Chapter 29 – A little chat
As soon as the maid heard those words from Rikku, she held her breath, and utter terror poured through her veins. She was at their mercy, even though she tried to struggle, again and again. As she struggled, she noticed disturbances in the flow of mana in her.. She refused to let them gain control of her. She mentally cussed, but they had already fooled her.
“Please. Don’t hurt me. Why would you -”
Ran cut her off, “Don’t try to lie or bullshit us. I don’t like it and I can guarantee that you won’t either.” Ran hugged the maid tightly, cradling the maid’s head in the crook of her neck.
Next, she shoved her two hands inside the maid’s shirt, one on her back and the other on her chest. Ran not only injected poison into the maid’s bloodstream, but she also manipulated the maid’s mana flow and slowly spread chaos throughout the maid’s body.
Dizziness and muddle-headedness wrought the maid, as if a veil of light mist draped over her mind. Her head felt light and her body warmed up.
Stepping forward, Rikku asked, “Who was the guy outside?”
“He- he is… a guard,” she stammered. Her mind tried desperately to fight the warmth and break through the daze.
Ran groped on her chest tightly, directly above the heart. The hand that was on the back moved to the side of the maid’s face. Her fingers gave off a light fragrance of honey and fresh lotus. Thin, pale blue threads appeared to escape from the maid’s skin, drawn out to be spun and absorbed by Ran’s hand. The maid shivered and whimpered. Then, her gaze turned hazy and dull.
“Who is he?” Rikku repeated.
“A hidden guard,” the maid answered obediently.
“Is this part of Kan Yune’s plan?”
“No,” denied the maid in a monotonous voice. “Kan-sama planned to have a group of bandits ambush the heroes further down the road.”
“Where did that guard come from?”
“He was sent ahead to contact the team monitoring the bandits. We lost contact with them.”
“What happened?” Rikku scowled.
“We aren’t clear. 5 hidden guards were sent to scout and report earlier.”
“Why does Kan Yune want us to be ambushed?” Ran asked. Her face was slowly drained of its colours.
“To test the heroes’ abilities and…”
“Eliminate Rikku and Ran-sama,” the maid replied truthfully.
“Oh? Why?” Rikku sneered.
“Ran-sama appeared useless to Kan-sama’s superior. Rikku-sama was deemed unlikely to follow his orders and, thus, too dangerous.”
“Fair enough. What did they plan to do after the ambush?” Ran was curious.
“The group will travel to an undisclosed location.”
Rikku and Ran were startled by the answer.
“They’re not going to the Capital?”
“No,” the maid replied dully, a slight frown creasing her eyebrows.
“The summoning wasn’t ordered by the Court. It was a secret operation.”
“What?” Ran exclaimed in bafflement. “Your Church held the summoning without support from the Court?”
Abruptly, they heard a loud scream from outside, followed by the rumbling of rushing footsteps that gradually crescendoed somewhat louder. The maid frowned harder and Ran grimaced. Ran could sense that she teetered on the verge of losing control. This maid’s level exceeded her own by too much. Furthermore, the technique and the poison that she refined weren’t potent enough.
“Answer!” Rikku urged the maid.
“… The Church did not approve of the summoning,” the maid sputtered under laboured breaths. Deep down, she still resisted the interference.
This confirmation struck Rikku and Ran speechless. This far exceeded their expectations. If neither the Church nor the Court mandated this operation, then…
“Who ordered it?” Rikku prodded.
The commotion outside grew louder. Ran grimaced and her heartbeat quickened. They ran out of time. She tried to absorb as much mana as she could to weaken the maid.
“What about the horde? How big is it? Can the guards take care of it?” Rikku questioned.
The maid blinked, “We… don’t know, but-” she paused.
The frown on the maid’s face deepened and her expression twisted. Ran’s complexion paled lighter than a ghost, as beads of sweat dripped down her forehead. She gritted her teeth and pushed herself a bit further.
“But what?” repeated Rikku with force.
The maid closed her eyes and her expression turned grim. “They mentioned a demon beast.”
Suddenly, the maid’s eyes snapped open. She shoved Ran off, but, in her feebleness, she crashed heavily into the table and fell on the resulting glass shards that littered the ground. A short sword flashed in the maid’s hand. However, before she could do anything, a dagger pierced through her neck. The maid’s eyes cleared. She refused to believe that she could die this way.
“Don’t think that this is the end for you,” Rikku warned as he crouched in front of her.
Impassively, he watched her tremble, then abruptly and mercilessly buried a blade deep into her heart. Before she could even release a death rattle, she collapsed on the ground. Rikku snorted as he stepped over the body. He helped Ran up from the ground. Shallow cuts marked her arms, but none of the wounds were serious. Her complexion was unsightly and her eyes were somewhat bloodshot. Rikku helped her sit on a chair and held a glass of water to her lips. However, as soon as Ran drank a mouthful and tasted the liquid, she frowned.
Rikku scowled. Seeing that, Ran pursed her lips, but finished the glass obediently. Rikku moved towards the entrance to peek outside. As soon as she saw Rikku’s back turn to her, she pulled out a bottle of whisky. Rikku frowned at the scene outside. Servants ran frantically around in panic. A few unfortunate ones laid immobile on the ground, while guards struggled valiantly against the beasts. Rather than regular beasts, some appeared to be monsters, while others revealed traits belonging to magical beasts. The campsite was slowly fell into chaos. One beast fought against 5 guards, but the guards appeared to be on the weaker side. Rikku squinted his eyes. For now, he could see around 5 beasts. If a horde were to arrive, then they needed to quickly move out before being caught in a battlefield.
