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Inhuman Chapter 13
A Glimpse of the Future
[Author’s Note: Only 2 more free chapters for this story. Please help this endeavor continue. I ask that you become a monthly or yearly subscriber to continue getting this story and the others after chapter 15.]
She stared at him, then her eyes went back to the paper that he pressed open.
“An Elder Change scroll,” Valary breathlessly let out. “I never thought it possible. Are you sure this is not a fake?”
“Like any scientist, I tested it upon a couple of prisoners before the authorities planned to hang them.” He stood up and glanced at her. “I assure you it works. Of course, the prisoner’s still suffered execution for their crimes.”
The inhuman sat in a chair after he looked out the door at Aprot’s progress.
“I’ll lay out some of the next things that you must remember to keep you alive once you meet your new body. As I told you before, the target is extremely vigilant and intelligent. Since I cannot be close to you once we get close to the estate, you’ll go to the gate on your own. From there, it is important that you remember to play the role I give you before we arrive.”
“As long as I get a body.” Her tone made Grym look at her. “I have waited too long for payback.”
“The feeling of blood soothes the savage heart.”
With his mask on, she had trouble understanding if he was mocking her. Then another thought came to her. Valary no longer doubted the Inhuman’s capability, and the implications worried her.
“You looked into my dream.”
Grym remained silent, studying the scroll on the table.
“Are you planning on erasing my mind?” Her voice rose an octave at the thought.
“Relax,” he told her. “I have no interest in a slave that cannot think. You were growing violent in your sleep. I simply changed your view to something that you need.”
She took a step back as fear suddenly filled her.
“If you can enter our dreams, you can make me do anything. Are you pushing your retribution on me? Why bother with the slave spell?”
He glanced over.
“First, I can’t make you do anything that’s not in your heart. I worked for years trying such things using healing magic, along with advances in science I read about. It’s an impossible task, even for the most powerful sorcerer. I talked to some of the brightest minds in the empire about the problem. There’s a consensus that the amount of aether cannot override the mind.”
“Why not?” Valary found herself suddenly intrigued by the knowledge.
“Think of it this way. The will of your thoughts controls the amount of aether needed to create and cast a magic spell. Without it, every spell would consume every bit of aether inside. I did a series of tests using several Aroks flowing their aether through different mages casting spells. I have proved that your mind has a limit factor. No amount of aether used can override the mind.”
“How can a ghoul find the time and money to become such a scientist?” Valary’s skepticism caught Grym off guard.
He sighed and sat down while looking out at the forest through the open hole in the building’s side.
“Before my wife murdered me, my name was Jupus. Once, I worked for the empire and attempted to use ancient dark magic spells from a grimoire to override a human’s natural instincts. Nothing worked, no matter how much aether I carried or used with others. Only temporary effects happen on living humans. The only way to get past that problem was to use monster aether. Well, that and other things which made the entire focus change direction. Something unnecessary except to a few nobles.”
Valary continued to stare at him. It was the first time he mentioned his past. The inhuman appeared thoughtful as he spoke.
“You have nothing to fear when I interject ideas into your dreams while sleeping. You forget your mind is as strong as your aether. That means you have the ability to override anything which doesn’t fit into your morals or your powerful emotions. It’s nothing more than a soothing effect. You should learn it to become a better healer. Although, I doubt the empire wanted you to carry such an ability.”
“I see,” she finally got out the words as her mind raced at the new information. “You said you had a grimoire to do this. Did the Holy Order know of your work?”
He chuckled, and a smile came to his mask.
“Of course not. A scientist must adapt to gain knowledge. That’s a quote from my mentor. He helped me move from a mage into other areas of interests. I took the book from the archives using the emperor’s seal. Most of those idiots are interested in being trained dogs for the empire. I doubt they realize the book is missing.”
Valary beamed at Grym when he looked over.
“Why the smile?” He asked.
“It’s just the first time you’ve spoken about your past. Plus, you grinned about your memory of something pleasant,” she replied. “One might think you have some humanity left inside.”
His angry expression returned as he stood up and walked to the door.
“If you wish to remain alive, don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that way. I will happily eat you if you become useless to me. There’s nothing left in me but revenge. Like you, I wish to see this world burn.”
“I never said I wanted the world to burn. Only certain people,” she countered.
Grym paused and looked back.
“Your vengeance against the emperor and his court will change things. You can’t stop that when you bathe in their blood. That’s why the dream calmed you. It’s deep within you and you know it now. Don’t think you can change your destiny. I won’t allow that.”
Every second, Erdem expected something to happen as they moved through the nobles around the platform. His gaze kept going through the crowd as he looked for a pistol to spring up, pointing at him.
“Relax,” Filko whispered. “You look ready to pounce. You’ll scare our hosts.”
Erdem glared at him, then took a deep breath.
“Welcome to Makla, my lord.” Kirel said as she stepped up and bowed to the prince. “The House of Raragel offers our gratitude for your arrival. We hope the emperor will join us presently.”
Erdem stiffened slightly, but his diplomatic training immediately took over.
“Unfortunately, my father is returning to the capital as we speak. I’m afraid an urgent matter came up at the last minute. He asked me to carry on in his place.”
The older woman with gray hair looked undisturbed by the news. Then she grinned.
“Well, I’ll have more time for the handsome heir to the throne.”
Erdem smiled uncomfortably at the familiarity of the woman’s statement.
“Good to see you again, Prince Erdem,” Greac bowed when he arrived. “I hope you won’t mind taking the Emperor’s place and speak before the crowd gathering outside the station.”
The prince nodded, expecting the chore, and followed the short, pudgy man and Kirel toward the entrance. Flanking them were the New Cavaliers, a regiment of the empire’s elite troops, holding their rifled muskets on their shoulders. Decked out in resplendent red and tan coats, black pants and black leather Shako hats, the troops exuded precision and power. In contrast, the House of Raragel guards’ blue uniforms while holding ancient pikes looked like a militia. The guards stood in ragged lines behind the Cavaliers.
“Your guards looked splendid as always,” Erdem told Kirel with a bemused glance at Filko.
The leader of the Raragel’s accepted his words gracefully.
“What we lack in weapons and uniforms, we make up with a tremendous heart. I can’t wait to discuss Nazalath’s ideas for dealing with the anarchists as it relates to our guards.”
“Yes, I’m sure the new arrangements for taxes will allow you more leeway in dealing with these traitors. I took the liberty of looking over the security agreement for Raragel and the empire. It would be a shame for my father to leave the regiment here as part of our security agreement.”
Erdem glanced over, hoping for the woman to betray her surprise at his words. It was his idea to put pressure on the House of Raragel before they formally met. The prince expected to hold the advantage by threatening more imperial involvement. However, she disappointed him.
“You know, I’ve been wondering when someone from the capital might decide to do that. Given recent developments, we should discuss the idea,” Kirel responded with ease. “Of course, with the empire’s financial strength, leaving a regiment here might be useful to train my guards.”
The prince held his frown inside and refused to look over at Filko. Instead, he picked up the pace when he saw the platform overlooking the small crowd waiting for his remarks.