Monday, March 5, 2018

Page 1575 -- CLXX.

((Triple Monday -- Page 1 of 3))
The group stopped when they came upon another wide clearing. This one was fully enclosed, however. There were no more branching paths to pursue, and Koh had stopped as well.

There was, however, someone lying there. They were not moving.

Durendia was uncomfortable again. Still not frightened exactly, but very unhappy nonetheless. She had a dreadful feeling that it was a dead person. Something in the way the body was positioned. Very unnaturally contorted.

Koh started toward it. Durendia didn’t want to get any closer, but she didn’t know how to say so. Perhaps the dog guessed as much, because he stopped again and let Germal and the others examine it.

They took their time.

Durendia tried to just think about the snow, but she couldn’t help staring. Unpleasant as it made her feel, she couldn’t fully stifle her curiosity.

“I recognize this man,” someone eventually said. “Isn’t this Akio, the Spear of Kavia?”

“Wow, yeah, I think you’re right. Heh. So I guess someone axed Akio, eh?”

“Ha. Nice.”

“This is pretty impressive work. I heard this guy was a real pain in the ass, over in Hoss.”

“He was one of the Kane’s strongest lackeys, wasn’t he?”

“Yeah. Guess that confirms that this town really was important to Kane, eh?”

“Most likely.”

“Who the hell took this guy out, though? We don’t have anyone strong enough around here, do we?”

Germal stepped into the two men’s conversation. “The body is still mostly intact, including the head, which would suggest that the killer got to his reaper first. Perhaps all this destruction we’ve seen here in the forest was the killer struggling against Akio’s mindless corpse.”

“Ah, that’d make sense. Still pretty impressive, though, don’t you think? Catching a famous guy like this off guard?”

“Eh, maybe he had one of our ‘invisi-bros’ with him.”

“Maybe. But I don’t know, man. After Ivan cocked everything up in Sair, the whole Vanguard probably knows that we can be invisible now. And this guy was high up on the food chain, right? So he should’ve already had some countermeasures ready for that sort of thing.”

“You’re giving the Vannies too much credit, dude. They’re not that smart.”

Germal interjected again. “Perhaps this really was the work of Hada,” he laughed. “And if not, then perhaps it will be.”

“...Sir, what the hell are you talking about?”

“Oh, nothing. Let’s get this body to Jercash, shall we? I’m sure he’d like to see it.”

“Yes, sir.”

Chapter One Hundred Seventy: ‘Hold, and achieve beyond thyself...’
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Things were not going well for Hector. The treasure in this room had not helped. Even after having Garovel examine it all, Hector was no better off than before.

And the worm didn’t stop. It came crashing after him like a tidal wave of sludge at every opportunity. It was all Hector could do to just stay ahead of the damn thing.

Problem was, there was nowhere to go.

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