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Garovel floated up from behind him in order to inspect the gray box more closely. Atalim and Jada joined as well.
‘...Is this what I think it is?’ said Atalim.
Garovel sighed publicly. ‘Yeah... yeah, I’m pretty sure it is.’
Hector found the door he’d been looking for. Its outline was so thin that it blended in with the rest of the box and rendered itself almost invisible. The handle was barely noticeable as well--just a small indention in the wall where it looked like he was supposed to pull.
He didn’t think he wanted to open it anymore, though. Sure enough, Garovel’s next words reaffirmed his bad feeling.
‘Don’t open this,’ the reaper said. ‘You understand me? No matter what. Do. Not. Open it.’
Hector let Jada be the one to ask.
“Why? Do you know what is in here?”
‘I can make an educated guess,’ said Garovel. But he neglected to elaborate, as if dreading to.
“...And?” pushed Jada.
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Four: ‘Thy toxic prize...’
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“And what is so terrible about eggs?” the young Lady Najir asked.
Hector, meanwhile, already had some idea where this was going. The discussion he’d had with Garovel on the way down to the Undercrust was still fresh in his mind.
Atalim was the one who answered her, however. ‘Worm eggs,’ was all he said.
Jada’s expression shifted from curiosity to flat displeasure.
‘This box is vacuum sealed,’ said Garovel. ‘And given how large it is and that it doesn’t appear to be refrigerated, there’s pretty much nothing else that could be inside.’
Hector figured he should take a turn asking the obvious question. “Worm eggs need to be vacuum sealed?”
‘Indeed,’ said Atalim. ‘They secrete a kind of sludge, which gives off pheromones. And most species of worm possess a terrifyingly good sense of smell. Greatworms in particular.’