~ Chapter 147: Facing the Devil from her Past (Part 3) ~
“Oi! Shikak! Say something!” he shouted at me in anger.
Maybe too much time has passed? Why am I so relaxed when it is finally time to take my revenge? I wondered and then Illsy's image popped up in my mind followed by that of little Bachus and Anette.
Revenge? What use did revenge have over wounds that had long since closed?
I looked at El'maru and then said “You are mistaken. I am neither blind nor deaf. A shikak and a Broken Doll I am no more. My name is Shanteya Deus, the wife of the Godlike Dungeon Lord Illsyore Deus, an Over Supreme Rank Adventurer.” I then jumped past his silly traps and landed right in front of him.
There was supposed to be a barrier that protected him from a direct ranged attack, but in front of my advance, it was like a thin glass window trying to stop the attack from a cannon.
El'maru's barrier shattered and found himself just a breath away from me.
“Wha... how?” he mumbled, but before he could continue, I slapped him.
The el'doraw's armor shattered to bits and he was tossed into the right wall.
“I always wondered about something, El'maru, and you would do best to answer me honestly, least you wish for me to rip off a toe or finger.” I told him and then turned towards him as I picked up the book on his desk and then dropped it on the stone slab next to me. This triggered the arrow trap, but they all flew past me, harming no one in the room.
El’maru wasn’t one to give up with just that light shove. He struggled to push himself off the floor. His arms were trembling and there was blood dripping from the corners of his mouth. The expression in his eyes was one of confusion and hate mixed with anger and fear. All those vastly different emotions were swirling inside him, tormenting him with the question of how I was able to achieve such terrifying strength.
“Tell me, oh~ foolish one, what orders did you receive from the Guild Master when you were sent after me?” I asked as Magic Energy gathered around my finger tips and then was slowly released in the air, with a low-humming crackle.
“You... the Broken Doll...” he smirked and then spat out some blood “Do you really think I remember something as useless as that?” he scoffed and then stood up, leaning against the wall “But if I were to guess, it was probably something along the lines of: bring me more pawns I can use. What? You thought you were special? Hah! You were just one brat among hundreds all across the continent!” he laughed.
To be honest, his words didn't surprise me. I have talked with Illsy about this many times already, and he came up with even weirder theories than this one. My personal favorite was the one in which I was abducted by mistake because the assassin fell in love with the family's maid only to find out that she was a demoness in disguise who was out to conquer the world by giving the king and queen unstoppable diarrhea caused by milk turned bad. I would still get a good chuckle from this one when I remembered it.
“Why did you rape me?” I asked the most painful thing a victim like myself could ask of the one who hurt her.
“Because I could... It was all part of the ritual, shikak. Each girl gets her virginity taken away to be sacrificed to some dark god. Meh, just business as usual.” he shrugged as though the horrible deed he committed was no big deal.
The lack of compassion or mercy in his words, his mockery towards all those who suffered at his hands made me feel so angry, so furious. I felt like I wanted to kill him right here right now, but I abstained, I still wanted to ask him something... and dead men told no tales.
“How many others were there... besides me?” I asked in a calm tone of voice, but the Magic Energy around me was crackling, giving away the anger boiling inside me.
“How many? Didn't I say? Hundreds? Maybe thousands? Not all of ya runts would end up surviving until you reached maturity. That was your trial. That was the trial for all of us.” he then stopped and looked straight into my eyes “Did you really think that there's even one of the assassins in the Phantom Rage Guild who wasn't initiated like that? All of us were kidnapped from our parents since we were young, but we learned to survive without them. We lived to see the truth of this world. Phantom Rage was our heaven, our paradise... we gained everything we wanted.” a smile formed on the tips of his lips “You just had to prove you were strong enough to survive.”
“How... barbaric.” I said and then looked down at my hand. My anger was starting to take the shape of red lightning arcs. My Magic Energy shows my emotions better than I do with words or facial expressions... I thought and then turned my gaze back to him “What makes you think... the guild is paradise when you have never seen anything else but the horrors offered by them?”
El'maru just looked straight back at me, but he didn't answer my question. There was no need to, I could read the answer in his eyes, in his grimace, and his clenched fists. It wasn't as though there was nothing better out there, it was just that the guild trapped you inside its cage the moment you stepped in. There was no way out. There was never a way out, and the more one tried to struggle to get themselves free, the more the guild would try to wrap them up in its webs, strangling their freedom away until there was not even a single drop of it left.
This was partly because of the curse every member of the guild had on them, but also because of the way their own choice.
