Another attack will be carried out in the following days, someone in the hierarchy will attempt to change the duty raster of the guards and conjurers safekeeping the great fungus. Who ever is behind it will disclose to your ever watchful eyes his affiliation with the freethinkers movement. Take care master, and don’t trust the people in the Citadels Hierarchy. Crysallis.

 

Bewildered and concerned Phyllis let the scroll sink, Ghanus was watching the Florals with great interest. “This one is weaker.” He pointed at the Floral that was to Phyllis right. “We better get them inside, the winter will be harsh, they might not make it.”

“Are you concerned for their wellbeing?” suspicions that Phyllis had thought she lost weeks before crept back into her conscious thought. “I would like to say I am not. But then I would be lying.” Slowly Phyllis’ intestines formed a knot, or at least it felt that way. “I care too much for a steady supply of Mana, to let these creatures,” he almost spat out the word as if he regurgitated it, “rot in the icy cold winter.” The knot in Phyllis’ belly loosened again and a wave of relief moved through her. “There is no room for them, where they wouldn’t be noticed by a great amount of people.” She knew that most of the apprentices in the citadel would nick the Mana during the night hours, probably aided by their teachers, but her greater concern was for any freethinkers in the Citadel. They would kill the precious Florals.

Or steal them into freedom. Probably both. “The tower.” Phyllis followed his hand to where he pointed. The magistrates lived in the tower above the citadel, they looked down on the rooftop garden, and knew of the two Florals. “There is a great south window, and with your authority master, they wouldn’t dare to make their existence public. Besides, they can see them right now if they peek out of the window.”

“True.” Phyllis was still concerned over the freethinkers in the Citadel, the movement could have reached the magistrates already. Should she really risk losing these two Florals? Icy gusts of wind reminded her that she had no other choice, for the cold of winter would surely kill these two exposed individuals if left in the rooftop garden. “We’ll move them tomorrow, now, I hope you didn’t damage the lock with your picklocks, that way they’ll be safe for tonight.” She smirked equally boyish as he had done before. As far as the eyes could see the landscape had been suffocated under a heavy layer of snow. Before her feet Phyllis could make out a mushroomcap that partially stuck out of the snow partially. The city in the distance had all but gone. “Devastating, isn’t it?” startled she hurled around to the origin if the voice.

Duonis sat on a heap of snow right where she would’ve located the great mushroom. “You know I am dead, right?” Phyllis had to clear her throat before replying. “Yes.” “So is everything else you should see there.” again Phyllis dared to look down the valley where the capital should be. “How?” “Retaliation.” a dark body glid by above the clouded sky. It dawned only slowly on Phyllis that she was not looking at snow, but ash. “I’m so incredibly thirsty.” the old man behibd her groaned, trailing off into all too familiar whispers.

 

Sweat soaked bedsheets were thrown aside, hastily peeling out of her nightgown, Phyllis hurried to her dresser, donned a robe and slipped into shoes.

As rushed as her morning toilet was her pace to the southern rooftop garden. To her relief did she find the doors locked. She sneaked outside, locked the doors and hurried to the two Florals. For several minutes, to her seemed like hours, she stared at tge two sleeping Florals. What was she to make of the dream?

Was it a prophecy, or a warning?

A noise from the doors startled her, she hid quickly, curious as to whom would turn up at her refuge.

“Oh you poor souls.” that voice! Phyllis knew all to well who had came to the rooftop, anger built up inside her. Mostly anger at herself for being deceived. “I can’t do much for you. Nor can I do anything too soon, she is already suspicious.”

Phyllis heard the sound of something that was poured into the water nourishing the two Florals. Poison?

“Over time this will have you weakened to the point where you will die. Maybe your glands will shut down before, giving her and the others reason to dispose of you. I hope so. Just hold on, your suffering won’t take long anymore.” Steps marched off back to the doors, Phyllis still sat in her hideout, angrily grinding her teeth.

Instead of rushing after the saboteur she took a few deep breaths, got up and emptied the poisoned water, refilling it, adding nutritional supplements and calmly walked back. Without proof, there could be no conviction. As much as she wanted to see the traitor dead, she believed in the legal system.

One last glance to the scarcely lit eastern horizon made her realize that there would be no sleep in that night.

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