Chapter 166 – Empathy Is… (3)
“Uhm… Can you move slower?!” Mayday, who had left the town and was walking through the dark road, asked in a troubled voice.
Everything was okay and she’d been able to follow the old vampire Priest until then, but he started moving too fast, so it was hard to follow him.
“Hmph. If you can’t keep up at this speed, that means you’re useless!”
Mayday was forced to drink elixirs that increased her mana recovery rate.
The Priest kept complaining as they moved.
“It seems like the Heavens came here prepared.”
“What do you mean?”
The Priest pointed toward a dark canyon that was connected to the mountains.
“See the traces of destruction? They’re following the road that leads to the Sanctuary of Darkness.”
“Sanctuary of Darkness?”
Mayday wondered what he meant by ‘sanctuary’ since that sounded like a piece of important information.
“What is the Sanctuary of Darkness?”
“What? How can someone from the Abyss not know what that is?”
“No… I was just…’
Usually, to obtain a piece of important information from an NPC, you have to offer a gift, increase their affection rate, or do a quest.
You could say that Mayday was lucky for being able to obtain information without offering anything in exchange.
“Hmm… Well, there was even a vampire that didn’t know about it… so I guess it’s understandable that a user doesn’t know about it.”
The Priest nodded while talking to himself and then began explaining.
“The sanctuary is a place where Darkness descends. It should be, but since they haven’t been there in… Yes. From the way others probably see it, it would be more precise to call it a ‘Ruin.’”
Those words piqued Mayday’s interest.
Mayday also knew what the word ‘Darkness’ meant.
She silently listened to the Priest’s explanation.
“But still… It will always be a sanctuary for people like me who serve ‘Darkness’ because we’re sure they’ll be reborn one day.”
“Yes. Darkness left part of their strength in the sanctuary while they were still alive. One day, they’ll come to recover it. I remained in the town waiting for that day.”
What Mayday understood was this:
Darkness had lost their strength, but they could regain a piece of that strength in the sanctuary.
“Will Darkness be fully reborn if they make it to the sanctuary?”
“No. The sanctuary was just their resting place, after all… They’ll probably only be able to find a trace of their past power.”
It seemed like, even if Darkness got there, they wouldn’t be able to fully regain their power.
He said something about it only being part of the process of obtaining the right to become a Transcendent or something.
Mayday stopped trying to understand when complex words like ‘Ego’ and ‘Empathy’ were mentioned.
‘But Darkness was definitely a great demon. If I help them regain their power, will I be able to obtain something in exchange?’
She laughed while thinking irrelevant thoughts like that.
When Mayday began wondering about something…
“S-sorry. Why didn’t Darkness return to the sanctuary?”
The Priest sighed at Mayday’s question.
“I’m not sure.”
“No one that serves the Darkness knows the answer to that question. We also don’t know where they are at the moment…”
It had been eight years since Darkness had last answered the rites.
That was also the reason why all the vampires had left the town.
Although eight years were nothing from the point of view of a Transcendent, for the Priest, who worshiped Darkness, it had been too long.
“I think that they’re waiting for the right moment.”
“There was an old saying in my town. Someone who isn’t strong gets their strength from the shadows… It probably isn’t time for them to leave the shadow yet. I’m unsure as to if they’re gathering strength or finding a loyal underling… No one knows the exact reason.”
“Anyway, it’s our duty to protect the sanctuary at the moment, no matter what. Now, do you understand why we must block the pawns from the Heavens from reaching the sanctuary?”
They were moving forward while talking about numerous things when…
A big fire exploded from the Priest’s heart.
At first, the sound was weak.
But soon, that low exclamation became a cry that turned to agony.
“Wh-what’s wrong…?” Mayday asked in confusion after seeing that the Priest had suddenly stopped moving and was making sounds.
The soul of Darkness and the devils that served them had become connected for a moment.
Darkness had answered to the Priest’s heart.
That all happened when Louise unlocked Empathy.
Mayday, the Priest, and the devils that served Darkness didn’t know that the awakening had happened because of a conversation between Hyun and Louise.
“Darkness has come…”
“HAHAHA! FINALLY! FINALLY…!”
The Priest soon realized that a new thread had appeared in his soul.
It was still a weak tremble, similar to a newborn baby, but he remembered it very well.
“Oops, this isn’t time to be relaxing…!”
The Priest soon returned to his senses.
“Now I know why the pawns of the Heavens are in such a hurry! After knowing that Darkness has returned, I cannot let this blasphemy happen. Even if I have to offer my heart, I’ll defend the sanctuary!”
The Priest began running faster toward the sanctuary with a renewed determination.
The Priest didn’t look at the confused Mayday and began running toward where his soul was telling him to go.
“I can feel the Darkness’s soul!”
That feeling got clearer as soon as he entered the canyon covered with fog.
As he got closer and entered the range of ‘Empathy,’ he also realized Darkness’s feelings.
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The Priest let out an exclamation.
Darkness was confused! Was it because they couldn’t handle all the emotions that flew toward them after awakening Empathy?
The Priest began running faster.
He, who had served Darkness his whole life, had to help them!
