Metaworld Chronicles

by

Wutosama

Chapter 76.5 - Interlude 3 - Dark Waters

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A note from Wutosama

Edited 31/01/20

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"Wap! Wap! Wap!"
A kookaburra slammed a lizard into the gum-bark, snapping its spine and tenderising its flesh before swallowing.

A breeze followed, casting dappled shadows that swayed rhythmically to the thrill of cicadas. The occasional bird of paradise hopped from wattle to wattle, stripping the brushes of their sweet nectar between the walled sanctuary of the native garden.

Abruptly, the sound of wheels crunching loose gravel silenced the serenity. The kookaburra looked up from its search for skinks to see a young man in a wheelchair, pushed by an uncommonly pretty maid and accompanied by another.

"Kooo-kuku-ku-ku-kua-aaaah!" the butcher bird thrilled, then took flight into the blue.

The chair-bound young man shot the bird a look of annoyance. A tendril of near-invisible dust lashed out, snaring the panicked kookaburra. Its feathers instantly moulted and fell, leaving behind a skeletal frame that fell hopping, obscene and naked, to the ground.

The young man chuckled.

The pretty maid who pushed the wheelchair sighed, then placed a hand upon the young's shoulder. A surge of positive energy flowed between them.

"You should control yourself, Young Master."

"Why?" The Young Master coughed to clear this throat. "That's why you're here, ain'tcha?"

"Indeed, but as a favour to the Mistress, and only to the Mistress."

"Bah!" the Young Master scoffed. "You're such a prude, take me in, it's almost time for our conference."

A few turns throughout the native garden and the landscape changed to that of blue lawns overshadowed by a colonial manor that soared, white and dazzling against a vista of Sydney's tablelands.

"Sir." A guard, grey-haired and severe in his black suit even in the Australian summer, bowed his head smartly as the wheelchair approached. His eyes lingered upon the Young Master, feeling such resentment at the young man's suffering that his moustache shook.

Almost nine months ago, the young Master had teleported into the Manor, mortally wounded, missing both his right limbs and a portion of his face. Even the best healers the Master called up was unable to restore the lost flesh, coax the stump to regrow its appendage. It was as though the essence of the Young Master's limbs had ceased to exist— or that they had never existed in the first place.

The young Master himself, likewise, had become a recluse; no longer the sunny, wonderful boy that the old guard had raised - a young man who joked and laughed and hunted when the mood caught him.

Now he seemed a husk of the man he used to be. They had begged the young Master for knowledge of what had occurred, but all his attempts were rebuffed. It was all so strange.

"Going to the chamber, Sir?"

"Yes, Burham, get me fitted before we go in. I need to appear my very best before the Mistress."

"Sir.' Burham reached in gently and picked up the young man from the wheelchair as though he were a babe, cradling the young Master in his arms. In a moment, his eyes moistened.

The Young Master, a Dust Mage, a rare bloodline, the scion of a peerless lineage - now reduced to this. Who could have done such a thing? Who could dare? He wanted more than anything to find out, to give his Young Master satisfaction.

"No need to be so sentimental, Burham." the Young Master comforted his servant.

"Of course not, Young Master." Burham straightened his back and took the young man toward the armoury. There was a long oaken table there, atop which was a set of prosthetic arm and leg, both right-handed and footed.

Burham placed the young man upon the table and buckled on the arm and leg, wrapping the soft leather straps around his waist and shoulders. He then pulled open a hidden draw set within the table, retrieving mana stones the size of duck-eggs, each worth at minimum four thousand HDM crystals. The cores clinked into place, and the limbs whirled into life.

The Young Master sat on the table and moved his new Dwarf-forged mithril-limbs. They possessed no sensation, of course, they were not his own, but at least he would regain mobility. Slowly, he felt the mana from the stones mingle with that of his own body, the limbs becoming more responsive as the lag between command and movement synchronised.

"Dress me," he commanded. Burham materialised a Mage's robe stitched in the archaic style and pulled it carefully over the Young Master. A belt and a few adjustments later, the young man was once again a handsomely representative of the arcane brotherhood in its glorious yesteryears. How like his great-grandfather he seemed, like the very painting come to life.

