I\'ve talked with everyone who had a room for rent, but I didn\'t learn anything useful. Jirni sighed.
Everyone complains about the high crime rate of the neighborhood, of the people going missing on a daily basis, and only a few talked about blue eyed people.
The silver lining is that those who did always saw them near the temple of Xhal.
I have a suggestion about how to find people carrying a meat puppet. Tista said beating Lith to the punch.
I noticed that some of today\'s patients had a mild adverse reaction to both my diagnostic and healing spells.
They all presented the same symptoms: unease and stomach ache.
The same of mana poisoning victims.
I think Professor Manohar could give them a look and if I\'m right, extract the puppets safely from their hosts.
All gazes turned to Manohar, who didn\'t seem to be impressed.
I discovered a few of them on my own too.
I just had to use air magic the whole time we were around people and see who would suddenly feel sick after getting touched by my invisible winds.
I even managed to examine a couple of carriers.
The puppets were there, yes, but they were already dying on their own.
Most of them were so undeveloped that they wouldn\'t survive the extraction process, and even if they did, I wouldn\'t have enough time to find a way to stabilize them.
Despite the failure, the experience allowed me to collect some significant data.
The carriers were both male and females, never than younger fifteen years old.
Some were even older… When Manohar noticed Jirni\'s glare as he was pointing at her, he almost choked on his words.
His hands quickly moved to protect his groin.
I mean less young than Constable Ernas, here.
I performed the same experiment as Professor Manohar, but I didn\'t attempt to check on the specimen to not put at risk the patient\'s life. Lith said.
The ones I noticed, though, were mostly young.
Same for me. Tista confirmed.
She had been very scared at the idea of using magic on someone with a vortex in their mana core.
She didn\'t want to harm them but had no idea how to refuse to treat them, since the other healer would do it anyway.
She had used a weak diagnostic spell first and when she noticed that the vortex was too weak to cause mana poisoning, she had cured the patients as fast as she could.
The younger the patient, the milder was their reaction.
Sometimes I wouldn\'t have even noticed their distress if they hadn\'t asked me if their symptoms were normal after being cured.
Maybe there is a link between the age of the host and the puppet\'s growth. Jirni read the reports about the personal details of the made mages killed so far.
Most of those gone on rampage were above thirty years old.
Or maybe the younger ones get collected and the older ones don\'t.
Lith and I received many missing person\'s reports today.
Most were about youngsters.
Also, if you remember Hessie\'s words, mister Roza disappeared and then returned.
Maybe we should pay him a visit. Dorian proposed.
Already tried that. Jirni shook her head.
His house was the first place we visited and \'coincidentally\', his landlord told me he left the building around the time you fought the creature.
Another unfortunate \'coincidence\' is that no made mage popped out since we extracted the meat puppet.
Whoever is pulling the strings is not leaving loose ends.
We must move with caution, if the enemy discovers we are getting closer, there\'s no telling what they could do.
In the following days, no more made mages appeared whereas two more nobles died after being enveloped by a blue pillar.
The group kept patrolling the zone nearby the old temple, looking for witnesses and blue eyed people, but to no avail.
The men of the Mage Association investigated all those who had purchased magical resources around the time the incidents had started.
Once they had narrowed down the list to a few names, Jirni decided to act.
With no clues at our disposal, we have only one move available.
If we approach our suspects one by one, they might get spooked and disappear, or they may just get killed by our mysterious opponent.
Since we can\'t detain and interrogate middle importance nobles just because they have renovated their houses, we need to be smart about it.
I\'ve contacted Lady Lanza for help and she has accepted.
Tomorrow, she\'ll organize a masked gala and all those on our list will be invited.
The plan is to round them up in the same place, arrive there unexpected, and if Manohar after examining them confirms the presence of a meat puppet, we\'ll have all the reasons to perform a proper interrogation.
Or if they die, we\'ll at least be able to collect a number of specimens big enough to locate our enemy.
One. Lith asked.
How do we know that we can trust this Lady Lanza
We can\'t. Jirni shook her head.
It\'s already suspicious how our only two leads all came from the Lanza Household.
It\'s a trap in the trap.
I spoke directly to her, so Mynna Lanza is the only one that knows we\'ll attend.
If something happens to our suspects, we\'ll know she is involved.
That\'s why I\'ve put her under surveillance.
Manohar will act as her surprise guest.
The god of healing is still one of the most eligible bachelors of the Kingdom.
While you mingle with the nobles, you\'ll have to examine our suspects without them noticing.
The gala is for tomorrow night.
You\'d better not screw this up.
The following night, all the nobles who had yet to escape from Othre despite its crisis, were glad to attend to the gala hosted by the only daughter of the Lord of the city.
Lith still had his doubts about the plan.
\'I don\'t trust this Mynna.
If one or more of her guests get arrested during the gala and the other nobles discover her involvement, her reputation will be ruined.
What does she gain from helping us\' He wondered.
\'Maybe she is just worried about her city.
Good people do exist.\' Solus objected.
Lith ignored her naïve remark and walked slowly through the ballroom.
He was wearing a black tuxedo and bowtie, with a silver mask covering his face.
He hadn\'t worn one since the plague, and he discovered that he still liked the feeling it gave.
Lith didn\'t have to worry about hiding his feelings or where his eyes wandered.
Kamila was walking by his side while holding his arm.
She wore a golden mask and a silk-satin red evening dress with a v neckline.
The dress left exposed her shoulders and emphasised her bosom.
Why do you think Lady Ernas picked for me such a flashy dress She asked with a whisper, glad that the mask would hide her embarrassment.
Because most of our targets are men.
If they keep their eyes on you, they will not notice me.
Mask or not my height is easily recognizable. He replied, glad for Jirni\'s choice.
Look, isn\'t that Count Xolver Kamila tugged his arm, nodding to her right.
Count Xolver was wearing a black tuxedo too.
Contrary to Lady Lanza\'s description, he had an amiable expression and spoke with a calm voice.
Wasn\'t he supposed to be without any talent for magic Kamila whispered in surprise.
The Count was sipping his wine while his flute was floating on its own.
\'That\'s not all.\' Solus pointed out.
\'His deep red mana core could barely light a match, but his blood core is another story entirely.\'