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99. Prejudice

I stood over Edithe in the courtyard just before the temple. A flaming scythe rested gently in my hand as I twirled it over my shoulder. The assassin had been Level 72. Perhaps he would have been a problem for me before I left Viechester. But now, especially with the element of surprise on my side, he was disposed of in an instant.

Smiling, I greeted my companion who stared at me with round eyes.

“Hi. How have you been?”

My words took a moment for her to register; she blinked a few times before opening her mouth, responding to me in an uncertain voice.

“I-I… Salvos?”

“That’s me!”

I happily nodded. Edithe’s gaze fixed on me, almost like she couldn’t believe I was actually here.

“How— how did you get here?”

“I asked for directions! Hadrian told me where you were.”

“He did? Does that mean the battle is over?”

I eagerly nodded my head.

“They’re on their way to the training grounds now. They’re going to end the siege there too!”

“They are?”

Edithe asked again. Her confusion was evident. Perhaps she had hit her head when that assassin nearly killed her? I gave her a thumbs-up.

“Yep—”

“Preposterous!”

A voice cut me off. I turned around to face an angry man. He wore a fancy shirt with a familiar crest woven into it. Narrowing my eyes, I took a second look at his face.

“...Stephen?”

His face was filled with fury. As if someone had interrupted his sleep time— or whatever else Humans got mad about.

“Are you saying Orbur was defeated? Impossible.”

I shrugged, not knowing who this Orbur was.

“That’s what I saw when I arrived.”

“Ridiculous. If he’s defeated, then that means the time and resources we spent here were wasted. We can’t just return empty-handed, especially not without what we came here for— unless…”

Stephen studied me with a curious expression. Then he spread his arms wide, stepping forward.

“Ms Salvos, it seems you’ve leveled quite a bit since we’ve last met. You’ve almost reached Platinum too.”

“I have. And?”

He raised a hand out, smiling with one of those conniving looks Humans had when they were scheming for something. The kind Daniel had on his face when he thought he was sneaky in trying to convince me to let him sleep in. I didn’t buy it.

“What say you reconsider the offer I made you the last time. I promise you that we’ll be able to provide what’s necessary for your Class advancement to be as… good as possible. With you in our company, I promise you you’d be able to hit Diamond— even Elite— in no time.”

I raised an eyebrow at him.

“Do you even have an Elite in your company?”

As far as I was aware, those were Level 150 and above. The Human man drew his lips into a thin line.

“No. But you could be the first.”

I tilted my head up, considering it.

“That does sound tempting. If I do become the first Elite in your company, I’m sure everyone will respect me very much.”

That sounded very nice. Hearing praise everywhere I went was certainly a good thing; it would be like when I first saved Silvergrove and everyone in the city gazed at me with awe and wonder. I liked that.

Stephen smirked.

“It certainly would.”

“You can’t be serious, Salvos?”

Edithe spoke up in a hushed voice behind me.

“These guys just attacked our company. They killed so many of our members!”

Your members.”

I corrected her. I clasped my hands together, smiling.

“They didn’t kill any of my companions. Although they would have if I was a tad bit slower. Huh.”

I glanced between Edithe and Stephen.

“I guess I probably shouldn’t go with them.”

“Are you really going to turn us down twice? That would be such a foolish choice! And what? Because that woman told you to say no?!”

Stephen spat, glaring daggers at my companion. I shook my head.

“No. She’s not ‘that woman’. She’s my companion. And I do have another reason for it.”

I looked at Stephen. At the way he looked at me. The Human man saw opportunity, not any concern for me. Not any care for Salvos.

It was something I was used to by now. Only my companions truly cared for me as Salvos. Not Saffron. Not Faith. Not Helen, Jaakko, or Zack.

They all didn’t truly see who Salvos was. Who I was.

I bared my teeth back at Stephen. He was Level 81. The assassins behind him were Level 73, 48, 54, 45, and 51. Despite being lower leveled, they instantly tensed, realizing something was off. He didn’t and waited for me to spread my arms out wide.

“Even if I wanted to join your company, let me ask you this question, Stephen: would you even accept me?”

He narrowed his eyes, then snorted.

“Of course, we would. A recruit with as much potential as you would be gladly accepted among our ranks. We’ll even spare your friends too.”

“No. I don’t mean accept me… or this.”

I gestured at myself.

“Whatever this is. No— I mean will you accept me?”

The man blinked as a savage grin spread across my face. He thought he was recruiting a Human. Maybe someone to be reasoned with. Someone who thought the same way he did.

But I wasn’t any of that. My logic was not the same as his. We would never meet eye to eye. It was a simple fact: one which I had known since I was born but never really embraced. But being in this plane and having it suppressed from me— kept away from me— then speaking to Lily, I finally realized it in its whole truth.

