113 Ignorance is Bliss
That night Zoey set up a waterproof tent on an empty roof she located in Brumau. The tent she fabricated was fairly large so she could bring out Viridi from her inner world who was eager to see her. After Zoey greeted her excited friend, she changed into some dry clothing and settled in for the night, sitting against Viridi's comfortable side while the big feline curled around her protectively. It was quite cozy.
Idly scratching Viridi's big head, Zoey pulled up her interface to check on the information her drones had collected. She was only interested in information regarding the sealing array, Harmonic Heritages, and corrupted creatures. The corrupted creatures should be easy to locate once they showed up, as they were pretty hard to miss once they did, but she had a plan to make that process easier. The other info she was looking for was definitely not going to be easy to find considering the volatile nature of Harmonic Heritages.
Thankfully, her interface made searching of specific terms fairly easy with the custom search function she had added. All she had to do was input the terms she wanted and the interface would bring up anything that matched for her to go through. Since her drones were still out in the city, the data was still flowing in as they gathered and transmitted it back to her interface.
Most of the data was audio and video that was formatted into text and archived, so Zoey entered in her parameters and started sorting through the data. There wasn't much to go on right off the bat, only off-hand mentions of Harmonic Heritages in conversations around town. Most of the info had nothing useful for Zoey, but she was able to learn some other terms to help broaden the search.
Several of her drones had actually gotten into a library somewhere in town and had discovered some documentation that was stored in a hidden room. Turns out adding infrared scanning on the drones had been a good idea after all. Thanks to that the drones were able to locate and scan some documents that turned out to be full of information on Harmonic Heritages that Zoey had not come across before, even in Sethrii's database.
It turned out Harmonic Heritage carriers were also known as "boosters" as a rather derogatory term. Most of the data in the documents seemed to show that a Harmonic Heritage carrier was barely considered human once they were discovered. A sobering thought for Zoey, but she already had known how the nobles only saw her as an object that they owned. What was strange that the common people also seemed to largely share that sentiment.
The general consensus seemed to be that if you managed to get your hands on a Harmonic Heritage carrier or "booster", you exploited them until they were useless, then discarded them. To make matters worse, the best known method for exploiting a Harmonic Heritage carrier was to forcibly link your magic essence to theirs through sexual contact. Once the link was made, willing or not, the effect of the Harmonic Heritage would increase the Rank of the other person by massive amounts with every use.
The entire process could take several months, and by the end of it, if the Harmonic Heritage carrier survived, they would be a magical cripple with their essence completely drained, not to mention any physical or mental trauma they experienced. The recipient would gain immense amounts of power, sometimes gaining three whole Ranks and a huge amount of strength.
It was a brutal, barbaric method, and Zoey was nearly made physically ill by what she discovered. Such a thing was horrific, and she could not even fathom the horrors that had been inflicted on Harmonic Heritage carriers here on Darren, all in the name of gaining strength. Maybe she had been better off not knowing about this particular secret...
But it did help her realize how lucky she had been to find friends that cared about her to the point of traveling across half a continent to chase a rumor that may not even be what she needed.
No doubt there had been others who had not been so lucky.
Besides that mess of information that left a bad taste in her mouth, the drones also uncovered some leads about a Harmonic Heritage carrier that had been spotted in the town not to long ago. Apparently there were still some organizations looking around and following leads, so Zoey tasked some drones to monitor the people associated.
Ethics be damned at this point, if Zoey had the chance to save even one Harmonic Heritage carrier from the hands of those that would abuse them like that, she would do anything in her power to do so.
That was all the information the drones had uncovered for today. There were some leads to go on, but it would take time for the drones to gather the information. Zoey set some alerts to notify her if anything important was found and turned her attention to her other task.
The drones had recovered no info on any corrupted creatures being spotted in the town's vicinity. Zoey had not gotten an exact location from Sethrii, so the entire eastern region was a possibility at this point, and her tiny surveillance drones were not made for long range searches. She would have to use another method.
Pulling out her cube, Zoey closed her eyes and entered in to the space contained within. Custodian 704 was there, busy as always with the project Zoey had tasked it with. It was a quite reliable little helper, but Zoey was only here for a moment. She placed some raw metal that 704 had mined for her into her inventory and blinked back to the outside world.
Once she was back she got to work with her Aether Engineer talent to design some new drones. High altitude, long distance, these would be her eyes to find the corrupted creature out here. She didn't know where it was, so long range surveillance was the best option she had.
It would be a busy night for Zoey...