I was in a deep sense of tranquility. My body was in a paralyzed state. My brain is numb. My bones remain still as stone. As I tried to open my heavy eyes, I was starting to see things. Things that shouldn't be. For once, I saw Alister. I tried to say something, try to call him. But Alister's face turned to dust as the darkness creeped in. I was alone. Desperate. Where am I?
As soon as my vision became clear, my heart pumped anxiously. I looked at my arms and legs, and they were attached to a series of strings. I was stuck in a table, unable to move. My mind began to race, thinking of what happened to me. I remember staying with Joan in that room. We were talking, and suddenly we both fell. My body drained completely and felt weak. I was numb. But I remember drinking that tea from Napoleon. I'm sure that the tea had something inside. A drug or something. Where are you, Joan?
I got startled as I heard screams in the background, the agony of a man being tortured. Is this what Napoleon kept secret? Why did he bother saying that he will absolve my crimes if he wanted me here in this god forsaken place? Our alliance was nothing to him? As I started to question myself, I started to get anxious as I tried to let loose somehow the strings attached to me. I was feeling cold in this dark place. Someone removed my armor, leaving me with a white robe, like a patient robe, waiting for surgery. Thinking about this gave me goosebumps.
"Hello…?" I said with a weak voice, nervously at the moment. Silence. Only the sound of droplets of water from the ceiling echoed the dark halls.
"Joan…?" I croaked. I moved my head rapidly to see if there was anyone out there. But to no avail. I was trapped in this room without an exit. Only the endless agony of my weakening body lay bare on this disgusting table.
I fell asleep soon after, because I was tired. The taste of that tea still lingers on my tongue, silently lurking within my blood the sleeping poison inside of me. I dreamed of Joan, standing within me with her dazzling flag. If only she could use it to control the guards…It's something to hope for, really. This deep sleep just gave me comfort from the darkness. Even just a little.
Suddenly my eyes opened as a banging sound shocked my heart from my chest. Someone was coming here, I could hear the heavy boots echoing on the walls.
"Looks like the young maiden has awakened." The man with the funny voice said as he hummed while walking toward the side. As soon as the man stopped to take a look, I suddenly got anxious. The man's face was evil, with a disturbing smile carved like a clown. His hair was soggy and dirty. His eyes sparked curiosity and a sense of dread. He was thin and much taller than I. He was wearing a black vest suit, with a brown trench coat. "I dare say, that little sleeping poison must had hit you hard. Well, it was yours truly who recommended that to Napoleon."
He remained looking at my eyes like a stone statue of a cathedral, ever watching on it's viewpoint. He did this for an agonizing ten seconds time, saying nothing at all but licking his dry lips gave me goosebumps.
"I smell your fear, little girl…" He whispered and chuckled as he move away from me. He was carrying a bag with strange tools.
"I say, you are truly remarkable. I'm surprised that you survived thus far." He placed the bag on a table and started to scoop tools. "Especially since you are one the outsiders of this world. A human who fell from heaven. How tragic."
Then he turned his head to me. And carved a smile again. "How does it feel to watch your friend die in cold blood? What emotions did you felt when my servant decimated him? What was it called? Was it James? Another human of the outside world?" He sarcastically said as he giggled again.
I balled my fists as my anger started to boil. My body was still weak, but I wanted so bad to punch him. Could this be the guy who corrupted that Black Knight? If so…
"Bastard!" I spit the word from my mouth. He stood there amused as he grabbed something from his bag. In his hand stood James's colorful soul.
"Tsk. Tsk. Aren't you a naughty girl. Perhaps you could wash your tongue before saying those foul words. Nevertheless, I'm glad that you fulfilled your role to me. Thanks to you, I will add this collection to Napoleon so he can do whatever he desires. I'm sure that James will act as a key to Heaven's Castle." He placed James' soul on a flask.
I gritted my teeth. "You'll pay for this. You'll pay for what you did to James!"
He sarcastically felt offended. He even laughed at me. "My dear, it wasn't my fault that James' Master killed him. I merely…twisted his own soul to my favor. Everything in this world can be manipulated. Can be corrupted. Can be controlled. Much like puppets in a theatrical show. Have you ever been one, darling?" He said with a gleeful smile that brought fear to my gut.
"Where's Joan?" I placed the question as I stuttered. I stared at him with so much hate and fear that he felt amused by it.
"You mean the Maiden of Orleans? She's been taken care of. In fact, she might become an ally for our cause." He giggled. He went and scooped again on his bag for something.Then, he grabbed the ??? Soul that he corrupted. "Such magnificent sight, isn't it? Such blackness. Such pure evil. I wonder what was his name? Huh. I forgot about him, who cares! He's just a toy." He laughed manically that echoed the dark walls.
His eyes dashed to me. "I dare say, Napoleon is such a great man. Even though he's no Master, his ambition of destroying this world gives me euphoria. Yes, the sense of destruction and terror. Blood and murder. It fills my heart with such joy. That is why I have no desire for the Crown. Instead, I work here. Alone. In my little lab. Twisting soul after soul to Napoleon's whim."
"You are insane."
"No, my darling. I am truly sane. In my own way. What about you? Aren't you the murderer of the poor little owner of the hotel at Bordeaux? The guy with the mustache? He was such a great guy and had a great mustache. And your sinful desires to kill him dominated you. How sad."
