The Boy, Part Four
She says such with a smile. I think she wants me to help with the firewood. Just what is she thinking of? Make a campfire? No, even a fool wouldn’t try such indoors, but a hearth would make more sense, now wouldn’t it?
However, that smile after that incident, it’s almost eerie. We just witnessed something horrifying and she smiles like it hadn’t happened at all. Whatever, I’ll just help her with this firewood to forget about it. I pile up quite a lot of firewood onto a log basket. Once it’s filled up, I fill up another one. Yes, I’m gonna carry two of ’em.
She’s going to carry her own firewood with bare-hands, apparently, not that she’s going to carry much. Seven of those logs seems to be enough for her. Well, the firewood on my baskets should be enough for whatever she has in her mind, unless it’s a bonfire she’s trying to make.
She seems to be in a hurry as we leave the firewood storage. Oi, you’re carrying just a few logs while I got a few dozen, girl! Take it easy, will ya? Of course, if she has a good reason to hurry up I won’t complain. I just can’t wait to get to learn her language as I have quite a few questions for her.
Halfway up some stairs somewhere in this castle, she decides to take a break, saying something like “Igilsho…” I think she wants to say that she can’t carry her own share of firewood. If only I didn’t have all this firewood on my behalf, I’d help her out. You get what you seek, girl. You better do your part now that we’ve gone this far.
After quite a while we get to a room she was looking for, I hope. At least she seems to be checking the room like she was planning on using this room for something, hopefully resting, because I definitely need some rest. She’s checking every corner of the room that looks royal to me. The bed is just huge and the furniture is mostly art with red tapestry here and there. Oh, and the carpet is also red like in a king’s hall.
Once she sighs seemingly out of relief, she tries to say something. “Iroin. Tsiche.” Now that was a word I won’t be able to pronounce fluently in a while. I reply, “Hie.” That should mean ‘okay’ in her language. I hope. She does look at me with questioning eyes, maybe my pronunciation was a bit off, eh?
Whatever, since she’s using her hands to express herself even further, I can guess that she means I should drop the firewood next to the hearth. So she was planning on kindling this hearth, huh.
I don’t think there’s any other meaning to this other than resting up here in this room. She has a queen’s taste I’d say, but seeing that she is thinking of kindling the hearth by herself, I don’t think I need to worry about the queen part. I help myself and grab the flint and steel before the whole place is on fire.
Once I’ve kindled the hearth, I turn around and see that she has collapsed onto the bed. The subtle sound of the flame is the only source of noise here until I break the silence. “Pyito?” That should mean drinking, but let’s see. I’m trying to ask her if she wants to drink the wine.
She sits up and tilts her head to the side with a questioning look. Err, did I use an incorrect word? I point at my bag where the bottle is, hoping to fix the damage.
“Ah!” She exclaims. “Tonteja horoka uwoo, hie.”
Whatever that means, girl. Whatever that means…
She walks over to my bag, taking the wine bottle out. She holds the bottle midair with her left, with right she points at the bottle. “Tonteja.” I suppose she’s trying to tell me that it’s either bottle or wine. Maybe both.
Then she pantomimes drinking with the bottle. “Horoka.” Then she pantomimes again, but this time she’s trying to make it seems like she was gulping down the wine. “Pyito.”
Ah, I get it. I think I’d said ‘to gulp down’ and not ‘to drink’. I see what you did there, girl. I’ll make a mental note about that.
“Horoka,” I say.
“Horoka uwoo.” She replies.
“Hie, hie,” I reply back. I don’t know the meaning of that last word, so I just reply with ‘okay, okay’.
She giggles after what I said. Was it that funny? Eh, whatever. I try to tell her to hand over the bottle so that I can open it, but before I even realize what’s going on, the bottle is already opened and she’s taking a sip from it!?
“Ho.” She says as she hands over the bottle.
I nod and take a sip as well, seeing that she already took one, so of course, I need to follow. And I made up my mind to test it out anyway.
I find the taste not to my liking, but I drink anyway. I can’t let her drink all of it, lest she goes bonkers. I’m not sure if I could handle it if such were to happen. Look, I barely had any friends back in the days, so I’m really bad at handling people. Seriously, don’t drink too much.
