"U-uhm..." The girl with the messy hair seems to be struggling to speak.
"What are you doing here?" I asked that same girl I had met yesterday her bosom sat on the ground, startled after I confronted her so suddenly.
[Out of all the people I could have encountered, it had to be this girl whom I at least had a positive impression of.] She had to be the one that found out my dirty secret that I had hidden from before.
But I shook my head. [My feelings mean nothing right now.] I thought while my fingers are itching to turn into legs right now.
"What did you see?" I step forward while staring towards her. "Did you see it?" I press the most urgent matter immediately. [...I'll at least give her a chance to speak.] That will be my mercy. My only mercy.
"W-well..." She didn't say much, but her finicky face says it all.
"That eyes that just glanced at my arm right now. Don't think I didn't see that." And so, "Speak no further." It's confirmed.
"You saw this form of me just now." I put my palm up right in front of her face, as that palm splits into three pointed lines and separate into three distinct limbs.
"...Woah..." Surprisingly she seems to be at awe for my arm instead of fearing her. [Stupid girl. Can't even realize what will happen.] But I will give her credit of not running away, but that might just be ignorance on her part.
My eyes feel remorse looking at this innocent and pious girl for what I'm about to do. [But this is for Morus-sama.] I cannot let my own feelings cloud my judgement.
So it is time for this girl to silently disappear. "For you who saw these hands of mine, girl with the messy hair, I shall give you the reward of letting you die silently by my—" hand. I was supposed to say that.
But alas. "It's Petriska!" She shouted.
"...Your name perhaps? I will remember that, be grateful." I do not know why she said aloud her name. "Also, at least have the courtesy to stare at me." It irritates me that she's talking to me with her eyes shut.
"T-that's right K-Kumo..."
[Hmmm...?!] My eyes are wide open. "Why do you know my name?" I never recalled that I ever said my own name.
But first, "Open your eyes, Petriska." I need to open up those eyeballs of hers. And not the way I did so earlier.
[How did she know my name?] I need to get to the bottom of this first, as if I get rid of her here now then I would not know who is the one that spoke my name to this Petriska.
But right now, "You sick?" She seems to have her face reddened for some strange reason as I return my arm to normal and patted her forehead.
"Eh?!" That seems to have immediately woken her up. "P-please prince d-don't...!" And backs off from me.
"Now then. " Looking at her now that our eyes have finally met. "How do you know my name, Petriska?" I need to get to the bottom of this. [It means someone may have listened in on us.]
"..." Petriska is still silent.
"Sigh..." My arms turn back to legs and pointed them right at her face. "Tell me, now." My final warning as the legs touch her skin.
Petriska finally blurted it out and... "I-It's from Morus...!" My hostility immediately turned into confusion.
"How do you know Morus-sama...?" And I also didn't omit the name of my master either.
"U-uhm...well you see..." And then Petriska finally started to explain her circumstances.
[I guess I can't kill her yet.] I thought as her involvement with Master was explained.
Looking on with disgust. "G-get away from me!" A voice that is like the desperate whimper of a prey being cornered by a predator that is me.
"As expected of a rat, you are quite the slippery one I have to admit." I slowly walk towards him as he hit a wall with no way out.
[Alright, now I can finish him finally.] I have taken far too long in eliminating this rat, so just conjuring up my fingers with magic and—
"How dare you call me a rat you monster!" The rat shouted like a squeak.
But what he said to me popped a vein out of my head, "What did you say rat?" Who dare a flimsy human insult me like that?
[I'll admit he has quite the spirit talking back to me like that.] And strangely it made me show my teeth in a sadistic smile.
"Hiie...!" He responded appropriately. "How dare you call me a rat when your worst than an animal!" He shouted, desperately shaking and me sensing a smell of reeking alcohol coming out of his pants.
"Go on..." I can't keep my face from smiling like that so I only made a grin.
"You demi animals and your magics, looking down on a powerless man like me, your just bitches without it!" He said with gritted teeth. "It's an abomination! How the hell you mess with God's powers like that, fucking demi animals, you shouldn't even be here!" In anger he stood up properly and went to me with ill-intent.
"Why shouldn't I be here human?" I kindly ask. "And no moving please." And also ask him to not move with a little force.
"W-what?!" He looked around very confused now as he sees crystal spikes surrounding him by the neck. He looked at me with even more fear. "I-I knew it!" He shouted. "You demis and your magics....you really are monsters! animals!"
