Chapter 5:

Jaga of the Triple Goddess

Otherwordly Reincarnation: The Hag Son

Otherworldly Reincarnation: The Hag Son
Part 1: Anacrusis

"...promising violence my only sin, I submit myself to Leviathan."


I opened my eyes, slowly, and got up off my knees, looking down at a vial filled with a red, bubbling liquid. Another elixir. My fifth, to be precise. And judging by that dinging sound in the back of my head, creating it had changed something within me.

This wasn't an antidote to venom or poisons, this elixir. You didn't typically need to pray to Leviathan -the deity Margretka (and therefore, I) seemed to worship- to successfully create a remedy. No, this was something else entirely, something on another level altogether. 

"Leviathan has accepted your prayer," The hag told me, off somewhere in the corner of my vision. "The Badger's Eye is prepared. Good work, boy."

The Badger's Eye. A potion that would let the user see in the dark, for around six hours. A difficult potion to make. It was unlike anything I'd made before!

After the success of the Wyvern remedy, I'd gone on to make other elixirs. Other antidotes, that is, until the hag decided that I'd learned enough in that sector, and that it was high time I began work on 'blessing' elixirs.

From what I understood, some potions, such as the 'Badger's Eye', couldn't be made without some form of divine intervention. You first needed a base potion with similar, though weaker effects. The elixir I originally put together would, if consumed, only let a person see better in dim places. A useless potion, that is to say. However, with the blessing of a 'Divine' like Leviathan, the elixir's potency can be increased nearly infinitely, and change the potion from a 'see in the shadows' concoction to a 'see in the literal shroud of impenetrable fucking darkness' concoction.

It was fun.

I took a breath, and rubbed the sweat from my brow. Not only had I worked hours on making the elixir, but I also had to spend a long time learning and nailing into my memory the 'prayer to Leviathan'. 

Dance on ditches, dance on graves,
Dance on the nature Morn enslaves.

Abide by Leviathan's lust ye must,
In perfect fear of perfect trust.

Harken to what the heart desires,
Take to faith that all are liars.

Appreciate the word of love,
Bend no knee to the world above.

Promising violence my only sin;
I submit myself to Leviathan.

I didn't actually know all that much about Leviathan. I knew it was one among many other deities in this world. Which may well have meant that the three beings I met before, Spiritus, Etherson and... David, were all only part of a greater collection of destructive higher overlords. A lovely thought to have.

I felt that learning the prayer brought me somewhere closer to understanding Leviathan a bit more. At least now, I knew something about it. Even if it was all vague, and too stuffed up with worship.

Margretka approached and took the potion from my hands, going over back to the door to inspect it with the little light we had this damp morning. 

Raining again. It'd been several days since I made that first remedy, but it felt more like months. Every time I made a remedy to poison, I was forced to test it out on my own self. Never in my previous life had I imagined I would be going through such an ordeal! A test subject for my own experiments, but not necessarily out of my own freewill.

On the bright side, if ever I were bitten by a Rutain Desert Scorpion, I'd know what to expect and how to deal with it.

Didn't make me any happier about being poisoned repetitively.

"This seems like it, yes, yes..." Margretka muttered, as I sat by the fire and mumbled the word "[Status]". I had something I needed to check.

[Alchemy] has gained a level

Name - Boy (Bram Engels)
Title(s) - [Hero] [Hag Son] [Child of the Hunt]
Age - 5
Sex - Male
Race: Human

Lvl - 3
HP - 45/45
MP - 16/16
Atck - 8
Dex - 34
Def - 15
MRes - 29

Class - Leviathan Alchemist
Blessing - None
Skills - [Hero Skill - Soldier of Fortune LV1], [Identification LV1], [Archery LV2], [Alchemy LV3] [Poison Resistance LV1]

Ah yes, [Alchemy] had finally reached the third level. I was curious as to what levelling the [Alchemy] skill changed, at first, until I recently realised that the more it levelled, the easier it was to memorise recipes, as well as find inspiration for new ones I'd never lain eyes on before. I could look at a random herb outside, and I'd have an idea of how to use it to make an elixir.

Definitely a useful skill, worth developing further!

As for that [Poison Resistance] skill... that one appeared after I was forced to test out the fourth remedy. I guess my body just sort of went 'okay, this is gonna happen a lot, isn't it? To Hell with it, I'mma build some immunity'. 

