Drake narrowed his eyes as he looked at Therion for a moment. Given the Satyr’s attitude, he imagined that he wouldn’t try to take it easy on him at all, at least compared to someone like Yami.
He exhaled, and gave the Satyr a skeptical look. “And just what do you have in mind?” Drake said.
Therion gave a thoughtful look before motioning towards the inner forest.
“I believe I may have something in mind. My brothers and I came across an area once, one that had been almost completely barren of any interaction with other species.” The Satyr scowled momentarily as he was deep in thought, before returning to normal. “If it hasn’t been disturbed or hunted by the humanoids, then it will likely be the best choice. There is surely a powerful species there.”
Drake gave a skeptical look, asking, “Just what do you think is there? From what it sounds like, it seems fairly dangerous. All we need to do is help unlock my senses right? This seems a bit overboard.”
Yami, who had only been hovering between the two, poked Therion repeatedly, an annoyed expression clear on her face.
“You better not put us in danger over something dumb, alright.”
Therion cracked a small smile, before focusing on the small imp.
“What, are you afraid you won’t be strong enough to protect master?” Therion’s entire attitude exuded confidence, and he seemed to be enjoying taunting Yami as he spoke.
“A-ah… you…” She scrunched up her face angrily, before quickly flitting over to Drake and landing on his hand, turned completely away from Therion. Being played with by Drake was one thing, but she seemed intent on not letting the Satyr have his way with her so easily.
He chuckled to himself, only glancing at Yami before waving to Drake. “Don’t worry master. There will be no real need to approach too closely. As you said, we simply need to awaken your instincts.” He paused for a moment, his gaze only hardening as he spoke further. “I’m more concerned on why you have these problems. While the Imp and I differ on such matters, we both have our own methods of tracking potential enemies. Give your race, it should be almost entirely instinctual, so there really should not be a problem to begin with. I would understand if you needed some arcane method like the Imp uses, but you should need no such thing.”
He pondered to himself for a moment. For Master to have such a problem would mean one of two things… that the Draconian interfered… or the more terrifying option, that master simply never needed such an ability. For such a thing to occur would be truly out of the ordinary. Even the simple creatures that normally roamed the sky were enough for him to pick up, and he had avoided several dangerous areas with his brothers before they were killed.
Therion sighed out of frustration before turning away from the duo, waving them both to follow him.
“I’ll take us there, but we do need to be careful. If, whatever it is, approaches, we need to retreat. Most likely, it is a haven for a large group of one of the more powerful species. It will likely be much more dangerous than a Demonic Lord’s minions, or even a Lord themselves with such numbers. That goes even if you are quite special, my Lord.”
The corners of Drake’s lips rose as he smiled to himself. Given by just how much Therion seemed to fear this area, it could only be one of the more unique creatures from mythology. Then again, in the worst-case scenario, the damned aliens could have simply spawned in an ungodly strong creature from an obscure game. He could see that being likely as well.
Pushing that thought to the side, Drake took Therion by the shoulder and grinned. “Well, let’s get going, shall we?”
Yami tapped the top of Drake’s head quickly, causing him to look up in confusion.
“Is something wrong, Yami?” Drake answered.
Her voice drifted into his mind in a rather lazy manner. [Do you know how normally feel when you’re hungry?]
Drake shook his head quickly. “What does that have to do with anything?” That question came out of nowhere from Drake’s perspective.
She scowled, and answered promptly. [While you certainly don’t know how to feel out other’s power, you can suppress your own. But you only do it when you’re feeling hungry. So, do you remember how it feels?] She ended her question in a pointed manner. She seemed bothered by something.
Oh, damn. I forgot that we talked about that. He thought to himself.
Closing one eye, his face grimaced in thought. Whenever he was hungry, he just tried to be stealthy. The best way he could describe it was how he tried walking stealthily through the woods as a game while he was a kid.
Breathing out deeply, his expression sunk down, and his face became blank to an almost creepy extent, given his natural dragon-like features. A faint, cold chill ran down his body, and he looked to Yami for a response.
