The black lace glove had replaced the usual long white glove from the first trial’s set. It looked like a regular black lace glove, the kind noble ladies in mourning would wear.
[Inquisitor’s apology] : Wearing this direct link to the Inquisitor will collapse conceptual probabilities. Cannot be damaged. Soul-bound.
“I have no idea what this means. Can I get some help?”
[Inquisitor’s apology] : Never take it off if possible. Cannot be damaged. Soul-bound.
“Something’s very wrong with this whole situation.”
Sofia stood up from the bed; she looked out the window. It was a sunny day in Hooasow, and people were busy walking the streets. As normal as could be.
There’s a logical explanation for all this. But I get blocked in my reflection somehow. Almost as if… The system was censoring me.
Sofia turned around, her blonde hair flying behind her, and she aimed her sight at the sleeping Apostle of.
That’s a problem. Why is this getting censored out of all things? It’s something I know. I’ve seen it. I know I did. I saw it.
I see it.
A line of text was imprinted in bold letters in Sofia’s memory.
‘You have murdered [Evranarheimlein - Daughter of Curse lv. 299]’
But how exactly? She looks very alive. She had to check her murder history to be sure. The line wasn’t there.
Daughter of- Sofia acutely felt her mind go blank before she could think the last word.
This is getting ridiculous! I can see the goddamn word in my memory! I’m not going down without a fight. Is this a joke?!
Sofia madly scrolled up her system logs. “Ah! I fucking found it! What are you going to do about it?!”
Uh, maybe I shouldn’t yell while at the inn.
[Ossifying ward]: A curse ward. Creates a cursed zone in which flesh turns to stone.
Cannot be canceled once activated. The larger the ward, the weaker the effect. Lasts 30 minutes.
Mana cost : 10 000 Complexity : Very High
Curse! Curse curse curse! That’s right.
Oh, this is pissing me off. Daughter of curses? So that works. The concept is fine, but the Recessed is not? I’m sorry to say, mister scribe, I don’t know if you’re the one consciously enforcing this, but it’s the dumbest censoring I’ve ever heard of. And Alith gets some ridiculous stuff censored if I believe her.
But that doesn’t explain how I ended up here. The glove is an apology from Aphenoreth, or rather, from the Inquisitor. Why does he apologize? Come on… I need to remember. He was with me in the dungeon…
Sofia felt that she was just about to remember everything at once, like it was right on the edge of her memory, needing only a slight push for it to come back. But it never came. Instead, she had to piece back up the events from the few images she managed to remember forcefully. Open eyes filled with runes. The planes changing. Black hands reaching out of a fissure. The cave, a lot of it. And the murder message.
Then there was a singular image of Aphenoreth doing something to the Avian Apostle.
Then she woke up there.
Everything is repeated so much, like reading the same book multiple times but noticing different things on each subsequent read. I think I get what happened. Somewhat?
I don’t know. It’s like… Yeah, like I had been reading a book with an infinity of endings. But it was real life. I think that… ‘curses’ were trying to save the Avian. But it couldn’t? Is that it?
Then the Inquisitor came and Inquisitioned.
Did he erase the Recessed? Is that why it’s censored? Like what Astelia described with the guy who disappeared? That’s disturbing. Also, if that’s what happened. Are the Recessed that weak? Or is the Deep that strong?
A lot of questions. As usual.
Sofia let herself fall back onto her bed. The sheets smelled fresh and clean. She turned around as she kept analyzing what had happened.
But I get that my fragmented memories are thanks to the remnants of [Pristine essence]. I believe so, at least… I probably saved myself by deleting it. I don’t know how long this lasted, but I might have gone crazy if I had to remember every second of all that.
Well. Crazier. I didn’t even blink when I had to eat my beating heart out of my chest. It’s a bit scary what I’m becoming.
But I also. I contemplated becoming a Lich at one point, and I wasn’t even out of the orphanage yet at the time, so… Nothing new, really.
Back to the main thing that started all of this, why did the Apostle die? It said I killed her. Maybe the whole quest with the ‘data transfer’ caused it? But seeing how the kill on the diviner still counted hours after I had left the Thrombber nest, this isn’t reliable evidence because I did beat the shit out of her while she was mutated.
What worries me is whether the system is issuing disguised murder quests. I’m not too sure I like that possibility. At least right now, she’s alive.
