Monday, January 23, 2017

Page 1289

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“I’m just taking an interest in what my best pal--which is you, by the way--is up to,” said Jercash.

“Mm.”

“You don’t need to hide anything from me. I am only here to support you in whatever capacity you require. And if that means unraveling a bit of the age old mystery that is you, then so be it.”

Gohvis made no response.

“Alright, fine. I’ll tell you more about my plans, if you tell me more about yours.”

“There is nothing more to tell.”

“Bullshit! There’s something way off about this library. I’m sure it’s just chock full of juicy secrets.”

“I am merely using it to preserve knowledge.”

“Yeah, and my nineteen ex-wives all married me for love.”

“I am sure it was your inability to let things go that won them over.”

“C’mon, just clue me in a little bit. For old time’s sake. I already know your endgame. Just tell me your next move.”

“Studying is my next move.”

“Ugh, alright, then what’s the move after that one?”

“More studying.”

“What’s the move after your all done studying?”

“Researching.”

“That’s the same thing! I wanna know when you’re gonna punch somebody!”

“I won’t know that until I do more research.”

“I will blow up this damn library.”

“Jercash. I genuinely do not have any short-term plans that you would be interested in.”

The man just looked at him.

“Shall I bring in the Weaver and have her read my mind for you?” said Gohvis.

“Yeah, I already know her power doesn’t work on you. Nice try, though.”

Gohvis gave a hulking shrug and returned to his desk. He began sifting through the books that he had stacked there.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Page 1288

“You seem stressed,” said Gohvis.

“I am!”

“Perhaps a nice book would help you unwind.”

Jercash looked like he wanted to scream. After tapping his fingers against his forehead for a few silent moments, however, he composed himself. “...I still can’t believe that one of the most feared men in the world decided to become a librarian.”

“I think it suits me,” said Gohvis. “I only wish I had known about this place when I was younger. It would have saved me considerable grief.”

Jercash ventured over to Gohvis’ desk. “Your mutation studies are going well, then?”

“They are.”

“Does that mean this dream of yours is--?” Jercash cut himself off as his gaze fell upon Germal and Emiliana. “Who’re they, by the way?”

“My pets. You needn’t worry.”

Emiliana raised an eyebrow from behind her mask.

Jercash squinted. “Hey. We recognize you. You’re Germal, aren’t you?”

“I am.” The one-horned man shuffled urgently forward to offer a handshake. “It is a sincere pleasure to meet you, sir. I am a great admirer of your work.”

“We’ve met before, haven’t we?”

“Yes, sir, although that was many years past. I am flattered you remember.”

“You’ve earned yourself a few accolades since then.” Jercash broke for another laugh. “The Gentleman of Palei. The Vanguard sure didn’t like that nickname, did they?” He snapped his fingers a few times. “What was the one they tried to push on you, instead?”

“Ah, I am afraid I do not--”

“The Liar of Lyste. That’s right. Quite catchy, in its own way.”

“Perhaps a bit too catchy, where Lyste is concerned,” said Germal.

“Ah, well, don’t worry about it too much. What’re you doing, hanging around with the likes of him? Is he keeping you here against your will?”

“Oh, you see--”

“Leave them be,” Gohvis interrupted. “We still have much to discuss, do we not?”

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Page 1287

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“Mm,” Jercash hummed, eyeing the jar another time. “So how’d he do, then?”

“I expected worse,” said Gohvis.

“Oho! High praise, coming from you.”

“He will still require babysitting for a while longer, I think.”

“Well, yeah. Hell, with your little fire buddy running amok out there, I wouldn’t mind being babysitted, myself.”

“You fear Jackson that much?”

“You don’t?’

“Hmph.”

“That’s not a no.”

“Contrary to what you may have heard, I have no interest in fighting him,” said Gohvis.

“That doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in fighting you. From what I’ve heard, he hates you more than anyone. Even Vanderberk. Hell, even my boss. And everybody hates that guy.”

“What has that old loon been up to lately, anyway? I have not been keeping up with--”

“Whoa, whoa. No changing the subject. I want to know what you plan to do if Jackson hunts you down.”

“If that happens, I will probably fight him.”

Jercash’s expression went flat. “That’s it? You’re just gonna fight him head on?”

“Probably.”

“Ugh. Come on, man. I’ve got plans, here, and you’re part of them, remember? And even if you weren’t, I still wouldn’t want you to die! You’re the only real friend I have left!”

The Monster gave a low laugh--low enough, in fact, that Emiliana mistook it for a growl, at first, before being entirely surprised that he even could laugh. “Your concern is touching.”

“You think I’m joking? Well, I’m not, goddammit. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, you’re probably the only person whose company I find even remotely enjoyable, anymore.”

Emiliana wasn’t quite sure what she was witnessing.

Gohvis still seemed amused. “I shall try not to die for your sake, then.”

“I’m not in the mood for your sarcasm, asshole. If you die, then who does that leave me with, huh?” He held up the jar again. “This shithead? Gimme a break!”

Page 1286 -- CXL.

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Chapter One Hundred Forty: ‘O, virtuous Wicked...’
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Emiliana followed Germal’s ushering lead off to the side of the main path as the stranger approached.

Gohvis opened one of the drawers in his desk and retrieved a large jar from it. He circumnavigated the metal globe in the middle of the room in order to greet his visitor.

“So,” came the man’s two voices, “is there a reason you’ve been jilting my messengers, or do you just like making my life difficult?” He pulled the hood of his coat off, revealing his bronzy complexion more clearly, along with a dark, beastly mustache.

“It is not my fault if the Dáinnbolg kills them before they make it here,” said Gohvis.

“You could’ve met them halfway. I’m sure they made it close enough for you to sense them, at least.”

“I have been busy.”

“And I haven’t? You DO know that the Vanguard’s nearly got us by the short-and-curlies, don’t you?”

“I have complete confidence in you, Jercash.”

“Oh, is that right?” the man laughed. He shifted something that he was carrying beneath his raincoat. “I never thought it would be your kindness that you would kill me with.”

Gohvis offered him the jar. “For all your complaining, you certainly took your time getting here.”

Jercash accepted it. “Eh. I kind of didn’t want him back. Guy’s a real prick, y’know.”

“I do know.”

“Is that why you showed him who’s boss?”

“He wanted to prove himself,” said Gohvis.

“Ah. Where’s Elinox?”

“Who?”

“Vanderberk’s reaper.”

“In the jar with him.”

Jercash held the jar up to his ear and shook it. “Awfully quiet in there.”

“The whining was obnoxious.”

“Agh. How bad is it?”

“The reaper should recover in a day or two.”