Ch 38 Take What Is Yours
Gyokuro leaned her elbows against the balcony rich polished mahogany rails, her attention fixated on the trollies and the devices of punishment on them. "Oh, such beautiful toys." Leaping over railing, she landed with a flutter of her skirts and a tap of her toes. Kahlua followed suit, giving a little pirouette after she landed.
"My daughter, isn't she pretty?"
The spectators hummed in their agreement.
"Now then, what have we here?" Gyokuro traced a long finger along the rails of the nearest trolley. A hunched backed goblin squeaked at her presence.
"Cat of nine tails, my Queen Mother." He picked up a long-handled whip with several coils of white leather intertwined together, approximately five feet long each and barbed with a gleaming silver hook. "Dipped in the oils used for infant baptisms, the staff created from the crushed crucifixes of saints in passing, with silver cat claw hooks at the end. The leather is made from Pegasus hide and mane, dying a violent death. This punishing tool has only been used on a select few, many do not survive the ordeal."
"How pleasant." She nodded, taking a few steps to the next trolley. "And here?"
A slim fairy adorned with a maid's dress and cap bowed low. A crystal decanter filled to spilling rested next to a silver bowl and ladle, glowing with a luminescent green light. "Holy water, m'lady. A fresh spring from the consecrated lands of my people, blessed by the innocents who wander among us and rich in the blessings of us fae. To the creatures of light, a blessing, however to creatures of darkness, such as yourself, an extremely horrible experience."
"Is that so?" Gyokuro fingered the tip of the ladle with her hand, stirring the liquid casually. Lifting the ladle and keeping it balanced at eye level, she glanced at her daughter, "Oh, Kahlua-chan. Watch this."
And flicked it at the vampiress next to her daughter.
The woman was a retired duchess from ages ago in Scotland. Now, she glowed like phosphorous and sunlight, shrieking as visible electrical currents danced in scathing arcs through her. The smell of ozone and spent copper filled the air. The Lady's entourage did nothing to try and help her. The ground around her was lit to glowing due to the damaging influence of the fairy water. The poor woman hadn't been able to scream. After the convulsing shocks had dissipated, her tortured form writhed in wailing agony when she could breathe.
"This will do." Gyokuro delicately placed the ladle back and made her way to the next trolley. "This is interesting. A doll."
"Not just any doll, my Queen," A dark-skinned elf lifted a doll-like figure made of twine, silk, and white birch wood. It had very distinguished green eyes and pink yarn hair. "A voodoo doll."
Gyokuro looked absolutely enraptured with the item.
"Tell me more."
The dark elf produced a small paring knife with a hilt etched in glowing violet runes. The silver blade had a distinct tarnished green patina. "The blade is made from some of the silver coins from Judas's purse."
Gyokuro eyed it cautiously. "That is a very different level of punishment I may not want permitted in this room. That dagger-"
"Oh, no m'lady, that is what the tarnish is for. It's corrupted silver. Painful, but not deadly."
Still unsure, she decided against touching it. "Tell me about the doll. Is it linked to our guest of honor?"
"Oh, no, m'lady, it needs a few strands of her hair, a drop of her blood, and a curse to her name to have it paired with her soul, m'lady."
"Interesting." Gyokuro snapped her fingers. Kahlua appeared to her right. "A strand of your sister's hair, and bit of her blood."
"As you wish, mother."
Kahlua lifted her eyes to Moka, the wooden boughs and barb wire shackles pulled taut against her skin. She moved through the air, not like a bird about to take flight but an arrow in a swift arc, grasping the chain securing the contraption and their captor in place. Sliding, scaling, and nimbly making her way towards her sister, Kahlua balanced herself on the stake piercing Moka's feet. Kahlua and Moka shared a look, words weren't needed. They were sisters but they were both students of Issah's tutoring and familiar with the vampire way.
"Do you know your place yet, my sister?" Kahlua asked gently, combing a stray lock of hair from Moka's damp forehead.
Moka said nothing, just looked away to find Tsukune.
Kahlua gripped her chin, making her sister look back. "I hope after all this is over with, you will join me so we can play."
"I hope so, too."
That made Kahlua smile. Kahlua plucked a hair from Moka's head, took out a handkerchief tucked into her bosom, and wiped at one of the cuts on Moka's arm.
