Chapter 288
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Lucia’s independent action surprised me but not as much as what came next. In the past, I had always been cautious when using the golden fire to revive people. I was always afraid that introducing too much of the fire at once would cause a disastrous explosion, but because of Lucia’s sudden actions, I was not able to limit the flame. In fact, Lucia seemed to be purposefully inciting it to grow. Her green fire flowed through my arm and into the spark, fueling it.

It took all my control to prevent an instant explosion as power flared through my hand. “Lucia, stop!” I shouted in a panic.

I tried to pull my hand out of her grip, only for Lucia to bite down on my fingers. I winced at the sharp pain of her teeth sinking into my skin. Curling my free hand into a fist, I struck out with all my strength. A sound like a gong being rung echoed through the room. 

With the strength I had gained from Mare’s experiments, I could punch through a steel wall, but when my fist connected with Lucia’s chest, she didn’t budge. She didn’t even acknowledge that I tried to hit her. Her entire focus was on pumping more power through my arm.

The energy in my body was thrown into chaos by Lucia’s actions. My only saving grace was that her energy as an undead was the same as mine. If someone else had tried to attempt what she did, my arm would have been cripple or worse. 

Even though her actions were not directly damaging my body, it was no less dangerous. The golden flames were constantly getting fed by the flow of power, quickly spinning out of control. With how much energy she had already provided it, nobody in the room would be able to escape unscathed if it exploded.

Three seconds after Lucia’s reckless action, her energy reached its peak. I flinched away from her as I felt my hold on the fire slip. Instead of an explosion, though, the golden flames were swallowed down by Lucia.

Seconds passed in stunned silence. With one eye open, I peeked at Lucia in morbid curiosity. There was no way she could survive that, right?

Releasing the locked bite on my fingers, Lucia cocked her head to the side. She looked like a curious puppy dog as she stared at me.

“What… What just happened?” Sebastion asked in concern.

“I’m not sure,” I replied hesitantly. 

I wiped my hand off my shirt. Lucia’s eyes followed my hand as it moved. They were full of hunger, and I was legitimately worried she would try to bite me again.

“Lucia, are you feeling ok?” I asked with a frown. She had just swallowed more golden flames than any revival I had ever done, yet, there was no sign of any change.

“mhhum,” she replied with a nod and a smile. She then opened her mouth wide and pointed at her throat.

“I think she wants more,” Sebastion said.

“Are you sure, Lucia? Can you handle the power? You are not going to explode or anything, right?”

Lucia nodded excitedly. I frowned in thought as I examined her body. There were no signs of any revival yet. I was so focused on controlling the flame earlier I hadn’t been able to watch what she had done in detail, but it felt like a chemical reaction was boiling in her stomach. 

The sensation was faint, but I felt I could trust her. So far, All the people I revived had an instinctual understanding of the golden flames beyond my own. Lucia was unique. I always knew her revival would be slightly different than the others with how much of my power she had absorbed. She may also need exponentially more of the golden flame to balance it out.

Coming to a decision, I held my hand out. “No biting me this time, ok?”

After making sure Lucia understood and agreed, I started to form a large glyph in the air in front of me. This time I wanted the extra control the glyphs provided. This way, even if Lucia acted out of turn again, I would be able to quickly and easily cut off the power without the risk of blowing up Dragon’s Nest in the process.

Lucia’s eyes sparkled as a new golden fire formed. She was calm this time as she reached out to touch it. The heat of the flame was completely ignored as her hand was engulfed. A bright flash of light filled the room as green flames erupted from her fingertips, only for them to be consumed by the gold.

I hadn’t been able to watch what she had done before but this time I could. It was indeed unlike any other rebirth.

All the others had been as if a damn burst open. The golden flames had explosively flooded their bodies, and it was only by creating collars to siphon off part of the fire that some had retained their original form.

For Lucia, though, the process was controlled, almost calm. Watching her, inspiration flashed through my mind. Lucia was not just the strongest I had ever tried to revive; she was also the most skilled. Before her death, Lucia’s power had almost been comparable to my own. Her ability to manipulate flames specifically was probably even superior to mine. The amount of care and concentration she had to use when healing others was far beyond what I needed to revive undead. The only thing that held her back from surpassing me completely was the lack of destructive capability innate to her talent.

Now that Lucia had come into contact with the golden flame, the precise detail required to burn away sickness and mend broken bones was now being used on herself. Cell by cell, the golden fire burned away all impurities and brought life back to her body. 

