Chapter 668: Swinging Fists
A/n: 13 Early Access Chapters on P4treon and MORE! ➡️ ⬅️
After the ambush on the Dawnguard, Serana was accompanied by the ambushers to a secret location at some mine.
Previously, she found a member of her family being escorted in a Dawnguard Wagon and she managed to rescue him and let him escape. From him, she realized that he was the only one who was captured and the rest of her gang members were all safe.
If that was not the case, she would have been contacted by Agnis already, but it seemed that no one knew that Lurbuk was taken during a hunt and by now, Safia should be managing the situation.
As for the ambushers, Serana was curious what they were after. No one would win anything from attacking a Dawnguard patrol, even the bandits avoid them to not get caught up with any of that vampire business. Hell, some of the bandits would try to turn a new leaf and join the Dawnguard disguised as adventurers to leave the life of crime behind.
So unless the bandits were Vampire Thralls, no one would win anything here.
So why were these ambushers after her vampire? They seemed to be willing to secure him in a cage wagon and take him to their mine where they would imprison him in an old cell. To know the answer, Serana took the role and let them imprison her in order to see how this thing goes.
She knew that one of the men here is someone Jon is after and by sending the Dare Trooper she encountered away, the news will soon reach Jon.
As for getting herself involved, Serana wasn’t completely worried since she was confident enough that when push comes to shove, she can overpower Mercer Frey or escape from an unsuspecting Arch Wizard. She learned from Jon how to act low-key and not threatening before starting to slap the shit out of those annoying people.
But the situation she expected to happen wasn’t as bad as she thought. She was indeed put in a cell but inside of it, she found a man who seemed to have been put there recently. Looking closely at him proved that he is just a regular Imperial.
Serana frowned but a few seconds later, a man walked in front of her cell. Prosthetic arm, artificial eye, bad head, gray skin… it was exactly the Arch-Wizard Jon was looking for.
"You look better than what I suspected you would." He said, "Those Dawnguard animals would usually torture the vampires they get their hands on to… a pretty terrible state."
The man seemed casual about the way he speaks and not threatened by the Vampire in front of him at all.
He is confident, same as Jon Dare when he acts all high and mighty. Powerful people are similar indeed but they are not easy to trick. That’s why Serana had to pull on the other trick she learned from Jon.
"I didn’t really get any torturing… I wanted to be captured by them for protection." She replied.
Telling the truth, that’s the big trick. Lying is very easy to spot but telling the truth is the best way to avoid suspicion. How you tell the truth is up to you. You can tell half the truth, rearrange events, and be creative with metaphors, it is all fair as long as it is the truth. The deceptive truth.
"Oh! So we got our hands on a vampire refugee, never thought I would run into any." Mecinar said, "What’s your story, girl?"
He seemed as cocky as Jon, Serana rolled her eyes and let out a sigh.
"Daddy is a big bad old vampire. He wants me for some really fucked up vampire plots." Serana replied.
"Sounds terrible." Mecinar smiled, "Tell you what, you help me with my little plot and I will make it worth your while."
"That’s your big plan?" Serana smiled back, "Being friendly to a vampire?"
"Everyone has a price… or so my girlfriend likes to say." Mecinar said.
"Fine, let’s trade." Serana showed no hostility towards Mecinar’s approach as he was already prepared to fry her to Oblivion with many hidden magic traps all over the cell.
"Well… let’s start with getting back your energy. I left you a snack over there." Mecinar said, pointing at the Imperial man who was stuck in a corner with his eyes almost popping up from his skull by fear and trauma.
"Much obliged. I was just getting… peckish."
After having her snack, Serana sat on a chair in her cell and outside of it, a bed was carried by four mercenaries on which was a body.
"Hmmm… not your girlfriend, I hope." Serana spoke to Mecinar.
"As heartbreaking as it is, she happens to be." Mecinar replied.
"My condolences!" Serana said.
"She is still alive… hanging on. But no worries, since you are here, I am sure helping her back on her feet won’t be a problem." Mecinar replied in an elevated tone while showing a generous smile to Serana.
"Wait a minute! If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you are asking me to… turn her into a Vampire?" Serana wasn’t sure this is what Mecinar was aiming for.
"That’s the grand plan." Mecinar said, "Her Lifeforce was depleted badly and she lost a lot of her lifespan when she faced a strong spellcaster. I only think that undeath will preserve her life. To keep her in a state where she can be restored to humanity if she wishes, I see that Vampirism is the best cure as ridiculous as it may seem."
"Personally, I don’t mind but… she is alright with becoming a vampire?" Serana asked.
