Chapter 10: Fiend (2/5)

Everyone grew quiet at once. Monisa wasn’t the type to lie so there was no reason to doubt her words. Only Purdok wine could produce an aroma like that. Every drunkard praised Purdok wine as the greatest of alcohol. The ambrosia of the gods, in fact! These people didn’t even dare dream to sample just a bit of vintage Purdok wine! 

As for why a bottle of such expensive and elusive fame was doing here in the Forest Nymph, they could only trust that Monisa was telling the truth about Chancellor Roth. Aside from the emperor, Hecaris III, the only other people capable of procuring such a wine would be Roth and Kebrilio, but the latter would definitely never be found sitting in such a low-class tavern. It’d be impossible for Kebrilio to give a bottle of it to the Forest Nymph, then.

All heads snapped to Elric. Cheeks flushed, eyes seeing red, and teeths bared, the patrons were filled with indignant envy for him. This high-noser had blasphemed against their ambrosia and drank it as if it was bitter medicine?! Their hands clenched tightly into fists. It was high time that they beat this boy into the ground.

Knowing that she was only making the hole even bigger for Elric, Monisa quickly stepped off the table and called for another two waitresses. Together, the four of them managed to drag Elric to safety in the back.

No one knew whose hand was the first to reach for the mug Elric drank from. No one knew whose tongue was it that immediately tried to drink whatever last amount of it was left. But what people did know was how that person was sent flying by the fist of another. Taking the mug into his bosom, the man turned and fled out from the tavern. The struggle for the cup was on.

The Forest Nymph was filled with angry shouts and screams as everyone ran after the man, and soon the entire tavern was without a single patron.

On the third floor, Monisa and her two helpers had only barely managed to bring Elric up there. She didn’t know if it was the substance already taking effect or that he was drunk, but Elric was already knocked out.

Siren and Fiana were called out at once to help the three take Elric into the room on the right. Carefully placing him on the bed inside, the two waitresses were then instructed to return to the front while Monisa, Siren, and Fiana remained in the room.

They stepped toward the table. In Siren’s hand was a thin needle. Pricking first her finger, Siren watched as a small droplet of blood appeared before smearing her finger onto the Oculus. Absorbed into the hallow, the blood was infused into the light and dyed it a bloody color, making the glow seem even more foreboding than before.

“Glory to the god that holds dominion over souls. By my contract with the God of Souls, I beseech thyself to reveal the mind of man in front of us. Reflect onto us his dreamscape and ours onto his. Commune our minds, our wills. I am his reflection in the water and he is my reflection in the mirror. Let reality be rendered into delusion and delusion rendered into reality. O’ God, I beseech you, God of Souls—Monster Kazmyreus.”

The Oculus exploded with light the moment she finished her incantation. Red and blue mixed together over the surface of the crystal like a swirling whirlpool of mist.

Monisa and Fiana repeated the incantation, helping Siren to clear up the image being shown in the mist. With time, the mist was beginning to clear up just enough to reveal an image with a faint purple background.

Their chantings ceased then, the magic of the hallow capturing their minds. Normally, using the hallow allowed them to visualize the inner mind of another within their own minds like a dream. It was an attempt that wasn’t always clear and would sometimes be influenced by the own caster’s presence. This time, the dreamscape of this person was being clearly projected into the air for them as though they were seeing it in reality.

The three crowded around the projection with interest. Elric was a peaceful fellow and his dreamscape reflected that. It was a scenery of natural beauty with verdant-green grass growing everywhere. Elsewhere, a group of people were dancing and singing. None of them were recognizable, but the three ladies figured they had to be the friends and family of Elric. Some of them were the Royal Knights, and surprisingly some of them were some of Karth’s Paladins. The most prominent figure the three saw was Kebrilio. Another one of the three was quick to point out the twelve magiguards of his were somehow included in the bunch.

“He’s a somebody, this fellow. That’s a rich social network he has. Those rumors were true after all.” Fiana smiled. She knew a social elite when she saw one. As a spy who knew the importance of having plenty of social connections, Fiana had to admit, she was impressed.

“Wouldn’t he be a good addition then?” Monisa asked.

“Obviously? If his dreamscape is any indication, then the Sovereign Kingdom and the Karth Empire are in entente with one another. It’ll spell trouble for us if an alliance is born.” 

“Precisely. For the sake of dismantling any secret goodwill between these nations, we must first seek the highest-most intelligence we can. This Elric fellow will serve us greatly.” Siren nodded in agreement with Fiana. “But I must say, he’s a very innocent fellow. I’ve never seen one as ridiculous as this. Even the people dancing around that fire is a little…how do I say…” She was struggling to find the words.

“Forget it, do what you must to find that intelligence then.” Monisa interrupted. It bothered her to speak about a person’s dreamscape like this so. Ever since that time, scrying into a person’s dreamscape felt like a loathsome act to do.

Siren nodded. It was time for business. Fixing her attention onto the Oculus, Siren manipulated the hallow so they could alter the view. Quickly, the mist reassembled itself to replay the memory of Elric’s fateful day at Melkruth. Despite the three having seen many during their time, they were utterly spellbound by the series of events. From the beginning of the chase to when Final Day was casted, the three gasped throughout the replay until its end. But when they were just about to see what Elric did to counter the spell, the projection suddenly turned black. Unable to see or hear what followed, the three were alarmed to see that Elric was back with the other dignitaries by the time the black smoke cleared up.

“F*ck this b*stard. Where is it?!” Suddenly, Siren began to snap and curse with words fouler than expected from her.

Repeatedly, Siren began to try and use the Oculus to try and access the memory. But each time she tried led to a similar result. The mist would go black and show nothing.

“Yes yes, that’s enough. Don’t get angry, we got what we came for. We know he’s the man of the rumors. I dare say that’s a big enough catch, don’t you think?”

“I just don’t understand why we can’t see that part of the memory! This doesn’t make any sense.” Siren spouted angrily.

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