Passing through the small entrance, the group looked up. The sky in the Abyss is no longer the purple hue they see in Abania. Instead, it's almost pitch black, suffocating any form of light from above. There are purple crystals growing naturally all over the ground, giving light to the desolate wasteland. Giant trees can be seen nearby, growing not leaves, but crystals of numerous colors that provide lights to the Abyss. Since they took an alternative path, they do not have to worry about stumbling upon Elqium members on expedition. Their biggest concern is getting caught and brought back up to the city, now avoided because they are quite far off the grid. There are downsides to that too as it comes with extra dangers. There are plenty of void/abyss creatures that roam the place since there aren’t any guild members there to take care of them.
Following Ingrid’s tips, Leo’s group manage to evade many gigantic void monsters by moving quietly through the trees. They climb multiple hills and look around, finding many ancient ruins and big crystal pillars scattered all over the place. Since the animals here are super sensitive to magic, the group have to rely on Natalie’s earth magic to make holes in order to hunt them. This only works because these creatures have very poor eyesight due to living in a low light environment, making them vulnerable to traps. Their group would also be the only ones crazy enough to eat void animals for food. That’s because they didn’t bring any food with them. Few hours passed, with the group continuing to move further in. As reckless as they were, they were still not stupid enough to go too close to the center of the Abyss. That zone is way outside of their skill level as were many more dangerous abyssal monsters.
“Oww...Oww...Oww”- Sophia stops and grabs her head, stopping the group.
“Is anything wrong?”- Natalie immediately walks closer to her and asks.
“Nothing. Just a really bad headache. You know, being so close to the Abyss and all really hurts apparently.”- Sophia replies.
“Are you doing ok? Should we head back?”- Leo asks.
“No, it’s not too bad yet. I can keep going, this place is too great to leave so soon.”- Sophia said, somewhat recovered from her headache.
“Plus, having Natalie here makes it a lot more bearable.”- She jokes.
A concerned Leo and Natalie agree to find a ruin for Sophia to take a break, so the three search around for a safe looking ruin. Eventually, they spotted one and started heading that direction. Looking inside the dome shaped ruin, they found it to be spacious. They still had to be cautious as there was no lighting inside, but their attention was on Sophia as they let her inside. Sophia sat down along with Natalie. Leo stayed outside to patrol for a few minutes.
“I don’t know why, but I just have this gross feeling.”- Sophia said.
“I know Leo is pretty terrible, but you didn’t have to put it like that.”- Natalie gets confused.
“No, not him. It’s just a strange feeling.”-Sophia corrects Natalie.
“The coast is clear. We are pretty safe here.”- Leo said, entering the ruin.
He puts his left arm into the wall and leans into it.”Crunch,” a sound can be heard as he points his staff towards the wall, lighting it up. He just crushed a big spider-like void creature. Even worse was that as his light illuminated the wall, relieving more and more void spiders. Their backs start glowing purple as they wake up. The purple light fills the room all the way up to the ceiling. Hundreds, if not thousands of void spiders were within this ruin.
“AH…”- Sophia’s scream stopped short by Natalie quickly covering her mouth.
Leo immediately transferred the magic light source onto a rock on the ground, kicking it away from them. The void spiders immediately rush at it, piling up onto the rock. Sophia and Natalie took the chance and started to run towards the entrance. They all ran for their life away from the ruin as void spiders started pouring out to chase them. Running into the forest, Sophia turns around and chants:
“O great mother Fiara, grant us your protection. GROW.”
The spell rapidly increases the growth of the crystal trees, and their roots create a wall behind the group. They continued running as spiders can be seen crawling through the holes between the roots. Running towards the edge of the forest, the group is cornered as they see a cliff.
“I want you guys to trust me, we have no time! JUMP!”- Natalie yells.
The three didn’t lose their momentum as they reached the edge of the cliff, jumping. Leo and Sophia closed their eyes as all three of them started free falling.
“Grant me your blessing, goddess Sylvia. GENTLE WINDDDDD”- Sophia screams.
A gust of wind can be felt under them as it slows their fall and they crash onto the ground. Many void spiders fell to their deaths as they were chasing after Leo’s party. Finally quitting their chase, the void spiders turn around and leave, leaving the group at the bottom of the cliff.
“OUCH, my back!”- Leo complains.
“You better be grateful... That your back.... is the only thing in pain”- Natalie says while trying to catch her breath.
“Hey guys, is it just me? Or is that boulder moving towards us?”-Sophia said.
Leo turned around and looked up in horror as the boulder got closer, revealing itself as a giant three headed looking void bear.
“OH SHITTTTTT!!!!”- Leo screams as he does a front flip to dodge its attack and starts running.
