The Polyglot’s Rune—Chapter 6: The Ruby Plan
We walked for hours.
My legs ached, and I felt extremely exhausted ever since I came to this world. The worst part about it, I had no idea where Vaughn wanted to go. We literally walked in circles, passing our shack an uncountable amount of times.
I wanted to voice my complaints, but his childish smile and darting eyes convinced me otherwise.
An hour ago, Vaughn had stopped pulling me by the arm; instead, he had grabbed onto my hand.
The run-down shacks and creepily peering disciples did not bother him in the least. In fact, he purposefully instilled their wrath through his arrogant, egotistical gazes. He even stuck out his tongue.
Offended, some disciples revealed crude weapons and prepared to attack us.
Vaughn’s smile grew in response to their actions. Its creepiness transcended the disciples’ courage.
They quickly backed off and admitted defeat.
Vaughn scoffed in disappointment, but with a happy gait, found some more disciples to antagonize.
The boy was in his own little world, so I let him be. It did not bother me in the least. I have always been chill about what others do.
That must be why I was always bullied—I never put up a fight or complained. I really have no backbone, or maybe I just don’t care….
We arrived in front of our shack again. I felt my pillow call out to my tattered legs, and I imagined the unfathomable bliss of a long nap. Stretching out, laying down, no more creepy smiles…
Vaughn tugged at my arm. His smile had vanished and he donned big, pleading eyes.
He still wants to walk more? Alright, just one more time around….
I turned to head down a random path we had traveled before, but Vaughn did not budge. He gave me a funny look before he dragging me into the shack.
Make up your mind, kid.
I collapsed onto my pillow and let out a long sigh. My robe was drenched in sweat caused by the tedious workout and the hot, looming sun.
Smiling, I poked at the “Clean” rune, and all the filth vanished. I let the soft pillow embrace my face….
Thunk! The Cowzer Sect Basics hit me in the head.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Vaughn asked. He picked up his pillow and shook out all of the dust. Patting it down, he placed it onto the ground. The pillow suddenly looked too flat to be an actual pillow. Vaughn sat down and entered the Lotus Position.
“Don’t be lazy,” he said.
“Let me sleep.” I scowled. “We pointlessly walked around for six hours. We didn’t even leave District 20.”
He opened his mouth to say something–
“Good night,” I said.
He scoffed. “You need exercise; you’re too scrawny.”
Seriously? That’s why?
I gave him a baffled look. “Are you joking? Look at yourself. You’re smaller than me, and your pale skin makes you look deathly. Add in the blood and grime that you don’t clean off your robe and you become the spitting image of a vampire.”
“That,” he stuttered. His face blushed red. “You clean it up…errr…please?”
I frowned. What the hell is he talking about?
His face became a deeper red, and he turned away. “I mean…the rune you used…activate it for me?”
He covering his face in shame. “I-I have a black core.”
I sat up and shook my head. “I don’t know what that means.”
Hearing my words, he sighed in relief and quickly recovered his composure.
I smiled at his display; he really was straightforward and childish. My new, little brother…so innocently adorable.
“It means I can’t activate most runes,” he said after some time. Pointing at me, he continued, “You have a white core, which means you can activate any rune. However, those with white cores will only activate runes with minimum strength.
“I posses a black core, which means that I can only activate some runes. However, it also means that the amount of strength displayed by the activated rune is much more powerful than anyone else who activates it. It’s also the only reason why I could activate an epic rune despite my 1-Star Novice rank.”
I nodded at his words. “Alright, show me the stone rune.”
Blushing slightly, he moved closer to me and turned over the inside collar of his robe. Pinned there were two small stone runes. One was the “Clean” rune while the other read something else. Before I could grasp its meaning, Vaughn grabbed my hand.
He pulled it up to his mouth and bit down on the tip of my index finger. I flinched with pain, but he ignored it, squeezing a few drops of blood onto the runes.
As the liquid coagulated into cores, my eyes grew heavy. All the exhaustion of the day bombarded me like a crushing force.
Using my finger, Vaughn poked the “Clean” rune. The last bit of energy left me, and I fell forward. Feeling the warmth of his bosom, I fell asleep with a light smile on my face as I imagined his ensuing expression.
In District 1—the home of the Cowzer Faction, renamed as the Ruby Faction—a lavish mansion shunned all nearby housing. It boasted of glittering luxury while enchantment runes danced across its marble edifice. They shone with a purple light, giving the mansion an otherworldly air.
In one of the rooms was a large meeting hall. The walls and stone-rune lights were plain, but the tiled floor was covered in pink, soft cushions.
At the center of the room, three people sat together while a large magical beast dozed off behind them. A middle-aged woman with a motherly face leaned against its shaggy hair.
Breaking the silence, Matriarch Ruby said, “You are not to tell any of the other factions about those two kids. Understand?”
Doyen Gale slowly nodded while the stout Doyen Gin let out a hum in agreement.
Smiling, she took a sip from her wine glass. “We are lucky. The other Grandmasters left us behind while they went to have some fun in Gnudeer, but who would have guessed that both a blue blood and an otherworld human would appear at our doorstep. Good thing Boon noticed the warp rune fluctuations.”
She stroked the white and black hair of the Imperial Titan Bull, applauding him. Her face was sincere and heartwarming, but as memories of the past crept into her mind, her temperament grew worse.
