Chapter 666: Suffering from Success
(A/n: Happy Devil’s Chapter! We’ve made it!)
It was dark and damp when Akara arrived at the Ratway. The clinking metal she was wearing wasn’t fitting in this part of town and weighed her down but as she passed through the thugs and ruffians of the underground, she didn’t stop and kept going onward.
The moment she stops, she will get into trouble.
She roughly estimated the location of the Ragged Flagon and as she went closer, the ruffians who were on her tail started to back off. However, when she arrived, the place seemed sealed uptight with several menacing-looking people.
"Who’re you here for?" A man blocked her way at the entrance of the Flagon and questioned the purpose of her presence.
Akara may have grown up in Riften but unlike Jon, she wasn’t versed with the ways of the Ratway. She preferred to stay clear from these places and only heard rumors and stories about them.
But right now, she was certain that Jon is in this place and she directly came for him.
She wished that the emblem on her armor would vouch for her at the entrance but if not, she just had to say his name.
"Jon Dare." She said.
"Got no one here called that." The man replied.
It wasn’t as easy as she expected but she is certain that he is here. After all, the vampire that saved her has told her that. "Find Jon in the Ratway, he is after them." Those were the words Serana left Akara with when she threw her outside the encirclement of the ambushers.
The Dawnguard patrol was annihilated and Serana seemed to be surrendering but if one was to look closer, she wasn’t the vampire that was captured by the Dawnguard.
The Dawnguard would tear the vampires they capture limb from limb before leaving them to slowly heal on the way to the brutal execution grounds and torture dungeons.
Akara could only seek Jon now that her target of vengeance, the Fang Clan, was having some sort of a strong backer that gave them extra men and magical scrolls. So neither the Thieves Guild nor the Dark Brotherhood can dissuade her from seeking him at the moment.
"He is my Lord." Akara said, pointing at her armor, "This one came for urgent business."
"Got something to say, say it here." The man said as he tied his arms with a scornful glare.
"I have no time for this." Akara said and walked around the man.
As she did so, he immediately tried to block her path as they pushed against one another, the man was pushed away very easily. Despite appearances, the medium-sized Akara is a member of the Dare Corps, a group of elite who get training in the subtle art of Aura, which gives them strength and speed beyond the peak-human level. This small army of supersoldiers was Jon’s pride and joy and his enemies’ terror and fear.
Akara’s strength was something that made the thieves present in the Ragged Flagon all come to maximum alertness. The man whom she just pushed down sprung up on his feet and tried to grapple her but she immediately twisted his arm and bashed his head into the nearest wall.
"What an interesting sound!" Akara wondered as the man fell unconscious from her reflexive defense.
"Hold it right there."
But then, a voice spoke out, one she was familiar with. Akara turned ahead and saw Jullanar walking from the area behind the Flagon.
"She’s alright." Jullanar said.
"Commander." Akara replied with a slight bow.
"Sergeant Akara." Jullanar nodded, "What is a Commanding Officer doing here?"
"This one is on leave, Commander." Akara replied, "However, this one came into contact with information that may be of interest to Lord Jon. I know he is here so I rushed to meet him."
"You just missed him, Sergeant." Jullanar replied.
"Then where can he be?" Akara asked.
"He is on the lookout for some political enemies of ours. His schedule is sensitive so… do you have anything to report to me?"
"I do." Akara said, "I was hunting the Fang Clan…"
Akara then proceeded to summarize her situation to Jullanar as she was tracking a certain bandit group known as the Fang Clan and they seemed to have joined forces with some other marauders and mercenaries. She then told her about them ambushing a Dawnguard patrol and a vampire telling her that Jon is in the Ratway and to go seek his help since she found what he is currently looking for.
"What Jon is looking for… but he is currently hunting for Maven and Mercer…" Jullanar deduced quickly, "This Vampire… I don’t care about it but they must be some of Jon’s secret projects. Was there any old man with long hair that is wielding two blades, one of which is Dwarven?"
"Yes, I crossed blades with such a man and I was outmatched." Akara said.
"Figures." Jullanar nodded, "Fine, I’ll tell you where to find Jon."
Maven Black-Briar once owned an estate away from Riften and it was there where the search started. The Black-Briar Estate was one of the good houses as well as one of the most guarded ones. However, Jon stormed the place with grace holding nothing but a single shortsword.
