Description: The messenger from the Góng Estate couldn't return home after all, instead being sent out to Switzerland to meet with Sybil Katherine. Expecting a business meeting, the boy finds himself pampered and knee-deep into some motherly manipulations.
One thing that is more important than making money is what is done afterwards. Money that is made must be stowed. While local banks are convenient, the institutions of Metro have had records sullied a little as far as security is due to being sucked into Majin. Swiss Banks however are both politically, financially, and dimensionally stable.
A tall woman walked out of the bank's marbled entrance onto the shining streets of Zurich. She wore a suit as white as the alpine peaks. She was flanked to her left by a similarly tall, but broad, man with gnarled features and prominent chin. To her right was a shorter lady with long blond twintails, dressed fairly normal office shirt and skirt. The trio were stepping down the stairs in synchronous.
Sybil Kathrine was in Zurich attending some last business matters before her visit to the little shindig at the Alucard's place. She brought the person with the actual invite, a minor darkstalker noble under the alias of Greg Green. Assisting her with such matters was her assistant, secretary, and right hand woman, Goldie.
As the trio reached the sidewalk, Sybil gestured to the Goblin man. "Green, go for a walk." The blobous gut of the man jiggled as be began a protest "Uh, I don't really handle walks we-" He was swiftly cut off "The mountain air will do you good! Just stay away from the lodge for a while."
His exit to find what could pass for poker was hastened by Goldie pushing the man forwards. Pleased, Sybil gave her next instruction "Goldie, fetch the boy. Bring him to the lodge, his arrival point is unchanged."
As Goldie moved to head off the expected guest as he arrived, Sybil had shopping to do. She knew just the gift to get before meeting him.
Tsinghua was devastated when he heard the news.
He wouldn't be able to return home, not at all, before the Rosalia. Because when he was just leaving the Podiebrad mansion? He got a call. A honored contact requested him; Switzerland, this time.
To meet with Sybil Katherine.
He shouldn't complain, Hungary and Switzerland aren't that far apart! Really quite close, actually. It would be petty to complain about such a small detour.
But the boy just wanted to return home, after all the horrid experiences in that accursed manor. Nontheless, he went. He didn't cry about it- He cried everything away in Matthias's Chapel. He cried for a long time. But he won't cry anymore, he won't show weakness in front of that terrifying woman- He promised himself not to. And as such, he had just arrived in Zurich HB, the main station- He took the tram from the airport further North. This is were he was supposed to be picked up- The busy station has his head spinning, all the people- Many looking at him due to that strange, strange traditional garb.
He walks outside, to the place where the road starts. Waiting for someone to pick him up, or waiting for someone to give him a call with further instructions to where to go. When Goldie would finally find him, he would be looking most downtrodden; Depressed, even. Depressed, and cold.
Goldie sat next to a bright yellow motorbike, she was chewing bubblegum, and taking the time to practice blowing bubbles. The moment Tsinghua entered her view, she retrieved the pink orb and popped it in muffled silence. She saw clear how broken and crestfallen he was. Approaching delicately, she waved to him to try and get his attention as she barked.
"Tsinghua! Over here, I've come to fetch ya." She positively skipped over to him with a helmet in hand. With excited swiftness she dropped a helmet right on Tsinghua's head, the helmet had little doggy ears. Before any response, she dragged the boy to her motorcycle and sat upon it. "Now hold on tight, the roads to Miss Katherine will be a little windy." She said before putting the key in the ignition and starting the bike's engine.
Sybil meanwhile was arriving at the lodge in a Taxi, bags full of the gifts she acquired. The lodge in question was an upscale abode part of a ski resort. While the ski season was ended, the natural beauty of the alpine meadows made it a frequented, but not crowded, destination.
The abode itself was bare natural wood of exterior, with tall, angled roof to respond to snowfall. Sybil entered to the similarly bare wood of the interior, breathing in the fine scent of pine. She swiftly kicked off her heels and reclined upon the leather couch in front of the empty stone fireplace. She let the tall windows behind her warm her as she soaked in the afternoon sun. She could hear the sounds from the other nearby cabins, and the sound of a parking motorbike.
