“Now, Please listen to me for a second.” → Leorio
Leorio said in a stern voice. Their expedition turned from serious to extremely dangerous just from climbing this mountain and seeing what was behind it. Even though they could’ve reached these places in less than two days only by running at full speed, they had to be wary of not using too much mana or chi, just in case something beyond their imagination was residing at the borders and was able to detect their auras.
“Let’s please drop the little misunderstandings between us and stay united. What’s behind this mountainous chain is what we’re here for. To investigate the reason why there are no beast-waves from these parts. While our kingdom’s army has a hard time dealing with the waves coming from the shore, a good part of it is staying on this flank in case of a surprise attack of any sort. Even though the Urius Kingdom it’s in the same predicament, we need to be sure if this really is their work, another strong monster who made this place their home, or something else entirely. We can’t be relaxed anymore so I ask of you all to stop the bitching or you’ll have to make a turn here and now. This mission is too important to be hindered by some contradictions made by your twisted points of view. Understood?” → Leorio
“W-what do you mean twisted? The court-“
“I asked, understood? And you should answer only with yes or no. Anything else and you’ll leave right back to the base. While your court is indeed powerful, they are quite far now, while I am here, and at the moment, I make the rules here. Now don’t make me ask again.” → Leorio
The fairy said while pouting and crossing her arms displeased. Leorio reprimanded everyone, be them heroes or elites, and immediately shut down the red-haired fairy that tried to talk back with a stern tone.
“Good. Now let’s continue. If everything goes right, we should be able to reach our destination by sunset. Based on what we discover, this mission might reach from rank B to SS in a manner of days. No more screwing around if you don’t wish for everyone to die.” → Leorio
He walked in front then dragged Yuri with him.
“Please tell me if there are any traces toward the place we are supposed to reach.” → Leorio
Yuri activated his [Soul Eyes] and was able to detect numerous bloody humanoid footprints atop the bloodiest mountain, going toward far in South and South-West. He reported everything then both of them fell in silence.
If there are no monsters but people of the four races, then it is possible for the kingdom Urius to have made a base in these parts… But why? They won’t receive or win anything from this… Or is there something else? Besides, I can’t imagine for them to have such manpower to deal with this amount of monsters. However, if they truly do, then our kingdom is in imminent danger. → Leorio
In the end, Leorio reported to his group of heroes and elites and together decided to continue their expedition.
After another six hours of walking at a normal walking speed, they reached a valley with a bigger fort in the middle. The fort had huge towers and walls, filled with cracks, claw-marks, and holes caused by different blunt objects. Even though the fortress was completely trashed, painted with blood and defensive magic circles, it stood tall and impenetrable. It gave off the feeling of a huge mountain and filled with monstrous energy that would liven up any warrior who tried to defend it. And the most concentrated point was at the highest point inside the fortress, coming from a black and white flag. It had a sword and a book drawn on it, with the words आन्तर shining in between the two.
W-what is this place?! → Yuri
Yuri looked at the fortress with his [Soul Eyes] and was dumbfounded to see that besides the huge cloud of blood that covered it, there was a strong and imposing yellowish-golden aura around it as if the entire fortress was alive, or rather, blessed.
Leorio saw Yuri’s shocked face and dragged him at the side.
“What do you see?” → Leorio
Leorio asked with a serious face. Yuri was the only Soul Seer in the group and also the best from the entire Victoria Kingdom. He could see things that not even normal Soul Seers from this world are capable of seeing. Since he got summoned into this world, he tried to strengthen his [Soul Eyes] to the point of neglecting the other skills, but this rather than made him neglect his skills, he was able to improve them and even create new, much more efficient ones that used his [Soul Eyes] in full.
“T-the fort has an aura! I-it’s like, the fort has a soul, or every resident of that fort united their auras and now the power they release is hundreds of times more intense than normal. I-I can’t explain it! It’s completely foreign for me. Could that be a blessing?!” → Yuri
Yuri asked back a little bit agitated while still staring intently. He would normally be able to see through all and everything. But this was something that, even though he was able to see it, it was still unknown to him.
