“What happened to your chest?” Henry asked, shocked. “That rune – you spoke with It Who Heralds the End of all Light?”
I did. I don’t think he – it – is very happy with you.
“I don’t suppose it is,” Henry said, suspicion in his voice. “What did it want?”
It believes the Corruption is going to destroy the world and take it out of the cycle of life, or something like that. Apparently you’re failing at your duties and are dooming us all in the process.
“Bah,” Henry replied. “It’s not wrong about the Corruption, but a few thousand years won’t matter. I can have my fun and then go about ending the world when you’re a step from your death bed. Then both of us can be happy.”
I’m not sure I’m a fan of you destroying the world after I die either. I like it better than the alternative, but isn’t there an option where the Mortal Plane actually survives?
“That would be the void destroying it,” Henry said, sighing. “If we do it, the Mortal Plane will be reborn. It’s not a true death like the Corruption.”
How do you know the Corruption would even kill it? Has it happened somewhere before?
Henry didn’t respond immediately. Then he let out a slow hum.
“I’m… not sure, actually. I just know it’s bad.”
Millennia of existence and you still haven’t figured out if this great evil is actually evil?
“Original thought didn’t come easily to me,” Henry protested. “It’s hardly my fault.”
Damien rolled his eyes. Yet another mystery he had to deal with, although it didn’t seem like it was as imminent as his other problems. He touched the sticky blood drying on his chest and grimaced as the cut skin stung under his finger.
He carefully climbed out from under the covers and swung his legs out of bed. A sudden dizzy spell washed over him as he tried to stand. Static filled his vision and he toppled forward. Two hands grabbed him by the shoulders and stopped his fall.
“Damien?” Sylph asked. “What happened?”
He blinked the dizziness away. Sylph looped one of his arms around her shoulders. She drew in a sharp breath at the sight of the rune on his chest.
“Did something happen to your core as well?”
“No,” Damien said, the weakness receding from his voice. “I don’t think so, at least. This is something else.”
“You’ve lost a lot of blood,” Sylph said, helping him towards the shower. “Should I get a healer?”
“The shower’s water should be enough,” Damien said. “This is one of those things.”
“Understood,” Sylph said. She turned the water on, dousing both of them as it started to rain from the ceiling. Damien grimaced at the cold. His chest stung as the water pattered against his skin.
The blood covering him started to wash away. The wound tightened, the bright red lines turning a knotty pink as they faded. Within a few minutes, the wound had sealed. The pain started to recede as well, although his head still felt light.
“Thank you, Sylph,” Damien said, blinking the water out of his eyes. “I think it’s okay now.”
“Are you sure it’s not going to happen again?” Sylph asked, stepping out of the shower and drying herself off. Her clothes had been completely soaked. Damien was wearing little more than a pair of shorts, but he was too tired to care. His feet weren’t as shaky as they had been, so he carefully stepped out as well.
“It probably will,” he said. “But not today. I think.”
“That’s reassuring,” Sylph said, wringing her hair out and putting it into a bun. “It’s not going to happen while you’re out and about, is it? Going to be hard to explain that to Delph.”
“I’ll make sure it doesn’t,” Damien said, yawning. “And thank you for catching me. How did you manage to wake up fast enough to realize I was falling?”
“I was already awake and meditating,” Sylph replied. Her voice lowered. “I noticed you stand up and glanced over just as you tipped over. It’s a good thing I did – you would have gotten blood all over my bed.”
“That would have been tragic,” Damien said, a small grin tugging at his lips. “Although now I’ve got to wash my own bedsheets. I suppose it was about time for that anyways.”
They walked out of the bathroom. Damien let out a sigh. His sheets were stained completely brown by the dried blood.
“I don’t think that’s coming out,” Sylph said.
“No, I don’t think it is,” Damien agreed. “Fantastic. I don’t suppose you know what time it is?”
“About two hours before sunrise,” Sylph replied. “Maybe a little bit less.”
“I suppose we might as well start training then,” Damien sighed, not particularly wanting to move more than he had to.
“You sure you’re up to it?” Sylph asked worriedly. “I don’t think you’re fully back up to normal yet. The healing water can do a lot, but I’m not sure it can replace blood that quickly. You’re going to need to eat something to replenish your energy.”
“Good point. And we’ve also got a class with Delph later today,” Damien said with a grimace. “I don’t know what he’ll have us doing since the tournament just ended, but I guess it might be best to save my energy.”
“Breakfast, then?” Sylph suggested. “I think this might be an occasion that allows you to over eat a little bit.”
“Yeah,” Damien said, his stomach growling at the thought of more pancakes. “I think that might be for the best. Are you coming? You don’t have to stop your training if you don’t want to.”
“I’ll live if I skip a day,” Sylph said, giving him a slight smile. “And we don’t want you face planting halfway to the mess hall.”
“That wouldn’t be ideal,” Damien agreed, returning the smile. The two of them set off down the mountain and towards the promise of tasty food.