Chapter 4:

Chapter 4


While dining with Liri and Rhiza, I maintained a facade of contentment, wearing a fake smile to deceive them. Engaging in conversation with them was effortless, and the evening had been pleasant thus far.

However, thoughts of seeking retribution for my mother's untimely demise and escaping the clutches of these two individuals still lingered in my mind. How could I possibly exact vengeance upon the malevolent lord once they discovered my true identity as a non-local adventurer? What would their reaction be? And how many years would I be condemned to spend behind bars once the truth was unveiled?

Despite lacking formal combat training, I surprisingly possessed a certain level of skill in fighting. As I continued to ponder these matters, I realized that maintaining composure and cautiously testing the waters were the key to navigating this precarious situation.

"Alright, Liri, Rhiza. I have a few inquiries for the both of you," I suddenly spoke up.

"Oh, of course. What is it, Derek?" Liri responded. When her eyes closed, her wide grin adorned her face, turning to me with her sweet countenance.

I swallowed nervously and bit my lip. Here we go, Derek. "I've been contemplating something: if a non-registered adventurer, someone who saved your lives, were to be revealed, how would you perceive that person? What would you do in that situation?"

Rhiza struggled to provide an answer, visibly perplexed. Liri, upon reopening her eyes, exchanged a confused glance with Rhiza. After a few moments of silent communication, they both turned back to me, their expressions betraying a hint of discomfort. This made me wonder if they were not, in fact, local adventurers, which provided a brief moment of relief.

"Well, um...about that...we, uh..." Liri also struggled to formulate a response.

"You know what? Forget it," I interjected, "I posed those questions merely to gauge your reactions."

Both Liri and Rhiza gasped, their eyes widening in surprise. "No way!" Liri exclaimed.

"And who might you be?" Rhiza inquired.

I nodded in agreement. "Indeed, I am not an adventurer either. It seems like you both aren't either," I said, looking at the women. They smiled and nodded in response. "Great! Now, please tell me, how did you acquire your powers or weapons?"

Liri took the lead and began to answer. "Well, I got mine from the archer's corpse during a demonic raid."

Rhiza followed suit. "And I got my powers from a late witch before I escaped from a demonic attack."

"I see. I'm sorry to hear that your kingdoms suffered the same fate as mine, destroyed by demons. I can relate to the loss of loved ones," I said, a frown appearing on my face.

The women reassured me, saying, "It's alright. We understand."

Curious about my weapon, Rhiza asked, gesturing towards the sword inserted in the ground nearby, "So, how did you acquire such an amazing weapon?"

Liri chimed in, expressing her excitement, "Yes, it truly is remarkable!"

I proceeded to explain, "I just found this sword during my quest to the evil fortress. Speaking of which, are you both also heading there? If not, I will continue alone."

Rhiza smirked and replied, "Oh, we will be joining you on that journey."

"Right. We need to pretend to being adventurers until our goals are complete," Liri agreed, "We cannot afford to be imprisoned."

Once again, I nodded in agreement. "I agree with you both."

As we finished our meal, we prepared ourselves for the challenges that awaited us the next day. I knew that our journey would become increasingly difficult, but my sole focus was avenging my mother's death. Nothing else mattered to me.

During our journey to the fortress, my companions and I formed strong bonds and grew stronger by battling increasingly powerful enemies. We also disguised ourselves as adventurers to rescue people and avoid detection by knights and local adventurers.

Spending more time with these remarkable women, their captivating qualities drew me in. Torn between them, I yearned to marry them both and create a family together.

Nevertheless, we pressed on towards our goal, reaching the fortress at last. Taking cover behind a massive rock, we cautiously observed the surroundings, ensuring that the demonic forces remained unaware of our presence.

The sky was shrouded in dark clouds, and a multitude of flying enemies circled the imposing fortress, obscuring the sunlight. Lightning bolts streaked across the sky, accompanied by deafening thunderclaps.

Within the vicinity, land demons patrolled in circular patterns or entered and exited the fortress. A menacing pool of lava and ominous volcanic rocks encircled the structure, with bubbles bursting on the lava's surface.

The intense heat emanating from the lava caused us to perspire, prompting us to exchange glances. "Alright, everyone. This is our moment," I whispered. "We have arrived. Now, we must find a way to infiltrate the fortress and conserve our energy to defeat the malevolent lord."

Liri agreed, "Indeed, that is a valid point. However, I am unsure of how we can successfully sneak inside."

Rhiza nodded in agreement. "Yes, I am uncertain as well. But we will devise a plan as we proceed."

As my companions and I embarked on our search for a hidden passage into the fortress, we were determined to evade the clutches of the monsters lurking about. We scoured every corner, but our efforts proved fruitless until Rhiza spotted something and whispered, "Look, there it is!"

Perplexed, Liri and I turned our gaze towards the direction Rhiza was pointing at.

There, we witnessed the doors swing open, revealing a pair of black-robed demons, their bodies concealed, as they advanced with their mystical staffs emitting a faint purple glow. The staircase stretched upwards, beckoning us to venture forth, uncertain of its destination.

"Now is our opportunity!" Rhiza exclaimed, urging us to seize the moment. "These doors won't remain open for long, so we need to hurry."

"Agreed!" Liri and I nodded as we turned to the doors.

After patiently waiting for the mages to vacate the vicinity, the doors began to close, prompting our group to sprint towards them with all our might. As we neared the entrance, exhaustion began to consume us, and the gap between the doors narrowed, leaving us no choice but to press forward, fueled solely by hope. Gasping for breath, we managed to make it just in time, turning to face the doors behind us.

Once we had recuperated from our exertion, we resumed our journey within the fortress. At times, we successfully infiltrated undetected, while other instances proved less fortunate. Despite engaging in battles against our adversaries, we endeavored to preserve our energy for the ultimate confrontation with the malevolent lord.

Relentlessly, we pressed on, until finally, we confronted him at long last. Before engaging in combat, we allowed our gazes to wander around the room momentarily.

Within the dimly lit chamber, six flickering torches cast an eerie glow, illuminating the skeletal remains adorning the walls, their hollow sockets seemingly accusing us of trespassing. Seated upon a throne, a demon with a ram's skull atop his head and a dark robe adorned with shimmering purple gemstones fixed his piercing violet eyes upon us.

"Ah, so a group of adventurers decided to come to my domain to defeat me," the malevolent lord taunted, drumming his fingers upon the armrest. "After defeating numerous adventurers, yet you guys think you could? What makes you guys any different?"

"The only thing setting us apart is that we are not mere adventurers," Liri declared, her arrow aimed directly at the malevolent lord, her voice resolute.

The malevolent ruler ceased his tapping on the chair and leaned forward slightly, taken aback by the revelation. "Oh, is that truly the case?"

"Yes, you heard correctly!" Rhiza reassured, her hand encircling her staff as it emitted a radiant blue glow. "You'll pay for what you've done to our kingdoms!"

"Including my mother's death. This is something that I'll never forgive you for!" Pointing my sword at my enemy, I growled with my gritted teeth.

"Ah, challenging a group of non-adventurers, I see?" the evil lord remarked, rising from his seat. "Most intriguing. Yes, quite fascinating indeed." A surge of darkness enveloped him, akin to a colossal flame. "Let's see how well you guys do to defeat me!"

Hearing the demon's sinister chuckle only fueled my determination to vanquish him. Regardless of whether I live or perish, I would stop at nothing to bring him down and avenge my mother's untimely demise.