I snorted and replied, "How so?"
[It's time to end this farce.] I thought but something about this man is really irritable and I just wants to prove him wrong before killing him. Otherwise his mental itch would bother me for a few days. [Letting him on my head as a human is unacceptable.] So I need to him in words as much as strength.
"How can anyone call you...animals as good?!" He continues. "You all have this extraordinary power from the gods, live longer and look more beautiful and yet you just play with it!" He shouted. "How can the people of this fucking town love witches and heretics like you that messes with god's power?!" And continues. "You demis ruined my life! Everything that I wanted to be and anything that I wanted to do always gets fucking taken by you...! My job, my wife, my family..." Finally, I see tears forming on the corners of his eye.
"...And now you'll take me away from my daughter as well! The only one I have left. The kindest soul a man like me could have!" He then looks at me again. "So go ahead. Fucking take me! You killing me is proof that I was right all along, you scum take everything away from regular people, because all you demis do is harm people with your fancy magics and special abilities and ur you be all like I'm oppressed because you don't belong here—"
"Your annoying." I dropped my spell and as the crystal spikes disappear, the rat falls on the ground confused.
"First off, stop being such a whiny ass and blaming other people for your own failures as a human being." I scolded at him. "It seems this is just the case of you not putting in your own efforts and just finding an easy scapegoat to fall blame under." I roll my eyes. "Really, you turned out to be so boring at the end."
And so, turning around. "I decided killing you isn't worth my time." My hand calms down while looking back at him with cold icy eyes. "Killing you means that even if your dead, you will linger on in my head as a failure on my part while I attempt to reform myself for my sister. So killing you would be against her wishes." I finished my reasoning with him.
"...So you won't kill me?" He looks shaken and confused, wondering what to do.
"I won't. Thank your daughter for that." I would have killed him right here and then if I hadn't heard him mentioning his daughter. Which reminded me of Maria just for a second, and young human children like her shouldn't be left without a parent. [I guess Mori-nee's right.] We are changing.
"But." I said to him, this is where the big but is. "But what annoys me is that you aren't human as well. You tried to hurt a girl that's similar your daughter." I explained, now pointing my finger at him.
"You need to learn your proper role as well." My finger shining a light beam going towards him.
"W-w-waaaaitt...!!!" He tries to resist but...
"Squuueeaak...!!!!!" He said his first words in his new form.
"A rat." A bunch of rats to be exact. As his body fell off his clothes it all turned into dozens of little rats, all has the collective consciousness of a former human. A colony of rats.
"Now, feel like what you call other people like, you rat." Are my final words before I turn around and leave that bunch of rats behind.
"Are you alright?"
"..." She doesn't respond!
I, the ever so friendly angel Gabril, is somehow struggling to communicate with the tiger girl that is giving me the cold shoulder.
"Hmmmn...." Looking behind me to see her 'companions.'
"Hiiee...!" They immediately shrieked and looked away.
"Yup." I thought so. [They're useless.] I look back at the tiger girl again while I think of a way to communicate with her.
[Alright brain, get to work!] My head starts working gears.
Meanwhile, "...?" Tiger girl is looking at me weirdly while I think of a way to woo her.
"Ah! I got it!" Looking at her I ask, "Where did you come from sweetie? Since obviously you're in the Tiger Tribe I find it weird that a beastmen of your tribe would be here in this area of the world." I've begun my diplomatic speak, hoping this would be enough and...
"You know of my tribe...?" Hook, line, and sinker.
"Well not personally but I do know that your tribe's pretty territorial and doesn't like its members going out of their traditional territory near the Mountain of Claws. Since like, less manpower to fight with your eternal rivals the Lion Tribe right?" I said in a grin as I flex on my knowledge skills.
And do you know why? [Ha! So my years of wandering around the world looking for Mori-sama's soul is worth it after all!] Since through my journey I've obviously went through their tribe at some point.
But, "..." The tiger girl is silent once more.
"Is something wrong?" I ask, since more than anything. [I can't be wrong. Unlike mortals my memory doesn't deteriorate so I cannot be wrong.] I told myself.
Indeed I am, I was correct. "...How did you know that?" Maybe too correct perhaps?
