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       Paper, p.4

           Kell Inkston
 
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know what to do. We must go to the only place with books!”

  The two smiths turn to the mayor’s home and dive in. As the colors of autumn through flame approach the windows, the two find the library. Han grasps a book, shoves it out the window, and sees it repel the flame, like magic. He grins, seeing his hunch was right, and the two go from the library and start shouting.

  Han and Tenay call out to the others. “It’s safe in here!” They don’t believe them until Han displays the properties of the book in his hands–when he runs into the flames and the townspeople see them wrap near, but not around the blacksmith.

  Just in time, every soul is turned around and huddled into the large library. The flames pass, as the wood, metal, and everything else in their town burns away. After the passing, the entire town is sitting in the library, even the ground around it protected by the book’s magic. They are now floating out on the ocean, and far, very far off, they see the great, verdant landmass that their ancestors were moved from by the Overlord–something they will only discover once they’ve reached it. Everyone takes a few moments of silence to realize their new, rather ridiculous, situation and then some of them start crafting survival essentials–hopefully something to row and catch fish with as well.

  Tenay just stares out at the island in thought as she sits in exhaustion and picks up one of the library’s books.

  “Ralic?” She asks, turning to her husband.

  “Yeah?” he says, peeling off his hero’s garb.

  “Why was it paper, the very thing that the Overlord used to deceive us, that saved us in the end?”

  Ralic moves his head from side to side as his father greets his wife after all this time. “How should I know? That’s not my job,” he says with a smile.

  Tenay kisses his cheek just as Han sits next to them. “Well, kids, I think it’s because the Overlord used ignorance to fool us.” The two youths turn to the great–bearded man. “Words and learning is repulsive to deceptions, because what is fake cannot also be true. The Overlord’s last trick was to make us hate paper, and see it as something made for crafting lies. Once we killed the Overlord, it would make sure that everything on the island, including the boats we made and the metal we wrought, would burn away from its magic. As its illusions burned away, the books were the only real thing on the island, and thus the only thing that could save us. It was not the paper that saved us, but the words upon the paper,” Han smiles and embraces the two kids.

  “So, how will we prevent this from happening again?” Ralic says, staring into the distance.

  Han frowns. “If only we could read, perhaps the books might hold the answer.”

  “Um, excuse me,” a weak voice calls from the side of the library, stepping over. It is the wife of Ralic the Eleventh–she looks much happier now, Tenay thinks. “I can read,” she says, “The paper Ralic did his best to keep me from the library, but he had to leave the house sometime,” she says with a laugh. “I’d love to teach you how to read!”

  …And there you have it, kid, that’s why the pen is mightier than the sword, how we rediscovered our island, and how we outwitted the overlord. Now get to bed. You have a day filled with reading tomorrow…Yeah, and for the record, don’t hold books up to fire, the Overlord’s illusionary fire’s different from the kind we use now in case it wasn’t obvious–it actually burns real things, my little Ralic the Thirteenth.

   

  ~Fin~ (But please, read on- I have a note for you!)

  Hi,

  It’s me, Kell. I hope you enjoyed this quick, free read. That said, if you really enjoyed it and would like to help me out a huge, huge amount, I’d like to ask you to leave an honest review on the site you found this on- it would be a giantirific help!

  Reviews are a vital part of an indie author’s success, increasing notoriety, algorithm placing, and reputation–so please, if you liked this, a review would literally make my day, no joke; if you did it, and I met you, I’d shake your hand.

  AlsThanks again so much for reading my fiction. It really does mean a lot–every time I get a review or fan mail (especially those with honest criticism) I jump out of my tower’s top window in joy, just avoiding my cactus patch, and land in my pool–every single time. So that said, I’d also adore an email from you; it can be about anything, your day, my day, stuff you like, stuff I like–you know, just typical, normal things people talk about… oh, or books; of course- we could talk about those! You can email me over at [email protected], just tap and email me anything you’d like. Or if you want more consistent updates, check out my blog at https://kellinkston.com.

  That said, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, and that you’ll keep me in mind next time you want something to read.

  All the best,

  Kell Inkston

 
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