So I was the second category this time… Damn! How did I found out about it only now? God… → Ryu
In a way, I felt betrayed, but I knew better than blaming someone who suffered from amnesia and who had as the best memory a warm bath inside a hot-spring then seeing and being seen by many naked girls at the same time.
No. Someone with only this much as the best memory could never be able to open up so easily… → Ryu
“Uhm… Ryu?” → Yuri
Yuri stared confused at my many expressions, at first of shock, then of surprise, then disappointment, then of gloom, then a smirking one.
“Eh? Ah. Sorry, I was just thinking of something on my own. As for Sylvia…” → Ryu
My expression then changed back to a concerned one. I massaged my temples as I shook my head slowly.
“I can’t think of anything. I’m sure she will be able to understand it, but… I really have no idea what she will do to get him on liking her again…” → Ryu
“Who should like me again?” → Sylvia
A familiar voice resounded from the door, stunning both me and Yuri for a moment.
When did she…? → Ryu
I looked in shock at the white beautiful girl beside the door, looking at both of us with a mild smile on her face and calm silvery eyes. Even though there was absolutely no pressure from her, the fact that we became aware of her presence only after she talked made both me and Yuri to feel a cold wind down our spine. Not even the sound of a creaking was heard to at least make us aware of someone entering the office.
“Good morning, Ryu~. Or should I say good night? Pretty weird that I woke up at this hour.” → Sylvia
Sylvia stepped lightly toward a stone-table where a fire magic-circle was drawn and used as a stove to warm the water for the tea, she started to brew some tea for herself with the plants already scattered around the table.
She’s making no sound?! → Yuri
Yuri was completely shocked by the fact that her every step was as silent as if nothing was there in the first place, and as she handled the kettle, not even the pouring water could be heard. I also felt like something changed about her, feeling her calm demeanor under a rather more cheerful light.
Just what happened with them after they left Eihwaz…? → Ryu
Even though I was informed by everyone who traveled with them about everything that happened while they were away, the changes Shen and Sylvia suddenly suffered made me unable to comprehend how everything started. After calming down, I finally opened my mouth in trying to talk with her.
“You really can say good night at this hour, even though nobody is going to sleep, yet. But anyway, good to finally see you, Sylvia. He is Yuri from the heroes’ party: an elite from the Victoria Kingdom and also the formed Hero of Vestria Empire. From some misunderstandings with the emperor, he ended up being, err… sent to Victoria as the new Queen’s right hand.” → Ryu
Surprisingly for me, I had quite a hard time introducing Yuri who had a pretty complicated history in this world. Even so, Sylvia didn’t seem to mind and with a brilliant smile, she turned around and bowed her head while pinching her pure white dress.
“Nice to meet you, Mister Yuri. I’m a priest of a temple dedicated to Goddess Hamata inside the Leorio Kingdom. My name is Sylvia and I’m now here after traveling with Mister Ryu and Shen.” → Sylvia
Her elegance stunned Yuri for a moment as he opened and closed his mouth like a fish.
“Dude!” → Ryu
I whispered to him in a hurry while lightly knocking his side with my elbow, trying to wake him up so he could stop staring like that.
“Eh? Ah! E-excuse my rudeness just now, Miss Sylvia! Y-yes! Happy to make your acquaintance as well!” → Yuri
Yuri hastily got up straight and bowed down in full spirit, understanding his mistakes only after he did so. He then embarrassingly tried to take a more relaxed position, only to seem stiffer as he also glanced at Ryu for some help. I was also feeling somewhat bad for him, but feeling his glances toward me, I simply tried to evade eye contact with any of the two.
Aah~! I messed up~! → Yuri
He felt like crying. Seeing how he stuttered after he ogled his eyes out at her, of course he would burn bright red from embarrassment. Even so, Sylvia simply couldn’t hold in a laugh after seeing his bright red face, making Yuri smile awkwardly while scratching his head still embarrassed.
