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A Fool's Bucket - Ch. 4.3

by ExOmelas

Suddenly the entire crowd was staring up at him. Or maybe it wasn't sudden, and he had blacked out for a moment. Buck's mind was bouncing around from panicked thought to thought, each of which were screamed at him inside his head. Finally, amidst desperately trying to deduce what he might have done, why Pires and Erson were looking at him like that, he managed to send a couple of thoughts down to his feet, which started to carry him off the stage.

He stumbled out one of the double doors and almost smacked straight into Victane, who was crouched over the keyhole of the other.

"Buck!" he hissed, taking a step back. "What's going on? Is the Duchess okay?"

Buck kept moving, sprinting down the stairs and out the main doors, through the courtyard where the cobblestones were still showing scrapes from when they'd set up the table for performer check-in. It had reached twilight outside and the sun was as good as gone, not even a pretty pink sky to comfort him. He shivered and wrapped his cloak around himself. Somewhere in the back of his mind there was an image of how he must have just looked - a boy running through the night with his sparkling green cloak billowing out behind him, but all he saw was what was right in front of him. A quiet, empty city, because everyone else was in the palace, with Pires.

He crouched against the wall of the palace, which didn't rise up all that high but on his haunches was more than enough to keep the wind off him. He thought about waiting to catch his breath then continuing to his treehouse to see Simone, but perhaps he should hang around. Pires would be out any moment. She'd made a mistake, thought he'd said something much worse than he had. All he'd said was they'd make a nice couple after all.

Sure enough, he soon heard footsteps, several sets in fact. But when their owners passed through the gate, Pires was not among them.

"I'm down here," he called.

Victane, Hilene, Rydone and Misene all pivoted and looked around for a moment, then spotted him. Rydone dropped to the ground and sat beside him in the grass, closely followed by Misene, who handed him his bucket. He was actually the more agile of the two, but he typically moved so slowly you'd think all his joints were ceased up. Victane and Hilene stayed standing; Victane actually was too old for extraneous crouching and Buck didn't think he'd ever seen Hilene crease his uniform.

"Hi, everyone," Buck said. "Did Pires send you? I'm happy to publicly apologise for whatever I did that was so terrible."

Misene put a hand on his shoulder as Rydone said, "I'm so, so sorry, Buck. It's worse than that. As soon as you were gone, she declared to the entire room that you'd be banished for this."

"For what?" Buck exclaimed, gripping tightly onto Misene's arm with one hand and gesturing wildly with the other.

"Well, mate, he did give direct orders against that..." Misene said.

"Against what?" Buck croaked. He hung his head and rested it against his knees.

"Against proposing marriage," Victane said. He scratched his head. "A friend of Hilene's was guarding the meeting. You know, the one with that argument about shepherds? Anyways, Hilene's friend says the last ten minutes or so of that meeting were Erson directly forbidding talk of marriage, especially concerning himself. I know that's when you normally slip out so nobody notices you afterward, but didn't Pires tell you?"

Buck looked up. His back felt exposed, as if instead of a wall behind him there was a thousand foot drop. "No. I guess, she said to be subtle..."

"I think you need to talk to Pires," Rydone said.

"Will she see me?" Buck asked, looking from her to Misene, then up to the two guards. They all shared worryingly uncertain frowns.

"We'll talk to her," Victane said eventually. "Won't we, Hilene?"

"Of course," Hilene said, his voice quiet and soft. "This is all wrong."

Buck tried to nod but his head just twitched. "Alright. Perhaps I should go home... to my treehouse, not north or anything. For now."

"We'll take you," Rydone said, holding her arm out.

Buck leaned on both her and Misene and rose to his feet. One of his knees kept jerking about, but he figured he could walk. Misene told the guards to meet them at the treehouse if it didn't work, then he and Rydone led Buck off through the city.


A/N: I am kind of terrified that the stakes are not believable here, but hopefully Buck is flummoxed enough to pull it off. All will become clear next chapter.

