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18 Chapter 5 Imposters

 "Please tell me...are you a spell caster? ?"

The foxman picked the mug on the table and took a mouthful of the juice inside. His eyes diverted to those of the girl waiting for an answer and so did everyone else in the hall.

'This is a sticky situation. If I deny being a spell caster, there'll be suspicion and rumors about my race. If I'm reported, the Sol government will order my capture. If I accept being a spell caster, it would still lead to the same scenario. What to do?' Orion pondered thoroughly on the most proficient method to escape from the web her question got him in.

"It's okay if you don't want to say. My mom used to tell me your kind went into hiding for a reason. But now that you're here, this certainly means good luck." The young lady's face abruptly radiated with enthusiasm. Orion knew nothing about spell casters, and it seemed like they meant a lot to her, perhaps the entire town as well.

She then bowed and left the man to enjoy his meal. Orion sighed deeply, enjoying the food and also the relief from answering a critical question. He was glad the girl wasn't too keen on getting him to say it. She'd assume whatever she wanted because his ears weren't out in the open. He was disguised as a human, and he didn't like it.

"Isn't this food too much for you?"

The child's silly question made Orion muffle his laugh "I'd rather waste it than give it to you."

Artemis folded her arms over her chest as she laid back on her seat, disappointed but not surprised.

Once Orion was satisfied, he dropped the money on the table then left with Artemis following right behind him.

***

As night fell, the Sequin-silver stars illuminated the pitch-black curtain draped over the sky and the glow of the distant moon smiled down on the earth.

Artemis was already fast asleep curled up on the cold floor whilst Orion was lying comfortably on a bed. The girl didn't have a choice. Time after time, she didn't want to acknowledge the fact that she needed him because she had an objective she craved to accomplish. Enduring his demeanor all the time was stressful, and she didn't have the strength to oppose him but one day, she guaranteed herself she will.

Orion looked through the window that served as the only connection to the outside world from his position on the bed.

The frame was a single pane of leaded glass, old and somewhat cheap. Nevertheless, he appreciated the fact that there was a window in the room despite it being the only source of ventilation because no one in their right mind leaves an inn door open even if it's for air.

It seemed like the cool climate was ideal for a late night walk. He decided to stroll to the closest joints to free his mind from memories he thought he'd forgotten.

He picked Artemis up from the ground then placed her on the soft feather mattress and it wasn't long before she unconsciously cocooned herself in the silk sheets "enjoy comfort for the meantime" The door closed a few seconds later and Orion advanced into the tranquil town.

It was almost like curfew hours because the foxman couldn't spot a single soul on the streets. As expected, even the homeless had to find a place to stay to evade strict punishments forced by the town's chief.

"Get out!!!" Orion stumbled across someone blindly looking for something on the floor. He couldn't identify the gender but the frame was something like a woman's figure. When she got them all in her grasp, a feeling of fulfillment smashed over her, and she felt a bit alleviated that she found all the bronze she managed to earn that night.

She looked up to the door she was pushed out from a moment ago then forced a smile. That was another side job lost that same week.

Her eyes darted to see a pair of familiar ones, and she quickly turned away.

"Are you okay?" Orion asked as the cloaked figure attempted to get up. The strange person didn't respond to the question and prayed the man didn't recognize her but Orion could recall in full details where he knew her from.

To compound the situation for her, a gusty breeze made the hood of the cloak tumble off and her face was uncovered.

'The universe seeks to embarrass me in front of this man' she thought to herself as she switched her gaze awkwardly to her moccasin.

Orion lifted her head up by her jaw, eyes meeting with hers for a split second before he slightly lowered it to the bleeding scratch etched into the delicate skin of her cheek.

With a brief finger swipe, her cheek went back to the way it was meant to be.

"Thank you..." She smiled a little, like that of a child who was determined not to weep. It made Orion wonder what exactly happened and why she was thrown out of her house so late at night.

"Spell caster...can you do something for me"

'No' that was Orion's answer, but he didn't say it loud enough for her to hear.

"Since you can heal, can you help to save an orphan?"

Orion didn't care. His eyes were glazed over with little to no interest of saving anyone again.

"Please sir. I'll do anything" She begged almost falling on her knees.

Orion thought he could use her words for his advantage. He had a bucket list of what he wanted and since the girl was blindly going to follow his every instruction without mind controlling or forcing her, he planned to use her as a perfect chess piece to make some certain achievements.

