Author : Hannah F.
The man of Saiyen was small and nervous-looking, not nearly as mystical as I expected, wandering into these ancient strongholds; like a Peasant or maybe a half-blood Noble boy, the kind that spent the days with their faces in paper.
â€œIs that a crossbow? Fascinating,â€ he said hurriedly. This was a panic reaction; I let him go, knowing sooner or later heâ€™d run out of chatter and shut his teeth. â€œObviously the surveillance devices havenâ€™t been working but weâ€™d theorized that the environment lacked enough stability for your society to develop even this kind of basic automation in your projectile weaponsâ€¦â€ He was sweating and I had to chew my tongue to avoid a grin. Iâ€™d only caught about half of that â€˜cos of his accent, but I understood the important part. He didnâ€™t know what I wanted, so heâ€™d started to babble, hoping Iâ€™d latch onto some topic and get the bolt out of his face more quickly.
I took a careful step back and laid the weapon down, still drawn and dangerous. The Saiyentist looked at it blankly. He knew what it was and what it was for, could wager what itâ€™d feel like if I used it, but didnâ€™t seem eager to try wresting it from me.
Eyes on him I unlaced the hard-hide pouch at my belt and lifted the cloth-wrapped vial from it. The glass tube and its case were from my uncle, a gift after my Modding. Heâ€™d dug it from the ruins of a building like this one, an eerily smooth white shell heâ€™d never been able to find again.
â€œI want more of this,â€ I said, and folded back the soft, thick wool, cupping the thing in my hand in case the small man tried to snatch it, or dash it to the floor. The crossbow, though, cautioned him and he merely regarded the light-blue liquid with wide eyes.
â€œWhere did you get that?â€ he began, but changed his mind when he saw the look in my eyes. â€œDo you know what it is?â€
â€œIâ€™ve been told itâ€™s a poison, but only to certain natures. Wonâ€™t slay a man, but itâ€™ll break down a dragon to its elements in under an arc.â€
â€œItâ€™s an emergency denaturing solution. It works by breaking down the chemicals in the cells and-â€ I was curious as a kitten but I mustâ€™ve looked impatient. â€œThe important thing is, it works the way you say it does. Which is why weâ€™ve kept it here in Obbsreg. But if you brought back a significant amount- even if we had a significant amount- it would interfere with the Ancestral Plan. As much as Iâ€™d like to help you Iâ€™m as bound by my forebears as you are.â€ He frowned. â€œYou shouldnâ€™t even be here, of course…â€
â€œWait.â€ If I had understood what he just said, I was about to be very, very angry. â€œYou mean your ancestors are responsible for keeping the drake-poison from my people?â€ I tied off the laces of my pouch and retrieved my crossbow. â€œAnd you justâ€¦ what? Study us?â€
The Saiyentist frowned at that, in spite of the terror thatâ€™d returned to his face. After a moment puzzling my assumption out, he began to laugh. I could do nothing but stare as he worked out his panic in a giggle-fit, wiping tears from eyes that were still wide â€˜cos of the proximity of my crossbow to his gut.
â€œWho said anything about my ancestors being responsible for this?â€
I was going to have one hell of a tale, whenever I got home. â€œTell me everything.â€