245. “Tell me; Who am I?”
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Rakna swiped his hand to get rid of the blood on his claws as the bisected body of the demon lied at his feet. At the same time, he swallowed the heart and licked his lips. He felt some of his mana and internal energy return but nothing much.

 

“Barely a snack,” he muttered. After being freed from the chains, they had stopped draining his energy, but that also meant he needed a bit of time to recover his mana and stamina. The former had been initially stuck at around 3200 when he came into the simulation but he had used it up during the wait to level up his Reinforcement and other skills using mana internally.

 

“Let’s see… I recover about 230 MP per minute,” he muttered and looked up at the hole made by the ax-wielding demon. He could perfectly hear the sounds coming from the surface now. He even could smell presences from where he was. He also activated Soul Sight and clicked his tongue as he saw the sea of souls.

 

“There’s a whole army up there,” he muttered. “They’ll probably come down soon enough. Though it seems only this idiot knew where the prince was… Maybe he sensed his presence and decided to go on his own before informing anyone else. Sucks for him that I’m imperceptible…”

 

The werewolf snorted and glanced at Claudius who was being healed by the nanomachines he was sharing through his tails. This was something he found out he could do; to rebuild other people’s bodies with his own. The nanomachines will temporarily fill the gaps, and then slowly replace the organic parts and shed the rest over time until it’s nothing but normal flesh and blood.

 

“They won’t be able to sense him as long as I keep him close… Anyway, I could charge in and drain their souls or eat their hearts to recover. I’m unbeatable in attrition warfare.”

 

“{That’s true, now that I think about it,}” Fray commented. “{Some of your skills allow you to never be completely out of mana or stamina as long as you have enough enemies.}”

 

 “Hm… do you think I should take a power nap to rouse my Sloth a bit?”

 

“{You made a Soul Oath… Please take this seriously…}”

 

“Well, in that case, before anything else,” Rakna said nonchalantly and grabbed the dead demon’s head like a giant playing with a doll, “[Dead Men Tell.]”

 

* * *

 

“Did you find him yet?” A beautiful female demon with long black hair and red eyes asked one of her brethren donned with a full set of ebony armor. They were standing on top of a large wall that encompassed a massive modern city made out of only pale-colored metal and stone.

 

This city was now set ablaze and the castle that lied in its center half-demolished. One could still hear the screams of the citizens and whistling sounds originating from the Moon Dwellers’ plasma weapons fighting back against the invasion. Most of the Kingdom’s best fighting force had already been killed or incapacitated in the ambush. The demons had practically won within minutes.

 

“Negative, General,” the demon knight replied to his superior. “I have sent several men skilled in Blood Sensing to the Red Forest but none of them have reported back to me yet.”

 

“Tch, where did that prince disappear to? What about the King?”

 

“He was found dead from his injuries inside a secret room under the castle. It was a room sealed by a Moon Relic that made anyone inside undetectable.”

 

The general raised an eyebrow. “Well, that explains how they disappeared. But I wonder why we found the prince’s blood leading to the Red Forest… He could have tried to leave the moon with a pod. Perhaps tried to reach out to the Sun Dwellers. But if he thought that to be too dangerous, he might have taken another decision. But logically, an escape pod is his best shot. If he didn’t try to find one…”

 

“Then it would imply that it wasn’t his first choice of actions,” the knight completed for her.

 

At this point, the woman was starting to be nervous. She turned to the forest with red trees that flourished even amidst the rocky land of the moon. “Do they have something hiding in there…?”

 

“Lady Lilith! You should check this out!” A voice caught her attention and she looked at her soldiers down the wall who were pulling a sort of azure and golden coffin. However, it was far too atypical to be just a ‘coffin’.

 

First of all, it was around five meters tall and far too thin to be containing a humanoid body. There were also countless runic writings on its surface. Lilith was knowledgeable enough to recognize it as a constraining seal. There was something in that coffin that the people who made it didn’t want to be taken out at all costs. That was clear as day.

 

When she was about to say something, an explosion occurred right in the middle of the Red Forest and her eyes widened. She spun around to look at a dome of blue energy trouncing everything in its vicinity.

 

“Wha-?!”

 

“[Neptunia,]” a growly voice boomed from inside the dome and Lilith saw a trident, out all things, fly out of it toward the sky before bursting. A shockwave spread out from there and reached every corner of the city and every demon in the army.

 

And before any had the time to properly react, the field of destructive energy died down, and in its disappearance, came along the emergence of dark clouds; the cues of a storm. When the rain began to pour down, many demons were already bellowing at the unnatural phenomenon.

