~ Chapter 147: Facing the Devil from her Past (Part 1) ~
[Shanteya's point of view] [Around the same time Illsy left Illsyorea]
My trip to the Mondravia Kingdom was rather short. Unlike before, this I didn't bother with scaring away or hunting down the wild beasts which prowled in the dead of night or the annoying bandits who sought out to plunder the goods of passing caravans. When I encountered them, I moved past them faster than the wind and released a pressure that numbed their senses and weakened their will to fight.
Once I was gone, the bandits wouldn't even think about attacking the caravans, while the monsters would retreat back to their dens. All of them were now aware that something was amiss, and there was a dangerous scent flowing in the air.
I wasn't doing this intentionally though, but it was a bit difficult for me to control all of these feelings within me that were spiraling and raging around like a mad beast. For now, I still held a firm grasp around them, but I didn't know for how much longer this was going to be so.
Countless times I have thought of what I would do if I were to meet that accursed man again, the monster who was responsible for my indoctrination into the Phantom Rage Guild. Time and time again I prayed for his death only to give up on it as though it was just some bad flavored tea.
When I became full fledged member of the guild, it became very difficult of me to find out anything about him. In order to keep the recruits from taking revenge on their seniors, they would usually be sent to either another hideout in another country or on another continent altogether. That was how I ended up on the Allasn Continent when I was an el'doraw noble girl born in the Mondravia Kingdom
My training was of the type which I wouldn't even wish upon my enemies. They mutilated me, they beat me up, they raped me, they enslaved my will and pushed me to the very bottom in the hope that I would never dare to rise up against them. As it happened though, Illsy found me and through his love and affection set me free from these chains they placed upon me.
Yet... they were rattling now. Like angry skeletons that were sick of sitting in their closet, they were rattling their bones and beating on the doors, demanding to be let out, demanding to be set loose upon the world.
Those skeletons were my memories from my broken childhood... and upon stepping on the lands of Mondravia, they were screaming louder than ever before.
I stopped at the edge of Shortel City, gazing upon it in the moonlight from atop a tree.
Far away from here, in a mansion I had never stepped in since I was ten years old, right now my parents and siblings were sleeping peacefully. The grandparents my children would probably never get to see were resting there, unaware that their daughter was not dead but in fact still alive and baring the scars of that dreadful night that took me from them.
No... I thought and shook my head.
This was the wrong way of looking at my past!
While it was true that I had fallen prey to fate's merciless grasp, this didn't mean that I was supposed to let it dictate my present as well. The ten-years-old girl from back then was now gone, and in her stead was a woman who was powerful enough to turn this whole country intro nothing more than a memory. It happened before, didn't it? Countries, cities, towns, or villagers vanishing in the middle of the night wasn't such a big deal during these times.
Still, what was the point in killing thousands or millions of innocents just because of the pain I had suffered in the past. One thing was to take my revenge upon the one who inflicted it and another was to allow myself to kill the children and parents who never heard or met the one responsible for my suffering.
It wasn't fair, it wasn't right... it wasn't something I would have wanted my children to ask in me in the future when they would inevitably find out about this terrible past of mine.
With a sigh escaping my lips, I looked up at the moons above and then began to think back at my family on Illsyorea. My children were waiting for me to return. Bachus was definitely missing his mommy and even Anette, although she was a bit more shy when it came to showing her feelings. Those two were the pride and joy of my life, and Illsy was the one who gifted them to me.
Even if my childhood was taken away, even if the Phantom Rage Guild broke my body to pieces, shamed me, and did their best to break me, in the end, I still managed to get back up on my feet and put myself together, better and stronger than before.
There was nothing they could do or say now that would ever break me again. Nothing!
I have to keep focus here... I thought and then looked towards the el'doraw city.
It had been a while since I last saw the architecture of my kind. Unlike the one Illsy used, the buildings here were decorated on the outside with curved lines dug within a layer of clay. They had to be made in such a way that let water flow from the top all the way to the ground, where it gathered in small pounds for a bed of flowers. Not every house had flowers around it, but the intricate lines were never missing. To some, they were mesmerizing, to others, they were peaceful and relaxing, to me, they reminded me of home, of my mother and father.
