Lin Hai's Journal - 2
I don’t know what to make of these latest events. It all seemed straightforward enough. We woke, we had breakfast, we visited the markets. And then another of those strange nekogoblins tried to steal Princess Kamiko’s soap!
We caught him before he could get away, but the yaoguai was so insistent the Princess ended up giving him her soap anyway. Although that did give her the opportunity to purchase a new, cute bar of soap with a cat emblazoned upon it. I bought for myself a new cloak, with a fox image – it seems everything here has a cute animal image. That’s strange but comforting.
The theft was bizarre however, and made weirder by the townsfolk asking if we could restore order and get those nekogoblins to stop thieving from them every day. I’m not sure why they thought we could solve their problems. Maybe because we are new and we showed an interest, or everyone else has tried and failed. But Buchi had already got away with the soap and the Princess was feeling sick, so we set aside our pursuit for tomorrow.
This time we spotted Buchi well enough for the day’s theft, and we didn’t have any problem trailing him back to the camp where the rest of the nekogoblins live. I wasn’t sure what to do next. How do you convince people to stop stealing and conduct themselves right? When we caught Buchi the day before, and the Princess gave him her soap, he still ran off gloating that he stole it.
The Princess wanted to try some sort of ritual. Apparently she can do magic? Apparently magic exists? Maybe that is another property of this strange world… can I do magic? She never mentioned it before so, I don’t know. I suppose I must get used to it because- well.
I set myself up to guard while she performed her ritual. Just as well, as near the conclusion one of the sentries decided to stroll in our direction. I tried to create a distraction to keep em away and failed miserably. Fortunately in the fight that followed I acquitted myself much better and I dare say had my opponents fooled into thinking I was some sort of dashing folk hero.
Although I wonder how much they will recall of that, as right away the Princess’ ritual finished and the furry nekogoblins found themselves compelled to cuddle-pile her like the cat-folk they resemble. It was bizarre and unsettling to witness, as if she had suddenly dosed them all with catnip.
With the whole camp converging on the Princess this did give me an opportunity to get into the cave where we guessed the mysterious Matri lived who they were stealing for. But I was not expecting to get such a pounding headache from merely looking at the thing in there. It conjured visions and twisted words to speak, and offered me power.
I like to think I am no fool so I got out of there immediately. I grabbed the Princess out from under her large and purring pile and we started back for the town. Whatever that thing was, it is no ordinary stone and it seemed to me we must learn more about it before we could address whatever influence it has been having over the nekogoblins that they would steal for it.
The Princess is strong-willed, however, and she wanted to take it immediately, so we came back under the cover of darkness and I crept in and took it. As we walked back it spoke to us, bargaining, trying to tempt us with offers of power if we… I don’t think we asked what it wanted in return but it showed the destruction of my home and claimed it could make me strong enough to prevent such things from happening.
It is troubling. We slept unnaturally well that night and in the morning a few of our small belongings had vanished. I suppose that this is why the nekogoblins had been stealing every day, to feed it. We took it right away to the blacksmith hoping to destroy the stone in her forge but what she told us is troubling.
This Matri, this sinister stone is somehow a lump of condensed evil that has fallen from the heavens. The smith says it is unbelievably precious and could be forged into an object of great power if we took it to the imperial city. But it seems to have been growing from what should have been a tiny rock to something much more substantial by consuming nearby objects each night.
I do not trust it. I am concerned, but I find myself strangely reluctant to destroy even a being that is material evil.