Table of Contents
“Hey, Come on get up, you are in the way.”
I opened my eyes to see the guard which had first allowed me into Gartmar during its festival.
‘Is it fate that we kept crossing paths?’
“Ugh I slept quite well, what time is it?”
“It’s 10, time to get up.”
“Okay got it.”
I stretched out comfortably before heading out to City Hall.
I bribed the secretary with a silver coin and I was able to meet the mayor soon after.
“What is it this time?”
He was still buried in paperwork.
“Pillgion is in count Sion’s manor”
He looked up at me, surprise written on his face.
I nodded back which caused him to frown and sport a serious expression.
He reached out into his desk and tossed me a gold coin.
“Catch Pillgion, but I want him alive. Also, make sure not to touch count Sion.”
He had come to a quick decision, but I agreed with his judgement.
Going after a high ranking noble like a count would not end well. In contrast, if we only took care of Piligion, then perhaps the target on my back would also go away.
I left his office and headed straight to the count’s estate. It was located about a 2 days ride from Gartmar, but because he had made substantial investments in mines near this city, he would often stay in his Gartmar manor to oversee and broker transactions. His main breadwinner was a silver mine nearby, but its output had decreased substantially over the last few years and it was all but depleted. The loss in revenu had made his life difficult and ultimately led to him getting in bed with Miriam on these shady dealings.
Sion used to be a respectable noble, well liked by the people. However he was now in business with shady characters liked the deputy mayor, Miriam. Of course now that I had notified the mayor of his involvement, he would keep a closer eye on the count, but without any concrete evidence, we couldn’t bring about any charges on a noble. For now our only option was to break off his relationship with Miriam.
‘Hmm…Sion has never harmed me. I will only vent my anger on Pillgion, torturing him to the brink of death.’
I sported an evil grin as I waited for nighttime to fall. Drinking my bottle of milk I had bought from Anne, I watched the Count’s residence.
It was a cool autumn night and the insects were chirping away, hard at work. Before the winter came they would have to reproduce for their kind to survive, so the males tried to tempt the females with their loud and clear chirps. Between them and the fireflies dancing about, one could almost think they were at a concert.
“Lena, give me a visual of the enemies”
I could now see all 32 rooms of the mansion. I noted that there were six more guards compared to yesterday, no doubt a response to the girl’s escape.
“So he’s on the third floor, in the southern wing.”
Pillgion was lying comfortably in bed while two guards were posted outside his door.
The guards were only level 24 Warriors, so they wouldn’t be able to sense my presence. I circled around to the southern side of the manor and stealthily scaled the wall and entering the Pillgion’s room.
“Who are you?”
I pressed my dagger to his neck to ensure that he wouldn’t make any sudden movements or cry out for help.
“Is everything ok inside?”
A guard asked from behind the door.
Pillgion’s eyes were opened up in shock, it was Lena who had perfectly mimicked his voice. He was completely dumbfounded as he had never heard of nor seen magic which could reproduce another’s voice.
“Why don’t you take a nice nap.”
Striking him clean on the chin, he instantly became unconscious. I then carefully tied him to the curtain, and slowly lowered him down to the ground floor. Jumping down after him, I picked him up and carried off to the deserted temple’s basement where I locked him up with a new carbon steel ring. Giving him a kick, I tried to get him to wake up but he didn’t budge.
“Lesser Heal Lesser Heal!”
After a few of those he finally opened his eyes.
“Hey there, are you finally awake?”
“Wooek Johra… what are you doing kidnapping me?”
“Well… this is my revenge for all you’ve done to me.”
I pulled out my dagger and gave him a sinister smile.
“Was it that you want? I’ll do anything. Women? Money? My boss can give you both, just please spare me!”
“Ohh? Sure money, and what kind of woman do I get?”
“I can bestow on you a gorgeous elf slave the likes you’ve never seen before. She would be at your beck and call and tend to your every needs so please don’t kill me! Also my Boss is quite influential and would love to meet you, he’d rather become friends than enemies.
According to his words, his boss Miriam was powerful enough to even secure Elven slaves. Even if we were 20 years in the past, Elves were already to an extent being hunted by humans.
However, despite his lavish promises, I need to chase down Miriam so as to make sure he would stop targeting me. I had to reduce my exposure to worldly events so as to not affect the flow of history.
“If you answer my question truthfully, then I’ll let you live.”
“I can’t answer any question about my master because if he were to learn of it then my entire family would be murdered. I’d rather die than let that happen.:
“Shut up! The lives of you or your family mean nothing to me.”
“Now, is it true that Miriam is a merchant from the northern Balkan Empire?”
He stayed silent for a while before answering.
“I won’t say.”
“You don’t want to answer huh?. Okay. Lena, hit him!”
I grabbed him by the neck.
Lena spoke to me through the vibration in my bones so that only I could hear her. I then followed her instructions.
I had spent all of the previous night using Material Creation to make sure that she would be overflowing with energy for today’s operation. We were now using electrical shocks applied directly to his nervous system to induce pain. Although it didn’t damage his body, he was feeling pain levels akin to having his nails pulled out or limbs cut off.
This went on for about an hour until he had a lifeless expression.
“Did we go too far?”
“Well, although he would feel pain, his body is still fine. You could call this humanitarian torture.”
Although Lena’s thoughts were technically correct, I doubt many people would agree with her line of thinking.
I gave him a 30 minutes rest before returning and waking him up with a bucket of cold water.
“Come on, time to continue.”
Grabbing by the throat I was about to proceed with the torture when he cried out.
“Stop, stop… I’ll tell you anything you want to know.
Pillgion was rather weak-willed and caved after only one hour of torture. Although I considered it a rather short period of time, it must have felt like an eternity in hell for him.