“I can see you’re a lively one. Wish we’ll be able to keep a good connection in the future as well, Mister Yuri.” → Sylvia
“F-for sure!” → Yuri
As Sylvia held her hand out for a handshake, Yuri happily grabbed it and shook it gently, making for another connection to appear with the Antara Kingdom. Then his face suddenly lit up in surprise and looked back at Ryu while asking:
“P-please wait a moment. By Sylvia, you mean Miss Sylvia who is also…?” → Yuri
“Hm? There is only one Sylvia in this kingdom though? She is indeed Shen’s wife.” → Ryu
At his dumbfounded face, I answered back while slowly sipping my tea, staring back with big eyes at him waiting for some kind of priceless reaction from him.
Yuri froze for a moment with a dumb smile on his face, then he looked back at Sylvia who confusedly tilted her head while still smiling amiably. He then gulped down in emptiness and said in a hurry.
“Please excuse me!” → Yuri
Then he suddenly grabbed my arm and, while I was trying my hardest not to spill the tea in my cup, he dragged me outside the room then closed the door in a hurry. I looked a little bit displeased at him, but with a shine of amusement in my eyes I still asked:
“Man, that wasn’t nice of you. How can you simply run out while taking the king with you like this? What, are you trying to kidnap the king of a nation just like that?” → Ryu
“Mister Ryu please put the details aside for a moment! How are we going to explain it to her?!” → Yuri
Brushing the subject of kidnapping a king aside just like a joke, Yuri nervously whispered in my face with worry written all over his face. Seeing his many expressions in one go made my face stiffen up while trying not to laugh out loud.
“S-sir? What’s with that face?” → Yuri
Asking me with such a confused and naïve expression, I had to stop him with my palm while I covered my face with the other, trying my hardest to calm down.
He’s just as good as Shen, damn. I might spit all the tea in my mouth if I don’t swallow it quick! → Ryu
After calming down and gulping the tea, I then tried to get serious again.
“We can’t help it. We’ll have to give out the news just as they are.” → Ryu
“What news?” → Sylvia
Suddenly the door opened and Sylvia peeked out with a confused and curious expression. Seeing her like that, me and Yuri glanced at each other then back at her.
In the end, we couldn’t do anything else but say the truth the way it is. The three of us entered back the office, sat down and explained to Sylvia everything that happened after we lost connection with her, the moment she entered into her deep slumber one week ago.
After finishing narrating everything, Sylvia closed her eyes and focused on understanding the information she just received. We both looked at her nervously, unable to read any kind of emotion from her face. Not long after, she opened her eyes and with a neutral face she went up then bowed in front of Yuri, her voice just as calm and pleasant as before.
“I’m sure you’d rather hear it from Shen himself, but for now he’s unable to do so. So until then, please let me say it: We are extremely apologetic and ask for your forgiveness. We’ll be sure to repay you as compensation for all the trouble we caused to you, mister Yuri.” → Sylvia
Both Yuri and I were completely stunned for a moment, then we hastily got up and tried to explain in a hurry.
“Oy oy, Sylvia, didn’t you hear? We’re already all friends and chill now. No need to worry about what happened. Shen did save him by giving even his vitality until he passed out.” → Ryu
“E-exactly! Shen did save me at that time! And I saw the sorrow in his eyes quite clear, I understood that he didn’t wish to kill me. Besides, it was a duel between a Great Saint and, err… I’m sure he was greater than a Semi-God at that point, so such accidents were inevitable, you know?” → Yuri
Yuri felt like he struck himself at this remark but still wanted to look as positive as possible.