"She is a strong girl and despite the powerful curse she was subjected to, she still managed to hang on to a thread of her life." Mecinar replied.
"And you… you are doing this for love?" Serana asked again.
"Well ain’t you a nosy fellow?!" Mecinar turned to Serana, "I only require you to turn my friend here into a Vampire and I will reward you generously. Actually, she is the one who’ll do the rewarding since she is richer than I."
Her questions surely annoyed Mecinar who treated her nicely just to get to his goal. But to call Maven Black-Briar his girlfriend, Mecinar is surely hiding something big.
Serana could feel the power of Mecinar and as an Immortal being, she could sense how much people have lived. That’s a sense only people who lived for a long time have and something that even Jon isn’t aware of.
To Serana, Mecinar is past 300 years of age at the very least. Being over 100 years old already fucks your brain up but being over 300, that’s a whole new change.
At the age of 100, most who live that long slowly become more apathetic and less caring about bonds. Unless they don’t have any connection with a lot of people, they slowly start to lose interest in them.
At the age of 200, people would become asexual and lose their sexual drive even if they are very healthy downstairs. Of course, this can’t be generalized but one can always ask any 200-year-old how they feel about the other sex and their answer would always be "meh!".
At the age of 300, not all Elves survive to 300 but those who do are usually the magic practitioners who have developed enough weird kinks in their lifetime to make them unpredictable and unstable. They are basically mad monsters but thankfully, they always get too busy with their business.
Mecinar was the latest type and he was putting on a nice act for some reason. If Serana was to serve her purpose, there was no telling whether he would actually give her a hand or not. Of course, Serana wasn’t in need of a hand and she had Jon as her ally. If she was to betray him, she was sure he wouldn’t be as nice as he always is to her.
Moreover, Serana and Jon share a very important and personal thing after they had sex that night beside the river. She needs him with her for the coming part and to counter any complicated situations.
"Alright, I’ll offer my help and inflict your lovely girlfriend with Sanguinare Vampiris." Serana said.
Mecinar smiled widely but…
… Serana added a but.
"What is it?" He asked.
"Your girl looks like a husk or a draugr in that state. She was drained so badly that she wouldn’t survive turning into a Vampire. I am sure you understand that."
"Yes. I was meaning to ask for your insight before you go for it." Mecinar replied, "What do you suggest?"
"Well, I can either scratch her or bite her." Serana said, "Scratching her will be done with Magic to cast a Vampiric Drain, this will drain her vitality directly and will definitely kill her."
"And the other method is biting." Mecinar said as he seemed more knowledgeable than he was revealed to be.
"Yes. Biting will directly draw blood from her body. Are you sure she can handle that?" Serana said.
"It is going to be problematic but I’ll figure out a way to support her with vitality." Mecinar seemed to be well aware of the problem.
"Then I’ll wait for you to handle it. I’d hate to kill a future benefactor." Serana sat in her cell so calmly as if she was willing to cooperate after throwing a small pebble in Mecinar’s plan.
Meanwhile, Mercer Frey watched things from a distance and as soon as Mecinar was done talking with Serana, Mercer and Mecinar started conversing away from her.
"She’s stalling." Mercer said.
"It is obvious." Mecinar replied.
"I don’t like it." (Mercer)
"She seems well-connected. It is our bad luck that we stumbled upon some vampire big shot." (Mecinar)
"Will it change anything?" (Mercer)
"Nothing so far. If you took the path I enchanted for you, no one would be able to find this old mine." (Mecinar)
"Good then… and you sure you really want Maven a Vampire? She’s been a witch all her life, a Vampire Maven is something both terrible and fearful." Mercer asked Mecinar about Maven’s vampirism for the third time.
"If I remember correctly, thief, you work for Maven. She has something I want and that’s why we are here. Aside from that, I would have already been on my way." Mecinar said, "I am wasting time around you humans while my promised legacy awaits. Can’t believe I got involved in all this."
"Then be prepared for when Maven gets back, she’d want revenge against Jon Dare." Mercer said, "I am willing to bet that a Vampire Maven will surely put that fucker in his place."
As Mercer sounded happy that the current pillar of the Thieves Guild, aka Jon Dare, will soon face Vampire Maven’s wrath, Mecinar looked at him with ridiculing eyes.
"She won’t even delay him one second." Mercer said and walked away looking at a mercenary, "Prepare the Vitality Potions."
"Wait, what?" Mercer, however, hurried back after Mecinar, "What do you mean by that? She won’t delay him?"
"Goodness! You said that Jon Dare grew up in the streets of Riften where you used to rule as king, am I right?" Mecinar asked.
