Episode 77 – The Antidote

Previously:

After failing to find an Etezza she is familiar with that can provide her with the antidote for Fever Touch, the poison Kiel had been poisoned with, Elaru decides to put her hopes in Ixos Eryey. Elaru incapacitates Dusk Rose and takes Kiel with much haste to the Eryey mainhouse to see Ixos Eryey.

Episode 77 – The Antidote

When Elaru explained her request to Ixos Eryey, the man’s green eyes glazed up.

“Fever Touch?” Ixos’ murmured, seemingly lost in reminiscence. He took out the stick of burselpine from his mouth, holding it like a cigar, lost in thought. “Oh yeah. I know of that poison. Back in our Muni days, Zaal used to poison Reena whenever he intended to participate in some shady business to prevent her from interfering and foiling his plans.”

Reena was the genius of the Thayn family and the current head of Peacekeepers. Zaal was the genius of the Etezza family, one of the 7 councilmen and rumored head of the Shadow Lodge.

The two went to Muni together and were a part of the famous golden generation. People often joked that they were like an old married couple – always at odds with each other, bickering and fighting, yet, also always protecting and looking after each other.

Etezza family and Thayn family always had a love-hate relationship. Thayn family was a family of Peacekeepers that advocated justice and order, while the Etezza family was the family of spies, thieves, and assassins. Naturally, the two families didn’t get along.

However, even though they couldn’t see eye to eye, they never erupted in open hostilities. They even helped borrow the hands of the other when necessary. It could be said that the two completed each other. Both needed the other to exist.

Ixos Eryey let out a soft smile. “Good times…” Then he sighed in lamentation. “A pity. Zaal never let me anywhere near Fever Touch.”

Of course he didn’t! You would have found the antidote!

Ixos Eryey sighed again. “And your father never let me experiment on Reena. Something about staying out of Reena’s and Zaal’s relationship?”

Elaru nodded satisfied. As expected. Papa is always right. Picking a side between a Thayn and a Etezza is never the right choice.

Ixos’ eyes focused again and, in fact, became extremely bright. It seemed as though he just realized that what was in front of him was a poison he had never seen before. He snatched the container out of Elaru’s hands in a heartbeat, as if afraid she would change her mind.

Then he looked at the box with glittering eyes as if looking at a priceless treasure. My precious….Finally, I get to play with you. He even forgot to chew on the burselpine stick.

Elaru stared at Ixos Eryey speechlessly. Seeing the usually apathetic Ixos show such passion never ceased to be… disturbing.

Ixos Eryey sniffed the poison gently like he was smelling a fine perfume. It almost looked like he was enjoying it.

However, Elaru knew better. The reason why he smelled it was because he hoped that would be able to discern some of the used herbs through the scent.

Unfortunately, Dusk Rose had mixed the poison with other herbs to mask its scent so Ixos Eryey couldn’t discern all of the components.

After smelling it, Ixos took the cream and placed it inside a strange circular apparatus. The apparatus was large and made out of metal. It had one entrance at the top and many thin glass tubes leaving through the bottom, leading to different bottles.

Elaru wasn’t familiar with alchemy, but she knew that the apparatus was used to separate different particles from each other.

The device would create a radial Acceleration field which would exert the same amount of power on rotating all particles inside it at extreme speeds. Since particles with larger mass require more mana to reach the same speed as lighter particles, the different particles inside the liquid would end up moving at different speeds because of the difference in their mass. Eventually, different particles would end up being separated from each other and grouped with particles of the same kind.

In no time, small drops of differently colored liquid exited through the tubes and dripped down to the bottles underneath.

Ixos Eryey shook the bottles and sniffed some of them. Then he took some of his own concoctions of various colors and dripped them into the bottles.

After he was done mixing various liquids, his bright eyes dimmed down.

This poison didn’t really present much challenge.

After finding out the exact composition of the poison, Ixos Eryey stopped to think a bit. Combing through the various knowledge of medicine inside his head to come up with a counter.

After a few minutes of silent pondering, he brought out many different herbs and proceeded to concoct an alchemic potion.

Soon, Elaru held a small potion bottle filled with a clear liquid and scrunched up her eyebrows. “How certain are you that this will work?”

“100%” Ixos stated emotionlessly, with burselpine sticking out of his mouth.

“How long before he is completely cured?” Elaru couldn’t help but inquire. It would be for the best if Kiel regained consciousness after she left the premises of the Eryey family mainhouse. Otherwise, that would raise many questions. Questions that she wasn’t ready to answer.

“5 minutes or so.”

Elaru smiled gratefully at Ixos Eryey. “Thank you, uncle Ixos.” She even gave him a quick hug.

Ixos Eryey froze for a second when he received the hug, after which he responded by petting her head.

Kiel Rroda felt as light as a feather, as if he was floating in the sky without any weight. Howling of the wind was strangely soothing to his ears.

As his consciousness stirred, his Mind spread around him like a veil, touching, feeling the world.

Kiel’s eyelids slowly fluttered open to see an endless expanse of gray clouds.

He was flying next to Elaru, surrounded by the Invisibility and Reflection barriers.

The Reflection barrier shrouded them in a bubble and prevented any particle from entering or leaving the bubble. Besides preventing the two of them from leaving their scent, it also had an additional benefit that showed its value only at high-speed flying.

Usually, if they were flying at high speeds, the air would be hitting their faces so hard that they would have trouble breathing and wouldn’t even be able to open their eyes.

