Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- Earl Tacrio(vampire): A bounty mage from the Asmodian Allied
- Marshmallow: Cohen’s massive and powerful and mysterious friend in space.
“What is this?”
Tacrio was about to reach for my beating heart. However, his sharp nails did not pierce the chanted armor above my skin, but instead pressed on a round object on my left chest.
“…” I was too weak to answer.
“This is… Gaia’s Shell!” He examined my armor closely and his words became restless, “Where did you get this?!”
“Mine!” He started to remove my armor vigorously, “So that’s how you survived my lightning.”
My body was in turbulence due to Tacrio’s fumbling which made the gorgeous dagger on my other hand, which I so desperately tried to grasp, fell. The blade made a ‘puff’ sound and penetrated into the soil.
Tacrio’s eyes laid upon the dagger then was fixed there. He let go of my armor and unclenched his hands. My body fell down to the ground.
“Vampiric Touch… it’s the actual Vampiric Touch… one of the two ancient Great Vampire chief’s hand-held blades…” He carefully wiped the dirt off dagger hilt and kissed the gems on it like a prayer. Tacrio touched the dagger hilt with his face and said tearfully, “YOU! Where did you get this?”
My last weapon was gone. I looked at him blankly without any intentions on talking.
“Mine!” Tacrio pocketed the dagger without a second thought, only to find his cloak ragged and full of holes. Distressed, he then bitterly placed the blade on the ground beside him.
The Vampiric Touch was fingers away, but I was not even able of the capabilities to move my fingers.
“You rat must have something else!” His look scanned over my body like a burglar in a treasure cave, “I just know it! You can’t fool me! Yes! I know!”
“HAHAHAHA! Dragon Pendant! Oh gosh! Ice Tear Gems!” Tacrio screamed aloud like a madman.
He pulled off the pendant on my neck and raised his voice to an extraordinarily high volume, and then suddenly slapped me in the face!
“YOU DUNCE!” He yelled at me with an entirely red face, “You put the stone on the Dragon Pendant!”
The unexpected slapping made me annoyed, so I said, using all my strength, “What… what’s wrong with that?”
“It’s wrong! Not only are you wrong, what a tremendous mistake you’ve made!” He freaked, “How could you treat these magical artifacts this way! Unforgivable! UNFORGIVABLE! These are mine!”
It looked like this Tario was indeed a guy who had a tight clutch on treasures. He put away the pendant while his gaze traveled around and onto a blue ribbon tied atop my chest.
It had originated when Winslet had once saw me place the eudemon egg into a plain sack. Afterwards, she sewed a rather delicate-looking pouch for it with the Rohna sisters.
“Eudemon egg?” He gazed at it carefully, “Almost awakened… though the ribbon is rather good!”
“Mine!” He pulled with force, “You won’t need it anyway.”
I disregarded the pouch when I was still young, thus I frequently took it off. After Winslet’s arguing proved to be useless, they had added a new function for it, which was the ability to prevent it to be taken off of me before the egg had hatched.
“What’s going on!” Tacrio failed to untie the pocket and became rather impatient. He fetched his QUAKE hammer and slammed on it.
I felt a burst of immense pain and yet the egg did not crack. However, a cool sensation emitting from the egg had flowed into my body and spread to my arms and legs. The areas it passed were relieved of lightning spell repercussions like weakness and numbness in the body.
Though I had no idea what was the reason for this phenomenon, it was crystal clear that this was my only chance to have a comeback. Thus, in order to make him strike the egg a few more times, I began to glare at him.
Tacrio’s failure to destroy the egg had made him slightly disoriented. Probably because he had felt my provoking look to be disrespectful, he hammered down on the egg one more time.
Perhaps this was the moment where a smart guy had been fooled by his own intellect. Tacrio had always been a calm vampire. As of now, he focused on the egg and disregarded the bunch of my treasures.
He did not know that the egg’s mysterious energy was healing my wounds as he smashed down on it.
