This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
“So that’s it?” Scylla peered at him from the corner of her eye. “You can disappoint your friends, take advantage of people, and drug yourself into nothing more than a beast, all for your desired outcome?”
“The master technologist is stubborn to the end.” She laughed a little. “Spouting off about results-based outcomes as the tower sunk down into a mire.”
“And yet… I thought you were supposed to be a genius, Amon.” Scylla raised her hand, speaking a fake-gruff voice. “Genius and talent that comes once in three-lifetimes, father said!”
“If only they knew…” Scylla shook her head. “You make the same mistakes, over, and over, and over again. Just like a stupid gaelicat that attempts to fly off a cliff without wings.”
“Think about it, Amon. What if people didn’t want your technology or your ways?” Scylla frowned in disgust. “What if you couldn’t get them to see your vision? What would change this time that didn’t before?”
Amon’s expression turned flabbergasted.
“Not… want… it? They would be insane to not want the technology I could give them. I mean, they’re already dabbling in using it here… there… just about everywhere. Even without the knowledge of what it does, they seek it out! They obviously want it!”
He motioned to himself.
“I could not only give it to them… in working condition… but teach them what it all means!”
“She… didn’t want it.” Scylla pointed accusingly. “And how did that turn out?”
Amon’s face fell at this statement, posture slumping. He tried so hard to keep that part of his past out of mind. Now that Scylla had made it clear that she had nothing to do with Clio’s fate, the archmage seemed to enjoy tossing these memories right back in his face time and again.
“That was different,” the Elezen murmured.
“But it isn’t that different, Amon.” Scylla explained. “You cared about her. She’s the only thing I ever saw that you really cared about.”
“So, I find it near impossible to believe that you can care again. But if you really cared about this world… these friends you say that you made, you would accept that it isn’t ready for all of Allag, and certainly not your vision of things.”
“Mmm…” Amon responded with a non-committal sound from the back of his throat. The one he used when he was thinking about things.
It was hard to believe that people, especially those who were facing war with an enemy who already replicated the technology of Allag, wouldn’t want technology of their own. Koh certainly seemed excited anytime he left her breadcrumbs of information… and some of the greatest arms and armor were exchanged regularly for random Allagan Tomestones… that no one really knew the contents of!
“I cared about many things. You may not believe it, but I gave my life caring about Allag and its people. And now that I’ve returned to this world, even if no one else remembers… I still care. I don’t think that’s ever going to change.”
“Caring?” Scylla gave a tired look at Amon. “What does that mean to you?”
“Tis… a nebulous emotion. One I have trouble defining.” Amon pursed his lips. “I suppose caring about something… means it’s something you’re willing to dedicated your life to. To be willing to do anything… to go to any lengths for it.”
“What you fail to understand, is that being willing to go to any length, may be accepting that the other person, or nation, does not want to accept your ways.” Scylla shrugged. “Despite what Father said, you weren’t always right, Amon. I can attest to that.”
Amon’s golden eyes widened and his ears twitched upwards just a tiny bit. He spluttered a flustered sound that finally formed one word.
Typical Amon… always trying to be the funny man to break a somber moment.
“I don’t know how long you have, or if your friends will ever see you again.” Scylla stood up, leaning on her healing rod. “But if I were you, I’d start fessing up and taking action about how you’ve behaved to them.”
“A new word for your vocabulary… something you might not understand.” Scylla opened the door and looked back at him.
Amon watched as Scylla closed the door behind her. Only then did he finally let out a long breath he wasn’t aware he was holding, his face creasing with a pained glimpse of the real emotion he felt.
“I’m afraid it’s far too late for some of us, my dear.”