"O-On that..?" He would respond, seeing his ride. "Uhm- Certainly, Madam." And just like that, he gets seated on the back of that motorcycle as the way-too-cute helmet was placed on his head.
"It is nice to meet youuuuu--" His polite introduction gets interrupted as the bike shoots off. The boy pales as he is desperately left clinging to Goldie's sides. He would be silent for pretty much the entire trip, and he would be heard breathing heavily out of fear. It's a scary ride for the boy!
But eventually, it would end. And Tsinghua stumbles free from his seat- Panting like he'd just ran a marathon. "Th-Thanks f-for br-bringing me, Madam." It would take a few more seconds for him to come to his senses, as his knees are weak, and his arms are heavy. He would look toward the nearest Cabin, however. "I-Is that the place?"
Tsinghua's hesitation at moving prompted Goldie to grab him by the arm and drag him to the correct cabin. "You are very welcome, now show it by moving your legs, Boss is waiting". The other hand removed the helmet messily from his head, before unceremonious dropping it on the Cabin's step. Getting the boy up the steps with an impatient haste, Goldie opened the intricate wooded door to reveal the wide open cabin.
Just as the door began to open Sybil span her legs across the back of the couch, and pulled herself upright, before sliding down to her feet. She gave wide strides across the wooden floor to meet her guest as he was brought in the entry way and released. Even without her heals, she was still much taller than Tsinghua. She brought her long arms out around her without slowing.
"Oh you poor, poor boy. It's okay now, Sybil's here." She spoke as she embraced the boy and patted his back, just like a parent would a child.
"R-Right." He gets dragged along, in a sort of stumbly, swift walk- Almost tripping once when going up the cabin steps. Almost literally being pushed inside the cabin, and Into Sybil's arms.
The boy can't help but tremble at the gesture, not even having gotten a chance to say hello. "Thank- Thank you, Lady Katherine." He does not much respond to her embrace, he doesn't hug back. His arms are just limp at his sides as his back gets patted.
At least it was nice and warm..
"I am glad to have been able to make it on such short notice, Lady Katherine." Eventually, if she hadn't let go already- He would subtly attempt to pull loose. Remaining as formal and polite as he could manage, bowing deeply. "I am fine, Lady Katherine- Though I most appreciate your concern." He lies- He is not fine, and there's a good chance Sybil would be able to tell with her abilities.
"Could I ask you a question, Madam Katherine?"
Sybil didn't need to be psychic to tell the poor boy was in feeling in awful straights. Just the way his body moved, how he felt in her grasp, that could tell anyone savvy in emotions the feelings he was trying to hide. Her powers just told her of the specific reason, they told in detail every sound and sensation of his visit to the Podiebrad mansion.
The second the first muscle twitched to slip out of the woman's embrace, Sybil quickly let go and began to straighten out her suit again. "Oh! sorry about that" She said warmly, give a false presence of embarrassment. "I just had gotten so worried; I was just glad you arrived safely in one piece." She stands idle as she allows the boy the chance to speak.
She lets the lie spoken directly to her face slide. Behind the boy Goldie closes the door, locking it shut. "You can ask me anything sweetie."
"What am I doing here?"
The question comes out with no hesitation, a simple remark from his confusion. "I thank you for recieving me with such warmth, yet the call informing me about my requested presence was vague. Is there something you wish to discuss?" He tilts his head as he asks this, before bowing down to take off his embroidered shoes. Neatly placing them in the rack just next to the front door. Afterwards, he stands straight- Facing Sybil with his head bowed down- Hoping that his question did not cause any upset.
Oh that question, that was the best thing he could asked. Sybil gained a bright smile as she Goldie practically bounced behind the boy. An equally bright smile answered for the broker. "You're here to be cheered up"
Sybil smile shifted to a somber state. "I know the truth, I know that you are not feeling fine, you really are upset." She placed a hand upon his shoulder. "I heard what had happened, Sybil's here for you." She started to pull Tsinghua inwards, towards the couch. "Come you should talk about what happened, get your feelings off your chest."
