Tainted Victory – Chapter 7, Part 2 (Page-a-Day)

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Hugh leaned in and pulled the knife from Raisor’s gut. The flesh around his wound raised, then snapped back with the removal of the knife. Hugh examined the knife first. Its blade was a rusty brown color. The discoloration stopped at the hilt. He turned from the body, knelt and removed a bowl from one of his cabinets and placed the knife in the bowl. Hugh then undid Raisor’s shirt. It flopped open down the sides to reveal a pale chest with a single, crusted stab in his abdomen. He pressed his hand around the wound. The skin folded in and the wound rose up. 

“What, ah… What are you doing?” Goblet asked. He raised his head to sneak a peek.

“Testing the wound,” Hugh said. He turned and grabbed a vial of clear liquid. He popped the cork and poured it on and around the wound. It let out a small plume of steam on contact.The steam cleared and the wound looked the same. 

“Testing? We saw that he had a blade in his belly and blood on the floor. It is obvious what he died from.”

“Is it?” Hugh grabbed Raisor’s wrist. He moved the arm to the chest and opened the palm to him. “He could have had a poison on the blade. That could make the stab wound just part of the death. He could have died from poison in the body.”

“Well…” Goblet looked around. “Did he die from poison in his body?”

“My spot check shows me that he was not poisoned. I would need to test the blade and possibly open him up and looked at his organs.” Hugh pulled out a pair of tweezers and a small dish. He started to pluck the small scales from the burned flesh. The fell into the dish with a light ticking noise. 

“Do I have to be here for that part?” Goblet rotated his hand. “The cutting him open bit?”

“I thought you would be used to see the insides of the dead. I would have guessed that anyway.”

“Only animals.” Goblet looked away from the body. “For humans and humanoids I am not comfortable. Killing is easy, but looking at them on the inside is not.”

“I had to work my stomach into accepting the things I was looking at.” Hugh finished picking the scales from the right hand. He walked around his protruded table and repeated the process on the other side. The scales gave off the same ticking noise when they hit the bowl.

Goblet laughed. “That seems obvious. We were not born to look at the insides of humans.”

“Indeed. I was not born as a fully fledged doctor.”

“Your tattoos support that,” Goblet said.

Hugh finished picking the last of the scales off the hand and placing them into the dish. He walked back to his main station, returned the tweezers and rummaged his fingers across the different colored beakers and vials. “The tattoos are indeed medicinal, but I understand the sentiment.”

“What are you doing now?”

“Trying to determine the best way to test if these are indeed dragon scales and not a fish fry gone bad.” He pulled out another jar of clear liquid. He sloshed it around in the glass before opening it up. Trace scents of almond wafted from the top. “This solution is used to dissolve normal organic materials like fish scales. Dragon scales are far tougher and will just fizzle in the liquid.” He poured it into the dish. The scales began to crackle and pop in the liquid.

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