I might have felt bad about dozing off in Amarant's arm chair and sleeping for a whole night had the man actually, in that span of nine hours, returned to the lab. When he finally came back the following afternoon -- I really must get a handle on this time zone and what to call things soon -- my immediate question was, "Where the hell have you been?"
He told me that people in his trade were never really still, but always on the move to find things they needed. This satisfied me for a while, so I let him off the hook about that one. He excused himself to put his crate of auction items away in the cellar. I stood and momentarily browsed his lab, as I had been away all day and had not done so yet. I found scrawled notes, and sometimes just symbols. Equations far beyong my mind and what I thought were Amarant's stared up at me from frayed experinent logs. I sat quickly as I heard him coming, and he actually sat down when he returned. He sighed and took a drink from a flask as I asked, "And what exactly is your 'trade' these days?"
Aggravatedly, Amarant stood and made his way back to his supplies. He quietly threw a few things into a test tube, neglecting safety goggles of a labcoat, then set fire to it and blew it out. He came back to where he had been sitting and handed me the tube. "Sip. Don't drink it all, though."
I did so, noticed nothing, and asked him what was supposed to happen. This is the time when I noticed what it was and that it already had, and he smirked when my words refused to come out. I tried again, but I found myself unable to say anything for almost an entire minute, when my voice cracked back into activity. He chuckled as I smelled, touched, and stared into the liquid in the tube, absolutely perplexed. Something tells me that experience will haunt me.
Tell me, Zidane, if you personally thought of Amarant as a chemist.
"Magic," he said, and he was serious about it, as opposed to just giving me some made up excuse. "After our little tiff with Kuja" -- he thought this was much funnier than I did -- "the black market for chemicals skyrocketed. It's calmed down a bit since then, but the biggest question was if anyone could really engineer a compound to replicate the powers of eidolons, such as that liquid Silence spell I just fed you, without being a summoner. I've got much worse, if you'd like to see." I shook my head and said that had been strange enough. "Suit yourself. I just thought I'd tell you, what with my name being so big in the market right now."
I had a question. "So can you do it?"
"Do what?" I asked again if he could really make duplicate powers of the eidolons. He smiled at me and said, "To be perfectly honest, I'm the only one who can, which is why I never really sit down; people know me and people want my services. A few bribes to the nobles and they keep it quiet about my whereabouts, but I could easily reestablish if someone found me and smoked me out."
It is comforting to know he is in such a wonderful position and only flourishing, but the nature of what he does still has me a bit worried. This is a very dangerous practice; even I can see that it will lead to capital punishment if anyone ever gets their hands around his throat. Maybe more than one set of hands, but still. "Are you saying that your practice since being a mercenary is tampering with unstable chemicals to make weapons for the highest bidder?"
He said no, he had done a stint of theft again to get the gil for such a high-priced profession. Still lost on me is whether he was joking about that or not; if I had to guess, I would say that was exactly what he did. We small-talked for a while about this and that; we caught up on who's doing what and where everyone is, and I asked if he would, what with his position, help me to rally support of people with funding. He said it would be tricky to actually meet one of his clients face-to-face, but he would try his hardest because it was me and he had taken a shining to me on our adventure.
As I was leaving for the night -- Amarant told me it was unsafe to have more than one person in the lab for a long period of time, as people would surely get suspicious -- I asked again about his experiments with what he called the Eidolon Market. The question had to be asked, so I did it: "What's the worst you've done with these, Amarant?"
He was quiet for a moment, but when he spoke, he was the same old Amarant; arrogantly proud about something awful. "I've done almost everything, but I've yet to use my own creations. Once someone does with them when they're out of my hands is their own business, though." I rephrased, asking him what his most powerful creation was. He looked like he was against telling me for a moment, but I weaseled the terrible truth out of him. "Those supplies I won at the auction are for my biggest yet. I'm on the brink of replicating what Kuja unleashed on Alexandria with a test tube full of liquid."
I suppose I cannot be too surprised about what he does, nor can I mind that he seems so casual about it. In our time travelling with him, I caught on to how ruthless he can be for the right price, which he assured me this latest creation would bring in. Still, at the bottom of it, if you can stay on the man's good side, there is a beating heart which he will use to protect his friends. I could see this in the way he talked to me last night; he knew who I was to him, knew I was too good of a friend to rat him out, and therefore threw his entire current life at me. He trusts me, and strangely enough, even with the power of Kuja in a few scientific cases, I trust him, too.
I returned to the room at the inn to find an unopened letter from the Council on my bed. I showered, got comfortable, and crawled into my bed, where I still lay, before opening the seal and reading what it had to say. Again, I would paste it directly into my log, but I know you never learned Burmecian.
I hope your travels to Treno are pleasant,
but I feel it is my duty to tell you that
you may not be returning for quite a while.
Given the nature of the reconstruction in
our city, much support will be needed, and
the nobles of Treno will probably not be able
to give us all we need. After you have ral-
lied enough support in the City of Night, we
will be sending you to Beatrix's location --
or, rather, intended location. There, in
Daguerreo, you will find more financial aid
for the rebuilding process, and if this is
not enough to appease the rest of the council,
you will then be relocated one final time to
I apologize for the late arrival of this
letter; it was sent on the chocobo cart a day
behind you, as I forgot to give it to you when
I see directly through it. If Kroul, as I remember the Head of Council's name was, had given me this letter before I had left, I would have never gone, and he knows it. He knew in sending this letter late that he would be able to keep me away from Beatrix's aid for longer, and feels that I have no way to oppose him because I have no way to send him a letter of resignation. He certainly cannot find out about Busca helping me, or the old Burmecian might even face punishment.
Sadly, I see Burmecia's future in the lies of Kroul. I see the populace becoming dishonest and hostile, and I see the city only falling to ruins after what we are doing to rebuild her.
I will send a letter to Beatrix with Busca tomorrow afternoon, telling her of what has happened, but I really should be getting to sleep now. Tomorrow I will go with Amarant to meet with some of his associates and try to rally support, as immoral as it may be. I hope you and Burmecia both can forgive my use of such dirty gil to rebuild such a beautiful city, but I knew before I left that Amarant could not give us good, honest help.
End log seventeen.