Legends of Varlaurea: The Dragon Emperor - 26 THE GREAT SNAKE CULT 5

When returned to Jar Dee city, they return to their hotel room to retrieve Emperor Lam's Imperial seal, then the two of them heading to Jar Dee's governor office. When meet the city governor they reveal their identity and ask to review all the missing cases happened in the past 2 year. From the governor's records, all of the missing cases happened throughout the city and its surrounding villages. These cases seemingly have no relation with each other, even the victims are various in background, age and gender. But then Empress Aucelen notice something. The very first case is in August, year 18th of Dragon Emperor Reign, at that point it only happened every 2 or 3 month, until October, year 19th of Dragon Emperor Reign, or the mid-autumn festival incident, the missing case surged up to every month. And another pattern that is that they are all happen before full moon day. This is very intriguing to Emperor Lam, form what he heard from the two middle-aged man in the tavern, the rumour about monster in the swamp also started around 2 year ago. Then there also one thing, in some case, the eyewitness said they saw the victim had meeting with some dubious individual.

As in this month, there are another case happened yesterday, the victim this time is a daughter of a wealthy rice merchant. According to the witness testimony of the girl's handmaiden. Before she went missing, the daughter of the rice merchant also had involved herself with some dubious man. The handmaid said, the daughter meets this man at the city central market early this month. A handsome, smooth talking man in his mid-20, and especially the man wearing a small pendant shape like a serpent with multi head. And because she is quite a hopeless romantic girl, she fell head over heels for him. Eventually her father found out and obviously forbid her to meeting with such shady man. And yesterday night, the daughter had order her handmaid to replace her in her bed, then sneak out of the house to meet her lover, for a romantic moon gazing date. But when midnight passed and her mistress had yet to return the handmaid woke the parent and told them everything.

"so… the man that the rice merchant's daughter met before her went missing is wearing a multi head serpent pendant, he maybe a member of the secret cult." Emperor Lam said, threw a thick report folder on the table.

"likely, look at this." Empress Aucelen put another report on her husband's desk. "this case happened at January last year, the report also mentions an unnamed person wear a similar pendant. Also the second missing case at October, year 18th Dragon Emperor Reign, and the case at January of year 19th. Finally, right before mid-autumn of year 19th, a young men reported several man try to kidnap him at a village just outside Jar Dee. While he struggling with the kidnapper he gets a glimpse of the similar pendant on one of the kidnapper neck."

"but how do we find these cultist? They all take initiative in approaching the victim, and we do not know how they select their victim" Emperor Lam said

"well… we know where they gathering, do we. Then all we need to do is wait until full moon." Empress Aucelen said

Afterward they inform the governor about the cultists gathering place, and order him to put constant surveillance on the ruin secretly. 2 days late, when twilight is turning into night, a messenger report gathering is happening at the ruin. Emperor Lam and Empress Aucelen set out with 30 city guards. When they reached the ruin, Emperor Lam can see light moving inside the ruin, Emperor Lam guess the cultist must inside the room with the serpent statue right now. So he orders the guards to split into 3 group, one group stay with him and his wife, the other 2 encircling the ruin and wait for his signal. While he will approach the ruin to take a peek and confirm if the rice merchant's daughter is inside. But Empress Aucelen insisting that she will do the task, because of her inherited Elvas agility, she is move quicker and quieter. Emperor Lam agreed and in just under a minute, Empress Aucelen made her way toward the wall cover in thick vines. When arrived, she carefully peeks through the vine and get a view inside the ritual room. The room was dim and only lit by 2 chandeliers on the table, and on the ground in front of the table, there lie the poor girl, a dozens of cultists surrounding her, wearing hooded cloak and mask. The girl seems only 16, cloth stuffed in her mouth, her legs and hands tied, stripped naked, and one of the cultist is carving symbols on her chest and belly with a small knife, while the other cultists pinning her down to the floor to preventing her from struggling. As Empress Aucelen signaling visual confirmation of the girl to her husband, and about to blow her whistle to call the guard, a scream pieced the air, it come from one of the guard group, startle the cultists, then many screams came as if the guard a being attack by something.

"rescue the girl Aucelen! I'll see what happened." Emperor Lam yelled and run toward the screams direction.

"Surrender and release the girl!!! You had been surrounded, resisting is futile!" Empress Aucelen yell out and bust through the vines, leap in the room.

The cultist freezes for a second, then the one with the knife charging at Empress Aucelen, but quickly being put down by her precise kick to the face. The rest of the cultist panicking and flee, but quickly being roundup by the city guard. After comforting the poor girl, Empress Aucelen leave her to the city guard and finds her husband. When she leaves the ruin, she saw 2 guards was caring an injured guard.

"Your Grace, he need healing!" a guard said and put the injure guard on the ground.

The man was gravely wounded, his nose and mouth is covering in blood, and he seemingly choking on his own blood. Empress Aucelen tell the other quickly remove the injured guard clothes, and found his chest and back was all bruised like he had been struck or crushed by big blunt object. After a quick examination to determine the extent of his wound, she quickly perform healing magic. What could cause such injure? His rib cage had been crushed, and his ribs punctured his lungs.

"What happened? Where is His Majesty?" Empress Aucelen asked.

"I'm fine!" Emperor Lam emerge from a tump of Giant Reed, half covered in mud. "the monster! It is real." He said with a glaring excitement in his eyes.