Breena continued onwards despite her fears. She only did so due to her anxiety of Lone abandoning her being greater than her fear of the very dark stairwell she was currently descending. Thankfully, due to her being a Foxkin, her eyes could see in the dark every so slightly, and there was still some natural light seeping in from the broken walls and the entrance which made the whole experience far more tolerable for the young girl.
She soon reached the bottom of the staircase and found herself to be in an open room that was completely empty. Presumably, it had already been looted of everything valuable which left it in the bare state Breena now witnessed it to be in. Breena continued along only to find three different archways in the room that each led in different directions and after some mild hesitation, Breena chose to enter the one that was to her left.
As she continued onwards, her surroundings were getting darker and darker due to that fact that she was getting farther and farther away from the parts of the building that had damaged walls. However, she now had the chance to notice that the barrier which Lone had put on her was actually emitting a slight amount of light and this helped the girl to remain at least somewhat calm.
Unfortunately for Breena, this brief state of calm quickly disappeared when she heard several distant grunts.
'W-What the hell was that?!' the young Foxkin thought to herself in a moment of panic. During her time with the Hero, Daisuke, she had naturally witnessed him killing monsters on several occasions, so she was painfully aware of the fact that what she heard was almost certainly a monster of some sort. Breena's fears got the better of her, and she instantly turned around and ran, however, in her haste she had accidentally hit the nearby wall with the side of her iron sword and this action created a loud clanking noise.
At that moment, the girl lost all hope. She could hear several footsteps quickly rushing towards her from not only behind her but in front of her as well. She just weakly fell to the floor and began sobbing. Breena knew that the sword in her hand would be useless to her since she had no knowledge of how to wield it and her own physical strength was pitifully weak due to being a slave for several years and she didn't have the courage to end her own life before the creatures closing in on her would do so for her.
Immense feelings of dread and despair filled the girl. The creatures were getting closer. Much closer. Breena could swear that if she tried, she could touch the fear that she was feeling, that was just how dark the emotion was.
'Help me! Someone, please, help me! I'm... I'm so scared... .' the girl prayed in her mind, but no help was coming. Lone had no way of knowing about her current situation due to the distance between the two.
Breena's fear reached a climax when she saw the creatures that were trying to get her. Minotaurs. Twelve of them. Six from her behind and six from her front. These creatures were a mix of man and bull. However, the bull portion was clearly the far more prominent of the two. All of them looked at Breena with lust and hunger in their eyes. A lot of human-like monsters were notorious for their habit of raping their victims, much like the Orcs Lone had previously killed. Minotaurs were widely acknowledged as the most brutal when it came to this amongst monsters.
"NO! NO! NOT AGAIN! NO!" Breena began shouting in a trance almost while she received flashbacks about her time with the Hero. She was a simple girl who was willing to suffer most forms of abuse, but being raped by Daisuke was the lowest point in her life, and she despised him, herself and the act entirely. She was all right with being abused emotionally and even physically, but sexual assault was the one thing she could no longer endure after finally being freed from such an experience already.
One of the Minotaurs had already approached Breena by the point and roughly grabbed one of her arms and pulled her up to make her face level with his. It then began frantically breathing on her face which caused the already panic induced girl to nearly go insane, however, mere moments later, Breena's body was enveloped in a dark purple light which alarmed the Minotaurs.
"Huh, I guess there really isn't anything up here. I thought for sure there'd be a secretly hidden illusion or something. Oh well, suppose I'll go see if Sophie found anything," Lone had mumbled to himself before he began to head down the spiral staircase from the third floor to the second one.
Lone had already explored all three of the levels the tower held and found nothing except burnt books and bookshelves which only helped in fueling Lone's rage and the person who destroyed them. It also changed Lone's opinion of what the tower once was. Originally Lone assumed it to be a watchtower, but now all the signs would indicate that it was actually a Mage's tower.
Lone continued to think about the tower and why someone would have a reason to destroy all of its books before he finally reached the ground floor only to find Sophie sitting cross-legged with a worried look on her face.
"Soph?" Lone called out which put a smile on Sophie's face before it quickly disappeared to be once again covered by a worried look.
"Lone!" she had replied before she quickly got to her feet and ran towards Lone. "I think Breena is in danger! I didn't find anything on this floor, so I just started practising my mana sensing to pass the time until you were done, but suddenly I detected that twelve presences were approaching Breena. Then suddenly a huge burst of mana and now I can't detect anything from the basement," Sophie explained in detail for Lone. Lone's eyebrows creased at this news.
Although he had been rather harsh to Breena earlier, he held no real ill-will towards the girl and was actually surprisingly fond of her. At least as fond as he could be without making her a respected or accepted being. Lone had only snapped at her earlier due to her accidentally comparing his treatment of her to his treatment of Sophie, but otherwise, she was a quiet and useful person to have around, which Lone appreciated.
"Well then, let's not sit around here. If possible, I'd like to save her, assuming she's in danger," Lone said in a hurry. He then immediately began running towards the basement. Sophie smiled at this. Lone was growing so much as a person recently. Sophie was euphoric that Lone would think so much about a person he had only known for a week and hadn't even accepted yet. She once again reinforced her desire to change too before she ran after Lone.
Lone kept his pace steady so Sophie could keep up with his running despite her short stature. After the two had reached the hall at the bottom of the stairs, Lone created several flames of pure mana to use as light orbs. These flames surrounded the two. Lone then began running again. He was following the trail of foot and hoof prints. Lone assumed the footprints to be Breena's and the hoof prints to be a monster of some sort, but which, Lone wasn't sure since his experience with monsters was very limited.
The pair quickly entered the pathway Breena had decided to explore, and they immediately began smelling something extraordinarily foul. However, this smell was one Lone was accustomed to. Blood. Lots and lots of blood. The two were then shocked when they found Breena.
She was lying on the floor, and her body was covered in blood, a lot of which seemed to be her own, but more noticeable than that was her tails. She now had three tails instead of the previous one, and the tips of these tails were all shaded with a very dark purple which was barely noticeable through all of the blood. The monsters, or whatever they were, had been obliterated completely. Lone had no idea what they once were since nothing was left save for pools of blood and guts.
"What the hell? Did she awaken three times in the span of a few minutes? Fucking hell. What on Earth happened?" Lone whispered. He then approached the girl covered in blood before he briefly examined her. "For now, I guess I'd better save her life. Lossa wasn't lying. It seems awakening really has a high chance of killing normal Foxkin. Fuck. This was meant to be a fun exploration. Ha-ah," Lone continued with a sigh before he began using his creation magic to heal his travelling companion.
'Uuuuu... stop swearing and groaning so much please... ' Sophie thought to herself. She was happy that Lone's first thought was to save Breena, but his habit of incessantly swearing in situations he disliked was emerging once again which only served to make Sophie cringe.
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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