I am a Demon.

 


 

“No. I don’t mean accept me… or this. Whatever this is. No— I mean will you accept me?”

Stephen couldn’t help but cock a brow at the odd question coming from the silver-haired woman. She took a step forward, golden eyes flashing in the moonlight. Then she let her scythe disappear and grabbed something from her neck.

He frowned as she tossed aside an object. It looked like a Necklace of Obfuscation. Has she been hiding her level this whole time? he thought, grabbing for his sickle. But no. His [Identification] worked on her the same, revealing the same level as before.

Only one thing changed about it and that was her Class. She wasn’t a [Rogue], she was a…

[Mage – Lvl. 68]

A [Mage]...? But that wasn’t right either. The Class stayed static for a moment before fizzling like a haze spell had been cast in his mind. The words almost grew muddled, shifting— changing.

[̶̼̓͘͝M̶̥͙͇̫͎̾̽̒̎̈̈̄̚͝ã̷̯̣̙̺̱̹̿̏̈̇̈́́g̴̦͓͚̿e̶̙̻̬̩͂̃͐͛̆̄̍̕ ̸̣̳̺́̔͂̒̑̋-̶͉̙̫̘̣̰͖̺̥͍̆͛̓̃̃͐̑͝ ̸̨̥̭̞̼͗͂̎̾́L̴̺̭̦̻̻̓̈́̒̚͠v̴̟̫̣͈̹̙͛̕͝l̷̨̛̜͈̠̬̳̱̥̮̋͂̌̂́͆.̶͇̂ ̵̜͙̬͕̭̀̒̾͠6̵̜̫͔̦̫̺̬͂͜͠8̸̖̥͉̹̬͎̰͖͇͇̀̐́͗̈́̂̒͌͘͠]̵̡͍̝̼̝͚̪̯͉̞̊̓͝

Squinting, Stephen tried to identify her once more. And again, he got a different result.

[҉C҉h҉a҉n҉g҉e҉l҉i҉n҉g҉ ҉-҉ ҉L҉v҉l҉.҉ ҉6҉8҉]҉

It was less misshapen now. Almost fully formed. He identified her one last time as pops resounded, like powerful firecrackers going off at a glacial pace.

[Changeling – Lvl. 68]

His eyes grew wide as he realized what it told him. He had focused too much on his [Identification]; he didn’t even realize the silver-haired woman was transforming into a silver-haired beast.

No— not a beast. A Demon.

The large, lanky Demon straightened. Her spine rippled with cracks, forming tiny bumps lining up the surface of her back. She placed her two clawed hands on the ground, each palm large enough to fit the man’s head whole.

Dozens of sharp teeth revealed themselves in the skull-like face of the Demon. It stared down at him with two gleaming eyes. An almost hoarse but eerily soft voice broke Stephen from his stupor. It spoke a single word.

“Well?”

Stephen drew his sickle and aimed it at the Demon.

“Kill it!”

“Thought so.”

The words came from it like an angry growl. Stephen had meant to back away from the Demon, assess the situation and its power. But as he blinked in and out of existence, he lashed out, [Flash Step] carrying him a dozen paces forward. He wasn’t sure why he had no control over his body. Just that he swung the blade down vertically, only to slice through air.

He stumbled forward, confusion and fear striking into him. He realized that the Demon was now behind him, its body wreathed in flames. Like a beast of fire.

It streaked its claws against Stephen’s back. He cried out in pain as blood splattered on the cool ground. The Platinum Rank adventurer whirled around, striking for the Demon’s neck—

And it was like his sickle struck stone. Its tip was lightly touching the Demon’s skin, not even leaving behind a small cut. It grinned, and the fire around its body blazed furiously. It seemed to gather around her neck, close to his hand.

It burned him, causing him to drop his weapon and cry out in pain. And yet, something compelled him to strike it, even without a weapon as his arms burned with each strike, he attacked it. Why am I doing this— What’s going on?! Just as he thought the Demon was going to bite his head off, an assassin appeared behind it and plunged a dagger through its spine.

This time, the attack seemed to work. Stephen wasn’t sure why it did, but it gave him the reprieve he needed to back away. He was suddenly able to move on his own. But his still panic-filled mind did not consider the possibility of a Demon using artifacts. Why would it?

The Demon grabbed the assassin, its entire form blurring as it threw him off its back. Then another assassin came, and it tore through her easily. Stephen watched as her body was sheared in half, exploding into a pile of guts and gore.

He stared at the corpse on the ground, at his burned hand and the clawed mark dragged across his back, then at the Demon tearing up two more assassins as they approached it. And he made the only logical decision he could.

Stephen ran.

He made a mad dash straight for the temple. Perhaps he could try to escape into the alleyways and side streets to get away from the Demon. But it was somehow faster than him. It would track him down and kill him easily.

