12 -Follow-


I looked at the tied-up Quinn, who seemed to have only an inkling of life left in him, "Do you want revenge? Will you follow me?"

His eyes seemed to light up like a fire, but he answered with a question of his own, "Who are you?"

I chuckled, "Cautious, are we? That's good."

I transmuted the ground, making a rough chair from the earth. I sat down, "I am an Awakened. Do you know what that is?"

Quinn showed a contemplative expression, "I've heard rumours. I didn't think you guys even really existed. Why are you here?"

His reaction was lukewarm, at best. It must have been due to the mental and physical exhaustion he had gone through, or the fact that he had already accepted his death.

I put up my hands, "Isn't it obvious? For you, of course. I noticed you, by chance, walking towards the house where you attempted to kill that guard. The look in your eyes at the time intrigued me. So, I'll ask again, do you want revenge?"

His gaze turned resolute at the question, "Am I selling my soul?"

I was amused by the thought that he probably used the few mythical books he must have read to connect the dots.

I smiled and played along, "What if you were?"

He faltered for a second. But as he glanced at his mother's deceased body in front of him, he decided, "I am willing."

I put on a doubtful expression, "Really? Will you be able to do what I require from you?"

He coughed, asking, "Required of me?"

I smiled, "You're selling your 'soul', remember? I'm choosing you to be a helper of sorts. Do you understand?"

He pondered for a moment, "We're going to kill scum like Clive?"

I replied, "That is purely subjective. If you think Clive is 'scum', by all means, you can kill people like him. As for me, I have lived for years adhering to the morals of others. I forced myself, in a way, to live in a mundane way. I say what is necessary to join together, even though I feel separate."

I inched my face closer to Quinn, "Then an epiphany came, breaking down my walls. Now, I wander amidst the debris. I am lawless, alone, and accepting to be so, committed to my singularity and creed. And from my broken walls, I am rebuilding a truth; I am born to be an artist, creating arts the world has never seen."

I could see his pupils contracting slightly, "What is your conviction, Quinn? Getting rid of people like Clive? Making the world a better place? How far are you willing to go, and how much are you willing to sacrifice?"

He replied shakily, "Making the world a better place? As if I'm that naive. I want to kill and murder everyone who looked down on me and my mother! Clive, the people in the red-light district, the guards, all of them! All the two-faced bastards who condemned me for fighting back! I want to rip out all of their tongues! How far am I willing to go? What the fuck have I got to lose!"

He looked at the corpse of his mother, "The law? Fuck the law, I will judge those self-imposed filths for myself! Is that 'conviction' enough?"

'Quinn, you are rage personified, or rather, you will be.'

I smiled, "Very well. I accept your 'soul'."

I extended my mana, transmuting the ropes that tied him. He flinched in surprise upon seeing the ropes fall loosely, looking like they had been cut by knives.

I also sent my mana to his mutilated arm, healing it slowly. He calmed down and asked, "Are all Awakeneds able to do this?"

I replied, "Yes. Mana is the basis of all energy and life, it can heal, as well as destroy. Though my mana is only able to affect myself and those whose mana is virtually nonexistent, like yours. If I tried this with another Awakened, their mana would simply repel mine."

I got up from my seat whilst turning the ground back to normal. I beckoned, "Come."

He rubbed his wrist, looking unsure. I paid no heed to his worries and simply walked outside. I mused as he eventually followed, "Are you not going to ask me why I did not help you during that time?"

He shook his head, "You had no obligation to. I haven't lived my life expecting free handouts, nor do I expect a hero to swoop in to save me. Which, by the way, I doubt you are."

I nodded as we manoeuvred through the prison, avoiding the prison guards with my heightened senses, "You're right, I am not a hero. I am an artist."

He looked doubtful, "Sure. Now what?"

I replied as we took a turn and walked into a cell, "Now, you get your revenge."

Tied up and gagged in one corner of the cell was Clive, the guard who was the cause of all this.

I watched as Quinn's eyes turned fiery, returning to the 'monster' from before. I smiled and passed him the dull blade he had used previously, "Would you like a sharper one?"

He shook his head, "This is fine."

I walked towards Clive and reached for his gag, I could see the terror and panic in his eyes as he squirmed, trying to scream. Quinn said from behind, "The things I'm going to do, you might not want to remove the gag."

