This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Amon struggled to understand exactly what Scylla was demanding, and why. Was there almost a hint of concern to her voice? Or was he imagining it?
She was probably just responding to the healer’s training she’d recently experience, he reasoned to himself. Either way, as long as Scylla didn’t steal away the choker, he decided there was likely little harm in granting her request.
Leaning down, he murmured, “What do you believe you’re going to learn from this?”
“I’m trying to figure out what you are hiding from me.” Scylla cupped her palms over his choker, running both of her hands along his neck until the tips of her nails touched his temples along his head. Though aether-patterning wasn’t her strongest ability in healing, she knew enough to feel the tumultuous patterns of energy swirling and storming, carefully sealed and sorted by the amulet around his neck.
The white mage clicked her tongue and crossed her arms, giving an expectant stare.
“Something obviously didn’t go well in the transfer, did it?”
“’Twas a risk I knew about before I took it,” Amon pursed his lips. “The alternative was not too agreeable with my future’s outlook. Clones locked in stasis for as long as this one don’t always accept aether easily. I’ll figure it out with time. Of course, you must have chosen something similar to be here, yourself.”
It was never something he’d had a chance to address with Scylla – how she’d survived. Obviously, this was a cloned form, similar to his own, but without all the oddities he seemed to be experiencing.
“You rarely dabbled in this line of work,” the Elezen tilted his head. “How did you end up here?”
“You are right.” Scylla drew her hands back down around his form. “Cloning wasn’t my cup of tea, unless it was dealing with the pellet project. But neither was conjoining people with monstrous vicious creatures.”
The woman sighed as she continued her examination.
“Let’s just say, your dear trusted voidsent could be bought by the highest bidder, and promises of riches and forms. They whispered of the clones of dear, monstrous Queen Scylla ready to ship to the lady of darkness. I simply had them filch a bit of equipment and had them use your own process to pattern myself.”
The white mage put her finger to his forehead, looking closely for the flow of aether.
“It was easy enough to modify the code… Your sloppiness assured that there was some of my original patterning code left from your original vile actions.”
“So here we are.” Scylla clutched her hands at her side, turning her head up to give Amon a steely stare. “Sometimes when I’m here it’s easy to forget that you were the same man who so easily ripped away my form without a thought.”
She took a deep breath, stepping away.
“But then you make me remember, and it all comes back.”
Amon grit his teeth as Scylla recounted the situation for him. Though he was not fond of Voidsent, he had not trusted a soul in the Tower to keep the secrets his work exposed. And so, he employed creatures of the Void as his lab assistants, thinking this would be the safest route to take.
“Blasted Voidsent!” the Elezen grumbled under his breath. “They always did play their own games.”
He looked at Scylla – at her glare and balled fists – rubbed at his lip, which was now completely healed.
“I merely asked a question. I was not trying to dredge up your unpleasant memories,” Amon frowned darkly, trying to muster his pride before his rival once more. “But you’re wise to be wary. I may be locked in a weaker form… for now… but that doesn’t change much. Finding information on the aether unbalance will take me a step closer to regaining what I lost.”