The night is still young. Anne, Eve and I move to my bedroom after we all finish eating our dinner. We are planning to chat all-night-long to keep up with each other stories. After the successful ritual, Eve and I now could listen to Anne’s mind directly. It’s a bit like telepathy but could only be triggered in one direction from Anne’s side. It is not a problem though as Anne actually understood human language even before the ritual happened. She even tried to tell Gabe and Eve that she was the actual human Anne in some way but she gives up after years of trying. Anne then forced to accept the reality and proceed to live as a normal cat.
“So, why a cat?” I asked Anne.
I am now sitting on my bed already in my new pajamas (which Eve also bought) with Anne on my side. Eve is laying down on a mattress she brought for the night. She is only wearing panties and a thin shirt for sleeping. Definitely not a person in her early thirties should wear when accompanied.
“No, wait. Are you not cold, Eve?” My attention changed to her somehow.
“Hmm? I used to sleep naked." Eve answers lightly.
Anne and I can only reply in silence.
Aren’t you the type to always have a weapon in arm’s reach? Is it okay to sleep like that armlessly?
Anne’s voice comes out in both our minds.
“Bold of you to think I’m armless, Anne.”
Anne and I can only reply in silence again while staring at her outfit.
“Anyway! Why a cat, Anne? Did you get to choose? Did you not? Did you know you would be reincarnated when you were alive? Did you”
“Whoa whoa whoa slow down kid, take a breath, one two one two inhale exhale inhale exhale… one at a time.” Eve cuts me out immediately.
Haha, there is nothing to get excited about, Cyan. A lot of this is still mysteries for me as well so I might not be able to satisfy your thirst for knowledge.
As for why a cat, I’m not sure but there is one situation related to a cat in the war. It is not a pleasant situation so I still remembered it clearly until now.
“Let me guess, you saw a cat in distress and help it?” Eve shares what's on her mind.
Yes more or less. It was around the time we successfully took down Aershos, the modern elven city in the south.
“… a few weeks after the war started then?” I replied.
Yes. Aershos was a peaceful city. Their elven citizen was mostly scholar and focused on leveling up their sorceries. They pick neither side on the war but…
“But the bast*rd king branded them too dangerous when he failed to gain any assistance from Aershos for the war and decide to crush them.” Eve snaps.
“I know. I heard Errden was a good elven king.”
“Oh, didn’t know you were keeping track with the war, kid.”
“Only for a little bit. So what happened Anne?”
Hmm… so after we forcefully took the city, the soldiers were tasked to kill every single person on Aershos.
The black cat expression looks sad.
I tried to stop them. I never thought that we had to kill any civilians. I even asked for an audience to the king only to get rejected. I was so depressed after the massacre and started to lose grip on my mind.
Anne continues her story.
And then I snapped when some soldiers were skinning a cat in front of her kittens.
“THEY WHAT?!” Eve immediately sits down on her bed after hearing the inhuman act.
I didn’t remember what happened after that. I woke up in a prison cell chained up from up to bottom. The guards told me I was rampaging in Aershos for two days straight, beheading everyone left and right. ‘It was hell' he said.
“Earned it.” Eve snorts.
“… I can’t say I agree with you but it's hard to even try imagining what it is like to be in your position.” I replied.
Yes. May their souls rest in peace.
“What happened then? I don’t think you could get out alive with all that not to mention became a Hero of War. It should be a death sentence right?”
“Yea definitely.” Eve chimed.
The King visits me in prison and said 'This girl is an asset.’
“THAT F*CKING MINDLESS B*STARD!!!!” Eve stand and shouts. Anne and I cover our ears.
The King’s retainer then releases a statement to put the blame on Aershos’s people for the tragedy. It made the public thinks that the soldiers death were a war casualty when the reality was Aershos didn’t even try to defend themselves.
“Yes, I knew that part as well. Their people have a strict rule about not harming living beings.” I added
“Does the kitten lives tho?” Eve asked after laying down again.
I don’t know… After the King visits me, there isn’t much I remember. I knew there were a lot of sorcerers who come and go from time to time and chants their spells and one day everything stopped for me.
“It was not a spell. It was a curse. A Berserk curse to be exact.” I replied.
Anne and Eve look somehow shocked when listening to my remark.
“It's a curse to take control of someone’s mind. The cursed one will obey everything the caster said but cannot comprehend everything ever again. The victim can still see and hear like usual but their mind is just… not there.”
