Dreamweaver Chapter 180
Inside the dwarf prison.
“Wake up!” Mallory is prodding my arm and shoulder. She prods me again. She doesn’t prod lightly either, but maybe that’s the vampire genes. She’s still wearing the same torn up clothes as before, which are like worn dress slacks of some kind and what used to be a nice white dress up blouse but now has the sleeves torn off from our battle earlier, and some of the buttons are missing showing off a lot of cleavage.
I’m starting to get up but I think she’s a bit urgent for a reason.
“Wake up!” she cried out again. Her voice is low toned but somehow pierces deep inside.
It’s a cool trick the way she kept her sound low but with a penetrating whisper, even if she’s just waking me up. It’s hard to get up when it’s hell when I open my eyes. Somehow I managed it.
So far the biggest problem to me seems to be the mana inhibiting shackles on my wrists, but the dwarves haven’t bothered to replace our clothes with something else which means I’m still basically my T-shirt, pants, and my jacket with my shoes.
Mallory presented a bucket of food for us, though she didn’t take any. Also those buckets don’t look very clean and don’t smell good either. I suspect the guards delivered the food in buckets because it was the safest way for them to do so without being attacked by inmates.
There are two buckets with water stored in one of them, as well as bread that is mostly not stale but clearly the scraps from the leftovers that didn’t sell in bakeries in the other bucket. But it’s people food, not half demon food, and certainly not vampire food.
In spite of it, Mallory looks like she’s trying to have a good attitude.
“So you don’t have to tell me the escape plan boss. I know a high top brass prince authority must have a way to get us out,” she smiled at me obviously trying to make an impression. Then she even bowed before, which made her bust push up against the open collar of her shirt showing more cleavage.
“Uh that’s enough. We can’t have others suspect what you know,” I said.
I wasn’t intending to deceive her about having a plan, but if the dwarves thought I was some daemon prince then they’d run me through with their spears on the spot.
“R-right, sorry boss,” Mallory said.
This is kind of weird too because she’s the apex predator here but acting like I am.
Ahh, it’s good they didn’t realize my race card. Come to think of it they had been so aggressive about a quick trial and knowing they’d put me guilty that they probably didn’t stress over some little things.
Actually I’m not sure how that was missed or if it wasn’t missed at all? Do they know what my race says on my status card? This is something I probably should worry about. I was lucky about that but it meant they knew they were going to convict me right from the beginning that it wasn’t overly scrutinized because everything was already rigged.
“Hey get up boss,” Mallory said.
“What’s up?” I said.
“I think the guards are coming. I hear something down the hall,” she said.
She gave me a smirk but is looking playful rather than defensive.
And to the side there’s a chamber pot in our cell too now that I think about it.
It’s a reminder how this medieval world is hard when you don’t have tools to elevate your life style like magic.
I hate chamber pots.
The dwarven inns had magic flushing systems but in here it’s different, since there’s no reason to spend money on inmates that are high risk and going to be killed anyway. It’s low tech on purpose. I mean mostly most town stuff that we’d seen so far was magi-tech mixed with medieval which isn’t so bad. But when things are purposefully full medieval then that isn’t fun anymore. At least it has a good lid on the top to keep the place from smelling. And I’m also glad this isn’t one of those disease ridden prisons that mixed incoming food with the outgoing chamber pots.
Although, technically Mallory and I are both a demon and a half demon that’s not an issue directly, we still have neighbors with chamber pots that could smell.
At least it’s a clean prison, even if it’s not a comfy hotel.
Mallory, she doesn’t know that I can’t eat this stuff either actually. Come to think of it, she doesn’t know my race or genetic problems, but just has perceived I have some kind of demon prince authority.
How did she find that out anyway? What could be the source of her information?
That I have to find out.
This prison is weird too. It’s obvious that we’re underground and it does resemble what you think might be a dungeon or look like one with many cell blocks, corridors, and rooms with bars on the doors and gate mechanisms all of which are secure; none of which have access to sunlight. Somehow I suspect we’re farther underground than the normal dwarf city infrastructure actually.
Why would the male and female prisoners be together?
I guess they can’t afford two prisons or it’s not their way? And Mallory is so dangerous they are more worried about who is with her, more than she being with someone else. Or there’s also the fact that they are planning to kill everyone anyway, in which case it wouldn’t matter if we were together or not.
This is the worst situation of females and males in the same cell; when the female is a dominant apex predator.
