~ Chapter 75: A spark of truth ~
[Illsyore's point of view]
Thinking about the good ol' days before reincarnating into this strange world, I realized how everything was so simple, so peaceful. There was only one god I had to pray to, and the only thing I had to worry about was whether or not I could finish a game event in time. Dating was simple, only one woman for one man. Superpowers and magic were seen only in games and read about in books.
Indeed, life on Earth was simple and peaceful... But it became like that only thanks to the many sacrifices of our forefathers as well as the constant struggles for technological advancement of all the geniuses around the world.
In this world, things were different and magic brought about a life of comfort for anyone who knew how to use it, but together with it came unreasonable dangers. Monsters, dungeons, gods, and other thing that lingered out there.
As a human from Earth who reincarnated into this world, which name I had yet to find out even now, I found life here to be interesting and easy only for those with power. The weak had no place here... That being said, The Darkness held the throne of the strong, while I that of the weak. As such, my life took a 180 degree turn for the worse.
I made two of my wives cry, and now I was about to do the same to my third one. The slave I saved was afraid of me, and the crusader who followed me here was on a mission to end my life before I harmed anyone...
I was pitiful... or maybe this was all my fault to begin with.
What right did I have to hold the reigns of these beautiful women? Maybe if I didn't exist, if I wasn't here... they would be happier?
After returning to the inn with Ayuseya, this was what I began to ponder about, what I knew was going to happen. In my heart, I was already prepared and gave up on the fight. I saw no reason to do so... I was a Dungeon. I was hated by all species. I angered kingdoms. I angered gods. I lost the power to fight and protect the ones I loved... That was why I had to make this choice and at least make sure The Darkness wasn't going to do anything them, that it wasn't going to harm them anymore... to make them cry.
“Once I die... they will finally be happy...” I thought to myself.
[Tamara's point of view]
It was late at night when Master returned with Ayuseya. The scent of tears lingered on her cheeks, and I knew that Master made her cry as well. I was afraid of The Darkness inside of him and instinctively didn't look at him. My ear tingles and my tail twitched whenever I was around it. It appeared as though I could feel it better than the others did...
Maybe I was just seeing things or was too afraid of that thing inside of him, but when my gaze fell upon him, I saw something that wasn't there the day before, a dark mist swirling around him with an ominous feel about it. I was afraid of that... that 'thing'...
When I went to bed, I stayed in Zoreya's room, and she allowed me to cuddle up in her arms. She loved petting me, and I loved being petted.
It was a win-win situation that made me purr~!
From what I understood, Master was to spend the night downstairs. He didn't sleep for a few days now, and my other masters, Master's wives, began to worry about him. The lack of sleep was weakening him mentally and physically, but they were saying that maybe he was too afraid to allow himself to rest.
That could be so... Even I would be afraid to close my eyes for too long if I knew something inside of me was trying to take over my mind and body, mew~!
However, every nekatar has her needs, and I was struck by mine in the middle of the night, uhu!
With a soft mew, I escaped Zoreya's embrace and went to use the bathroom downstairs. It was stinky there, but I really had to go...
Once I was done, I was about to make my way back to our room, when all of a sudden, I heard Master's voice.
“Once I die... they will finally be happy...” he said.
I perked my ears up and hid nearby. He didn't say anything else afterwards, but I still waited for a few more minutes... Curiously and quite frightened, I took a peek from around the corner.
The black mist was all around him, swirling and twisting like a monster in agony. I hid right away and trembled from all of my joints.
“Ughu...” I flatted my ears and closed my eyes.
It's scary... It's scary... I thought.
It was hard for me to believe it was something my mind made up out of fear because it was very scary.
“Tamara?” I heard Master's voice, but I didn't open my eyes and quietly trembled in my corner.
If I open my eyes. If I reply, the black mist will be there! It will harm me! It will hurt me! I don't want that, nya! I thought.
Suddenly, a gentle hand patted my head, and my shivering stopped.
Wha-what's happening? I thought surprised.
The gentle hand kept patting my head, and I gulped.
“It's alright little one... don't be scared.” Master was the one who spoke, but... that couldn't be it, right?
The Darkness was controlling him... or the black mist...
I gulped again, but I had to open my eyes to make sure of this.
“It's alright...” he told me with a gentle smile.
I saw Master before me, but the black mist was there as well, yet... all it did was try and hide Master's smile. It didn't harm me... no Master wasn't allowing it to harm me.
“Nya...” I opened my mouth, but only a frightened feline cry came out.
Reaching up, I touched Master's cheek. It was soft and warm. Master closed his eyes and allowed me to touch him... he trusted me. My fingers moved across the ridge of his nose, past his forehead, then down on his firm jaw. It was Master's face. He wasn't frightening, only the black mist around him was. Even so, Master was Master even if that thing tried to hide him from us.
