Part 38: ARC IV: A Helpful Messenger.ARC IV: A Helpful Messenger.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk4DxO-rK44 'Spiral' from the Elfen Lied OST
"Where... where am I?"
"Your vision should return to you soon."
"Wha... who are you?"
You've heard of me?
Gabriella backs up a step.
S... some of the villagers in Port Arianna mentioned you... But you're supposed to be dead!
Oh, I am dead. I have been dead for nearly sixty years.
No... I was told...
I was told Shroud and Stoic destroyed you!
Were you now?
Well, I'm afraid that the rumors of my "destruction" were greatly exaggerated.
He looks away and then back at Gabriella
Those two blowhards knocked me into a pool of holy water. It was quite painful, and I will admit I thought my days on Solest were over.
However, I drifted through the church's waterways into a stream outside. There I was saved by someone investigating the area.
Middle aged fellow. He works for some sort of merchant.
Vec. If he's actually meant to be middle aged, then he's a real cradle-robber, dating Emma.
They were good enough to retrieve my coffin and allow me to recuperate. I am not sure how much time passed while I got my strength back, but I see that I have been moved back here to Fort Drake.
You were saved by someone working for Don Kovak.
Yes, I believe that was the gentleman's name. He has already instructed me on how to repay him.
I'll bet he has.
Well, I'm not staying around here any longer!
They both move forward at the same time.
What's your hurry?
You've already been dead for two days. What else could you possibly have to do?
Gabriella backs up against the wall again.
Must I explain it further? You are a vampire now. That is why you cast no reflection. Look at your hands if you don't believe me.
Don't they seem a bit... pale?
No... I can't be undead. I don't feel any different.
Not yet, you don't. But what did you expect? Did you think you would become a mindless monster?
*chuckle* Of course you did... but where's the suffering in that? That is the true curse of our kind.
You know that aside from a few little things like a heartbeat... you're still the same person. Yet everyone you know and everyone you will ever meet shall look at you as nothing but an abomination.
Why? The simple answer is because I was thirsty. However, I have a particular affinity for biting people like you.
Young women who prey on the worst instincts of young me, leading them away from their futures and casually tossing them aside afterwards.
More than anyone else, they deserve to know what suffering is. To have their own future taken from them.
To spend eternity shunned and threatened by a society they were once part of!
You're insane! You don't know anything about me!
We hear the sound of magic failing to work.
You knew magic? What is your name?
I'm... Gabriella Robin.
A Robin?! Ah ha ha ha!! This is better than I could have imagined!
You can't possiblt hope to use holy magic now! Even your pitiful god has abandoned you!
Arrgh!! That does it! You can't keep me here!
We shall see.
Gabriella flees... but Andau teleports into her path.
And she teleports by him in turn.
That ability is one of many you have now... though there are several terrible disadvantages. For one, you will never set foot in the sunlight again unless you want to be reduced to a pile of smoking ash. Holy magic will be the stuff of your nightmares. And of course--
Be quiet! I can't listen to you anymore! You've ruined my life, why give me pointers now?!
Nearly all vampires are killed within days because they don't fully understand the nature of their transformation. You should thank me.
As I was saying, of course you will need to find yourself some blood if you mean to survive.
No! I'll never do that! I'll never be like you!
Gabby starts to run off, but...
Then she resumes running. Andau continues to yell after her though.
"They always insist on finding out the hard way. Hopefully she will at least survive the journey."
We find Laurel casting holy spells on the little spring near Gino's tent.
Yep! You will be able to get holy water from this spring for quite a while.
That's amazing! You did it so easily!
It's only a blessing. It was one of the first things I was taught.
Good work, though I'm not sure how much use we'll get out of it. Think you could cook up some water that only hurts humans?
That would be more useful.
Let's take a few bottles. It's good to be prepared for anything, and it will help me relax during our patrol this evening.
I already told you that we don't have to patrol! We need to be rested because we're going to Artagel tomorrow.
That's a busy town. We're trying to track down this Cole Marin fellow, correct? That won't be easy.
I think this whole thing stopped being easy a while ago, Gino.
Should be more than enough.
So where is Cade today? This whole thing was his idea back when Andau was still causing trouble.
Yeah, you would think he'd want to see this.
He's easily distracted lately.
How's it goin, Bubba?
Is this... a friend of yours?
Yeah. Auburn, meet Bubba.
Charmed, I'm sure.
Well now! A fine lookin' woman you got here, Cade!
Okay Bubba, that's--
But I gotta ask ya this... How does she look when yer sober?
*chuckle* Are you for real?