But my plea is betrayed as we sit by the hearth, for she has taken quite a few sips after a short while. By the way, we’re sitting on the floor since there is a bear fur carpet softening the floor. It’s really comfortable. Also, the only source of light in this room comes from the hearth, so I dare say this is a heartwarming moment. I’m so glad that I could be here with her. A tear streams down my cheek as I think about it.
I take the bottle from her and force myself to drink the wine. I can’t let her have all the fun. No, I still don’t like wine, but this moment is too precious for me so I will drink the wine without complaints.
It seems that she has drunk a few sips too much as her very figure is metaphorically shouting “I’m drunk! I’m drunk!” and she herself is trying to deny it with all those “Don’t worry” looks.
“Foolish, but lovely.” I blurt out something unnecessary out of the blue, but thankfully, she doesn’t understand me. I’d have died out of embarrassment in the morning.
“Haroooo…?” She tries to say something, but I bet not even the people from her country could have understood what she’s saying. She’s leaning against my right shoulder, I shed another tear, and she seems to notice that single tear.
She wipes it from my cheek with her right-hand finger, which she puts into her mouth afterward like she was some infant sucking its fingers for no reason. “Ia hie. Afi nihi utranqi.” I recognized ‘hie’ for ‘okay’, but otherwise it was a sentence I couldn’t understand.
“Hie,” I say.
I get giggling for a reply, or at least it sounds like giggling to me, for my head is starting to feel funny after all that wine. I can’t even feel the hearth’s warmth in this state, and the subtle sound of the fire is so distant that I barely hear it.
I close my eyes for a moment, I just have to, and now I find it hard to open them. I take one last look at her face and then I close my eyes, not opening them again in a while.
In the morning as I open my eyes, I realize that I’m still on the bear fur carpet. Can’t complain as it’s warm and soft in comparison to moss. It doesn’t end there, my pillow is actually organic—more precisely, my pillow is her.
As strange as it may sound, I’m just sleeping between her legs, using her abdomen as a pillow. I repeat; I’m only sleeping, clothes and everything on. I have no idea how I ended up sleeping like this, but I definitely did nothing like this on my own accord.
I sit up quickly, flustered by this scenario. My heart pounds rapidly, I had no idea that a human could feel like this. I barely had any friends back in the days, so I dare say this kind of a contact is a whole new thing to me, which is why I can’t help but panic.
However, all the disorder I’m going through vanishes the moment my stomach rumbles like thunder, and that wakes up her, making her squint her eyes as the sunlight reaches her. “Haro?” She seems to ask me something.
Now that I think about, I think I’d heard that word somewhere before. Nevermind, I need to eat something lest my stomach starts protesting even more. Should I go down to the garden? That’s the only source of food I can find on my own if the dried rations in my bag are excluded.
What was the word for ‘food’ again? “Tonfo.” I hope I hit the mark.
“Tonfo? Tsk… Qiia vorl!”
I think ‘qiia’ means small or little. I’ve heard her use it a couple of times but she never pantomimed it, so I can’t say for certain. But what is for certain, is that she’s pouting.
As soon as she sits up, her face takes a sudden turn of expression to such degree that I can tell what she’s feeling right now. She hurriedly looks for something but finds nothing she’s looking for, thus deciding to rush out of the room. In no time I can hear her throwing up.
That’s what you get for drinking too much, girl.
Now that I think about it, I feel disgusting as well, but I don’t need to throw up as urgently as she does, so I’ll just look for a fitting spot. However, I won’t manage if I have to walk all the way to the first floor, so there better be a toilet or something. Big castles like this should have a toilet room somewhere.
After the horrible morning, we’re both on the first floor, walking through the vast hall. She’s been deep in thought ever since we begun walking down here. I can’t read her mind, so I can’t guess what she has in her mind. I still have a small headache but it shouldn’t affect me too much.
Once we walk in the very center of the hall, we both notice something odd. The floor is glowing, or more precisely, a symbol on the floor is glowing. It’s a complicated one, so describing it could prove difficult. I’ll just call it a whorl of markings. The size of the symbol is big, but then again, this hall is vast, so a small symbol on the floor would go unnoticed, thus the big size, I think.
We just stand there for a moment, wondering at the scene. The thing that happened down in the wine cellar left a bad impression on me, so I’d really not fiddle with this riddle.
My stomach agrees. The noise echoes far in this hall. She looks at me with awe, then she lets out a sigh. “Aracha.”
Again that word! Just what could it mean? I’ve heard her say that a couple of times.