PIASPM Chapter 6
Millen was confident and honest in everything she did because she was a wizard.
Furthermore, she had nothing to fear because guests who could use magic would not be able to visit their inn by their own will alone. They could only do so if they were led to it by the cats.
Millen straightened her back and faced Todd. She then spoke in a calm voice, “It’s not I who needs help, it is you.”
At Millen’s blunt remark, Todd responded with a slightly bewildered look. It was clear to anyone that he hadn’t even imagined such an answer would come from her. He cleared his throat and spoke softly, “I mean no offense, my Lady. I was only trying to be polite and I just wanted to do something for you in return for all the kindness and help you’ve given us.”
“Well, I don’t need any of that,” said Millen with a stubbornness painted on her face. However, Todd was equally unrelenting, and he didn’t back down easily either.
“We want to be polite as human beings should.” Despite what he was currently feeling, he was still a man of courtesy. Nevertheless, he had to remind himself that this was the ‘Cat Inn’ ; where strange and mysterious things happened, and it was the place where the words of its owner, Millen, was the law.
“There is no need to be so polite here. So, don’t bring this up again.” Millen replied as she stared at him coldly. She then turned her back to him and touched the string that hung from her wide-brimmed hat; it was a strong gesture that indicated to the person receiving it to not talk any further.
Regardless of how she acted, deep in her heart she felt a little uneasy.
As she walked away, her mind unexpectedly drifted off to their wounded guest, ‘He says his master’s name was Bastille.’
Truth be told, she found that his presence in their inn overwhelmed her to the point of annoyance. Still, she couldn’t help but be curious about Bastille. No matter how hard she denied or tried to distract herself, it was a fact that she couldn’t stop thinking about him.
‘I’m a little curious about what he looks like…’
Millen, without even realizing it, continued musing about him.
Millen entered her laboratory and gently took her hat off and sat it on a nearby wooden table.
The floorboards creaked as she approached the corners of the room to open all the windows. She often did this when she came there in order to ventilate the room. Since the area was closed off and housed various potions, herbs and plants, it often was humid, and so musky odors easily developed and would tangle with each other in there.
Sometimes, if there were spillages, the room could even smell rather putrid.
Today was no exception, a foul odor leaked out of a vial that spilled earlier that day, and it subtly permeated the air inside the premises. Millen found herself needing fresh air and so she poked her head out of her window and looked down at the scenery of their inn’s peaceful gardens.
Her eyes scanned through the greenery, as if she was looking for someone or something. Finally, her face lit up when she found what she was looking for. She called out in a cheerful voice, “Buzz!”
As soon as she said that name, a white cat with a lovely expression appeared and glanced up at Millen’s direction.
Millen stared back at it in relief, she had been waiting for Buzz to arrive all morning, “I’m here!” Millen cried out to the white cat in a cheerful tone.
The cat gave its surrounding area quick sweeping glances. After doing so, it stretched out its limbs and immediately came up to the window.
White cats were relatively smaller than black cats. That’s why it was more agile when it climbed up to reach her. At last, it landed on the window and jumped into the room. Millen stared at the white cat happily, “Buzz, were you waiting for me?” Millen greeted it as if she was talking to her friend.
Buzz smiled and rubbed its head against Millen’s skirts. So Millen crouched down and started to stroke the back of its neck. The cat responded by purring as it leaned in closer to her touch. After their affectionate exchange, it stared at Millen intently and blinked a few times. It looked as though it was passing important information to its mistress, ‘Meow…Meow…’
“…Really?” Millen’s voice and expressions were mixed with joy and surprise. She felt excited by the new news Buzz was giving her.
‘Meow…Meow…’ She could clearly see the pride oozing out of the white cat by the way it purred and relayed the message.
“Alright, please let me know as soon as more information comes in.”
Cats with the same eye color as that of Millen had abilities that made them unique. They usually possessed unusual powers that could not be found in any other cat.
The white cats were a little more delicate than the black ones, while the black cats were a little more aggressive than the white ones. Millen would often notice that the black cats would be engaged in a lot of activities and kept to themselves while white cats easily expressed their cute sides to humans.
Due to its naturally friendly disposition, the delicate and amiable white cat, Buzz, communicated well with other animals too, which is the reason why it became a good bearer of news. Animals that communicated well with Buzz were usually the squirrels, rabbits, badgers, moles, and birds.
That day, Buzz told her about the conversations it had with squirrels and sparrows.
“Thank you, Buzz.” Millen showed her gratitude by kissing it.
