Swamped Chapter 138 Page 4

“It has to do with opposites. You know, fire and water oppose each other; earth and wind; light and sound.” He looks at you to make sure you’re not confused. “So there’s this concept called ‘pure’ ether, and supposedly, if you mix, say, pure fire and pure water, they oppose each other so fiercely that they explode violently.”

“And this has something to do with the remedy?” you ask.

“A vial imbued with pure water ether was stirred with a rod imbued with pure fire, in close proximity to the victim. As I said before, the forbidden magic changes the rules of reality. So the mixing of opposites was possible, but because this was so demanding on reality, it consumed the forbidden ether.” He pauses. “But apparently this was very precise. The quantity of pure ether had to be carefully measured to match the quantity of ether that had to be removed.”

“And in our case, we probably need pure earth and wind,” you muse. “So. Where are we going to get that, and how are we going to measure it accurately?”

“Well, I don’t know about the wind, or the measuring. But as it turns out, mana root is imbued with pure earth. The pure ether seems to be key to its power.”

You frown.

“I dumped the root out of the wheelbarrow. There might be one or two left, but we’d have to go back to get more. And I don’t think that’s safe.”

“It’s a lead, at least. More than we have on the others. Tell me where it is and I’ll talk to Spade about securing the site. Or at least getting some roots away from it.”

Well, you don’t like turning to the Guild for help, but you’re also lacking in options right now. Still, you feel like you ought to at least try to set some terms before you tell them where to find something that potent.

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I don’t want to be a part of something unethical. How do I know you’re going to use the root to help Marian and not hoard it all for some nefarious profit? And speaking of nefarious deeds, what could those other goons have been planning with it, and how badly will they want it back?