Reg and Riko ride the gondola up to the Seeker Camp, where Ozen greets them. Riko introduces herself and promptly vomits due to ascension strain. Ozen notes that while the effects are lighter in the camp, they are still difficult for children. Ozen already seems familiar with Riko and Reg.
Ozen examines Lyza's whistle and confirms her own identity. Riko immediately thanks Ozen for helping to carry her in the Curse-Warding Box. Ozen coldly admits that she considered abandoning Riko in favor of securing the Unheard Bell instead. Ozen notes that as a Red Whistle, Riko should not even be there. Riko explains that she came because her mother called for her, shows Ozen the message from Lyza's letter, and offers to leave once she's learned a little about her mother. In response, Ozen orders her apprentice, a child named Marulk, to hear their story in her place, and will speak to them the next day. Marulk gives Blue Whistles to Riko and Reg. Ozen says this is only so no one will question why Riko and Reg are there. In addition, this privilege is only for the duration of their stay in the camp, and she will keep Lyza's whistle until they leave.
Marulk guides Riko and Reg through the camp and tells them its history. Marulk and Reg manage to find some common ground, and Marulk shares his history: Ozen saved him and made him her apprentice, so that he wouldn't have to return to the surface, as his eyes are too sensitive to light. Riko guesses that despite Ozen's cold exterior, she is a good master. Marulk agrees, and invites Riko and Reg to stay at the Seeker Camp so he can spend more time with him, as there is no one else around their age. Riko reluctantly refuses, because she is concerned about her mother. Marulk happily replies that in that case, they should do all their talking now.
The next morning, Riko is embarrassed because she wet the bed. Marulk admits he used to do the same not so long ago, but Reg is puzzled as to why Riko was in his bed. Riko explains that when she got up last night to look for a toilet, she found a moving, headless corpse and immediately hid in Reg's bed. Marulk and Reg both agree that is impossible, though Reg does more out of fear than anything else.
Ozen arrives, and Riko apologizes, but Ozen merely seems amused that "the brat and Habolg" didn't tell Riko anything. She invites Riko to follow her for more information, or to forget what she saw. Marulk advises Riko not to follow, but encouraged by Reg grabbing her hand, Riko follows Ozen, accompanied by Reg and Marulk.
Ozen tells Riko that Lyza is dead, as she found Lyza's whistle and letter at a grave in the 4th layer. Riko tries to insist that Lyza wrote a message to her, but Ozen replies that Lyza's handwriting is completely different and she would never write such a thing. Riko still wishes to confirm Lyza's status for herself.
Ozen takes the group to her chamber, in the center of which is a large cube. Riko guesses that it is the Curse-Warding Box. Ozen explains that, contrary to common belief, the box does not protect against the Curse. In fact, anything placed in the box still gets cursed and dies. But once it does, it starts moving again. Ozen learned this from Riko: Riko was stillborn, but when Ozen put her in the box, Riko started to move again. Ozen reveals that this is where the headless corpse came from: she put some of the meat from her meal in the box the previous night. But in that case, it eventually stopped moving, and she wonders when Riko will stop as well. Feeling Ozen has gone too far, Reg steps in and demands that Ozen stop tormenting Riko.
references to previous episodes
Bestiary Indexing Edit