Another two weeks have passed since we left the caverns. I travelled alongside Asellus out of the forested lands of Althea, towards the demon continent. Every day, we did almost the exact same thing – travel towards the Mystic lands while hunting for food and finding a source of fresh water. In the evening, we stopped for the night and spar non-stop until Asellus can’t even move a single muscle.
During spars she will always use [Tiger Rampage], while I’ll use a silver pole which is about the length of my Greataxe, courtesy of Eva.
I have a lot more stamina compared to her, so after she always goes down before me. After all, except for her speed and her kinetic vision I’m superior to her in all other aspects. Even with her kinetic vision, her reaction time is not fast enough to deal with my attacks and so she always goes down quickly, before getting back up for another beat-down.
After two weeks of repeated training, she finally manages to hold her ground and lasted a good thirty minutes before she show obvious signs of fatigue. I gradually weaken my attacks to match her pace and eventually, she lasted for another thirty minutes before her finally collapse onto the ground in exhaustion.
A female Mystic, after bleeding, will awaken her latent potential within days instead of fifteen years, unlike male Mystics. As Asellus is blooded by the strongest Mystic Vergil, she has excellent combat potential but is still definitely not a match for Vergil himself, as of now. Even with a successful sneak attack, Asellus would probably still lose to him.
I’ve witness Vergil in combat a few times before. Not only is he proficient in magic, he is strong in close combats as well.
For magic, he specialise in weaker spells that he can cast without chanting and in rapid succession, to overwhelm the enemy with a volley of long ranged attacks. I’ve seen him annihilate an entire legion of human soldiers in that manner.
As for closer ranged combat, I’ve seen him use one of his [Absorption] skills which he calls [Absolute Heat]. In that form, one of his arms turn into lava and he’s able to manipulate the lava-arm however he wishes, from extending it to twice its original length to turning it into a gigantic lava claw.
To make things worse, that’s just one of his three skills. In short, he’s really strong in all forms of combat. If there’s a weakness, I suppose that it’s the fact that Mystics are generally more fragile compared to the rest of the seven clans, with a physique as weak as Arachnids. That is the only chance Asellus has as well; to launch a fatal attack on Vergil before he does the same to her.
As for now, the most I can do for her is to repeatedly pound as much combat experience as possible into her as part of her preparation of her battle, the battle that will determine her fate.
For food as well as for training, I gave Asellus the opportunity to kill some of the stronger monsters that we could find. However, none of them was suitable for [Absorption]. That’s to be expected though; if it was such as easy process, Mystics would have become the strongest clan a long time ago.
The forested land of Althea is a huge area of trees and grassy terrain. Only after two weeks of travelling did we finally manage to get out and finally reach our destination – the demon continent.
“It’s been a long while since I’m back here, I miss this place.” (Gideon)
The demon continent is not some desolate land where nothing grows, filled with ruins and demons have to cannibalize each other to survive. It’s almost the same as the human continent; with green fields of grass and trees, customs and regulations that keep everyone in place and well-constructed cities to defend us with.
After coming back here again, a sense of nostalgia floods my senses. This is the land that I want to protect from the humans, or at least that’s what I thought.
After living in human lands for slightly more than a year, I’ve found out many things. Humans aren’t as bad as I initially thought of them to be; in fact, they are the same as us. They are also filled with love, care and trust for their closed ones, and will do everything in their power to protect them from anything. Sure there are some rotten eggs, but so do the demons.
So, why are we still fighting? Can’t we all just live in harmony, and support one and another? Was the other clans right then, in separating from us [Six Pillars] to live by themselves or with the humans?
Have we been going down the wrong path from the very beginning when we pledged our allegiance to Overlord Kruph, to fight back against the humans?
…Too many questions, too little answers. I probably should just focus on my immediate goal – to defeat Vergil and secure the Mystics as an ally to fight against Del’thrush.
“Gideon, what are you doing standing around there in a daze? Alst is just in front of us. Let’s go, I want to make it into the city before night fall.” (Asellus)
Our next destination will be the City of Alst, also known as the stronghold of the demon continent. The reason is because after this city, all routes lead to the [Six Pillars]’s territory and the Overlord’s Castle.
