Moth Ch. 037byellynei©
Submitted to literotica.com by the author.
"The tracksters tell me it sustained a minor injury from the traps near Bellwin village," informed Officer Fol. "Hardly enough to slow it, but with some luck there will be some fresh blood for the courier on the scene to return to us. Our tracksters might see more with more connections."
Zoa didn't like the thought of a lone courier going near a spot where the monster had been. If ever the creature should change its pattern of fleeing triggered traps it would cost the life of whichever courier was going to check for blood.
Zoa had previously aired those fears, and Officer Fol had patiently listened, but he hadn't changed his orders. He had already been aware of the risk before she brought it up. They could hope not to lose more couriers to the spider, he had explained, but they could not expect it.
When all the straws were counted, their duty was to protect farmers, foresters, and families, not couriers, soldiers, and guards, and that was the cruel reality.
Zoa tightened her lips. She carried her medal around her neck, it rested always against her chest. With every passing day, she became increasingly aware that it was heavy.
"The tracksters say its route has changed," continued Officer Fol, and laid out a map with trackster-supplied dots on it.
Whenever Zoa and Officer Fol wasn't alone, Zoa had to concentrate hard not to call the military seers 'tracksters'. She often wondered how the officer managed to never fault at switching his manner of speech according to which ears were near.
"It is to be foreseen even by us with no sight," added the officer with a sigh. "It's the interference."
Zoa nodded. She understood.
The weak seers saw something and told of it, then Zoa and Officer Fol acted on it, and their actions interfered with what would have been.
"The couriers on the old route needs to be informed, and we need to send out new couriers to place traps on the new route," continued Officer Fol. "I'll leave that work to you, Zoa." He pushed the map toward Zoa, and Zoa accepted it.
"Thank you, Sir."
"Say 'thank you' if I give you a cake. Don't say 'thank you' when I make you do my work for me," said Officer Fol, pouring himself a mug of juice.
"If you say so, Sir," commented Zoa, studying the map.
"I have some good news too," claimed the officer, raising his mug to Zoa in a silent toast.
"Hmm?" Zoa kept her eyes on the map. The tracksters had dutifully placed dots as far as half a year ahead. That in itself was rather pointless, since the monster changed its route with almost every 'interference', which at most was two weeks apart.
"Our tracksters all agree that the monster is unlikely to kill again anytime soon."
Zoa considered that forecast very unlikely and raised her eyebrows. But she kept her eyes on the map and her mouth shut.
"That's what I thought too," said the officer, downed a big noisy slurp of juice, and put his mug down. "So I asked some people who know a thing or two about murderous insanity. You'll never guess what they told me."
"That tracksters are dimmer than a bright-glow with no fuel?" guessed Zoa.
The officer laughed.
"I like you, young hero Zoa," he stated. "But no, that wasn't what they said. They said it was normal. They said that the insane murderous traits can vanish for months, in rare cases even years, before suddenly reappearing."
Zoa frowned and studied the later dots on her map.
"The people I asked should know what they are talking about," added the officer, "they've got a few of the sort in custody. A termite with that sort of insanity is nowhere near as dangerous as a spider, of course, but the working of the mind should be about the same. Isn't that what your librarian tells you? That spiders with mind are as much people as everyone else?"
"He is not my librarian," corrected Zoa, automatically, still studying the map. "He is the Emperor's librarian."
Officer Fol slurped more juice. Zoa ignored the loud sounds. The officer was perfectly capable of drinking civilly when ears requiring such civility was about. He put down the mug and burped excessively.
"It also explains that one trackster who kept claiming that the blood wasn't that of a murderer."
"I guess it does," said Zoa, still moving her eyes back and forth on the map. The idea the dots had given her was slowly morphing into a plan.
"I'll put him back on duty as soon as he has served his time," said the officer.
"Who?" asked Zoa, raising her eyes from the map. She hoped he wasn't talking about Keme. That madman was due to be released.
