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Edel: sunrise sunset, Edel: just like a real girl, Edel: oracular vision
authorsbypass wrote in milliways_bar
From somewhere, there's music.

Turn around. There's a woman (a puppet) in a corner, turning the crank of a barrel organ. Maybe she walked in when you weren't looking.

Her green hair is piled fantastically high, and her clothing is a riot of colors. She's smiling with a serene blankness.

[Tiny puppet tag: Edel]

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Miss Edel!

Duck lets out an involuntary quack! from where she lurks underneath a table - out of the way of feet - and then sort of wishes she hadn't. It'll be really weird, not being able to talk to her . . .

Surreptitiously, she tries to sidle behind a chair.

Edel smiles at no one.

"Would you like to buy some gems?" she asks the air. Her voice is like her smile: sweet and light and blank.

Miss Edel had the prettiest gems . . . .

('What's that one called?'

'The author's convenience.'
)

Duck's head cranes out from behind the chair. She just wants to look, that's all.

The handle turns. Out swing boxes from the organ's body, in smooth mechanical motion. (Like clockwork.) Gold and silver, ruby and emerald and opal: glittering, overflowing with opulent sparkle.

"A bird's world," Edel says lightly to the duck behind the chair. "A girl's world. The story, and the real world."

One pale hand dips into the tangle of jewelry, and unerringly pulls a gleaming pink pendant.

Duck's eyes fix on the gem, and stay locked.

Is that -






But it can't be! She threw it in the river, so how -

Edel knows her role in the story.

Many things are possible, when you're a tool in the author's hand.

"Will you cut that link?" she asks Duck gently.

The golden chain drapes across her pale fingers. Light catches the stone, a captivating liquid shine.

Almost without realizing it, Duck steps out from the shelter of the chair and into the open walkway between two tables.

"Quack?"

Wouldit be so bad if she took it back? Miss Edel thinks it would be a good idea, and Miss Edel's always given her good advice before . . .

Edel's hands move. In one graceful gesture, she's offering a school uniform, folded tidily, with the pendant winking in a pool of golden chain near the collar.

"Now that you've bridged the two?"

Duck stands motionless for a long moment, staring at the uniform, the pendant, the pale outstretched hands.

She could go back. She could be a girl again. She could save Mytho. She could -


She could mess everything up all over again. She could screw up her dancing and annoy Rue and hurt Mytho and be selfish, selfish, selfish! Maybe Miss Edel wanted her to be happy, but if so then Miss Edel wasn't thinking about anyone but Duck, and Duck couldn't do that!

"Quack!"

It doesn't matter!

Duck scurries back under the table, turning her back on the offered temptation.

Edel knows her role in the story.


(I'll leave the rest to you, then.)


She stands still, her gems glittering in the bar's lights, watching Duck run away.

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