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36.2. City Under Attack

“Leveled again?”

Edithe raised a brow. I nodded eagerly as I identified my companions.

[Mage - Level 49]

[Warrior - Level 20]

“Hey!”

I frowned, turning to Daniel.

“You still have your necklace block your real level.”

“Yeah. And I’m not going to turn it off anytime soon. So you’ll have to deal with seeing me this way.”

I crossed my arms and stomped a foot down petulantly.

“How would I know if you’ve passed me in levels then?”

“You won’t. That’s the point.”

He smirked as I glared at him. Edithe rolled her eyes.

“Don’t encourage her, Daniel.”

Then she turned to me.

“And Salvos, don’t do that.”

“Why? I see Humans do it all the time!”

“Children do it. You’ve said it yourself, didn’t you? You’re not a child.”

“I…”

I scowled.

“Fine.”

We entered the damaged temple building as its sturdy pillars held up the remains of the half collapsed roof above. Rubble and ash littered the front entrance, however that seemed to be where most of the destruction had been kept to. Lucerna was fought back here. The [Priests], while noncombatants, were able to band together with adventurers and guards to force him to flee.

And it was not just them. They also had the help of—

“Sakura!”

I ran up to the [Beastkin]. She limply stood up, turning to me as I approached. I paused right before her, staring at the stump where her foot was supposed to be.

“What happened?”

“It seems you have been busy since we last met, Salvos.”

I nodded.

“I have been. We went to a Dungeon— fought Centinels and Giant Spiders. But nevermind that. What’s wrong with your leg?”

The wolf-like creature stood up. Even without her front left leg, she was able to stand without a problem; it might have impeded her movements if she were running or fighting, but it didn’t seem to bother her currently.

“I underestimated the [Djinn]. I thought he had been hurt, overwhelmed by the sheer combined force of hundreds of Humans and myself. However I was wrong. I foolishly pursued him, and paid the price.”

She raised what remained of her leg and shook her head, her white mane still as majestic as before despite her current look.

“But can’t you restore it? Use one of those red liquids Humans use?”

There had been a few times in the Dungeon when Daniel had to share his bottles with me. However he was hesitant, since he didn’t bring much with him.

“Healing potions are not cure-alls, Salvos. They mend open wounds, and they may even reattach some body parts, but they will not bring back lost limbs. And they are expensive. [Alchemists] require extremely rare ingredients to create them. It is cheaper to get a [Mage] capable of healing spells to fix you than to pay an [Alchemist] to suit every single guard in the city with one. And unfortunately, the city guards did not think it was best to waste their resources on me.”

“So they only sent someone to heal you?”

“No.”

Sakura replied softly.

“They left me as is.”

“What?”

I stared at the [Beastkin], aghast. Why would they do that? She helped them chase Lucerna away! But… why wouldn’t they do that either?

I paused, considering why I even thought it was awful the Humans didn’t help Sakura; by the sounds of it, it was the most logical thing for them to do. It was like if I still had my Spear of Flames and gave it to a random Demon instead of Haec— it made no sense.

Still, I didn’t like that they left Sakura in her injured state.

“I recovered on my own, through [Rest] and time. I will never be able to fight the same again, but it matters not. My only job is to guard this temple, and if that means I die doing so, then I will do it.”

“I… see.”

I nodded slowly.

“Well, I’m glad to see that you’re alive.”

“Indeed. Now what is it you need of me?”

Sakura tilted her head and her gaze bore into me. I blinked, glancing between my Human companions and the [Beastkin], before remembering why we came here.

“Right. We were, uh, wondering about Lucerna...”

“The [Djinn]. Is there anything you can tell us about him?”

Edithe took up after me.

“Where was he headed? What were his Skills? And was he really Level 60?”

“To answer your first question: I do not know. As for his Skills, you must have seen them yourself when your team fought him, no? He uses ash and smoke— he can conjure deadly balls of ash that would kill any Human below Level 40 in an instant. He summons pillars of ash that come crashing to the ground, causing immense destruction. And he flees in a mist of smoke, disappearing within the shroud he creates.”

The Human woman nodded along. Daniel piped up.

“Isn’t that the same Skills you mentioned, Edithe?”

“It is. So he hasn’t gained any new Skills since. That’s good for us. We know what to expect.”

I shook my head.

“No— I never saw him use half of those Skills you mentioned when I fought him. And I fought him twice. Those Skills of his… they’re new. He might have been inexperienced with them when he first fought you. We can’t expect him to fight the same way.”

Sakura looked at me, then at the two Humans.

“Salvos is correct. He is dangerous, do not take him lightly. That was the mistake I made.”

She paused for a moment before finishing.

“And yes, he was Level 60 when I last saw him. But he might be higher now. Be wary.”

“We will.”

Edithe answered firmly, her voice full of resolve.

“We just need to know where he went. So we can put a stop to him before he causes too much destruction and death.”

“It is too late. He is already the Destroyer. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be stopped. As we speak, the king of Nixa is calling his lords to mobilize their armies. The people are unhappy. Unrest is at an all time high. And now a crisis has struck his largest province. He will act. The [Djinn] will die. All that remains to be seen is who will slay him and when.”

“Then tell us where Lucerna went. You had to have found out what he wanted from fighting him, right?”

The Human woman gave her a pleading look. But Sakura simply lowered her head.

“I know not where he went, but I know what he wants.”

“And what does he want?”

I peered at Sakura as she faced me. Lucerna had gone on a rampage since he was summoned to the Mortal Realm. He didn't listen to the [Cultists], even though they were the ones who brought him here. Instead, he slaughtered them in a rage. He attacked every town, village, and city he came across, leaving behind rubble and ash. He had to have a goal. He had to have a reason for doing all this. But what was it?

The [Beastkin] opened her mouth—

And was interrupted by a [Priest] running down the halls of the temple.

“Move aside! Urgent message received from… wait, you’re adventurers aren’t you?”

The man stopped right before us. He was the one who showed Daniel and I around the temple when we first came here. We slowly nodded as he sighed in relief.

“Good. Then you can relay this message for me to the Adventurers Guild.”

“Message?”

I cocked my head. The [Priest] nodded as he passed me a piece of paper with something written on it.

“It’s an official missive from the Sanctuary of Fauna’s branch in Silvergrove. The [Djinn] was spotted from their walls 15 minutes ago. It is currently trying to breach the gates.”

I looked at the pale, wrinkled face of the older man, then down at the letter in my hand. He spoke at the same time as I read the message on it.

“Silvergrove is under attack.”

 

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