"Let's go."

They exited the chamber and were joined by the two maids, making for the basement level. Upon reaching the heavily warded bronze door, they paused.

The Young Master placed his hand upon the surface and incanted some indistinct commands, simultaneously drawing secrete glyphs upon its surface. The door yawned open ponderously, revealing the soft glow of arcane lights within.

The group moved forward, but one of the maids stopped at the entrance. It was the youngest one, the one who'd stayed silent the whole while.

"Young Master," she begged, her voice choking. "Please, I can't. I am not allowed."

"Nonsense!" the Young Master said kindly. "You're as much a part of this as any of us."

"Please," the girl begged, her eyes wild with panic. "I don't want to. I— just— Pl-Please let me serve you in other ways."

The older maid, the one who had spoken earlier with such disdain for the Young Master, impatiently pushed her into the room. The doors boomed close behind them.

The young maid shivered and could say nothing. She followed silently.

"Thank you, Nephres."

"The Mistress is a busy woman," Nephres replied with a voice short on patience.

Nephres ventured into the room and activated the conjuration portal.
The silver conjuration glyphs of the chamber glowed with a fierce light. A dark hole formed within the centre of the magical formation, spewing out a thrashing volume of strange, eel-like vermin. Half serpentine, half insect, wholly faceless and utterly alien, the strange creatures piled upon one another until they formed into the shapely form of a cowled, female Mage.

From underneath the low hanging cowl, all they could see were a pair of shallow red lips on pale white skin, so pale it gave the impression of fresh snow painted with a dash of sanguine blood. There was a sensuality about it all that made their audience hold their breath.

An aura unique to Void flooded the chambers.

Burham felt his old blood pumping, and Edgar felt his young body engorge and broil with strange desires. Nephres moaned.

"I commend you on the recovery of the Shielding Core, Edgar."

Her voice was distant and echoing, giving the impression that she was speaking from somewhere otherworldly.

"As you wish, Mistress, I live to serve."

"How fare you with my gifts? Have the artificers performed their duty to satisfaction?"

"They have, my Lady, I feel as good as a new man with his limbs wholly intact."

The female figure seemed satisfied with that response.

"You have grown, Edgar. I was looking forward to chiding you for exacting zealous revenge and endangering our designs, but it appears you have unexpectedly heeded my advice."

She turned to the older, more comely maid.

"Nephres, how is his condition?"

"Adequate, my Lady. His affinity has improved, in fact," Nephres admitted sulkily. The Mistress was showing too much deference for the boy.

"I am pleased with both of you then."

Both Nephres and Edgar felt overwhelmed with motherly affection.

"We live to serve." They both bowed.

"How is our other wayward child, the one without a face of his own?"
Edgar tensed. He could feel cold sweat beginning to drench his back. The Lady had asked for information on Faceless as well three months ago, but Edgar had achieved nothing of note. It was as though his partner had evaporated into thin air.

"I fear we have no news," Edgar confessed, awaiting the inevitable admonishment.

"No matter, he... is alive," the Lady answered nonchalantly. "Children will return to the fold, in time. They always do."

"Nephres," the Lady was unexpectedly kind. "How proceeds our negotiation with the Mermen?"

"As if they had a choice in the first place, your Grace," Nephres smirked arrogantly, chuckling to herself. "Did you know they use your Grace's name to silence their misbehaving children? One mention of your exploits and even the rowdiest school of fingerlings would hide in their coral caves."

"True enough, but I want assurances," The woman in black intoned. "No more unforeseen circumstances like last time. Right, Edgar?"

Edgar fell to his knees and knocked his forehead against the pavement. He performed the kowtowing supplication three times until he was dizzy and bleeding.

"Nephres, heal him."

Nephres grumbled and shot Edgar a beam of green, nourishing energy.

"There will be no failure." The Lady commanded. "Until next time."

