With heavy steps, Vevian approached a wall in his room. He pushed in one of its bricks and heard four clicking sounds from four corners of the wall. He gently shoved, and the wall revolved on its center.
He entered, closed the wall, and locked it from the inside with the keys he had made recently. Holding a lamp, he walked down the stairs.
This whole mechanism was supposed to be his escape route, but now, it couldn't be called that. He put a new lock on this side and blocked the other end of the tunnel with cement, making it impossible to enter, nor exit from both sides.
Now, this whole area was a dungeon. A dungeon meant to contain one person. Rolan of the Baroda family. A Magus.
Someone Vevian never even dared to look at wrongly during all his life. Someone that he could never speak impolitely to, someone that always demanded respect and subservience, someone that could ruin his wealth accumulated over thirty years with a passing comment.
The class of man that could take Vevian's one true love for a single gold coin, kissing and groping her in the open while forcing Vevian to watch, knowing the little soldier wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
Perhaps that gave Vevian the strength to do what he needed to do.
He kept Rolan, the same species as those monsters, outside of the world's eyes and tortured him daily to make sure his own safety was guaranteed. Spurred by his paranoia and his sense of revenge, Vevian needed to dig into the Rolan's flesh, so he could dig out another name out of his mouth.
'What if he's hiding something?'
'What if he's biding time for his revenge?'
'What if there's something I missed?'
These thoughts took hold of his head and refused to let go. Every morning, they urged Vevian to go down the dungeon again to ask the same questions again and again. Despite Rolan begging him to stop, saying that he knew nothing more, Vevian could not allow himself to stop.
Now, he knew that the things he learned on the first hour of the torture were everything he needed to know. A servant and a driver. The first was present when Savine's parents were visiting and the other was the one who brought Rolan to his doom.
But even still, Vevian pushed five more servants to their deaths, and discreetly hired ten passersby to work in different cities.
Vevian found himself rubbing the coin in his hands faster.
All that work turned out to be unnecessary.
Naturally, Vevian kept a close eye on the investigation of Rolan's disappearance. It started a week after the incident. Thinking that it would be best to not snoop around as much and get caught later on, he simply asked in the most natural way possible. It wasn't so odd for him to be curious about these things, anyway.
It was lucky that he was a merchant. If he had a different profession, he thought he wouldn't be able to keep on acting like there was nothing wrong.
Luckily, the investigator was a talkative man. He always complained about how the Magi didn't take his words seriously despite hiring him, and he occasionally talked about how his work was going.
Through him, Vevian learned that there were two investigators attached to the case. One was the one he was talking to, who was responsible for investigating the non-mage side of the city. The other was a Magus, who was responsible for investigating the Magi society.
The general consensus was that someone among the Baroda family's rivals was responsible for the attack. The Magus investigator thought so, because the Baroda family was acting a bit out of line lately and that someone was giving them a 'not so severe' warning by killing one of their weakest, but still somewhat important members.
The commoner investigator thought so as well, since the idea of a non-mage killing them was something completely impossible.
'Right?' Vevian remembered thinking when the investigator said that.
But he was deathly curious about one thing. The Vasa.
'Since the Magi can track the Vasa, where did Rolan Baroda die?' he asked.
The investigator's answer put a rest to his endless worries.
'Oh, they found it out in the wild,' he said. 'The murderer must've brought the victim outside the city and killed them there.'
That night, Vevian could finally sleep without waking up in cold sweat. Savine was right. The Magi couldn't track their Vasa like the wanted everyone to believe. They didn't know the exact date and location of the Magi's death. They didn't even know where the Vasa was.
It was all simply a lie to make themselves look untouchable. In reality, they were so weak a teenage girl could kill them and get away with it.
But that didn't change his blunder.
Five innocents died needlessly by his hands.
'My job as a merchant put many others at the verge of death. Since I've been doing this for so long, five more people are nothing much.'
All his life, Vevian never expected himself to be forced to believe an excuse like this.
Regardless of all that, life needed to go on. But that didn't mean Vevian needed to endure the source of all his worries by his side.
Vevian immediately prepared the things necessary for Savine's departure. When Savine first asked for a loan to go abroad, he refused, making excuses that she needed to oversee her businesses and also be ready for the second Contract signing.
He was an idiot.
This time, Vevian prepared everything for her for free, even giving her 10 pure golden coins so she could live luxuriously in the Sovereignty.
He couldn't push her away at first, thinking she would be useful if the Magi ever came knocking on their door, but since he now knew the investigation was far away from him, he needed to get this God's Chosen as far away from him as possible.
He knew he wouldn't be able to handle and control her like he previously imagined.
However, with a knowing smile, Savine refused his offer. Saying that she became used to Strati city, she decided to stay until everything was arranged.
Everything was already arranged, but she still hadn't left. She had now made a makeshift school for herself and was holding classes for the kids every Sunday morning, teaching them letters and numbers.
When evening came, she would give a small lecture to the adults, who were at first curious about the girl who kept calling herself God's Chosen, but soon became enthralled by the girl's odd stories and philosophies.
Of course, all that was only another source of worries for Vevian.
Since she decided to go to the Magicracy, Vevian thought she would try to keep a low-profile, but the girl simply ordered him to buy as much information on the Sovereignty and its nearest Duchies.
It didn't take much effort to do what she asked.
There was a big Civil War that occurred there recently, and the losing side was mostly situated near the Magicracy's border. The closest was the Fest duchy, which was widely considered the leading cause for the Civil war's loss.
Hearing about that Duchy, Savine suddenly decided to openly call herself God's Chosen, and started holding sermons under the Magi's eyes.
What was her plan, Vevian couldn't tell, but one question forever lingered in his head.
'Dear god, when is she going to leave…?'
Vevian's thoughts ground to a halt when he came upon the place Rolan stayed. The place where he was supposed to be, but not where he was currently.
He observed the unusually sandy mattress lying on the ground, the bowl of food he left behind last time, the end of the chain cemented to the wall, but oddly, half of the chain was missing and with it, Rolan as well.