I assumed that [Poison Resistance] would... well, do exactly what it said. The more I was poisoned and survived it, the more my body would nullify poisons on its own. Maybe if it were high enough level, I could even gain immunity to poisons entirely! Wishful thinking, but not ridiculous to consider. Margretka mentioned something like that before. I just hoped it were true, and not just some part of an overly elaborate means of trying to get me to kill my own body with an overload of various toxins.

I wouldn't put it past Margretka.

But at the same time, If she really wanted me dead, she'd have made good on her promise and eaten me by now. 

"Are you ready to test it, then?" She asked me, as I sat up and frowned a little.

"And to have darkvision for six straight hours? I don't know, I'm fairly used to darkness by this point. Won't my eyes start to hurt, sitting around in here while it's all bright?"

"Then make yourself useful," She shrugged, and pointed a metallic, clawed thumb behind her into the dark grey, rainy bog outside the door. "Scout around, see if there are any Ferhels coming closer than they should again."

"Right now...?" I asked, looking from her, to the outside with a wince. "But it's so wet and miserable..."

"How's that any different from in here?" She asked, coming close to me and shoving the potion back into my hands. "Go on now. It's been days since you've been outside anyhow! You need to wander, get used to being uncomfortable in the Slough. Life is never comfortable for the likes of us, the sooner you learn that, the sooner you'll find comfort!"

"I... don't quite understand."

"...I wouldn't expect you to. Now scram!" 

"Ah-! Yes, Mother Margretka..." I replied a little hesitantly, though not without an ounce of irritation in my voice. I didn't feel like going out, I felt like getting started on making another elixir, if I was being honest. But what choice did I have, trapped in this stupid, five-year-old, shota-ass body? 

I strapped on my bow and quiver, marching past Margretka while muttering slight curses and obscenities under my breath. I took the elixir from her extended hand on the way out, pausing at the door and looking out at the dark, sullen skies of thunder and cold rain. A sigh escaped my lips. This would be... well, this would be something.

I popped the elixir, turned my head back and downed it. And it was... different.

While all the other elixirs I made before had a definitive natural taste to them, like that of various nasty herbs and spices mixed together into something with actual properties, this 'Badger's Eye' was unlike any of that. Probably down to the fact that unlike my previous remedies, this one was blessed. It still had that bitter, almost earthy aftertaste of various roots and rotted tree bark, but the primary flavour was like... something unnatural. Artificial. A mixture of sweeteners and blandness that made it easier to drink.

Still not something I'd drink out of freewill, if I were bored on a lazy morning and needed to wet my throat, but definitely easier on the tongue.

I almost dropped the elixir, as right after downing the whole thing, I felt my vision blur, and my stomach gurgle.

"Your body is experiencing its first potion-wrought mutation. This may hurt a little." Margretka informed me, placing a clawed hand on my shoulder, keeping me steady. A solid minute or two of pain transpired, unmuffled by my groans and moans of light agony. My eyes felt as though someone were driving needles through them.

I closed them, for those two minutes... then, after the pain resolved, opened them up. Brightness. The dark world had gone sunny bright. I gaped up, in wonder. 

Dark clouds were still present, I could see them, but... It's as though the sun beamed right through them, as I could see everything perfectly well. Every drop of rain that would otherwise be obscured by the midday darkness was now clear as ever. 

Even the not-so-distant embrace of forest, shadowy and veiled in its usual darkness where mould and fungus would grow over rot, was now brighter than day to my sight. Nothing could hide in shadows, for I could see right through them.

"Your eyes have gone all shiny green," Margretka chuckled. "Seems it's confirmed. You've succeeded once again. I must admit, you've failed to disappoint me, as of recent."

"Only as of recent?"

"Yes. You disappointed me frequently when you were a toddler."

"I-?! What?!"

"Are you going to stand there and argue with me now?"

"I..." I hesitated, looking back out towards the woods, before shaking my head. "No, I'm not. I'll be going out now, Mother Margretka."

"Indeed you shall. Return when the effects start to wear off, or when I call you." She demanded. I nodded, slightly, before stepping out into the bright darkness. Everything was so different, in this new perspective of mine. It was like walking through artificial sunshine.

A small smile graced my lips. With this, I could potentially have some fun around here.

A couple hours later...

I sat atop a tree, watching from afar as a bird landed on a separate, slightly larger tree. This was no bird like in my world, this one was different. Larger than average. A scavenger bird - the only kind of bird that could survive around here.

