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[Shanteya’s point of view]
We were dragged off to the palace’s dungeon and locked inside a big cell meant for draconians. The floor was made out of hard stone so the prisoners couldn’t dig through it. The walls and bars were enchanted, so they couldn’t break them. For good measure, both me and Tamara were forced to wear shackles that reduced our power to half of what it was if not less. Ten Godlike Ranked Guards were placed to watch over us.
When we arrived, I quickly noticed the countless Godlike and Emperor Ranked soldiers stationed here. Some of the Royal Guards maybe even had the strength of Supremes, but none of them had the skills to match. In other words, there was no way for me to escape this place alive. I was strong, but I lacked the skills and strength needed to overpower countless opponents of their level. To make matters worse, I wouldn’t have only myself to worry about.
“Nya… What did we do to get locked up in here?” Tamara asked in Kalish.
“Nothing young one, nothing.” I patted her head and pulled her close in my embrace.
Ever since she woke up, she had been trembling and looking with worry at the bars. At first, she thought it was her fault, but I managed to calm her down and banish that idea from her mind.
It’s been almost 12 hours since we got locked up in here, and there was no sign of this so-called prince. The guards changed shifts every six hours, and all of them shot glares of disgust and superiority at us. We were weak, and they were strong. We were slaves, and they were guards at the palace, there was absolutely no other reasons for them to act like that.
That self-important laughter came from the left. I slowly lifted my eye up and saw the prince for the first time.
He was human with milky skin, a bit smaller than me in height, fat like a pig, and although he had the looks of royalty, his aura was similar to those fat and corrupted nobles I was often sent to kill. With one glance, I could tell he wasn’t even looking at us as living beings. We were ‘items’, something he could destroy and toss away without a care or worry of a repercussion. Still, who could punish someone in his position? Just raising a hand at him could send you to the gallows and then onto the execution platform.
Next to the prince stood a tall man wearing a steel plate armor. He had no helmet on, so I could see he was a human with tanned skin, around 40 years old, with short cut hair, and a stern look in his eyes. Countless years of combat weighed down on his shoulders, experience now offered willingly to the human prince standing next to him. As weapons, he carried two short swords, their scabbards hanging from his belt.
“Did you really think you were strong enough to defeat my men?” he asked with a smirk.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I replied with a calm tone of voice.
“I merely sent them to extend a ‘friendly’ invitation to you. Who would have thought you were going to attack them? By right in power, I should have you executed!” he declared raising a finger in the air.
Those words were nothing but lies spat out by a pig.
“I wouldn’t recommend it.” I retorted.
“Hm?” he blinked surprised. “Hahaha! Hey! Hey! Dragnov, she thinks I won’t do it!” the prince laughed and patted the shoulder of the man next to him.
“El’doraw, it would be wise not to take my master’s words lightly.” he squinted his eyes at me.
“I’m not. I’m just stating the truth.” I replied.
“Keh! Do you think your master will come and save you?” he asked.
I looked down and then at Tamara. She was scared and trembling like a child. Looking back at the prince, I wondered about that myself. Master had every right to abandon us here, but at the same time, after everything he did, I couldn’t bring myself to see him as willing to do so.
Master can run away. He can flee, but he won’t do that. Master is a stubborn Dungeon who will save us. I thought, but I wasn’t willing to let these thoughts be heard.
“I thought so.” the Dragnov fellow said, taking my silence as a ‘no’.
“Why have you captured us?” I asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” the prince puffed.
“I apologize for my inability to see matters as one such as you.” I spoke politely, but my words were nothing but lies coated in honey.
“With you in my hands, I can send your master a message and warn him of what will happen if he’s not willing to give me that blond woman!” he showed me a victorious grin.
“So, you kidnapped me and Tamara in order to get to Master in order to get to Nanya?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“So her name is Nanya? Cute! And yes! Pretty clever, isn’t it?” he laughed.
I blinked surprised and looked at Dragnov, he avoided my gaze.
So even his followers think it’s a stupid idea. I thought.
