Thursday, February 8, 2018

Page 1524

As Koh neared their group, Jercash offered to take the girl from him, but the dog only growled at him, his jaw already visibly slick with blood. Instead, Koh carried her over to Germal, who leaned in, as if to examine her.

“I wasn’t going to hurt her,” Jercash felt compelled to say.

Koh just stared back at him.

A sudden question occurred to him. “Where are Vanderberk and Rita? Didn’t they go with you?”

Koh spat out half of a human skull.

Jercash’s expression flattened as he looked at it. “You killed both of them?”

Koh let out a beastly snort that somehow still managed to sound smug.

Jercash eyed the Man-Eater again. He’d known that Koh was powerful. Of course he had. But to eat Vanderberk, just like that? A guy who’d recently gotten Gohvis’ vague approval?

Come to think of it, Gohvis had mentioned something about Koh biting Ivan’s head off, too.

Just how strong was this dog, anyway?

It almost made Jercash want to test him and find out. Without the ability to speak, Koh would never be able to occupy a leadership position and be regarded as Jercash’s equal in terms of rank, unless his reaper could fill that gap for him. Jercash had yet to meet whoever that was, which only left Jercash with even more questions.

Gohvis’ men truly were ridiculous.

“...Tell me you didn’t kill their reapers, too,” said Jercash.

And Koh did nothing.

Jercash glowered. “You’ve been a very good dog so far,” he said with a darkness that didn’t match the words. “Do you want me to start treating you like a bad dog?”

A tense moment transpired.

Then Koh’s torso contracted and flexed, and the dog coughed up two reapers as if he were suddenly a cat and they were hairballs.

They barely retained their form, having both been rendered into unconsciousness while covered in soul-empowered drool and bile.

Jercash grimaced and picked them both up. He wiped them against his coat.

“You will be alright now, cedo,” Germal was saying softly as he brushed the tears from the little girl’s face with his thumb. He’d been whispering to her for a while, and even now, Jercash could barely hear him. “Don’t you worry. We will take care of you. There is no safer place in this world than by our side.”

And to the horned man’s credit, she actually did look better. Her eyes were still puffy and red, but her posture and breathing had relaxed.

Germal’s next words were loud enough that he must have meant for Jercash to hear them. “Do you think you can tell us who did this to your town, cedo? Do you remember them?”

She didn’t answer.

Germal patted her head. “It’s okay if you don’t, cedo. We won’t be angry. But I want you to try and think back, just in case.”

Jercash didn’t think that was going to work. Not yet anyway. The girl was obviously traumatized beyond words. Perhaps in time--

“I remember,” she said in a voice that was even smaller than her.

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