David Madore's WebLog: Gratuitous Literary Fragment (#10)

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(Monday) · New Moon

Gratuitous Literary Fragment (#10)

This one is really pour le plaisir. I'd be curious to know what could be imagined to fill in the blank before and after the fragment!

Left alone, Xiong was able to contemplate at his leisure the extent of his humiliation. Failure was a thought he had been able to cope with, death was a risk he had been willing to take—but this! Such a magnitude of dishonor was unheard-of: the heights of glory to which he had dreamt of soaring mocked him cruelly, now for all time beyond his reach—as was even his own modest former status. The lowliest pariah would not be his equal in indignity. And suicide being out of question as he was beholden for his life, Xiong would have to live the misery fully through.

As he plunged thus through the bowels of despair, Xiong was drawn back to reality by the sound of the door opening. He expected to see his former master storm in, or perhaps his father-in-law, or at any rate someone to whom he would have to apologize profusely, but the person who walked through the door, followed by a train of courtiers which betokened his importance, was unknown to Xiong, and somehow managed to rouse curiosity in the latter's dejected mind.

The man was elderly and corpulent, his face was red, but his visage spoke at once of aristocracy and benevolence. He came up to Xiong and said, point-blank:

Good morning. My name is Lar Simon, you may have heard of me as I am a Senator of this province (please—do remain seated). In fact, this is precisely the reason which brings me here. I know the following will sound improbable, and that is why I came to tell you in person, and I will have some explaining to do, but let me start with the good news. The Permanent Council met yesterday…

Lar had to repeat the next sentence five times before Xiong understood. Much as a person could be surprised in receiving an award for his paintings when he has never come near a canvas, this were nothing compared to Xiong's astonishment.

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