Hardcore: Qi Worlds

Chapter 100

Chapter 100: Captive 8

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The sealer was trying to add and remove signatures, Fury watched him closely under qi sight, the technique was not as simple as using a needle with ink penetrating the skin. The sealer was effectively embedding qi threads, a special sort of ink which bound an imprint of the thread. Fury did not know how he knew, but he knew other races used a similar technique when making his leathers, sword and shield. The pattern itself determined the effect.

The signature acted as a lock, locking it open or closed. He had no idea how the sealer knew what your signature was since that involved reading a person and not something he could witness. Like he was now witnessing the sealing and tattooing technique.

Now that he saw it in action, it would not be too difficult to undo. Fury had grasped the theory, creating a new tattoo was beyond him, but undoing threads, destroying these tattoos, that was child's play. Once an embedded thread was broken, no sealing or activating techniques would be possible. He could pick apart the minute connections, and it would be difficult for the grandmaster to redo what had been undone. Not to mention he could undo it so much faster.

 He could have waited until the sealer left, but it would soon be apparent the tattoos weren’t working, and there was fun to be had. He decided he would rather see the grandmasters reaction to his artistry being destroyed now.

Fury, began to unpick minuscule threads, the tiniest of connections, working his way out through the larger intersections and into the backbone of the weave. It was entirely disassembled.

It took the grandmaster a few moments of confusion to realise something was very very wrong with his seals, “what the hell is going on,” he roared.

The room was stunned.

Fury was quite happy with himself, he attempted to whistle merrily.

Ghehena knew immediately upon hearing the whistle that Fury had somehow managed to interfere with the grandmaster's work. He suspected with the roar, but the whistle was the clincher. If there were words to the tune of the whistle it would go something like, ‘I didn’t do nothin, no I didn’t, it wasn’t me, he he he.’

Fain approached the grandmaster, “what’s happened Sev?” She asked quietly.

“The weave, it has become unravelled,” he replied sadly like someone just kicked his masterwork sandcastle after months of effort.

“How,” asked Fain and then, “let me see,” she opened her third eye. Fury could see it in the middle of her forehead, it was pure qi, normal sight would not see it, but his qi sight could.

She inspected the tattoos, she clucked at first and then drew in a sharp intake of breath. “He was able to unpick the finest of connections, I can barely see them, and he undid them effortlessly. Oh, Sev, I am so sorry, this was such fine work,” she consoled him.

Scydhel was about to leave before the uproarious interruption, “will the tattoo’s not work on my slave?” She went straight to the heart of the matter.

“No, it seems they will not,” Fain said sadly. “Even if we knock him out, he can undo the work at any time. It is fortunate he did so now, at another time it could have been deadly.”

Fury knew what they were saying, but where would he go? Yes, he could probably escape, but to where? To do what? He had resigned to living here with Myrkman and Shebitch, he would just have as much fun as possible while making them miserable. If they killed him, so be it, what did he have to live for. The Val’Tien? It was mildly interesting, combat and winning were enjoyable, but, to what end?

He sighed, his mood had improved steadily after breaking Phee’s hold on him. She had fooled him at first. When he met her, he had no memories of his past life. Nothing to help him form judgements, but he wasn’t stupid. Eventually, he worked out her lies and manipulations.

The pain which she had dealt was served back to her, but that left a hole within him as well. He had gained some solace from Scintilla, oh the things he had done to her, but she still worshipped him. She was a strange one indeed.

Just when he was starting to gain a semblance of control he was suddenly sold, his world turned upside for the second time in a month. His new masters were soft, and they had twisted themselves into a hilarious deal where they could not dismember him, torture him nor kill him. But that would not last forever. He knew it would not last past the Val’Tien and their other nefarious needs of him.

And she knew it too. Scydhel had never relinquished their connection, she was feeling him even now.

At first, he had created the connection to get a reaction, for the shock value. And then for some reason, he realised he had missed it, a connection with another. He did not know why, but, he realised he was sad and alone without the connection. And now he had one, even with a heinous overlord such as her, it made him feel happy.

So although she was a cold bitch from hel, she was a vast improvement on Phee, and she shared the connection. She tried to hide her thoughts and feeling, but he saw through to them. Just as she could sense his. It did make shocking her a challenge, but he liked challenges, they made his days enjoyable.

“He does not want to escape,” Scydhel said, “nor kill his mistress. Perhaps torture his masters, but not kill.

Fain looked at her quizzically, “are you an empath Mistress?”

Scydhel laughed, “no,” she said succinctly.

“How was he able to undo the weave grandmaster?” Fain asked. She wanted to flush out if the Daughter was aware of his affinity. Though the amount he had paid and the behaviour she tolerated, indicated she did.

“I do not know, only another grandmaster sealer should be able to unpick those weaves, and even then if it is not your design, it is extremely difficult,” he answered, knowing the real reason but following her lead.

“Daughter, do you know of a reason he could do this? And why did he not do it before?” Fain asked Scydhel.

Scydhel stared at Fain, studying her, her eyes narrowed, but she said nothing.

Fury took the silence as a queue, he did not like being talked about as an object, as if he wasn’t there. Why? Hadn’t he been a slave all his life, surely he would be used to it by now. He jumped to his feet, it might be fun to defend the Daughter, see if he could push her off balance again.

“Do not question the Daughter of the Val’Sharam,” he said with mock seriousness, “I, her champion will defend her to my death,” he performed a mock bow to Scydhel.

“Fury,” Ghehena growled.

Fury looked aghast at Ghehena, “I am defending the honour of our house, Ghehena, do not pit yourself against me, although we are comrades, I will take you down if you besmirch the honour of the Val’Sharam!”

