~ Chapter 32: Fire. Blood. Trust (Part 1) ~
[Illsyore’s point of view]
To see Ayuseya alive and well nearly brought me to tears, and I would have cried too if I had any eyes. Although she was crying and hugging my crystal body, I couldn’t even return her warm embrace. I was cold and motionless like a piece of furniture, but on the inside, I was throwing a real party of joy. For a moment, I even forgot the fact that a very angry and annoying Supreme Ranked Adventurer was approaching me at lightning speed.
“I’m so glad to see you are alright, Ayuseya!” I told her.
“Illsy! Illsy! Uhu!” she called out crying to me.
It was rather embarrassing to see the grown draconian woman crying like that while hugging my cold crystal body, but I wasn’t willing to make her stop any time too soon either. I was glad she was here with me, I was glad my spell worked and now she was safe.
The one to bring us back to reality from that moment of joy was none other than Nanya.
“Erm… Illsy?” she said and when I looked over at her, I saw her standing in front of the open hole in my Inconel wall, looking up at the sky.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Dankyun just used his Supreme Skill.” she pointed out “We have to raise our Magic Armors and hide! Quick!” she said with an alarmed look on her face.
I flew out of the room and looked up at the sky. With horror, I noticed the burning fireballs hurling down towards us from the stratosphere. I gulped and looked around. We were right in the middle of the impact area, and anything around us was sure to end up obliterated by the powerful attack. What was left of the academy and the dormitory was going to be covered in a sea of flames. Part of the forest was already burned down because of my own attacks earlier, but luckily, the teachers managed to put it out before it spread. Unfortunately, it was all for naught.
Can I cover it? I asked myself, but then I shook my head.
It was impossible to do something like that. If I could, I would have done it from the start and not waste my time with the Inconel cage, but then again, it did prove to be rather useful when I needed it. Holding back a Supreme’s attack was no easy feat.
Turning around, I focused on the present life signs and noticed that the teachers and students were already out of the impact area. Unlike the road Dankyun took, my tunnel was a straight leveled path. It was like taking a walk through a modern city. A distance of one kilometer wasn’t that big of a deal, especially if you knew a nice taxi driver.
My dungeon was also out of the impact area, meaning that we were the only ones here. Looking up at the fireballs and then back down at the academy, I knew there was nothing I could do to save it. The building together with everything in a 1 km radius was going to be destroyed by that unforgiving attack.
I gulped and flew down. There was no more time for debate, we had to act.
“Ayuseya! Shanteya! Nanya! I’m going to absorb you all and take my body to my dungeon!” I called out to them.
“Illsy, I’m sorry, but you aren’t absorbing me! I’m going to stay outside and make sure you don’t get yourself stuck anywhere!” said Nanya, hitting her palm with her fist and showing me a wide smirk.
“I understand.” I nodded and then looked at the other two.
“I have nothing against this.” said Shanteya.
“Neither do I.” said Ayuseya shaking her head.
After absorbing the two, I flew down and opened the path for my fall into the body of water below. The Inconel wall below me was the last part to remove, but before I did that, I flew over to the escape tunnel and covered it up quickly. I didn’t have time to carefully design the cover, I just plugged it with a bunch of stone and hoped it would last. I didn’t want the tunnel to be engulfed in flames even if there was only a small chance for it to reach the students and teachers.
“Are you ready?” I asked Nanya after I returned to my room.
“Yes! Now quickly, go!” she said, and I nodded.
The Inconel wall below me vanished, and my body fell like a rock right in the body of water. It stopped the fall, but as soon as I was submerged under it, I could feel myself gasping for air. It was clear that I needed air to breath. I pushed my body up with the pistons and then pushed it again on my rudimentary escape mechanism on rolling pins. Looking up, I saw Nanya jumping down into the water.
“Puha! That’s deep!” she said and then got up on the edge.
“Let’s go!” I said and then plugged the top side of the tunnel with a bunch of stone.
Thankfully, my crystal body was constantly emanating light, otherwise, it would have been completely dark inside. Without further ado, I used [Telekinezy] to push my crystal body on the rolling pins. The speed was good, but I had to be faster.
A moment later, the ground shook and a loud explosion could be heard above us or rather from behind us. I moved fast, but just in case, I made another stone plug behind me. Unfortunately, the speed was much slower than I initially anticipated. I was going at a snail’s pace.
