A True Paradox was now wearing the crown of a BlitzGirl. Something had to be done, and if the Pope wasn't going to do it, the task would fall upon he himself. He, the first cleric, was going to have to become First Cleric, whereupon he would... he would... definitely... do something.
The enormity of the task overwhelmed him, for all of BlitzGirlhood depended on it. You simply must complete the Quest to be a BlitzGirl.
The Pope knelt down next to the first cleric, and he asked the Pope, "Am I the first cleric?". The Pope replied gently, "No. There have been clerics before you, and there shall be clerics after you". His face brightened. "Then I must be the First Cleric".
"Yes", said the Pope, "the Order of the Holy Contradiction requires it." The First Cleric conveniently agreed with this reasoning. "Now tell me", the Pope continued, "what it is that is bothering you so."
It was a trap.
If the First Cleric pointed out the inconsistency in naming a BlitzGirl who had not completed his Quest, the Pope would simply respond that it was the perfect reason to crown a BlitzGirl. This is just Contradiction 101 - he wasn't going to fall for it. He was going to have to draw the Pope out first. "I am seeking enlightenment", he began, and not without some trepidation.
The Pope bade the First Cleric to follow him, and the two of them started back up the the hill, where the ceremony had just taken place. Most of the people had gone, and the sun was setting, its rays glinting off the sea, which was visible in the distance. They could see part of the river from this vantage point too, but it disappeared behind the hillside, and they could not see where it rejoined the sea. He knew it did however. "What are the ways of the sea?" asked the Pope. "Bah!" thought the First Cleric. He recognized the Socratic method - the Pope was trying to get him to think, and he didn't like it.
Of course he knew the answer; everyone did. He also knew the Pope knew that he knew. It was some kind of test, but of what? Two could play that game. "What are the ways of the River?" asked the Cleric in reply. That he did not know. The Pope replied, "The river does what it must, so the sea can do what it wants". He should have left it at that - pithy, deep, mysterious. But he continued, "Yonder, behind that hill, we cannot see it, for we are but small creatures, but the river must continue straight to reach the sea", and right after he said that, there was a whoosh, as if from the sea, but the sea was as it always was.
Appropriately enough, the First Cleric saw it first. This wasn't the kind of enlightenment he was hoping for. The Pope saw it next, as it flew past the hillsides, between them and the river. Encouraged by this sign, the Pope continued, "You have your ways, I have my ways, and the One True Comic has its ways." The First Cleric replied, "Should they not be the same ways?" The Pope thought for a moment, but did not speak. The First Cleric had a point - they should of course be the same ways. But they do not go the same way.
"What is the way of the One True Comic right now?", asked the Pope. "What are they trying to do?"
"Easy - they are trying to cross the stream" replied the First Cleric, and suddenly he realized what he had just said. The look of horror on the his face was more priceless than the American Express card. There was something... something he didn't even know he knew, that he knew. Whatever happens, we cannot cross the streams.
But there was no other way. It is the way of the One True Comic, so it must also be our way. The Holy Contradiction and the Western Paradox had to be crossed, and this evening, with great fanfare and symbolism, the streams had been crossed, in fulfillment of prophesy. "But what of Flado?" asked the First Cleric. "He is stuck in Time with a title that is out of time." The Pope replied, "Like all of us, he'll just have to Wait For It.".
The First Cleric bowed to the Pope. He had his enlightenment. But he had a little bit more enlightenment than he had bargained for. "Are you sure that river goes straight?", he asked the Pope. The Pope looked upwards, and as he contemplated the bird flying overhead, his face suddenly turned white.
He had made rectilinear assumptions.