9 Chapter Nine-The Grand Priestess
Medil had taken Silver to the Slang Nyoka clan, where they hid in a mountain filled with caves that housed thousands of them. The mountain was in a forest on the outskirts of the Dragon's Lair and was not far from the ruins of the original village of the Slang Nyoka clan. They were a clan that always lived in secrecy, assassins used throughout history to eliminate whoever the enemies of their clients were. The Union even during its formation, did not try to stop them. The clan was the world's dark secret, lurking the shadows none of the clan's assassins could be caught. With the formation of the Union, most of their clients were criminals and not nations.
Silver had left his clan when the civil war had broken out amongst them, his parent's death was the cause of the war as they were assassinated by his uncle, who made a move also on Silver's life. Despite being stronger, Silver escaped into exile leaving power in the hands of his father's brother, who ironically was also assassinated. It was then that he set on a voyage challenging martial artist around the world to deadly duels. When he had amassed five hundred kills did he then allow
himself to be caught by the authorities, ending up in Main Central, Wobbleton, the Sud-Republic's most dangerous prison. However, during those duels, he had encountered the Separatists, he joined the movement just before going into prison. But all this time during his self-exile, the Slang Nyoka clan had fallen into chaos, he was keen to find out how the Grand Priestess had brought order into the clan.
Despite taking him back to the clan, Medil did not hide his loathing emotions towards Silver who was amused by them. They were met by an audience of guards and the Grand Priestess, inside one of the caves which were connected with the other caves around the mountain.
Silver recognised the Grand Priestess but could not believe it as he gazed in disbelief. The Grand Priestess was a very thin and short old woman, she was bald with the yellow eyes that everyone who came from the clan had. She walked with a wooden bamboo staff, whose end stopped at her shoulders and were gripped by her bony fingers. Her fierce stare overshadowed her thin physique, as they displayed her internal strength.
'So…are you going to remain silent!' said the Grand Priestess in a serious tone and then a grin appeared on her face. Medil frowned in confusion it was not what he had expected, he knew the Grand Priestess unlike the other members of the clan, did not spit on the ground on hearing the name of Silver Serpent. But she did not object when they cursed his name. He had always assumed this behaviour was her display of loathing towards Silver Serpent and how he was hated in the clan by most. Silver kept quiet his eyes widened with amazement and as he took a few steps forward and the guards drew out their guns and pointed them at Silver. This action rubbed the heavy frown off Medil's face as he smirked gleefully. 'Put your weapons down!' barked the Grand Priestess and her bodyguards immediately obeyed the order, 'Make way!' she added as they gave her way, to walk towards Silver who just watched hypnotised by surprise. She walked up to him and they hugged, shocking everybody else around them.
'Helga…' muttered Silver as they withdrew from each other. Medil had not told Silver that Helga was the Grand Priestess, she was the youngest of all of Silver's siblings to have not only survived the civil war but to have brought peace during those troubling times. Medil's hate towards Silver stemmed from the fact that his parents died in the war. Something he let Silver know when they journeyed to the Slang Nyoka clan. But he could see from the Grand Priestess's eyes, that she still loved her eldest brother. This did not change his feelings of hate towards Silver, but he was fiercely loyal to Helga who trained and brought him up as an orphan when she gained power.
'So much has happened since your exile…brother,' said Helga. Medil could see for a moment, a vulnerable Silver and his instinct and pulse from years of training told him to pounce on Silver. But he kept calming down, ignoring the urge. 'Well…' begin Silver but was immediately interrupted by Helga who said, 'You both have travelled far, rest first! We will speak tomorrow,' she turned to her bodyguards and added, 'Make rooms for these two! And should anyone make any move on my brother, I will kill them in person with my bare hands!'
Medil did not sleep at night he instead indulged himself into doing push-ups in his room, night time in the clan meant lights out. Unless for those who were training or were on some form of guard duty. Living with the clan meant, there were strict rules to obeyed or one will be punished. Death was more common than banishment to those that were disobedient, and life in the clan was all about discipline and obeying orders. Occasionally they indulged in some form of celebrations where banquets were held. It was the only time the members of the clan took it easy and for those who went on assassination missions like Medil for days or years, it meant more freedom to do as one pleases. Although he occasionally indulged on worldly pleasures, the discipline from the clan was drilled to the bones since birth.
