What would you do when you meet someone who scammed you of your money? When it's our hero prince(ss), all bets are off.
When the hero is not what you'd expect.
By Shiina Ai
"So Feska, we should go west," Meclis said after they left the vicinity of the capital city.
"Any reason why?" Feska asked, sitting astride a rare white stallion, usually reserved for royal processions. She had the king release one for her use as early payment for taking care of the demon king.
To Meclis's relief, Feska's eyes were now closed again. Although Meclis was one of the few who weren't afraid of looking into her glowing eyes and one of the few who could appreciate the beauty of the chaotic, constantly shifting world inside her eyes, he was afraid it would scare off everyone else. Not to mention that his life would be in danger for as long as Feska's eyes remained open.
"That guy is hiding in a village west of here, on an island-"
"We're not going to look for him," Feska said with a smile.
It almost threw Meclis off his brown stallion. He always thought Feska hated that guy with passion. He couldn't understand why Feska would smile as she spoke of that guy. He really couldn't understand.
"Can you guess what I'm feeling now, Meclis?" Feska remained smiling as she said this, her hands clasped together like a girl in love.
So Meclis answered with the only answer that made sense. "Umm, happy?"
"Correct! I'm happy! I'm so happy! I'm very happy that he's still alive!"
In Meclis's eyes, Feska really did look happy. Like a girl in love who just found out that her husband is back safe and sound from a terrible war. Or like a girl who has found her true love. Meclis suddenly felt jealous of that guy.
"I can finally beat that piece of shit up with my own bare hands!"
Or not, Meclis thought.
"Then why aren't we going to see him?"
"Because if I see him now, I will end up hugging and kissing him! I am that happy! Of course, I'll follow up with beating him up to death, but that's beside the point. Do you know why revenge is a dish best served cold, Meclis?"
"Umm, I wouldn't know. I've always been on the receiving end, you see."
"Right now, I'm happy that he's alive. It overrides all my feelings of anger towards him. I need to wait until that happiness disappears and my anger returns. And I need my anger to stew, to simmer in the background until it boils out of me and I can finally use it to deliver the judgement of the gods on that piece of shit bastard!"
Meclis breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't only because Feska wasn't actually in love with that guy. It was also because Feska's anger towards that guy has never been anywhere close to her dislike towards his 'special interests'.
"So where are we going now, then?"
"We're gonna go see that fake priestess and beat her up for selling me that fake sealing scroll."
"Oh, the sealing scroll that sealed the demon king?"
"What other scroll would I be talking about?"
"If you're looking to meet Nerys, we're going the wrong way."
"Did the highway change in the three years I didn't ride along it?"
"No, that's not what I mean. She's no longer at Red Rock Abbey. She's now the high priestess of Geryon Temple in the capital."
"What?!!! Turn around at once!"
In a certain part of the capital, a single temple in various state of disrepair stood alone amidst three-storey apartments that had seen better days a century earlier. This temple once held the God of the Good Fortune Geryon in worship, but when the priestesses lost their powers of prophecy a decade ago, those who used to worship Geryon deduced that the god had died and turned away from the temple. On this day, two cloaked figures approached an auction held in front of the temple.
"Last item on the block! Necklace of the mermaid queen Boroburu. Granted to the warrior Amysada for defeating the Kraken overlord of the Kaldar Sea. Not only it allows you to breathe underwater, it also grants you an audience with the beautiful mermaid queen. And you can have this amazing artifact for the starting price of 6 gold!"
The crowd went.
As the bidding slowed down at 30 gold, the priestess on the stage asked, "Anyone bidding at 31 gold? This is a priceless artifact! Only one in the world, and even grants you the rights to meet the beautiful mermaid queen! Anyone?"
"100 gold!" A cloaked figure holding up a sack filled with coins yelled.
"Sold for 100 gold! Please come right to the back chambers, good sir!" The priestess said with a big smile while rubbing her palms together.
