Chapter 55: The Corrupted.
It didn't take me that long to arrive at the meeting room and inside of it, is the complete force of our city, as all the knights we have is already in this room. Even Sandra and some soldiers are also included in this meeting which is highly unusual.
I thought that Father would discuss the things we have found inside the cave but it seems like he doesn't plan to do that now.
"Master Lucas, It seems like everyone is already here." said by Michael as we take our sit.
This room is quite big as there is also a huge table placed at the center of it together with dozens of wooden chairs.
All the knights from the ten families are already in their seats, and even Callisto is presently standing behind my father while holding a metal tray covered in white cloth.
"I called all of you out today for something important, as Callisto just now told me, a terrible news regarding the things they find from inside the fog." Solemnly said by my Father while clasping both of his hands under his chin.
"I know that many of you are already anxious regarding the worsening situation in our city, but this is also the time, for us to unite and fight for the safety of our people." Father said as he look at us with menacing eyes.
"All of you should now be familiar with Callisto and I hope that you all get along with each other." Father said as he use one of his hands to introduce him.
"But that's not the reason why I called all of you inside of this room. I just received an alarming report today, regarding to some of the missing people." Father said in a grave tone as his eyes surveyed everyone.
"Unfortunately, our soldiers have found their body outside of the city, in the depts of the sickening fog." Father said as he stands up from his chair and walk toward Callisto.
"Though I must say, that I'm not even sure if we could still call them humans." Father states as he slowly removes the cloth covering the metal tray that was held by Callisto.
It reveals the decapitated head of a strange man who almost doesn't resemble a human except for the familiar outline of its orifices.
The skin of the head looks like a melting wax and it's black as an oil, but the most disturbing thing is, that the mouth of the head still moves.
Yup, that's right it still moves, and it becomes more violent after seeing us staring at it.
There are also many black tiny tentacle-like things that suddenly grew around it, and it tries to attack Callisto who is holding the tray.
But the aura that was coverings Callisto's body was able to stop it all. No matter how it struggles it remains trapped in the metal tray.
"What is that thing?" Abruptly ask by sir Anton in Alarm.
"Is that a head?" Ask by Sandra in a high-pitched voice as she stares at it with a horrified look.
"Is it still alive even after being decapitated?" Intriguedly said by sir Daniel.
"Oh my god! It is indeed a head. Why is it here? and why does it look like that?" Panickly said by Sandra while staring at it with disgust.
"Look! it's still not giving up attacking even though none of it works." said by Kiel in distaste.
"Father, are you saying that this is one of the heads of the missing person in the city? W-What h-happen to it?" I ask in distress.
The entire room suddenly goes quiet, after I ask this question, as everyone looks at me with wide eyes.
I saw how their expression quickly change from disgust to horror as they look at the decapitated head.
Disgust from its strange appearance and horror at the realization that it once belonged to a human.
"BUT HOW?" Sandra said in a frightened manner as she stepped back into the corner.
"IS THAT TRUE?" ask by sir Mark in dread.
"THAT'S A HUMAN HEAD?" unbelievably states by sir Isaac as he stands up from his seat.
"How could it be possible?" Michael said in shock beside me.
"I know that all of you have many questions for me, but let me speak first, and explain everything I know about the situation." Dominantly states by Father as he tries to calm everyone.
"So far, all of you knows, that this past few days, we received some report about a few missing people, from some concerned citizens, and we find out that all of them, are actually suspicious people as their documents are obviously fake. They are probably a spy from other forces or organization who was tasked to gather information about us." Father irritatedly said as he repulsively looked at the decapitated head.
"I immediately issued an order to thoroughly search the entire city for those people but we found none of them. And upon our investigation, our soldiers found out that they actually bought a lot of cotton masks that I purposely distributed to our people." Father said in anger.
"They probably thought that if they bring enough cotton masks with them is that they could safely escape from our territory." I said out loud as I voice my opinion.
