The child returned the following night. Philico had remained by the abandoned building he had met the boy at before, telling himself it was that he was too lazy to move but knowing it was in hope of exactly what happened: A small shadow approaching him and silently sitting down a few feet in front of him.
“It’s late to be out here, boy.” Philico said.
The shadow that was the child shifted. “Where else would I go?”
Philico noted the child slumping down. “I don’t got a home.”
He tightened his lips. “Parents? Mom and Dad?”
The child’s voice suddenly became choked up. “Dead.”
Philico said a silent prayer for the boy. He shouldn’t have to suffer like this, even in a situation as grim as Fallion’s Tears’ was. “What’s your name, boy?”
In the moonlight, he saw the boy’s face look up from the ground. “Peter.”
Philico smiled. “Peter. That’s a nice name. I’m… Phil.”
“It’s good to meet you, Mr. Phil.” Peter said, the words sounding practiced. Whoever his parents had been, they seemed to have taught him basic manners.
“Well, Peter, would you like to see a trick?”
Peter nodded vigorously, a grin breaking through his solemn nature. Yes, this was what he had come for. He simply had been too shy to ask.
Philico reached his hand behind his back, letting four hordelings crawl out and form a ball shape. No, he then thought. I need to do something better than that.
Instead, he let the ball dissolve back into him. And he began to make stuff up.
“Long ago,” he said, “In this very spot, before Fallion’s Tears had its name, a farming community was established. At its head were two men, named Ico and Draimon.” He chuckled a bit at that- the sounds came from the rest of his full name- Philicodraimon.
Peter listened, transfixed, completely believing the story. Well, as long as he was enjoying himself.
“These two men were brothers, and they didn’t get along very well. Ico wanted to conquer the various lands-” Philico skittered hordelings he had prepared across the floor, and in the darkness he imagined Peter would picture it as a miniature army. “-While Draimon just wanted to settle down.”
At the trick, Peter jumped, and then laughed. “Go on!” he said.
“Eventually, the disagreement between them became so great that Ico plotted to kill Draimon. Stab his own brother in the back!” Peter gasped, not at the story, but because Philico had used a sizable portion of his own leg to form into a sword. Philico stood in a way that made it hard to tell, and to Peter would just look as if he had materialized a sword out of thin air.
“But Draimon was clever, and knew of his brother’s plans. The night of Ico’s attack Draimon slipped out of town, vowing only to return when he could overpower his brother and put him in his place. What happened next was extraordinary.” Philico sent synchronized colored hordelings in a fan pattern that made Peter gape.
“What next?” The boy asked, still hanging on each of Philico’s words.
“Next…” Philico finally realized how late it must be. Even now, young bodies needed sleep.
“Next, you go to bed and hear the rest tomorrow.”
“Aw…” Peter said, but the way he obediently stood up with a smile made it clear he was satisfied. “Goodbye, Mr. Philico. I hope you don’t die!” And he was gone.
“What a world this is that a child says that at a normal departure.” he murmured to himself. “But I do too.”