Nero seemed troubled, as the feline in front of him does not seem like a selfish one. What being would waste the rest of its life to protect a place that no longer exists? There is nothing left out here for him to guard, but he has not lost his resolve to keep a promise to the man he owes everything. “Do you fear that after hearing you out so long I would simply run away? Going by that logic, I may have run away when I was greeted by a grinning cat!” Nero said giggling, as he was greeted by a grin of amusement from the one sitting comfortably on a bed. “You do have a wonderful gift of destroying tension, do you not?” Both shared a short laugh before the mood calmed down once again.
“That old fool, he was always such a kind man. Did whatever he wanted to do and was welcoming to any stranger that came to his little dream. Such a blissful creation it was even if it lacked any true goal outside of a hopeful existence. It was astounding to see a man with a dream make it happen even if he had no idea what he was doing. From this window you can see a small garden he once started, but he never managed to actually make anything grow on. The only thing that ever grew was this village, as they slowly took down trees to expand it from within.” Shortly, Chesh stared outside the window as the light fact that the sun was about to leave, as his feline friend was getting more and more comfortable.
“It was something even his daughter kept warning him about, but I was just as much a fool as he was. Comfortably I sat on my little stonewall protecting this world he built for himself from any dangers. We got into conflicts on many occasions simply because he would let people in that I didn’t trust. This was a time long before I was what I am now, a much simpler time indeed.” That was something that haunted Nero ever since he arrived. He can easily accept the fact that this was not a mere cat, but something more.
“On one day, it was not much different than any other, I sat there staring out into the distance. After getting a little snack from Alice, I enjoyed the peace that made this place so wonderful. We had many visitors over the years, but on one rather regular day there was something hiding in the bushes. I felt like it was finally time for me to take care of my duties and uncover the strange creature lurking in the dark. I feared it might harm those that I care for. I got closer and closer, as my curiosity got the better of me and I swooped in.” A short dramatic pause came with a look that seemed so lost in despair.
Taking a closer look, it is easy to see that this story is a burden upon his soul. His grin was not there, but the anger most certainly was. That darkness from before was spreading throughout the shadows that were growing with the sunset escaping into the little room. “In my head it was a beast or a monster that could be threatening the world that I protected. Something that could bring harm to those I love and cherish. I knew that whatever it would be it could not measure itself to that what my mind made it out to be. There it was, a sign of disaster so small I never could’ve understood it. Just a little rat staring back at me that was not scared and did not run away.” Whatever has captured the heart of that cat, it was spreading faster with each heavy word he uttered. Shadow upon shadow, it kept growing and engulfing the room with nothing but an orange colour from the sun keeping it at bay.
“I had a selfish pride that was carried by my own curiosity. I should have just let it be, as when I turned around I saw groups of men, hoards rampaging through this small town. One man’s laugh as the chaos erupted went down my spine, an easily recognisable terror. You could hear screams of the inhabitants not knowing what is happening. My eyes grew wider, as I saw the reality that we were facing. So lonely we were, hidden by these trees. People talked and told tales of a conflict, but it was never something we feared.” The room seemed smaller now, as his anger completely engulfed it. Nero feared that he might fall into despair himself if it would reach him, but to his luck the sunlight from the window next to him kept him safe.
Some part of him wanted to walk over there and let him rest. Maybe sleep somewhere else than the place he abandoned for a split second. It was not his fault. It never was going to be his fault, but however many years he has carried this burden, he may never return to a place that may show him that it was not his fault. “They took everything from us and dragged people away into the forest. A thick fog engulfed them, something that has happened many times before here, but never so sinister. There she was. Alice shouting for me, looking for me and getting into trouble. I ran towards her voice, trying my...”
It is okay. No matter what you thought you did or did not do, nothing could change it anymore. “...I ran towards her voice, but could not find her. The old fool kept shouting for me too, making them aware that they have not been caught. I wanted them to run and be safe, but no. They were just as selfish as me, looking for wherever I was hiding. By the time I finally saw their faces, one was being dragged away, another has lost its life. That fool tried to protect her while she looked for me.” No one could have known. They loved you and wanted you to be safe. “I could not protect them. The one I cared about most was dragged away in front of my eyes, as that old fool just kept telling me, it was going to be okay. The blood on his chest proved otherwise.” That grin of hate was returning. It was growing once it realised the shadows could not spread anymore. Oh, hateful cat, why did you have to endure this?
“That demonic mouse distracted me, I had that dumb face in my mind as hatred came over me. It was like a shadow that was left behind by humanity that made me what I am right now. I was an old man, I lived my life and I thought that I would die peacefully on my spot, but all this chaos took that away from me. I was drowning in sorrow and hate. It consumed me that I was blind. That one rat that distracted me made so hateful, I knew nothing anymore. Once it all subsided and I finally could come back to my senses, there was nothing but silence. No one was left but me.”
Surprisingly, the shadows were moving back to the two-tailed one. His heart must’ve been calming down. “I...” The grin vanished once again and just a tear came down. “I followed them into the forest, but found myself lost. The fog kept me from following them as their screams were swallowed by nothing. All that I had left was but the laugh of the man carved into my mind that was dragging her away. I do not know how many years my anger had forced me to walk through that forest, but I finally came back home realising that it was deserted completely. The first signs of flora taking over and my heart tried its best to finally calm down. So I rested my head upon my guardian spot waiting. She was smart. She would escape. I am sure if she would run away, she would come looking for me. I did not care, even if it cost me an eternity.”
So he sat there. Time flew by and he remembered seeing everything change while his spot stayed the same. Old buildings were covered further and further by plants that wanted to make this place their own. Years have gone by and there was no sign of Alice anywhere. No villager seemed to have escaped the fate that befallen them, or they feared to return to the place that these dark events have occurred. He may have felt forgotten and alone, but he had a little hope in his heart. He did not want that hatred to drown him again in sorrow. He feared what he would become if he just gave up and let it take over. He feared his own fears and troubles. A lonesome creature left behind by humanity’s love and hatred. “I cannot leave, I do not know how many years have passed, but maybe, just maybe she would return. I kept a promise to that old man to protect this place and his most valued treasure.” It was calm. The shadows have gone back to their rightful place and the last bits of orange sun rays were leaving them behind in the old room. After such a long story, there was only silence that greeted them both.