The intensive thinking process made Rokah collapse on the bed, like a lifeless stick, he was working his brain high and low, reasoning about the potential locations the Lycanthrope could use as a hideout. Since it was impossible for him to search in each and every bit in the whole village.
Judging by the Lycanth bad physical condition, he must be extra vigilant after he attempted to form an alliance with the Aracanthrope had failed. Yet this advantage also was a double-edged sword that could slice Rokah neck, especially if he didn't find him before Lady Savannah sharp senses.
Maybe there is a way that will help Rokah made the extra vigilance of his prey work in his favor…
How can he do that?
Perhaps, he could use meat as a bait to trap him. A slice of a fresh hunt, mixed with Valerian root, extract to sedate the Lycanth tired body. It will be excellent to transform him into a docile dog. But will his brain be so weakened to fall for it?
Well, no harm in trying…
While Rokah mind started to drift into the hypnotic effect of the sleep, he recalled the echoes of Mr. Hendrickson talks about the reason behind the inbreeding in the village. This conversation didn’t want to leave his unconscious. And it made him have a second thought to what he had already concluded about the root of the dissemination of inbreeding.
Was there another reason?
No matter how much Rokah has speculated about it; his imagination roamed the different possibilities, then returned to the same single, logical point.
It works like a cage trapping all villagers and isolating them from the rest of the world, but even so, it was not like they didn't know about the existence of another world outside this place. How came, — except for some mongrels — like Chewa- no one of the residents had the idea or show an interest of leaving this village as if a world beyond these limited boundaries didn’t exist in their minds…
At first, Rokah considered it as a simple ignorance, implanted by fears, and lack of ambitions. However, after his open conversation with the elder. He was now lost in the chaos. Especially when he investigated the mongrels whom they wished to leave this village, most of them never come back to visit their family and the others were mysteriously dead or killed like Chewa.
Without hesitation, this village is surly an interface to prison or more accurately a slave farm. No wonder the inbreeding is widespread. But Rokah only witnessed first or second-generation offspring, rarely the third generation. It meant that this inbreeding is strictly monitored.
According to Mr. Hendrickson's confident talk, maybe there is another reason behind the inbreeding.
Rokah won’t deny the possibility that it could be a bluff from that man's side for the purpose to stir curiosity in his heart and made his return to meet him again to get the answer…
Maybe this was Mr. Hendrickson's true objective from the start. He wanted to trap Rokah and make him seem as if he has betrayed the Crocotta’s clan. Since the man knew that Rokah was working for them. Indeed, Mr. Hendrickson was very much getting ahead of himself.
By betraying the Crocotta, what will Rokah gain by it, it will only result in his doom and all his hard work for his freedom will go wasted.
He tossed left and right struggling to shove off the swarming war between his curiosity and his pride. But those hungry new hatched chicks of questions refused to desert his train of thought without an explanation.
He opened his weary eyes exploring the room for a little peace. They fell directly on the incomplete canvas which didn’t help much. He shifted them to the door, then to the table where he noticed the pouch of Madam Linda on its surface. It jumped to him the idea to take a look at the tavern and meet Madam Linda there while using the excuse of returning her pouch…
Walking down the road, Rokah sentimentality surfaced like a tiny piece of wood, not harmful but irksome. Madam Linda will certainly prepare a cup of warm milk for him. Then they will chat a little about the last hot topics that entice the resident's interest. With that, the tension built in his mind and body will ooze bit by bit on the pulses of the conversation.
He wondered if it was okay to tell her about his nearing departure, only to withstand her reaction. He just wanted to revive the feeling of being important to somebody, even for a transitory, short period of time. Still, Leaving silently in parallel with the winter cold breeze was his sole and best option.
The big wooden door was locked. Regardless of how much a force he used, it won’t open. He never recalled a time when the tavern was out of the service. It was always open, day and night. He gave up on pushing the door brainlessly and rested his two palms on the door. His head tilted toward the muggy soil while he closed his eyes. The strong liquor smell sent an arching wave of shivers belittled his frame. He rushed for the auxiliary door where the kitchen and the storehouse were located. However, it was also locked.
He stood there thinking about what possibly could have happened when he has heard a noise coming from the main opening. It was a group of woodcutters. They knocked on the door several times and called some names, but no one answered their calls.
Rokah wanted to talk to them, maybe they knew why the tavern is closed, but he changed his mind when he saw them retreating peacefully.
He asked himself ¨ didn’t they find the closing of the tavern without a prior notification weird? ¨. But since they retreated in peace, he thought that he was the one who was overthinking the matter of tavern being closed.
However, his sense that detects the danger didn’t misguide him. He knew it, the moment the fragrance of petrichor landed on his skin and surrounded the air he breathed. Its owner was approaching as it got stronger.
What a delightful coincidence? The person Rokah was looking for was walking toward him, or he so thought.
He felt that he was standing on clouds; he must have consumed the luck of ten years.
While diving in drunkenness like state, he returned near the storehouse where they kept barrels. He bathed himself in liquor to mask his presence, then clumped the roof of the tavern and hide while reserving a clear view of the main entrance.
Rokah heard a cracking underneath, he concluded that someone opened the door from the interior. He couldn’t know who it was until they entered his line of sight.
The state of the happy drunkenness, he was in, got interrupted and quickly replaced by thousands of pinches to wake him up.
He was sure that Lady Savannah had killed the Aractanthrope, then why he is seeing his silhouette walking out of the tavern while carrying a big package on his back…
Rokah's soul became distressed as the unanswered questions colonized his mind.
What was going on?
If the Aractanthrope is alive… then to whom the smell of the blood that Rokah had detected belong?
How come he is alive after Lady Savannah crossed his road?
Rokah lifted his eyes looking at the distance, not just for an answer… He has glimpsed a black shadow approaching; it must be the source of the petrichor smell…
More and more questions popped in his head...
The petrichor smell belongs to the Lycanthrope then why he is advancing toward the place of the Aractanthrope?
Are they working together?
Rokah observed the Aractanthrope that stopped and put off the weight he was carrying… he looked as if he was waiting for someone.
Rokah, in a quick movement, let himself slide a little on the roof to the other side before he rested on his back while his hand closed tight on his mouth and nose. His heart must have stopped or exploded because he didn’t know if he was alive anymore when he perceived those keen pale yellow eyes checking the roof.
Only one thought was clinging into his fading consciousness: ¨Lady Savannah and the Aractanthrope are working together."