The Loup-garou’s Past
The rising sun shone down on the Loup-garou. It was a beautiful sight. Mesmerizing.
It was a low, thin howl. Though, it took me a moment to realize it. It had sounded more like the sound of a musical instrument. The lowest sound in an orchestra. There was emotion in it.
Without thinking, I took a step forward. I had meant to be cautious, but a sudden desire to make contact caused my foot to move forward.
And that small movement made enough sound that it could hear it.
The Loup-garou looked in my direction.
It shuddered with surprise and then took a step back.
“Wa-wait. I don’t mean to fight you.”
Even I thought that I sounded unconvincing. After all, I was holding a spear in my hand.
“Why are you…”
“You know me…?”
I didn’t know any werewolves… Rachel? No, she was a wolf deity.
“We rode together in the carriage. But more importantly, why are you here?”
“What? No, wait, wait. In the carriage…?”
“On the carriage that brought us here!”
The Loup-garou said in an irritated voice. Suddenly its fangs looked very intimidating.
“…Wait, so are you…that beastkin?”
“Who else would I be? What? You hadn’t noticed it?”
“Of course, I hadn’t!”
Her appearance and even personality seemed different!
Even now, she was scratching the back of her head…? Ears…? In a way that looked nothing like that girl. I saw a rugged warrior. Well, now that I think of it, she had fought with brass knuckles…
“Oh, so we do know each other…”
“Have you come to kill me?”
“No. I just wanted to see the Loup-garou.”
My strength seemed to have left me, and so I sat down under a tree. The Loup-garou walked heavily towards me and sat down to my side.
“…By the way, I didn’t catch your name.”
“Ah, I’m Asagi. Just an Adventurer.”
“An ordinary Adventurer would not have obliterated those bandits…I’m Lehaty. A wolf beastkin.”
It’s hereditary. She added.
“It’s because of my ancestors that I look like this. And it’s because of it that I have to hide in the forest every two months.”
“That’s an understatement…arghh…it’s damned shit is what it is…”
She looked up at the sky and started to curse. Her appearance and words were a far cry from that girl I met in the bathtub.
“Well, at least I was able to take a nice long bath.”
“I would say it was way too long…you nearly gave me a heart attack.”
“Oh, uh, I kind of overstayed and then someone came in and I had to wait. And then they left and I was about to leave, but you came in…”
She said as she scratched her hairy face. I guess she didn’t want anyone to see the ears…but who would think that a beastkin in hiding would be found in the bathing room of an expensive inn? Well, she probably had her reasons, but the risk seemed very big…
“I can’t return immediately once I become like this. But I love bathing… So why wouldn’t I want to take a long bath while I can?”
“Well, you have a point there.”
“Right!? Oh, I’m so relieved. So I wasn’t wrong after all…”
I was a big fan of baths myself.
“Why don’t you just go to a hot spring?”
“A hot spring…I would, but they are too far…”
I tried suggesting, but there were apparently none in the area.
“North of the Alexia mountains, there is a break in the continent where it meets the sea. The island there are volcanic. And there are famous hot springs there.”
“Islands beyond those mountains there…”
“You see? It is too far. I cannot go with this body…”
Ahhh… Lehaty sighed with disappointment. She probably dreamed of going to those islands one day. She was cursed with this trait and could not bathe as she wanted.
“By the way, there is something about you that is very wolf-like.”
“Hmm? Oh, that… Uh, it’s a secret.”
“Huh? What do you mean? Tell me! Tell me now!”
She said as she locked my head under her arm. It was seriously painful.
“You. You… Think about your current situation…”
“Sorry-sorry. So? Why do you remind me of a wolf?”
It was a secret… Well, maybe I’ll just have to tell.
“I’m a thrall of Beowulf.”
“Huh? Beowulf? Really…”
“Really-really. By the way, I happen to know a Fenrir.”
“You are lying…that’s a legendary monster…”
Her reaction pleased me so much that I told her about Rachel as well. It was pretty sad. Like I was bragging to a friend.
But that made me think about Rachel. Maybe we could use a door to go to the hot spring?