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It was similar to the feeling he had when he expelled Emma’s mind control Inheritance from his head, except far, far worse. The reason was because Emma herself had already retracted her Inheritance from his body immediately after the hobgoblin fight, and what Marcello kicked out later that day when he awakened his own Inheritance were just the vestiges of her control.

This banshee’s curse was no mere vestige, it was an active curse that attacked his very soul. Expelling it would be difficult for his inheritance, and the description of his inheritance never mentioned any function about guarding the soul either, only protecting from mind afflictions. But regardless of what the system description said, he knew that his inheritance regarded his soul as its domain, and would throw its entire force to repel any unwanted foreign intruders.

Again, it was like white blood cells fighting off foreign invaders. Marcello felt searing pain across his body, and aches of the worst fever he’d experienced in the entirety of his life, while the battle raged on in his body between his inheritance and the curse.

He was completely oblivious of his surroundings, his eyesight fading as his inheritance collected every single iota of energy within his body to battle against the banshee’s final curse.

Stars danced around his eyes, his consciousness waxing and waning, his head tumbling like it had been thrown into a drier like a wet towel and put on max settings ultra dry…

He wanted to just scream and let out his pain, but he couldn’t even scream. The burning sensation was so bad, the burning pain centering around his heart and radiating out from there in pulses. The heat began to push away at the cold, clammy grasp of the banshee’s curse on his heart, radiating even more heat with every passing second.

The cold, clammy grasp would not let go without a fight. Fueled by the sister’s vengeful rage, it clung on even tighter, squeezing at his soul. He felt his health points dropping by the second, the grasp closing in on the very depths of his being.

He felt like the cold curse was winning, slowly freezing its way towards the center of his soul. But it could not penetrate the core, that molten core. The moment the curse touched the core, it shirked away as if in terror. And then the core began to expand, larger and larger until it burned away every shred, every tendril of the curse’s grasp onto its heart. Fiery pain seared through Marcello’s body and soul, as his Inheritance surged through every crevice of its domain, filling him with energy.

Your Inheritance has consumed Pangs of the Banshee’s Sorrow Curse.

The banshee’s curse has been lifted.

Despair Intuition has gained more knowledge about the nature of curses.

Important notifications flashed before his eyes, but Marcello wasn’t paying attention to them at all. All he felt was relief that the pain had gone away.

---------

“Humans...” growled the werewolf. “You all die now.”

The moment the banshee fell, the butler werewolf snarled and charged at the now reanimated humans. The special human that broke free from the banshee’s wail beforehand was on the ground convulsing, most definitely feeling the brunt of a dying banshee’s curses. It would be impossible for a low level human to overcome that kind of debilitating body weakening curse any time soon, so the werewolf focused on the others.

An arrow from Troy missed the werewolf as it ran across the kitchen cabinets, hopping from one row of cabinets to the parallel row and back, making it hard for the projectiles to hit. Despite its bipedal state at the moment, all four of the werewolf’s appendages were strong and allowed it to launch itself with beast-like speed across the two rows of cabinets.

Meanwhile, Alice dragged Sarah out of the kitchen entrance and into the long hallway with just one functioning arm, her other arm still limp because of her shoulder injury from the last fight. Sarah’s state was not good, her face nearly flattened by falling straight down to the ground. Naturally, she had been knocked unconscious from the impact on her head, showing no signs of waking up.

Normally, human beings would instinctively throw their arms out to lessen the impact to their head from a fall, as such an impact could be devastating. But the banshee’s wail did not let Sarah move her hands based on instinct. Her eye was slightly caved in, and without the help of magic and a healing potion she would die for sure.

Alice hurriedly summoned a health potion from her own inventory and uncorked it with her teeth, spitting out the cork to the side as she poured the elixir down Sarah’s throat.

“There, you’ll be all better alright?” Alice said with a slightly hysterical look on her face, her hand shaking as she fed Sarah the health potion.

Truth be told, Alice could not wrap her head around how insane the black door challenge was. Back in her last trial, her party worried about losing a member due to an accident. Even a single death seemed like a horrifying prospect. But here, it seemed like every single step could casually cost a member, and every encounter with a monster could result in an entire party wipe.

