Swamped Chapter 131 Page 13

The priestess turns the certificate around, and stares at it.

“Runes?” she asks, confused. “Been too long since I had to translate these. I recognize ‘wind’ and ‘sea’ off the top of my head, but half of these I’m not sure on and I definitely can’t remember the grammar.”

“That’s all right. The interesting part isn’t what they say. It’s how they’re written.” You point at the glass case. “Try looking at the reflection.”

She clearly doesn’t like you playing around, but you don’t like her playing around so it comes out even as far as you’re concerned. But she looks. And then she seems baffled.

“I don’t see any runes in the glass,” she says. “Just blank paper.”

“Of course,” you reply. “Auras don’t reflect, after all.”

“Oh, is that why I didn’t see anything while she was looking over the front?” Arlene asks. “It’s written in some kind of ink that only shows up as an aura? I was pretty confused when you pointed it out, honestly.”

The old priest suddenly laughs.

“She really did it! She really made the goddamn auric ink!”

Grandmother did tell you that the church never thought she’d do it, but you weren’t expecting a reaction like this. It takes her a while to calm down.

“It’s just – when I was in training, half the time I had an idea, my mentor said that was about as likely to work as auric ink. It was something of a joke among the clergy here. And now here it is, right before my eyes!” She laughs briefly again, before handing back the certificate. “All right. That’s proof enough for me. I’ll get you to the Golem. But before that, I’d like to actually see the artifact. You don’t have to hand it over yet, I just want to lay eyes on it.”

You see no reason not to humor her. You hold out the seashell.

“Huh,” she says. “That’s odd. I know it’s real from the aura, but it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to.”

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It’s barely even bleached from its time in the sea!