The miniscule yet apparent flow of energy accumulated in my body. I curled my fingers to test the current state of my body and felt that it was sufficient. However, I was not sure if the power I had built up was enough to hold much longer to reach the dagger. I needed some help from the vampire I was facing.
“Hold it.” I said, “I… can take… it off.”
“DO IT!” Tacrio’s hand was raised high and was about to give the egg one more hit. He answered impatiently.
“That is… that…” I made my voice grow weaker. As an honorable Earl, he would not bend his back to listen.
As expected, the vampire dragged me up by the hair, “Louder! Ah…”
The very moment he pulled me up, I reached out for the vampiric dagger and instantly pushed it into his chest. The sharp blade did not require me to use too much power in thrusting the weapon and leaving only the hilt above his skin. What surprised me more was the steady flow of vitality that originated from the dagger.
“AHHHHH!” Tacrio’s facial muscles twitched while he screamed. His already sickly appearance was aging rapidly, which made him look even grimmer.
The dagger I was holding was drawing out his power! Was this the special ability of the Vampiric Touch? So to say, I should be able to restore my physical strength quickly. I would definitely win!
“Hey… hey.” I grinned, “You are a dead man. I am the victor!”
“Die… together!” Tacrio slurred, “Dia… blo… wra…”
Damn! I was too carried away to remember my enemy was a well versed mage. Such people usually had a final killer punch.
“NOOOOO!” I scurried to seal his mouth. Diablo Wrath had a lengthy chanting. I will not let you finish!
I had a victorious laugh as I watched Tacrio’s moaning act.
But, the smiling me noticed what was in his eyes. The unusual twinkle in them was clearly saying, “You have been fooled.”
Pain emerged from my chest. I lowered my view and found out that the QUAKE hammer had hit right on my eudemon egg. Electric currents rampaged on the metal and made sizzling sounds. My body went numb once again.
His physical condition would definitely allow me to grasp his right hand that was holding the hammer, but I was too scared by the nonsense he would spout.
“If I’m not… winning.” Tacrio said on and off, “You aren’t either!”
“Bitch!” I cursed.
“You… same!” he replied.
The currents on the hammer grew ever so thick and quick. A white spot shone on the hammer tip and white light radiated on the hammer. A fierce blast erupted between the two of us.
What is this place? What… happened to me?
Who is it? Who’s calling me? Quiet, I’m exhausted.
“WAKE UP, DUMBASS!”
A unresistable willpower came through and made me conscious.
The first thing was to open my eyes, but no eyes. The second was to touch my head, however, no head.
No way. Could it be… I went off again?
“Not dead yet, but close enough.” A long-lost decorous voice sounded out.
“Marshmallow!” I was overjoyed, “Was that you? I knew it was you!”
“I told you not to call me that name!”
“Marsh, marshmallow, why split hairs! Man, it’s been a long time!” I was glad to hear her voice again, “By the way, that… my body, how is it?”
“You wanna know? Your body was stricken by electric currents and became… something similar to a roasted duck in your life on earth.” Obviously, Marsh knew there was no use talking in a serious tone, thus she made herself sound funny, “Crispy skin and tender inside, definitely a must for living, traveling, hanging out…”
“Enough!” What poor taste, “Did you have to choose the commercial punch lines from my memories! Creativity, dumbass! Cheaper quality is not for me!”
“What is it? What’s so good about Peking duck?”
“Please! How could you say things like ‘happy duck, happy heart’?”
“En! Such methods work only on a lifeform like you!” Her voice revealed endless satisfaction, “Or you’d be cocky the next time we meet.”
“Are you saying… next time? So I’m not dead!”
“Don’t get on your feet! Your decades of life there were sorta wasted!”
“That… was a coincidence!” I was slightly embarrassed.
“Your reasons aren’t rational! Think about it! What did you tell me when I sent you away!”
“Say… what?” Who would remember that at such a short time?
“You said ‘If I can live again, one more time, I can do better’.” Marsh said, “Is that what you were saying.”
