Episode 2 Chapter 27

Silas screamed as the knights closed in around him. He thrashed to push them back but it was too late. Blood-stained swords flashed, tearing flesh until his howling turned one final choking gasp.

Theodore opened his eyes. The dream faded. He was trembling and he tasted blood. He blinked away the blur to find himself flat on his back on the floor on his office. An imp was standing on his chest and glaring down at him. 

“Get up!” The imp prodded Theodore in the face with the butt of a pencil. “HEY!!”

“I’m awake,” Theodore said, knocking the pencil away. He pushed himself to his feet with a groan. He could feel the Tall Man being moved. It was a bizarre sensation now that they were separated, like a part of his body was miles away but still connected to him. The villagers were carrying the Tall Man toward the center of the manor yard. “I don’t know why you’re here, but you need to leave. I’ve got enough problems for today.”

The imp flapped onto the desk. “I ain’t going anywhere!” He grabbed Theodore by the tie. “This goat lady saved me and my buddy, so you’re gonna listen!”

Was he talking about Oboe? “You have my attention.”

The imp reeled Theodore closer. “She got herself captured by a witch, like I did. This witch’s been keeping me, my buddy Eddy, and a bunch of other ghasts in cramped awful smelling bottles for WEEKS.”

“What?” This violated so many creature rights edicts that it boggled Theodore’s mind. “Why would they do this?”

The ghast released Theodore. “How should I know!? He’s a freak! He rips our magic out and kills us!!”

Something clicked in Theodore’s brain. “He’s draining magic off of ghasts?”

“It’s sick, man! Sick!”

Theodore stepped over to his bookcase. It was toppled it the scuffled and the books were scattered. He picked through the mess to find an old battered volume of Magic, Science and Technology. He leafed through glossaries and diagrams of creature physiology. 

“Humans can’t channel magic unless it’s sterilized,” Theodore said. “But Ghasts process ambient magic naturally. Their bodies render it safe.”

His eyes crossed the passage he was looking for. He dropped the book open onto the desk.


“…If he was taking the magic from another living being, he could disguise his aura. He could commit a crime and make it look like a ghast did it. But why?”

Theodore remembered the crowd gathering to buy Flip’s talismans. He recalled the fear and the panic the witch stirred up. How much money was Flip making? How much more might he stand to earn? Theodore saw Flip pulled ghast magic out of the ring but he never stopped to consider the implications. Flip used ghast magic to strangle Anthony Willow and create a panic in order sell his anti-ghast merchandise.

The ghast Sheriff died the same way as Anthony. She must’ve discovered too much. Now Oboe was the one snooping. Theodore’s eyes shot towards the imp.

“The faun you mentioned, is she safe?”

“I dunno, probably?” He shrugged. “She busted us out and Eddy was trying to return the favor. Don’t worry though! The witch left earlier. Some human came by to ask him to kill some poor sap. You probably got enough time to go help your friend.”

No. That wasn’t true. Theodore could feel the Tall Man at the yard of South Manor. If Flip had been summoned, they had to be gearing up for a public execution. Time was one thing Theodore did not have.

Theodore drafted a hurried note and ran out into the cottage yard where he knocked at bird house labeled ‘Earl L. Bird.’

“GET LOST! Some of us need to get up in the morning!”

“Earl, please, this is urgent!” Theodore shook the letter in his hand. “I need to get this to the city watch! Lives are at stake!”

A fat, disgruntled pigeon squeezed out the entrance to glare at him.

“Dude, what is this? The third one today? How about you do it yourself. Maybe see a doctor while you’re out. You don’t look so good. I hear walking is real good for your health.”

“This is an emergency, Earl!”

The pigeon rolled his eyes. “This ain’t a charity. You know the fee.”

Theodore stormed back into the cottage and charged back out wielding a baguette.

“Here!” He said, cramming the baguette into the birdhouse. “Whatever you want! Just deliver the note!”

Earl squinted at the loaf.

“You know, I don’t really care for those. It’s all crust. See, what I like about those croissants you buy is they’re flakey. Buttery. Go down real easy. Way better for someone like me who ain’t got teeth.”

“I don’t have time for this!” Theodore shook the birdhouse so hard he pulled it off the tree. “An innocent creature is about to be executed and it’s my fault! If you don’t help me there’s going to be blood!”

“Alright, alright, alright!” Earl said. He snatched the crumpled envelope out of Theodore’s hand with his beak and stuffed it into his delivery pouch. “With people like you in charge, no wonder we got so many problems.” He launched off the perch to circle overhead. “You owe me for this, nutjob.”

“Thank you!” Theodore said.

“And put my house back!” Earl shouted. “Or expect to hear from my attorney!” Theodore felt new hope as he watched Earl rise and soar towards the capital. He stuck the birdhouse back on its nail and turned his gaze towards South Manor

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