Chapter X: Jin's Ultimatum
In a dark room, a silhouetted figure sits, backlit by a moonlit window. His eyes glow with a sinister, unnatural light. He sits quietly by himself, thinking, talking to himself.
"The war is over."
Each panel is identical except that it gets closer to his face slowly each time.
"Both social groups are in disarray."
"But recovering. Slowly."
"The peace of mind brought on by success has left the Naku Villagers complacent."
"Their guard is down."
"Now is the time to strike."
"To enact my plans..."
Nighttime shots of Corinne (sleeping), Napoleon (outside meditating), Greta (sleeping restlessly), Circe (sleeping), Akinori (studying herbs beneath lantern light)...
"...to show them..."
"...show them all..."
Shot of Corinne looking straight forward, surprised and frightened by what she sees.
"...that mine is a power..."
Last panel/lack of panel is pure blackness.
"...with which one can succeed where a hundred cannot."
A group of rescuers make their way through the twisted branches of a brown, twisted woods. Lance explains (in flashback?) the signs that it was Jin and that the wood dragons once lived in a clearing hidden in the middle of this forest. Sri voices nervousness, Milo anger, Lyra serious aggression, and Dorae silent rage. Phineas at one point starts ranting but is immediately shushed lest the enemy hear them coming. Eventually they enter a clearing. The grass is brown and sparse, mostly buried over time by dirt mounds.
We see the group and their reactions of horror before we see a field sporting a stone house, a second unrecognizable building, and the victims of the kidnapping held captive in many variations. Napoleon hangs by chains on his wrists from a large tree near the house. Akinori and Circe are tied back-to-back against a large wooden stake, etc. All of them look worse for wear, clearly having fought back but also been assaulted beyond what was necessary to subdue them.
Sri sees Napoleon's damaged state and exclaims his name. Some look at her to disapprove but resign themselves to possibly walking into a trap or being spotted already, their concern for their friends and loved ones overpowering their intent for a sneak attack.
Jin walks out from behind Napoleon's tree after letting the heroes voice their horror a few moments.
"Greetings, Nakuans. Credit where it's due: not only did you know it was my doing, but you knew where to find me."
Lance speaks up first: "Everything you did down to your tactics and choice of victims leads back to someone like you, you traitor!!"
Sri shouts to him, more desperate and pleading, "What have you done?? Why are you doing this?? Let them go! Please, let them go!!"
Jin's stoic expression never changes. "If I had wanted my intentions to be subtle, you'd never have found me here. This is more than a kidnapping--it's a demonstration, and all of you can witness my ultimate goal." He turns to Sri. "To destroy every one of you and illustrate there is absolutely nothing in your power that you can do about it."
Panic shows on both the victims' and the heroes' faces. Milo: "Are you mad?? There is no way we will let you do this, you psychopath!! I think you underestimate what our team--our family--can do when threatened!!"
Jin shows mild (non-sexual) arousal at this statement. "Oh no, weakling. I do believe you have that backwards." He raises his hand and summons thorny vines that grab Milo and thrust him into the air. ("Gyaugh!!" "MILO!!")
Jin, to the rest of them: "I didn't plant those seeds to lead you here just to conquer you. I WILL show you strength is numbers is useless against a dragon of my stature." Corinne yells out Milo's name, drawing Dorae's attention. The next time we see him he looks more enraged.
Blah blah blah, a little more dialogue before the heroes start attacking. Phineas charges right in and is quickly defeated. Lance and Lyra attack together and are swatted away by wooden vines. All attack, some more than once, until we focus on Sri, who has been staring at Napoleon this whole time with tears in her eyes. By the time Napoleon comes to and recognizes what's happening, he becomes alert and urges Sri to get away.
She ignores his pleas and runs toward him but is intercepted by a vine that smacks her away. Napoleon cries out to her. She's been injured but stands to her feet again. A few others, who at this point have been immobilized with wooden vines, yell at her to stop before he kills her. Still she hobbles toward Napoleon. Jin, breaking his stoicism to show mild irritation, flings his hand, controlling another vine to smack her against the smaller building. At this point she's bleeding from her lip and ear.
She helps herself up again. Napoleon, trying to yank free from his shackles to no avail, tears up and begs her to stop. Sri tells him she won't let him die. She holds her stomach while she limps to him again and is grabbed with a thorned vine. As it constricts and draws blood, Napoleon turns to Jin and begs him to stop, that he'll do anything, that if Jin wanted to show them his power, that he has, that he's won, that he should let her go. Jin completely ignores him and looks at Sri with disdain. How can she still be trying to save her friend when her colleagues are entirely immobilized and helpless? Does she not value her life? Well, if not, then far be it for him to let up on her if she won't let up on him. Sri gurgles out Napoleon's name in a whisper, reaching through the vines to him.
"N... Napoleon... "
Napoleon cries out to her in one last ditch attempt to give up her conviction. "Sri, please, stop!! Stop struggling! Don't fight him! Geeze, Sri, please stop..." He bows his head and sobs quietly.
"N... can't... won't let you die...!" Sri struggles and manages to wriggle free of the vine, collapsing to the ground once free of its grasp. Jin watches with disgust.
"So dedicated yet so misguided. You're too weak to save him. Why do you keep trying? Do you truly want me to kill you?" She ignores his words and again climbs to her, bleeding excessively at this point. She nearly collapses before steadying herself. She takes a few steps and Jin lifts his hand, summoning a mass of splinters from the ground which he shoots into her like darts. She screams out in pain and collapses again. Napoleon barks threats and struggles desperately, but Jin ignores him still. "Are you finished?"
Sri stays still for a minute, moving slightly and then moving to hoist herself up once more. She doesn't take any steps but looks at Napoleon. He stops struggling and looks back at her, teary-eyed. She smiles. "We've always been together. We were destined to always be together." "Sri..." She begins to cry. "I... I love you, Napoleon! I can't... I won't live without you..!" With every last bit of energy and will, she half-runs, half-hobbles to him in a last-ditch attempt to try to set him free. Jin waves his arms. The heroes watch helplessly as a vine grabs her by her arm, pulls her into the air, and throws her to the ground, crashing and billowing up a cloud of dust. When the dust clears, she lays unconscious, more than likely dead.
Write more if you want, me. Here's a planning for a comic if you wanna draw some torture porn! :p