“…Then we should-“
Suddenly the dragoon from the hero party shouted out and pointed at the sky.
“Is that… a harpy?”
The blonde woman from the hero party asked shocked. She never saw a harpy-type of a beast in the game or in this world after coming into this world so her first impression was of shock and even some fear.
“It seems she spotted us. She’s now retreating toward the fortress to report. We better fall ba-“ → Leorio
But before Leorio could finish his words, the fire fairy took action.
A huge fire-spear shot out toward the harpy with incredible speed. The harpy was fast to react and hastily dodged but one of her wings still got grazed and burnt.
The harpy creamed in pain and free-fell toward the fortress while smoke was still being released from her burnt feathers.
“YOU FOOL!” → Leorio
Leorio shouted agitated after seeing the blunter she made, his face palling. The shout startled her and made her take a step back.
“W-what? We were spotted, right? We have to kill her before she-“
The girl from the twins slapped the fairy with hateful eyes. She then grabbed her collar and started to shout at her with anger and irritation.
“You brain-dead brat! Can’t you damn wait for commands?! And what if you’re heroes? You’re all just idiots that can’t even follow orders! Now, look at you! You doomed us all!”
She then threw her away in hate and continued.
“You bastards better leave now! We’ll try to keep them occupied until you all left.”
Even though they were a whole team, the worth of The Heroes of the Empire was hundreds of times bigger than just some elites from a vassal kingdom. Even though they didn’t need to take their whims for granted, their lives were viewed as being much more valuable than the elites, making them be the first to sacrifice in case of imminent danger.
The fairy was caught by the bear-man named Kuma after she was thrown with quite some power. The fairy couldn’t think straight; her face was white while her legs were shaking from panic.
Still unable to understand what was happening, from the huge fortress which already seemed more like a fortified city, two pillars of light shot out toward them with incredibly high speed. One was blue while the second was red.
“S***! There’s no time. Prepare for combat!”
The two pillars of light landed right in front of them, creating two holes in the ground. From inside them, two broken and almost destroyed golems got out with ferocious eyes. One looked like a blue humanoid ice-dragon, while the other one looked like an infernal humanoid flaming-tiger. Both of them wore broken armor but the aura they emanated wasn’t an illusion or fake.
Great Saint rank!
Everyone thought the same thing. The two golems, although not alive, they still had powers comparable to Great Saints and a ferocity comparable to SS ranked monsters.
The heroes, especially the younger ones, were terrified by how Isa and Ken appeared. Their missing armor parts, together with the thick blood-lust they still emanated from the long battle they just finalized, made the two of them look terrifying and like some bloodthirsty beasts.
Jinxy panicked and pouched out. She was also the one who gave out the command to combat.
“W-wait! Everyone!” → Jinxy
Yuri panicked. Even though he knew that the two golems showed no threat to their group, he still had a bad feeling about how things were going from here.
[You all-] → Isa
Isa tried to say something, but the next moment he saw a huge hammer right toward his face. The hammer sent him flying for more than 10 meters then crash on a huge boulder with a boom.
Seeing Isa being sent flying so easily, Ken tried to respond with a wave of his claws, wanting to cut Jinxy in two.
However, his claw was parred by a middle-aged man with a black, long and thin sword.
“I can’t let you do this.”
The middle-aged man sent the claw flying, then made a turn to kick Kenaz3KenazAn Elder Futharks rune which, in this novel represents only \"torch\" and \"vision\". Appearance: Looks like a < and is normally written on stone, wood or even bone. right in the chest. The hit was strong enough to dent the armor then send him flying inside the far-away trees.
“Z-Zhin… Thank you.” → Jinxy
“Damn brat… Now there really is no turning back.” → Zhin
The man called Zhin said while feeling his forehead sweating.
“W-what do you mean by damn brat? I’m a young lady! Not a brat!” → Jinxy
Jinxy shouted back while pouting, feeling wronged for the sudden scolding.
