Chapter 220

“Y’see, this whole thing’s got me thinking about something I should’ve figured out a while ago.” Andie took a deep breath, speaking slowly and clearly – a stark difference from her usual mannerisms. “Heroes – the ones in stories, I mean – aren’t some naturally occurring phenomena. They don’t just… pop up out of the earth fully formed. Well, maybe they do in the lore of whatever story they’re from, but that’s not what I mean.” Andie gave her head a shake, resetting her sidetracked train of thought. “The point is, heroes are written by ordinary, fallible, people. They can reflect the biases of the culture they come from. Plus, the most popular ones get the most screen time – so heroes that are more ‘normal’ are everywhere, while ones that go against the grain often wind up becoming niche.” She smiled with a rare hesitance. “But not always. Sometimes, they change an entire industry. They change what the world thinks it means to be a hero.”
Stay true, my Courage.” Andie flicked out her right hand, summoning forth her Virtue – a bronze longsword – in a burst of golden yellow flames. “Honestly, I still like scrappy, insecure underdogs best. They’re just more fun to root for.”
Stay true, my Arrogance.” Andie flicked out her left hand, summoning forth her Vice – a cerulean katana – in a burst of royal red flames. “But just because I haven’t seen a type of hero, doesn’t mean they don’t exist – hell, they might not even be that rare.”
Stay true, my Confidence.” The two swords disintegrated back into flames and flowed up Andie’s arms, the red and yellow hues wrapping together around her neck and flowing out in a cape-esque trail behind her. Then, the flames vanished almost completely, leaving behind a silky red scarf – its ends floating in the air behind her, and its tips burning with a brilliant orange flame. “And just because a type of hero doesn’t exist – ” She turned to look at Cedric. “ – doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist.”


A note from the author:

I really should have described Finnegan’s scarf as cotton or wool – soft and fluffy, not “silken.” If I go back and edit chapter 37 to retcon that, do you think anyone would notice?

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