And considering Aphenoreth brought her here with me, it’s safe to say she can be an ally. So my theory that the whole explosion trap wasn’t her doing to fuck me over is probably correct.
The last question is : what is he apologizing for? Being late, I guess? It’s not like he has a duty to save me. Well, either way, I appreciate it. Even if I don’t understand the glove’s description, I’ll wear it. My guess is it’s meant to prevent whatever happened from happening again.
Some kind of protection against time magic?
But time magic doesn’t exist…
“Ah, whatever. What’s done is done. The Avian lives, and so do I. And I don’t even have to go through the spirit forest again. In fact, I’m exactly where I need to be, and more than a week in advance if the date hasn’t jumped. I should check this out, actually…”
There are no kill notifications from Alith, so I should still be on time.
Sofia got up from the bed once again. She checked up on the Avian demon. Seeing if she could wake her up, she lightly shook her shoulder.
The demon was startled and jump-scared on the chair,
“Ab- Ah! Abab! Ahhh! Wha- Whu, oh… You woke up!” she rejoiced with as radiant a smile as her demonic face could express.
'I' woke up? Wait, she speaks the common language?
“I should be the one saying that. The system taught you the language?”
“Yes!” she affirmed, regaining her composure on the chair. Having said that, she stood up. She was a bit smaller than Sofia. Before Sofia could react, she held her in her arms in a tight hug. Her leathery skin was soft and warm. She held Sofia strongly enough that she couldn’t move but not so much that it hurt her.
Pareth moved to protect Sofia, his weapon and armor appearing on him, but she held him back with a hand sign. The demon was crying. No, the woman was crying. Her face planted on Sofia’s shoulder, and between two sobs, one could hear her sweet, shaky voice, “Thank you so much,”; “Thank you,”; “Thank you…”
Sofia could hardly move, but she managed to shift her arm to pat the Avian’s back. “It’s fine. It’s over now. Welcome back to the free world. You don’t have to say anything. I’ll help you set your life back up if you want.”
It took a while before the Avian calmed down. As Sofia knew, her Apostle name was Evranarheimlein, but her original name was Zerei. She was apparently the most talented Runecrafter of her generation. It had been hard to get details out of her. The memories were painful, but she had volunteered to explain even when Sofia insisted that it was unnecessary.
Disaster had struck the Avians. No matter what, Zerei refused to say what disaster, which pushed their tribe to hide underground. However, the calamity loomed over their heads, and it became utterly unrealistic to survive for long. The tribe debated for weeks, but in the end, they decided to go for the ultimate sacrifice. They knew the curse Apostle ritual.
In a bid to preserve their knowledge, they decided to give up their lives to the ritual so that at least one of them had a chance to make it out. They had chosen Zerei. She was against it, but they left her no choice. Her, a young level 250 Runecrafter, had no power to oppose the decision of the tribe leaders. They shackled her to the altar.
The trap around the altar was to dissuade anyone from trying to reverse the process. If all went as it should, she would turn Apostle. After that, the tribe leaders, protected by a temporary charm, would free her from the shackles and the trap before they, too, fell to the aftereffects of the ritual and became stone.
But they were not protected by their charm.
Everyone but Zerei turned to stone. She was left alone, shackled in the buried Cathedral.
After that, they also talked about how Zerei’s patron Recessed was somehow censored, which she seemed unconcerned about, but also led to her sharing her basic status.
Name : Zerei Evranarheimlein Kralan
Age : 2122
Class : [Daughter of ̶̜̬̼̲̠͑̍̔̅ ̵̭̦̈́̋̔͒͠ ̷̘̠̲́͑ ̷̯͌̄͒ ̷̘̠̲́͑ ̶̨̓̓̈͊ ] ♢
Level : 299
Health : 358 560 / 358 560
Stamina : 358 560 / 358 560
Mana : 358 560 / 358 560
Her stats are worse than I thought.
Did he erase the Recessed? Is that why it’s censored?
ahahaha, instant gratification! That was sick, post a question and you post a chapter that answers it seconds later! great minds think alike.
Didn't just undo the attempts, erased the entire Recessed entity! Inquisitor indeed. And that torture Sofia experienced mus thave been cruel even by Deep standards, and thus the apology. Sofia want meant to endure that kind of thing. Nice to know Deep entities are not intentionally malicious.
Hold on, what does Evranarheimlein look like again?