The streets of this city were for the most part empty. It was past midnight now and not many were still up and about. The patrolling guards were walking up and down the street, keeping an eye out for criminals or wannabe thieves, but regular folk were already in their beds, dreaming of better lives or running away from terrible nightmares.
The city was governed by a City Lord who lived in the biggest building in the city, the Shortel Fortress, or so I assumed it was called. Usually, the name of the city was the same as the name of the fortress or palace that was built to watch over the commoners here. Sometimes though, they took up the name of the family who lived within them.
I wasn't interesting in the City Lord of this place, however, my aim and goal lied in finding the one called El'maru Rokan. Even up this very day, I could still remember his face and smile as he took away my purity and then tossed me to the hounds of the underworld.
“If I remember right, his group was called the Kraken's Demise.” I said and then jumped off the tip of the tree.
With the help of an air spell, I pushed myself forward and landed on the rooftop of a building within the city. None of the guards on top of the walls saw me, and none of those on the ground noticed me. My steps were as light as a feather, and I slowly made my way deeper into the city, jumping off one rooftop to another.
I was looking for a bar or late night tavern, any establishment that could be considered a good den for an informant. Little did I know that was going to find something better.
“The Kraken's Dance.” I read out loud the name of the brothel.
A part of me told me that it couldn't be it, but the other part reminded me of a famous thief's quote: “If you wish to hide the gold of the gods, hide it right in their temples, on their altars. They'll never find it.”
What better way to pretend that you were not part of an infamous assassin group other than by using their names for your establishment? If the Knights came to ask questions, you could just pretend to be getting trouble from strangers because of the same reason, while also complaining that the security was too lax and too many ruffians made their way there.
It was easy to lie when you already knew what you wished to hide, and most of all when it was something you could openly complain about to all those who were willing to lend you an ear to listen.
At this time of the night, the Kraken's Dance was quite lively. There was the sound of music and also the cheers of those who frequented this place. Up on the second floor, the faint moans of the flower girls could be heard. From an outside perspective, it really did look like an honest legitimate business, but there was always something that gave away the assassins and thieves lurking in such a place, be it a glance, an unusual item they brought with them or even the smell of blood lingering off their chipped blades. In this case, their reaction to my sudden arrival was going to be it.
With an unwavering confidence, I opened the door and stepped inside. I tossed my gaze around the room once, and immediately the festivity died down. They were all looking at me, their eyes were matching me up to see whether I was a foe or an ally. Most of them were like me, el'doraws, but not even one was an albino. Still, while they were trying to guess my combat strength, I already knew that there was no one here who was a match for me. They were all weaklings that would die off if I so much as sneezed in their direction.
I walked over to the bar and tapped twice on the wooden counter.
“What are you doing here?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
This man was someone who recognized me. I could see it in his eyes.
Thus, I showed him a courteous smile and replied “I'm looking for your boss.”
“Beat it. A shikak like you has no place here, and what even makes you think that the HE would want to see a failure of a...” I didn't let him finish his words.
Before anyone could act, I moved faster than their eyes could see and quite calmly grabbed him by the throat and lifted him up from the ground.
“I don't think you understand. I'm not here to bargain or listen to your insults. You either tell me or...” I then grabbed the dagger the barman had hidden behind his back and tossed it towards one of the assassins who was already moving to attack me from behind.
The blade wasn't enchanted, but against foes like these brute strength was enough. The man's Magic Armor shattered upon impact and then the dagger went right through his head and out through the wall behind him. It wouldn’t have surprised me if I found it stabbed somewhere in the wall in the building on the other side of the road.
“That was just a taste of my power. If even one of you moves, I'll kill you.” I told them with a calm smile.
One of them did move, and the next thing everyone knew was that he fell on his back and his head rolled on the floor. A simple no chant [Wind Scythe] spell was more than enough to finish off one of these bastards. There wasn't even a single one of them who saw what just happened. These el'doraw weren't the type who made a living hunting down powerful foes, they preyed on weak targets and bragged as though they were the toughest in all the known kingdoms. They were scum, the type that no one would mind if they ended up dead on the side of the road.