The process was arduously slow. Hours passed. The entire time, I needed to maintain the golden flame. I would never have been able to attempt anything like this before regaining my full strength. Even with that power, though, I felt myself struggling to maintain concentration. Controlling the fire had never been easy, and holding it for this long put my skills to the test.

All the while, I observed Lucia. I watched and memorized her actions as the fire slowly spread through her body. Color now tinted her pale cheeks. The green in her eyes seemed to flake away as spots of golden light shone through.

After half a day of standing across from each other, Lucia finally stopped absorbing the flames. She collapsed to the ground like a wet towel… still… unmoving.

“Lucia!” Sebastion and I both shouted simultaneously. 

We both reach down to help her as Lucia’s eyes fluttered open. “I… Where am I?” she asked as she looked around in confusion.

“Lucia, is it… is it really you?” Sebastion asked with tears in his eyes.

“Who else would it be? Why are you crying? Did I get hurt again?” Lucia asked as she pushed back against Sebastion’s bear-tight hug.

“Don’t try to move yet. Gather your strength. What do you remember?” I asked, choking back my own tears as I tried not to break down in joy like Sebastion.

“I remember…” Lucia furrowed her brow in contemplation. “I remember we were fighting Envy and I… I got bit by that wolf Demon General.” Lucia paused as she looked down at her side where the wound should have been. “After that, everything is a blur. I think I was dreaming. It was a really, really long dream. I heard your voice from time to time, Sebastion. And Aurielle, she held me, kept me from drifting away. Her voice singing out to me over and over again…” Lucia’s voice trailed off as she looked around the empty room curiously. “Where is Aurielle? I thought she was just here.”

“Well…” I replied hesitantly as I scratched my head.

Lucia’s eyes widened as she looked at me properly. “Aurielle? Is that really you? Did you die again?”

I nodded in embarrassment. “Yes, it’s me.”

“You… You’re so adorable!” Before I could react, Lucia threw her arms around me. My head was squished into her chest as she laughed in delight. “You’re just like a little doll! We have to get you some cute clothes now. Oh, I have so many ideas!”

“Can’t… Breathe…” I grunted as Lucia crushed me with the full physical might of my strongest undead. I flailed my arm in a desperate attempt to escape her grasp. If any normal person had been in my place, their head would have exploded from the pressure.

“Sorry,” Lucia replied with a chuckle, not entirely realizing what she had done.

Quickly freeing myself from her clutches, I gasped for breath. Despite nearly being crushed, I could not stop myself from laughing. Lucia was back! The greatest regret of my life was fixed. No matter the sacrifices made, it was all worth it for this moment.

As my laughter subsided, silence returned to the room. “Why are you two looking at me like that?” Lucia asked, “Do I have something on my face?”

“No, no,” Sebastion replied as he reached out to hold Lucia’s hand. Tears still streamed freely down his face, and he made no effort to wipe them away. “It has just been a long time.”

Lucia frowned. “A long time? How long was I asleep?”

“You weren’t asleep, Lucia,” I replied hesitantly. I was unsure of how to explain everything, even whether I should explain it at all. It would probably be kinder not to tell her, but I knew it was only a matter of time until she learned the truth. “You were dead. You have been dead for fifty years.”

“Dead? Fifty years? Is this some kind of joke?” Lucia asked as she looked Sebastion in the eye. Seeing no signs of deceit, she looked down at her own body. “I don’t feel dead. Is this what it feels like to become one of your undead, Aurielle?”

I shook my head with a chuckle. “No, I imagine that was the long dream you mentioned. My power has evolved. I brought you back to life for real this time.”

Lucia looked down at her hand as she flexed her fingers. “Hmm, fifty years,” she whispered. “Wait, does that mean Sebastion is older than me now? No! That’s not fair. Holding that over his head was one of my favorite ways to tease him.”

“You find out you died, and that’s what you’re worried about?” Sebastion asked. His left eye twitched slightly.

“Nothing is more important than my ability to tease you,” Lucia replied with a smirk.

Sebastion laughed. His smile was so bright it practically filled the room. He leaned in close and kissed Lucia on the forehead. “I missed you so very much.”

Lucia playfully slapped him on the shoulder. “Not right now. First, I want to hear all about what I have missed these fifty years.”

“Right, about that,” Sebastion said hesitantly, “Before you get mad, hear my side of the story first, ok?”

“Sit down and get comfortable,” I replied with a delighted grin, “It has been a long fifty years.”