[Is this what you mean by suppressing my presence? This is the first time I’m really trying this intentionally.] Drake said.
As Drake focused on restricting his presence, he felt a strange feeling throughout his body. He felt almost unnaturally cold, at least compared to his usual self. He wasn’t sure if this was what she meant for him to do, but it was his best attempt.
As Yami watched Drake from atop his head, her eyes widened momentarily. Drake’s presence had almost completely disappeared, and given the widespread signal to “stay away” that almost always exuded from him had completely disappeared. This was even more impressive than when he did it unintentionally.
She nodded to herself, satisfied. [Keep that up. Nothing should be able to find you.] She smiled before looking to Therion.
“Let’s get going then, Satyr.” She said in a mocking tone.
The Satyr looked on passively before turning away to lead them, only grunting in response to Yami.
And so, he led them. Through the forest, and farther than Drake had ever ventured out before. As Drake followed Therion, the canopy overhead slowly began to thin out. The area he had grown accustomed to all had signs of activity, whether it be the various goblin signs, or even the few traces of birds that had survived so far. As they progressed however, there was an almost complete lack of life surrounding them.
If this is how it is now, just what kind of creature survives in such an area that it wipes out everything else?
The area they eventually arrived at was barren, with very little tree cover. However, what struck him at first glance was just how silent everything was as they arrived.
It reminded him very much of the interior of Gwyn’s barrier. She was capable of sealing everything she didn’t want outside of the barrier, so there was very rarely any noise besides that of the wind.
“Well, we’ve arrived.” Therion told them as he motioned to the surrounding area. “There should be something powerful somewhere in this area, even now I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.”
Therion scowled to himself, shaking his head.
“Do you feel anything yet, master? Therion asked.
Drake quickly shook his head in response. It was unnerving being in a place that was so quiet, but besides that, it seemed very much normal.
“No, nothing yet. Yami, I guess you can feel something as well?” Drake motioned to the small imp on his head.
She responded, “Yea, although it’s strange. I haven’t felt anything like it before.” She said with a sense of uneasiness in her voice. Strange, given how straightforward she always was.
After a few moments had passed, Drake shook his head in frustration before walking ahead. He would rather get this over with quickly. Deliberately suppressing his presence annoyed him, although he couldn’t say why. He could only chalk it down to some remnant of emotion left over in this body from the Draconian.
Without a word, Drake advanced through the desolate forest with Yami on his head, with Therion close behind. The day was starting to close, with the sun starting to lower in the sky. It wouldn’t be long before nightfall, and the last thing he wanted was to be stuck in a place like this overnight.
After a few minutes of walking quietly, and trying to feel out the strange presence, Drake was still left with nothing. Sure, it was certainly starting to get eerie, but that was just because of the time and how damn quiet it was.
“Yami, pinpoint whatever you’re feeling. There’s no point in me wandering around looking for it. If I get close enough, I’m sure I’ll be able to sense it out.” Drake said sternly.
“R-right.” Yami flew up nervously from Drake’s head and quickly began to pinpoint the source. After a few moments, the small set of runes she used to locate monsters disappeared, and she meekly pointed to the deepest part of the forest. Drake had been avoiding it, hoping that he would eventually “feel” what he was supposed to, but it seemed that wasn’t the case.
“Damn.” He sighed deeply, before taking a long look at the interior of the forest.
“Therion, that’s where you’re getting the feeling from, right?” Drake motioned to where Yami pointed, and the Satyr slowly affirmed Yami’s magic.
Drake ground his teeth, a chill running deep through his body. All he had to do was understand just what he was supposed to feel, but even this was turning dangerous.
Calm down. Breathe, and focus on finding whatever it is here.
As the determination to complete his task and retreat appeared on his face, Drake dashed forward in complete silence, with Yami and Therion surprised by the sudden speed with which he moved.
Drawing closer, Drake felt something. It reminded him, almost sickeningly, of his time as a human. The feeling of utter terror at the unknown, of the dark, of what could be watching from just behind the curtain. Of feelings that he had thought he had abandoned entirely when he became a Draconian.