He morphed his appearance into that of a normal person and shortened his height to seem less intimidating. That way, the mercenaries guarding the location would rush at him without feeling threatened too much.
Just as he planned, once he walked near the estate, an arrow was let loose towards him which he deflected with the side of his sword very skillfully.
"I came to ask some questions… if none of you mind." Jon said as he surveyed the location with the bird familiar that was circling above the tree level.
He was very careful just in any case the Wizard Mecinar is nearby but that wasn’t the case after a round of detection. Neither Mecinar nor Maven nor Mercer.
There were some traps prepared inside the main building as well as 45 mercenaries but that was all. No Maven or any other high-profile target.
For that, Jon would need people to question even for the tiniest of clues. Sadly, the mercenaries who were placed here were uncooperative.
"Alright. There’s 45 of you and only me so I am going to start killing and you’re going to start dying. It will be indiscriminate but I will do it with extreme prejudice. If you wish to live, make sure you tell me where Maven is. Clear?"
Jon spoke to the first patch of 3 mercenaries that came to greet him but they all acted roughly and even initiated to attack.
The man who tried to hold Jon with an effortless move found that his guts were spilling on the ground and his body becoming so weak that he can no longer stay standing.
Seeing their first die with an unseeable attack, the other two attacked with their weapons immediately. Jon cut the second’s sword arm causing his weapon and arm to drop and redirected the third’s axe to land on the second’s face.
"Look what you made me do!" Jon stuck his sword effortlessly in the third’s guts and abandoned his weapon before taking the axe from the second face and apologizing for disfiguring him before death.
Now with the axe, Jon climbed the road towards the estate but suddenly…
*Click* *Open* *Open* *Step step step step step*
… the remaining 42 men inside the manor all charged out following the death screams of their comrades.
They all lined up so quickly and orderly in a single line as they all held repeater crossbows.
"Hey! Those are Dare property. How did you get your hands on them?!" Jon was immediately triggered seeing the crossbow model which he personally developed being used by his enemies.
As all crossbows were aimed at him, he immediately took cover behind a conveniently placed small boulder at the side.
*Swoosh swoosh swoosh swoosh swoosh*
*Click click click click click*
The bolts flew towards him from the ground level, the first balcony, the attic windows, and the front barn as well. All these bolts were dodged as he took his cover and they all started to break on the rock.
"Ok, now I’m pissed." Jon immediately imbued the axe in his hand with Magicka and threw it off.
With his two hands, he started channeling strings of energy and swirling them around before starting to tile them and move them in a sweeping fashion.
As the axe was thrown, it was completely under Jon’s influence as it rotated mid-air and took a curve following Jon’s hand movements.
"Watch out!" A mercenary shouted for his comrades to dodge but the axe accelerated towards the barn.
As it entered, it left in its wake a blast of Magicka that devastated all who were inside and kept flying and hitting whoever was in its path.
Jon directed it to keep flying and the mercenaries tried to run from the estate manor but his magic was designed to be inescapable. While only killing whoever it directly hits, those who were incapacitated were left either injured or stunned for Jon to question later.
As for those who managed to fortify themselves inside the manor, they were just 9.
In a single attack, Jon took out 33 mercenaries. The spell he used was a mixture of Apprentice and Novice spells that were focused on one thing.
"You do not steal from me and get away with it." Jon said as he stood from behind the boulder and was about to move towards the manor but he stopped and looked towards the boulder with narrow eyes, "Hmmm."
Inside the Black-Briar Manor, the ones gathered inside were 8 mercenaries and their employer, Hemming Black-Briar.
"What was that out there?" Hemming Black-Briar asked with his face ashen pale.
He wasn’t outside with the rest of the men but the noises he heard made his heart sink. He could barely breathe as the place inside became dark even though it was still the time of noon.
"I don’t know!"
"It’s just one man!"
"He turned everyone else into nothing!"
The mercenaries spoke in panic as they all barred the doorway of the manor with any piece of furniture or clutter they could get their hands on. They had to think fast in order to come up with an idea on how to escape whatever was coming their way.
"Hurry to the back, there are horses." Hemming Black-Briar said to one of the mercenaries, "Make some of them run towards the direction of the north. Attract the attacker that way."
