I dashed through the woods feeling the wind brush past my face; I ran past bushes and trees, ducking under branches and leapt over logs. I watched as the single figure ahead continued their pace, glancing back occasionally at me.
I dropped another small ball made of fire— smoke rose from the ground as it touched the fallen leaves crinkling the ground, yet they didn’t catch on fire. They simply burned, the heat from the fire orb incinerating the withered plants. Daniel can see these, right? They were quite bright, so they would be hard to miss.
I turned my gaze back at the figure just in time to see a hail of needles flying my way.
[Self Haste]. The rain of metal slowed and I leapt from tree to tree, using the thick trunks as cover from the attack. I ran out from a thicket—
And my eyes widened. A single black object hovered in the air above me.
[Bomb - It explodes.].
The figure paused for a moment, waiting for the smoke to clear up. They saw the crater— the burning and falling trees. They scoffed and turned around, continuing their run back to their hideout.
I watched him go from the top of a tree. I shrugged. I guess I’ll just follow him like this.
He was slow. A Level 43 [Rogue]. I could take my time.
“Is this the place?”
Daniel asked, raising a brow as he walked up to my side.
“Yep! I followed the [Rogue] here. He entered that cave there. I think this might be where the [Cultists] hideout is.”
“Well, we don’t know if these are [Cultists] or just some brigands.”
“But [Cultists] like caves!”
“So do bandits.”
I crossed my arms and huffed.
“I think I’m right though.”
“I’m just saying, we’ll have to see first.”
The Human man got up, drawing his sword. I created a sickle and a dagger on each hand, both glowing brilliantly in the night. He eyed my weapons.
“With those… subtlety might not be an option here.”
“Was it ever an option with you, Mr noisy [Warrior]?”
I grinned, spinning the sickle and flicking the dagger in the air. I almost didn’t catch it. Huh, maybe I should start raising [Passive - Weapon Mastery]. I could use two daggers just fine— I could use a sickle on its own just fine. But wielding two non-complementary weapons?
I let the dagger disappear.
“You’re getting mouthy recently.”
“Mouthy Salvos. But that doesn't mean I’m a Human.”
I walked off ahead of him and he sighed, following after me.
“Is that what’s been bothering you, that comment? I didn’t mean anything it, Salvos—”
“Oi! Who goes there!”
The two of us strolled up to the cave as a group of masked Humans carrying various weapons blocked our way. One Human at the front raised a large spiked mace.
“What are you, Gold Ranks here to investigate us? It’s already too late—”
“If you’re wondering whether I liked it? Of course not. Being a Human is limiting. Most of my Title’s buffs are gone! And I still can’t get [Zealous Call] to work.”
“[Zealous Call]? You mean you got a Title Skill?”
“Hey, we’re talking to you—”
I snorted, crossing one arm as I waved the sickle in the air.
“No— my Title is pretty generic, I think. I thought only Kings and the like got Title Skills.”
“If you’re not going to listen, just die!”
The man with the mace yelled. He swung it down at me but I just stepped to the left. The weapon shone and it crashed into the ground, knocking up dust into the air. By the time the dust settled, he lay dead on the floor.
“Damn those bastards—”
I brought my sickle up and sliced off an arm. There was a scream as Daniel swung his sword wide and three Humans fell back.
“Kings get Titles? I wonder if there’s a Princess Title too.”
“Well, it’s not usually just ‘King’. The Titles tend to be King of the Harvest or King of War. I’m not really sure about princes or princesses. It’s kind of rare, but there are a few Barons and Duke type Titles too.”
He grunted as a blue blade of energy shot out from his sword and blasted five of them apart. I threw my weapon and it struck down two more charging enemies, before I sent a [Scorching Wave] out.
“Huh. Also, see how noisy you are? I’m far quieter.”
“Oh, shut up. Your mouth is the loudest thing here.”
My flames stopped pouring out and Daniel brought up his longsword to his back. The last of the Humans attacking us lay dead on the floor— a few ran, but I easily took them out with a few fire daggers to the back.
“They were mostly around Level 30. I can’t believe we were this weak just before we fought Luccerna.”
“A 10 level difference is a lot. And it’s not like we weren’t already taking on enemies above our levels when we were at Level 30. You’re a Demon— a special Demon— and I’m… well, special too.”