She let out a cold humph. “I can’t believe they dared to force me to stay here and protect the sect. Although I may be the weakest of the Grandmasters, I’m still a close relative of Kozen Cowzer.”
The matriarch took an angry sip of wine. “They’re going to pay, and those two kids are going to be ours. First, we’ll crush the Tempest Faction; that bastard dared to dump me while our little boy was still so young.”
Doyen Gale sighed inwardly. Here we go again. Why can’t Mother remember that she left him to chase after Patriarch Shade?
With a short laugh and a quick nod, Doyen Gin lightheartedly raised his glass in agreement. “He’ll pay, darling!”
“Yes,” Matriarch Ruby replied. A light shown in her black eyes as she grew excited. “Then, we’ll crush the Shade Faction! That other bastard dared to refuse my affection!”
Under the threat of my father, I wouldn’t see why he would accept a random proposal, Doyen Gale thought. He only regretted two things in life: having Matriarch Ruby as a mother and Patriarch Tempest as a father.
At least he received good bloodlines. At age 37 with the rank of a 2-star Doyen, he was hailed by the Appenhund Kingdom as a true genius. No one dared to be arrogant in his presence.
“They will all be crushed, my dear!” Doyen Gin laughed at the top of his lungs, his belly jiggling. Whatever Matriarch Ruby said, he would wholeheartedly follow her, and for it, she adored him.
Doyen Gin, however, was 92 and young enough to be her great-grandchild.
Doyen Gale silently shook his head in displeasure. The stout man was also Patriarch Tempest’s baby brother. The thought of his mother being with him filled his mouth with vomit.
It was no wonder why the two drove him to perpetual silence. He had long since given up the notion of helping them with their schemes. If he did, the Ruby Faction might not be in so much trouble.
“This is great,” Matriarch Ruby said, waving her wine glass through the air. “We can get back at Matriarch Blaze for keeping her star disciple from me and that Grandmaster Snow for having such a gorgeous granddaughter.”
She tilted her head backwards. “Next will be Matriarch Shade and Grandmaster Flameheart for their treachery and deceitful ways!”
Hysterical laughter rang out, and she nearly spilled her wine. “They will all bow down at my feet, and it will all be because they left us here to rot from boredom!”
Her voice echoed throughout the room until dying out to a faint whisper. Placing her cup down, she gathered her composure. A small smile crept on her mouth as she released a tinge of killing intent. Her following words were filled with confidence.
“Doyen Gin, in three months time I want you to recruit the two children into the Ruby Faction. It is of utmost importance, and we cannot let anyone else know about it. After we obtain them, I hope their talent lives up to my expectations.”
Matriarch Ruby lifted the wine glass up to her lips. She inhaled its rich fragrance, letting it fill her lungs. “If they’re failures, Doyen Gale, I’ll trouble you with disposing them. Sell the blue blood to the Appenhund Kingdom; they’ve always craved to boost their bloodline with that of the Gnudeer Family. Their pay won’t disappoint us. As for the other one, do whatever you want.”
Her son silently nodded.
After swallowing down the last bit of wine, Matriarch Ruby continued, “The plan is simple: convince the disciples of the Ruby Faction to punish District 20 because someone insulted our great name. Hint that we need more manpower, so if there are any talents, the faction members will recruit them. District 20 will be wiped of the map for the millionth time, but if all goes well, the two children will be ours.”
“It will not fail,” Doyen Gin said. He put his complete trust into his darling and willed for nothing to go wrong.
On the other hand Doyen Gale slowly stood up, imperceptibly shaking his head. The scheme made his heart bleed, not because District 20 would be destroyed, but because it would blight his pride. It was his mother’s go-to plan for recruitment, and it had always ended in failure.
On the bright side, the seven other Grandmasters of the Cowzer Sect, without a doubt, would suspect nothing. They believed Matriarch Ruby to be too dim-witted to be sly.
In a way they are correct, thought Doyen Gale. He made his way to leave the meeting room.
Seeing him walk away, Doyen Gin jumped up and chased after him, calling back to the woman, “Don’t worry my darling, your wish will come true. With those two new disciples, we’ll rise above the other factions!”
He unconsciously slammed the door shut as he left.
Matriarch Ruby sat still and waited for the span of a few minutes. She raised the empty wine glass up to her lips. Her soul rune flickered, and her eye color changed from black to a deep red. A jade glow covered her skin, protecting her from any possible harm.
She bit into the wine glass whose crunch had a delicious appeal. Smiling, she devoured the entire cup and licked her fingers clean.
Rubies are so much better, she thought.
Her magical beast, awoken by her soul fluctuations, slowly nudged its nuzzle against her face. It quietly mooed to attract her attention.
“There, there, Boon,” said the matriarch. Her voice sounded so endearing and lovely to the beast.
“I haven’t forgotten you. Do you remember how we paraded through the sect today? Alter everyone’s memory and make them forget that we ever left. We never brought those two kids here. Okay? And remember, everyone but me. Fill in the gaps like you always do, sweetie.”
She kissed the beast’s nose, and it nodded its head. Sentience shone in Boon’s eyes as it circulated its soul rune.
People around the sect started to forget about seeing Matriarch Ruby that day. They slowly fell asleep, but those who ranked above Adept only suffered a slight drowsiness.
Doyen Gin paused for a second, trying to remember why District 20 had to be eradicated. Pushing away his thoughts, he carried on as though nothing strange had happened.