The young templar threw up a hand to shield her face as another wave of raw magic shook the room. Dark magic coursed through the prison like a shockwave, sending tremors through the thick stone walls. Chains inscribed with light magic trailed down the hallway, reaching from the perimeter of the prison to where each chain was anchored by a vessel that served as a battery. The chains wound down the corridors to the center of the prison, where the templar bravely advanced towards. An unholy howl rang out from its dark bowels. The templar flinched, unable to stop the instinctive trembling that took over her body.

Joyce walked past her at a steady pace, looking entirely unbothered. She glanced at a cobweb in distaste and swatted away a spider. The swordsman stopped to check on the templar, giving her a glance of concern.

"You good there?" Spade asked. The templar nodded shakily, gazing at them in wonder. Kari was the best and bravest of the kingdom's templars, and she could barely get herself to inch forward past this point. Interdimensional warriors really were different, she thought to herself as she watched Joyce nudge a chain with her foot, looking a little bit bored.

"Y'all really like graffiti, huh?" Joyce said, nodding her head at the inscriptions on the walls. Kari blinked in surprise, fighting to steady her voice as she replied.

"These inscriptions tell the tale of the battle between our great hero Angor and the Demon King, and the cruel deeds of the demon army," Kari managed to say with an even tone, "They remind us of the danger that would come to pass if the demon king were to rise again."

Joyce glanced at her, looking unimpressed. "I'm not big on reading really tiny words," Joyce said. "What's the thirty-second summary? The guy in there doesn't seem strong enough to warrant all these jangly boys." Joyce pointed an accusing finger towards the center of the prison and then at the chains.

Kari gulped. Not too strong? Just how powerful was this mage that the monster in there seemed weak to her?

"Uh," Kari choked out. Spade patted her shoulder reassuringly.

"Take your time," he said encouragingly. "Not too long though, we have another appointment in two hours."

Kari sucked in a deep breath. "The demon king conquered nearly the entirety of the continent five hundred years ago," Kari said. The plaque at the entrance said as much, and Spade had stopped to read it, but Kari supposed that he couldn't be bothered to humor Joyce's questions when there was a templar there to do it for him.

"The demon king was vanquished by the great hero Angor, but the Great Sage said that the demon king's soul was not completely destroyed. They predicted that in five hundred years, the demon king would be reborn and rise again," Kari said, voice bitter with hatred. She nodded towards the center of the prison. "That was born on the five hundredth year anniversary and feeds off of dark magic in the atmosphere. The more it grew, the more powerful it became-"

"How do you know you got the right guy though?" Joyce cut in. "I've fought a few demon kings and this dude doesn't have the same vibe."

"Of course we have the right one!" Kari protested, cheeks flushing at the accusation. "We thoroughly exterminated the demon tribe over the last five hundred years, there are no longer any beings alive that use dark magic, and yet that thing was born with the ability to use it. Can't you sense how powerful it's become? We can't allow the demon king to rise again!"

"Ooh, extermination, huh," Joyce said in a mocking tone.

"Joyce," Spade cut her off, shaking his head slightly. Joyce rolled her eyes and proceeded forward. Kari turned to the swordsman, questions bubbling into her throat.

"Did the ministers not show you the Book of Angor?" Kari asked softly.

"Joyce hates reading," Spade said after a short pause. "She didn't read the book."

Kari stared at him in shock. "But-"

"If there's anything we need to know just sum it up for us," Spade said. "What's so important about the Book of Angor?"

"Well, everything," Kari said, fighting to keep the incredulous tone out of her voice. "It details the demon king's skills, you literally need it to survive your encounter." The whiplash she was getting between her initial impression and what the interdimensional warriors were turning out to be was giving her a headache.

"Does that mean Lady Joyce doesn't know the demon king's passive skills?" Kari asked, horror mounting in her chest as she realized what a death trap she'd volunteered for. Her footsteps ground to a halt. Kari silently cursed the ministers for letting them go in so unprepared.

"No," Joyce's voice rang out from down the hall. "I know exactly what I'm in for."


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