Inka's Curse Part 8: Rumor Has It

“I’ve been searching for you,” she says earnestly. She doesn’t move from any closer.

She stands still and attentively waits on my response, but she doesn’t launch another arrow.

“You’ve got the wrong person,” I say as I frantically struggle lifting myself out of the snow and grab the snake’s remains. While I extend my numb leg, I don’t look up at her. She’s too frightening to look at.

“At least hear me out. Please?” I don’t know what to do. She’s probably looking at me like I’m a snack. There’s no way I can trust her. It’s already dark, and I’m too close to home. “No! Don’t leave me here alone!”

I run away never looking back.

Finally, I can see the gates to Wellspring. I shuffle through the snow into the gate. The night stars peaked through the sky.

It’s dark out but I’m hoping that The Raven’s Message is open. That’s probably one of the coolest names for a shop. Herman is not so cool. He’s an elderly man hard of hearing and must often drunk. I’ve probably seen him sleeping at a table in The Jolly Pearl Inn than anywhere else.

The Raven’s Message is at the edge of the emptied marketplace. Luckily the shop is open. This will be the first time I actually speak to him. When I first meet the alchemist, he is arguing with his assistant.

“You’ve got to stop sleeping on the job,” his assistant yells from somewhere above as I walk in. Herman jumps up from his seat at the counter then quickly sits and points his index finger up at me. I keep quiet as I wait.

“Why? Now your here to take over,” Herman says.

“That’s not why I’m here Gramps,” she says frustrated.

“You can’t learn without practice,” he says then smiles politely at me. He bobs his head, and I sit on a chair in front of his counter.

She stomps down the stairs. “But do I also have to do all the cleaning around here too?" She flings a bag of bottles onto the floor.

Ignoring his granddaughter’s complaints, Herman directs his attention to me. “So what do we have here? Hey, I know you. You’re Ruth’s niece.”

“Oh I’m so sorry. I had no idea someone had come in,” his granddaughter says as she joins us. Her cheeks are rosy red. I don’t know if it was caused from her anger and embarrassment. “Hello there nice to meet you. I’m Lilo. This you probably know of is the famous alchemist Herman.” She gave a low bow to him. Herman began laughing.

“Alright. Aright. We get it. So miss, what are you looking for today?” he grins delightedly. The famous drunken alchemist is not what I was expecting. It’s nice I’ve found him awake and somewhat alert. For all one knows he can assist me.

“My name is Inka, and I’ve got a problem,” I say looking at Herman then at Lilo. Herman examines the chestplate.

By Cristina Collazo