“First off, what exactly happened to Lady Anessa at her job today,” Veronica says, glaring at Sir Orris, “because you didn’t tell me everything.”

“I bought a scroll from Adrian Orris, my brother, that activated when Lady Anessa opened and read it,” Sir Orris admits, “I haven’t gone over the principles of trapped scrolls with Anessa. I gave her the scroll to copy because I trusted my brother would tell me it’s trapped.

“I hadn’t gone over those principles yet because it’s a complicated subject. Anessa tried to copy the scroll, leading to her collapse.” Sir Orris says.

Veronica smiles and turns to Adrian dropping her smile, “I don’t even know where to begin with you.” She breathes in and out, “What’s so important about Lady Anessa that couldn’t be said to her or her guardian?”

Oh, Veronica’s my guardian? From what she just said, I wasn’t supposed to be able to hear them, interesting.

“Truth’s Sight has different… levels,” Adrian starts, looking around the table, fumbling with his fingers, “it’s not something commonly known. The particulars of which are guarded and I can’t discuss them here.”

“Passable,” Veronica says, “before you leave, please tell me where we can discuss it.”

Veronica turns back to Sir Orris, “Sir Gerald Orris, in the future if anything happens to Lady Anessa that I don’t know about, and I find out you kept it from me, His Majesty the Wise will have your resignation the second I find out about it.”

“Lady Anessa,” Veronica continues causing me to jump, “and Vivi, this is somewhat off subject, but pertinent to jobs. No more dungeon adventures without asking your guardian for permission. If I approve, then I can make proper arrangements. Forgetting to do so will cause you to forfeit your job.” She looks between the two of us, “have I made myself clear?”

“Yes Duchess,” I say.

“Yes Lady Burmene,” Vivi says.

“Sir Orris, I heard Anessa gave the country its first divine art, is that right?” Veronica asks.

“Umm…” Sir Orris falters, “I will make sure she is properly reimbursed.”

“Please do,” Veronica accepts.

1738, 1st day of the first month of the warm period. Sixth day of the week.

“Good morning Orris,” I say giving Sir Orris a half bow.

“Good morning little lady,” Sir Orris replies as he pens part of a Grand art.

“Sorry about Veronica,” I say.

“Don’t be,” Sir Orris counters, “even when you get to be my age, you find sometimes you’re wrong.” He looks up at me and smiles, “Be happy you have someone like that in your life that sticks up for you.”

Sir Orris’ words make me think of Bola which makes me smile, “You’re right, and I am happy.”

“So the super art of the divine void, what’s it do?” Sir Orris asks.

"Greatly increases a cultivator’s pull on essence,” I say. I shrug, “I haven’t had a chance to try it out.”

Sir Orris motions for me to sit in front of his desk, “Go ahead and try now, we only have one more use of the scroll. I may as well see how effective it is so I can price it.”

“Okay,” I close my eyes and recall the information of the art. I stress the core of my sealed dantian. The seal doesn’t appear to have any effect on this part of me and I notice my reach increases to four feet, then five, and finally six before stopping. I find I’m able to do exactly as it says and pull in eight times as much as before.

“Not bad,” Sir Orris comments.

“There seem to be multiple stages to this art,” I mention, “I can’t even touch the second stage yet because I’m hitting my limit. I get a sense of danger if I try to press harder.”

“Hmm,” Sir Orris muses, “Can you get a sense of how far the final stage goes?”

I parse the information of the art a few times and make a guess, “A hundred times normal?” I take a look deeper, “It doesn’t seem to indicate whether it improves when moving through the Realms, but I’m thinking it will stop being useful at the… sixth Realm?”

Sir Orris nods in approval, “Good, that’s in line with what Adrian told me last night.”

“Anessa,” Sir Orris says, his using my name is unusual, “I’m sorry you had to go through that pain. This job is thankless, and not worth your life.”

A note from Allen Clark Copeland, Jr.

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About the author

Allen Clark Copeland, Jr.


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