Lis walked confidently, like a master, into the main hall, where Kudmer’s throne stood, and now it became his, but… the throne was occupied. And Lis froze, and a tall elderly man rose from the throne to meet him, and his bright scarlet clothes were decorated with gold so much that it seemed that flames were running over it. The same red hair, only on the temples, like a mountain ash hit with frost, was dusted with gray. Everyone looked at this man, not understanding who he was, and why he took the throne of Kudmer, and now of Lis.
And Lis also looked at him, unable to utter a word:
And his father said nothing and looked at him.
Prince Arel, Nikto, Vitor Kors and Karina, Zaf, Parky and several unclean ones stood behind Lis and also looked at his father in silence.
Vitor Kors came to himself first:
“I think we’d better leave them,” he said quietly.
“Yes,” Zaf agreed, he made a quick gesture with his hand away from himself, towards the unclean ones, as if waving them away, and his warriors and Parky with his three unclean ones moved back to the door.
“We will wait for you in the room next to you,” Nikto told Lis.
“Good,” answered Lis, looking at Nikto and at the same time as if looking through him. It seemed that he didn’t understand at all what was being said to him and what was happening. But when his friends headed for the exit, he stopped Karina by taking her hand and squeezing it tightly:
“Stay,” he said, and Karina froze.
“Welcome home, Sigmer,” said Lis’ father, after the three of them remained in the hall, pronouncing his name differently from how the blacks and red commoners pronounced it, and how Lis called himself, but how it should have sounded right, on the noble “supreme red” language, and it was rather: “Simer”, without such a clear and harsh “g”, and with a strong emphasis on the first syllable. “It is you?”
He carefully looked at Lis, and Lis, not letting go of Karina’s hand, sank to the floor, kneeling in front of his father, and Karina after him. Lis bowed his head, and his father said:
“You've changed a lot… what’s wrong with your hair? It is dark!”
“Yes,” Lis answered, not looking up at his father.
“But how is this possible? Did you dye it? Were you ashamed of its color? The color of your red superiority?”
“Did the black ones inspire you to make your hair like theirs?”
“No. My hair itself darkened over time, I don’t know why, after thirty it began to darken,” Lis lied to his father so easily that Karina was involuntarily amazed.
“Really? Very strange,” Igmer said thoughtfully.
He came very close to them, and, reaching out his hand, touched the dark brown, only slightly shimmering in burgundy, Lis’ hair. “Maybe this is how your black roots appeared over time?”
“Most likely, father,” Lis finally let go of Karina, and, taking his father’s hand with both hands, kissed his fingers, Igmer allowed him.
And Lis knelt in front of him and kissed his hand, as if just a couple of hours ago he had not won an unconditional and brilliant victory over the enemy’s army, twice outnumbering his own, and had not captured the twenty thousandth Ore town, and was not fearless and a worthy commander.
“Forgive me,” he told his father.
And he, smiling, finally lifted him from his knees:
“It's all in the past,” said Igmer, peering into the face of his son with fatherly warmth, still stained with powder soot and splattered with someone else’s blood. “I have forgiven you long ago.”
He looked at Karina. She shrank, froze, lowering her eyes, since the shield of the mask hid her expression.
“But you're with her again,” Igmer said, and Karina very clearly caught disappointment and discontent in his voice.
“Karina is my wife,” said Lis, with some challenge.
“Yes, father. She is my wife.”
“Not according to the red laws.”
“It doesn't matter, we are husband and wife before the Higher Forces.”
“Hmm…” Lis’ father was clearly annoyed, “well… well … Send her away now. We need to talk.”
Lis looked anxiously at Karina:
“Let me go,” she said quickly, seeing his hesitation, and without waiting for an answer, she rushed to the door herself.
Nikto, Kors and the others went out into the adjoining living room. In Kudmer’s palace, there were crystal vases with bonbons and various sweets everywhere. Zaf grinned with satisfaction and, going up to an elegant table on thin curved legs, took off the glass transparent lid from the vase and took a sugared piece of deep pink color:
“What's this?” He asked with interest.
“I think it's a succade,” remarked Kors, since none of those present was in a hurry to answer, “candied fruit.”
“I like this color,” Zaf put candied fruit in his mouth, “so sweet! What kind of fruit is it?”
“Reds have a lot of strange fruits. Maybe it is from the Upper World?” Kors looked at Parky and his two unclean ones, who were already imposingly seated on a velvet sofa and stretched their paws to sweets:
“So. Friends? What is it?! Who allowed you to sit down?!”
