Reverton Barthleby wasn't a bad boy. Neither was he a thief. He wasn't an illusionist, or a rich merchant, or a fortune teller. He wasn't a mercenary - though he used to pretend to be one when little - and he certainly wasn't a eunuch. All Reverton ever was, was bored. And that boredom really gave his life a twist.
Sometimes I just need to escape from reality. I always dream of escaping reality. I want to lay back and watch the sky, see the clouds drift by without a worry in the world. I want to close my eyes and feel the sun warm my skin. And if there’s a hand that reaches out for mine, I want to grab it. I don’t want to think about consequences and all that comes after. I just want to grab that hand and escape from reality.
I’d like to think that one day a flying ship will come down for me, lowering a ladder, while the crew shouts at me to climb up. I want to be greeted by the glittering silver of their swords and feel part of the crew when they give me my own and set sail again. We sail to the end of the world and back again, just to escape reality.
I want my clothes to be sweat-soaked, my breathing to be heavy and my mouth to be dry, when I face an enemy twice my size and have the tip of a rapier against my throat. I want to fight back the urge to run away and instead hold my chin high, while looking my opponent straight into the eye. I don’t want to show fear. I want to be brave. I want to be alive. I will fight my foe and win, just to escape reality.
But then again, it seemed like my escapement didn’t differ much from my reality, as at the moment I laid on my back in the sand, my breathing heavy as my chest went up and down, and over me towered a broad man, two scimitars in his hands and a mischievous glint in his eye. One could surely state I had the odds against me, yet I steadily looked him in the eye, a cocky smirk – at least, I hoped the form my lips had morphed in resembled at least something close to a cocky smirk – on my face, while I did my best to look defiant – which was quite a hard task, considering I was laying on my back on the beach with a murderous merchant looking down on me.
Perhaps I had done something to deserve his wrath, yet I could not remember it now. There wasn’t much blood near the memorizing part of my brain; all of me was focused on how I was going to stay alive. I probably wasn’t going to survive; death seemed like a much likelier outcome for me. But I never got this far in escaping reality if death hadn’t looked me in the face already a couple of times. And if I ever wanted to return to my reality – which was my plan, because even though this for the moment was my reality it had all started as an escapement and right now I longed for my boring reality-reality – I had to survive this, right?
I wondered what my friends would do if I died here and now. I could see Fleodore and Maximus weeping openly – the first was a soft egg and the second a woman trapped in a man’s body – and Ilias would probably huff and snort. What I wanted to know most was what Cati would do. She’d cry, would she? Would she? Probably not. She’d hop into bed with the next man she’d meet and forget all about me. Or even worse, she’d go back to that Barlow. The thought alone almost caused my heart to stop.
I guess my cocky smirk must’ve wavered, because the Angry Merchant – I do not know his name, therefore Angry Merchant will be what we call him – growled and I suddenly found one scimitar impaled into the sand right next to my left ear. I shuddered involuntarily and Angry Merchant’s smile broadened.
‘Gotcha now, fucker,’ he chuckled, or chortled, perhaps even choked, because whatever he did, it did not sound healthy. Or perhaps that was his way of speaking. I never took the time to stop and listen to angry people. I mostly ran for my life. But hey, a first time for everything, right.
‘Could you repeat that?’ I asked politely. My mother hadn’t raised a fool. I always stayed polite, even when threatened with death. Some said this indeed was foolishness but I knew my dear mother would be proud of me if she saw me right now. Presuming, of course, that she still considered me a son after my sudden flight from the estate, leaving behind not even a note – though I did sent her one last year for her fiftieth birthday, just a simple one, saying ‘Congrats’.
Of course Angry Merchant wasn’t half as polite as I was. He didn’t even answer my question. If it hadn’t been such a petulant situation, I would’ve huffed. But huffing at the moment clearly equalled death for me, so I just resumed my cocky smirk and waited.
As said earlier; I wanted my clothes to be sweat-soaked, my breathing to be heavy and my mouth to be dry. I wanted to face an enemy twice my size – or thrice, whatever – and have the tip of a rapier against my throat – scimitar, rapier, what’s the difference anyway? I didn’t want to show fear, I wanted to be brave. I wanted to escape reality, right, so here I was. I had escaped my old, boring reality and now the only reality I had left, my escapement, was about to be taken away from me. By Angry Merchant and his Twin Scimitars. So much for dreams.