Most guild members chose the guild's lifestyle because they became engrossed in it. There was another reason why so few of us survived until we reached the age of maturity. If we didn't abide by the rules of the guild or its horrible ways of living, then we would have no chance of seeing the day of tomorrow. The Phantom Rage Guild was probably the worst environment where you could bring up a child. They brainwashed you from the very moment you stepped in their den and forced you to become and assassin or tool for assassination.
By the time one reached the age of maturity specific for their own species, they would then begin to learn magic and focus on becoming more specialized in their path.
“Broken Doll... do you really think you got rid of your past?” he asked.
“No.” I replied shaking my head “But it definitely isn't something that can haunt me anymore.”
In the Phantom Rage Guild, the Fledglings were the children who were recently indoctrinated. They would grow up to become Ants, Dolls, or Trainers. The first were craftsmen and workers, the second were mostly female assassins who used seduction to reach their targets, and the last were the teachers of the new batch of Fledglings. From there, one could become an Elite, a Shadow, or even a Phantom in rank. Those who wished a more different lifestyle would become Moneybags or Asset Hunters. All of them were prestigious roles to which a lot of the Fledglings were taught to aspire to.
I too at one time wished to reach the title of an Elite, but once I was labeled as a Broken Doll, my chances were slim to none. After all, I couldn't even properly act as a Doll anymore.
“You are full of it.” El'maru scoffed.
I let out a sigh and then asked “Tell me, how do I reach Phantom Island?”
“You swim there.” he replied, and I immediately shot a [Wind Scythe] at his arm, slicing through it at the shoulder with an unbelievable ease.
“AAAH!” he screamed in pain and horror as thick red blood gushed out of his wound, staining the carpet, the walls an the bookcase near him.
“It would be wise of you to answer me seriously. You still have three more limbs, but I can kill either with torture or swiftly, your choice.” I warned him after a moment has passed and his pitiful wails simmered down.
“So in the end, I'll still die, huh?” he asked as he grimaced in pain.
“Of course. Were you expecting to simply walk out of here alive?” I asked.
“Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you then.”
El'maru narrowed his eyes at me and then asked “Will I really receive a swift death?”
“Maybe. That's a risk you'll have to take.” I replied with a smile.
“Hah! I die from torture on one hand and die faster on the other, hell of a choice, ain't it?” he smirked.
“Still a choice.” I replied.
“Then go and suck a...” he started speaking but his words were cut off as I approached him faster than his eyes could follow and grabbed his other arm.
“One muscle down.” I said and then ripped off his bicep.
The man's screams of pain and horror were loud enough to wake up even the dead, but who would dare rise from their grave when I was around? Even the departed ones were too afraid of angering me at this point, the only fool who would still dare was the el'doraw before me.
“As I said, it's a choice of dying slow or fast.” I told him.
“Ugh... This bloody hurts... but fine... fast it is.” he groaned in pain.
“Then, tell me. How can I get to the Phantom Island?” I asked.
“Grab a boat in Gastruza Port. Not just any boat though, the one with the Ferryman. It shows up only at Midnight. The toll for uninvited guests is of 200000 goldiettes. Have fun getting that amount in such a short time. Once the other assassins catch wind of your deeds, they will march as an army towards your home.” he laughed.
“El'maru Rokan, you really don't know, do you?” I asked and showed him a smile of pity.
“I don't know what?” he asked furrowing his brow.
“Of the might of an Over Supreme like myself? You never heard of the battle on Illsyorea?” I asked.
“The what where?” he raised an eyebrow.
I let out a sigh and then walked over to his desk. There, I gently tapped my nails against the wooden surface as I walked up to the other end. Here, I stopped and looked back at him.
“Several years ago, the Great Paramanium Empire gathered its armies and went to siege a lone Dungeon Lord on Illsyorea, a small island in the middle of the three big continents. There, they were expecting an easy battle, a sure win.” I turned my gaze to the bookcase at the back of the room and walked up to it. “What they didn't expect was that the ones they were going to face off against were going to be the Over Supreme wives of the said Dungeon Lord. I didn't participate because at that time I was pregnant, but the battle ended with an overwhelming defeat for the Great Paramanium Empire.” I stopped in front of the bookcase.
“Pregnant? You? But I made sure myself the eggs of all you shikak could never be healed!” El'maru shouted and then spat out some blood.
“Oh, so it was you who performed that surgery back then?” I turned my head to look at him.
“You are lying...” he spat.
“You know, initially, I was afraid of you.” I looked down “I dreaded the moment when I would face you again... But now...” I gaze towards him, and it was only now when I could see his true shape, his true form “Now I feel as though I feared you for nothing. You are weak...” I took a step closer to him. “So weak that I can't even see you defeating the old me... The one before I become Illsyore's wife.”
