Predatory Marriage — Chapter 316. Isha (16)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
It would not be easy to do it alone. Morga thought at least three sorcerers would be required. He was sweating as he drew a magic pattern, and at the edges where the lines joined, he placed candles made of dried blood and beeswax.
He also produced objects that were not usually used for this ritual. An obsidian dagger, a flightless raven’s feather, the hide from a lamb that had died because it could not drink its mother’s milk, goat’s blood that had been boiled and reduced beneath the light of a full moon… – – Posted only on NovelUtopia
Using these items, he completed the rest of the pattern, and still others were added to the liquid now simmering in a cauldron. Finally, he sliced his own forearm with the obsidian dagger, catching the dripping blood with a small glass bottle. Carefully, he measured some into the cauldron.
“Lucky I’d already made a base,” he muttered as he shook the glass bottle. The blood inside turned momentarily back, and then returned to its original red. As the bleeding on his forearm stopped, he laid dried juniper branches in a brazier beside the magic pattern. The scent rose and wafted through the tent.
He checked the glass bottle again for the color of the blood, and then poured it into a flat tray. As soon as the boy returned from his bath, Morga handed him the tray.
“I need blood,” he said. “As much as you can give.”
Morga had to perform a separate ritual on his blood because of the boy’s immunity to spells. No ordinary sorcerer would even consider attempting it. Most wouldn’t even know how to perform the coming of age ceremony for an ancient one.
Firmly reminding himself of his own greatness, Morga made a cut on the boy’s arm.
“Tell me if you feel faint, or if your vision blurs.”
He would have to bleed him to the point of death. The boy was silent as blood welled and began to run from his arm. His face turned pale, but he endured until the tray was full.
He was a tough boy, Morga thought as he bandaged his arm, and then steered him into the center of the magic pattern. Dipping his finger into the tray of blood, he drew a straight line across the boy’s forehead, then connected it to another line down the bridge of his nose. He drew longer patterns under his eyes, on his cheeks, and on his neck. And then starting at his heart, he traced complex, interconnected patterns all the way from his fingers to his toes.
“What is your name?”
Morga poured the remaining blood onto the magic pattern, producing black smoke that rose slowly from the pattern and then absorbed all the blood. Morga eyed the light as the pattern began to glow.
“…I hope you survive,” he said impulsively.
The corners of the boy’s mouth twitched. He closed his eyes quietly, breathing the scents of juniper and blood.
Isha’s body had one week to achieve all of its long-suppressed growth.
The side effects of the ritual were ghastly.
His bones broke repeatedly and reassembled themselves. His skin tore, unable to keep pace with the growth of his skeleton. All he could do in the midst of the hellish pain was scream, unable to writhe because his muscles were shredding themselves repeatedly, and building back stronger. In the end, there came a point where he could not even scream. It was all he could do to breathe.
Isha endured it all.
On the brink of death, he hallucinated. He saw the desert, and the slavers. He saw the dead Mel, and all the other slave children. Sometimes he thought he was still chained in the hole.
And at rare moments…he saw the Princess of Estia.
He liked these hallucinations very much, even though very little happened. In these visions, he was still trapped in the hole, and he suffered in the dark for a long time. But at some point, the wooden door would open.
Isha raised his head as a beam of light pierced the darkness.
There was the princess with the shining silver hair. She was looking at him with crystalline purple eyes.
Are you all right? she asked, and held out her hand. Do you want me to hold your hand?
At that moment, everything that had been tormenting him vanished. The dark hole, the chains that bound his body, all those wounds and pains disappeared.
He was free.
Isha smiled at her. Reaching out, he interlaced his fingers in hers and whispered the word he hadn’t been able to say before.