Troy and Nolan were busy shooting arrows at the level 13 werewolf as Emma and Michael fired mana bolts, many of which ricocheted off the pots and pans hanging from the kitchen’s walls. Jason had his hammer drawn and stood by his backline damage dealers, waiting for the werewolf to get closer before engaging.

At least she could heal Sarah in peace for now, Alice thought. Her healing staff extended a tendril of revitalizing mana towards Sarah’s sunken face, the mana slowly restoring the woman’s sunken left eye.

Sarah had done so much for Alice when she was hurt, so Alice felt good that she could repay the favor. In a sense, she was glad that Sarah got hurt. Finally Alice could contribute to the team and not screw things up for everyone and turn into a burden.

Alice continued to pour healing mana into Sarah’s injury, when suddenly the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. She heard something open the door on the other end of the long hallway.

None of her other party members had noticed yet, all of them too busy fighting the werewolf.

*Creak*

Alice’s heart sank to the bottom of her stomach as she slowly turned her head around. And then she saw it. A monstrous man-sized rodent, hideous and twisted with matte gray hairs falling out around its body. It entered the long hallway and turned right, locking eyes with Alice as its teeth chattered excitedly.

Her hands went numb with fear, her healing staff dropping out of her hand onto the ground, the unconscious Sarah rolling from her lap onto the cold floor as she desperately scrambled backwards, pushing herself backwards with her legs and her one good arm. Alice tried to scream, but her lungs were unable to make a sound.

The unnaturally large rat monster scurried forward while gnashing its teeth. It creeped down the hallway, dragging its tail down the long hallway with it as it eyed the humans hungrily.

The creature was closing the distance far too quickly, and a moment later it had buried its large front teeth into Sarah’s unconscious body, sinking its teeth into her arms before dragging her off.

“H-help!” Alice finally managed to yell out.

Jason looked over at her, confused. “What’s the matter?”

“M-m-monster!!!” Alice shrieked. “It’s eating… oh no….. please…... Sarah!!” Tears dripped down Alice’s face as she realized that she had abandoned the woman that rescued her just moments ago.

Jason stormed over to the door and stepped into the hallway with his hammer in hand. Sarah had nursed him back to health from a mortal injury, and he felt his anger rise with Alice’s words.

The rodent’s teeth were sunk into Sarah’s neck, as her head hung lifelessly down to the side. The tender meat around her throat was the first thing that the rodent went after, chewing right through her throat and down to her spine.

“You!!!” Jason yelled in fury, charging forward with reckless abandon.

Alice was slumped against the wall, in shock. Sarah’s bloodshot and lifeless eyes looked on blankly, but Alice could still remember just an hour ago how full of life and caring they were, looking down at warmly while she healed her wounds.

Now Sarah was dead, and it was because she abandoned her. It was all her fault. Alice’s will to live was beginning to waver. It should have been her to die. Why did she abandon Sarah? Why did she just crawl away like that?

She watched as Jason swung his hammer at the overgrown rat monstrosity. The hammer blows connected, but the rat was not taking nearly enough damage, and returned with ferocious claw scratches and bites. The outcome was to be expected. A quick use of Identify told everything that needed to be said about that fight.

[Jason (alive) – Level 5]

[Level 13 Sewer Rat (Lord’s Servant)]

With an eight level difference, how could it be possible for Jason to win? The rat had already killed Sarah, and it was going to kill Jason now too. Soon, it would come for her. Alice sobbed. Maybe she deserved this. She deserved to die, for thinking only about herself and abandoning Sarah.

The rodent overwhelmed Jason and pushed him to the ground, baring its teeth towards his neck. Alice closed her eyes, bracing for the inevitable. But at that moment, someone burst through the door into the hallway.

--------

Marcello woke up to the sound of intense fighting. The werewolf butler’s outfit was all but completely ripped to pieces at this point as it pressed down on Troy, its claws digging into the blonde gangster’s arms. Emma was panting at the corner of the room, a blue mana potion in her hand. She seemed to have expended all of her mana.

Michael and Nolan were nowhere to be found.

So it was up to him. Marcello activated Quiet Footsteps and drew his shortsword. He approached the unsuspecting werewolf from behind, then raised his sword and slashed the back of the werewolf. As he was level 7 now, his slash actually did a bit of damage.

The werewolf howled in pain, turning to attack Marcello.

Crack.

