Yona rounded the corner and burst into the room, holding the scimitar up in confusion. More puzzled than ever by the sight of the empty room in the basement, she just stood there for a minute. There was a lantern resting on the table, a large spider nest settled in the left corner of the room and a carefully organized trail of arachnids still making their way out of the house and back to the forest. "Hello?" She called out, but there was no answer. Frowning, Yona turned her gaze about. She had heard his voice, taunting her. She had heard muffled sounds, the sound of a blade being drawn, and the cry of her friend Kyran. Yona had seen the shadows on the wall and rapped her free hand on her head. None of this made any sense to her at all. The room was utterly empty except for the small table, a chair, and a lantern and the someone had to have lit the lantern. Yona let out a sigh, her heart racing and her mind stressed. "Guess I've got to destroy the nest. Something is seriously wrong with my head, I suppose," Yona mumbled to herself.
The plant mage made her way to the nest and sliced at it a few times with her Blade of Thorns. There weren't many spiders left and those that were hastily made their way away from the woman exuding hormones. Yona turned back towards the door and jumped, startled to see a tall thin man standing there. In his hand seemed to be some sort of wooden top and he turned it over and back, spinning it between his fingers, watching the painted symbols turn as he moved it. She pointed her weapon at him and swallowed hard, squinting at him, "Who the hell are you?" Yona kept her other questions to herself, on the off chance she was hallucinating, but she was not about to trust this stranger. How had he gotten in without making a sound?
"I'm glad you chose to come down, babe," The man replied, ignoring her question. Yona pursed her lips angrily, "I heard Kyran's voice, you made threats, where is he?" "Well drastic times do call for drastic measures," He answered, "I apologize for tricking you but I required privacy for our conversation." He looked to the chair then and gestured with the wooden top in his hand, "Have a seat." Yona felt the magic then, unsure why she had not felt it before. The man had to have been suppressing it, only now allowing her to feel his great power. It reminded her of Johann when she had first met him, and though she had grown herself, it was clear to her that this man was no joke. He had set all of this up, whatever it was. Yona hated this more and more, feeling trapped in this back room in a basement full of spiders- nobody was going to be looking for her for a while. She took a breath and narrowed her eyes.
"Nobody worth talking to hides out in basements and tricks pretty women to come in too," Yona retorted haughtily. He gave a shrug and went back to his top for a moment and then pointed over his shoulder with it, "You're free to go whenever you like, but consequences will ensue. Your flirty friend isn't as lucky as you are, he won't get the choice to just leave, babe." Yona growled, "Where's Key? I swear I'll kill you if you don't explain yourself." "I need you to do me a favor, just a small one." He laughed and straightened himself meeting her eyes dead on, an intense blue stare. "I want you to watch your red-headed friend." Yona took a step forward and pointed her blade higher at him, aiming towards his chest, "I'm not doing anything for you. Now you tell me what's going--" A sudden tightening in her chest, a fearful pounding in her heart. She could tell it was magic based, but when she looked up at his face and saw the frightful shadow man of her nightmares, the one who set the fire, it took her breath away.
The blue-eyed man had taken his form somehow, using her fear to control and manipulate her. How had he even known about her past? Or was he just in her head, using her own fears and emotions to play out his dark schemes. "I said, sit down." The voice was commanding, and her body started to tremble. She made her way over to the chair, her blade tightly gripped in her hand, her knuckles turning white. "I want to know everything. I want to know about every job he takes, every friend he confides in, I want to know where he sleeps at night, what he eats, when he eats. I want to know who holds his heart, unless that's you, babe." He chuckled, but it was an uneasy sound, deeply baritone and sadistic. Yona breathed harder and she closed her eyes, trying to take control back inside her own head. Somehow, she could feel the heat of a fire, the scars on her legs beginning to itch as if reverting back to before they had fully healed. "He-he's just a friend!" She shouted, "W-why do you think I would do that? I'm not helping you with anything. Is he even here?"