This time, the air was hitting the Reflection barrier instead so they could enjoy their flight. However, judging by the sweat drops forming on Elaru’s forehead, enjoyment was far from her mind at this point.

Flying at such high speed for prolonged periods of time would be taxing for anyone. Elaru also had to sustain an Invisibility barrier and the Reflection barrier. The Reflection barrier was particularly hard to sustain under the constant barrage of air particles colliding with it like a tsunami.

Elaru’s mana regeneration was enough to sustain the consumption, however, the wild current of mana that she kept channeling surely put a lot of pressure both on her body and her mind. Just because her soul could sustain the magic didn’t mean that her mind and body could.

As Kiel blinked his sleep away, as the fog inside his mind lifted, his heartbeat couldn’t help but accelerate in panic. “No!! The exam!”

Elaru didn’t turn to look at him, seemingly concentrating hard on sustaining her spells. “We’ll make it.” She responded with conviction.

Kiel looked at his pocket watch, and his heart dropped into the pit of his stomach. At this rate, we won’t make it!

Yet he didn’t voice his worries out loud. Elaru was clearly doing her best. Complaining now wouldn’t help at all. It might even impact her concentration and make them even later than they would be otherwise.

He could ask her to release her Acceleration on him so he could fly by himself, but that would make them lose more time than they would gain.

Kiel clenched his fist so hard that his fingers turned white.

What happened? Why am I not inside Muni, but flying above Ashar?

The last thing he remembered was feeling sick. But besides a slight headache and a feeling of grogginess, he felt perfectly fine now.

What happened??

The questions were eating at him from inside. With great difficulty, he resisted asking them. He was afraid that Elaru couldn’t spare any concentration on a conversation right now.

However, Elaru caught on to his unvoiced questions and started the conversation on her own initiative.

“You got poisoned.” She stated blandly. “Apparently, your family are losing their patience. They went as far as to hire a Shadow to kidnap you and prevent you from taking the exams.”

Both his blood and the expression on his face turned icy cold. “Oh?” Kiel stated frostily. “I’m surprised that they didn’t just off me. Would have been much simpler.”

Elaru glanced at him from the corner of her eyes. “…I am glad you are taking this so…well.”

Kiel snorted. Indeed. His blood wasn’t boiling, his chest didn’t hurt. There was no shock, no pain, no sadness, no sense of betrayal.

No. What he felt right now was cold derision and despise.

He had always known that the only person in his entire family that had any resemblance of familial affection towards him was his father. As for the rest of them, they either couldn’t care less or would love it if he just dropped dead.

The only reason why he wasn’t buried somewhere in a ditch right now was because they didn’t want to risk provoking the wrath of his father for an inconsequential person that posed no threat to them.

He didn’t dwell on the cold-blooded actions of his relatives. It was a pointless endeavor.

What bothered him right now was only what happened while he was unconscious and whether he would make it to the exam.

“What happened? Explain it to me clearly.” Kiel demanded.

“Well… you called out to me before fainting… so I came.” She responded.

Kiel waited for her to continue.

“I found you being carried towards the exit of Muni, so I interfered and snatched you. Then I went to find you an antidote for the poison.”

“You make it sound so simple. Snatching me from a Shadow? Snatching a bone from the jaws of a lupax would be easier.”

Elaru tried a few times to say something but stopped herself. Finally, she sighed in resignation. “I am familiar with that world…the darkness of society I mean… Papa made me sign up to be an operative of the Shadow Lodge for some time.”

“…of course he did.” Kiel stared at her with a blank face.

“It was an educating experience.” She defended.

“…of course it was.” Kiel still stared at her with a blank face. Elaru stared back incredulously. Kiel seemed… too… emotionless about it?

It wasn’t that Kiel didn’t believe her or didn’t care about it, it was just that he already understood that Elaru Wayvin was a person with a shady background.

There were simply too many clues. The things she knew couldn’t be read in a textbook.

She knew what could and couldn’t be stolen, and how to lie and deceive people. She was proficient in avoiding detection, disappearing so that even one of the 15 noble families couldn’t find her.

Invisible, traceless. If she didn’t have the qualifications to be a Shadow than no one had them.

It didn’t come as a surprise for him to hear her say that she was familiar with the Shadow Lodge. In fact, for a while now he suspected that she was either an assassin, a spy or a thief. Or all three in one package.

She even admitted having broken out of prison. If he thought her to be as pure as a freshly fallen snow, he would be downright stupid.

Although she claimed that she earned her equipment by doing perfectly “legal quests” he clearly remembered her view on what’s legal and what isn’t: “It’s not illegal if I don’t get caught doing it.”

Recalling that statement, he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

This chapter is dedicated to Christian (PapaD). Thank you so much for supporting Aethernea! I am so glad that you decided to try something “different” and gave Aethernea a shot. 😉

Coming up in the next episode:

He wanted to know. He really wanted to know.

They were still just two people unwilling to share their innermost self with others.

Kiel’s laugh became louder and more bitter. “Does that mean that no matter how hard I try, no matter how powerful I become, I will never be able to hold fate in my own two hands?”

Elaru looked down to her left hand. “Perhaps, fate is not something one can hold in a palm of one’s hand.” She murmured, her eyes glazing over with sorrow.

Kiel’s heart was thumping so hard that if she wasn’t speaking telepathically, he would surely not be able to hear her voice. Even the loud sound of wind got completely overpowered by the frantic beats.

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