Despite their size, weasels are fierce hunters and capable of
killing prey five or ten times bigger than themselves. Weasels
typically hunt undercover to avoid being seen by their enemies.
(Ancient Book of Nature)
‘’It’s always funny to see this old trick still works. Way more cautious people than you first stare at the weasel, and only then notice me.” Those words finally made Cassius turn his eyes from the weasel to the opposite side of the table. A man was sitting there. Wearing a slightly worn but clean hunter outfit, the man had graying hair that was tied neatly into a short tail, fine wrinkles, and mossy green eyes. Those eyes were now staring directly at Cassius with a twinkle. Like a loving grandfather who decided to visit his grandson. Only until one dared to look deeper into those eyes, they would soon remark that behind this put-on appearance of friendliness was the nature of a cold assassin.
“Third lesson, kit. When in danger, find what causes it, and focus on that. Ignore the rest.” The man suddenly made a high-pitched trilling sound, and the weasel, who was still sitting on the papers, jumped on the man’s shoulder. Cassius also jumped slightly, still trying to understand the whole situation.
“Interesting creatures, weasels.” the man continued. “Did you know that they can defeat an enemy way bigger than themselves? They sit still for hours, waiting for their prey. Well hidden. Then, they jump and make one single calculated bite behind their skull. Right here.” The man stood up, touching Cassius behind his neck. The boy involuntarily jumped again, now getting frustrated at his second jittery reaction. How stupid!
“Are you afraid of me?” the man said, not at all bothered by the fact that he was the only one talking. “Smart kit. You should be. For this, I will give you your fourth lesson. If you want to survive long enough, you need to learn to suppress feelings that cloud your judgment and slow your reactions. You can breathe for now. I do not have a habit of killing kits.” He returned and sat at the table once again. “Also, your notes entertained me all this time I was recovering here, so I should be grateful. Nice reading!”
Only now did Cassius see that the man was nurturing his left arm as if it was recently wounded. The man nodded. “The client didn’t want to pay for his order and decided that it would be cheaper to hire some outcasts to take care of me. Didn’t work. Yet, one of them got lucky enough before his death to cause me some trouble.” With that, the man grabbed Cassius’s notes and threw them into the fire. The boy gasped. His two-year-long investigation was swallowed by the flames!
“Why?” Cassius said, unpleasantly surprised at how scared he sounded. The man didn’t respond. When the pause became unbearable, Cassius asked another question that had been bothering him for a while. “And… What are the first two lessons?”
The man stood up and looked at the boy with a grandfather’s smile. “I already thought you would never ask this question, kit. First lesson. Do not jump into the burrow before knowing that there are at least two more tunnels out of it. And second. Never underestimate your opponents. And here I mean not only myself but also your uncle.” he looked at the fireplace, making sure that notes are gone, and finally cut the ropes on Cassius’s wrists. Freedom. “And, by the way, kit. You can call me Weasel.”
[TO BE CONTINUED]