Description: A wounded Tsinghua gets warmly recieved by Sybil- And he finally bites the bait that was slowly set out for him.
The boy had been squirming in the cozy bed Sybil offered him, still in the cabin outside of Zurich. It has been time since he had been teleported out- saved from the searing nightmare he had experienced in the City of the damned by an unknown force, and left with that pen-sized artifact brimming with power, tucked away safely in his robes.
'Trust in your own Strength' It said.
But how could he, after all -that-?
All he had been able to do was churn around in a restless, feverish sleep, cries and whimpers leaving his throat as his broken ribs and sliced-open side create incredible, lasting pain. Horrid nightmares of the events that had transpired plaguing his mind and making him wake, only to fall asleep again seconds later. At least his bleeding had mostly stowed, only small droplets of crimson staining the pristine white sheets. Someone had been taking care of him for that time- feeding him small gulps of water, closing the curtains to block out the bright afternoon sunlight. Tsinghua wasn't sure who it was- Goldie, Sybil herself? He wasn't thinking or seeing lucidly enough to come to a conclusion.
But despite everything, the fact that someone was taking care of him made him feel happy- at ease as much as he could.
=========Earlier, in Castle Alucard=========
Sybil Kathrine, the woman who coerced her way in to the Rosalia, was gaming against a collection of corpses in varying states of lack of decay. The blood sucker and pirate had already folded, leaving her against the bandaged body of an antique tyrant. Hahtetmun had just placed down a Trio of Kings and a pair of 6's, but as the desiccated corpse moved forward to collect the winnings, Sybil interrupted with a coy and casual collection of four 2's. Jaws dropped and were hastily recollected and reattached. The flesh and blood woman walked away with the crystalized soul of an ancient necromancer, title to a long dead kingdom, and some kind of big knife that blinked at her.
==========Now, in Switzerland==========
The very same grifter was now passed out on the bed. Her many winnings were stowed away in random bags, a blood stained crate just lay about in the kitchen, and a rusting red suit was sprawled out over the railings for solar sanitation.
Goldie was doing just as it was all instructed. Wait up all night for any arrivals. Make sure to preheat the beds. If the boy returned in bad straights, keep mum on who is caring for him. If Sybil didn't return by sunup, execute the plan to make the world pay. The only new orders when Sybil finally returned at dawn was to keep the bloody box safe. Goldie herself was left sitting by the fireplace, phone signal too poor to find anything to do and mid-afternoon breakfast requiring too fine a timing to be ready at awakening. When her eyes were all too filled by the sight of the flame, someone walked behind her.
The pleasant resting would see an interruption by the creaking sound of footsteps at the nearby door.
At that creaking noise, in his pseudo-awake haze, turns his head to face it- still resting on the soft cushion. Over the hours, the boy had become slightly more aware of his surroundings- but both his physical and mental state is still dire. *cough, cough*
"Who- who's there..?"
Out of the door entered a tall individual, towering over the sleeping boy. His broad shoulders made way to a expansive green gut that stretched and jiggled with each step, threating to jab the gangling body hairs into poorly placed eyes. The sickly warty skin made its way up to the face, which was locked into a mighty grin that sparkled with blackened points of teeth that gripped the nub of a cigar. Smoke trailed out from the ends of his pointed ears and gnarled nose. His long chin was caked in hot ashes. The eyed were bloodshot, with blackened pits beneath them/ The nightmarish form of a Goblin Master had entered the room.
" hey kid, got any Rappen? I need to do some laundry"
He yells out, weakly- before covering his head and closing his eyes, rocking back and forth. "not another one, not another nightmare- please, wake up.. wake up.." He is muttering softly to himself, maybe audible to the goblin, should his hearing be good enough.
The boy is in a panick, as a few wet tears create spots on his cushion. "get away.. get away from me.."
It would be obvious that Tsinghua is wounded, and in pain- Most notably, a large gash in his side, and a thoroughly bruised torso.
Mr.Green, the Goblin who had realized he startled the boy, tried to move to allay the poor boy's fear in- "GHURK!".
He was interrupted by a band of bills wrapping about his neck, silencing him from all but the most terrifying of growls. Before his claws could reach to free his throat, his hands also gained the subtle bindings about them. His talons were forced upwards in a threating stance, to inspire fear in the back of any creature's brain. When one swipe was forced down, seemingly towards Tsinghua. It was stopped.
