If You Want Something Done Right

((Indrasel Warehouse, Karavoss))

Besides his emotions, Ponce had one other legitimate weakness, his stomach. As a Sorcerer, a spell caster of multiple different avenues of magics, a bi-linguist in the language of the arcane, one must keep in check the fuels necessary to keep them going. For Ponce, it was food. Perhaps he could go several days without sleep, for his body had changed and morphed nearly beyond mortality, but food was no exception. So, there the Sorcerer sat, seated at the diner table of this warehouse of which he did not belong (though the assassins didn't know this), and in front of him sat upon the table enough grub for three men.

The assassins weren't completely sure why they wanted to feed the man, why they cared, but they had, and those who weren't busy working around the clock to produce this poison found themselves cooking and serving. The men spoke of a dwarf woman, as nothing more than a supposed intermediary between the assassin's group and the Church of Sarnia, Ponce was not permitted to see her. He thought it unnecessary at first, but his mind progressively lingered towards seeing her anyway, just to be sure. Still, he ate as he pondered on it, tearing through meal after meal to fuel his hungered body like a certain spiky-haired anime protagonist, and as he ate he overheard a conversation between two of his newly appointed servers.

"Did you hear about the Mother?"

"You talking about the one we're cooking this poison up for, right?"

"No, I meant yours, you retard. Yes, I mean that Mother. You know she's on the move again. Supposed to be taking a ship someways to get across to Karavoss."

"Whoa, did you mean to rhyme there?"

"N- *sigh* Anyway, boss says we may have to switch up our tactics, not to mention, we sent three men on patrol for that elf bastard and they haven't even come back yet."

Ponce turned towards the two men, his blood-red eyes glancing curiously at them.

"Do you think," The Sorcerer interrupted, his sharp tone demanding the two assassins' full attention.

"That there could be some... trouble afoot? It is beginning to seem as if some outside force is interrupting your plans, "

The two guards looked at each other, before turning back to Ponce. The less dull one spoke, "Well maybe so, but they don't know where we are, were hiding in plain sight, in this warehouse, it's the last place they'll suspect."

Ponce turned his gaze away, and it was as if the men had been released from bondage.

"I will warn you, the High Church of Sarnia does not take kindly to failure. I would say do your best, but you'll have to do even better if you want to keep your heads on straight... if at all."

Ponce stood, apparently done with his meals, and proceeded to pat away the leftover residue still present upon his lips and tossed the spent napkin next to the five or so trays of half-eaten food.

"Just some friendly advice. Clean this up, and return to your duties." He spoke, the last few words laced with suggestion magic. Bending to his will, the two hurriedly began the task set forth for them, and Ponce left the dining room without another word.

These men are utterly useless. Ponce thought as the door closed behind him. Thoughts swam in his head, of the Dwarf woman, who it seemed the assassins had yet to pry anything useful from, and of the individuals that had appeared from nowhere and done in the squad of assassins on the hunt for the Dwarf's partner, who was now out and about, and utterly missing. No, this operation was falling apart, and it was up to Ponce to force the resolution he wanted for himself. He needed this to go his way, for the consequences the powers that be would face would be utterly dire, and just to his liking.

If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Ponce was decided. He was done with these petty assassins, and he thought about whether he would need to dispose of them himself or simply let their plan die and rot. Before all that, though, he needed to speak with this Gerda woman.

After some direction, most of it forced, Ponce found his way to the interrogation room, being somewhat discreet about it as he didn't want to draw any unnecessary attention to himself, lest he end up spilling blood early.

Through double doors sat the Dwarven woman, cool as a cucumber in her chair as her interrogator fumed. In truth, she had been harmed, as she could not help but point out her captors' collective foolishness and received a slap across the face for it. It stung, but she knew she was valuable for now, the assassins needed her poison, so until she gave it to them, she would not lose her life, and little did they know, the cavalry was on the way. Her husband had yet to be returned to her, bloodied and bruised, and no news of him had come yet, so he must have succeeded in finding Kalena; It was only a matter of time. The Dwarf looked to be at a disadvantage, but she had everything under control. That was, until an entirely new, unforeseen variable walked through the door. And his presence was the first harbinger of her fate to come. That everything would fall apart.

Ponce stood at the room's door and looked to the Dwarf, who regarded him not with horrid fear, but intelligent curiosity. He smiled and looked to her interrogator, who, practically foaming at the mouth in anger, had only just noticed him and that he was not supposed to be here.

"Hey, you're the Church's man, who the hell let you in-"

"Shhhh" Ponce put a finger to his lips, his crimson eyes glowing softly as magical forces went to work.

"Sit, and be quiet." Ponce finally said, and the man did as he said without much of a struggle at all.

