The Pagemasters Vol 2 Chapter 9

 


Author: Literataku


Chapter 9:
I Don’t Fear

 

 

Maybe I should rethink this whole situation. Trapped inside the hedges of the castle gardens I was in a rather poor predicament. And one that I had caused myself by not thinking things through. Though I’m not sure how well I could be faulted for this. How many people would think there were snare vines inside the side hedges? Really who puts traps inside their lawn decorum?

Wait. Don’t answer that. I guess even Kings have to be careful even if you are supposedly beloved by the people of your kingdom. Replace the vines for string and I’d probably make a great post on someone’s blog timeline of cute cat memes. Ugh… I think the blood is rushing to my head now.

Looking upwards at the rest of me, I was tangled in pretty badly. My paws were wrapped in pretty tightly after the struggle I had put up trying to get out before I had fallen face first and made everything worse for me. What I get for thinking of taking a shortcut and jumping through the hedges instead of going around them. The good news was I didn’t see any animal corpses inside this hedge with me, though that could also be bad news I suppose.

There were only a couple of ways out of this really, wait and see if someone comes to free me, be that Red, Master or Vi or even some guard if this is some sort of tripwire. Or puss out and try to call for help like a cat stuck in a tree and hope something nice comes to save me.

“HELP! Errr… ummm… MEOW! NYAA!”

I am not ashamed of myself.

I’d try to shake or move to draw more attention but I feared I’d just keep making my situation worse than it already is. Why did this garden have to be so freakin big? I could be trying a little too hard in hoping someone can even hear me, though waiting for someone to get close enough doesn’t sound like a good idea either.

“Blue… What the hell are you doing?”

“Guh-Nyan!”

I jumped as I heard a voice calling to me from behind. Violet. Trying to turn my head to see her as I felt my cheeks starting to get hot. More blood rushing into my head, just what I needed. Not exactly someone I wanted to see me like this.

“Vi! I.. umm.. Well it’s a funny story…”

“Really… You tried to play stealth in the hedges because you felt like playing spymaster didn’t you?”

Hello deeper flushed cheeks, I’m kind of glad my body is covered in fur right now. Though, I’m starting to be more convinced about us having known each other before this. Not that I was completely doubting things until now.

“Errm… Maybe? But I’m tangled in all this plant crap and I can’t free myself.”

“Give me a second, and hold very still. I don’t want to cut you.”

I could hear her trying to hold back her laughter, my ears flattened with annoyance and embarrassment. This is about what I deserved for all of this. I nodded and tried to hold myself still as she pulled out a slim dagger and began cutting me out of my self-made trap.

“I do think this is a first for you getting tangled up like this in your cat form.”

“Really? Did I have some way out of it?”

I felt the cool metal brush my fur the wrong way sending an involuntary shudder as she cut away the vines holding on my rear legs. She paused a moment making sure I wasn’t hurt, I still couldn’t see her since she was behind me.

“No… I don’t think you ever used your cat form unless it was absolutely necessary. Which is a bit of a shame now that I get to see it better. You’re pretty cute like this.”

One leg was finally freed, I could feel her moving to the next one. I was getting closer to being out of this mess. Which was good, I needed to be able to breathe and stop feeling so flushed. Wait.. cute? This form is cute?

“Well… Admittedly it’s kind of thanks to the Fairies, and Hook, I’m still in this form. It’s a little bit frustrating, I’ve been like this for almost three days in a row now. I want to have some time to be the human me a-GAINya!”
A snap of the vines and I started falling to the ground. She caught me and picked me up into her arms, pulling me up close though not as close as yesterday. It was strangely warm and comforting like this. I relaxed and let her carry me toward the castle proper.

“Well coming here isn’t going to fix that. You’re stepping into the lion’s den if you want to become human.”

“Yeah, I know. Master- Um. Clarion-sama sent me to check on the castle and the princess. Make sure everything is all in order and things…”

I grew quiet watching the guards who seem to not be caring at all while we walked past them. She sighed quietly, keeping steady on the paths and talking to me as we passed the guards. Her voice kept normal despite passing a few guards who seemed to pay no mind to her talking to the cat nestled in her arms as we walked inside. I tilted my head curiously looking up to her for a moment as she smiles back at me.

“We’re speaking to each other in Japanese because it is our home language. No one can understand us if we don’t want them to outside other Pagemasters. It’s one of the better strengths and weaknesses of The Word’s powers.”

“Still, being a talking cat might not-”

“You’re a Hero’s familiar, honestly, outside of using absurd magic or transforming you can do anything you want. How many stories have talking sidekick animals?”

Wait… really? Was it really that simple? Well, I now feel pretty stupid. My ears lowered in embarrassment and feeling that flush returning to my cheeks. Geeze universe, how many times are you going to make me feel grateful for being covered in fur?

“Huh… I didn’t think of that before.”