The man took a step forward and she opened her eyes, hearing his footsteps come closer. She lifted her blade and felt it strike flesh. It sank into his side, blood dripping down the blade. Her eyes widened and for a moment she thought the nightmare was over. Then the blade vanished and he let out a second laugh, the sensation of fire and the visage of the shadow-man from her past all slipping away. She sat there shaken, looking at her empty hand and then back to him. Illusions? All of it? That explained the voices, the sounds, the shadow on the wall. Yona was starting to panic, she hated being in an enclosed room, but right now she had no idea what was real or not real and worse, she had no idea how to figure a way out of the situation she was in. "You seem close to him, babe. Close enough that he's allowed to slap your ass, close enough that he lets you touch him back. Close enough that I'm sure you wouldn't want anything to happen to him. And let's be honest, babe," He shook his head and smirked. "You don't even know if I am real anymore do you. How well do you think he would do against me? Or worse, when my illusions trigger the monsters inside him, how well do you think the people in WFTC will do? How about the innocents in the village? Maybe.. maybe he's already killed them. Maybe I've already gotten in his head." Yona's chest clenched painfully again and she touched it, grimacing.
She hated him for it, but he did make a good point. If she refused, there was no guarantee that he wouldn't slip away on the wind somehow. He was powerful like Johann was, but without a demon, still a formidable force. This man was nothing to underestimate and after her encounter with Ruvel, Sato, and the big fight with Johann... Yona knew better than to be stupid and let her emotions drive her into battle. If this stranger threatened the guild, threatened Kyran, there was no reason why she shouldn't believe that he could follow through. Yona didn't know enough about him to feel in control of this situation. Perhaps she could even discuss things with Johann, he was smart enough to know what to do in this situation. She would have to do as he ordered and betray her closest friend, at least until she could figure things out. She swallowed hard again, lifting up a hand, thinking to herself that all she had to do was flick her wrist and bamboo would shoot from the floors and through this man's body. Yona craved that sight. "If you try to hurt me again, I won't be so generous. Though I do appreciate your passionate fire, I prefer you to use your skills to get me what I want. This is your only opportunity to protect him and your guild. Choose wisely."
Yona dropped her hand, letting her murderous imagination trickle away from her. She looked up at the man and scowled, "What will you do with my information? Who are you? And how will I even find you?" The man spun his wooden top on the table, the spinning object giving off a faint blue glow. As it spun around, he spoke again. "What I do with it is my business. You haven't yet earned my name, but you can call me oh... I don't know.... something fun," He watched the swirling top and then grasped it from the top, stabbing it into his finger tip. Oddly enough, the drop of blood seemed to suck up into the top and then he handed it to her. "How about The MindReaver!?" With a nod he added, "When you have something for me, let the top have a taste of your blood. I'll find you within 12 hours of the call and feel free to call me for only two things." He leaned in, and Yona could smell an aged cologne, not the sort of thing a reputable person might wear, but she kept that judgment to herself. She thought his code name was stupid too, but once more said nothing about it.
"Either you message me because you have information, or you message me because if I don't hear from you at least once every three days, everything you care about will be destroyed. And if it's the latter," He shook his head and touched his hand to her cheek in a caress both gentle and repulsing. "You better have something to stop me from going after him." "Screw you," Yona snarled, jumping to her feet. She held the top in her hand and her hands turned into fists, ready to punch his face in. She had to remind herself of his warning and when she hesitated the MindReaver laughed again. He turned around and started walking out of the room, "Don't even think of telling anyone, by the way. You've got a good start. You made the right choice, so don't muck it up." He lifted his left hand into the air, wiggling his index finger side to side like the hand of a clock, "Tick, tock, babe." And with that he was gone, the lantern still glowing in the room but his entire form fading into thin air. His threats it seemed were very real if his real self was not within the room.
Yona got to her feet and was pleased to see at least the nest was still destroyed. She gathered herself, walking out of the basement, climbing the mossy stairs with shaky steps. She made her way back to the village and the stable, finding the horses out and prepared for riding. She wavered on her feet, her mind elsewhere, and then nearly tripped with her very next step. What the hell was she going to do, she thought to herself, even as she attempted an awkward wave towards Kyran. "Hey, let's uh.. let's go."
WC: 5794+1909= 7703