She opened her eyes and the world poured into her. Every little detail, every shade of color was sublime and myriad. The floor, the ceiling, the walls, everything seemed to only be one gigantic canvas of a talented painter, touches of infinitely varied colors bet together to form the picture of the world that surrounded her. Everything was so much more, so much more beautiful, so much deeper, so much more glorious, that she was drowned. She lied there, contemplating the ceiling for a very long time, a time to get used to her new eyes. She tried to get up but fell directly to the ground because, around her, two visions were superimposed. The first one, blue, large, which encompassed her and a sphere of 20 meters in all directions, the other multicolored, directed forward, precise and magnificent. Those two ways of seeing mixed, both at the same time coopering and competing to form a panorama that crushed Eleonor, too much information arriving at her at the same time, carrying her away in a wave of pain and pleasure, certainly less strong than the one she had experienced in her nightmares, but still powerful enough to nail her to the ground by the sheer virtue of its intensity.
Deep in her drowned mind, she felt Sakanan waking up, like a cat that stretched out after a long nap and, disturbed, turned her head to find the source of her boredom.
Close your eyes. She said to her in a tone between order and demand, her voice as solid as a rock.
Eleonor did as asked and felt her mind take its breath like a diver who had been in the water for too long.
Thank you. what’s happening to me ?
Your neural network is overloaded. You asked your Sauriot to give you new eyes, right ? He obeyed by optimizing them as much as possible in the direction you had indicated to him, and I think he did so in such a way that it just didn’t stress your nervous system too much, but he forgot to take into account your second vision, I’m afraid. She replied, always in the same tone. She seemed distant, as if she did not dare to approach Eleonor too much.
Is something wrong ? The young woman asked her, sensitive to her unrest.
Sanakan seemed to stop for a second, surprised, before smiling mentally.
No, everything is fine. I just have to get used to a number of things, dear Host. She replied with a little more warmth.
...you know, I have a name. Could you please call me Eleonor ? It’s weird all the time getting called by his office. Then pointed out the young woman.
...Okay, Eleonor ? Hmm.
Thank you. She replied.
Let’s move on. We have things to do, Eleonor. I wanted to wait a bit, but it seems that fate is forcing my hand here. You’re gonna have to learn to control the gift I gave you, Eleonor, or you’re gonna be in danger of dying because of your new eyes.
She had sat down cross-legged, remembering that she was still technically naked despite the shell that covered her in places, her femininity still uncovered. Her eyes were closed and her hands placed on her thighs, listening to Sanakan.
She hummed softly in her mind, pushing her to slowly empty it of the parasitic thoughts that inhabited her. And, indeed, she felt herself slowly becoming a receptacle, ready to accept and contain what was to be given to her.
Her mind was an infinite field of darkness, nothing moved, nothing existed... nothing ?
There. Something had fleetingly moved, a shadow, a spectre. The more time passed, the clearer the vision became. She naturally approached it and then discovered a crystal. It was small, tiny even, smaller than the fingernail of her auricular.
The Xearks crystals. Every Hetaxeark, my people, has one and only one in his organism, which he must take care of and which grows with him. You are an exception, an aberration, not Hetaxeark, and possessing more than one crystal. This one you’re seeing is the only one with which you’re directly linked, it is the smallest of your body. It’s lodged between your eyes, close to the fork of your optic nerve. Cherish it because it is your bond with me, with your second sight, and with all of what I will teach you. Now, take it in your hands.
Eleonor opened her right hand, making the crystal rest in her palm. It was warm, pleasant and painful. But, above all, it was alive, she felt it. Not totally alive, only partially but she managed to feel some kind of will. That tiny piece of crystal wanted to help her. Eleonor smiled when she realized it and, by reflex, pushed it against her forehead, where it sank, swallowed by her skin.
...All right, let’s move on to the second step. Sanakan said, more or less trying to hide her surprise.
You accepted the crystal, now try to feel the Sfir. The Sfir is the thing that connects us to the Void, the world beyond the world, the truth beyond the truth, the Sfir is the thing that makes us master of the Void, the Sfir is the thing that allows us to change the world by feeding the Void.
