Saturday, February 6, 2016

In That Moment of Suffering Chapter 28 – The Ro Castle

Here's the next chapter. A bit of notice about my real life situation right now in the Author's Note. Nothing definite, but just thought I should give a heads up.


Chapter 28 – The Ro Castle

After a month and a half of travel, Mater’s group finally returns to their territory. Senna remains unconscious for the entire trip. With her heavy injuries, she only attempts to awaken infrequently. Her body focuses on trying to recover from her wounds. Whenever she stirs, Gulver forcibly knocks her out before she can fully wake up. He regularly performs basic first aid for her making sure Senna stays alive for the duration of the trip. Many of the other aggravated demons try to injure her further, but Gulver stops them. He forces them to swallow their anger since they need to thoroughly question her.

They arrive at a castle located at the base of a mountain range. The guards welcome Mater’s group back after their long departure. The soldiers and mages split away going to their homes or barracks to rest after the long expedition.

“Make sure to lock her up properly. We’ll interrogate her tomorrow in the lowest level.” Mater orders Gulver.

“The lowest level? She’s a human. She’ll quickly die in that hellhole.” Gulver replies.

“Who cares?! She deserves it after all the shame she brought to the Ro name.” Mater scoffs. He leaves Gulver with Senna to go and rest.

Gulver sighs and brings Senna to the castle dungeons locking her in a prison cell. The prison guard assists in restraining Senna to the wall with magic sealing cuffs. “Sir, is this many sets of sealing cuffs necessary?” The prison guard questions looking at Senna. Three sets of cuffs are clasped on each of her arms and legs. A single set of magic resistant rope are wrapped around her stomach, upper body, neck and forehead.

“She’s an extremely dangerous human that easily killed a third of the troops. If given the chance, the losses would be far more devastating.” Gulver replies. The prison guard gulps taking another look at Senna. “Make sure she doesn’t get a chance to break free. I’m under the impression that she could still break free from this.”

“Yes sir.” The prison guard nervously salutes.

“She stirs every hour or so. Make sure to strike her and make sure she stays unconscious. But… Nothing lasting, we need to interrogate her tomorrow. Mater will have your head if she’s in no condition to talk tomorrow.” Gulver continues to instruct the guard sternly.

“Yes sir.” The prison guard pales hearing the directions. If he simply attacked at full force, then it wouldn’t be a problem. Yet, to attack with just enough strength requires more care. With how fragile humans are, the guard worried that he would accidentally break her in the first strike.

“Good.” Gulver calls another guard to assist the prison guard before retiring to his room. When he steps into his room, the soft scent of lavender reaches his nose.

“Welcome back Brother.” A melodious voice reaches his ears. He looks up and sees someone charge at him. He spreads his arm and catches her. He glances at the female demon in his arms. She has the same pale gray skin color as his, but her smooth skin and flowing curves allow her skin to accentuate her beauty. He catches sight of her brilliant amethyst eyes hidden beneath her flowing silver hair. Despite looking like an 18 year old human being, she snuggles against his chest enjoying his warmth.

“I’m back, Eline.” Gulver hugs her lowering his head to enjoy the scent of her hair.

“I missed you.” Eline snuggles closer in his embrace.

“I missed you too.” Gulver rests his face in her head. After enjoying each other’s touch for some time, they sit on the edge of the bed to talk. “I see you’ve been cleaning my room while I’ve been away.”

“Of course. How could I let anyone else clean my dear brother’s room?” Eline puffs her cheeks.

“Hahaha.” Gulver rubs her head causing Eline to break out into a large smile.

“Brother, tell me about trip! You were gone for so long. I’ve been so worried that I couldn’t sleep at night.” Eline excitedly asks.

“Yes. I understand. Calm down a bit… Most of our trip was quite repetitive. We spent nearly 6 months following the coast investigating the human activities. Mater lost his temper every time we encountered a town. Instead of carefully investigating, he ordered everyone to raid the town and flush out anyone suspicious.” Gulver explains.

“That’s just like him…” Eline replies with a bitter smile. The corner of her smile twitches as she forces herself to smile at her brother’s talk of Mater.

“Some troops from the human’s armies attacked us once or twice, but we easily broke through them. When the main forces closed in on us, we crossed into another king’s territory. They were unable to pursue us because they started to fight with the other humans.” Eline breathes a sigh of relief hearing her brother stayed safe.

