Chapter 23:

Loose Ends (Part 2)

The Children of Eris

“Jessica!” Roland roared.Bookmark here

The adventurers went to draw their weapons but eight daggers flew at them, piercing their palms and nailing them to the wall. Only Roland had been fast enough to dodge the daggers, but the blades chased him and stabbed him in the back. With a howl of pain, he fell onto the ground, his strength sapped from him.Bookmark here

“Roland!” Lucy cried through gritted teeth. “Who are you people?!”Bookmark here

At the door to their room was a man and a woman; the man was dressed in attire that was fitting for an assassin, whereas the woman was draped in scantily clad armour.Bookmark here

“Wow. Imagine rudely gossiping about two people behind their back and not even knowing what they look like,” the woman teased with a vicious smile. “A pleasure to meet you again, dear customers. My name’s Mania and this is my friend Mímir, and!” She stuck her finger towards them viciously. “He’s not my husband! No way in hell!”Bookmark here

The rogue-like man sighed then, with the flick of his left hand, the daggers in Roland and Jessica’s backs dragged them into the air, leaving them hanging from the ceiling like a chandelier.Bookmark here

“You…bastards…” Roland hissed.Bookmark here

“Mímir, I think you upset them.”Bookmark here

“Someone, help us!” Lucy screamed however no one came. “Help us!”Bookmark here

Mania giggled. “Sorry, but no one outside of this room is going to hear a thing until we’ve left. You know that little barrier that you put up around the room? We put up a stronger one around that, so, no matter what happens next, no one will hear your screams.”Bookmark here

“Regardless, we have no intention of killing you providing you give us the information that we want,” Mímir said.Bookmark here

“Who the hell would help you-?” Phillip tried to scream, but something clawed at his throat.Bookmark here

A second later, blood spouted from the wound but, in the next moment, the wound was burnt closed by a burning torch. Phillip tried to scream in agony but no sounds came from his mouth.Bookmark here

Horrified, all eyes turned to Mania and Cain screamed himself when he saw what she was holding, blood still dripping from the freshly removed muscles.Bookmark here

“Ah, I’ve waited all day to do that to him,” Mania said, dropping Phillip’s vocal cords onto the ground. “In case it isn’t obvious, we might not have any intention of killing you, but, trust me.” She giggled and flashed them her razor-sharp fingernails dripping with fresh blood. “We will hurt you quite a lot if you don’t comply.”Bookmark here

“You bastards!” Lucy shouted.Bookmark here

“Heal him right now or else-!” Cain began to yell. Bookmark here

With a single loud crack, Mania’s whip cut through the air and across Lucy and Cain’s chests, destroying their armour and cutting through their skin. Lucy screamed madly in agony as the skin was torn from her flesh; Cain bit down hard on his lip to stop himself from doing the same and giving Mania the reaction she wanted.Bookmark here

…Don’t let your emotions mess with your head, Roland repeated in his head. Bookmark here

It was as clear as day that he and the others were trapped at their captors’ mercy and even a tiny act of resisting like talking could be met with dire consequences.Bookmark here

More importantly, Roland’s eyes turned to the unconscious, wounded Jessica hanging across from him. Jessica, honey, I promise, I’ll get this over with quickly and get you healed up.Bookmark here

“Now, with that done, shall we start our interrogation?” Mania asked cheerfully. When no one answered, she giggled, then said, “Splendid. Mímir, if you would.”Bookmark here

Mímir shook his head a little and stepped forward, tugging on the strings tied to his daggers to remind their captives of their position. Bookmark here

“Firstly, tell us everything you know about the Night’s Eye. Then, tell us everything you know about the Sons of Tartarus and then everything about the state of the Holy Empire’s military power in Stonefall. For every time you fail to provide us answers that we deem sufficient, I will remove a limb from one of the people I am not interrogating.Bookmark here

“You there, Roland, was it? Tell us about the Night’s Eye.”Bookmark here

“…You promise…that you’ll let us live?” Roland muttered.Bookmark here

“I do.”Bookmark here

If that’s the case, then there’s nothing wrong with telling these guys about other scum like them, Roland rationalised. They’ll probably wipe our memories or something using that woman’s succubus powers and then fix Phillip’s throat, otherwise we’d just come after them again. Bookmark here

“Then, I’ll tell you everything. Just, please, let Jessica down. She’s wounded and-”Bookmark here

“Fear not. We have brought health potions with us. However, we won’t use them until-”Bookmark here

“Okay, I’ll talk quickly then! The Night’s Eye’s basically a small group of elite assassins and spies that do jobs for nobles and other big spenders in the Empire, but most of their operations take place in the capital itself. Apparently, even the Emperor has used them before which is why he hasn’t ordered anyone to track them down and destroy them. Some think he’s going to send them to kill the Kelsey’s, but those are just rumours I’ve heard.”Bookmark here

For reasons unknown to Roland, his last statement worried Mania but Mimir was indifferent towards it.Bookmark here

“As for the Sons of Tartarus, the guards think that there’s a few hundred members in total, but the adventurer’s guild thinks there may be a thousand of them in Stonefall, but a good number of them are hidden in plain sight. I think they might have people inside the Adventurer’s and Merchant’s guilds, and probably the guards as well.”Bookmark here

“How large is the Holy Empire’s army in Stonefall?” Mímir asked.Bookmark here

“I don’t know the exact number, but maybe four or five thousand soldiers are here on average each day, but there’s a few hundred others that get sent out on patrols or missions to the north every other week. There have also been a few rumours going around that the Empire might be thinking about invading the northern countries and city states, but the Emperor has denied those claims.”Bookmark here

“If those claims are true, then that means tens of thousands of Holy Empire soldiers could come here at a moment’s notice,” Mímir noted. “How long have these speculations gone on for?”Bookmark here

“A year or two, I think,” Roland said. “All I know for certain is that the Legion’s size has increased a little bit each month and that I’ve seen more soldiers out hunting monsters than before.”Bookmark here

“Is that truly everything that you know, Roland?”Bookmark here

Roland nodded. “I swear on the name of the Great Goddess Themis that everything I have told you is the truth.”Bookmark here

Mímir stared Roland down for a few moments, before he nodded, satisfied. “Then, I am finished here.”Bookmark here

Mímir turned to walk away, but didn’t give any indication that he would let them go.Bookmark here

“Wait!” Roland yelled. “Let us go! You swore that you would.”Bookmark here

“If you recall, I only ever said that I would let you live. Mania, however.”Bookmark here

Mania giggled and brandished her whip. “I can do whatever I want, right?”Bookmark here

“You may.”Bookmark here

“Then, Mimir, might I propose to you something quite exciting that makes use of our new friends here?”Bookmark here

“Oh? Is it something of value to his majesty?”Bookmark here

“It’s invaluable. Though, I would need your help with one thing.”Bookmark here

“Which is?”Bookmark here

Mania giggled and licked her lips. “Could you go and find four homeless people and bring them here for me?”Bookmark here

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