The giant void bear slammed its claw onto the ground, barely missing Leo. The three started running again away from the cliff towards the open.
“HEY UH...IT’S ABOUT TIME WE USE THE STRATEGY!”- Sophia yelled.
“WHAT STRATEGY?!?”- Leo yelled back.
“THE ONE WHERE YOU SACRIFICED YOURSELF TO SERVE AS THE DISTRACTION FOR US TO ESCAPE!”-Sophia answered.
“HELL NO YOU CRAZY YURI ELF BITCH!!! YOU BE THE DISTRACTION!”- Leo screams in pain as his back is giving up on him.
“Rick Ashley will be so disappointed with my back!”-Leo thought to himself.
As the three continue running, the giant void bear is still somehow keeping up with their pace. Natalie notices a house in the distance and points it out to her party members. They change their direction and start beelining in the direction of the building. Suddenly, Sophia starts grabbing her head again with one of her arms, the headache has returned.
“What’s that purple light?”- Sophia thought to herself as her vision started blurring.
“Thud,” a loud pushing sound can be heard as Leo pushed Sophia and they both fell to the left. “BOOM,” an explosion can be heard as the giant void bear’s laser beam almost hit Sophia. Leo quickly puts Sophia on his back and he continues running.
“DAMN YOU ARE HE...A...VY!”- Leo screams while carrying Sophia.
“Her boobs do feel pretty nice tho, I don’t mind dying like this.”- Leo thought as the giant void bear prepared to shoot its laser at him again.
“Bless me with your nurturing miracle, Earth Mother. Protect me from all danger, Ionus.”- Natalie chants.
A giant stone wall pops up from the ground, blocking the laser attack from hitting Leo. Natalie then uses the remaining of her power to cast a bunch of Ionus, creating around 7 stone walls to obscure their location from the giant void bear. With the extra time Leo turns around and also casts Ionus, creating 4 additional walls. Since Leo and Natalie are both not attuned to the earth elements, their walls are quite thin and brittle, but it's still a fine enough distraction to block the void bear’s view. As they approached the house with the monster still on their tails, Sophia recovered from her headache, jumping off Leo’s back.
“I still don’t really like you. But thanks.”- Sophia said.
The giant void bear finally caught up to them after breaking all of the walls. But this time, the group is now within a few feet to the house.
“Bless me with your nurturing miracle, Earth Mother. Protect me from all danger, Ionus.”- Sophia chants.
A loud rumbling sound can be heard as a massive stone wall pops up from the ground, completely stopping the bear on its track.
“This should buy us enough time to get to the house.”- Sophia said as the three reach the front of the house.
“Why are the lights on in there? No humans should be able to live down in the void!”- Natalie asks.
“It doesn’t matter, maybe they will help us hide from this thing!”- Leo answers.
They bust through the door and force their way into the house, with the three collapsing on the ground after breaking the door. As they look up, they see an unknown void creature. It’s skin is mostly purple with some black outlines in some parts of its body, it has 6 arms but it seems like some of the arms are spikes (Similar to a cockroach’s legs). There are also crystals growing out of some parts of its back. What terrified them is the fact that it seems to be whistling and cooking some food. Hearing the noise, the creature turned around and saw the group on the ground. After a moment of silent staring between the two, the creature dropped its bowl in shock.
“EEEEEYYAAAAAA!!!”- The creature screams in terror while looking at the unknown intruder.
“AAAAAAAAA!!!”- Leo’s party screams in terror while looking at the unknown void creature.
The two parties scream back and forth in fear of each other.
“GRRRRRR.”- The growling sound can be heard as the bear caught up to them.
“EEEEYAAARRGH!”- The unknown creature screams, spotting the void bear behind them.
“EEEEEEE!”- Leo’s party screams after they turn around and see the giant void bear.
Deciding that the bear is a bigger threat, the three stood up in unison and sprinted towards the kitchen, where the void creature was standing. They ran right by it, escaping through the backdoor to run away. After running a small distance from the house, Leo looked back behind him.
“OH SHIT! OH SHIT! OH SHIT!”- He screamed, drawing enough attention that Sophia and Natalie looked back.
The unknown void creature is chasing them, along with the giant void bear not too far behind it. With the power of fear, they pulled off an impossible feat as the three managed to speed up. Of course, luck isn’t on their side either as the unknown creature also sped up. The four of them ran basically a marathon through the rough terrain of the Abyss, catching the attention of many more creatures. They still somehow managed to shake off most of the things behind them, except for that unknown creature. Their run came to an abrupt stop as they hit a dead end, all exhausted with no more mana to cast spells. They had no choice but to turn around to face the unknown void creature.
“What… do we… do now?”- Natalie pants as she asks Leo.
