“Please, sir, you must dine with my family today,” the Mayor said. He led the way to his own house. The crowd dispersed and Gartu followed the man inside. Two young men and a young woman came in as well. Gartu’s tail perked up and wagged a little. There was a beautiful smell inside, fresh and clean of hatred.
A woman gasped for breath as Gartu came into view. “Don’t worry, Metan, he’s a friend.”
“It’s the Magic Man,” she muttered to herself.
“Yes, dear. He’s staying for supper.” He turned to the three people who’d followed them inside. “Magic Man, this is my son, Kurk, my daughter, Nami, and her husband, Puel.”
“A pleasure to meet you all.”
Metan seemed to notice her husband for the first time. “What is he doing in our village? Did he find out who killed Marta?”
“Yes. The killer has already been exposed.” Gartu replied. “But I was just passing through by chance.”
“Why is that funny?” Metan asked.
Her son cut off the laugh with an apology.
Metan looked from her husband to the fox-man. “Staying, you say? I shall have to add more meat to the stew.”
All four men smiled.
The scent of love, like a sweet perfume filled the air and Gartu felt at peace once more. Strong emotions were dangerous and intoxicating for Gartu, especially the negative ones. He’d worked hard over the past few years at avoiding anger. There was always a danger of becoming intoxicated with his own rage, but it was getting easier to separate his own emotions from the feelings of those around him. The smell of love helped remove the last remnants of the villagers’ vengeance from his heart. The two deaths were laid to rest in his mind and he could move on. He sat with the Mayor at the table to await the stew. Gartu could smell it cooking from the other side of the room. Potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, beef, garlic and parsley.
“So, Magic Man. What brings you to our small village?” Nami asked.