It took me a while to calm down and sort out my thoughts, the girl didn't move the entire time and she just stared at me.
I try to speak to her but she doesn't move or respond to my pleading.
I have no idea how to get her out of the bed sínce she herself wouldn't move and I would trigger the enchantment.
For now I dim the light and leave again, “Is there any way to get rid off the last enchantment quickly?”, I ask my spy.
“Getting rid of it is certainly possible but fast? During the time you investigated the room, I took a look at the room using magical sight.
It looks like the enchantment is a part of the room itself, as it was created with it as a basis. The walls gather the mana from the outside to maintain it. Getting rid of the enchantment would be possible but that knowledge is beyond mine and even then, it would take all of our resources. If we could put up a barrier that isolates the room from the world, the array would run dry on mana after a short time. The fastest, and most direct way would be to blow up the walls but I don't have to tell you that every person in the vicinity would be able to a feel the expanding mana that will be released from the array besides there is the uncontrolled explosion that follows.”
I don't like what I hear and my mood darkens, “I would blow up the whole mansion to get this girl out.”
But I couldn't do that right now, we are still in the hiding and it would mean trouble.
“How fast can we get back out of this area?”, I ask.
He starts to furrow his forehead, “Depends on where we are going. The mansions around Rucks are probably occupied and we don't know who is involved into this entire mess.
Every direction other than back to the city is possible”.
“You don't understand, I want to go back to the city as fast as possible. I won't stand around here and wait, not after I saw what happened to this girl.
I need to stop Ruck before this gets out of hand.”
Again I get angrier, the more I speak about him.
“But we don't have any idea what is going on, there are no spies we can ask for help or contacts we can trust to ask for information.”
Somehow I still can't get the image of the girl’s eyes out of my mind, “This is something I have to do.”
A small part of me still wants to blow up the entire mansion, including Ruc but again, that wasn't an option mainly because I lack a certain person to make that work.
“Our only chance is the city, regardless of the situation, I doubt that Ruck already controls the entire city, even less the politics or the citizens.
I may not have the politics on my side but the folk I saved countless times from savages like him won't give up their rights that I gave them so easily. I don't expect a full blown resolution but they tend to get creative if they are stripped of their freedom.
If we run away from this we maybe never have a chance again to stop Fiven, I would rather die trying than die running”
“If you really want to go back I suggest you use the pathway that is normally used as escape route for the Royals. It normally leads into the palace but in the early times of the empire, the city structure and palace were different.
The old palace that was damaged would now be in the middle of the city, near the market place.”
“Perfect, so I can avoid the palace troops, regardless which site they are on. I move more comfortably when I go alone. And yes before you ask, I am going alone into the city. Think of every reason you want to say now and you will get a fitting answer from me, I want you to guard the girl as you are not fully recovered.
I'll take some servant clothes to disguise myself and try to sneak through the masses. I'll look to get in contact with Laruth, he would probably know more about the last few days.”
As I dared him to, he remained silent but I saw his displeasure. It would nearly guilt trip me, since it was his job to keep me safe, but I avoided his gaze.
“Try to get the girl out of the bed and look after her health. I'll come back and in either case we will leave this mansion then.”
He informs me about the exit and where to find it, also he told me about the path to the old palace.
I backed up and head for the stairs, into the servant’s wing. I find some clothes from one of the servant’s room that don't look frivolous and worn out.
From the view in the mirror, the outfit suits me but my hair and attire is too princess-like, a few dusts from the coal in the oven and my skin won't look like it was bathed every day. My hair isn't much work, the color is nothing unordinary and I don't have to fix that with ash, “Thanks God I didn't inherit the color from my mother”, but the only problems remain are my eyes.
“I never thought this trait from my father would act as curse and not as gift.”
I don't have another choice than walking around heads down, “Which would probably suit a servant”, I think.
Prepared I leave the mansion, back into the wolves den.
I exit the house, shielding my eyes with my hands from the sun, I couldn't see for the past hour. It is really dazzling after such a long time without light.
I found the exit, or in my case the entrance in a mansion that is owned by a minor trading company, a fake identity for royal purposes.
