The Haunted Theigr Grove [BT] Oct 30, 2018 9:12:10 GMT -6
Post by Lunie on Oct 30, 2018 9:12:10 GMT -6
It was a sunny day in the plains of Sacae and a pleasant breeze swept through the Chaklai village. A smiling Selunae strolled along a small open market in the new apparel she had recently purchased. A simple pink gown under a sleeveless red kimono. A wide burgundy waist band was wrapped around her and kept snug by a long pink ribbon belt tied in a bow. It was minimalistic as far as local styles went, lacking in any sort of decorative pattern, but it was all she could afford. Nonetheless, the archer still felt quite elegant and ladylike wearing these local garments. She still stood out somewhat though, but that didn’t bother her a bit. Selunae had been staying at Skai’s ranch and both training and working there for several weeks now and though she had this afternoon off from her chores, she had offered to run a few errands in the village. Mainly, she had made a few deliveries. Now, with a bit of time to herself, she browsed to her heart’s content. It couldn’t hurt to look, though she had quickly burned through the modest pay she received for her work every time she turned around. Not today though. She hardly had anything left from buying her new clothes the other day.
Tiring of browsing through things she couldn’t buy, she found herself slipping into a chair in a cozy tea house that she had grown to be a regular of throughout her stay. The young waitress who was a few years Selunae’s senior, turned to her, eyes lighting up from beholding the Bernese teen.
“Ah, Lunie. It is you. I hardly recognized you, dressed up like that. Shall I get your usual?” she offered, the warm smile on her face replacing an expression of pleasant surprise.
“Of course, Lingyu,” Selunae answered with a small giggle. “--but wow, the place is so busy this afternoon.” Sure enough, nearly every table was occupied. Mostly it was locals, but one or two stood out more than she did.
“It is! There are quite a few travelers passing through lately. Good for business, mother says, but it just makes more busywork for me though.” Lingyu huffed. “Oh! I don’t mean to complain though. I’ll be right back with your apple tea.”
“Oh, it’s no… uh..” Selunae watched as the Sacaean waitress spirited away before she could finish. She sighed with a soft smile and muttered the rest to herself. “..No problem.”
There was little to do but wait as Lingyu served other customers, but in idle boredom the archer caught notice of a wrinkled, bald old man shooting frequent glances her way. She made the mistake of making eye contact though and was met with a stone-faced stare. Suddenly, she found herself losing focus as his eyes seemed to pierce through her. Selunae’s mouth hung open, words roiling inside but never escaping her throat. A hand grabbed her shoulder and she nearly jumped out of her chair with a start. Her eyes, nearly feral from fear, turned to find Lingyu frowning at her with concern.
“Lunie, is everything okay? You look like you just saw a ghost.” The waitress tilted her head to the side. Selunae choked out a nervous laugh, the tension easing away quickly.
“I’m fine.” The Bernese huntress breathed deeply and offered a reassuring smile. “Jus’ got lost in thought for a sec. I’m....” The old man was gone. The table where he sat was unoccupied and she was staring into space now. “I.. I’m.. Sorry, guess there’s lots on my mind today ‘n all.”
“It’s okay. They’ve kept you pretty busy on the ranch lately, huh.” Lingyu reassured Selunae with a gentle squeeze of her shoulder. “Oh, but hey. I want you to try something. I’ve been practicing making mooncakes for autumn and wanted you to have one.”
“What’s a mooncake?” The redhead’s brow arched with curiosity. Turning to face the table, she saw it sitting there on a neatly folded cloth beside her steaming teacup.
“They are an old tradition from the tribe my family was a part of before joining the Chaklai.” Lingyu explained. “We eat them to celebrate the moon, for luck.”
“Wow.. really? For me?” Selunae’s eyes lit up.
“Mother’s are better, but I hope you enjoy it.” Lingyu beamed a smile.
With the enthusiasm of a child, the archer shoved the round confection into her mouth and took a bite. “Ith vewy chewy..”
Lingyu burst into laughter. “Oh Lunie, don’t talk with your mouth full. Ah, but I have to get back to work. I’ll talk to you later, alright?”
“Fankth, ‘ingoo,” Selunae answered, mouth still full of the surprisingly dense cake. “Ith good.”
With that, a satisfied Lingyu sauntered away to fulfill her responsibilities, leaving the huntress to her mooncake and tea. Selunae was able to finish both without interruption and thankfully the bizarre distraction from the old man was gone from her mind. She was able to relax and enjoy the rest of her time in the tea house. All was normal once more. It was late afternoon, so it seemed like a good time to return to the ranch to help Lady Azi with dinner. That was exactly what Selunae intended to do. However, the moment she left the tea house, a bony hand grasped her wrist tightly.
With a quick shriek, the girl turned to find herself face to face once more with the old man.
“Stay away from the haunted grove. Beware!” the old man released her just as quickly as he grabbed her.
Once more in a fit or terror, Selunae ran from the crotchety elder, paying no mind to her direction. She only slowed her pace when she realized he wasn’t following her, not that he’d have been able to match her speed anyway. Perhaps it had been irrational of her. What was this haunted grove nonsense anyway?