Not missing a beat, Sibyl leaned closer to the princess like a relentless, overeager saleswoman, “Oh, but my dear, he’s such a catch! You won’t find a man more strong and more tender than this one right here.”
“What? I’ve lived this long I’d like to see some great-grandbabies before I die!” Hataru’s cheeks ignited with fire, her eyes wide.
Levi glanced at the poor girl, I’m sorry, and sighed as he sat down upon a barrel in the opposite corner of the room, “Grandmama, how are you?”
Sibyl pouted at the change of subject, “Oh, I’m holding up.” She hobbled over to a wood-burning stove and ladled meaty vegetable soup into three wooden bowls. She first served Hataru, who hadn’t realized how hungry she’d been until the salty broth was in her hands.
“No more uninvited guests?” Levi locked eyes with his mother’s mother as she handed a bowl to him, a silent understanding passing between them.
She shook her head as she eased into a hard wooden chair, “No, no he has not returned since then.”
“I still have hope for him.”
“I don’t see why.”
Hataru wanted to ask about this mysterious character, but she had the feeling it was best for her to keep her mouth shut. They all slurped their meal in silence.
“Have you remembered any of what you told him?” Levi asked after a while, scraping the bottom of his bowl for the last few drops of his favorite childhood meal.
“Only bits and pieces that don’t make any sense, but then again my prophecies never make much sense, do they?”
“Prophecies?” Hataru could not subdue her curiosity.
“Yes, my dear,” the old woman smiled, “When I was a babe, my mother named me Sibyl because she saw that I had a connection with the forces of the cosmos. They sent me visions both in my sleep and in my waking, and as soon as I could speak, omens of the future poured from my lips. I’ve been known as the village soothsayer ever since." She tilted her head, “You couldn’t tell?”
“I’m sorry, should I have been able to?” Hataru fidgeted in her seat.
“Are you not a Seer yourself? I would think you'd be able to recognize your own kind.”
“You have the eyes of one, so brightly colored. That’s what helps us see through the veil of space and time.”
“I’m afraid you are mistaken, ma’am,” Hataru shook her head, “I’ve never seen into the future before.”
“Or the past?”
“All I have of the past are my memories.”
“Not even in a dream?”
“I haven’t had one in years.”
“Hmm,” the wrinkles around Sibyl’s mouth crinkled as her lips contorted in puzzlement, “Maybe that’s just because you’ve never tried.”