Zollstock sat on his throne and looked down at the two demons standing before him. Chad and Tina gazed up at Zollstock while standing a foot away from each other. The two wore their hunting gear and there was no sign of the mithril medallions they had the day before.
Chad’s armor was an amalgamation of various creature’s exoskeletons and hides. His torso was encased in a grey crab shell with symmetric black runes spreading out from his chest. Black scaled leather with claws at the ends covered his arms and legs. Bone plated guards covered his shins and forearms. He wore a giant red bird’s skull as a helmet, his horns threading through holes at the top. The haft of his lance was made of orichalcum and a black scorpion tail acted as the lance head.
Tina wore an orange robe with blue embroidery. The robe’s threads were made of orichalcum and mithril. On her head was a blue tiara with rubies embedded along the edge. A silver metal staff was strapped to her back. Mounted on the top of the staff was an eyeball with green slit irises that moved as if it was inspecting its surroundings.
Zollstock frowned. “I’ve heard you two were gravely injured yesterday while you were preparing to see me,” he said.
Chad clenched his lance, but didn’t say a word as he glared at Zollstock. Tina tilted her head downwards. “We were unprepared and let our guards down,” she said. “We didn’t expect a human child to be so strong.”
Zollstock nodded. “That is understandable,” he said. “That boy is one of the reasons why I called your parties back.”
Chad ground his teeth together. “I’ll kill him,” he said and spat on the floor. “Then I’ll revive him and kill everyone he’s ever loved as he watches in despair.”
Zollstock gazed at the stained carpet. “No. The boy must not be harmed for now,” he said. “The dragons favor him and they’ll invade us if misfortune befalls him.”
Tina wrinkled her brow and crossed her arms. “Then why are we here?” she asked. “And why would the dragons favor a human child?”
“There was a plan for your parties,” Zollstock said and stroked his chin, “but I’m not so sure about your effectiveness after yesterday’s… mishap.”
Chad’s nostrils flared. “Are you doubting our strength?” he said, a low rumbling sound came from his throat.
“Quite frankly, yes,” Zollstock said and nodded, “I am. The highest level warrior and mage lost to a child who didn’t even have a sub class.”
Chad snorted. “I’ll show you weak,” he said and stepped forward with his left leg while raising his lance over his head with his right hand. He launched his weapon towards Zollstock. Tina raised an eyebrow and took two steps away from Chad.
A black mist materialized in front of Zollstock and Seth stepped forward with two swords crossed in front of his chest. The lance tip collided with the swords and metal screeched as the scorpion tail pierced through the blades. Seth’s eyes widened as the spear passed through his chest and continued towards Zollstock.
The scorpion stinger lodged itself in Zollstock’s chest and the lance throbbed as it injected venom into his heart. Seth coughed out a mouthful of blood through his mask and collapsed onto the floor. He turned his head and raised his arm towards his lord. His vision faded to grey and his hand fell to the floor limp. Zollstock’s eyes were wide and his head was thrown back. His limbs spasmed and white foam frothed in the corners of his mouth.
Tina frowned. “You probably shouldn’t have done that,” she said as she watched Zollstock’s body twitch.
Chad sneered. “He probably shouldn’t have been so ineffective.” He walked forward and stepped on Seth’s body as he twisted the lance deeper.
Vur sat up and groaned. His head pounded and he rubbed his temples. He was naked and a star shaped scar decorated his left shoulder and back.
“Hey, look who’s finally up,” Rella said as she flit near his face. She pinched his cheeks apart and moved his head side to side. “Do you know how heavy you are? You weigh at least fifty pounds. Be glad we could carry you with magic.”
Vur knocked her aside with the back of his hand. “Where am I?” he asked and glanced around. They were surrounded by dome of grey mist. The interior was dim and a few rays of sunshine poked through.
“Rude!” Rella said and flew next to Yella while pouting.
“We’re outside our home!” Bella said and poked his left shoulder. “Does that hurt?”
Vur winced and shook his head. “Just sore,” he said. “Everything feels sore. What happened?”
“Well…” Yella said and tilted her head. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
Vur frowned and rubbed his hands against his face. “I drank Dustin’s fire water. Then one of you tugged my ear and made me break the wall. Then… was there fire? I remember lots of fire. Maybe screaming too.”
The fairies all looked away and whistled.
“You’re a very fun drunk,” Bella said, not meeting his eyes.
“A real hotshot.”
“Really warmed up the night.”
“Anyways,” Yella said and coughed. “We can save our queen now!”
Vur stretched his arms above his head. “Where’s Tafel?” he asked.
Bella shrugged. “Probably with her mom,” she said and flew up to the mist’s edge. She popped her head outside and glanced around. To anyone outside of the hemisphere, it would’ve looked like her head materialized out of thin air. She flew back inside.
“It looks all clear,” she said. “Seems like it’s a holiday or something?”
“Or it’s a trap,” Yella said and nodded. The entrance to the mana source was devoid of the usual adventurers and students. Everyone left because they wanted to see the Black Hounds and Swirling Wind. Or the destruction in the city.
Rella shrugged. “Let’s hurry up before people get here,” she said. “I can feel her aura calling to me.” Rella trembled and flew in an upwards spiral.
Vur groaned and rose to his feet. He wobbled and Yella helped stabilize him. “We tried healing you with wind magic, but it doesn’t remove poison or status ailments,” she said. “It just closed your wound.”
Bella perched on Vur’s head. “Let’s goooooo,” she said and tugged his hair.
Vur walked out of the mist and approached the entrance to the mana source. A few slimes hopped around and squelched as the fairies flew towards them.
“I missed these slimes so much,” Rella said and sighed. She hugged one and pat its head before flying in front of Vur again. The group continued onwards towards the next room as the slimes inched along behind them.
The next room was filled with flying spoons and forks. They screeched and swarmed the fairies, shoving each other out of the way. The trio pet and rubbed the utensils with tears in their eyes. Yella sniffled a few times and Bella blew her nose with Vur’s ear. The utensils attached themselves to the slimes and followed along as makeshift weapons.
Vur stopped at the entrance to the third room with the fairies and an army of slimes armed with utensils behind him.
The fairies looked over his shoulder. Rella’s mouth fell open and Yella gasped.
Tears streamed from Bella’s eyes as she buried her face in Vur’s hair. “Oh no.”