With a raised eyebrow, lady Mina did not even have to ask the question on her mind.
“I’m exhausted after the fight, can’t you tell?” Hamelin said, displaying a fatigued expression.
“You barely broke a sweat, you monster,” lady Mina said, crossing her arms, “In any case, I am in no position to refuse. Please make use of my facilities as you please.”
Hamelin grinned and stood up. Passing by Asten, who still remained in the room, he said, “Return to the old man and prepare for the next step, as instructed.”
“Yes, Master.” The young man bowed, as Hamelin left with lady Mina.
Once they were out of the room, lady Mina said, “You’ve made him a very powerful man. Are you certain he will be able to handle it?”
“He will,” Hamelin said, confidently, “After all, he actually had the guts to fight me, the first time we met.”
Eyes opened wide with shock, lady Mina shook her head. “I cannot say whether such an act is bravery or stupidity.”
“A little bit of both, I suspect,” Hamelin said and grinned, “But such traits tempered properly will become great strengths.”
For a while, his companion said nothing. In the end, though, she gave a small approving nod. “I look forward to it.”
The trip to the Purple Palace was not long, and soon, Hamelin found himself in a luxurious room draped with exquisite fabrics and adorned with masterful paintings. It was a magnificent display of the artistic direction lady Mina was intending to take her business, and Hamelin could only approve.
Though he would have personally preferred less pomp and more practicality, he could appreciate how attracting the facade was for humans.
I’m also human now, he thought, looking around with pursed lips, However, I’d prefer a bit of dirt… it soothes the mind.
A knock on the door brought him out of his reverie, and walked over to open it, only to find lady Mina standing outside in a flimsy muslin dress, purposefully made to only barely conceal her curvy attributes beneath.
For many a man in Tremon, Hamelin’s current view would be a dream come true, and had any of them been present, they would undoubtedly have cursed the one being offered this once-in-a-lifetime chance.
“Master Halifax,” she said, her voice low and sultry, “I have come to join you for the night.”
Raising an eyebrow, Hamelin said, “I told you, Minera, I have no desire for your flesh. Why, knowing this, would you go out of your way to attempt a seduction?” Beside his mind still being dominated by his vexen preferences, he was also in the body of a five-year-old, and no amount of bodily transformation could change the fact that he was far from adolescence.
She crossed her arms, allowing her bosom to spill over. Pursing her lips she said, “Why else would you ask for a night in the Purple Palace, if not for pleasure?”
Hamelin narrowed his eyes, trying to decide whether he should change his plans and just end this woman immediately. If he was right about her, she would become a formidable asset, but the way she effortlessly navigated her fear for him, and still sought an advantage was dangerous.
Or very, very promising, he thought, recalculating her potential worth in his mind, As long as I can keep her loyal, my plans will progress at an incredible pace.
The problem was keeping that loyalty. For now, he had her attention because of what he knew, and the promises he had made, but he understood better than anyone that a woman like Minera Dun was not just going to be used without receiving more than she gave.
“Well?” She said, huffing, “Are you going to keep a lady waiting out here in the cold?”
Stepping to the side, Hamelin said, “You may enter, but I warn you, Minera, I will not tolerate you taking any liberties with me. We will discuss the future and my promise to you, that is all.”
“How dull.” She pouted, but stepped into the room like a warm breeze, floating toward the bed, where she laid down on her side and began to play with the hem of her dress. “Then tell me, oh great and powerful Halifax, why are you here?”
“I need to confirm something, as well as teach you the first step to take control of the darkness within you,” he said, grabbing a nearby bowl of fruit and emptying it on the table. He handed her the bowl and said, “Put a drop of blood in this for me.”
“Are we going to perform a demonic ritual?” She said, clearly amused, “Or perhaps a slave contract to ensure my loyalty and complete obedience?”
“No,” he said, succinctly. He saw no reason to explain his every little move to her. She pouted, but did as she was asked, relinquishing a few drops of blood from a prick on her finger. Hamelin received the bowl and carefully reached down to touch the liquid life.
As soon as he touched it, the small sample began to bubble violently, and Hamelin could feel the small motes of darkness in the blood rejecting him.
It is confirmed, he thought, keeping a close eye on the reaction, Bloodlines are also present in this world.
