The Venerable came upon them as they were organizing the gear they had retrieved. “Ah, I see you have returned in one piece. I see you have set yourself up to stay.”
“Yes Venerable. I’m hoping that we can impose just a bit longer on your hospitality until we get our bearings and decide best what to do. If it was just me, I could just find myself a nice place in the woods and survive with some hunting and trapping. But, with Kassie here, I can’t just take off on my own. She has not yet accepted that she is here to stay.”
“Well Alex, and you too young lady, I have a proposition for you. I do know the area. I do have the facilities, such as they are, I do have a fruitful garden. I have all the comforts of home, again such as it is. But, I am not getting any younger.”
“I’ve taken a liking to both of you. I would gladly extend my hospitality to you if you would agree to stay on my homestead and be of some help to me. You could still do your hunting and trapping if you wished Alex, and use this as your home base. You could have the best of both situations.”
Kassie and Alex looked at each other. Kassie answered first. “Mr. Venerable, that is very kind of you. I would certainly accept. You have been most kind to us thus far and you’ve only just met us.”
“Venerable, your offer is most generous. I gratefully accept your offer. I can’t possibly leave you here alone with the burden of taking care of the irrepressible Kassie.”
The trio burst out in laughter. They came together into a group hug when The Venerable extended his open arms.
“Now boys and girls, the first thing we should do is take you into the village to meet our neighbors. It’s best if they know who you are so they don’t see you as a possible enemy.”
“Venerable, how will we communicate with them? Will we have to learn a new language?”
“That is another interesting wonder worked by the Overlords. I don’t know how it works or how they do it. It doesn’t matter what language anyone speaks. Everyone understands what is being said in their own peculiar language. So, don’t worry. You will understand what they say to you. They will understand what you say to them.”
“Oh great, that is one less worry. So, I can speak to them in both English and Italian, and they will clearly understand both?”
“Yes Alex. You will be amazed.”
“Wow. That means we can’t talk among ourselves in secret talks”, commented Kassie.
“That is correct Kassie. Secret talks must actually be conducted in secret and in private.”
“Ok Venerable, I am ready whenever you are ready. Just know that based on what you have said, I will be going well armed. I don’t mind being friendly, but until I’m sure of my surroundings, I’d rather be ready.”
“I can understand that. And the indigenous will understand that as well.”
“But, before we go, let me give Kassie a few quick lessons with my mini cross bows. I will feel much better if I know she has some form of protection independent of my presence.”
So, Alex took Kassie to the side of the lean to. He gave her some rudimentary instructions as to their use, and allowed her some time for target practice for familiarity.