UBC Day 9: Hold Out for a Hero, Dammit!

My friend grabbed the prompt from this website

and this was a really light and fun one for me!

The cocky main character of a popular book is sent to the real world. He is shocked to find that the fans of his book not only like the villain more but favor his side kick over him. (@writing.prompt.s)

The room was utterly packed with attendees, many dressed in the rich costumes for the ‘Paladin of the Moon’ series. Many took their seats as excitement bubbled around them in conversation and anticipation.

Jax Mayhew, the lead character of the book series stood tall and imposing, a sword across his back. He’d argued with the gods that he was popular, exciting. After all, they were going to be making a movie from the adventures told in his book. His author, Lia Shapiro, had taken time to write him to her exacting standards. But an author’s word could only go so far. So much was hinged upon the phenomenon of book boyfriends, or how one connected to their fans. It was his turn to do so today, but so many didn’t believe that he was who he said he was. People believed he was in costume, and with his inability to shapeshift or use magic in this realm, he had no way of proving that he was the real deal. It didn’t matter, though, he was excited about the panel.

Lia sat down in the center of the panel with what he’d learned were other authors and an actor who would be playing him in an upcoming movie. He looked the human over and dismissed him immediately. Who would ever be able to compete with his muscles, his sex appeal, his air of utter indifference. Lia may have written him, but Jax could honestly say that his own character had surpassed the talents of his writer.

As the panel got under way, people began peppering Lia with questions about Clay, the villain. Jax’s eyes widened.

“Yeah,” a woman from the audience said. “Jax is okay, but for me, Clay is where it’s at. He’s strong, confident, has that bad boy swagger. And so when does he get a spin-off?”

Clay? Murder indiscriminately Clay? Dismantling the entire structure of a lawfully-good organization Clay? Just because he rescued a baby and a kitten, what made him so important? Jax did all of the hard work, all of the investigating, all of the behind-the-scenes work. He was a paladin of the moon, for crying out loud. Without him, the series wouldn’t be a thing. Lia would just be a random person writing some fiction. Certainly without him, there wouldn’t be the success that she’d garnered. Really, she should be thanking him, asking him how he felt things should proceed. The last book left everything on a precarious edge. He couldn’t believe that people wanted to know about Clay.

‘Excuse me,” came a voice from somewhere in the middle of the crowd. “What about Talila? She’s such a badass and I think it would be so awesome if she and Clay got together?”

Jax’s audible gasp was drowned out by a flood of applause. Talila? His sidekick? His partner? The one that poked her nose in to everything, always challenged him at every turn, always wanted to do things her way or try to find some kind of compromise? He was Jax Ransom, and there was no compromising. The series was called ‘Paladin of the Moon’, not ‘broken mage of the Moon’. What kind of personality did Talila bring to the table besides being prickly,unlikable, and a fiery temper? Had she been raised in an orphanage, scraping his life together to answer the call of the moon gods? No! She’d been trapped in a monastery where young magic users were tortured. Just because she managed to escape, free the mages, and rescue some children while he was busy licking his wounds and trying to figure out which powerful daughter of a prestigious family he was going to marry in order to unite their magics and bring honor to his people and his gods did not make her special.

Lia smiled at the group, pressing her hands together. “I’m glad you asked,” she said brightly. “There is something in the works, something that is going to happen which will change the trajectory of the entire series. But you’ll just have to wait and see.”

More questions were pelted like stones at a tree. When could they expect the Talila bookmarks? Would there be some Clay and Talila merch? If the two got together, could they be called Clalila?

Acid churned in his gut as he stood up and said, “Well, actually, the important part of the story is Jax’s unwillingness to ever back down. He puts himself in danger all of the time, risking his life for his ungrateful sidekick, and attempting to defeat Clay at every turn. Not that I’d expect any of you to understand the important points of what has happened since the first war until now. Having Talila and Clay get together would be a low point in the series and isn’t how those characters are meant to function at all. It is not canon.”

Shocked gasps swept through the crowd and with the raising of voices and counter arguments, Jax believed that this was a battle he wasn’t going to win. He didn’t understand. He’d worked so hard for all that he had and the imbecilic readers couldn’t even bother to appreciate him at all. What had gone wrong? He glanced at Lia Shapiro who arched an eyebrow at him, winked, and gave him a slow smile.

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