Chapter 28

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Chapter Twenty-eight

Kaine eyed at his latest necromancy pet, or necro pet as he liked to call it, critically. The racoon was only a few weeks dead and had already decayed so badly that he could barely use it. One of its eyes had popped out and was dangling from the socket. It had lost a few toes and its skin was ragged. He was afraid that the next time he tried to make it lift something, its paw would fall completely off.

It smelled even worse than it looked. He was getting used to the odor of rot, but the stench from this pet was making him gag. His necromancy spells stopped the decay for as long as he was concentrating, but if he broke focus for any amount of time, the pet would decompose faster.

Kaine decided it was time to get rid of it and make a new pet.

"Follow," Kaine said, walking into the woods.

The raccoon shuffled behind him, getting caught on rocks and fallen branches every few minutes. Each time, Kaine had to stop and move the pet out of the way with his hands.

"Blah," he said, sniffing the putrid odor that touching the pet left on his hands. He wanted to wipe them on his robe but then he would have to wash it. He wished he had some gloves so the stink from the decay would not stick to him so much.

Kaine had discovered that necromancy was much harder than it seemed at first. It was definitely harder than enchantment. He could enchant a living animal and it would obey, but it did not forget how to do basic functions, like walking or sitting. He did not have to make it walk around walls instead of into them or stop at the edge of a cliff instead of walking off of it. Necro pets had no memories of how to do anything.

He had to instruct his first necro pet on everything he wanted it to do. When he wanted it to walk, he had to tell it to lift each individual leg and place it in the next spot. When he wanted it to chew something, he had to tell it to move its jaws. Working with that first pet was annoying and draining. He had not given up, though, and discovered that if he combined his enchantment spells with blood magic, the pet worked better. Now he was working with his seventh pet and a simple command of "come" would bring the pet straight to him without him having to order it to perform each step.

Kaine approached one of the snares he had set the woods. The bait was gone, but the trap was empty. Frustrated, he added more bait and reset the trap before moving on to the next one, and then the next. Nothing. He could not wait much longer for another animal to replace the raccoon. If he caught anything today, he planned to have the racoon dig its own grave and then release it. The new pet could cover the hole.

Kaine got lucky with his fourth trap. He found a live lynx caught by its back foot. It snarled at him and struggled frantically to get away when he got closer. He could see that the animal was trying to chew its own foot off so it could escape.

"I'll be that hurts, doesn't it?" Kaine said. He shook his head. "Don't worry. It won't hurt much longer."

He grabbed a thick branch and used it like a club, repeatedly hitting the animal on the head. The lynx was surprisingly difficult to kill. It swiped at him with its claws and he barely moved out of the way in time to avoid being slashed. He lost count of the number of times he hit the animal before he heard the crunching noise that meant its skull had caved in. It fell over and was still.

Quickly, Kaine pulled a bowl out of his bag and drained the lynx's blood. He could use animal blood for his necromancy spells as long as it was still warm. He chanted the words to the spell in a low voice while performing the correct pattern with his hands. Finally, he poured the blood over the corpse, watching it evaporate before it touched the body.

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