… How did I end up having such specimens as my teammates? → Zhin
He felt like face-palming at that moment, when a cold wind suddenly blew from his right.
He cut to the right with [Deep Slash], cutting a huge beam of frost in two. The beam continued to Zhin’s two sides and destroyed the neighboring mountain-tip, while the other half of the beam froze the forest under it.
“W-what power!” → Zhin
Zhin sweated profoundly then looked in the direction the beam was shot out from.
An angry Isa stepped forward, slamming its tail furiously on the ground as the air started to freeze everywhere around him from the cold aura.
L-lucky me. If it wasn’t for the hellish training from my master, I wouldn’t have got the passive [Extreme Senses]. This just saved my life. → Zhin
Then the wind fairy shot out a blade of wind with her thin sword, the wolf-man punched out a fire-punch, then the lion man jumped and shot out a wave of concentrated fire with his huge sword.
The three skills struck Isa in full and sent him flying inside the same forest as Ken.
“Even though the golems have a high rank of power, we aren’t on the weaker side either. Our lowest power-rank it’s at Grandmaster, while the strongest is a Great Saint as well.” → Leorio
Leorio said with some pride but his smile then vanished.
However. If just the golems were so strong, I wonder… the residents of that fortress, just what kind of power-level do they possess? → Leorio
“Ahaha~! So these are all they can bring out? Some broken toys? Wow, and here I got afraid for nothing. Let’s go. It’s time to show them what we’re made of.”
The dragoon said with a confident smile.
“W-wait, please! Stefano, what are you planning to do now?” → Yuri
Yuri asked in a hurry. He felt like things will go out of control if they continued this way.
“They sent out those two monsters but we broke them down with ease! If we can ride on the momentum, maybe we can take control over the fortress!” → Stefano
“B-but I don’t think that we should-“ → Yuri
“Yuri! You should just stay back if you don’t want to come with us, okay? Just stay out of it!”
The blonde woman shouted then got close to the dragoon named Stefano.
“We will go, with or without your approval. You guys are only some soldiers, don’t you dare command us, heroes!”
She turned around toward the fortress together with Jinxy, Stefano, the fiery fairy and lion-man.
“Aren’t you guys coming?”
She turned around and looked at the wind-fairy, wolf-man, Kuma, the brown-haired dragoon and Zhin with a frown.
“We all know that going separately would mean instant death. If you wish to remain in one piece, then I recommend you to wait for these soldiers as well.” → Zhin
Zhin said with indifference. If it was after him, he would’ve just let them go and die on their own. But he knew that he would’ve been considered as a deserter if he returned alone at the base in the Victoria frontier.
“You… Fine! See you when we bring back the Urius flag!”
She shouted then turned around and continued to run with quick steps toward the fortress.
Urius flag? → Yuri
Yuri then gazed in the distance toward the highest point inside the fortress, at the huge flag atop the middle tower.
“T-that’s not Urius’ flag-!” → Yuri
“DAMN STUPID KINDS!” → Zhin
He shouted out but was covered by Zhin’s rage-filled voice, making him freeze in place from the shock.
Yuri muted, seeing how the other heroes already distanced and got closer to Leorio.
“S-sir Leorio. What do you think we should do now? That’s not the Urius Kingdom’s flag. It’s one that I’ve never seen before!” → Yuri
“What?!” → Leorio
Even the elites thought that the fortress was from Urius. Knowing now that it was from someone else, they had an even worse feeling about it.
“W-we need to get them back.”
The male twin said with his forehead sweating.
Suddenly in the distance, the front wall of the fortress crumbled and the five heroes entered through the huge hole they created. Even though the walls were reinforced again and again with magic and chi, it won’t stand a change in front of a multitude of destructive spells or skills from more Great Saints at the same time.
The houses were set aflame while the residents trying to run were beaten to the ground.
“S***! We have to go after them!”
A sudden pillar of fire shot out from inside the forests and engulfed Leorio in full.