They weren't good for food, seeing as all they ever ate was rotting flesh. They were ripe full of diseases, and toxic to the bone. Margretka called them 'The Clux'. Reminded me of vultures, from my own world, only smaller and darker. They almost looked like crows, except their beaks and wingspans were longer. Not an issue.

I pulled my bow off my back, knocked an arrow, and as I pulled back, muttered a slight "[Identification]..."

Clux Servant
Lvl - 2

Level 2? For a scavenger monster, that was rare. It was either very old, or it had previously taken down a weak Ferhel with the help of other Clux. Birds such as this liked to hunt together, when their prey was already weakened. Just goes to show - if you're too slow on the draw in the Slough of Flatdown, even the bloody birds will kill you.

I aimed, but... I couldn't quite hit it from here. This was troublesome. I felt my archer's eye concentrate, all shadows gone from my vision. Unless the Clux also had darkvision, I was blind to it.

I wrapped my legs around the tree branch -closer around the base, seeing as most trees around here tended to be weak- and held on tight. Then, I slightly moved myself to the side, allowing my body to hang lopsidedly from the branch... I could still draw and aim at that angle. I had a clear target now.

My leg muscles strained to hang on, to keep a hold on the tree branch, but they held. I couldn't hang on like this forever. I almost released a huff of pain, but I bit it back with a deep breath, pulled back with my bow, aaaand...

I missed! The bird flew up suddenly with a panicked screech. My eyes widened, and at that moment, my legs' grip failed. With a gasp, I began to fall, bow flying from my hand as I tried to grab wildly for a tree branch on the way down. No such luck. I closed my eyes, braced for impact...

Only, when the impact occurred, it wasn't in the way that I'd expected. I let off a pained gasp upon landing in something softer than the floor. A few seconds passed, before I allowed myself to open my eyes, timidly. I was not expecting to see what I saw.

I found myself looking up into the amused face of a woman, dark hair uncombed and left crumbling all over her cloaked form. Her skin was... oddly enough, somewhat on the greyer side, like Margretka's, only this woman had two eyes. And, well, she seemed much younger. In her 30s, perhaps? 

Odd, black tattoos plastered her face, criss-crossed it like swirling energy, in an almost tribal fashion. Wait... were they moving...? I realised I was staring when a soft chuckle escaped her lips.

"A boy, falling from a tree, this far from any villages. Do you perhaps not know where it is you've wandered, hm?"

"I- I..." I began, only to shut my gaping mouth. This was the first time in five years that I'd seen anyone who looked even remotely human, besides myself in a reflection. I mean, she couldn't have been human herself, with that skin colour, could she? Margretka mentioned the 'grey skins' to me once before... That humans lived on one side of the mountains, and that another species lived on another. Something like that. I couldn't exactly recall, however... I was caught up in her strange, orange eyes. Similar eyes to Margretka's.

"It is unwise to wander," she suddenly dropped me onto my feet, and tilted her head in a dangerous manner. "If you don't know the way home, you ought to find it soon. And next time, be less of a brat and listen to your mother when she says not to come close to the Slough. There are creatures here, especially around these parts, that would taint your filthy dreams forever."

"I- Ah..." I finally managed to clear my throat, and scramble for my bow, strapping it back onto my back. Looking up at the woman was intimidating enough, what with my depraved height, but there was something about her. Her eyes alone seemed to radiate some form of harsh energy, the same way it often did from the hag. Magic. It emanated from her. "I'm... here because my mother told me to be!" I told her.

The woman raised a brow, expression otherwise unchanged. Did she not believe me?

"She lives near here! In a little hut-"

"You jest," Her head twitched, momentarily, in the direction of where the hut sat. "That isn't possible, she wouldn't..."

"Do you know Mother Margretka?"

Her eyes shot back to me, apparently a little startled. "...'Mother' Margretka?"

"I can take you to her!" I quickly offered, eager to prove I was being truthful. She stared at me for another long moment... a moment after which, she knelt down to my height, eyes set on mine. She reached out a hand. I hesitated, not really knowing where this would go... but all she did was extend a finger and trace it under my eyes, carefully. 

"...Badger's Eye, huh...?" She mumbled, in assessment.

"I, ah... made it myself! I mean, not entirely, Margretka taught me the prayer, and she gave me the book, but-"

"Is that so?" She hummed, before straightening back up. "I was just on my way to visit the old madwoman... a little personal gathering we have, once every half-decade. Seeing as you have the better eyes here, would you like to lead the way?"

