Within the harpy race, there were those who possess a stronger bloodline than others. Theses harpies are known as Harpy Witches. These witches possess an appearance similar to humans and have a pair of wings growing out of their backs; unlike their brethren who instead have wings for hands.
With their natural affinity and talent for elemental magic, these harpies occupy the position of Queen within harpy society and take on a name corresponding to their element.
Their talent for elemental magic lie in these three categories: fire, ice and wind magic. A witch would name herself Blaze, for the fire element, Frost, for the ice element and Gale, for the wind element.
Other than evolving after birth, there was another way of producing a harpy witch. Every normal harpy has a chance of giving birth to a harpy witch. This was known as natural evolution.
Based on the years of research conducted by my teacher, she theorized that the first harpy witch was born as a result of a union between a normal harpy and a male creature with strong affinity to a particular element.
Not only did these witches look different from their normal brethren, they also had different mating habits. They weren’t promiscuous and instead of capturing any male they came across, they were surprisingly…loyal lovers. It might just be a case of when things are taken to an extreme, they end up doing a reversal instead. They rarely showed interest in male creatures, but once they expressed their love, they would have unconditional loyalty towards their lover.
Harpy witches naturally possess the ability to absorb souls. In fact, they rarely consumed meat, instead preferring to feed on plants or souls. If their offspring was a male, he would accompany their father. If it was a female, she would become the next generation of harpy witches.
Regarding their bloodlines, traditions and habits, I had to admit that I didn’t give a sh*t about them. What I really wanted to know was how is it possible for these women who grew up in what was essentially a brothel, to ever know the meaning of love?
They are just a group of ugly, disgusting, despicable, contemptible, tainted, dirty…murderous wh*res…hey, don’t stop me! I order you in the name of your teacher’s spouse to let go…let me finish…this paragraph…
—–From <<Observation Log of Harpy Witches>>
(The above book is the joint work of three authors. Namely, a certain magician, a certain magician’s wife…and a certain magician’s apprentice who was forced to keep the initial paragraphs of the log.)
As she stood there staring at us, Numila’s crimson body radiated a scorching heat that felt partly like an aura, and a natural phenomenon. Under her overbearing pressure, we could only stand there mutely.
“Habona.” Habona replied cautiously. Out of all of us here, she was the only one who wasn’t affected by the harpy. She faced the domineering aura head on, back straight and eyes burning with rage.
Numila glanced at the frail looking Harlow and then back at Habona. Her lips broke into a smile that didn’t seem like a smile: “I take it you’re here to rescue him.”
“If you aren’t going to fight then scram!”
A simple and direct answer, without much consideration put into it. It was the rashness which characterized the demonic werewolves, including Habona. Even a simple question like Numila’s was a hassle to them. All that mattered was: are we fighting or not?
“…” Numila’s face instantly darkened upon being insulted, it didn’t take long before this brewing storm burst forth: “If that’s what you want, then die!”
Apparently, her temper was as fiery as her looks. With just one provocative sentence, a battle broke out between the two hotheaded females. With a wave of her hand, a snake-like flame appeared in her palm and immediately shot towards Habona who was standing five meters away, as if it had eyes.
However, Habona was already prepared for this outcome the moment she taunted Numilia. As the flame snake seared through the air, she had already leaped to side. She twisted her massive body as her feet made contact with the wall, and with a mighty kick of her legs, propelled herself forwards like a dart flying unerringly towards its target.
With that impossibly agile movement by her titanic frame, she was now within striking range of Numilia. Her claws opened wide as they readied themselves for the incoming feast. However, just as they were about to tear into Numilia, she revealed a mysterious smile followed closely by a sudden gust of wind.
It was at this moment that her fiery wings lightly flapped, propelling her body backwards without any prior preparations whatsoever. It was a small step backwards, but it was enough to dodge Habona’s claw attack by a hair’s breadth.
With another flap of her wings, she sidestepped Habona and sneaked in a flame-wreathed uppercut on her abdominal region.
Unfortunately for Numilia, these flames ended up backfiring on her. As the flames rapidly closed in on Habona, the heat emanating from her claws immediately alerted Habona to the impending attack. With an inhuman reaction speed, she swiftly lowered her hands to receive the incoming blow.
The clash of their claws ended as quickly as it started with both sides withdrawing swifty. Habona’s claws were slightly scorched by the flames but while her fur was slightly charred, her hands were basically unharmed.
This style of brawling was exactly the type of fight she loved. Once she began attacking, she would unleash an unrelenting torrent of blows upon her opponent. Now wasn’t any different either, especially since she had already sensed that her opponent was weaker than her.
Since her opponent’s strength was lacking, then she would use her own power to overwhelm her!
In the face of her follow-up attack, Numilia made use of her wings once more to perform an otherwise impossible sidestep. Habona’s claws barely grazed the feathers on her body as she circled around the werewolf. As she did so, she prepared her next fire spell.
This was the first time Habona had actually faced off against such a difficult opponent. She would never have imagined that someone was able to so easily circle behind her. After all, speed and power were always the forte of the demonic werewolves. However, right at this very moment, she was losing out in the battle of speed.
This however, did not mean that her strength was only limited to such superficial advantages.
