I step back into the hall, glancing around at the various other men now slumping into chairs and letting out sighs of relief. They've had a long night. We've had a long night. The Autocrat doesn't blink as he steps out of his office, only walking over to me. "Any losses?"
"Good." He looks over the group for a brief moment, as though to confirm it with his own eyes. "I'm arranging with the police mare to have our victim moved somewhere else. A paladin hall is no place for a monster." I nod.
"Unfortunately, we're a little low on space now. You might need to find somewhere else to stay while we arrange the transfer." I look back at him, who looks straight at me.
I don't understand. Does he think that I set out to save a monster? Or is he frustrated that I didn't kill one when I had an opportunity? Is this punitive? I nod again, "Understood. I'll leave immediately."
His breath catches for an instant, but he says nothing. I turn quickly and head to my room.
I'll need an apartment. It won't be hard to find. Apparently the turnover rate for monsters reaching the mainland and finding a person to stay with is relatively high; a fact that I'd pointed out in my last report. It doesn't matter where I work from, either. All I need is a bed to rest on and a closet to stick what few things I have. My duty doesn't involve sitting in a room. I stuff a handful of clothes back into my duffel, and then I'm done. Life is easier this way.
I stride out of the branch hall to a handful of confused looks.
I quickly close the door and sit down in front of the desk. "Yes, that's right."
The thing continues to stare at me. "You want an apartment," it finally states, repeating its question a third time.
Its tails droop, slowly coming to a rest on the floor behind its chair. "But, I mean, this complex," it trails off.
"Is run by a monster, and filled with them?"
It cringes slightly, then nods.
"I'm aware. In fact, they all are. I've done no small amount of research on the topic."
It doesn't respond to that, instead choosing to stare worriedly at me. I choose not to focus on the fact that it's wasting my now more important time. "I would prefer something small. A one bedroom, one bath would work perfectly. Do you have one available?"
It nods thoughtfully and deliberately.
"Excellent. What's the down payment and where do I sign?"
"Sir," it states, suddenly leaning forward, "you know, I'm very concerned about my tenants. They're all mamono, and I have to keep their safety in mind."
"They won't be hurt," I say, smiling. It stares at me, and when it seems like it's about to speak again I add "So long as they obey all the laws of Megalos."
"But then," I continue, letting my smile lose its cheerfulness, "all citizens are freely permitted to act in their own defense and in the defense of their fellows. I should also add that, as you've now brought up race, refusing me based upon my own is quite illegal. Your kind have done a great deal of work to ensure that."
It's leaning back in its chair now, silently watching me with a wide-eyed stare.
"So I'll ask again, what's the down payment and where do I sign?"
Voice 1. At the body of the spider
- Dislikes that I kill monsters
- Was watching me beforehand
- Reads minds (?)
Voice 2. In my dream
- Communicates via dreams
- Spoke in poetry
- Thinks that I'm righteous
- Saw the future (?)
Voice 3. At the corner of Friedrickson Street
- Found me amusing
- Helped me
- Unusual accent
- Strange speech patterns
- Knew exactly where the victim was (?)
I stare at the list I've made on the counter of my kitchen for absence of a desk, wondering if there's anything useful that I can draw from this or if I've just wasted two minutes of my time. Nothing pieces itself together in my mind; no clear pattern of explanation.
Well, except for one.
Voice 1. In my head.
- lucky guesses (?)
- helpful (?)
Regardless, my only option now is to continue my work. Whatever the reason for Sabbath's reappearance, I've probably stopped their efforts for the time being. For now, I have to become strong enough to where I can face them directly. I draw another sheet of paper and begin to write again.
"To be received post-haste by the Imperator, Petre Heart-of-Stone.
The situation in Min has changed drastically over the past twenty-four hours, sir. Sabbath has become active in this city. By fortune, it seems likely that their plans will be delayed, but I cannot guess for how long.
In light of this, I hereby request immediate word training. Without such, I cannot assume that I will continue to be of use in our mission in Min.
Yours in Service,
There's so little there to say what's actually happening here, to me or to this city, but what is there to add? That I've gone both insane, but my insanity can see the future?
I'll wait and train, and then I'll come back here clear-headed and able to continue my work. With luck, Sabbath will have raised its ugly head just to scan the horizon, and seen nothing but death staring back at it. I can only hope.