An unexplained burst of excitement arose within me, as I nodded eagerly and jumped to it. I grasped her by the gloved hand -much to her surprise- and quickly began to lead her back towards the hut, hopping over roots where she needed only to step across them.

When we passed the tree where the Clux bird sat previously, I paused. My arrow was embedded into the tree trunk up there. The woman noticed where my eyes went, as she too came to a stop. I turned to her, a little embarrassed.

"Erm... would you be alright with waiting a couple minutes? And maybe... catching me if I fall again?" I asked, a little nervous about asking the woman who'd already saved my life once for any further favours. 

She glanced from me, to the arrow above, before a smile graced her lips. She merely waved a hand, and like that, the arrow up above slid right out of the tree trunk, and seemed to levitate, right down into her open, waiting hand. I watched in amazement, as she pulled this off. Without a chant or anything, from what I could see no less!

Any time I wanted to use a skill like [Identification] I first had to chant it, typically quietly and under my breath. This woman, however, seemed to do it without the need for such a thing! She placed the arrow back into my awaiting hands.

"That was incredible...! Ahm, thank you, miss-! Erm... miss..." I still didn't know her name. With a smile, she told me.

"No 'miss' necessary. I am Jaga, of the Triple Goddess. I'm sure Margretka speaks of me often!"

"She hasn't mentioned you once in my entire five years living with her."

"Wha-?!" She blinked, before narrowing her eyes. "You're not fooling me, are you boy? I won't hesitate to-!"

"I-I'm not!" I raised my hands, suddenly slightly fearful. Though, I was curious about what she was about to threaten. 'Won't hesitate to'... to do what exactly?! "She wouldn't speak about important things with me anyway! She only tells me what I need to! Like how to survive the Slough! I didn't mean to cause offence! I'm sorry..."

Her narrowed eyes seemed to soften briefly. She stared at me for a long moment, before humming a soft noise of curiosity. "'re well mannered, for a child. That's a rare sight."

She extended her hand to me, this time apparently offering to hold her hand. I took it without thinking, breathing a subtle sigh of relief. Growing up with Margretka had taught me several things. One was to never piss off a sorcerer. Another was that if you ever did piss off a sorcerer, either run or apologise immediately.

We continued on, towards the hut.

" never told me your name, boy. What is it?"

"...ah..." I thought for a moment. "Well... you sort of just said it. 'Boy'. I supposed that's my name."

"She just calls you 'Boy'? My, that's... so like her..." She chuckled. 

"Yes, she... I don't think she likes me very much, honestly. She only has kind words to offer when I do something correctly, and even then... I don't know. She won't give me a name. She threatens to eat me very often."

"Boy... if only you knew..." Jaga sighed, grip somewhat tightening on my hand. "She's a Bog Hag. A monster to some, a Demi God to others."

A Demi God...? Before I could ask, she went on.

"They're infamously lonesome creatures, who don't tend to like company. Hence why I visit so rarely. For her to even have you in her home... children are her favourite thing to eat, don't you know that?"

"So... I should just be grateful she didn't eat me, and swallow my complaints?"

"Essentially." She said. She seemed to notice my expression turning sour, and sighed softly to herself. "I wish I could explain it better. But for now, you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that you don't understand how lucky you are. Yet."

"Lucky...?" I echoed, just as the hut came into sight. I could've been reborn a noble's son. A merchant's son, a soldier's son! Hell, I'd have taken a peasant's son! But this...? A... whoever's son, left at the doorstep of some monster in a notorious bog? "I don't feel very lucky, Miss Jaga."

"Just Jaga, boy. And..." She released my hand, as we approached the hut. Margretka was already stepping out through the front door, hands behind her back. "Nobody born great ever feels lucky."

Born great...? I looked up at her, with more questions in mind, but she'd already stepped forward with a slight smile. "Margretka!" She greeted. "It's been so long!"

"Jaga of the Triple Goddess..." The hag sighed, tilting her head in greeting. "You claim to hate the Slough of Flatdown, yet every fifth year you return for my sake."

"Well, your presence in the Slough makes it bearable!" She smiled, before turning back to me, to look me over once more. "Although, now I suppose it's the presence of two that makes it interesting."

I blushed briefly, despite myself, before she turned back to Margretka - rolling her single eye and muttering.

