“Don’t bother trying to scream. No one will hear you. I made sure of that.” An imposing voice swam through the room.
Like the silent voices of his opponents, he had already isolated the room with a sound barrier. Prevent any noise from escaping to the outside.
Stepping towards those who were frozen and poised to attack him,
“You all followed me meticulously for days, even going out of your way to stage an elaborate hoax. Now you think I believe you, just because you tell me you would stop? I am baffled by your naivety!” His calm voice rang sharply through the room.
The seven attempted to shout back, but nothing came out of their mouths.
“Fear not. All those “information” that you refuse to disclose? You WILL fill me in on the details.” he grinned.
It had taken everything he had to stop himself from executing those boys during the Rjus. Here, there was nothing to stop him this time: no emotional constraints, no feelings of sympathy, no possible witnesses, nothing. In front of him were just insects who murdered and destroy families to further their own agendas.
After untold eons, after living this new life for almost 9 years, there was finally something worthy of his hatred. The vengeance inside him had unraveled.
“Mr. Raleun.” Kaidus walked over to the man who was undoubtedly the leader. “I will ask you what I want to know, and you will tell me everything. Refusal will end with the life of your comrades, and it will not be painless.” He threatened. Not a shred of pity in his voice.
To prove that he was not fooling around, one of the two unconscious body started writhing, then went limp.
Even in the dimness of the room, everyone could see a pitch black shadow descending on the body. The shadow enveloped the body, then as if alive, squirmed back into the shadows after a couple seconds. The body had vanished.
“You all will not be going so easily.” He cautioned. Kaidus could see the fear in their eyes. His little demonstration had the desired effect.
“First question. How long have you been tailing me?” He asked the man called Raleun.
“Asiran! Va-!” The man attempted to cast a spell, but his voice vanished again.
“It’s was an easy question.” Kaidus casually scolded.
With a thought, an orb of light appeared in front of him, illuminating the room again. Kaidus wanted to make sure they all saw what was in store for them.
“Hasen. Show them what true agony is.” Kaidus spoke.
In the brightness of the light, there was an abyssal shadow. Formless, yet moving about the room. Within seconds, it moved to cover one of the frozen man who had charged at him.
As they watched, the man that was enveloped in the darkness started distorting. His body was being forcibly twisted by the darkness. Sound of bones were crushed, limbs breaking as they were bent in unimaginable angles, bits and pieces of the man started being ripped apart. The body slowly vanished as the black cloud consumed it.
After Hasen finished, only a pool of blood remained.
“Well? How long have you all been tailing me?” He asked again.
“PISS ON YO-!” the man screamed out before being silenced again. Intense pain shot through him. His body felt like it was burning for an instant before the sensation vanished.
“It does not look like you value your comrades very much.”
With a thought, one of the woman’s face distorted in pain—one of the three who charged him. Her mouth opened to scream, but there was only silence.
“You had, but a taste of it.” Kaidus told Raleun as everyone looked at the woman.
Kaidus stood silently and watched as the woman’s skin started bubbling, then ignite into flames. The heat melted away the ice, and the woman started thrashing around the room briefly before finally being consumed by the fire.
“Maybe I should ask someone else.” Kaidus turned to the terrified woman in the back. “Mrs. Wazanir wasn’t it? Won’t you tell me?” he asked the scared woman. “And before you get any ideas, ask yourself if you would like to die an agonizing death.” He calmly warned before undoing her silence spell.
“S-Since the 2nd of Guso…” the woman replied. Not a shred of resistance in her voice.
Kaidus was surprised at the answer. They had been following him for almost a fortnight before he even realized it.
Anger swelled within him. Angry that it had taken him so long to notice. In that time, something could have happened to his family. He had been too careless.
“What is the true purpose in tailing me?” He tried to calmly ask his question, beating back his anger.
“T-To f-find an opportunity t-to test your magic.” the woman quickly answered.
“… It doesn’t look like I need you anymore, Raleun.” He spoke to antagonize the man behind him.
“What is Tal’hrus?” quickly recovering his calm, he asked the next question.
“I- I… I don’t…” The woman suddenly became hesitant.
With another thought, the last of the three who had charged him slowly froze over. His face turned blue as his body temperature evaporated, and the man slowly died as his whole body solidified. The frozen body then shattered into tiny pieces.
“Trust me, it was painful. You will be next.” He told her. He knew she was scared. She just needed another push to get him what he wants.
“P-please! I b-beg you! Spare me!” she pleaded.