Eleonor listened to her, her mind eager for new knowledge, absorbing each of her words, each of the new concepts. When the words had disappeared, she again focused entirely on the black space around her. After a while, she felt the tentacles of Genesis surround her and bring her into the pond, plunging her in and filling all her orifices as usual, the relaxing sensation helping her to fix herself on her goal. As with every time she plunged into herself, the time stopped having meaning, the cycles flowing without fail.
A feeling, as if a child were pulling her sleeve, asking her to follow him. Confident, she accepted the invitation. Her mind began to burn.
She was still hugged by Genesis when she woke up. She felt something, something more in her mind, like a waterfall coming in on one side of her and coming out on the other, constantly refreshing her.
Suicidal. Said Sanakan in a neutral tone.
Accepting as much of Sfir at once, without preparation, just throwing yourself in, fully embracing it like a long separated lover. What went through your mind ? She asked her, her tone free of accusation and only filled by curiosity.
...I’m not sure. It was...attractive ? Welcoming? Like a friend inviting me home, with his family saying hello to me.... She answered, remembering… who ? She could brough the feeling back easily, but the memory itself seemed to slip through her fingers.
...what is...? She wondered, but her question quickly disappeared.
Eleonor, is something wrong ? Sanakan then asked her, taking her out of her reverie.
Ah ? Huh ? No, no, everything is fine. I just... no, it’s nothing. Let’s get back to the subject. Why am I suicidal ?
Because, Eleonor, you are the most… how can I say, enthusiastic? Yes, enthusiastic, which I have seen so far to accept the Sfir. This is interesting, but also potentially dangerous, as someone trying to lift too much weight during a weight training session. Sanakan replied.
...Okay. I have to be a little restrained, right ?
Yes, it would be less dangerous. Fortunately, your... Your thing linked himself to you to help you endure the influx of Sfir, or your brain would have already fried.
INDEED. PHENOMENON… INTERESTING. UNDER STUDY… HOWEVER, DANGEROUS. SANAKAN, SPECIALIST IN THE FIELD, RICH IN TEACHING. The person concerned then intervened.
Thank you Genesis. Said Eleanor in return, smiling slightly.
IT’S MY DUTY, MISTRESS.
Let’s continue. Now that you’ve opened up to the Sfir…
The first day had been long but not too unpleasant. Tysbae had explored the castle methodically, Evilyn always right behind her to be protected by the young vampire, the duo starting with the now deserted human farm. It was located in the second basement and had a striking resemblance to a prison. Corridors and corridors had countless armoured doors, each leading to a cell. A rudimentary bed, a watering hole, and a treadmill were the only things that filled the little windowless room, enough to keep the human being healthy. They did not stay even a handful of minutes.
“The water distribution system on the farm is centralized, we could leave after seeing only one contaminated trough, but I will still check two or three others.” She had explained to her, opening a few more cells to check the state of the water, its blackish and viscous appearance testifying to its contamination without even Tysbae having to taste it.
After that, they checked the kitchens, the different bedrooms, the bathrooms and the dining rooms, without any more conclusive results. The same went for the food, the few meals they could found moldy despite the conservation effort that seemed to have been made.
The second day was much more stressful for Evilyn, the thirst starting to be felt. On that day they explored other places which, although less likely having what they were looking for, had not yet been explored. The cellars were empty, the bottles of wine probably removed, the carcasses of animals rotten. The prison of the place did not hold any better, again wasted water and food supplies, as well as the servants' quarters or the guard posts that punctuated the ramparts, one in each tower.
Evilyn finally woke up on the third day, with a dry throat, stiff and with a persistent headache.
“Let’s go see this fucking demon.“ She said, irritable, practically dragging Tysbae behind her, her mind focused on one thing: stopping to be thirsty.
She moved through the castle as if in a dream, her vision blurred by the lack of water. She had trouble thinking. She did not even remember arriving in the room where the demon was imprisoned, and yet this one was before her, greedy eyes.
“So, did you find your water ?“ he asked with a bad smile.