"Well, don't stand there like a fool in the rain!" The hag said, to us fools in the rain. "Come in, come in. Boy, put the tea on. Don't blow up a cup this time!"

"I-! No, I've never blown up a cup-!"

Both woman's heads turned to me in the same instant. I went a deeper shade of red, and lowered my head.


I added, to my statement.

"Lets hope you keep that record then." Margretka said. Jaga followed her in, and I, moments after, followed too.

Several minutes later...

I had made and poured the tea successfully, almost paralysing myself with Limbo Leaf in the process. Thankfully, neither of the women seemed to notice. 

With their drinks served, I sat away from them, opening up the book of crafts, and looking through its many ingredients and elixir types. With or without a growing [Alchemy] skill, I still had to study. Even studying a certain subject could raise my skill level in it. Though, to level up a skill like [Alchemy] with only studying alone would take hours upon hours... what mortal could bother?

I kept throwing glances Jaga's way every so often, still unbelievably enthralled by her seemingly moving tattoos. Once your really stared at them hard, it was clear that they weren't actually moving, but with passive, casual glances, it looked as though they shifted, crawled along her skin.

"I have to say," Jaga told the hag, sipping her tea. "When last I left your hut, I did not expect to return to find you with a child."

"You'd have to have your head screwed on all wrong to expect otherwise," The hag replied. "He was left at my doorstep. And he didn't cry when he saw me, unlike other infants. This interested me, so I decided to bring him in and see how he behaved. Needless to say, he was intelligent enough to bring me to pause."

"Intelligent from infancy, eh?" Jaga said. I felt her eyes on me, briefly. It made me stiffen up all over. I couldn't properly read at the moment, but I made sure to trace my eyes over some lines, to make it look as though I wasn't listening. "Strange, wouldn't you say? I heard the Emperor of Eavuveur had his Seventh Child five years back, who was said to have shown significant signs of intellect from the moment of birth. Just like the your boy, here."

I stiffened further, going pale. Child of an Emperor? That could only be somebody from Class A! My Gosh, Class A... I hand't thought about them in a long time. 

"Of course he'd bloody say that. The Emperor's damned ego knows no bounds. He'll soon claim he can take flight at will, and jump from a building to prove it!" Margretka scoffed.

"He's a fool who thinks himself a God, I admit it. But he isn't witless. We mustn't convince ourselves otherwise, and-"

"Always assume our enemies are smarter than we." They both said together.

"I'm well aware," Margretka shook her head. "Doesn't change the fact that he claimed his First Born had liquid gold pumping through his veins instead of mortal blood! The delusions in that man's brain are vile. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that the rumours about his Seventh Child are false."

"Well, they'd only be aligning with rumours from all over this half of the world. Children with intellect sprung from infancy had been popping up all over, five years ago. Around the same time as your boy. You know what that means as well as I do, do you not?"

"Do not take me for a fool, Jaga," Margretka warned. "To ask whether or not I noticed an obvious pattern is an insult to my purpose."

"Of course, my apologies. So then, you understand the dangers. In several years time, if these... rumours, turn out to be true, and these children are indeed the newest Spring of 'Heroes'... The Eavuveur Empire may just about feel inclined to dress them up in armour, place swords into their hands, and march them over across the mountains to war, to dominate the last half of the world. And we both know, The Dark Country would fall first. After that, what would stop the Empire from claiming everything else?"

"Then so be it." Margretka took a sip of her tea.

"You don't care for the fact that your culture is at risk of extinction?"

"The Eavuveur Empire will not last. No Empire ever lasts, Jaga. History has shown us that much, with the rise and fall of Pelosi, then of Ferris. And not all 'Heroes' would be willing to fight for the Empire either."

"Yes..." I once again felt Jaga's eyes on me. "...not all."

"Every culture is bound for extinction. I've abandoned mine long ago, for it is not in my fate to defend it. That fate is up to others. Whether they succeed or fail, that is up to the whims of greater forces. Were I to step in, history would only see it as just another monster fighting the desperation of humanity. You may try persuade me otherwise, but you know I bend no knee to any but Leviathan"

"Yes... so I've heard. I apologise for rattling your head with such things, then... but perhaps you'd feel inclined to another offer, then." Jaga suggested.

"Pah! Unlikely."