Then, she lightly squeezed the cat’s pink nose and gave it as much care as she could, for Millen, they were her family.
* * *
The next day, Thanos and Todd, who had been searching for Jade’s horse since early morning, came back to the inn by noon time.
Once again, they had to return empty-handed. Neither were they able to gather more clues about Canto’s whereabouts.
Todd thanked Thanos, but it was clear to everyone that he was disheartened by their fruitless search. The former then proceeded to report to his master the results of their work.
For his part, Thanos finished his lunch with a look of indifference on his face.
After which, he spent the rest of the afternoon, tending to his usual post at the inn, made rounds and ascertained that the whole area was safe.
After a few hours passed, Thanos, who had finished guarding the surroundings, came to Millen’s laboratory after he changed his clothes. He wore a neat outerwear and approached Millen, who was sitting at her working table, “I’m going to the market, my Lady.”
He had meant that he would go to the center of the capital to buy necessities and groceries for their consumption.
Customarily, when they had guests, it was implicit that only Thanos was the one who would go out alone, do the shopping and return quickly back to the inn. On the other hand, when they had no guests, Ahin and Kai would usually beg to go with Thanos, but today, they did not. Therefore, Millen casted a silent spell to ease up Ahin and Kai’s moods so they both wouldn’t be too upset for not being able to go to town with Thanos.
She nodded her head in acknowledgement and addressed the older gentleman, “Thanos, this time, the money bag is heavy, so buy a lot of meat, and also buy a lot of that exotic fruit that was said to have come from the southern countries.”
“Understood, my Lady.” Thanos’ lips curved up into a slight smile as he recognized his mistress’ considerate heart.
Even though Millen herself did not like to go out to visit the center of the capital, she was still quite knowledgeable because she knew the outside of the forest very well.
“I will go now, my Lady.” Thanos then set out on the road purposefully.
As soon as Thanos left, Linda knocked at her lab’s door and entered.
She carried a tray with a teapot and teacup, inside the room. Millen also saw some cookies placed on the silver platter as her nanny stepped into the premises.
The older woman flashed her a bright smile, “My Lady, I brought chrysanthemum tea.”
Linda, who had been taking care of Millen since she was young, was relieved that it was time to feed her. So she went up to the third floor with her homemade cookies and presented them to her mistress. As she set the tray down on the room’s tea table, she casted a glance at Millen’s work table, “My Lady? What are you doing?”
Millen, who moments ago was engrossed in her experiment, suddenly ruffled her hair in frustration. She looked like she was deeply tormented. After tugging at her hair, she then slammed her forehead against the wooden table and sighed loudly.
Seeing this, her nanny quickly went to her side and asked, “Is there any problem?”
“I failed again. This is the twentieth time that I have failed.” Millen replied and sulked some more.
Linda gave her a tender look, as if she was staring at a lost baby lamb.
Millen continued to wear a pitiful expression on her face and so Linda walked closer to her pouting lady and patted her droopy back tenderly.
“I must be incompetent, Linda. I keep failing!” Millen complained as she let her Nanny rub her back.
“So what if you fail? Even failures are possible because you are still young. What you’re doing is something other people couldn’t even attempt to do. Am I wrong? Therefore, it’s okay to fail, my Lady.”
Still Millen was unconvinced by her comforting words, “But twenty is too large a number to still be failing.”
“You have inherited your mother’s blood. Like her, you will learn from failures and eventually succeed. So it’s alright. Have you forgotten? You’re the only one who looks exactly like her.”
Millen raised her head and her eyes glistened at the mention of her mother.
Her lavender-colored irises gleamed brightly and shone with joy. It was apparent on her face how she was pleased to hear those comments from her nanny, “Do I really look just like my mother?”
Millen’s eyes were pleading at Linda.
It was like they were loudly telling her that; ‘Please tell me that I look like her! That I’m just like her!’. She straightened Millen’s back as she pulled her up and into a sitting position. The former then held the latter’s hand and cupped them with hers, from an outsider’s perspective, they looked like they were praying together.
Linda smiled kindly and brushed away some of Millen’s messy hair that clung to her forehead. Her touch was gentle, that it almost reminded Millen that if her mother was alive, she too would have done the same for her.
“Well, maybe you’re not exactly the same. However, the color of your hair and eyes are the same. She is also kind to her family members, and she likes flowers and tea too. Furthermore, you inherited all of her amazing magical abilities.”
“Of course! You are definitely Liz’ child. I’m surprised that the paternal side didn’t even show, your fingernails don’t even resemble your father’s…”
At the mention of her father, Millen stiffened.
