Chapter 41: The Village Head
The rest of the journey towards the catkin’s house was nothing short of uneventful. Still, the stinging gazes of the two little kitties had been painful to take in. I dared to test my luck, reaching out, but got shut down by their ‘who-are-you’ gaze. Tsk, temperamental kitties. Their guards up, skittering when I go near.
Despite Emma’s explanation that it was only a misunderstanding, the two were still wary. Not that I blame them. The green wind spirits’ ill-will might have been too much to take in.
I strode through the grasses, following Emma, side by side, to avoid further mishaps. If that evil thing wags again in front of this aunt, I don’t know what’ll I do. My suppressed fluffy desires will surely leak out and wreak havoc again.
The old catkin and I also came into a silent agreement. She somehow understood my thoughts, talking to me from time to time so that the kittens would be at ease.
The sun had already retreated into slumber when we arrived at their village. The houses for made of stone and wood. I had studied history through my travels, and old catkin’s village was like those of the medieval age. However, the existence of serf and manors were out of the equation. I curiously shifted my gaze around, marveling at the thought that I had traveled back to time. But that were mere excuses. The true reason I was looking around was to check if there were other kitties to conquer. Unfortunately, the village seemed a bit deserted. Or the people in this world just sleep early.
Soon, Emma ushered the little ones to bring the animals back to the barn and wait at home, leaving me and Emma alone.
“Come with me, lady Victoria” Yep, she was still calling me with that title on. Well, it’s not as bad as my initial title as a witch. So all was well.
The old catkin brought me straight to the village head’s house. A brief introduction was necessary for my stay. Emma needed the acknowledgment of the village head so that I’ll be allowed to stay with them. As for the reason, she only gave me a tired smile. “That’s the rule.”
Soon, we arrived at the house of the village head. Emma knocked three times before opening the door. I entered after the old catkin. I looked around, gazing everywhere. The village head’s house had the vibes of an old store. Only a few goods were lying around. While the dust had settled themselves on the shelves. I turned to the right side and saw a man peeking from the store counter.
The village head, unlike what I had expected, was a human. Tsk.
A normal human with a striking scar skittering on his face. Eh, maybe he’s not so normal after all. I tried checking his ears. Human. Peeking at his butt, searching for a tail. There was none.
“What’s up with this Emma?” The scarred village head frowned. A good sign that he doesn't like my presence at all. “You stopped collecting little kitties, but now…”
He eyed me for a moment before turning back to the old catkin, “… you’re collecting nobles.”
“She’s not one of those kinds of nobles,” said Emma, chuckling. “You’re just bad at judging people.”
“Base on what? She might be dangerous. Emma, believe me, I already got my hands full. That’s obvious, right?” The village head snorted. The wound on his face wiggling as if it was alive. “I want no more problems right now.”
“She’s a kind lady, Astolfo,” Emma replied, a thin smirk she wore, shifting her gaze towards me.
“How could I even trust that?” The scarred village head sneered. "Don't tell me it's because she's good-looking. We already learned our lesson from that, right?"
Yes, how could the village head trust that? And how did you know I am kind? I mean, I am. But the way she said that was hardly convincing.
Anyway, how did she even know that I am a noble? Lesson? The question I had in my head continued to pile up. They’re talking about something I did not know. How about adding me to your conversation? Hello, I'm here.
“Trust my instincts.” Emma’s scarlet-hued pupils constricted, her smile growing bigger and bigger. “I will never endanger the village.”
Why do I feel like Emma’s much scarier than the hoodlum-looking village head?
Instincts? I raised an eyebrow at Emma’s words. Come to think of it, picking up an unknown lady from the rolling meadows, and deciding to bring her to your home wasn’t something anyone in their right minds would do. So I kind of understand where Mr. Scarface was coming from.
Valleys and mountains formed on the village head’s forehead, glaring at Emma for a few seconds. Then he turned, scrutinizing me as if I was some contraband good that needs a thorough checking. Mr. Scarface definitely wasn’t some innocent village head. How could I tell? I met many people throughout my life on earth, and his confidence-filled gaze wasn’t originating from hashed arrogance. It’s a unique temperament from seasoned security that we hire during high-profile meetings and events. Is he a retired mercenary? A retired soldier?
I stared back, meeting the village head’s scrutinizing gaze. I had nothing to hide aside from my love for kitties. Look all you want.
"Fine," frowned the village head. "Emma, watch her properly. If she does anything weird, do it!"
"Alright," Emma replied, flatly.
"And you missy," the village head stood up, slowly turning into a creeping tower. Damn, he’s tall. Around 6 feet and 9 inches. But don't think I'll be afraid of that! I met taller ones on earth after all.
It's my turn now. I stretched my neck, challenging his height superiority with a lifted chin. Ask away. "What?"
"What's your name, Missy?"
He frowned, "The whole name missy.”
My lips trembled. “Is that important?”
“To you. No.” The scarred giant grinned, his pupils glowing akin to blue motes. “But for me, a big yes.”
What should I say? Rothfield? Rosenberg? I’m not that stupid. That scanning shiny eyes felt like some sort of lie detector test. I glanced at Emma, asking for help. But she only looked at me with curiosity.