Yeah. What in the name of all holy was in my head to challenge someone whose powers were unmeasurable? Really now… I’m actually extremely thankful that I’m still alive already. Taking anything as compensation would make me feel bad. → Yuri
“No… This isn’t just about Mister Yuri. Shen has a rule, rather, something like a curse on his soul which forbids him from killing high spirits like of the races and the beast-men from Eihwaz. If Mister Yuri truly died at that time, then I don’t know what would have happened to Shen… The fact that you’re still alive it’s also a great reason for me to be thankful to you.” → Sylvia
At the end of her sentence, Sylvia’s voice trembled and she quickly stopped talking to regain her composure, then continued as she bowed her head to Yuri. She then opened her eyes and left toward the door. Confused, I asked out before she could get out of the office.
“Sylvia? Where are you going now?” → Ryu
“To search for him.” → Sylvia
“Eh? Now? Do you even know where he is?” → Ryu
With a calm movement, she pointed in the distance outside the window, toward a mountain which had no trees and one could see even from here some dents and cuts which reached out to the other side and even to the neighboring mountains.
Damn, she’s sharp… → Ryu
As if knowing what I was thinking, Sylvia informed me of something I wasn’t that aware of.
“As Soul Seers, we are able to see things other people can’t, no matter how hard they try to hide them. Mister Yuri, I’m sure you can see that as well.” → Sylvia
Instinctively Yuri activated his Soul Eyes and was able to see a barely visible, thin pillar of golden energy, coming from through the clouds and piercing right into the middle of the mountain.
Eh? That pillar, I think I saw it before appearing randomly atop some warriors who were fighting strong opponents. Just what is that? → Yuri
Again, as if she just read his mind, Sylvia answered in calmly while focusing on the door at the entrance.
“That’s a form of energy which supports the spirit, mind, and body of someone who’s confronted with imminent danger, making them go well past their limits and reaching levels of powers which normally they could never show. This form of energy can be summoned subconsciously in a critical moment by basically anyone.” → Sylvia
“T-then something like that appearing there means only-“ → Yuri
“That someone is in danger and they are forcing themselves to strive for surviving. However, the pillar is with a few times stronger and thicker than any I’ve seen so far. And I know of just one person who could summon such power in one go.” → Sylvia
After hearing her words, Yuri became restless and wanted to rush outside. Before he could open the window to rush outside I stopped him in a calm manner, patting his shoulder to make him more assured.
“No need to worry, Yuri. You said that Shen’s abilities to recover come from a similar pillar of light like that one, right? Then that must be his Prana which continuously pours inside him energy to keep him in full spirit.” → Ryu
Yuri calmed down but Sylvia continued out.
“I also saw that pillar before Shen left to the other ship and leave as reinforcements, but it never shone so strong as to be so visible.” → Sylvia
Sylvia then opened the door and what was visible on the other side was exactly the entrance to the cave Shen just entered through.
The last sip of tea I tried to drink, evaded my mouth in a rain right in front while a baffled expression covered my face entirely. And I wasn’t the only one, Yuri had his mouth open wide while staring at the completely different environment which appeared on the other side of the door from what we remembered. Without thinking twice, Sylvia shot out through the door right inside the cave, not before telling us:
“Please don’t follow. I need to talk with Shen on my own.” → Sylvia
Afterward, the door closed and when Yuri opened it again, there was just the all-too-familiar hall which both of them knew and remembered. Yuri then looked at me with the same shocked eyes as before, while I did the same staring at him, some drops of tea still falling down my chin. Trying to calm down, I started to process what just happened.
So in a way or another she’s now able to bend space in such a way, she can teleport kilometers with just one step, then she knew exactly where Shen was even though that so-called pillar of light wasn’t all that visible even for Yuri who has better Soul Eyes than most of the Soul Seers I know. Her power-level is unreadable even for me while she was able to understand and take in the information related to Shen in less than a minute without even flinching… She’s so strong that she’s scary. In a way, I really can’t see anyone but Shen have such a woman by his side… → Ryu
For some reasons, even though I forgot about the possibility of having Shen turn against her, I felt absolutely no danger for her. On the contrary, I felt like only she could take care of this, of controlling the berserk Shen.