Hence without a doubt, this place is one of the most guarded and protected areas in the entire demon continent. Any sign of human invasion and the full might of the demons will arrive within days to eliminate all the invaders.
There are humans in the city of Alst as well but most of them are simply merchants who are here to trade and barter goods for a good profit, and mercenaries hired to protect them along the journey. Demons are more than willing to accept products that are rare in the demon continent, such as animal fur and unique herbs and fruits.
Of course we’re neither merchants nor mercenaries, but Asellus is a female Mystic after all. Mystics are usually identified either through their blue blood or their [Absorption] abilities, which is a simple test for both Asellus and me. After another hour of walking, we finally reach the city of Alst, or at least right in front of it.
“Halt! Identify yourselves.” (Gatekeeper)
Three gatekeepers are stationed right in front of the open gates, in order not to allow potential trespassers or saboteurs in. The gatekeeper who is talking to us is the largest one of them all; wearing a standard set of heavy armour and having a sword by his waist.
The gatekeeper gives us a firm look of suspicion. I don’t blame him; after all he’s a gatekeeper to keep out unwanted humans, and here we are, two human-like beings walking over from Althea to Alst. I will be surprised if no one tries to stop the both of us instead.
“You humans, state your purpose. If you’re not merchants, turn back and leave; this is your first and only warning.” (Gatekeeper)
“Such insolence, do you have any idea who you’re talking to? This lady over here is the fifteenth consort of Lord Vergil, Asellus!” (Gideon)
Upon hearing that, the gatekeeper hesitates slightly, but recovers almost immediately afterwards.
“Anyone can make claims, what proof do you have? You’re not the first to make such a claim, but you’re the first to dare claim that a royal consort of Lord Vergil has made her way here! Her clothing indeed does look like a Mystic’s however…” (Gatekeeper)
“Then, will this prove my identity?” (Asellus)
With a transformed arm, she scratched her other non-transformed arm and purple blood slowly flows out, dripping onto the floor.
Normal Mystics have blue blood, while humans have red blood. Therefore, blooded Mystics will have purple blood. This time, the gatekeeper’s face turns blue in shock and quickly kneels down in respect.
“M-My most sincere apologies, Lady Asellus! Please head right in, welcome to the city of Alst! (Gatekeeper)
As expected, even when she’s just the fifteenth consort of Vergil, the amount of respect that a relative of a member of the [Six Pillars] get is significant.
“Of course, this shall be kept a secret. We’re on an important mission given to us from Lord Vergil, so do not blow our cover.” (Asellus)
“Of-of course, all three of us will keep our mouths shut!” (Gatekeeper)
After we entered the city, I asked Asellus why she had to keep her identity a secret. Turns out, Mystic consorts hardly get to leave Mystic lands and if her identity is known its highly likely that news will spread and Vergil will realise she has escaped.
After hearing that, I immediately gave her my makeshift bear skin cloak to cover up her Mystic wear and hoped that there isn’t any other Mystics in the area that will recognise her.
Inside the city, the first thing we did is to find a tavern and enjoy some properly cooked and seasoned food. Eating fruits and self-grilled meat is great, but eating the same thing day after day for two whole weeks is…boring, to say the least.
While eating, Asellus suddenly stop eating and looks at me.
“What’s wrong, the food isn’t up to your taste?” (Gideon)
“It’s not that…it’s just, you know about me, but I just realise that I hardly know anything about you, who you are, where did you come from.” (Asellus)
Ah…right. I rescued her from the slave traders, and after that we just had training and more training for an entire two weeks.
I don’t know much about Asellus either, but at least I know that she is a child of two farmers, and both her parents were killed by Vergil as he took her to be his consort. She tried to escape after a year, and was unlucky caught by slave traders who wanted to bring her back to Vergil.
But she knows absolutely nothing about me, other than the fact that I’m human and fourteen years old. And even that is only half-true!
I don’t really mind telling her everything, but this may lead to a second Crystal happening. Even if the chances aren’t low, this time I want to avoid such a scenario.
“I don’t have much of a backstory; all you have to know is that Del’thrush has killed almost everyone that I care for, and he’s going to pay for it one way or another. I won’t rest until I get my revenge.” (Gideon)
I trembled ever so slightly as I said those words. The enmity between us will never fade, no matter how much time may pass.