"Maybe, they thought that since my family manage to safely arrived in this city, is that they could also do the same thing." Callisto seriously said while staring at the decapitated head that was trying to bite him.
"Thankfully, their plan didn't work, since all of your family members have consumed an entire crate of healing potion just to get into this city, but even with that, all of them still got terribly infected by the sickening fog." I said while I'm reminiscing about the things that happened a week ago.
"But what makes them think that having several cotton masks can help them cross the sickening fog?" I ask.
"It might be because of our soldiers since a lot of people see them wearing it every time they venture outside the city." Hugo said while deep in thought.
"I think all of you forgot to ask the most important question." Father said in a stern voice.
"That question is, what makes them like this?." He said while tapping his finger towards the table.
Father clenches his jaw as he menacingly stares at the decapitated head that is still full of energy as it continuously uses its tiny black tentacles to attack Callisto.
"But father, if they have a lot of cotton masks they should be already far away from our city before they run out of it. Our soldiers would not be able to follow them that far. So, How did they manage to find them?" I ask in a baffled tone.
"They didn't find it." He said as he stares at me.
"That thing finds them." He said as he turn his head on his back and point his finger toward the decapitated head. "And that thing, suddenly attack our soldiers while they were on their patrol inside the fog." He said as he turn his attention back to us.
"Fortunately, Callisto was with them, and he was able to defeat it, by decapitating its head although it was still alive after doing all of that." Father says as he took the tray from Callisto's hands and places it, in the middle of our table.
There wasn't anything gory about the scene as there's no blood leaking out from its neck.
But the only thing that disgusts me, is the slimy texture of its skin which is as dark as oil, and the tiny hair-like tentacles that grew around the head. That is used to constantly moving to attack everyone in its vicinity.
Did I also tell you, that the decapitated head can now move around the tray? It uses its tiny tentacles to move, but thankfully, Callisto's specialty is defense, so he created a small barrier made out of pure aura around the tray, trapping it inside.
Although I could also do the same thing, I'm not confident enough that I can maintain it for a long time, especially if it's far away from my body, as the control of my external aura isn't that great.
My family's main specialty is offense, so most of the skills I have with me are for attacking someone, Although the knight's aura is very flexible to do anything on our will its strength still depends on our mastery.
If I want to create the same barrier as Callisto has made. I would need to stay beside the metal tray to maintain its integrity.
"As all of you can see, this head belongs to someone who introduced himself as a wandering merchant." Stated by father as he gave us the details regarding the decapitated head.
"We have already apprehended all his close allies within the city, but none of them knows who he really works for, they said that this man only pays them in order to pretend to be a part of their group." Father said as he distributed some parchment that contains the details of their investigation.
"Here is some of the information we gathered regarding those missing people. I'll give you all a moment to read it." Father says as he removed the tray that trapped the head from the table and hands it back to Callisto.
The parchment contains the records of several dozens of missing people from the city, starting from the 2nd day that the fog has trapped us in this place.
It also contains the names and gender of every people that go missing starting last week. It includes their daily lives activity, and documents that they provided when they entered the city and conducted their business with us.
It also mentioned the day when they started to purchase the excess cotton mask from the ordinary people at a high price, saying that they have left a few important things outside the city and they need to recover it.
Although the people are hesitant to sell it to them but the price they offer for it is something that they couldn't ignore, as the price of the cotton mask has surged to 1-3 gold coins per piece.
But the funniest thing is, those people who sold the mask, are also the people who reported them to us, for their suspicious activity, and although my father was mad about this situation. He still decided to only give them a warning as they have confessed their sins.
The gold coins also remain in their hands, as father knows that it would not be a good thing if he confiscate them. As our people might not report something like this anymore in the future.
"I know that many of you still have a lot of questions regarding the situation, but what you have on your hands is also the only information I currently have in me. For now, I would let Callisto takes over as he would tell you the rest of the story regarding their encounter with this creature." Father suddenly said when he saw that most of the people in the room is already done reading the report.