He stopped in mid-step, and his reptilian pupils rapidly constricted as he released a low, almost inaudible hiss.
“Therion… the feeling you have. What does it feel like?” Drake asked slowly, careful to not let his voice be overheard.
Therion was crouched close behind him, and answered quickly, almost stammering the answer. “It could be a hard knot in my stomach, a burning feeling in my chest, or simply the urge to run, my Lord.”
He continued quietly, urging Drake back. “Master, I believe we need to leave. This feeling, it’s almost suffocating. And the young imp, she’s clearly terrified.” Therion motioned to Yami, whose eyes were shut tightly as she hid herself behind Drake’s back.
[Don’t worry about me, do what you need to.] Yami’s voice only faintly rung out in Drake’s head, with even her inner voice only managing to barely call out to him.
Drake pondered to himself for a moment, before taking a few more steps forward. The feeling of oppression was almost physical at this point, but strangely, Drake felt no real need to run. He only felt that overwhelming emotion.
He grimaced, and said to Yami, [I’m sorry. But I need to see what’s up ahead. Something is telling me to move forward.]
He only felt a faint sense of motion on his back, and he assumed she consented.
As he approached, he reached a cliff face. Whatever he was feeling was surely just beyond it.
He slowly approached, and what he saw confirmed a feeling that had begun to grow within him. The emotion that had swamped him wasn’t fear. It was horror.
In front of him was a destroyed village. It was clearly built by a race other than what made up the newly transformed humans, and at first glance, it looked to be of some kind of reptilian race. There were… bodies of some kind strewn across the ground, and were almost completely unrecognizable. They had been almost completely stripped to the bone, the only clear sense of what they once were was the various pieces of skeletons strewn around.
He had sensed this… this massacre, from afar. It may not have been what Therion intended, but he felt out what had happened. He didn’t sense any real need to run, because there was nothing to run from. No doubt what Therion had sensed initially, and even now, was the multitude of hostile entities that resonated from this area. Even in death, they had released such a powerful feeling. Satyrs would no doubt be targeted if they entered such an area, but Drake felt no such threat.
As Drake looked down upon the mass of destruction, his eyes wavered with revulsion. “What is this…” Drake said with horror.
Yami peeked out from behind his shoulder only to shudder and hide behind him again quickly.
“Drake, please leave. This is too horrible.” Her voice shuddered with disgust.
He glanced back at the Yami, and frowned. This wasn’t something she had ever dealt with before. She had only seen images from what the Aliens had shown her when she spawned in, and was entirely new to such a thing. Humans, for all their wonderful deeds, specialized in one thing. Wanton Destruction.
[Just bear with it, alright? I’ll try to get this over with quickly.] He said to reassure her.
Drake’s eyes narrowed dangerously, and he released the aura he had been suppressing up to this point. He needed to learn what happened here, and if there were any survivors, they would feel his presence. However, now that he had fully extended his aura, he noticed something. He was in the center of this devastation, but he wasn’t suffering from that crippling feeling from before near as badly.
It must have something to do with why I never felt that feeling out of chance. I keep that “signal” blaring out from myself, and it suppresses any other signal I may get.
He shook his head, and dispelled any thought of that for the moment. He needed to get to work.
Standing atop the cliff, he extended his hand, and slowly, a red mist slowly flowed out of his hand towards the ruins of the encampment. He had thought about this in theory, but had never truly had the time or the opportunity to truly test this theory.
His mana was an extension of him. He could control it, even when it came in contact with others, and given the almost parasitic nature of his mana, he believed his could feel out others through just his mana. After taking full control over his mana from the Draconian, and truly testing it in this manner, he could feel that he was able to suppress the life-draining aura of his mana. It wasn’t much different than when Yami helped him form the contract with Therion, only then she was restricting the Pride portion to gift Therion his Greed abilities.
As the red mist spread across the village, he felt something. It was strange, sensing something through nothing but his mana, but the feeling of something obstructing his flow of mana was unmistakable.
“Get ready, I’m heading down.” He yelled out to Therion behind him, and jumped down, Yami latched firmly onto his back.