“I understand your pain. Therefore, I’ll trust your words. I’ll definitely help you in your revenge, if you help me with mine. As for your past, I’ll find out about it eventually so I’ll wait until that day arrives.” (Asellus)
“I doubt it. Not many people know my past.” (Gideon)
We got a room in the very same tavern and this time, we rent a room with a double-bed. I wanted two rooms, but Asellus insists that one room is safer, in case of assailants. I grudgingly agreed to her demands. Then, we went to explore the town in order to see what kind of items are for sale and just to take a look around.
As I rushed out of the human continent in a hurry and did not buy anything before, I have almost nothing with me, save some Monzae leaves and the wooden rod that Lilithia gave me, which I’ve always kept by my side.
I took it out a few times before and gave it a look once in a while. A lot of things have happened these past few months, and I almost forgot about this wooden rod, the only thing that serves as a clue to finding out the past Gideon’s parents.
I don’t really care too much about finding them, however. After all, I’m not the past Gideon. What am I really interested about is this wooden rod itself. Despite getting into a fight almost every day since that fateful night, this wooden rod has never had a single blemish or scratch; it has always been as beautiful as the day I received it.
Maybe one day I’ll uncover its mysteries, but for now I’ll concentrate on my own objective.
“Hey, watch it human! Don’t daydream in the middle of the road!”
While I was lost in thought, I accidentally bump into a werewolf walking the opposite direction, and he spills a drink that he was holding to. I apologise briefly and walk away, but then he grabs me on the shoulders tightly.
“Wait just a minute…you spilled my drink, and now you’re just going to walk away? You’re pretty arrogant from a human, aren’t you?” (Werewolf)
Before I can reply him, Asellus steps in front of me and takes over.
“Look, he’s already apologized. Why don’t I pay for the drink, and let’s end this silly fight right now?” (Asellus)
“This is not about the drink, woman! It’s about how you humans are being so audacious in this city of Alst! This is the demon continent, not your territory.” (Werewolf)
An evil grin appears on his face, as he waves his paw at us in a threatening manner.
“So, what do you propose we should do, werewolf?” (Gideon)
“Kneel down in apology or suffer a beating quietly. As per the city rules, I cannot kill you but I can sure as hell beat you to an inch of your life! If you kneel down, I might just find some generosity and let you go after kicking you once or twice. ” (Werewolf)
(Master, this little pup is acting so high and mighty! Let’s deal with him! Beat him into submission!) (Eva)
“Must you really make things so difficult and insist on trampling another person’s pride? We can settle this very easily with some money-” (Asellus)
“Kneel, or suffer.” (Werewolf)
Before we even noticed, a crowd has formed with us being the centre of it all. A large majority of the crowd are demons, cheering for the werewolf.
If only they knew that Asellus here is the consort, they wouldn’t be so smug about it. It’s one thing to reveal her identity to the gatekeeper, but in a crowd like this? News will definitely travel back to Vergil.
“Fine then, let’s go to the [Arena] and settle this, shall we?” (Gideon)
Truth be told, I have been holding back my anger for quite a while already. The last time I came here, I was a respected Ogre Lord, and many immediately gave way when I walk around. Now, a simple bump is causing me this much trouble. The difference in treatment is simply frustrating, to say the least.
A moment of silence lingers in the air, before the crowd went up in a flurry.
“That kid wants to go to the [Arena]? Is he trying to forfeit his own life?”
“Humans these days are getting more and more reckless; doesn’t he know his place here?”
The Arena of Life and Death, also known just as [Arena] by the demons, is an area where all conflicts can be settled in the easiest manner – a fight to the death. There are no rules and more often than not, only one will step down from the [Arena] alive. Even humans are allowed to use the [Arena] in the demon continent; it’s a rule that is passed down ever since the treaty between humans and demons.
“Even better; now I can kill you without any hesitation, slowly and painfully!” (Werewolf)
With a leap, he jumps over the crowd of onlookers and walk towards the arena, located at the centre of the city. I follow him closely behind, with the onlookers jeering at me while cheering for him at the same time.
The [Arena] is a simple square stage made out of huge bedrock, placed on the ground. Blood stains cover a large part of the stage, and I have to admit some of them are caused by me last time. Looks like today I’ll add another stain on the stage again!
Author : Kiribou