“Then answer my questions!” He bellowed, giving an intolerant glare.
The woman started spilling everything she knew.
From her knowledge,
Tal’hrus is an organization that emerged shortly after the last Great War, forty-seven years ago.
It is a hierarchal organization with a single leader, and below him were seven masters who acted as his arms and legs, moving to his wills.
Each master is extremely skilled, and given charge of operations in one of the seven continents. Under those masters were subordinates who moved as units of ten to twenty people, carrying out missions all throughout their respective area.
For mission, the masters form a unit from their agents and gives the leader—that he selects, a special item that helps them easily contact the master.
It was a well-funded and secret organization that worked in the shadows, doing everything from assassinations, espionage, political manipulation, instigating rebellions, to extortion, blackmail, kidnapping, human trafficking, etc…
She did not know who funded the organization, but that it had footholds in all of the seven continents.
The woman would hesitate to tell him about some of the specifics here and there, but each time she would end up with a broken bone and excruciating pain, enticing her keep the information flowing. With a satisfied answer, he would heal her to alleviate her pain. All the while she was talking to save herself, Kaidus could see the hatred in Raleun’s eyes and those of the other’s as their secrets came out.
He even learned that there were a total of 18 Tal’hrus agents in Ferrent altogether. With some truly agonizing tactics, he was able to get their general whereabouts out of her. Two currently in the 7th ward, two in the 9th ward, another two in the 2nd ward. The last three were in the 11th ward, monitoring his movements in and out of the academy.
“Who are your masters? And who is this leader?” he finally asked, after making various inquisitions about the organization and the current operations in Ferrent.
“My *hah…* my master is only known by the name Zavon… I-I do not know the names of the leader… or the other masters… *ha…* please… no more…” having given up on resisting, she easily answered, pleading for mercy.
“One last question. How many teams are operating in Darsus? And how many in the other continents?”
“Please… I don’t know. We-, we are never given information about other teams or their jobs.”
‘Hmm…’ Kaidus thought for a second, then dispersed a thin wave of mana throughout the room. The purpose of it was to detect a magical item. ‘There you are.’ A wide smile was on his face as he turned to look at Raleun.
“It looks like I really have no further use for you. I apologize, but we won’t be getting to that chat after all.” He spoke to the defiant man that was glaring back at him. “And I’ll also be taking that ring.” In seconds, Raleun’s frozen and immobile left hand shattered, and the ring fell. Before it could hit the ground, it jerked upward and flew to Kaidus.
“Does that hurt?” He taunted, seeing the man’s eyes fill with anger and pain. “Don’t worry. Your suffering is just about to begin.” A sinister grin appeared on Kaidus’ face as the man’s own started changing into one of anguish. “Can you feel it? Thousands of tiny needles stabbing into you?” he asked.
“How many innocent lives have you taken I wonder? Just how many people have you all tortured for information, just like this?” he pondered out loud, leaving the man to his agony.
Not sparing a second glance at Raleun, he took a closer look at the ring in his hand. He could feel traces of magic within the ring. Infusing a small portion of mana into it, nothing happened.
“How do I use this?” he asked the woman.
“I don’t know… only the person who it was given to knows.” She gave a defeated reply.
“How lucky for you Raleun.” Kaidus turned back to the bleeding man. The blood had seeped through the man’s clothes, dyeing his prison of ice a blood red color. Kaidus healed the man to prolong his suffering. “Tell me how to use this, and I will free you from your misery.” He offered, undoing the silence spell once again.
“*hah…hah…* I… I will never- betray my master!” Breathing heavily, Raleun angrily shouted. Glaring at the woman, he turned and spat at Kaidus.
Kaidus deflected the man’s last act of defiance with a side step. “I understand.” The man was too loyal to his cause. Any further questions would get him nowhere.
One of the wooden chairs in the room slid over from its position by a desk. The chair started splintering until there were thousands of tiny pieces of sharp splinters hovering in the air.
Kaidus took a couple steps to stand in front of Raleun. The stone floor under him elevated, and pushed him up to the man’s eye level.
Without warning, he thrust his right hand into the left side of the man’s chest, easily going through the thick ice and breaking the skin—penetrating muscles. Blood spurted out, and with a crack, Kaidus pulled out pieces of ribs. There was a gaping hole in the man’s chest. A window to his beating heart.
All the while, the man was screaming in pain. Dying.