To the humans of his old world, the bloodlines were the only true defense they had against the vexen horde that had threatened to overwhelm them for centuries. When Hamelin had recognized the signs a bloodline in lady Mina, he had not yet dared to assume it was the same kind of power he knew of, but with this he was certain.
“Oh… impressive,” lady Mina said, eying the bowl with interest, “Is that my power?”
“To be precise, it is your power rejecting mine,” Hamelin said, stroking his chin, “One might say that they stand in opposition with one another, and therefore cannot co-exist. However, that is not the entire truth.”
“I’m all ears; please enlighten me.”
Halifax looked up from the result of the experiment and gave a knowing look. He was still not sure whether to take the risk or cut his losses. Once he began this process, Minara Duna would become a force to be reckoned with, and perhaps even surpass him with time.
“The power you have, to my people, is known as a bloodline. It is an unalterable force which you were born with, giving you certain abilities if properly nurtured and trained. That, at least, is how it is supposed to be.”
“But I am different? My power changed, after all.”
“Indeed, the key being change, rather than lost. Bloodlines are stable forces, which works by absorbing the surrounding chaos and forcing it into a state of extreme order. The degree of order that a bloodline can maintain is a direct indication of its potency.”
“So, how potent was my bloodline?”
“Very potent,” Hamelin admitted, recognizing the power for what it was, “I believe you had the power of light within you, one of the strongest bloodlines. You would have accumulated the light within from birth, which was then violently robbed from you. In that singular act, your father managed something that has only been speculated about, but never confirmed.”
“Please don’t call him my father when we’re alone,” lady Mina said, wrinkling her nose, as if she was smelling something distasteful, “Since you know the truth, I don’t have to pretend.”
Hamelin shrugged and continued, “Very well. In any case, when robbed of its source of order, your bloodline should have begun the slow accumulation of light again, however something caused it to revert its nature, and instead grow chaotic. I suspect it may have something to do with your immediate actions after the ritual was done.”
“Because I killed him?”
“No, I don’t believe it was directly impacted by your actions, but rather your state of mind during the immediate aftermath. Bloodlines are notoriously dependent on the user’s mental ability, and your murderous desire and satisfaction could possibly have triggered such a change.”
“You’re saying it was my fault I became like this?” She said, raising her elegant eyebrows.
“I am not judging you, Minera, I am simply telling you what might have caused your situation. Understanding the nature of the darkness within will help you control it.”
“Alright, then explain how I am supposed to do that.”
Annoyed at her interruptions, Hamelin clicked his tongue, but didn’t say anything. He did not have time to argue with this damn woman, so he bore with it.
“With the change in nature, your bloodline has also had to change its source of growth. In the case of light, it would be enough for you to spend a few hours outside every day in order to grow steadily, but darkness is different. It feeds not on itself, but rather on the greatest source of order it can find nearby.”
Hamelin raised his finger and pointed at lady Mina. “Me?” She said, following his lead and pointing to herself.
“Of course. What greater source of order is there, than the human body? You should have sensed it yourself, how the darkness within grows as you weaken, correct?”
She nodded, her expression contemplative. “So,” Hamelin continued, “What we need to do is provide the darkness with a source of order that is more readily available than your own body.”
“Which is what you will teach me?”
“Correct,” Hamelin said, “To be exact, I will provide you with a sample of my own power. As you just saw, the reaction between my power and your is explosive, which is exactly what we want.”
“You want me to explode?” She said, laughing as if the idea did not bother her in the slightest.
“No, but the release of energy contained within the reaction should sustain and grow your darkness, if we do this properly.”
“Should? Meaning, you are not sure?”
“As I said,” Hamelin said and sighed, “This is all speculative. I’ve never actually seen a case like yours, only read about the signs and complications.”
What might she think, if she knew that her existence had been a dream of vexen scientists for centuries? With bloodlines being humanity’s greatest defense against the vexen hordes, there was no way they could resist attempting to turn it against their enemies. No experiment had ever succeeded, however, and so it had stayed a dream. Until now.
“So, I might die from this?”
“You’ll die in any case. If you do nothing, the darkness will keep consuming you, until you finally die in excruciating agony. This way, you at least have a chance.”
“Very well,” she said, sitting herself up on the bed, “Let’s get started, shall we?”