"Damn you. It was you. You killed him, didn't you? How dare you accuse of something I didn't."
He chuckled. "You must be having some kind of delusion. Has your brain began to falter? Perhaps you need an immediate cleansing. Yes, you women are full of sin." I started to panic as he started to sneak his nose on my neck, smelling me. Then he grasped his filthy hand on my hair and smelled it too. "Such precious blood crimson hair. Your smell is mesmerizing, like smelling a dandelion…or a corpse. I know, deep inside of you, lies corruption. Sin. I have killed women just to purge you all of your sins. Especially those wretched whores who scatter around, dressed with tempting clothes. I remember when I was a lad, I killed my first woman on an alleyway. My legacy in London has spread like the Black Plague. And I will continue my work, here in Casthynia. But don't worry, you are not my next victim. I will not carve my knife to you and cut you off into a thousand pieces. No. You will become my puppet, and I will watch you fulfill your role."
I started to sob as he gently caressed my face several times, as I felt I was violated. This monster…was like a never ending nightmare. A man who has a twisted soul. I wanted to flee. Flee away from my torment. Until something appeared behind me that caught his attention.
"You are back. And with another puppet to play." He said gleefully.
I caught my eye on the thing that arrived unnoticed. It was someone wearing a black monk robes, holding a little girl with a red beret hat. She was scared and paralyzed to even speak at all. Why is she here in this hell?
The little girl locked eyes on me, with a sorrowful and scared expression. But beneath all that, I saw a message. Her eyes somehow told that she knew me, or rather heard of me.
"Looks like the improvements on you has giving you an extra advantage. Did something happen at Bordeaux?"
Then, the thing revealed his face as he removed the hood that shrouded his face. I couldn't believe my eyes of what I was seeing.
"…Barry?" I said to him. But he ignored me. In fact, everything about him was wrong. His face has changed. His features were more skeletal. But he didn't look like himself. His eyes were much dead. Like all his emotions has been zapped away.
"Lord Jack, I have been attacked by Alister and two other people. It is possible they will come here to rescue the NPC girl."
Alister? Is he here? Is he coming? My God, I can't believe this. He's alright. My heart started to pound so much as I finally heard his name.
"Barry! Where's Alister? Is he alright? Snap out of it. Why are you with this monster?"
He turned his face to me, and all I saw was hollowness. Nothing. It was as if Barry never existed. And I bet Jack twisted him. Just like in the Shivering Forest, when the Black Knight annihilated James's former friends.
"Excellent work, my puppet. Your work as the Night Demon has impressed me. It's time we move on to the next stage. Purge Bordeaux and transform them into zombies. They will be valuable for the attack on the Principality. Oh, and lock the girl. I will test her if she's a capable NPC for my experiments." He said as he quickly got closer to me.
"Shall I inform Napoleon?" Barry said with a dead voice tone.
He shook his head. "Not yet. Not before the Hacking ritual is complete on this one. She will be most valuable to the army." And then Barry left with the scared girl.
The table started to move, leading me straight to a door. My heart was still pounding, scared and anxious of what he's going to do to me. I struggled to removed the strings, but it was no use. Then he started to hum as the door splashed open to another room with metal chains and strange tools. But the most shocking thing was that I saw a weakened Joan hanging in chains.
Her shining armor was damaged. Her maiden face was stricken with blood. She was weak and frail, completely different of what she was. I looked away, trying to escape this nightmare, praying that this was nothing more than a dream. I wish I could have done something better. Something to outsmart this evil man. But, at the end of everything, evil always prevails.
He laughed hysterically as he danced around like a mad jester around the fallen maiden. His long smile stricken his face, as the face of a demon was painted on him. Like a little boy having his own fun using his imagination. For me, it was a dance of madness.
"So beautiful. Such a creature I have never seen in my life. The savior of France. What a joke." He chuckled as he removed the strings from my body. My weak body felt like it was floating. When you feel sick inside with a disease, sometimes you feel like you are tired and weak, thus feels like you are in a state of flotation. That's what I felt when Jack carried me toward a pedestal and chained me on my arms as he pulled a rotating wheel, lifting the steel chains upwards.
"Let me tell you a little story. I have been gifted by the gods, the power to hack someone's soul. When I was working on the lab, I learned many things on a human soul. It is a fragile thing, like glass. It can be molded and broken to pieces. There are so many emotions, that one of these can even alter human consciousness. Those emotions living inside of us, are useless. They are like a virus, always there. What I did to Barry was the most merciful thing I have done in my life. It was a slow cure, yes. But soon enough, those hurting memories and those hurting emotions, were nothing but dust."
"Now then," He said with a carving smile as he showed me the ??? Soul. "With my gift given to me by the gods, I will twist you to my own image. I will be the cure of your hurting memories and your extravagant emotions. You will become my tool for war. You will serve Napoleon for the rest of your life. You will obey me. And you will be controlled, thanks to my dear maiden here."
He continued. "She will soon awaken to her true form. A tool to control people. Her waving flag shall be the symbol of this world as everyone will bow down to Napoleon. And this world shall know…chaos."
And then I lost consciousness as I felt my own self pulled apart.
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