The 'back chamber' was actually the inside of the temple itself. Despite the general consensus that Geryon was dead, the priestesses, or what remained of them, diligently cleaned the temple and polished the marble idol representing Geryon. However, the furnitures were in various stages of disrepair, with some broken furniture even piled at a corner and covered with cloth. Just from the look of the inside of the temple, one could tell that they were now living in poverty.
"Heehee, do you have the money, Meclis?" the priestess who did the auction earlier asked while rubbing her palms.
"Oh, you know who I am. I never could hide from you, Nerys," the man in front who was covered from top to toe in travelling cloak took off his hood. He reached for the money in his backpack and handed it to the priestess Nerys. "Would you like to count it, Nerys?" he asked.
"Hee... no need, no need," she quickly passed the money to another priestess and whispered, "Count it, quickly!" before turning back towards Meclis and patted his left shoulder with her right hand before saying, "We've been friends for so many years, Meclis. I'd trust you with my very own life! Besides, what's money in front of true friendship?"
"Good to know, Nerys. So, the artifact?" he asked with a smile. He imagined many things in his mind, mainly how things would proceed within the next hour. But his imagination would pale in comparison to what would actually happen.
"Here it is," Priestess Nerys said as she offered him a wooden box with the artifact inside. "But I never knew you'd be interested in an artifact like this. Finally looking to settle down? With a mermaid?"
"Oh, it's not for me. I'm just buying it for her. She said she misses you." He had to hold down his laugh.
"Huh?" Nerys tried to look around behind Meclis as the woman behind him came forward and took off her hood.
"Hello, Nerusys. Still up to old tricks, I see," Feska said without opening her eyes.
"Uhh, Feska... why are you here?" Nerys looked around her before she grabbed the priestess still counting the gold coins on the table behind her.
"Do you need me for anything, high priestess?" the priestess asked as she was pulled closer.
"You, last time you pledged to protect me from any trouble if I become your head priestess, right?" Nerys asked with a whisper.
"Yes, of course, head priestess. You've done so much for us. I wouldn't dream of breaking my pledge."
"Good, then..." Nerys threw the priestess towards Feska as if it was a projectile, "Be my shield!"
The priestess screamed as she flew in the air. Feska sensed the incoming projectile, and she thought it was a completely pointless and futile action. She evaded the flying priestess with the least effort possible, causing the priestess to crash against the long chairs behind her head first. She passed out upon contact.
Meanwhile, Nerys almost completed her chant of teleportation. The magic circle under her feet glowed as the spell started to initiate but with a single command of "Magic Break" from Feska, the magic circle under Nerys's feet shattered. As particles of light scattered around Nerys, she realized that Feska had learned another new magic.
"I'm sorry, were you trying to escape, Nerusys? Don't do that. I missed you so very very very much," Feska said with a sinister smile.
Instead of being frozen in fear, Nerys jumped away, high in the air using Air Step as she tried to escape through the high glass window. "Hah! You think I'm trying to escape? I'm not afraid of you!"
"Oh but you should be afraid of me," Feska suddenly appeared in front of Nerys, "After all, you cheated me of my money."
Feska pointed her right palm at Nerys. Her palm glowed white as it accumulate power before being launched at Nerys in a straight beam. Barely able to escape, Nerys looked back at the gaping hole in the temple wall where the white beam hit.
"Are you trying to kill me?!" Nerys screamed as she tried to put some distance between her and Feska.
The magic circle for Air Step glowed under Nerys's feet with each step taken. It was the same with Feska. As Air Step only worked momentarily instead of continuously, both of them had to repeatedly invoke Air Step and shift their feet to remain standing in mid-air. Although it appeared as if the Air Step magic circle glowed permanently under their feet, in reality Feska actually cast the spell twice every second. Nerys cast it once each second, which caused her stance to look a little less stable than Feska's.
This was a feat considered impossible to most people. For most people, casting Air Step every five seconds was already an amazing achievement. Even so, it couldn't be maintained indefinitely as the mana requirement would be too high. The fact that both Feska and Nerys were able to cast it every second without looking tired proved that both of them were far above normal human being. Even Meclis could only cast Air Step once every three seconds.