I stopped and grabbed hold of the edge of the desk, then with absolute ease, I lifted it up in the air.
“I could squash you.” I said and then dropped the desk on the floor.
The loud noise startled the el'doraw, and I could see him feeling the dread of his mortal existence, the one which I was going to end soon.
“I could rip you apart... piece by piece.” I said and then looked at his injuries. “Then I would heal you and start it all over again.” I looked into his eyes.
He was trembling and sweating in fear. Every step I took closer to him, every word that rolled off my tongue, every gaze I cast upon him, they all sent signals of danger, warnings of fear. El'maru knew now better than anyone that there was nothing he could do to stop me. I was the most dangerous existence he had ever encountered in his entire life, and I could most certainly guarantee that there was nothing out there more frightening and powerful than my family.
“But you know?” I stopped when I was just a step away from him and then leaned closer to look right into his fearful eyes. “Initially, I thought about torturing you to death no matter if you cooperated or not, but now… now I don't feel like torturing you...”
The surprise on his face was almost amusing.
Normally, one would think that when they would meet their captor, kidnapper, rapist, that one individual who hurt them the most, then they would definitely feel the desire or need to torture them before killing them in the most gruesome and painful way imaginable. That was my initial plan. I wanted to inflict upon him as much pain as possible, enough to make him weep, to make him beg to the gods for his death, but... it didn't feel right.
I killed everyone so far so easily that it was almost hypocritical to think that I wasn't able to harm this one scum who hurt me the most, however, for just a moment, I thought about who I was before and who I was now.
“Long ago, when I stepped upon the Fellyore Academy's grounds, I was the Broken Doll of the Phantom Rage Guild. I was an item to be used as others pleased. Be it for sexual release or to fulfill a purpose in their schemes and plans, I would do as asked without fighting back, without complaining, without screaming or crying. I was the one and only el'doraw flower everyone could abuse however they pleased... the shikak of the Phantom Rage, but... do you know?” I straightened my back and looked up at the ceiling “It took the love of a most wonderful man to show me that I was anything but that. It took his strength and acceptance to make me see that I was so much more.” I lowered my head and there were tears in my eyes. “When he broke my curse and healed my body, that was the first step. He gave me a second chance and embraced me in a way I never thought it would be possible or that I would deserve. El'maru... what you stole from me, the future of that little girl decades ago, the innocence of that soul, the love of a family for a child... Illsyore, my husband, returned everything to me and then gifted me with so much more.” I smiled.
“Hah! What I took from you is mine alone and no one can ever give it back! I robbed you of your virginity, you shikak!” he laughed.
“No, he returned even that to me... All the taint that the Phantom Rage poured down on my soul was washed away with a single kiss and embrace from him. That's why I can stay here and shed these tears.”
“Tears of pain, aren't they?” he smirked.
I wiped off one and looked at it as it was sitting upon my finger.
“No, they are tears of joy because the monster you created, El'maru, is no longer here. I thought I was going to be afraid, yet fear didn't strangle my heart. I thought I would desire revenge, but I didn't feel it stabbing at my soul. I thought I was going to desire to torment you and torture you, but all of that seems so... boring now.” I said and then looked into his eyes. “Do you know what you are to me, El'maru?” I asked.
“Your worst nightmare.” he answered.
“No. You are just the pathetic loser who once tried to control me with fear and hate.” I said and then I pierced his heart with a simple sword I summoned from my Storage Crystal.
“Ugh!” he groaned one last time as he looked down, horrified, at the blood that stained his shirt.
“Killing you feels no different than killing all the others in this base, and your pathetic barks up until now proved just how insignificant your truly are. El'maru, you were just a mere tool of the Phantom Rage, the messenger who took the package, me, and then brought it home.” I leaned closer to him until my lips were close enough to let my whispers be heard by him “Just because you once had a chance to bed me doesn't mean that you are special in any way or manner. You are... and had always been... just... a... bug.”
I pulled out the sword and then stepped away from him.
Under his dying gaze, I pushed aside the bookcase at the back and revealed his hidden treasury. With these many coins as well as those I had looted so far, I had more than enough to pay the Ferryman. Then, once I stepped on the Phantom Island, I planned on calling over Illsyore.
But now, after I killed the one who began my curse with the assassin's guild, I felt... relieved in the true sense of this word. It was as if a heavy stone was lifted off my chest, and after so many years, I could finally take a deep breath and relax. It was funny how up until now, when I killed someone, I didn't cry, but now... I felt like weeping. My tears though, they were tears of joy... of happiness... of a young maiden whose curse had finally been broken.
“This is why I didn't want Illsy to come with me... I simply needed to experience this, to get through this moment by myself... to rip apart these final chains.”
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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