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Author's Comment:
If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.


Author's Comment:
I was asked about reading my work on other sites.
The answer is simple: Currently I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.

If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed.
You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it you shouldn't bother visiting their website.

I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.

The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
(http://armaell-library.net/author/andur)




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“Some things are better left asleep.”

- The Journey to the Afterlife




***Somewhere***
***Marcus***



The air is brushing against my face and I open my eyes, just to realize that we are falling. I have Seria in my arms and we are falling. And the sky is violet? I grunt, trying to force my brain to get back to work. Then I cast a levitation spell and the rushing air comes to a sudden halt. There are definitely better ways to be woken up.
Levelling us, I take a first look around and realize that we are hovering about a hundred metres above a rocky landscape. There are rocks, and rocks, nothing but rocks up to the horizon.

This isn't home.

The warm, wet feeling of blood brings me back to the situation at hand and I lower us down to the ground. Seria is bleeding badly, so I place her on her side, not knowing how else I should deal with the set of wings which is protruding from her back. “Seria?”
She doesn't answer, so I check her pulse. It's there, but weak. There is a long, curved dagger lodged in her body. She ignored it while she transformed, but at least leaving it inside kept her from bleeding out. I pull it out and throw the weapon aside. I press my hands to the wounds at her front and her back. Forcing my mana into her, I apply a healing spell. There is no resistance at all, which is strange. Normally a body should naturally resist invasive magic. It's an inbuilt, instinctive reaction.

My eyes wander to Seria's wings which seem to defy logic. One set looks like they are made out of a metallic light, eternal and fixed, while the other is a flowing, changing mass of shadows. A slow trickle of blood flows from the wounds where they are cut, but it's already healing and doesn't look life threatening. She is really the spirit who we were searching for? Dedessia’s agent?

“You can give up on her. She'll never wake up.”

I look up and find Zhon just a few metres away from me. Apparently he was pulled with us when Seria took us... wherever we are now. I squint my eyes at the curved dagger in his hand. It's awfully similar to the one which was stuck inside Seria. So he really is in league with the hidden assassins. He even has their weapons. Slowly, I stand up and summon a sword of light. “Excuse me?”

Zhon points his dagger at the bloody one which is lying to my feet. “Our weapons have a binding curse embedded inside them. It catches the victim's mind inside an endless, accelerated loop. While you lowered her to the ground, she spent millennia alone. I am sorry, but the second your girlfriend lost her consciousness, she was doomed. Okay, maybe I am not sorry, but I thought that I could give you the opportunity to say goodbye. Since we are both fucked. But at least we can kill each other, which gives a little comfort.”

Raising my weapon, I point it at him and step over Seria to shield her with my body. This guy is clearly not sane. Nobody can kill a god. Well. Our bodies can get killed, but we always come back and remember. And Seria is still alive and breathing. I haven't lost her yet. “I don't understand?”

He shrugs and scratches his chin with the tip of his dagger. “An accelerated loop of nothingness. It’s like getting caught in a void zone and turning slowly insane from the deprivation of sensory input. How long can anyone take it before he turns insane? Your girl had the dagger inside her one, maybe two minutes after she blacked out? That sums up to about two, maybe four thousand perceptive years of nothingness for her. Even if she wakes up after this, she will hardly be sane. More like a blank slate.”

His expression turns to a grin and I feel my blood boiling. Circling my shoulders, I try to loosen my body for what's to come. “I'll cut you to pieces and eat you bit by bit, just like Seria suggested.”
All thoughts about Zhon's betrayal and his collaboration with the enemy are gone as I lunge forward. Probably I should try to take him prisoner, but he hurt Seria and that I'll never forgive.

He parries my sword easily with his dagger and strikes out, which I avoid to direct the force away from Seria's body. We are both divine ranks and I didn't hold back when I attacked. Zhon may have blocked the blow, but the resulting shock wave still wasted the landscape of rocks. Both of us use our full aura, so the released forces are enormous.
“You are at a grievous disadvantage. On one side you are weaker than me, since you don't have access to your spirit form. On the other, you have to keep us aligned in a way which doesn't endanger your girl. Was it hard to understand when I said that she is gone?” Going for a feint, he lightly stabs towards my leg, but I ignore it in an attempt to cleave him in half.

Zhon jumps back, just in time to avoid my blade. Otherwise I would have taken a piece of his head.