Still, I had to admit, this cruel and merciless side of me was something that I wished my children would never see. It was far too brutal and frightening for little ones like them. It wasn't the image of a mother I wished for them to hold dear in their hearts.
“Anyone else who wishes to join him in the afterlife? Just raise your hand, I'll cut off your useless head right now.” I told them.
The lot froze in their place and didn't dare to move a muscle. Some of them were obviously scared stiff of the display of power I just showed them. This was a good sign, it meant that they were afraid of me. Frightened pawns like them tended to speak faster when they were certain of their own doom.
“Now then, where was I? Ah, yes~! You were telling me how I can find El'maru Rokan?”
“What makes you think I'll speak?” he showed me a defiant smile.
“Hm, I don't know?” I said and then placed my hand on his right thigh and dug my fingers into his calf.
The man started to scream like an animal from the pain, but I ignored it and continued my work as I pulled out one of his muscles. My Magic Armor made sure to not let even a single drop of blood touch me.
“Well, I wonder... How many muscles do you have in your body again? I tend to forget such things, so from time to time, I... rediscover the number... one muscle... at... a... time...” I said and then placed my hand on his biceps.
He struggled all this time to pull away, to hit me, to flee. He cursed me, he spat at me, he kicked me, but nothing worked. It was like he was fighting against an enchanted wall.
“You blasted shikak! You are crazy! A whore like you should just die! You disgusting little... AAAAH!” he screamed and cursed, but his agony was like a sweet melody to me.
“This is the biceps, oh~, how red and squishy it is. You won't need it anymore, will you?” I asked as I ripped it out.
“I'll kill you! I swear to the gods that I'll kill you!” he cursed.
“The gods were the one who sent me here, little man. Now tell me, where is El'maru, or the next muscle I pull out will turn you into a woman.” I narrowed my eyes at him as I moved my hand over his crotch.
“B-Back! He's in the back! The entrance is below the bags of rice!” he screamed as he trembled in fear.
I showed him a smile.
If kept pulling out muscles like that, I feared I would need to waste healing magic or potions on him. He was still just an ordinary el'doraw, after all, loss of blood was a fatal condition to him.
“Now then. Thank you very much.” I told him and then dropped him on the floor.
That was his one and only chance, but as soon as I reached for the handle of the door in the back, ten assassins, including him lashed out with magic and bladed weapons at me. I turned around and used a single wide [Wind Scythe], and in the next moment, there were ten bodies cut in half that fell on the floor, splattering their bloody insides all over the place.
It was such a disgusting sight, but I hoped this was enough to stop anyone else here who had the bright idea of trying to attack me. I was certain there were other idiots too, but I didn't wait to see. With a composed and calm state of mind, I opened the door and stepped into the back room.
This place was just a simple old storeroom from the looks of it, but the now dead barman said something about some bags of rice, didn't he?
There were four bags stacked neatly in the right corner of the room. After I moved them away, I found the trap door hidden under them. It was just one of their entrances, no doubt about it. After all, they weren't that foolish so as to lock in their own comrades, right?
This being the case, I was now certain that some of the rats I left behind in the other saloon were going to run away and use one of the other entrances in order to reach El'maru before I did and help him escape.
As if I would let that happen. I thought and then jumped down the trap door.
The guard waiting there was startled by my sudden appearance and then died from having his neck twisted by me.
There was a corridor leading deep underground lit only by a few torches that made the air around a bit more difficult to breath for an ordinary el'doraw, but with my Magic Armor, I had no need to worry about such things or poisoned gasses. There were many instances in the past where we were forced to survive without a good supply of oxygen nearby. Using the crystals Illsy gifted us, we could store breathable air inside and slowly let it out within our Magic Armor. Thus, no matter where we were or what sort of poisonous gases or liquids we were submerged in, we would remain unaffected by them.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
I know some of you are troubled by my typos and at times grammar mistakes. I do edit it to the best of my abilities before posting it, but some things just slip through for various reason (mostly because before editing it, the whole chapter is a mess). However, if you have fun looking for them, go ahead and let me know where they are. On my discord server, there's a special channel just for that: help_author_edit
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