Edgar watched the sigils fade, feeling his wounds heal. He felt so pent up, so unfulfilled, so filled to the brim with emotions that tore at his rational mind and stroked something dark and malignant within.

"You, come here," He commanded the younger maid, who shook her head, her small face white with fear and dripping terror. She had believed the rumuors.

She should have.

"Please, young master Edgar. Please. I just wanted to work here. I am not from anywhere great. I'll be useful to you. I'll do anything, just spare me, please…"

Despite the presence of Burham and Nephres, the girl tore at her maid's uniform, revealing her still developing breasts, two gentle swells that glowed palely in the dim light of the spent conjuration ritual.
Burham looked away. Poor young Master— reduced to this.

Nephres' eyes glowered with sick pleasure.

"Come here. Now."

"Please, no…"

The maid dropped to her knees and supplicated, as Edgar had done, smashing her head against the pavement. The skin on her forehead split, splattering blood all over and ruining her good looks. It was a gamble, she knew, maybe the Young Master would lose his interest if she was ugly, no longer the beautiful girl hand-picked by Mr Burham. If she was foul, what would be the sport?

"You think I am interested in your body?" Edgar almost choked on a fit of passion. Instead, he began a riotous explosion of laughter. Edgar fought the tightness in his pants, constrained by the prosthetic limb's leather bands and understood the misunderstanding. It was pretty funny, Edgar had to admit. "Nothing of the sort, little bird."

"Dusty!" he commanded. A whirling Dust elemental materialised, its comical name betrayed by the horrific vision of a malignant dark shape looming over the girl.

"No! Anything! I'll do anything!"

Her cry went unheeded. Dusty was upon her in an instant. The bleating maid's flesh instantly rendered, and her blood flowed freely. The pressure of Dusty's powerful grasp wrung her body; her fluids drained and mingled with the swirling Devil until it became a whirl of crimson.
Edgar felt his mana pool grow just ever so slightly.

"That was an excellent choice, Burham," he commended his manservant. "Where did you dig her out from?"

"Near the Hills District."

"I would like a few more of the same quality. If you are able, I feel stronger already."

"Of course.' Burham bowed. The Master would not approve, but if the lives of these worthless NoM-turned Mages meant that the Young Master could regain his health, then so be it.

Edgar meanwhile, continued to drain the poor maid until all of her Essences ceased to be, leaving behind a corpse of dusty death where a lively young woman had once existed. His mind, however, could barely register the final, whimpering moments of the victim whose life force nourished him. At this moment, Edgar's consciousness was elsewhere, dreaming of another time, another place.

He dreamt of a pair of lithe, long legs trembling in the firelight, eyes speckled with emerald-on-amber, dilated with fear and trembling with unspeakable loathing.

Edgar was again tasting the girl's mind, her astral soul, split in twain, light and dark, separate and yet whole, like the yolk and the egg white.

He had been so close. Edgar recalls it as if it were happening still, himself towering over the staggering girl, her mind caught in his dark web, strands upon strands of Enchantment woven into illusions, overpowering her mind. Her nape caught in his rough-hewn palm, his hands had caressed the shy, white skin of her shoulders, brushing away the dust and sweat to reveal the pallid flesh below. She had pushed him away, but how could her terrified, vague fingers resist? He had touched her, entered her in a way that no one else ever would. He could feel her resistance failing, the unclenching of her loosening thighs— his ultimate victory.

Edgar felt a sudden shudder engender in the loins.
Nephres, who'd been watching the whole ordeal distastefully, choked on her saliva. Even Burham was embarrassed by Edgar's unexpected passion. The guard instantly materialised a new robe.

"Would the Young Master perhaps consider drawing a bath?" he noted without altering his tone, suppressing a dash of dire redness flashing across his old face.

"Please." Edgar smoothed out his robe, his face likewise glowering with renewed vitality. "Do clean up here as well."

Wait for me.

Edgar promised himself with untold vehemence, inexpertly fighting his impulses with trembling limbs that jangled.

I am coming.

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About the author

Wutosama

Bio: I write on the phone and edit at home. Times are tough!

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