HOLY BEING - Season 6 Episode 4
Lith thanked Pazeol before he left and started to plan his next move.
‘Well, for once the Kingdom is being really helpful instead of just trusting me to clean up their mess.’ He thought. ‘Now I can search the city for enemies. Once I find them, the tracker will lead me to their nest. Easy peasy.’
Yet even after scouting the entirety of Maekosh twice, the magical device didn’t pick up any signal, making Lith doubt it even worked in the first place. After even a third round of the city gave no results, Lith felt dispirited.
‘Time to fill up on spirits.’ He sighed as he went back to the Prancing Griffon for a few draft beers. Ever since he had made the kitchen staff quake in their boots with an alleged infective disease, the tavern was much quieter.
Lith was one of the few brave souls that still dared to step inside, so the waiters treated him like a VIP. The fear of ending up locked in isolation along with Xelos, their employer, was a strong motivator.
Yet he didn’t eat anything that didn’t come out from his pocket dimension. Unlike the freshly tapped beer, food couldn’t be prepared in front of him.
‘I don’t have much time, but luckily neither do the wargs.’ He thought. ‘The first warrior was weak while the second one was already a hybrid. If I’m lucky the lack of food will prevent them from focusing on magic and slow down the Abomination fragments’ development.
‘If I’m not, I might have to face a small army of hybrids or a single combined entity. According to Pazeol, all of my wargs bear fragments of the same creature. It wouldn’t surprise me if they merged into one like the second warrior did to boost its strength.’
‘Agreed.’ Solus pondered. ‘Another problem we have is the enemy within Maekosh. At this point, I have a theory but I’m pretty sure you won’t like it.’
Lith inwardly nodded for her to continue.
‘The reason to choose monsters as guinea pigs is pretty obvious. They are strong and spawn fast, which means that somehow the procedure they have undergone allows the Abomination fragment to be passed down to their offspring.’
‘Well, yeah. Otherwise there would be no hive mind nor would there be any sense in letting them roam free.’ Lith pondered.
‘Exactly.’ Solus continued. ‘The presence of the tracking spell tells us the hybrids are meant to be harvested at some point, but what if the wargs aren’t only limited to spreading the fragments to other wargs?
‘Sharing is their innate ability and we have no idea about the limits of their mutation.’
‘So you are saying that we have been looking at things from the wrong angle. That maybe there are no wargs in Maekosh but human hybrids?’ Lith was getting a headache at just the thought of it.
‘Yes. It would explain a lot. The night of the attack we had just killed a lot of wargs, maybe the collective grief drove the human hosts mad. Also, the tracker doesn’t pick up anything either because the signal is being generated by a human body or maybe simply because the fragments are still too small.
‘Humans develop in years, not days, so even if they are turning into wargs it could take months before it actually happens.’
“I’m really sorry to bother you again, but I think I need a Healer.” Lith had just started to inwardly curse his bad luck in every language he knew when someone interrupted his creative flow.
It was the same redhead waitress who served him the day of his arrival. Lith was about to give her the finger when he realized the opportunity in front of him.
“What’s wrong with you, exactly?” He asked pretending to be annoyed. People were much more grateful when they believed you were doing them a favor rather than using them for your own purposes.
The girl listed many and disparate symptoms that casually had manifested after Lith’s petty revenge against the tavern staff’s rudeness. It only took him a glance to diagnose her and he used a touch of Invigoration, just to stay on the safe side.
‘Hypochondria.’ He thought.
“It’s pretty bad, but nothing contagious.” He actually said. It wasn’t a lie and made Solus laugh heartily.
“Can you help me?” She asked on the verge of tears.
“It depends if you can help me. My services aren’t cheap, you know?”
After clearing the merchants from his suspects’ list, Lith had interrogated the gatekeepers about who had gone out of town before the wargs had been spotted. Unfortunately, the winter was cold and their pay was low.
Aside from foreigners, they didn’t keep any records. Many citizens went in and out of Maekosh to gather wood, seek out the nearest healer’s help, hunt, or simply to check the frozen cultivated fields outside the city walls.
Aside from the guards, no one had been willing to talk to him. Until now.
“I don’t have much money. I’m a waitress and only a waitress.” She blushed a little, having completely misunderstood his words. She found mages to be scary, and the Ranger wasn’t even of her liking.
“The dead family. Did they have enemies? Someone in particular that resented them?” Lith didn’t care about her assumptions, only information. If he was looking for humans instead of wargs, then maybe they had a motive to attack that specific house.
“No. Not that I’m aware of. They were just farmers. It’s hard to have enemies when you have nothing to be envious about.” She blushed even more, feeling incredibly stupid and a bit perverted.
“Did something bad happen before the wargs? Something that could create a lot of resentment?” Lith was clutching straws. If there was no solid information, rumors would have to suffice.
The redhead told him about a lot of petty quarrels, of how the Baroness taxed the brewing industry too much, cases of domestic abuse, and many things that made Lith think he was at a hairdresser rather than a tavern.
Soon the rest of the staff, who were bored from doing nothing, joined the conversation when they understood they would get treatment in exchange for gossip. To avoid his headache getting worse, Lith jotted down the most likely suspects.
Workers who had unjustly lost their jobs without receiving any support from their peers, grieving parents who had lost their children due to the constant harassment from their fellow citizens having driven a foreign Healer out of town before winter, and things like that.
‘If I lost everything because of those blockheads, I would cheer for the wargs too. The more I hear about this city, the more I wish I could just wash my hands of its fate. At least the wargs fight for each other, these guys would sell their mother for a few coins.’ He thought.
Lith’s new suspect list was longer than his arm. The silver lining was that no one aside from a couple of waiters with the flu needed any healing. He just chanted a few light magic cantrips and pretended to have cured them of a few illnesses he made up on the spot, earning their gratitude and a steaming steak on the house.
He was just about to comment about how delicious it was while Solus stressed the importance of being nice to others, when his army amulet rang.
The wargs had just attacked a nearby village’s granary, leaving him no time to spare.