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12.5

Princess Kraehe has kidnapped Mytho, told Fakir and Duck all about it, delivered a string of threats and insults and vanished in a cloud of raven feathers.

The meadow by the gazebo seems unnaturally quiet now that the crow-princess is gone. Duck and Fakir stare at each other. What now?

Then the silence is broken by a hand-organ playing "Music of the Automatica." Apparently, now Fakir and Duck can have a conversation with a cryptic puppet. That's all their day needs.

Comments

authorsbypass
Jan. 21st, 2010 09:13 am (UTC)
Edel lifts the green stone to an oval depression at the jester's neck. It slots in smoothly, and with an audible click.

The fool smirks out at her, worn immobile stone outshone by its new ornament. Now there are two of us, say the words carved beneath. Nün sind unser zwey. Edel doesn't change expression.

(This green gem is called reflection.)

With a low grinding groan, a large block of stone slides downward into a hidden recess. Beyond lies a shadowed tunnel, and stairs sinking down into the depths below this ancient (or ageless?) building.

"You can go to where the prince and Kraehe are from here."
fairytaleknight
Jan. 22nd, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
"A secret door. Of course."

Fakir tries to sound sardonic, and mostly succeeds.

It's a long way down.
authorsbypass
Jan. 22nd, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)
Edel ignores all sarcasm. Her voice is light, warm, impersonal: "Go on."
reallyaduck
Jan. 23rd, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
Duck knew Miss Edel would come through for them! Miss Edel always does.

"Thanks a lot, Miss Edel," she says, smiling up at her, "for always being so kind to me."

Some part of her is sort of thinking she might not get another chance to say this. Sure, everything is going to be fine, probably - but Kraehe's pretty scary, and maybe . . .
authorsbypass
Jan. 26th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
"This is not kindness."

A remark like that, following Duck's earnest thanks, ought to be said with a smile, or affection, or even Kraehe's casual cruelty -- but Edel is placidly

(inhumanly)

unchanged.

"Puppets follow the pull of their strings."
fairytaleknight
Jan. 26th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Fakir raises his head, listening.
reallyaduck
Jan. 26th, 2010 04:52 am (UTC)
"Puppets?"

Duck doesn't get it.
authorsbypass
Jan. 26th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
So Edel explains.

This is, after all, her role.

"Yes."

Only now does her head turn. Towards Duck, slowly and by degrees; it looks as if wood ought to creak with the motion. Her eyes are hooded, blue blank stones.

"I possess neither feelings, nor a heartbeat."
reallyaduck
Jan. 26th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
"But -"

It's sinking in now . . . but she still doesn't get it. Miss Edel can't be saying that really, can she?

"You've taught me all sorts of things," Duck reminds her, staring up at Edel's eyes - kind eyes, she tells herself, stubbornly - "and you've always been so friendly! That's why I think of you like a -"
authorsbypass
Jan. 26th, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
Like a--

"You think of me like that," murmurs Edel, inexorably gentle, "because that was the role I was appointed."

"My orders end here."

She turns away from Duck's distressed face, and back to the stone wall.

Now there are two of us, grins the fool in age-worn stone.

Edel lifts a hand from her barrel organ in a delicate and precise gesture, her fingers uncurling towards the stairs and the climactic stage beyond. "Now go on, Duck."
fairytaleknight
Jan. 26th, 2010 06:01 am (UTC)
"Whose orders are those?" Fakir asks, sharply. But he knows what he needs to. It's a trap, and Edel has sprung it.

It's always been a trap.

(Happiness to those who accept their fates--)
authorsbypass
Jan. 26th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC)
(And somewhere, in the world of gears, a figure in a rocking chair--)

A light laugh is his only answer.
reallyaduck
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
The role I was appointed.

She doesn't believe that. She doesn't believe it! Duck's been given a role too, and she -

"Miss Edel -"
authorsbypass
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
Edel glances down in --

it's not surprise. Puppets have no feelings.

But she glances down, at the small duck-girl suddenly hugging her waist like a sniffly limpet.

"Duck?"
reallyaduck
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:21 am (UTC)
"Miss Edel . . ."

Duck looks up, face half-buried in Edel's skirt, and smiles.

Because no matter what she's said, she's chosen to believe that Edel is her friend.

(Because she can't lose two of her best friends in one day.)

(Because Rue is Rue-chan, and Edel is Miss Edel, and Duck loves them with all her heart.)

(Which is supposed to be dedicated to Mytho.)

"Thank you," she says. "I guess we're going now."


Somewhere, Drosselmeyer is not thrilled by this turn of events.
authorsbypass
Jan. 29th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
This isn't in the script.

The little duck is supposed to be stricken and demoralized, weeping at the emotional blow. She's supposed to go into battle tragically alone, to make Princess Tutu's coming tragedy even more beautifully painful. That's Drosselmeyer's story; that's the script. Those are her orders.

Edel doesn't have lines for this. And for a moment, she doesn't know what to say.

Then her gesturing hand drops, and turns, and cups Duck's chin for a moment. She strokes the duck-girl's cheek, looking at that young earnest face turned up to hers with love shining out for even a puppet to see.

"Such a warm face," she says softly. "Such soft skin."

Duck's not made of wood at all. And maybe -- maybe that can mean --
reallyaduck
Jan. 30th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
It's sort of like when Fakir petted her as a duck, Duck thinks.

For some reason all these people - her friends - they can't say what they're feeling. But they can show it, can't they? Doesn't this show it? That has to mean they're really feeling it, doesn't it?

Duck doesn't remember having parents as a duck, and she knows she doesn't have them as a girl. Lilie pinches Duck's cheeks, sometimes, but no one's ever -

"Miss Edel, I -"
authorsbypass
Mar. 25th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
There are no lines for this.

Edel's hand stills. Her blue eyelids lower briefly; a human motion, on a painted wooden face. She has no need to blink. And yet --

Her hand drops, and opens again towards the hole in the wall, in the same precise gesture as before. "Now," she says gently, "you must hurry."

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