Humans are unusual. From distance like porcelain doll. White face and red lips. Cool. Up close more brown and hot. Smell like food and fear. Mir’ Itus, he used to them. Noises, snuffles, coughs. Farts. Oh so noble.
I like the spirit woman. She quiet. Smell? She smell like rope from the sea ships. Nice. Like pirate smell. Neiki her name. She talk with me about spells. Asks Te’Ka’Mok for help. Yes! Good spirit. Tatsuoh and Nya, human leaders, the Lion and the Scorpion. I not know what to think. Nice armor on him. She dress like, um I cannot find words. She dress like rag woman – but rich rag woman, yes? And all in white, like someone die!
Old Kuroda give to us the horses for riding to Kaiu Shiro, to granddaughter Kaiu De. I pick small pony. Not liking to be so high. Gami-Gami and Mir’ Itus, they ride with me in the middle pack. Tatsuoh ride in front and Nya ride in back. We are protected….. Or surrounded.
We have wagon with goods to deliver to Kaiu from old Kuroda. I wish to speak up and say that I am no trader, no wagon driver. Shaman of Third Whisker tribe does not act like grocer! But my English is not good and better to stay silent in case they want me to drive, yes?
Easy road for horsey legs. I get easy in the saddle and thinking that my pony is good friend. Ookami beside me on his dog legs. Happy moment to memory-ize. After lunch, we getting close to town, so says the Lion.
Coming up long, slow hill and smell hits me and Mir’ Itus at same time, I am thinking. Bakemono! Stinking smell: fire and sweat and balls. I no think. Spur up to the Lion. Mir’ Itus on otherside. He say: “There is trouble ahead. Bakemono.” Human does impressive thing. Nods. No question of Nezumi nose. Turns horse and barks command too quick for me to catch, pulls sword and charges ahead.
At the top of hill, we see fields. Some burning, some fine. I smell human blood and see Tatsuoh riding to right side of the road. Smell blood, cannot see!
“Where?” I ask Gami-Gami. “Ahead and left, Mistress Rat.” She points. “Come.” I say and I move with pony, dog and Gami-Gami down the road. I not even have staff in hand. I thinking about blood smell and Bakemono. Bakemono here? Bad news. Can I save human? I hit with fresh wave of blood smell. Much smell, yes? Like um, all the blood on the outside of human.
My hand goes to left side pouch. How many bandage I am having? And I hear shouting behind me and Mir’ Itus cry in Nezumi “Watch out!” I turn front to see Bakemono charge. Pull horse with instincts and safe for moment. Not think. Reach out and call death touch to mind. See curling, brown paper, see bones, see dead flowers in mind, yes? Put it all into the touch. Bakemono yelps with pain but not die. Samha’bir! Not enough magic for to death touch. Hurt touch. Pain touch.
Then Nya beside me with staff. And Gami-Gami on other side with Lajatang double sharp blades. Snick-snick and Bakemono in two pieces. Another one crunch on Nya’s leg, hang on bite-bitey and she pull it off. Strong for lady human. I remember that for later. Suddenly, it over. How long? Seconds I thinking. But felt like hours. I no warrior, the blood hurts my nose and I want to cry. I no death touch before. To heal, not to kill. I hide tears. Big-big shaman of Third Whisker, but baby-baby to battle. No one for to know this.
I slip off horse and bow to Nya. “You bleed. I heal you now.” I paused. “Yes?” She made a face and shook her head. “No.” She started to turn away, and stop. “No, thank you.” And bow to me. Little rude, less rude, pretty good for human.
The Lion man returns with two Bakemono heads. “The Bakemono have…….. blah-blah, human talk.” I not know what he say to she. Gami-Gami was at my side. “There are injured ones, Mistress.” And she led me to them. Good work for to soothe my mind, the healing of humans.
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