She tightly clenches her dress when he starts describing his battle with Senna. Each exchange makes her gasp and worry. By the end of the battle, Eline hugs her brother. “I’m so glad you’re safe.” Her ears perk up hearing that she carried Senna by piggyback the entire trip. She doesn’t say anything, but tightens her grip in envy. After staying silent for some time, a thought comes to mind. “Brother.”

“Yes?” Gulver replies.

“Do you think she showed mercy?” Eline asks looking up at Gulver’s face.

“Mercy?...I doubt it. Killing over a third of the troops makes it difficult to call her merciful.” Gulver grimaces remembering the battle.

“But the last attack she did. You said she selectively shot down demons. Isn’t that a reckless action when she’s fighting against you at your best?” Eline follows up.

“……Yes…That’s true.” Gulver pauses when he realizes the inconsistency. “But she’s only a <Water Magic> user. The one that fought with <Light Magic> stayed hidden until the end.”

“Then she is truly only responsible for about 10 soldiers that were taken down?” Eline asks.

“That’s true.” Gulver replies.

“Then you plan on punishing her for her comrade’s actions?” Eline persists in asking.

“…Most likely. She showed obvious hostility to us, so she mostly likely desires to wipe out the demon race.” Gulver tries to reason with Eline.

“Are you sure?” Eline leans excessively close to Gulver making him back away unintentionally.

“Y-Yes. Why are you defending someone you’ve never met?” Gulver backs away, wondering what has suddenly gotten into his sister.

“I don’t think it’s that simple. I want to be there when you question her.” Eline replies staring at Gulver.

“…Well… it isn’t a problem if you join, but it’s at the lowest level.” Gulver hesitantly responds.

“Uwaaa… Mater’s really not holding back… I understand. I’ll head down to the lower level to watch too.” Eline nods obediently.

Gulver sighs knowing he can’t win against his sister. “Fine. But wait until we finish binding her. It would be dangerous if she gets free and takes you hostage.”

“Okay.” Eline hugs her brother.

“I do not understand why you want to question her though?” Gulver asks.

“Because I don’t think she’s hostile to my Big Brother, so I feel like we would get along.” Eline responds.

“…” Gulver blankly looks at Eline.

“Ah! But I’m absolutely not sharing you though. No matter who she is.” Eline hugs Gulver tighter as her possessiveness kicks in.

“Haaa…Yes I know. I’m going to rest a bit, so let me get changed.” Gulver pats Eline making her release her hug.

“Okay!” Eline’s eyes sparkle as she jumps up. She runs over to the walk in closet at the side of the room and starts making a lot of noise. Gulver strips out of his armor and lies down on the bed. Within a few minutes, Eline emerges from the closet dressed in pajamas. She jumps into bed snuggling close to Gulver. “Ready!”

“Go easy on me. I haven’t rested for a while.” Gulver bitterly replies.

“Of course! I’ll just enjoy Brother’s manly scent!” Eline clings to her brother and takes a deep breath. Gulver smiles wryly at his sister’s strange habit, but does the same thing. The two of them quickly fall asleep with the comfort of each other’s embrace.

The next day, Gulver carries Senna down to the lowest level of the castle. The guards follow him looking completely exhausted after a sleepless night. The guards took turn making sure Senna stayed unconscious as ordered. At first, they struck her multiple times to make sure they did it correctly. After the first few hours, they figured out the right amount of strength to hit her with. Eline gives Senna and Gulver a piercing glare filled with envy, quietly following behind them. Just outside of their destination, Gulver turns to Eline. “Now wait out here for a bit.”

“Yes Brother.” Eline obediently nods.

Mater arrives casually late a few minutes later. He gives Eline a look. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m going to attend too.” Eline replies with an equally irritated look.

“Hmph……bed…” Mater mumbles a response, but Eline misses most of it except the word bed.

“What was that?” Eline gives a more piercing gaze at Mater, but he ignores her. Mater enters the room with two other guards.

“Wait a bit longer okay Eline!” Gulver’s voice calls out when the door opens.

“Okay!” Eline replies.

Inside of the room, Mater and the guards momentarily falter at the sweltering heat. The room is made from natural rock and creating from digging into an adjacent mountain. Further down in the center of the room is a large hole that opens further down into the earth revealing a large magma pool. Around the room, engraved spells are built into the walls and ceiling of the room to suppress the magma in the case of an eruption.

