On the sixth day, Fayde and his companions had made it to the last floor of the dungeon. The tenth floor was a large necropolis filled with a variety of dangerous undead monsters. Each floor of the dungeon was similar in that there was no change in weather patterns or time of day.
Eternal night seemed to rule this dungeon. A fitting setting for a realm of the undead.
“I was really excited when we started this expedition, but this has really turned out to be underwhelming…”
Accadeas watched Fayde as he walked ahead, somewhat distant from the rest of the party. Fayde was covered entirely in black flames and as he walked, it attracted undead who continued to swarm him.
However, not only could they not hurt him, whenever an undead attacked him, they ignited in flames and died.
“Well…. It’s not normally like this. The last time we entered a dungeon, we had a lot of trouble clearing the lower floors. I wasn’t expecting this either…”
Even Reia was surprised by the pace of their exploration and just like this, they had moved through the dungeon with relative ease. It wasn’t even necessary for anyone else to act, except for the occasional wandering monster.
“I’m more concerned with the his silence and the way he has been keeping a distance from us.”
Unlike the others, Laila observed Fayde with a lonely look. She was the most troubled with Fayde’s behavior since she had only spent a brief time with him before he changed so drastically.
Laila desperately hoped he would return to his previous cheerfulness and his minor clumsiness which she had found to be cute.
“There’s nothing we can do. We just need to be there for him until he is ready to open up to us. I can’t imagine that it is just the matter with Allein that is troubling him. I feel like there is something else, but until he tells us what it is, we can’t help him.”
Laila accepted Reia’s words, but she couldn’t quiet down the incessant voice of caution from within her heart.
“There’s no point in continuing this depressing talk! I want to kill something! Hey Fayde! Leave some monsters for me!” Accadeas shouted towards Fayde but was ignored.
“That bastard…” Accadeas said under his breath without any malice.
“Hahaha, what’s the matter Accadeas? Is there no meaning to your life if you’re not killing something you damn demon!”
“Shutup you Imperial rat! You’re lucky Fayde let you live, nevermind having the honor of traveling with us. He should have let me wring your neck!”
“I’m not a rat! I’m a raccoon idiot! Are you too much of a brain dead brute to see the difference!?”
Tris bared her fangs at Accadeas as the two got in each other’s face. Laila got in between them and smacked the two in the head.
“We are in the middle of a dungeon! Stop fighting! You are embarrassing yourselves.”
It may have just been a simple smack, but a smack from Laila was nothing to sneeze at. The two nursed their pained heads and their bruised pride while Laila glared at them with her ‘Demon Eyes’.
Their reactions were very different, but they both acquiesced without arguing any further.
“Tris, you’ve changed…”
Reia had known Tris for several months now and she had noticed the dramatic change from when she was Human till now. Although, she considered whether this was in fact Tris’s true personality and what she had shown before was just acting. Tris had been a spy after all.
You were never so aggressive before, has becoming a Raccoonkin changed your personality? Reia thought to herself.
It was something she had spent quite a bit of time thinking about because it might give her insight into Fayde’s change. Was his change due to the affects of the ‘Void’ or was it something else? She didn’t have the answers, but she hoped in time it would come to her.
Reia glanced over her shoulders at Allein who had been silent the entire expedition. She knew Allein had some of those answers, but she was remaining silent no matter how much Reia asked. Allein’s behavior and actions were still a mystery and Reia couldn’t understand her.
As they continued to navigate the crypts and graves within the necropolis, they knew they were drawing closer to the master of this dungeon. They could feel a dark energy building up and swelling somewhere further ahead.
“We aren’t far now. I can feel an immense power. This is different from the other dungeons we explored…”
“Sis, do you see anything with your eyes?”
Laila concentrated and looked off into the distance towards the surge of energy they all felt.
“There is a dense concentration of energy ahead, it looks almost like a pillar of dark flames… It is similar to when you activate ‘Demon’s Rage’ brother.”
They all looked towards the area where they felt the dense energy, but only Laila could see it with her eyes. Nonetheless, they could all feel a torrent of power that raged out of control and as they drew closer, it only increased.
Allein, who had been walking quietly behind the others, approached Reia and lightly touched her shoulder.
“Reia… it’s dangerous. I think we should return…” She said in a meek voice.
“Do you know something about this Allein? Tell me now if you do!” Reia raised her voice unintentionally and shook Allein.
“I…” Allein stepped away from Reia and shook her head, “I don’t know, it just feels… wrong.”
“Bah! You’re no help girl! We should have just left you back at the caravan. Whatever it is, we will just blow it away!” Accadeas announced brashly while smashing a fist on his other hand.
“Let’s hurry up and catch up with Fayde, he must have noticed it by now. We need to be prepared for a fight.”
Following after Laila, the group rushed towards Fayde who had stopped moving as he stared towards where they felt the dense energy.
“Fayde, do you feel that?” Said Reia.