And everyone, except those sitting, laughed. Parky and the unclean ones jumped up and darted away from Kors. And he turned to Nikto:
“Nik, sit down!”
And he froze in some confusion. Prince Arel, without invitation, immediately sat down on the sofa, in his hands was already a gold goblet.
“Although, wait!” Kors looked around. “Parky! Bring that chair over there!”
Parky immediately obeyed the order, dragging a carved gilded chair that looked more like a throne to Kors.
“Sit down,” said Kors, and everyone looked at Nikto, and he, as always, blushed and was embarrassed by such close attention and by the fact that Kors had singled him out so.
“Vitor, stop it,” he said quietly.
“Sit down. If it weren't for you, we wouldn't be here! Someone disagree with me?”
And Nikto’s cheeks turned red even more, since the stripes of soot on them slightly hid it.
Nikto sat down. Zaf chuckled and ate another candied fruit.
“I know now who Lis’ father is,” said Kors as if nothing had happened, not paying any attention to the embarrassed look of Nikto, tense Parky and the slightly mocking look of Zaf.
“Did you know him?” Zaf was surprised.
“No. But I fought against him, he was in his time a very… hmmm… tough commander. To enter into confrontation with him was already tantamount to defeat.”
“And you entered?”
“Yes,” said Kors briefly, without details.
“He defeated you?”
Kors froze, and then, shaking his head, replied:
“It's a pity,” said Zaf, and Kors was surprised to feel that Zaf was sincere and he was really sorry, and Kors’ honesty, the fact that he admitted his defeat, didn’t push him away. Previously, Kors would never have admitted his failure so simply and without explanation, fearing that they would not understand him and turn away from him. And now – now he boldly spoke about his failures and didn’t feel weaker from this. And he didn’t feel that the unclean ones were disappointed in him, they took it somehow absolutely calmly. Kors’ noble black associates would immediately have made bewildered faces in response to such a frank confession. Such sincerity was not accepted in their circles, everyone spoke only about their achievements. Kors felt easy and merry:
“Igmer’s army squeezed us in pincers near Vlas, I gave the order to retreat and tried to lead the people through the swamps. Knee-deep in water, we tried for several days to get out of the encirclement, but still managed to escape from the cauldron.”
“You led the soldiers out of the lethal cauldron?” Asked Zaf, his face was very serious.
“Yes. More than a thousand soldiers, but we lost Vlas.”
“Sometimes it is more right to retreat,” noted Zaf.
“Tell that to Lis,” Kors chuckled with some bitterness, “or he’s Sigmer now. Stop! How did I not immediately guess who his father was! His father’s name is Igmer, and he is his son. Igmer’s son – Sigmer! How simple it is!”
And everyone looked at Kors so that he was even embarrassed a little of their looks, just like Nick was before.
“Well, it's just…”
“Vitor, you are very smart,” said Nikto. He sat in the chair, as Kors had seated him, and also looked at Kors with respect. And Zaf handed Kors a glass of wine:
“Let's have a drink,” he suggested. “And I want to relax already, finally. There are such plump women here, have you noticed? I want to hush up some plump maid!”
“They have eaten too much sweets,” Parky remarked, grinning, opening his mouth slightly, the decoration in his nose still didn’t allow him to breathe normally. He looked longingly at the chocolate and fruit, but didn’t dare to take them without the permission of Kors.
“I'll take the fattest one with me to the Black City,” said Zaf, “or two. Two plump red pigs.”
“What's the point, Zaf?” Smiled Kors. “They will lose weight quickly!”
And Zaf again whinnied in satisfaction:
“Yes! But I saw one with such an ass…”
And at that time Karina entered the room, everyone turned to her.
“Karina? Everything is fine?!” Asked Kors anxiously.
“Yes… probably,” she sat down on the sofa in confusion, took off her mask, her expression was not at all happy.
“What's happening? Has Igmer accepted him?”
Karina looked at her father:
“I think so, he said, “Welcome,” but he didn't even hug him. After all, this is his son! And then, he said to me: “Send her away”, and I ran away.”
“It's okay,” Kors shrugged. “Why would he hug his prodigal son? He didn’t live up to his hopes, Lis failed the offensive, which ultimately led to the defeat of the red army, began to take drugs, “black water”, and, being almost the king of the reds in our world, slipped down and became just a banal bandit. Complete failure. He disgraced his father. I'm sure Igmer had to endure a lot of humiliation and ridicule because of his son. The reds sentenced Lis to death, he was incredibly lucky that he managed to escape. And mind you, his father, no matter what, didn’t disown him. So I think it's okay. And the fact that Igmer asked you to leave is also in the order of things. Lis is used to dragging you everywhere with him, where it is needed and where it is not needed. Red women don’t participate in the lives of men and their conversations. You will have to come to terms with this, Karina, since you chose a red husband.”
