Chapter 45: Spirit Tamer
It was still dark when I woke up. I could hear the verdant grasses as it took flight, whistling along with their wind maestro. Here I am taking a deep breath, listening as they rustled and swoon. I thought of the dumb choices I made in my ‘lives’. Two lives for specificity’s sake. On earth, and this magical otherworld. I winced, realizing the many times I had suffered because of my impulsiveness. Of course, I admit my stupidity was also at play. I had damned the results of some of my actions from the beginning. Hazardous things happen when an auntie acts based on her emotions.
I peered at my shaking hands and sighed. It worsened after I was transmigrated to this body. For a 45-year-old aunt, my reactions were akin to a fickle teenager. Thinking of a reason, it might be because I felt freer in a younger body. Or because of my fantasies coming true. Or the wind spirits. Purely escapism.
The system had cut off my spiritual connection with the green blobs; I felt alone. Did the emotions of the two wind spirits affect me that much? I gazed at the roof, atop of my head thinking.
In a blink of an eye, the whispers of the night transformed me into a Socratic freak.
Doubts and questions rose, making me sigh.
What am I here for?
What was the reason the gods brought me here?
Surely not defeat the demon lord? After all, it doesn’t exist in this world according to Saria’s collection of books.
Anyway, it’s not bad to have some alone time. After all, this early morning had offered me a lot of time to reflect.
I lifted my shaky hands as if I was reaching for the sky. A sigh involuntarily came out of my mouth. Truthfully, this was my normal state when I was still on earth working for that old farty boss. When did I become so childish?
Looking for clues, sieving my one-year-old otherworld memories. It all started after that dream. Wait. What’s that dream again?
Anyway, did they take pity on me after seeing me dying on the frozen lands?
Was I supposed to live the life of the original owner of this body?
Revenge for her? Technically, I already did to the best of my ability.
I shut my eyes again, entrusting myself to the embrace of the dark. The rushing feeling of helplessness ate me away. But before I could even fall deeper, I heard something.
A bright voice drifting in the void echoed in my ears. “Live the way you want.”
Akin to a dream, a blurry image of a lilac-haired lady drifting in the air as she turned into motes of light stung me. She gave me a tired smile. “What do you want to do?”
I shook my head, feeling confused. The more I try to remember her blurry face, the blurrier it gets. Did I get cursed somehow? She felt familiar. Yet, she was not. I’m sure that I am going to forget her again soon. What a weird feeling.
Do I really want to return to Endramion? Then what?
The continent of Endramion doesn’t wish for the existence of the Witch of Rothfield. The history of the original owner of this body wasn’t so stellar after all. But I don’t wish to live hidden forever, so being transported to another place felt like a perk.
“But what do I want?” I whispered.
I delved deeper into the question longer than I imagined. Yet, I always ended up with the same answer. How foolish. Even I asked myself repeatedly, my answer had never changed.
“I want to take another journey.” I locked the hands I raised, clasping, catching the stars beyond the ceiling with my hands.
I slowly drifted back to my dreams, but before I could fall asleep, I heard a tired sigh.
“For the umpteenth time, do as you will.” She sounded fed up.
Then I dreamt of the damned rats again.
The cluckers did it again. Their roaring habits woke me from my slumber, but this time I would like to thank them for their service. They stirred me up from that dreadful nightmare. Drenched in sweat, I slowly stood. I clasped my hands, opening and closing them. Though I still felt weak, it was already manageable.
The numbing pain had also vanished, akin to a dream. Oh, speaking of dreams, those rabid bastards chased me to no ends, haunting me for their untimely deaths. If cats could be human-sized, why not rats too?
There was already a small towel and a bucket of water waiting for me. I immediately took the towel and the bucket of water, washing some dirt and sweat away.
Soon, the sounds of rustling steps entered my ears. Someone was coming. The elder catkin opened the door gently. The noises I made in my room might have caught her attention. Her eyes focused on me in surprise. She stared as if I was a walking miracle.
And I was like, surprise-surprise.
During my epileptic episode, she diagnosed my twisted mana veins along with the village head. That’s why I could understand her shock. I had read a few scrolls from Saria’s magical library so I understand how miraculous my instant recovery is. It usually takes months before one could even stand up after suffering from mana rebound. One had to even expect the worst considering my mana veins had also ruptured. “
“Sorry for the trouble,” I said with a wry smile. Two days in a row of clumsiness and impulsiveness were enough to help me realize my mistakes.
“It’s good that you look fine, Lady Victoria.” The old catkin’s soul returned after hearing my voice. “You might be hungry, come.”
The old catkin pulled my hands by the wrist, bringing me to the dining room. I felt one of her fingers tapping my pulse. I followed along, acting dumb to sate her curiosity. Truthfully, I’m also really curious about what was happening inside me. Perhaps, the old catkin might help me get some ideas. After all, she and the village head might know more about magical diseases as compared to me.
