I move to the other side of the room, trying not to provoke any of the heavily armed soldiers.
Since they were hopefully more than sufficiently instructed that my well-being is crucial for their boss' plan, I can only hope they'll keep that in mind and none of them were good friends with the asshole I just stung.
As any action of mine might worsen the situation, all I can do is wait here till Lord Gioras arrives.
When he finally does so, he enters with the attitude of someone with authority, about to educate a naughty child.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk. I thought we talked about this? Who would've thought you would be capable of something like this." (G)
"I didn't intend to escape. It was just that this man severely offended and threatened me. Do you really intend to deny me the required amount of nourishment so that my health will be in danger?" (E)
"I'll admit that he might've been a bit harsh, yet this doesn't matter. You went too far." (G)
"Too far?! He was torturing us with every word he spoke!" (E)
"Because he was tasked with pushing you to your limits. After all, true intentions only show themselves under pressure. Or other secrets. Who would've thought that you were hiding a weapon like that." (G)
I guess I can consider myself lucky that he needs me unharmed, or he would've already brought the torture equipment.
"I wouldn't call it a weapon. After all, it's part of my body." (E)
"It's a security risk and I'm seriously considering cutting it off." (G)
He surely just wants to intimidate me.
"What about keeping me unharmed? Isn't this what your grand plan is about? To return me unharmed so the swarm won't retaliate too fiercely?" (E)
"Yes, and those are the positions I have to balance. After all, if you're going to make use of this factor against my men it might jeopardize the whole endeavor. It might be a risk, but such a weapon shouldn't be left usable by our hostage." (G)
"You can't do this!!" (K)
Kyska almost jumped up from her bed, her pheromones screaming with shock and despair at what she just heard.
But I'm far more worried about her injuries, which she might aggravate with such sudden movements.
"You should be aware that I don't make such a decision lightly. I'm only doing what I have to." (G)
"No! You, you can't damage her ovipositor because it's essential for her ability to lay eggs! I-it would completely ruin her for the swarm! And no eggs mean that there's no way for you to prove her wellbeing!" (K)
Kyska is giving her all to find arguments for my sake.
"Hm, this might be a valid point." (G)
"Also, it could be deadly! A princess' internal system is deeply connected to the ovipositor. A severe injury to this place would likely lead to fatal complications." (K)
Oh my god!
Is this true?
I never thought this deeply about this part of mine.
Honestly, it scares me a bit.
I still remember how Liseti said I shouldn't use it in a fight since it's precious, but it could also be deadly for me?
It makes sense that an egg layer that can't lay eggs anymore wouldn't live on.
Also, there's another point that makes this very likely.
"Is this the truth?" (G)
"Formicea cannot lie! That should've been mentioned in Lady Lorata's report. Their society is based on directly relaying their thoughts via pheromones!" (E)
This seems to have got him to think.
This should be good for me, right?
"The risk remains. What about an encasement to prevent it from extending?" (G)
"I don't even want to imagine what would happen to my princess if she wouldn't be able to expel her eggs if she has to. How they'd gather inside of her without a way to emerge till the accumulated pressure becomes too great." (K)
Urgh, bursting my lower half doesn't sound very appealing.
Please, listen to the honest insect nurse.
"Fine, but the risk has to be tempered." (G)
He gives a sign to his men who start to encircle me.
Naturally, a bit more apprehensive this time.
At the same time, the crossbowmen aim in my direction.
Also, Lord Zion starts to speak while slowly moving towards me.
"The men are instructed not to aim at vital parts. So, I suggest you put that... thing away. I hope you won't find the need to provoke them." (G)
Would he truly go that far?
Maybe, if I would decide to take down their leader.
So, albeit reluctantly, I gain control over the stinger and will it to recede back into its cone form.
Lord Gioras takes this as an invitation to advance further.
I have no idea what kind of plans he has in place, but it's certain that he wants to do something now.
But what is he...
What is that?
