Author's Note: I don't own anything from Soul Nomad. This was something inspired after hearing Tricia mention that Levin had made it back to the farm before the heroes and my imagination playing around with what may have happened.
Also, Merry Christmas!
Soul Nomad: Just an Act
Raksha didn't know why he was here. Perhaps it was just a whim of nostalgia or maybe he was just bored. By all rights it was probably the biggest mistake he could make after murdering the old hag but he was feeling lucky for the same reason.
Layna the Firebrand, dead.
And soon, that insufferable reaper of an ex-boss would join them. He was looking forward to driving Gig and his vessel into the ground until all that would be left would be a pile of meat. Maybe even less just for the hell of it.
It had all too easy and once he returned to his true body nothing would prevent him from succeeding. He couldn't help but laugh. Two hundred years ago he had been under the control of Gig and by extension, Drazil. As Levin he was constantly pushed around by everyone: Christophe, Vitali, the guards, Grunzford, Revya, and of course Gig.
How ironic had it been that as Levin, he had been the real controller!
And once all the loose ends were tied up he could control more than such meager pickings.
But for now he was-
"Hmph, it's you," rumbled a Redflank's voice in surprise. "What're you doing back here so early?"
"Nothing much, they just sent me on up ahead," Raksha replied with Levin's voice and demeanor. Back to the stupid, loveable, moron…for now at least. "We did it! It was a cinch! All the World Eaters' are gone for good!"
"Really?" Grunzford asked. "I'm surprised."
"W-what 'dya mean? What's the surprise?" Levin asked nervously. "Ofcourse we took it done! That overgrown piece of metal was easier than the one in Raide at any rate."
"I suppose just the timing of it all. Did you manage to convince Dio to take down the seal on the forest?"
"Yep! It was easier than we though it'd be. The queen was a bit hesitant but he seemed okay with it. We went in, we beat it, and now everyone should be back soon. They just gotta stop by the capital and speak to the queen again first."
"And they sent you back alone?"
"W-well, I'm not too comfortable around over there and it's not like they need me anyway," Levin replied, hoping that wasn't suspicion he had heard in the Redflank's voice. He had fooled them all this long and while he was confident about his disguise he wanted to be careful. "Besides, I figured I'd check up on Trish-uh-and you and the farm I guess-"
"Hmph, I figured as much," the Redflank seemed to relax a bit. "Sepps are just so-"
"H-hey cut that out!" Levin felt his face heat up. "It's not like that! I was worried about you and these guys too!"
"I understand, say no more," though the Redflank's eyes still seemed touched with amusement. "She's out back trying to fix some of the machines. I'm sure she could use a bit of help so go make yourself useful."
"I thought I was," mumbled the Sepp-World Eater.
Levin followed the direction that Grunzford had pointed. He looked back at the Redflank once before continuing onward. He spotted Vangogh and his phynx working on a ditch for irrigation but they weren't the only ones. Most of the farmers seemed to be back to work. Since the group had left the energy in the area seemed much more enthusiastic. They looked like they had hope towards work again.
Too many people seeing him though…maybe once he was done he would take care of them too. Just for a little warm up, take care of the witnesses, and just to see the look on everyone's (Gig, Revya, Sluggo, Danette, and Endorph) faces when they came back and found everyone dead. It blessing to stop having to act for good….
Levin jolted back in time to watch an arrow narrowly miss his face and hit the tree with a dull thud.
"Oh dear, I'm terribly sorry and-Levin? Is that you?"
Levin's attention twisted to Tricia, standing from the roof with her bow drawn and a rope the trailed from the arrow to her hand. The rope had sailed from that spot, through the loop of a weird pulley thing, to the tree.
"T-Trish! What're you doing up there!?" He demanded.
"Oh nothing much, I needed to get the rope through and I figured shooting it would be more efficient than aimlessly tossing it through," Tricia said with her usual cheer. "I'll be right down. Could you do me a favor? I need someone to hold the rope. I can't hold that and my bow and climb down at the same time."
"Sure, if that's what ya need," Levin answered.
Tricia dropped the ends of the rope into his waiting hands. She held the bow in one hand and used the other to steady herself down from the roof. One time Levin thought she would slip (and he nearly ran forward to catch her) but she merely grunted and managed to hold herself (much to his unconscious relief).
"Thank you, that definitely helped," Tricia said with a warm smile.
"Eheh, it's no problem," Levin replied. "I mean, you're a good friend and I-anyone else would've done the same and…uh, so what is this thing?"
"Oh this?" She gestured to the pulley thing. "It's something I found in the back. I think it's supposed to help pull and guide carts. It would be really useful in winter when the snow's around. Don't you agree?"
"I guess…" Actually, Levin didn't really think so but she seemed happy she thought he did.
Tricia seemed to remember something and asked, "You're back early. Uncle said not to expect you all back for another few days. How is everyone?"
"Them?" It took a moment for it to register. "Oh, they're fine! They've just got some unfinished business to take care of first and then they'll be back."
"Yeah, you know how it is."
"I suppose, but I feel a little guilty," Tricia admitted, placing her bow and arrows off to the side.
"Why's that?" Levin asked. "Did somethin' happened?"
"No, everything's okay. It's just I feel a little bad for staying behind while everyone else went to fight the World Eater…does it seem like a selfish thing?"
"N-no, of course not!" He insisted. "You were only trying to help others! That's not selfish at all!"
"Yeah, really! I mean it!"
