89.2. Seeing the Light
Salvos (Death of the Destroyer)
Species: [Greater Demon]
Subspecies: [Midday Changeling] - Lvl. 63
[Advanced Mana Manipulation] - Lvl. 4
[Identification] - Lvl. 5
[Racial Skill: Universal Language Comprehension] - Lvl. 1
[Racial Skill: Mortal Form] - Lvl. 2
[Rest] - Lvl. 3
[Title Skill: Zealous Call] - Lvl. 2
[Available Stat Points: 0]
[Vitality]: 70 (+5)
[Strength]: 43 (+5) (+2)
[Endurance]: 65 (+5)
[Wisdom]: 82 (+5)
[Agility]: 126 (+5)
[Available Skill Points: 3]
[Advanced Fire Creation] - Lvl. 25
[Charge of Embers] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)
[Fire Strike] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)
[Ignition] - Lvl. 5 (Maxed)
[Scorching Wave] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)
[Self Haste] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)
[Passive - Blue Flames] - Lvl. 15
[Passive - Deadly Instincts] - Lvl. 9
[Passive - Weapon Mastery] - Lvl. 5
Daniel and I found a small, secluded room close to where we had our battle with the Mindreaper to [Rest] in. I took the time the General Skill took to take effect to distribute all my Skill and Stat Points in a way that would ensure my survival in the Brilsum Ruins over anything else.
My [Agility] was important, as always, but [Vitality] had shot up to become my third highest Stat. And despite that giant leap over the course of a few weeks, I still wasn’t confident in my ability to survive any single encounter with more than one Mindreaper.
That was what Daniel and I had to avoid the most— a battle with multiple Mindreapers. But there were other things in my companion’s mind, because after we finished settling in, he turned to me and spoke seriously.
I replied cheerfully, although he did not seem entertained by it. Realizing that this was about what he had been discussing with me about before our fight against the Mindreaper, I put on a more serious face too.
“You wanted to talk about going back?”
He said the words with finality in his voice. Getting up, he glanced quickly over at the half-standing door blocking the entrance to the small room. Only a single sphere of fire I had created lit up the dark room. Night time had once again consumed the day, and there was no natural light to keep the place illuminated.
“It’s because of what I said about the [Cultists], isn’t it?”
“Yes. And not just that, it’s about what I’ve found written in the notes of the [Cultists] we killed.”
“And that is?”
“That you were right. They succeeded in summoning an Archdemon. They used Minotaurs as their sacrifice, and they got what they wanted.”
Sighing, I sat down in front of him. I tried to keep a small distance away from him, not to be too intimidating since he preferred me in my Mortal Form. But I didn’t look like a Human now. So, I was careful not to bare my teeth or do anything that he would find menacing.
He rubbed at his temples as he explained.
“Salvos, I know I was the one who offered to help you go back to the Netherworld in the first place, and I have no intention of going back on that promise. And I know I tagged along to go to the Brilsum Ruins out of my own volition as well. However, this is something that is even beyond me and you. We’re talking about an Archdemon here.”
“I’m a Greater Demon. Close to an Archdemon.”
I spoke simply, not disputing or denying anything he said. Just a fact. He shook his head.
“It’s not the same. This Archdemon has a whole evolution over you. Just like Lucerna. And unlike Lucerna, we don’t have an entire city already whittling him down, nor do we have Edithe and her Spirits with us. We’re in the middle of its— his, her, I don’t know— territory. It has done something to take over all the [Cultists], Mindreapers, and monsters in the area, and we’ll only die if we face it.”
I opened my mouth but he held up a finger.
“And we don’t even know what level an Archdemon is. You said it yourself, you don’t think you’re going to become one in your next evolution. So for all we know, it could be Level 100, Level 150, or even Level 200.”
I trailed off and tilted my head towards the ceiling.
“That’s something that would easily kill us, yes.”
I agreed with him. He was being entirely reasonable here— just like how fighting Lucerna alone was suicide for me.
“However, we haven’t reached our goal yet.”
“And that goal is something that won’t disappear if it hasn’t already for thousands of years. The Fairies were here when Brilsum was still a city, and the Fairies are apparently still here now. So they’ll still be here in the future.”
He countered. I cocked my head, considering this. I had been insistent on proceeding with my goal— although he had been too, until we brushed by death and found out that a lot of bad things were happening here. And now…
I spoke the words with a sigh. Feeling my shoulders slump and seeing the logic in what he was saying, I acquiesced.
“You’re right. We should go back.”
“Look, we can tell everyone about what’s going on here, then when it’s cleared out we can—”
Daniel paused and stared at me.
“Wait, you’re… agreeing with me?”