Landing on the ground, he searched out the source of the disturbance. Step by step, he gradually walked closer to the source. It seemed quite large, at least in comparison to him. Although judging from all the skeletons, it looked like it was a somewhat long species.
As he approached the source, he came upon one of the many burned out huts of the village. The entire place was almost completely burnt out, with random beams of wood scattered around.
“This is where they are…” Drake muttered. From everything he had seen, this place was completely abandoned. Moving a blackened beam out of the entrance, he wandered inside, he entered only to meet an empty room.
Narrowing his eyes, he called out cautiously. “Hey, is anyone here? I’m here to help.”
His mana was definitely picking something up, but he couldn’t tell the exact area. This ability was still entirely too new, but thankfully there weren’t many places to hide in a place like this.
“Hey! Is someone here!” He yelled out, this time with a bit more force.
As he yelled out, he heard a small shuffling off to the side. It sounded to him like something jumped whenever he yelled out. All that was there was a dirt floor however.
Frowning, Drake asked, [Yami, I’m sorry to ask, but can you track if there’s something close by for me?] Certainly, she could do so over long distances, but it was always a general direction, and he had never known if it worked so precisely. Especially now when this entire area reeked of death and screamed out to others like her and Therion to stay away.
[M-maybe. Give me a moment.] She slowly floated up off Drake’s back where she had been glued to, and gingerly began to summon the crimson runes needed for her spell. After a small moment, the spell completed, and she locked onto whoever Drake had tracked here.
[There, it should right under the floor.]
“Under?” Drake called out in confusion. He looked closer, this time spotting the faintest bump in the otherwise smooth floor. Staring at the protrusion, he extended his hand and focused a small spike of mana into existence. Taking the solidified chunk of mana, he then gingerly pried at the opening until it finally came open.
Almost instantly, he began to hear the sounds of whimpering come from the opening, and as he slowly walked over, he only intensified the noise.
“What the hell…” He grimaced at the sudden noise.
Looking down into the hole, he saw what looked like a small girl, who couldn’t be much older than eleven or twelve. Her features were anything but human however. She had shimmering, black scales running up the side of her face, and everything below her waist was completely hidden by the dust and dirt she was hidden in.
“It’s a young girl…” Drake mumbled in confusion. Yami peeked out from behind his shoulder, curious.
“Hey, are you alright?” He held out his hand as he leaned down, which resulted in the girl shrinking back, only further covering herself in the dirt.
“Dammit, I don’t have time for this.” He said out of frustration. Drake extended his aura out towards the girl, and grabbed onto her. Then, pulling her out of the hole, he tried to get a better look at her. Except…
“This girl is a Lamia…” He called out in wonder.
This was why he felt something large even though he only found a small girl. She had her tail completely wrapped in the dirt, obscuring herself from his view almost entirely. Altogether, she was almost 10 feet long, with her human portion not even making up half her overall length. She wore very little, only a small wrapping that circled her chest and a small, dancer like ornament surrounding the area in between the snake and human portions. Her eyes also shone a beautiful violet color, and almost seeming to sparkle as Drake looked into them.
What’s more was her tail… the scales were a beautiful black, and now that he had a closer look at her, her hair was likely the same. It was a shame that she had been so covered in dirt. If she had a proper bath, her tail seemed like it would almost shine in the light.
I wonder if she’ll let me touch… WAIT!
Drake recoiled away from her, and grabbed his head out of worry, with his aura still firmly attached to her.
I wasn’t like this before I changed. Hell, I’ve never even touched a snake before. What’s wrong with me?! What’s more, she’s just a little girl. It’s creepy man!
Shaking himself out of his self-induced stupor, he had a closer look at her. She was visibly shaking under his control, and him suddenly yanking her out of her hiding place probably didn’t help. Sighing, he extended a line of mana to her. This wasn’t a humanoid village. In fact, it had likely been raided by them. So…
He felt the small snap of mana as he connected himself to the girl. She had a mana core after all.
“So, what’s your name?” He asked.
The young girl looked up at him, with tears building in her eyes. “Ella.”