Her Hand Beneath the Otherworld

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Chapter 10

“Spit it out! What kind of sorcery did that girl do to vanish in the thin air like that?”

“I-I don’t know what you are talking about. Even I find it hard to belie—”

Without hesitation, He slapped my cheek with all the strength he could convene. My head jerked to the side, feeling my face go numb. The metallic taste of blood drenching my lips from inside out.

“How dare you lie right at our faces! Your friend took something from His Majesty’s attire. It looked like there was nothing on her palm, but then her hand glowed and the next thing we know, she disappeared right under our noses.”

So, she was able to escape? Thank God. Now, I have one less thing to worry about.

Tears started to well up in my eyes as the sting on my right cheek intensifies. I thought of ways to escape but sadly, none could prove effective.

“From what I know, you can only teleport by writing a portal on the floor using blood as the medium. If she vanished by only touching the king’s clothes, wouldn’t that mean she might’ve gone invisible?”

“Seeing that the hidden doorway hasn’t rotated yet, she might be still inside the room, looking for an opportunity to escape.” I expressed without stuttering, trying to buy time as much as I can.

Ashol sneered at my words before going with his men to search every nook and cranny of the large chamber, leaving two guards by the king’s side. I clutched my chest as the necklace Tristan gave me started to warm up.

Its intricate composition shimmered a bright golden color under my hard grip while I try to keep it hidden from everyone’s sight. At that moment, my heart started racing. The same feeling of temptation—or rather—longing from earlier hindered my thoughts.

Ashol yanked my hair upwards after seeing my anxious face and stated, “Don’t try anything funny.” He neared my ear. “Your life is on the line here.”

I gulped, nodding my head vigorously to act afraid down to the bone. He bought the pretense and threw me to the floor. I took the necklace off without a moment to spare and placed it inside the toecap of left my thick boot, careful so that I won’t attract any attention.

I closed my eyes as the yearning began to stir and grow even stronger. Like hundreds of chains wrapped around my heart, tightening at every passing second.

Is this the feeling of connection towards your fated glyphorite or another scheme of this ancient necklace?

With a subtle lean, my sight landed on a crystal hanging dangerously low by the king’s mantle. He noticed my gaze and smirked, gesturing for me to come over. His two guards lifted me up with a harsh tug and dragged me to the front of His Majesty.

He pulled my hair forward and grasped my chin.

“This set of perfect white teeth and porcelain-like skin. If it were not for your cheap clothing, I would have thought of you as a noble rather than an assassin. A traitorous one at that. Those eyes, Yes! Gouge out those eyes that can make, even the blinding sun jaundiced. ”

Before any of his guards could react, I lunged at the king and grabbed his mantle. I pulled the glyphorite with all my might and rolled to the ground before an unexpected slash could reach my waist.

With adrenaline coursing through my veins, I changed my direction and started running towards the farthest corner of the chamber, seeing that they had three guards stationed at the secret doorway.

Ashol managed to catch up with the feeble girl and was about to stab her back when she vanished without a trace, right in front of his eyes. A mellow vibration floating in the air replaced her figure.

He raised his hands, stopping his fellow men from their pursuit. Through a wave of his sword, everyone scattered out to find the missing lady. All except for the man sitting on a smaller throne. His frustrated state gave further pressure to those who failed to capture the lady.

“No one! Do you all hear me? No one is allowed to go out of this chamber unless I see that girl’s corpse being chopped in front of me!”

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Brithan rose from her seat. Having a giddy mood, she waved her hands towards Airen from the distance. The exhausted lady smiled at the cheerful gesture as she trudged across the unruly crowd.

“Aww, were you worried about me?” I teased to which she just flicked her hair in answer.

“Pardon? Remember that time when I stayed at your house for a visit? Only to find you panting downstairs, on top of five unconscious men in the middle of the night.”

“Why are you phrasing it that way? They were troublemakers, who kept on going back to this ostracized village to wreak havoc. I just introduced them to suitable jobs and made sure that they start living proper lives.”

