189 Beyond His Patience
There was nothing of interest in the remaining rooms on the second floor that Wolfrider could pilfer. The hallway paintings, furniture, and stone carvings were too unwieldy for the weretouched boy to carry on his own.
He did try.
Tycondrius and his companions came across a large planning room. At its center was a long table, flanked by several high-backed chairs. Military weapons and maps were kept in good condition and displayed prominently on the walls. A well-stocked bookshelf contained classic writings on military doctrine-- most of which Tycon was already familiar with.
Guild Invictus searched the room.
The books flew off the shelves to attack them. Invictus was victorious, but the books were irrevocably ruined-- stabbed, slashed, and burnt.
A coat-rack and a few animated brooms attacked them. Invictus was also victorious. Lone savagely beat the coatrack as if the mere sight of it caused his blood to boil.
The planning-table grabbed a sword and shield off of the wall.
While unexpected, Tycon managed to flank it and cleave it in half with the Shatterspike.
Unfortunately, he was unable to do so before the 8-fulm length table embarrassed both Lone and Wolfrider with its advanced combat prowess.
After the planning room debacle and a short rest, Invictus climbed the staircase to reach the 3rd floor.
Wolfrider paused, his ears perking up, "Oh. I think I hear Lulu."
Just as quickly, the boy's ears drooped and he turned to hide his face. Was... he blushing?
Tycon paid little mind to it. He'd find out the reason, shortly...
[Wizard Tower: Floor 3]
Ascending to the top of the staircase and entering the door, Guild Invictus was greeted by the maid girl, Margeaux, whose face was in a blush suspiciously similar to Wolfrider's.
Ever the charismatic hero, Barza Keith, the Lone Shadowdark was first to approach her.
Tycon raised a hand up to stop him, but Lone had acted too quickly.
The swelling on Lone's face had gone down and the cut above his eyes had mended. However, he hadn't washed off the blood on his face and clothing. The bruising on his face granted him a gruesome, yellowing pallor. The tell-tale hole in his armor revealed the raw, freshly mended skin underneath.
Heedless of his lackluster appearance, Lone grabbed the girl's hand and gazed into her vapid eyes, "What's wrong, Margeaux?"
As if to answer her question, Lulu, Guild Invictus' token whore pranced into the hallway from around the corner. She presented a phallic stone object to the pink-haired maid, "I'm done! Here ya go! I know you were watching meeeeeee~"
Tycon observed the familiar object from a few yalms away. He was wondering why the angel statue Lone was fighting was devoid of genitalia. The answer was revealed in Lulu's hands. Used.
Margeaux stood stupefied, gawking at Lulu's brazen offering.
Tycon gently guided Sasha behind him in order to block her view. As curious as the chocolate elf was, she didn't fuss, likely because she was still shy around Margeaux.
Without skipping a beat, Lulu offered the stone 'device' to Wolfrider, "How about you? Want it? I can wash it off? Unlesssssss~ you prefer it like this~?"
"N-no thank you, Miss Lulu," Wolfrider was surprisingly obedient to the demoness.
That was good. As playful as she was, Lulu had a keen intellect and sharp wit. She did not seem to be the type of broke outward disrespect.
Unlike Lone, Lulu's cloth robes hadn't gained an inkling of blood or debris. Resting her folded parasol on her shoulder, she swayed from side to side as if she was bored.
Tycon saluted the demoness with his hand to his heart, "Report, if you would."
"Mmmm... Alr~ight. I will if you say pleeeease!~"
Tycon blinked. It was a peculiar request, but easy enough to satisfy, "Very well... Report, Miss Lulu, if you please."
Excitedly, Lulu pulled out a dark, desiccated, leather-skin about the size of a kite shield, "Tadaaaaa~!"
Tycon took it and grimaced, "Necromancy, then?"
« System, analysis: Blackened skin. »
[Lingering aura of Third-Circle Necromancy.]
Peculiar. A Third-Circle Necromancy spell's aura only lasted minutes after it--
Tycon tossed the skin against the wall and carved it into pieces with his cutlass.
Lulu cackled, "Hahahahaha! Yeah... Sorry, Boss, I couldn't resist!!" She smirked and rubbed her shoulder onto Tycon.
Tycon rolled his eyes, "Indeed. I was nearly fooled."
A thin crease appeared between Lone's eyebrows, "Boss? What's wrong?
Tycon's mouth twitched, "The skin was a portion of a still-living... no, a still magically active undead creature."
« System, inquiry: What creature did that skin belong to? »
[System response: Gold-Rank Bound Flayed Beast.]
A deep grimace set into Tycon's face. Flayed Beasts were highly-ranked creatures utilized as war weapons by the Sleeping Country. Such a ritual required a dozen necromancers the torture of captured dire-beasts. The brutal practice had fallen into disfavor epochs ago when Witch-Queen Arenfjord assumed the throne.
It was a Bound Creature, though... meaning it was weaker than if it occurred naturally. Guild Invictus would stand an excellent chance against it.
Tycondrius had finally gained a clue to the Magic Tower's owner. It was very likely he or she was from Nemaya Strana. The magic involved in the creation of a Flayed Beast and binding it to a summoner was the result of epochs of advanced necromancy research... advancements unique to the Sleeping Country.
Shutting his eyes to concentrate, Tycon had the System retrieve all of its information concerning the creature.
"What's the issue, Boss? Isn't it just some undead?" Lone asked, "I've fought undead before with my old adventuring company-- skeletons are pretty easy to take out."
"They're not just ANY skeletons, dummy," Wolfrider reprimanded... "Uh, right, Boss?"
Though Tycon's eyes were still closed, he felt his right eye twitch in annoyance. Couldn't they see he was trying to think?
"It's called a Flayed Beast... a large, quadrupedal creature. Emits a cloud of poison. Claws secrete poison. Skin is magic-resistant. Worse still, the beast is faster than a living animal of the same size."
"The poison is painful but not debilitating..." Tycon opened his eyes, "The fight is manageable, as long as we can defeat the creature quickly enough."
Lone grasped Margeaux's hand and nodded confidently, "I'll fight it."
Good. That was expected.
Wolfrider twisted his lips, but still nodded, "Yeah, alright. I sure wish I still had my greathammer, though."
Tycon felt his opposite eyebrow twitch.
"The halberd is... a superior weapon. With the hafted weapon's range, you will be able to largely avoid the area of effect of the creature's inevitable poison cloud."
Wolfrider frowned, "I didn't ask for it, though!"
Tycon's body trembled with anger. He had given the boy his own halberd out of the thrice-damned goodness of his black heart.
The weretouched boy didn't seem to notice.
Lone and Margeaux took on looks of worry and Lulu covered her mouth to stifle a laugh.
Tycon turned away and quietly took a deep breath, struggling to keep calm.
The weretouched boy was beyond his patience.
It was at that moment that Tycon decided... Levi Wolfrider was an acceptable casualty.