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    Tsukihana
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Balthazar - 7. Chapter 7

K’tine told him of the closest settlement in the area, the city of Bashiel was considered ‘off the beaten path’ by even elven standards and due to it’s secludedness it was a locale haunted by ennui stricken ancients and exiled elven scions. In the handful of years that they’d been settled in the area, she’d tried limiting her family’s exposure to the underlying hedonistic nature that seemed to pervade the outpost in the forest. For the most part it was the unspoken law of the land to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ due to the delicate reputations of the inhabitants, and as long as she conducted her business with appropriate haste and went on her way no one seemed to pay much mind to the catfolk living beyond the cities limits.

Only after taking ill did she grudgingly allow her children to journey to Bashiel in her stead. What surprised him most was that it was M’nou who eventually told him the details. After her outburst upon his waking, K’tine never dared utter another word regarding her missing son.

Balthazar held his lingering questions in check, and instead chose to explore the immediate area. His ever vigilant keeper, M’nou stalked his every step and seldom let him far from her sharp sights.

After several days of playing their little cat and mouse game, M’nou finally made the first move to interact with him. Stopping beside a clear happily bubbling brook for a drink, she came to stand at his side. Her eyes locked with his, Balthazar could practically see her steeling up her nerves to speak.

“Did you really see my M’to? You heard the bells?”

Lowering himself to sit upon the soft grass of the forest floor, he gave her his full attention.

“From what I’ve been told by you and your mother...I think it was.”

Unbidden, tiny tears began to form in her eyes just like they had in K’tines.

“It’s my fault isn’t it? My fault that mama is sad and it’s because of me that the Elf took M’to.”

“Don’t say that, sweetling. Why would it be your fault?”

“I knew that we were supposed to behave in town and hurry home, but the fruit seller had the freshest Djappas. M’to said we had what we needed and it was time to go...but I used his curse against him and made him get me one. I just wanted a treat. I’d been such a good girl. If I had never made him go get me one...maybe then the Elf lordlings wouldn’t have seen us…”

The tears free fell now in tiny streams across her cheeks.

“The way he looked at me scared me...I hid behind M’to. He kept telling us he would go to the authorities and report the foreign catfolk living in the forest...said there was something shifty about us. M’to shook his head and I could see blood on his lip. He was biting himself to keep from speaking or else the curse would make him give in. I started crying and the Elf told my brother ‘You will have to suffice in her place. Unless you want me to pursue this further.’ After that M’to agreed. He gave me our packages and I had to go home to mama alone. It’s my fault.”

Balthazar gently wiped the tears away from her softly furred cherubic cheeks.

“Now you can’t blame yourself like that. You feel guilty and know what you did was wrong and that is penance enough. It sounds like your brother did the honorable thing of protecting you and your mother. He would not want you to cry. I’ll tell you what...I think I need to see this city for myself anyway, would it make you feel better if I tried to seek out your brother? Perhaps there is some way that I can help.”

M’nou prostrated herself before him, nodding emphatically.

“No need for all that, get up sweetling.”

Picking her back up, Balthazar set her back on her feet and dusted the stray leaves from her clothes.

“Let’s start by asking your mother, okay?”

“Thank you, M’thos.”

Her tiny arms wrapped tightly around him and the golden dragon could feel some of the tension leaving her tiny frame.

Copyright © 2021 Tsukihana; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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