Chapter 38 – Come and get me, Bitch!
“Now, that I had my little fun, let’s talk!” Ran turned to the priest. “Please don’t misunderstand. This wasn’t torture, it was just a little fun, nothing much. This is nowhere near what I can do.” She was pleased to see him shudder. “Now, how about you tell me everything?” Ran asked.
“I don’t understand. Ran-sama, I don’t know why you are doing…” Kan Yune started.
“Who is behind our summoning?”
“… Ran-sama… we truly need your help to…”
The priest couldn’t say anymore, Ran was staring down on him with disdain.
“Really? Do you think you are the only one I’ve questioned so far?” Ran crossed her legs and lifted her chin. “Do you think I don’t know that you planned to have us be ambushed tomorrow by bandits? That you wanted to have Rikku and I killed?”
She watched Kan Yune like a hawk, she didn’t want to miss even the smallest expression on the priest’s face.
“I also know that our summoning wasn’t authorised, that you tried to dupe us all along. You fanned our greed and stroked our egos so we’d listen to you. I know about the tracking mark, the drug in the food… Should I go on?”
Kan Yune stayed silent. He was flabbergasted.
“If you think that you’ll be able to endurance torture, you’ve overestimated yourself.” She smirked and walked to the maid. “I’m a weaver, I weave stuff. Wool, silk, threads.” She touched Belle’s right temple. “Blood, mana…,” she started to pull another thread, “…Soul…”
“Aaaah!” Belle wanted to beg for mercy. She wanted to beg for a quick death.
Kan Yune trembled. Ran didn’t pull the thread all the way. She left it dangling. Kan Yune’s eyes were fixed on the transparent thread and gritted his teeth.
“Are you going to spill the beans about your boss or do you want me to force it out of you?” Ran asked Kan Yune.
“You have no idea what you are doing!” Kan Yune glared with hatred.
“Torture is one of my specialty. I know exactly what I am doing.”
“Torture me if you dare! If you think you’ll be able to escape from…” The priest turned silent.
“From whom? The King? The Church?” Ran laughed. “What a good joke. We both know they have nothing to do about the summoning. It must have cost quite a lot, by the way.”
The relaxed and carefree Ran irked the priest to no end. He didn’t even realise that Ran was playing with him. Every single expression on his face was carefully observed and analysed by the young woman.
“It must have been hard to get those resources and move in secret. Especially in troubled times.” Kan Yune flinched imperceptibly and Ran smiled. “If this is a troubled time, of course!”
The priest pursed his lips and his face turned a shade whiter. The more Ran talked, the more delighted she became.
“Such expensive and secretive operations, I don’t believe…” Ran suddenly laughed out loud. “…Trying to commit suicide?!”
She squatted in front of him and lightly tapped on his lower jaw.
“You were so caught up in the moment that you didn’t feel it was loose. Do you really believe I will leave you an escape door? I extracted and disrupted most of your mana just because I didn’t want you to detonate your mana.” She stared at him with some disdain. “Wasn’t it fun to be the one in charge?”
Ran stood up and towered over him. She lifted his chin up and cradled his head in her hands. “Do you want to talk on your own accord?”
Kan Yune spat on her in defiance. She sobered up, dropping her smiling face.
“Naughty kid ought to be punished. I won’t kill you. I won’t hurt you. I’ll take your mind and slowly erase you. I’ll take your memories, feelings, your very soul.” She leaned in close, almost until her nose touched his. “I’ll take everything that makes you you. That makes you human. I’ll tear every single strand of yourself and feast on them. I’ll let you’ve just enough consciousness to be aware through all of this. Then, when you’ll be just an empty shell, I’ll turn you into an obedient little puppet and parade you under the nose of your former boss. What do you think?”
Kan Yune didn’t believe it. He didn’t want to believe in what she said. “… You’re bluffing…”
Ran brushed her nose against his. “Let’s find out,” she whispered coyly.
Kan Yune felt a faint fragrance coming from Ran’s hands. His body became really comfortable and warm as if he was sinking into a deep, cozy, heated cloud. He couldn’t fight the numb feeling of coziness. He breathed out in satisfaction and it startled him. His eyes opened wider in horror. He was still aware that it was wrong. He wanted to fight against the feeling. He wanted to shake himself out of this drowsiness. However, his body didn’t respond to him.
