Xadulo and Jack rushed back to Deneb. “…! Jackie! Xadulo!” Deneb said after seeing them, as he tends Carnelia’s wounds. Jack explained everything on the way. The moment the merchants came as enemies and surrounded them, Carnelia suddenly appeared and started beating them, but was weakened when she was bathed with salt. Deneb was protecting Jack, as the three protected themselves, but some sort of drug was injected to them and fainted. Deneb noticed and tried retrieving them, but he was kicked in the guts that made him immobilized for seconds. Then, Jack moved to get Xadulo back.
“I’m sorry, mistress… I couldn’t protect them,” Carnelia said. “It’s fine! You rest for now,” Carnelia started disappearing. “Please forgive me…” and then completely disappeared. Xadulo was full of anger. “The merchants were humans,” it shocked both Jack and Deneb. “And that they also use our knowledge of potions and spells. That means they had alliance with some necromancers,” she explained.
She asked the two to stay put, for she will be going to look for Seril, Kyshanne, and Pablo. She first went to the human world to searched for the ‘Children Trading Centre: Human world ver.’ and find them there. Obviously, it would be in the same spot as the original trading Centre. She spied from the distance, and there were fewer children being exported than she expected. There, near the circle, she saw Seril and Kyshanne, both unconscious, but Pablo was not in sight.
She started making the merchants’ hearts dead. This process is different in killing necromancers. Humans don’t have demons in their hearts, after all. In this process, Xadulo simply steals their hearts. She counted the hearts she had obtained, and the numbers of the merchants. “…six more left,” one, two three, the numbers of hearts increased, as the number of alive merchants decreased. Xadulo was able to save the two. She planned on sending them back with the two before rescuing for Pablo.
Meanwhile, Pablo found himself in a dark place. He couldn’t see anything, feel anything, or hear anything. Until a hooded merchant came closer. “Hey, it’s me,” it said, having a cracking voice of a man in his 40s. “Well, I guess you wouldn’t remember me. It’s been 12 years. Hah! So, you’re probably fifteen now, right? Man, you’re grown!” it said, being all friendly, but Pablo remained calm and silent.
“You might not know who I am, but I’m your uncle. Well, not genetically though. I’m still a human, after all. Dang, your dad was my best friend! Thinking of all the things we’ve been through, it still hurts me of what he had done to me. He took everything from me,” his voice started to sound angry. “He made me realize I was not a necromancer, but a human bought from the Centre, he betrayed me for fun, and left me for a woman. And the Pedro I know totally disappeared when you came. Your birth was what killed my cool, pal bandit,” he was really mad, but at the same time, sad.
“You shouldn’t become someone like that, Pablo”, “I’m not like that,” Pablo finally spoke. “I swore I wouldn’t leave a single friend behind”. The merchant laughed. “Come on! That was what he also said!”, “I wouldn’t be like someone I don’t even know,” Pablo said seriously, emotionlessly. “Well, if you say so. How’s ya life been?”, “Unbelievable fun”, “With who?”, “With my friends”, “Friends, huh? How many of them?”, “Six”, “And you’re sure you can’t leave a single one behind?”, “Not a single one”, “I see…”
The merchant saw his dedication. “You’re him, aren’t you?”, “Hm?”, “The merchant who stomped on the dying roses”, “You must mean that I’m the one who kidnapped you?”, “Yes”, “So what if I am? Not that much important now,” Pablo didn’t react. In most case, he doesn’t even care. “Holding grudge?”, “Not really.”
“Hm. So? Who’s the gal?”, “What do you mean?”, “The gal you’re in love with, I mean. I wanna kill her to see your reaction”, “I don’t have that such of someone”, “Stop lying to yourself, lad”, “I’m not”, “Well literally, you’re not, but actually, you are.” Pablo didn’t reply. “Don’t you know that we are in your subconscious mind? Sure, ya don’t. but I’ll tell ya. This here is a lucid dream, but not in your control, it’s mine. I can open your heart anytime. Right now, what’s right behind you are the things important to you,” the merchant said confidently.
“The names of your friends, your important memories together, your favorite foods, lots and lots,” Pablo remained silent. “It says you’re in love with someone, but haven’t realized it yourself, so… it doesn't show. Should I do it by force?” suddenly, Pablo heard the sweet, soft, calm voice of a girl call for him. The merchant smirked. “Here comes the illusion.”
“I found you”. What appeared before Pablo was an eight years old pale-white skinned girl with silk-long hair. “I’ve been looking for you,” she said. She approached him and hugged him. Before he knew it, he also appeared to be a nine years old kid, sitting while being hugged. “What are you doing here?” Pablo replied with a carefree voice. “I have come to save you”, “Really?” Pablo hugged her too, feeling blissed. “Of course… do you still remember? Back then…”
“Ha ha ha! So you do like her!” the merchant laughed, then started looking for memories. “Your important memories with her were: the first time you met, the first time you played when you were young, when she wore a cute smile, when you were able to talk to only her, when she talked to you in that river, whenever she shows you her side no other ones knows, when she comforted you after you were down not long ago… dang, lad! Just how much do you like this gal? And you’re telling me you never realized? Woah, there’s a lot I missed!” the merchant kept on laughing.
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