Chapter 218

“Heroes aren’t supposed to be -” Cedric groaned. “This approach was clearly a mistake.” He paused. “No, not a mistake. I got you to open up, but I need to try a new approach now.”
Andie’s ego cleared her throat. “I can hear you, you know.”
“I know. I was talking to you.” Cedric leaned forward, pushing against – but not crossing – the borders of her personal space. “Or would you prefer I keep my attempts to pry into your skull secret?”
“…carry on.”
“Alright then. Where logic fails, I must rely on a tactic more suited for a conversation between peers and friends.” Cedric sighed heavily. “Emotional vulnerability.”
“You say that like it’s your last resort.”
“It is. Showing weakness, although natural, is something I personally find extremely unpleasant.” Cedric took a deep breath. “I have my priorities, however. So here we go: I am not typically fond of heroes.
“Wait, wait – hang on.” Andie’s ego and shadow alike were both left flabbergasted and stammering. “You, you don’t like… how can you not like -”
“Andie. If you were to make a checklist of all my most prominent traits, and then made another list with the twenty characters that most embodied these traits…” Cedric’s ectoplasmic ears and tail dimmed slightly. “How many do you think would be heroes? Or even just protagonists? Smart heroes are already relatively uncommon. Heroes that are skilled liars? Almost unprecedented. Almost. Certainly not dime a dozen like heroes that are reckless, daring brawlers. Heroes don’t typically ‘skulk’, Andie. I do.”
“Oh. I…”
“Andie. Heroes are artificial.” Cedric waited for Andie to protest, to insist on the “realness” of heroes… but she didn’t. “They are real – in the sense that they have a real impact on people’s hearts and minds – but they are still created by people. Heroes aren’t people – they’re ideas. Ideas designed to inspire. And ideas often reflect the biases of the society that comes up with them. Heroes are important, but due to those aforementioned biases, I never really got to have one.” He took a slow breath and regained the slight patch of composure he had lost while speaking. “But this isn’t about me. This is about you. You can’t be a hero, because you are a person. Heroes aren’t people. People aren’t heroes. Heroes aren’t supposed to want to be heroes, but people are. Heroism is an impossible goal, but striving for it makes people better.”


A note from the author:

Cedric chooses his words very carefully.

It’s worth noting that while Andie took what he said as “I don’t like heroes”, what he actually said was that he “wasn’t typically fond of heroes.”

Certainly, he didn’t refute Andie’s interpretation, but it is worth acknowledging that his own words accounted for exceptions (“not typically” isn’t the same as “never”) – and he never expressed an active distaste for heroes, just that he didn’t really experience any emotional attachment (or “fondness”, if you will) to them.

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