"How did you know the Claw Mountains? How did you know we fought the legendary Lion Tribe?" She continues almost shaking. "How did you know the traditions even our most elder members couldn't recite accurately? Legends that were never written down let alone was known by members outside our tribe?" She asks me, now totally engaged as she almost shakes me for answers.
[Yup, maybe I have gone a little bit too far.] Morus-sama has said at the very least we may have gone into stasis for thousands of years, so it's no wonder how this tiger girl was confused to knowledge that shouldn't have been known to outsiders like me.
So now I just gotta use the best way to deal with this. "...Hmm well I guess I travel a lot." Not technically lying but just being vague about it.
But I think she caught on. "Uhm is that so..." She wants to ask but due to our current position she wouldn't dare to ask further. Which is a relief for me.
Though, "Still I gotta ask, why is a girl from the Tiger Tribe, especially a girl, out here on an entirely different continent from the Claw Mountains?" I ask based on my knowledge from the past.
"...It is a long story." And so she proceeds to tell that long story.
The first thing that surprised me when she was telling her story is that, "You have never been or even seen the Claw Mountains?" She nodded her head. In fact all of the tribes of the Tiger hasn't seen the mountains, including the elders.
The elders still believe those mountains exists but she and her generations only thinks that the Claw Mountains was a near mythical place that doesn't actually exist, or was highly exaggerated.
She proceeds on as I asked. "What happened to make you leave those mountains?" She just told me they were exiled. Moreover the truth was that she didn't know, and even the elders could only say they were either driven out by force or something catastrophic happened to make them leave their homeland. They had been nomads ever since.
She further tells me that due to their new lifestyle, they had to adapt with interacting with many kinds of races so many of the more instinctual and wild members which were the males were driven out and became mercenaries and gave their strength to other people. The females became more numerous as they were better at doing jobs with their nimble fingers and also their bodies are particularly prized by men due to their patterns. The remaining males meanwhile became bigger and stronger than before to defend each tribe by themselves rather than attacking so their talons shrunk and now normally use weapons and shields and so forth.
But there is still one more thing I was surprised about. "The Lion Tribe went extinct?"
"Yes." She continues. "The elders said that we have defeated them in combat but they couldn't answer why they disappeared all together. In fact I don't really think they exist at all." She said.
[How strange...] The Lion Tribe was a powerful tribe and their one of their clans even bore the Beast King, so their disappearance is definitely strange.
And just as we finished our little chat, "We're here!" I shout as I see the Succubus Nest, our destination.
Along the entrance of the brothel is of course, "Kumo!" and...
"Who is she?" I pointed at a girl with curly, ash colored hair meekly shaking behind him.
"Long story very short. She is Petriska, a seamstress that I met before while checking this city. Morus-sama coincidentally found her and decided to hire her to make clothing with...." Kumo then rubbed his eyelids, seemingly in frustration. "...With using my own webs."
"Then that means that..." I looked at this Petriska for a moment. [Then she knew...] Kumo wouldn't have admitted it's his strings after all.
After confirming it by him sighing as I looked at him, "Well that's that." I decided to overlook it for now as it is Kumo's problem.
"Moreover." There is one person that's missing right now. "Where the hell is that little Itia?" I looked at Kumo again and again,
"I do not know as well. I thought she could have met with you along the way Gabril." He disappoints.
"Then where is she?" I think for a moment as she wouldn't have allowed herself to be the last one to arrive.
"Wait it couldn't have been~~!" I made a large grin at the realization. [She outplayed us all!]
"Finally..." I stop right by the entrance of the Succubus Nest—not.
"I'm sorry you Kumo, Gabril, but I am too greedy to be away from Mori-nee for this long." I am at the Starting Point Inn.
When I was traveling back to meet up with the others, I decided on a whim when I saw two paths splitting where one would lead me back to Mori-nee.
[There's no need for an explanation.] I unlock the door with magic. "I wanna be back to Mori-nee immediately." I say in a hush voice when I locked the door once more.
I rush to go to the room where Mori-nee could have been. [There's a large air of Mori-nee in here.] I look at the ominous door with a purple colored magic seeping out of it.
I grabbed the door knob and when I was just about to enter inside,
"Hiee!!" I look beside me and it's Mori-nee!
"I'm sorry Mori-nee!" It's shameful that I was shocked by Mori-nee's presence!
"Oh don't worry about that. I'm the one who should be sorry for scaring you like that." Mori-nee said in a calm smile.