Touching Master's lips with the tip of my fingers, I asked him “Mew... why do you want to die?”
Opening his eyes, he gazed down upon me in a gentle way and then replied “To keep you safe from the thing I can't control...”
He wants to die to keep The Darkness away? But... the black mist can't harm him, and he already doesn't let it harm me. Why does Master have to die? I don't want that! I want The Darkness gone, but I want Master to stay! I thought and gulped.
“No...” I shook my head.
“Tamara?” he was surprised.
“Master is wrong! Master is stronger! Master is more powerful than The Darkness! Master is Master!” I said as I looked into his eyes.
“Tamara, that's not true, I'm... ow! Ow!” he tried to speak, but I pinched his cheeks.
The collar tightened a bit, but I ignored it.
“Tamara doesn't believe that! Master is strong! Master just forgot that he is stronger than The Darkness, that's all! Tamara knows and sees this, nya! Master gave up because of lies, but the lies aren't Master's!” I said and furrowed my brow.
Releasing his cheeks from my grasp, he looked into my eyes and patted my head like he would a child that didn't know better.
“Tamara... Sigh, maybe you are too young to understand.” he said, but he was wrong!
“NO!” I shook my head and then jumped on him and kissed Master. “Tamara is already sixteen! As a nekatar, Tamara is as old as Ayuseya and everyone else! Tamara is an adult! That's why...” I looked down, blushing strongly... It was my first kiss, although, it was probably a very bad one. Our teeth bumped each other, and my nekatar lips were different than those of a human “That's why Tamara knows that Master is stronger than The Darkness... Tamara knows... Uhu... I know... you aren't that weak... I know... uhu! I don't want Master gone, mew~ I want Master to stay, mew~!” I couldn't hold on any longer and tears rushed down on my cheeks.
Master didn't say anything, he simply patted my head gently and let me cry. Afterwards, I fell asleep like that, in Master's arms.
[Shanteya's point of view]
It was a bit surprising to find Tamara sleeping in Illsy's arms. He said she finally got over her fear of him. Once the nekatar woke up, she was hungry and asking for fish. It might have been just me, but I had a feeling the relationship between the two changed a little. Well, as long as Tamara wasn't hiding from Illsy, it was alright.
Nonetheless, today was the big day, it was going to be my date with him, but... I knew this wasn't the time for this. To be offered one last day with him, to say my farewells before he vanished from my life, I didn't want something like this. It felt like I was giving up on him and accepting his fate altogether.
Simply thinking about the fact that he would lose or be defeated in this unreasonable struggle was out of the question. I refused vehemently to accept his fate no matter how selfish I might have appeared in the eyes of others.
Life without Illsy was simply not worth living... He saved me from my fate. He offered me love. He offered me the chance to have a family with him, and I wasn't ready to give up on it just yet.
As soon as we were finished with our meals, I walked over to Illsy and took his hand into mine. Looking into his eyes, I put on a gentle smile.
“What is it, Shanteya?” he asked me.
“Let's go out on our date right now.” I told him.
“What about your dress?” he looked down and saw me wearing the combat maid armor he made for me.
“I don't need one.” I replied with a sweet smile.
“Alright, let's go.” he told me.
We locked lips in a kiss and then went outside. I already knew the places he wanted to take me to, but I guided him in a straight line towards the Adventurers Guild. There, we were met with the curious, envious, and hating gazes of other adventurers.
“What are we doing here?” he asked me.
Looking back at him, I could read the confusion in his eyes, but also a small hint of sadness. I patted his right cheek and went to the receptionist. There, I requested a simple hunting quest.
“Shall we go?” I told Illsy, who nodded obediently.
We headed out of the city and taking advantage of our strength and speed, we were quick to find our prey and finish it off. The monster we hunted was called a Sand Worm. Besides being around the same size as a human adult, they hunted in packs of three or four and ate only corpses. The problem with these pests was that if their population wasn't maintained under control, they were highly likely to end up burrowing nests under the city walls or buildings, causing them to collapse. It was cheaper to hunt down these monsters than to rebuild whatever they ended up destroying as a result of their increased numbers.
The quest request was for only eight Sand Worms, but we ended up killing a total of ten, two groups of three and one of four. Using a bag I brought with me, I collected the parts we needed as proof of subjugation and then we walked back to the guild. The reward was of three silverettes.
“Let's go and buy some meat skewers!” I said with a cheerful smile.
“Eh?” he blinked surprised.
Taking his hand, we left the guild, but I did notice a few men glaring at Illsy. I was a beautiful woman, and they were just envious fools who knew not any better. If any of them tried to move in a hostile or annoying manner, I was going make sure they weren't able to move even a finger for a few months.
“Where to now?” Illsy asked as soon as we stepped out of the Guild Hall.