"What are you saying? You're like a cockroach. Something of that level won't be able to kill you. Now, let's try again, shall we?" Feska said as she directed another beam of light at Nerys.
Nerys barely managed to avoid it again. She silently thanked her teacher for trying to kill her in the guise of 'training'. If not for the murderous lessons, she wouldn't possibly be able to see the flow of magic in Feska's hand and accurately guess when it would be launched. Normally, against this kind of overwhelming presence, she would either flee or wait until the opponent's mana ran out. Unfortunately, this was Feska, the hero who defeated the demon king, wielder of the angel blade Galtharus and possessor of the Chaos Eyes. She would likely die of old age before Feska ran out of mana.
Faced with no choice, she chanted, "Lord of Thunder, Maroska. I, Nerusys your humble servant requests your aid. Grant me your lightning. Strike this foul creature with your thousand bolts!"
The air became charged with crackles of electrical energy. Within seconds, countless balls of light formed all around Feska. Feska looked around, understanding the true nature of these balls of light, but she was so thoroughly surrounded, she could do nothing to escape when the first ball of light fired. It hit her in the back, shocking her with the power of lightning that would be lethal to humans. Soon after the first ball of light fired, another fired, and another, and another. Within mere seconds, Feska was struck by hundreds of lightning bolts. However, Feska didn't really care and was just waiting for the spell to run its course. While a single thunderstrike could kill a dozen men, to Feska, even this was merely at the level of 'annoying itch'.
Of course, Meclis was merely human, same for the priestess lying unconscious on the floor. So Meclis, being a normal human, fled carrying the priestess on his shoulder. Being one who had to calm Feska down when she rampaged after sealing the demon king, he knew first hand how dangerous Feska could be. He was actually very amazed that he managed to calm Feska at that time and not being killed in his mad attempt.
Shortly after he left the temple, numerous lightning from the sky struck the temple roof. The people waiting for the next auction item in front of the temple scampered away in chaos, afraid the wrath of the gods was upon them. Meclis could only stand there and watch as he started regretting bringing Feska to meet Nerys.
Meanwhile, inside the temple, both of them were playing a game of tag while throwing dangerous things at each other. Nerys threw ice balls and thunderbolts at Feska while screaming "Die, die, die!" Feska had stopped firing her beam of light and now extended her hand, trying to grab Nerys's agile body with Remote Hand, a telekinetic technique to grab something from afar. However, their attempts proved difficult as both were extremely agile with their liberal application of Air Step.
"I grow tired of this," Feska said as she activated Air Rush, a spell that allowed her to 'fly' through the air at incredible speed, putting her right in Nerys's path.
Instead of crashing against Feska, Nerys performed emergency stop by kicking the air in front instead of under her. She kicked the air again, allowing her to put some distance again as she cried, "I taught you Air Step and Air Rush, little boy! You think I would fall for something like this?"
"But you will fall," Feska said as she appeared again in front of Nerys, having chased her with Air Rush.
Feska, being an excellent air magic practitioner, executed a second Air Rush after her first one. She cleverly calculated Nerys's actions and determined her most likely escape path, allowing her to chase Nerys without a pause. Without a second to lose, she grabbed Nerys's neck in her right hand and performed another Air Rush.
She drove the back of Nerys's head against the hard stone of the temple wall. Using Air Step, Feska pressed Nerys's head deeper against the stone wall, cracking it using Nerys's skull. She dragged Nerys's head against the wall in the air, leaving a long trail of broken stones and blood behind them.
"Now are you going to submit like a good hag, Neru - huh?" for the first time since meeting Nerys, Feska was confused. For the Nerys whom she had been painting the stone wall with was no longer in her hand. She wondered if it was some kind of illusion magic.
"God damn it!" Nerys cursed, "Out of all the places it could've blinked me to, it had to blink me back into the temple."