Inside the cave, Sylvia was running at top speed, not minding the darkness or the fact that her magical powers diminished spontaneously. She then felt the dead-end in front but she simply turned into a cloud of smoke, going through whatever blocked her way from going forward, and suddenly hit a barrier. It was the spatial barrier that Shen hurriedly made to block the exit. Understanding that something might have gone wrong inside, Sylvia simply made a door rather than a spatial rift. She entered through the spatial door in her form as smoke and the barrier closed itself once again right behind her, trying to be as undetectable as possible. After she reached the other part, it was as if she entered through the portal to an endless Abyss. The sky was covered with dark clouds filled with dark lightning, the wind was howling as if a storm was brewing while the trees were downed, the mountains were turned into boulders while the rivers dried out and got filled with sand and rocks. The vegetation died all the same while the earth cracked and sunk everywhere. The entrance that used to be the way back to the outside world was now buried under huge boulders from the mountain which barely held, being also the only one still standing in this world.
Loud demonic screams and growls reverberated through the entire space like an echo through a cave, and beside the deafening noises, a more human roar reverberated just as strong, making even the air to vibrate as tremors made the earth to shake. Sylvia turned and for a moment felt her own eyes hurt. Seeing the disgusting and monstrous entities flying around while shrieking like mad made Sylvia instinctively strengthen her own mental barrier for the second time. She then kept her eyes closed and activated Soul Eyes, seeing only the spiritual form of an object. In less than a few seconds, she got used again to see everything only in a spiritual form then she shot out with the speed of light right inside the group of monstrous black spirits. She was unperturbed by their shrieks, by the eerie aura they emanated, or even by the disgusting sensation it left behind after brushing past one of them. She simply ignored the spirits which seemed to have no power against her as she advanced inside the middle of the whirlwind of dark spirits until she reached the middle of it all.
Shen… → Sylvia
She couldn’t help but look in pain at the black-haired young man with red eyes and overgrown canines, covered in red and gray blood, filled with ugly scars, with thick and incandescent chains burning all over his body as if trying to restrain the evil and monstrous dark aura which evaded his body everywhere around. With a deadpan face, Shen dodged the lightning-fast strikes from the spirits and with a firm fist or quick slash, he would blow them into a dark smoke which would later evade through a wide crack in space, later to return back with another spirit the following suit.
Shen jumped and dodged strikes while some still landed, making his neutral face to flinch from the excruciating pain of having his soul touched again. However, he didn’t stop his movements and continued massacring the monsters with the same cold eyes as before. However, the small grin this time turned into a light growling expression. With a black burning halberd, he would cut everything around him, slash more than a dozen or so monsters in one strike then have other ones strike back at him, making him block or dodge with unnatural speed and accurate movements, appearing at times like a shadow or like a mirage.
While fighting, a gigantic rat with a head of a fat man suddenly appeared behind him ready to slash downwards, only to have its claw blocked with the halberd from above Shen’s head, then his claw grabbed and sent flying in the air and crashing right in front of him, getting his head cut with the halberd right at the moment of impact. Then another white bat-like monstrosity with white skin and transparent enough to have even the organs visible, flew like a bolt toward Shen’s back who was at the moment occupied with slashing and dicing the ones around him. Just before it could make another deep cut through his already tormented body and soul, a white beam of light shot out from the back, making the spirit to evaporate while letting not even the black smoke to remain from it.[…]
All the spirits suddenly quieted down and turned with their yellow or red shiny eyes to see from where the devastating beam appeared from. There, while graciously levitating in the air, Sylvia flew slowly toward the middle where busting spirits were still agitating and rushing like wolves who were fighting for fresh meat. The dark mist would suddenly evade through the monsters, and more space will appear for others to take their place as Shen continued to kill the phantoms.
“…Benedictus Deus, Gloria Patri, Benedictus Dea, Matri Gloria! [AMEN!]”
