"Seems like your companions know that you're here."
The giant of light said as he turned to Lapis who was tied up. Tears appeared in her eyes and the crystal at her chest vibrated as several rays of white light revolved around it.
Rafah was surprised.
It was no easy task as completing the Spirit Crystal required the owner's absolute acceptance. If the owner had even the slightest resistance against accepting the power, it would undoubtedly fail. Even though Rafah managed to forcefully pull out the Spirit Crystal hidden within Lapis' body, it realized that her resistance made it impossible to accomplish his task. If it tried to bend her will forcefully, it might trigger an irreversible backlash and end its goals once and for all.
That was something Rafah would never want to see. Thus, it used the 'persuasion tactic' in an attempt to change Lapis' view. However, no matter how hard it tried to convince her, the timid lady never backed down. Even when Rafah threatened her, her will remained the same. This left Rafah speechless. From its perspective, it didn't understand how a woman with such a major lack of confidence could be so stubborn. Wasn't it supposed to be an easy task to convince her?
"I don't understand why you would reject."
Rafah shook its head and gazed at Lapis, puzzled.
"I went through your spirit and seen your past. You've faced such situations before, haven't you? We, Berhermes, is neither spirit nor human, but an abnormality. Humans are afraid of us, hate us, and keep a distance from us. You should know how it feels like, so why are you still hesitating? You can control your fate after becoming a perfect being, Lapis."
Lapis remained silent for a moment before shaking her head vigorously once again.
If Rhode was present, he would certainly tell Rafah that their methods were wrong from the very beginning.
Truthfully, Lapis was indeed an individual who lacked self-confidence. However, Rafah underestimated the level of her lack of self-confidence. For example, when humans faced setbacks, some would stand up and oppose it while others would sink deeper into the abyss.
Even though Lapis had encountered many setbacks, she had eventually lost the ability to make her own decisions and drowned in an inferiority complex syndrome. In other words, as long as she met a person that could be trusted, she would listen to him or her without question. She would think that she didn't possess sufficient capabilities to make suggestions, and as long someone she trusted could convince her in doing something, she would follow his or her instructions wholeheartedly.
That was why Rhode assigned her to focus on alchemy and forbid her to conceive of her own theories. Well, Lapis wasn't unhappy with his decision. Through experimentation in accordance with Rhode's directions, she was able to understand how to exhibit the greatest potential in blending potions. Thus, after that, she followed his words unconditionally.
Coming back to the current situation - it was exactly the same scenario. Rafah hoped that Lapis would accept her own powers, but Lapis deemed it as an impossible task. From the very beginning, her heart was set against this notion, and even if she took a thousand steps back, her lack of self-confidence would prevent her from thinking that she had the attributes of a perfect being.
However, if it were Rhode, Anne or Randolf who persuaded her instead, Lapis would do it without hesitation.
Rafah had no clue what to do with this stubborn woman. Now, his only option was to break her mind and push her willpower to the brink of despair. Once Lapis had no more hope, she would no longer cling to any willpower to live. Then, Lapis would become the perfect doll that wouldn't resist or doubt. By doing this, she would undoubtedly turn into a perfect product - a perfect product that had lost its self-awareness which would make it somewhat flawed. Nevertheless, Lapis could produce offsprings that could become the next perfect Behermian. So, as long as she lived, it would be enough.
Although it might sound simple, to break the woman's willpower wasn't easy at all. As the spirit and flesh were tightly linked, Rafah wasn't able to use any violent methods that would injure her flesh. What if Lapis couldn't take the pain and passed away from it? Rafah would go crazy...
So, what else could make her fall into despair?
Right. As long as she personally witnesses the death of her companions, Lapis would lose everything that she had loved and fall into despair. Simple.
Alas, things don't always proceed as planned.
Rafah stared at the image floating in the air. Its face twitched as it didn't expect the Golem Guards to be so weak. He was mad as they were all smashed to smithereens in minutes, but what made him even angrier was that because of this, Lapis' will to live actually soared!
It was supposed to break her will, not reinforce it!
But even so, it didn't give up altering Lapis' mentality.
"Do you really think that they would come and save you?"
Rafah sneered as he extended his arm and pointed to the gem that appeared on Lapis' chest.
"Do you think that they would want to save you after knowing what you are? You should already know that humans always hated the Behermes Family. The humans are afraid of the unknown, of what we have, and what they can't understand. We can live in this world without the organ the humans refer as the heart, and continue to appear as ordinary humans without becoming the undead."
Lapis' expression froze for a moment, causing the Spirit Crystal on her to dim. But it soon returned back to normal.
How is that possible?
Rafah was shocked. He felt that this was absurd. Lapis had no reason to trust those humans! According to the information it obtained from her spirit, Lapis had been hiding her identity from those people and not even her closest friend knew of her secret. Rafah thought that exposing Lapis' secret would be her greatest fear. But why wasn't she affected?
Where did she get her confidence from?
Rafah just couldn't figure it out.
Although he might be able to read through her memories, Rafah still couldn't read or alter her conscious thoughts. In fact, at this moment, Lapis' sole source of confidence stemmed from the young black-haired man displayed on the image.
Perhaps if it were others, Lapis would have second thoughts about this matter. However, if it was Rhode, she knew that he would be able to do something. Moreover, Gillian and Anne's presence proved that Rhode wasn't afraid of other races.
In Anne's previous mercenary group, Mark White, she saw how Anne distanced herself away from other mercenaries. Other than the late leader of Mark White, there weren't many people who wished to get close to her.
However, Starlight was different. Although Anne had revealed her true identity, Rhode had neither displayed any hint of fear nor dissatisfaction. Also, Gillian obviously wasn't a human from her appearance.
Thus, if Rhode could accept them, he should be able to accept her.
That was her faith towards Rhode that the woman carried deep in her heart. It was filled with hope, trust, and confidence. Even if she couldn't trust herself, she could trust Rhode.
Indeed, the human heart was contradictory, yet oddly fascinating.
Boom!! At this moment, the huge door burst open.
Rhode entered the room with large strides.
The first thing he set his eyes upon wasn't the projected image or his surroundings, instead, after entering the room, he immediately locked his gaze on the woman who was tied up in chains - of course, that meant that he saw the Spirit Crystal on Lapis' chest.
She indeed was the Perfect One.
Rhode was rather surprised. Although he had heard of similar stories, this was his first time seeing a Spirit Crystal. Luckily he had rushed here in time. Lapis' death would be unacceptable according to Rhode's standards. If it were the game, the dead NPC could simply respawn, but if he were to fail here, it would be irreversible. Rhode didn't wish to have such an ending.
Thinking of this, he turned his attention to Rafah.
It appears that this is the mastermind.
"Whoever you are, I hope you can release the lady. After all, no matter what, she is part of my mercenary group."
Rhode's tone sounded refined and polite, however, the motion of drawing his sword and pointing to the enemy spoke otherwise. Rhode's follow-up proved this point. "If not, I don't mind doing it myself."
The giant of light gave a cold laugh after listening to Rhode's threat. He extended its arm and suddenly the crystal that was hanging in the air flew above Rhode's head and formed a circle which shrouded him within.
"Do you really think you can defeat the power of the Behermes? This is the holy central control room of the Behermians. In here, everything is under our control. And you are the same!"
Along with the angry howls from the giant of light, the floating crystal ball immediately erupted with an incredibly bright light. Then, a beam of light ejected from within, aiming straight for Rhode who was still shrouded in the circle.