Chapter 46: The Witch’s Curse
The little scarlet kitten’s feistiness had infected me. My sarcasm level climbed, increasing my innate spunk by a few more levels. This might be the delayed side effects of petting the kittens. Even though the system hadn’t acknowledged it by adding a new skill called ‘Sarcasm’ in my repertoire, Still, I knew it was there.
As for my answer, I shook my head. “This is the first time I heard of Spirit Tamers.”
The old catkin glanced at the village chief. “She’s not lying.” It’s stressful to have a lie detector test before your face, but I have to deal with it. Anyway, Spirit Magus and Spirit Tamer, I am not as dense as those betas and stereotype MCs to not see the link.
“Then let me change the question,” the old catkin said. “Are you contracted to any spirits?”
“I am a Spirit Magus. Of course, I am contracted with a few.” I chuckled. “The place I came from knew nothing about Spirit Tamers. A lot of difference might exist between what I know and what you know.”
“That’s a relief, then. So you’re still a spirit tamer.” The scarred giant sighed. He looked so stressed, and those dark lines under his eyes were not for show. “This is enough, Emma. I don’t like this type of talk. Let’s just get straight to the point. If she can, she’ll be able to. If can’t, then let’s leave it to destiny. Time’s running out, I-I must move fast.”
“If that’s what you wish.” The old catkin shrugged.
The village head shoulder leaned into the chair. His words had this surreal sense of urgency. Did something bad happen?
The village head glared at me for a moment. A gaze which I returned with full force. Then, unexpectedly, he bowed his head. “Lady, on behalf of the village, I request your aid?”
I felt dumbfounded and involuntarily said yes. Of course, I’m willing to help. I’m not some ungrateful wench that would withhold help, especially for those who had given me help. But for what? My curiosity got piqued. “Please tell me.”
The old catkin and the village head stared at each other, deliberating whether they could tell the rest of the information or not, prolonging their agony.
“The truth is, we have suffered an attack from a witch a few weeks ago. Although we had killed the witch, a lot of the villagers had suffered from her curse. Among them is my wife.” The village head ducked his head further. “Although I am a priest, none of my healing arts has worked in curing her. So please...”
“Just to be clear. I’m not a doctor,” pointing at myself, confuse why would they ask me for help. “I had no experience in healing anybody. Although, I want to help. I might make matters worse.” I scratched my cheeks, glancing at the village head. So I can’t.”
The words I uttered had cast a shadow on the village head’s visage. Despite my answer, the scarred priest refused to raise his head, still putting his hope on me. Truthfully, I felt a bit overwhelmed and scared by his expectations. What if the patients die when I try to cure them?
“Let me take this part, Astolfo.” The old catkin groaned. Then she stared at me. “Can you at least try checking them for me? You might see something we don’t. After all, we have records that individual who’s love by spirits are among the only few who can treat a witch curse.”
Emma’s pleading gaze made the request harder to turn down. I thought for a moment. Looking wouldn’t hurt.
“Alright. I won’t promise anything but fine,” I shut my eyes in thought. “But in one condition.”
The village chief raised his head. His dead eyes returning to life. Then, with power, he uttered. “Anything!”
“Please help me return to my continent.”
The village head and the old catkin led me to the first patient. The one who required the most attention right now. Apparently, it was the wife of the scarred priest. No wonder he looked distraught and impatient during our conversation. Soon, we entered the patient’s room.
Darkness held her room hostage, its shadows sticking to the wall akin to thick velvet curtains. It hid her from the rays of light. Soon, the stench of rot struck my nostril, causing me to flinch. My eyes wandered and saw a bed lying nearby. The gloom couldn’t hide the blond hair of the lady sleeping. The marks of beauty still sticking to her despite her illness. The closer I get, the scent of death grew deeper.
“Eh, no light here?” I looked around before glancing at the old catkin and the village head.
“The curse worsens when it sees light.” The village head whispered. He took the stool and sat before his wife’s bed, ignoring the revolting stench like it was nothing. He reached out and took her hands. “She will suffer great pain if I let any light strike any part of her body. It’s how the witch’s curse worked.“
That made me raised an eyebrow.
Then the village head looked at me, pleading. “Lady, please help her. Hidel is... my life. She’s the only one I got. I’ll give you all I have if you can heal her.”
I took a deep breath and nodded. Damn, I’m weak against these things. “I’ll do my best to look for a solution, but don’t get your hopes too high.”