I raised a brow dubiously.
“I should’ve expected that response. You’re like a child learning about sarcasm for the first time.”
“I’m not a child. I’m Salvos, a Greater Demon.”
The two of us continued into the cave, fighting the angry Humans as they tried to stop us. Most of them didn’t even have combat Classes; about half of those we had just killed were [Cultists], which confirmed my suspicions.
“I told you they were [Cultists].”
“And I didn’t say otherwise. I was just putting the possibility of them being something else out there.”
“Well, you were wrong.”
Another [Scorching Wave] blasted apart a group of angry [Cultists]. Their very own fireballs and [Fireballs] were destroyed by my blue flames before it reached us. The smoke cleared up and suddenly a hail of needles came flying at us.
My eyes widened as they multiplied midair.
Daniel called out and readied himself. I spun around, letting my Cloak of Shadows take the hit. The needles bounced off my cloak and bounced off Daniel’s skin.
I glanced over at him.
“Since when could you do that?”
“Since I got my Class evolution. I have… a good Class, alright?”
I shrugged and dashed forward. I saw the [Rogue] up ahead, face no longer obscured revealing an older looking man. He was standing behind a group of archers as they drew their arrows back and loosed. He shouted.
“You’re too late! The ritual has already begun! This is the first of many, and soon our King shall—”
[Charge of Embers].
I sped past the flying arrows and appeared on top of the [Rogue]. He stumbled back from the attack and managed to parry my first swing. He blocked the second too, but the third nicked his wrist, forcing him to drop his weapon. My fourth swing took off his head.
Defeated [Cult Acolyte - Lvl. 32]!
Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels below you!
Defeated [Needlemaster Rogue - Lvl. 43]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!
[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 48] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 49]
Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!
“Oo, I leveled up.”
I turned back to Daniel as he finished off the archers behind me. He glanced up with an indifferent look on his face.
I cocked my head.
“What are you confused for?”
“Is it normal to congratulate others for leveling?”
I stared at him curiously. He shrugged.
“Dunno. I just said it out of habit, I guess. Let’s continue.”
“So, what do you think [Zealous Call] does?”
“It sounds like it would make you excited or something.”
“Do you know how I can use it?”
“Have you tried saying its name—”
“Already did that.”
“Ah. Then no clue.”
We both walked until we reached the end of the stone corridor, finding ourselves in a large cavernous room. There, we saw a large group of [Cultists] gathered together in a circle.
“That’s a lot of [Cultists]. Far more than when Lucerna and I were summoned.”
“And they’re high leveled too. Think there might be a conspiracy?”
“They are obviously planning something.”
“No— I mean… nevermind.”
I narrowed my eyes as I saw a pile of bodies in the corner of the room; they were white, almost as if they were drained off blood. There was a large summoning circle etched onto the floor— it was made from some red ink.
In the center of the circle lay a small figure. A girl. She was tied up, unmoving, as a man stood over her. Daniel snapped his gaze at me.
“Salvos— the girl. Save her!”
“Just do it!”
I nodded and activated [Self Haste]. I ran forward as a line of [Cultists] stepped up to intercept me. I let my sickle dissipate as I focused on creating another two objects on each hand— a bow and arrow.
I leapt over the file of Humans barring my path, flipping over a volley of magical spells and arrows from the angry [Cultists]. I nocked the bow midair and aimed at the [Cultist] standing in the circle. He brought a crooked dagger up above his head as he began chanting.
“Oh great [Fiends] of the Netherworld, heed my call. We have offered many sacrifices to you, and let this be the last. Send a Greater Demon to aid us in your King’s cause. The Mortal Realm shall—”
The arrow stuck itself through the Human man’s head. He screamed, stumbling back. He reached for his head and pulled out the lodge bolt— it had barely pierced through his skull. High [Vitality] then, huh? At around Level 60 too. Can’t kill him easily.
A [Scorching Wave] kept me afloat for a moment longer, boosting me past the bulk of the [Cultists] while Daniel ran into them. He swung his sword and a bright light came over it. Half of them vanished in an instant.
I landed lithely amongst a group of armed Humans and easily dispatched them with a few [Fire Strikes]. Then I activated [Ignition], setting my body ablaze— the flames not eating at my clothes— and ran past the rest towards the fumbling head [Cultist].