Directly over the hole, Gulver and several other guards hang Senna over the magma. By the time they finish hanging her, Senna’s entire body is dripping with sweat, as well as everyone else in the room. Her clothes burn to ash in moments leaving her with light burns all over her body. The scars all over her body become fully visible.

“…Wow.” One soldier comments staring at Senna’s body.

“A-Are humans supposed to look like that?” The other soldier asks.

“Of course not.” Gulver replies. He tilts his head wondering why her body is so disfigured when she is a <Water Magic> user.

Mater descends down the steps. “It’s very appropriate for a dirty human. Even her body is trash.” Mater comments stopping near the magma pit.

“Oh Sire. Good morning.” Gulver greets Mater.

Mater grunts barely giving Gulver a glance. “Well?”

“We just finished restraining her. We will begin in a moment.” Gulver explains.

“Then what are you waiting for? Wake her up!” Mater demands. One of the soldiers hastily grabs a whip, but Gulver stops him.

“That’s not necessary. Oi! You’re awake aren’t you?! Stop faking it!” Gulver yells out. The other guards give each other a confused look.

“Ah. I’m exposed?” Senna lifts her head and opens her eyes. Mater gives a surprised look backing away under he’s hidden behind a guard. “What gave me away?”

“You stopped breathing when I picked you up from the dungeon.” Gulver replies calmly.

Senna clicks her tongue. “I knew I should have let out a breath then.” Gulver glances at the two pale faced guards that watched over Senna. “Oh I wouldn’t blame them. It didn’t sound like you gave them very clear instructions. They definitely hit me strong enough to deal with a regular human. But it was weak enough that it woke me up instead. After tapping me ten times in a row, it was hard to keep sleeping.” Senna calmly smiles.

Gulver raises an eyebrow. “You’re a human mage that’s strong in defense?”

“I wonder…” Senna grins, with a mocking look.

“Enough! What are you planning?!” Mater gets sick of waiting and interrupts their conversation.

“……Nothing…” Senna ponders her response before answering.

Mater grits his teeth angrily. “Do it!” He yells at the guard with the whip. The guard swings the whip causing a loud cracking sound as it hit Senna’s skin.

Senna feels a slight stinging pain against her body, but her expression remains calm. She glances around the room examining the structure. {We’re near a volcano I guess. Or they built their castle directly in a volcano. No, probably not considering how much they’re sweating… My magic is sealed. Even if I take a magic pill, it doesn’t let me use the recovered magic. Well at least I completely recovered after taking such serious injuries. I’ll need to properly fix them and these burns later though.}

The guard continually increases the strength of his lashes, but Senna calmly ignores him. At one point, Senna lets out a wide yawn thoroughly irritating Mater. “Get the mace!”

“Wait. Calm down. We need to question her first.” Gulver stops Mater. Mater grinds his thief reluctantly backing down. “Tell us what you’re after?”

“Why should I tell you? I’m not going to just answer you because you asked.” Senna scoffs at the question.

“You Trash!” Mater growls.

“Besides, I’m not going to go and help someone on Zaemezahr’s side.”” Senna adds. She recalls the name of the demon that hurt Ariel. Even if he indirectly helped her meet Ariel, Ariel is still enemies with him. As Ariel’s friend, Senna’s position with him is already decided.

The demons in the room draw a blank, questioning look as they think of the name. “…Who?” Gulver eventually asks after thinking about the name for some time.

“Eh? Am I mistaken? I assumed all demons worked under Demon Lord Zaemezahr?” Senna tilts her head.

“Never heard of him. There’s a Demon King, but no one with a position of Demon Lord.” Gulver replies bluntly.

“Haa…” Senna can only return their questioning look. It is completely out of her expectations to have no one existing with that name. “Then just who is your king?”

“Nice try. But I won’t give you the information you want unless you give some in turn.” Gulver shuts down Senna’s questions instantly.

“Che.” Senna clicks her tongue and averts her gaze.

“Ah!” A voice interrupts their conversation. They turn to look at the guard that cried out. “Isn’t Zaemezahr the castle breaking idiot that got banished?”

“AH!!! HIM!!!” The other guards cry out. “That’s right! That one that broke the King’s castle did have a name like that!”

“Ah. Earl Zaemezahr. He got banished over 40 years ago I believe. After destroying the castle, so many times, his lordship gave up and sent him away.” Gulver comments.

