#1 [fr] 

Day and night, they took turns. They had taken all the time they could to accomplish this arduous task, despite their mutual obligations to their government. They lurked in the shadows, watching the Black Circle camp for a long time, waiting for the best moment to pounce on their prey. In the end, their efforts and patience paid off.

The purple zorai, elegantly dressed, moved on to his camp despite his efforts to reduce the frequency and regularity of his visits. The homin was aware that they were after him, and had been wary since the day they had first unleashed themselves on him as punishment. Without letting his guard down, he left him once the necessary was done, but on the way to one of his secret laboratories, he had the feeling that something was wrong. An unpleasant shiver ran down his spine. That frustrating feeling you get in your dreams, when your muscles no longer respond despite your best efforts, but your senses perceive the richness of the waking world. His concern was confirmed when he caught sight of her out of the corner of his eye.

She was there.

He felt the bark tremble beneath his feet, as if a shala was charging in his direction and it was too late to avoid it. It would have been better if it had been a simple beast than THAT beast.

With fyros-like violence, he was knocked down with a club blow to the torso, followed by another to the liver and another to the head for good luck. Three's a crowd. Breathless, his gaze drifted back to his camp, no longer visible from where he stood. Another problem stood between him and his exit door. His traitorous former apprentice claimed to be preventing his escape, even though she wasn't even wearing her combat armor. The hominin with the torn mask had no intention of defeating him hand-to-hand. She drew on her magical energy and seized the crimson zorai's mind with a stun spell, giving the fyros the chance to finish off the beating of her life. Naveruss crushed each of her hands with precision, finishing off her target with a final strike to the crotch. If taking such an impact was always painful, the action was "futile" in this case following the dispossession the bugger had suffered during their first encounter.

Silence fell over the Shadow Grove. The scene had only lasted about ten seconds, but seemed to have lasted much longer. The pressure was high, both in terms of the goals to which they aspired and the atmosphere imposed by naveruss. Everyone was in a hurry to get it over with. The sorceress quickly searched the mouth of the downed homin for a "poisoned tooth" in case he tried to kill himself - a tempting freedom option in a world where resurrection is commonplace. After stripping the scientist of his paraphernalia, the legionnaire set about sausaging the game he was to her. Once she'd demonstrated her talent for the thing, she drew out a butcher's hook, not very large, dedicated to small livestock such as yubos or igaras.

-What the hell is this? Where are you going to put it?"
-It's to catch his tongue! So he doesn't try to swallow it and get brought back by the Karavan!" replied the Legionnaire, proudly. The Awakened One tingled for a moment at the other homin's favorite object.
-naveruss, put that away!

Nikuya stopped her as she was about to slip it into the mouth of the tied-up rookie to grip his tongue. A precaution to prevent him choking on it, something an individual willing to ignore his survival instincts would certainly be capable of. But Nikuya was firm, and refused to go that far, drawing an animalistic growl of displeasure from the legionnaire.

The operation had to be continued as quickly as possible. Time was running out and she couldn't wait to see their mission completed. They moved the blue sausage off the beaten track, where small shrubs gave them greater stealth. Nikuya went to Min-Cho to collect the caravan of mektoub she had prepared in advance, while Naveruss forcibly sedated her prisoner. Once back, they set about hiding their cargo in an empty shooki drum. More minutes lost! Bending a sleeping, bound giant. He'll be in a lot of pain when he wakes up after such a contortion, especially as naveruss was acting with his typical delicacy!
Quick, put the barrel back on the mektoub!
Always hurry and take it to Pyrénées-Côte d'Azur! Cross the jungle, then the desert, with a poisonous parcel.

On the outskirts of town, Nikuya let naveruss in alone. It seemed less suspicious for an akenakos to enter alone with a shipment of shooki. She entered without difficulty and rode normally with the huge barrel on her pack animal. She walked past the bar to the gaols, where Nikuya was already waiting for her. Naveruss exchanged a few words with the lieutenant in charge. Was it because she was a pyr akenakos, a legionnaire, or just a Naveruss, that the officer didn't object or ask her any questions? Probably all her answers.

And then, naveruss sighed heavily, as if her breathing had been blocked all along. Her swollen lungs emptied, slowly, deeply, and she drew in another breath, contracting again.
This homin chained to his cell was only the beginning. Others would soon follow.


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