Don’t Notice The Coldness
We had no real answer for this new set of events. Speculation can only go so far and we had no hard evidence especially since I was the one who was most likely to have done this. And there were no real clues since I didn’t remember any reasons. Our best guess was just more help with dealing with the end boss, Silence.
Further discussion was delayed as stomachs began growling for dinner, and we all moved to tables in the lower part of the inn. Allouise seemed much happier as we returned to the discussion of the Baron and asking her to participate. She managed to have a little bit more information on the man and the crew around him.
We sat at a long sided table, though somehow Red was on one side with Master standing on the table nearby, and I was sandwiched between Violet and Allouise on the other side. Girls, isn’t this getting a bit out of hand?
“Most of my information could be a little dated, from months ago back when a few of the other fairies still thought I was someone they could associate with. Baron Ran was just some wandering adventurer who managed to involve himself in some political strife in the Mourcelinic Empire. He was just supposed to be some upstart noble with a rather large appetite for women, at least what the bloodline nobles believed. Then a year ago he led the Empire’s forces to conquer the neighboring kingdom of Tourlaince.
“He’s developed a reputation as a monster on the battlefield. His aides stand in the background but the rumor is that they are both skilled geniuses. Everyone under him is loyal beyond the fear of death. Everyone else is terrified of what he might do next. Or at least until now. The surrounding kingdoms are all likely breathing a sigh of relief he’s attacking us.”
“Any magic users in his part that ye know of?”
Allouise shook her head.
“Not that I recall. There are stories of him just simply shrugging off lightning spells cast on him before killing the wizard who was trying to fight him. The Mourcelines are not magic friendly, to begin with, so the odds of him having someone are small unless he’s kept them hidden for some reason.”
“H-he’d only want female users, someone he can break and control. There is only a handful of men in his private circle, and they are only there because they have proven their loyalty or he has something to ensure they never betray him. A magic-user would have to be someone he could turn into an s-slave. And he’d rather break them with his sick methods.”
There as a pause after Violet’s words. Her eyes glimmering with silent tears, I could feel her trying to fight off the draw of a forced flashback. Leaning up close I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her up tight.
“Mwu…” Allouise muttered under her breath giving a slightly jealous look but stayed mostly silent as she saw how affected Violet was by something.
Keeping hold of Violet I managed to calm her down enough that she was able to stop from having a panic attack, though she kept shaking slightly. Master nodded his head slowly and gave a motion of his wing.
“No more talk about this. Ye all need to eat and then sleep. It’s been a long and trying day for all of ye.”
We then mainly sat in silence after the food arrived and ate quietly. Trying to ignore the sounds of talk from some of the men coming into the inn as the night began to settle in on the village. Though their talk did manage to serve as a good distraction for Violet, both of us having a spit-take as one commented about us running around the village and wondering if I was going to take care of her and our unborn child. Both of us turned shades of red and quickly trying to defend ourselves.
“We haven’t” “-it’s too early-” “-not ready-” “wouldn’t eve-”
“Maitre, how could you?”
“Will you two quit acting like this is some romantic comedy? Honestly, are you two adults or teenagers?”
I could feel my face getting hot again as Red admonished us. Master just seemed a little annoyed as if he couldn’t believe this was something to make a fuss over in the first place. We took a side glance at each other and slightly made moves to scoot away ever so slightly, though Red noticed and gave a shake of his head and a sigh.
“Wow… you two. So which anime are you both going to emulate tonight? Who’s going to be playing the Tsundere while you both…?”
He trailed off and left the silence hanging awkwardly. I glanced at him and noticed the slight trace of a smirk on his face. You cheeky son of a bitch! You were doing this deliberately, weren’t you?
The table returned to awkward silence, Violet and I not able to look at each other, thanks to teen hormones. Allouise for her part also remained silent now, feeling the uncomfortable air and deciding that death wasn’t worth trying to attempt teasing anyone. We all ate quietly trying to avoid listening to the rest of the inn. Master seemed rather pleased with the development and kept his head turned toward the bar trying to catch what he could from here.
With dinner finished and there wasn’t much else we could plan about dealing with the invading Baron until we knew more things the discussion restarted to deal with the bedroom sharing issue. In the end, the compromise went so that only Red was probably the happiest out of the argument. Master decided he would keep the problem from getting out of hand and gave him the large bed in the single room, the girls would sleep in this room with two beds, each getting a bed to themselves.
I would curl up on the chair in Red’s room in cat form so there wouldn’t be any nighttime shenanigans. Not that I held much interest in such things, but the flirting during dinner from Allouise was reaching a new tier for someone who was acting so innocent yesterday. Violet was doing her best to ignore things, but everyone could feel the murder vibes radiating off of her body.
Master would be out scouting for where the territory lords would meet to attempt to fight off the encroaching Baron. We needed to know where to head out, though that did leave the girls unsupervised. I can only hope they just keep a watch on each other more than trying to kill each other. Though I had this slight feeling we were one wardrobe accident away from turning this into an ecchi comedy. Scratch that, Violet was an accident away from turning this into an ecchi comedy, Allouise already had her gratuitous scene last night.
I sighed and curled up in the chair, trying to finish processing the day’s events. In this form, there was certainly no chance of anything happening to me in my sleep. I felt a little relieved by and disappointed. I’m a guy okay! Even if I hadn’t earned any of this.
Both girls liked me because of things I personally as I am now, hadn’t done. One of them I hadn’t done anything yet, and the other I couldn’t remember doing. And I felt more guilty over the forgetting than the former. That was a guy who had been with her for thousands of lifetimes, become her rock and I was left holding her fragile and beautiful pieces of her soul. Could I be that guy again? And if I can’t, could I become just as good as him? Or better?
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fall asleep at all, though I could feel the tugging on my consciousness. I looked over the bed with slight puzzlement. Red, the guy I called Riajuu when I first saw him. He was actually kind of cool, even if he kinda stole the girl I had semi liked in the village. Though I guess that was serendipitous enough to not hold against him, it worked out better for me because one less thing I would have felt guilty about with Violet.
Though perhaps that was unfair of me. He had actually done something more than I had at the time. Was it really fair to blame people for things they did that I didn’t? Curling myself up tighter into a ball I heaved another sigh. I wanted to feel like I actually did something to deserve things. Would facing down this Baron guy be enough?
I nearly scoffed out loud at myself with a hiss. Yeah right! A guy that even with powers more developed I still wasn’t able to beat him at all. Not as a rank one Pagemaster anyway? I knew I couldn’t beat him, but I couldn’t let it go. Everything that had happened until now. Was it really going to be all pointless?
Well, it’s not all pointless. Violet was with us now. We had learned some of what Hook was capable of. There were things we could take away from this adventure, at the cost of failing to secure this story. My claws dug into the wood and retracted as I moved around fitfully, standing up and circling in the chair before settling down again. I couldn’t give it up, I couldn’t let it go. I just can’t do it!
Those thoughts continued to swim around in my head as I began to doze off. Dreaming of curling up in Violet’s lap while still in cat form as she petted my fur and held me tightly. Using me to cuddle and for comfort for what time we had left before facing one of the demons of our past. I’ll keep him away from you this time, I swear it…