Chapter 25 – Plans for Return Visit
It has been a few days since my escapades in the forest, but I am eager to get back to the forest mansion. Shaeshade has also been pestering me to make my way back there. But there is a hurdle in the way-mother. I will need to convince her in order to return to the mansion, let alone being able to commute there regularly. But I have to try anyways.
Things got more complicated sooner than I expected, however. Father returned home, and upon hearing of my adventure in the forest, called another family meeting.
And so it was that I found myself at the dinner table with the family around me yet again. Except this time, Chesney was there for some reason. I guess because he was party of the party that came to rescue me.
Around the brown wooden table sat Father, Mother, Amelia, Chesney, Mormock and our cook Julie with her daughter.
“It seems we are all here. It is nice to have a meal with us all together every once in a while. For that, I must apologize for being away for such times.” said father.
“No, no, it is not your fault. Your duties keep you away.” said Mother.
“Really, it is all that shitty old man’s fault. I feel like I am running the country instead of him sometimes.”
“That just means he puts a lot of faith in you.”
“More like, he doesn’t want to do the work himself.” sighs father. “He just disappears sometimes during the day and then comes back conveniently from ‘his walk’ after things are decided. If only Bazel could get a better hold on him…”
“What if you put a homing spell on him to see where he’s going? You could just follow the signal and find him when you need him.” I interject.
“Homing spell? What is that?” asks Mormock.
“Well, I haven’t made one yet, but shouldn’t be too difficult. I can make a magic tool that will vibrate or let out a sound the closer the two pieces of the tool are together. Of course, I can make only the receiver tool react so that the person who has the homer won’t notice.”
Father’s eyes are starting to sparkle. Excellent, excellent.
“You can do that? Can you do that?” asks Father.
“Yes, well, but to do it, I need some materials from a certain place.”
“Yes. There is a mansion in the forest that has the materials I need to make the tool. If I could go there-”
“No, you cannot go there alone.”
“Come on, I rea-wait, alone?”
“Yes, alone. I have heard a little bit about it, but you found the Blue Star Mansion in the forest, correct?”
“How… how did you know that it belonged to my past incarnations?”
“I heard about it from Shaeshade, of course. Such a nice tressym, that one is.”
“Wait, you know Shaeshade? How?”
“How, you ask? Isn’t he right here with us?”
“What?” I exclaimed. When I looked over where father was motioning, there was indeed a black cat, complete with wings, just like the statue, sitting at the end of the table and eating some meet off a plate. I stared at ‘Shaeshade’.
“I was wondering why it was so quiet, but, wait, Shade, you can leave me?”
The cat looked up at me, and I could hear his thoughts.
“Of course. I am a boggart, of course. We can naturally take physical forms when we encounter others, though usually only for a short period. With your ample magical power to sustain me, I can maintain a physical form for long periods, though it is still more comfortable within your presence.”
“I have heard the story from Shaeshade, here. I am not all too unfamiliar with the mansion myself. Though I have never visited, I have read past accounts by the Blue Star Alicia, and Sara herself had mentioned to me in the past that she felt some familiarity in this area. It is one of the main reasons that reason why I stationed our family in this fiefdom, away from prying eyes. I knew there would be a connection, and I hoped you would find it. Well, I was hoping it would be a little less eventful though.”
“My kind are fearful of others, especially of man, but we have no fear of you, Ashen. With your power boosting us as well, we have faith in your associates, your family, that they will do us no harm. Thus, I deemed it appropriate to inform your father when he confronted me.”
“Father? How did you even know of Shaeshade in the first place?”
“I met him as he roamed the house. I knew that you would be a prime target for a boggart to siphon magical power from, but that none would dare try to do so for fear of your retribution, so I simply asked with the assumption of your cooperation with him. And I was right.”
“It was shocking, truly,” added Shaeshade.
“What else did you tell him, Shade…” I grumbled.
“Nothing personal or private, only the events of our meeting, our escape, and the nature of the forest mansion. Be grateful, I have negotiated passage back to our haven for you.”
“Yes.” said Father. “We shall all go.”
“All? Everyone here, you mean?”
“Yes. There are some things that I would like to confirm in the library. Blue and Amelia will come as safeguards, as will Chesney. Julie and her daughter have volunteered to take a look and to do some cleaning of the place to return it to a place fit for habitation.”
“Fit for habitation? You mean we’re going to live there?”