 

Even the last resistance of the Lunar Kingdom was shocked. “But-! This is the moon!” One of them shouted. “There barely is enough air to make a bubble, or water to make if nothing but a lake! This shouldn’t be possible!”

 

“It’s a spell,” one man with short silver hair, sporting a paladin armor marred with blood, spoke at his subordinate’s outrage. “A spell cast by someone immensely powerful… otherwise, there would be no way to explain how it overtook the sky of the entire capital and even beyond…”

 

Meanwhile, Lilith gritted his teeth as the exceedingly cold rain hit her skin. “I’ve never seen such a spell in my life… Was this their trump card? No… it’s the one who cast it,” she uttered and barked orders at her army through mass telepathy to regroup.

 

“General!” The knight that was by her side raised his voice. “There is no response from the team sent in the Red Forest! And a mist is covering the whole forest. It’s impossible to tell what is going on inside.”

 

“I can see that!” Lilith yelled back and gazed at the forest, her crimson eyes narrowed, and for the split of a second, she could have sworn to see the afterimage of a shadow with six wings. ‘That… it can’t be… other than the Sun Dwellers… there is only one beast in the world that has the same number of wings,’ she thought with growing dread. Then, she saw it.

 

A towering figure calmly walked out of the misty forest with dead demons held tightly in his claws and spilling blood on the ground with every step taken. His nine tails flailed behind him with his three pairs of silverish wings faintly glowing.

 

As the demon army began to lock eyes on him, their general trembled and clenched her fist to calm it down. “So, that’s what it was…” The demoness spat out irately and her expression fell when she saw the werewolf’s ears twitch. He looked at her from miles away and dropped the corpses he was carrying before ripping out their hearts and gorging them.

 

Lilith bit her lip until blood came out and at her side, the knight unsheathed the cursed sword he carried at his waist with grim intent, “General… who is that?”

 

“It’s the Sentinel… shit,” she cursed. “They lied to the world. The Lunar Kingdom made up the story of his death. They spun around the truth by saying they had lost many fighters, including the Sentinel himself, fighting a powerful Devil Shade. While in reality, they most likely lost all those forces against the Sentinel…”

 

“The Ancient Sentinel of The Moon…” The demon knight’s grip on his sword shook. Despite being a demon more than 500 years old, he had grown up hearing stories about this creature. It was said that even the Demon God was cautious of him. That was how notorious he was. “But that does not make sense… how could those Moon Dwellers possibly win over the Sentinel?”

 

“The Lunar Key,” a voice echoed, overpowering the rain, and everyone on the battlefield; everyone in the city; and every sentient animal nearby felt like Death had suddenly come and put its hand on their shoulder. The only thing they could hear soon became nothing but the splashes of water hitting the ground.

 

“An artifact usable by the Moon Dweller Royalty to suppress the power of one marked by the Moon God,” Rakna said with a cold tone, revealing a fact he had learned from his Clairvoyance coupled with his Founding Intuition. At this stage, one could say Rakna had become one with the persona that was ‘The Sentinel’. “Quite an ironic treachery…”

 

The demon knight couldn’t help but step back a bit. The werewolf had heard him and answered his question; for some reason, that made him more nervous than ever in his life. After all, how was he supposed to feel after interacting with a living legend heralded to be the creature with the most demon blood on its hands?

 

“Now, you imps, I will give you a choice,” Rakna spoke up, still transmitting his voice through the air with mana. “Run, and live; stay, and die. Which do you prefer?” Silence overtook everywhere his voice couch reach and his eyes locked onto the woman standing atop the city wall; the demons’ memories he had stolen allowing him to recognize her as this army’s leader.

 

Lilith steeled herself and banished away her fears. “Sentinel!” She yelled, similarly broadcasting her voice, and the werewolf scowled at her while her troops seemed to finally be able to resist the instinctual fear that had been weighing on them. “Why?! Why do you stand with them?!”

 

Rakna raised an eyebrow as he heard her question. “Let me ask you back; why should I not?”

 

“They betrayed you, did they not?!” Lilith shouted and waved at the city behind her. “Why do you decide to protect a Kingdom that chained you down?!”

 

“…that is a reasonable doubt, indeed,” the werewolf said with a nod and the demoness felt some hope. “The Moon Dwellers betrayed me for their greed. Once they understood that the Moon God was not going to return, they set their sights on the Shrine I was tasked to protect. They believed to be able to exploit the power that resided in it. Isn’t that also why you are here?”

 

Lilith squinted her eyes.

