The Stick of Truth: The Great Journey - Chapter 7 - CitizenAO3 (2023)

chapter text

Isaac and I went back to the house to shower and change. I change into my usual – a black hooded button-down jacket, gray ski pants and gray ski gloves. It was 7 p.m. and Dad still wasn't home. True to his word, when I peeked in the fridge and pulled out the red bowl as he ordered, it was spaghetti with zucchini and ground beef that would be our dinner. Pretty normal for a white family in South Park, maybe even healthier, to be honest. It was just enough for both of us. I put the bowl in the microwave for four minutes on power level two. With that done, we both sat down at the round wooden dining table to enjoy our quiet dinner in the kitchen.

Our kitchen has the same floor plan as most other kitchens, in fact our house has the exact same floor plan as most other houses in South Park (some houses are mirrored). Your standard living room is at the front with a staircase leading up to it, so you have a kitchen big enough for two to dine in, but there is also a dining room if you wish.

Isaac was the first to break the silence. "So where do you get your powers from?"

I shrugged my shoulders. I don't have any really good answers, only plausible theories. "I'm not sure... my best guess is Stick."

"Stick on?" Isaac answered.

"The Stick of Truth. It looks like a regular staff, but it's radiant with power.” I answered.

"Same staff, that Terrorblade hunt?"


"And when is he coming?"

I shrugged my shoulders. I don't know what to say. I'm not sure what kind of disaster was supposed to happen. The book didn't describe much, it was rather vague. "I'm honestly not sure." I ate some of my meal.

"How did you find the bat in the first place?" asked Isaac.

"It was from Eric Cartman." Isaac flinched when I said the name. "I stole it from your backyard just to see for myself."

"When you stole, did you know it was bad?" asked Isaac.

"No," I replied, "I gained my powers before I even touched the staff." I started telling him the whole story. "Well, Ray's the new guy who moved into town this afternoon. By the way, I don't know his last name. But yeah, we talked and walked and talked for a while, but then we found Butters. Butters was I'm playing the Lord of the Rings game again. You know what I mean, don't you?

"Yes," said Isaac, "keep going."

"So Butters invited Ray to play with Cartman. I followed them both. Cartman said he knew Ray was coming, so he invited Ray but not me. Kids were fighting Cartman's friends, so I went to the backyard and got Stick."

"And why did you do that?" Isaac asked.

"To make Cartman pay for being an asshole to me." I answered. I still hate that fat asshole. "I mean, if someone's such a big ass, I make them pay for it. I may be a thief, but I keep what I steal and at least give it away.”

"But you don't have the stick," Isaac said.

"I didn't see Kyle coming," I admitted. It was somehow true.

"What made you suddenly start looking for answers?" Isaac asked.

"Because, as I said in the school library, no normal child should have magical powers. I heard those elf roleplayers say, 'Who controls the stick controls the universe', and I thought that was silly too, but they're right.” a way. I just didn't have the knowledge of how to best use the baton. I don't think the book fully explains it, it's missing a lot of detail.” I rested my head on the palm of my left hand while resting my left elbow on the table.

"What I don't understand," Isaac said, "is why you go to all your troubles to cause all this trouble when we could just do normal things - and not use the excuse of going out there to save the world." Because I know you, Cole.” Isaac was always calm, but I could tell it was making him a little angry. "You would use any tool you could get your hands on. I don't think you would give up your powers that easily."

"I know..." I paused for a second. I wasn't sure if I meant it, but Isaac looked at me intently, waiting for me to explain. I took another deep breath and closed my eyes. "I hate to admit it, I know you're telling me not to be jealous of her, but yeah. I'm jealous of the popular kids. I really am, because most of them have well-functioning families with parents and siblings who are.” Always there for her. While our mother dies of colon cancer when we are three. Well, I suspect Kenny McCormick doesn't, but he's the exception, not the rule. Back to what I'm saying, dad doesn't see us with us all the time, but I can't blame him because he has to work hard to support both of us while most of the other kids get what they want. Tears ran down my cheeks and to keep Isaac from looking at me, I got up and walked over to the kitchen window, which overlooked our backyard and the sunset. "It's not fair, I have to take care of both of us because of the assholes who want to take advantage of us. And what's worse, I don't have any friends in my fourth grade, while you're talking to Garet all the time." Jenna, I know Doug and Bill and Fosse and a few others are pretty chilled, but I don't have that luxury , I'm constantly stuck in silly high school dramas with the likes of Stan and Wendy in my fourth grade. I'm crazy about a list about who was the hottest guy in our class, or having to attend high school musical performances just to fit in, or something equally petty—I'm just sick of having to being compared to everyone else for stupid shit of petty girls - because I really feel like shit inside.