A bolt of mana slammed into its fanged face from the right, knocking it to the ground. Emma wiped a bit of blue liquid from the corner of her mouth. For the first time, she was wearing her dark mages robes, although she still did not use her staff.

Marcello immediately followed up with a downwards thrust of his shortsword at the werewolf’s chest, and then sliced its throat, pushing as hard as he could alongside gravity to penetrate the werewolf’s constitution. Another mana bolt rocked the werewolf’s body, carefully aimed by Emma so that it would not deal splash damage to Marcello. The mana bolt was the killing blow.

You have slain [Lvl 13 Werewolf (Lord’s Servant)] - Bonus experience awarded for killing a higher level enemy. Tutorial points have been distributed between contributors.

Ding! [Thief] class has leveled up to level 8. Agility has increased by 0.1.

Ding! [Human] race has leveled up to level 8. All stats have been increased by 0.1.

“Aghh….” Troy groaned, gripping his knee as he rolled in pain on the ground. “Fucking wolf was so heavy…”

A scream from the hallway alerted Marcello before he could help out Troy. He rushed over with Emma through the door to find a shell-shocked Alice slumped near the corner of the hallway, and Michael and Nolan shooting mana bolts and arrows respectively against a massive rat monster. Jason wrestled with the rat while sporting a huge gash on his ribcage.

Marcello noticed a dead woman on the right side of the long hallway. Upon closer inspection… oh god, it was Sarah and she was mangled almost beyond recognition. A wave of emotion hit Marcello. He hadn’t known her for so long, but to be killed in such a gruesome manner… he wouldn’t wish that kind of death upon anyone.

Even Emma didn’t say anything this time around. A magic circle appeared in front of her, as she wordlessly expressed her feelings about Sarah’s death with a sizzling mana bolt.

Marcello raised his shortbow and joined her in peppering the level 13 rat with as much firepower as he could muster up. It wasn’t just him that was bothered by Sarah’s death, Jason looked absolutely livid, his face so red with anger that he looked ready to choke the rat to death and rip out its spleen with his bare hands.

As much as the entire party wanted to exterminate it, the rat could not be underestimated. A swish of its tail knocked Jason down, and it pounced towards Michael.

But the numbers advantage was overwhelming, and all the humans had leveled up after the death of the werewolf.

You have slain [Lvl 13 Sewer Rat (Lord’s Servant)] - Bonus experience awarded for killing a higher level enemy. Tutorial points have been distributed between contributors.

Ding! [Thief] class has leveled up to level 9. Agility has increased by 0.1.

Ding! [Human] race has leveled up to level 9. All stats have been increased by 0.1.

The levels rolled in fast and furious. Marcello had grown from level 6 to level 9 within the span of two and a half hours. But at what cost, he thought. Unlike Zack, who died like a coward, Sarah was always dependable and effective, never backing away from a challenge and always taking care of those that needed her the most.

And yet she was the second to die. She was not the first, and if they were not careful in the future, she most certainly would not be the last of the original squad to die.

---------

The armored lord of the castle shifted in his throne seat, sensing the deaths of not two, not three, but four of his loyal servants. Their mana returned to him like black wisps, the power he lent them returning back to their original owner.

They were not weaklings like the ones he had dealt with before. Perhaps humanity still had some tricks up their sleeves, he thought. Perhaps, they could give him a challenge for once. The castle lord sat eagerly upon his throne, awaiting the arrival of the humans. Tonight, he would wet his blade once more with blood. Tonight, he would become a breaker of skulls once again.

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A note from HereBeTreasure

Ratings are a bit iffy. There are the usual 0.5 trolls but honestly I'm not worried about trolls that much, more worried about the high amount of 4 ratings. Follower growth has been pretty fast though lol... 

Instead of rewriting ch 3 I think the way forward is to just improve in future chapters. 

I've been doing daily releases and really writing like crazy these past two weeks. I think release schedule wise, doing the same schedule as HWFWM size stories is really hard, since both mentally and financially highly rated popular stories are easier to write for. 

I really like this story though, so I'll keep plugging along while figuring out how to write a more attractive story that's deserving of 4.5+. Thanks for reading. 

Thank you Not Meep, RaveAgainst, Tony Miller, LA! Glad that people are liking the story :)


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HereBeTreasure

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