Levi leaned forward, impatiently butting into their conversation, “Are you sure you can’t recall anything from his visit? Anything at all?”
“I told you, dear, my old mind can’t remember all the words that sprout from my tongue unless I write them down, and your b─”
“Took the only copy you had, I know. It’s just,” his shoulders sagged, “you’re all I have left, Grandmama. I couldn’t bear it if he hurt you, too.” The captain bowed his head like a dejected dog, and pain cracked his voice.
Bones creaking, Sibyl rose from her seat and shuffled over to her grandson. She patted his prickly cheek, “I’ll be fine.” Levi leaned into her gentle touch.
Pink-cheeked, the princess looked away, feeling like she was eavesdropping on a private conversation, but the aged hostess soon turned to her and apologized, “My dear, Hataru, I'm afraid we've been ignoring you.”
“Oh, no. I was just… admiring your cooking.”
“I’ll give you the recipe!”
“Ah… I'm not sure how much good that would do. I don’t actually know how to cook…”
Sibyl's smile was wide and toothy. “Why, we can fix that, my d─”
Without a warning, the clairvoyant’s body froze in place. Her eyes remained open, and she continued breathing, but other than that, the frail woman acted like a corpse, limply teetering back and forth with the intention of crumpling to the floor.
Hataru grew pale, “What's happening to her?”
The Seer began to fall, but Levi caught her from behind, as if he was accustomed to this death-like behaviour in his grandmother. “She's having one of her episodes. Quick, help me get her to the bed.” Shoulder to shoulder, they tucked her under a heap of quilts and propped her up on a mountain of pillows.
The soothsayer’s golden eyes began to glow like a pair of miniature suns, so bright that their light drowned out her dark pupils, and in a voice not quite her own, she rasped, “Your future… I see it! Yes, the animals, they stir!” Her spindly fingers darted out and wrapped themselves around Hataru’s biceps, “You shall help him, and,” her pupiless eyes focused on Levi, “you must protect her!”
The pirate and the princess glanced at each other as the golden glow began to fade.
Sibyl blinked as if she were waking up from a deep sleep, and taking one look at Hataru’s ghostly white face, she sighed, “Oh, I did it again, didn’t I? Sometimes, I just can’t control when the spirits want to talk to me. I’m sorry, my dear. That must have startled you quite a bit.”
Hataru was slow to speak, “Ah… Are you alright, ma’am?”
“Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine. It happens all the time! Though, I’m usually,” she yawned, “quite sleepy afterwards.”
The early light of morning began to filter through the dirty windows of the hovel, and Levi stood up straight, “It’s time for us to go. You should sleep, Grandmama.”
“Leaving so soon?” Sibyl asked drowsily.
He nodded. “You know I have to.” Crouching down near her bed, he added softly, “It’s the only thing keeping this town alive, and it’s all I have left of Father now.”