It was a hour long journey in the darkness with a dim magic light and I found the old passage but nothing else happened if you leave aside the spider webs that I ran into.
The exit was in an older house, probably built as disguise and forgotten, and the nice elderly pair that lived here nearly died because of shock after a dirty servant crawled out of their cellar.
I snicker and had to suppress a laughing fit, 『I would be no less surprised but I couldn't tell them about me.』
I told the pair that I ran away in the confusion and hid myself in the cellar. It was an emergency lie, 『I said nothing how she entered the house or survived nearly 4 days without food but I couldn't come up with something better back then.』
Now I was in the main market and the stalls were busy with their daily business.
“You can ruin an entire empire, massacre the population but merchants would still find time and customers to sell their goods to.”
Various traders offered food, jewelry and other daily goods, it was a bit more of an exclusive market because it was near the palace and nobles would lower themselves to buy something here so I fit perfectly with the other servants, housewives and other visitors that were out on errands.
I fake interest in a merchant that offered tools for households because his stall gave me a nice view into the next alley where some guards were positioned.
“What can I get you, young lady?”
I bought a hood that fit my servant outfit so I could look around before I entered the market.
The customer before me had apparently finished his shopping and the merchant turned towards me, expecting his next sale. I cursed myself for not paying attention but now I couldn't avoid him.
The merchant was an middle-aged man, his head balding and so fat that he could go into competition with the laziest nobles. He wore so much jewelry that it was a wonder how hadn’t robbed yet. But the worst was the smell, alcohol, unhygienic and something that came close to a certain girl. Altogether a person you would never want to be alone with if you were a certain type and gender of human.
How he even had customer was beyond my imagination.
I ball my hands so hard that my nails started digging into my palms but I couldn't make a scene here so I suppressed my uneasy mind.
I was trying to get some information out of the merchants but yet nobody spoke with me, besides the simple trading conversation or I only found merchants that left their business to employed commoners.
The commoners only told me things I already knew, the slaughter in the streets and so on but I was interested in what happened after the party in the palace but they had no access to such places so they knew nothing.
After a few tries I thought it was best to start looking for Laruth but I decided to speak to one last merchant before leaving the market, I recognized him because I saw him once in the royal kitchen when he delivered something.
“Do you have some simple cooking tools? I tried to find them for the whole day but no merchant would sell what I was looking for.”
“I have everything you want, peelers, grater, masher and more, everything in top condition. For the more specific things, I have in my warehouse behind me so tell me what you want and I can take a look.”
“I need a peeler, some simple wooden spoons and a cutting board.”
“Hmm, most things I have here but the cutting board is in my warehouse. If you want you can take a look and decide if the quality is good enough, alright?”
My disgust nearly betrayed me after I knew what he planned but I decided to go with the flow, mainly because I had an idea how I could get information and clench my anger.
“Sure, I'll gladly take a look.”
I act like a innocent servant and take the offer and he points to an open door behind him.
“Go ahead, I will follow.”
I pass by his stand and go towards the door, he calls for an employee and follows me shortly after.
I enter the warehouse and walk into the middle of the room, it's dim and mostly without light, there is only a small window under the roof with the sun shine coming through there.
I hear a closing door and a lock closing with the sound of turning keys.
“Mister, where are the tools? Didn't you say you store them here? Please let me go back to the market, I'll look elsewhere.”, I say in a scared tone.
“You won't be leaving.”
I turn around to see the merchant holding a knife and heavily panting as he starts walking towards me. The bulge in his trousers leaves no doubt what he does with all the servants he ‘invites’ to look into his warehouse.
I hold my disgust back, 『Not close enough』, and I wait until he stands barely a foot away from me. I can smell it again, the alcohol and other things.
“Nobody will look for you inside here and after I'm finished with you, we both know that no-one will believe you if you try to tell your noble or guards.
I'm a well known merchant, getting rid of annoying servants is my speciality and if you try… who knows, maybe you will enjoy this.
If you scream I'll end you right this second.”