“It's just…” Karina looked upset. “He somehow toughly talks with him, and not about that… and Lis, I felt he was unpleasant from this …”
“Yes? Unpleasant? Why didn't he send him to hell, how he sent us here a hundred times a day?”
And Karina looked at her father very condemningly.
Igmer walked over to the table and sat down at it, gesturing to the chair opposite:
Lis came up and sat down, his father continued to examine him closely, and Lis looked away.
“You have changed, you have become different,” Igmer repeated again, “outwardly it seems that you have remained the same, but something in you has changed, changed a lot, and I cannot understand what!”
He again looked closely at frozen Lis, held out his hand, turning his hand towards him, looking at the inscription “Impudence”. Reds were calm about body modifications, and for warriors it was often mandatory: scarring, tattoos and piercings were not considered a sin and an unnatural distortion of the divine image of the ancestors, desecration of the body, created by the gods in their own image and likeness.
“You had scars on your face, now they are gone. Where are your battle scars? Did they disappear after thirty too?”
“Did you remove them? Are black healers so advanced in medicine?”
“Yes, I got rid of the scars on my face.”
“Why so? Didn't you have the audacity to wear them with pride?” Igmer grinned.
And Lis said nothing.
“Okay. Congratulations. You took over the Ore town thanks to Kudmer’s stupidity. You are lucky. This fat fool was never clever, but this time his head just went blank, he kept repeating: “We will meet them behind the wall. We will meet them behind the wall”, as if a demon had possessed him, he behaved like a possessed person. However, it doesn't matter anymore. Tell me what do you intend to do next?”
“I don’t know yet,” said Lis.
His father looked at him very closely.
“You know. But you don't want to tell me. I'm not your enemy.”
Lis reflexively reached for his cigarettes and lit one. Igmer just shook his head silently and winced. Lis, without taking a couple of puffs, quickly put out his cigarette in a porcelain vase:
“What to do now, it stinks anyway! Smoke! What a disgusting habit!”
But Lis didn't light a new cigarette. He still tried not to meet his father's eyes:
“I really don't know yet,” he repeated and quickly looked at Igmer, who looked at him reproachfully.
“Some time ago I heard rumors that red commander Sigmer had appeared across the river. With his army, he cleaned the territories and put things in order, burned the regional outpost. I…” Igmer hesitated. “I wanted to believe and didn’t believe. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think of anything, I buried you and mourned. And I was afraid that I was just flattering myself with false hopes, and there was an impostor walking across the river, hiding behind your legendary name. But when I learned that Sigmer had captured Crimson Rock… then… I believed it was you. Only you could do it! Crimson Rock is too tough for anyone. And I left the Upper World, I was waiting for you here. Because I knew my Sigmer would not stop and would move on. I knew that you would come to Ore town.”
Lis was silent, his head bowed.
“Do you know what to do next?” Igmer took out Marcus’ folded leaflet from his pocket. “And what's that?”
Lis looked at the leaflet:
“No. Not just agitation. We thought about it with you, planned, dreamed. Many reds are thinking about independence. And now even more. We are tired of the war with the blacks. The war turned into an absurd and unpromising action. You appeared at the right time and in the right place.”
And, since Lis was still silent, his father asked:
“Tell me, how did you manage to survive in the Black City, among enemies?”
“I took on the service of Prince Arel Chig… Chester, he needed an experienced strategist in the fight against competitors for spheres of influence in the city.”
“Are you taking substances?”
Lis shook his head slowly, and, lifting the sleeve of his jacket, showed his father a chained wrist.
“Didn't you take it off? Didn't get rid of it?” His father was surprised. “Do you still wear the bracelet with which I chained you?”
“Yes. I never took “black water” again, I kept my vow to you.”
“I believe you,” Igmer said, “simply because if you continued to do this, you would not be sitting here now.”
And Lis finally looked at him point-blank.
And Igmer for the first time in all this time changed for a second in his face:
“Now I recognize you,” he whispered and was the first to look away.
He got up:
“You probably need to put yourself in order and relax…”
“No. I have a lot to do.”
“Okay. We will still have time to talk, discuss further actions, and you will see that I am your ally and you can trust me.”