Ponce turned back to the Dwarf and pulled up a chair, sitting in it reverseways and resting his arms on the back of it as he eyed her curiously. He could tell she was likely rather perceptive, perhaps she knew not exactly which magics were just at play, but still, she likely had a firm grasp on what had happened, and what was going to happen next. The Sorcerer was honestly surprised too, if she felt fear, she certainly did not show it. He saw her as somewhat sociopathic, the aspect of fear seemed lost on her, though his diagnosis could be entirely wrong.

"How's this poison coming along?" Ponce started.

Gerda glanced at the mind-bent interrogator, "They're trying their best."

Ponce nodded, "They certainly are, unfortunately."

Gerda leaned back in her chair, relaxing, though she could only relax so much before the bindings began to irritate her.

"I've never seen you before. Are you just another one of the Church's underlings, or are you here for a different reason altogether?"

"Well, you certainly are sharp, aren't you... Gerda, is it?"

'Damn my husband and his loud mouth,' The Dwarf thought. There was the slightest twinge of displeasure on her face, but she quickly recovered.

"And might I ask what your name is?"

"I'm afraid you aren't quite in the position to ask questions so much as answer them. For instance, who are the two individuals you sent the elf to collect?"

Gerda's eyebrows raised slightly, indicating surprise, and she was, 'He found two of them?'

"I'm honestly surprised you haven't caught him yet, he seemed a bumbling fool to me."

"Hmm..." Ponce said, his face indicating ponderance and deep thought.

Gerda knew these types all too well. This one feigned high intelligence, and perhaps some magical ability as well, but there wasn't much he could do with so many questions and half-answers. He was going in circles, they all were, and while they bumbled about, blathering, she only collected more and more information. She hardly even needed to ask questions at this rate, all she had to do was sit there and look pretty and keep letting her captors feed her what she wanted to know, and in no time she'd-

"Well, Ms. Gerda, that simply isn't true. Or should I say Mrs."

Gerda froze, eyes widening as she regarded the man with confusion and puzzlement.

'How could he- When did he-'

"Now, now, now, Mrs. Gerda, don't think too hard, you don't want to put too much strain on that beautiful mind of yours. Just relax, and it'll all be over soon." Ponce said, standing from his seat.

The mind-bent interrogator watched in quiet horror as the seemingly brilliant Dwarf gave way to the man's supernatural prowess, just as he had.

Gerda grimaced as the Sorcerer stalked around her seat to stand behind her, before sliding his hands around the back of her neck and forward to press on her temples.

"Remember what I said, you're only making this harder on yourself if you don't relax."

"Stop! What are you doing!" Gerda shouted, her icy exterior starting to crack. She began to thrash about in her seat as the man gripped her head, and she could feel supernatural forces prying into her mind, haphazardly violating her intellect.

"If you had answered my questions truthfully, there would be no need for all this, but you had to resist, and now that you still resist, we're going to have to do this the hard way."

Ponce gritted his teeth as began to force himself inside her mind, truthfully this was ugly to him, this abuse of his power, but he had done many unpleasant things just to get here, and he'd likely do many more before sunrise.

"Give me your mind. Your thoughts, your emotions, SURRENDER THEM TO ME!" Ponce spoke, power in his words as he clawed into her psyche, pulling forth the bits and pieces he wanted. He began to see faces, names, places.

Solandriel... the Timber Crag... Maelwin... Kalena...

What the hell is she doing here?

It all flooded into his mind at once, a normal person would break under that pressure, one like him would only bend. He felt a crack as his inside self started to break free, and let out a growl as he felt himself slipping. This was precisely why he limited himself, why he kept his power in check. If he ever let it loose completely, the destruction he would wreak... he was an agent of chaos, a murderer, a heartless bastard at times, but he had his cause, his reasons, he would be justified in due time. He would never allow himself to be lost completely.

With a shout, he pulled away what was left and took a haggard step back. He looked to the interrogator, who by now was too afraid to so much as blink or move. He frowned at him and gestured toward the door.

"Lock it."

He did as he was told, locking the door and quickly pressing himself against the nearest wall, frozen like a mannequin, he nearly looked like a part of the decor.

He had issued the command just in time, as just after the door had locked, he heard pounding on the door, "Who's in there!? What's going on in there!?"

Ponce stood managing to catch his breath. He walked around the chair to face the Dwarf woman again. She sat there, limp and lifeless, the mind probe was too much for her, and only doubly so since she resisted so strongly. It took a strong and sharp mind to cause him such pain, he had to give her that.

'What a waste, '

With a sigh, he turned back to the man, who had witnessed it all. He cowered, even though he stood taller than the Sorcerer, and Ponce looked down at him.