“I mean, Rosen might be quite the disorganized land but it isn’t as chaotic as the papers and the rumors portray. Think of it as Feliza, but with less support from the King. Not everyone thrown there wants to rot and die.”

“Forsaken people in Rosen are still capable of having jobs and are also being paid fair and well. It’s just, a lot of people would rather go the easy way. And who would benefit from such stunts? The corrupt officials managing the lands.”

Brithan giggled at my spontaneous remark and slapped my forehead while shaking her head. “You know, I didn’t ask for those other extraneous answers but thank you.”

She sat back at her seat, urging me to rest for a minute. I nod my head, welcoming myself to our little spot. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was quite surprised about the fact that my clothes weren’t torn and stained at all. I can’t even see any traces of that horrifying incident on my body, no dirt nor a scratch.

It is as if I just took a dump in the restroom. I don’t even feel tired. I just feel mentally disoriented. I have experienced the same situations since I live in Rosen but for those other new examiners like me that encountered this for the first time—either they man up or get scarred for life.

Brithan tapped my resting hands, “I know what you are thinking. Jarth and Karol reassured me too before they left for emergency reasons. What happened to us and all the others is only an illusion, propagated by the forest.”

“Each illusion or exam differs per examiner. Some may be paired with others and some might venture alone—but all are in accordance with the forest’s will. Well, that’s what they told me.”

“That explains much I guess? What about your—”

Brithan raised a dirty pouch near my face and smiled, “Yes, they gave it back before leaving. They left in a rush so I never got to ask what got them in such a panicked state. And also, look!” She pointed at the vast floor beneath our feet.

“As I had suspected, the glow stopped, and together with its ceasing, the blue powder also disappeared. What a good thing I packed beforehand. For that reason, we’ll eat outside today under your care. Yes!”

She waving her hand like a child, giggling as she rose from her seat and stretched her hand.

“That’s a good thing for you, then why am I the one who’s going to pay for the food? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” I asked, quite confused about her proposal.

“No way. Besides the fact that you’re richer than me—you bragged a lot of times about it! Those monthly allowances you receive from your parents, I kinda... didn’t bring my money.” She spoke in a bashful manner, but her wide smile says otherwise.

I sigh and was about to stand up when I felt a hard object pressing against my toes. I took off my barren boot and shook its body, letting a familiar necklace fall from its insides. Brithan scratched her chin after seeing the motion.

“That’s weird. Everything that happens during the exam inside the forest should only be like a lucid dream. I don’t know how it ended up in your shoe, but that necklace should be on your neck right now. How did it end up there?”

I shook my head while attaching the necklace to my neck, “Have mercy Brithan, I barely got out of that test, trying to save your suicidal ass and here you are making me remember all of it. There’s a limit to how strong my mental state could be.”

She chuckled, helping me wear the boot. As soon as everything was done, we didn’t waste any more time and walked to the giant-sized gates situated at the back of Ryola square, leading to the soils of Capital Macce.

Jarth recommended a small cafe to Brithan and that’s where are headed to right now. With every turn on the sidewalk, I could hear Brithan’s stomach rumble but I paid it no heed seeing her still cheerful face.

Brithan rarely gets angry—she is that casual, happy-go-lucky type of girl. But if she does go out of character, you’ll know something is really wrong. The last time her face formed a frown, a rival shop went on fire. I can’t really blame her since her father’s shop was the real victim.

“—Stop, Airen we’re here!” She squealed while tugging me like a child.

“I know Brithan, I have two eyes.” She laughed at my response and was about to drag me inside, clutching my wrist with her hand when a familiar woman blocked our path.

Her statuesque build shadowed over us as she bowed down her head in a faint manner. “Master wants to see you Airen.”

“Tarish—wow, this is too sudden—”

“Food is not a problem and you can also bring your companion.”

“Please lead the way.”

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