Having regained his consciousness, Fayde gently rose from Allein’s body. She had stopped speaking, but the tears flowed from her eyes uncontrollably.
She was at a loss of what to say or do and she only watched Fayde as he sat uprightly. Fayde looked at her, not with the sad and pitiful look he had shown her since that day she betrayed him, but with a look of understanding.
“Allein, I’m sorry.” He said much to her surprise.
“What are you saying Fayde, I was the one who hurt you…”
When Fayde had first met Allein, she had always spoken in a confident and haughty voice, one that could be mistaken for condescending. He strangely missed that voice even if he knew that she was only pretending. It was a means to protect herself from loneliness and the responsibility that had been thrust upon her.
Her voice now had become pitiful, but he hoped soon that she could show him her true self. It was something that he had only caught glimpses of.
An explosion of energy reminded Fayde of where he was. He had almost forgotten, but once he regained his focus, he abruptly stood.
“Let’s talk later. First, I have to deal with this monster.”
Accadeas had been blown back by the lich and he could no longer stand. His rage had finally subsided as all of his power had been used up. He struggled to get up, but couldn’t gather the strength to lift his body and collapsed. The lich cackled at the sight of the struggling warrior, enjoying the sight of his pain and suffering.
Its eyes once more turned to Fayde and was surprised to see that he was once more standing and no longer in agony.
“What is the meaning of this?” The lich’s guttural voice reached Fayde’s ears, but he paid it no mind and instead ignited his body in flames.
Fayde unsheathed his sword and imbued it with his power.
“It’s time to end this!”
Fayde swiftly flew towards the lich standing at the top of the enormous crypt and swung his sword sideways in a wide arc, “Void Strike!”
Fayde’s attack unleashed a wide swathe of energy that crashed against the barrier protecting the lich. The barrier itself possessed dimensional properties, but Fayde’s ‘Void Strike’ had the power to cut across dimensions in a limited field. His strike cut clean through the barrier, sending the lich reeling backwards and its bones clattering due to the impact.
“You can’t possibly have the will to defy me! There is nothing greater than my REVENGE!”
The lich poured its energy into the tip of its bony finger which was aimed at Fayde and fired an even more intense beam of dark energy towards him.
The flaring flames that surrounded Fayde’s body increased in intensity, exploding forth with an immense energy. Fayde’s new ability ‘Void Barrier’ spread outwards from his body and the beam of dark energy crashed against it, cracking the barrier but dying out before it reached Fayde’s body.
His encounter and subsequent conquest of his owner inner demons fraught with the desire for revenge allowed him to acquire a similar ability to that of the lich, which was being controlled by the vengeance fragment of the ‘Void’s’ consciousness.
“You are nothing more than a weak and pathetic fragment, submit to my will!!” The lich commanded in its unnatural voice, but Fayde could hear traces of desperation.
Fayde gathered ‘Void’ energy into his fist and released a ‘Void Beam’ which struck the lich in its shoulder, sending it back a few steps.
“It’s true that I may not have been born as other Humans, but I am alive and I have my own will. I will not allow a crooked and fleeting desire like revenge to determine my path!”
“Hahaha, fool. I shall devour this world and everyone in it!”
Raising its staff, the lich struck the ground once more sending shivers throughout the dungeon. It was almost as if an earthquake had struck and Fayde almost lost his footing. With the distraction, the lich fired several beams of dark energy which struck Fayde’s barrier blowing him back away from the lich.
“Rise my children, rise and destroy my enemies!” Roared the lich as a bright purple glow emanated from its staff.
Another bell gonged and from the ground all around Fayde and his companions, innumerable undead creatures began to break free.
“Reia, Allein and Tris, protect Accadeas and Laila! Hold back the undead until I deal with this lich!” Fayde shouted without glancing back towards his companions.
He couldn’t afford to take his eyes off of the lich even for a second. The lich’s bony teeth continued to clack together and it forced a strangely crooked smile that looked absurd on its entirely skeletal face.
“You will all die here and become food for the worms!”
The lich once again raised its staff and a bright flare of purplish energy spread outwards like a stream of light, blanketing the undead monsters in its ghastly glow. Their movements became more precise and they rapidly closed the distance with Reia and the others below.
“Dammit, I have to help them!”
Fayde moved to rush to their aid but the lich wouldn’t let him go that easily. It recreated its barrier while firing beams of dark energy towards Fayde.
“Don’t worry Fayde, I won’t let you die. I still require your body!” The lich cackled madly while bombarding Fayde’s barrier relentlessly with its magic.
“Dammit! You fucking bastard! What do I do…. I can’t hold on forever, my VP is being drained continuously.”
Reia and Allein sent barrage after barrage of flame arrows towards the approaching undead and while they were weak to the flames, they continued to advance seemingly without end. Tris enhanced her arrows with flame magic and was sniping the undead monsters as quickly as she could.
