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James shared a look with Adam.
“You misunderstood us. We know she lives here.”
The man behind the bar lent towards them, his words were slow and demonstrative.
“And I told you that there is no such woman in our village.”
He turned to his wife, who was standing next to him listening quietly, and asked her to get clean plates. When the young woman disappeared in the back room, he looked at his visitors again.
“If you two don’t want to order something or …”
“You don’t have to hide her.”, interrupted James grinning.
The innkeeper threw his fist on the wooden bar and it cracked underneath his strength.
“I don’t. There is nobody fitting it. So leave. Now.”
A black-haired man appeared on James side and put one of his hands on James shoulder.
“Is there a problem, Charles?”
“Those two are bordering me.”
The touch around James shoulder got harder and unfriendlier, but he didn’t let himself be irritated and looked smiling in the face of the newcomer.
“We are searching for a young woman.”, started he to explain and the innkeeper tried to interrupt him.
“You’ve got the wrong spot.”
“She is in her early 20ies, pale skin, long black hair. Maybe just like yours.”
“We don’t know her, dumbass.”
But like Charles, the man looked surprised after the description and untightened his grip for a second.
That was the reaction James was waiting at, it was his chance and with an even bigger he continued.
“It’s said that she leaves somewhere in the outline of this village, in the woods when I remember right. She doesn’t speak much, generally doesn’t deal much with others. Oh, and it’s said that she only wears black.”
“Holy lord! She is not here!”
The innkeeper shouted out loud and his eyes glared mad at James.
“Tell them Joe!”
“Yeah, Charles right. You should leave now.”
The man named Joe tightened his grip and pulled James away, who tried to explain that he didn’t want to start a fight or something similar.
During the whole conversation Adam was standing offsides and observed the situation calmly. As Charles ordered him to get his ass out of his inn too, he didn’t move, but returned the unfriendly look of the man behind the bar.
Other men in the inn started to stood up and came over to them, mainly they paid attention to James, who still tried to get out of the situation with an explanation.
“I don’t care who you want! Get you damn ass out of the village!”
“We only want to …”
“Lisen, I told you to get out! Out!”
“Carrie them out! Someone grasp his other hand!”
Someone jump at James, but he avoided and tried helplessly to get away from Joe.
“Careful! Don’t mess up Charles inn!”
Two chairs fell over when they eventually caught James, who looked completely out of place with his librarian appearance between those two huge and strong workers.
They carried him a few steps and laughed about his attempts to fight himself free.
Than three men turned to Adam, ready to help him finding the way out too.
“Let him go.”, Adams sounded annoyed.
“We were send by the land lord.”
The men carrying James froze the moment he spoke and even the man, who was reaching out for him, took his hand back.
“Our duty is to capture the witch and set the village people free of her.”
The whole crowd including the woman in the back of the room who tried to stay out, cringed. A few repeated the word ‘witch’, while others just starred unbelieving at them.
“We intended not to reveal our identity, but you didn’t left us any choice.”
Adam turned to Joe and the other man holding James and they immediately let him go.
“If she finds out, that we are here and that we are after her, we might have missed our chance of catching her.”
His voice was low and serious, completely right to pull everyones attention in this room with his words.
“We need more information about her.”, started James at least once serious too.
A man from the back was the first one to move. Unknowing what to do, they others stepped away and gave him space to go towards the strangers. His moves were calm and slow, the later maybe because of his age. He seemed to be in his 60ies or 70ies.
“Charles, can we use one room of yours?”
The man nodded.
“Follow me.”, said the old one to James and Adam, while walking behind the bar.
“And for the rest of you: continue what you’ve done!”
For a moment the crowd still waited, but then one after another began to move and a few whispering voices were to hear.

Continue reading part 2 of the story