#Nanowrimo : The Rat Pt5
The trapper soon came, but his efforts bore no lasting effect: the traps around the kitchen were placed, baits were duly set, but only an hour had passed when all of them were sprung, with every bait absconded and with no signs as to where the rat was gone. Tension raised throughout the keep, the trapper’s methods were again engaged, and again they were unsuccessful. Many began to wonder at the cunningness of the rat, rumours of a dark mage in guise began to spread, and the Den Asaan scoffed at every new report and machination. Had he been asked to hunt this elusive creature, the subject should have been closed long ago, but as he had not been applied to on purpose by Martje’s command, he must only observe and sneer at their ridiculous attempts. All of their contrivances would not do where his hunting prowess might, but his office for the day was to stand by and witness the trapper’s numerous failures while making his dry “heh” and fleering at Martje’s expatiating panic.
Night soon came, and as the creature was yet somewhere in the keep, its presence proved by empty and overturned traps, more severe measures must be taken before the morrow. The general stores must be replenished before morning, food must be prepared for the armed forces and the king, and all Martje’s aspirations of having the rat gone by sundown went unheeded.
“I’m sorry, Mrs MacAleer,” said the trapper, shrugging and shaking his head. “I never seen one so stubborn.”
“Aye, well, I got practice with stubborn,” she professed, passing arch looks at the Den Asaan who was repeatedly scrutinizing them from the kitchen window.
The trapper had not seen her significant glare at the giant and had assumed she meant an obdurate husband, giving him even more reason to ask for leave of the kitchen: to return to his own wife and the hearty supper that was awaiting him. “Does His Majesty have no hunters in the keep?” was the trapper’s parting inquiry.
Martje made him no answer. She only averted her eyes from the giant grinning at the kitchen window and humphed.
She was entreated to forgo her pride in this one instance and allow a more experienced hunter reign of her kitchen. She made many refutations at first, but once the trapper left and all his remaining traps went with him, she was forced to concede and request Rautu’s assistance if she was to have a clean and peaceful kitchen by morning. She waddled over to the window where he was perched, said a most humiliated, “A’right, you monster,” and waved him inside.
Her surrender was all his exultation, and he stood in the doorway of the oven room, his hands on his hips and his chest held high, looking down at her disgruntled expression with glowing complacence.
“Aye,” said Martje, waving her skillet at the giant. “Just don’t you tell anyone I got soft and let you have run of the place.”
“I will tell whomever I wish, Mhojhudenri,” the giant leered.
Anger overpowered her, and Martje lifted her foot to stamp it in indignation only to replace it again when considering how she could recover her honour for having stooped so low as to ask her nemesis for assistance. If she should in some manner or other help the giant by guarding the door or perhaps playing the sentry with her skillet in hand, the assistance rendered might be considered just as laudable as the action itself. Being the collaborator of the success was far more allowable than being a mere spectator. The role of associate might do for her very well, and she therefore stood on the threshold of the oven room with stance wide and skillet held high, expecting to be given something to attack and satisfied with her means of personal redemption.