Lindyss stood in front of a fork leading to three different passages. A trail of unconscious fairies marked the path she traveled to get there. “Looks like the fairy’s map was a little off,” Lindyss mumbled to herself as she closed her eyes. A few moments later she opened them and entered the leftmost passage.
I should reach Stella if I follow the highest concentration of mana, Lindyss thought as she narrowed her eyes. A quartet of fairies appeared in her line of sight as she rounded a bend. She flicked her wrist and a shadowy hand shot out of the ceiling towards the fairies. Their eyes widened as it expanded and slammed them into the ground before they could move out of the way.
Lindyss stepped over their bodies and continued on her way. She passed through more and more tunnels as she proceeded deeper into the caves and encountered a few fairies along the way, forcing each one into the ground. Eventually she came to a halt in front of a doorway with a black golem sitting in front of it. A purple orb was embedded in its rectangular chest, spreading a web of lights through its body.
The golem didn’t react as Lindyss raised her arm and conjured a spear of ice in front of her. It rotated in the air, kicking up the dust on the ground before flying towards the golem. Moments before it hit its target, an explosion occurred behind the spear, speeding it up. The spear pierced the golem’s core like butter, causing it to topple over. Lindyss frowned as a sword made of white light appeared in her hand. She approached the golem and black tentacles sprang from her shadow to probe it.
Too weak, she thought as she confirmed it was disabled. It wasn’t even facing the right way. She walked past the fallen golem into the corridor behind the doorway. The floor got steeper and led downwards like a ramp. She pushed open a door made of orichalcum and raised her hand in front of her eyes as a green light assaulted her vision. Groans and roars reached her ears as well as gasps and squeaks from some fairies.
Lindyss stiffened. Inside the room was a gigantic pool filled with green water. Its diameter spanned over a hundred meters. Underneath the surface, thousands—maybe hundreds of thousands—of worms swam and wriggled, making it impossible to see the bottom. Baskets filled with green spheres lined the edge of the pool. Dozens of humans and demons stood with their wrists and ankles bound by chains attached to the walls. Fairies hovered in front of them with their heads turned towards the doorway where Lindyss stood.
Lindyss reacted first and lightning bolts flew out of her hands towards the fairies. One fairy managed to evade, but—in the next moment—was pierced by a spear that emerged from her own shadow. Lindyss shook her head after confirming the room was clear of fairies. “So it looks like the golem was made to keep things in, not out,” she said to herself as she walked towards the green pool. “I guess I’m responsible for disposing of these since Vur isn’t here yet.” Her head turned towards the fettered prisoners. Saliva ran down their mouths as they struggled against their chains, straining their necks towards Lindyss.
Lindyss snorted as she walked away from the pool towards the prisoners. “You might be resistant to magic,” she said as she stomped her right foot against the ground. A wall of earth rose up in front of the prisoners before pressing towards them. “But I can always just squish you to death.” Squelching noises and shattering sounds echoed through the room as the wall crushed the infected prisoners, manacles and flesh alike.
“How can you use geomancy?” a voice said from behind Lindyss. She turned around and saw a fairy with red hair lying on the ground with a hole in her stomach. It was the only fairy that managed to evade the initial lightning. Lindyss ignored the fairy’s question as she walked towards her and placed a finger on the fairy’s forehead. A green light enveloped the fairy, healing her wounds. The fairy’s eyes widened. “White magic too? What are you?”
“You’re a primary fairy, aren’t you?” Lindyss asked. “First one I’ve seen since I entered this place. You’re going to lead me to Stella after I dispose of these worms.”
The fairy gasped when she heard Stella’s name. “You’re the corrupted one! You dirty witch! You lousy lemon-eyed snot drinker!” She rose to her feet and launched herself at Lindyss. Lindyss snapped her fingers and the fairy’s body stiffened before falling towards the ground.
“Call me what you want,” Lindyss said as she walked towards the pool, leaving the stunned fairy behind. “I did what I had to do. Now be a good little fairy and wait for me to finish cleaning up your mess.”
“I’ve come with an urgent message for the king!” Trent rode a horse, shouting as he approached the gates of the royal castle. “It concerns the pope and the missing prince!”
The two guards standing in front of the gate looked at each other before turning back to the oncoming horse. “Please dismount,” one of the guards said. “We’ll bring you in right away. The king has given orders for us to take anyone with information about the pope and prince directly to him. Of course, as a safety precaution, you must leave your weapons and armor behind.”
Trent nodded as he dismounted and stripped himself of his equipment. He raised his head to look at the guards. His eyes were pure white, with no trace of an iris or pupil. “I just came from the receiving my blessing from the spirits,” Trent said, taking a step back as the guards’ eyes widened. “They’ll return to normal in a few hours.”
“Understood,” the guard said and relaxed his posture. “You must be Trent then? This way.” The guard opened the gate and walked ahead of Trent.
“Yes,” Trent said as the corners of his lips quirked upwards, “I’m Trent.”
The guard stopped in front of a metal door. “The king is inside his study on the second floor,” he said as he knocked twice before opening the door. He gestured for Trent to go in.
“Thank you,” Trent said as he nodded at the guard and stepped inside the room. The room was filled with bookshelves and contained a spiral staircase leading upwards in the center of the room. The door closed as Trent climbed halfway up the stairs. As soon as his head appeared on the second floor, a spear stabbed downwards from behind him, piercing through his spinal column at the base of his neck. His body twitched and he coughed out a mouthful of green blood before collapsing.
“You’re up, Siz,” a voice said. “Charon told us to be wary of worms and to incinerate the body.”
“I know,” a feminine voice said as Trent’s body went up in flames. “Let’s tell the king.”
A diminutive figure sat in the center of a dark chamber. Its eyes flew open and blinked a few times, revealing a pair of irises that shifted colors with every blink. Stella stretched her arms above her head and cracked her neck.
“Ah,” Stella said and rubbed her temples, “that wasn’t very nice of them. Well, it was fun while it lasted.” Her body stiffened.
“Oh?” she said and turned her head around. “I know you. It’s been a while, dragon boy. How’ve you been?”
Vur stood at the entrance to Stella’s chambers with his eyebrows furrowed.