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Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:28 pm
JabberHut wrote a review...

oh no my poor baby ;______;

Banishment seems so extreme for mentioning marriage, so there's undoubtedly more to it than that. I also wonder if Pires is perhaps serious or has other plans?! Like maybe she has plans for Buck and this is a good cover!?? But if it's serious, then there MUST be more to it. Maybe the prince doesn't believe in marriage or doesn't want/like marraige to Pires and because he's prince and above her station, Pires does what is necessary to appease royalty? Maybe?!


I really love that all four of his friends came looking for him. That is just the cutest and picturesque thing and really puts everyone and everything into perspective. The fact that the two guards went looking for him is adorable and I love this. I really do. The unreadable Hilene even showed anger toward Buck's pending banishment, which is so huge.

I feel like there wasn't enough sense of betrayal yet, so I imagine Buck isn't too worried about being possibly banished yet. That or his friends are successfully keeping those feelings at bay until he talkes to Pires. He was singing praises about Pires earlier, only for him to lose everything in one night due to a misunderstanding or miscommunication? D: IT'S SO UNFAIR. Perhaps this will all set in for him if Pires makes it 100% clear that he is, indeed banished, and this isn't a joke or a temporary solution to control the prince's reaction. There's just enough intrigue to keep me interested in finding out why this all turned out the way it did.

Plus, Buck is definitely not his usual cheery self. He's incredibly anxious, in fact, and is almost desperate to know what he did wrong and what he can do to fix it. It's incredibly disheartening to watch him cave inward, already consider the idea of going back home up north. It's so sad, my poor baby omg. ;_;

I am curious as to how Misene knew about the proposal being a bad thing to mention and Buck didn't. That part didn't quite line up for me as, if it was common knowledge, Buck would probably know about it through other means then? If Pires doesn't tell him outright, he'd hear it from somewhere else. Misene knew about it somehow, and I'm curious as to how that is. The guards understandably did because they're, well... guards. Eavesdropping is understandably hard to resist in that position. But I would like to know how Misene knew!

I'm so incrEDIBLY INTRIGUED. I look forward to the next part so I can get some more clarification into this situation! THERE IS SOMETHING AFOOT!

ExOmelas says...

hmmm yeah I probably shouldn't have given that line to Misene. It was sort of a flow thing - moving from one friend talking to the other. But it would definitely make more sense if it was one of the guards who said that, maybe Hilene could mention it and then Victane still expand.

And hooray! Confusion about why it's such a big deal is what I was going for! I was considering having Pires come out and meet them but that seemed unlikely since the party was still going. So there's going to be a bit of a debrief with her next chapter and all will hopefully make sense :) (i'll give you a clue... something you said is pretty dead on...)

ExOmelas says...

alternative maybe Misene thought Buck would have known because it was such a wildly gossiped about thing, or thought Pires would have told him, but Buck was so busy getting ready for the night that he didn't spend much time in taverns or street corners to hear such things.

JabberHut says...

It definitely depends on if it's a widely known thing or not, and for how long it's been known if that's the case. I think we're led to believe right now that everyone did know it was bad to mention, judging by the crowd's reaction to Buck's song at the end. The cheering stopped, and the grasshoppers/awkward silence took its place. So it wasn't just Erson and Pires glaring down at him, but the entire crowd was watching him in silence.

It probably makes more sense to me that Hilene or Victane mentions it, but that's because I feel like this information isn't supposed to be widely known if someone like Buck doesn't know. However, if, for instance, everyone knows marriage is a taboo subject for the prince (whether they know the reason or not), then there will have to be reason why Buck hasn't caught on to this news. This would make Misene's knowing it seem more plausible.

It could also be that everyone's always known the marriage was taboo for the prince but just didn't know why, so Buck poked the bear, so to speak, by singing this song.


I was promis'd on a time, To have a reason for my rhyme: From that time unto this season, I receiv'd nor rhyme nor reason.
— Edmund Spenser