No wonder Master was carrying conversations with me and Red in the village all this time. I guess I just assumed his bird typing was some of those that could plausibly speak. I never even realized that I was changing languages speaking to Red and Master in front of other people. All this time I’ve been trying to be careful for almost nothing.

She laughed softly, stroking a hand across my head, petting me like a cat as she scratched behind my ear. Okay, that feels really good. My purr box activates again, eyes half-lidded with the enjoyable feeling of her fingers across my fur. I stopped paying attention to where we were going as she walked through the castle halls, just enjoying the sensations.

She stepped into a large open area, it looked like a training arena with various markings across the ground pointing out places for arenas to have individual sparring sessions while staying open enough to have group battles or just even regular practice. Weapons of various kinds designed to be close to regular ones lined the walls, though I could manage to make out that a lot of them were dulled or designed so they wouldn’t be as deadly as the regular kind of weapon. Closing the door behind her, I looked around slightly wondering why she had brought me here.

“No one is using this room today, and I’ve got it sealed away so no one can come in. I figured I could teach you some things, help you remember some of your stronger skills. And give you a chance to be human for a little while.”

She let me down on the floor as I smiled widely, looking around for a moment again. Something tingling in the back of my skull about this, wondering what it was. I canceled the |{Cat}| transformation and stretched out my arms into the sky with a groan. It was kind of nice that the transformation didn’t seem to make my body ache at all from being in it for so long. As expected of a full transformation spell I guess.

“So how much have you managed to learn?”

She walked out toward the center of the training area, letting me follow behind as I thought over my answer for her.

“I’ve got a few spells. Nothing really good for combat, yet. I can splash people with water, I’m getting the hang of using wind and air to accelerate and power my jumps and movements. And I’m getting control of doing both remotely, and quickly but not much power really. Practicing fighting with Red, Harmon-san.”

She nodded while listening to me and reached out her hand, summoning a thin rapier styled blade, taking a few practice swings with it. Something felt off to me, she didn’t look like she was comfortable with that weapon for some reason. Not that I would really know what someone should look like when they are familiar with swords, call it just simple intuition of perhaps some buried memory I couldn’t grasp onto.

I must have had a look on my face as she smiled softly and gave me a salute with the blade pointed into the air.

“This is just to make things equal so that I can see what you can do. ‘M not trying to overwhelm you with my skills. Use what you are comfortable with and go all out, our skills won’t let us kill each other.”

I nodded slowly and reached out, summoning my staff in hand and giving it a practice twirl in my fingers before clutching it tightly and looking to her. I could feel the truth in her words, yesterday proved that mistakes could be stopped and changed, something I couldn’t do with Red at all.

Bracing my feet down I gathered power into my feet and launched myself forward, swinging my staff in a quick feint to her left, she sidestepped and used her palm to catch the strike and used her blade to counter my attempt on her right leg. She didn’t grab onto my blade and instead pushed me back, I used the momentum of her push to twirl around and launch a long-range attack from the side. She ducked down and made a feint with her blade toward my leg. She laughed as I stepped back using the wind to increase my speed, dancing around her and attacking wherever I could see an opening.

She was blocking and countering everything easily, I was wondering why I was always in such bad places fighting against my companions all the time. I guess she noticed the frustration on my face when we got close again to cross weapons.

“Blue, don’t worry. I’m cheating so neither of us gets hurt here. My power is shadow and stone, remember? I’m using your shadow to watch out for your attacks and block them. Against normal people, you’d have probably wiped out a squad of fighters by now.”

I felt better about that and leaped back waiting to see if she charged me, instead she remained still and let go of her blade, letting it disappear again. I waited to see if she was changing weapons but she instead turned and moved over to a table placed on the far end of the area, a set of tankards sitting there with a witcher of water. She poured out a tankard for herself and took a drink with a sigh.

“You’re a little better than your first time doing this. Those two are some good teachers for your fighting skills. Learn to create Ice again and you will be a formidable opponent for quite a few heroes and demons.”

I walked up with her and poured a drink for myself as well, sipping softly and looking at her. She smiled at me softly though her eyes seemed misty for some reason. I felt some guilt again as she looked at me. I could almost feel like she was fighting with herself to keep from getting closer to me.

“Any advice on how to do that?”

“Just think of making ice like you normally do with science… Oh! And also another hint you told me about your power. Water, Water, everywhere but not a drop to drink.”

I raised my eyebrow at that one. Water everywhere? Well, I think I could understand it pretty easy, I party recall creating ice from thin air in those… Whatever those fading memories were, Water was all around if you knew how to gather it, I guess that would be my next task for training when I had the time to think about it more thoroughly.

My thoughts were interrupted as I felt a cold blade sliding near my neck, the curved feel of a scythe wrapped around my throat. When did she get behind me? I was in shock standing there as she giggled softly and began to speak. I could feel my stomach dropping like a stone with each word.

“The one thing I’m really sorry about, Blue. Is that you don’t remember why I’m doing this. Guards! We have an intruder! Help me!”


 


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