Chapter 12. Part 2.
The ground was a perfect reflection of the night sky, flickering lights scattered about in all directions formed the various stars within the cosmos. Upon closer inspection, those lights were large swarms of fireflies fluttering about across a completely flat black plain. For as far as the eye could see, there was nothing else that obstructed the space like scenery. Overall, the entire floor was pitch black, except for where the fireflies provided small amounts of luminosity.
When I glanced at Kana, I noticed her eyes were opened up wide in disbelief while she stared mindlessly at the ceiling behind us. I tapped on her shoulder and made sure she was okay, but she didn’t mind me at all. Instead of responding to me, she blankly raised her arm and pointed upwards directing my gaze to where her eyes were glued.
When I traced a path with my eyes to where her finger pointed at, something completely shocking entered my field of view. If someone told me there were floating islands that defied gravity where cities were built, I’m sure I could find it in myself to accept that, but if you told me cities could be built upside down, you fine sir are someone I must slap silly.
“I’ll be damned.”
Of course I’d done the only natural thing one could do in such a surreal situation, I turned to Kana and slapped her once on the cheek to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
“Ouch! What the hell was that for?!”
“Sorry, I wanted to make sure you weren’t dreaming inside a dream to make sure there were no nonsensical shenanigans later on.”
“This isn’t a freaking movie!”
I shot her a look that questioned whether she at was mentally challenged and asked, “isn’t that obvious?”
“Come here, let this sister here slap you a few times to make sure you're not dreaming inside a dream.”
“You know, I won’t feel it even if you slap me.”
“Tch. The biggest downside to dying was losing all the resistances I worked so hard to raise over five years.”
“If you like, I know a pretty good way to raise pain resistance quickly, want to try it?”
“No thank you. After seeing what you go through on a daily basis, I have zero interest in taking that route. Besides, I learned it the hard way, but there are some things that can neutralize resistances. It’s best not to be overly reliant on resistances that dull your senses.”
“Yeah, an Achilles heel for example.”
“What? I was talking about things like cursed weapons.”
“Eh? Ah. Right. I was too.”
After I avoided having my greatest weakness being exposed, I skillfully diverted the subject, “hey, how do you think we can reach that city?”
“How about jumping and grabbing onto one of the buildings?”
“The most I can jump is 20 meters, we wouldn’t even come anywhere close to reaching it.”
“What about I ride on your shoulders and we do a two stage jump. You jump up with me on your shoulders, rotate your body upside down in the air after you let go of me. If we synchronize our timing, I can springboard off your feet in mid air while you push off against my feet at the same time to further amplify the height we can jump to. You could also detonate your legs to add extra propulsion.”
“That’s not a bad idea, but I still doubt we’d come anywhere near the buildings on the ceiling. Kana, instead of that, how about you just grow out a pair of wings and fly? You’re part vampire now, right?”
“I’m not at a high enough level for that according to what Yueliang said.”
“Aren’t you too useless for being part vampire? All you got out of it was an upgrade in your charm stat and eternally silky soft skin. Aren’t the perks pretty garbage?”
“Who are you to speak? What’s with you, you’re immortal and undying and the most you can do is explode and die? Aren’t you just a terrorist who indiscriminately suicide bombs any monster you see? You’re practically a prostitute who can’t close your legs the moment she sees a handsome guy. You just scream eat me, eat me and let monsters slobber all over you.”
“Eh? Am I? I’m not a prostitute...”
“A prostitute greedily takes money from any man once they get them off, you greedily take experience from any monster you can kill after they’ve had their way with you, where’s the difference here?”
To think there would ever be a day where I could say I was a summoned hero that became a cheap suicide bomber prostitute that opened his legs for experience when high level monster passed me by on the street. It was a good thing I threw shame out the window a long time ago or I’d surely be burying my head in the ground from how low I’d fallen.
“You’ve got quite a sharp tongue for a girl who only just recently had a bit of a makeover, you know that?”
After we had a little spat, we took a better look around before we tried any of the stupid ideas we had.
We approached where the central plaza in the city above us was located. When we reached it, interestingly enough, we came across what appeared to be a rather ancient looking magic circle drawn on the ground.