A loud roar then resounded from through the busting monsters and a golden flame suddenly ignited and exploded from the middle, making every monster to retreat in fear while shrieking and growling in pain. Blue golden flames burned the entire plains making Sylvia feel somewhat comfortable with the fire, letting them harmlessly dance around her as she felt livelier. On the other hand, Shen appeared in the middle of the wild dancing tongues of fire which were leaving burning marks all over his body that slowly healed up once again, but at the same time leaving behind the scars made by the monstrous dark spirits.
“Huff, huff, huff…”
Regna terrae, cantata Deo, psallite Cernunnos, Regna terrae, cantata Dea psallite Aradia…
Shen then used the time to recover some of his breath and restarted chanting an exorcising spell he remembered from one of his books which belonged to someone he forgot about. The spell also affected him and weakened his dark powers, but it was thousands of times better to be burnt by the golden flames than slashed and smashed by spirits which could touch the soul.
His neutral face was now distorted from tiredness and pain. His body was trembling while he felt like he already fought for months when just a few hours passed. Even though his recovery was unmeasurable, his mental state was severely damaged. Illusory tiredness took over himself as the scars made him twitch and shock, giving him even harder times against the monsters and forgetting the chant now and then, making him restart it from the beginning.
Who knows how many times he had to kill all these monsters again and again, only to see them come back with another one or two right behind them, making for an endless loop that would end the moment he fell.
His mind in disarray, his consciousness sealed itself while his subconscious tried to get rid of the danger so he could survive and not end up insane. Even so, his mind was now slowly drifting away because of the prolonged period of time in which his consciousness is still sealed. A normal person, once entered into this state, would be able to remain in it for at most 20 minutes. There are very low chances of someone remaining in that state for a longer period of time. But in case it happens, the chances of the consciousness to enter into the astral are extremely high, as the host would lose control over his body completely, leaving his body to be controlled by pure instincts and senses.
Sylvia looked in silence for a moment then she sighed and examined the surroundings. She saw the rift inside the space that surrounded them and with a simple wave of her palm, the rift started to close up, making most of the spirits to panic and leave in a hurry, while the rest rushed toward Shen while howling madly to interrupt his chanting.
Feeling another presence taking control over his own space, Shen became more restless and while still overwhelmed by pain and tiredness, he canceled the chanting and fully released a dark aura which pushed the spirits away while extinguished the golden flames. His red gaze shifted toward Sylvia and with a mad voice, he shouted hoarsely.
[Ira Daemon: Dei Incarcerata!]
Then from the ground, bluish-black fences of an indestructible metal sprouted out all around Sylvia while from above something like a metallic roof materialized and locked her down completely. The cage had a dark gothic design while it exhumed a dark aura which weakened the one inside. Even if a spirit were to be inside that cage, it would have no chance of getting out, its ability to go through walls having no effect, while bending space to teleport was just as impossible.
Shen then shot out like a bullet toward the caged Sylvia as killing intent flashed through his eyes. Seeing only a white silhouette, Shen simply thought is another monstrous spirit, so while focusing all his demonic powers inside his right arm, he then shouted with the same hoarse voice.
[Ira Daemon: Asmodeum Brachium]!
His entire arm was now black with a metallic luster while a dark fire emanated from it. Then right before reaching in front of the cave, he punched out with all his power, releasing a demonic dark phantom great fist which engulfed the entire cage together with Sylvia, leaving nothing behind but destroyed boulders and rubbles.
Thinking that everything was resolved, Shen hastily restarted chanting while dodging the dark spirits and striking back.
While Shen continued his crazed confrontation, a person materialized from nothing and Sylvia appeared once again, her clothes showing not even the tiniest spot of burn marks, dirt or cuts. With a sad expression on, Sylvia shook her head as she thought with a sigh.