"Very well. Take me to the orphan" As soon as he said that, she grabbed his hand and led him across town, compelling him to run at her moderate pace. What would've taken him two minutes, took her fifteen.

She knocked on a cottage door and waited for a reply. A short lady with neck-length maroon hair styled with antiquated rollers peeped to see who was there. When she saw it was a familiar face, she didn't stop for a second to open the entryway and hug the girl standing at the door step.

The lady's eyes met with those of a gorgeous man standing at the back where a lamp post could highlight his perfect face, and she questioned who he was, his identity, where he was from, if her friend finally found a boyfriend or if it was just another one time customer.

The girl, Anna, whispered the golden word "Spell caster" into the middle-aged woman's ear, and her eyes widened in shock. She bowed as she cleared a path for him to enter.

She accompanied both Orion and Anna to a room at the far end of the hallway where the supposed orphan was.

Once the door opened, Orion spotted a boy  tucked in his little bed. His blue lips, grey skin and dull eyes made him look like he was already dead.

Despite the black that filled the edges of his vision, his hearing was sensitive. He knew when people were around him. He could detect who was who by their voice, and their presence by their hushed breathing. He could tell someone unfamiliar was close by.

Orion started to wonder why they didn't put and end to his agony a long time ago. Life must've been tough for him in the four walls with cheap pain medication that were obviously of no use.

Words couldn't explain how lucky the boys was to have a beatman decide to heal him. Orion was only doing it to earn the trust of the humans for his well-being.

His breath came in ragged, shallow gasps, as he laid there utterly still wondering who or what was approaching.

Orion took a seat beside the boy and placed his hand over his chest. It was a serious illness, an unknown terminal disease.

A bright light Pulsed from his fingertips and Anna along with her friend watched it flicker in the gloomy room, changing colors from amber, to ruby, then blue to gold.

The boy slowly sat up and the two ladies found it hard to believe. Three years of prescriptions and prayers couldn't effectively heal the kid but it took nothing less than five when the spellcaster was involved.

Orion was startled by the abrupt burst of tears and the sound of their noisy cries. There was nothing special about what he'd done. That kind of thing was very common in his own world. But he wasn't too surprised that the humans lacked the basics of his world.

Anna and her friend hurried to give the boy an embrace while Orion rose up to leave. He'd already gone far when he heard the sound of footsteps and a loud "Wait!!!"

Anna was heaving as she finally caught up to him. Her glossy eyes fringed with long lashes were fixed on the foxman as she spread her arms apart in preparation to hug him.

He wondered if she had a loose screw somewhere, but at some point her gentle arms were somewhat soothing. He bathed in her warmth and the smell of her clothes. He didn't understand how a human could smell so lovely because Artemis did otherwise.

The embrace was a basic enough signal - fondness, maybe the delicate beginnings of the young lady's adoration. Orion shook his head, that was unacceptable.

He gave her a not too hard pat on her back, signaling her to let go, but she didn't.

"Sir, I don't know how else to repay you."

'Anything but this hug' His mind said one thing but his mouth consistently sifted it to state something different "I need tea."

***

'What was I thinking?" The foxman facepalmed himself. He didn't understand why he was behaving weirdly. He assumed he was hexed because something was definitely not right.

Not too long ago he was on his way back to the inn, but presently, he was in the cottage of the girl that stuck to him like a dried gum.

Orion didn't thank her for the tea, he didn't see the need to and neither did she. She didn't expect gratitude from a superior like him but having a blessed being in her home was all that she could ever need. She believed favorable luck would follow her just like the myths told.

With the dainty tea cup in his hand, Orion headed outside because the small building was too cramped for him.

As expected she followed him, still staring intensely as she observed his every move.

They laid under the stars she always found to be similar to a beautiful, surreal blanket above their heads. She could hear the soft breath of him by her side. He was looking at the stars the whole time, she wondered what was on his mind.

She felt a sense of warmth springing from his presence. Her heart thumped softly and it wasn't long before she realised she had fallen in love with the spellcaster.

She tilted her head, gazing upward, eyes more open than they can be, not looking at one star, yet somehow seeing them all at once.

Words couldn't explain the love and respect she had for spell casters and how she'd been longing to see one again.

"Sir, please tell me your name" She decided to speak. Her face heated up as he slowly turned to look at her.

Orion sighed. He had no idea regarding why she was so fixated on him. He didn't want to think of it as a love scenario. She wouldn't be that stupid to take such risk, however, she didn't know who he really was, and she's not at fault. He was gorgeous after all.

"Call me Rowan."