"At least hear me. When your boy reaches the appropriate age, would it not be better for him to learn combat from real professionals? A bit of magic perhaps? I know for a fact that he seems to enjoy alchemy. He'd have plenty more materials to improve his craft, were he to go to the Academy, over in The Dark Country-"

"Absolutely not," Margretka growled. "I will not have you wrap him up in your petty political games. The fates left him with me. Not with you. It is in his fate, therefore, that he stay by my side until fate decides otherwise."

" political games are petty anymore, Margretka. A war is brewing. Everyone knows it, everyone's preparing for it. The birth of the 'Heroes' says it's only a matter of time."

I felt my eyes widening more and more, the further this conversation went. From the sounds of it, the birth of the 'Heroes'... my birth... only made things worse in this world. Oh no... would the others in my Class, and Class A, really be exploited by this 'Empire' for war? It sounded a lot like the Empire were the villains. How could 'Heroes' fight for Villains?!

I didn't understand everything yet. I took a breath, and held off my judgements. But this didn't sound good in the slightest.

"The moment the supposed Heroes hit the adult age, the moment they become 18. That's when we can expect everything to fall to the Empire. He has years yet, to learn, and-"

"And what? Will he stand alone against the entirety of the Empire, and the Heroes he decides to defy? He is one boy, Jaga. Let it go. Honestly, sometimes I think you have less common sense than your sister."

"You underestimate Baba. She may be dull, but she has common sense." Jaga defended.

"Then in that regard, she differs from you."

A smile crept along Jaga's face, as she shrugged, and placed her empty cup down atop the table. "I suppose you're right. I'll move on to brighter topics, shall I?"

"...assuming you won't twist things around again."

I lowered my eyes, back into the depths of the book. I didn't understand it all. Not fully. And something told me it'd be a while before I would. No way would Margretka loosen her lips for my sake. Jaga, on the other hand... what could she tell me of the outside world? It made me curious, what lay beyond the borders of the bog.

I wouldn't spend my entire life here, that was for sure, lest I really couldn't leave. I had to leave at some point, find my friends. I mean, if this 'Empire' was the actual problem, then I couldn't sit forever, for the sake of a hag that told me what to do and what to say. This couldn't go on eternally. 

Eventually I would have to take myself out of here. I just... hoped I wouldn't have to force my way out. That Margretka would understand, when the time came. Not likely that she would. There was no convincing the woman...

After some more minutes of conversation, the two seemed to have gotten on better. Though, Margretka didn't appear any happier by the end of it. She never appeared happier, I wasn't sure she could even smile. I wasn't always even sure which was a wrinkle, and which was her lip.

Jaga was the first to get up, when they were done, "Well, I thank you for the company, as usual. Even if it was a bit solemn," she then pointed a smile my way. "And you, boy. Thank you for the tea. Hopefully you'll have a name, when we meet next, eh?"

"A-ah, hopefully, yes!" I got up hurriedly, shutting the book. Margretka gave me a partial frown (it was difficult to tell with her) as she too led Jaga to the door. "Do you, ah... need to be escorted back to where we met-?"

In that moment, Margretka's clawed hand wrapped over the top of my head, making me yelp and cut my sentence short.

"She can find her way back by herself. Can't you, Jaga?" The hag asked, casually. Jaga giggled sweetly, with a slight wave of her hand. 

"Of course. I won't be walking long, my teleportation circle isn't far off. The things in this swamp know to stay off my back. But thank you for the offer, boy. We'll be meeting again, I'm sure of it."

She turned on the spot, and made her way off, wrapping her cloak tighter around herself. I stared after her, next to Margretka, as she disappeared into the brightened shadows of the midday darkness.

"...that woman comes every five years, trying to convince me to return to the damned Dark Country. I've had it with her, if I'm honest, but I put up with it on account of the past. Doesn't change the fact that she's a stubborn hound!"

"She's pretty..." I said, a little dazzled. Only for my words to turn into an outcry, when Margretka squeezed my head a little. I forgot she was holding me!

"You're far too young to see women that way! The younger you are, the easier they'll swindle you, and pilfer your pockets." Margretka snarled. "Now... why don't you recite to me everything that you've read during her visit?"


"You were sitting there, reading, weren't you? What were you reading about, boy?"

"Erm..." I hesitated. "...mushrooms?"

"Not your best lie, boy. Come now, lets produce and test another remedy to poison!" She said, beginning to drag me back inside. I could practically hear the smirk in her voice.

"No! Not again! MOTHER!" I cried out. My pleas were heard by none. "This is so stupid!"

To be Continued...