Chapter 44: Of Witches and Rats
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Chapter 44: Of Witches and Rats
 
The kittens were safe.
 
The vile bastards had received their just, but bloody desserts. Who dared to mess with my kitties now, punks?
 
Though blurry, I saw how the little scarlet kitten ripped the slave trader into two. With her seemingly feeble hands, she split the bastard from the mouth down. A tingling shiver crept to my back as she dyed the once verdant green grasses with blood.
 
Everything was perfect.
 
Except for me.
 
Without warning, I slid from the comfy seat, frothing, spasming like never before in my entire two lives.
 
The crimson-hued notification window tried to stop me but failed. My passion threw me into the pits of hell. This aunt flew straight into flames akin to a deluded moth. I had this hunched that maybe I should control myself more and stop jumping into dangerous situations. A whispering voice in the recesses of my soul warned me, but I did not heed. Silly me.
 
I thought Tabi and Coby needed my help, but I was wrong. My sacrifice was nothing but negligible. All I had done came to naught. The twisters receded to the sky; the sun peeked again, twice shy. The wind took its natural course, waltzing with the verdant grasses in one accord.
 
And this time, I was the one needing help. Crimson tier warnings flashed before my eyes, flooding me.
 
 
 
[Warning! Warning! Warning!]
 
[You have overloaded your mana veins. Temporarily cutting off spirit connection. Starting magic recovery protocol.]
 
 
 
Having a seizure while being awake felt surreal. It was hard to describe with words. The pain. The agony. But if I had to describe it, ‘it felt like sh*t.’ Have other descriptions? Fight me.
 
My mana veins had exceeded their limits - a burning sensation scorched, sauntering throughout my veins, pulsing along with my rapid heartbeats. It had also cut the contract line between me and the wind spirits off. I couldn’t hear the green blobs’ voices nor sense their emotions anymore. Whether this was temporary or permanent, I don’t know. Let’s wished it’s not permanent.
 
And with this pain, I don’t have the will to even care. I gritted my teeth hard as I tried to save my tongue from getting bitten. If my soul leaves my body would I still feel the pain?
 
Soon, I heard steps rustling as the door opened. “I am back, Lady Victoria. Where are you?”
 
I saw a blurry glimpse of a familiar wagging tail. It was the old catkin. The scarred giant had also entered the house. Wait, who was he again? Meh, the mere village head. I wanted to shoo him away, but because of my condition.
 
I could only shut my eyes and ignore his presence.
 
“Lady Victoria?! What happened!” The elder catkin rushed worriedly. She carefully checked me out.
 
I wonder what she’s thinking right now?
 
“Emma? Is she sick in the head?” A baritone tone echoed drifted in the room. He sounded upset. “We already have a lot of patients suffering from the dark curse. Now, you’re bringing another patient in? You said she can help us?”
 
“Shut up Astolfo,” the old catkin hissed. “Hold your mouth. What if she can still hear you?”
 
She’s right. I could hear you son of a bitch. Many had called me sick in the head, but not one of them had proven it until now. Not even you!
 
“Help me bring her to bed first. I saw her ritual before.” The old catkin said. “She could control the wind, and probably the weather too. She might have caused that sudden change in the skies. For the reason, we will ask her later.“
 
The gaze of the old catkin lingered. I sensed her presence drawing nearer to me.
 
She held one of my hands with inhuman force. Is this the famed kitty force? I almost heard the familiar soundtrack of that saber-wielding, outer space chosen movie playing in my ears. I felt a finger on my pulse, followed by a whisper from Emma. “W-What a mess. So this is the reason she slept in the meadows for ten days.”
 
“What’s wrong?” The scarred giant trudged. His massive shadows covered me as he went to his knees. He pulled my wrist, a warm feeling filled it, stopping it from moving. He then checked my pulse gently. “Ain’t this the pulse of a deadman?”
 
“A dying person. Don’t be too dumb, Priest Astolfo. Can’t you see she’s still breathing? Why did you even choose to become to the priest route when you’re this dumb and big?” Emma heaved. A blurry scarlet fog entered my blurry sight. “Overexertion of mana veins. And from the looks of it, she also did this before."
 
And who could have thought that he was a priest? With that size? Give him a sword and he’ll be a barbarian to me. I had this itch to laugh after remembering the scarred village head’s frame. And that made me suffer more. Wanting to laugh but couldn’t was too painful.
 
"With this twisted mana veins, it's a miracle that she is still even alive." The scarred giant winced. "Are you sure she'll be able to help us? Cuz' it doesn't look like that to me. She might even end up half dead after this."
 
"The spirits love her," said the old catkin." Our race knew more about them than yours. They’ll take care of her. Of that I am sure. Anyway, it's rare to see a spirit tamer like her. If we can save her, she might just decide to help us. You know spirit tamer can fight dark curses, right? She can help her. So why not? You know it right? Those who are loved by the spirits usually know how to purify curses. And mind you, this is the first time I had seen a human one, most of them are elves."
 
Elves?! Calm down Victoria, you know they already exist. Huff. Huff. I have to start my one-day-old mantra, ‘Kitty best. Kitty rules. Kite kitties so I rule.’
 
After repeating it for an umpteenth time, I reached enlightenment. Ah… peace.
 