“It seems like we can still use this. I’ve seen magic circles somewhat similar to this one in the academy I went to in the human kingdom. This one looks to be the easiest type to use. We only need to channel our mana into it and it should activate without any sort of inconvenient overly complex incantations.”
“No shit. Even I could have guessed if it’s that simple.”
“Are you an idiot? If you have no clue about what the proper way to activate the magic circle is, you could experience a severe backlash. In the best case scenario you’ll just pass out, the worst case scenario would be death. Don’t just mindlessly pour mana into any random magic circle you see.”
“I’m immortal though.”
“Ah. You’re right. I forgot you were not only an idiot, but also immortal. Never mind then, feel free to go die a few times in that case.”
“It’s okay to admit you don’t want to see me die. You don’t need to hide your overflowing love for me behind a tsundere act.”
She looked at me like she’d discovered the most disgusting fly she’d ever seen in her life.
“We should really get your head checked out in the city above us as soon as possible.”
“There you go again, playing shy as usual.”
“Whatever, let's just get this over with. Start pouring your mana into the magic circle.”
With her urging me to hurry up, we both poured mana into the magic circle. After a short minute passed, the circle emitted a red glow and the next thing I knew, we were sent flying upwards. Our speed didn’t decrease at all, rather it increased at a terrifying pace and I didn’t feel any sort of gravity pulling us back down to the ground.
I looked over to Kana, but she sported a mischievous smile on her face. I knew right away she had secretly been preparing a magic spell in advance. I soon realized just what was awry, it wasn’t that there was no gravity to pull us back to the ground; rather than no gravity, gravity was working just fine. It was just that the ceiling was now the ground, that was all there was to it.
By the time I put the pieces of the puzzle together it was too late for me to act.
“Hmmp! Take this as a lesson for your ignorance towards magic circles. Did you think it was going to teleport us to the ceiling? Sorry, it was easy to tell, that magic circle had no relationship to spacial transport magic, but gravity instead. Oh well, it’s not like you’ll really die anyways.”
The moment she finished her words, she fired off water and wind magic concurrently towards the ground to cushion her fall and slow her descent.
I on the other hand-
My body, a strawberry tossed against the pavement, my blood, splattered about in all cardinal directions in a fashion similar to a bug on a windshield. My landing painted a beautiful gory picture with the remnants of my crushed internal organs lying about in bits and pieces after it had flown astray in every which direction imaginable...
The immortal object message was the first thing I saw when I reopened my eyes.
I opened my eyes, still socketed in a portion of my skull that had rebounded off the ground, just in time to watch as all my scattered flattened organs disintegrated before they reformed inside my body. Much unlike my organs, the blood that scattered out from my body remained in place to forever bless this sacred land with a grand painting on the level of the Mona Lisa.
I got up and took a look at my piece of work before nodding my head in a complacent satisfactory manner.
“Not bad. Not bad.” I said as I mused over the work I’d bestowed this city with.
“Aren’t you going to get mad at me?”
Of course not, how can I possibly give you that satisfaction?
“I’m actually quite thankful to you, thanks to you I’ve truly outdone my good brother da Vinci this time. I’ll call this masterpiece the ‘Buggo Splata.’”
“Does your shameless boasting know no bounds?”
I shook my head in pity and pressed my ring and middle finger against the bridge of my nose with an open palm. “Please don’t feel bad, my dear Kana. There’s no need for you to be upset over your ineptitude to comprehend the pinnacle of an artistic piece with cascading themes melding complexity and simplicity into one unforgettable magnum opus since time immemorial. The gods themselves can only fall down to their knees in worship at such a divinely crafted portrait that can only forever be engraved into their eyes for all of eternity. Haaaaaah. Kana. Kana. My dear, Kana. If you always try to compare yourself to me, you’ll forever be damned and unable to smell the roses along the side of the road.”
She tried to calm herself down, but it seems my naming sense and shameless boasting had reached heights never seen before. I knew it had really gotten to her because she kept grumbling the masterpieces name under her breath.
“Haaaaaaah. It’s truly lonely being at the top, my dear Kana.”
“Shut the fu-.”
Not letting her finish, I cut her off half way through, “Let us be off, Kana, my good former crossdressing friend!”
She ground her teeth together without another word, but still begrudgingly followed behind me as we took a look around the city. There were fancy flashing lights all along the city streets which really reminded me of the city that never slept back on Earth.
