Thomas relaxed and let his mana recover to its maximum at an improved rate thanks to his liberal use of 'Serenity'. Of all the skills and abilities he'd unlocked, 'Serenity' was the one he used the most. Though it's rank was no longer the highest among all of his skills and abilities he still felt it was close to the best and would remain that way for a long time. As time passed his mana recovered until he reached his maximum.
Thomas opened his eyes and climbed to his feet while dusting the dirt off of himself. He'd gotten fairly dirty in this place and really wanted a shower to clean himself off, but that would need to wait until he was done exploring. He moved over to the door and examined it once again. It continued to glow with the mysterious white runes and illuminate the surrounding area. As far as he could tell there had been no change to them while he'd been recovering. He walked back and forth in front of the doors and examined them closely looking for anything that stuck out.
His search turned up nothing useful. With nothing else to go on, Thomas retrieved his still cocked Peace Maker from his inventory while reaching out to touch the door with his empty left hand. When the tips of his fingers reached the door he felt a ticklish tingling sensation. As he touched the door the runes began to glow brighter. Alarmed, Thomas leaped back and took some distance from the doors. The doors immediately dimmed down from the increased brightness back to the previous level. Thomas checked his fingers but his mana was not draining from them and into the door.
He let out a sigh and looked at the doors once again. They continued to just sit there with no additional changes. After waiting a bit and nothing happening, Thomas once again approached the doors. He reached out to touch them with his left hand once more. He felt the same stimulating sensation and the runes began to glow brighter once again. He didn't retrieve his hand and allowed whatever was going to happen to continue.
The runes grew brighter and brighter as he continued to touch the door. To the point where he had to activate his 'All Seeing Eyes' and use the ability to darken his vision. It was that or close his eyes and he didn't want to risk being blind if something were to happen. He watched closely as the brightness of the runes grew in intensity. The light became so bright and intense that it almost felt like it was taking on a semi-physical form that pressed against his body.
The light spread until the doors seemed to become pure light. He watched, enthralled, as the light slowly began to 'chip' away in small pieces that left small holes through the double doors. It was too soon for him to see through them, but as time passed more and more of the doors 'chipped' away. The 'chips' in the door started to appear at an accelerated rate until it appeared like the double doors were disintegrating into pure light and floating away.
As the door lost mass and disappeared the light began to dim allowing Thomas to ease off on his use of his 'All Seeing Eyes' to blacken his vision and shifting to brightening his vision. Even with his vision brightened he still couldn't see past the doors. He watched as the last flake of light drifted off of the doors and faded away. As it did whatever was preventing Thomas from seeing past the door disappeared.
Thomas looked over the threshold and saw a room beyond. The room was made out of stone similar to the tunnel he'd walked down to get here. The room was massive, taller than the double doors that had guarded it. Pillars dotted the area and held up the ceiling above his head. Everything in the room was pristine and preserved. There wasn't a single spec of dust anywhere to be seen. Directly in front of him, through a pathway of pillars, was an altar sitting on top of a raised dais. On top of the altar was a sphere sitting on an ornate stand.
Thomas was certain he'd just found whatever treasure this place was guarding. Though he found it odd that the only thing blocking his passage so far had been that strange doorway. He stayed where he was and didn't rush into the room like a fool. He carefully examined the area around him for any signs of danger. Though the door had been weird it was simply too easy to get past if it was meant to guard a great treasure. Even though he looked around, Thomas could find no signs of danger.
Seeing no reason to hesitate any longer, Thomas walked across the threshold of the double doors and entered the pristine room beyond. As he crossed the threshold he heard a loud clanging sound behind him. He spun around and was shocked to find that the doors had returned and were closed tightly. He immediately reached out and pressed his hand against it. Nothing happened. The doors were solid, immovable, and had no reaction to his touch. He gave the doors a solid hit but they barely even made a sound from the impact. He would have to find another way out of this place.
Thomas turned back around and examined the room around him. Without his 'All Seeing Eyes' he would be forced to use another source of light and wouldn't be able to see nearly as much as he could right now. The room was filled with pillars that blocked his line of sight, but what he could see was merely empty space. The only thing he could see besides the pillars was the altar.
With no other ideas on what to do, Thomas examined his path and began to walk forward. After he took a few steps into the room a booming voice that echoed from all directions filled his ears, "OH, A HUMAN?" There was a sound like sniffing and when the voice spoke again it sounded like it was frowning and confused, "NO... NOT A HUMAN..."
Thomas looked around for the voice. It was echoing off of the pillars and throughout the entire room making it impossible to pinpoint where it was from. He couldn't even distinguish if the voice was male or female. Thomas continued to look around as he asked, "Who's there?"
The voice ignored his question and asked its own, "WHAT ARE YOU? YOU SMELL... ODD. LIKE ROTTING SEWAGE MIXED WITH SUNBATHED FLOWERS."
Thomas frowned deeply at the description of his scent. He even lifted his arm to take a whiff of his armpit. He smelled a little ripe but nothing like what the voice was describing. Thomas wasn't stupid though. He had a fair idea what the voice was referring to. His race, Nephilim. The combination of Demon and Angel, sewage and flowers. Thomas continued to look around the room as he said, "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just a regular guy that wandered down here."
