"Return it to me!" Leguna said glumly.
His whole body tensed up as if he was trying to break his bindings with sheer force. He remembered his promise and knew he had the pendant on him, but he had never had the intention of calling her no matter how bad things got. Part of it was due to his male pride that didn't allow him to entertain the thought of being saved by a woman, one that he loved, even. More importantly, he didn't want to put her at risk. If he couldn't deal with this situation well, who's to say she could? Asking her to come would only put her in unnecessary risk, something he would not allow himself to do.
"Do you think you have the right to ask for such a thing?" Saron laughed at Leguna's stupidity.
If he hadn't reacted so strongly to the pendant, Saron might not have been so curious about it. But the moment he'd turned to it, Leguna started to panic. How could he resist looking into it some more?
"What is it?" he asked, toying with the pendant.
It seemed like a normal spatial stone. While it was expensive, it was by no means rare. Dimensional pockets were made with that material as well.
He couldn't figure out what the magic engraved on it was. It seemed to have something to do with mental links, but also contained some aspect of transference, with which he wasn't too familiar. He felt even more aggravated. He was a magus, but he wasn't that interested or good in formations. If Leguna had something like this, didn't it mean he had superseded him?
He gave it some thought and couldn't help the rage boiling inside him. He dangled the pendant in front of Leguna.
"What is this?"
"Guess," Leguna clicked his tongue, "What? Can't comprehend a simple magic formation? And you call yourself a magus? Don't make me laugh!"
Wham! Saron sent another punch into Leguna's abdomen.
He spat out another mouthful of blood and convulsed from the pain.
Satisfied with Leguna's reaction, Saron said, "Tell me. Perhaps you might not have to suffer that much pain."
Leguna stuck his throat out. "I've not held any hopes of survival after falling into your hands, so do whatever you want! But I'd advise you not to waste time asking me about this."
"Well aren't you a stubborn one?" Saron clapped and the two jailers outside returned.
"I'm going to take a nap, so give him another two hours of beating. Don't care what he says, just hit him. Call me when the time is up," Saron instructed before leaving with the pendant.
The two jailers didn't dare to delay and quickly got their whips and sticks and began to work their magic on him.
Leguna didn't know how many times he was rendered out cold. He felt that there was not a single piece of his skin still intact. Every cell of his body cried out in pain.
But Leguna didn't care about that. He was more worried about his mental pain than the physical. He wasn't able to protect Eirinn and keep his promise to Annelotte. He also failed Innilis. The thought of that cut his heart like knives. As for the beatings… he had long gotten used to it since his days as an orphan, so he could ignore it. That wasn't to say that it didn't hurt, however.
After who-knows-how-long, Saron entered the room again. When the jailers said he didn't reveal anything, Saron waved them out.
"Well aren't you quite the punching bag?" he said as he looked at the bloodied husk in front of him. There were whip lashes, stick marks, cuts and burns all over him. The two jailers had tried their utmost to fulfill their duty.
But even though they put Leguna at the brink of death, they weren't able to get him to say anything. Was that pendant worth all that suffering?
He furrowed his brow and said, "You should know that no secrets can be kept from magi."
"So what?" he said with a hoarse voice. His consciousness was already fading out.
"So, I want you to understand how foolish it is for you to be so stubborn." Saron's expression turned savage as he began his dictation.
He used Scry, a level six spell that allowed the user to search a target's memories.
The moment his palms came into contact with Leguna's head, the latter shrieked like a pig about to be slaughtered. The spell used mana to invade the target's diatagi and made it an extremely painful experience.
Saron merely thought of it as revenge. He wanted Leguna to be mentally and physically tortured before his death. Only then could his rage be extinguished.
He intentionally slowed his search to make it last a whole 20 minutes. Initially, Leguna screamed from the pain, but his voice eventually dried out and he couldn't even make a sound.
When Saron stopped, Leguna fainted once more. The destructive and invasive procedure caused his eyes to roll and saliva to flow nonstop like a mentally crippled person.
Saron managed to look through a number of interesting memories, which he had wanted to use to mock Leguna, but he didn't think he would faint from the spell.
After some thought, he left the room.
On the afternoon the next day on a plot of empty land outside Fort Kesta, a thousand Stokian soldiers stood in a neat square formation.
"Hey, what's going on today?" a soldier secretly asked.
"I'm not too sure either. I did hear it's about some glorious achievement Sir Saron made," replied another.
"That's right. Didn't he capture Hocke's Leguna Dark Requiem? I heard he's going to capture another one from the empire, either Second Prince Alissanda or the tournament champion, Annelotte. I'm not too sure myself."
"I see. Looks like we're in for a good show!" the soldier said excitedly. A fight between two top experts was a sure sight to behold.
At that moment, Leguna was dragged out by the Stokians. He was wearing only a simple pair of pants and tied onto a crucifix. His head hung limply from his body and it wasn't sure whether he was still alive.
After I kill this one, only Alissanda will be left, huh? Saron thought as he looked at the soldiers he assembled.
He didn't bother to say too much to them. All he wanted to do was witness that he wasn't playing any tricks. He wanted to show them that he managed to defeat his enemies fair and square. He had never even considered getting them to help him!
So, he didn't even bother to give a speech. He raised the pendant in his hand and infused some impetus inside.
As expected of a formation carved by Annelotte, it was really efficient. Annelotte detected the reaction almost instantaneously.
"Huh?" Her heartbeat quickened. It was an emergency! Leguna was calling for help! Something did happen to him!
Her panic only lasted one second. She calmed herself in the next ten seconds and stood up.
"Eirinn…" She looked at the girl who had just fallen asleep with much difficulty and dictated her spell in the softest voice she could.
She had used a sleep charm on her which would ensure she wouldn't awaken for a whole day.
After making sure she wouldn't wake, Annelotte went outside. She called for some guards, gave them simple instructions to not disturb Eirinn no matter what, and informed them to tell someone called Marolyt to head south to Fort Kesta if he came looking for her.
It took only a minute for her to make all the arrangements. When it was done, she took a deep breath and focused her mental link to control the spatial stone from afar to open a portal.
The first part that came out of the portal was a fine, cute foot that was fair as snow, followed by a pair of fair hands. Then, a face with beauty even Saron couldn't resist emerged.
But the stupefaction only lasted a few seconds. Saron didn't hesitate to unleash the spell he prepared beforehand the moment Annelotte stepped out of the portal. His spell struck the unprepared girl, but it didn't do her any harm. That was a dimensional anchor which Saron used to prevent Annelotte from teleporting away if she couldn't win.
After the spell hit, Saron smiled and bowed. "Nice to meet you. You must be Miss Annelotte. I am Saron."
She ignored him and treated the soldiers like air. There was only one person in her eyes, and that was the battered body of Leguna hanging from the crucifix.
Her shock lasted a full ten seconds. After that, her eyes were chilling like a blizzard and flaming like a firestorm.
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