“Yep. We should leave. Now. If we stay here, we’ll probably die. It’s more than a Platinum Rank Dungeon. We weren’t prepared to face it.”
I stood up and he hurriedly got up after me.
“But… after everything, you’re just going to give up?”
I eyed Daniel, puzzled as to why he was trying to get me to stay now.
“It’s like you said, it’d be like fighting Lucerna but if he was uninjured and without our other companions. I wouldn’t do that. I went back once, to face him. I was alone, and that was to free Haec. However, I never planned to fight him. Just like I don’t plan on fighting an Archdemon now.”
I pushed the door open as I took a moment to remember my [Fiend] companion. My reunion with him once again cut short, because of too many unending obstacles.
“We didn’t come here to fight one, nor did we come here to fight Mindreapers leading an army. We came here to find Fairies and maybe fight some Minotaurs. However, even if I can convince an Archdemon not to kill me, I don’t think they’ll spare you. They’ll probably want to have you under their curse or illusion, and I won’t let that happen.”
“We can still sneak our way around the castle.”
For some reason, our roles were reversed now. Or maybe he was just disbelieving that I wanted to return too after being so vehement on staying. But…
“You need to sleep. And each time we leave and enter the Brilsum Ruins is a huge risk. If I mess up my [Zealous Call] even once, I’ll die.”
I spoke with resignation as we slowly stalked through the dark hallways, deciding finally that it was not worth it.
“Everything has risks, but the risks here are too large for something we’re so uncertain about. If I want to live to see Haec again, we’ll have to wait just a little while longer until we can come back here. Or go somewhere else entirely to find these Fairies.”
My Human companion stared at me for a moment, still in shock. Then slowly, a smile spread across his face. One of relief.
“Then let’s go back now. Before anything bad happens.”
I nodded in agreement right as we entered a large chamber— then we stopped. Soft, quiet footfalls made their way towards us. A light at the other end of the room shone, coming down from a grand corridor with an arched entrance way.
Light? But none of the [Cultists] or Mindreapers had needed it before. That was an idle thought. One that was instantly spoken over by another.
I was taken over by an impending sense of doom. Fear gripped me and pushed me to act. I grabbed Daniel’s hand, driven to get as far away from whatever this was as possible.
He blinked, following after me, but said nothing. I pulled him back to our hallway as light engulfed the chamber. A shadowed figure continued making its way into the room, walking through it slowly— at such a leisurely pace it was like they owned the place. And perhaps they did.
I hurriedly made it down the corridor, rounding a corner towards the room we had hidden in. I pulled the door open—
I took a step back and yanked Daniel away. Where? Where can we hide...
My head snapped in the direction the voice echoed towards. How did I…? It was mind magic. It could have been a Mindreaper for all I knew. But I followed it, running into the open courtyard through the crack in the wall as we passed by the body of the Mindreaper and [Cultists] from before.
A voice spoke up behind us. Not the one in my head, but a deep, booming voice.
“Hrmph, it seems I had been right. Some pests have been disposing of my Mindreapers.”
Daniel glanced back while I pulled him ahead. He watched the figure in the now-lit corridor, and the looming shadowed figure within. He opened his mouth as we reached a dead end but something still impelled me to go forward.
“Salvos, what are—”
“Just trust me!”
I spoke through clenched teeth. If this is a trick—
Daniel and I ran through the wall, and appeared stumbling into a luminescent, cavernous room. We were surrounded by rock walls— fully natural. Not like the rubble of the city. And it was here the portal behind us rippled.
It showed the courtyard we had been in. The figure we had been running from stepped out into the courtyard, barely visible to us and speaking with the same echoing, booming voice from before.
“Now, where did they—”
I tried to identify him. But the portal closed. A wall was left in front of us. The dull, gray wall of the cave we were in.
Blinking, I glanced around the cave. It was lit up by glowing moss covering parts of the rock wall like splattered paint. I sighed in relief and turned to Daniel. I opened my mouth—
And a voice spoke over me.
“Now that was close.”
The two of us jerked and glanced up at the glowing ball of light hovering over us. I stared at it— her— as she flitted about, zipping through the air above our heads.
“You idiots, don’t you know how close you came to dying! He would’ve killed you then me if you were a moment slower!”
I stared at the ball of light, dumbfounded. Nothing came out of my mouth, and neither did anything come out from my companion’s mouth. The ball of light came down right next to our faces, slowly dimming to reveal a Human-like figure about the size of my hand.
She had golden-blonde hair and yellow skin, both matching the glow around her. Only her eyes were black, and she snapped them between Daniel and I. She let out a snort.
“What? Is this your first time seeing a Fairy? Well, this is what I look like! Now stop staring! It’s weird!”
[Fairy - Lvl. 103]