Day after day passes. Life is not monotonous; Bellij likes to change the schedule of tortures on a daily basis, and there are always new and terrible surprises in store for s3c0ndh4nd. His pattern of sleep has become so irregular that he no longer knows whether it is night or day.
 
The tortures themselves are horrific. They range from having acid slowly dripped onto his hand to having a swarm of rats bite at his ankles. Bellij makes sure that s3c0ndh4nd is in no way in danger of dying, but often brings him to the brink of death, just for fun.
 
There are times when s3c0ndh4nd wishes to submit, or to die. Still, s3c0ndh4nd remembers his friends back home, and Kakunaman, and knows that he cannot do either. Bellij maintains an aura of patience, but on the inside he is fuming. It has been over a week, so why has s3c0ndh4nd not given up? He can only wonder what is keeping his spirit alive.
 
 
***
 
 
 
 
"Alright s3c0ndh4nd," he says calmly. "Your time is just about up. It is time for an ultimatum: Serve me, or die."
 
"There isn’t much choice for me there," replies s3c0ndh4nd, equally calmly. "I’ve been asking to die for a few days now. Compared with aiding you, death seems like an excellent option."
 
"Is there any way to change your mind?" asks Bellij.
 
s3c0ndh4nd remains silent.
 
"No?"
 
s3c0ndh4nd still does not speak, but stares into Beliij’s eyes.
 
"Hm. Not even… this?"
 
The doors open, and two guards drag in a screaming victim.
 
s3c0ndh4nd’s eyes go wide.
 
"I knew this would catch your attention," says Bellij. "Now let me explain. Your apostle here was out for an afternoon stroll, when my scouts happened to see her. They contacted me, and described her to me. I immediately recognized her as one of your top advisors. ‘What foolishness!’ thought I. ‘Walking about in broad daylight in the middle of war?’ At first I assumed that this was a trap, but after my scouts thoroughly swept the area and found nothing, I sent my guards to capture her."
 
s3c0ndh4nd is stunned.
 
"Now, let me make you another ultimatum: Serve me, or I will make you watch me kill her, and then I will kill you. I won’t kill her in the traditional way, though. In fact, I will send her back to your precious temple, only she will have a detectable amount of my poison in her possession. To make a long story short, the security systems that you yourself designed will discover the poison, she will be accused of murdering you, and she will die."
 
"You wouldn’t dare," says s3c0ndh4nd, stalling to give himself time to think.
 
Bellij laughs.
 
"If you honestly think that, then you’ve learned nothing about me in this past week. Now, I will ask you one final time: Will you serve me, or die along with your friend?"
 
s3c0ndh4nd looks at the apostle. When she had first entered the room, s3c0ndh4nd wasn’t sure what to think. After all, she had abandonned him in his time of need. But now that he knew that she had not left of her own accord, he knew that he had only one option.
 
"Will you serve me?" asks Bellij, becoming angered.
 
s3c0ndh4nd looks up at the heavens, and then bows his head.
 
"Yes," he murmurs quietly.
 
"I didn’t catch that," says Beliij, grinning menacingly. "Say it again, louder."
 
"Yes."
 
"I still can’t hear you!"
 
"Yes!"
 
"Yes what?"
 
"Yes, Bellij, I will serve you!"
 
"Call me master."
 
"Yes, Master Bellij, I will serve you!"
 
The room fills up with the maniacal laughter of Bellij, the horrified screams of the apostle, and the sobbing of a broken man named s3c0ndh4nd.
 
 
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