Bubba, what were you going to tell me before?
Oh! I was just gonna tell ya that I'll be out of town fer a while. Seein' some ole friends. So if ya wants to be havin' a pint with ole Bubba, yer gonna have to be waitin' a few days!
Thanks for the heads up. Have a good time.
Carriage leaves any minute! I'll be seein' ya!
Ha ha... poor Bubba. He's just so... clueless.
Though while we're on the subject of leaving town... I have some bad news.
What's going on?
Kovak's going to try and open another store. Since he got beaten back in Pearlton, he became even more determined to get another one set up.
This one will be in Artagel.
Really... Artagel. How long do you think you'll be out there?
She leaves a lengthy pause here.
Kovak is thinking of making that place his new permanent residence.
He's just tired of this place. Specifically, he's tired of Shroud and Stoic. He would never admit it, but they have him really rattled.
All the conflict is getting him in trouble with some of his backers.
His backers? Tell me more.
Not much to say. They're just donors who he partnered with a long time ago.
Well... Why do you have to go too?
Because I'm his bodyguard. I don't know if you've ever been there, but Artagel is a big city. It can be... unpredictable.
*sigh* So I guess all that talk about breaking away and starting your own life didn't count for much.
Hey! Don't make smart-ass comments when you don't know what you're talking about!
You're right... I'm sorry. It's just... what's going to happen? With us?
I don't know.
There's not so much to do. One trip to Torto's shop that I handle at the start of the next update, so...
The Baron paces back and forth a bit before stopping.
... Or so it seems.
You know, you really should listen to Stoic once in a while. He's been around for a long time and he's very smart.
If he's so smart, why are he and Shroud leaving the town unprotected? If they won't live up to their duties, that leaves only... The Baron!
How did I let you talk me into doing this? I'm going home.
WOMAN: Oh, do excuse me. I suppose it was ill-advised for me to attempt to garner some information so late in the evening.
I... suppose it was.
WOMAN: I have a query. Might you be able to approximate where I can locate the costumed vigilatnes known as Shroud and Stoic?
Shroud and Stoic? Yeah, I know those guys. I'm The Baron.
WOMAN: Oh. Most impressive. However, I was specifically instructed to convey a message to them.
Okay, I'll find them.
Both Bones and Cade jump in surprise.
Well, we're up now. Let's get out there.
You know, those abilities of hers make me really uneasy. For all we know, she could be reading our minds constantly.
Cade was the one who seemed far less than enthusiastic about Laurel joining the team than the other two...
She already knows who we are. There's no need to worry.
Yeah, maybe. Let's go.
WOMAN: Shroud and Stoic! At last I have uncovered you. I have an urgent message from Rellenia!
Rellenia? Please continue.
WOMAN: In his infinite wisdom, King Arthur Bane of the elves quietly established months ago what he called a "Justice Commission."
A royal named Bane? What, do we have to worry about Hugh the Hand and Sinistrad getting involved now, not to mention the return of the Patryn? ... Also, Arthur? For an elf? Should have called him Alfred.
"It was their task to accumulate information about the conduct of Equipment King's staff during the period in which they were establishing the store.
The report has concluded... and the results are quite startling. The elves in Rellenia know of your battle against Equipment King and felt that having your own personal copy of the data would help a great deal."
Wow! Yeah, you bet it would!
Do we have time to go there?
Rellenia is on the way to Artagel. It won't take long to stop here and pick up a copy. Thank you, miss.
WOMAN: It was my pleasure.
There's something odd about that woman... I can't figure out what it is.
She seemed extremely educated. Especially for a messenger. I guess that's just part of growing up in Rellenia.
*Yawn* All right, I guess that was worth waking up for. Seems like we're done now. Back to bed.
Thank you. I was quite pleased with it myself.
That should get them out of the way long enough to spring the others.
Indeed. Though judging from what the skeleton said, they were already planning to depart. Perhaps this was an unnecessary venture.
No, I don't think so. That report will help them do some damage to Equipment King, so it was definitely worth it.
You truly are disgusted with them.
Of course. I prefer traditional theft, not theft dressed up in some ridiculous outfit of civility.
In any case... An excellent two part plan.
I thought so too. Now let's be off. By tomorrow night they should be long gone.
And with that, it sounds like we'll be making a pit stop in Rellenia, capitol of the elven Kingdom of... Renne? Or is just the woods named Renne. Or am I making up the name Renne. I always forget. Anyway, we'll be stopping there on the way to Artagel. Two different reports about Equipment King and The Hand should be all the proof and/or information needed to take them down. Right?