This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Amon knew that if he took the bait into the conversation about Clio again, it would lead nowhere. Instead, he glanced at the thing that Scylla practically shoved in his face, having to pull his head back for his eyes to focus on the picture. Then, in spite of himself, he gave a slightly broken laugh.
“Biopellet,” he said. “Wasn’t that the outcome of your final-year project? If I recall, you were lauded for developing a brilliant, sustainable method of feeding the living samples in the lab. And though you say you are not a technomancer… yet, you strove to make your mark in the area the same as I did in those days.”
“You do remember!” Scylla laughed. “There were a few false starts! Remember when I covered father’s lab in a wave of slime? Our hair was green for a week!”
She turned her face away as the smile quickly faded, trying to hide the sudden pangs of guilt that tightened her chest.
And I’m about ready to turn you into one…
Scylla fumbled a bit with her hands, drawing out the preparatory procedures.
“You’ll be glad to know that there will be no unnecessary pain. In fact, there will be very little of much at all. No sight or smell or taste. Just the dull sensation of touch as you wander aimlessly around this place.”
She wiped her hands on her healing garb, running her fingers along the soulstone in her side pocket. It felt clammy and cold, as if condemning her for what she was about to do.
I know he was my patient, but that was before… before all this? Don’t I have a right to revenge?
She tried hard to reason that she was simply having righteous revenge. This man had hewn six dogs to her form, chained her to the floor and forced her to eat monster offal. He had intended to leave her there for all eternity that way, until she had gone completely mad amongst the howling. He didn’t visit often, but sometimes, she could see him from the high towers, glowering at her, savoring her fate as nothing more than a monster-dog guarding the tower.
He’s an enemy to this world! The world will be a better place without him!
She grasped at the anger, trying to pull it over her memories of the glade and the oath that she had given to heal, not to harm.
That’s it. Hold onto the hatr—I mean, righteous anger!
“There will be no howling or wailing of the hounds.” Scylla clenched her fists, visage suddenly growing dark. “Biopellets have no mouth to scream, no eyes to cry useless tears for the death of Allag. Perhaps it will drive you to a mind-death quickly, a better fate than you left me with.”
“I see,” Amon leaned his head back to prop it against the cold wall behind him. Though he fought to keep the emotion out of his voice, a hint of sadness crept in. “It sounds almost preferable.”
The Elezen closed his eyes, falling into a state of quiet release. “Perhaps even blissful. To have no mind nor thought nor worry.”
He sighed, body completely relaxed, as if willing a sleep that waking life rarely gave him.
“If this is what it comes to, I have nothing left to lose. I shall make my peace and pay the price, my dear.”