"Then we can do what always cheered my daughter up."
Tsinghua did not like this.
Ms Katherine blackmailed him, made him into her worker last time. And now she's trying to act /nice/? The boy doesn't trust this, and that might be clear to Sybil. But since it's his job, he plays along with what he percieves as a charade. The boy lets himself be pulled with, being seated wherever the businesswoman deems appropriate. "..What happened?" He sighs, deeply and tragically.
"I'm not sure where to start, ms. Katherine. I do not think I've ever had this difficult of a task as an emisarry- and I failed." He speaks. His tone is neutral, as if he's telling objective facts rather then his experiences. "They rightfully got upset at me." As he makes this remark, he fiddles with the amulet unwittingly.
"The Podiebrads were compassionate enough to let me off with a warning. I am glad that my masters will not have been informed of what transpired."
Sybil sat the boy down on the couch next to her. He had her full attention. When he finished, she bluntly corrected him "You needn't lie, the Podiebrads are not compassionate." As she gestured to Goldie to fetch what she desired. "I heard what had occurred, those animals were cruel to you". She placed her hand back to his shoulder, to comfort him.
"Had I been there with you, I would have never allowed such savagery to happen, I would have protected you." She straightened up to give a sense of authority, but to nowhere in particular. "If I had it my way, you would have never been ordered to go to such a terrible place to begin with." She turned a gave and ever so slightly leaned into Tsinghua, as if to whisper "To be honest, that is why I called you here. I knew if you went back to the estate, you would not gotten any time to relax. By bringing you here on the guise of work, you can actually take some comfort." When she finished, she had the grin of a child who tricked the teacher into giving her two lollipops. The smiling look was only ended the moment before Goldie returned to sight.
"Ah yes, the first step in recovery, the Chocolate". Sybil said as Goldie returned with a trio of Hot Chocolates. From the plate she plucked the mug, and placed it into the boy's hands. "But please tell me how you felt about it sweetie" She grabbed a drink of her own "and remember that I find lying very rude" She lied.
"Is... That so?" It seems as if, the boy wants to relax. Take this situation at face value, accept her supposed kindness. But he can't bring himself to do that, atleast not fully. "I understand, I will do as you say. Thank you, Madam Katherine." Another polite smile, but cold eyes.
"Maybe it will help."
"You.. are correct, ms. Katherine. The- It was awful." Following her lead, he decides to speak truthfully from here on out. It is clear to the boy she has an excellent sense for picking up falsehoods. "Not- Not everyone was bad- But the Patriarch, and his Maid.. disturbed me. They- No, almost all of them seem to be obsessed with violence and.. i- i- int-" He shrinks, his voice becoming softer as he tries speaks that /scandalous/ word. "..intercourse."
He gets momentarily distracted by Goldie and the cup of chocolate shoved into his hands, warming them. A comforting feeling.
"Th-Thank you, Miss- Could you perhaps tell me your name?"
When she heard that faint word, Sybil exploded. She stood back in a raging start, roaring in rage "What! MY Tsinghua! If she so much as touched you wrong! I would squeeze the life out of- that- HARLOT! With my own bare HANDS!"
She calmed herself, and returned to her seat, ignoring the chocolate staining her pants. She "Don't worry Tsinghua, I will do everything in my power to protect you from nasty people like that maid." She placed a gentle hand upon his head. "You don't have to afraid here, you are save, -I- will keep you safe."
The monologue was ended by the assistant standing over with a plate of soft confections and grabbers. "Oh you can just call me Goldie, but would you like some marshmallows."
"Awah--!" He gets startled from her explosive reaction, but in a way, appreciates her anger. An outburst like that can only be genuine, right? He barely manages to keep the hot chocolate upright, but narrowly avoids it spilling over. "Th-Thank you for getting angry on my behalf, ms. Katherine. Do not worry- I.. politely refused her advances. I don't really understand why she tried that." He admits.
"She was terrible, but that.. that man made her terrible." After everything he had heard, this was the conclusion he had come to. "She- She talked about needing to please me, or the patriarch would get mad at her. E-Eventually he had tea and.. talked. The conversation started nice.. but it started going places I never wanted it to go." He looks a bit more downtrodden after that, being reminded of Zsa Zsa.