“Right… he’s the youngest son of the president of the Merchants Association in the Balkan Empire.”
“Judging by his heart rate the probability of that being a lie is less than one percent.”
Lena kept me informed through the use of vibrations in my bones of her analysis of the subjects heart rate and pupil dilation.
“Ok, now what other nobles are involved with Miriam.
“Count Sion and Marquis Leon.”
He responded to my question naturally and only later realized the importance of what he had divulged as tears of horror poured down his face.
“What was Miriam’s purpose here in Gartmar?”
This was what I was most curious about. This was but a small and secluded area that had only recently been recognized as a city.
I had learned form Darryl that the position of Deputy mayor was more of an honorary position, and didn’t involve any salary It was usually occupied by local bureaucrats or merchants.
‘With his background, why would he want to be a Deputy mayor in the small city and leader of a gang. There must be a hidden motive behind all this.’
“Lena let’s get ready to hit him with some more.”
I grabbed him by the throat insistently, I certainly wanted an answer the the question I was most curious about.
“Ah ah! Okay I’ll tell you, just don’t ever reveal it that you learned it from me. Miriam was planning on using Gartmar as the Balkans’ secret base in the Mirin Empire. That’s all I know, I promise!”
I felt like I had received a hammer blow to the head. This shouldn’t be happening so soon.
The Mirin and Balkan Empires had been at each other’s throats for quite some time. The Balkans were military people and maintained their empire through the tribute paid by surrounding small and medium sized countries. Mirin however was more of a religious superpower based on the benevolence of the Angels, so tribute was received from countries on a voluntary basis.
Naturally with such conflicting ideologies these two superpowers were bound to butt heads over these tributes from the surrounding subordinate countries. However, despite several small skirmishes it has never broken out into large scale war because despite The Balkan’s military might, if they were to openly attack the Mirin Empire, it would cause all the surrounding countries to rally up behind their religious righteousness. Belief in their God had spread far and wide across most countries and as such they had many loyal subjects. Still, tensions were high and it felt like open warfare between these two empires was imminent. This would naturally be a problem for me who was well aware that within the next 20 years time these two empires were not supposed to have fought. Such a large change in the flow of history may result in a situation where I cease to exist.
“If you wanted to fight against the Mirin don’t you first have to deal with the temple?”
“I don’t know… I’m just repeating what I’ve read in my master’s notes.”
“He’s speaking the truth Johra.”
I was completely baffled on how to proceed. This was like an incredible butterfly effect that was quickly spinning out of control. I had to try and get a lid on things before it would be truly too late.
I continued pressing him for answers but he had truly spoken everything he knew. At least I got some crucial information about Sion and Leon’s weakness. I could use it against them someday.
“Lena, take care of him.”
Lena was fully capable of targeting specific short term memories in the human brain. On Earth she had developed a technique using nanobots that targeted the Hippocampus to give a precise electrical short, causing memory loss.
Pillgion was shocked into unconsciousness, having lost about 2-3 days worth of memory. I slung him on my shoulder and headed to city hall.
“Hey what’s going on?”
The guards in front of city hall hailed me with their crossed swords, but it was more ceremonial than anything because I was already a usual face around here.
“I’ve been commission by the mayor, take this man as a prisoner.”
Leaving Pillgion behind with the guards, I left towards a hill overlooking count Sion’s house.
‘I need to try and get count Sion on my side.’
From all that I had heard about the count, he seemed like a decent enough lord. Unfortunately Miriam had caught him at his weakest point when he was having financial trouble due to the lower output in silver. This resulted him in getting involved in some shady dealings until they had enough dirt on him to ensure he couldn’t ever get out.
I wait until late at night, when everyone was sleeping but it seemed like the fire in the lord’s room was still lit.
“Lena I’ll be needing your help again.”
The number of people in the manor had greatly increased. There were now almost 50 people inside, with 20 of them being guards.
‘Well I guess it’s normal since they been attacked twice in only a few days.
I groaned inwardly, it would pose quick the challenge to sneak in unseen to meet with the count.
As dawn crept in the Lord had finally gone to sleep, but the guards were ever vigilant as they rotated shifts and were always in groups. They even had hounds which their superior sense of smell which could easily catch a whiff of me were I to approach.
“Hmm…should I risk it?”
The average level of these guards was 27. If it were just the one I could probably get around him unseen, but as they were many it would be all but impossible using conventional methods.
I carefully approached a group of the guards and had Lena help me out.
“Hey guys, time for our group’s shift, get some shut-eye!”
She imitated the voice of their superior and made it sound like it originated from the mansion. She made sure to bounce the sound waves of objects to make it sound like it was coming from inside the mansion and far away.
“Yes, Got it!”
The guards were glad to be relieved from the post by their superior and quickly headed inside.
“How about the dogs Lena?”
She bombarded them with a frequency which could not be heard by the human ears, causing them to go into a barking frenzy and attract the nearby guards’ attention.
I took this golden opportunity to scale the wall which was an easy task for a level 43 Warrior such as myself, as I landed on the count’s terrace.
“Johra it’s fire magic!”
Just I had landed on the balcony a fireball was rushing my way, butI managed to dodge it in the nick of time due to Lena’s advance warning. I saw the count who had just thrown the spell my way call for his guards.
“It’s an enemy attack!”
He was holding a few magic stones in his hands when I saw the guards burst through the door. I knew that I had lost the chance and had to high-tail it out of there.
“Damn, why wasn’t I aware that the count could use magic!”
From all the info I had gathered about him there was no mention of him being a magician, but I had overlooked the fact that with the aid of magic stones he was able to cast spells.
“Panting… This count is troublesome!”