If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.
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.
“Once, a very talented magician tried to break magic down into basic spell components. Not just into runes, but magic's own version of zero and one. He hoped to decipher the nature of the universe by doing so. Just when he proclaimed to be close to the solution, he turned mad.
Some say it's because he always was a nutcase. The ones who know better, say that it was because he succeeded.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
“That is illegal! If this gets out on top of everything else, then there will be hell to pay! And as if that isn't enough, it's so tight in here, I can't even admire your rear,” Marcus complains while we crawl through the ventilation shaft.
I roll my eyes, regretting that I entered the shaft in front of him. It was hard to persuade him to search Trebor's office, but in the end he yielded. “I offered for you to stay behind.”
We chose the early hours in the morning right before school starts. Otherwise we would have had to wait for the next night. The main reason why Marcus gave in so easily, is because he has no other leads.
He snorts. “And I said that we should simply lean back and let the royal investigation team do the work. They have legal access to all the kinky stuff.”
“I already told you that there will be no problem. I already broke into his office the same way. Sadly I didn't do a full search of the room at that time. Didn't deem it as necessary,” I mumble.
“So it really was you. What are you? A spy?” he asks.
“No. And if you didn't want me to do something about it, then why did you bring up the matter with Trebor in the first place?” I stop in front of a lattice and start disassembling a set of wards. Marcus crawls over me and watches my work. “That's neat. You do this kind of thing often?”
I smile and study the pattern of the runes which are protecting the lattice. They are deliberately set as a distraction. If I outright dismantle the ward, I'll just trigger another alarm. So I shoot a spark of mana at a connection between two runes.
With a sizzle, one of the runes fades out while the rest keep glowing in a blue light. That should stop any alarm from going off, while the ward itself is still in place. “I am famous for going where I want to go, so I need to know stuff like this.” Without waiting for a reply, I scratch off the screws which are holding the lattice in place. With a 'clunk!' it falls into Trebor's office and frees the way.
I squeeze myself out of the shaft and into Trebor's office. If the bastard has a dirty secret to hide, then it will be here. The school shares the palace's security system. It's the safest place in the world from this realm's point of view.
Of course my father taught me that no lock or safety features are ever truly safe. He measures every lock, wards, or guards, just in how much time it takes to break them. All that gets accomplished by making a security system more expensive and complicated, is to increase the time and effort which has to be put into defeating it. Therefore all you do is to decrease the number of people who are willing to break it. A security system is only worth its money if it takes more effort to get past it, than the stuff which is protected by it is worth.
Once outside, I turn slowly around myself and search the room with my senses. “If Trebor has truly sensitive information hidden somewhere, he surely has a set of his own protective charms on it.” Sadly, I can't find anything of the sort. “Maybe this is a waste of time after all. There isn't anything which carries his signature. At least he created none of the wards himself.”
“You can tell so fast?” Marcus crawls out of the shaft and dusts off his clothes. “I told you that he wouldn't keep anything compromising in his office. Sadly the whole room stinks of him anyway, so my special skills aren't of much use.” Then he walks over to Trebor's desk and pushes a few buttons on the phone. “But Trebor called a few people who aren't saved in his contact list. I'll request the DF to check the numbers out.”
In absence of any other clues, I decide to run a more thorough scan while Marcus searches Trebor's desk. Carefully setting up the magical formation, I cast a spell which allows me something close to x-ray vision. Turning, I search the walls for a hidden safe or something similar. Maybe Trebor thought that the school's safeguards are enough. Or he assumed that a simple, hidden locket would be harder to find than something that sparkles with magic.
Though the easiest explanation is probably that he was simply too lazy and stupid to hide his stuff properly. Then my searching eyes fall on a part of the wall which is definitely hollow. “By my great grandmother's-”
I abort the curse just in time, remembering the one time I made her really angry. No. A fury isn't fun to deal with. And the worst part is that all you achieve by blackmailing such an entity, is making her angrier... unconsciously I reach for my ass. Nope. That isn't an experience I want to repeat.
Luckily I am not a child any longer. She won't lay me over her knee ever again.
I approach the wall and punch my hand through it. Then I tear off the well hidden cover which was hiding the compartment behind it. This reveals papers and documents, lots of them. I take one of the stacks and flip through it.