“Shut up. Just shut up. Remember the terms of the contract ?“ She replied, grumbling, massaging her temples to try to alleviate her headache.
“Perfect. How do you we link each to other ?”
To answer the question, he once again held out one of his fiery hands, the heat making Evilyn’s head turn even more.
“Take my hand !“ he cried, between order and supplication.
She hesitated a little longer, looking at Tysbae grimacing, but the thirst was too overwhelming, making her reckless, and she shook the outstretched hand.
“Finally ! Free !” He roared out of joy as Evilyn’s hand became charcoal, burning to the bone while the demon turned into a gigantic flame that slipped between the bars of his prison, burning the runes that had kept him prisoner until then. Somewhere, someone was screaming. He ran along Evilyn’s arm, charring her bones from the inside as he looked for a place to settle, passing through her shoulder and down her spine.
The young woman was so drowned in her pain that she took time to understand that the scream she heard was hers, feeling cooked from the inside. The demon stopped at the height of her chest, rushing into it with an ecstatic laugh.
“Perfect ! Amazing, you’re really perfect kid !” He screamed, carried away by his own madness as she felt him penetrate more and more deeply into her heart that was pounding powerfully.
The suffering became so unbearable that, with her remaining hand, she began to scratch her chest, trying in her crazy agony to rip her heart out to stop the pain. She felt him slipping in like a snake, changing it into his dwelling place from the inside, her blood burning with each passage through the organ corrupted by the impure fire, spreading through her body like molten metal drowning her veins.
HAHAHA ! Now, the final touch ! He yelled in the mind of Evilyn.
A demon name ! Hmm.... Still small and cold, fertile ground to start a fire, Ashes maybe ? Yes, yes, Ashes suits you perfectly, little girl !
The pain faded a little when he had uttered the new name that would be Evilyn’s, her real demon name.
- And yet another record beat. You’re really amazing, you know? Okay, let’s move on. A name is always given, often at birth, and what you live is clearly one, Evilyn become Ashes, young demon. To have received a real name, here is your first fragment. Cherish it, it will be useful to you in this decaying world.
The pain of her heart was mixed with that of her mind, seeming to last an infinite time before each of them suddenly ceased. She was lying on the ground, not far from the puddle of bile she had vomited during her torment, her right hand feeling strange. She lifted it up, putting it before her eyes, contemplating it changing.
The black charcoal became grey ashes, carried away by a supernatural wind that made almost all her arm disappear up to the shoulder, like a ephemeral statue of sand that a mere breath would have made return to the desert from which it had emerged. A brilliant liquid then began to flow from the wound, forming molten metal threads that intertwined, weaving together a complex canvas that became bone, veins and muscles, creating a new arm layer after layer to replace the old one, charred to the marrow. She looked at the process all along, contemplating the powerful muscle fibers unfolding naked before a charcoal-black skin covered it. The web of vein was clearly visible on her skin, brilliantly lit by the incandescent liquid that was now running through it.
Evilyn folded her new fingers, feeling their strength and elasticity, admiring the black and clawed metallic nails that now adorned them. She rose up, sitting cross-legged, and in her field of vision appeared a translucent blue window floating before her. A myriad of symbols quickly scrolled before gradually turning into something understandable.
[Level : 1 (0%)]
[Race : Half-demon(Sullivan’s spawn)]
[Class : N/A]
- Hp : 130/130
- Stamina : 130/130]
[Body : 1]
[Mind : 1]
[Soul : 1]
[Natural armour : 1.3]
[Natural weapons : //Under Analysis//
- //Under Analysis//]
The door opened to a corridor dimly lit by a device similar to the illusory windows of the previous room, placed on the ceiling, giving it an impression of depth, as if it were open on the celestial vault. There the moon shone gloriously, surrounded by her court of stars. On her left was another door, in front of her too, and on this one something had been written.
“Living Room →“
Indicated the sign with an arrow pointing to the right, leading to a descending staircase.