The voice let out a booming laugh at Thomas's blatant lie about being a 'regular guy', "DON'T BOTHER LYING TO ME. I CAN SMELL IT ON YOU. THE TAINT OF THE DEMONS MIXED WITH THE SCENT OF THE ANGELS. YOU ARE NOT A DEMON COVERED IN THE BLOOD OF ANGELS. NOR ARE YOU AN ANGEL COVERED IN THE BLOOD OF DEMONS. I ASK ONCE AGAIN AND SUGGEST YOU ANSWER HONESTLY. LIE TO ME AGAIN AND I WILL DESTROY YOU UTTERLY! WHAT ARE YOU?"
Thomas remained silent for a while and wondered if he should answer honestly or not. Whatever this voice was, just the feeling it gave off was enough to let Thomas know that it could make good on its promise to destroy him. Whatever it was had probably been down here for a long time and was still very much alive and powerful. Though if it killed him he would merely revive, he didn't want to risk potentially not being able to return here. He felt that his choices came down to telling the truth or giving up on whatever might be gained here. It was a risk, a big risk, but he honestly could not contain his curiosity. So he answered, "I am a Nephilim. The perfect mix of Angel and Demon. The balance between both worlds. I am neither, yet I am both. I belong only to myself and worship no gods. My power is mine and mine alone."
Thomas wasn't entirely sure why he said everything he did, but it felt... right. He felt that the description he'd given was the perfect description of himself regardless of whatever his race happened to be. The powerful voice was silent for a moment then spoke again, "IS SUCH A THING EVEN POSSIBLE? ... YOU ARE NOT LYING SO IT SEEMS LIKE IT IS..."
The voice went silent for a while. Thomas remained silent as well, unsure if he should say anything or not. He chose not to and instead waited for the voice to come to its own conclusion. After a few minutes, the voice spoke once again, "SUCH A THING WAS NOT FORESEEN WHEN THIS PLACE WAS MADE..."
The voice went silent once again. Thomas waited for several minutes in silence. Nothing happened while he waited. When he grew impatient he called out, "Are you still there?"
Silence was all that greeted him. The voice did not reply. Thomas tried to call out to the voice every couple of minutes but continued to get only silence in return. He was unsure of what had happened. He looked around and not knowing what else he could do with the voice refusing to engage him in conversation again, he started walking. He made his way towards the altar once again. He moved slowly and kept his eyes open for signs of any traps and his ears open for any signs of the voice speaking again. Not that the voice would be hard to miss.
Nothing happened as he moved closer and closer to the altar. From about six meters away he could clearly see the sphere on the stand above the altar. The sphere was frosted and impossible to see through. All he could tell was the size. The sphere appeared to be about a meter in diameter and possibly made of glass or some kind of crystal. Without examining it closely he would be unable to tell much about it.
As he approached within five meters of the orb something changed. A deep, threatening, and bestial growl echoed from behind him. Thomas froze like a statue as a cold sweat broke out on his back. He slowly turned his head around and tried not to make any threatening movements. Whatever had made the growl had made it from above his head, meaning whatever it was it stood taller than he did. As he managed to look behind himself what he saw sent a shiver down his spine.
Standing behind him on four thick limbs was a massive wolf that towered over three meters tall. Even with its head lowered in a threatening posture, it was above his head. Steam rolled out of its partially opened mouth that revealed large sharp fangs that looked like they could easily tear him limb from limb. As his sight moved from the threatening teeth he took in more of the massive animal. Its eyes were a bright blue that emitted as much warmth as a glacier. Its entire coat was a pure white that would put fresh snow to shame. Despite the clear threat the large wolf represented, Thomas couldn't help admiring its beauty.
The wolf let loose another threatening growl as Thomas moved slowly. Thomas immediately stopped moving. He knew he was fast, really fast. However, the feeling the wolf behind him gave off was that of a predator eyeing weak prey. Thomas felt a palpable pressure from the wolf and knew without a doubt that as strong as he was, the wolf was many times stronger. Thomas felt that if he made even the slightest aggressive move he would die before he could complete his action. He doubted he would even have enough time to aim his gun and pull the trigger before he was dead on the ground.
Sweat flowed profusely from him as he looked into the eyes of the wolf. Just as he studied the wolf it studied him in return. Thomas could see intelligence in its eyes as it studied him. If the wolf had been just a simple-minded beast it would have likely attacked him by now. Thomas felt that he only had two choices before him. He could attempt to fight the wolf, which he felt would be suicide. Or he could hope for some sort of peaceful resolution. He was still worried that if he died he would be unable to return here and try again. Many events in games only gave players a single chance to succeed. Given his experiences in AoG so far, he was certain that if he failed he would never find this place again.
With his decision made, Thomas very slowly began to move. The wolf watched him intently and growled a warning that scared Thomas into freezing solid. Thomas waited for a bit before slowly taking a deep breath and speaking in as gentle and calming of a tone as he could manage, "Easy... it's alright... I'm not going to attack you. I'm just putting my weapon down..."
True to his words, Thomas slowly crouched down while keeping his hands in plain view of the monstrous wolf. When he was close enough to the ground he set the Peace Maker down on the floor. Slowly and carefully he stood up and stepped away from the weapon. The wolf watched him intently the entire time without blinking. Thomas carefully stepped to the side. He didn't want to move closer to the wolf and didn't want to move closer to the altar that the wolf was probably protecting.
When he stepped nearly a meter away from his Peace Maker the wolf gave a soft growl that didn't feel threatening this time. A distinctly feminine voice came from the wolf with the same power as the previous voice, "YOU PASS."