"Stand, you pathetic piece of shit." He said, still frowning as he regarded him. The man did as he said, looking as if he was on the verge of tears.

"That woman fought until the end, and so will you. You will die with honor in my presence."

He turned around and eyed a nearby sword, which sat, unused and neglected. Extending his hand toward it, he beckoned it forth, and the force of his mind carried to him. He raised the hilt of the sword to the man.

"Should anyone enter this room, you will fight to your dying breath. Your life is over, accept that with dignity."

Ponce's eyes glowed as he issued the last command the man would ever hear, and he was resolute. He held the sword tightly, fear swelling into burning emotion, and he looked as if he was ready to accept death. He had the look of a man whose life was over.

"Good," Ponce said, pressing his ear to the door, and for now, it was silent, the guards had likely left to get additional help in breaking the door down. Ponce slowly unlocked it and peaked out. His intuition was correct, the hall outside was empty, but it wouldn't be for long. Ponce glared back into the room at the broken interrogator, eyes briefly resting on the Dwarf's lifeless body. He turned away without a word and began to make his way down the hall.

He heard distant screaming and sounds of combat as he approached the storage room door. The room was utterly inconspicuous, but just beyond was a convenient spot where the Sorcerer could plan his next step.

“How many people has this group captured…?” The sulking fox asked himself. He was just about the continue pressing on but stopped upon hearing the sounds of screaming and combat just outside of the next doorway.

"Putain ça, I'm not going that way."

He turned, about damn ready to leave this crazy place so he could meet up with the others. He held his invisibility cloak firmly over himself as he cut back through the storage room he came through, only for the door to open just as he entered. No time to retreat, he scrambled in a crouch toward a counter, hiding behind it for some meager cover. All he had to do was wait for an opportunity and get out of there without bumping into whoever was coming in. Whoever that happened to be, he didn't care as much, or at least he wouldn't have if it were some random guard, but then walked through the door a very peculiar-looking man. He stood around average human height, or perhaps slightly under, and had a head of snow-white hair and piercing red eyes. But what was most peculiar was the crack on his face, it didn't at all look like a natural wound. It looked like a cracked egg with skin instead of shell, and a lightbulb inside of it. Yeah, the light that seemed to pour out of the crack was probably the most peculiar thing about it. Lafayette watched as the man extended his arms, and his clothes, vaguely extravagant looking attire, magically flew off of him as if some invisible force was peeling them off. Lafayette almost feared he'd see a little too much, but thankfully the man wore clothes underneath, that being a... reflective rubber suit? And a gun?! Now those where the most peculiar things. Lafayette wondered what the hell this spaceman was doing in Karavoss, no, scratch that, in Aeran period!

As the last of Ponce's combat attire slipped on, that being a slick black high neck leather jerkin, complete with a couple of shaped carbon metal knives designed to be telekinetically thrown, and long sleeves, gloves, pants, and black rubber boots, Ponce stopped and stood still, listening. His acute psionic senses had detected the thoughts of someone nearby, someone he hadn't known about until just now. Turning, his eyes narrowed as he worked to pinpoint where this mystery intruder was. He telepathically shut the door (much to Lafayette's chagrin), and moved across the room, his sense of the intruder's presence growing stronger and stronger until...

Lafayette held his breath as the spaceman closed in, he was so close now that he could plant a kiss on the man's cheek if he had a mind to. His crimson eyes peered into his soul, malice in them. Lafayette cursed himself for allowing himself to fall into this position in the first place, if this guy got any closer he was fini, finished. He would have to fight, and this guy looked like he had way too much going on to make for an easy battle. Luckily, just when it seemed he would figure it out, he heard a shout from outside.

"It's the authorities! We need to leave right now!"

The authorities? Ponce thought, brows furrowed as everything truly began to fall apart around him. Well, he wasn't going to get caught under the proverbial rubble. He dismissed whatever seemed off in the room and retrieved two teleportation scrolls from a chest. He would, unfortunately, have to leave everything else behind, but nothing remained that could incriminate him specifically. The Brute still held the book. He left the room the backway towards the containment room that was adjacent to his. He spared the crimson-haired woman a glance, she had been captured a few days ago, she had tried to fight and was beaten for her trouble. Alas, he had no time left. He contacted the Brute, feeling his unique signature relatively close.

'Where are you, '

'Almost there. I still have the book.'

'Keep it. You have some unwanted guests to deal with here,'

'What about you? '

'I will be remote. The cops are also inbound. Do not lose my book, '

And now it was time to move on. He wasn't going to allow these poor excuses for assassins to ruin his plans. Just as the falling debris of conflict prepared to crash down on top of him, he looked to his scroll and imagined the coast, and with nothing more than a breath and a blink, he was gone.

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