Fortunately, he witnessed 5 otherworlders joining the fray. He exhaled in relief. They still had some time to spare. He sealed the entrance with a spell and turned back in. Ran sat with her eyes closed, her breaths deep and steady, her brows knitted lightly. In the hollow of her palms, a small reel floated. The reel spun a long, thin, and blue thread drawn from the corpse. Ran’s face had lost a bit more of its pallor, and the magic fluctuating around her began to spin and condense around the reel. She was working hard to recover her strength and make some preparations. Rikku also needed to make his own preparations. Even though he was intrigued, he didn’t want to disturb her, so he strode towards the dead body and stood over it.
As soon as he uttered the command, the corpse jolted and dark smoke rose from it. The smoke spun around and condensed into a solid shadow. It was the shape of a woman. Her face was lowered in submission. Ran’s eyes flew open in panic as she gawked at the shadow. Seeing that reaction, Rikku gestured towards the corpse, directing the shadow to dive back in the corpse. The corpse trembled violently, then opened its eyes at once. It rose from the ground and knelt in front of him.
“Open,” Rikku issued another command. The corpse flourished its hand, causing the contents of its item to box pour out onto the floor.
“Tsk! How convenient!” Ran exclaimed.
“Say that to the one who’s spinning mana,” Rikku asked while going through the items on the ground.
“Wanna see something cooler?” Ran asked with mischief. She moved over to the dead body, put her hand near the bleeding wound and commanded, “Spin.”
The flow of blood rose and spun into countless bloody threads around an invisible reel. Ran gently swept a finger and a bundle of threads separated from the rest. Next, Ran summoned a roll of silver threads from her item box. She then grasped the ends of each thread – the silver thread, the mana thread, and the bloody thread – in order to spin them together into a braid of yarn. As she held out her right hand, the mixed thread wove itself around one of her fingers, then around another, then around her palm, and finally around her wrist. After casting the edge, she flicked her wrist to snap the thread, allowing it to weave itself once more into a glove on her left hand.
“You can weave mana and blood?” Rikku couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I weave stuff. Any kind of stuff,” Ran replied, flashing her white teeth. “The technique I just used is at a pretty basic level. I don’t have time to refine it. Well, I don’t own much equipment anyway, so having this ability is better than nothing.”
The thread of blood still wound around the reel at a fast pace, drying the corpse up on its knees. In less than a minute, she had drained the corpse of its blood completely. The bloody reel then flew towards Ran and she tucked it away. Rolling his eyes, Rikku returned to sorting the items scattered on the floor.
Ran gazed at her newly-crafted gloves.
Materials include the blood and mana of an assassin, as well as silver.
ATK +2 LIFE +10
MP Regen + 2%/minute
HP Regen +3%/minute
VIT +2 DEX +3
- Poison ⌈ Inflicts -5%/second MP and HP⌋
- Mana disturbance ⌈Disturb Mana flow. Increase failure of a spell or skill by 8%⌋
Suddenly, Ran felt the ground quiver. The cacophony from outside must be approaching them. If she were to leave in her current state, she would definitely run into trouble, regardless of her skill level or battle experience. With quick thinking, she untied her bathrobe and stood there with her eyes closed and her body naked. Floating orbs materialized around her. From those orbs, threads made their way out, twisting among each other before attaching themselves onto Ran’s body. Through the growing noises of chaos, Ran focused on weaving her first suit – a tight-fitting, dark bodysuit. From her neck down to her toes, the suit completely encompassed her skin. It should be enough for now, she didn’t want to show all her cards.
BLOOD FAIRY BODYSUIT
DEF +5 Life +20
MP Regen + 2%/minute
HP Regen +5%/minute
VIT +3 DEX +3
- Poison Resistance ⌈Resistant against common poison⌋
- Absorption ⌈Absorb up to 5% of inflicted damage. Blood absorption can repair and evolve the suit’s statistics properties. WARNING: Host’s blood loss cannot be replenished via the bodysuit.⌋
Ran opened her eyes and examined the body suit. It felt velvety under her touch. As for the smell… she shrugged. She’d soon fight in this anyway. Smelling like blood now or later won’t change anything.
“Unsealed Skills. Keep current body,” she ordered.
Eternal Student – Lv 2
⌈ – Smooth and constant learning curves regardless of levels
– Research, analyse, and learn any learning material ⌋
Hypocrite (Hidden skill) – Lv 3
⌈ – Keep true body sealed from others
– True self stay sealed from others
– Choice of body and skills according to circumstances ⌋
⌈ – Modify and manipulate one’s body (paired skill)
– Manipulate electro-impulsion and biochemistry of living organisms
– Decompose, refine, compound substances ⌋
Weaver – Lv 2
⌈ – Spin, thread, dye, sew, and weave stuff to craft clothing and equipment. ⌋
Gluttony – Lv 2
⌈ – Hold, store, and absorb vast amounts of things according to the host’s desire.
Warning: Skill is paired with bio-engineer. Physical modification can be available depending on specific racial characteristic absorbed from blood sample. Amount and quality vary according to sample. Custom modification in separate window is necessary ⌋
Ran scrunched her face and queried, “Say, do you have any mana potion?”
She managed to garner some bonus points for her statistics, but the scores remained relatively low. She needed to proceed with caution, or else she might lose her life. Just the thought made her shiver.
Rikku rummaged through the pile, grabbed a glass bottle, and threw it over. Ran caught it with ease.
“I need equipment too.”
“What kind?” Rikku arched an eyebrow.
“Any kind,” was her reply, as she chugged the potion and smiled broadly.