Chapter Twenty-Five: Mal
Give him a bad guy that they could definitively point to, and Mal was more than happy to take the guy out if needed. But this world history lesson was soooo over his pay grade it wasn't funny. It didn't surprise him in the least though that his smart as a tack sister had stumbled across this Rubrum Lux.
Thinking of his sister caused an ache to bloom in his chest; he'd been so busy recently that he had forgotten the reason why he'd started this whole endeavour. Anya would have been a much better choice to be here trying to make sense of all this.
Kaden bumped against his side, and Mal reached down and ran his fingers through the silky fur on Kaden's head. Mal took a deep breath in, then let it out slowly, trying to concentrate on what everyone was saying.
"Mal?" Aegeus asked him. The way Aegeus said his name sounded like it hadn't been the first time.
"Sorry mate, what'd you say?"
"I said, why don't you, Ashe and Jaxx head back to where you found this book and see what else you can dig up. By the sounds of things you're both here due to some off-the-books dragon breeding experimentation," Aegeus said. "Let's see if we can figure out what this Rubrum Lux has to do with everything."
He really would like to know what this RL had to do with dragon breeding and ranger experiments.
"Sure, what are you guys going to do?" Mal asked, pointedly looking at the goblin singer sitting in a wingback chair all by himself. Tibo's sat with his arms crossed, and the guy sported a scowl that could rival Mal's. It really didn't suit the shorter man.
Rolly followed Mal's gaze and sighed. His expression almost resigned. "He'll come 'round; he just needs some time to digest everything. He'll soon realise I'm right."
Mal nodded at Rolly. He hoped the man was right and Tibo got it together sooner rather than later, the goblin was leaking feelings left, right and bloody center, and it was making Mal feel uncomfortable.
"We'll keep digging in the history books, and see what else we can find on Rubrum Lux," Aegeus said.
"Also keep an eye out for anything that might point toward the sale and distribution of Beings, including Walkers. I doubt we'll find anything in here, but we can't be too careful."
Mal agreed. He doubted they would find the information they were looking for, but you never knew just how ego maniacal some people were. Some people may have wanted to document the entire process for history's knowledge. While others may have wanted to keep the entire thing secret, like a black-ops mission that had very little to no paperwork whatsoever.
He turned back to Ashe, who was standing rather still, with a slight pinch to his features. Mal really did feel bad about breaking the guy's wing. Hopefully, it would heal quickly and without any issues. Jaxx stood by Ashe's side, a hand resting at the small of Ashe's back. Mal could see slight movement from Jaxx and realised the man was rubbing Ashe's back.
"It looks like it's us again, you okay with that?" Mal wouldn't force the phoenix to work with him if he really didn't want to. He hoped it wouldn't come to that.
"It seems we're all on the same side here, so let's get started," Ashe said, giving Mal a slight smile. It wasn't a resounding 'yes', but Mal would take it.
"We'll let you know if we find anything," Mal said.
"Thank you," Edwige said, her voice soft and comforting. She hadn't left Nootau's side since they'd arrived that Mal had seen.
The library was massive; the largest private library Mal had ever seen. Why someone needed so many books was beyond Mal. Back home Mal had a single bookcase, stood no taller than a meter and had three shelves. A single person didn't need any more books than that as far as he was concerned.
The dust on the shelves as they made their way back to the dragon section where they'd found the original reference to RL had Mal thinking he was right. Far too many books for one person.
"So, where do you propose we start," Jaxx asked Mal.
Mal snorted and shook his head. "No idea, mate."
"So I guess we just work our way through the shelves until a certain title stands out to us, then have a look at the contents?" Jaxx asked as he glanced at everyone.
"Sounds pretty reasonable to me," Mal agreed.
As Kaden's hearing was infinitely more sensitive in wolf form than any of there's was he remained in shifted form as they got to work. He reached down to touch Kaden constantly; Mal always seemed to feel more settled when Kaden was near. Kaden huffed and shook his head a couple of times. Mal figured the dust had to be getting to him. He couldn't blame the guy. You would think in a castle this size; they could have employed someone to clean it from top to bottom.
Although, it worked out rather well for them that the library was as neglected as it was.
Kaden lifted his head when Mal started laughing at what he was reading. It took him a minute to get his chuckling under control.
The following is a Public Service Announcement from the Dragon Guild regarding wild dragon encounters:
1. Do not, under any circumstances, approach the dragon.
2. Call your local ranger office. They'll coordinate getting a dragon ranger out to you.
3. If you have someone with you who can magically shield the humans and beings in the area, please encourage them to do so.
4. Be patient. We'll get there as soon as we can.
5. Do not, under any circumstances, fire projectile or magical weapons at a wild dragon. This is both illegal and dangerous, as it will only serve to anger the dragon.
Although the message really was no laughing matter, Mal couldn't help it, and the release of tension in him made him feel so much better. Mal shook his head. The one back home wasn't quite so politely put. It looked like the Australian branch of the guild had taken some pretty serious poetic license.
Before Mal closed the book, he took his phone out and snapped a picture of it. When all this was over, he planned on showing his fellow Rangers back home. They'd get as much a kick out of this as he did.
Finding nothing of value in the remainder of the book Mal made his way back to the selves; surely there had to be something else here that connected everything together. Any book that had the barest mention of cross breeding eugenics, experiments, nano technology, and dragon rangers, Mal placed to the side, especially if the book was handwritten. The pile was far too small for Mal’s liking, only three books so far, but he kept looking.
They didn’t have the luxury to sit in the library and read all day, as much as Mal would like to, they were on borrowed time. He felt a little guilty about planning to steal these books, but not enough to not go through with it. They could take their time and go through the books later with a fine tooth comb. In order to be able to do that they first had to find them so Mal got back to work.