Us falling from the sky also didn’t seem to bother the crowd of demonic folk much, it sort of felt like it was a common occurrence to them. The most I got were a few fingers that pointed at me laughing every now and then.
It wasn’t until we reached near the exit of the central plaza that someone took the opportunity to step out from the side to introduce themselves. At first glance, he looked to be a refined demon with a grey moustache and a short beard who donned clean business attire. His skin and slanted eyes were purple and he had two small black horns on his forehead.
With hands clasped together, he started off with a formal greeting and introduction before moving onto blatant flattery and sucking up. “Hello kind Sir and young Misses, my humble name is The Guy, some people like to call me a guide of sorts. For you two lovers to bless our city is truly a grand occasion. Judging from your... graceful entrance just now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but I take it this should be your first time visiting our city. Am I correct in my presumptuous postulation?”
“Hahaha… you are correct, my good man. As you’ve presumed, this is undoubtedly our first time visiting. I’m glad to hear you’ve seen the masterpiece I’ve painted free of charge for your humble city.”
“That was a painting...? So... you’re saying that your act of body flopping flat onto the ground was intentional?”
With an English accent I proudly declared, “Of course.”
“Kind Sir, could you please clean up after yourself?”
“What?! You want me to get rid of the Buggo Splata?! Art though daft in thy head! Thine fellow known aboust yonder whenceforth came as, The Guy, doth thou eyes up there not fathom thy piece of such incomprèhencable merit as magnifique as these?”
Kana’s eyes told of many unspoken words, specifically, ‘I don’t know this man, I’m fine if you want to kill him. Just please leave me out of this.’
“Well, it’s not that you need to, but if you’re fine with dhampirs developing a liking for your blood and being pestered every night while you’re here, you might want to consider it.”
“No worries my good man, the more dhampirs the better!”
“Just for the record, there are no female dhampirs in this city. Recently there was a disagreement between the male and female dhampirs and they split up between this city and the city on the 50th floor.”
The moment he said that I broke into a cold sweat, but I decided to forget about it and hope for the best. If worse comes to worst, I’ll just say I’m Yueliang’s exclusive personal blood bag and drinking my blood would result in unthinkable repercussions.
Having a big shot as your backer honestly felt pretty nice.
“Don’t worry my good man, dhampirs wouldn’t dare touch a single drop of my blood.”
“I don’t know where your confidence comes from, but I suppose I’ll take your word for it.”
“My good man, The Guy, seeing as you are a guide, we could really use some of your guidly services.” I naturally sent him a wink at the end.
“Good Sir, you have impressive eyes to understand my capabilities with but a single glance.”
“Can you two stop tooting your own horns, it’s rather disgusting and unpleasant to watch.”
“My fine Sir, your woman is rather foul tongued, is she not? Are you sure you can’t do better?”
With her head tilted to one side and an occasional eye twitch, Kana clarified, “Who’s... his... woman?”
“My fair lady, is that not you?”
“My good Guy, she is what one would call a crossdressing tsundere. They are a very rare breed of humans that are hard to come by. They have their own appeal where I come from.”
“Is… that so?”
“Yes, my good brother, The Guy.”
“I see, I see. So it is like that after all. The world is a rather big place, isn’t it?”
“Then, as you have requested, I shall act as your guide, but do you have enough for the guide fee?”
“Don’t worry about that, just bill it to Yueliang on the hundredth floor.”
“Y-Y-Y-Y-Yuliang?! Hundredth floor?! Sir, the reason for your earlier confidence regarding Dhampirs, it wouldn’t happen to be the big boss who rules the night, would it?”
“Yes, my friend, you have a big VIP in the wake. Feel free to charge us sky high guide fees. It’s all on the big boss.”
“I wouldn’t dare! I wouldn’t dare! My good man, my lowly life would be forfeit if I were to display such insolence to the big boss.”
“Your identity or relationship with the big boss, if you don’t mind me asking, would be?”
“Husband and wife.”
As soon as the shameless words left my mouth, his feet trembled and I noticed the discernible fear that creeped into his eyes. He fell to his knees and prostrated in front of me.
