Crystal was the first one to lead the way out into the hallway. She didn’t just stop, shaking in her boots like any female girl Alexus would typically see, but strutted forward with intent. She knew that there were dangers ahead, and right now, she was extra careful. Her rifle was pointing in front of her; she turned the corner, making sure that there wasn’t anyone sneaking up in front or behind them.
Alexus’ throat tightened, his heart started to pick up in speed, and he knew he was a bit afraid.
The thought of meeting another croc demon lady wasn’t on his priority to-do list. Staying far away and living another day was his goal; getting stronger was the best way to stay alive, plus the only fighting experience that he had was against the crazy croc lady, and he barely survived.
Nevertheless, he couldn’t help but hold his hand tighter around the sheath, ready to draw in seconds if need be.
Alexus appreciated his second life more than he ever thought but didn’t understand why he was still following her. Maybe it was because the thought of her possibly getting hurt or dying kept him going. Maybe it was the pride of wanting to protect someone he doesn’t know.
His self-consciousness didn’t allow him to see someone like her end up dead, even though she’s probably better at staying alive and surviving than him. Plus, having two Ouroboros watching each other’s backs was a lot better than none.
The blaring sound of the emergency suddenly stopped, and an eerie silence followed after. Making him feel a bit uneasy. Only the flashing red continually blinks on and off, jarring his senses.
“Keep your eyes open and watch my back.” Crystal replied in a whisper. “You can tell when you meet a Demon by the glowing red color of their eyes, the sulfuric smell, and the drop of temperature. But the most important thing is the feeling that you get.”
“It’s the gut feeling, followed by their change. The demons can’t hide what they are from us.” This information was vital, realizing the predicament they were in.
“What if we get them wrong? What if we kill a normal human?” Alexus couldn’t help but be skeptical about what she said. There were always chances that they would make mistakes.
“Not possible; we haven’t missed one as of yet. It’s like a part of us. We can sense when something is unusual, and when we reveal its true nature, the others know it just as well. They are not lenient to the people who obstruct their hunting ground.”
“Okay, but why do you think they attack this building now? I thought this place was safe.”
“Not everything is foolproof eventually; the demons will find their way in here even if it takes a long time to figure out how. However, this was bound to happen, and we’re lucky to experience it and catch it early before we miss it later on.”
“I’m not sure that is a good thing. A bunch of us will die.”
“That is to be expected. Ouroboros are fighters; we struggled and won against death and survived.”
Alexus thought about it. He wasn’t a pushover that would allow even death to stop him from dying; he was a survivor. He was going to live another day if he had to kill to make his way out.
The thought of killing a demon a second time didn’t phase him as much as the first. It was a more mind-numbing experience, making fighting and surviving a lot easier to handle and cope with.
“Though, what I don’t understand is why they are attacking in broad daylight. It’s not like them at all.” She hissed. The partial darkness of the hallway made the whole atmosphere a bit spooky.
“Do they only come out at night?”
“No, they’re just stronger during the night, so to not compromise their strength, they stay dormant during the day. Plus, hijacking a human’s body already cuts down their strength by half, and coming out during the day also cuts down their power even further.”
“That was only a quarter of their strength?” Alexus was appalled at the thought of their powers hindered by the sun. He couldn’t fathom what they were truly like when they had all their powers. The Croc lady was strong enough, thinking of them making an attack even more fantastical that went beyond the scope of his imagination made his head hurt.
“A quarter?” Crystal thought for a moment. “You could say that. After you fight your first one, their power increases by leaps and bounds, so you could think that what we’re going up against is a lot more dangerous.”
“Shit.” Alexus cursed loud; Crystal glared at me.
“Any louder, you’ll attract our enemies.”
“Sorry,” Alexus whispered, his cheeks flush a bit from embarrassment. The thought of fighting something equivalent level or above of the Croc lady gave him the shiver. “Does that mean we’re fighting against an Egyptian type?”
“You ask so many questions, and to answer your question, I don’t know.” She whipped around the corner and stopped. Her body tensed, and he froze, wondering what she was seeing right this moment. She seemed so focused that he even held his breath-hold in silence, taking a short breath if he needed to, trying not to break her concentration or, worse, compromise their position.
