Mizu tapped her foot impatiently, watching through the window while Minoru was whipped and forced to give in. She glanced at the door and back at Minoru. They're taking too long, what if they're trapped? She exhaled a sigh of relief when she saw Yuki and Cyan run in, not too long after the blue fennec left. Mizu stared in confusion, hearing Minoru begging Yuki to take Cyan back home, refusing to go back with them. Arguing? Come on, Minoru, you're wasting time! Just let them get you out of there! Mizu jumped back from the window after seeing Cyan getting hit with the tranquilizer dart. "Shit!"
Pyrova ran over to Mizu. "What happened?" She looked in the window, seeing Minoru released from his chains, hearing the blue vixen ordering him to take Cyan to Shiryu, giving specific directions, specifically telling him not to try leaving the house. "What the hell?!" She watched as Minoru reluctantly carried Cyan out of the room. Yuki started to run after the two, but was stopped by the vixen, who threatened to have Cyan killed if he pursued them. Yuki wasn't taking any chances, it seemed. Pyrova watched the vixen bind Yuki to the chains and pull a lever, suspending him from the ceiling. She glanced at Mizu. "We need to help them. Now."
As if she had intended to do so the entire time, Mizu dashed to the same door Yuki and Cyan used and entered through it. Pyrova ran after her, yelling, "Mizu, wait!" The door slammed behind Mizu. Pyrova moved to open it before Flare called to her, "Don't follow her! We're going in through the front!" Pyrova stared at the door for a moment, hesitating, before walking over to Flare. Be careful, Mizu.
Flare led Pyrova to the front of the house. "I checked while you two were keeping an eye on things. This entrance is safe to go through. She doesn't actually have very many guards posted here, despite it being her main hideout. She's confident she can deal with intruders herself. We should still be careful, though."
"Any traps to worry about?" Pyrova asked.
"Other than the maze those three went through, there shouldn't be any that are armed on the way to that room if Shiryu or her servants are in there." Flare paused for a moment and sighed. "We really should have thought of this first. If we had just gone in this way, even while Cyan and Yuki-"
"It's alright," Pyrova placed her hand on Flare's shoulder. At least I hope it will be. "Let's just concern ourselves with getting those three out of there."
* * *
Cyan awoke in a daze, facing Shiryu's feet. She looked up to see the dragon staring at her and jumped, falling onto her back. What the fuck? Where am I, and why was I on my knees? Shiryu chuckled, "So you are awake and already bowing to me. That makes things a little easier." Cyan groaned as she stood up. "You wish," she scoffed. "I refuse to cave to the likes of you."
"That is a shame. Maybe I can change your mind." Shiryu smirked. "You did come in here to take Minoru from me, no? It would be unfortunate if we had to kill him."
Cyan growled. "Spare me your empty threats. I know you're not planning on killing him. Now, where is he?"
"He is in another room, waiting. We were going to go easy on him, but now..."
"Shut up!" Cyan punched Shiryu's face, causing her to stumble back a couple steps. "You're bluffing, and I don't appreciate it."
Shiryu giggled and rubbed her face with a hand. "In that case, maybe there is something else that could interest you. I know...I remember you are also looking for your sister. If you surrender to me, I could help you find her."
"I already told you. No. You tell me, or I'll beat it out of you."
"And you know how that went. How is your leg, by the way?"
Cyan rubbed her leg, wincing as she remembered the pain. No, I can rest after dealing with her. "It's fine," she coldly replied. "Thanks for your concern. My answer is still 'no'."
Shiryu sighed and shook her head. "You are aware of where you are, right? I have no intention of letting you leave alive. The only way for you, Minoru, or even Yuki to survive, the only way for you to find your sister is if you surrender to me. Think about it, how Minoru or Yuki would feel, and how your sister would feel. How you would feel, dying not knowing where she is."
More bluffs. Cyan lowered her head, grumbling. She could kill me, I know that. Minoru wouldn't work for her if she did, though. I keep calling her out on them, and she just makes up more. The hell with it. I can bluff, too. "Alright, you win. I surrender to you." She tried to sound and look defeated, any hint of defiance could ruin the act. I'll make her sorry for making me say that.
Shiryu grinned. "What was that?" she sneered. "A little louder, proclaim your loyalty to me."
Cyan rolled her eyes and cleared her throat. She raised her voice. "I proclaim my loyalty to you, Shiryu. I surrender to you, as your servant." She did her best not to sound too annoyed, hoping it was believable.
"Very good. Could have done without the sass, but I understand. As I am sure you might know, there is no turning back from this. You are mine now, and belong here with me."
"Yes, mistress." Ugh. I'll need some strong hot sake to clean out my mouth after this. Anyway, on to business. Though I don't think she'd be willing to give information so soon. "Since I'm part of your family now, could you tell me what you know about my sister?"
"Not now," Shiryu said, grinning as she watched Cyan lower her head. "I know you are eager to find out, but you will need to prove yourself to me first."
Knew it. "I understand, mistress." The more I call her that, the sicker I get.
"I will show you to your room. Neiko will be with you shortly." Shiryu led Cyan down a hallway. Under her breath she muttered, "Just what is taking her so long, anyway? She should have reported back to me a while ago."
Cyan's ears perked upon hearing the name. Neiko? A chill went through her spine. "Did you say Neiko just now?"
"Yes, I did. She is the one who will be training both you and Minoru."
"That's not right. She was banished a long time ago." I shouldn't press too hard on this if I want to keep up the act. Cyan remembered all those years ago, when her sister helped to fight against an enemy attacking their land. The leader's name was Neiko, sent by someone who thought it would be easy to conquer a place with no monarch, no ruler. What they wanted out of it, she didn't know. Cyan knew her sister defeated Neiko, banished her to wherever she had come from.