He just put some kind of metallic collar around my neck.
Instinctively I grab there.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you. This is one of the slave collars the Koresoans use. As far as I'm aware, it might activate if you apply too much force. The same if I press this little button here. I was told it is... an unpleasant experience. One of the reasons why I hesitated to use it until now." (G)
Is he for real?
He just collared me!
"I'm deeply sorry about this treatment, but you leave me no choice. Since I don't see any other solution you'll be kept isolated from now on. The door will only be opened to remove the eggs and bring you food, while you won't turn away from the wall if you or your nurse wish to receive anything. In due time, we will install a secure hatch to pass any items through. This will be your only interaction with the outside world until this is over. See it as your punishment." (G)
I feel deep hatred for this man.
The only thing that keeps me from ending his life now, and probably also mine, is that this is still the best outcome I could've wished for.
It's not like talking to my captors meant anything to me.
Fortunately, they can't take Kyska from me if they want this to work, since I need her for the eggs as soon as she's again able to attend to me.
And if nothing else, it enables me to continue trying to find a way to escape.
Even the collar should be not too much of an issue if I use my acid weapons on it.
I just need to be careful.
So I manage to stay calm until he leaves.
<Stupid, rotten, wretched assholes!!!> (E)
I didn't say it would last any longer.
<My princess. You're upset.> (K)
You don't say?
<Sorry Kyska. It's just... I'm angry. Angry at this situation, angry at myself, but foremost at this prime example of a villain and my inability to see all of this coming!> (E)
<I understand. But please, don't act rashly and expose yourself to any further danger. I'm not sure if I'd be able to endure more of this.> (K)
As devoted as Kyska is, this was probably much worse for her than for me.
The idea of getting a limb cut off is terrifying, but for Kyska, she could have lost something that she values so many more times than her life.
This could've been her greatest nightmare.
Her pheromones clearly indicated so.
<I'm just glad that you told him all this about my ovipositor. I mean, the idea that I'll die when I get injured there is terrifying, but that doesn't mean I want to get mutilated if that wouldn't be the case.> (E)
Just then I remember Kyska's loss.
<Sorry. I didn't mean to remind you.> (E)
<There's no need to apologize, my princess. Your well-being is the utmost priority. Yet you don't need to worry about your ovipositor. It might be true that major blood vessels run through it, but a princess' self-recovery abilities are extraordinary. You should be able to restore even critical damage over time.> (K)
It seems sometimes I really underestimate my own body's features.
But then what was that about?
<Didn't you just say the opposite, Kyska?> (E)
<I couldn't allow any harm to befall you, my princess. So I decided to act as the humans do and purposefully told a severely exaggerated version about your condition if they would act upon their plans. Or in human terms, I told a lie.> (K)
I am so glad that Lord Zion has no one who could understand Formicea in his service.
The worst is prevented as of now, but I won't give up on making my escape.
If there'd just be an opportunity presenting itself to me.
- Horatio -
I can barely move at all, the sting completely blocks all my movement.
Just what can cause such an effect that I'm a prisoner in my own body?
The men brought me to the medical room, but couldn't figure out what is wrong with me.
They even had a healer come, yet that one only tried to infuse my body with life energy, which merely served to aggravate the pain severely.
Not like I could tell them this.
In the first place, I doubt that any doctor knows a treatment for this.
But the only thing that's worse than the immobility is the dull ache in my chest.
It grows worse and worse.
I want to scream, but no word escapes my mouth.
The ache turns to stinging needles inside my numb flesh.
To think that she'd go so far.
I was told to provoke this princess, to force out her reserves, but who would've thought she would be capable of this?
The pain grows worse and worse!
Why won't it stop?
Why does it feel like it spreads further and further from the point that was stung?
Oh god, I can't bear this!!
I want to scream, but I just can't!
Make it stop!
Why won't anyone do something?!
Make this stop!
My chest hurts so much!
I think I'm going to burst!