“No, not that. I just know you well enough that you would definitely sneak off there regularly. This time around, you were fearful that as it became dusk, your mother would come looking for you. For that reason, you made your escape, and were put in even more danger. In the future, it would be better to stay the night in the forest mansion rather than go through the forest at night. For that reason, we should prepare it and bring it up to snuff.” said Father.
I stared, alternately, into the eyes of Father and Shaeshade.
“Ahem.” coughs mother. “There is an additional rule, Ashen. You must not go to the forest without an escort. You must bring one of myself, Amelia or Chesney with you. It is dangerous to go alone, so take us.”
“I get the feeling there is an alternative motive here.”
“Well, it also sounds fun, exploring an abandoned castle, er, mansion. Also, we needed a location for your game of tag with Chesney.” says Blue, grinning ear to ear.
“Will… will it be okay? With all the boggarts, and stuff, they won’t attack, or stuff, right?” says Chesney in a worried voice.
“No, they will not harm you as long as you do not threaten them. As long as Ashen is near by, you have nothing to fear.” says Shaeshade.
“But, only when Ashen is near?” Chesney says in a panicked voice.
“Yes, yes, so mind your manners, Chesney, or I’ll sick the big bad boggarts on you.” I say to him, mockingly.
Oh, he looks like he is swallowing what he wants to retort. Fufufu, this may be fun.
“In addition, Ashen, I have collected the Moon Bear pelts that we received from this time, and am having something prepared. It will be a while till it is done, but look forward to it.” says father.
“Ah, it means I received your words and understand.”
“You and your idioms…”
“Don’t you mean idiots?”
“Shut it, or I’ll ask Shaeshade to pay you a visit tonight.”
“Nothing, nothing, nothing. I don’t say nuttin.”
“Father,” I ask, “when will we be going to the forest?”
“Let’s see, let’s go there tomorrow after your sword training. That should give us the afternoon to scope things out. How does that sound?”
“That sounds good to me. I am excited. I have some things I want to make, I just need the tools, materials and the link cores for it.”
“Link cores? Well then, after we visit the forest, let’s stop by the town and pick up some supplies for you from the magic shop on the way home.” adds father.
“Sander…” says Blue.
“Blue, it is time that you faced the villagers. Staying in the shadows will only bring more rumors. Besides, I hear you left a good impression on them after this incident.”
“Did I? There is no way. It will be, it will be, like, last, like…” Blue trailed off.
I see. So mother was afraid of visiting town for fear of the villagers, wasn’t she. That explains much.
“Going back to our discussion, but when you mentioned that we would all be going, you did not mention Momark?” Amelia interjects.
“Yes,” says Momark, “I have some other tasks that I must attend to while we’re home. We won’t be here for long, so we have to do some maintenance on our equipment, the carriage, and gather some supplies. I plan on heading into town tomorrow and getting everything situated.”
“Oh? You won’t be coming with us?”
“It isn’t because you’re afraid of the boggarts, are you?”
“Yes. I am. I am afraid of boggarts.”
“Strange of you to admit that openly, eh Mormack?”
“What can I say, I had a bad experience, everyone has something they are scared of. And it is not something I ever want to experience ever again.” Momark looked into space, his eyes narrowed. I get the feeling that it is not the boggart that he is afraid of, but what he will do if he runs into the boggart himself. Maybe his trauma is more about… no, let’s not speculate about something so personal.
“You understand, right, er… Shade?”
“Yes, I understand. I will not say it.” says Shade.
“Good. Keep it that way, will you?”
“Yes.” says Shade, with sorrowful eyes. That bad, eh? So it is probably a tragedy rather than a fear. No, no, don’t speculate, don’t speculate.
The mood went kind of flat, didn’t it.
“Hey mother,” I ask, “Am I allowed to use magic, or magic tools during the match with Chesney?”
“Let’s see… Chesney does have a big advantage over you… what do you think, Chesney?”
“Huh? Well, I think I can beat you even when you use magic, but that is not a match of swordsmanship, is it? I say, you can use magic tools then, but only if I can use them as well.”
“I don’t think I can make tools for both of us in time. I mean, this will be my first try.”
“No, you don’t understand, I already have some magical gear of my own. I’ll use them when the time comes.”
“Alright, but don’t be too shocked, hehehe.
“Oy, don’t push it, lass.”
“Now, children, behave.”
With that, we finished eating and left the table.
By the way, as punishment for not showing me his tressym form earlier, I spent the night hugging Shaeshade, and rolling in bed. Mofumofu. Serves him right.