Frustrated by their situation and exhausted from running for so long, Leo gave up and looked at the creature.
“WHY ARE YOU.. DOING THIS... to US?”- Leo yells in exhaustion.
“There is no use speaking to it. Void creatures can’t understand what you say.”- Sophia says.
“Um… Yeah… My name is Claudius.”- the void creature replies.
Another moment of silence occurred as the three were in shock from what they just heard.
“AAAAAA!”- the three start screaming in unison, surprised by what they heard.
Claudius jumped from fear and looked behind him.
“WHAT? WHAT? IS THE MONSTER STILL BEHIND ME?”- He screams.
“Oh don’t scare me like that! I thought it was still there. Seems like we outran it somewhere along the way. You guys do run fast for non-void creatures. Do all people on the surface run fast like that?”- Claudius bombarded them with statements.
“So you’re not going to eat us?”- Leo asks.
“Why would I eat you guys? I was cooking dinner back there. Man, the meal was good too, it took me so long to get the perfect temperature…”-Claudius rambles on about his meal.
“Maybe I should eat you guys. Haha, just kidding.”- Claudius jokes, looking at the three confused adventurers.
Leo, Natalie and Sophia decided to group up and discuss what to do next. After a short time passes with Claudius still rambling about his day, Leo walks up to him.
“Alright, I’m Leo. The human right here is Natalie. The elf over there is Sophia. Nice to meet you.”- He said while pointing over at the girls.
He stuck out his hand towards Claudius for a handshake. Without a moment of hesitation, Claudius grabs his hand and shakes it. The group hitch it off quite well as they laughed out the situation they were in, explaining and introducing themselves.
“Well you know it’s quite lonely down here since no void creature can talk and they are all hostile and then…”- He is interrupted when Sophia gets another headache.
“This one is really bad. I think I need to get out of here soon. Sorry guys.”-Sophia says while grunting in pain.
Leo apologizes to Claudius as he and Natalie need to take Sophia out of the Abyss before it gets worse for her.
“I don’t think I can offer much. But how about I escort you guys until you are out of the Abyss?”- Claudius offered.
With little time left to make their decision, Leo accepts and pulls out the lantern that Ingrid gave them. The four then follow the direction of the black flame, with Claudius carrying Sophia on his back. They continue their journey back, fighting and running away from other voids creatures. The four share meals, with Leo telling Claudius about his adventures. Four hours later, they reach the edge of the abyss, right under the giant border wall. It has a slightly steep incline upwards into the wall. The group decided to go up all the way to the wall. After around half an hour, they have climbed enough that the sky is now purple again and the abyss’s surface can no longer be seen. Being further away from the Abyss, Sophia seemed to have recovered from her headache. Once more, she can move on her own again. The party said their goodbyes and thanked Claudius for helping them.
“We for sure would have died down there if you weren’t with us”- Natalie said.
“Don’t be so modest. I’m sure you guys would be fine even if I wasn’t there”- Claudius said, crackling with his weird void mouth.
After their farewell, Leo and his group start heading towards the wall as Claudius watches them getting further and further away. The sound of silence then gets replaced with hurried footsteps as they turn around to look. Claudius is running at them, waving.
“WOULD YOU MIND IF I COME ALONG?”- Claudius said loudly.
“SURE!”- Leo said with a smile
Digging sounds can be heard from the normal side of the wall as we see the group dig a hole through from below. They climbed up one by one as Claudius, who was the last one to get up, filled the hole with dirt again. The sky is now a light red as they return at night.
“So this is what the upper world looks like!”- Claudius said in awe, looking around.
“Sorry to ruin your moment. I just wanted to know which class you are in now that you are going to join our party.”- Leo said.
“Class?”- Claudius asked.
“Oh yeah. Why didn’t I figure that you wouldn’t know about this stuff?”- Leo realized.
“Well, ahaha. I’m sure you are a mage!”- Leo jokingly said.
“Uh, is that the one that says stuff and shoots magic? If so, then yeah. I’m pretty sure I’m a mage.”- Claudius confidently replied.
“It’s not even a surprise at this point”- Natalie answers, too tired to mind.
“Sigh”- Leo disappointedly looked down.
“Just gotta work with what we got I guess”- He said as the four started walking towards the city, which was in view but very far away. They cast Mirror Image to reflect their surroundings, standing under it to avoid being spotted by the guards.
“Also, when we enter the city. Make sure to use a disguising spell, I don't know what people there will think if a void creature shows up.”- Leo advised Claudius
“Ok, I don’t mind.”- Claudius answers.
Leo’s party has now gained a fifth member, an interesting one at that. Their adventure continues once they see a familiar face inside the city of Abania.