Between the boy and the monster, stood Sybil. She had grabbed the slashing talon in her hand, her heroic protection in full sight of Tsinghua. When Green had another strike brought down against his will, the broker halted it as well. The goblin let out menacing grunts and coughs, as a struggle was simulated. Against the beholden beast, Sybil bellowed with the rage of a bear protecting her cub. "Stay AWAY FROM HIM!" She then pulled back, letting the goblin fall from his feet forward. She then turned around and swung him in her grip, spinning him away from the terrified boy. She launched the goblin clean out of the room whilst shouting
"STAY AWAY FROM MY TSINGHUA!"
The door closed behind the projectile noble, leaving his harmless landing unseen, and the triumphant Sybil in full focus to the injured boy.
The boy opens his eyes as he hears Sybil's voice. Looking in awe as the woman dealt with his assailant with all the gravitas, and more he'd assume for a lady of her standing. His eyes are wide as she stands there, the foul creature's claw in her hand- before he is lobbed out of the room. Tsinghua sobs louder- Is this another figment of his brain's creation? It was such a surreal moment.
"M-ms Katherine.. Ms Katherine.." He yelps out. "Thank you- thank you so much. I was- that was terrible.."
Heaving, he continues praising her in his daze. "You- you saved me from 'that place' too, right? It took a while- but you saved me.. you *sob* saved me like you said you would, you did- after I called for you.." His words are disconnected, but the sentiment is rather obvious- he is convinced Sybil Katherine was the one that pulled the strings to get him out of the city of the damned.
And he falls for it.
"That's right, Sybil saved you." She sat down on the bed beside him, speaking with that soothing maternal tone. "You called for me. You were saved from the awful place. It took time, but you were eventually freed." She of course, is referring to how she personally saved Tsinghua from giving change to Mr.Green, and then the mostly unrelated chain of events that occurred to him in that hellscape. How the two statements might be placed together in his mind, that is no accident. She placed an all too real hand on his head and smiled.
"And now you are safe here with me."
He calms down with that hand on his hair. "Th-Thank you.." He repeats, at a bit of a loss when it comes to more profound statements. "I.. will make sure that the E-Estate recognizes your care and kindness.." He speaks, softly. To some degree, enamoured with her. "Did.. were you okay at the Rosalia?" He asks the question, a little afraid that she might have had to endure a similair nightmarish situation.
"It- It almost feels like just a nightmare.. But, it hurts- it still hurts. It was real, wasn't it? All of it was real.."
As she patted his head with her right hand, she displayed her left. It bore a single scabbed over slice from the knife. She somberly told him, "It was more real than you could imagine." .
She began the regale her tale. "When I arrived, I was attacked by a murderess, an assassin, a monster." She turned her head upwards. "The woman who killed the Mayor of Metro, she tried to kill me as well." She returned her right arm from headpatting, to show both palms upwards." I had to tear her apart with my own two hands in order reach that decadent and debauched affair." She moved both her hands to clasp poor Tsinghua's. "It was horrible, they watching you fight and suffer like some kind of dog or rooster, they were even betting on the outcomes."
=========Earlier, in Castle Alucard=========
Sybil Kathrine shouted over the collected crowed as they observed the preparation of one of the fights. "$45k says the Vampire beats the Warlord!"
==========Now, in Switzerland==========
In the main room of the cabin, Goldie sat upon the crate containing the asphyxiated Lotus and counted out the money Mr.Green was to be paid in compensation. The payment included a hidden red solo cup that contained all the change in the cabin. When she carefully set down the cup, she whispered to him. "And don't let the boy see you again. Now you can head out".
"Th-They did that, did they? that's horrible.." He confirms, as Sybil holds his hands. "I- I am glad you made it out, ms. Katherine. You must be... very strong too." The boy says that somberly, his brow furrowing.
"I am so weak, yet, how am I supposed to get stronger when I hate getting hurt- and hurting people. Wh- When I think of that, I don't think I want to get stronger.."
"I just don't ever want to be in a situation where I have to be strong."
"But then I get attacked over and over, I am sent in to fight in tournaments, I need to suffer through the Rosalia..." He breathes in heavily, trying not to cry.
"I don't want to do it, ms. Katherine- But my duties call for it. And I need to.. comply. F-For the good of the Estate.."
As the boy exposed his weakness, Sybil moved to exploit and give a sense of support. "If you cannot get stronger by hurting people, what if you got stronger by protecting people?" She said, questioning the boy."I was not strong just to hurt Lotus, I was strong because I needed to, I needed to protect you. "
Sensing the inevitable tears, she pulls out the ruffled hanky she stowed away and offers it to the boy. She puts an arm around the boy, to allow him comport, but carefully missing all the painful spots. "If you are ever being sent somewhere just to hurt, then I can help you. I can get you out of such hurting tasks before you are even ordered to do them." She uses her other hand to turn his face, to make him look at his own reflection in her sunglasses, see the sorry state the hurt had left him in. "And to stay true to the Estate, you will just need to as I say when I free you from the hurt."