Grinning, I let go of the weapon in mid arc and let it fly forward. Directly into his chest. Before he can react I flick my fingers and dissolve the magical formation which is giving my spellblade mass and form. This results in an explosion of energy right in front of me. But I am prepared and the force is deflected harmlessly away from me.

Fire crashes against my barrier, quickly dissolving as there is nothing to fuel it further.

To my great dismay, Zhon is still standing when the dust and smoke dissolves. He looks a little battered and has a gaping hole in his chest, but as I watch, the wound is beginning to heal. “It's shameful that you managed to inflict damage on me. Normally a fighter doesn't let go of his weapon. But you still don't have a chance. I'll heal faster than you. It's a perk of being in spirit form. Harder to kill, better body and such things.”

I snort and summon up a spear. “Other fighters probably don't have an endless supply of weapons. And to be honest, all I needed was a piece of you. If Seria is right.” I bend down and scrape a piece of charred meat from the stone next to me. It was flung there when I blew that huge hole into his chest. Then I put it into my mouth and chew, letting go of my power, embracing the thing which I shut for so long in the darkest cellar of my mind.

My bones crack as I feel myself growing by a few inches. My vision blurs as my eyes adjust and I block Zhon's dagger by instinct. He drives me backwards as I try to cope with the changes to my body. And there is this craving I've always had, but never quite admitted to.

To tear the flesh from bones, break them, to kill. Everything in my sight is prey. Why does lowly prey even dare to attack me? I wrap myself in layers and layers of barriers, each one just above my skin. Ignoring Zhon's dagger, I ram the blunt end of the spear into his belly and claw my fingers into his side.
He swings the dagger at me and I jump back, tripping him, and pulling out the rib which I broke off.

Falling to his knee, he stares at me in helpless shock. His expression makes me realize that I am the one who is loosing it. If I give in to these instincts, I may end up on his side. I force myself to concentrate, reeling in the instincts. Apparently a little bit of flesh isn't enough to gain complete control.

That's when someone steps closer and I shift my position to see who is interrupting the fight. It's Seria! She is still covered in blood and holding the dagger which I pulled out of her. “Seria! Step back, you are in no condition to fight.”
She looks at me with an empty expression and eyes as cold as ice. Then her gaze wanders to Zhon.
The other man squirms on his knees, holding his side where I ripped out the rib. Apparently healing a complete bone is more troublesome than a flesh wound. “Help!” He points at me. “That monster is trying to kill me!”

Her searching gaze turns to me.

“Seria!? You remember me? Don't you?” I shift again, considering the possibility that she might attack me. Who knows what she will do if Zhon's story is true? For a moment, we are caught in a strange triangle of possibilities.

Then Seria smiles, a sweet, heart warming smile which makes flowers bloom in winter. She returns her attention to Zhon. “A long time ago I stumbled into a void zone and got lost. There was nothing there, but white. I stumbled and walked for an eternity... and I think... maybe my mind got a little crack during that time. I got the ability to simply shut down and sleep. When I found myself again and a way outside, I swore to do my cruellest to anyone who inflicts something even remotely similar on me.”

“I think getting locked in an endless loop classifies as such a thing.” She furrows her forehead like a child who didn't get what she wants. She raises the dagger and licks off the blood. “Sadly, I already killed the one who stabbed me. But no worries. I'll find his soul and put him back together. Dad will surely help me. He is good with repairing broken souls. That's his thing.”
Then her eyes fix on Zhon. “In the meantime, I'll take you as a substitute.”

Zhon gets up, but Seria is suddenly in front of him. The dagger flashes down and is embedded vertically in his shoulder. He screams and Seria's hand is at his throat, crushing the windpipe shut. Raising a hand, she uses her fingernail to slowly carve two runes into his forehead. While doing so, she is pinning his hands with her two remaining wings. “Shhh... don't struggle. I'll mess up the rune and your head will go 'pop'. We don't want that.”

When she is done, Zhon is just kneeling there and staring at nothing. I am still unsure of what to do when she turns around and looks at me as if I am a bug. Then recognition flickers through her eyes and she smiles. “I like your new looks.”
She walks closer, completely ignoring the spear, and hugs me. She nestles her body against mine and sighs satisfied. “I had a bad dream, but having you with me and being at home is enough to make up for it.”

I drop the spear and hug her, which is kind of hard to do with the wings on her back. “I see. I am glad that you are fine… though… what do you mean by ‘home’?”



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Andur

  • Phantasm

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