General Skill [Basic Mana Manipulation] Level Up!
[Basic Mana Manipulation - Lvl. 4] -> [Basic Mana Manipulation - Lvl. 5]!
Experience is awarded for the leveling of a General Skill!
Skill [Flame Coat] Learned!
Experience is awarded for the learning of a Skill!
I lowered the sword, letting the fire outlining the sword dissipate and leaned against the cave wall. I glanced out at the blue moon hanging over the night sky. I had spent a lot of time trying to learn that Skill— I wasn’t even sure if there was a Skill for that in the first place, but I had to try.
It was a convenient Skill: one that extended beyond the uses of a [Fire Strike]. It created a hungry, raging flame that covered an object— any object— without burning the object itself. But unlike a [Fire Strike] which lasted only a moment, the [Flame Coat] did not extinguish until I stopped feeding it mana.
I laid the sword down to the ground as its metal blade clinked against the floor as I evaluated my Status.
Species: [Lesser Demon]
Subspecies: [Zelus Imp] - Lvl. 23
[Basic Mana Manipulation] - Lvl. 5
[Identification] - Lvl. 4
[Racial Skill: Universal Language Comprehension] - Lvl. 1
[Rest] - Lvl. 1
[Available Stat Points: 0]
[Available Skill Points: 3]
[Basic Fire Creation] - Lvl. 14
[Double Step] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)
[Fire Strike] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)
[Fire Blast] - Lvl. 10
[Flame Coat] - Lvl. 1
[Passive - General Tool Proficiency] - Lvl. 3
[Unused Skill Slot] x1
I didn’t level from what I just did, but I still had 3 additional Skill Points carried over from past levels. I decided to expend 2 of them now for [Flame Coat], considering the current drain the Skill had on my mana, raising it to Level 3. Finally satisfied, I let [Rest] take over and began to heal.
The moon continued to make its way through the dark sky as time went on, until finally, the man lying next to me shifted, grousing as he got up.
“I’m… I’m alive?”
He rubbed at his eyes then stared at the palm of his hands. He opened and closed them slowly, before jumping up and throwing a fist in the air.
“Yes you are.”
He yelped as I appeared next to him, almost falling back to the ground. He reached for something around his waist, but stopped himself when he saw my holding his sword against his neck.
“I… uh, I can negotiate.”
He raised his hands up, thumbing for something on his fingers. Then he stopped, glancing up at his hands.
“My— my ring!”
“You mean this?”
I held up the ring that had been on his finger, inspecting it under the moonlight seeping into the cave.
“A Ring of Lesser Protection— Medium Grade. Protects the user from a certain amount of damage. Recharges over time.”
The man stared at it, aghast. His jaw hung loose on his face as he tried to work it, but nothing came out.
“It seems important to you, huh?”
He gritted his teeth as I twirled the ring between my fingers playfully. He nodded.
“It’s important, yes. Please give it back to me.”
I continued twirling the ring as he watched, before I abruptly closed it within my palm.
“No. It’s mine now.”
I pointed the sword at his face, swaying it from side to side.
“I won. I defeated you after you attacked me! I should have killed you and gotten an abundant amount of experience, but I did not! So if you want to walk out of here alive, you will tell me where the Netherworld is.”
I edged the sword dangerously close to his neck, backing the man up to the cave wall. He made a sound as the cool metal of his blade touched his neck, reflecting the light of the moon on its surface.
“I… I don’t know! I really don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
I cocked my head.
“That’s where Demons are from, right? I’ve never been there! Please, you have to believe me. Just don’t kill me.”
He closed his eyes shut as his body shook, craning his head back as far away from me as possible. I lowered the sword.
“I see. Well if you don’t know where the Netherworld is, I guess it can’t be helped, right?”
The man opened his eyes and blinked. He looked at me hesitantly as I tossed his sword aside. I didn’t need the weapon— it wasn’t anything special.
“You… believe me? You’re really letting me go?”
“Why shouldn’t I believe you? And as long as you don’t attack me again, you can leave. But if you do try to attack me again, I will kill you.”
He apprehensively picked up his sword and cloak, holding them against his chest in disbelief as he threw wary glances at me.
“G-got it. Thank you.”
I shrugged and turned around. I started out of the cave, about to leave, when the man called out to me.
“Did you really not destroy Fairdale and burn it to the ground?”
I gave him an annoyed look.
“I told you I did not. Unless ‘Fairdale’ is what you call those [Golems] or that herd of [Green Stags] or that pack of [Dark Wolves], I did not destroy it.”
The man slowly nodded.
“I was just making sure.”
He fidgeted as he threw his cloak over his shoulders and sheathed his sword in its hilt. I watched him for a moment, murmuring quietly to himself; he seemed conflicted about something, although I was not sure what. Then I began to walk away again when he suddenly called out to me.
“Wait— I think I can help you.”
I halted in my tracks, instantly spinning around.
“You can? Wait, do you mean you lied to me?”
I narrowed my eyes, considering this. He said he had been telling the truth, but was it possible that he wasn’t? Surely not, right? The man continued.
“I mean that I think I can help you get back to the Netherworld… that’s what you’re trying to do right? Return to your home?”
“To my home?”
I shook my head.
“No, I just need to return to my companion. Then maybe I’ll bring him here so we can explore this place together.”
“Return… but you won’t be killing anyone, right?”
The man paused as I was about to respond, but quickly spoke over me, clarifying himself.
“I mean, any Humans. You won’t be killing any Humans that didn’t attack you, right?”
He nodded to himself, taking a deep breath.
“Then I’ll help you. I may not be able to get you back to the Netherworld myself, but I’m sure I can find a way. If you just come with me, I will help you.”
I looked at the man as he scratched the back of his head; he met my gaze with slight apprehension, but did not look away as I considered this.
“And if you— wait, sure?”
“Yes, sure. Where are we going?”
I walked up to the man, stopping right beside him as he took a step back, before straightening himself.
“Oh, uh, we’re going to Hazelbury. It’s a city just a few miles to the north.”
I nodded as he pointed in a direction; he turned back to me, slowly putting a hand out.
“By the way, uh… I’m Daniel.”
He surreptitiously lowered his hand when I simply looked past it and at his face.
“Daniel? That’s your name?”
“It is. And what’s your name?”
He paused, then raised an eyebrow.
“You have a name, right?”
I licked my lips as I spoke slowly.
“Salvos. I’m Salvos.”
I eagerly waited for him to repeat it, and found myself grinning when he did.
“Salvos, huh? That’s an interesting name. Not one I’m familiar with. Since we’ll be together until we get you back to the Netherworld, I guess l’ll have to get used to it.”
“It’s a good name. It’s my name.”
He glanced away from me, at the forest just ahead.
“Then let’s get going, shall we?”
I marched forward, entering the canopy of trees as I walked ahead of Daniel. Then I walked back to him, scratching the side of my head.
“...where’s north again?”