Lino and Hannah were currently standing inside a gigantic hall bounding over three kilometers in height, supported by beautiful and gracious hand-carved pillars. A tiled floor lied beneath them, yet the two combined were narrower than a single crack between the tiles. The whole of the hall felt overwhelming and even Lino couldn’t help but stop breathing for a moment.
Here and there the two spotted cracked tables and chairs, even their small remnants still the size of large hills. Unable to tear his gaze away from the distant mosaic on the ceiling depicting a Titan battling a full-fledged Dragon, Lino felt an incomparable sense of awe surge from within his heart.
“Hey, I recognize that thing.” Hannah suddenly said whilst pulling Lino forward, bounding over the boulder-sized debris and onto what appeared like a platform edging out of the wall.
“This thing?” Lino pointed at the strange wall in front of them.
“Yeah, I’ve read about it in one of the books from the Sect’s library,” Hannah said, tracing her fingers over the wall’s surface. “Yeah, this is definitely the Titan’s Library.”
“Huh?” Lino questioned.
“Well, most of the texts we’ve recovered during the Titan Era were actually written mainly either by mavericks or small-sized Clans. All of the top echelon throughout the entire era actually used this device to record their information!” Hannah exclaimed, her smile wide and joyous. “Damn, do you know how much shit we can get if we report this place to my Sect?”
“It’s that important?” Lino walked up, touching the wall as well; it was coarse and rather chilly, yet even with his vast knowledge on natural materials he was unable to tell what it was made out of.
“Yeah, not only because of the records they contain, but also because of the technology. I mean, we’re not even close to figuring out how they did it, yet we’ve been it at it for hundreds of millions of years.”
“Do you know how to use it?” Lino asked.
“Yup,” Hannah quickly nodded. “But, it needs a whole boatload of Qi Stones to operate. I’ve only got about a few hundred million. What about you?”
“... a few hundred million? Only a few hundred million? You know, sometimes it feels like you’re just throwing shade at me.”
“Yeah, I am.” she chuckled, walking over slowly. “Doesn’t it make you feel good that you struck gold? Or, well, in this case, struck stones?”
“Oh, yeah, it feels great to be as poor as dirt.” Lino rolled his eyes at her. “It’s the best feeling ever! Why don’t you give me everything you own so you can experience my joy?”
“I’d rather not.”
“Of course you wouldn’t.”
“Still interested in finding out what’s on it?”
“Alright, take Grim out and fly a bit further out and I’ll meet you there when I set it up.”
The two had spent nearly a whole month inside the Titan Realms by now, exploring every island they found while inching closer toward the center in a circular motion. He’d occasionally receive talisman messages from Ella informing him of the state of things outside, but as there was no need for the two of them, they decided to take their time in the ruins.
Shortly after killing most of the Demons and Devils, and locking others up in the Dimensional Pouch, Lino also picked up Umbra -- or rather her coffin which he realized was practically unbreakable -- before heading off to explore the rest of the world around.
This was the seventh island they came across that had remnant ruins, but these were by far the most preserved of all save for the first city they landed themselves in.
He flew as far as ten miles away to get the whole of the wall into his sight and waited for Hannah to be done. His eyes quickly found her fiddling with something while pouring literal mountain of Qi Stones all over the place.
“Your frustration isn’t good--”
“Shut the fuck up,” Lino immediately interrupted, smiling widely. “I’m not having that conversation with you.”
“Well, for starters because I don’t want to have that conversation with anyone,” Lino said. “And, secondly, I feel like if I do I just might want to stab a sword through my heart.”
“Your cultivation is slowing down.” the Writ said.
“Oh, you don’t say. I haven’t noticed being, you know, the one cultivating.”
“Just ask her to consummate the relationship. I’m sure she’ll agree.”
“Are we still talking?! I told you I won’t be having that conversation with you!!”
“Aaaah!!” Lino screamed and nearly fell off Grim as he heard Hannah’s voice trickle in from behind. “H-hannah? When... khm, when’d you get here?”