“Yes, I said so.”
“Have you done any better?”
“I gave you what you requested, but you did not keep your promise!”
“You have forgotten your motives and reasons to reborn. I found a saying in your memories: ‘Forgetting the past means betrayal, am I right!”
Hearing what she said, numerous flashbacks of experiences from my previous life came back to me and I felt ever so bitter.
“I am sorry!”
“Oh, Viceroy Rascal said that? Impressive!”
“I mean it, Marsh.”
After a brief moment of silence, Marshmallow eased her voice, “If I had not summoned you here the moment that burst of energy hit you, you would have been dead. Again.”
She continued as I remained silent, “The lives with you have brought you back to the place called ‘Dark’, some other lifeforms are trying their best to cure your body.”
“Do they stand a chance?”
“You should fix your own problems first! Think about it. Why did you come back here. I will not send you back before you think it through. I have other affairs to attend to other than yours. It’s not everytime that I’m able to save your ass when you are in danger.” Marsh said, “If you are not clear on anything, ask.”
Thus, I fell into my mind palace.
“Marsh, why is my mana unable to level up?”
“In terms of your physical condition: too much energy of other forms have taken up most of your body, leaving very little room for energy types such as mana.” Marsh explained patiently, “But in terms of your mindset, the traces of your previous life were too deeply engraved to let you completely fit into the new environment.”
“Yes, it’s your former so-called spiritual power, plus the dissociation energies you absorbed when you were drifting in the space. They’re merely in different in forms.”
“Then can I… use those energy in the form of magic?”
“You could always try.” Marsh said, “But you’d better take it slowly.”
“Positive. Let’s look at this.”
Pictures of scenes appeared unexpectedly, which was the like a combat recording between me and Tacrio.
“Ah…” I did not know Marsh was able to pull off something like this.
“Honestly, this lifeforms’ exuded energy was so weak, but you were still helpless against him”
“Weak? You mean compared to you, right?”
“Objection? Okay, little one, take a look at this.” As Marsh spoke, the scene altered, “What do you think now?”
“I can do that? I can?!” I was surprise to see the me in the scene slash Tacrio in half.
“Focus, you’ll be able to do it.”
“Focus. Focus!” The Cohen Kheda in the scene looked pompous and aggressive, as if nobody could beat him.
“This is only one of the energy forms you possess. As for how to use it, you need to work on that yourself.”
“What about you saying that I need to fit in? What’s that about.”
“I meant that your language, behavior, mind were still following the patterns from your life on earth.”
“What’s wrong about that?” I asked.
“Your existence in life and the environment around you has changed.”
“But you remained the same old Westley.”
“Don’t you feel that it is inappropriate? Is it better for you to comply to the environment or let the environment make a compromise?”
“…” I pondered.
I lost my sense of time before Marshmallow woke me from my thinking. She told me that my vacation was over.
“But I still have things to figure out…” I said.
“Two options!” Marshmallow cut my crap off, “Either you go back to your physical body and continue thinking; or stay here and let them bury your dead body.”
“I’ll go back!”
“Little one, remember this.” Marshmallow said in her kindest voice, “There will be various experiences during the path of life. Don’t be discouraged, or disheartened. Be brave!”
“If you can do it this time.” Marsh said, “I will reward you at a proper time.”
“Yes.” She said, “To motivate your lazy bones.”
“Roger! I will try!”
“I’m glad you are on your feet now.” Marshmallow was happy, “Go! Change this world with your previous experiences and motives!”
“Ch… change the world?” I did not get it.
“If you have tried,” Clearly Marsh was taking pleasure in my misery, “How could the tyrannical lives there let you off?”
“Mash, you… you…” It felt like I was sold.
“Aren’t you doing the cheering thing this time? I recall the last time you set off, you whoa-ed.”
I got it, she was happy!
“MARSH! YOU REMEMBER THIS!” To act as firm as I could, I yelled hysterically, “I’M NOT CHANGING! I’M NOT!”