Hettie and Nestor continued their heated conversation in Nestor’s residence. She was starting to look more like a foe than an ally to Nestor.
“A witch. We are plagued by a witch?” Hettie asked.
“Yes. I am hoping that she won’t return. Perhaps she will stumble upon the Crescent, feel at home and stay,”Nestor stated.
“Where did she come from?”
“I don’t know where Mercy came from.”
“That you don’t know but you know everything about everyone else.”
“I told you her past was blocked from me. I don’t know where every witch resides. Give me a break. I built this place up. If it wasn’t for me we’d all be living in the Crescent, Ash or Bristol.”
“Nestor, we have discussed this long enough. I must go now.”
“Wait! I had a vision of you and Lottie talking to a man named Josephus,”Nestor disclosed.
“A vision of us talking to a man? We talk to men all the time.”
“Hettie, not just any man. He runs an orphanage outside of the Crescent for lost children of the Octo Trail. There’s no point in denying it. I saw you.”
“Yes, he’s Lottie’s brother. ”
“Try again. Lottie’s brothers are public figures in Bristol. You will not bring children here without my approval. I know how badly you wanted to be a guardian but children can have a past too. ”
“I don’t break code.”Hettie replied.
“I will not repeat myself. Stay away from Lottie and the Crescent. If you are still plotting against me, I’ll be forced to exile you. ”
“Right. I’m going home to try to rest. Your visions have been faulty. I wouldn’t go near the Crescent for any reason.” Hettie remained calm.
“I should walk you home. It’s late.”
“We live in Kobo what could possibly happen. You don’t need to keep an eye on me. Goodnight, Nestor.”
Hettie closed the front door behind her. Hettie stood outside of the door thinking for some time. She exhibited a face full of worry. Would Nestor really ship her out to sea or throw her onto the Octo Trail like Sarah said?
Hettie, Lottie, Missa, Rebe, Agnes and Rayden walked closely together down the dark Octo Trail.
“It’s quieter out here than I expected,”Agnes noted.
“We will be fine Agnes, go home and get some rest. Rayden will protect us, if we need protecting. Lottie knows the way back,”Missa stressed.
Agnes adjusted her cranberry colored cloak for warmth. “No, I don’t trust her. Many people have gotten lost on this trail. You girls will make it to sea collection tomorrow. I will make sure of it. Also, I plan to tell Nestor all about Hettie’s little secret adventure to Sandor. I’m sure this was her idea. All kinds of tricks up her sleeve.”
“I’m so glad that you decided to follow us Agnes. So glad,”Hettie lied.
“Oh, no problem my dear.”
Hettie spoke to Rayden. “Rayden, just say you never saw us leave, if anyone asks. I don’t want you and Nestor to have a row about this.”
“He would wonder what I was doing out so late myself,” Rayden responded.
Hettie rubbed her forehead. “He told me not to go onto the trail and now I’ve dragged the whole village along.”
Rayden looked at each member of the party. “We are hardly the whole village. You haven’t even told me why you are going to see this Josephus or why you asked the twins to come with you.”
“What were you doing out after your visit with Nestor?”
Rayden answered, ” I was with Sam beast hunting.”
“In case they plan on invading the berry fields again. We can’t have them tearing into our main source of gold. ”
“Where’s Sam then? Eaten by one.”
“He said something about seeing Agnes in the morning, then ran home.”
“You stayed out by yourself?”
“I can stay out. I am a young man with lots of energy. You wouldn’t notice anymore, since you like old older ancient type men.”
“So humorous you are. He’s only old in terms of years of being alive. He is wise. Don’t worry about what I like,”Hettie playfully snapped at him.
“Yes, he is so wise that he hasn’t committed to you yet. And when he hears about this betrayal of yours.”
“It’s not a betrayal. It’s for the good of the village. Bringing children back. It’ll be a miracle really since none of us can reproduce because of that witch Mercy .”
“Children? From where?”
Hettie whispered. “An orphanage outside of the Crescent. They can have a better life in Kobo. Nestor himself was an orphan after he ran away from Bristol.”
“Have you lost your senses. Nestor will not like you or this in his village. What you are planning is simply against code. Do they even know that we are headed to the Crescent?”
“I said right outside of the Crescent. They think we are headed towards Sandor.”
“This is extremely dishonest.”
“I don’t need your approval.”
“But you will surely need his.”
“Nestor does not control us.”
“His mind is fading but he’s still our leader. However, After I capture a beast soon and prove him wrong everyone in this land even you will praise me. Wait and see.”
“The beasts have long gone and so have your chances with me. Don’t stand in my way tonight.”
“You’ll need my protection.”
Lottie pulled Hettie away from Rayden. “You looked like you were being attacked by a hawk.”
“I think I was. Everyone has changed since …”
“Look, you could have all died. Fear changes people. Josephus will not like all of these people being with us. Agnes, a known meddler and Rayden one of Kobo’s protectors. This is all wrong,” Lottie warned Hettie.
“We’ve got plenty of berries. He’s not going to turn us away.”
“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Lottie’s mind drifted off.