Feska looked down at the floor. Standing on the floor with blood soaking her priestess dress, was Nerys, panting in exhaustion. In her hand was a broken crystal container, the contents of which flowed out of its broken container. Before it could drop onto the floor, the liquid disappeared into the air.
"Is that an artifact?" Feska asked while still standing in the air.
"That's right. For a monster like you, I shouldn't have held back from the very start. It was stupid of me to think that anything short of a miracle can kill you."
"Good of you to understand that. Now give up and accept your punishment."
"Lord of Light, Neji. Grant me power of the celestial brilliance. Shine your light upon this wretched being of the deepest pit. Smite him in the name of holy light!" Immediately after her chant ended, Nerys's skin cracked in multiple places, as blood exploded from her veins.
This was a forbidden spell that Nerys acquired with great difficulty. It was originally a final suicide spell of the priests of Neji, the God of Light, but she tweaked it so that it only gave her 'a pain worse than death' instead of outright 'death'. She planned to use it on the demon king if he ever tried to attack her. She never thought Feska would return after her self-exile.
She overcame the limitation of 'a pain worse than death' by simply acquiring a blessing from Aury, the God of War, making her unable to feel pain, thus, negating the effect of Pillar of Light. She could do nothing about her burst blood vessel as casting the Pillar of Light power strip her of the ability to use magic for a month. Even if she wanted to heal herself, she couldn't. She didn't mind, after all, it was better than dying. Only a month, she could handle it. The most important thing, was that it killed Feska and that was all that mattered. She rejoiced as Feska was dead at last!
"This is quite powerful."
"So you've been hiding this to use on me?" came Feska's calm voice from inside the Pillar of Light.
"Why are you not dead?!!!"
"Hum? I've been to the heavens and back. What makes you think something so flashy as celestial radiance is good enough to kill me?"
"You monster! You monster! You do not belong in this world!" Nerys cried with tears flowing down her face, knowing that she would die in moments.
The Pillar of Light dimmed and in its very center was Feska, protected by a shell of chaotic energy. She stood atop what was left of the temple's floor, surrounded by a crater made by the Pillar of Light. As the Pillar of Light disappeared completely, Feska disabled the shell of chaotic energy and raised her left hand. In her palm glowed a sphere of light of much greater intensity than the ones before.
"But Nerusys, you're kind of pissing me off. Oh well, I'm sure there are other sealing mages I can persuade to help me. Goodbye. I was hoping we can be friends again... Just kidding! Goodbye, Nerusys."
Feska fired the beam of light at Nerys. Feska was not bluffing. She really intended to kill Nerys with this attack, and alongside Nerys, half of the capital city. While she was conscious of what she was doing, she was unable to think of the consequences of her actions. This was the same madness that preceded her rampage after the defeat of the demon king.
Had Meclis been here to see it, he would've immediately jumped in to stop her mind from degenerating even further. But he was not here. He was in another district trying to prevent the kingdom's army from intervening in this battle of monsters. Even if he was here, it was likely to be futile, for even Meclis couldn't understand how he was actually able to stop Feska the first time.
The beam of light, wider than the whole height of any human alive, consumed everything in its path. Wood, rocks even the air was erased when the beam of light touched them. Nerys who could no longer use magic could only suffer the same fate.
But as the beam of light enveloped Nerys, instead of cries of pain, Nerys let out a laugh. "Hyahaha, I got you now, Feska! How do you like my acting?"
The beam of light disappeared as it was absorbed by the magic circle rotating in the air in front of Nerys. At first sight, it looked as if the magic circle shielded Nerys, but that wasn't entirely correct. The magic circle consumed the beam of light to power its spell matrices. For the now powerless Nerys, only her talismans were of any use.
"Hyahaha, have you forgotten who I am, Feska? I am the precious daughter of the greatest artificer of all time, Lamius of Jarhan. I alone hold the majority of my father's creations. I alone knows enough of them to use and replicate them!"
"I see, it's an artifact. Well, I wonder how much magic your artifact can absorb," Feska said calmly as she gathered magic for another beam of light.
