AN: Howdy fellas. Truth be told, this chapter was harder to write than the others, and I'm very, very sorry if the mistakes are too many. Love to see your reviews and whatnots, and am thankful for your consideration, always! ;) Have a good day y'all!
wkgreen: Here it is, longer than the previous ones. Enjoy! :)
oftherose13 and chickinwhite: Your guesses were almost there! But well, I'm an evil writer that likes to twist everything up, hohohohoho :P Hope you'll be fine with this though, and thanks for the love! :)
Guest: Thank you! :)
Peter: Well... I hope so too! But my fingers didn't obey me, y'know... So... :3 Hahahahaha! Thanks! :)
rediver: Me too! But...*cough* After a few chapters or so, maybe? Hahahahaha! Thanks! :)
GISA103: Hope this chapter will satisfy your question, aha! :) Thanks for the love! :)
DISCLAIMER: AND MY KITTEN PEED ON ME. WTF WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?! HE DISLIKED ME NOW?!
Walking for two days in a row without resting was finally taking its toll towards Cara. She was extremely exhausted; both physically and emotionally. The road they have taken before, now she needs to go through it again. Perhaps if it was a smooth road- no hills or whatsoever; her tiredness would not reach its peak. But the road was awful. Too many hills for her liking, and sometimes she had to went with the longer route to avoid the steep ravines along the hillside. Fortunately, with all her trainings as a Mord'Sith have granted her a stamina that was significantly superior compared to others.
And it's definitely not helping when all the while during her independent journey, she could only think about that one person she desperately wished she won't be thinking about; not about her, or even anything that was close to the reference of her. But that was the problem, isn't it? She still did- or at least her mind was. When the Mord'Sith was contemplating on her now-realized feelings towards the brunette, her body was involuntarily running instead of walking through the woods. Or when she thought about how pathetic she is due to her inability to control her own feelings, and this could be considered as a form of treason towards her Lord Rahl; the anger she felt towards herself was making her legs to do a lot of stomping forward rather than walking normally. Her conflicting emotions were tiring her in every possible way, and she just could not find a way to stop it.
Well, actually she did know how, and that is why she was on her way to find that goddamn Witch. Of course it would be easier to ask the Wizard about it first, but Cara knew that Zedd would be too curious to let the matter simmer down; and that is why she knew better than to ask for the Wizard's opinion on this matter. At least with Shota; even if she daringly chooses to blab her out, her companions would have never come to believe her- since the Witch had a fairly bitter history with all of them. And that would give the blonde woman enough time to kill the old hag.
So that no one knows about it, ever.
As the third markings of sun rose since she started her journey, the Mord'Sith could feel that her endurance was on the brink of her capabilities. With the hot rays of noon that were starting to get to her and the warm, humid air that was not helping at all, Cara had a legible hint that she was going to pass out anytime soon. But her mind was screaming that she was only a few candlemarks left from reaching Tamarang foothills, and it would be pointless if she was to stop now.
And of course, Cara always prioritizes her mind first.
So it is to be expected when she finally collapsed near the riverbank that connects to the foothill, just a little more distance from her objective.
Nevertheless, the Mord'Sith managed to curse her body with disappointment, right before her consciousness left her mind.
When Cara came to, it was not a favourable experience, to be exact.
The first thing that ran through her mind was the need to identify her surroundings- which looked quite like an old shack, her bagpack placed on the side of the nightstand, with her laying on an average-looking mattress; and there was only a single candle that had been lightened up to illuminate the room. Regardless, she was relieved to found that both her arms and legs were not cuffed, or tied, or worse; cut off. But still, she didn't have a slightest clue to where she was right now.
Secondly, she needed to feel the familiar prickling of her Agiels on her palms to calm her nerves down. So she slowly sat up, moving her hands to her side. But there's nothing to touch- and she couldn't even feel the holsters. The Mord'Sith almost stood up in a flash to go and search for it, if she didn't remember that she was in an unknown turf.
From her observations so far, she was brought unconsciously here- wherever this place might be. There's no scent of mixed smells, hence it gave her an impression that her captor worked alone. And her captor was both wise and dumb enough to seize her Agiels but left her untied. Mord'Siths weren't known for their Agiels only, you know. Their fighting skills were not to be underestimated either. So in Cara's opinion, her captor must have been a pretty confident individual. With all of these hints, there's really no need for a second contemplation, it was clear that her captor was Shota herself.