So he truly forgot about me… Even though I know is because he’s suffering, the fact that he tried to kill me still makes my heart ache. → Sylvia
She then revealed her own aura which was now shining with a golden luster, making even Shen step back in shock while the spirits tried to run away but were unable to find even the smallest room for escaping.
With a holy appearance, Sylvia levitated in the air while a golden ring spun above her head with incredible speed.
“Foul spirits. You are not welcomed here!” → Sylvia
Just from the sonic wave, the ugly spirits spat out gray blood while Shen felt like covering his ears. It wasn’t that her presence was pressuring and domineering, it was rather that her holy and light-based aura she emanated was harmful to his devilish features, which now covered almost half his body and made him feel her golden aura like the burning golden flames he summoned before.
After saying such, Sylvia summoned a little ball of white blinding light which shot out in the clouds. She then joined her palms together and shouted:[Form Star]
And the little shiny dot in the sky suddenly grew to the proportions of an asteroid, burning the dark clouds and releasing its light over the entire space over which Shen was master, but had a hard time in controlling it because of his perturbed mind.
The dark spirits were then suddenly set aflame and loud shrieks of pain and terror echoed throughout the entire space as they slowly turned into ashes, burning while experimenting terrible pain.
Even though no flame was covering him, the golden lights still burning his body. He twitched while he covered his face and head in pain, trying to cover himself with his own dark aura, only to have it penetrated by the golden rays.
“Shen, come here.” → Sylvia
Sylvia then appeared through a ray of light and covered him in her own aura, protecting him from the stinging rays of the sun she created. Feeling someone so close to him, Shen instinctively reacted by punching out. Because Sylvia emanated no eerie aura or killing intent, his punch was a quite mild one as she was able to block it with her own palm. Shen’s soulless eyes now had a glint of confusion while not understanding how to react against a being which showed no ill will against him but still invaded his territory.
The sun then died down and a starry sky took its place while the surroundings started to slowly but surely regenerate. The rivers were once again slowly filling with water while the mountains were growing again with light tremors shaking the ground. Even though is still night, the rich rays of light which just shone over the entire space, made for some buds of grass to sprout here and there, showing the first signs of new life to reappear in this world.
Shen was now in front of Sylvia with his guard up while his red eyes stared at her in anticipation, waiting for the tiniest fighting-will to appear inside Sylvia so he could shot out and strike. He gripped tightly at the halberd as the dark flames danced threateningly. At this moment he was still under the influence of his subconscious, his consciousness still buried inside his mind, unable to take control of the body just yet because of the prolonged time it has been sealed.
To his surprise, Sylvia started to lightly step towards him with no defense on, not even a protective barrier.
“Shen. Please wake up.” → Sylvia
She reached out her palm toward his chest but he swiftly grabbed it and released his own aura in a threatening way, growling at her in a low tone. Even so, with a calm expression on, Sylvia didn’t even flinch and simply gazed deeply in his eyes.
Still feeling no danger, Shen released her wrist but with a sharp glint, he imitated her and closed his palm toward her chest as well. Seeing this, Sylvia couldn’t help but giggle.
If I do anything funny then you’ll imitate me and do the same? How crafty. → Sylvia
She then calmly touched his chest while he did the same, above her breast, then she closed her eyes and focused on feeling his soul. She felt Shen doing the same to her and with a naughty smile, she released a wave of affection towards him, making him stiffen up, not knowing how to do the same. For a moment she glanced at him and was unable to hold in a giggle after seeing his confused and even somewhat shocked expression on his face. His deep red eyes were slowly turning green while his ferocious aura was slowly calming down. Even the rustling chains were now stopping moving and imprinted once again on his body, remaining static just like a life-like tattoo.
Sylvia continued on trying to feel his soul as Shen tried to do the same, wary in case of any new wave which would put him in a daze like the last time.
Sylvia’s consciousness then united with Shen and inside a half white half dark mental space, the two of them met face to face.