Dungeons of the Abyss and the Unchosen Heroes
One step at a time, a man slowly climbed up a grey flight of stairs. His breaths were heavy and labored, and on his right arms, a dark, crystalline growth ate away at his flesh, reaching into his bone. Still, in spite of it all, he climbed.
Outside the windows, the sun could be seen setting. It was a big, red sun, dyeing the cityscape in a blood-red veil with the shadows of gigantic buildings appearing as if looming gravestones.
The man kept climbing and with the end of each flight of stairs, he would turn and find yet another. The steps were seemingly endless. Still, he climbed, as this was going to be his last sunset. Never before has he ever felt anything about a setting sun and neither did he feel any beauty in it. However, knowing that this was going to be his last, he suddenly felt a sentiment he had not felt before.
In time, he reached the top, greeted by a gust of wind as he pried open the door to the rooftop. He has made it. The large sun could still be seen from this height. And there, sitting upon the horizon just before the sun, dark crystalline spikes could be seen. The sunlight does not reflect off these crystals, for they devour everything that comes into contact with them and multiply without an end in sight. Brush one's skin against it, and it would invade one's flesh. Breathe in its dust, and one's lung would be torn by its growth. The 'World Eater', they called it, one of the 'Beasts of Calamity'.
The man turned his eyes away from the sun and began scanning the rooftop. Before long, a checkered pattern scarf came into his view. There, with her silver hair flowing in the winds, a woman stood by the edge of the building. She wore a long skirt, a khaki cardigan over a white blouse, and on her neck, there was a checkered scarf.
"Sarah, it is done. I've sent every one I can to the 'other side' with Remigia. Where are the others?"
The woman turned slowly, her bright, golden eyes, reminded the man of her otherworldly nature.
"They did not make it. You're the only one to return," she said.
"So this is it then," the man said with a sigh. "Everything we've built, everything we've fought to protect, gone just like that."
As if letting go of what was left of his strength, the man fell onto the ground, seated with his legs spread wide.
"We've fought for so long, watched empires rise and fall, protecting, preserving our civilization, all so that it could end like this. You knew it would go this way, don't you, Sarah?"
"I have no power to change fate. I am merely a guide," said the woman, Sarah.
"So there was no point after all, then?"
The man sighed again. This time, it was deep and lengthy, as if he was trying to empty out his lungs.
"Well, it was fun while it lasted, with you, with those guys."
Suddenly, the red sun turned white, showering the sky with unprecedented brightness.
"Will this stop it?"
"The Alva people hope that it does, but it will not. The Beast shall feast upon it and grow in both strength and size, and soon, with its insatiable hungry, it will seek out the other stars, devouring each one till the sky becomes completely dark."
"And nothing can stop it?"
"Nothing. Not a single thing in this world can stop it now."
"This is the end then."
"The beginning of the end, yes."
"Thank you, for everything. But next time, find someone else. I'm done."
With those last words, the white light consumed them all, all but the World Eater, who consumed the light and continued to hunger for more.
End of Chapter 18