O-k ? She thought, smiling slightly, following the indication by taking the staircase that led him to what looked like an entrance hall, with a piece of furniture or various pairs of shoes were arranged. She followed another sign on the wall that led her to another door, which she opened in the same way as the previous one. The room was brilliantly lit by windows and an illusory ceiling, the sun just hidden behind a wall to avoid its overly aggressive radiation.
Sitting like a tailor on a sofa, Syphony ate something with a spoon in the bowl she was holding. She turned her head when she heard the door open, a smile emerging on her face when she saw Mellite.
"Who is the Groundhog now ?" she asked, laughing slightly.
“How do you feel ?“ she continued.
“... A little...groggy ? Like I slept too long. What happened ?”
"There was an accident during the orbital jump, don’t you remember ?"
Mellite thinks for a second or two before the memories return to her face like a distended elastic that we would have inadvertently released. The shock, the crash, the surgery. She trembled as she remembered the pain but, above all, the impression of being locked in a dark coffin, unable to do anything, unable to move.
“Yes, I remember.“ She said as she sat down.
"Wasn’t that supposed to be secure as a means of transportation ?" She asked then with venom in her voice, Syphony letting go as she expected it to be like this.
“Yes. This is literally the first time this has happened. It wasn’t a failure of the capsule, we were attacked by a new undead cluster. The teams are studying it, but it’s certainly a variant of Nightmare that has been transformed to be able to attack our flying objects, like the capsules, but we’ll have to wait for the results to have a more concrete answer.” Syphony replied, trying to calm Mellite as much as possible.
The young woman sat next to her host, resting her back against the back of the sofa and closing her eyes.
“I swear to God, I never get back into one of these capsules.” She ended up saying, sighing, recovering because she did not want to pour her bile on Syphony, the poor girl having nothing to do with it.
“What happened after we got attacked?”
“We lost three capsules, including yours, before the Space/Air defences of Everest killed the scum. The three of you crashed on Silden, the city where we are, without doing too much damage fortunately. The other two people are dead.” She replied, wringing her eyebrows talking about the dead.
“Your capsule was finally reached after eight hours of clearing and it took the rescuers another two hours to get you out of there. In the meantime Rahato had been informed, and descended from Everest to personally operate on you. She told me that the only reason you were still alive was because of the regenerative capacity that RV-b1 gives you. When they pulled you out of the capsule, your body looked more like, I quote ‘ground meat’, than anything else.”
During the explanation, Mellite had put her head back, her eyes still closed.
“It starts to become a lot for just a handful of days.” She ended up saying, a tear escaping from the corner of an eye.
“I woke up in a cold room in front of a stranger in armor, then I woke up again, this time quarantined in a foreign place, my body constantly screams in my ears about things I don’t understand, about you, about me, about what surrounds me. I have a fucking character sheet, I’m infected with a deadly virus except that actually no, I feel attracted to you without knowing why and, when a psychopathic scientist tells me that I’m finally going to be able to get out, but if something happens to you my life will become a hell, the first thing that happens when I step outside, the fucking first thing, it’s an attack that almost kills me.“ She soliloquized.
She felt Syphony’s hand resting on one of her own, retracting it by reflexes.
“I just wish I had a little... I don’t know, quiet, peace ?” She added, opening her eyes, looking at the soldier sitting next to her, her dessert cup still in hand.
“... Okay. Let’s take it slow then. I’ll give you a tour of the city, we’ll go to a restaurant or we’ll cook if you don’t want to go out, you can read books if you want, or I can explain a little bit more about this place, but I promise you we’ll take the time you need. Is that all right ?" replied Syphony.
“... Thank you. I just need a little time to think, absorb everything that’s happening, and everything that’s still happening. And... what happened in the shower…” she said blushing.
“... I’m not sure where I am anymore. I think we should still keep our distance a little…. My body yells at me that you belong to me and that I belong to you but… but that is…” she stopped, not knowing how to finish her sentence.
“Frightening.” said Syphony, with her eyes in the haze.
“Yes, that’s it, frightening. So I would prefer to avoid this for now, wait until I have a better grip on my life.”
“Sure. I think it will be for the best for each of us.” Replied Syphony, compassionate.