Many did not know this, but Dr. Slubgob was very meticulous. He would not act unless he had everything thought out. If he saw that his plans were as perfect as the sunrise, or so some of his colleagues have mentioned in discretion, he would carry it out. If they were the opposite, he would work through them as many times as possible until he could call it a perfectly brewed plan.
This afternoon’s tea was no exemption. He had invited an old friend in hopes that he would return a favor. Slubgob was pretty sure Grayfoul had owed him enough, and it would be easy to blackmail him. But of course, he hoped it didn’t have to come to that.
Grayfoul was the head of the watchers. He sat by his office desk every day, reading stacks of horrendous hand written reports, while his watchers were sent above to be the eyes and ears of their community below. Generally, watchers do not interfere in human businesses, nor do they take interest in certain subjects. Their jobs only required them to perch on a tree branch while a candidate for the election is giving a speech, or bark at the sight of a murder to blend in.
What Slubgob needed that afternoon was obviously something watchers normally did not do.
“While we are on the topic of spying on a patient, which do you prefer, a crow, a dog, or a lawn gnome?” Grayfoul asked. A smile started creeping up his face as he took a sip from his glass of flaming liquor.
“Your sarcasm is as dry as the air in this room, Grayfoul,” Slubgob replied.
“Do you honestly think I would break the watchers code for you? Do you have no other business to do but to spy on a patient?”
“Like I said before, I only hope to help my godson in his new task.”
“Godson,” Grayfoul stated, and chuckled.
“A term we do not see the importance to re-coin.”
“You seem to have a lot of time on your hands; maybe you could do something about the word.”
“Sadly, my time is spent on more important matters-“
“Like sticking your nose into the HGS’ business?” Grayfoul cut him off.
“I made no mention of that, I-“
“Do you take me as a fool, Slubgob? I know my name is only an alphabet away, but I’m sure you spell very well with that doctorate of yours,” Grayfoul interrupted again.
“It may seem so, but it is not. And I have never taken you as a fool. But if one wishes to dig deeper, foolishness will not be an assumption any longer.”
“What makes you think I will help you? What makes you think I would risk my status for you? If anyone finds out about this so called favor, I will lose my job.”
“Why would anyone find out?”
“My watchers aren’t mute and they love to gossip.”
“I’m sure you are well versed in the art of blackmail. You seem to be very good at it.”
Grayfoul laughed and shook his head. “Not as well as you are.”
“You know I don’t like twisting fingers. But your sadistic guilty pleasures may slip from my lips, if I’m not careful.”
“Fine. I’ll set two watchers on the patient. I don’t see what you can achieve by watching that pathetic human anyways. I’m pretty sure Bledbrush won’t turn up at her doorstep. Why do you want to help him anyway?”
“I don’t want to help him. I want to know why he ran.”
“You think that he knows some secret that our father below has not told us?”
“I think he knows a secret, yes. And I think he plans on stopping it before our father below can throw a party.”
“You think he is capable of such treason?”
“He has nothing to lose; much more so when the war starts.”
Slubgob returned to his office later that evening, feeling exhausted. The night before, he was cracking his head on different possibilities of Bledbrush’s disappearance, and none of his conclusions felt so sure as to the one he told Grayfoul.
He wouldn’t be so sure that Bledbrush knew a secret, and is attempting to stop it, if not for an old memory. It was during the time when Bledbrush was still in an admirable seat, when he told Slubgob of a belief some patients had. He sounded so sure when he mentioned of their father below sending a messenger to corrupt the humans.
Slubgob never saw why it was such a big deal. Tempters were sent up every day to corrupt their patients, so why was this any different?
Bledbrush merely shook his head and said it was bigger than that. He said the battles will become harder overtime and this messenger would be their savior. Slubgob thought Bledbrush secretly hoped to be that messenger, but even Bledbrush admitted he wasn’t capable.
A couple of weeks later, Bledbrush failed with his patient and was sent to the pits. He never spoke of the messenger again, heck, he never spoke much at all. Who was this messenger? And when will the battles get harder? Till today, Slubgob saw or knew no messenger, nor was he told of the increasing toughness of tempting a patient. But despite that, Slubgob was rather certain he had found one missing puzzle piece.
When his thoughts of Bledbrush and Grayfoul were no longer clustered, Slubgob decided to give it a rest, as he had another thing to do before the day ended.
In his quiet office that evening, he pulled out a clean parchment ready to write a reply to his godson. He had received the letter the day before, but he never had the chance to get to it with the plan he was brewing for Grayfoul. Now that that was over, it was time to write down some advice.
I am glad to hear that you have been doing very well with your patient. Indeed, she is plagued with rebellion at this age and it is always good to seize every opportunity available. Notice how keeping your eyes and ears open have helped? Keep that up and you are sure to succeed.
On the matter of your patient’s lack of self belief, be sure to keep the idea of failure going. You said that she has a talent at art, but do not think she is good enough; well, since she thinks so, it is now your job to make it reality. Bombard her with worthlessness and someday, hopefully soon, she would stop reaching for the paintbrush altogether.
It is best to stop a talent before it becomes skilled, for we all know that our enemy always have plans for the talents and gifting he has given our patients. Killing it off in this early stage would prevent any future works it could produce for our enemy, and that would save a lot of time and effort, trust me.
You also mentioned that your patient has a little crush? That is good news. Find the tempter that is working on her ‘crush’ and learn about his situation. If both of these patients actually have ‘feelings’ for each other, you can use it to your advantage. One does not need to work alone all the time, as different patients always cross paths. Do be careful though, this is the best chance you will ever get to bringing lust down at a full force. If your patient is well guided, she will not fall so easily, but if you manage to reel in this tough fish, make sure she has a long fall. But don’t worry about that now, when the time comes, I will guide you through it.
Now that we have those matters handled, I would like to ask you something. I hope it will not upset you in any way, but a memory of your father has returned to me, and I need to know if he has ever mentioned of a messenger to you.
Your father once said that when the battles became harder, a messenger will be sent to be our savior. Has he ever told you anything as such? Do let me know if he has, I only wish to help him.
I hope to receive a reply soon Vilefire. Till then, please stay safe.
Your willing Godfather,
After he signed his name on the parchment, Slubgob said to himself softly, “Maybe I SHOULD re-coin the term. It isn’t very uplifting.”
(For the chapter list, visit here.)