entertainer, a friendly reminder of his life before at the start of the novel, and to have someone as prim as Erson doing that reminder was just awesome. I don't have much predictions here, but I have a tON of interest and absolutely look forward to reading more.




ExOmelas says...


ahhhhhhhh all three of these reviews make me so happy!! i was slightly nervous when I saw how excited you were for Buck and Myal's plan to expand her court, but I'm hoping that added to the heartbreak when it seems that that might be not/less on the cards? Because I've been planning this since the start so I was like oh jeez need this to work

Speaking of which, do you have any idea how long I've been waiting to write that last line!!!! Like LMS week number plus a fortnight omg And the more I got to know Erson the more I couldn't wait. So I'm so glad it worked :D

I reckon what he means isn't entirely clear and I can't decide whether to have Buck confused for a bit or to open the next chapter with Erson explaining.

Also yeah, Erson's changed for sure, which is actually why I think he is able to do this. I think he's not taking any more shit from his mum or Raddig or Buck. I think he's more confident, less reliant on structure. His anger here is much different from his anger before when he had Buck banished. That was motivated from utter terror that he would be forced away from Raddig or have his secret revealed - but these are motivations I developed after the fact so that might be clearer in a redraft.

I also cannot wait to write more! :P

Thanks so much for the reviews :D



ExOmelas says...


*next chapter part. It'll be clear by the end of chapter 13 either way



ExOmelas says...


also yes lol I finally named that poor boy. I had to ctrl f "brother" on the first few chapters to see if I'd ever named him and i hadn't xD



JabberHut says...


Dude, that last line was so perfect, I wasn't sure if either you were waiting to use it for so long or if you winged it as filler because you didn't know what to do BUT I LOVE IT SO MUCH THAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR IT HAHAHAHA

Yesssss, watching Erson's character develop has really helped set things up here, so I think you've done a good job capturing significant events that help add up to the result here.

I think it makes more sense to have Buck be confused for a bit since I think the words were exchanged only between them, but I so desperately want to know and if it works naturally in the conversation for Erson to explain his thoughts, then I think that should happen. I guess it really depends on the outcome of this meeting, but I don't think it makes as much sense to stall the meeting with Erson and Buck's hushed whispers still. Honestly, just go with the flow and see what works best timing-wise!!

LOL I totally understand the brother naming thing. Happens to me all the time, man. XD



ExOmelas says...


Sounds like a plan for the meeting thing! Actually an idea's just sparked based on the fact that it probably wouldn't be good to stall it... *cackles*

I hope you're having a nice day and I'll see you at the next chapter :)




The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
— Mark Twain