I took a deep breath and sighed. I fixed the sagging gold-rimmed glasses. Fine, it’s not like I could hide this forever. I asked the two blobs to protect me if something bad happens. However, as soon as I sent that link, the old catkin’s tail turned into a puffed broom. As for the scarred village head, he retreated a few steps, pulling something from a dusty barrel nearby.
“Emma?” The scarred village head vibrated. “You sure she’s safe.”
“S-safe,” Emma replied, hissing a little. But I heard a bit of doubt.
Eh? Is my two cutie pies that scary? What did they do?
I calmed the two blobs through our emotional link, asking them to tone things down. I gave Emma and the village head called Astolfo a wry smile. “My fault. I lost control a little. I’m still tipsy, so forgive me.”
Now back to the topic. I started a staring contest against scarred village head, uttering. “Victoria Rothfield Rosenberg.”
I expected some harsh reaction. After all, my name was quite infamous throughout Endramion. However, how should I say this? Their reaction was nothing but mild.
The cautious village head threw a scrutinizing gaze before retreating. I heard a light whisper coming from his lips as he turned at the old catkin, “Not lying”
Of course, I’m not. It’s not my habit to lie, unlike my old sooty boss.
Emma and Astolfo frowned, staring at me as if I was some sort of mystery. I also stared back, looking at Emma with a longing gaze - the tail. As for the muscled giant, I ignored him. Who cares about him? Humph. No swinging tail. No furry ears. Sorry.
“I am quite knowledgeable, but I don’t know any nobles with that surname.” The scar-faced giant uttered a hand on his chin. Then he threw a curious glance. “Weird. Missy where are you from?”
The scarred man’s words struck me. My smile receded. An ominous feeling suddenly crept into my heart. A question flowed into my lips unconsciously. “What’s the name of this continent?”
“Missy,” the village head gave me a long glance. Soon, he walked towards one of his dusty cabinets, pulling a map, and unfurling it onto a gigantic table. An unfamiliar map showed itself to me. I had studied the geography and maps of Endramion for a year. So I’m sure that it was not Endramion. It’s the first time I saw this weird-shaped mass of land.
The village head looked, probing me. He pointed at the map. “Madland is the name of the continent.”
Then, his finger slid into a tiny piece of land, “And here we are, a nomad’s land called Dirgemeadows.”
“Not Endramion?” I unconsciously took a gulp.
“Endramion?” The village head asked. “Where is that?”
Both the village head and Emma gazed at me weirdly, waiting for my reply.
“I see. I see.” I lowered my head, feeling lost. I remembered the last time I saw Saria and became more worried. I once heard from Saria that there were other continents. However, she didn’t let me study anything about them, saying that it was a waste of time.
She was wrong.
“... So your not from the Madlands.” The village head’s eyes lit up. Though he looked like a brute, there was wisdom in his eyes. “And it’s not your will to go here either.”
I lifted a gaze and nodded.
“I hate to break it down to you, Missy,” frowned the village head. “But seemed like you got spirited away. I have read something the same from the Tower of Thistles. We call your kind... accidents. Did a purple spell hit you before you got transported?”
“Yes.” I grimaced, remembering the flames which rose from the sneaky old man’s scroll.
“I see, so that’s why,” I heard Emma whispering on the sidelines. The small beam on her face turning deeper and deeper. Her eyes turning into slits. Yes, like that of a cat.
The village head turned towards the windows, catching a gaze of the falling sun, sighing. “It’s already late. Maybe, we’ll talk about it another time. I have other things to handle.”
“Emma, please take of our guest.” His voice was less tense as compared to before. Though he was wary, he has stopped treating me like a nuisance anymore. I could hear even a bit of sympathy in his voice. “Missy. Our village has only one little rule. Please don’t make trouble. That’s all.”
“Alright,” I replied curtly. My mind still in shock after the revelation.
Then I saw the village squinting, shaking his head. He turned at Emma. “I don’t think it’s not a good idea to let anyone see her face.”
Upon saying those words, Astolfo skittered around his old store’s cabinets. “Where did I put that? Oh, it’s here.” He pulled a helmet. A Barbut. Before I could even shake my head, he shook his. He threw it back in, ransacking another cabinet. “Found it.”
A familiar rustic hat made of reed and bamboo. It had a thin white veil on its ends, flowing towards my waist. Its designs were almost the same as the ones used by farmers in Eastern and Southeast Asia. What do they call it? Was it Sakkat?
Anyway, he gave it to Emma before turning to me. “Please wear it when you’re going outside, okay?”
I walked towards Emma, checking the mysterious thing out. “It’s well made.”
“You like it?” The village head stared.
My head involuntarily nodded.
“That’s good,” he bobbed. “Now, pay up?”
Huh? But I have no money. Soon, I understood what he meant. The scarred giant glanced at Emma, akin to a loan shark. So... she’s the one who’s going to pay. That’s the reason he gave it to the old catkin instead of me.
This shady entrepreneur. I like it.
I turned at Emma, giving the old kitty a puppy eye. Seeing my reaction, Emma chortled. Okay, it seemed like she’ll pay… and now... I am ashamed.