Day 80. 64 pages, 25,967 words.
The fascinating, horrible creature picked its way fastidiously around the wreckage of the Demon it had scattered across the floor. It appeared to be undamaged and even unstained from its brutal dismemberment of Odium, although its skin still oozed with unpleasant grey-black slime.
The Demon-blood, Predericon’s desperately-darting eyes noted in passing, actually appeared to have evaporated entirely. Whatever it had been, the mind-jarring non-substance had simply vanished and the body-parts left behind now looked like plastic components. Awfully realistic components, but still difficult to consider as parts of a once-living thing.
“De-,” she blurted, and was rather surprised to find that she could talk, even though moving her limbs still seemed to be out of the question, “Destarion. Can you hear us?”
The creature stopped, its ruined, serpentine head tilting and turning. She hadn’t really had a chance to notice its face before, but it wasn’t like the warped sensor-arrangement of a Flesh-Eater or like the face of a Molran, but a strange combination of the two. Its eyes were large and dark and spaced so widely as to be almost on the sides of its skull, under the sweeping flaps of its neck-hood. Its nose was the usual tidy pair of neat slits, and its mouth was wide and decorated with thin, delicate fangs similar to the eye-teeth of a Molranoid.
A patch of the churning, meaty in-between stuff wandered slowly up the side of its face, devouring one eye before regurgitating it and descending back towards the neck. This patch, although mobile, seemed more or less stable on the thing’s head.
It stared at the three Molren in silence. A slow thread of grey slime, beaded with dark lumps like some kind of amphibian’s spawn, stretched from its lower left hand and finally separated and coiled into a puddle on the floor with an audible slither.
Lelhmak found his voice next. “If you’re going to kill us,” he said, “try to make it faster than that was.”
“I will not kill you,” the thing said. “You are not gukané. You are not wrong-form,” it corrected itself ponderously. “I rid the world only of abomination.”
“Oh,” Lelhmak said. “Well, good. Good for you.”
“We are not abominations,” Predericon felt it was important to reaffirm. Her body began to relax.
“The Destarion cannot hear you,” the thing answered her original query. “It is a necessary condition of my containment.”
“I see,” Predericon nodded, rolling her shoulders imperceptibly and shifting on her feet. “I am Predericon Ti Akmet,” she went on, “researcher from the Manatrikti Academy of Firstmade and Elder Theology and Megaengineering.”
“Kedane Lelhmak, research overseer,” Old Man Lelhmak added.
“Gyden Lazeen,” Gyden said, and Predericon risked turning her head to glance at her companion. Gyden was pushing herself to her feet, battered and streaked with grey slime but apparently not seriously hurt. “Researcher.”
The thing stopped a couple of metres from the doorway and stood, weaving slowly back and forth in place, watching them.
“Who are … you?” Lelhmak asked carefully.
“I am not sure,” the creature said, “but the archives refer to me as the Bookwyrm so that is probably acceptable.”
“Bookwyrm it is,” Lelhmak said. “Um, what happens now?”
“I have no idea,” the Bookwyrm replied, and tilted its head. “I assumed that you would know, since you came here.”
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while sitting in the carpark.