Hearing a knock on his door, Medil immediately got up ready and cautious, he immediately unlocked and opened his door. In front of him was a girl who he immediately recognised and aggressively dragged her inside his room, closing his door and locking it.
The girl had short hair, epicanthic folds with eyes that were wider in comparison to most in the Slang Nyoka clan and was lighter in skin tone with full lips, one of the clans most beautiful females. She gazed seductively at Medil, who gazed back slightly annoyed and said, 'You really want to get into trouble…Adel Hiss…' Medil paused mesmerised by her figure as his eyes motioned up and down.
Adel launched at him wrapping her hands around his neck as they kissed and then Medil turned her around aggressively shoving her away. Adel fell on his bed as he strolled towards her and then turned her face down, 'Hard and rough just like you like it right,' muttered Medil.
She had grown up with Medil and the two would occasionally have an affair, with her investing more of her heart in the interactions. She was in love with Medil who only occasionally would give glimpses of his affection. Regardless, she stayed loyal to him and unlike many in the clan she was more of a thief than an assassin. Preferring to steal highly valuable items but when it came to be killer, she was as deadly as any of them.
The Grand Priestess was jovial of the return of her eldest brother and a banquet was to be held to celebrate his return. This ambience of her content emotions shielded or blinded her from the loathing glances Silver received from most of the clan. Medil not hiding this as he repeatedly told Silver, 'If I could, I will kill you!' Silver would snigger and be carefree at these remarks, this carefree attitude further annoyed Medil. Before the banquet Silver wanted to speak to his sister, as to why he had come back, and a meeting was held in her throne room. Seating on both her sides were her advisers, it was a large room in one of the caves with the walls carved with images of serpents all up to the ceiling. It was lit by burning torches on the walls.
Helga listened patiently to Silver as he spoke about the Separatists and the events that had just occurred. Him and Medil on their journey to the Slang Nyoka Clan kept up to date with the return of Fei Yue. Medil had even bragged to Silver about having met Tet, and Silver pleaded to his sister that the clan join the Separatists movement to restore balance in the world.
'Emperor Fei Yue is back, such figures of the past cannot be good for this world or even more importantly, his Brotherhood is your client but, in the end, he will kill you all the moment he fears you!' Silver argued with the advisers, who sneered back at him scoffing at all he had said. Medil was also in the meeting standing up beside Silver. He hated the feeling, but he agreed with Silver having met Fei when he was Tet, it was possible Fei Yue in his twisted state could turn on the Slang Nyoka. The Grand Priestess stepped in as the debate started to heat up and she said, 'We will continue after the banquet, brother I am taking everything you are saying into consideration, but I will only make a decision after the banquet. We live very rigid lives with strict rules. Let's allow ourselves to relax by having a banquet,' those were her last words as she got up and left. Once the Grand Priestess left her advisers whispered sinisterly amongst themselves, Silver glanced at them and then smirked as he strolled away. Medil stayed peering at them and wondering what they were plotting, until one of them spotting that Medil who was still there, approached him.
'We need to get rid of Silver! We are ready to kill him in the banquet,' began the adviser as he hissed at the mention of the name Silver and continued, 'our Grand Priestess will not understand but it needs to be done. Our assassin will poison him, and when the Grand Priestess seeks justice our hands will be clean, but the culprit will die alone.' 'Sinister plan, you will frame your own assassin,' said Medil. The adviser smirked before saying, 'We need to cover our tracks, it's no secret you hate Silver as well, he is the cause of the war!' grunted the adviser and Medil nodded in agreement. Silver had to go, it was unfortunate the Grand Priestess did not understand, thought Medil.
The banquet took place within the following days in a large hall inside one of the caves, the celebration hall had the capacity of housing all the Nyoka. Traditional music was played at the banquet, using ancient musical instruments and the cellars that were barely touched, supplied the wine that was being served in goblets as the Slang Nyoka partied.
Helga sat on the head of her table, clapping and moving her head to the music being played, with her taster next to her observing and tasting the wine being poured into the Grand Priestess' goblet. Silver was also in a jovial mood sitting close to his sister. Medil was next to Silver, not seduced by the ambience surrounding him, he buried himself into eating the meat from a freshly hunted boar, that been roasted and occasionally sipped on his wine.