Because only the Witch was confident enough to leave her unbound, and also cunningly wise to detain her Agiels.
And soon she was proven right, when a melodious voice rang in the air, while the owner decided to take a step out from the shadows- revealing herself. "I must admit, it was a quite refreshing encounter to find you sprawled unconsciously on my territory,"
The Witch came to halt when she was a foot closer to the blonde woman, "…without your friends."
Cara stared at the woman in front of her, knowing that she couldn't afford to throw her usual snide comments if she was about to ask for her help. And boy, refraining herself from her own habits was a pure, inexplicable torture.
So she opted for the most beneficial choice on her part, "My sole objective was to find you."
A dry reply ensued. "Fascinating, and you've found me, congratulations. Now what?"
Tilting her head to the side, Cara raised her right eyebrow. "You don't seem to be surprised at all; with me coming here- alone, to find you."
A light snicker ensued before the Witch answered her, "I believe that I have once told your merry band that I possessed the gift of foreseeing." A short pause for Shota to examine the younger woman's reactions, before continuing, "Also three days ago, I've sensed Zeddicus' link of magic while he's tracing my own. That's how you know where to find me."
After the Mord'Sith was sure that her legs should have compensated their energy back after walking for so long, the blonde woman moved to stand up from the mattress- and was kind of amused when she noticed that the Witch stepped back warily from the bed.
Cara's right hand reached out in demand, "Give me back my Agiels."
And that induced a humorless laugh from the other woman, "You're in my domain, and yet you have the audacity to order me. "
"Well, I wouldn't have to demand anything if you hadn't took it from me in the first place."
"And you're talking as if you wouldn't do the same to me."
Both women eyed each other in equal animosity, before the blonde woman replied with a defeated sigh.
Seemingly satisfied with the young woman's answer, the Witch flicked her right hand- using her magic to telekinetically bring two nearby chairs next to them over, as a silent invitation for her guest to sit.
After they have settled down, Shota engaged first, "What do you seek me for?"
"I needed an answer."
"And the Wizard of First Order wasn't capable enough to provide it for you?"
"I couldn't ask him about this."
The Witch hummed slowly when her interests on the Mord'Sith's matter flared a little. "Alright. What is it about?"
The blonde woman leaned back into the chair, sighing heavily and contemplating if she was consulting with the right person. Well, of course this Witch was not the right person per se; but she had no choice, didn't she? It's either Shota or Zedd, and the Wizard would have gone mental if he knows-
The Witch impatiently broke her reverie, "Just so you know, I do not have all day."
And of course, the Mord'Sith's temper flung at this. She gritted her teeth in attempt to stop herself from killing the woman in front of her- since self-control was never her strong point. "Fine. But if a word of what I'm about to say gets out-"
"Save it. Despite of what you people might think of me, I have my own principles. It's rather simple really; I won't cross your path, if you don't cross mine."
Cara huffed in dissatisfaction for being interrupted, but was relieved nonetheless with the assurance that she got. Staring right through Shota's eyes, she asked;
"Is there any spell or potion that could dissipate one's feelings of affection towards the other?"
And that earned her a hard stare from the Witch.
Shota looked at the blonde woman for a long while.
Then another moment for the question to sink in.
Then another minute for her to read the blonde woman's facial expression.
After a prolonged few seconds, the Witch gave a snarky reply, "She said in all seriousness."
Feeling her wrath was starting to raise again, the Mord'Sith narrowed her eyes, "Do I look like I'm joking?"
"That is what I am trying to figure out. Is it a trick question? Or a trick in all?"
The blonde woman replied begrudgingly, "I meant every word I've said."
Shota took a few minutes to really evaluate the woman in front of her, because really; a Mord'Sith just came to see her, asking her about affections? If this was the Wizard's doing, she would make sure that the next time he ate a fruit- any fruit at all, she would bestow him with the greatest suffering of a lifetime. A rotten tooth here and there- or his entire teeth maybe. Or his mouth full of maggots. Or making his skin even more wrinkled that he is now. One way or another, the Wizard will pay.
