Chapter 3 “The Pearl” 24

As Gwydion rises again to greet his fellow Sergeant, Alma notices his slight difficulty in gaining balance.

“Welcome back, Sergeant,” Gwydion formally offers.

Nodding to the god, she hands him the box of pastries. “I thought you might like something to eat.” Turning to the Oracle she adds. “And Oracle, I am pleased to see you recovered.”

Nevieve smiles back at Alma. “Yes, firefly. Although I am still imprisoned, this small sanctuary is fairly free from the poison. But, I am pleased to be able to thank personally my other rescuer, Alma of the clan of Death gods. And please, my rescuer, do call me Nevieve.”

Somewhat surprised at the depth of the Oracle’s awareness of her, Alma glances at Gwydion for an explanation.

“It appears, Nevieve has an interest in you, I, and the Inspector,” he whispers, worry and weariness slightly tinting his voice.

“All of you will play your parts,” Nevieve states conversationally, and with such assurance that Alma feels a chill from the words.

Noticing Gwydion offering the box of pastries to the Oracle, she takes advantage of the welcome opportunity to shift the subject. “I stopped at Kyri’s Copper Pot on the way back, and found your priestess, Doria, helping her distribute clean water to the local mortals. Kyri had just finished baking some pastries and offered a selection.” Looking at Gwydion and remembering his initial imbalance, she adds, “It seems you need some nourishment yourself.”

Gwydion smiles back at his fellow Guardia officer, responding, “Thank you for your consideration. But I may need to ask you for additional assistance.” Nodding to the Oracle, he adds. “If you would excuse us for a moment, Nevieve?”

Motioning to Alma to step away from the pool and walk with him, Gwydion begins once they clear earshot of the Oracle. “As I noted before, the maintenance of the filters is going to take mana. I fear my internal supply will be inadequate for the task.”

“I can return to the station and talk to the Inspector. I am sure he must keep reserves for this kind of situation,” Alma offers, but sees Gwydion shaking his head.

“I would like to suggest an alternative,” Gwydion states quietly in light baritone.

Reaching into his pocket, Gwydion retrieves the God Striker. “This needs to be returned to the Academy and delivered to…a friend. He can also help you acquire additional mana. The Academy wizards and I have a…well, an arrangement. They will be able to provide you more than sufficient mana for me to continue my vigil here.”

Mildly concerned at Gwydion’s elusiveness, Alma nods slowly, her eyes looking for answers in his. “Who is this ‘friend’ of yours, and how do I find him?”

After a slight pause, Gwydion says. “His name is Geryon. He’s a bit…different. And knowing him,” the god pauses again, looking at Alma as if appraising her beauty, “he’ll find you.”

The slight concern grows to an alarm now as Alma raises an eyebrow and inquires, “What do you mean, different?”

“He’s a gryphon.”

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