Troy sighed as he looked out the window of the airship. The seven other robed figures sat in seats ahead of him, watching the hornless demons fight Lindyss. Black tendrils sprouted from her shadow, fending the demons off as a torrent of spells flowed from her hands. A red moonlike object floated in the sky above her head, glowing with a dim red light. The demon corpses littering Niffel stirred and released a red mist as the light shone on them. The hornless demons were unharmed by Lindyss’ spells, but at the same time the black tendrils swatted them away before they could reach her.
“Enjoying the show?” a voice said from behind Troy. He froze. A cold spearhead rested against the back of his neck. The other demons turned around and stared at the man holding the spear.
“Chad!” the white bearded demon said. “How’d you-“
Chad smiled. “I’m a dragoon, remember? Jumping’s easy.”
The demons faces turned ugly as they channeled their mana and drew their staves.
Chad raised an eyebrow. “You really want to use largescale magic in such a confined area?”
“What do you want?” the bearded man asked as he gritted his teeth.
“I just wanted to ask a few questions,” Chad said as he lowered his spear. “What I do next depends on your answers.”
“Don’t you know who you’re threatening right now?” another robed figure asked with narrowed eyes and glowing blue horns.
“Yes, I do,” Chad said and smiled as he sat down next to Troy, “and I honestly don’t care. I always despised the royal family, hated them even more ever since Zollstock stole Mina from us. It was quite satisfying to watch him die.”
The demon hissed. “Die!” he shouted and waved his staff forwards. A black icicle materialized in front of him and flew towards Chad. Chad snorted and swatted the icicle with the back of his hand. The icicle slid along the black leather glove and pierced through the ship’s stern. The ship shook and air gushed out of the hole before another demon raised his staff, stopping the flow of air.
“My armor’s made out of crocodile hide from Fuselage. Anything less than a tier four spell won’t even tickle,” Chad said as he dusted off the back of his hand. “Now can we discuss this like civilized men? Or should I kill all but one of you?”
The demon with blue horns snarled. “Insole-“
Clunk. The bearded demon smacked the blue horned demon on the back of the head with his staff and shook his head.
“Great,” Chad said as he leaned back and crossed his legs. “Those parasites. You send S ranked adventurers to Fuselage to cull the creatures and harvest their bodies for materials. What were you thinking when you brought live ones back here?”
The demons glanced at each other, but none of them spoke. Troy cleared his throat. “Biological warfare or, like in this case, last resort defenses. Zollstock was conducting experiments on prisoners to weaponize the worms in the most effective manner.”
“So you do have a plan to stop them.”
All the demons remained silent and looked down.
“You,” Chad said and put his hand on Troy’s shoulder, “speak.”
“Err… Like I said, we’ve been conducting experiments to-.“ Troy gasped as cracking noises resounded from his shoulder. “We don’t. No plans except to wait it out.” Sweat flowed from his forehead as he gritted his teeth and clenched his hands.
“Disgusting,” Chad said and a white mist leaked from his mouth. It formed a layer of ice when it made contact with the seat in front of him. His eyes turned red and blood gushed out of Troy’s shoulder as Chad’s grip tightened. “You pampered dogs send us to die in Fuselage with the promise of treasure and glory. You think you can control everything from your luxurious cushioned seats, never once experiencing danger for yourselves. It seems the current generation of the royal family has forgotten why our ancestors fled to Zuerst in the first place.”
“Once we are able to control th-“
“Nonsense!” Chad growled. “I’ve seen the ruins of Verderb with my own eyes. They tried to control the parasites; look at them now.” Chad’s eyes narrowed and Troy screamed. “None of you are fit to rule.”
Tina shivered and her face paled as she tightened her grip on her staff.
“Too scary,” a trembling voice said from behind her. The Swirling Wind’s members stood on the edge of a roof, looking down into the streets of Niffel. Hundreds of demons with various injuries and gaunt bodies shuffled through the streets, converging towards the center of the city. Red mist continuously leaked out of their bodies and floated towards the crimson orb spinning in the sky. The twenty hornless demons stood underneath the orb, tearing apart the horde of zombies approaching them.