Fayde released his power and no longer looked like a mass of black flames.
“That must be the master of this dungeon, let’s hurry.”
Before anyone could say anything else, Fayde took off at a run and they were forced to follow after him.
The intense energy only grew as they came closer to it and concern was etched in most of their faces. There was also a familiarity that they could not explain and as the energy grew denser, they felt an uncomfortable feeling at the corner of their minds.
They finally approached an enormous crypt made of blackened stone. As if to guard each side of of the entrance, two gargoyles crouched protectively over the gloomy stairway. Although they were made of stone, they exuded an almost lifelike appearance.
Fayde approached without caution and stood at the base of the crypt while he observed the gargoyles. They remained motionless and seemed to in fact be, just stone statues.
“Looks like they aren’t monsters, only decoration.” Fayde mumbled to himself.
“Fayde, be careful! Whatever is the origin of that strange power is coming closer.”
Fayde didn’t seem to hear Reia’s warning and instead his eyes were focused on the entrance at the top of the stairway. He could hear a distant voice slowly invading his mind. It was a voice filled with murderous intent.
It was a voice that only he could hear, but soon the sounds of something banging against stone caught the attention of the party.
It was the sound of a cane banging against stone and soon, cackling followed after it. A hooded and robed figure exited from the crypt and stood at the top of the stairway. Once the group’s eyes focused on the solitary figure, they could see a bony hand grasping a large and crooked staff.
The cackling of the ominous figure continued. It was an unearthly sound that couldn’t possibly belong to a living body of flesh and blood.
A bony hand pulled back the hood revealing a skeletal and terrifying appearance with smoldering red eyes that glowed intensely.
“Is it a lich…”
“Welcome Fayde.” The voice of the creature was grating and creeped eerily at the corner of Fayde’s mind.
“How do you know my name?” Fayde shouted towards the creature.
“I have been waiting for you… always waiting… I am the ‘Void’ and the ‘Void’ is me…”
Its voice continued to grow in intensity within Fayde’s mind and as it grew, it became a dull and aching pain.
“Don’t listen to its words Fayde! It is only a broken and corrupt fragment! You must not allow it to control you!”
Fayde almost didn’t recognize the voice and was surprised when he saw it was Allein that had spoken out. She had said nothing during the entire expedition, but now she had spoken with certainty as if she knew something no one else did.
Every eye fell on her with scrutinizing gazes, but her focus was entirely on Fayde as she pleaded with him.
Once, he might have listened to her warning, but her words only fell on deaf ears. He gave her only a momentary glance before returning his eyes to the lich above him.
“What are you?”
“A memory… A lingering consciousness reaching out for revenge against those that deceived me… You and I are the same, Fayde. I can feel another part of me within you. Become one with me and together we shall get our revenge!”
The lich struck the stones beneath its feet with its staff and the sound of a bell reverberated through the dungeon.
An immense swirling tornado of energy spun wildly out of control around the lich. It was only visible to Laila, but the others could feel its intense pressure and they were immediately on guard.
“Sister, what is going on!?”
“I don’t know… Fayde! Be careful!”
Fayde could no longer hear the words from his companions and he grasped his head with both hands as the sound of the bell continued to blare within his mind, clouding his reason. He screamed and bent forward, his face distorted in pain.
“Why do you fight it Fayde? You and I are the same. I know your thoughts, you seek revenge as well. Haven’t you called out in the deepest recesses of your mind for vengeance, to kill and slaughter all that live? Hahahahahaha! LET ME IN!”
Fayde’s companions struggled to move forward against the torrential power that was now circling around the area. It moved like a powerful wind, pushing against them, threatening to toss them away from Fayde’s crumpled form.
Fayde, who was now on his knees, continued to scream in pain. Black Flames ignited and flared out rhythmically as Fayde struggled to keep his sanity.
“Laila, quickly, use your ‘Demon Eyes’! You must help Fayde!”
Reia’s strained voice reached Laila, but before she could use her power, the lich pointed towards her with a bony finger and released a powerful beam that struck her in the shoulder, sending her flying.
“Do not interfere cursed one!”
“Sister! NO! YOU BASTARD! I’LL KILL YOU!”
Accadeas roared and he began to rage out of control, losing himself to his rage. Before he completely lost his will, he forced words out of his mouth, “Reia, help my sister…”
Accadeas roared once more and a dark blood red energy burst out of his body, igniting his body in an immense fury of energy.
The lich showed no sign of wariness towards Accadeas and cackled as its teeth clattered.
“You are nothing more than an incomplete and worthless vessel. One which should have been exposed of. I shall rectify that mistake.”
A bony finger was once more raised by the lich and another beam of dark energy was fired towards Accadeas. The beam struck and exploded against his body, but the energy flaring around his body endured.
“I’LL KILL YOU!”
Accadeas screamed at the top of his lungs and propelled his body forward at an incredible speed, his fist pulled back ready to give a finishing blow!