Bloodlines of the Ancient Pantheons Chapter 107: CVII. The supposition
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He took a few steps: the hawk was still moving, writhing in pain.
He grabbed one end of the arrow and lifted the dying bird, carrying it with him.
Karl and Reidar, meanwhile, looked at Dag without understanding what he was doing.
Finally, they crossed the narrow path and found themselves on the side of a mountain, covered by a forest of fruit trees.
"I hear the sound of water. Nearby must be a source of mountain water. Let's look for it, we'll stop there" Dag said, riding again.
"Water? I don't hear anything!" Karl told Reidar, who remained silent as he followed Dag.
About 300 yards ahead, Dag stopped and tied the horse to an apple tree. From the adjacent rocks, clear and fresh water gushed, ending up in an indentation among the rocks below.
"Unbelievable! How did you do that? I can barely hear the sound of water from here!" continued Karl, in disbelief.
"Give the horses some water and come next to me, I must show you something" Dag said.
Reidar and Karl executed the order, bringing water to their horses, after tying them next to Aslan.
"What do you want to show us?" asked Reidar.
Dag, holding the dead hawk, showed the palm of his hand.
"What's that?" said Karl, touching the magenta blood covering Dag's hand with one finger.
"I've never seen this kind of blood. It looked like a simple hawk, I didn't think..." continued Reidar, who was speechless.
"Look at its eyes" Dag said, forcibly opening the raptor's eye with his fingers.
Its pupils were of intense purple, as he imagined.
"What the fuck?!" said Karl, stepping back, shocked by what he had just seen.
"This hawk did not attack me at will. He was forced to do it" Dag continued, resting the hawk's body on the ground and washing his hands with spring water.
"Forced?! Who forced it?!" asked Reidar.
Dag told his companions how the Xis managed to control the animals and some humans, trying to get him into difficulty. He told them about crows, the undead in the cave, Myr and Hjalmar.
Karl and Reidar sat by a tree, staring at the lawn, in disbelief.
"But... If they can control the human mind... how can we know they won't even take control of our bodies?!" asked Karl, frightened.
"It doesn't work like that, they can't take over human beings so easily. Myr and Hjalmar refused to believe our Gods to worship the Xis. In my opinion, their minds were controlled by the Xis only because they allowed it. The human will is strong, stronger than their technology" Dag said, looking at the hawk.
"So... If one day we will get crazy or lose hope in what we do... could the Xis control us?! What about our family members?! Does that apply to them?" asked Reidar.
"No, my friend. I'm convinced the Xis want me. They have no interest in you or your family. That's why I asked if you were sure to follow me. Being by my side could be your end... no one is safe next to me. If you want to give up, you're still in time, the Temple Of Orn is not far from here" Dag replied, in a sad expression.
Reidar got up and walked toward him, resting his hand on his shoulder as he still looked down.
"You know, Dag... when Master Egill told me about what you did... after being subjected to injustice, you have returned to the Temple, averting the attack of our enemies, during which we would all have lost our lives if it wasn't for you. A gesture like this, for me, is worth more than a thousand words. I have freely chosen to follow you and I will do so as long as I have the strength. Our lives are short... not to face the dangers of the world, it means living in half. I'm with you, brother" Reidar said, trying to cheer his captain.
Dag looked up at him.
"You don't even have to ask me! I follow you from Jernhest until here, you know you're like a brother to me. I'll keep following you to the edges of the world, Captain!" added Karl, rising from the ground and walking next to Dag.
"Thank you" he said, in a low voice.
"Save your sweet side for someone who cares, Dag. Before that kind of killer falcon interrupted me, I was trying to tell you something" Karl continued.
"I was saying... your empowering system works like when you get rid of a hangover. Your body slowly expels alcohol toxins, until the psycho-physical effects it causes on you, fade away. The more mead you drink, the longer the hangover lasts" Karl replied, as Reidar nodded his head.
"I can't tell you... I've found that I've been holding up the alcohol very well lately" Dag said, chuckling.
"That's not the point! Let's take another example: digestion. Is there a difference between a whole wild boar and a vegetable stew? Of course, there is! Digestion of that huge amount of meat takes longer. You said that when you absorb the energy of your enemies, it seems as if you swallow them... right?"
"Yes, right. I understand what you mean... but I can't figure out the solution to the problem. How do I make the effect of absorbed energy permanent?" asked Dag.
"Do you know why if Reidar and I drink so much, we get drunk?" continued Karl, pointing the finger at Reidar, who looked at him without understanding.
"Reidar and I get drunk because the level of alcohol circulating in our blood increases! I discovered it by reading the Egill almanac, whose first chapters are dedicated to human anatomy and circulatory system".
"Blood! That's still the answer!" thought Dag, jostling.
"How do I increase the concentration of dark power in my blood?" asked Dag, looking into Karl's eyes, who opened his leather casket.
"So…" he said, pulling a thin silver hose out of the box.
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