In a few moments, it became clear that my gamble picking this spot was paying off. They were nervously watching me, with regular glances at the sword that told me they didn’t want to get any closer to it.
“Sister, it’s a sweet, tender succubus! How do we get at it?”
“Careful, Sister. It might pick up the sword!”
“I’ll chop that tasty meat with a scythe then!” the first speaker declared, leaving me ample time to declare, “[Wind Wall!]”
The stream of wind scythes were swept away in a powerful shield that unfortunately scattered some of the unfortunate corpse’s remains. I bid a silent apology to him.
According to my fairy sense, a presence was creeping in from my right. I sent a [Fireball] that direction and she halted.
The same idiot that had told me her next attack suddenly seemed to grow a brain by dashing over and cutting off my escape route to my left. Well, I had expected that, eventually. But this meant that now, no matter which direction I went, I was facing only one. The direction I was considering was over the altar that was more-or-less ahead of me. It would be a straight shot up the stairs.
But I had no idea if I could outfly these creatures. Giant Eagles are fast. If their offspring inherited that speed, then they might be able to outfly me.
“She looks so tasty, and she already unwrapped herself for us! What a well-behaved treat!”
I wanted to retort, but the harpy that had snuck in from the right picked that moment to declare, “That pesky pixie is skulking around again, Sisters! I saw her helping this succubus just now!”
The other two started looking around, their heads swiveling around in a very bird-like way that seemed wrong for the human-like heads doing it. The one on my right declared, “There it is!”
It took off into the dark, leaving me suddenly fretting for the little pixie’s safety. I knew that Kiki had already shown skills, but on the other hand, she hid as soon as the harpies showed up. If she had a reason not to face them, then I couldn’t just leave her on her own.
But now I was facing only two of them. My stock of Healing mana was building, stronger and stronger. I could tell it by the way that the floor and the harpies were now showing up in normal vision that I was glowing white again.
Kiki’s voice suddenly rang out, wailing in fear in the dark. The third harpy was chasing her around the room. She bobbed and weave as she flew, because it was right on her tail.
I couldn’t wait any longer.
“[Purification!]” I declared.
Both harpies let out surprised hisses and jumped backward, using their wings to extend the distance. My body filled with searing pain, heat like I couldn’t believe, despite having gone through this before. It just continued on and on as I built up the charge further.
I needed as much purification as I could stand. A cursed weapon is no small thing. It is a weapon spirit turned malevolent through eternal torment, seeking to relieve the unending pain through bloodshed, but never able to stanch its endless thirst.
“It’s gone mad, Sister! It thinks it can purify us!” laughed the harpy on the left, as it closed back in. “Gave us a scare, it did! Crazy succubus, you’d kill yourself if you tried it!”
It really did feel like I was killing myself. Arken had told me that I was destroying nearly all the miasma in my body when I did this. Even though miasma becomes poisonous to us when it builds up too much, monster biology needs miasma in order to function correctly. It was only my fairy side’s resilience, circling the wagons around the minimum quantity required, that was keeping me alive.
Another wail from Kiki made up my mind for me. I lunged for the cursed sword.
The two harpies let out shrieks of dismay as my hand closed around the grip. I poured purification into the thing as I picked it up. Both of them were staring at me with wide eyes; they expected me to go into a manic killing rampage next.
Well, that would work well under my current circumstances, but I couldn’t let it happen that way. I felt the spirit take control of my fingertips, tightening my grip on the weapon.
I could hear it in my mind, whispering to me, Both hands! Grab me with both hands!
“No,” I told it back, as I sprang into the air, sweeping my Vampire Sight around the room, looking for the third harpy. I knew the two behind me would get their courage up soon enough and probably come after me, likely using ranged weapons like that [Wind Scythe] spell the one had used before.
I found them and changed course to intercept. Poor Kiki was wailing, “Noooo! Stay away way!”
That’s right. Let’s kill ’em both. They’re only paying attention to each other! They’re wide open!
“Screw you,” I answered.
Drop what you’re carrying and grab me with both hands! You need to swing me properly!
“If I did that, I would lose the only clothing I have left,” I answered, tightening my grip on my shoes.
Kiki kept changing course. It was the only thing keeping her out of the harpy’s grasp, but it was driving me nuts trying to catch up.
I am Durandal! I am your master, and you shall obey me!
“A talking sword named Durandal,” I muttered. “I ask myself, why am I not surprised?”
I wanted to scream as the pain of purification kept searing my arm while pouring out of me into the blade. I continued to draw the mana, both circulating it to keep the strength up and feeding into the sword, but the twisted spirit within was still trying to take me over.
You cannot fight me! Grip me with both hands!
To my mortification, Kiki went flying up the stairs into the daylight above. The harpy followed, so I had no choice except to join the procession.
“I cannot believe this is happening!” I griped, flying after them, up into the broad daylight in my birthday suit. Although the shadows were getting longer, the temple ruin was still brightly lit.
Ahahahaha! You really are naked! I always wanted to be swung by a naked maiden!
“Pervert,” I said.
Finally, Kiki did just the right maneuver, reversing perfectly 180 degrees while unloading her own fireball.
It was no joke, either. She put a nice big fat one right into the harpy’s face.
Her ‘panic’ had been on purpose, so the harpy wouldn’t expect the sudden attack. It worked well; her pursuer didn’t raise even a token defense before the blast struck. It squawked its indignation as it tried to wheel and follow after its prey, perhaps unaware that some of its flight feathers and its tail were now on fire.
Kiki is a genius. She had ascended when she turned and the harpy was climbing to follow, leaving her above me, her naked chest perfectly exposed to me as she flew right into my sword radius, completely unaware of me.
Yeeeeessssssss!!! crowed Durandal as I plunged it upward, into her. She squawked in agony as the blade ran her through, ruining a breast as it found her heart.
Remembering how Trisiagga had survived a sword through the heart, I half-somersaulted to pull the sword loose with a solid kick to her chest, then immediately got back to her as she dropped. With an overhand swing, I struck her neck.
Durandal was one horrendously dull blade. On the first hit, it had only penetrated her chest thanks to the fairy vampire muscle behind the thrust, and now it only hacked its way in by an inch or so. I might as well have hit her with a wooden practice sword, because the edge didn’t travel a bit during the cut. It’s a myth that any sword from either the West or the East was ever meant for bashing or chopping. To be useful, a sword must either stab or slice. A sword that just chops or bashes is nothing but an improperly designed ax or hammer.
This ill-maintained thing was barely better than a blunt object. Well, you can still blunt someone to death, so it would have to do.
We hit the ground together, but Durandal’s grip on my hand didn’t let go. I got back into the air, ready for the other two.
They were just now emerging from the underground. One of them screamed “Sister!” as they saw her on the ground behind me, but I wasn’t planning to give them any time to mourn.
It was more than just a kill-or-be-killed situation. Durandal’s onslaught on my mind was still ongoing, and I was still pouring purification into him. But killing the monster had distracted him somewhat. I had drawn a little ahead while his focus was off me, as a result.
Pain be damned. I just kept pouring it into him as I set my vision on the next target.
I had another issue to consider with this weapon. I demanded, “What are you made of, anyway?”
The finest Dark Steel that any Svartalfar smith ever forged! he roared.
“Dammit,” I griped. Elven steel. My fairy nature wouldn’t weaken it. I had to defeat this thing or I would be stuck with it.