Soon, we finally arrived at the dining room. It was still messy. Crumps of bread scattered around the place. Used wooden plates were all over the wooden table. The little kittens had gone out to herd the animals after eating their breakfast, leaving the dishes to Emma’s hand. I turned and saw the old catkin drifting, lost in her world. Then, she uttered something lightly under her breath, “Impossible.”
Yeah, I understand what you are feeling right now, Emma. I also realized how absurd the speed of my recovery is. It’s not scientific. Anyway, time to wake up Emma.
“Emma?” I asked. “Are you, okay?”
“Oh, where are my manners, please take a seat? I’m perfectly fine.” She dragged a chair, gesturing for me to take the seat, treating me like a patient “I almost thought that you would take at least a month to wake up. You’ve made the little ones so worried. Anyway, how are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling fine.” I stretched around before flexing my tout biceps. “See?”
“Yeah,” Emma answered in a dull tone. She waltzed towards the kitchen and brought my breakfast. It seemed like she had a lot of questions. Nevertheless, she waited until I finished eating. The scent of rye bread and milk once again hooked my nose. And a soup. It was one healthy breakfast. I rolled the wooden spoon, checking for any floating tails or anything. There was none. Assuring it was safe, I immediately focus on the food and started gobbling whilst ignoring the curious gaze of the old catkin.
Soon enough, I finally finish the entire breakfast. I stared at Emma and said. “Thanks for the food.”
“Your welcome, Lady Victoria.” The old catkin said. Her eyes turned into slits as she crossed her hands. “Will you allow me to ask a few questions?”
“Go ahead.” I was already expecting this Q/A session. The crazy happenstances in the past few days had only delayed the inevitable.
Soon, I heard the door clanking open. It was the village head. He ducked, dodging the top wooden casing of the door. He turned sideways, fitting his body through the door’s frame. The giant entered the kitten’s house as if it was normal. He had arrived at the perfect moment.
The giant glanced around, probably searching for Emma. Soon our eyes met. He stopped on his feet, his mouth agape, opening and closing as if he had seen a ghost.
“You arrived at the perfect time, Astolfo. Come and take a seat.” The old catkin eyed the village head. “Anyway, help me.”
The tongue-tied giant sat on the other end of the table, watching me. He rubbed his eyes, assuring that he was not dreaming. After realizing it was all real, he turned to Emma, tilting his head. The scarred giant’s eyes had shifted their hues again. His eyes turned azure after catching the hidden meaning behind the catkin’s words. The giant-sized lie detector was once again put to use.
A giggle slipped out as I stared at the village head. He looked like those fierce-looking immigration officers I’ve met every time I set an appointment for a visa. His gaze also felt a bit strained and troubled. He even peeked at the old catkin, sending some gestures I don’t understand.
What? Is there something on my face? I gave the old catkin and the village head an awkward smile.
She suddenly stood from her seat as if she had remembered something. She waltzed into my room. She came back with the veiled Sakkat in her hand. With a big granny smile on her face, she put it over my head, covering my face. She pulled the hems of the veils further down to make sure it hid my face.
The frown of the village head eased as soon as I garbed the veil. So it was about that. I remembered their brief talk about his wife when I was suffering from that epileptic episode. I want to meet his wife. I wonder how she looks like. I’m sure that I heard that ogre-part.
"Don't feel uncomfortable. This is normal in the Madlands young lady." The old catkin said.
“It’s partly for formality for you. However, this is a standard procedure in other places in the Madlands,” said the village head, coughing as he tries to butt in into our conversation. “After all, liars exist in these lands like mushrooms, popping up everywhere. And in the Madlands, they’re as numerous as the stars.”
“Let’s begin.” Emma took her seat and started launching the first salvo. "Can you tell me what happened to you? Did you have some sickness or curse or something?”
I immediately shook my head, denying all possibilities of me being mentally sick. She didn’t ask, but I felt it was where her question was going. I spilled out what happened, telling her about my mana veins, offering hints about recovery. I also told them the story about the two kittens and the rats.
The eyes of the two bulged after hearing that I was the one responsible for that storm. Their gazes were almost the same as Saria’s. It pried through all the details, hoping to find the answer. I wonder what will their reactions be once they saw my Spirit Eyes.
“I see.” That was old catkin’s reply to my almost-hour-long spit-works.
Emma and the village head fell in deep thought. Silence loomed briefly. Then, the old catkin raised her head, her eyes turning into slits like a curious cat. “Lady Victoria, have you ever heard of Spirit Tamers?”
I heard of it. Though just now.
Spirit Magus I know. And if it’s someone who tames spirit, I am one. I thought. Hmnn. Smells fishy.