Chapter 14:

Aftermath

Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!


“Are you guys going to stay up there the whole day?” I heard a recognizable voice, it was Martha.

That was a good rest. I got up while stretching my arms, and saw everyone from the village walking towards us.

Mother rolled behind me. Supposedly hiding from everyone.

“I should apologize for standing still after you have done so much for our village.” Ivan was hesitant but he came closer.

These people sure are weird. Mother saved their life and now they are scared of her?

They were all keeping their distance. I could feel the fear in their gossip.

“We should go Vance.” Mother grabbed my collar while she slid down the beast’s corpse. We dropped in the ocean. That sure woke me up. The beast was between us and the crowd. Mother waved her hand and water started to form.

“Mother wait, I don’t want to run away. You did nothing wrong.” I grabbed Mother’s hand.

She had a pained expression on her face. She had never shown this much of her power out in the open. Mother only wanted to stay away from attention. And now it looked like she was the center of their fears.

“Look,” I pointed at the sea, “We can go anywhere you say. Where mother goes, I’ll follow. So let’s go and talk to them at least one last time.” I grabbed her hand gently.

Mother nodded in affirmation.

She is rather shy for a person who could bring down monsters singlehandedly.

Everyone was anxiously looking for us. We got out from behind the corpse.

“Vance, Elie, Come over here.” I heard Arthur shouting. He was running towards us.

“Why are you all standing and not bringing them here?” He got angry at the village people. Martha seemed in a haze too.

“I’m sorry it’s just I never thought I would get to see the Scylla in my lifetime.” Ivan was trying his best to not look terrified.

“What’s a Scylla?” This was the first time I heard this name. We were walking towards them.

“Not a, but the. Scylla is an ancient beast. It is believed to be the Vessel of the Gods.” Arthur told me something very absurd.

“Aren’t they sacred?” “But she killed it.” “It did attack us but…” “What if Gods curse us?” I could hear people arguing.

“Enough! Are you all blind? Elie risked her life for all of you. Vance saved me and Mary.” Arthur came between the crowds and turned at them, “If you really believe that it is fine to die just because of some old myth, then you can do so. But I won’t let anyone harm my family or my village.”

Arthur was furious. He would have never thought that people would be that devoted to the Gods.

So that’s why everyone was anxious.

“Mother, did you know it?” I looked at her face, she definitely knew it.

“Is that why you sent me away?” I started to realize why Mother was unfazed seeing the Beast, Scylla.

“Whoever harms the Goddess’s beast will get curse and wrath until the day they die.” Mother spoke quietly. I guess it’s only natural she knows so much as she is a Goddess herself. I was trying to figure out the meaning behind her words.

“Vance…” I heard Martha, she came to me. “You need rest. Arthur, bring him to the house.” She walked past me. Mother was still being silent.

She grabbed Mother’s hand and started dragging her home. “Look at your beautiful hair, you need a bath.” Everyone gasped in shock. The crowd parted from the middle giving them way. It appeared even touching Mother was something horrible.

“I’m sorry Vance for their behavior. I had forgotten about it because it was over a decade since I last saw them talking about the Goddess.” Arthur grabbed my hand and we started walking uphill to the town. No one opposed us. I guess there are cults here too.

“Scylla is believed to be a sacred beast. For centuries no one ever tried to harm it. You are not able to. The beast is immortal... Was immortal.” He corrected himself after looking back and we both chuckled. Finally, the mood seems to lighten up a little.

“Brother!” I saw Mary getting her leg treated. “Calm down, he isn’t going anywhere.” Martha looked at me. It was her way of saying that God's wrath doesn’t mean anything to her. Everything was still the same. We were still a family.

I ran and hugged her. “Sorry sweetie, I was just in shock,” She patted my hair. I nodded no. I know how kind you are.

Mother wasn’t there. Guess Martha forced her to have a bath.

“Where’s Anne?” My eyes were searching for her.

“I had her and the other kids hide in the town hall basement, they should be getting out of there right about now.”

I'm glad she is safe. Arthur was still talking with the Caravan leader. Everyone needed a rest. Martha was wrapping herbs on Mary’s leg. 

I walked a bit away to see the village from above. The Scylla was still attracting a lot of birds. The tide was shaking its whole body. Few buildings were damaged at a some places, but no one had died. Thanks to Mother and Arthur.

I saw a group of kids walking toward our house. “Hey!” I called them out. They got spooked.

“Are you cursed?” A small boy said from the crowd.

“My mother was saying you will be cursed if we touch you.” Another boy said. The kid had no bad intentions. I chuckled a bit. It can’t be helped, rumors spread like wildfire.

“He is not cursed, take it back.” Anne came crashing on the kids. She started pushing everyone away. I had to rush and hold her back.

“You are cursed too now, he touched you.” The kids started scattering away while screaming.

“Come back here.” It was getting harder to hold Anne. How’s she so strong?

“It is fine. They are just scared. I don’t mind them.” I smiled at Anne. It made me happy that she got angry for my sake.

“What if I’m actually cursed? You can get cursed too if you touch me” I said that to spook her a bit.

She started crying. I didn’t realize she would react that way. I'm so dumb.

“I... I don’t want brother to be cursed…” She was crying while mumbling. She hugged me as tight as she could.

Oh god! My sister is so precious.

“I’m anything but cursed, look at the way I got you as my defender.” I wiped her runny nose. She calmed down a bit.

We held hands all the way to my house. She was holding it tight. As if the moment she let go the curse will fall on me.

We entered my house. No one talked about the curse or the creature. Arthur and Martha were preparing dinner. They also had a community dinner held at the Town Hall. But I think they stayed here for me and Mother. The village was still cautious of Mother.

After dinner, Anne was fidgeting a lot. Mary asked me to find out why.

“This all is my fault. If I had shown up on time, Mary would have been gone yesterday.” Anne took me in a corner, Her round cheeks were all red from holding her tears. She was certainly blaming herself for all this.

“What if we were attacked far from the village? It was because of you that everyone could run back here on time.” Mary was standing at the doorstep. Anne looked like she was thinking. “But but” She started to cry again.

“Stupid Anne! Stop crying or Vance will be sad.” Mary hit Anne on her head. I rubbed my tears away and smiled.

“You should…” Anne was sniffing and wiping her face, “You should hit me again.” She giggled. I remember how these two used to make me laugh when I was an infant.

My hands got wrapped around them on instinct.

“Hey don’t leave us out.” Martha and Arthur joined the group hug.

“Mother?” She was a bit hesitant but everyone’s face made her feel welcomed. I raised my hand towards her. She slowly put her hands on Martha and Arthur. She sure is awkward with this thing.

“You know I always wanted to hug you. It’s just you are so serious all the time.” Martha said while squeezing Mother in her arms.

I could see Mother’s face saying, this was a mistake. I couldn’t help but smile.