"I like to play with the boys, too, Moka," Kahlua leaned her head against her sisters barbed crown, "but even I know to not let them put a baby in me without father's permission. Especially one that's not a vampire."
Moka exhaled a slow whine, a pitiful sound filled with emptiness.
"Just endure, my sister, and all will be well. You'll see." Kahlua gave her a cheery smile.
Launching herself backwards from the crucifix, Kahlua reverse swan dived backwards full circle and landed on her feet in front of Gyokuro and the dark elf.
"As you demanded, Mother." Kahlua offered the handkerchief and strands of pink hair.
Gyokuro gestured with a tip of her head to give the items to the dark elf. The dark elf fixed the hair and smeared the blood onto the doll.
The dark elf raised the doll and the dagger. "With the Queen Mother's permission."
"Show me." Gyokuro demanded, her eyes locked onto Moka's quivering form.
"As you wish."
The air hummed, slivers of violet runes scratched the air, hovering around like dangling skeletons with cackling mandibles and swaying limbs. The dark elf spoke with a thick accent, a mix of Cajun and Zulu, old and mysterious. Dancing in place, stepping in place with her hands held high, her dark hair fluttering to a summoned power, the hair on the doll and Moka moved with synchronized flutters.
The dark elf stopped, the air calmed, and what needed to be done was complete.
The dark elf pressed the silver blade's edge against thigh of the doll. Smoke sizzled from the cross, right at Moka's leg where a thin line of red blood started to cauterize. Moka wailed, kicking and thrashing violently against her restraints. The barbed razor wire channeled deeper into her flesh.
"Enough," Gyokuro pressed her hand on the dark elf's. "That is exquisite. Thank you."
Gyokuro closed her eyes and hummed to herself, a bit of rapture seemed to overtake her. Composing herself, she moved to the last trolley.
"This is nice." Gyokuro really didn't need any explanation as to what these were.
"Red hot mithril pokers." A thick handed dwarf with an apron and goggles bowed to her. "The coals are from dwarven mines used to forge it. Only blue fire or hotter can make it catch fire, with the proper accelerant, of course. Magic or our dwarven skill are the only ones that can make it light."
"Yes," Gyokuro squinted her eyes when the furnace tucked at the bottom of the collector opened. "This will be used for the coup de grace."
A squeal and giggle came from many.
"For who?" Akasha called out from the top of the third balcony, her voice echoing in the chambers, silencing everyone.
"Dark Lord Akasha, thank you for your query," Gyokuro made a flashy mock curtsey. "Who else?"
Gyokuro patted her stomach and pointed towards Moka.
Akasha shook her head.
"That's not for you to decide, Akasha, dear Akasha," Gyokuro snapped, pointing her finger at the dark lord. "Unless, of course, you're here to dictate how we, as vampires, are to deal out justice to our own people. Will the Dark Lord interfere? Say it now."
Akasha's face remained still, placid, and unmoving. She turned to her daughter who was pleading with her in obvious fear.
"After this is done," Issa's thick booming voice redirected everyone's attention, "She will be cleansed of her guilt and the abomination will be purged. She will gain all rights and privileges, keeping her station and place among the clan Shuzen."
Many of the vampire throng Ooo'd and Aaa'd. Some even raised a hand here and there to take her place to endure the tortures for a sake of receiving said titles.
"Tsukune, what are you-stop!" Ria grabbed at his arm, pulling hard when he pushed past the few vampires in front of, earning wicked hisses from others when they realized what he had done. When he got within arms reach of Gyokuro and the trollies, a handful of private guards appeared from the dark corners of Hall of Shadows, each one with a gleaming blade placed at his chest. Two wielded a shamshir from under his arm, X'd under his throat.
Issa raised his hand, stopping the killing stroke.
Gyokuro had yet to look at him.
Ria stood arm distance away from Tsukune, two steps back and head lowered. "Queen Mother."
"Ria, what have we told you about keeping your toys in check?" Gyokuro was still looking at Akasha.
"I'm sorry, Queen Mother, I promise to correct him as-"
"No need," Gyokuro turned her eyes towards Tsukune, a pretty smile creasing her lips. "I believe a man who is passionate about what he believes and is willing to put everything on the line has a right to speak. I'm not without mercy or benevolence."