That was what the Witch thought initially, but when she reassessed the whole situation; how the Mord'Sith was willing to travel a long way just to meet her- and given their history, Shota would be the last person that the blonde woman was ever willing to go to, so this question probably has a validity of some sort; wouldn't it? The Mord'Sith also agreed to let her Agiels- and let's face it, she would have gone mental if that wretched thing was taken away from her on any day, what an unhealthy attachment,- being temporarily detained; so there's really nothing else needed to prove that this Mord'Sith wasn't kidding, is there?
But still, a Mord'Sith- Cara, nonetheless- asking her about affection?
Creator, if only she could record this moment.
The Witch exhaled warily, torn between trusting and suspecting, "So let's say, what you've asked before is justifiable-"
Cara impatiently interjects, "So there's a way to terminate it?"
Shooting daggers at the young woman, Shota countered, "Quiet and let me finish."
The blonde woman huffed indignantly while crossing her arms against her chest, and the Witch took it as a sign to continue, "Like I've said, if you really do mean what you've asked; and if the answer is yes- if," Shota purposely emphasized that word, "…what kind of affection are we talking about?"
A moment of pause before Cara responded, "…Love."
The Midlands' Witch clicked her tongue. "I see. And this… remedy, is for whom?"
The Mord'Sith grew silent at this, but that was what Shota is aiming for. That was all she needed to complete her deductions.
"Actually, you don't have to answer that. You have just confirmed my suspicion." A mocking laughter lingered in the air for a moment, before the Witch resumed, "The possibility of that ancient Wizard having a potential love interest is lower than zero," Cara couldn't help but smirk at that. "And as far as I remembered, the Mother Confessor and the Seeker's love are so great, that even her Confessor's powers didn't work on him." The Mord'Sith's smirk faltered.
A sly grin formed on the Witch's lips. "And that leaves you." Shota leaned back on her chair, before adding, "So, who is that lucky person? Or unlucky, one would say."
Rolling her eyes in annoyance, the Mord'Sith pressed on, "Enough with this unnecessary inquiries. I just need to know; does it exist, or not? And if it exists, can you do it?"
The Witch didn't say a word since she was in deep contemplation; and that unnerved the blonde woman even more. She really didn't need for that old hag to know more than she already has. Knowledge is power, and having this cunning Witch holding that much power over her; it would meant slavery for the rest of her life.
It took at least an hour or more- and also plenty of nagging from Cara's part for the Witch to answer her- but finally the Midlands' Witch managed to put all the pieces together. And the outcome of it was a true shocker- and extremely interesting to ponder. Shota teasingly smirked, before saying, "I've got to hand it to you, your taste for romance is impeccable."
The blonde woman almost stuttered in her sentence, "…What do you mean?"
Shota's smirk got wider. "Come now, there's no need to play coy. Witches and Wizards are trained to be perceptive, it is in our nature. After all, that is why you chose to come to me in the first place, isn't it?"
Cara's shoulder sagged in defeat, knowing that one of her worst case scenarios had come true.
And apparently, the Witch liked to aggravate her even more- since she kept on describing about what she had found out. "You have the company of a Wizard, the Wizard of First Order; yet you decided to come to me. This means that you can't possibly ask him about this matter, since you don't want him to know any of it." Cara quickly looked away; the bed seemed to be a lot more interesting than before.
"And why are you so sure that he would know if you ask him that? That means only one thing; he knows the person that you are currently in love with." The Witch studied the Mord'Sith's facial expressions while she kept going, "Zeddicus knows a lot of people, yes; but according to the information that I've gathered- your band had never stayed longer than a week in any town or road alike. And for a Mord'Sith like you to fall in love with someone, a week together is definitely not enough. So this person that you're in love with, they must be someone that had stayed considerably long enough to impress you."
The blonde woman was getting dreadfully restless by now.
"Thus, this leaves you with two people; the Mother Confessor, and the Seeker."
The Witch sneered when the other woman glared menacingly at her. "And here is the tricky part. Which of them is the one?" If only looks could kill, then Shota would have died under Cara's glower more than a thousand times already. The Midlands' Witch ran a hand through her long hair proudly before carrying on, "I took me sometime, but I managed to grasp it.
"Your devotion to the Seeker is quite heartwarming, if our previous encounter was any indication. Apart from that, your relationship with his future wife was somewhat strained and barely tolerable from what I remembered, so it is only sensible if the person you're in love with is Richard Cypher."
