87.2. Cultist Scheme
I ignored his sarcastic remark and stepped forward. Gesturing for him to hurry, I bounded down the street and made my way to our new destination.
I halted a few blocks away from the looming structure, and turned around to see Daniel slowly running after me. Eventually catching up to me, Daniel spoke with renewed vigor in between each panting breath.
“Salvos, just because I agreed with you doesn’t mean we’re going to throw caution into the wind.”
“What’s the big deal?”
Dismissively waving a hand, I turned the street corner and laughed.
“We haven’t seen anything so far, it’s not like we’ll—“
My words were interrupted by the sound of footfalls, approaching at a relaxed pace. The plodding steps brought my mouth to a stop as Daniel glared at me from behind. I tried to give him a helpless shrug, but he pulled me down an alley as whoever was making their approach drew closer.
We waited with bated breath for whoever it was to pass through, peeking just at the edge to see whoever it was making the noise. The footsteps were sharp. They were sparsely spread apart, but each one resounded like a snap to my ears. It certainly wasn’t the thudding gait I thought a Minotaur would have.
And sure enough, the shadow that eventually made its appearance did not resemble a large monster with horse-like legs and curled horns on their head. In fact, I caught a small glimpse of the figure, and it looked like—
Daniel whispered quietly. I glanced over at him, wondering why he even needed to say that. Weren’t we supposed to be sneaky?!
I got my answer a moment later as Daniel clenched his fist and ran out of the cover. Blinking, I was only a step behind him when he drew his blade and pointed at the Human’s back.
My companion called out in a deep voice. The Human came to a stop, not even turning to face us. I identified him and frowned.
[Cultist – Lvl. 66]
Narrowing my eyes, I created a fire kusarigama and readied for a fight.
“What are you people doing here? What do you [Cultists] hope to achieve by summoning a Demon here, out in the middle of the Motharis Mountain Range?”
Daniel continued his interrogation, his hands tightly gripping the hilt of his sword. The [Cultist] once again didn’t respond. Instead, they slowly turned around as Daniel spoke through gritted teeth.
“Those Mindreapers out there… I knew that wasn’t natural. And when Salvos found one of your bodies, I knew you had something to do with that. Tell me, why are you—“
My companion was cut off mid sentence, and I cocked my head.
Daniel’s eyes grew wide as he took a step back. He sputtered slowly.
Sure enough, the [Cultist] faced us with closed eyes. He moved with the same staggered movement of the monster horde outside when they haven’t been commanded to fight an enemy. He held something in the palm of his hand, covering it from our view. He was under control of mind magic. And since he was being controlled, this meant—
“You guys aren’t the ones behind this?”
Daniel asked, aghast. This time, he was answered with a powerful blast of magic.
Fire whipped out towards my companion, snapping out of the ground like a vine falling from a tree. The [Hero] parried the attack with his sword, but the magic wrapped around its blade and tugged it towards the [Cultist].
With a grunt, Daniel pulled his sword back before I reached the [Cultist] a moment later. I slashed the kusarigama across his chest, drawing a lot of blood, although he didn’t even flinch from it. I ducked under a wave of fire that incinerated a building behind me and wrapped my fiery chains around his ankle.
I hopped back and pulled, tripping him to the ground. The [Cultist] fell backwards, straight into the swinging blade of Daniel.
My companion’s sword jammed itself hallway through the [Cultist]’s abdomen, however he couldn’t finish the job. Flame wrapped around the body of the [Cultist], looking as though he was about to explode in a furious blast, before I hurled my kusarigama to the front f his head.
It interrupted the spell, knocking his head back into the powerful fist of a [Hero]. With that, Daniel was able to pull his blade free from the [Cultist]’s body and lop his head off with a final swing.
Defeated [Cultist – Lvl. 66]!
Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy with the help of others!
I leapt down to the ground next to my companion and sighed.
“That was tough, he had a lot of [Vitality].”
“But that meant his magic wasn’t that powerful.”
Rubbing at his singed arm, Daniel nodded. I bent over and quickly patted through the corpse of the [Cultist], before pulling out an odd amulet.
I identified it with a frown. Daniel spoke slowly, repeating the words in my head that was probably in his head too.
“Amulet of Strength. A Low Grade artifact.”
Slowly tying the amulet around my forearm, I felt a surge of strength well up in me. It gave me an addition (+2) bonus to my [Strength], however I felt the mana inside the artifact begin to already drain.
“Seems like it can only last a day. So, he wasn’t using it then.”
“He was bringing it to the castle.”
Daniel’s head turn and I followed him. I glanced over in the direction the [Cultist] had been walking to before our interruption and we both had the same idea.
“I don’t think there are any Minotaurs left in there. Do you?”
I nodded my head in agreement. Then I faced him and looked at him knowingly.
“I really think we should check it out, and I don’t think you’ll disagree this time.”
He spoke simply. With that settled, the two of us continued making our way to the base of the castle, uncertain of what lies ahead. We didn’t know if it had Minotaurs or Fairies or whatever we were searching for— but we knew something was going on. Something, according to Daniel, that was bad.
And that was enough to draw my curiosity and Daniel’s toward it without any more disagreements.