But at least she doesn’t have plague like that one cell down the block in our same line. Actually that brings up another problem. I need to make sure that they aren’t sharing our food and water bucket with the ones with those people with all those diseases.
I’m pretty nervous about that right now about that.
One problem is compounding on another.
As I study out our situation, my dark vision is still limited but I can tell there are a lot of other prisoners down here. But with the design of the cell block it makes it almost impossible for us to see each other; which is also part of their psychologically conditioning us to not be able to help each other or combine forces against the guards.
“They’ll be doing morning inspection soon. I heard the other prisoners talking about it. Get cleaned up fast. Make sure the whole room is clean. Hurry! Help me! They’ll beat us if we don’t have our straw all in a neat pile,” she said.
Straw is not easy to get in a neat pile just from its very nature. We’re lucky this is pretty fresh new straw though and not old moldy straw from being down here a long time already. It’s the perks of this high class dwarven ‘hotel’.
Mallory is really good at cleaning up her straw and then ends up helping me too. We keep working as fast as we can picking through and sorting it with Mallory helping. Already the other prisoner cells in the same line are getting beatings from what sounds like about fifty feet down from us.
“Why are you helping me?” I wondered.
“Well you have authority over me ya’? Why wouldn’t I help the boss,” she nodded. She’s still acting loyal, but I’m curious if it will last.
Her raven black hair and pale loli skin face momentarily dazzled me. I tried to not peek at the cleavage on display when she’s bent forward facing me helping me clean up straw. Her body doesn’t look loli type though.
We worked faster and somehow got our straw looking nice and neat.
But it wasn’t good enough.
As the prisoners are getting closer I hear them talking though I can’t understand it. I understood one thing though. Every prisoner gets a beating, but it’s just a question of how much of a beating they get.
We hear more screams for help or some such nonsense. The guys in the cells two cells over are beaten so badly that they are unconscious in a pool of blood. Then the other guy in that cell gets a broken nose.
Wow these guys are intense. They really want to show who is in power!
They keep getting closer and closer while we worry about how to make our piles of straw look more slick and sexy as possible to these masochistic guards. Somehow we got our piles looking squarish. We don’t really know what they want to see in the piles though. Do they want it looking square or circular, or flat?
I heard the dwarves talking as they finally got to our cell.
Oh shit. The look in their eyes says they enjoy this shit.
They opened the cell door more carefully with Mallory in here though. In fact they go out of their way to not mess with her and understand the dangers of a vampire prisoner. But they brought extra guards so they could even beat us and not worry too much about her. They are still debating what to do with her though.
That means probably I will get the worst of it.
They discuss it for long periods of time while looking us over and our piles of straw.
Then one of them kicked my straw pile all over the place. The others laughed.
“They are saying your bed is a mess and you’ll be punished for not cleaning your room. You left straw all over the room. But it sounds like they wanted to dish out a punishment anyway for any reason they could think of,” Mallory said to me as she shrugged. From the sound of it, it’s like they had it from the beginning that they would kick my straw around, no matter how good our beds had been made and then would rough me up.
There’s like a ton of arms grabbing me all the sudden and then they are holding me over stomach and face down while suddenly all kinds of beatings and pain erupt all over my back and body. It’s the guards and they are looking for a chance to prove who is in charge. Pain spurts are all over me as they pummel me.
This is not good.
I passed out from pain explosions but they didn’t intend to kill me. That makes it worse. It means they are going to keep doing this for weeks to come. If I were to die it would end their fun. I woke up like some time later. I have no idea how long it’s been. I feel something like a huge shadow over me. I sit up quickly. When I start moving up, suddenly there’s a quick flurry of movement like footsteps moving to the other side of the room.
I look over.
Mallory is in the corner, grinning with a smile so fierce it’s like she’s entered heaven. She’s sitting on her heels, and is easily a very pretty predator. Everything about her is like a T-rex in this almost mahout shoujo like skin is the only explanation that could describe her.
Why is she so happy? I don’t like this.
She’s up to something? What just happened? Was she about to snack on me? Was she standing over me? The fact that I’m not already being munched on is good, but the fact that she’s obviously hiding that she was so tempted is very bad and means also that she’s really on the edge of self control.
I swear I felt something heavy over me just moments before. But she was gone like before I could sit up without the sound of a step.
But I don’t have any chunks taken out of my flesh.
“So you’re awake boss. That’s good,” she said.
“Why do you keep calling me boss? I mean I understand the reasoning that you believe I’m your prince authority, but why you have accepted that so easily when you didn’t know me from before? Isn’t it hard for vampires to accept others ruling over them?” I said.
