“Thank you for listening to our request. Really, thank you.”
The village chief bowed with his hips and hung his head low. Rhea, being his daughter, followed suit. Since the two girls didn’t understand why their elders were bowing, they imitated them thinking it was a sort of play. Talia became flustered and Alice remained despondent.
“Please raise your head, we’re just going to listen,” Entri said, wanting to rid the tense atmosphere.
“That is all we ask,” the village chief responded before raising his head. After sending Rhea and her daughters out, he continued. “As you can tell, this is not our home.”
“Well, that is putting it lightly,” Alice retorted. She swiftly received a smack to the back to the head by Entri, but because he rarely attacked her and he took advantage of her disinterested gaze, she could only look around lost since she didn’t have a clue. She eyed Entri, but did nothing more since she lacked proof of his involvement.
“I apologize, please continue.”
The village chief spoke in detail about how their home was hidden deeper in the forest. They only camped in known bandit territory because they needed to rest and regroup after suddenly being driven out. When the village chief told them the source of their terror, Entri couldn’t help but feel both excitement and terror. Talia and Alice on the other hand were not amused.
“Are you certain,” Talia asked.
“Probably nothing more than an overgrown lizard,” Alice insulted.
“Our hunters are not lying.”
The conversation went silent as they stared into the old man’s eyes. Since his eyes did not waver, they gave up and accepted his words as reality.
“Master, I believe this is beyond our abilities.”
Talia closed her eyes and thought for a moment before answering, “I agree. We can help send word for an experienced and specialized party, but that is all we can do.”
“I…I understand. Then don’t bother. We do not have the money to hire such a group,” the village chief admitted. “What we did have wasn’t much to begin with.”
“If it’s that bad, shouldn’t the local nobles pitch in?” Entri asked. In his travels, Entri had seen more in this life than he had in his past life in its entirety. However, all the governmental management systems were the same. Due to large swaths of open spaces, a feudalistic system remained in power and the denizens of each area found no problems serving a local noble.
“Sadly, no,” the chief said with his remaining ear hung low.
“What? Why not?” Entri asked. Although the forest was in an undeveloped area, it still fell under the protection of the local noble, if not nobles. In his past world’s history, local nobles wouldn’t hesitate to clear their territories of dangerous threats. That category typically fell on bandits and invading armies, the latter typically involving cooperation between multiple territories. If the threat is as he says, then why wouldn’t they act? Entri pondered.
“It is because they are a hindrance. A blight if you will,” Alice said after sucking her teeth.
“There’s gotta be a line even you wouldn’t cross,” Entri said, glaring at Alice. Her prejudice was getting on Entri’s last nerves.
“She’s right,” Talia commented. Entri showed her a face of shock before she continued in haste, “hold on, let me explain. There is a…well…dislike of beastmen in this area. The scars are still there.”
Entri understood that Talia’s mention of “scars” was meant to shield the children from inheriting the their ancestors wounds and grudges, but as Entri learned, it was nearly a century ago.
“Revenge is a difficult chain to break,” Talia explained. “You should know better.”
Entri heaved a big sigh and held his head in his hands from not connecting the lines more quickly. His own hatred and need for revenge was the only thing that kept him going for a while. Things were so different now that it was absurd.
“So that means the lords won’t help,” Entri said, his head still in his hands. “Then it’s up to us I guess.”