The Siren’s Rune—Chapter 5: Part 1-Lucky Servant
“Ipofz, mfu’t dbssz uifn up uif Dpxafs Tfdu,” the demon lady said to the chubby man. He responded with a happy nod before speaking to Kaiden. He motioned at the bull, encouraging the boy to follow him towards the mount.
The party ignored me and chatted with each other, but Kaiden wore a strange, seemingly forced, smile. His blue eyes flickered from and to the demon lady without giving me a single glance.
My fists tightened, turning a pale white. Why can’t he look my way?!
As if hearing my thoughts, the evil demon turned, and head facing away from Kaiden, gave me a sly wink.
I wanted to crush her face.
“Vq xf hp,” she said while standing next to the Imperial Titan Bull. Once again she wrapped her arms around me in a hug. Injecting some spiritual energy into my body, she stopped any chance of me struggled from her grasp.
With a graceful leap, she landed on the armored mount and dropped me onto its back. Following her, the chubby man plopped Kaiden a meter in front of me. For some reason he was smiling, and as I looked at his smile, I was filled with endless anger.
How can he be so ignorant of the enemies around us!?
Thump! The demon kicked me, sparing no kindness. She snickered a few times and nudged me forward until I was pushed up against Kaiden. With a sudden pat, she touched me on my head with her long fingers.
“Ipme ujhiu,” she said with a smile. The demon lady was stranger than I had expected.
“Ipofz, gpshfu bcpvu uibu cpz. Dpnf kpjo nf vq ifsf!” The chubby man yelled from the head of the bull. He sat with legs crossed, and the tall man was to the left of him. The demon lady nodded her head and took a seat between the two.
With her gone, I quickly moved a bit away from Kaiden. His close proximity had made my mind hazy.
“Nbsdi!” the demon lady yelled while pointing north.
The bull roared and took a step forward.
The motion caught Kaiden off guard and he bumped into me. The wretched smell of old blood wafted to my nose.
Angry, I whispered into his ear, not caring whether the three people heard me speak Gnudeerian.
“You smell like a dead-carcass.”
“I’m covered in blood and dirt. I would be surprised if I didn’t,” Kaiden whispered. His eyes rested on the Imperial Titan Bull. “Why is this animal so ridiculously large? Are those green tassels a type of magical rune?”
My teeth clenched. I had expected him to become flustered, but instead, he treated me as though my opinions did not matter.
Kaiden shrugged and asked the others. The chubby man responded to him, and the boy’s eyes shone with interest and curiosity.
I lightly jabbed him in the side; he squirmed like a little worm. The second time I touched his side, he swung his arm back, pushing away my hand. Paying me no attention, he continued to listen to the chubby man.
I imagined that he was telling Kaiden about magical beasts such as this bull. It was a dull topic, but I suppose he never knew about them, despite how common they were in my world.
They, like people, had soul runes and could activate runes. Some people even believed that humans were a mutated type of magical beast who did not form a stone core within their bodies. This idea was especially prevalent in the country of Hartebeest, which was located at the southern edge of the continent of Haven.
I pinched Kaiden’s side. His flesh was soft and squishy, devoid of any muscles.
He glared at me with his blue eyes, but I could not help smiling back at him. I jabbed him again while savoring his childish squirms. His back even shivered.
Then I poked his flesh, and felt amazed by his strange lack of muscles. He was like a giant, fat-less baby.
As Kaiden paid me no attention except for a couple glares, I reached forward to grab the bottom of his shirt. He flinched and desperately grasped my arm to stop the oncoming jab or pinch.
I gathered some saliva in my mouth and spat at his face, aiming for his cheek. It splattered like a squashed bug.
Kaiden grimaced, and despite the filth of his blood-stained clothes, wiped away the spit with his sleeve.
Meanwhile, I pushed up his shirt. His stomach was completely smooth with no abs whatsoever. It was a very curious phenomenon.
Maybe the world he came from has something to do with it.
Kaiden was either unaware of my charades or detested me so much that he did not care. I on the other hand was perfectly happy not acting as a proper princess.
This was why I dressed up as a boy: to live freely without care. A princess had too many rules and too many suitors. These men would annoyingly pester me with shallow flattery and stupid advice. It made me want to barf—but so did the demon lady.
