Chapter 76

Charon sighed as he stood behind Lindyss, Grimmy, Tafel, and Vur. The four turned around to face him. “What do you mean you screwed up?” Lindyss asked the naked man.

Charon let out another sigh and shook his head. “I was supposed to stop myself from teleporting Johann to Fuselage,” Charon said. “It’s too late now. The fact that I’m still here is proof of that. Ah, I really messed up.”

“Speak clearly, you crazy old man,” Grimmy said as he flicked Charon’s forehead. Charon tumbled and rolled over backwards.

Charon rubbed his forehead. “I am Exzenter,” he said as he picked himself off the floor. “I didn’t just teleport Johann to Fuselage. I brought him back in time too.” Charon raised his hands as Lindyss started to speak. “Hear me out before you speak, please. The humans fled from the continent of Trummer 800 years ago because of me.

“After I brought Johann to Fuselage, I teleported as far away as I could. I got away from him, but the soldiers who came with me weren’t as lucky,” Charon said and sighed. “You’ll have to forgive me if I forget a few things; it’s been over a thousand years and a lot has happened since then. I encountered the city of Verderb after wandering around Fuselage. There were a lot of interesting creatures there: phoenixes, manticores, behemoths. Well, they’re still there, but just corrupted and all wiggly. The plants were also huge and plentiful with great restorative properties. Oh, there was so much to learn.” Charon coughed. “Ah, I’m getting sidetracked.

“Anyways, I managed to convince the citizens of Verderb that Johann was a threat and they responded. The king sent out waves of soldiers to stop him. Their weaponry was much more advanced than ours, but they didn’t rely on magic as much, only faith. They fought an endurance battle with Johann. They destroyed all the replicating worms and their hosts. Eventually, the region that they contained Johann in was drained of mana and he, along with the parasites, got progressively weaker.

“The king ordered the destruction of Johann and all the worms, but one of the princes had other plans. He pretended to follow the king’s orders and buried Johann’s body in a casing of orichalcum while keeping the worms for himself. By that point, the worms were so weak that they couldn’t fully control a human body even after digging inside of them. He planted them in anyone who opposed him and used their madness as an excuse to have them executed or locked up.”

Tafel frowned. “You didn’t stop him?”

Charon creased his brow. “If I had known back then what I know now, then we wouldn’t be in this position,” he said and scratched his chin. “I was also a bit preoccupied with all the new species of animals and plants around me, but that’s beside the point. That prince became king and used the worms to ensure the security of his reign. Eventually, it became the collective secret of the upper echelons. One day, someone messed up and the worms were set free, starting from the center of the capital. It spread outwards and no one could stop it since the king had undermined the strength of the kingdom to ensure his own sovereignty. People panicked and cities fell. The beasts on Fuselage became infected when they ate humans or other infected beasts.

“Eventually, humanity was backed into a city on the coast, Fuselage. The only reason it held was because of the crystals, I call them Spirit Tears, which were able to maintain a barrier against the worms. They’re the same crystals the humans use now to summon their ancestors’ spirits. I set up a portal and had the non-combatants flee to this continent, Zuerst, along with a few commanders who I knew were strong enough to establish a foothold against the elves. I established rules for teleporting to and from Fuselage to ensure that the worms wouldn’t be able to travel to Zuerst, but I must’ve failed somewhere along the way because, clearly, worms made it across and infected Johann.”

Vur tilted his head as his brow furrowed. “So, the worms that infected Johann, were the ancestors of themselves?”

“Precisely,” Charon said and nodded. “If I didn’t teleport Johann to Fuselage, then the worms would never have existed, thus eliminating the need to teleport Johann to Fuselage. But I was too late to stop myself.”

“Aah,” Tafel said and exhaled. “I don’t get it. Where does that put us now?”

Lindyss crossed her arms across her chest. “We have to find out where the worms are coming from. The last outbreak was when I almost destroyed Niffle and the demons released the worms, but that was ten years ago,” she said and frowned. “How is it that only Johann became infected? What happened here?”

“Vur! Help…”

The group standing on top of the roof looked down. Lillian was lying on her belly, hanging over a horse’s saddle. A trail of blood was left behind as the horse moved forwards. Vur frowned and jumped off the roof, landing in front of the horse. He placed his hand on Lillian’s back and a breeze rushed past the two, illuminating the wounds on her back with a green light.

Lillian sat up with tears streaming down her cheeks. “Paul… Michelle…,” she said as her voice cracked, “they’re dead. Y-you have to resurrect them before their souls leave their bodies. Please.”

“What happened?” Vur asked as he grasped Lillian’s arm. “Weren’t you near the temple?”

Lillian’s body trembled as she shook her head. “It was Trent. He used some sort of magic to make the spirit disappear and then he knocked the pope out. He killed Michelle and Paul after you four left,” Lillian said through sniffles. “He almost killed me too, but my grandfather’s ring helped preserve my life. He took Rudolph and the pope. I tried to find a healer, but everyone had already fled the area because of the dragon.”

“I’ll save them,” Vur said and turned towards Grimmy. “I need a ride.”

Grimmy looked at Lindyss and scooped her up along with Charon and Tafel. “We can figure out the worm thing later, let’s save Vur’s friends first.”

Lindyss frowned as they flew towards the temple. “The only resurrection magic I know is reanimating the dead,” she said and turned towards Tafel. “I don’t suppose you know any?”

Tafel shook her head.

“I can do it,” Vur said. “I learned it from Juliana when she thought she killed me.”

 

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