Alexus’ hand started to sweat. He couldn’t help but shift slowly from one side to another in the hopes of lessening the uncomfortable weight on his leg; the long, drawn-out minute wasn’t helping it, making them uncomfortable.
He stood in place for five minutes until Crystal finally moved. His breath started to relax, and the burning feeling in his chest dissipated quickly.
A sudden soft sound of the clop-clop of footsteps could be heard echoing in the hallway. Even his heartbeat matched the clop….clop…clip….clop on the floor behind him. Then, like a blind man, he dragged the edge of the sword on the floor and whipped his head towards the darkness. The emergency lights were partially illuminated over his head.
The sound got louder and louder to the point where Alexus thought the sound of the footsteps
was right beside him.
“Hehehehehehe.” A child’s voice rung out softly, making him have goosebumps up and down his arms.
He gulped. What the hell was that? His hand slowly grabbed the hilt and started to slip out the sword.
The emergency light started to flicker and dim; one-by-one it flashed off with one last dying struggle, making it slowly become darker.
His body took an inch back, his butt bumped Crystal, causing him to jump. He twirled around, Crystal staring at him as her eyes became a thin line in annoyance. She pointed her fingers at her eyes and back out into the darkness. Though on her side, the lighting was a lot brighter than his.
She started to inch forward, taking a step towards the elevator, where the end of the hallway lay. Alexus wasn’t keen on staying behind, and his feet were already stumbling after her.
Loud grinding sounds of metal could be heard, the lights on the elevator blinked on, telling them that someone was coming up. Crystal pointed her rifle directly at the elevator, her finger ready to pull the trigger if she needed to. With a ding, the elevator cranks open, revealing nobody inside. It stayed open, not closing even after a few minutes as if it was stuck in place.
Clip….Clop.Whhhhhhiiiiinnnnnnng! Crackle! Crackle! Pop!
”Hehehehehehehehehe.” A full outburst of giggling of a child’s voice rang out in a high pitch tone.
Out in the corner of his eyes, he saw light flash across from one corner to the next. He whipped his head towards the sound, and what he saw made him temporarily freeze.
A young boy, or was it a girl? Alexus wasn’t sure, and telling this kid’s gender wasn’t easy. He had on a white shirt with brown shorts clasped on with a clip-on on both sides. The most creepy thing about the child was the brown sack over its head; drawn on it with black marker were simple cartoon eyes winking with a smile like a scarecrow. The only thing he could think of at this moment was, what the hell was a child doing with a bag over its head? The thought of him possibly suffocating did cross his mind, but the boy started to skip towards him with a high-pitched giggle.
Something about that child was seriously creepy. He seems to blur temporarily like static, not just the high laugh or the high energy skip, but two out three movements of his steps. The little boy even had a yoyo, twirling around his hand in an upbeat manner.
Then it happened all in under one second, the force of the unsuspecting attack rammed his face-first up against the nearest wall knocking the wind out of him. Warmblood trickled from my his, and blood ran down his cheek. He didn’t see what hit him, but he felt the impact of it throughout his whole body, shaking his very core. For such an attack to even be felt through the Dragon Scale was considered astronomically powerful, making his head buzz.
“Hehehehehehehe!” The boy giggled, the yoyo in his hand slipped back into his hand. “I’m hungry.”
Alexus crumpled onto the ground, coughing heavily, trying to catch his breath. Reaching up with a shaky hand, he wiped his bloody nose and coughed one more time. The pain from whatever the boy hit him with felt like a motorcycle bulldozed into his guts. For sure, he didn’t want to get hit with whatever it was again, especially his head, where there wasn’t any protection at all.
“I’m hungry. Would you feed me?”The yoyo in the boy’s hand crackled into a high-intensity buzz. Electricity spilled out from the yoyo like a taser. A heavy thunk followed after, creating a deep indentation into the ground.
Alexus’ eyes became wide, and they stared flabbergasted at what the little boy could do. So this was a child demon. Compared to the Croc Lady, the difference was heaven to Earth. Not only that, he could see the black smoke rising out of the boy’s body just like the time when the Croc lady had hers, though the child didn’t change at all and instead still kept his form.
A loud tat tat tat sound of the rifle going off blasted near Alexus, giving him a jarring wake.