“Well you are a daemon prince candidate in authority. There’s no reason for me to not accept it. I would have had a boss anyway even if it weren’t you, so why not include you as an option? It’s pointless to resist someone stronger than you if there are always going to be people stronger than you. So instead why not focus on someone stronger than you that is going to be a good boss? And a daemon prince candidate is so rare too. To think I met one in my life isn’t that a privilege?” she shrugged.
Her bright eyes seem to keep staring at me and looking me over.
That’s not the answer I’d expected.
I don’t think she ever explained how she knew that though?
“Also they don’t like when we talk and they patrol this hall all the time. You have to whisper,” she said.
I got another savage beating right after that because they heard us. Thankfully this was only a small beating. And they are afraid to beat Mallory, so I get a couple of lumps for her in place of it to make sure we don’t get too chummy.
I have to destroy the food. I can’t have them knowing I can’t eat normal food too. They might right now think I’m just trying to do some being on strike crap but if it’s like that all the time they’d notice. I have managed to figure out how to drink water but it doesn’t do anything for me. The bread I traded with the cell mates next to us for information.
We asked the following questions with Mallory being used as the interpreter to the other prisoners;
When will they kill us?
Are we in here just waiting for execution or will we be here long term?
-We don’t know. But it does seem like one way or another most people die within two years of sentencing here. Since almost nobody lives up to two years in here even, nobody knows how permanent this place is.
How often are arena fights and which prisoners get sent to the arena to fight?
-We find out anyone that can get a ticket sold will get put in the arena. The others die a slow death of malnutrition, beatings, etc.
How often do we get fed? I need to figure this out. Where are their weak points? How do I get out?
-Once a day for food, as much water as you can drink but only two pieces of bread per person. Usually old bread, mostly stale and what didn’t sell at the market so it’s been out on the street too.
Who do we talk to about planning an escape?
-They laughed at us so hard they ended up coughing up blood. We didn’t get a straight answer on that because it’s not possible.
How do you get rid of the shackles or break them?
-No one knows a way yet. Everyone has the shackles, even Mallory.
-The other prisoners won’t cooperate with us and think both of us are naively stupid on a grand level. They expect us to die but hope the rest of them won’t get punished too in the process.
-Somehow the prisoners here have mostly really bad teeth and hygiene down here is really gross to the point of Mallory thinking the other ‘blood bags’ aren’t worth drinking from.
We also find that most of the prisoners aren’t dwarves even though we’re in a dwarven country. Many of them are humans, beastkin of all kinds, a few slaves that got put down here just to sell arena tickets, slaves that wouldn’t get sold, and even a few monsters for sport. There are a few dwarves though, but just not compared to the rest of the population. I don’t know for sure but it seems like mostly dwarves don’t break the law. So that’s why there aren’t many of them here.
But even though supposedly dwarves are ingrained to want law and order, it doesn’t take away from the fact that having a large number of their prisoners coming from other races raises questions about fairness and civil rights.
The other prisoners are intensely afraid of Mallory, to the point of not wanting to talk to us much. They knew what she was even before coming down here, and she hasn’t bothered to hide her teeth and red eyes. So it’d taken us a long time to get the answers we’d gotten from the other prisoners earlier.
I tried to resist against the shackles for pushing magic through and also attempts at breaking them. They are made tough and intensely strong with some kind of enchant in them. These are tough.
At first I didn’t think I’d get anywhere. I still probably won’t.
But the block in magic isn’t completely 100 percent effective I think. That means that I have a chance if I can figure out how to work it but I have to be careful too since who knows what kinds of backlash might be attached to it. There’s still a sliver of power that felt like it’s almost like it can come out. That small sliver that I felt is why I think there’s a chance to get this to work.
Somehow I have to make that work, is the hope keeping my mind from being clouded with despair while the minutes and hours tick by.
And if I don’t figure out how to summon Asakura I will very likely starve. Or I could end up attacking Mallory by accident, or Mallory attacking me could happen too. In either case I could end up having my arms ripped off by her demon strength.
If two daemon types confined in a small area attack each other that might be pretty normal huh?
Unlike our world there isn’t any time where we get to go outside and have gym time or time in the yard. Heck, even if they did wouldn’t that just be time to get jumped by others?
I feel sleepy.
Can I really sleep unguarded near Mallory?
I’ve had a rough time. I tried to stay up but I can’t. I feel more tired and hungry today than yesterday.
