"What did you say?", asked Lord Woodwalker with a frown, provoking a harsh rebuke from Jeromy the Scribe who was attempting to record the minutes of a monthly gathering of library contributers. Ramon looked up from his notes and descriptions on the nature of Solen hives and half-finished notes for the Britain Library's astrological committee's investigation of hive geometry on recent distortions of solen translocation magic. "I said that Captain Avery announced the government is funding Kronos to complete his detector. Why? Were you competing for that grant?" "I thought we had convinced the Moonglow mage's council to discontinue that project!", whispered Woodwalker to his friend with a tinge of frustration. "We still don't know if blackrock experimentation was responsible for summoning the destroyers of Magincia and yet even as that city lays in ruins with no funding for reconstruction, there is funding for finding more blackrock just as its concentration in treasuries was beginning to diminish?!" Ramon shrugged. "I don't pay taxes, so I can't say I care much. Personally I heard that whole Magincia thing was the result of nobles gathering too much gold all in one pla... oops, forgive me m'lord." Lord Woodwalker waved a hand. "Pah. Don't pay me any heed, it's just an honorary title for deeds long past. Sometimes I think people barely remember the ophidian war around here." Jeromy looked annoyed again, then turned his attention to the loud words of Wound up Wendy recalling yet again out of the middle of the library after delivering a load of armaments to Dyastro. * * * Woodwalker dismounted his old steed Cricket just beyond the edge of the construction site. Neither Kronos nor Dextre were visible, but there was something odd about the grass. Within a short radius around the construction site, the grass was off-color. Even the nearby cobblestones seemed a little off, the tiling seeming to swim unnaturally whenever Woodwalker looked at it out of the corner of his eye. Following the distortion, he found the corner of "Herbal Splendor" looking oddly distorted. Shelby, the shopkeeper disavowed any knowledge of unusual, although the ginseng and mandrake herbs on display seemed oddly fresher than Woodwalker remembered and Shelby's accent seemed slightly off. "Don't you see the hole?", cried a voice from behind Woodwalker. He turned to see a woman, gray haired, but poised and youthful. She seemed to be looking at him in a smiling way that made it unclear if she was leaning in to hug him or tear his glasses off and eat them. "Inu?", asked Woodwalker at last, half in disbelief at his own conclusion. "Imetay itselfway allshay ebay entray andway orntay!", she replied. "O ... k ... ", replied Woodwalker, backing away towards his horse. "You know, I think you'd much, much rather be talking to Maplestone than to me" "Hetay ordslay ofway adowshay illway elldway inway ourway eartshay!", she insisted. Although he couldn't tell if she was speaking spaghetti orcish or not, but something about the words sent a chill up his spine, something he had not felt except once following the piercing crazed cries of a berserk executioner at the shrine of justice. For a moment, a shadow seemed to fall across the room and Inu suddenly cried out and fled. Woodwalker turned but saw nothing, heard nothing. Across the park, a pair of scarred adventurers debated bringing blackrock the next day in case Kronos needed some to calibrate his near-complete machine.