“Ah. Him.” Mater spits. His mood drops hearing that this person has a higher rank than his. However, his mood quickly improves hearing that he got banished.

“Hahaha! Demon Lord?!”

“He can’t get the rank he wanted, so he made one up!!”

“I know right?!”

“Pft. Hahaha!”

The guards all laugh thinking about the fake title he took on. Gulver chuckles, but refrains from laughing as heartily. Mater grins planning to spread the information later and shame Zaemezahr later.

Senna watches with surprise. She did not expect gathering information for Ariel would turn out in such a way. {Well what to do? Bringing up Zaemezahr was a dead end. I’m not going to get any good information with Gulver interfering…Yep. Let’s just escape and reorganize. I can’t escape far or there will be more slaughter. But there’s no point in staying here like this. …Now how should I make my escape?}

Senna looks up and starts to twist her arm lightly. The handcuffs cling tightly to her arm preventing it from even sliding around as she moves. She moves her legs and the leg cuffs cling to her skin in the same way. Hanging over the magma pit for so long has made the magic sealing cuffs red hot as they burn her skin. The pungent smell of burnt flesh reaches her nose. Though painful, the pain is at a level where she can just barely ignore it. Senna is secretly thankful to Gulver for taking off the cuff around her neck before coming here. She shudders to think of what will happen if the metal cuff digs into the back of her neck and damages her spinal cord. The twelve cuffs are connected to thick pillars made from black metal.

{Storage is an option. But it needs to be done discreetly since my ‘magic’ is supposed to be sealed.} Senna tugs lightly on her cuffs. {Yep. It will hurt, but I can break it by force if I use my full strength. First, break free from the chains. Then manipulate some magma to burn my way out of here. If it fails, then I’ll use everything I have built up without restraint.}

“Nice idea! I wholeheartedly approve!” A male voice responds to Senna’s thoughts. Senna immediately looks at Gulver’s group, but they are still laughing and not paying attention to her.

Senna frowns not in confusion. She [Presence Detection] is giving her vague indications of someone nearby. Senna doesn’t recognize the voice and starts thinking about who it could be. {It’s not the demons. There’s no people or monsters here. I don’t recall any of the elementals with that voice. Ah! Elemental! Maybe?} Senna glances down into the magma pool. {The Fire Elemental?}

“Correct! It took you a moment, but you catch on quickly! If you’re going to burn your way out, then I’ll gladly help!” The voice enthusiastically answers her again.

{If you plan to help, is it okay if I do a bit of damage along the way?} Senna asks.

“Haha. How devious. Sure I’ll help.” The Fire Elemental chuckles.

{Just a bit though. It needs to be only certain targets.} Senna thinks.

“I’ll leave the fine tuning to you then.” The Fire Elemental responds.

{Okay.} Senna takes a deep breath and pulls her arms and legs together. She winces from the pain as the cuffs burn deeper into her skin, but perseveres.

Gulver focuses on Senna when she starts struggling. “I wouldn’t bother Resisting. Those pillars are created from our hardest demon ore. There’s no way a human could break through it so easily.”

“Nnnnn…YAAAAAHHHHHH!!!” Senna yells as forcibly pulls her limbs together. The pillars shift and crack slightly, but not enough to give way. At that moment, two short spears pierce into the cracks widening them. Senna’s yell masking the sound as the pillar breaks down further. The intense heat from the pillar melts the spears immediately, but provides the damage she needs to proceed. The pillars break down as they are pulled towards Senna. With more freedom to move, she slams her arms and legs together forcibly shattering the cuffs.

The demon’s jaws drop at the ridiculous display of strength. Gulver is equally surprised. He had pegged Senna as a specialized mage with little physical strength. Senna makes eye contact with Gulver, smiling and waving before plunging into the magma pit. As she disappears from sight, two loud explosions sound along with a minor earthquake. They quickly approach the hole and find numerous boulders sealing the magma pit shut.

“ARGH!!! That rotten human!!” Mater screams.

“I did not expect she was that strong… She really made a fool of us.” Gulver lets out a bitter smile.

“Brother did something happen?” Eline asks coming down the stairs.

“Ah Eline. Why did you come down? I haven’t said it was safe.” Gulver replies.

Eline stops directly in front of Gulver and puts both hands on her hips pouting. “I was waiting so long I thought you forgot about me. I heard all of you laughing and decided to come down.”

“Sorry. We started questioning her and got distracted.” Gulver answers.

