Chapter 29: Sidequested

Several days passed before Ephesos, Dikiyoba, the rats, and the wanderers arrived at the Mage Guild.

"Well, this is it. What do you think?" the Ratt asked.

The Mage Guild had a huge tower. Several guards patrolled the surrounding area. The Ratt hailed one of them.

"Hello! Is Harikhen still here?"

"Yes."

"We need to see him."

The guard looked suspicious. "All of you?"

"Yes. We're under an anti-magic spell. I think he can help us. I'm the Ratt. He might remember me."

"Alright. Stay here. I'll see if he's available." The guard walked off. In a few minutes, he returned. "You can come inside. Follow me."

The guard led the Ratt and the others inside. Several other guards trailed behind, ready to help out in case of a trap.

The interior of the tower was clean and sparsely decorated. The magic hanging in the air set off the anti-magic spell just enough to give everyone a mild headache. The guard led them to Harikhen's office and then joined the rest of the guards a short distance away.

The Ratt knocked on the door. Harikhen opened it right away. "Ratt! It's good to see you again. You disappeared months ago. What happened?"

Ephesos was tired from traveling, so he crept into the office, slouched in a chair, and slept while the Ratt told his story.

When the Ratt was finished, Harikhen examined the rune on his forehead. "Hmm. I haven't seen anything quite like this spell before. Very interesting."

"You can remove it, though, right?" the Ratt asked.

"I think so. Unfortunately, it will take some time."

"How much time?" Dikiyoba asked.

"I'm not sure. I'd guess a week."

"A week? Dikiyoba doesn't think we can wait that long."

Harikhen shrugged. "Sorry. There is something you can do for me that would speed up the process, though. The lab I use for most of my research was recently put out of commission by a failed experiment. A vat of experimental slimes exploded and the slimes escaped. Very messy. We're just lucky none of them managed to get out of the lab."

"So you want us to kill the slimes?" Dikiyoba asked. "Why can't you do it?"

"Oh, no, we killed the slimes a long time ago. No one has had time to clean up the goop they left behind, though. That's what your job is. Come, I'll take you there."

Toby-Linn nudged Ephesos awake. "Come on, we're moving along now. We've got to clean up a laboratory before he can remove the anti-magic spell."

Ephesos yawned and hurried after the rest of the group.

"Here we are." Harikhen unlocked the door to the lab and opened the door.

The lab was a complete disaster. Dried slime covered every surface, including the ceiling. Ephesos took one look and channeled TM for ten minutes straight.

---

Student of Trinity, A'p'd'r, and R'd'p'a were thoroughly lost. The flamers controlled far more territory than they had expected. After several days of avoiding pyroroamers, they were dirty and tired. At the moment, they rested in a burnt-out building.

There was an explosion in the distance.

A'p'd'r got up and looked around outside. "Did you hear that?"

"Yes. That wasn't far away," Student of Trinity said.

"Probably just more pyroroamers. Where did they come from, anyway?" R'd'p'a asked.

Student of Trinity shrugged.

There was another, much bigger, explosion.

"Wow. That's worth checking out. Don't you think?" Student of Trinity got up.

"Yes," A'p'd'r said.

"Eh. Might as well," R'd'p'a said.

The three of them searched for the source of the explosions. Student of Trinity peered around a pile of trash and smiled grimly. "Well, we found it."

The bots and flamers all stood outside the message board. Ecksian and Eternal Flame rushed about trying to get everything ready for the attack on Spiderweb. They both wore fire-proof suits.

R'd'p'a spotted EcksianBot hovering above explosion range. "There he is!"

Student of Trinity held him back as he started forward. "No! There are far too many flamers and bots down there to try a direct attack. Besides, Ecksian did something to Arancaytar's memory and I bet he did the same to your friend too. He might recognize you, or he might not. Either way, all we would accomplish by going out there right now would be our deaths. It might get him killed too."

"So what are you suggesting? That we give up and turn back?" R'd'p'a asked.

"No, of course not. We just need to watch and wait. If EcksianBot ever leaves the group, we can rescue him. And, I think at this point, if Ecksian or whoever the other person is ever leave the group, we should kill them."

A'p'd'r nodded. "Sounds good. But what if they don't?"

"If they're ready to attack before we have an opportunity to do anything, then the best we can do is get back to Spiderweb before they do. We need to give Spiderweb as much warning as we can."

---

To be continued...