“Wait, you’re going too fast!”
“What are you talking about?! We should be moving even faster!”
The Priest gave her a temporary buff that increased her movement speed.
Mayday could then follow the Priest’s speed after her body got covered with red energy.
“Hmph, since you’re also part of the Abyss, you should be prepared to offer your life!”
The two figures covered with a red light quickly ran through where other fights were happening.
Devils protecting the Road of Darkness, Holy Knights, traces of destruction… they passed by numerous different sights, but not one was able to catch the Priest’s attention.
At the moment, he only cared about the well-being of Darkness.
“There, Darkness is there!”
“Haa, did we arrive?”
“Yes. I’m going to die here today.”
They could see Darkness from a distance, but the Priest became more anxious.
Not only were the Heavens winning the war, but the knights were changing their formation to an offensive one.
Were they pointing their swords toward Darkness?
He began running as fast as he could. He wasn’t going to let that happen.
He had almost reached his destination when he realized that something was wrong.
There were two girls in danger: one was covered with fire, and the other one with Demonic Energy.
If he thought simply, the one with Demonic Energy was probably Darkness.
‘Don’t tell me… Are they both Darkness?’
The Priest thought something ridiculous because he realized that his soul was connected to two threads.
He didn’t know from a distance, but he realized he was resonating with two souls.
But there couldn’t be two Darknesses…! There was definitely something wrong.
‘There’s no way that’s true… Which of the two is it? I only have one opportunity…!’
The Priest didn’t imagine that there were two souls within Louise.
Mayday, who was with him, reached the correct conclusion.
She knew one face, so by using the process of elimination, she realized who Darkness was.
‘Then… is that kid Darkness? I think I’ve seen her somewhere.’
She’d appeared in Iluna’s Quest, so Louise was among the most famous NPCs.
But Mayday didn’t immediately recognize Louise due to the Demonic Energy surrounding her.
No, she was too distracted to think about other things.
The unknown patterns that were always under Ain were on the other girl.
Those were Hyun’s buffs.
It was at that moment that Mayday realized her hypothesis was correct.
‘As expected, Hyun was with Ain the whole time!’
The Hyun she’d seen at the festival was a man. In Asrian, you couldn’t change your gender, so that girl wasn’t probably Hyun.
It was surprising.
According to what the vampire had explained to her, Hyun was «Assimilated» into ‘Darkness.’ Just how big of a quest was he doing?
She’d also received a quest from a great demon once… but she didn’t even hear Deception’s voice.
‘This isn’t the Black Town Quest…! It’s another one!’
Mayday suddenly remembered what Keiji had said.
“You shouldn’t think that all Hyun has is the physical aspect, specs, or information.”
In Asra, he had been ranked 5 on average, and in Asrian he was an executive of Darkness.
She remembered what he’d answered with when they asked what was left in an RPG game if you left those things aside.
“The way he uses skills and information is different from a normal person.”
Keiji said that, even with the same conditions, they were at a disadvantage, but back then, in Asra, the conditions weren’t the same, so he couldn’t even think of challenging him.
‘I thought only Lattice and I had received a quest from a demon…’
Mayday was shocked.
Maybe the world outside of the community was bigger than she’d thought.
Hyun had probably found Darkness thanks to what Keiji said… his ability to use information.
The ability to analyze and see through hidden events and being able to find the most optimal route… Mayday felt a bit envious.
Mayday was confident in her fighting skills and her control over her character, but she thought she lacked in terms of using information in her favor.
‘But I’m confident in battle! A Psychokinesis Sorcerer can do a bit of close-range battle for a Magician… In a one-on-one, maybe I could even resist Hyun or Ain.’
But in a few seconds, Mayday was forced to change her opinion.
The battle had begun.
Mayday had gotten a lot better recently, so she had developed her eyes and analysis skills as well.
Ain’s movements were impressive before, but after becoming better… she couldn’t believe Hyun and Ain’s movements.
She finally understood what Keiji meant when he said that how they used skills was different.
If that video became public, it would create a huge sensation.
‘What job is that?!’
The most impressive thing was the Demonic Energy storm that blew around the girl she thought was Darkness.
The giant sword swung with such speed that it looked like wide-area magic.
‘What skill is that…?’
Heavens’ Knights couldn’t easily approach them due to the storm.
‘Please… Please, let that skill be a quest exclusive…!’
Just at first glance, it was obvious that those Knights were above level 300, but a user was using a skill powerful enough to make them cautious.
What if that skill wasn’t of ‘Darkness’ but a ‘user’…? Mayday thought that she wouldn’t know how to catch up to them.
‘Anyway, it’s clear that we mustn’t become enemies with Hyun.’
A few days before, Keiji said they should gift him a unique item and try to rebuild their relationship.
Most Darkness executives ignored him, but maybe he was right.
‘No!’ Mayday shook her head. She would never be able to catch up to them with such low confidence.
Mayday returned to her senses after suddenly hearing a voice.
“She… She is Darkness!” The Priest shouted while pointing to Louise.
At that moment, when Hyun changed his «Assimilation» target, only one soul was left within Louise, and the Priest reached his conclusion.