He collapsed half-dead on the ground with smoke rising up from his burnt body. Even though he was still alive, he was completely unconscious and unmoving.
The elite team shouted out with worry. Yuri got closer and started to heal him up by absorbing the fire elements from the injuries then heal the burnt skin. Even though the healing was slow, it was extremely effective.
[You all. We were commanded to pardon you for the first strike and invite you inside. But it seems like you are still ignoring our good-will. There shall not be a third chance.]
From inside Ken’s mouth, an angry voice resounded. A golem has no emotions, but Ken and Isa were no longer normal golems. From the constants battles and fights, their hidden instincts and memories from inside the armors made them resurface some long-lost memories of right before dying.
Inside the forest. Terrifying ghastly roars and growls resounded, making the elite team and the heroes who remained behind to have their hairs stay on ends.
Suddenly the forest exploded into a storm of fire and ice, then two silhouettes shot out right toward them. Two huge beams of ice and fire shot out with a violent power.
“Defensive formation!” → Yuri
Yuri shouted out then the green-haired fairy with the two old dragoons appeared in front of the pillars and took out their axes.
“[Earth Wall] x2, [Wind Wall]”
The two beams of ice and fire struck the walls of dirt enveloped with wind element then ricocheted to the left and right respectively.
The two stone walls had a form of a V, while wind element enveloped them, making any projectile to ricochet from the walls. Behind the walls, Yuri was healing Leorio up for as much as he could.
“Alfarr, Agatha, Celine and I, will defend Yuri and Leorio. While Darius, Fify, Susan, and Tom should go toward the dumb heroes that just left. If they’re dead, then we’ll follow. Don’t let them screw things more than they already did and try to take them back!”
The wildcat-woman commanded then the two old dragoons with the young woman stood behind. The dark fairy, light fairy, and the two twins shot out toward the fortress without a sound.
The wildcat-woman looked at the green-haired fairy and nodded.
“We’ll ask for your assistance a little while longer, Miss Cloe. Even though we can finish off these golems, we are not here to fight. Please just stay on defense a little while longer!”
“No problem! I’ll try to assist for as much as I can.”
“Caila, we’ll do as you say. But we can’t guarantee that we won’t fight back if bad turns for worse.”
The dragoon woman from the heroes party said with a serious face while she took her greatsword out. She rarely talked but every time she did so, it was for a clear reason.
“… Understood, Miss Amalia. In case of danger, feel free to use full power.”
The wildcat woman named Caila nodded then looked with wary eyes at the two golems.
Both the golem’s eyes shone with malice and blood-lust. It was clear that they would use everything at their disposal to kill the enemies in front.
What bad luck… After we get everyone back, we’ll have to run for as far as possible.
The wildcat woman thought with a headache while seeing the smoke rising from the forest, where the two golems waited for the best moment to strike.
While half the elite party together with half of the heroes’ party were trying to resist the golems without breaking them any further, the other half of the party just broke down the North walls of the fortress and started to rampage inside.
Huge waves of fire, swords of fire and explosions appeared around inside the fortress.
On the other side of the fortress, atop the Southern walls and towers, the warriors just finished a heavy fight with another wave. But this time, they used a huge war-flying ship as their ace. Even so, because of the late appearance, the warriors from the Anthara Kingdom had to use the last reserves of energy they had after the deadly war against Thanatos’ army.
How did it come to this? → Shen
Shen was looking at the fire spreading through the Anthara’s North area. Black smoke was rising while explosions and screams resounded here and there.
How am I supposed to ally with them after all of this? → Shen
His brownish-green eyes gazed at this view with a dark face.
If only those idiots from Urius would’ve been more agreeable. → Shen
[[[POV CHANGES TO SHEN]]]
Back in time, right after the vicious battle, we had against the Dragon of Darkness Thanatos: I fell in bed unconscious while a white-golden mist surrounded me. At that moment, my subconscious tried to use every drop of energy inside to absorb chi and mana from around, trying to keep me alive. To absorb and transmute wild chi into personal chi, one also had to use energy for that. At that moment my spirit, soul, and body were at their weakest with the always-raised aura protecting the mind and heart, completely shut down.