Crystal was ruthlessly shooting towards the child demon without remorse. Her eyes were emotionless, and her fingers continued to pull the trigger.
“Hurry up and get back!” Crystal yelled in between shots. Her bullets were repelled with the twirling of the yoyo, making the whole scene surreal.
The boy twirled it around him. Each bullet that hit the yoyo flung towards the side or behind him without touching a single ounce of his skin.
“I’m hungry. Feed me.”
“Eat this!” Crystal continued to fire until the magazine became empty. Then, with a click, she dropped the magazine onto the floor, pulled out another in between her cleavage, and slammed it into place. Her hand reached over, pulled the bolt, and less loose once again.
Alexus painstakingly got up using the sheath as a prop; feeling a jabbing pain in his stomach, he gritted his teeth and got up. Then, finally, his feet gave way, he stumbled, catching himself just in time.
“Watch out!” Crystal yelled.
Alexus felt an immediate threat to his life; without overthinking it, his hand drew the sword in one fluid motion. A surge of energy shot forth from the core of his stomach, and a soft glimmer of gold wrapped around the sword. With a loud clunk, the yoyo bounced off, leaving the sword undamaged.
With a stomp of his feet, the young boy growled. His hand yanked back the down yoyo, this time, he brought a second one out of his pocket. Again, electric sparks were sent outwards as energy swirled around both yoyos with a sickening red and yellow light.
Alexus could tell this wasn’t any usual energy; even the energy it was giving off had an oppressive feel that made him shiver in fear.
The young boy reeled back his hand and threw the first yoyo in his right hand. In between mid-flight, the yoyo shifted and changed into a sizable mechanical Doberman with red eyes that angrily rushed forward with the intent to kill him.
Alexus scrambled onto his feet and dodged just in time before the metal claws blew past his ear, clipping a bit of his hair with it. The Doberman embedded itself into the wall with a slam and pushed off in one jump. Sharp teeth-baring, claws outstretched, it chased him ruthlessly. He didn’t look back and jumped towards Crystal.
They both clattered onto the ground as the Doberman’s teeth flew across where Crystal’s head was missed by the skin of our teeth. Then, the Doberman hit head first onto the opposite wall with a bang, stunning itself temporarily.
“I’m hungry!” The child screamed in anger, stomping his feet up and down that his attack was missing.
Alexus scrambled up onto his feet, dragging Crystal up along with him, and dove into the elevator. His hands shot forward, pressing the closest number 33 and following after the button to close in a violent repetitive motion.
Crystal was on the ground, her hand still holding onto the rifle in hand; she aimed and fired. The second yoyo danced around the boy’s body, shifting into a large mechanical eagle, creating a perfect defensive shield. Then, with a twitch of his finger, he pulled out another yoyo into his hand.
“I’m hungry. Can I eat your soul?” The boy cocked his head; black and red flames erupted out of his hand, creating an unearthly high shrill. More yoyos were brought out as they each changed into mechanical dogs. A pack of hounds race forward in an attempt to kill them.
“Eat shit!” Crystal growled; her hand stopped pulling on the trigger, and what Alexus saw her pull out from her pocket made his eyes grow wide. His cheek and eye twitched, wondering where she had gotten such an item.
Crystal had a flashbang in her hand. She pulled the pin and chucked it towards the boy. A bright flash of stunning light erupted outwards, followed by an ear-piercing bang. After that, all he saw was white, high pitch buzz like a ring echoed in his ear. The door finally closed shut, the elevator jostled downwards.
It took for a moment for his sight to come back to clarity, but the ringing in his head was still buzzing loudly without seeming to stop. Finally, he flopped to the side, letting his aching bloody headrest. The adrenaline rush was still pumping through his system and dousing down the pain.
Alexus swore, he thought the elevator was going down slower than usual, but that didn’t matter. For that brief moment, he felt safe, even if it was temporary. Hoping to win against that child demon was possibly impossible right now, especially what it could do.
Crystal slammed her fist into the side of the wall, pissed off that her bullets didn’t even phase the demon. “What the hell was that?!” She replied angrily. “I never have seen such a high-level demon before; not even normal weapons can kill it? Is that even possible?”
“Demons,” Alexus replied stupidly towards her question; she blew air out of her mouth in frustration. “So you never saw this type of demon before?”
