Cerys blinked. “Then they are either able to re-grow in some way, or they came from places besides the academy.”
“That is the part that we have never been able to figure out,” James said.
“Given other circumstances at hand, however,” the baron chimed in, “I really do believe that these noir beasts are not just the result of infected students.”
“Other circumstances?” Cerys asked. This whole ordeal was turning out to be a real rabbit hole.
“What else is going on, your grace?” Himeko said, her tone much more polite than her friend’s.
“There was a gathering, maybe a few months back,” Baron Lexavier began. “Normally all of Summerlay’s nobles can expect to be invited to these sorts of meetings. Not all of us go, of course, but we are at least invited. The strange thing was that another baron and I never received notice of the gathering.”
“And neither did our king,” James added, his tone heavy and serious.
“Yes, son. Well, my dear guests, the whole thing gave me a terrible feeling. I knew the good character of the other baron not invited, and so we both sent our men to find out when was going on. His representatives were shown out right away, sent back home without another word. Mine, however, are a bit more… resourceful, shall we say.”
“What do you mean?” Himeko asked.
“Let me say only that we have someone who can go in unnoticed,” James said.
“The information that came back to me was very disturbing, to say the least,” the baron went on. “I cannot tell you here, before you ask. The noir beasts are something that everybody knows about, but this…” H shook his head grimly.
“James,” Cerys whispered, leaning in close to the baron’s son. “What have you gotten us into? Is this going to be dangerous?”
“Nothing that you won’t be able to handle,” he told her, crossing his arms over his chest. “Eat your dessert and we shall go somewhere a bit more private to talk.”