Suddenly a hoarse and shrieking voice resounded inside my mind. The voice alone turned my blood cold and made my heart beat like crazy.
The loud noise inside my head woke me up but my whole body was completely paralyzed. I couldn’t move or make any sound. I could only breathe, see, hear and smell. More than that would be just wishful thinking.
I knew exactly what was happening at this exact moment. Sleep paralysis is a state in which you enter because your soul hasn’t fully entered the body when you suddenly woke up. This can be caused by two reasons:
One is because of a bad circulation through the body caused by the contracted muscles. Before falling asleep, one must be sure to have a relaxed body, otherwise there it’s a slight risk of such a thing happening. Also, there is the chance of being too relaxed and have the blood-flow slowed down, numbing the body.
While another one can be because of external power. Something or someone which entered through the defensive system of the spiritual body named aura, and locked down the vulnerable soul when it tried to enter the body after a deep sleep.
And in my case, it was the second option.
I looked with terror and fear at a dark shadow which was forming right at the edge of my bed, right beside my left leg.
YOU! → Shen
I shouted in my mind while my eyes shone with shock and terror.
[Hehehe~ the moment for mine revenge is near]
His laughing voice sounded like blades hitting each other, hurting my ears and making my head throb.
W-where is Second Will? He was supposed to imprison this internal demon in some hidden part of my soul! → Shen
[Teh A.I. thou created against me hast been shut down.]
Being a devil, he was able to read my mind with ease. While looking with a grin at me, he answered my question with a mocking and sadistic grin. From his sewed smile, a foul smell of rotten flesh permeated the air, making me unable to breathe.
Y-you… Why are you here? → Shen
I tried to feel my body while questioning the devil, only to understand even more than my body wasn’t simply paralyzed. But my soul was still around it, entered half-way, stopped by the devil. The white-golden mist around my body was as if locked down by a dark and eerie smoke, not letting it enter the body.
I suddenly felt a strong stab. The pain was ridiculously powerful as if my entire being just went through the head of a spear. I hissed in pain while my body convulsed by reflex.
AAARGH! W-what was that?! Hah, hah… W-was it, you? → Shen
[Seeing such pain from thee makes mine dark days a shade brighter]
The devil made such a wide smile, the sewing from around his mouth started to bleed again. His only eye turned red like blood while looking at me with malice, hate, and madness.
I was terrified by his ugly and disgusting appearance, and at the same time shocked about the fact that a mental demon could bring such physical pain to someone who’s, even partially, awaken.
[Do not forget, fool. Thy and mine’s spirits are combined through this chain of fate. Until this is broken, our connection shall stay strong and TRUE]
Then the devil transformed his own hand into a spear and stabbed his own head without the slightest hesitation.
I felt like even if a true spear were to penetrate my head it wouldn’t hurt this much. The pain wouldn’t turn numb because it was at a spiritual level, the body has no power over it. Something like adrenaline was useless when confronting the pain of the soul.
From my mouth saliva was flowing while my body was convulsing and trembling. My irises weren’t showing anymore while the whites of my eyes were the only thing visible.
[Feel mine pain and let thy body become mine!]
Then more spears shot out from inside the devil and stabbed my limbs. These didn’t hurt at all, but I was able to feel how he was slowly taking control of my own body.
NO! → Shen
I shouted in despair and tried to regain control. The white and golden mist dissipated the dark smoke then slowly penetrated through my body. Subconsciously I was able to make it fight back against the devil.
[Hehehe~ It seems is too soon for me? Matter not. Thou arst already defenseless against me. We shall meet again. Omisus.]
The devil laughed with his broken voice while pronouncing the last name with spite and disgust. In the end, he disappeared in a cloud of smoke that entered through my left leg, upwards toward my back.