Linjos took out his communication amulet to call for reinforcements when Nalear's sword moved by spirit magic impaled him from the back. The Headmaster fell on his knees, coughing blood. The surprise almost made him ignore the pain.
"How? Why?" Were his final words.
Nalear freed herself and Wanemyre from the ropes, moving the unconscious Professor like a puppet thanks to spirit magic. Wanemyre remaining arm easily lifted the sword, decapitating Linjos with a single swing.
Blood spurted like a fountain, painting the room red.
"It is done!" Nalear laughed maniacally.
"Linjos died by your hand! By your sword! Oh Lyca, if only you could see. I'd kill you right now, but you need to make a statement to not leave any doubts about what happened here." Nalear took out her communication amulet.
"Rise, my little lambs! The time has come. Your final order is the following: do whatever your heart wants! R*pe, kill, steal! Have no fear for tomorrow because you don't have one. Show the whole world what kind of monsters you really are!"
And so, the final part of her plan began.
Outside the White Griffon academy, Lady Tyris wept warm tears for Linjos's death.
"Nice order! If it wasn't for her being raving mad and using slave items, I could almost admire her cleverness." Salaark said with a disgusted expression on her face.
"Watch and learn, girl. This is why I lead my country with an iron fist and why Leegaain abandoned the Gorgon Empire." She said to Milea Genys, the Magic Empress and also the only human among the spectators.
"Humans are cruel beings that inflict pain on their kin not out of necessity, but simply because they can. They can't feel good with themselves unless they stand atop others."
"Indeed." Leegaain nodded. "Violence only begets more violence. Abuses breed monsters in an endless cycle of blood and chaos."
White Griffon academy, right after Orion left and before Nalear entered Linjos's office.
Jirni compared Phloria's list with the one on her amulet.
"Good thinking, my little Flower. I'm proud of you."
"Thanks, mom. I think we should start with this girl because not only she's close to the scene, but she also belongs to a very powerful family. It means that if she is involved, she has a lot to lose. You can use it as leverage." Phloria pointed out.
'By the gods, she is really getting crafty.' Jirni didn't miss her daughter becoming mature, nor the lily pendant at her neck.
'Let's just hope her bull-headed father doesn't make a fuss when he notices it too.' She inwardly sighed.
The two women quickly reached the room of Leflia Quaroon, daughter of Duchess Quaroon, an influential figure among the ancient noble households. While Phloria made way, Jirni studied Leflia's family file without finding anything unusual.
According to her personal file, Leflia was a tall sixteen year old girl with black hair and chestnut eyes. In a way, she reminded Jirni of her own daughter. She had flunked her Battle Mage class, hence she could only graduate as an unspecialized mage.
It made it impossible for her to achieve a high ranking.
The moment the door opened, Leflia's lineaments contracted for a split second. Behind the girl's meek appearance, Jirni recognized hatred and envy.
"Is there something wrong, Ernas?" Her voice was low and sweet.
"Royal constable Jirni Ernas. We need to talk about what happened last night." Jirni stood in front of Phloria, tapping her index on her badge.
"I'm sorry, I know nothing about it." Leflia opened the door, inviting them to come in. Jirni didn't miss her eye twitching for a second.
"The rooms are soundproof, inside and out." She was still denying when Nalear voice came out of her communication amulet, giving the final order.
The change was like a switch had been pressed. Leflia's features turned into a mask of wrath. She took out a short sword from her dimensional amulet, attacking Phloria in a frenzy.
Phloria didn't even flinch. She grabbed and twisted the opponent's wrist with the left hand, making her drop the blade. At the same time, she grabbed Leflia's neck with the right one, raising her from the ground with a single arm.
"You better start talking or I'll start squeezing." Phloria's voice was stone cold. She was barely letting Leflia breathe.
"I'll never talk, you wh*re! You don't deserve what you've got. You sucked up to two filthy commoners to improve your grades." Another twitch happened.
"Keep her hanging, darling. Do not let her go, no matter the reason." Jirni took her badge and passed it over Leflia's neck before moving to her hands.
"We are lucky." The badge had just emitted a ping while Jirni waved it over the left hand.
"It's only a slave ring."
"What?" Phloria was shocked. She had only read about them in history books.
Jirni didn't reply. She stabbed the girl's arm with one of her needles, which acted as a nerve blocker. It immediately became limp.
"Because otherwise, I couldn't do this." She cut off the ring finger with a single movement. Only then the slave item could be removed.
"Why do you think they used collars in the past?"
After the amputation, Leflia changed again, sobbing desperately.
"It's Nalear! She made me do it. Lith is kept prisoner inside her apartments!"
Phloria was shocked by the turn of events, yet she retained the presence of spirit to stop the bleeding and reattach the finger with light magic. The cut was so clean the extremities took little effort to heal.
The moment Jirni stepped away, Leflia turned hysterical again.
"Don't leave me! She'll be back! They'll kill you. They'll kill us! Don't leave me!" She threw herself at Jirni's legs, hugging them desperately.
Lady Ernas took the needle out of her arm and into her neck. Leflia's pupil suddenly dilated while her body relaxed.
"Who is going to kill us?" She asked placing the girl on her bed.
Nalear's apartments, in the same moment.
Lith's eyes opened, staring at the tireless efforts of his captors to make him unconscious again. They could stab all they wanted; he felt no pain. With his focus finally restored, all he needed to do was breathe.
With every breath, his body healed. With every breath, his strength returned. As soon as he had enough strength, he grabbed one of his captors with spirit magic, pinning her against the wall.
One by one, they all found themselves hung on the walls or the ceiling, just like him.
When Lith returned to his full strength, he started studying the locks. His mind was cold and rational, while his heart was scorching hot with rage.
Yet the void inside him devoured everything. The hunger consumed all other feelings.
Black tendrils came out of his body, eroding the pseudo cores on his wrists, legs, and waist until they exploded. Between his body being fully empowered by earth fusion and the use of Invigoration, he didn't care for the damage sustained.
The first lock almost cut off his left foot, the second one only gave him a third burn degree and some metal shards stuck in his flesh. With each lock he learned more, taking less damage opening the next one.
His fury didn't make him stupid; he kept the neck for last. The left wrist was barely scratched, the right one remained unscathed.
Lith grabbed the shackles at his throat turning them into dust before speaking.
His voice was coarse and guttural, his words growled more than spoken.
"Where… is… my… ring?"