I reached him a moment later before he could plunge the crooked dagger into the little girl. I grabbed her, letting my flames over my body dissipate, before easily dodging an angry punch from him. He was slow. A [Fire Strike] powered kick sent him flying back before I ran back at Daniel.
Dozens of [Cultists] lay dead at his feet as he continued cutting through the ones ahead of him. With me charging their flanks, the rest were easily put down by us and I found myself standing beside Daniel.
“Put her down here. I’ll cut the ropes.”
I nodded and placed the Human girl by his feet. Daniel freed her before quickly placing a hand on her neck.
“She’s breathing. Still alive. Do you have any Low Grade healing potions? Mine are all High Grade. Just want to make sure she’s fine.”
I produced one from a small satchel on my side and he took it, pouring it down the girl’s throat. Then he took a quick swig of it and handed it back to me.
“You don’t need any?”
“They were too slow. I was only hit a few times, but not enough to break my Ring of Lesser Protection. Good thing too— if the protective aura broke, I’d need to find a Dungeon to recharge it quickly. Unless it’ll take another week before I can use it again.”
“There are tools for that, you know? Some [Enchanters] or [Runesmiths] have magic tools that can restore all of an artifact's uses in a few minutes.”
“Let’s buy it then!”
“We don’t have the gold.”
“I mean after we finish off the last of the [Cultists].”
“Yeah. Speaking of which…”
The two of us glanced over at the remaining Humans in the room. There were only four of them left— one being the head [Cultist] who was glaring at us with bloodshot eyes. He jabbed a finger angrily at us.
“You— you did all this! You ruined everything!”
I cocked my head.
“We had planned this for months. Ever since he gave us what we needed to complete the ritual. We had a Greater Demon right at our grasps. Now it’s ruined.”
I tilted my head back as Daniel raised his sword dangerously.
“We’ve stopped your plans, [Cultists]. I don’t know what you wanted to do, but you shall not kill any more innocent lives!”
I could see his face burn red as he gave his speech; I patted him on the shoulder and pulled his arm back.
“Uh, Salvos… what are you doing?”
“Me? Well, he said he wanted a Greater Demon, no?”
My Human companion furrowed his brows.
“Wait, you don’t mean—”
“I’m going to give him one.”
I stepped forward and my body twisted. My back cracked as it grew longer, growing more hunched. I found my arms touching the floor as I walked forward, and heard my clothes— barring my Cloak of Shadows— ripping and tearing. Two long crooked horns protruded from my head as my hands returned back to the nostalgic sensation of having claws.
My face longer and I grinned, baring my sharp teeth at the terrified [Cultists].
I took out my Necklace of Obfuscation and my satchel, tossing it back to Daniel.
“A [Changeling]. Yes, I’m a Greater Demon.”
I spoke out in a soft, gravelly voice— each sentence ended followed by a sharp, piercing whistling sound. And I could tell my speech was slightly distorted.
A [Cultist]— a Level 26 Human woman— took a step back and bumped into the head [Cultist]. She turned to him with a pale face.
“What do we do?”
He stabbed her with the crooked knife.
“Oh, Demon King Regnorex, we beseech you, send us one of your great [Fiends]! Help us slay this traitorous Demon for your wonderful cause!”
“Salvos— he’s completing the summoning ritual. Stop him!”
I glanced back at Daniel as the summoning circle— the blood drawn pentagram filled with sigils and symbols— began to glow. I smiled.
My Human companion stared at me for a moment, in shock. Then he realized what I was doing.
“Oh. Right. Well, let’s hope whoever gets summoned isn’t too powerful.”
I stood there, back in an arch, as I waited for the summoning to finish. The empty ground at the center of the summoning circle began to glow, and a name appeared there.
“Yes! Yes! Ignavare, great [Fiend] of the Netherworld, come and destroy this traitor!”
Then there was a flash. The glowing stopped. A thin veil of smoke hung over the air around the summoning circle for a moment, and a figure stepped forward.
I grinned savagely and stood up as Daniel readied himself.
[Fiend - Lvl. 52]
- Self-proclaimed most Successful Young Author on RoyalRoad based off the overly specific criteria he set. Hit 10,000 followers on the 21st of September, 2021, at the age of 21.
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