"N-no I should—" But before I could say anything. "Don't worry about it Itia~" She patted my head.
I quickly melted down.
"More importantly where are the others?" Mori-nee asks.
"...I wanted to see you first so I left them Mori-nee..." I dyed red in embarrassment for my actions. [I'm so shameful...] If she doesn't approve of this then—
But Mori-nee seems to not mind my actions. "Is that so Itia...as long as you did your task it's alright. And more importantly," She sat to her knees to see me eye to eye. "I'm glad my little sister is okay." She told me while hugging.
"Thank you Mori-nee..." I hug her tightly as well. [I can't believe I have the privilege to hug Mori-nee like this~] I'm melting inside.
"Good, good, don't worry about being too greedy Itia." Mori-nee said before finally letting go of me. "Your my sister you know~"
"Uhm—" I quickly composed myself. "M-Mori-nee, why are you awake right now and..." I pointed at the violet hue coming out of that door.
"Oh that? Hmmm...." Mori-nee holds her chin before answering. "It seems my magic was flowing too wildly in that room so I went out. I made sure it's not too much though." That's part of reason.
But, "Though that's not the reason why I left that room right now." Turning around she looked at me and said. "Want to follow me Itia?" This is her main reason.
Of course I nodded and I followed closely behind her.
Mori-nee then stopped by a table and on top of it contains.... "Figurines?" And it seems to be...
"Yup, my creations."
"..." Looking at the whole table there are dozens of stone-like figurines of my comrades, many of them created by Mori-nee herself. All lined up neatly together. [I can even see some ones that are even more powerful than me...] I thought to myself.
But then she told me the truth. "These are what you were when I tried to summon you."
"What?!" I look again and yup, [The details...these aren't merely sculptures.] They look as if they were petrified.
I look at Mori-nee and asked the urgent question. "What will we do after this?"
Mori-nee looks towards at our comrades and companions once more. "For one I wouldn't released them all at this time." She brings out an example.
I nodded and, "I agree." as Mori-nee shows one of them to me. "I mean if he gets loose even I wouldn't be able to stop him." His demonic and holistic aura is enough to cause chaos in this city if anyone that can detect magic finds out about him. Or even finding him in general.
Moreover, [Unfortunately, not all of Mori-nee's companions are as loyal as the three of us are.] There are some that only treat Mori-nee as their superior, like him.
"Still though." Mori-nee puts him back onto the table. "There are others here whom I don't really know the names of, and under their feet there's a name under them. Take for example this elf right here." She grabs onto one of the figures; a male elf, whom I also don't know much about, aside from vaguely remembering that he may have been one of...
"He seems to be a part of her unit." I point to a female elf who's figurine is larger than the elves surrounding her.
"Gulp..." [She's not just any elf...] I'm not even sure if pointing at her would be considered an offence.
"That's right!" Looking down to the male elf's feet. "The letters are small but I can clearly see her name on it..." And putting him down Mori-nee grabbed the elf in question.
She is one of the High Elf Pomus, an extremely powerful figure in her species, the seed of the elves, and most importantly, "My mother huh..." She is Mori-nee's mother.
"..." I couldn't say anything, no I do not even want to disturb Mori-nee right now.
After a while she looked back at me again and told, "I will make sure I definitely release all of them out of this state." Smiling as she holds her mother's figurine right next to her face.
I couldn't help but smile at Mori-nee's face.
And I dunno why I am gonna tell this right now but, "Mori-nee." Looking at her straight in the face, with a red face I said.
"There was a human scum that I met earlier." Holding onto my chest I continue, "He was the worst human I have ever met, worst than garbage...but...but.." I stop hesitating myself.
"I could not kill him! Because..." And looked at Mori-nee once more. "There was someone that he needed to protect, a child." That is all.
"..." Mori-nee looked at me indifferent at first before, "...Mind if you tell me more about it?" She gave a warm smile.
"Yes!" And so I told what happened to me earlier.
I told that story as Mori-nee is grabbing the figures and putting them in a safe place, holding her mother tightly, as we get ready to rest afterwards.
At the end of this eventful day, before I rest, the only thing I wondered about is, [What will that rat do from now on?] Before I finally fall asleep.
Somewhere in the future.
"Father? Father where are you!" A little girl was looking around as to where her father, who had promised to return a few days ago, had gone.
