LIAB Epilogue 07:1

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Inside Parson's quarters in the Temple of the Thinkamancers, Jack sits backwards on Parson's desk chair, dressed in Decrypted red and black. His eye color and complexion have changed from pink and ash-grey to blue and pink. His hat is on the floor.


Parson had asked Wanda to his dinky little dorm room next, but she insisted he talk to Jack first. After twenty minutes of hearing about the Fall of Haffaton, he could see why.

"I had only a day to learn these things, you know. And it was a strange day; I spent much of it as a bird," said Jack, his eyes smiling with mischief. "But I've had quite a long time to think on the matter, since."

A bird? That part of the story could wait. "But she said Charlie was the Wizard of Oz," said Parson. "Like, literally the Wizard. And that he got the Arkendish from the Wicked Witch of the West?" He could only shake his head. Man, this place...

"When you shared that piece of your mythology with me, it was all I could do not to break my contract with Charlescomm in astonishment," he said, nodding and grinning. "I could feel the magical weight of the spell clamping down upon me." He flexed a skinny fist. His skin was pink now. Pretty creepy, but he also looked a lot healthier than he had before. Seemed happy enough, and...Jack enough, he guessed. Jack in black.

"Yeah, I remember." A month or two ago, the Wizard of Oz had come up in conversation when they were gaming. When Parson told him the story, Jack looked like he ate a bug. Then he made an excuse and left early. Shoulda pursued it, maybe. "And the ruby slippers were the Arkenshoes, I...can't believe it wasn't the Arkensaw[1]," he said, lightly pounding a fist on his knee. "And they've left Erfworld completely. Dorothy went home."

"Indeed," said Jack. "Judy likely returned to where you hail from. That, too, was a burden, not to be able to tell you."

Parson thought it over. "I don't think she went back where I'm from," he said, gesturing with an open hand. "'Cause how could I grow up with this story, then? Are you sure she said Kansas?"

"Kansas," said Jack.