“Why couldn’t you have built a cart instead of this?” asked Nanya a bit frustrated.
“I had a moment of lag.” I replied with a grumble before I covered another section of the tunnel behind us.
“So many explosions…” said Nanya with a bit of worry, seeing as how for almost an entire minute, the ground rumbled and the walls shook all around us.
It was nerve wrecking, and the deeper we went, the more I felt the need to dig up and escape to the surface. For a moment, I thought it was because of the small tunnel, but it shouldn’t have been like that. I never was claustrophobic, yet now I was close to shaking.
What’s this? I thought for a moment as it started even to get harder to focus on my spell.
The explosions finally stopped after a minute or so, but I didn’t feel any better. I was close to starting to scratch at the walls. What I was seeing were perfectly straight lines starting to twist and turn. Fear rushed through my crystal body and made me lose my focus, resulting in my spell to fail.
“ILLSY!” shouted Nanya when she saw my body rolling over uncontrollably, while I was wobbling around in the air.
“I… I don’t know what’s happening… I need air… I need an exist… I need to open a path… to go back.” I said as I tried to focus, but everything was hazy and confusing.
Just a moment ago, there was nothing wrong with me, but now I felt like a caged rat biting the metal bars in an attempt to escape. My cage, however, was weird. I knew I had no reason to fear my current conditions because the walls didn’t cave in and there was air to breath.
“Illsy!” shouted Nanya again.
I looked at her and nearly fell through the floor. I was trying to figure out where up and down was now.
“Illsy! Go and open your dungeon! That’s the reason why you feel like this! There’s no entrance to your dungeon!” shouted Nanya, but I had the feeling she yelled at me more than once.
I nodded or shook my head, well one of the two.
Flying up, I moved instinctively towards the entrance. It was like a blob of shining light calling me out.
It was calling for me… It was there…
A beam of light… The sun of my planet… The call of my kingdom… It was there… Light…
And then it happened. I was standing in front of the entrance to my dungeon, already open and neatly designed to invite adventurers to their doom. Looking around me, I recognized the forest and location. I was where I initially placed the entrance to my dungeon. The tree with a single arched root popping out of the ground was to the left, a boulder with a smaller one right next to it was to the right. Behind me, I saw the small path Nanya took to get here when she came to test the first two levels.
I blinked surprised and realized that I had no recollection of actually coming here. All I could remember was a bright and shiny light calling me out. There was dizziness and the feeling of being trapped, but that was it. I didn’t feel pain, and I was certain I didn’t cast a spell.
“Status Menu.” I called out and looked straight at my Magic Energy Pool.
It was regenerating, meaning that I used up some of it.
Strange… I can’t remember. Oh yeah! Dankyun’s Supreme Skill and Nanya! I returned my thoughts to the more pressing matter.
Focusing on her life force, I felt her moving slowly through my tunnel, probably pushing my huge body towards the final room of my dungeon.
I wonder what’s the damage done to the academy? I asked myself as I flew up in the sky and towards the academy.
There was no need for me to fly all the way over there. I could see the result just fine from where my dungeon was.
If there was one word to perfectly describe it, that was ‘Hell’.
The forest was burning in a big circle of almost 3 km in diameter, meaning that Dankyun’s spell was larger than Nanya anticipated. It was 1.5 km in radius, not 1 km. The destruction was more than she described because each of those fireballs that fell from the sky was the equivalent of a 500 Magic Energy [Fireball] or maybe more. There were craters upon craters spread all over the place and charring the ground to the point that nothing would grow there anymore. As for the buildings themselves, none of them were left standing. The only thing that barely survived was my Inconel cage, if the black box I was seeing was actually it. The endurance and reduced temperature enchantments worked like a charm on it, but without a doubt, it was probably over 100 degrees inside. My room became an oven heated through the destructive fire spells.
Spreading out my focus, I saw the life signs indicating the safety and survival of the students and teachers. They were still alive, which was good, but they were certainly never going to return to the academy because there was no more academy left where they could return to.