But nothing happened. Feska was very puzzled by that. As her madness was still not sated, she could only stare at her hand like a confused child, wondering why it wouldn't work. As long as she was in this state of madness, her higher brain function was extremely limited. As long as she remained in this state of madness, her mental capacity was lower than even a six years old child. It was the same as when she forced her way through the throng of demons on her way to the demon king's palace three years earlier. Just like back then, at this moment, she was no different from a wild beast driven only by her desire and instinct.
Suddenly Feska felt something grab her legs. She looked down under her tattered dress. There, from the floor under her feet numerous shadowy black hands emerged. One after another, they grabbed hold of Feska's legs as the ground cracked, releasing flames and embers from underneath the floor. She tried to kick the legs, but even more hanss came out from the floor underneath her and even from the surface of the crater. Hundreds of shadowy black hands grabbed not only her legs, but also the rest of her body. Some of the shadowy hands even firmly grabbed her head.
Despite being in a state of madness, even Feska felt a little bit of fear creeping up her heart right now. As the ground underneath her crumbled away pulling her down into its fiery depths, she could only scream in fear as her nails clawed at what remained of the ground. Within moments, Feska was dragged down into the depth of the Hell of flames and the fiery surface of the crater returned to its original appearance as nothing more than a crater of dirt.
"Hahaha, how do you like that, huh? I saved this for the demon king but I don't regret using this on a monster like you! Enjoy your eternity in hell, you-"
The ground cracked. Before Nerys could finish her words, it burst, and a figure flew out of the cracked ground with wings of light. She landed in front of the speechless Nerys as the cracked ground returned to normal. Her appearance was truly beautiful, one would say angelic. However, something that came out of Hell couldn't possibly be angelic. Case in point, it was none other than Feska, who somehow acquired wings of light.
"I beat up the first princess of Hell and ate her heart. Now thanks to you, or no thanks to you, I'm immortal. After that, it was only a matter of beating up a million weird creatures and blackmailing the gatekeeper of Hell to let me through or suffer centuries of pain from being beaten up," she said as he eyes remained closed.
"I'm really going to die now! Uwaaaaahhhh!!!" Nerys cried like a child as she realized she had nothing left to fight Feska with.
"Oh right, I wanted to kill you. Well, that's all water under the bridge now. I've beaten up millions of hellish creatures for so long that I'm not angry at you anymore. Those guys were fun. I'd probably ask you to send me back to Hell from time to time to release stress."
"So are you going to let me go?" Nerys asked.
"Ah no, this and that are two totally unrelated things, Nerusys. If you beg me properly, I may spare your life and make you my slave. How about it, Nerusys?"
Nerys quickly prostrated on her hands, knees and head before Feska. "Oh great shining one. The most beautiful angel in Heaven, Earth and Hell, please find it in your heart to forgive this lowly self. Nerusys pledge to become your most loyal slave. I will serve you with all my heart if you will only forgive me, great one."
"See? You can do it if you try. Okay, I'll forgive you, Nerys. But doublecross me again, I will find you and I will kill you, slowly. Even if you're already dead."
"Yes! I will never doublecross you again, glorious one!"
"By the way, why are you still alive?"
"Shouldn't you be like more than 200 years old now?"
"Why would I be? You've only been in Hell for like two minutes."
"... I see. Time flows differently in Hell."
Meanwhile outside, the priestess from earlier finally woke. She rubbed the top of her head and could feel a large bump from when it crashed against the chairs of the temple. She could only moan in pain as she opened her eyes and discovered the carnage in front of her.
"Temple... temple... temple... temple..." she repeated the same words over and over for a week. For there was nothing left of the temple except for a smoking ruin.
*Hi all, it's Ai chan again. Thanks for reading. If you like this story, your comments would be very much appreciated. If you think it needs improvement, please inform me as well. Thank you in advance.
**I'm also thinking of resuming Bride's Groom. I wonder if anyone is interested.
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