“Let… let go of… me,” he said, weakly, as he tried to put up a fight.
“This is just the beginning. Weren’t you looking forward to be turned into a puppet?”
Kan Yune became dizzy. He could feel the mana circulating out of him. He could feel himself getting weaker and weaker.
“Did you plan an ambush on the road?” Ran asked.
“Yes.” The priest’s eyes were unfocused.
“Did you stage the magical beasts’ attack?”
“No.” The priest answered obediently. Deep down, his heart was shocked and filled with terror.
“Do you have a way to take off the ring?”
“No.” The priest quivered.
“What’s your true name?”
“My name is…” The priest paused, his face was tranquil, “…XXXXX.”
As he uttered his true name, he sighed. Deep inside his soul, a secret seal shone and activated itself. His remaining mana stirred.
“Who gives you orders?” Ran chuckled as she felt the change inside his body.
A wave of power burst forth. Ran stepped away. With a passed-out priest as its center, a spiral of mana swirled around. Some tainted blood seeped out of his lips. The blood travelled along his throat to his chest as if it was following a path. It made its way above his heart and drew a symbol. As soon as the symbol was done, the skin along its lines burnt and the seal carved itself in the priest’s flesh. Suddenly, a bright light came out from the seal. The light converged and formed a silhouette standing in front of the priest. The silhouette was blurry. It wore a long and dark robe with a large hood. It was impossible to distinguish the features of the one inside it.
“It’s me.” A deep and monotone sounded.
“Finally!” Ran smiled warmly.
Even though Ran couldn’t see it, she was sure the silhouette frowned.
“Nice to meet you.” Ran smirked.
The silhouette remained silent. Ran went back to her seat and observed the one before her.
“I really wanted to meet the one who dared summoned me here. You have guts,” said Ran .
“I am obviously nowhere near your level. Daring to mess with my plans and kill my subordinates,” said the silhouette.
“You killed the priest yourself. As for the rest, it was only legit defense.” Ran shrugged.
“Impudence! I will make you regret your actions.” The voice was cold.
“I doubt it… Your Highness.”
Startled, the silhouette took a step back.
“You think that everyone is as dumb and incompetent as you? Let me guess, infighting for the throne?” Ran snorted, even with all the mystery, Ran could see that she’d struck the bullseye. “Perhaps, even… territorial expansion.” Ran laughed. “Who knows? Maybe you made an enemy ally and want to use us for undercover missions.”
“YOU-” The voice trembled.
Ran’s face sunk and her brows furrowed. Just then, she was only spewing nonsense, and she was actually right! The more she thought about it, the angrier she became. They’d actually hauled her all the way here to be the dog of a secret organisation!!!
“You really have guts!” Ran was seething with rage. “I can tolerate the whole liberation bullshit, but this!”
The silhouette sneered. “So what? You are fated to be a dog under my command. You think that just because you made a mess there, you will be able to free yourself?”
Ran’s aura and killing intent exploded. She hated being schemed against. What she hated even more was being forced. She stood up and the chair under her crumbled. She rooted herself in front of the silhouette. Had there been a physical body, she would have shredded it on the spot.
“I’ll let it slide this once. You’ll go your way, I’ll go mine. You don’t bother me and I won’t tear your face apart.” She tried to rein in her temper.
“You think I will let you off after such a loss? Even torture won’t be enough to make you repay me.”
“A stupid princess who thinks she’s smart.” Ran saw the silhouette take another small step back. “Only an idiot wouldn’t be able to see through your stupid disguise. Tell me princess, how are you going to find me?” A ring materialized in her palm. “With this?” She let the ring fall to the floor. “Perhaps, you’ll put my face on wanted posters?”
She tilted her face to the side. As she moved, her features changed. Her hair bleached into a sunny blond, eyes grew larger and turned green. Her skin whitened and features akin to a scandinavian beauty. The air around her changed, even the mana fluctuating through her body was different. The fair head was extremely discordant with her original body.
“IMPOSSIBLE!” The silhouette was stunned at first, then rage took over.
How was she supposed to find her?! When she thought about how much she’d invested in this project, how much she’d bet on it…
“I will find you! I will tear you apart! You and the rest of your race! We will NEVER let you go!”
“Then, come, I’m waiting!” Ran opened her arms wide. “Come and get me, Bitch!”