Upon approaching the Factory, Kath would take a moment to peer inside before crossing its threshold. She knew that Graft’s domain was made up of living matter, but finally seeing it for herself for the first time with her own eyes, she realized just how disgusting it looked to her. Approaching the first of the Homunculus’ Guards she saw, Kath would request to be escorted to its master upon the shortest possible path. As it walked inside, she realized a problem. She’d need to follow it.
Like a child slowly putting its foot into a bathtub of water to test its temperature, she would step forward and discover that despite how flesh-like the Factory appeared, it wasn’t as squishy as she would have thought. Still, it made her feel uncomfortable to walk on. Eww. I better find Graft quickly.
As Kath approached the Guards, something in the walls nearby shifted. Organ bulged out from a circular fixture, like membranous eyes. They wobbled and dangle in Kath’s direction, or more specifically, that of her load, and a moment later its keening echoed through the musty facility. Instantly the Guards went on alert, forming a rough wall across the hallway. None of them raised a weapon at Kath, who was not only ingrained in their makeup as an ally but also far, far stronger than them, but they still barred her way. After a few moments a much less freakish noise came from one of them.
Doot doot doot doo, doo-doot doot doot!
“Welcome to the Factory.” Graft’s voice said, monotone. The line itself sounded rehearsed. “Please state your business.”
“Um, I have a delivery. Chuunitrixx asked for me to personally deliver this to you. Something about a white flag or something. I really didn’t understand. In any case, she asked me to and I agreed to do so,” Kath would explain to the strange organ.
A couple seconds passed before Graft’s voice came from the same Guard again, now sounding much more like his normal self. “Ah, Kath. A pleasant surprise. But I didn’t order anything...and from Chunnitrixx, you say? How cryptic.” A static-laden humming noise filtered through the line. “A white flag...used to denote surrender. But we’re not at war. And never should we be. To think that there could be such infighting between the Chateau’s servants. Goodness me, we’ve scarcely ever interacted. If being irksome and making pointless threats constitutes a declaration of war, I imagine I’m the least of her concerns…” Another pause before he started speaking resolutely, as if having made up his mind.
“I admit I’m the sort to grab up whatever I can, especially if it’s free, but I’m not stupid. Far from it. The only possible impetus she might have to reach out to me would be because of my...indiscretion, which was ultimately accidental, you know. I don’t know how she’d have detected it, being a gunslinger and all, but I do know she’s temperamental, defensive, and going beyond her assigned duties. Even if this isn’t a trap of some sort, it could carry expectations of something in return. And sending it through a proxy, when you have much better things to be doing…?” A smacking noise resounded from the Guard. Wherever Graft was, he’d slammed his hands on a table for emphasis. “Highly suspect! Besides, if that chest’s from her city, it’s definitely a mimic, and I don’t want vermin running around my Factory. I’ve got health and safety codes to follow, for crying out loud.”
He seemed to relax again. “Just set it down right there,” he said, his tone dismissive. “I’ll have some Guards return it. If Chunnitrixx wants to deal with me, she can do so directly, and in a forthright and sensible manner, and we can work out the exact terms of any exchanges. I am sorry that your time was ill-used, Kath.”
“I’m not sure if this will change your mind,” Kath would speak up. “But I’ve already looked inside it. It’s some sort of weird slime filled with chi-” Realization would dawn on the dragonoid as she was describing the contents. Setting down the chest, she would apologize to the Guards before opening it before them, checking one last time in the hopes that she was wrong.
Picking up the chip- No, the eggshell one last time, she looked at the broken sword that was marked on it before speaking up. “Oh, poor Ares,” Kath said, feeling tears welling up in her eyes. “It’s the eggs, Graft. She smashed the eggs. That’s what’s inside this chest and probably the one she gave to Rodias as well.”
“She realized you had used Open Line to eavesdrop on our conversation. So she smashed her eggs and placed them in the chest. If she couldn’t keep her secret, then it wouldn’t exist anymore,” Kath further explained, wiping her tears away on her sleeve.
“That doesn’t make one lick of sense,” Graft said, sounding both confused and irritated. “Someone found out about something precious -accidentally- so she destroyed it. A baffling leap in logic. A baffling waste of assets! And were they not hers? What kind of parent would brutalize her own…” A guttural choking sound, heavily distorted, came through to Kath. It was a few seconds before Graft continued, his tone deadpan. “Despicable. The mental health issues of someone cracked enough to kill her own spawn do not concern me. If you harbor sentiments for that slurry, by all means, you take it. As for Chunnitrixx, my statement stands.”
Kath looked down at the chest, considering what best to do with it. It was mush now. Destroyed utterly. What could she do? She still didn’t have an answer as she leaned down to pick it up, leaving Graft to his own devices.
If anyone cared to track the dragonoid down, they would find her outside the Chateau, setting fire to the chest and its contents, giving the unborn spawn of Chuunitrixx what she hoped was a proper enough burial.