He looks up from his story, toward Goldie. "I- I would love some, ms. Goldie." Still with madam's and ms's. It's not a habit he drops easily! He finally takes a sip of his chocolate, now that it's cooled off enough. His eyes light up at the taste of that sweet drink, seemingly, it's not something he's familiar with.
Sybil just listed with a plain face that said calm and caring. Upon letting the boy finish she continued with support. "There are many awful people in the world, that is why want to protect you from them, but I would never send you to meet with such awful people willingly." She turned to her assistant. "Goldie, would I ever send you into a pit of lust and wrath like that alone?"
The blonde responded "Never, the only thing that might come close was that matter in Thailand, and you were right by my side then." Goldie placed the marshmallows in the hot chocolate, before locking her eyes upon Tsinghua's head. "Oh Sybil, it seems I messed up poor Tsinghua's hair on the ride over."
"Oh dear, well just fetch me the brush and I can fix it right up." Sybil ordered, turning back to the boy she provided a related instruction. "Sweetie, would you sit on the rocking chair out on the porch so you can watch the sunset over the meadow while I fix you up." She pulled herself back up to her feet a second time offering a hand to both take the hot cocoa and the boy's palm.
"I hear the sunsets are a sight to behold."
"O-Oh, I can do that-" He decides to cut himself short. He knows better to go against a superior's request.
Most often, it's not a good Idea.
"O-Of course, thank you very much, ms. Katherine." He takes her hand, and the chocolate as they walk outside to said porch, the boy gets dropped off in the seat, in which he sits- a little awkwardly. It's a bit big for him! Nontheless, he lets Sybil do her thing, flinching a slight bit the first few times he'd be touched. "The Estate did not do so willingly, at the very least. My being send their was because they didn't know enough about them- I was to make introductions and 'test the waters'." The boy frowns, doing his best to still his head while Sybil works on his hair. "But now the Podiebrads want me back. They want me to be their main contact. Their Patriarch insisted so".
"And I don't have a choice in this matter. Refusing would lead to more dire consequences."
Sybil moved and sat the boy into the rocking chair. The setting sun illuminated the springtime's sloping meadows as the butterflies quieted down for the night. The rabbits were bounding out to feed in the approaching twilight. The Evening birdsongs cried out in a natural chorus. Goldie brough the brush to her boss's waiting hand.
"You may not have a choice, but I do." Sybil ran the brush through Tsinghua's hair, prompting a slight rock of the chair. "What if I found some pretense to do business with the Podiebrads." The chair rocked ever so slightly more under the broker's pressure. "Once I can truthfully say that they have offended me, I could express my displeasure to your master. " The brush caught the orange light as it ran through his hair. "By showing the grave dishonor the Podiebrads did to me, your master would be obliged to cut overt contact with the Patriarch." The chair began a slow and soothing undulation under deliberate manipulation.
"Would you like me to do that for you sweetie." She cooed into Tsinghua's ear.
The boy's eyes light up as that possibility is proposed, yet-
"I do not think you should bother, ms. Katherine." He admits, his expression souring once more. "Unfortunately, the Podiebrads have much of use to offer to my Master. And while you are also one of our honored contacts-"
"I am afraid Master Shuren will not cut ties simply because ms. Katherine would request so. He, and the rest of our council, will not percieve it as their problem to deal with. And, I act in accordance to my Patriarch's will. If he judges the arrangement with the Podiebrads to be best- I see no purpose in going against that." Not to mention, while she has been pleasant today, brushing his hair, acting all nice.
Tsinghua does not want to be in her debt any further then he has too. "So I will simply need to keep my head down- The Podiebrads are hard to deal with, but as long as I do not invoke their anger, as I have before-" He sighs, sadly. "I can manage. I can do it. I do not want to, but I can. For the good of the Estate."
The boy then briefly diverts the subject, as he looks across the hills. "This place is beautiful, ms. Katherine. Thank you for taking me here."