“Right around the time you were telling Ataxia about some conversation. What conversation?” she asked with innocent curiosity.
“... he told me I need to massacre the entire continent to immediately become Level 4000 and I don’t wanna do it.”
“He’s a mean bastard, isn’t he?”
“Yup, he’s a maniac. Anyway, what now?”
“Now we wait,” she said, snuggling up next to him and leaning against his shoulder. “I set it on automatic so it should play images chronologically.”
“Oh, neat.” Lino said, taking out two gourds of wine.
While calming his inner demons, Lino focused onto the massive wall that suddenly lit up through the cracks. Similar to the long-distance high-tier talismans, a massive screen suddenly blurred into existence in front of the wall. The random flashes quickly molded into shapes and colors until a picturesque scenery appeared before the two of them.
Voices soon echoed out but neither could understand a word of what was said as they didn’t know the language; the screen depicted a massive gorge adorned with high-sky spires like a maw of a massive beast, with thousands of gigantic creatures seemingly made out of rock and metal standing lined up at the very edge.
“Hey Grim,” Hannah suddenly spoke out. “Get us over to that platform. Yeah, yeah that one.”
“What’s up?” Lino asked, tearing his gaze away from the screen. He’d realized it was most-likely a pre-battle speech of sorts.
“Nothing, I just don’t want him to get tired.” Hannah said.
“... should I just pretend to buy that lie?”
“Oh yeah, good idea. We wouldn’t want him to get tired.”
What to the Titans was probably just a decoration on the wall was a massive balcony for Lino and Hannah as they leaned against the edge, still focusing on the screen playing out images one after another. The two drank in silence, watching the thousands strong force leave the gorge and head out toward the distance while thousands more emerged at the edges of the gorge, cheering them on.
“... they weren’t so different, huh?” Lino mumbled.
“Most things are often cross-racial,” Hannah replied. “It’s actually kind of romantic how similar we all are.”
“So you think there was a Titan version of Hannah somewhere out there?”
“Eh, probably,” she shrugged. “I’m not that special. At the very least she’d have been a better version of me.”
“How come?” Lino asked.
“Imagine tits and ass on her dude.”
”You’re imagining it?” Hannah asked.
“I’m trying not to, dammit!”
“Eh, I don’t mind.”
“You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?” Lino growled lowly.
“Took you long enough.” she rolled her eyes at him, chuckling. “So, you want to do it?”
“You know, if you’re gonna say it out loud,” Lino sighed. “At least practice beforehand so you don’t blush.”
“... I did practice.”
“Wow, that’s just sad.”
“Hey, shut up! Not all of us have lined up a continent worth of women and had our way with them!”
“I kinda wish you did.”
“So you’d prefer if I was interested in women?”
“Why not both?”
“... ugh. Seriously, you wanna do it or not? The offer’s expiring soon.”
“Stop worrying about it,” Lino chuckled, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and bringing her into his embrace. “There’s a great show over on the screen. Let’s watch that.”
“... they’re literally just walking.”
“Yeah, but do you see the earth shake beneath them? Now you can’t tell me that ain’t the coolest shit you’ve ever seen!”
“... touch me.” she softly mumbled, burying her head into his chest.
“... khm, I’m already doing it.”
“No.” she shook, her hand tracing over his chest. “No you’re not.”
“...” Lino looked down and met her eyes, his heart stopping momentarily. Slightly moist on the edges, they seemingly glistened, piercing past whatever barriers he believed he had, striking directly at his soul. He leaned down gently and pressed his lips against hers, soon feeling her awkward and innocent attempts at wiggling her tongue about. Cracking a smile, he pressed his fingers against her chin, staring longingly into the pair of eyes that stared at him with anticipation, fear, weakness and warmth. He almost felt like a young boy once again, sitting back in that drafty kitchen, riveting in the silent dinner, staring at the sleeping face of the girl he was in love with, wishing the moment would never end.