I look at the fragments of the demon-sealing stone in my hand, at the corpse of the apostle squad leader at my feet, and at his angry comrades rushing toward me, and I ask myself…

What the fuck am I doing?

…I have no answer to that question, myself.

Akasha casting that fog spell was quite a boon to me. This sort of environment is simply perfect for my concealment magic to show off its strength. So, as soon as the fight started, I disappeared and headed right the opposite way from her, because it would have been suicide to get involved in a fight of her level.Continue reading

I don’t know how long I stand like that, with my eyes closed, savouring the moment.

As the tide of emotion slowly recedes, the smell of Caldera is gradually replaced by another.

The smell of demons.

It’s a very distinctive smell. One I wouldn’t mistake for anything else. I’ve spent nearly three centuries killing and eating creatures who carry that smell, after all, and I exude it myself. Sif doesn’t. Nor do any of the other people I’ve met in the Planar Prison.

Continue reading

Now that this annoying demon-sealing stone is gone, I fix my broken meridians and heal my wounds, then regrow my left arm, while Sif leads us deeper into the ruins of the castle.

“Ah, this should be it. I’m glad he didn’t lie to me.”

I don’t know who Sif is referring to, but she looks relieved when we arrive to a metal trapdoor set into the stony ground. It should have probably been hidden under a piece of furniture, once, but the only thing left of that now are the fragments of pulverized wood spread around it. Instead, a large piece of rubble that must have once been part of the wall next to it, judging from the gap in it, is lying halfway on top of the trapdoor, preventing it from opening.

Sif tries to anyway, using only her right hand, her left held close against her chest, but it doesn’t budge. She sets her shoulder against the piece of rubble and strains for a second, but it budges even less.Continue reading

I walk away from the hall at a brisk pace, my limbs a bit shaky under the qi pressure radiating from inside the room.

I’m glad I relinquished my front-row seat. I don’t think I would have survived more than a second or two of the spectacle that’s about to take place. To be perfectly honest, I was almost tempted to stay and watch the battle – it might be instructive for my own cultivation – but when I saw Akasha’s smile, I changed my mind.

It was a pretty scary smile.

So, when those three were focused on each other, I used my concealment magic and made myself scarce. I had a few moments of trepidation, at first, wondering if it would even work against monsters like them.Continue reading

The clouds around me are blown into tatters as I fly through them, the speed of my passage creating a vortex of wind in my wake strong enough to tear them apart. The landscape visibly rolls back behind me, much faster than it should at this height.

I know my increased speed is sign of my flurried heart, but of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to slow down. Not showing weakness or doubt is something I only bother to do in front of my subordinates, in my image as their leader.

And time is short.

Why did they attack the laboratory now, of all times?Continue reading

This cloak is in the way. I can’t fight correctly while wearing it.

Since my blood-qi is sealed, I can’t even open my space ring, so I just undo the clasp holding it in place and let it fall off my shoulders. It drops to the ground, bunching up around my feet.

I step over it and walk slowly toward Jodene and Shen Lei.

Shen Lei takes a few steps back and to the side, spreading out so that, if I attack one of them, the other will be able to strike me in the back in an instant.Continue reading

“This is it,” Jodene says, handing the small glass sphere to me.

This… is a key?

That makes no sense.

In the first place, it’s strange that there would be a lock on a teleport formation. Space magic is quite an arcane discipline. Adding extraneous elements to a teleport spell could easily make it malfunction. In a teleport, the destination coordinates are decided by the frequency of the qi used to power the spell. Normally, the frequency is fixed upon creating the formation, so that all the user has to do is input energy into the formation, but if the frequency somehow changes – for example, if the formation is damaged, or if some random idiot tries to append crude security systems to the formation upon its creation – then the coordinates will also change unpredictably.Continue reading

My image of Akasha as a steely, stoic engine of destruction is steadily crumbling.

She’s sprawled on top of the bed again, and even though her face still doesn’t show any kind of emotion, I can’t help but get the feeling that she’s enjoying it a lot more than she’s letting on.

Who knew a devil could be lazy.

And a drunkard, too.Continue reading

Shen Lei knocked quietly on the door before him.

“Shen Lei, responding to your summons, my Lady.”

A voice, deep and low but obviously female, answered from the room beyond. “Enter.”

Keeping his gaze down in respect, Shen Lei opened the door and stepped inside the lavishly decorated chamber. He closed the door again behind himself.

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Sif, along with most of the riders, except for those on guard duty, are asleep. Shen Lei is sitting cross-legged in meditation near a campfire.

As for me, I’m sitting against a tree, about a hundred meters away from the camp – far enough that no one will easily witness my actions, but close enough that I can rush back there almost instantly if something unexpected happens.

Sanae is sitting atop my palm, nibbling on my fingers as a way to beg for the food I promised her when she woke up this afternoon.Continue reading