Quantium had nearly boundless magical resources for the tapping. If only I’d had equally boundless financial resources. It was a pity to watch it fade into the horizon. Perhaps I’d return one day soon, once we finish our business in Katapesh. Blatz had been returned to me, in effect, if not in spirit. He was having none of me, still upset over that business of being obliterated, brought back, and being put in harm’s way yet again. I pulled him from Hell, then non-existence. One would think he’d be more grateful. He flew near me, keeping his distance, always invisible, naturally. He didn’t realize the fungal eyes I’d gained in the desert kept him clearly in sight. He can be so petulant sometimes. No matter. I will win him over again. I even made gifts!
The trip to Katapesh was a welcome respite from our recent diet of blood and carnage. I even had to time to finish Blatz’s gifts and finish another for myself. It is pleasant to have both Hexa and Blatz with us again, as well as the others, of course. Once we made port, reconciliation was the first order of business.
“Blatz! Come to me! We have business, you and I!”, I said to the area in which he invisibly hovered.
“I understand that I’ve mistreated you, and that you hold that against me. Understood. However, I need you to understand that…”. The words were coming with difficulty now. “I need you to understand that you are important to me. You are mine. We are partners, you and I. Do you remember how we first met? We were deep in the dungeon, locked away forever. I’d pulled you from Hell, to be by my side.”
“Do you know how long we spent there? During it all, you were there with me, enduring with me. I did things to you during that time. I know. I had to. The knowledge I gained from it allowed us to escape, all three of us. You’ve held that against me, understandably. We are beyond that now. We are free.”
Blatz’s invisible form turns away.
“You are invaluable to me. Without you, I am diminished. Blatz. You are my friend.”
The alacrity with which an imp can turn and embrace a man’s neck is somewhat startling. “I knew you cared! I knew it! You couldn’t be such an insufferable asshole!”, Blatz elated.
“While I appreciate the compliment, old friend, I do have some items for you. I have the belt I displayed you earlier, as well as a pair of anklets to nearly double your speed. You’ll be the fastest imp on the mortal plane, I’d wager. Please take them, and use them as the superior imp you are,” I said.
“I never thought I’d see the day, you insufferable asshole,” Hexa chided.
Hexa never misses an opportunity to vex me, but it almost made me smile this time. I am growing soft. “Let us take a day to enjoy the wonder and detritus of this city of Katapesh,” I said.
Our little outing eventually led its way to the Acadamae headquarters, the maven of which was a truly inferior man, in all respects. However, Hexa was very kind in her execution of intimidation. Perhaps this lowly leader might be useful yet. If he could provide information regarding potential buyers for soul gems, or locations for nightstall dealings, he might be worthy of his own life. The Hellknights will be next.
As we traveled the daystalls of Katapesh, I took a moment, “Hexa, you do understand that soon, we will likely return home, yes?”
She looked at me as though I had stolen the treat from her hand.
“I know. I want you to know that when that happens, I will kill them, both of them. You can be with me in that, if you wish. But when it is done, you will assume control. I have no desire to take hold. My path will diverge from yours there. I cannot follow, for the gods have seen fit to toss my destiny in the path of these cursed gray dragons. For that reason, you cannot follow me. There is too much risk, and I cannot stomach my only sister following me to destruction should we fail.”
I should have seen it coming, but family is more difficult to read. She slapped me harder than I would have expected. “You idiot,” she said.
We enjoyed the rest of our day together.It appears Ezgar is in town. It’s unfortunate Aven isn’t here. I’m certain he would have enjoyed this. I’ll have to make Ezgar suffer enough for the both of us, it seems.