It was a particularly strange trial when the hybrid decided that the best way to solve an issue was through legitimate business. Admittedly, there were some with whom he had conversed who would consider the string of robberies and violent crimes he committed, and the looting of dead corpses to be legitimate business, but in this case, he needed to discuss matters with someone who wasn’t a filthy criminal; or at the very least one who wasn’t inclined towards the sorts of crimes he oft performed.
The Avriel had long known of the strange powdered substance which sat separate from the stash of his personal goods, keeping strange company with the skull that he had already acknowledged was his own, albeit, clearly from a different time. Yet, despite his knowledge over the subject, there was far more that he didn’t know. He hadn’t a clue where the skull or the powder had come from, though he had a feeling that it had originated somewhere further back in his own cavern, there was an innate fearfulness that unconsciously unraveled itself into his form whenever he traveled into the darker caverns to view Marrow’s latest work, and he felt quite certain that the antagonizing fear was not because of the nature of the pale man’s abominable amalgamations. They were fearful in their own right, but this was a terror that was far more abnormal in its creation, it was an intense sensation of hopelessness that grasped upon his very soul with every agonizing step he took towards the crack which led towards the Underground of Etzos.
That was another thing that he didn’t quite remember actually discovering. He remembered knowing that there was a passageway in the back of his cavern, but he could not force himself to recall any memory of actually discovering the passageway, and had instead relied upon a sense of simply knowing it was there. Clearly, the logical conclusion was that something beyond his comprehension had occurred in the back of the cavern, and though his memory of the subject had been burned away, residual aspects of it still remained in his subconscious, alerting him to the presence of dangers beyond those visible to the eye, of atrocities far beyond the aspect of man or mortal.
He knew that the powder had been useful, but its purpose and ability was lost upon him. Clearly, it had some importance, or else he would not have taken the time to put it into the bag within which it now sat, but he was not nearly scholarly enough to determine its purpose, and its limited quantity made him fearful of wasting any of it in potentially disastrous experiments. Thankfully, the solution had been revealed to him in his most recent conversation with his underlings. Oxy had spoken about having to retrieve some manner of chemical concoction from a place known as “The Gardener’s Grace” for the sake of creating an explosive for the sake of the mining operation where he worked. Technically, any criminal activity he partook in was simply an off-job, though it seemed far more likely that he would leave his old line of work if he was offered a reasonable quantity of payment.
Noth had inquired as to the nature of the “Gardener’s Grace” and had been promptly informed that it was an alchemy store of some repute among the local Etzori businesses, and it seemed likely that any of the alchemically inclined individuals he had run across would receive a majority of their ingredients from its shelves. The twilight hybrid was certainly not of the same ilk as the scholarly and scientifically minded alchemists who roamed the land, but he was under the impression that they could be paid for their services the same as anyone else, especially for something as simple as identifying the nature of a substance.
The need to know what the purpose of the powder was; the burning sensation of curiosity that fought within him, was what had brought him to the store. The Prince had left a majority of his usual outfit at his home, assuming a more civilian nature to his visage as he donned a simple tunic and pants, though the adamantite mace which he carried around remained in his possession, strapped across his abdomen by a belt. He had quite rapidly glanced through the assorted aisles of the store, glancing between products as though the names they bore meant anything at all to him. It would not do for the wizened fellow who operated the store to know that he so desperately wanted to know the purpose of the alchemical substance which now loosely pattered against his back; held in place by a lone string there, because the proper business technique in such a scenario was to raise prices to a level that were almost certainly guaranteed to offend his subtle sensibilities.
There were a couple of other customers milling about the store, though none of them seemed quite ready to checkout, which meant that the professor was open for discussion.
“Excuse me.” He began in a gentle tone, assuming the role of a seeking customer, though it could probably be counted on one hand how many times the hybrid had deigned it necessary to actually purchase anything from someone in the last season.
“Yes?” The bearded man answered, his voice taking on a teacher’s tone as though he half-expected the questions that would follow. Perhaps he did, Alchemy was, after all, a not entirely well-known subject.
“I brought some strange powder with me today, and I was wondering if you could identify it for me?” He spoke sincerely, avoiding the usual deceptions which he wove into his conversations in order to manipulate others, and choosing instead that the route of honesty would work just as well for his goals.
The professor simply shrugged, his gaze glancing around his store to ensure that none of the other customers required anything, or that they expected him to be ready for their checkout, and promptly nodded his acceptance. The hybrid passed the pouch over to him, directing rather quickly that he only use as little of it as he could in case it was valuable. The professor simply grinned, apparently unconvinced that one of his patrons would actually bring in anything valuable, and instead seemed rather set that the powder was nothing more than a basic alchemical item, if even that.
The scientist began with a litmus strip, placing a few particles of the dust upon it in order to read what category of chemical it fell under, though, after several moments he glanced upwards with his eyebrow arched in an unspoken interrogation.
“It’s completely neutral. It didn’t change at all.” He stated in response.
Noth simply nodded as though he understood at all what was happening before him, and waved his palm for the professor to continue his experiments. The fellow regained his composure immediately, and quickly reached for something under the desk. A few drops of accelerant later, and he glanced upwards once more with slightly more disbelief.
“The accelerant is gone.”
“I mean, the accelerant that I just added is completely gone. There’s no residue of it anywhere. I think your powder just ate it.”
“Ah. Yes, it does have a propensity to do that.” The hybrid spoke, nodding his acceptance of the fact whilst the professor struggled with some apparent disbelief. Moments later, another test was administered, though this one suffered the same fate, the chemicals being applied were either completely neutralized or else the tests being done stated that the powder itself was effectively non-existent. With a huff of genuine surprise and some frustration, the bearded man finally returned the powder bag back to its owner.
“I… can’t tell you what it is. It’s beyond my abilities.”
Well, this had been an utter waste of time. With a sigh, the hybrid retrieved his pouch, and began for the door, occasionally stopping to browse at the stranger looking reagents as he made his way to the door.