Silence immediately fell in the room and even Linda grew quite self-conscious. Her nanny began to squirm uncomfortably and covered her mouth as if she was confused by the recent events, “Oh my gosh. This old mouth again…”
She was reckless, and unknowingly made a slip of the tongue because she was focused on easing Millen’s feelings of insecurity. She was well aware how she uttered words that she should not have put in her mouth in the first place.
As speechless as she was, she was thankful that at least Thanos wasn’t with them that time. She knew if he was, he would have spat out a bitter rebuke.
“I made a mistake again! Every time this old mouth of mine opens, it just says things it shouldn’t. I’ll have to sew this up or find a way to get rid of it…” Linda continued to stutter and gesticulated in panic in front of Millen.
Millen knew that it wasn’t just an uncomfortable topic for her, but it was also equally a sensitive topic for Linda. She raised her hands and grabbed Linda’s in order to calm the older woman, “It’s okay, Linda.”
When Linda managed to recover her bearings, Millen finally released her hold on her and spoke, “It’s okay, so don’t blame yourself too much.”
“You don’t have to worry because I’m not the same as before.”
“Really?” Linda’s eyes widened and she stared at Millen anxiously.
Millen nodded in response, “Yes, really.”
Twenty years have passed since that day.
Millen, the newborn baby, had now become a twenty-year-old lady.
The once quirky and cute little girl grew up to be a wizard just like her mother.
“Linda was right. I guess time really is the medicine.” She said absentmindedly as she reflected back on her life.
Her mother, who was a wizard, was killed in a witch hunt.
Millen had to go through great sorrows since the time of her birth. Her growing up years were certainly no bed of roses. However, as the years went by, she slowly became numb to all the pain, and her wounded heart had hardened like calluses.
Although Millen had lived in the Weber Empire, where magic was forbidden, and she never appeared in public, she was still unmistakably a wizard. Therefore, she knew the importance of securing her identity and keeping her anonymity.
She became well aware how neither of them had spoken and she slowly felt suffocated by the deafening silence between them and so Millen opened her mouth and changed the topic, “By the way, how is our injured guest?”
“It is still difficult for him to move, but he seems a lot better now. He ate all the meat soup we had sent to him for lunch. Aside from his gentle personality, his face also appears to be perfect. I reckon it’s because he is so handsome that Ahin couldn’t stop talking about how she can die happily by just seeing his face. She always sings praises to him each time she comes back to the kitchen after her visits to that customer. Sometimes, she really loses her self-consciousness and propriety when she is excited…Tsk, tsk…” Linda shook her head softly and started to pour the tea into Millen’s teacup.
Millen shrugged as she watched Linda push the tea in front of her, “Isn’t Ahin of that age though? It’s only natural for girls her age to be very interested in men.”
Millen raised her teacup to her lips and breathed in its subtle scent.
As it warmed her hands, she couldn’t help but smile quietly to herself. However, her peacefulness was suddenly broken by Linda’s indignant voice, “Oh my gosh! My Lady and Ahin are only two years apart. You know, you sometimes pretend to be an adult when you are still very young. Please don’t do that. People will think we’re similar in ages, when in fact, you’re only 20 years old…”
“What do you mean by that?”
Millen frowned and pursed her lips at her nanny, “…But Linda you know I’m right that she’s been talking nonsense ever since she laid eyes on him? It sounds to me like Ahin only cares about men and makes a lot of fuss out of it.”
Linda rolled her eyes and tilted her head. She then showed her temper that only young silly girls encountered, “I know right? Did you see her just now? Goodness, she talked like a person possessed after she came out of the bathroom.”
So Millen couldn’t help but laugh and added, “I did! I observed, she’s even making a face that looks like hasn’t been cleaning her ass properly these days.”
“Gosh, Miss! Such vulgar words!” The terrified Linda pondered whether to shut her mistress’ mouth or cover her ears.
She ended up shuddering in disgust at the mental images Millen put in her head.
Millen’s unreadable expressions, no matter what she said, were always a source of concern for her Nanny.
“Why can’t I talk like this? Linda does it too?” Millen gave a mischievous smile to her now petrified nanny.
Linda stared at her incredulously and exclaimed, “Are you and I the same? Are you not a young lady? This is not how a lady of your stature should speak!”
“Hush!” Millen put her index finger to her lips and gave her a reproachful look. Even if there were only the two of them in the room, they still had to be careful, lest the wind carried their voices to ears who were not meant to hear them.
To be continued
Translator: Byoun Editor: NineKnights