I was a bit sad to witness this, but my birthplace, my home, my place of origin in this new world was now reduced to nothing but a field of smoldering ash, molten rocks, and black craters. The garden where the students spent their free time was gone. The spot where I met Ayuseya and heard her play her violin for the first time was also gone. The dormitory had vanished, destroyed both by my battle with Dankyun and his Supreme Skill. The academy building was reduced to a pile of rubble after being mercilessly struck down by the attack. Now, only a big black box remained there: my Inconel cage. The forest surrounding the academy was in flames. Critters and monsters alike fled from the area.
“It’s gone… It’s all gone…” I said as I looked at the disaster caused by one Supreme’s spell.
Although I wished I could shed a tear for the devastation before me, I knew it was not the time for such a thing yet. I had to return to my body and prepare for Dankyun’s merciless attack. Now, he had absolutely no reason to hold back, and he was sure to attack me without mercy.
I need to bring my body and Nanya inside the last room, and I have to release Shanteya and Nanya… Can I add more traps, I wonder? I asked myself as I flew towards Nanya’s life force.
[Elovier’s point of view]
Our temporary master, Dankyun, was filled with rage and hate for the one called Ayuseya. She crossed him in the worst way possible by running away from him and denying him the throne, but in my opinion, I never did see this draconian as a proper ruler or leader of any kind. On the other hand, the Master of our assassin guild Phantom Rage was another matter. That man was akin to a god in both strength and wisdom. For over two hundred years, he eluded the authorities and managed to keep an otherwise dying organization as the strongest there ever was.
He was our ultimate master, not this pathetic excuse for a draconian, Dankyun. Either way, we were employed by him, and our sole desire was to serve him as we would our Master, at least until the contract expired.
Half of the payment was received already, the part covering the value of our lives and training. The rest would be paid after we accomplished the mission of escorting, protecting, and providing intel for Dankyun Alttoros until we reached the border of Teslov Kingdom. Once there, our contract was over, and we would make ourselves vanish.
One thing to be mentioned though, we both lied to Dankyun in regard to how powerful we really are. In terms of strength, we already reached Godlike level and getting near Supreme. We were among the strongest in the guild, but nothing when compared to the Black Shadows.
“Sister, what do you think happened to the maid?” asked Shenner, my sister.
Looking to my left, I showed her a smile and then said “She’s either dead or she will be soon enough.”
“Master doesn’t know yet, does he?” she asked, and I shook my head.
Of course, Dankyun didn’t know that our other mission here was one given to us by the guild’s master himself: Search and assassinate the albino el’doraw.
“It does make me curious about how she managed to do it, though.” Shenner said with a giggle.
“Shush, sister! If we are to find the way, we must destroy it or report it back to master! We don’t want to be next ones on the target list, do we?” I said glaring back at her.
My sister was rather dense sometimes and didn’t know just how close she usually was to speaking words of treason that could activate our curse. We had to be very careful because we were rather far from Master.
“Yes, yes!” she waved it off, and I squinted my eyes at her. “You know, there’s one thing bothering me though…” she said.
“What?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“You remember the undead group we fought two days ago?”
“They were half-eaten by maggots, and most of them were nothing but a pile of singed black bones, but…” she stopped and then looked down “They were the assassins sent here before, weren’t they?” she asked.
“Yes.” I said.
Clenching the reins tight, she looked as though she was about to murder someone.
“Do you think Master will mind if we kill the one who did that to them?” she asked with a mad look in her eyes.
She was quick to switch between emotions as always, but this time, it was different. Her skin color nearly changed entirely to a dark-blue, almost black color to express her anger, hatred, and desire to kill. As for why she was like this when usually she barely showed anything at all? Well, among those dead assassins, we found her son as well. When we fought with them, I was the one who gave the killing blow because she refused to do it, she simply stood there in shock.
In general, Master doesn’t send us after our own family members because he fears we might hesitate. It happened once, and it could happen again, but this time, they were confirmed to be dead by our spies. To discover them in the form of walking dead was an unexpected encounter. For us, the mission of ‘search and destroy’ was changed to one of revenge.
“Don’t worry, sister. After we kill the one called Shanteya Dowesyl, we will hunt down the one who did that to him, and we will kill them as well.” I told her with a calm voice.
“Yes! Let’s! And let’s make sure we take our time peeling the skin off their flesh and eat it in front of them!” she grinned.
Unlike me, Shenner also had a screw or two loose…
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