Chapter 4: Slumbering Ancients
“Didn’t anyone teach you any manners on not to interfere?”
Asclepius immediately stiffened his right arm. Without looking back, he had swung the back his arm backwards in a blink of an eye and straight into the abdomen of Valtan before poor Marcy could make any form of contact with Asclepius’ body.
A loud boom echoed as the air around Asclepius’ clenched fist distorted for a split second, causing a sudden surge of air to blow outwards.
What insane strength. Will Valtan be able to survive it?
Valtan’s body recoiled rearwards as he got struck for the second time… or that was what should’ve happened but it didn’t.
Instead, Valtan had appeared in a dive below Asclepius’ stiffened fist. Fury and frenzy erupted through Valtan’s facial expressions. Pouring all his emotions into an underhand grip, he slammed his foot into the floor and thrusted his axe upwards, indenting the ground in the process.
Surprise finally appeared on the face of the arrogant Asclepius as he never expected such a move from Valtan. Completely taken off guard, Valtan’s axe sliced cleanly through one of Asclepius’ arms, separating it from the body of its owner. Silver liquid spurred out like a fountain from the stump that used to be his arm, splattering over the floor and onto Valtan’s face and body that was already dotted with various abrasions and lacerations.
Valtan exclaimed in triumph with his face displaying jubilation at landing such a clean blow on Asclepius, maiming him in the process.
However contrary to the excitement of Valtan, Asclepius instead remained absolutely calm to the dismemberment of his arm. In fact, the corners of his mouth had curled up slightly, as if amused.
“Hmmm. This is… interesting. To think that an insolent being like you is able to inflict such wounds on the great me. This is borderline blasphemous!”
Asclepius replies back in a cold and much grimmer tone. He seemed as though he was completely unfazed by the flow of the silver liquid from his arm that began to simmer down, dripping bit by bit compared to the violent spurts just a few moments ago.
He started healing already? What kind of cheat ability is that? Don’t tell me he can regenerate his arm too!
With an expressionless face, he finally started to position himself in an martial arts stance. Without any delay, he stomped his left foot behind him and twisted it slightly. A pillar made of rock and probably bat guano erupted suddenly from the earth, striking Valtan squarely in the chest and sent him flying back into the darkness of the cave.
“Have you forgotten oh small fry? For I am a being of the earth, all of it shall heed to me. Every speck of dirt and every grain of sand will obey my every command. You are in my domain. You stand no chance against me.”
Twisting his fists, the pillar was launched upwards and flew down the same path as Valtan.
With the figure of Valtan nowhere to be seen, I was now standing face to face with the monster that called himself Asclepius. His eyes glowed a malicious shade of red as he gazed vulgarly at my body, deliberating over how exactly he should kill me. As if serving to fit the atmosphere, surrounding him were none other than bones and freshly deformed rocks that blended in with the darkness, sending further chills up my spine.
“Now that that’s dealt with. What shall we do for you? Do you want to be suffocated to death? Or would you prefer to be crushed like your friend over there?”
With a cheerful grin, Asclepius pointed his index finger into the darkness.
Uhhh… both of those don’t sound too good for me.
I could feel the last remnants of hope leaving me as I stared back at those devilish crimson eyes.
If Valtan could only do so much, what exactly could my wimpy self do?
I closed by eyes silently as I resigned to my fate.
Aegeus, is this truly all you wish to do with your life?
A voice spoke out to me amid the dying peace in my mind. It was a familiar tone that somehow felt warm to my heart. A soft and shy voice but yet also felt strangely boisterous.
Aegeus, do you remember what you promised me that day?
I searched and scavenged the deepest depths of my mind for the source of the voice, only to be thrown into a vision.
Without warning, I suddenly found myself standing amidst a field of flowers. Dandelions, roses and all sorts of assorted flowers dotted the landscape, forming a sea of amber red and canary yellow that extended out as far as the eye could see.
A small girl wearing an emerald green dress stood in front with her back facing me, admiring the endless field of vibrant flowers that laid on the horizon. She had a very fair complexion and long silver hair that went down the entire length of her back, swaying gently with the cool breeze that blew through the field. However, despite the childish look that she bore, for some reason, she still gave off an air of maturity.
“Hey Aegeus, what do you think lies beyond the mountains over there?”
She asked out of the blue with a curious and carefree tone.
It was the same familiar yet distant voice that played in my head.
How does she know my name? Why does she sound so familiar as well?
Faced with these questions, I decided to play along and replied back honestly.
“Probably more monsters.”
Hearing my absurd reply, she lost her composure momentarily as she giggled to herself, before continuing with her same soothing tone.
“The legend of the twin peaks of Varusia. Two dragons who ruled and fought for the sake of Vanaheim in times past against the the greater daemons. Some say that despite being of common birth, these two dragons had loved Vanaheim so much that they had sacrificed everything to protect Vanaheim during the war against the greater daemons. However, there came a time where they had to make the ultimate sacrifice, offering their very bodies to become the mountain range that now defends Vanaheim from harm.”
“But those are only legends. Twisted and exaggerated by word of mouth, no one knows if they are even true in the first place!”
I retorted at her detailed recount of the famous legend surrounding those mountains.
“Legend or not, I choose to believe that this story holds merit.”
Heaving a deep sigh, the girl asked her final question.
“Hey Aegeus, there will come a time where I won’t be able to see what lies beyond those very pair of mountains… But even so, can you promise me that you’ll keep this story close to your heart and let it guide you whenever you feel lost, okay?”
Before I could reply, the girl of short stature turned around, revealing a delicate smile on her face that was unfitting of her age.
I cried out in my mind as I sprinted towards her. However, the scene shifted and twirled as I got ejected back into the harsh reality before me.
Opening my eyes once more, I saw the figure of Asclepius approaching me. The silver blood that dripped from his arm had already started drying up, forming a silver patch at the base of the stump.
Although fear still held a firm grip on my heart as I stared at the formidable being, I felt somewhat different. It was as if a sense of purpose had filled the empty void within my body, giving me the courage to face him.
More than that, memories of Andromeda also came flooding in, filling the various gaps and holes in my recollection, finally completing it like a jigsaw puzzle.
“Sure! And at the same time, I’ll do my best to protect you so that you’ll definitely see what lies on the other side of the mountains!”
I could remember my oh so innocent answer to Andromeda on that very day. At that time, I never knew what Andromeda meant in by her words, but yet it was those very words that fuelled the strength in my body now.
Written by: Emelia-Tan
Edited by: Schwarz13 and Mega14343
Proofread by: Yakult