"I knew it, he shouldn't have involved himself with those people... Must had done something beyond stupid." A local street vendor remarked at the girl's missing father.
"No! He promised me that he'll come back.... He said that he'll get a lot of Dracha when he comes back..." The girl started crying.
"Sorry kid, from what you said he might have been involved in some dumb scheme trying to get that money." The vendor remarked. "I won't tell you what might have happened but let me tell you little girl, he ain't coming back." He said bluntly to the child.
And of course, "He'll come back...! I know papa will..." She sniffles her nose and, "Fatheeer...!" She begun running the other direction desperately looking for him.
The vendor looked pitifully at the crying child. "Poor girl..." He looked on, "That guy after doing petty crimes has finally done something out of his league." He sighed in grief as he thinks of what will happen to that girl. "He got a good child as well, if only he didn't wallow in himself and focused on her..." The bender remembered that man with pity.
"That's just how it is, I'll give her something when she comes back." Finally he stopped thinking about the poor girl and resumed checking his products—
"Huh? Where did they go?!" He had placed a stack of food here earlier. "Who stole it?!" The vendor completely forgets about the girl as he focuses on who's the culprit.
"Sniff...sniff..." With the people around her looking on with pity but couldn't do anything about it, they quickly move pass along as they ignore the crying girl beside them.
"Father... Where are you..." The girl, with scraped knees and a feet full blisters; exhausted she sat on the dirty dirt ground near an alleyway.
"I miss you papa..." She curled up the fetal position, with no people around even trying to help her give food as grooowl~ her stomach has crunched up in hunger looking for her father.
...Well only people that is.
"Hmm?" As she curled herself in a vain attempt to stop her hunger, she notices something squeaking out in the corner of her eye.
"...A rat?" It is a rat, not just any rat, it's a bunch of rats who's hauling an entire loaf of bread on their backs, "...uhm, hello little rats." She nervously turns towards them.
"Squee!" One came forward and pointed its nose repeatedly to the girl and the bread.
"For me?" She wondered if this was just a funny rat or is it actually trying to help her.
She got her confirmation. "Squee! Squee!" The rat nodded its head.
"...Really? Thank you!" After a moment of confusion she grabs the bread from their backs and begun eating.
Bread crumbs falling to the ground but the rats joined in for the meal and grabbed those as well, not wasting any food.
After she ate all of it. "Thank you Mr. Rat!" She cheerfully called them as such, "I never knew such kind animals existed!" She said with a smile.
"Squee..." The rats all somehow shrank a bit after she complimented them.
"Thank you little rats, do you always help other people like this as well?" She asks them, fully immersed and not thinking about the absurdity of talking to a rodent.
But the rodent shook its head. "Squeee!" Turning around he called on the other rats hiding in the back as they haul more bread for her.
"...All for me?" In shock she ask the rat and in return him nodding his head. "Thank you so much..." Tears began flowing. "I never received such kindness before, even papa..." In the mere mention of his father the rats all stop.
But she stood up. "Once again, thank you Mr. Rat." Bowing her head and, "But let's help other people in need as well!" And proclaimed to the numerous rats.
"Because well... " She told them with a red facd that, "...Well papa always told me that if I have powers like magic I should help people with no magics at all." She continues. "Although I don't feel like I have magic I do feel quite magical right now hehe..." She shyly told the rats.
"..." For a moment the rats were silent.
"Mm?" She looked on. "What's wro—" And then.
"Squee!" "Squeee!" "Sque! Sque!"
They all responded at once.
"That means a yes right?!" The girl excitedly asked.
"""Squeeeee!!!""" This can only mean one thing.
"Alright!" Now motivated and with vigor, she stepped out of the alleyways with the rats hiding but following her every step. "I hope I can find you father." What a great irony.
Afterwards, the legend of a rat giving food out to the poor spread throughout the city like an infestation and soon spread through the southern region and eventually the whole kingdom. Poems, songs, and legends of this tale passed down the generations, and even becoming a common nursery rhyme among children.
And even the future ministry concerning the poor, their official symbol became two rats carrying a loaf of bread on their backs. With the girl in question becoming the leader of that ministry as well. Finally, when she passed away due to old age mysteriously her body disappeared from her bed chambers and the only thing that was seen are tiny tracks on the bed sheets. But this matter was never disclosed to the public by her family, as it seems they are also protected by the rat.