“Every of your little friends in Ferrent will follow you soon enough.” Kaidus whispered in the man’s ears, as thousands of splinters entered through the opening in the chest. The shards embedded themselves into the heart and forced their way through the inside of his body.
“Four of you left.” He spoke to those who had been watching, leaving Raleun to suffer. Three of them were frozen while the fourth was unconscious and on the floor.
“Any last words?” he asked, removing the silence on all of them. There was a smile like that of a playful child on his face.
“PLEASE! I’ve told you everything!” the woman screamed out.
“Yes you have. Thank you for the information.” He made a bow of gratitude towards the woman. Turning to the other two, “Give me your best shot.” He goaded the two who were already chanting their spells.
The stone floor rose up, knocking him off balance and throwing him into the air as ice lances shot at him. With a gust of wind, he spun his own body in midair, stabilizing himself. A quick swipe with his right arm shattered the incoming lances and blew them across the room. He landed back on the raised floor.
“I will take those as your last words.” Kaidus told to the man and woman who were now shouting at him in silence.
He stepped off the raised floor, and a piece of it broke off. The piece of stone turned into a stone serpent, and undulated towards the two frozen attackers.
“It is a shame. I had only just healed you earlier.” He directed his condolences to the man.
The stone snake, not much larger than his own arm started crawling up the man. Reaching the head, it forced its way into the man’s mouth, and crawled inside, situating itself in the man’s throat, before beginning to expand. There was a large bulge in the man’s neck, and the color of the man’s face changed as he slowly suffocated, ultimately ending in the neck bursting as the serpent bloated itself up.
“HALLEX!!” The woman who was playing the unfortunate man’s wife screamed out. Without waiting any longer, the other frozen woman and the man who was unconscious on the floor burst into flames. Everyone besides “Mrs. Wazanir” was dead.
“Again, thank you for the information.” He spoke, his voice cold and indifferent.
“I’ve told you everything you wanted to know! Please! Have mercy!!” She begged.
“I did not come here tonight to show mercy.” He replied, staring her in the eyes.
The woman’s eyes widened. He saw her realization. He was never there to negotiate. There was never any hope of escape.
“Hasen.” A single word.
“NO! PLE-” the woman tried to beg as a dark shadow flitted through her. Her head vanished.
“Master…” Hasen spoke.
“Leave no traces.” He ordered, putting the ring he had taken from Raleun in his pocket.
With a single thought, the blood on his clothes moved as if alive, conglomerating into a blob on his hand before falling onto the ground. Walking towards the wall, he willed them to open up into the darkness of the alley.
Kaidus strolled out of the room without looking back.
Hasen encircled and cloaked him in shadows, as he vanished into the night.
“KAI!! Wake up! Brahkfest!” Anise was shouting at him.
Opening his eyes, he could see she was already up and was sitting next to him—on the bed. A big smile on her face, and her cheeks sunken with dimples on them.
“Heheh. Anish wake up before you!” She boasted proudly.
“You did.” He grinned at her as he sat up.
His little trip last night had only been for a couple hours, but sustaining multiple spells for long durations—while using a plethora of spells at the same time—had exhausted him. His childish body was still unable to perform up to par with his demands.
“I’ll race you downstairs.” He quickly told Anise. He smiled and watched as she rapidly got off the bed and darted out of the room, laughing as she fled.
“Good morning you two. Hurry up and go wash your faces. Breakfast is getting cold.” Adalina scolded as they appeared downstairs.
“Where’s Mr. and Mrs. Wazanir?” Kaidus politely inquired about their guests as he sat down for breakfast.
“I’m curious myself. They weren’t in their room when I called them for breakfast earlier.” Adalina replied.
“Why didn’t you call me?” Kaidus asked his mother.
“Anise wanted to wake you up.” Adalina grinned.
“Anish wake up before Kaidush!” Anise boasted, beaming at her mother.
“That’s right. Your brother is getting lazy, it’ll be your job to stop him from becoming so.” Adalina happily patted her daughter’s head, congratulating her.
“Well, what happened to them?” Kaidus asked, feigning ignorance and rerouting the topic of their discussion.
“Maybe they left earlier this morning? It did look like the Missus was in a hurry to get home.” Troyle answered.
“Maybe… they did say they have kids…” Adalina added.
Kaidus watched and discussed with his family about the odd guests, and talked about various thing to do for the day, and days up ahead.
After breakfast, Kaidus moved to his room to contemplate his next moves.
Recalling his blunder, he needed to put measures in place to protect his family.
There were also nine more bugs within Ferrent who needed to be crushed.