“Let's go for a walk.” I told him and held hands with him.
With a smile on my lips, we began to walk down the road leading to the south gate. We looked at the people around us and the occasional adventurer who passed by. Thanks to his hood, his green hair and eyes weren't easily visible, but as an albino el'doraw, I caught the attention of a few curious gazes, some more perverted than others.
About 250 meters away from the city, I finally stopped and stretched my arms a bit, pushing my chest forward. Illsy's gaze fell over my entire body. Because he was the man I loved and desired, it felt good to be looked at like that by him, but if it was anyone else, I would have felt disgusted.
“You made Nanya and Ayuseya cry...” I said as I looked up at the sky.
He replied after a moment, but I didn't know what sort of face he made when he said those words.
“You made me worried...” I said.
“Why?” I closed my eyes and felt the breeze of the wind.
“I...” he tried to speak, but I there was a sign of weakness in the tone of his voice.
At that moment, he was no different than the weaklings I once used to hunt down and kill. The strength, courage, and determination he usually emanated when talking to me had vanished. Illsy... was afraid, but thinking that he couldn't be was wrong. Even gods were afraid, so why Illsy, who was a Dungeon couldn't be?
“Embrace me, Illsy...” I told him and waited.
My heart was beating fast, but although it felt like that single moment lasted an eternity, my lover's arms moved around me. I leaned back into his chest and listened to sounds of his breath and heart. He kissed my right cheek and then my jaw. The gentle lips which accepted me moved down on my neck, and with small pecks concluded their journey on my shoulder.
As always, his kisses made me shiver and made my core heat up like a camp fire, yet I knew he wasn't willing to take me... He was afraid to harm me, to harm us, his wives... He was afraid to lose control, but most importantly, he was afraid to fail when it mattered the most. That was why he was giving up...
“What are you going to do?” I asked him.
“Die...” he replied.
That single word he spoke carried the weighed of a certain Darkness-free future, but one without him in our lives.
“W-why?” I asked.
My voice wavered for a fraction of a second.
“To keep you safe...” he kissed my cheek.
“I'm safe with you in my arms.”
“Not if The Darkness takes over me.”
“You can defeat him.”
“I can't... I tried and failed.” warm tears rolled down on his cheeks and fell on my skin.
“You didn't fail...” I opened my eyes and turned around to look at him. “You are still here... talking to me. At most, what you experienced was only a minor setback.” I showed him a smile.
“I nearly killed Tamara the other day...” he said.
“No, The Darkness attacked her, but thanks to you, he wasn't able to do it...” I pulled him close into my embrace, my chest was pressing against his.
“Shanteya, I can't win...” he shook his head while tears flowed down his cheeks.
“Illsy, it's alright.” I smiled gently and then kissed him.
Now I was the one crying. I tried hard not to, but... I didn't want to.
“It's alright, my love... It's alright.” I told him and gave him another kiss.
“I'm sorry...” he said.
We both cried until we calmed down. The reasons for our tears were different. His was because he was afraid, while mine was because I worried he gave up on himself completely. It was strange that we were the ones who had more faith in him than even he did, but maybe that was why we wished to stand by his side until his last moment. That was why we fought together with him and for him even when he was unable to properly hold his own sword up.
Maybe that's the key... I thought to myself as I looked in his sad, green eyes.
“Illsy...” I said. “If you don't believe in yourself, then believe in me when I tell you that you can do this... that you are stronger than The Darkness.” I showed him a smile.
“Believe in you? But... this isn't about believing... it's about a fact.” he said, but I placed my finger over his lips to silence him.
“Illsy, this is only about believing... You believe The Darkness is stronger than you are, but if that's the truth, then why does it become stronger the more you think THAT is the truth? Like a devil, The Darkness whispered only lies and resulted in you granting it power. The more you believed it had control over you, the more it did... until YOU will decided to turn the wheel round and stop it. Not me, not Nanya, not Ayuseya, not Tamara, not the gods or Zoreya, only you can do this, Illsy...” I gave him a kiss, and with this, our date came to an end.
To be honest, I didn't know if what I said was the truth, but despite everything, the only entity in this world who had access to Illsy's mind was Illsy himself. He was the only chance we had at defeating The Darkness and achieving our happy end. Unfortunately, that thing's lies and controlling tendrils had been wrapped around Illsy's mind for too long, up to the point where he had lost faith in himself.
Illsy was stronger than this, and one way or the other, he was going to prevail over The Darkness!
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
I wish I could just slap Illsy and tell him to snap out of it, but it's not that easy...
Can't wait for the next chapter?
Try one of my other books! You never know what you might find!
Ran out of chapters and books to read?
Try one of my Fan Fiction Stories! I wrote them in the same style, and you don't need to have played the games to read them!
I am grateful for any and all donations! Thank you!