Crystal took a moment to think it over. “I thought it was just a child demon, in which case their power is far lower than an adult demon, but this demon far exceeds an adult. Possibly even pushing past an Egyptian that you fought.”
Alexus gulped. “Just out of curiosity, do demons usually eat souls?”
Crystal turned her head towards him, her face hardened, and her lips became a crease. “Usually, no, but there are cases where I heard that high-level demons do to increase their power by eating souls. Didn’t you learn some of this basic info about demons?”
“About that…..I didn’t get a chance either. This has been my fourth day here.”
“I see. For starters, they are Spirit, Child, Adult, Ancients, Legends, and Mythical class of demons. Spirit is the lowest of the low, inhabiting animal bodies for a host. They don’t have much power to cause many supernatural things to happen, so they are not as dangerous but can still cause quite a problem. A child type is exactly what it means; they inhibit children’s bodies, making them tricky to kill. What makes them deadly is their imaginations that far surpass an Adult, while an Adult type has the backing of half of their power when they possess an adult body. The devastation they could cause is quite phenomenal. Ancients are the next step up, and their category starts to hover on the border of Mythical type depending on their strength. The longer the demon had lived, the higher their power; all those religious gods, demigods, and demons from different cultures have their own set of powerful demons and spirits. So far, the Chinese and the Egyptians are classified in the high tier, some bordering on Legends. We haven’t had a run-in with a Mythical type Demon, but right now, I can’t help but think that that kid falls close to it.”
“Is there anything higher than Mythical?”
Crystal went silent. Her eyes furrowed, and her lips turned into a frown. Her hand clutched the rifle even tighter, “There is a possibility, but I believe they would be classified as Gods.”
Alexus gulped. Gods. What kind of messed up world is this? Oh wait, it’s called Earth. Sarcasm riddled his brain. The thoughts of the God Type demon made him freeze up right now. They were having trouble with a boy demon, and if a God Type demon appeared, all of humanity’s life was over.
Breathing in deeply, he steeled his heart and breathed out to calm his nerves. He needed to be mentally strong; even if he wasn’t physically strong now, that would come in due time. Their priorities were to either lure the demon out of the building and reset the whole barrier or destroy it if it’s even possible.
Right now, luring it was the best option, and the only one who could re-fortify the barrier was Timothy. It wasn’t much of a plan, but Timothy might know what caused the barrier to collapse, giving them a clue that they needed.
“I have a plan,” Alexus spoke with a bit more dedication than he thought.
“What would that be?” Crystal asked.
“We go find Timothy and re-fortify the barrier.”
“What purpose would he serve?” Her tone of voice told him that she didn’t quite like Timothy.
“He’ll probably know why the barrier came undone, especially if he knows how to reinforce it. He’s the one that reinforced the talisman.”
Crystal thought it over, thinking about what Alexus just said. Her brow seemed to furrow and then went upwards into recognition, understanding what she just heard. “You’re saying those childish scribbles on the talisman was him?”
Childish scribbles? Timothy might not like hearing that word coming out from Crystal’s mouth, but luckily he wasn’t here.
“I was wondering who it was that used a permanent marker to scribble those words.” She clucked her tongue. “Now I know, and I got a piece of my mind to tell him when I see him.”
Alexus felt a bit uncertain. Maybe he started something he shouldn’t, but they needed an answer fast. Right now, Timothy might know why the talisman has stopped working.
“He did it for a good cause.” Alexus quickly tried to cover up his slight mistake.
“He rerouted the whole flow of energy into a weird spiral. Do you know how difficult it is to undo it? It’s a complete mess!”
“Well, isn’t that good? He made it difficult to undo.”
Crystal snorted. “He made it difficult alright, but the energy flow is cut down by a third. But, of course, that could be the reason why the demons infiltrated so easily with sheer power, though that would make sense how such a high-level demon is here.” Crystal thought it over. “It did require a certain level of strength to break that mess.”
Then does that mean he did a good thing or not? It was getting a bit confusing for Alexus, and all he could do was nod as if he understood. “So, do you know where he is?” He asked.
“Yes, we’re on the right floor. He should be in his workspace. It’s not too far away.”
With a ding, the elevator opened. Everyone got ready and slowly stepped out wearily.
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