"That trackster whom I had tucked away for calling me names when I refused to believe him," specified Officer Fol. "Are you even listening to me, young hero Zoa? I don't take kindly to people who waste my words."
"Sorry, Sir," said Zoa, but couldn't tear her eyes from the map. If this route remained the same then... Zoa sighed and lowered the map. The plan wouldn't work even if they stopped placing traps. Whichever seer had warned the spider about their planned attack on his home, was likely to warn the spider again if they made a second far-sighted plan.
"If you're bored with me you can leave," stated Officer Fol.
"I'm not bored, Sir. I'm disappointed with myself for getting stupid ideas."
The officer eyed her unkindly, drumming his fingers against his table.
"That whole hero thing has gotten to your head, Zoa," he accused, then apparently decided to forgive her for not having paid proper attention. "I have more good news. If you will grant me your full attention that is."
"Of course, Sir," said Zoa, keeping her eyes on his, for him not to change his mind.
"One of our tracksters has had a vision about the seer that sent warning to the spider. Apparently its an old, blind woman named Kuruma."
Zoa tightened her lips. She'd give a lot to spend some hours alone with this seer who had undone their chance to kill the monster at his home.
"Our trackster couldn't tell us where to find her, he claimed it was a side effect of her being blind. But!" The officer held up a scarred, gnarly, finger. "He could tell us that she won't be interfering again."
"How could he tell?" asked Zoa. Trackster visions were not the most reliable.
"Apparently this Kuruma-bitch has burned her only connection to the spider, in order for us not to use her to find him," said Officer Fol, his face displaying that he too had a desire to spend some time alone with the rogue seer. "Anyway that's not the good news. The good news is that the spider no longer has a seer working for him."
"We should still do our best to track her down," insisted Zoa.
"No point. She is old and sick. She isn't likely to live long enough for us to find her, let alone put her to trial."
"Bat shit!" exclaimed Zoa. The map in her hand made a crunching sound. Zoa looked down and unfisted her hands to spare it. Then she realised that her plan was no longer impossible.
"Sir," she said, "I have a plan."
Then she placed the map on the table and started explaining.
"Evelin," called Keme, the moment he landed. He held a purple flower in one hand. "I'm here."
He opened his tightly shielded bright-glow and let it illuminate the spot he had been whispering about for the last months. His breath was white fog. Winter had begun.
"You'd better not be frozen dead," he snarled. He had forgotten to consider the frost. The insane little girl was more than likely to have come badly dressed and barefooted.
"Evelin?" he called again, mustering up the strength to sound friendly and concerned. "Where's my little sweetheart? We don't wanna play hide and seek just now. Not before I've given you your flower."
It was a mushroom flower, he had had to steal it from a farmer's tunnels. In winter there were no wild flowers for the picking.
"Where are you?" he called.
She had to be there. After all his whispers, all his effort, the child had to be there.
There was no sign of her though. No tiny footprints. No quiet giggles. No humming.
"EVELIN!" yelled Keme, and then he saw it, a jar resting against the rock he, in his cell, had whispered that they would sit on together. Keme picked up the jar and studied it.
It was a simple ceramic jar with a cork lid. A purple flower had been painted on the jar with ceramic glazing. It was the same type of flower as the one he had brought.
Keme tore the lid off. Inside was sheets. He carefully pulled them out.
White sheets filled with clumsy big letters, Keme raised them to his eyes.
"i kNOw wHaT yOu waNT," began the letter. "THE bLack spiDDEr wiLL bEE HELpLEsssEs THis is wHErE THis is wHEn."
Keme read on, a big grin growing on his face.
"I knew I could count on you, Evelin," he whispered, when he had worked his way through the sheets. "Thank you."
There was one tiny fragment of mercy left in Keme's heart. He spent it on forgiving the child whose sight hadn't saved his family, and then there was no more left.
Laughing at the sky, the monster he had become found himself freed of everything he had been.
Posted on literotica.com with permission of author: Nanna Marker; literotica ID ellynei.
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