“I trust you. I would like to introduce you to my comrades and friends.”
Lis, along with his father, entered the living room, where his friends were waiting for him.
“This is my father Igmer,” said Lis, “father, this is Prince Arel Chester, my patron in the Black City,” Arel, having heard these words of Lis, as always looked at Igmer with arrogant indifference and superiority and, as usual, said nothing.
And Kors even with some envy thought about how the prince managed to make such an expression on his face, despite the still clearly visible bruise under his eye and a black dot on the tip of his nose.
“This is Vitor Kors,” continued Lis, and Kors was pleased that he introduced him, though not the first, but immediately after Arel, “Vitor Kors is the father of my wife Karina, and he helps me in everything,” said Lis. Kors tried to make the same face as Arel, not knowing that he did not need to do anything for this.
Lis’ father smiled a little, and although Kors didn’t hear his thoughts, he realized that he remembered his name and knew who Vitor Kors was, but Igmer didn’t say anything.
“This is Nik,” Lis continued, pointing to Nikto who got up from the chair when Lis and his father entered the room, “Nik is the commander of the unclean.”
“Nik Kors is my son,” said Vitor Kors.
And on the face of Lis was reflected some surprise, but he remained silent, and his father perceived this, in the opinion of all those present, the unexpected revelation of Kors with absolute indifference.
“Zaf is an officer of Nik, and Parky is the captain of Vitor Kors,” Lis introduced also the unclean ones, without in any way indicating their belonging to another race, however, it was understandable anyway.
“I’m glad to meet my son’s comrades-in-arms,” said Igmer on duty, “and I congratulate you on your victory.”
He spoke in black with a slight accent of reds.
After a pause and waiting for a while, seeing that everyone was silent, he added:
“I support the idea of independence of the red underground people and I am not your enemy.”
“Well,” said Vitor Kors, realizing that the awkward silence is dragging on, and none of them, including Lis, were eager to speak, “in this case, I consider it expedient to organize a meeting of the commanders as soon as possible and discuss further actions.”
“Yes,” Lis agreed immediately.
“Shall I sketch out a plan of priorities?” suggested Kors.
“I will be very grateful to you,” said Lis, and now Kors was already surprised, but he quickly pulled himself together, returning business concentration to his face:
“We need to take control of the main vital points in the city: mines, market, temples of the gods, jewelry workshops and offices of usurers.”
“Post and Bank,” added Igmer.
“Yes,” agreed Kors, without showing that the word Bank was not too familiar to blacks, “and it is also necessary to close the city for entry and exit.”
“Nik, will you close the Portal?” Asked Lis, he looked now somehow confused, and it was so unlike him.
“Yes,” said Nik, “I'll block it.”
“There is more than one Portal in the Ore City,” Igmer said, and Lis turned pale.
“Nik, we need to find and close all the Portals,” Lis said, and there was clearly an alarm in his voice.
“Mmm,” Nikto thought a little, “I’ll start with what is in the palace, and then I'll try to come up with something.”
“All portals of the city are interconnected,” said Igmer, “there is a special key-password, and I know it. If you understand the operation of the Portals, I will give it to you, and from here you will use the password to open the exit to another Portal, seal it and open the next one. In this way, through the main Portal in Kudmer’s Palace, you will seal all the Portals associated with it in the city and surroundings.”
“Nik is very good at working with Portals,” Lis said, and there was a little confidence in his voice.
“Yes, I see,” said Igmer, his face continued to remain the same impassive, and it was not clear whether he answered sincerely or it was sarcasm.
“While Nik is doing this, I think I will have time to write letters to the heads of the seven main families of the city,” Kors decided to close the topic of Portals. “The heads of families should come to bow, demonstrate to us their submission and give the symbolic key to the city.”
“I did it in advance,” said Lis’ father, “after Kudmer announced to me that he was going to go beyond the wall, I had not the slightest doubt about your victory. Therefore, I wrote many letters, and also to the heads of families. My name will be a good reason for them to come. Besides, I know red etiquette and some subtleties. Each family has its own primary color, and I wrote letters for them on the appropriate paper, red, orange, yellow and so on. This will endear them to you, they will understand that you are not invaders or outsiders. Pressure is not the most advantageous option in this case, but it would be appropriate to enlist their support and location. So my courier is just waiting for an order.”
And Kors looked intently at Igmer, who, watching him, perfectly caught this look and smiled again with the edges of his lips, but a little stronger.