"I suppose you would, and I appreciate it but sometimes I wonder…" Tricia lightly touched her hairpin. "Traveling with everyone and talking to Shauna has really opened my eyes. I want to help others but I wonder if I really can do much or even correct the right things. Back in Zazana, they were always being attacked by bandits so I stayed to help but I know they aren't the only ones that suffer that way. In Pulkina, the angels, however small they seemed, could help themselves up on their feet without anyone interfering it seemed. And now…well, the farmers and people of Orviska can't seem to do anything without being shoved back down. Even though I'm helping now there's no guarantee the moment we leave they won't have everything taken away from them again.
"It's not just about conscriptions or the high taxes either," she continued. "While I was talking to them they told me some dreadful things. Like high class merchants like Hawthorne who take their work for cheap and then severely increase the price for resell. Or selling them shoddy materials or products that they have no choice but to buy. Not only that but how the common people are blamed of crimes and treated much too harshly while if someone of higher class were to do the same they get off with a fine or a slap on the wrist. It's all just too much to believe. Why would people do such horrible things?"
"Trish…" Levin felt a stab of discomfort. It still amazed him how someone could care so much about things behind her control. It annoyed him a little at first (and still did) but with Tricia…
"Oh bother, I shouldn't prattle on about things I suppose," Tricia sighed. "But I can't help myself sometimes."
"N-no it's fine," Levin said reassuringly. "And even if things are all messed up with people at least you always try and do somethin' about it. Doesn't that count for somethin'?"
"Perhaps, but it never seems enough."
"Then why don't you take it easy then? Let someone else do it for once."
"Because no one seems willing to do anything about it," Tricia's face twisted in frustration.
"Sure there are!" Levin exclaimed. "They're just all over the place is all. You can't be the only one."
"You're probably right," Tricia smiled. "Or maybe there are just people that don't know what it means to try and go out and help people. But I'm sure if they did they would."
"You really think so? I wonder…" Tricia paused thoughtfully. "What if people got together and worked for the good of others?"
"Like phil-phila-agh, what's the word?"
"Y-yeah, that's it."
"I don't think so. There is such a broad wide of problems that I don't think something as philanthropy would cover. Actually," she laughed, "I was thinking of something that Uncle read to me when I was a child."
"Really? What about?"
"I'm not sure I should mention it. It's a little embarrassing to admit. You might laugh…"
"No I won't, I'd never laugh at anything you-ah…"
"Heheh, all right, but I'm holding you to it," Tricia leaned back and stared up at the sky. "It was a story about a man who would steal from the rich and give to the poor. It was considered to be an odd book to read to a child of a well off family but I fell in love with it. He was a daring character who attracted others to his cause by just his personality and deeds. He fought for the people and lived for them, even if it meant that he would be considered a fugitive. Even though sometimes the people he wanted to protect sometimes turned against him he never stopped trying. I'm still impressed with it, even now that I've grown up. Too bad there isn't anyone like that in real life…"
I wouldn't say that, Levin thought absently as he stared at her.
"But I suppose it's just wishful thinking," she sighed. "There isn't even a group like that…"
"Well-eh-why don't you start one then?" Levin's mouth asked before his mind registered. After he said that he mentally kicked himself.
"Me?" Tricia blinked back her surprise. "Oh heavens no! I mean, I don't think I'd be cut out to start anything as drastic as that-though I wish I were the type. It would require a lot of work and someone of the right caliber…"
"Well, I think you'd fit it perfectly," he surprised himself a little. He actually meant it when he said that.
"Really? Do you truly think so?" Tricia asked. When Levin nodded she seemed to perk up a little. "It's something to think about I suppose. Now that the World Eaters are gone we only have to deal with the cycle of souls and then…well we'll have to see."
Levin's face almost shifted. Oh right…world eaters…
"Levin, is something wrong?" Tricia asked with a concerned look.
"Nah, I'm just thinking," he managed to reply.
"I see," she paused. After a while she said, "Thank you, Levin."
"For listening to me, I feel much better. I'm lucky to know such a kind person as you."
Though the cute look on her face was driving Levin crazy some part of him wondered if she'd say that if she knew what he really was.
Tricia smiled and was about to say something else when the phynx started barking in the distance. "Oh, sounds like someone's at the entrance. Do you think it's the others?"
Raksha felt a surge of anger mixed with panic. It wouldn't surprise him if it were them, they had such rotten timing.
"Well, shall we go greet them?" Tricia asked. She was already standing up and getting ready to go. Of course, Levin wouldn't be able to follow. Not unless he had a death wish at least. But if he stayed there it didn't matter because then she'd know the truth anyway.
"H-hey, uh, Trish , wait!" Unexpectedly Levin reached out for her wrist.
"Levin?" She looked at him confused.
Levin felt his mouth go dry. What was he going to say? He shouldn't have come here, he really shouldn't have…everything would be over in a few minutes.
The barking had stopped. They were probably talking to Grunzford right now and then when they brought him up-
-That would be the end of any interactions between 'Levin' and Tricia…
That thought hit harder than he expected it would.
Though he hadn't meant to he suddenly leaned over and hugged Tricia tightly. She let out a sound of surprise but seemed to relax a little in the embrace…
And then Levin let go and ran off as fast as he could, pretending he couldn't hear her call after him.
It was over. Done. The little act of being Levin the stupid, moronic, guard was over. It had been a disguise he had worn for ten excruciatingly long years and this would be the last time he ever had to pretend to be anything other than Raksha, the third World Eater and the next God.
However, though he didn't realize it, that last conversation and how he felt was never an act…