The Grand Priestess stood up and in a sudden, the whole room went silent. 'Let me make a toast,' she began as she gazed at her brother and a smile appeared on her face, 'my brother Silver…' Her words were seized by an arrow that flew straight into her throat and a stream of blood began to leak out. The Grand Priestess had a look of shock and fear as she gazed at Silver. It was as if she was asking for his help, with her one hand reaching out for him. Then a barrage of more arrows struck her, piercing her body. Her bodyguards were too slow to act with some of them just standing idly by. Medil and Silver both shot out their seats. Silver run to his sister's collapsed body and Medil run the direction he believed the arrows came from.
Cries from the rest erupted and with it came chaos, everybody ducked down in fear of more arrows. Silver watched as Helga slowly closed her eyes and he could feel her heart had seized to beat. Feeling the rage, he got up, and the assailant shooting the arrows appeared shooting one straight at Silver who stared back at him. The arrow snapped and broke as it made contact with his chest, bouncing off into fragments and he glared at the assailant whose head split into different parts, a bullet had struck him, and it came from the gun that Medil pointed at him.
The supposed bodyguards of the now-dead Grand Priestess, all pulled out their guns pointing it at Silver who gazed at all of them, with a razorsharp look of focus on his face. 'Your weapons are futile!' he barked as they all began to choke dropping their guns and held their throats as they felt the invisible strangulation, gasping for air and shaking uncontrollably as they fell to their last
breaths. At that moment, Silver and Medil's eyes met and Medil could feel Silver scanning him for any signs of betrayal. It felt as if Silver was trying to read his thoughts and after a few seconds Medil using his super-speed vanished in a blur appearing next to Silver where the body of the Grand Priestess lay, kneeling down Medil held her as tears trickled down his cheeks, doing his best to hold back, he broke into a sob as he briefly glanced at Silver who did not judge him, in his moment of weakness. Silver eyes were not wet, but he cried inside sharing his pain with Medil.
The mayhem in the hall, saw people rushing out and exiting into the cave corridors leading to other caves. Once the chaos settled, Medil took control of things and with a band of other clan members, bringing back order. To his surprise Silver told him that the judgement for the murder of his sister would come later, they first had to mourn her. Nevertheless, there was a shutdown in the caves, with the curfews tightened and no one was to leave.
As was tradition, Helga Serpent was buried in the catacombs reserved for the Grand Priests and Priestesses of the past. After the burial came the judgement, the advisers ironically advised that Silver the rightful heir should become the Grand Priest, to avoid another war. Silver unsurprisingly declined and gave the power to Medil who was taken by surprise and after the crowning ceremony, Medil confessed to Silver about the original plot to have him poisoned. Silver was calm as Medil divulged everything, 'I am aware of that,' he told Medil, 'you did not make it a secret that you wanted me dead, but the question that you and I have is who plotted for my sister to be killed. They wanted us both dead.' 'I know who wanted you and her dead…the same people that claimed they just wanted you dead,' said Medil.
A meeting was held in council chambers after the crowning ceremony and Silver and Medil's brief chat. Silver simply greeted the advisers and before they knew it, they were all gasping for air, holding their throats as they choked to death, this amused Medil and Silver as they both grinned.
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After the macabre events, new advisers and bodyguards were immediately appointed by Medil. Then he pledged allegiance to the Separatist group to Silver's delight on the behalf of the clan. However, Medil was to still masquerade the clan as supposed allies of Fei Yue. The day after, the two had a secret meeting, as Silver contacted the Council of Masters in the Sol Islands on an encrypted line. Kazak spoke about the appearance of Phoenix Guan and what he told them about the Sword of Carnage, catching Medil and Silver by surprise.
'So, what is the plan in finding this sword?' inquired Medil. 'He clearly has the sword and has it hidden, you are working for him you could find where it is,' answered Kazak on the other end of the line, then Silver joined the conversation. He said, 'Our troubles have increased exponentially we need to act fast, I am leaving the caves, I will coordinate with our members amongst the eight nations.'
After the meeting, Silver left the caves but what Medil and Silver did not know, was that hidden in the dark shadows, where they held their secret meeting, was the presence of Adel Hiss, who heard everything. With her own agenda, she left the caves as well, in pursuit of the Sword of Carnage.