 

“You wish to bring back the Demon God into this world,” Rakna stated and the citizens of the Lunar Kingdom who had been listening gasped. “Your aim is the remnants of the Moon God’s power. The method that was used to get rid of the Demon God was sacrificial. The Moon God used his own life to banish your God; a mutual erasure. Normally, it would be impossible to bring your God back.”

 

“Normally… Am I to assume you know then?” The demoness interjected. “You seem rather aware of things for someone who just escaped eternal imprisonment.”

 

Rakna let out a shiver-inducing chuckle. “Your men were very talkative… Or rather, their minds were rather welcoming to me.”

 

“I see… I never knew the Sentinel was proficient in mind reading.”

 

“Dear, you can learn much in a thousand years,” Rakna jested. “Even bound by Divine Chains. But on a more serious note; your goal. You intend, not to resurrect the Demon God, but resurrect the Moon God instead.”

 

“What?!” One of the moon soldiers in the capital exclaimed in shock and others followed.

 

“Because the technique used by the Moon God was a Law of Equivalence. In this case… if the Moon God is dead; then the Demon God is dead. And if the Moon God was to be resurrected; the Demon God would be resurrected as well. That is the Law of the World.”

 

“And you still wish to oppose us?” Lilith retorted. “Your Lord will return and you will also get the opportunity to punish the ones who betrayed--!”

 

“Lilith Yamul,” Rakna halted her. “Are you not forgetting something? You wish to violate the Shrine to meet your end goals. Now tell me; who am I?”

 

The demoness pursed her lips. “…the Ancient Sentinel of The Moon, Guardian of the Shrine.”

 

“Exactly,” Rakna said and extended his hand forward. “I am here for one sole reason,” he declared and a thudding noise sounded from the direction in which his palm was pointing.

 

Lilith shuddered and looked over her shoulder to see the ‘coffin’ from earlier quaking. The demons that had dragged it over from the castle took their distances from it as it began to float. Whatever was inside clearly was being agitated as the ‘coffin’ began to bend from the inside.

 

“I’m the Sentinel and I guard the Shrine,” the werewolf stated and in the next moment, the coffin blew up and an azure flash pierced through the city wall and flew to Rakna who caught it, his body making half a spin to kill the momentum.

 

He straightened himself and whirled the five-meter-long glaive that was now held in his hand. He stared right into the eyes of Lilith as the wind from him wielding his weapon produced a small tornado to his right.

 

He then stopped spinning it and slammed the butt of the polearm into the ground, creating mile-long crevasses that made the closest demons cry out in fear. “It’s as simple as that,” he added with a small smile. “But you know, I respect your goal.”

 

“What…?” Lilith muttered in surprise at the sudden statement.

 

Rakna pulled Sonata out of the ground and shouldered it. “I was betrayed because my God wasn’t here anymore. You, however, decided to wage war to bring your own back. That loyalty of yours is worth my respect. Accept it; that is the only grace I will offer you before your death.”

 

The demoness didn’t say anything for a moment but the corners of her mouth raised a bit. “Is that so…” She whispered and took a deep breath. “My soldiers!” She yelled at her army. “Follow me to battle! A threat to the return of our God now stands in front of us! Are you with me?!”

 

““Aye, General!!””

““In the name of the Demon God!!””

““We will fight to our death!””

 

The demons’ rallying cries boomed loud enough to make the ground shake; as if to content against the werewolf’s earlier display of strength. Lilith grabbed the cloak that hung on her shoulders and tossed it away, fully revealing a skin-tight metallic combat suit. She opened both of her hands and summoned a pair of indented sabers.

 

“Ramil,” she voiced and the knight next to her saluted. “Let’s go.”

 

“Yes, General.”

 

The two of them jumped off the wall, leaping hundreds of meters forward, and landing in Rakna’s direct line of sight. The demoness pointed one of her blades at the werewolf, who had already started releasing an aura so cold the rain he had conjured began to turn into hail.

 

“General of the 2nd Demon Legion, Marquess Lilith Yamul. Here I come.”

 

Rakna snorted in amusement and took a stance. “Sentinel of The Moon, Wolf Emperor. You may call me Obsidian.”

 

Lilith’s eyes briefly widened in surprise at hearing his name for the first time. She had never heard of the Sentinel possessing one. “It is an honor,” she said and prepared herself to fight as her army gradually entered formation behind her.

 

“Then, if you are ready; gaze into despair,” the werewolf declared and brought his free hand to his face before bending his fingers a bit as if he was holding a mask. “[Mask of Phobos.]”

 

How I love my cliffs…

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