“How do you know something so… disturbing?” Eve asked.
“Based on your story about how expressionless Anne was after the war, and…”
“And I was one of Glockwall citizens.”
I see… I was right then.
“…” Eve stays silent for once.
Glockwall was one of the Southern Alliance. We were one of the very firsts cities to fall to the Northern Kingdom attacks.
You might not know about this Eve, but after I was released from prison the King gives me a team consist of a dozen of people who were tasked to swiftly and quickly destroy enemies' vanguard in however way we can. Glockwall was my first city I burned down to the ground.
Eve and I cannot reply.
I am sorry.
“It is not your fault, Anne.” I answered.
After staying silent for a bit Eve then asked me a question.
“So what’s your story, Cyan?”
“I…” I hesitated for a second. My stories were not something to be proud of, nor something to get sympathy from outsiders.
But I believe Anne and Eve are no longer some people. I trust them as my teacher and my friend.
“I don’t know what actually happened, I was only a little kid back then. Around five years old I think…” I start my story.
“I can only remember burning houses with everyone running around like a headless chicken. I am not even sure if my dream was actually happening back then. I can’t even distinguish them anymore.”
“Dream?” Eve asked.
Ah yes, about the dream… Let me explain this part.
Anne replied to Eve’s question.
So I was hopping from dream to dream to past time as usual.
Hopping. I don’t know why but I developed the ability to manipulate dreams and then I could jump around and peek at other's dream.
“Ew… a stalker in dreams." Eve jokingly said.
Haha… And then I came across a familiar scene when I jump into Cyan’s dream.
Anne then started explaining the scene she saw in my dream.
I think I was already affected by the curse back then but the feeling of burning a town with my own hands probably engraved deeply on my mind.
“I don’t remember you nor any of the attacker, but after I was brought to safety and lived for a while there, my master told me that the assault was weird. He said that the enemy was fierce but soulless. It was like fighting an undead he said. No strategies, no regroup, just marching forward blasting away everything on their way.” I replied.
“Then we tried to search any clue about it and the Berserk curse name came out from an old book. We tried it on a chicken and it went on a rampage for days.”
“Ehh, you tried it???” Eve asked.
“Yes, the chicken became mindless and attacking everything that it sees. It can’t understand our language though so that's probably why it can’t obey our commands.”
I see. Were you learning magecraft back then?
“Yep, everything I knew is passed down to me from my master. I blamed the curse for what happened on Glockwall so please don’t say sorry Anne.”
… Thank you... I am grateful.
Anne sounds relieved.
“So you came to this land to seek revenge?” Eve asked my purpose.
“Hmm… I’m not sure if revenge is what I seek.”
“I want to ask directly to the King. Why did he start a war? If he seeks riches from far away land then it doesn’t make sense. You see for yourself right? The south is abandoned and not even the higher-ups are allowed to get to the Southern Continent. After I know why then I will think about what I would do next.”
“Hmm… You even try to look from his point of view first huh… You were too serious for your age kid.” Eve answered.
Then let me join in your quest.
Eve and I surprised at Anne’s statement.
I believe I was reincarnated for something. I was searching for it for these seven years but I never found my redemption. This could be my chance.
“Ehh… so sudden… You sure Anne? I think the cat god or something probably wants you to live your life once again to the fullest with Gabe you know, as thanks for defending the kittens…” I replied.
“Yea that’s what I thought too.” Eve chimed in.
If that's true, then I already fulfilled it in these seven years. I am grateful for that but I need to pay my debt. The burden on my shoulder cannot be erased by living with Gabe. Am I not good enough to join your party Cyan?
The black cat’s eyes are making puppy eyes that begging for love.
“Ah… Yes, wait No! I mean… if you sure then I see no problem in making a party with you.”
“Then I shall join as well!”
I’m sorry Eve, but I need to ask you to please look after Gabe. Look at him, almost died after a battle with a worm.
“Ehhhhh… but you also got knocked out you know.” Eve replied.
I am ashamed to not correctly predict the power of my enemy. But I will make sure the failure won’t happen again and I will protect Cyan should the need arise.
“Sigh… Nothing really could change your mind when you set on something huh, like old days…”
Like the old days.
“Fine. I will look after the idiot. But! On one condition."
“You both will train under me until I am sure you both will do well on your journey.”
to be continued to Chapter Eleven