With Habona’s exposed back squarely in sight, Numilia sent a fiery kick flying towards this weak point. All she needed to do was land this kick and the battle would swing immediately in her favor. However, what she thought to be a perfect plan had one fatal mistake within it, she had forgotten about Habona’s tail.
Before the claws on her feet could rake at Habona’s back, her wolf tail immediately swung out at Numilia, landing squarely on her claws and ankles. The unknown black mana on her tail instantly dispersed the flames on Numila’s claws and crashed right into her ankles.
She winced in pain at the surprise attack and immediately abandoned her attack. With a furious flap of her wings, she retreated back into the sky, her ankle coming into full sight as she did so. Right where the tail had struck was a conspicuous swelling.
She gritted her teeth and glared at Habona. Despite losing that trade, her words didn’t soften one bit. “To think that your tail was a weapon as well…how dare you ambush me!”
“Blame yourself for being stupid.” She smiled derisively at her. “While the tail might be a weak point for my other kinsman, mine is particularly strong.”
“So what if you’re strong? Don’t forget that you still have those two burdens behind you while I still have over two thousand kinsman behind me. If we decide to dogpile you, none of you would be able to leave here alive.”
“However, you won’t get off unscathed either.” She flashed her a savage toothy grin as she scoffed at the countless harpies in the air as if they didn’t even matter. “If we were to go all out, how many of your kinsman would survive? Besides, do you honestly believe that we are only five people? We have over a thousand clansman behind us as well.”
“Devil, demonic half-orc, medusas…” Numila clenched her fists as she murmured to herself. She was a four-star herself and was thus extremely aware of how powerful four-stars were. Thus, she knew she had to swallow her anger. Furthermore, these four-stars had the backing of their clans behind them. If all of these clans were to attack them, it would spell the end for the harpies.
Seeing her grimace, Habona couldn’t help but smirk, all traces of her anxiety gone with the wind. “So what will it be?”
“Damn it…let them go!”
She tossed a fireball on the ground as she said so, clearly angered by the choice she had to make. As it scorched the ground, the shockwave blew over Habona, ruffling her fur. Habona waved at us as if nothing had happened and said: “Let’s go, don’t tell me you guys are waiting for them to treat us to dinner.”
“Oh…right.” The four of us were stunned by the sudden turn of events. Given the intensity of the battle, we had all assumed that the two of them would continue to fight, the last thing we would’ve expected was that they would stop so abruptly. So much ado about nothing…
As the nest faded into the distance behind us, a string of explosion could be heard echoing from behind us. Without even guessing, we knew that it was Numila venting her anger with her fireballs. I still couldn’t believe that she allowed us to leave so easily and so I decided to ask Habona who was currently in great spirits.
“How did you know that threat would work?”
Having rescued her little brother, she was in a jubilant mood right now. She readily accepted my question and explained it to me as we continued walking: “Four-star is the highest strength level this maze could support.”
“There are only two types of people who would stay after reaching this level, lone wanderers and the various heads of the clans. There’s nothing much to say about the lone wanderers and so I won’t elaborate on that matter. As for the leaders, they stay behind out of fear that their clan will get wiped out if they leave…”
Barring certain exceptions, those who were able to achieve a leadership position in a clan and attain four-star at the same time, were people who had already stayed in here for a long time. This meant that they’ve most likely established a family or even a household of their own.
In order to ensure the survival of their descendants, a portion of these four-stars would give up their right to leave the prison and instead stay behind to protect their offspring. Of course, there was always the possibility that they simply wanted to be a big fish in a small pond.
Furthermore, according to Habona, that ‘Numila. Blaze’ was most likely born in the Prison of the Dead.
By the way, exactly what did her birth story have to do with me? While her face was pretty, that body of feathers…truth be told, it’s a little too much for my tastes. Even Habona would be a better choice if she had such a pretty face…ah…somehow that sounds even worse…
“Hey! Stop right there!” Just as I was making fun of her appearance, she actually appeared right behind us near the ceiling.
“You have business with us?” Habona asked coldly.
Having received the cold shoulder, she didn’t bother with any pleasantries and instead cut right to the chase. “There should be a soul bard among you, right? The one who dispelled the mental illusion cast by 2000 of my kinsman.”
“Mhm.” Habona unceremoniously lifted me up and shook me in front of her: “You’re probably referring to her.”
“Imp, no, a lust demon’s smell…” Her brows furrowed. “What’s your relationship with Mo En?”
“None that I’m aware of.” I immediately replied, not intending to hide this fact at all.
“Don’t lie to me. I know that Mo En has a primal lust demon besides him!”
What the heck, why does no one believe me when I’m telling the truth! Don’t tell me I have to lie in order for them to believe me!
Just as I was mulling over this, she pointed at my nose and flashed a smile that screamed “I got you”.
“You, you’re Mo En’s daughter aren’t you!”
The me who wanted to kill someone right now: “…”
“Hahaha, so I was right. Don’t even think about lying to this lady. After giving it some thought, I realized that there were no other person in the Prison of the Dead who could give birth to an imp who had the smell of a lust demon.”
What’s with that smug look on your face! Are you kidding me right now? It’s one thing to mistake me for a female devil, what’s with you randomly assigning a pair of parents to me!? Don’t think you can bully me just because I have a good temperament. I won’t show any mercy if you ruffle my feathers!