Chapter 22:

Chapter 21 – Something smells foul (no pun intended)

Reincarnated with an omniscient grimoire

Misha was put into jail. That being the church obviously, because everything in this damn town was managed by the church.Bookmark here

Everything about this situation seemed screwed up.Bookmark here

Did her sisters death really mess her up that bad? For her to find a spell to bring her back? She was a talented mage, so for her to actually do it seemed not to be that much of a reach. But from what I gather, necromancy was a highly experimental field, that bore barely any results in actual resurrection spells.Bookmark here

Sasha’s corpse was burned shortly after the incident, which was probably for the best, as we saw earlier. But from an investigatory perspective they were burning our evidence.Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

Buzzfeed unsolved rules.Bookmark here

Man, I wish television or the Internet existed in this world. Binging reality TV shows while sick was the best, because it required just enough attention to make sure I was still alive.Bookmark here

It was just getting afternoon, but it was already a long day. For me because I barely had anything to do, but for the villagers ... well.Bookmark here

After everything was settled, we met up in the boys’ room. We were still a bit shaken, or rather tensed up, by what happened this morning.Bookmark here

And on top of that I had barely slept and caught a fever. I was still trying to keep it a secret, at least until we came home, but I was the only one laying in bed so there goes subtlety.Bookmark here

“Soooo ...” I said, because the silence was stressing me out. But then again maybe I shouldn’t have said anything at all. Over the past hours I tried to wrap my head around what happened, because Misha being behind this did not make much sense. My mind was just too clouded, to pinpoint, why exactly I thought this was the case.Bookmark here

“Nathan,” Aurelia who was seated on Raynard’s bed called out for me, I simply responded by looking her in the eye. “Misha didn’t return during our shift, did she?”Bookmark here

That’s right. While we were watching the graveyard, we also automatically covered the ground between the inn and the church.Bookmark here

I wound back a couple of hours, but the only thing I remembered was nothing happening at all? So I nodded, and closed my eyes again.Bookmark here

“Well then, did she return during yours? Shelly?” She then asked.Bookmark here

Shelly, leaning against the wall opposite from our beds, looked over to Raynard, who was sitting next to Aurelia, before shaking her head in response.Bookmark here

“That’s odd,” she said after another couple seconds of uncomfortable silence. “She could have returned during the early morning hours, maybe?”Bookmark here

“No, because how would she have gotten her sisters corpse into the basement?” Raynard asked. “And even so, we would have found her way earlier, considering the, ugh, pungent smell.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, and also, where are the other corpses in that case?” Aurelia agreed, immediately proposing, “Also burnt?”Bookmark here

“But she couldn’t possibly have hidden them in the basement the entire time?”Bookmark here

Having reached a dead end, the conversation came to a halt.Bookmark here

“What about the time period between when you changed shift?” Raven suddenly joined the conversation.Bookmark here

Me and Shelly looked at each other and nearly simultaneously shook our heads. “Nah, that’s unlikely. I mean, at least one person was watching,” she replied, and relaxed myself, trying to remember the past few days.Bookmark here

Wow, I was tired.Bookmark here

“Maybe there was something else, like a backdoor, or maybe a secret exit, or anything?”Bookmark here

Secret exit.Bookmark here

Fuck sleep.Bookmark here

I immediately jolted upward, forcing myself to ignore my brain crashing against my inner skull.Bookmark here

“Secret exit, that’s it, no, what did she call it ...” I thought back, to what Misha told us in Blackwood Forest.Bookmark here

In that moment, it also seemed to click in Aurelia’s and Raynard’s mind.Bookmark here

“Emergency exit!” We all exclaimed at the same time.Bookmark here

“Wha-?” Raven said, but was immediately interrupted by Shelly enthusiastic “That’s right!”Bookmark here

I decided to explain it to him.Bookmark here

“Misha said, all houses in this town are connected by some sort of underground tunnel system. She must have used the tunnels to go from the church to the inn, without being seen.”Bookmark here

“The entrance must be hidden somewhere in the basement,” Raynard proposed.Bookmark here

“Probably behind some of the shelves on the walls,” Aurelia added.Bookmark here

“And then maybe we can find the other corpses.”Bookmark here

Raynard frowned. “Hold your horses.”Bookmark here

“What?” I tried not to sound too amused about this unfitting expression, because from his tone I knew he wanted to say something serious.Bookmark here

“The church?” He simply asked and made a gesture that was supposed to tell us how obvious the answer was. “Why would Misha hide corpses, inside the church? What if the pastor has been in on this after all?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, something has been smelling foul for a while now ... no pun intended.”Bookmark here

Ohhh, pun fully intended lmao, how long have I been wanting to say that now.Bookmark here

“Hufufu, the teacher-student duo being in all this all along, I like it,” Shelly said, without questioning it that much.Bookmark here

I thought about it for a second. I mean, two brains think better than one, so teaming up to execute this seemingly impossible spell made sense. But wouldn’t the pastor want to help her? And if they had the church and tunnels as a base of operation, why would Misha use the basement for the ritual of all places? I guess, barely anyone would be entering it, compared to a church that was open for everyone.Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

Well, considering the church is also used as a jail, there definitely were some more private areas ...Bookmark here

Before I was able to voice my confusion, Aurelia asked, “So, are we going in there? Look for the exit?”Bookmark here

