Chapter 9: Sirens (5/5)

The sudden light blinded the waitress, forcing her to blink and avert her eyes until they could readjust.

“Monisa, are you here?”

Hearing her name, the waitress stepped out from behind the cupboard.

“Madam Siren, what brings you here to this place?” She asked.

It wasn’t the young woman named Siren that answered her, but a middle-aged man next to her.

“Is that Elric fellow still here, Monisa?”

“How should I know? You’ve been gone for so long! You know how we work, I can’t keep going up and down to check on him and you guys! But I can see that this Elric person isn’t a nobody. Have you found out something about him?”

“You have no idea, Monisa.” Sighed Siren. “If that person is who he really says he is, then it’s highly likely he’s the very same Sovereignian magus that managed to defeat Kebrilio’s Final Day.”

“You’re kidding! That person hardly looks like he’s of age, how powerful could he even be?” Monisa refuted.

“That I cannot say. But what better way to find out than straight from the person themself?” The female magus spoke.

“Are you planning to simply ask him, Fiana? I doubt he’d tell you something as important as that.”

“Are you daft? Me asking him just like that? No, that’s too risky. If Elric doesn’t get suspicious, someone else will. We’ll use ol’ reliable method.”

“That? Impossible. We’re talking about someone who went up against Kebrilio the Archmagister. What use will your ol’ reliable be?”

“Oh relax. My little junior here will help this time. We’ve three magi here, and Master gave my junior his treasured hallow, the Oculus. We’ll get the information we want as long as you ensnare him. Maybe we’ll be able to arrange for someone to infiltrate the Sovereignian dignitaries.” Fiana replied.

“That won’t be hard. This Elric person seems pretty naive and easy to fool. Slipping something into his drink is child’s play, but I’m sure making him drunk would be an easier alternative. But who’ll hypnotize him? He’s got power on the same level as Kebrilio, what’s not to say his mana and mental fortitude is even greater? Are we sure we’ll be able to control someone like that?”

“It’ll be fine,” Smiled Siren. “I’m here. We don’t need to forcibly control him or anything, we’ll just weaken his will and make him hallucinate a bit. We’ll be able to manipulate his memories and make him think he serves us.”

“Manipulate? How do you plan to make him do that? I’ve never heard of any type of magic being able to do that to a wide-awake person.” Monisa was confused.

“His conscience is the key. All we have to do is make him believe he’s done something unforgivable. His conscience will make him aid us. And if he has no conscience? Then we’ll blackmail him until he gives in.”

“What unforgivable act? What do you have planned?” The more she listened to these two people, the more enigmatic Monisa felt they were.

Fiana and Siren gave each other a knowing look before sticking their chests out just a little. “A plan only the fairest can plan.”

Monisa felt a headache start to creep up on her. Succubus, the two of them! The demons of folklore that could kill their victims without them knowing. The women of myth that could convince men to sell their souls. The supernatural beings that’d eat and swallow their victims whole! And Monisa knew these two loved to stir up trouble if possible! She could only hope that the two wouldn’t rock the boat too hard and cause waves where they shouldn’t.

“I’ll go upstairs and get him ready. There’s rooms in the back you two can use. Ask for Linda if you need anything.” Monisa said.

“Which two rooms are connected? Tell us that first before you leave.” Siren asked.

“Of course. The third floor has two connected rooms right around the corner of the kitchen. It’s vacant right now so Linda should know to guide you there. It’s the perfect place for this plan.”

“Next to the kitchen? Don’t…don’t tell me that’s where you deal with people? It’s close to the kitchen and pretty…convenient, don’t you think?” Fiana questioned.

“Oh pish posh, it’s far away from the other rooms and the sound the kitchen makes hides any sound from the room well.” Monisa fired back.

“Oho—so you won’t disturb anyone with the sounds you make?” Asked an intrigued Siren.

“The way I see it, that place is ideal for killing someone. Why put so much thought in such a place if not for that?” Fiana pushed, she was confident in her theory.

“Oh forget it. Go do what you need to do.” Monisa gave up. It was time for her to leave the cellar and return to the upstairs tavern. As she climbed the stairs, however, Monisa found herself wondering about her life. Who would’ve thought those two rooms would be put to use for such purposes again? 

It must’ve been years ago that she was like Siren and Fiana. A different life that had been…a life where she once played the same tricks as those two and truly lived up to the name of a ‘forest nymph’. 

A forest nymph she might’ve been if not for that. It would’ve been nice if the two learned not to play with the hearts of others like she had done. Just thinking about it pained her. Every memory of the one that had captivated her heart and mind stabbed at her like pins and needles. Many people would call such a feeling ‘pining curse’ or the ‘pain of love’.

Her foot stepped onto the last step of the stairs. She couldn’t be thinking about that person anymore. She had her duty to fulfill. A heavy burden to bear, but one she’d have to bear nonetheless. Monisa had long since been prepared to throw away everything that made her happy for her mission. The things she loved, her family, her friends, her life, and love. 

She just never imagined that abandoning romance would hurt so much.

But alas, she had her mission. All unnecessary thoughts had to be purged from her mind and buried deep into the recess of her mind. Shaking her head to clear her mind, she opened the door.

The very first place she looked to was the corner where Elric was quietly sitting. The shyness and naivety of this young man made it hard for her to see him as a powerful magus. If anything, Elric reminded her of the younger brother she left back home. The two were similar in age and were similar in that they had yet to be hardened by the cruelties of the world. 

She didn’t wish to bring harm to such a person, but those wishes came second to her duty. 

For her mission, she had and would exploit this naive youth.

If she had to trick an innocent…

Her heart trembled.

It was minute.

Invisible.

Gone.

From the other side of the tavern, Elric waved his hand at her. He had seen her. He smiled. An innocent smile, like one would have when seeing an old friend. An earnest smile.

Another needle shot through Monisa’s heart. She had thought that once she stepped through the door frame her heart would’ve hardened like stone. Her softer side shouldn’t have been able to wear away at her heart anymore. 

But it seemed to not be the case.

“Hey, I’m so sorry for letting you wait for so long.” She approached him.

“N—no, it wasn’t long.” He was stuttering a bit.

“Let me treat you to a drink, how ‘bout that?” 

“Well…I’m not good at drinking.” Elric didn’t know how to respond. Drinking was never something he enjoyed, to be honest, but how he didn’t know how to decline her.

“Don’t worry, it won’t be a heavy drink. You can stay here in one of the rooms if you feel drunk. I’ll have someone take care of you, but I don’t think you’ll be that light to feel it after a single cup, no?” Experienced at her job, Monisa knew this would without fail cease any attempt to refuse her.

Sure enough, Elric fell for the bait. He was a man. A prideful man. A man that wanted to impress. A man that didn’t fear a challenge like this. A man who had unknowingly stuck his neck into the trap.

“Alright one cup sounds good. I don’t see the harm in just one.” He replied.

Monisa smiled and turned to walk back to the bar. She was still smiling as she walked. What an innocent person. Naive. Trusting. Unguarded. 

The substance Siren and Fiana gave her would take out an elephant, let alone a person. Try as hard as he might tomorrow morning, but Elric had no chance of escaping the two temptresses. He’d have to blame his fate for walking into the trap without knowledge.

Well, this would serve as a lesson he’d never forget.

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