“And I also think,” with an effort, but continued Kors, “that now it will not be a war, but politics, and I understand politics, and therefore it is necessary to write as many more leaflets as possible about independence and the sale of diamonds. And let Tol’s artist draw pictures for commoners, draw as he can intelligibly: an ugly fat red from the Upper World and poor miners who give him diamonds, and their thin emaciated children in rags are standing nearby and crying!”
Igmer chuckled, shaking his head.
“There is a printing house in Ore town. It can print flyers, newspapers and orders. There are artists there too.”
“It is wonderful!” Kors didn’t give up. “It is necessary to outline the basic rules of the new order, prescribe punishments and fines, and also hang them all over the city. And hang a couple of dissenters in the square. I also consider it necessary to introduce a curfew.”
“Yes,” said Lis.
“Then get to work! And let's gather in the main hall of the palace in two hours for a final discussion. By this time, I will try to sketch out some basic theses.”
“The palace has a special conference room for such events,” said Igmer.
“Do I have to attend?” Zaf asked somehow without much enthusiasm.
Kors and Nikto spoke simultaneously, and Zaf froze, not knowing what to do now.
“I’ll give them everything they need,” Nik said. “They are warriors, not politicians.”
“And me too,” Lis said barely audibly, somehow sadly, but no one paid attention to his words.
“Okay, Nik, after all, they’re under your command, do as you see fit,” said Kors. “I don’t mind at all.”
“I, too, will not embarrass your commanding staff with my presence at the meeting,” said Igmer, “I am still a stranger to them. Will Zagpeace Gesaria be there?”
“I’d better start mailing letters and visit the head of the purple house in person.”
Igmer went to the table and took a sheet of paper, wrote something on it:
“Here is the address of the printing house,” he handed the sheet to Kors, “Ore town is big, but I hope your people will not get lost, after all, this is a city, not swamps.”
And Kors, swallowing the mockery, silently took the sheet.
Kors, Nikto and Arel settled together in the luxurious apartments of the Rainbow Palace.
They now had a huge living room, dining room, several bedrooms and bathrooms. However, Kors was accustomed to luxury, and Nikto and Arel seemed indifferent to everything. They perceived the objects around them exclusively from a functional point of view, without paying any attention to aesthetics.
“Nik, eat,” said Kors and pushed the plate towards him. They were sitting at a set table, and Nik was still sleepy, because Kors woke him up and pulled him out of bed, and Arel stayed to sleep.
“I don’t want to, I can’t eat a morsel in the morning.”
“It's two o'clock in the afternoon.”
“I don’t want.”
“Please. Well, please me!”
And, since Nik didn’t take the cutlery in his hands and didn’t touch the food, Kors moved his chair closer to him, and, taking a fork, pricked a piece from the plate on it, handed it to Nik:
“Open your mouth, take it.”
Nik turned away:
“I’m sick even from the very sight of this food, and don’t stick that damn fork in my face! I'm afraid of it!”
“Nik, I'm asking you.”
“What is it?”
“Stew with vegetables and spices of the reds. Beef. It is soft, it literally melts in your mouth. Very tasty. You need to eat meat.”
Kors put down his fork, and took a piece of meat with his hand, handed it to Nik:
“Will you take it from my hands? Well, please!”
Nik quietly, barely audible and shortly growled and doomedly allowed Kors to put a piece of meat in his mouth, swallowed it with difficulty, almost not chewing.
Kors took the following one:
“I will hand feed you, my love. But you will finally get better and gain weight.”
Nik again joylessly, but obediently took the food, took it, along with Kors’ fingers, taking them into his mouth up to the very golden rings with which his hands were humiliated. A precious ring shone on each finger, and each one was worth a fortune. Kors closed his eyes slightly and breathed deeper:
“No, no… don't distract me.”
“I don’t want more, Vitor…”
“Don't growl. The last, last piece. I promise this is the last one.”
Nik obediently took another piece from his hands.
“Well, at least something,” Kors wiped his fingers with a napkin and handed him a glass of wine, “at least you have eaten a little. I’ll feed you more in the evening.”
“I can’t see how your ribs are sticking out!”
“There, as if behind them, it hurts a lot, I can't eat…”
“This is hepatitis, you need to be treated,” Kors's face showed an undisguised frustration.
He looked at his pale Nik.
“Do you still love me, Nik? Haven’t you stopped loving me?” And in Kors’ voice there was some anxiety.
“I love you very much,” Nik answered simply.
And Kors smiled, pleased:
“Really, Vitor, I love you very much.”
“And I love you!”
“You treat me like a child.”
“Are you unpleased?”