So, he continued his path of escape, heading to where he could find reinforcements. He paused only for a moment to look at Edithe. The red-haired woman was lying helplessly on the ground, staring just as he did at the bloodbath happening before her. He could have taken her as a hostage. But what kind of an idiot tried to use a hostage against a Demon?!

Winding down the hallways of the Sanctum of Elements, Stephen desperately hoped he would find some [Priests]. They were specialized in dealing with Demons. They should have been. But when he reached the sleeping quarters of the temple, he realized he wouldn’t be able to get their help until dawn.

The entire section was sealed off. A powerful magic that he could not undo was there, blocking him from his only hope. Soft footfalls echoed behind Stephen as a shadow passed through his peripheral vision.

He spun around in a panic and continued running, [Flash Step] carrying him as fast as he could away from the pursuing Demon. Stephen turned corner after corner, hearing the footsteps disappear and fade into the distance.

Slowing to a stop, relief and air filled the man’s lungs before he heard some voices coming from a nearby chamber. Stephen hurried over to find five assassins— some of those he had left behind at the temple keep an eye on William— there.

He opened his mouth, ready to give them orders to hunt the Demon down. But he paused. They looked tired. Coated in sweat. Why were they exhausted from just standing around—

And the Demon bounded out of the darkness, tearing a head off. The assassins instantly tried to scatter, one of them fruitlessly attacking the Demon only to be easily ripped apart. Stephen stumbled back as its form zipped through the darkness, glowing even brighter than before with brilliant, blue flames.

Another assassin fell. Then its attention turned to him. A series of [Flash Steps] carried him straight past a fleeing assassin. Stephen shoved the coward back towards the Demon, shouting.

“What are you doing? Kill it!”

The poor woman stared at him for a moment, shocked by his order. He didn’t expect her to actually stop the Demon— she was only Level 42, after all. He just wanted her to slow it.

And she did. For only a moment. Then the Demon was on him again.

Stephen’s legs carried him as fast as he could through the labyrinth that suddenly was the Sanctum of Elements. No matter where he went, no matter where he hid, the Demon would always find him.

Red liquid sprayed across the ground as he watched the last of his assassins fall to the Demon. Only he was left for it to hunt down. He spun and ran again. Fleeing from the monster he had set upon himself.

I have to get help! Stephen thought as he raced through the temple. I have to get the city guards!

Stephen ran down the last of the hallways until he saw light up ahead, filling the shape of a doorway. It was the front entrance of the temple. The one that led to the city square. Surely there would be someone there to help him!

If he could get the city against this Demon, he would be safe!

A burning pair of chains wrapped around Stephen’s legs, tying them together and forcing his face to the ground. He tried to pick himself up and scramble forward, but the chains dragged him further back down the tunnel.

Stephen fought helplessly until he came face to face with a terrifying maw. The Demon stared down at him, teeth bared menacingly. An almost cruel grin spread across its face. Stephen whimpered as he threw a punch. He had used up all his mana and could no longer use [Flash Step] or half his Skills.

This single [Quick Attack] was all that he could do. It rocked the Demon’s head back. Only for it to grasp his hands and slam them down, digging deep into his skin with its claws. Its mouth opened, stopping just inches from his face as he closed his eyes and leaned back.

“P-please... d-don’t eat me!”

He squeaked. The Demon paused, staring at him curiously. Then a grumbling escaped its lips. A… laugh?”

“I’m not going to eat you.”

It spoke, shaking its head. Stephen almost sagged in relief until he felt a sharp pain run through his nether region. Warm liquid spilled from his waist as he realized the Demon’s claws were wrapped around his most delicate parts.

“I’m going to do something even worse.”

“No—”

It pulled, and he screamed. He screamed and flailed his arms, crying out in pain. For somebody to save him. But no one came.

No one from the city square heard his death. Why would they? It was empty, after all. A company war was ongoing, and no one wanted to be caught in the crossfire.

 


 

Defeated [Dual Bladed Rogue – Lvl. 54]!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels below you!

 

 

Defeated [Vanish Spellsickle - Lvl. 81]!

More experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels above you!

 

General Skill [Advanced Mana Manipulation] Level Up!

[Advanced Mana Manipulation – Lvl. 4] -> [Advanced Mana Manipulation – Lvl. 5]!

Experience is awarded for the leveling of a General Skill!

 

General Skill [Racial Skill: Mortal Form] Level Up!

[Racial Skill: Mortal Form – Lvl. 2] -> [Racial Skill: Mortal Form – Lvl. 3]!

Experience is awarded for the leveling of a General Skill!!