Accadeas rose slowly, he had been mostly healed but he wasn’t at his full strength and Laila was still unable to fight. Accadeas moved in front of the women and prepared to engage in close combat if any undead broke through the barrage of fire magic.
Fayde sensing the dire situation struggled to hold back the dark energy beams of the lich, “I need more power!”
Fayde quieted his thoughts and reached out with his mind. Even if the ‘Void’ had created him in the image of a Human, he was no normal Human and the ‘Void’ was a part of him. If this dungeon and these creatures were an extension of the ‘Void’ then he should be able to draw strength from the dungeon as well.
Fayde remembered back to the first time he had explored a dungeon. He remembered the feeling he had when he absorbed power from it. It had been a desperate act, but one that had ultimately been successful.
“GIVE ME YOUR POWER!!” Fayde screamed as he pulled his head back.
Something within him resonated with the energy pulsing within the dungeon sending vibrations throughout his body. Fayde arched his back in pain and a stream of torrential power poured into him like a pillar that stretched towards the sky.
Noticing the energy that was streaming into Fayde from the dungeon, the lich cried out in agony as it felt its power being absorbed. The purplish light that had encased the many undead creatures began to wane and they visibly slowed.
Fayde’s companions had already engaged them in close combat and were almost overwhelmed by their sheer numbers and power. They now fought back more fiercely, pushing the undead creatures back.
Fayde’s power swelled exponentially and the sound of the surging power being absorbed into his body overwhelmed his screams of pain. Fayde’s body exploded in dense and overwhelming flames, scorching the very air around him.
His eyes turned black as midnight, leaking shadowy energy from his pupils. A black liquid oozed from the corner of his eye like blood, and throbbing blackish veins pulsated beneath his skin.
In that moment, all time stopped. The struggle of his companions, the mad cackling of the lich, the guttural sounds of the undead, none of it existed within that temporal reality created by Fayde’s use of the ‘Void’s’ power. It was a power he had made his own and only he existed within that eternal space, his ragged breathing the only sound.
“It’s time to end this… ‘Void Strike’!”
Fayde unleashed a wave of dark energy from his blade that cut straight through the torso of the lich without any resistance. The effects of ‘Aetherius Aeternum’ ended and time returned as it was before Fayde unleashed his power.
Only Fayde knew what had transpired in that infinite moment in time and the lich could only glance, a momentary and fearful gaze, towards its lower body before its body split cleanly in two and the light of its eyes faded.
All of the undead creatures that had been under its power dropped to the ground, their lifeless corpses no longer moving.
Fayde fell on his knees as the flames which surrounded him dissipated and exhaustion hit him. He looked back towards his companions and he saw Reia running towards him while Allein healed a battered Accadeas.
It appeared that they all survived, and he sighed in relief before collapsing to the ground and losing consciousness.
Although Fayde hadn’t been severely injured, his mind had been strained by the constant struggle with the fragment of the ‘Void’. It had drained him of much of his strength and by using an excessive amount of his power afterward, he drifted to sleep and they couldn’t wake him up.
All of Fayde’s companions had survived and the dungeon had been successfully conquered, but the dungeon core was nowhere to be found. Reia surmised that it must have been somehow absorbed by Fayde during the battle and she also recalled that something like this had happened in the first dungeon they had explored together.
With nothing left for them, they made their way back towards the entrance of the dungeon slowly.
Allein watched Accadeas carry Fayde through the dungeon and she refused to take her eyes off of him. She had seen the struggle that he had faced when the seed of revenge attempted to take control of him. She had seen the man that she once called father.
He looked just like she remembered and a slight smile touched her lips while a single tear slowly glided down her smooth face. She remembered his smile and his kind words. He was always good to all those around him.
Allein’s mother, and all of her brother’s and sisters who came before her, were not present in that place. But, she remembered the words that her father said to Fayde and she realized that they were all gone.
The fragments of the ‘Void’, and the ones that stole its power…. The Divinities. But, those so called ‘Divinities’ didn’t remain comrades for long, they remain in conflict with the ‘Void’ and each other. I wonder how many of them still remain… I don’t understand it all, but my father was definitely influenced by a fragment of the ‘Void’ and so was I, but those fragments could not fully control us like they can for Fayde. Fayde was created to be a vessel, but Demihumans were more along the lines of an accident. In my case, the ‘Void’ fragment I came into contact lied to me, it told me I could save my family, but it was a lie and it also sealed my own mind not allowing me to tell Fayde the truth.
There was much for Allein to consider as she began to unravel the mysteries of their world and the impact that the ‘Void’ had on it. With her heart and mind freed from the web of lies inflicted upon her by it, she no longer felt chained and imprisoned. A heavy weight had been lifted from her soul, and she hoped that when Fayde woke, he could find it in his heart to forgive her.