“I’m pleased. But I’m not a child.”
“For me, you are my child. And I am your father.”
Nik bowed down and kissed his hand, kissed the precious rings.
Kors let him do it, slightly closing his eyes in pleasure.
“Why did you tell Igmer that I am your son?”
“I didn’t have to say that?”
“It is possible, but… now others can learn about it.”
“Who? Igmer is red, whom will he tell? Why would he discuss our relationship with the blacks? He didn't attach any importance to my words.”
“Well, I don't know… Vitor, this is…”
“You don’t want to be my son?”
“I really want, and I’m yours, I have written about it on my face, no?”
“But I'm worried about your reputation.”
“There is no need to worry. I wanted to, and I said it. Fox now has a father, and you too!
“I hope the black people don’t know about it.
“Blacks think that you are my lover, whom I torture and keep in slavery.”
“Yes, everything is very confusing and I don't like it. One thing falls on another, these rumors around us…”
“Eh, no one really cares, Nik. Only Zagpeace digs under us, the main thing is that Peace doesn’t learn about us, and that’s it.”
“Peace is the one who knows,” said Nik and looked at Kors very seriously, and, as it seemed to him, a little guilty.
“He guesses, or rather, he is sure of it, but so far he keeps it to himself.”
“Who had told him ?! Unclean ones?”
Nikto shook his head.
“No, of course, the unclean ones will never say anything to people.”
“He guessed it himself. We are still alike, but he is attentive. Nobody saw your Iness, but everyone sees me next to you all the time. You shouldn't have brought me to them, but I shouldn’t have listened to you and took off the mask.”
Kors covered his face with his hands.
“And he realized that you are my son, and thinks that I am fucking my own son?”
“Yes,” Nik nodded, “that’s exactly what he thinks.”
“And how does he imagine it? Does he think I'm completely finished?! That I made my own son a slave and fuck him?! Is he nuts in his fantasies?”
“He thinks that your wife Iness was your white slave, and an incomplete half-blood child from a white slave – he is like trash, not important for a true black, he believes that you don’t hold me for a man. Usually, such children are simply drowned, like kittens, after birth. And that’s why you treat me this way, even though I'm your son.”
“Tell him that you are a Demon!”
“I can’t. Zagpeace hates everything Leonardo does, all these rituals, witchcraft and appeal to Demons. He hates Demons. He won’t help us, but on the contrary will interfere. It will get worse!”
“Much worse! Oh-oh-oh, fuck! What to do?”
“It’s good for you to say so, you are poor and unfortunate, you are my victim. And I am a monster, a filthy pervert! He'll put me in jail for rituals with Leonardo, for Kamiel Varah and for incest!”
Kors walked around the room from corner to corner:
“And you were silent! You didn’t tell me anything!”
“I knew that you would start to get nervous from scratch.”
“Nothing will happen, Zagpeace won’t do anything to you and won’t put you anywhere!”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. And now he has no time for us at all, he is looking for those reds who held him captive.”
Kors shook his head.
“If I ask you not to communicate with black people, not to talk to Zagpeace anymore, if I ask you not to approach people and not talk to them, will you do it for me?”
“Yes. I promised you this even earlier.”
“And you haven’t forgotten your promise?”
“No, Vitor, I haven’t forgotten.”
“Are you with me? Tell me? Are you with me?!”
“Say: “Yes, father. I promise you not to get close to people.”
“Yes, father, I promise.”
“I promise you…”
“I promise you.”
“Not to get close to people.”
“Not to get close to people.”
And Kors, in a joyful fit, hugged him:
“Just you and me, without unnecessary people, right?”
Kors gently kissed him on the cheek, on his own letter, then pulled back:
“It’s almost worn out,” there was some regret in his voice, and Nikto noticed it. He took a pencil from his jacket pocket and handed it to Kors:
“Here it is. Do as you want.”
Kors took a pencil, he heard that Nik in his thoughts quickly thought: “Or do you want to cut your letter with a knife on the back of my head?” Kors froze for a moment, but decided to pretend he didn’t understand.
With a rod soaked in black dye, he renewed his letter. He circled the lines thicker and smoother. The letter “V” stood out brightly on his Nik’s cheek again, and Kors was overwhelmed with emotions, and he understood that they were base and wrong, and that he was feeding Demon with them, and now he was feeding him much more satisfying than with meat before, but Kors couldn’t do anything with himself.
“Let’s go,” said Vitor Kors to Nikto.
“To the doctor.”
“The reds have good medicines, let him give some to you.”