The tough, scarred man closed his eyes, acknowledging my words. He grasped his wife’s hands harder, seemingly praying for a miracle to happen.
“Lady Victoria, please.” The old catkin ushered me, whispering silently in my ears. “Her curse worsened last night. We don’t know how long she will last. If you can heal her, I’ll greatly appreciate it. She is my dear friend.”
I strode, taking the other side of the bed. The blond lady’s breath was quick but had no depth. It was a bad sign. I took courage and put my hands on her forehead. She was burning. “Fever.”
“We already tried everything but it just won’t subside,” said Emma. “At most, we could only dull her pain with herbs, keeping her away from death through Astolfo’s healing arts. The most we could do is temporarily slow the curse progression.”
Honestly, I had no inkling about what Emma just said. I am a businesswoman, not a doctor or a quack. All I have was basic knowledge about medicine. I continued to check her condition. Even though I have little knowledge about human anatomy, I knew that her condition was not looking good. Parts of her toes and fingers were already rotting as if they had suffered from mountain froze bite.
What an evil curse. I wanted to use [Appraise] on her. But I cannot, I might really die next time I dare. I also sensed something the longer I stared at the dark miasma rising from her wounds. I studied many times of magic in Saria’s grand library and noticed that this case wasn’t so simple. For some unknown reason, I knew it was not a single curse.
“Is this really just one curse?” Staring at the old catkin, I asked. “It feels like twisting stacks of curses. Can you tell me what happened to her?”
Apparently, the blond lady was the one who killed the witch. During its death throes, the witch had cast a curse against the entire village in revenge. Though unlike the curses the other villagers had received, the village head’s wife sustained the worst kind because she was the nearest. The witch might have also hated her guts so much since she was the one who dealt the final blow. She also took almost all the curses to herself by not retreating so that the curse wouldn’t spread to the other villagers.
Suddenly, the lady trashed on the bed, quivering and groaning in pain. Her eyes flipped wide open. The whites of her eyes were the only thing that could be seen. I unconsciously stepped back in shock.
“Hidel!” The scarred giant stood. “Emma, I need your help.”
The old catkin rushed, pulling me away whilst immediately taking my position. A bloody mist drifted out from her body, akin to the Tabi. Her pupils shifted hues, turning crimson. Then she pulled out a few needles from her skirt. In a blink of an eye, the needles struck a few pressure points of the blond lady. In a matter of seconds, her actions stopped the cursed lady’s trembling. However, the agony remained etched on the face of the village head. Her face turned ashen white. Blood trickled on her lips as it trembled.
The next thing I heard was a sniff. And like a rushing waved, it slowly grew louder and harsher.
“Don’t leave me! Hold!” The village head’s voice cracked, quivering. He held his wife’s hand, a small blue light came out from him, flowing straight to his wife’s palm. The torture of the blond lady eased. “Not yet. Not yet, Hidel. I’m going to find a cure for you. You’re being checked by a Spirit Tamer, so stay with me longer. She can cure you. Everything will be alright. I am sure of it. So come on, don’t leave me okay? Don’t leave.”
I was about to dismiss the village head’s claims that I could heal his wife. But when I saw the tears trickling from his eyes, the words just stopped. It was ugly. Yet, it was as sincere as it could be. His hushed but deep sobs resonated in my heart. The words I prepared fell back into my throat.
The scarred giant continued to speak in whispers to his wife. Not stopping as he continued the treatment, maybe ending until he drains all his mana. He lost himself in his own world. A world for only the two of them. Truthfully, I found everything too cringy for my taste. But I am a spinster who am I to judge? I knew little about genuine love.
“Let’s go.” I heard a whisper echoing beside me. It was the old catkin. The bloody mist and her crimson pupils were now nowhere to be seen. As if it was all just a dream. She looked a bit tired.
“How about him?” Pointing at the crying giant, I asked.
“Astolfo is going to stay with his wife.” Emma shook her head. She pulled my hands, walking away from the shadows of the room. “Although his magic couldn’t cure her, it could at least delay the progression of the curse. The duration between curse attacks is getting shorter and shorter. So she’ll be needing constant care for now.”
I gazed back towards the scarred man and his wife. With a heavy heart, we left the darkroom. I have no words of comfort to offer him but...
“May fate deal you a good hand.”
One of my fam got stung with Covid. There might be some delays. Thanks for reading.