A breath of relief almost managed to worm its way out of Cara's nose, but the Witch's next sentence made her breath hitch.
"But of course, it's not him."
Another intense glower sent from Cara to Shota, as if she was daring the Witch to say it out loud, and silently hoping that the old hag won't. But she did anyway.
"You're in love with the Confessor."
Both of Cara's balling fists were turning white, akin to her current emotion. But Shota ignored this and continued anyway. "Do you wish to know what gave you away?"
The Mord'Sith didn't answer, but when her angry frown turned into a confused one, the Witch smirked devilishly.
"When I mentioned of the Seeker, your face was portraying a form of dedication, and your jaw softened accordingly. But when I spoke of the Mother Confessor, your face became impassive. A trained kind of impassive, at that. I know this, because I often wear that mask on my face a long time ago. So then, there's your winner." Shota paused for a moment, before playfully adding, "But I got to ask, how did that happen?"
Thoroughly fuming, the Mord'Sith stood up, almost knocking the chair down in the process. She really wanted to make this infuriating Witch into a cripple or six foot under preferably, but since her weapon was not with her, plus the Witch could easily told the Wizard about what she had just found out through their magic linking crap before she managed to kill the said woman; Cara opted to lash her anger out towards a nearby tree later on, when she's outside already. "If you can't answer, you should've told me earlier so I wouldn't have to waste my time listening to your incessant yapping. Now where's my Agiels? Give them back to me."
Immensely amused by the blonde woman but deciding that she would stop for now- since the Mord'Sith still got the ability to kill her because of her specialty in deflecting magic; Shota snapped her fingers, and Cara's Agiels within their holsters were back where they belong, strapped around the Mord'Sith's waist.
Cara instantly touched her weapons, wanted to know if these are the real thing or not. When a jolt of prickling pain spreading on her palms, it told her that at least the Witch had the decency to return her belongings back; and for that, she would not harm the old hag for the time being, even though the thought of it was extremely enticing. The Mord'Sith shouldered her bagpack instantly and was about to exit the shack, but came to a halt when the Witch called her;
"About your question earlier," The blonde woman felt a pull of hope that stopped her tracks, and she was waiting for Shota to continue without bothering to face the old woman.
"…there is no spell or potion that could dissipate one's love. When it comes to love, that is the one thing that witchcrafts in any existing world cannot overcome. If in terms of controlling a person like a puppet, yes; but other than that, no." The Witch paused, looking at the young woman's deflating figure. "But if you're willing to listen, I have an advice."
The Mord'Sith still didn't turn around to face her, but she didn't walk out either. That was enough for Shota to predict her unspoken decision, so she stated;
"I understand your need to seek a remedy for such feelings, since the Seeker had your loyalty first, and for a reason that I could not comprehend; now your heart is with the Confessor. But should you choose to pursue your feelings, you have to do it right- for your own sake."
The Witch paused as a flash of old memory danced in the back of her mind. Shaking her head in order to push it away, Shota solidified her eyes and focus on the blonde woman in front of her before continuing, "This is probably not the answer that you're searching for, but it was proven effective nonetheless; that is, if you try hard enough and stick to it."
Cara waited for the Witch to resume.
"If you want your feelings for her to dissipate," Shota kept on examining the Mord'Sith's body languages, wanting to predict what she would probably decide later on.
The Mord'Sith clenched her teeth so hard that her jaw suffered a momentarily cramp.
"Hate her with all your might."
Cara's left hand travelled quickly to her left holster, gripping one of her Agiels tightly; hoping that the pain on her palm would match with the pain she felt inside.
"Hate all that there is about her, even the way she breathes."
Unfortunately, it's not enough. The pain inside of her was too much.
"Hate her, until her mere presence suffocates you."
The blonde woman felt a searing sting on her eyes, and it made her chew the inside of her cheeks.
As a final reminder, Shota emphasized her words clearly;
"Hate her… Until you want to kill her."
And that finality caused a pair of emerald eyes become glossy, leaving her with a blurry vision.
The Midlands' Witch turned away from the blonde woman's figure with an amused smirk on her lips before adding, "The choice is yours to make."
After finished listening to the Witch's seemingly appropriable advice, the Mord'Sith closed her eyes briefly before opening them back with a renewed determination;
...feelings be damned.