Farewell, Cath Palug
I yawned loudly. The feast had been very lively last night… Daniela played, people danced, and there was a lot of drinking.
I had become more drunk than usual and was in very high spirits. And when I was at my peak, I even took the Blue Dragon head out of the hollow bag in order to show everyone else. The beastkin were also excited. It would have lasted all night if the chief hadn’t ordered everyone to go home. And so we went to bed. I just got up now.
“Daniela. It’s morning.”
The morning seemed to come early in this world. If you woke any later than seven, then people would say that you slept in. But then again, they also considered it night as soon as the sun went down.
But in spite of these standards, I had woken up at eight. This was bad.
“What time is it…”
“It’s past eight.”
Yes, it was enough to get even Daniela out of bed. I should probably hurry as well, but the modern person in me liked to take things slow.
And so I stepped out of the tent and washed my face with a bucket of water, and then scanned the area. This time, we were camping close to Mishka’s house. We thought it was better to stay away from the banquet space since they would be clearing it up in the morning. The chief allowed it, knowing full well that we would probably not be getting up on time. But at least we didn’t get in anyone’s way.
“You’re finally up.”
As I stood up over the bowl of water, I saw Ash looking at me with an exasperated expression. He had practically been drowning in wine last night, but he looked completely fine now. Did the beastkin have some sort of secret?
“Good morning, Ash.”
“Morning, Asagi. Where’s Daniela?”
“Probably getting changed?”
We both glanced towards the tent and saw it shaking. It seemed spacious when you were lying down, but not so much when you were standing and trying to get changed.
“Are you leaving as soon as you’re packed up?”
“Yes. We’re planning on heading west.”
“I see… I wish you could stay longer.”
But that was always the case. Encounters led to farewells, which may one day lead to reunions. It was a view of the world I had gained since coming here.
We started to take down the tent once Daniela came out. I took out the pole and folded it up neatly before putting it in the hollow bag. It was simple. However, I kind of wished it had taken longer.
“Won’t you go and say goodbye to Mishka?”
“Yes, of course. Let’s go, Daniela.”
As we followed after him, I looked at the settlement that had been so kind to us. Everyone was walking around outside today as well. The children laughed and played while the adults shoveled the snow and chopped firewood.
The houses around us had been designed by Arthur. So, was he now living in the west in similar houses? I hoped he was doing well. It really was a good thing that we helped him back then.
“Mishka! Asagi is here!”
Ash shouted, and then Mishka came out of the house. Miss Namil was right behind her. When our eyes met, she bowed politely.
She really was better… She had looked so frail when I first saw her. But then she drank the tea made from the Ijilis flower. As Ash said, it must be a legendary flower.
“Hello, Mishka. Miss Namil.”
“Hello, Mister Asagi!”
“Hello. I hope you enjoyed yourself last night.”
“Ahaha…maybe a little too much.”
…And now my head hurt.
“So, are you leaving today?”
“Yes. And seeing that you’re all better now has given us much peace of mind.”
“Thank you so much for your help. Had you not been here, I…”
“Now, now, let’s not get too sentimental. We should see them off with a smile!”
Ash said jovially to lighten the mood. We all chuckled.
“Well, I hope you stay in good health.”
“Thank you. I hope the same for you, Miss Daniela.”
“Aye. And if I am not so lucky, Asagi will help me.”
“Hehehe. I see you two are very close.”
Okay, now this was getting embarrassing. They didn’t need to all stare at me at once.
“We-well, take care, Mishka.”
Wanting to escape from the others, I squatted down and patted her on the head. She smiled happily and very much like a cat.
“You too, Mister Asagi!”
“Thank you. And don’t do anything reckless again, alright?”
Good. Now we just needed to see the chief, and then we could leave.
Ash called me just as we were about to leave. I looked at him questioningly, and then he handed me something.
“What is this?”
“I wanted to give this to you. Uh, think of it as a good luck charm.”
It was a small, metal accessory that was in the shape of a feather. There was a string attached to it, so I would be able to tie it onto my bag.
“Perhaps it will seem strange for you to think that a beastkin would think of a feather as a lucky charm. But it’s an old tradition. There is a story about a cat who befriended a bird that attacked it. And they lived happily ever after.”
“Uh… Right. Interesting story.”
I raised it to my eyes and stared at it. It glimmered brightly as it reflected the sunlight.
“It bears the hope of peace between the different races. I suppose my hope is that our bond will also last forever… Ah, this isn’t really like me.”
“Don’t say that just because you’re embarrassed.’
Ash was scolded by his wife and daughter. I couldn’t help but laugh, and Daniela followed. Then we were all laughing.
They really were nice people. This was always the hardest part.
“Well, we better go and talk to the chief. And then we’ll be leaving.”
“I see… I feel bad for delaying you. Good luck.”
“Goodbye! I won’t forget what you did for us!”
Daniela sensed what I was feeling, and she pulled my hand as we walked away. While my feet weren’t completely steady, I turned around and waved.
“Goodbye! See you again!”
I shouted as I waved. In answer, the three of them waved back. And so I watched them until they were out of sight, because Daniela was dragging me away.
□ □ □ □
When we reached the chief’s house, he was already standing in front of the house with the two guards.
“Ah, good morning Asagi. How do you feel?”
“Good morning. I feel fine, thank you.”
“That’s good to hear. And you look well too, Miss Daniela.”
“It is a good day for travel. I feel great and the weather is quite fine.”
The sun was out, and it felt quite warm. Warm enough that you would start sweating if you exercised a little.
“Well, I won’t keep you too long then. Just know that we are incredibly grateful that you killed the Blue Dragon and saved one of our own from a terrible disease. We will always be friends to you, Asagi and Daniela. And I swear to offer you any assistance, should you need it.”
That sounded pretty extreme… But I decided to accept the sentiment anyway. And it was comforting to know that we had friends here if we needed help.
“Thank you. We will definitely come to you if we need anything.”
“Yes, we must all help each other in order to survive.”
Then we shook hands. If they ever needed help, we would come. We were allies now. Even if we were different races or lived in different lands.
I felt like I really understood what it meant to overcome barriers between races now. If more humans and beastkin could work together, the world would be a richer place.
“Well, take care. I’m sure we’ll meet again!”
“I will pray that you have a safe journey. Farewell, Asagi, and Daniela!”
We turned away from the chief and started to walk away from Cath Palug. As we moved out of the settlement and towards the western side of the forest, we could hear voices shouting behind us. When I turned to look, the beastkin were waving at us.
“It looks like they all came to see us off.”
“Yes. How nice of them… Goodbye!”
I shouted back as I waved. Daniela raised her hand at them and then turned on her heels and started walking.
I knew she wasn’t being cold. She smiled and headed for the trees. Daniela wasn’t one to look back.
Still, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder with a regretful expression and wave until we entered the forest.
So, our next destination was an island to the west. … But first, there was a mountain range we had to cross. If Arthur was there, I would be able to return his white sword. The Excalibur.
…Was it really a legendary sword?