"Clearly, that is not the case. Now, no more questions. You will get your answers as you continue to prove your loyalty."
* * *
Flare quietly led Pyrova to a door, following the sound of two females yelling - Mizu and the blue fennec whose name Pyrova did not know. Pyrova rushed to the door and stood against the adjacent wall, complying to an unspoken warning by Flare to not be seen. She angled herself to get a better look into the room and saw both Yuki and Mizu bound to the ceiling with chains. Pyrova growled as she watched the blue fennec strike Mizu with her whip. It didn't appear to be the first lash, judging by what she had heard. Damn it! Now it's my turn.
Pyrova rushed into the room and tackled the blue fennec, taking her by surprise and causing her to drop the whip. "You do NOT get to do that to her. Ever!" she snarled. The fennec growled and tried to push her off, but Pyrova had her pinned to the floor with all her strength. Pyrova found a two sets of shackles on the floor, attached to a chain, and a lever. Remembering what she had witnessed earlier, Pyrova bound the fennec's wrists with one pair and pulled the lever, suspending her from the ceiling. Pyrova used the other pair of shackles to bind the fennec's ankles. She picked up the whip and started whipping the fennec repeatedly. "There! How do you like that?"
The fennec hissed, repressing the urge to vocalize her pain. She didn't want to admit it, but she was somewhat impressed with Pyrova's ability with the whip. "I...promise you, you will regret this." The fennec winced in pain from each lash.
Pyrova stopped for a moment, grinning amusedly. "I look forward to it." She struck the fennec again, a serious expression returning to her face. "Now, you will answer my questions."
"No, I won't."
"Yes. You. Will." Pyrova whipped her again, once with each word, then continued. "First, your name. At least give us something to address you by. I've got several choice words I could use, otherwise."
"Fine," the fennec growled. "You'll know that soon enough. My name is Neiko."
Pyrova struck Neiko with the whip once more, seemingly enjoying doing so. Punishment for what she had done to the others, especially Mizu. No one locks her up, whips her, yells at her, and gets away with it. Pyrova returned her focus to her interrogation, as she'd like to call it. "Now. What is it that you want with Minoru and Cyan?"
"Minoru is supposed to be one of us. We're simply taking him back."
"And what exactly is that supposed to mean?"
"Exactly what I just said. He had left us and managed to avoid us for quite some time, and it's unfortunate to see he's still working against us."
"So why Cyan, Yuki, and Mizu?"
"You should know why we want Cyan. As for Yuki, he's just a convenience. He needs to be punished for defying Shiryu, anyway. And the one you call Mizu, the intruder, it's just what she gets for just barging in here. Though, we'll have some use for her later."
"You honestly think Minoru would work for you if you threaten Cyan? That would make Yuki even more defiant, too. And Mizu? Not even in your dreams. Not as long as I'm around."
Neiko simply laughed. Pyrova whipped her again and continued, "Why are you so desperate to get them on your side, anyway, huh? You've ruined enough villages and captured their leaders and citizens. And what? You're leaving them to rot somewhere so you can make futile attempts against us? What are you doing with them? Where are they, anyway?"
"Like I'd tell you!" Neiko laughed again until she was interrupted by another crack from the whip. She winced and answered, "We're working on them. Here, elsewhere. And I already told you why we want Minoru and Cyan. They belong with us."
"That's fucking stupid, and you know it," Pyrova whipped Neiko once more for good measure. "And I'm sure you also know Minoru and Cyan won't be staying here much longer, either."
"Good luck getting them from Shiryu, then," Neiko sneered. "You won't be able to restrain her as easily as you've done me just now. You won't be that lucky next time."
Pyrova stepped closer to Neiko. "You know, I could make it so that there won't even BE a next time, after all you've done. But you should be glad I'm not merciless. I'll just leave you here like this so you can think about your actions. Your motives make no sense." As she was speaking, she found herself looking at the necklace Neiko was wearing. Something is familiar about this. Silver gemstone, something's etched into it. Pyrova carefully removed it from Neiko's neck.
"Give that back!" Neiko growled. She didn't seem to give any thought as to what Pyrova had said.
"I'm a klepto, I can't help myself." Pyrova studied the marking on it, tracing it with a finger. This symbol is very familiar. "What's with this necklace? Where did you get it?"
"That was always mine! What of it?"
"I'm going to hold onto it. You can have it back later." I have a feeling Cyan might know. She'd be interested in seeing this. Pyrova pocketed the necklace and turned around. She saw that Flare had released Yuki and Mizu from their bindings while she was confronting Neiko. "Mizu!" Pyrova ran to Mizu and hugged her tightly. "You need to stop rushing into danger like that!" She tuned out Neiko's protests to return the necklace as well as her empty threats.
"I know, I know," Mizu said, hugging Pyrova back. "You did it, too, y'know."
"Only because I had to save your ass," Pyrova teased. "But seriously, consult me before doing something like that again. Reckless stuff is supposed to be my job!"
Flare walked over to the two. "I'm going in with Yuki to find Minoru and Cyan. The two of you should go and let Pyro know what's going on."
"Are you sure you won't need our help? The four of us could probably get it done quicker."
"That is true, but Yuki and I will be fine. If we do get caught, I'd feel better knowing you and Mizu are safe. It'd also be easier for me to break three people out than five. Besides, we should keep everyone back home updated on what's happening."
"Good point. Be careful, then."