52 The Hydra of Savicche (4)

Down by the water, lounging on the railing of the walkway beside it, lay a fluffy tabby cat, lazily dozing off in the sunshine. Meanwhile, in the water beneath the walkway, there were nine pairs of eyes, and nine big heads, staring at the cat with apparent worry and a little bit of fear. Passersby saw this, of course, and, as most of them were residents, only smiled and went on their way. A handful attempted to pet the cat, of which the cat only allowed one to pet, and the rest got little scratches. Any time the nine heads started to come out of the water, the cat would suddenly sit up, making them duck back down, and earning a few chuckles from the area.

This was routine, for the most part, in Savicche, but today was a bit different. A white-haired demigod soon walked over and casually pet the tabby, who immediately reacted in preparation to scratch, but quickly calmed down after he gave the lazy cat some good tummy rubs and scratches. Carefully, he picked up the cat, which made a little mewl of confusion, and calmly held it in his arms in a baby carry manner. The cat, after Seran gave it some soft nuzzles and scratches, and a fish that he'd bought fresh just a minute ago, was content for a while, and calmly let Seran move it over to sit by a bench a good ways from the railing.

Making his way back over after handling the cat, Seran casually jumped up onto the railing, dusting the cat hair off himself and looked down into the water. Seeing the 18 wary eyes under the water, he smiled and beckoned for the Hydra to come up out of the water. Nessy, to no one's surprise, was still afraid to do so, but, after some encouragement from Seran, he brought his nine carriage-sized heads out of the water to loom over the walkway, albeit unintentionally menacingly. Several locals cheered at Nessy's 'bravery', making the big, childish Hydra feel a bit better about himself, and one of the fishermen who had just came in with fresh catches threw 9 enormous 30-pounders to Nessy, immediately perking him up.

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Smiling at how innocent the big Hydra was, Seran looked into nine different pairs of eyes and said, "Are you lonely, Nessy?" His calm, mildly soothing demeanor made the Hydra feel less threatened by the unfamiliar person.

One of the heads, the middlemost one, shook itself, and spoke in a very young, oddly child-like voice, like a very small boy's, "No, I'm not lonely."

"You seem a little lonely, though. What's on your mind?"

Nine heads swiveled to face him curiously, and with mild shock, "You can understand me? Really?"

Seran giggled a little, "Of course I can, silly. I'm a lot like Estelle, but not the same. Do you remember her?"

Sorrowful expressions came to the Hydra's faces as he looked down at the water, "Yes... I miss Granny Estelle..." If the Hydra could cry, Seran was certain he would be right now.

"Yes, I know you do, Nessy. Without her, you didn't have anyone to really talk to anymore, right? Nobody else really understood you like she did." He waited patiently for the Hydra to speak, noting how sad the juvenile dragon-kin was.

Quiet keening came from the other eight heads, making some of the listeners' eyes begin to tear up, Seran included, as the middlemost head made sniffling sounds, "I felt so alone... I miss Granny so much... and Mama... nobody could talk with me, listen to me... play with me..."

The white-haired lad sighed, sitting on the railing with his legs dangling over the water, "I know that feeling, Nessy, I really do. It's a horrible feeling, being alone. But, I am here to change that for you."

"Really?" The Hydra's heads all cocked to the side in confusion.

Seran nodded, "Yes, I am. You see, originally, I came here to... well, to kill you." This drew deep animosity and fear from both the crowd and the Hydra himself, but it was quickly diminished with his next words, "However, after seeing you for myself, and talking with Lord Danford and his family, that is no longer my mission. After all, even if I did kill you, I'd set an entire empire after me, and I'm not even sure it would end for a long time. Now, normally, nobody would leave a wild Hydra free in their town, but you're special, Nessy."

Nessy understandingly was confused, "I am..?"

"Yes, very special. Everyone here loves you. That's not something just any magical creature can just earn. You were born here, raised here, and everyone knows how sweet you are. I can't hurt you, because that would be hurting a part of Savicche's big family. You see how everyone gives you lots of love, right?" After the Hydra nodded in a mildly puzzled manner, Seran continued, "That's why you're special, Nessy. Everyone that lives in Savicche thinks of you as family, even if they can't speak with you. Do you think of them as family too?" After a second, more certain nod, the demigod went on, "That's what I thought. Therefore, I have come to give you one, very big gift."

"A gift? What kind of gift? Is it food?" The innocent Hydra immediately perked up like a child that heard someone say candy. His infectious attitude, along with how his large body under the water was visibly bouncing in place, making ripples and small waves with his excitement, filled the atmosphere with smiles.

"No, it's not food... I'm not sure if it's better, but you'll definitely love it. Come over here so I can put my hand on your head, so I can give it to you." He held his hand out, smiling as the Hydra curiously, and tentatively, nosed his way over to press his nose to the demigod's hand. "You'll feel a bit of a chill, but you'll be fine. Seran channeled his energy into his [Ability Manipulation] power, quickly creating the ability he wanted before giving it to the enormous childish Hydra.

The big Hydra sneezed a little, making a good wind cover the walkway, though Seran deflected the germs of the sneeze into the water instead, "Whoa, that feels weird..." As he was shaking his heads to clear them of the odd feeling, every witness had suddenly stopped moving, jaws open, one lady dropping her bag and a fisherman getting slapped by a fish after he stopped trying to pin it. When Nessy had managed to feel better, he noticed this, and cautiously stuttered, "W-why is everyone looking at me like that..?"

Seran giggled and just gestured towards the little Stella, who was being held by her mother, who stood next to Terrence Danford. "Ask little Stella, she can answer you."

After Nessy looked over at her, the little redhead girl squealed in pure excitement, "Nessy can talk! Nessy can talk! Mommy, look! Nessy can talk!"

Annabelle and Terrence both were stunned, but recovered quickly due to knowing Seran's legendary status, and the former laughed, "Yes, sweetie, he can talk now!"

Nessy's nine jaws dropped and he looked at Seran, who just gave him a big smile and said that he'd no longer be lonely. The nine-headed Hydra trumpeted his happiness to the heavens, making the whole city smile at the innocent Nessy's pure joy.

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