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Author's Comment:
If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.


Author's Comment:
I was asked about reading my work on other sites.
The answer is simple: Currently I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.

If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed.
You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it you shouldn't bother visiting their website.

I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.

The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
(http://armaell-library.net/author/andur)




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“Civilised nations don't conquer other nations and don't torture prisoners. They know that torture doesn't yield results.
Uncivilised nations conquer other nations and torture prisoners. Do they know something others do not?”

- The Journey to the Afterlife




***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
***Marcus***



“We want you to interrogate the spirit. Find out everything you can, then inform us of the results,” Charles addresses Seria with a severe expression on his face.
Seria's eyebrows rise and her forehead wrinkles in a way which looks hilarious. I didn't fail to notice Seria's concern about being called to the palace. To be honest, I seriously think that she played with the thought of running away while I brought her here.

I shift uncomfortably at her side. My father's request surprised me too. I thought my parents wanted to have a word with Seria regarding her relationship with me. The little debacle from yesterday night is today's biggest news. Especially the photos of us standing next to each other, naked. I really should have worked out a little more. I've developed a little belly since I started working as a teacher. Due to my relaxed job I never particularly cared about my body. Does Seria care about it? Gods, what am I thinking in a situation like this!

Clarity clicks her fingers in front of my eyes and glares at me.

I know what she is thinking. Speaking isn't necessary. She is totally against the fact that I am falling for a woman I barely know. But what can I do? I shrug, showing her that I am not concerned at all. I don't often manage to get from pure physical attraction to something that can be called a half-assed relationship. So far it's just sexual, but I can build on that. Walking away from the possibility of getting something good with Seria isn't my style. And the thing I could have with Seria is promising to be really good.

The only issue that needs answering are her secrets.

When I brought her to the DF headquarters at the palace I already asked myself what's going on. But now that we are here, in the observation room of the prisoner's cell, things are starting to fall into place. My father wants to test her.

“And why are you asking me to interrogate that thing? I am not a member of the DF. And you have no reason to trust me.” Seria circles her finger, pointing at the creature on the other side of the mirrored glass.
The thing which was caught by the DF is vaguely human. One of the spirits who attacked us, but it isn't the rotting type. This one looks perfectly fine to me. I wonder if there is an important difference between the rotting ones and the ones who look fine.

My father shrugs. “Our interrogators already got everything they could from the creature. Now I am simply throwing the dice with you. You already showed us that you are well educated in mind magic and interrogation techniques. None of our people managed to break your defences. I am offering you an opportunity to show us what you are capable of. Show us your loyalty.”

The confusion on Seria's face spreads even further. For a moment it looks like she is going to refuse, but then her gaze homes in on the creature.
She runs her fingers through her hair, studying the spirit like an object. “What am I allowed to do?” she asks.

Charles shrugs. “Everything you can do. Everything you want to do. We need all the information we can get.”

That raises my alarm bells. Father never even suggested taking an inhumane action in my entire life. Something grave must be going on. And why would he give Seria free reign in this?
Seria tilts her head. “Why are you saying this. I thought this fellow is some kind of ambassador who was sent here? Isn't it rude to punish the messenger?”

Charles purses his lips, thinking. “Hardly. It was caught by the DF, it didn't willingly seek us out. Only after our people tried to study it, it started to talk. It spun a wild tale about how the spirit realm is going to take over all other dimensions and our only hope is to give them what they want, which are hunting grounds. Then it threatened that their attacks would only intensify if we don't surrender an agent from Dedessia to them. Apparently their intelligence is saying that someone from Dedessia crossed over to our dimension. Beyond that, we didn't get much of value from the spirit. If you want my interpretation, then that thing is just a common soldier who tries to play for time by spinning a wild tale.”

Seria purses her lips in obvious curiosity. “So whatever I do, I can't do any real harm?”

Clarity smiles at Seria. “Do your worst.”

Seria shrugs and looks at me. After a moment of indecision, she heads for the door towards the cell with the prisoner. Once she is inside, I squint my eyes at my parents. “You are doing this to test her.”
Clarity nods. “And you have to see what she is capable of. No simple person enchants her home like she does. You are making a grave mistake if you think that you can simply fall in love with her. You don't even know her. She is a rogue who recovered her memories on her own. Who knows what kind of baggage she is carrying around under that cute, little face.”

