154.1. Blaze of Glory
“Are we ready?”
I looked over at my companions. The pair had just finished dismantling the camp, and now they were doing a last second tally of all the equipment we had on us. We didn’t have too big a supply of potions, since we never actually got to bring any from Unarith with us before Daniel’s mess up. However, we did have the Herald’s Brush.
And that made all the difference in the world.
“The biggest problem with the Plaguelands is the blight. It works like a very slow curse, much less deadly on its own, but very dangerous when it impedes our movement during a fight.”
“You ignored my question!”
I pointed an accusing finger at the red-haired woman. She scoffed.
“And you ignored my explanation. Yes, we’re ready.”
A grin spread across my face as I took a step forward. I wasn’t nearly as tall as I was before, unless I used [Demonic Essence] to transform. But that Skill, just like [Partial Mortality], could only be used once every twelve hours.
It was like the opposite of a consolidation. A single Skill, [Mortal Form], broke off into two different Skills. I was currently my normal self. I wouldn’t say this was a transformation. I looked similar to when I was an [Imp], and I kept all the advantages such as mobility.
But right now, I didn’t need mobility.
“Are you guys ready?”
They clearly weren’t. But they nodded apprehensively anyway. Spreading my arms wide, I spoke softly.
“[Wings of the Netherworld].”
And there was a crackle. It sounded like the ground itself was being ripped open. Black blood poured out of my back like lava seeping out of the earth. And wings, built like bone and ivory, burst out of the crack.
It was dripping with black blood. It protruded from my upper back, close to my shoulders. They weren’t even full wings— they were merely the skeletal outlines of one. And yet, they felt real. They felt full. And it hurt.
I grimaced as I moved my wings. It felt like I had just been stabbed, and now the knife was being twisted inside of me. I wasn’t actually being damaged from my wings, but it felt painful, just briefly. I spread it wide open as I turned to my companions, baring my teeth in a smile.
There was a flicker. As if something passed through both Daniel and Edithe. Their movements suddenly sped up. It didn’t affect me. I specifically made it exclude me from my own Skill.
“Now, let’s see if you can keep up. If you guys reach the Plaguelands before me… I’ll try one of your stupid Human foods.”
Edithe didn’t really react to that, but Daniel was suddenly brimming with motivation.
I exploded up into the air with a single flap of my wings. They didn’t have feathers. They were like ribs with gaps between each protrusion. And yet, it carried me higher and higher. There was some sort of magic to these wings. I could see it tugging at the threads of mana around it. It even expended some of my mana. Although, it was enough for me to worry about it.
I laughed as I flew up straight into a cloud. I dove straight through the fluffy thing, meeting no resistance as it opened up right around me. Below me, I could see my companions running through the forest, heading for the Plaguelands in the distance. They zipped through the canopy of green as I soared through the sea of blue and white above.
It was wonderful. Flying felt so liberating. I could see the world spreading out, the landscape neverending, the scenery always changing. Twirling, spinning, grinning, I was in no rush to reach the Plaguelands. I saw a few birds flying on the same level as me. I scowled and flew even higher.
The sky almost seemed to change the higher up I went. The blue dome hanging above became… less full. It became deeper, but emptier. Even as the stars filled the sky with their dim glow. I wondered why that was as I continued flying, just with my back facing the ground.
Then I heard a screech. The air changed. It grew fouler around me. A noxious gas rose up, and I knew I reached the Plaguelands. I spun around just in time to spot a violet figure darting straight at me.
I went under the attack, barely dodging the snapping jaws of a [Nightscourer]. The undead bird’s wings were torn open, similar to mine. However, its body was covered in rotting flesh, a creature of decay and rot staring back at me. And it wasn’t alone.
[Nightscourer - Lvl. 103]
[Nightscourer - Lvl. 105]
[Nightscourer - Lvl. 101]
A small flock of the undead gathered around me. They flanked me from all sides as I floated right over a dark cloud. I smiled. And there was a flash. My being was wreathed in blue flames. However, it wasn’t a raging fire that spread through my arms, my wings, and my legs. It was like a second skin— one that wisped off embers and sparks, burning anything that touched it.
The undead didn’t react. They simply came at me, unbothered by the heat exuded from my flaming armor. Shaking my head, I opened my mouth and unleashed a plume of flames. It burned all around me, an inferno that enveloped the [Nightscourers].
I spun around as the fire raged on. It didn’t stop. It wasn’t like my [Flaming Breath], which ended after a few seconds passed. It persisted, like a wildfire, only ending when there was nothing left to burn. I only stopped when a [Nightscourer] crashed into my side.
My armor took the brunt of the attack. It would have held up if the undead didn’t suddenly flicker and wrapped its wings around me. My eyes narrowed. I noticed the embers dying. My Pendant of Greater Protection activated, protecting me from whatever draining effect this undead was inflicting upon me.
After a brief moment of struggle, I shoved the [Nightscourer] off me. I took a deep breath, and there was a pause. Something was being built up within me. Four [Nightscourers] flew straight at me right as I released it.
A disc of flames shot out. It came out fast, not an all-consuming fire, but a concentrated attack which tore through the undead before exploding into a lustrous sphere of white. The [Nightscourers] fell all around me as I resumed the faux flaming breath. And that was not all I did.
I knew not to let them get close now. So, I conjured sickles, swords, scythes, spears— any weapon to ward them off. I didn’t just swing the weapons at them, although that worked too. They were created around me, two or three at a time, shooting out, dancing, tracking the fleeing [Nightscourers].
A flock of undead attacked me, and a flock of them died here. They were around my level. They weren't swarm monsters. But I could kill them even when I was Level 80. Individually, yes. However, I was 20 levels higher now. And this Skill— it was only a single Skill. [The Primordial Spark]. It was more than enough to deal with the last of them.
Because it did everything [Advanced Fire Creation], [Ember Core], [Flaming Breath], and [Flame Burst] did, and more. I could also see Star Forge in this Skill. It was all-encompassing, fitting for the name it had.
Defeated [Nightscourer - Lvl. 105]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
Defeated [Nightscourer - Lvl. 104]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!