Eline’s cheeks puff even further. “So you did forget about me. Hmph.” Turning away from Gulver, she looks around the room. “And where did she go?”

“She escaped.” Gulver reluctantly answers.

“She escaped?!” Eline stares wide-eyed at her brother.

“Enough you idiots! We need to go capture her!” Mater interrupts their conversation. Eline glares at the rude Mater, but he completely ignores it.

“But sire. Even we can’t chase her down there.” A guard protests pointing to the hole.

“Right? Even if we remove all of the debris, she will already be burnt to ash. She’s still human after all.” Another guard comments. The other guards all agree with him.

“I have to agree. She prevented any information from leaking by escaping and sealing her mouth shut.” Gulver sighs.

“Well escaped isn’t really the right word.” Senna’s voice suddenly echoes through the room. A stream of fire bursts out from the hole rising high into the air.


Author’s Note
My thoughts while writing this chapter.

‘Oh right. I should introduce Eline a bit earlier to transition in her entrance to the interrogation better.’
*Tap**Tap**Tap*
‘Okay. The entrance is done.’
‘Oops. I made Gulver a siscon.’
‘Oh well. Why not? Continuing on.’

Lol! It's interesting how tweaks like this suddenly happen. Originally, I thought up Eline having a brief appearance as Mater's sister. But it didn't make much sense, so I swapped her situation to be closer to Gulver. If anyone is uncomfortable with their relationship, I wouldn't worry about it since I plan to use a normal Japanese trope for such a situation.

Anyways, about my real life situation I mentioned. In the course of this week, lots of things suddenly popped up. I made the decision to arrange a trip to Japan in the summer booking all the flights and sleeping arrangements I need. My second trip there, so I'm excited to go again. Though all the crashes and other incidents in the news these days does worry me a lot.
 
In addition, I ended up joining a business class/program at my workplace (Six Sigma Green Belt Certification), which is packed full of reading material on my own time. The class is all about optimizing businesses, so work flows better and saves the company money. Not really in my scopes of interests since I'm originally a science major, but it's good for my resume.

How it affects Senna's story and you guys. Lots of stuff on my plate right now, but I'm still figuring out how much I need to spend reading this 600 page business textbook at home compared to during downtime at work. (Darn thing has a 20 page appendix just for acronyms. Must they have so many?! -.-) If things get too crazy, I might have to slow down to a chapter every two weeks. Nothing definite yet since I don't really want to slow down at all. I just wanted to throw out this information so you know about it.

May through the first week of June, which is the cram period for the business class, will be the most hectic time. This period and the two weeks of July when I'm off in Japan will definitely be unstable for my releases, but we'll see what happens when we get there.

Anyways, until next time~



9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the new chapter after reading it as also I crave more...I think I'm an addict.

    Also although it doesn't really matter to us as a reader, info on how RL for a writter or even a translater might effect release schedules is always welcome other wise we all fear the worst, no new content. Have fun on your trip I myself have always wanted to make a trip to Japan I just need the funds.

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    1. Thanks for reading! No worries, I know the feeling of addiction and will do my best to balance things so I don't slow down too much. Also my trip isn't until July. So not for some time.

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  2. Thanks for the chapter and looking forward to more as always. Hope you have fun in Japan and good luck with the business thing you're doing. Random side-note: i did read the last chapter but apparently forgot to comment so also thank you for that chapter!

    She should have just left the cuffs on if they didn't stop her movement so she could store them when she fell in the magma. Who knows, they could have been useful later on seeing as how those things are enough to trap the demons worst criminals.

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    1. Thanks for reading! I was wondering if you were too busy to read last week.

      That's true. I wanted Senna to make a display of it when I did that. Also, in the earlier chapters, I briefly alluded to the fact that she has her own sets of sealing restraints . Mostly to restraint herself when she has nightmares and avoid causing excessive damage to her house.

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    2. good point, but these would have helped with magic, but then again with her strength level (in magic) she can probably make a stronger version on a smaller object, like sake a bracelet or a ring

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    3. I was here, this is I probably read it on my phone... which I haven't logged into on so I cant comment on it

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  3. These Demons have good taste, a dungeon connected to a lava tube is pretty high class.

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    1. Thanks for reading! Lol. The benefits of drilling deep into the earth.

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    2. ...Free heating! Keep that nasty winter chill out of your castle with your very own volcanic magma tube! only 69 payments of 666! Limited number call now!

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