 

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 68] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 69]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

 

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 69] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 70]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

 

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 70] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 71]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

 

Salvos (Death of the Destroyer)

Species: [Greater Demon]

Subspecies: [Midday Changeling] – Lvl. 71

General Skills:

[Advanced Mana Manipulation] – Lvl. 5

[Identification] – Lvl. 5

[Racial Skill: Universal Language Comprehension] – Lvl. 1

[Racial Skill: Mortal Form] – Lvl. 3

[Rest] – Lvl. 3

[Title Skill: Zealous Call] – Lvl. 2

Stats:

[Available Stat Points: 0]

[Vitality]: 70 (+5)

[Strength]: 43 (+5) (+2)

[Endurance]: 65 (+5)

[Wisdom]: 98 (+5)

[Agility]: 150 (+5)

Skills:

[Available Skill Points: 1]

[Advanced Fire Creation] – Lvl. 30 (Maxed)

[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. 20 (Maxed)

[Passive – Deadly Instincts] – Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Passive – Weapon Mastery] – Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

[Evolution Available]

 

Species Evolution:

[Greater Demon] -> [Greater Demon of Pride]

Requirements for four Subspecies evolutions have been met!

 

Subspecies Evolution:

[Asura Changeling]

An [Asura Changeling] is a [Changeling] that lives amongst Spirits and mortals as friends. A mortal at day and a Demon at night, they appreciate the wonders of a different plane but still hold pride in what they are.

+5 to [Vitality]

+5 to [Strength]

+5 to [Endurance]

+5 to [Wisdom]

+5 to [Agility]

 

[Serguthy Balruq]

A [Serguthy Balruq] is a [Balruq] that commands mastery over flames. Nothing can stop their fury once enraged. They will incinerate everything, leaving less than ashes in their wake.

+15 to [Wisdom]

+5 to [Endurance]

+5 to [Agility]

 

[Fiendish Duke of Belial]

A [Fiendish Duke of Belial] is a [Fiend] that commands pride and respect from their minions. They show power through strength, paying kindness to their allies tenfold, while repaying cruelty to their enemies a hundredfold.

+15 to [Strength]

+8 to [Vitality]

+2 to [Endurance]

Bonus: 50% of [Wisdom] is permanently removed and added to [Endurance].

 

[Lamael Succubus]

A [Lamael Succubus] is a fiery [Succubus] that emphasizes passion over wit. Their fire magic blazes like an inferno, burning their problems into ashes as they see fit. Their control over their biology is less than a [Succubus].

+10 to [Wisdom]

+5 to [Endurance]

+5 to [Vitality]

+3 to [Strength]

 

I paused, getting up from the bloodied corpse at my feet. I considered all the options, cocking my head.

“Huh, well that’s an obvious choice.”

 

Evolution Complete!

[Greater Demon] -> [Greater Demon of Pride]

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] -> [Asura Changeling]

Gained 20 Stat Points!

[Vitality] +5

[Strength] +5

[Endurance] +5

[Wisdom] +5

[Agility] +5

Gained 2 Skill Slots!

Gained 6 Skill Points!

General Skill [Lesser Enhanced Wisdom] Obtained!

Skill [Charge of Embers] becomes [Flame Burst]!

Skill [Fire Strike] becomes [Barrage of Cinders]!

Skill [Ignition] becomes [Ember Core]!

Skill [Passive – Deadly Instincts] becomes [Passive – A Hunter’s Sense]!

Skill [Flaming Breath] is now available.

Skill [Horror’s Flare] is now available.

Skill [Intimidation] is now available.

Skill [Radiant Slash] is now available.

Skill [Passive – Keen Eye] is now available.

Skill [Passive – Refined Casting] is now available.

 

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A note from MelasD

Now you see why the original book title was Pride and Prejudice XD

Here's a fun fact: I didn't know whether I shouldd have killed of Edithe for a long time. I had this internal debate with myself weighing the pros and cons of killing her up until the chapter itself, where I finally decided keeping her alive was better than otherwise. In this ending of Volume 2, Salvos would have arrived to find Edithe a little bit too late, and she would have rampaged and killed Stephen and the assasasins, becoming a Greater Demon of Wrath. 

However, I thought Greater Demon of Pride fit Salvos more, with wrath being too hamfisted if it went that way.


3,200 werds. Thanks for reading! For only $3, you can now read up to 10 chapters ahead to get to the start of Salvos Volume 3! As always, you can read all 20 ahead for $5 which is the full backlog of one month. And you can read Side Stories and some special rewards for $10. There are other rewards at $15 and up too! Consider donating to my patreon here to support me and read ahead!

It is many authors dream to become a full time writer. It is something I, as a current full time student, would love too. I do hope you consider supporting me, as I'm trying really hard to make writing my full time job once I graduate from University! Look at how much I'm writing now, and imagine how much I'd be able to write if this actually became my career :D

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MelasD

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