Anyway, dark curses? What’s that? I thought hard of a moment. Nothing came to mind aside from the necromantic magic I’ve read in one of Saria’s books. The vile arts had already become extinct in Endramion. Wait, I’m not in Endramion. So they might indeed exist here.
 
"Yeah, yeah right. Not even my prayer could heal them so let’s take this chance anyway," The giant sighed. His broad shoulders sagged. “If only that damn slave traders did not lure a witch towards the village.”
 
Witches again? That answers the fears of the little Coby and Tabi. A witch had attacked their village. Come to think of it, I rarely saw anyone when I arrived in the village.
 
“What’s done is done,” said the old catkin. I felt something sticking on my skin, numbing the pain. The seizure slowly receded, making me sigh inwardly in relief. "Done. Come on, help me quick. And do your thing, you greedy priest."
 
"On it." The giant lifted me, carrying me like a princess which technically I am. “But damn, why would she even try using such a crazy spell. That's not something for practice.”
 
I felt the embrace of a soft bed. They dropped me back into my room.
 
Soon, a glowing light had filled my gaze, seeping through the thin cracks I opened. I flinched after seeing the giant going into his knees, he uttered a few words of thanks to someone called ‘Talia’. Soon, a warm light enveloped me akin to a mother’s embrace, making me moan. It felt like an S-rank masseur massaging washing away my tiredness.
 
 
 
[Your luck has saved you. Warning: Don’t use any spell again. Or death. Duration before full recovery: 48 days.]
 
 
 
I shuddered. That’s a tad bit specific. Alright, I won’t mess up again... probably.
 
The scorching feeling ebbed, calming the infallible ads. Nevertheless, I still ended up drench in a cold sweat. The scarred giant’s shadow towered as he got up for his feet. I must visit the village head later to give my thanks.
 
Or not.
 
"You know Emma." The voice of the village head chocked. "Could you please make sure that she wears that Sakkat? She has to cover her face."
 
"Oh, why," tittered the old catkin. “Feeling jelly?”
 
Yeah, why? It got me curious. Anyway, I feel sleepy right now.
 
"That ogre, I mean my cute wife might get jealous," said the brute. “And if I make a mistake, she’ll kill me. And please don’t let her near my house for now.”
 
Ah, this aunt’s beauty is a sin. I still thank Saria for that. I wonder how she has been doing right now. Anyway, I’ll do this little request of this giant. I thought Emma was going to make fun of him. Yet, all I heard was silence. 
 
"Fine." Emma took a deep breath and sighed. "But I will not pay for that Sakkat anymore."
 
Another silence loomed. Emma’s evil smile entered my mind.
 
The village had thought hard before heaving a heavy grunt. The two slowly moved out of the room.
 
I don’t know if I should listen to those things. Well, it never hurts to learn more.
 
Soon, I heard the shouts of the two little kittens echoing. They’re back.
 
The scarlet kitten’s voice shook the entire house. Her voice reaching even its deepest nook and cranny. “Look! Look! Gran-Gran. Oh, ol’ uncle too! Heavens helped us hunt two rats! It went ‘shoo-shoon’ and ‘bababang’! Gran-Gran, now you can cook more rat stew. Please add more sauce Gran-Gran. ”
 
“Wow! That’s one big catch, Tabi.” The giant priest guffawed. “You’re getting better and better at hunting.”
 
Another voice echoed, he was huffing. “Tabi, you’re too fast. Gran-Gran, they tried catching us but too bad, we caught them first.”
 
“...”
 
Don’t tell me.
 
I didn’t clearly see what bastards the kittens had encountered.
 
“Look I brought the heads!” The scarlet kitten hollered. “Oh, where’s big sis Victoria? I have to show it to her. She’s goin’ to like this.”
 
I heard the steps of the scarlet kitten as she goes nearer to my room.
 
“Wait, Tabi!” The old catkin tried to stop the excited kitten.
 
My lips quivered. I tried my best to look, hoping that my assumptions were false. With a difficulty, I shifted my head sidewards, slowly opening my tired-eyes. From the corners of the door, I saw two ugly heads bobbing. Both their tongues were dangling sideways, saying hi to this aunt like we were friends from long ago. One even had its eyes wide open, the emotions of discontent clearly expressed on its face, saying, ‘Welcome to the Madlands bitch! The land where karma hits faster than a train.’
 
While the other rat head stared at me with hate, as if it was blaming me - ‘So it was you! Wait for our revenge!’
 
They were rats. The bastards. Human-sized rodents.
 
I also glimpsed at Tabi. Dried blood still covered her entire body. A powerful stench of death wafted straight into my nostrils. A hand caught her, dragging her away from the door.
 
I gulped. I remembered Emma’s soup, rat stew, and felt my soul leaving. I’ve read that a few breeds of cats indeed hunt rats. I thought it was only in the ‘Tom & Jerry’ level. So I didn’t take it much to heart. But now...
 
“Don’t be too noisy. She’s still sleeping.” Emma said. “Close the door.”
 
“Ai, alright Gran-Gran.” The bloody kitten peeked from the door. Then she dragged the wooden door to a close, whispering, “I’ll close the door, good night big sis. Have a pleasant sleep. Once you’re awake come and taste rat stew, I’ll help Gran-Gran make it. Taste test it okay.”
 
Hic. Yes. But I am sleeping right now. And I need some alone time to do some soul searching.
 
Please ignore me.

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