The mercenary started to think along with Hemming and rushed to the back before anyone would come. The attacker may indeed try to…
But whatever he was thinking was just wishful thinking as something big rushed at him from the door he was about to open. Everyone saw the man fly towards them and crush into a wall before falling dead.
It seemed that the man Hemming asked for the horses had indeed come back with a horse, except that this one was as large as a young mammoth and as black as the ink of the kraken. Moreover, it had eight legs and its face simply had the figure of a horse but it was just a black mess with no eyes or ears or hair.
"FUCK! What is that?"
The remaining mercenaries panicked as they found a beast of mysterious origins blocking their path to escape. But this wasn’t the end of it.
Part of the manor that was built with timber suddenly started to crack as if it was being torn like paper. The entire front entrance along with the doorway was torn off the main building by a giant made of bones.
Wrath stood there as it tore everything and stared down at the eight men with red menacing eyes.
"Greetings!" A loud voice came from beneath the Bone Giant as a mysterious man walked through the rubble.
He looked at the mercenaries as they looked like they were at their wit’s end. He chuckled as he drew closer.
"Silly me! And here I was thinking you were worth anything. I thought Maven hired some elites or something." Jon said as he looked closely at the men.
"They are my guards." It was then when Hemming Black-Briar spoke, "They are not my mother’s guards."
Hemming couldn’t recognize Jon as the latter was still keeping a different appearance but seeing Wrath standing behind the man, there was no doubt this man was sent by Jon Dare.
"Oh! Almost forgot about you, Hemmie!" Jon said, "Where is your esteemed mother?"
"Not here." Hemming replied.
"Figured as much myself, that’s why I was asking you, genius." Jon scoffed, "Just tell me where she is and I’ll let you live… truly."
"What?" Hemming frowned, "You want me to tell on my mother?"
"Yes, and be quick about it. I don’t have all day." Jon said naturally.
"Impossible!" Hemming shook his head and tried to back away.
Jon then chuckled and looked at the ground while shaking his head. When he raised his eyes, he looked at the remaining mercenaries.
"My generous offer extends to all of you. Whoever points me to Maven’s location will be spared." He said.
"These men are…" Hemming tried to speak for them but reality slapped him so hard.
"They moved west!" A mercenary spoke.
"They had a carriage prepared for her and a personal healer." Another said.
"The Wizard ordered her transport. We have no idea since we don’t work for him." Another added.
"The old woman was aging so fast we thought it was a curse. The Wizard seemed determined to cure her. I heard him say it." One more said.
"One of their men is an explorer from Shor’s Stone. I know his house." Another continued.
"They also move with the Fang Clan. The clan’s hideout is somewhere in the forest between Eastmarch and the Rift." The last said.
The seven remaining mercenaries spilled the beans faster than what it takes to blink. Jon did indeed blink a few times afterwards then moved away from the broken doorway and pointed for them to go out. Even Wrath moved out of the way.
The mercenaries looked at each other and lowered their stances as they passed by Jon. They were almost certain that Wrath would slaughter them but as they really passed and no one did attack them, they just started running like crazy.
"Well well well, Mr. Hemming. Your men were really fluent people just a while ago." Jon said and walked in, "I am in a bad mood but I can still give you one more opportunity."
Hemming Black-Briar had his back to a wall and couldn’t think of any way he could run out of this. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t give his own mother up.
"You… won’t get a thing from me!" Hemming said.
"Fine." Jon sighed, "I’ll let it deal with you."
Hemming heard those words and hurriedly looked between Sleipnir of Greed and Odokuro of Wrath. They looked menacing and the thought of being handled by one of them made his innards squeeze very badly.
But the thing Jon was referring to wasn’t any of the two. From his skin, a translucent substance started to form and separate completely from him. Jon’s appearance started to return to that of his normal self and the substance started to take the form of a beautiful ethereal woman.
But Hemming was now all focused on Jon.
"I had to come up in a different form just so you guys don’t start running the moment you see my handsome face."
Jon was indeed approaching the estate with a different face so that none of the mercenaries start running the moment they see him.
As for Venus of Lust, she walked like a ghost and just about she was going to touch him, he cried out right away.
"I’ll talk! I’ll fucking talk!" Hemming shouted now that he was in front of Jon Dare.
"Man! Life is truly hard when there is no challenge. Can’t believe I am suffering from success."
[A/N: If you leave a Comment / Review / Vote / Rate, you will help Motivating the Author and Promote the Novel.]