Chapter 37:

Chapter 32.5: Rendezvous at Ruoul (Interlude)


Mid-eastern area of Cretho, in the city of Ruoul.

The pattering of the man’s footsteps accompanied the blanketed stretch of darkness in the isolated alleyway. Shortly after, a cheery hum and occasional whistle followed along. The man held not a shred of care whatsoever toward his surroundings as that—now not so empty—alleyway began to slowly fill with looming figures. They steadily began creeping outward, watching his every move in silence.

“Hmm, hmm, hmm~”

Even with his eyes closed, he had noticed each and every one of them—yet—still chose to remain in a non-confrontational stroll. With a skip in his steps, he continued moving passed them until he couldn’t anymore. Two of the hooded figures now stood directly in front of him, blocking him from leaving as he came to an immediate standstill. Three figures on both sides, while an additional two encircled him from behind. With a small glance around, a telling smirk came across his face.

“Quite a rude bunch ya’ll are, hm? We could have all just easily gone our separate ways, without a need for an incident—and blood split! You think abiding by the orders of another without question will really be worth it in the end?”

Not a word, or even the whisper of one’s breath came from the figures around him.

“Aha! Mindless! Seekers without a thought for themselves! Accepting a pointless death! Alas, it doesn’t matter to me, as I’ll still get what I came for either way~”

The man’s smirk met his ears, and the hooded lot around him immediately withdrew their weapons with every intention on shutting down the man’s knowing taunts. Yet, before they could even move toward him, their bodies suddenly began to violently shake in linked succession. Dropping to their knees, the man’s dejection was apparent on his face as a voice called out to him from some distance behind.


Turning toward the voice, he remained peeved in his reply.

“Essylt. Impeccable timing as always... You really like ruining my little bit of fun, don’t ya, lass?”
“That’s only because I’d rather steer clear of dealing with the result of your ‘little bit of fun’ if possible. And I told you before to refrain from calling me that—it's demeaning.”

The woman named Essylt continued walking passed the two kneeling behind Kamui now, she then turned her eyes toward them and swiped at one of the hooded men. His face was now shown, and it were as if he was chocking in attempt to draw air as his widely opened eyes were bloodshot. With her gloved hand on his chin, her eyes met his. She could just make out a small symbol at the center of the man’s right eye—one resembling a yew tree.

“It really is their sign again, Kamui.”

In a short scoff, Kamui began walking toward the two kneeling in front of him.

“You’re saying that as if I didn’t know already. That’s no surprise. They’ve finally decided to get a bit more aggressive and direct is all! How perfect! But now, that begs the question—are they after me because of my connection to the Mistress or because they’ve somehow caught on, hm?”

“They knew you were here, and yet, they didn’t expect me at all it seems. If they had, they would have had some sort of countermeasure in place. Due to that, I’d say the former.”

In response to her deduction, a short applause came from Kamui’s direction.

“Ahaha! As astute as ever, lass~”

Continuing his stride toward the two kneeling before him, he then immediately crouched down to their level. Eying the one on the right, he could just make out their face underneath their hood. Essylt remained watching on from a distance behind him quietly, and seconds later, a moist noise and murmured cries took to the alleyway’s walls as Kamui shoved his hand into the right eye of the man near him.


Upon twisting his fingers and tightening his grasp, he pulled his hand back in quickness.

“—there it is!”

The man’s eye remained in perfect condition in Kamui’s now wet palm. Pulling a small jar out of thin air—his inventory—he stuffed the eye inside and stored it away temporarily. Smearing his hand against one of the hooded men, he then pulled the jar back out upon finishing. Essylt shook her head, sighing slightly as she began walking toward him.

“So, you’ve got what you wanted, but now what, Kamui? What should we do about these guys?”
“Do whatever you want with em! As long as they don’t return back, then anything goes~”

In a dubious glance, Essylt didn’t seem to agree with that way of thinking.

“...They won’t take this sitting down, you do understand that, right? If ten of their men just simply disappear...”
“Doesn’t matter, Essylt. They preemptively threw out their starting hand already. That impatience will end up being costly, and they’ll come to know that even without us having to send a message their way. And I wonder what that means, hm?”

He smiled toward her, awaiting another ensured and correct deduction.

“...That they won’t retaliate again any time soon...”
“Aha! Bingo~ And there you have it. So, once you’re done here...”

Kamui turned toward Essylt in full, tossing her the jar as she stumbled slightly back. Confused and unsure on what to do next, Kamui noticed this and grinned.

“...I want you to deliver that to a certain someone in Nefra. And when you do, make sure you continue to keep hidden, Essylt. The capital will be teeming with eyes and interesting faces these next few weeks. Oh! And while you’re at it, make sure to visit the Old Palisade’s guild hall. Look into those names I told you about before, would ya?”
“One thing after another. You really enjoy working me to the bone, don’t you?”
“That’s only because I trust you~”

She sighed once more to his beaming, ominous smile.

“So, who is this certain person I am supposed to deliver this to?”
“Hmm~ He’s a rather difficult individual to meet nowadays, so you may have to sneak into his living quarters in order to properly gain an audience.”
“It seems like I’m handing this off to someone of high standings...”
“That you are! He’s an ol’ Magister that has been spending the past few years deep in his own research after the previous Crethian King stepped down. He’ll understand exactly what that jar implies once you hand it off to him."

The moment Kamui began walking away, a sudden cough came from Essylt’s direction as she held an annoying expression.

“His name, Kamui...”
“Always impatient! Fine, fine. From what I hear, he simply goes by the name Elemnin nowadays. I‘ll be looking forward to a hearty response—so make sure to greet him with an endearing smile too, lass~”

Their conversation ended there, as Kamui departed from the alleyway alone. Leaving Essylt with the ten hooded men that were still kneeling and immobile. She glanced over at each and every one of them, further sighing and positioned herself in front of her first victim. Pulling off her glove, she extended her hand outward. The man’s eyes met the palm of her hand and strained murmurs accompanied an attempted thrash as he kneeled powerless.

“...You have no one to blame but yourself. Just as your orders led you here—mine in turn—will lead you to your next destination. Now, Seeker, rest peacefully as you become a part of me.”

Essylt’s palm approached the man, and a gap began to widen at its center. A slit in the palm filled to the brim with teeth and a playful, forked tongue enveloped the man’s vision. An instance that would occur ten times over, being the last thing each of them saw.