“Please forgive me, I was plotting against you thinking I could make some good money. My real name is Billy, I only tell the new suckers who come to the city my name is, The Guy so I can escape easily afterwards. I’m not a guide at all, just a scammer. I should have known better when I saw your seemingly immortal level recovery abilities.”
“Eh? My Guy, there’s no need to concern yourself with whether you are a true guide or not. Whether your name is really Billy, Bob, or Joe, you will always be, The Guy in my heart. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of trying to scam me my good man, you should feel ashamed for not following through resolutely with your scam.”
He looked up at me like he was enlightened by the profundity of my words.
“Lead the way, The Guy.”
“Yes, yes, as you will it your excellency. Your wish is my command. I thank you for your leniency my liege.”
“Are we done with this shitty farce yet?”
“Kana, what farce are you talking about?”
“What husband and wife? You’re just her blood bag and you know it.”
“Your excellency, is what she said true?”
“Well.. I guess to some degree… you could say what she said is more or less accurate.”
“I shall make sure to inform the city lord immediately and make sure the painting you’ve used your precious blood to bless us with is forever preserved and treated as a national treasure and heritage!”
“Eh? Shouldn’t you disdain me now for tricking you into thinking we were husband and wife?”
“Never my liege, to be her personal exclusive blood bag is a position even higher than husband and wife. To be her personal meal means you are something lowly demons like us can never think to touch. You would be the reverse scale of a dragon that we may never lay our hands upon without her explicit permission. It is unprecedented for her to keep a personal exclusive blood bag. If we lowly demons on the upper floors even have designs to touch the things she likes, especially the food source that her comfort is dependent on, we would be deader than dead.”
That really doesn’t sound convincing when she lets monsters eat me for a meal whenever they like.
“Well, let us forget about the formalities, let us be off, my Guy.”
“Y-y-y-y-yes your excellency.”
“Well, look at you, aren’t you quite the big shot for being a stupid blood bag?”
“Try not to be too jealous, Kana.”
She whispered in a low voice only I could hear.
“When we return I’ll make sure to tell Yueliang all of the different kinds of rumours and gossip you’ve been casually spreading.”
“Please spare me. Anything but that.”
“You reap what you sow.”
“I admit I got a bit ahead of myself, but we’re good buddies, right Kana?”
“Sorry, you over glorified blood bag, I only think in the best interests of my master, Yueliang. It’s like that saying guys like to use a lot. What was it, bros before hoes? Well for us girls it’s sisters before misters, or better said, chicks before dicks.”
“My good sister Kana, your shoulders are looking a bit stiff lately. How about I give you a shoulder rub?”
“Hmm, how about prostrating before me and begging for my forgiveness for all the frustrations you have caused me instead?”
“I can only bend my back so far before I can bend no more. Can you just let me off the hook with an, ‘I apologize my great mistress Kana?’”
She rolled her eyes in silence, not responding as we continued to follow behind the guide.
“This is the south street, to the left you will see casinos, to the right you will also see more casinos. Further down this street here you will find-”
“Even more casinos?”
“- a very highly esteemed inn with several different gambling facilities.”
“Aren’t there a bit too many casinos on this street?”
“We get that a lot from first timers, but in this city, casinos make the world go round. Down North Street on the opposite side of the central plaza you will see several different illegal gambling dens with absurdly high stakes and wagers. On West Street you will find several different shops that sell all sorts of games and devices that can be utilized to cheat or prevent cheating. On the eastern side of the central plaza, you will find East Street where only the most important and powerful clans of demons live. Please take note that competition is fierce among the different demonic clans living there. There are people going bankrupt or striking it big everyday on that street.”
“Isn’t this city too obsessed with gambling?”
“That’s what everyone says until they lose themselves in the fun. Will you be staying in the city for some time?”
“Yes, after arguing with Yueliang about human rights and vacations, she finally let me have five days to myself.”
“Well, in that case, we should first get you a room at the inn at the end of the street.”
While following behind him, there were all sorts of demons moving about through the crowded street. There were many locations with long lines of demons trying to get into the casinos to play. There were also outdoor casinos where demons were crowded around tables cheering out at the victory and defeat of those in heated gambling bouts.
When we passed by a certain crowded table I heard laughs and jeers from the crowd along with the voice of a female grumbling at a poker table, “Why can I still not win? This is clearly rigged!”