In view of Tsinghua. A rabbit stood atop a stone, ears perked. The lagomorph seemed to be looking right at Tsinghua, Sybil responded with an air of disappointment "If that is what you desire, I won't speak to your master on the matter." The songs of the meadow stopped. Just as Sybil brought the brush's bristles to the back of the boy's neck, a fox bounded across the hill, snapping the rabbit in her jaws.
The rabbit did not die quickly, the screaming struggles of the animal were in full clarity for all to hear. Sybil just kept brushing. "But remember sweetie" she said with that concerned voice. From behind, a pair of small fox kits followed. They two played, bounded, nip, and yapped. By the time they reached their mother, her snout was already filled with the rabbit's meat. "All you need to do is call Sybil, and I will come save you "
"Particularly at that little dance tomorrow."
"U-Uwa.." Tsinghua is forced to look away from the gruesome display of nature's ways. "I- I thank you once again, ms. Katherine. You have shown your kindness to me once again, and I will keep it in mind."
Especially for tomorrow, because quite possibly, a rescue would be required.
"I am not surprised you know about the Rosalia, ms. Katherine. Before my visit to the Podiebrads, I- or, we at the estate, did not realize the dangers. Thruth be told, I am scared." He shivers a little when the topic changes to the Rosalia. "We believed it to be a party, but as it turns out, I have been invited as a fighter- not an emisarry. But I do not want to fight, ms. Katherine. Not again."
"I don't want to end up like that Rabbit..."
Sybil touched up a few more points in Tsinghua's hair, before speaking somberly again. "There are things far worse that could happen. You were invited, not ordered out." Sybil silently mouthed to her assistant if the hair was presentable. Goldie whispered affirmations into the choker she wore about her throat. The hair was fine.
Sybil then placed the brush down on the chair's arm. It slightly side to and froe as the chair rocked, but it never fell. She spoke as if lecturing, pointing at the small playing foxes. "Look at the kits. Can you see how they playfight each other? They are out in the open, easy prey for anything hungry. They are smaller than the rabbit, yet they announce their presence without a care in the world. Do you want to know why, why they are not eaten like the rabbit?"
"They are protected by their mother."
She levered on her hips to bring herself back to full height. Walking back inside. "Enjoy the fresh air as long as you like sweetie, dinner will be waiting for you inside." She called out cheerfully before exiting the porch, closing the door behind her. The meal was warm, comporting, hasenpfeffer.
"I- I see, ms. Katherine."
Even for all is naivety, Tsinghua is quite clever, and he gets a good hint of what she's saying- Or rather, implying. "I will be inside shortly, thank you, madam." And as the boy sits in the rocking chair, he thinks about what to do- How to react, and interact with Sybil. She is being so friendly, so kind and supportive.
%"But that is what these people do.."
And as such, Tsinghua proceeds with caution- He returns, greeting the tall lady and taking a deep breath. But he keeps the polite and formal act, rather then being kind and dependant. He needs to be careful. Sybil had manipulated him into a spy before. And in that moment, he gathers his courage, and speaks up.
"Ms. Katherine, I need to make something clear to you-" The boy inhales, nervously. "I am most thankful for everything you have granted me today. Your kindness truly knows no bounds." He starts with sweet-talking her, attempting to soften the blow of what he thinks to be a risky statement.
"I believe our relationship should stay purely formal. The way you have been treating me today-"
"I deem it to be inappropriate. You are a honored contact of the Góng Estate, and I am a emissary in their service. And that is all it should be."
The boy protested, he had seen what she was trying. She was being manipulative. Tsinghua's past was like a book she read so many times over. Sybil knew he was missing a robust mother figure. Rather than just forcing the boy to follow her out of fear, she wanted to condition him to be truly loyal. The trauma he had endured by the Podiebrads had just given her a ripe opportunity to make him both fear and love her. He had been wise to her words, her manipulations, but she had a trick he could not outsmart.
She went up an embraced him in a warm, motherly, hug.