Tsukune began to say something, but he never saw it coming. Nails, tiny nails from Gyokuro's fingers swiping across his throat, five inches deep, cutting him to near decapitation. Gasping for air, he fell to the ground at her feet holding his throat.
"There, much better." Gyokuro nodded in approval. "I'm benevolent, however I'm also a stickler for some basic homage." She clicked her tongue at Ria. "I would have thought you would have trained him better than this."
Gyokuro took two steps closer to Ria, standing just half a head shorter than the dark-haired beauty. "You know what comes next, don't you?"
Ria smoothed her long dress at her hips, swallowing hard. Kneeling as best she could, she lifted her chin, eyes closed and arms across her bosom. "In the name of the Lord Father and the Queen Mother, I accept my punishment."
Gyokuro's fingers were raised, parted, and prepared to swipe, but a commotion stirred behind her and more hissing followed along with a few gasps.
From behind, Tsukune slapped his hand around Gyokuro's wrist. "This has to stop, now."
All around Tsukune, be it vampires, elves, goblins, or other creature of monster or mystical cheered.
"What a wonderful night this has become!"
"Such barbarism, such raw candid ignorance, such bliss! Yes, this is indeed a glorious night!"
Celebratory raucous howls filled the dark hall.
"Tsukune, no!" Moka screamed from her manacled perch.
Issa stood up and placed his hand on the broadsword at his hip. "My son, you've just challenged the Queen, my wife, by your hand. I am here to defend her honor. Prepare yourself."
When Gyokuro cut into Tsukune he felt every bit of that cut into his neck, but it was just a moment of suffocation, a moment of panic and fear. But the moment had passed.
"Wait," Akasha walked down the pillar by her, her fuchsia ponytail falling over her shoulder till she leveled to the floor. "As per all challenges, Tsukune deserves to name a second."
Gyokuro was still looking at Tsukune's hand on her wrist. "What a disgusting sensation. I must be cleansed."
Holding her hand off to the side, she snapped her fingers for Kahlua to do her bidding.
With two hands gripping her mother's wrist, twisting and turning with a grunt. Meat, tendons, and the visceral sound of flesh ripping and bone breaking, Kahlua tore Gyokuro's arm from her body and threw it in the nearest fire.
A vine like skeleton was already forming from the gaping wound. Gyokuro winched but still kept her half smile upon her lips. "Name your second, young Tsukune. Tonight you challenge the royalty of the court to take its place."
"I did?" Tsukune was bemused, looking around everyone.
Ria's face was blotched red with frustration and anger. "You really are a simpleton. Why couldn't you just stay silent!"
"As for your second," Issa called out Tsukune from the balcony, he leapt to the bottom floor to face his adopted son. "Name them."
Several names popped into his head, many of which he was sure would help him in this circumstance, but it would also matter if they were able to get here.
"I will be his second." Akasha called out, primly keeping her eyes lowered.
"No, you are the Dark Lord. You cannot participate," Issa stated.
"Unless you wish to give up your station," Gyokuro interjected.
"No, I guess I cannot." She leaned over to Tsukune, whispering in his ear. "Say this name, three times, and follow it by 'Beloved Akasha calls for you'."
She whispered the name, those who were close gasped in disgust and horror.
"What a loathsome creature! How dare you-, " Gyokuro shrieked, and Issah was already whipping his sword out of his sheath.
"Just say it," Akasha turned, protecting him from both Issa, Gyokuro, Kahlua, Ria and everyone else from the Hall of Shadows.
"Bardiel, Bardiel, Bardiel, beloved Akasha calls for you!" Tsukune shouted, his fists poised in front of him ready to fight.
Lightening struck the gothic ceiling of Akashia Castle, destroying a sizable portion of the ancient stone and timber. Light, holy light spilled into the dark hall, cascading around Moka's form.
A silhouette of a man with six wings, a cloak of pure white, armor of light with a golden sword sheath at his hip descended.
"So, you've finally revealed him to me, Akasha. I am ashamed." Issa lowered his sword, but the glower of eyes was unmatched in their fury.
"Thank you for summoning him, Tsukune." Akasha touched Tsukune's arm and made her way to Bardiel's side.
"Who is he?" Tsukune couldn't help but ask.
"Who else? My lover and your second."