I explained, "No worries. I've sealed off the area with my aura, no sound will escape."

He asked, "Aura? Never mind, you can explain when I'm done."

Clive let loose a barrage of curses as soon as I took off the cloth in his mouth, "Do you know who I am? Quinn, who the fuck is this? If you don't untie me right no-"

I almost slapped his jaw off.

'He's too weak.'

I had knocked him out earlier, then proceeded to tie him up in this cell. He had no idea I was an Awakened, which explained his lack of fear.

I calmly explained the situation as he shut his mouth, tears streaming down his face, "You are going to die tonight. There's nothing you can do about that, but it will not be by my hands."

I stood up and beckoned Quinn, "Show me your art."


I watched closely as Quinn gleefully tortured Clive, starting from some shallow cuts, which transitioned to deeper ones.

The screams that echoed in the cell seemed to be like a drug to Quinn as his nature slowly changed, becoming more confident and daring.

The blunt knife worked against the unlucky Clive, as it was unable to cut his flesh smoothly. It required numerous slashing and hacking to cut him, which presented a scene of savagery and barbarity.

Clive pleaded in all the ways he knew, begging for forgiveness. He even went as far as complimenting and praising Quinn's mother like she was an angel, which only served to intensify the torture.

The torture ended with Quinn fulfilling his promise of feeding Clive his own penis. To be honest, I was quite disappointed. It was to the extent that I zoned out twice during the torture, imagining myself in Quinn's shoes.

Alas, I did not expect him to create art as this was only his first kill.

'It's not too bad, considering everything.'

As soon as I had the thought, Quinn toppled over and puked all over the place. The adrenaline must have worn off, rage and anger only blinded people for so long.

I shook my head, "Clean yourself up. This is a disappointing sight, how will you do what is required like this?"

He got up from the floor, brushing the dirt and blood off his hands, "I will learn."

I nodded, "That, you will."


We sneaked out of the prison quite easily as it was not heavily guarded. This was only a prison meant for rag-tag and small-time criminals.

The sun had still not risen, my pocket watch showing that it was three in the morning. We walked through the dimly lit alleys and came across a dilapidated house.

I forcefully opened the door, finding an old man waking up groggily while rubbing his eyes. I drew my dagger and threw it through his chest, right where his heart was.

He did not even have the time to scream or administer shock as he fell back on the bed. I carried his corpse and put it in one corner, covering it with a piece of blanket.

I turned around to see Quinn look at me in shock. I explained, "The fewer witnesses there are, the better. You need a place to lay low, they will be searching for you."

He coughed, "It's not about that, you were just so efficient that I was surprised."

I casually wondered what actually shocked him. I was studying his psychology, moulding him.

I nodded, "Good. Stay here, for the time being. I'll come back in the evening. In the meantime, practice this."

I passed him a piece of folded paper. He questioned, "What is it?"

I smiled, "It's the 'legendary breathing technique' that Clive was so proud of. I see potential in you."

I could see the resolution in his eyes as he nodded.

I continued, "Then, after that, we will see if you can become Awakened."

He took in a sharp breath, "Me? Awakened? How would that be possible?"

I explained the process of Awakening to him, along with the risks that came with it. His interest peaked when I explained the different types of power one could attain afterwards.

He replied, "I am already supposed to be dead. I meant it when I said I had nothing to lose. So, don't worry, I'll surely go through with this."

'Of course, that's why I chose you.'

He jerked back, "Ah! Right, about aura and all that. What's the difference?"

I sat down on one of the chairs in the small room that consisted of only a few chairs, one bed, and a kitchen, "Mana, like I said, is the basis of all life and energy. Focusing on the energy part, it is like a fuel you can use to power yourself, and it can be exhausted. Aura is a byproduct of mana usage, it is released when you use mana, or you can also learn to manipulate it. The larger or more potent your mana is, the more intense your aura will get. Hence, this is why people train to minimise their aura to hide themselves."

Quinn nodded in understanding, and I continued, "I will explain everything as we go. Be prepared to Awaken soon."

I got up from my seat and walked towards the door.

As I was leaving, I heard Quinn shout from behind me, "Thank you! I don't know if you're being helpful or simply taking advantage of me, but thank you."

I saw him kneel down on the floor, bending his back. I nodded as I left, "Don't let me down."


Edited By: WorthyAdversary

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