She rocked him with the same pace as the rocking chair. She hummed a lullaby her grandmother sang to her, and now she sang it to him as well. "Keemeessoo ke san seekothees katee tha soo kareesso". She could sense the little hormones that triggered bonding. "Tin Bolee ke tee Venetya tee Cheeo me ta karaveea". As much as the mystics and masters talked of discipline, a little Oxytocin has a powerful effect on the mind. "Na yeenees andras zakoostos s'anatolee ke dheessee". Sybil would not let the warm, but strong, embrace end until she was sure his Hypothalamus was pouring out that little bonding chemical. "Kavala stin aya sofya na pas na proskeeneesees." She would turn his brain against his mind, get his emotions to cloud it.
Tsinghua grimaces, as once again he is held by the woman- "M-Ms Katherine! I- I just said-" He protests weakly. "That this is not.." But it's little use, as she starts singing. A haunting, but comforting lullaby in a unrecognizable tongue. He would subtly try to pull away.
But the worst part, is that it's working.
In his attempt to prevent her manipulations, he only stimulated her to do more. All that kindness, all her warmness up until this point, all of it had set an expectation for his unconscious- An exploitation of something that he has lacked in his life. And while the logical side of is doing it's best to preserve Tsinghua's independence, the hormones are doing it's work.
So despite his better judgement, Tsinghua feels himself relax, it feels comfortable in her embrace. "P-Please, stop.." He exclaims in a soft tone, painfully aware of his own feelings, and the lack of control he has over them.
And the attachment that his mind is building.
She had him. The requests to stop were ignored as he just needed to stew just a bit more. The why of her enthralling this boy was not even for any grand gain at this point. She just wanted another loyal pawn, and she knew ways to make loyalty out of fear. The moment passes when the boy weakly protests, and soon she knows time was ready.
"There, there sweetie." She softly coos. "Dinner is just about ready, once Goldie finishes it and sets the table, you can drink up." She pet his hair again, much like when she was brushing. "Are you going to be a good boy and eat your dinner?" She weakened her grip enough so that he could see her smile.
"Then I can give you your present."
As the grip weakened, the boy would pull away- a little frantically, this time. Before hastily sitting down at the table, watching Goldie serve up the dinner as he says a quick "Thank you." His head is bowed down toward the table, afraid of looking Sybil's way, afraid of having her see his-
-comforted smile, and his rosy cheeks. Involuntary happiness, that he can't stow away. His thoughts are slowly shifting to excuse Sybil's behavior. 'She's doing this to manipulate me' turns into 'She's doing this to help me.'. 'I can't let this continue' shifts towards 'I can't stop this'.
In other words, Tsinghua is slowly turning into the thing Sybil wants him to be. Slowly, but surely. He might still resist today; but a week from now;
And these feelings will only have set in deeper.
In the meantime, he looks up- The neutral expression is back on the boy's face, looking toward the meal placed in front of him with a hint of eagerness- Before placing his hands together, mumbling a mealtime prayer to himself.
"Thank you very much for the meal, ms. Goldie, ms. Sybil."
All according to plan. The boy was cowed, and his emotions had been turned against him. Though both of the boys thoughts had some truth. She was manipulating him, but she did want to help him. He would be going into a dark, fearful place. If he went to the castle in the state he was before, he may have lost hope altogether.
Then Sybil would have one less pawn to manipulate, and she couldn't have that.
"You are very welcome" Said Goldie. Goldie looked on, being so familiar with the look on his visage. The fear that kept him inline was not alone, if only just barely. In time he might be the model employee. A model employee that might take her job. She supped her soup with a fading focus to his face as the jealously stewed.
Sybil spoke triumphant, foreseeing victory. "Quiet, now let us all enjoy ourselves before the party". The boy was calmed, the boy was hers, her ticket to the Rosalia would be arriving just as the meal was ending. Nothing was left out of place.
===== Meanwhile, in the room of Sybil's actual daughter========
"*sob* He won't *sob* ever love *sob* a geek like *sob* Meeeeeeeee!"
Tulip buried her head into her pillow.
"*Sob* Nobody will ever love MEEEEEE!"
Log created on 18:22:35 05/26/2021 by Tsinghua, and last modified on 19:45:34 05/28/2021.