Brendel filled up several full bottles of the Hydra’s blood.
As usual, Kodan split the youths up into six groups. The deeper they entered the Dark Forest, the more they found the place to be unaffected by winter. Trentheim was undergoing a harsh season where everything was barren because of the cold, yet the temperature in the Dark Forest was increasing the more they traveled south.
The group led by Carglise discovered a cave next to a steep slope covered with green moss, which was behind a hill approximately two miles away.
The group followed the slope all the way down to the valley, and discovered the cave under massive boulders that were hundreds of meters tall. After the youths parted the overgrown vines that hung down from the boulders, they discovered the putrid nest’s entrance.
Carglise obeyed Brendel’s orders not to search it; they reported back to him. The latter stopped tinkering with the Alchemy tools on his hands and sent out a signal into the air to get the others to gather.
Soon enough, he and his men went through the thick vegetation and went down to the valley. The formation of the land was indeed as reported by Carglise’s messenger. It seemed like the boulders were actually sections of a cliff collapsing onto the ground, but that was probably at a few years ago. The white boulders were covered with green vegetation.
The number of leaves in the valley was as much as one would expect in the summer. Not far away from the cave was a waterfall going past the cliffs.
Brendel found Carglise and his men near the waterfall lake. Merial had twisted her leg when they entered the valley, and she was sitting down on the rocks with a few men caring for her.
Brendel knew that Merial was a bishop at the first glance, but when he saw that she bared her lower leg, he found it to be elegantly shaped and surprisingly white, though her foot was slightly swollen.
He did a double take before he went to Carglise and tapped his pauldron, whispering: “Is your friend really a man?”
Carglise shook his head: “My lord, you should know that there is no gender amongst the chosen children of the gods in the Flame Scriptures. As long as one wears the robes, there is no difference if there are additional bumps anywhere.”
Carglise gave a filthy smile, pointed at his chest and replied in a crude direct manner learned from the military school.
Brendel coughed once and asked: “So you mean your friend is a woman?”
Carglise shrugged: “I didn’t say anything about gender, did I? The first time I saw Merial, well, she had already worn the robes. If she’s not wearing her bishop uniform, then she would be wearing clothes for a male. I think only her parents and her nanny knows about this secret. Her father wanted her to become a member of the Church.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
Carglise laughed mysteriously before he replied: “My lord, let us search the cave.”
Brendel nodded, gla
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