Chapter 22 – Embracing Death With A Smile
Walking with the confidence of a drunken man down the hill, Devon unsheathed his longsword and approached the muscular bull demon.
He felt excitement as he approached the bull demon that spelled certain death, a kind of excitement that combined a sort of childlike wonder with heart pumping adrenaline, the kind that he hadn’t felt in many, many years.
The emotion flooding into him was a refreshing break from the numbness he experienced just a while ago, and he felt ready to take on death with a whole new mindset.
“Stay back, it’s too dangerous!” a mustached soldier yelled towards Devon, while clutching his bloody and battered left arm that hung limp from the side of his body.
The battlefield stunk of fresh blood and overturned dirt, and the minotaur demon just finished goring another soldier, dropping his blood corpse onto the ground with one muscular hand.
“Why demons, why now??” a short soldier screamed. “This can’t be happening!”
“Demons have disappeared for thousands of years,” another soldier replied, sprawled on the ground and out of breath. “But my gramps always said that they would return. Looks like he was right.”
With the build of a rhinoceros and twice the size of one, the minotaur snorted into the air and turned around, locking eyes with the newcomer.
Devon’s heart pounded with excitement. In his last life, he would have peed his pants already at the sight of such a monstrous minotaur, with the remains of soldiers splattered all over its body. But he felt an overwhelming amount of bravery stemming from the fact that he just didn’t care all too much about bodily preservation anymore.
Bring it on, he thought, as he brandished the moonlight longsword and charged, yelling a battle cry. Devon never handled a sword in his entire life, and his footwork and stance showed it. They were the mark of a complete amateur, and the mustached soldier cringed while watching the novice run towards the minotaur demon, bracing for Devon to get splatted like a fruit fly.
The sword connected with the minotaur somehow, cutting well into the minotaur’s flesh. The damage dealt was not because of the skill of the wielder, but more attributed to the quality of the blade itself.
Laughing with overconfidence at landing a damaging hit, Devon stumbled while trying to pull the sword out of the minotaur’s flank.
“Huh?” he said.
The sword was completely lodged into the minotaur’s muscular side. With a grunt, the minotaur picked Devon off the ground with one hand, and began squeezing.
Devon felt his ribs give way first, and then his organs, as the minotaur’s death grip ruptured his internal organs and caused him to cough blood.
[You have suffered a grievous wound.]
[As per your current contract, you cannot be killed. Please collect ten fragments of soulspire to renegotiate your contract.]
Huh. So it seemed like he could not die at all, or something along those lines.
Devon fell to the ground like a lifeless corpse as the minotaur lost interest in him and dropped him like a ragdoll, landing with a dull thud onto the dirt and grass.
“Guh……” he whined in pain.
He decided not to try this again, because the pain was mind numbing. And it was only being made worse, because he could feel his internals squelching and churning, rearranging themselves because he did not have the luxury to die here, until he collected ten of those soulspire things, whatever the hell that meant.
It looked like he’d have to stay in this world for a bit longer, as he figured out how to renegotiate his contract.
“Retreat to the carriages!” the mustached soldier bellowed. Because the captain was dead, he was next in charge. “This is a lost cause, and we need to warn the others. And don’t forget, the countess’s safety is our first priority!”
The remaining soldiers scrambled to retreat, as a lanky freckled soldier tried to haul one of his dying comrades onto his shoulder while running. The minotaur noticed his hesitancy to leave and charged at him, knocking both him and his injured comrade that he was carrying onto the ground.
Raising its foot, the minotaur stomped downwards, crushing the freckled soldier’s head.
Devon was immobilized by pain, and could not do much except watch through his prone position, his face swollen from being dropped face first onto the ground.
Moving with difficulty, Devon shifted his hand several centimeters to the side and picked up a small pebble in his palm.
“Rise,” he muttered.