Part III. Chapter I.

8 Feb

Endo, cooped up in the apartment he shared with Tado Foleg, decided to take a walk to revive his tired body. He headed for the Academic Green, near Gath University and the central educational district. The objective was to clear his mind as well as physical reenergizing.

Quercine and ulmous trees lined the tarred walkways of the spacious park. The young psychic strode on as if in an internal trance. The smell of vegetation became noticeable to him. It was a relief for Endo to be free of the presence of the Chief Editor, a man so different from himself in character and aspirations, though he could not tell himself specifically how.

He had an opportunity to evaluate his position in the unusual role he had assumed. Some judgment was needed about whether what he was doing had solid merit or value. Did Tado exercise too much influence on him? Had he conceded too much to him? Had he turned into an opportunist, a reflection of what was in the character of the psychographist with the rank of editor?

Endo realized that Tado was issuing orders and commands on a scale he had not foreseen.

His mind was occupied with the contradictions and paradoxes of his role impersonating the author of the psychographed Velvet novellae.

As he proceeded through a dark, wooded piece of terrain, Endo suddenly recognized a familiar figure from the past moving toward him.

What was Bran Carq doing in the Academic Green in the middle of the day? At that hour, he usually worked at psychographic writings from the past for the Psychic Ministry. An awkward meeting was about to happen to the two of them.

Which one would be first to speak? It turned out to be the older man.

“Endo, my boy!” cried Bran as he halted. “So good to catch sight of you. How is your health? What are you doing to sustain yourself? How are your talents developing?”

Should I tell him all? Should I relate my present adventure playing the role of an author? Not able to decide what course to take, Endo continued walking on, as if he were an automatic being without his own will, unable to halt and converse. This seemed to be the way out of an awkward situation he knew he was unable to handle. Social customs of consideration and regard fell to the ground as he walked forward. Too late, Endo realized that the other could see his abruptness as an insult. Bran might interpret his behavior as a snubbing by one he had treated as a son.

I have unintentionally hurt one who sheltered and nurtured me, he told himself with regret. My behavior was rude and cruel, whether intended or not. It was not at all justifiable. I acted as an impolite and ungrateful boor.

A hushed “Excuse me” was all that issued from the mouth of the embarrassed, confused Endo as the latter strolled on.

The stupefied Bran Carq stood in place, turning his head in order to observe the disappearance of his one-time apprentice around a bend in the park trail. He could not believe what had just happened. The impossible had occurred. Bran was unable to give himself any explanation for this strange, unnerving incident. Were the actions of Endo conscious or unconscious? he wondered.

It was I who brought him from the country thorpe. He might still be there had there not been the timely intervention by Erda and me. We rescued him from a stolid backwater and took him to Gath.

Bran felt like scratching his head but kept his topper where it was.

There must be some reason for the curt, barbaric treatment. Endo must be under an enormous pressure of a terrible sort. He does not know where to turn for aid.

If only he had come to us. He shook his head from side to side. But he is grown up and set his own course as an adult.

Bran moved onward, shaken by the trouble he feared for the young man who had been like a son to him.

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