She began to chat with Kaiden, and her lush lips seductively opened and closed. There was no doubt in my mind that she was diabolically brainwashing him.
Like an innocent lamb awaiting a hungry wolf, he gazed back at her with his deep blue eyes.
This must be what the other princesses felt when all the powerful Runists fought for my affections. No, this was different. My half-sisters wanted to marry them, but I don’t want Kaiden. That demon lady can have him!
I only hated losing—that was why I felt this way. He had ignored me, had let go of my hand, and had eyes only for the demon lady. In these ways, I had lost, and it filled my mouth with disgust. I needed to try harder.
The chubby man spoke with Kaiden, and never before had I wished that I had studied the Appenhund language. I knew a few phrases, but unfortunately they were useless: “I have many other suitors,” “I’m not interested,” “You know nothing about love,” “Commoners don’t suit my taste.”
Bringing me from my musings, the demon lady raised her hand. “Uifsf’t zpvs ofx ipnf.”
In the distance, a large city came into view. It had magnificent formations of enchantment runes that danced through the sky, visible to Runists who were at least as powerful as me. Behind the curtain of magical energy, a large palace loomed from the city’s center. It eclipsed the five meter tall walls that ran around the city’s boundary.
The walls, which were designed only for aesthetic purposes, displayed the myth of the Birth of the Crystal Mountains. Fierce magical beasts fought each other with magic while trying to obtain a legacy stored within the mountains. The story ended with a tragedy and prophecy about an approaching calamity, but only people from Appenhund actually believed it.
The Imperial Titan Bull stopped in front of a large, square gate which was six meters tall and wide. Sitting on the bull, I could easily peer over it, but something pulled my eyes downward.
On the gates was a massive depiction of an Imperial Titan Bull, or maybe it was an Imperial Titan Cow. I could not tell because its glowing eyes and powerful muscles shook the recesses of my soul. My spiritual energy waned, and all my strength left my body.
The six rubies, which formed a circle around the emblem, sucked both spiritual and magical energy into the gate. It was then used to power the magic formations around the city.
“PQFO!” the demon lady called. She patted the mount’s head.
Following it, the magical beast slammed its foot into the dirt. The tremor shook the gates.
The energy around the emblem’s eyes swirled, forming a vortex and drawing in all nearby energy. It gobbled it up like a starving wolf. The essence in the air rapidly thinned.
Soon the emblem expelled the energy through its mouth. It poured out as a thick red liquid. Like a massive wave of water, it swelled up into the sky.
Then it crashed down with ferocious strength, and the liquid wrapped around our bodies.
Kaiden struggled to breathe, but soon the gates swung open with a burst of wind. It lightened the condensed energy and washed away its oppressive aura. What was left was as soft as silk, and it flowed through the air.
I circulated my spiritual energy to absorb the pure essence, but it did not respond.
Instead, it swirled towards the demon lady and gathered in her outstretched hand. With a jade-like glow, it entered through her palm as she sharpened her domineering aura. Feeling it, the grass of the plains bowed to her might.
“Nbsdi!” she yelled.
The magical beast let out a hearty growl and trotted through the gates.
We continued down wide streets, the nearby buildings shaking with each step. Everything was pristine, but nothing was that eye catching.
The magical beast walked by a mob of people.
They were huddled in a circle, hollering and shoving each other for a better view of the poor soul they had trapped. Their white robes, which signified the weakest Runist rank, were covered in a faint amount of blood. Impressively, they were all below the age of twenty and had at least two stars on their robes.
This signified that they were at least the second stage of the first Runist rank—the 2-Star Apprentice. Above that rank would be the 3-Star Apprentice, then 4-Star, and finally 5-Star. Past that was the Novice Rank, which was represented by the color green, just like the uncommon rune.
The mob became quiet as we approached. They gazed up at the three riding the bull’s head, and their eyes filled with awe. The Apprentices bowed.
Curious, a few peaked at the armor covering the Imperial Titan Bull. Soon, they noticed me and Kaiden.
They were surprised by our presence, but my beauty shocked them even more. I was like a goddess to them, shining brilliantly on an armored mount. My very existence made their hearts beat quicker and their bodies sway.
It did not matter if they were man or woman, they all looked at me with a gaze that was shrouded in lust and love. Their ogling made me feel uncomfortable, despite the many years I had seen that look.