Callisto immediately covers the head with the white cloth as he maintains the small barrier around it.
"I won't beat around the bush as What I'm about to tell you all, is something important." Callisto said Immediately as he stopped for a moment before continuing.
"This head is been corrupted by the sickening fog, and it attacks one of our patrolling soldiers during their errands." Seriously said by Callisto as he reported the situation to us.
"Not just that." Callisto said in a grave voice.
"Their attack is also more dangerous than it seems, as they can directly corrupt the wounds they inflicted to anyone, even to me." Callisto said in a solemn voice as he removed the arm guard covering his left-hand showing us the infected wound at the back of his hand that's discharging some dark slimy substance.
*Gasp* Sandra reacted in shock.
"What the?" I said in disbelief.
It is well known to everyone how strong the vitality of a knight is, We can directly heal simple wounds in just a couple of seconds.
But even with that kind of strong vitality, Callisto's wounds still didn't show any signs of healing, instead, it looks like the wounds are still expanding. It's just that Callisto's aura is stopping it from doing so.
"How could this happen?" Ask by Daniel with Incredulity.
"Did that thing really manage to do this?" Isaac said in distress.
"Even your aura can't remove its corruption from your body?" Hugo asks in alarm.
"Indeed even if I used my aura to forcefully heal this wounds, the corrupted part of it stops me from mending it." Coldly said by Callisto.
"I'm ashamed to say this, but I underestimate this thing as an enemy. It managed to wound me when I'm not using my aura and it's already late when I discover its nasty ability." Callisto said with shame.
"I think I could help you with that." Suddenly said by Ethan as he stands up from his seat and walked toward Callisto.
He picks up a vial of potion from his pocket, and it shows to be a mana potion from the fruit that Gaspar has given to us.
"This potion is rich in mana elements, and the last time I have encountered this parasite on your family members. The rich mana elements have helped me to stop it from spreading, allowing me to administer the cure to them." Ethan said as he poured down the liquid into Callisto's hands.
Once the liquid made contact with Callisto's wounds, a thick white smoke immediately rises from his hands and Callisto's facial expression started to deform from the pain he felt.
After several moments the smoke also died down and a much better healthy-looking skin appears on Callisto's hands.
The wounds have also started healing after the parasitic part of the wounds has been dissolved by the potion.
"It feels much better now." Callisto said as he inspect his healed hand.
"But this is not a good development." Seriously said by Ethan after healing Callisto's wounds.
"The parasites that it inflicted on you are much more powerful, than the one I observed we got from inhaling the air inside the fog." Ethan said worriedly as he stares at the covered head of the corrupted person.
Callisto's face also shows a concerned look before continuing his story.
"They are also hard to kill inside the fog, as they can quickly regenerate their body it seems like the fog also helps them boost their capability. It also took me some effort to isolate the fog from outside and trapped this person inside the barrier allowing me to decapitate it." said by Callisto as he walk towards the window covered with thick curtains.
"I also discovered something unusual." He said as he gradually move the curtains sideways allowing the sunlight to come in.
"I discover that the sunlight can greatly damages them, but because of the thick fog they can still freely roam outside the territory." Callisto said as he removes the cover from the decapitated head and withdraw the small barrier around the tray.
A loud wailing sounds immediately reverberated in the entire room as the decapitated head wailed in despair as it looks like it was melting and taking great damage from being exposed to sunlight.
It only took a minute before the entire head itself dissolve into black powder as even the bones of this person have become black as if made out of parasites.
"It's horrible." Sandra said while covering her mouth with her hands, as she stands at the back in shock at what she had just seen.
"This is the reason why I called all of you today. If that thing existed inside the fog then it's not impossible for more of this creature waiting inside of it." Father said in a grim tone while staring at the black powdered remains of the decapitated head.
"Then I would collect this powder and see if I could discover something from this." Ethan said as he pull out another glass bottle and collected the powdered remains of the corrupted head.