“Gods! Seria, you have to stop destroying everything. We won't be able to cover this up,” Marcus complains.
I shrug, not concerned at all. In my own mind I already judged Trebor as guilty. “Do you think that a teacher like Trebor has the money to buy real estate on such a scale?” I hold out the documents for Marcus to take a look at.
Loverboy rubs his temple while he adds up the numbers. “According to this, Trebor bought about a hundred square miles, using the identities of several of his family members. There is no way he has that kind of money. And even if his whole family is in on the deal, they could never pay the taxes for that much land.”
I raise an eyebrow and take another look at the document. “Oh? I thought those are forged identities.”
Marcus shakes his head. “No. Definitely not. I know several of those names. Unfortunately, this doesn't connect him to the spirits.”
Raising an eyebrow, I notice that the bought land can be split into five large properties. “Are these properties surrounding something important? Five is an ominous number when it comes to such things.”
Marcus scowls and checks the addresses against the map in his head. I already noticed that he is good with stuff like that.
“They form a pentagram around the city. He is definitely up to something.”
I nod and close my eyes. This is turning into something big. “Then I suppose it's best for you to go and get permission to arrest him?”
Marcus nods rapidly and hurries back to the ventilation shaft, disappearing inside it. A few moments later his head reappears again. “Aren't you coming? We have to get this to my parents. If they hurry to verify the information, we may be able to arrest him by morning.”
There is just an hour till sunrise and school will start half an hour later. Marcus really has to hurry if he wants to do this legally.
“Aah... nah... I'll dig around in here for a little longer and clean everything up. You go ahead and do this according to law. I'll see to it that Trebor won't notice that someone was in here.” I gesture for Marcus to go on without me.
He furrows his forehead in distrust, but after a few moments, due to the fact that this can't be allowed to linger, he decides to go. “Okay, but make sure to be out of here before he returns.” Then he scuffles back down the shaft.
I take a deep breath and head over to Trebor's office desk. A quick and messy search equips me with a fistful of pencils and a sharpener.
Equipped, I head over to the office door and kneel down next to it. If someone opens the door, I'll be initially hidden by it. Clenching my jaw, I start sharpening my weapons and use a transmogrified crystal dagger to etch the surface of each pencil with curses and spells to weaken the target. As I do so, the night slowly surrenders to the daylight.
I never really intended to follow Marcus. Even if he manages to speed up the gears of bureaucracy to top speed, it will still take some time to arrest Trebor legally. I don't want to wait for that.
This person is our best guess to find out what's going on. And if he really has something to do with the spirits, then I have to repay him for my house.
A few minutes before lessons start, the door opens and Trebor steps into the office. He says nothing and just stares at his office. “Not again. That damned bitch!”
I rise from my kneeling position and kick the door shut. Then I ram the first pencil into the joint between his right arm and his shoulder blade.
Trebor opens his mouth to scream, but the bloodspell which was etched into the pencil kicks in and muffles all sounds. In quick succession, I jab another pencil into his lower spine and between his ribs before he can turn around.
The curses on them are intended to bind a divine being, even if it's only temporary. My main concern is that Trebor unleashes all his power to get away. If I have to overwhelm him, betting our power against each other, the school would surely suffer.
This sneak attack may be dishonourable to the core, but it's the only way to stop him from causing serious damage. And I also don't want him to change into his spirit form. If he goes crazy on me, I might be the one who gets blamed afterwards.
As Trebor goes to the ground, I stab him with eight more pencils, each one carrying a different curse. He raises a pleading hand, but I grab it and ram a pencil through his wrist.
From there on I continue my work and draw a binding circle with his own blood. After ramming the final pencil into his upper thigh, I decide to relax. All eleven main-soul-connections of Trebor's body are pierced by my cursed pencils. Even if the curses wouldn't drain and disable him, casting a spell with a body which was damaged in such a way is next to impossible.
I get back up and look down at my own crucified and staked version of the Vitruvian Man. “And now that our relationship to each other is clear, you will tell me what's going on.”
Trebor's pained expression turns into a snarl and transforms to high pitched, amused laughter. “You have really no idea what's going on. Too bad that you are already too late.”