Mallory is in the opposite corner from me, not looking at me but staring at the corner. She avoids looking at me but I don’t know why. Sometimes she tries to hum unknown lullabies to herself and lock her mind on other things. She’s going out of her way to avoid me but I didn’t realize why at the time.
“Don’t you think you are taking this a bit far?” she said.
“Well you expect me to sleep unguarded?” I answered.
“Hmm I suppose you might think that way. But I plan to come out against you openly rather than any backstabber nonsense if I do make a move,” she said.
Still she looks a little bit intense.
Currently I’m still working against the enchant on the prisoner shackles that blocks magic. No success yet achieved. I haven’t tried to give it a full spell yet, but I’m just trying to feel out how the small thread of magic remaining works that’s going leaking through.
Both Mallory and I have dark rings around our eyes from not being able to feed well.
They beat us again today like every day.
I’m starting to hate dwarves with a vengeance.
And what’s going on outside the dwarven walls with those armies too? I want news of that. If the dwarves get invaded then we need to get out before the invaders arrive. They won’t really think of prisoners as valuable allies but instead might think of us as a meat supply wagon if they are goblinoids.
I found myself rocking back and forth on my heels while near me Mallory is staring at me like I’m a juicy steak. After a quick involuntary nap, all day she’d changed her position and posture to be staring at me and I have concerns about my survival with her. Again today when I was beaten she was standing over me. I think she smells the blood, though she’s resisted so far. I doubt she can resist that long though, even if I’m the ‘boss’.
What will happen when she gives in?
I still can’t get my magic to work through the shackles.
The minutes and hours tick by while we just get more bored than before but having no way of letting out our boredom.
And even though there’s another cell next to us the guys in that cell won’t come near the wall for fear of getting eaten or bitten by Mallory. They won’t talk to us now that they see how desperate we look. And the cell to the right of us is empty while the one across from us has a guy in it that just moans a lot and went blind from malnutrition. His cell mate died a long time ago and they never put another guy in there with him.
The guy’s broken teeth and rotting mouth look so ugly that I’d be tempted to end it before I ended up like that guy. It’s too awful seeing people rotting down here like near undead starvation.
I have to get out.
Do I risk telling Mallory what I am? I don’t know how that’s going to go.
That could backfire. There’s no chance she’ll want to just trade blood for sex. And I don’t know if that would be sustainable anyway.
Boring…so boring lately.
Those assassin guys keep hanging around my house but the idiots don’t realize I watch them through my cats. And even though they killed a few of my precious cats I can’t do anything about it. I can always replace the cats in my army, and its OK for them to mistakenly think the cats are week. Also if I just kill the assassins and the dwarven spies from the government they will just send more.
So instead I’m pretending I don’t know I’m being spied on by two different factions. Or it could be three factions actually.
But I want my gold. Let’s see 40 silver a day. Where the hell is that guy? My cats haven’t seen him lately so something is wrong. I’m worried about that part. It’s almost time to meet up, yet there’s no sign of that guy and no sign of him leaving the city, which I’ve confirmed hasn’t happened. Somehow Shun is still in the city, but I just don’t know which part yet.
Yep, something is definitely off I confirmed after looking into it further.
40 silver a day is quite a bit of investment. In one week that’s nearly 3 gold you know! Should I just round it up to 3 gold anyway? That little twerp smells of money anyway, he can afford to bleed a little gold.
I better go find that twerp while I still can. If he tries to go to another city without notice to me, I’ll take a kidney instead, or an arm will work if I have to get tough enough.
Hmm 40 silver a day…so beautiful. You can do a lot with 40 silver a day, and he’s not my only ‘bank’. Sometimes I have to punish the others for not making enough however.
Actually that’s kind of a high price. Why did I set it that high anyway?
I sounded my little whistle. Only dogs and cats hear it.
In a good ten seconds another fat cat with silver and black tiger striping comes and salutes to me like a military style butler. He even has a petticoat and hat, walking on his hind legs like he thinks he’s still a human too. This guy still remembers he was human even though he’s been with me a while.
“Meowwwww,” he said.
“Let’s get the buggy ready. It’s time to move out,” I said.
He sort of groaned his agreement call. Then he gave a little bow.
He’s so cute, I could eat him up!
Oh right..cat soup would be nice today but I can’t eat the butler…let’s see who has the most discipline marks? I look over at my tally sheet…
I need some carrots and potatoes for the soup too actually. I better stop by the grocery markets on my way to find Shun.