"What are you getting at?" Mercer narrowed his eyes.
"Well, it may have been hard for you to notice but have you come across anything strange about the boy all these years?" Mecinar asked.
"Well…" Mercer thought for a second, "I did know he received some magic education but aside from that, he was just Delvin’s lucky charm. A very talented thief."
"And you see nothing wrong with that?" Mecinar asked, "The boy had his own Fate at play and no matter what trouble you created for your little gang, he had luck of his own."
"…" Mercer knew what Mecinar was talking about but didn’t really understand it.
"Forget about it. Knowing wouldn’t do you any good." Mecinar spoke and left Mercer staring at his back.
According to Mecinar, it was Jon Dare who placed a curse on Maven. While Maven is a good fighter with amazing swordsmanship skills and carries magic protection items on her, Jon Dare is a magic freak to the max. Still, Mercer thought that vampires would be a good counter to Jon.
But even Mecinar wasn’t thinking it would work. For some reason, Mecinar wanted Maven saved and it didn’t sit right with Mercer. She is currently of no use and Mecinar needs a single item found, why is he not relying on him rather than the dying Maven?
And why is he so scared of Jon Dare? Isn’t he an Arch Wizard too?
There is something he’s hiding for sure but Mercer was smart enough not to make light of what worries an Arch Wizard.
So where does this leave them?
Maven between life and death but still funding this small legion of mercenaries. Mercer stole the Thieves Guild money but his contacts in the city have all been purged. Still, he needs to hit one last score and Maven’s funds are necessary for him, if not for them being all hogged by Mecinar. And Mecinar is focusing on fixing Maven with vampirism and moving the hideout location.
After they failed to capture Karliah and Jullanar in order to use them as leverage against Jon, this unholy trinity started to feel suffocating for Mercer. He could feel the shadows closely creeping around him as if Nocturnal was watching him now.
He has the Skeleton Key, the greatest instrument any thief can possess. Maven and Mecinar may not know about it and are just thinking of him as a really good thief but until when should he keep waiting?
Back at the Ragged Flagon, a day passed since yesterday’s dilemma and the discovery of the empty vault. Most of those who went out to search for any traces of Mercer returned without any result. However, Jon sent a message back to the Thieves that he found traces of Mercer Frey and he is investigating.
If it is Jon, it is not strange that his search yielded results when most of them had no luck. Still, he sent a big fish their way and that was Hemming Black-Briar. This situation required both Delvin Malory and Brynjolf to stay in the Ragged Flagon during the second day and manage their new client’s affairs.
"Jon wants us to start operating above ground, you think we can really do that?" Brynjolf asked.
"The shadows no longer protect us, Bryn. Now you know that the curse is real." Delvin replied.
"Just focus on the ledgers. I’ve discovered a few shell companies that are sending money outside Riften. Those are mostly Maven’s."
"Send them to Hemming and make sure that he drains them out of their money. We need Mercer and Maven drawn out from whatever shithole they’re hiding in."
The two guild big shots were doing paperwork together at a rapid pace and not believing they had to do it this way. When was the last time they did this kind of homework? Moreover, this homework was given to them by their junior Jon whom they raised to do this kind of work. It was embarrassing but necessary at the end of the day.
And as the two were busy going over ledgers, a couple of men walked into the Ragged Flagon, one of them was immediately recognized by Delvin.
"This fucking slimy Argonian bastard!" Delvin stood off his seat and walked to the entrance of the Flagon and Brynjolf soon followed.
"Swims-at-Night!" Delvin spoke in his eeriest of voices, "You’ve got nerve showing your face here. Think we forgot that cargo you ‘lost’?"
In front of Delvin and Brynjolf were two men, Swims-at-Night and a friend of his walking behind him.
"You’re not really still mad about that, are you, Malory?" The Argonian, Swims-at-Night, raised his hands up with an awkward smile.
Delvin immediately pulled out a short blade and aimed it at Swims.
"Mad’s got nothing to do with it. This is just business." Delvin said and called the thieves standing around the Flagon, "It’s payday, boys!"
Swims-at-Night retreated behind his hooded friend and seemed to be wary of his surroundings.
"I know I said they are friends of mine but last time things got a little bit… you know how a smuggler’s life goes." Swims said.
"So you’re saying?" His friend asked.
"Try to be light with your fists, Glymet." Swims replied.
Glymet smiled and pulled back his hood showing signs of wrinkles and gray hair.
"Just a little beating then."
And Glymet started swinging fists at the unexpecting thieves.
[A/n: The Forgotten Hero returns!]
A/n: 13 Early Access Chapters on P4treon and MORE! ➡️ ⬅️