I sigh. “If so, then I am no different. I've no illusions. It takes time to truly learn to know someone. But I understand what you are doing. You suspect her of being that agent from Dedessia. You want to give her a chance to let us in on some knowledge, if she thinks that we should have it. You are giving her an opportunity to slip us information without really uncovering her identity.”

Charles tilts his head. “We don't know if Dedessia is an ally or an enemy. What we do know is that if we uncover the supposed agent, then he or she will become a target.”
I blink. “So you think that Dedessia could tell us something important regarding the spirits. That's why the spirits don't want us to have contact with Dedessia.”

Clarity makes a dismissive gesture. “It doesn't matter. The simple fact that the spirits want to stop contact between our realms is enough to justify seeking that contact. Unfortunately we are completely in the dark regarding that agent or Dedessia.”
I scratch my head and finally some pieces of the puzzle connect. “No, I think we already had contact with that agent. It's the strange spirit with four wings. The only instance when it was aggressive against us, was when we attacked it at the mana storm. Afterwards it even fought against the spirits who invaded Tandeen.”

Charles turns towards the window and studies Seria. “Interesting. The winged spirit never showed up again. Which either means that it is hiding and not even trying to return through the mana storm, which wouldn't make much sense, or that it can assume a human shape, which means that Dedessians can control their spirit form. That theory is supported by the fact that the winged spirit showed up in the middle of the city.”

I turn my attention towards Seria and remember her eyes. But her aura is completely different from the spirit. Can she change her aura?

Seria is standing in front of the spirit, smiling. The spirit is clad in ragged clothes and eyeing her with the black orbs it has as eyes. Magical chains are holding it in place against the wall, allowing almost no movement. It is surrounded by several protection circles which keep it in check should the chains fail. Seria didn't say a single word. She is just looking at the spirit, studying.

Finally the spirit bares its sharp teeth at Seria and snaps with its jaw, as if it is trying to bite her. “Come a little closer. I am hungry.”
Seria tilts her head, unimpressed. “Silence! I am thinking.”
“What's there to think? I've told you people what you have to do. Release me!” The spirit fights against the chains, but it's too weak.

Seria steps forward, still smiling. “I am just trying to figure out how your body works. There is no real reason for discussion.” She trails a finger along the spirit's chest. The action is uncomfortably familiar to how she played with my imagination yesterday. Does she do that to everyone whose attention she wants?
The spirit snarls and snaps again, but suddenly Seria's hand is at its jaw and holds the spirit against the wall. “I'll take a sample.” She reaches up and uses a pinch grip to break one tooth out of the spirit's mouth. The creature howls and writhes, but Seria's hold is like a vice.

Then she steps back, studying the sharp tooth. The spirit stops and spits at Seria, but a thin bubble of blue energy blocks the attack. “You will pay for this! Wait until I am free. I'll decorate the walls with your intestines! You will learn to fear monsters!”

Seria looks up, still smiling. “You have no idea of monsters. I know monsters who go bump in the night. You aren't one of them. And you've already broken the three most important rules about being a monster. First, monsters don't speak. Second, monsters are not allowed to be seen until it's too late. Haven't you ever watched a horror movie?”

The spirit roars in a blind rage, but after a moment it recovers its composure. “You have forgotten to mention the third rule, little girl.”
Seria drops the tooth, seemingly having lost interest. “Oh, that. You see. A horror movie doesn't do a good job when the monster feels pain. So it's pretty certain that you aren't a monster.”

She rips off the spirit's tattered shirt and places a finger on the spirit's belly, pushing it inside, slowly. The howling and writhing starts again until she pulls her finger out. There is a little blood on her hand and on the spirit's belly. Strangely enough there is no wound to be seen.

Seria nods approvingly. “You feel pain, that's good. And my healing works on you. That's also good.”
“Why?” The spirit whines.
“It means that you won't die on me while I weaken your mind a little. So how about telling me the story about Dedessia and this so called spirit realm?”

Charles purses his lips. “I like her.”



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Andur

  • Phantasm

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