"Do you want to be free from the hurt?"
"W-Well.. It- It's.. part of the job.." He tries to excuse the Góng Estate's treatment of him, unsure of what to decide. He relaxes further as that arm is put around, taking the handkerchief with one hand.
"I- I will consider it, ms. Katherine. B-but.. Maybe if it gets.. even worse."
"But that does sound really.. nice." He daps away some of the tears that have started dripping out. "Maybe I will ask.. to be granted more lessons with the martial artists back home.." As he is forced to look at his own, battered reflection, he feels compelled to ask a question.
"I- I really wonder, Lady Katherine, how would you do that? How would you.. free me from that?"
Sybil delicately slides down the boy's eyelids. "Close your eyes, see your calendar, planner, schedule. Now imagine it is the first of the month and Sybil calling, and requesting your aid on the 13th, and you are of vital importance. On the 2nd, when you are all scheduled in for that meeting, there appears a grand pit fight that your master would love to throw a pawn into. But he already scheduled you for the 13th, and that is the day of the pit fight. It is ever so easier to just send the other man to go in your place."
She strokes his forehead. "If the fight could be on the 12th, 14th, or even 17th, then you may still need to fight. But such events are most certainly tame matters such as the Neo-league. If anything, such fights will serve to obscure my protection, and make you stronger with less hurt." She lifts the covering from upon his eyes.
"Your master would never even realize it."
"U-wah?" He yelps out, as his eyes are covered- though he doesn't resist further. Listening to her soft-spoken words, he imagines the scenario.
It would give him so much peace.
"That- you can do such a thing? Th-That is fantastic.." He says, a little starstruck. "But.. what would you ask of me? What would I need to do?" The messenger still attempts to look at this logically, rather then leaping on the opportunity like he desperately wants to." He swallows.
"Come to think of it, I find it odd that the master seems to be so inclined on sending me to events such as these.." Some hint, some suspicion makes way in his head. "The martial artists, by traditon, are forbidden to partake in such events.. They are rather the spiritual types. So the messengers are an obvious option as they already travel.."
"But why me?" Tsinghua emphasises, as he tilts his head. "I- I'm sure it's just because they trust me with such important tasks.. I should be honored, if anything. But you are correct, should there be no other option- I do believe they would send someone else. All messengers are trained in our Martial art, you see.."
"I would need you to do tasks as I needed, maybe as minor as aiding my daughter study." She slide her hands down to the boy's shoulders. "Your master has given you the finest education correct?" She gives a sweet little smile. "I'm sure you can be of grand help to little Tulip."
She let both go, and sends forward a hand for him to shake.
"That sounds.." He considers the strange idea for a moment, but turns to Sybil with quite the genuine smile. "That sounds nice, ms. Katherine. I'm certain she is just as Excellent as you are." Tapping his chin, he continues.
log/rename 9=Hook, Line, and Sybil
"It is quite outside of my area of expertise, but I would like to believe that I am adequetly knowledgable." The smile persists. "It is highly unusual.. but I think it might be a nice... distraction from my other tasks. Anything would be, really."
He puts his elbow over his mouth- as he erupts in a fit of coughs, each one coming together with a burst of pain from his chest. "Ow-Ow, Ayaaah.." But, he recomposes himself to a conclusion.
"After all, if it's for ms. Katherine or her daughter, I am certain I will be treated well."
Hook, Line, and Sinker.
She had the boy. He feared her enough to not be able to rebel, he was being conditioned to love her so he'd never want to rebel. The influence and presence of the estate would be associated with hurting, and she was associated with protection. She'll enter his mind like a mother. The world without her was hard, cruel, and dangerous. The world in her grip was warm, kind, and safe.
The boy accepts to help dear Tulip, seeing her as ever so kind, Sybil just smiles. The plan got gone off without a hitch.
===== Meanwhile, in Tulip's room========
Tulip is hanging up upon her walls what scant few poster she can find of Rafferty's modeling. Several fashion magazines that she previously had no interest in were crowded against math texts upon her book self. Her laptop had several of his catwalk displays opened and bookmarked.
==========Meanwhile, back in Switzerland=============
The van parked in front of the cabin. Unmarked billed moved hands as the bloody crate was loaded in the back. The monstrous serial killer was turned in for money. The effectiveness of the NOL in containing the unmoving body was of little worry at this point, as money was had. The pound of flesh and pint of blood was had, and it could always be tracked.
But mountain roads were always so treacherous.
Log created on 11:19:21 06/08/2021 by Tsinghua, and last modified on 08:02:22 06/09/2021.