The logical plan would have been to get Nanya directly, not through this complicated scheme that had more chances of failing than succeeding. Even so, maybe the prince didn’t choose this sort of plan because he wished to gain something else? Doing this just to get his hands on Nanya didn’t make any sense to me.
What is it that he wants to gain? What would he have to gain besides a display of power? No, maybe that’s exactly what he wants… to show everyone who is in charge and that he can do absolutely what he wants as he wants it just because he is the prince. A royal’s mind can easily be understood when looked at it this way, I guess? I thought.
If it was like that, then this man was more dangerous than I feared. Out of the stupid and overzealous behavior of a royal, only death and suffering could result. I gulped when I remembered the horrors individuals such as him were capable of if unleashed upon the innocent. Yet, even then, nobody would dare to complain about them because they were born as royals. By right of blood, they were different than the rest, more so than us who were not a part of his kingdom. A royal had right of life and death over his subjects. This was the law.
“Hm, now let’s see… What to take? Ah! Get the ear of the nekatar!” he ordered and pointed at us.
A chill ran down my spine as I realized just how he intended to coerce Master into giving up on Nanya.
“NO! I won’t let you harm her!” I shouted and stepped in front of Tamara.
“Silence! Restrain her!” Dragnov took out his sword and entered our cell.
“If you don’t sit still, I’ll take more than just her ear.” he warned me.
“I won’t let you touch this child!” I glared at him.
“Nyu… Shanteya…” Tamara hid behind me, trembling, and coiling her tail around her waist.
“Give me that!” the prince said and took the sword from Dragnov’s hand. “Restrain her!”
The man grabbed me by the hand and pulled me away.
“NO!” I shouted, struggling to get free from his grasp.
“Come here!” the prince pulled Tamara by the neck and pushed her on the ground.
The nekatar tried to struggle and scratch her way out, but the prince’s Magic Armor or maybe enchanted clothes were too strong.
“NYA! Let go! HISS!” she struggled and hissed, but the prince was just enjoying himself.
“Ugh! Let go!” I knew I was weakened, but getting out of a tight bind like this without my dagger was impossible.
I have to stop him! I thought just as he was about to cut Tamara.
“STOP IT, YOU PIG FACED SHIKAK!” I shouted at the top of my lungs one of the most terrible insults I could think at that moment.
The prince’s sword stopped before he hurt Tamara, and his anger was directed towards me.
“What did you call me?” he looked back in anger.
“A pig faced shikak, but that would be an insult to them.” I smirked.
“Do you have a death wish, woman?” asked Dragnov.
“I’ve faced worse.” I replied.
The prince remained quiet and approached me. He was angry, furious.
Did I go too far? I wondered.
“Hold out her hand.” he ordered calmly.
Dragnov pulled my left hand and then the prince looked at me.
“I’m still a prince, and I know when I’m being taunted. Initially, I wanted only to take your finger, but for your insult, I’ll take your arm and send it to your pathetic master… alongside the nekatar’s ear.” he told me calmly and then raised his sword up.
The slash was crude. In the hands of an expert, I wouldn’t have felt a thing, but in the hands of this prince, the blade sunk into my flesh like a rusty, jagged saw. I clenched my jaw and refused to scream. It hurt, it hurt really bad, but my mouth was sealed shut.
“Pretty brave for a woman.” snorted the prince as he walked over to Tamara after he finished with me.
“You will regret this…” I muttered as I trembled from the pain.
“Regret? Hah! I would like to see how your Master is going to make me regret!” he laughed.
I could only smirk.
Master… I thought as I listened to Tamara’s screams.
[Illsyore’s point of view]
“Hm, they should be in here…” I said as I entered the inn.
After leaving Deusur behind, it took me about an hour or so to get here. It was an hour or so past noon, so the sun was still up and nothing looked out of the ordinary as far as I could tell. The smell of good food was in the air, and the adventurers were having their meals alongside a big tankard of mead.
“Illsyore! Where have you been?” asked Tannaor as soon as I passed by the bar on my way to the stairs.
“Huh? Oh? Erm… around?” I replied foolishly.
I wasn’t going to tell him that I just came from a dungeon I secretly built while everyone was asleep.