Curse my damn soul rune.
I sat up proudly, distancing myself from those far below me. These insects were not worth my time, but they refused to accept that I was many leagues better than them. Still, they gazed at me with their beady little eyes prickling at my soul.
Smiling, I moved to plan two. This one had never failed.
My arms reached forward, wrapping around Kaiden’s waist. I pulled him closer to my body as his face turned ashen. He stiffened, and I heard him gulp. Despite all that, I still rubbed my cheek against his blood-matted hair and resisted the urge to barf.
The mob no longer looked at me; they, like starving wolves, glared at Kaiden. As much as they had loved me, they hated him.
Kaiden quickly covered his face, flustered by all the attention.
“What’s the matter?” I said into his ear, holding back a laugh. Not only did he have no muscles, he was shy of insects.
“You’re the devil.” He glared.
I laughed; his lack of affection made me giddy to the point of toppling over. I released him and grabbed onto my stomach. I laughed louder.
The bull suddenly teetered, giving me a start.
“Uibu’t uif xbz up ep ju!” the demon lady yelled. Her lungs filled with laughter, and she gave the magical beast another pat.
It charged forward, increasing its speed by twofold.
I rolled across the surface of the bull’s back. I grabbed onto the beast’s shaggy hair, but before I could hold it tightly, a gust of wind mixed with spiritual energy blasted my body. It pushed me off the beast’s rear end.
“Crap!” I desperately reached for the armor around the Imperial Titan Bull. I managed to grab the edge of the silver plating, but it dug into my palm and sliced it open. With my other hand, I grasped onto a loose strap before releasing the armor.
My hand bled, but the close proximity to the beast’s butt grieved me more. Using my strength as a Novice-ranked Runist, I pulled myself from the bull’s rear end and closer to its thigh. Stretching forward, I could almost climb onto the beast’s back. Unfortunately, the sharp armor prevented me from bridging the last gap.
Kaiden, who was laying flat against the bull, noticed my sorry state. He frowned, and I could almost imagine his condescending thoughts. It embarrassed me, and as the demon lady’s laughter reached my ears, I became extremely infuriated.
I must have looked pathetic hanging on for dear life as I dangling by an animal’s disgusting butt. My face reddened.
“Damn it!” I cursed, but the wind muffled it, preventing the world from knowing my rage.
The silver armor gleamed in the light, reflecting the image of my disorderly self. I kicked it, hoping to crush the metal.
A loud sound reverberated.
My foot ached, and I bit my bottom lip to hold back the pain. Further angering me, the armor was surprisingly unharmed. I had thought it was silver, but if it was, my foot would have punched through it.
The demon lady’s laughter grew louder, and the armor fluctuated. It was faint, but it had happened. The armor was definitely composed of pure magical energy.
She had been taunting me this whole time, and her damn mount was freakishly monstrous to have created such an armor.
I could only growl in shame and defeat. There was no way I could compete with her; she might have even been a Grandmaster, the highest rank possible for a Runist.
“Ifsf xf bsf,” she laughed, and the bull stopped moving.
The chubby man jumped from its head, and I felt a tugging sensation, most likely from a rune, which pulled me down with him.
I released the strap, falling gently to the ground and landing on my feet. Next to me, Kaiden embarrassingly ate the dirt. I pretended not know him.
“Czf-czf Vaughn! Ublf hppe dbsf pg zpvstfmg,” I heard the demon lady yell from the bull’s head. I could barely discern Vaughn’s name.
Damn it, why had I told Kaiden that my name was Vaughn. So stupid!
Pulling me from my self rebuke, Kaiden grabbed my arm and dragged me into a small, one room house. Because my foot still hurt, I limped behind him.
He slammed the door shut. His brows furrowed.
“We need to get out of here.”
I shrugged. There was no chance of us leaving here alive. The formation barrier would stop us, and there were bound to be many people more powerful than me.
“Too late for that,” I said to Kaiden. “Where are we, and what do they plan to do with us? I hope you put your language skills to some actual use.”
“We’re somewhere near Avocet, Appenhund.”
Avocet? The area surrounding…
The tall grass, the myth inscribed on the walls, the emblem on the door…it all dawned on me like a sledgehammer smashing me into the ground. It all pointed to the most barbaric place in existence.