“What else is there to do?”, Shelly asked a rhetorical question. “But we need to be careful. The pastor’s still nearby, we should try not to raise his suspicion.”Bookmark here

And as simple as that, we went downstairs, leaving only Raven behind. Again.Bookmark here

When we entered the room, no one was there, except for Maria, occupying a table in the middle of the room, taking turns between staring out the window and into her steaming cup of tea.Bookmark here

The four of us just looked on in silence, not having expected to run into her.Bookmark here

“So, should we just enter, or ask for her permission?” I tried to ask as quietly as possible.Bookmark here

“I feel bad for her ...” Aurelia muttered.Bookmark here

“Well, her daughter did who knows what, so ...” Shelly figured, and I just glanced at her, confused. I looked back at Maria, contemplating my life choices before stepping forward, and taking a seat opposite to her.Bookmark here

“Hello, there,” I said awkwardly, and after fumbling for words, “thank you for your hospitality.”Bookmark here

Her expression bore only confusion, and probably not quite knowing what to say herself, she replied, “I can’t believe Misha has done something like this, just for Sasha ...”Bookmark here

“Jesus, you need to have more faith in your daughter.”Bookmark here

“Jesus ...?”Bookmark here

Oop, I hope I didn’t accidentally introduce this world to Christianity. Don’t need another world swarmed by bigots.Bookmark here

“Look, I can’t believe Misha did this either. In fact I don’t. I don’t think Misha did what she did, because she was some crazed lunatic unable to cope with her sisters death. Which is, why we’ll be entering your basement to try to find out the truth.”Bookmark here

“What, but the pastor already searched everything.”Bookmark here

I was about to make some comment about how the pastor was only searching for what would help him, but I couldn’t just undermine her faith in the person that seemed to have gained everyone’s trust. So instead I just said, “He might have overlooked something. Won’t take too long, alright? We’ll be gone before you know it.”Bookmark here

“Of course, just take your time.”Bookmark here

I stood up, and walked towards the other who were already entering the basement.Bookmark here

“Also, maybe I have just really low standards, but I think you’re an amazing mother,” I said, hoping it would help her, but maybe also, because I was a bit jealous.Bookmark here

Maria just chuckled in response.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

The basement was ... well, not really different from this morning, just way less crowded.Bookmark here

“So, let’s rearrange this place!” Raynard said, semi-enthusiastically lifting a fist into the air.Bookmark here

“Actually, let’s not,” Shelly said earning a confused look from the boy.Bookmark here

“What, why?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Becaaauuuse! You have a handy device that is sure to find secret passages in your area.”Bookmark here

“Something about this phrasing does not instill confidence in me.”Bookmark here

I took the grimoire from my bag, opening it in my palm and said, “So, are there any single- I mean, secret passages in my area?”Bookmark here

Talking to it out loud was odd, but excluding people from telepathic conversations was odder. Also rude.Bookmark here

An arrow bled through the spread page, pointing at the wall right from me. When I turned towards the direction it pointed at, it was as if the ink wandered across the page for adjustment.Bookmark here

I walked towards said wall, swinging the grimoire left and right, like a metal detector, until I was sure I found the right position.Bookmark here

“It’s behind this shelf,” I said, and turned around to the others. There eyes were wide, and I made a few indistinct motions, indicating they should push the shelf away.Bookmark here

After that the arrow changed again, skewing, becoming smaller in the front and wider in the back, indicating depth.Bookmark here

Do I even have to tell you, that I lowered myself onto the ground?Bookmark here

[No.]Bookmark here

Shut up, wasn’t talking to you.Bookmark here

[I have to notify you, that the severity of your fever has assumed alarming proportions.]Bookmark here

The arrow was now pointing at certain brick in stonewall.Bookmark here

I gave it a gentle nudge.Bookmark here

Then a not so gentle nudge.Bookmark here

It moved.Bookmark here

I put the Grimoire on the floor and used both hands to move the block forward, pushing it through the wall. I realized it had completely separated itself from the rest of the wall, but I couldn’t really recognize, what was on the other side, as it was pitch black in there. I pushed the block some more until my arms were completely on the other side of the wall.Bookmark here

The hole from the block was large enough for a human to fit in. It was somewhat bigger than what you’d expect a ventilation shaft, which is the usual candidate for stealthy sneaking.Bookmark here

What even am I saying.Bookmark here

“Luminae,” I whispered, because that was one of two spells that I knew, and it probably was more useful than creating a whirlwind.Bookmark here

The light coming from my finger tips illuminated a passageway in front of me. Its wall was made of the same stones as the basement’s, and it got quite the early 90s first person RPG vibe. I’m talking Daggerfall style dungeons.Bookmark here

Only without all its pixelated charm.Bookmark here

“There’s a passageway ya’ll,” I said, pushing myself through the hole. Doing that and keeping the lights on at the same time proved a tiny bit difficult, but I managed somehow. I pushed the stone aside, and was shortly followed by Aurelia, Raynard and lastly Shelly.Bookmark here

“So, we’re just going ahead now, right?” Raynard asked timidly.Bookmark here

“I mean, do you have any other options?” Aurelia retorted, to which he had no answer.Bookmark here

“Follow me,” I said, “in case there’s a breach, my grimoire knows the way.”Bookmark here

“How convenient,” Raynard replied.Bookmark here

“I know, right?”Bookmark here

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