“Is that so? You’ve been gone for two days now. Your companions were all worried about you.” he said pointing up.
“Thank you.” I nodded.
Two days? I’ve been out for two days? I thought it was more giving the size of the dungeon, or less giving the overpowered skills I have. The Darkness sure did a good job at finishing things fast. Was it because of the lack of complexity and simple, low-magic traps? I wondered as I made my way up.
I wonder if they are mad? Well, I’ll just give Tamara a good petting and a big fish. I’ll embrace Shanteya and give her a kiss, as for the other two, they can choose which one will have me all to themselves! I snickered and opened the door.
“I’m home!” I said with a bright smile.
Instead of being greeted by four, I was greeted only by my wives. They both had a look of worry and concern on their face, but the moment they saw me, they teared up and jumped in my arms.
“Illsy! You idiot! Where were you? Where were you?” they kept saying.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry… I sort of sleepwalked myself into making a dungeon?” I replied foolishly.
They were snuggling up to me and almost breaking my spine with their monstrous strength. I could barely wrap my hands around both of them, but I still tried. They really were worried about me, and their tears were genuine. I could feel deep inside how glad they were to see me back even though I wasn’t gone for such a long time.
“It’s alright, I’m back.” I whispered to them and kept them in my embrace.
A few moments later, after they calmed down, we were inside, sitting on the side of the bed.
“I’m sorry for having worried you so much. Where’s Tamara and Shanteya by the way?” I asked with a foolish smile.
They are probably out looking for me or buying some food. I thought to myself.
“You left in the middle of the night without saying anything to us. If you wanted to go build something, you could have just told us.” Nanya said clenching her fists and looking down at the floor.
“I’m sorry… I honestly don’t remember when I left.” I said and placed my hand on her shoulder.
Looking back at Ayuseya, I saw her parting her lips as if wanting to ask me something, but no sound came out. The draconian princess was the only one who knew about the Darkness inside me, and her question most likely had something to do with it. I would tell her what happened later, when it was going to be only the two of us. For now, I showed her a smile and a nod.
Or maybe I should come clean to all of them? No… I don’t want to… but why? Yes… keep quiet. I thought, but it felt like there was something strange keeping me from telling the truth.
Maybe there were still some fears in there about my past? I was a reincarnated human, not a perfect god without any flaws in either thinking or behavior. Even I had my fears, my worries, my hidden thoughts I could never tell anyone. It was part of my nature as a human, but maybe that in itself was the problem?
Letting out a sigh, I held their hands and said “I’m sorry… I truly am.”
“We know, Illsy…” Ayuseya spoke softly and then kissed my cheek “But this means that Tamara and Shanteya aren’t with you, right?” she asked.
Her words made me furrow my brow.
“What do you mean?” I asked confused.
“Last night, we went out to search for you. We thought you drank too much and fell in a ditch somewhere, but then… when it was time to return to this inn, the two of them never showed up. I think it had something to do with the explosion near the market. I went there to check it out as soon as it happened, but there were no signs of them or you… I returned, and we waited, but they never showed up. I went to look for them this morning, but I couldn’t find them…” Nanya explained everything what happened.
“What are you saying? Did someone attack them?” I asked.
She shook her head “I don’t know, but there’s a high possibility that’s the case.” she let out a sigh.
“They are not dead… I’m certain of this at least. I would have known if it was otherwise.” I said and then wrapped my arm around Nanya’s shoulders and pulled her into my embrace.
It wasn’t her fault they were gone, and I wasn’t going to put the blame on her or Ayuseya. Even so, if someone did attack them, I wasn’t going to show them any mercy.
“Then where could they be?” she asked.
“I don’t know, but we’re going to go out there and find out. I know a few things about playing detective.” I smiled and gently brushed away a rebel strand of hair from her face.
“Det… What’s that?” she asked confused.
“Erm…” I looked up as I tried to think of a good way to explain it “Erm, someone hired by the guards to search for criminals?” I smiled.
“You mean a bounty hunter?” she furrowed her brows.
“Not exactly, less violent.” I smiled.
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