“If we cannot seal off his powers, what do you suggest?” Scydhel asked Fain as if Fury did not exist and his words were just air.

Fain looked pained, “negotiate with him. What does he want?”

Scydhel laughed for the second time in one night, Ghehena raised an eyebrow at the odd behaviour.

“Negotiate?” she said scathingly, “with .. a .. slave?” The last words left her lips slowly and with venom. It was almost as if she said, are you mad, after the rhetorical question. The words hung in the air.

“There are a few things I would like,” Fury volunteered.

Scydhel turned on him, her nostrils flaring. Although he was genuine, Fury was ecstatic he had managed to get under her skin again, she was getting good at this game, and it was becoming harder and harder.

“Well, that’s if you can afford them. You spent so much purchasing my beautiful ass you are probably broke now,” he offered Scydhel consolation.

“Oh no, you will not…,” Scydhel scoffed. She wiped tears of fury from her eyes and said to Ghehena, “chop off his left hand.”

Ghehena never baulked at a direct order. He drew his sword and strode over to Fury, although he may question the wisdom behind this action, he acted as if he knew her plan.

Fury was not concerned, he could fight, but Ghehena was more than his match, and even if he did win, what would that achieve? He had nowhere to go. He placed his hand on an available surface, a stone ledge.

“Go on,” he said encouraging Ghehena. He looked at Scydhel the entire time, and Ghehena raised his sword and lowered it with a swift strike severing the hand.

Fury proceeded to hold it up, purposely spurting blood everywhere, showing all present his stump where his hand used to be.

He then bent down and picked up his severed hand. Holding the hand above his stump, he knitted his brow, drawing on an immense amount of qi, draining his reserves as he concentrated on stitching his severed hand back onto his arm. He worked furiously, a speed born of practice, he wondered, ‘when did he practice this? Oh,’ he thought ‘perhaps he healed himself often.’

They all stood and watched in awe. Ghehena, Scydhel, Sev and Fain, although they all knew what he was, none of them could quite believe the skills and speed he possessed. The sheer amount of qi to perform such an act was astronomical. Fain looked confused, she did not know how it was possible with the extent of his core.

She did not comprehend one thing that Fury did very well, the better your control, the less qi you used when performing the same technique.

This was true of all techniques but especially true for qi healing because the amount of qi needed was massive, the efficiency gain, for refined and immaculate manipulation, was also massive.

Fury approached Scydhel, she allowed him to close a few steps, she was impressed. He knew she was impressed. She knew that he knew she was impressed. And so on.

“Can any of your other slaves do that?” he asked.

Scydhel ignored her slave and turned to Fain, “since there is no more assistance you can offer, it is time for you to leave. We will deal with our troublesome slave.” Scydhel looked at Fain, she was trying to get rid of the coterie, she had allowed them to see too much already, she was afraid of them... wait…she let it slip through the connection before she closed it.

He was special.

‘Aww, how sweet, she thinks I am special.’ He thought to himself and then wondered what it all could mean, she had never closed the connection before, but that leak, that leak of information had caused her to panic when no amount of teasing, cajoling, humiliating had been able to drive her to close the connection.

Fain looked disappointed while nodding her head slowly.

“As she does like me, she doesn’t want to leave Mistress,” Fury offered an interpretation of Fain’s body language.

“It is time to be quiet,” Ghehena needed no link to sense his Mistresses needs. He threatened Fury with the dagger used to cut out his tongue, surely he did not have enough qi left to qi stitch and heal it back on as well.

Fury nodded, acquiescing to Ghehena’s demands. Instead of talking garbage, he walked up to Fain and embraced her, holding her close in mock affection. While she took the opportunity to whisper something into his ear, “until we meet again.”

It was Fury’s turn to be shocked. He had been joking the whole time, yes, she was pretty, but he certainly had his hands full with his current responsibilities in the bedroom. The Daughter and her lineage visited him, one after the other, their intentions obvious, enjoyable and confounding.

The coterie were shuffled off to the portal master by Ghehena. While Scydhel alone stayed, she had more to discuss with Fury.

“Will you make a bargain Fury?” she called him by name, that was almost like begging for her.

“Do you not worry about lowering yourself to make a bargain with a slave?” Fury asked.

Scydhel looked around the room, “we are alone. There is no one here to witness my fall,” she paused, tilting her head to the side. “Why don’t you make the connection with me again?” she asked.

Fury opened the connection. He did not mind it, and sometimes it gave him joy, but mostly, he did not feel alone when he was connected with her.

She smiled at him like a predator smiles at its prey, “now my little Fury what is your heart's desire?”

He looked at the ceiling, the question made him feel lost, there was something he wanted. But his heart’s desire? He had never considered it. What did he want from life? To fight, fuck and wisecrack? There was more to it than that. But if he had something to live for, would he then fear to die in the arena? Would that make him weaker?

After much soul-searching, he had been in almost in a meditative trance for over three hours. She had waited patiently the whole time he searched his heart. There was an answer, it was hidden from him, he had never before considered the question, he had to find his way to the answer through the pain, the unknown, the uncertainty and the loneliness.

“There is one thing I would like and another I need,” he said ominously, the Daughter waited in silence her patience was impressive.

“I would like you to purchase the slave Scintilla from the Dread Lord, Azrul. Just tell her that having her near me will increase my chances of winning, she is focused on wealth even with the mass you gave her, she will agree.” He said evenly and unemotionally.

Scydhel was a little surprised, she often caught him thinking of the werepanther, but usually with regret of his actions towards her.

“The other is what I need. And I do not know if you can give it to me, or allow me to have it,” he said portentously, “I need purpose.”