Tina nodded. “I’m glad we never had to fight truly fight her. I never thought a mage could kill infected ones by herself.” The demons standing behind her murmured in agreement. One of the hornless demons let out a screech as its limbs were torn apart by the zombies and a meter long worm burst out of its chest. It burrowed into one of the nearby zombies and disappeared from sight. A few moments later, the zombie disintegrated into a black smoke which was absorbed by the orb in the sky and the worm thrashed against the ground before attempting to dig into the ground. Tina frowned and waved her staff. A giant hammer made of ice materialized above her head and flew towards the worm. It smashed into the ground and obliterated the worm along with the zombies surrounding it.
The red light in Lindyss’ eyes gradually dimmed as more and more hornless demons were torn apart by the zombies. Her eyes reverted to their original color when there were four demons remaining. She shot a glance at Tina as another ice hammer smashed into a worm in front of her. Tina nodded in her direction and signaled her group to advance. In the distance, she saw Dustin with Mina and a group of armed demons fighting through a horde of zombies towards the red moon.
A worm burst out of one of the remaining demons and lunged towards Lindyss, but it was caught in mid-air by a black tendril. A fireball formed in Lindyss’ hands and incinerated the worm. The last infected demon let out a cry and charged towards Lindyss. Its movements were stopped by the tendrils, but the worm flew out of its body, avoiding them completely. Lindyss leapt back while forming a wall of fire in front of her. Her eyes opened wide as she saw a winged figure materialize behind the falling demon caught by the tendrils. Stella! “Sto-.”
“Silence.” Stella pointed at Lindyss before her body disappeared again, leaving behind a tinkling laughter.
The flames on the floor fizzled out and Lindyss swung her left arm out to stop the worm. She let out a cry as it pierced into her flesh instead of being knocked away. Her skin bulged as the worm wriggled in her arm, climbing towards her shoulder.
“Cut it off!” Tina yelled. One of the Swirling Winds behind her released a blade of wind that flew towards Lindyss and severed her arm mid bicep. Her arm thrashed around on the floor, but wriggling could still be seen as the head of the worm continued to crawl up her shoulder and towards her heart. “Too slow,” Tina said as she gritted her teeth and materialized an ice spear above her. It flew towards Lindyss’ and pierced through her shoulder blade, striking the wriggling bump and emerging from the other side with the worm head attached to it. The Swirling Winds released their breaths at the same time.
A roar resounded throughout the city. “AUNTIE!”
Tina’s face paled as she saw a golden, winged figure with blood shot eyes charging towards their group. “Heal her,” she said towards the white robed demon in her group, “we’ll hold him off.”
The robed figure nodded and the remaining demons dashed forward to intercept Vur. Their knees buckled as Vur approached and one of them let out a gasp. Tina narrowed her eyes and her robe released a white light that illuminated the whole city for a brief moment causing the pressure to disappear. A giant ice hammer swung from behind Tina’s back and smashed into the blinded Vur, knocking him off into the distance. Tina grinned. “That felt really satisfying.”
A few moments later, the area she knocked Vur into exploded. The Swirling Winds squinted their eyes and braced themselves as a shockwave passed through them. A translucent golden dragon appeared with its head above the highest building. It opened its mouth and let out a roar that decimated everything in the path towards Tina. A half dome of earth erupted from the ground and sheltered the group from the blast. “I think you made him mad.”
Lindyss’ eyes flickered as a white light enveloped her body. She let out a whisper. “Vur… He awoke?”
“That was Tina’s spell,” Dustin shouted as he sprinted towards the fading red moon. When the light passed through their group, all the zombies collapsed onto the ground. “Let’s go!”
None of the demons noticed they were being followed by a small figure in the distance. When the golden dragon appeared, the figure’s eyes glittered as it let out a smile.