16. The Kresreb (part 3)

          “Ah... that brings us to the second part of the story. When Ursine’s body was prepared for burial, his clothes were washed and sold along with all of his other belongings, since he had no living relatives. It was around this time that Nosa and I were traveling the world, plundering wherever we saw fit. We stopped at the village market, and I was taken by a maroon shirt at a pedlar’s booth. No one in town would buy it, because everyone knew its origins and were frightened by it, thinking it cursed. However, when I heard the tale, I thought it a hoax and bought the shirt.

          “Now, Nosa and I, well, at that point, were still only captain and first mate, good friends, but not lovers, though I definitely had feelings for her, even then. One evening, long after we had set sail from the Ursine’s village, I was having trouble falling asleep. When I stepped out onto the top deck, I was caught off guard. Two others were sitting at a table adorned with candlelight. I stepped closer only to discover that it was my love and a dimwitted, low-ranked, powder-monkey  crewman. He was speaking softly, probably only asking for a promotion, but it looked questionable. My blood boiled. Envy overthrew me, and then I began to transform into the Kresreb, myself. Let me tell you, ma’am, that it is unimaginably painful to feel your body morph into something it was not meant to be, but I won’t go into the details. I had no control over anything. I was helpless. All I was capable of doing was watching with my, own eyes, what my body was doing. I ran for Nosa, slapping the crewman away with the back of my furry hand. Fear clouded my darling’s eyes, yet she could still see clearly into mine. Antenor? Is that you? she whispered. I felt a rumble in my chest and a low growl escape my muzzle. I was mortified. What happened next is hard to describe; all I can say is that it was amazing. Nosa saved me! She found a way to break the curse of the Kresreb, and I was returned to my normal self.”

          Hataru cut in, “Wait...wait. I still don’t understand. How did you turn into the Kresreb? The only thing you had in common with Ursine was ─ ”

          “─ the shirt,” they answered together.

          Antenor explained further, “Apparently, when Ursine cast the spell, he did not cast it upon himself but upon his shirt. The townsfolk who’d believed it to be cursed were, in fact, correct.”

          “Okay, so it is the shirt that is cursed, but he’s been wearing the shirt a while now. Why would the curse only take effect now?”

The End

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