He swings the knife in front of me. Any other girl would be helpless against this inhuman predator but this day he picked the wrong girl. He thought a careless servant came to him but seconds later he would experience the other side of his usual business.
I follow the knife with my eyes, and at the right second I start to move.
My left hand punches the knife out of his hands while my right hand hit his chest and he starts gasping for air. Faster than he can fall down, I place a well-positioned kick to his knees, bending them in a unnatural way. Using the momentum I spin around, ending his falling body with a kick on the head.
The whole scene didn't last 2 seconds. He didn't even have time to fall down before he was unconscious.
I dust off my clothes and pick up the knife, starting to cut his clothes apart and tie him to the wooden pillars that upholds the warehouse’s frame. I take the keys from him and check the surroundings. After I confirm nothing dangerous is around, I start chanting, nothing too loud that the guards outside would notice.
Then I sit back and wait.
After a while he wakes up, his eyes go from confusion to anger to fear after he sees me and realizes he can't move.
With a shaky voice he starts wasting oxygen, “Untie me! Do you know who I am? I'll get you fired, wherever you work and ruin your life if you don't immediately free me.”
I ignore his threats.
“I guess you were truly unlucky today, to pick the only girl in the market that is able to bring you down. All the things that needed to happen to make this possible, the place, time and actions. All that came together into this single happening. It's like the Gods decided to end your business today”.
“What are you talking about?!”, he starts to spit while he shouts, “Untie me you worthless whore.”
I point the knife towards him.
“If you scream I'll end you right this second”, I reply with a devilish grin.
He cautiously watches the knife and the way I swing it.
“What do you want? Money?”
Now he starts bargaining, maybe he thought I wouldn't harm him.
“Information about what?”
“What happened after the recent attack on the city. And if you play along I let you live your worthless life.”
He gulps and his balding head starts getting sweaty.
“Everybody knows what happened. Unknown forces attacked the city and slaughtered the citizens until the royal guards stopped them.”
“The royal guards?”
“Where the hell do you live? Under a rock?”, he starts spitting again after he impatiently raised his voice.
“First, I ask the questions. And second..”, I move the knife above his fat stomach and move the tip of the blade forward, a small stream of blood starts to come out, “.. I told you to be silent. Now you if you would be so kind to start again where I asked you the royal guards.”
He shivers and his voices trembles, maybe he stops underestimating me and knows that his life is in my hands, ”After the first hours the royal guards and chancellor Fiven’s troops came out of the palace and started to counter-attack. By the sun-rise they won and started to clean up. At midday the palace announced that the princess and emperor lead the forces to battle but were gravely wounded after the guards thought all was safe, assassins attacked them both and they barely escaped. Since then they are resting and being kept safe by the Fiven’s troops, the chancellor imposed Martial Law under the reasoning of find those behind this foolish attack on the royal family.”
I need a few moments to grasp the entire story, “I thought he disposed both of us, how can we appear in battle and even lead forces?”
“Hey do you hear me? HEY”, I did my best to ignore him but after a few minutes he was being annoying while I try am thinking about this whole set-up by Fiven.
“I told you what happened, now untie me and I'll be grateful enough to let this slip by.”
Either he is shocked by the situation or his brain is so small to fail to understand that he isn't in control of this.
I only needed a few seconds to decide, 『What happens in this room will never leave it』.
I start to cut a few very indicating words around his stomach, leaving no doubt to anyone who would see what kind of person this man is.
He starts screaming and shouting but I just ignore his pleas, doubting he ever paid any attention to the ones he lured into this room.
After I'm finished I turn around and start to leave, but he still has the courage to speak up.
“Untie me, I told you want you want to know. You said you will let me live when I tell you what happened and so I did. If you leave me know I won't be able to get free and no one will find me”, he says flat, barely breathing and speaking.
“Exactly”, I stand in the open door, still holding the bloody knife in my hand, I throw it behind me. A little enchantment on the knife and the fitting counterpart on the merchant let it fly on a designated path.
The small scream of pain and the silence I hear is enough. I don't turn around and close the door, heading back into the sunny market.