‘Okay, so maybe not the three-headed lion monster,’ said Chergoa, ‘but what about the ONE-headed lion monster that it’s based on? The arasaba could have been real, I think. I remember reports of sightings in the olden days.’
‘Those reports were never substantiated,’ said Shenado. ‘And really? Reports of a lion-like monster? Gee. I wonder what could someone have possibly mistaken it for. Perhaps an ACTUAL lion?’
‘In the desert, though?’
‘Most of those reports didn’t come from the desert. They came from people returning to the desert after having spent time abroad. And the ones that were from the desert? Easily mirages. That would also explain why the arasaba seems to possess the convenient ability to turn itself into sand.’
Chergoa gave a glowing shrug. ‘Your cynicism saddens me. Don’t the Rainlords have their own monster like this, too?’
‘The lhugleoth, yes.’
‘You don’t think that could have existed, either?’
‘Of course not. It could breathe ice.’
‘So can Zeff.’
‘Ah--that’s different, and you know it.’
‘I know no such thing. Reapers aren’t the only ones who can bend the rules, y’know. Tell me, Marcos, have you ever heard of the Jaskadan Forest?’
He shook his head as he eyed the reaper curiously.
‘Oh, then--’ But Chergoa stopped herself. She held there a moment, hovering in silence, then looked to Shenado. ‘Did you sense that?’
‘Something is going on downstairs,’ the other reaper said.
‘But did you--? Those souls. Were they there before? Am I going crazy?’
‘I’m not sure,’ said Shenado. ‘I wasn’t really paying attention to things down there, but that did feel odd...’
Emiliana turned back to the rifts in the room. They were still moving around, but not by much. They hadn’t strayed any closer.