I closed my eyes as more tears welled up in my eyes and Isaac spoke. "Cole, I'm sorry... I'm being selfish, I took your guidance for granted, I didn't consider your own feelings-"

I stopped him and continued. I opened my eyes and looked at the sunset. "But rebelling against all of that is what makes me feel good inside. I'm not talking about being a part of that stupid gothic shit. But when I took over the baton and used — and abused — my powers, I felt like I was free. When I was fighting those Ginger Kids earlier today like I was worth something. Even just sitting around and healing, I felt like I was contributing to a larger plan of things - whatever that is." I didn't know it then, but now I can see how it helped me.

"To be fair," Isaac said, "the redhead boys attacked first, they tried to kill you I heard."

"TRUE." I laughed. "I'm not a perfect guy, I have flaws and can be an idiot like Cartman, or anyone really, but I hate being obedient to people I can't get along with and I just wanted people to do it. ' Notice when I've done the good - Kenny has done it. With that in mind, we shouldn't bother with silly boy-girl or gender drama, but go out and create shit with whatever tools and powers God wants to give us. I know dad isn't around all the time, but he's still a great teacher. He taught us to be independent, brave and not afraid to push ourselves. I know I said something different in the library, but yeah... . really how I'm feeling right now, Isaac.

"Wow." I KNOW that deeper voice didn't come from Isaac. I quickly jumped up and turned around, wiping my tears with the left sleeve of my shirt. It was Ray, the asshole. Clad in his green tunic and metal staff. I gritted my teeth but he continued. "Look, I know you're crazy, but-"

"What are you doing here?" Isaac asked before I could say anything. "Normal people do that, you know."

"You sold me!" I screamed. I couldn't believe that after everything he had done, Ray had the courage to come at me. "I trusted you, I thought we were friends! And you were spying on us?!"

"Well, I heard everything, but that's not important. What matters is that I was stupid, let me explain.” Ray cleared his throat. "Cartman texted me all day because he was worried about us. I went to tell him you have the baton. He was down the hall when I found him - I was trying to explain the situation with... the Demon Marauder, I heard from outside." while texting Cartman because I didn't want to distract him, but..." He sighed. "My point is that I was stupid to expect Cartman to care about anyone other than himself. I should have heeded Butters' warning. I'm sorry.” We were silent for a few minutes, then Ray spoke. “There is a way to make it up to you. I know where Stick is. But it won't be easy to get there.”

"As?" I asked.

"Well, there's something you should know about me," Ray said. "Honestly, I really enjoy spying on other people's businesses. You've probably figured it out already. I know it's rude, but I'm just... a curious guy, you know?” I was stunned by Ray's comment. I wasn't sure where he was headed. “That means I saw Kyle give Stan the stick. I followed him back to his own house. You know where he is, don't you?"

"Yes," I replied.

Ray smiled. “He hid Stick in his house. In his own room, I think.”

"So I just have to go to Stan's house and get the bat, right?" I shook my head. "That doesn't sound too difficult."

"Problem." Ray continued. "It's just that Wendy is at Stan's house. Did I tell you they are a couple? Because the last time I saw them, it seemed like they were too close to be 'just friends'.” Ray rubbed his chin. "Um...I guess."

I laughed. For a man who enjoys spying on people, he seemed pretty clueless about dating. “They've been together for… a long time. I believe."

Ray's mouth was open. It was pretty clear that he didn't understand the concept of relationships. He looked pretty innocent. "Are they together? Nobody in my town has ever been on a date quite like serious dating, apart from kids who have a little crush every now and then. But we just make fun of them. But here... here... it's like..."

"High school," I finished.

"Yes." Ray approached me. "Listen. The point is, Stan has the baton, but you also have to fight Wendy.”

I shook my head. "That's enough for me. Let's go.” I quickly went upstairs to get my cloak and staff. On my table was a wreath of twigs that I once made in art. I have it in my head I wanted them to be sure I meant it. I went downstairs and out and turned to Isaac. "Okay, Isaac, it's your turn to do the dishes, I'll be back soon. I'll wait."

"Good luck," said Isaac.

I made my way east but noticed that there were no steps. I turned around and Ray just stood there. "Aren't you coming with me?"

"Uh, I forgot to tell you," Ray said, "I have to go home soon or I'll be grounded." DR.

I shook my head. "OK. See you tomorrow.” We wave at each other, so I walk towards Stan.

Well, I'll do it again in a moment. Steal something valuable. Maybe even get into a fight. But I didn't care. Even though I have demons and villains on my trail, this is still treated as a game and in a real game like this there are no cheaters, there are only winners and losers. And despite what they say, I can play.

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