“I don’t get it, why is she doing this?” I asked helplessly as Faeyna didn’t stop cleaning.
Meanwhile, outside, I could hear the soldiers sent by the Demon Lord Aberis. One of them was a female Osterian general. I didn’t have to guess too hard what role Xin was taking over. It probably was Xin who captured her, but since she was taken from the dungeon and a new version was created, this one was a lot weaker and only shared some appearance with Xin, like a person who had to describe someone they saw to a sketch artist.
I found it a little ironic that the Xin who was guilty for all of this was the Xin who ended up freeing my own Xin from this dungeon. It probably didn’t hurt with their merge either that my Xin had been infected with karma forcing her to act like the other Xin at the time they merged. It might not have gone as smoothly otherwise, as the dungeon might have resisted more.
“Is it really so hard to consider?” Elaya asked. “How do you resurrect someone?”
“You find their soul and bring it back. If they have a body, it’s rather simple and you can just repair the damage to the body and put them back into it. If they have a body but its not with you, it functions more like a summoning, bringing their body to you and then recreating it, so you don’t end up with corpses lying around. If you don’t have a body as it was destroyed, then you have to create one with mana. Each version is increasingly difficult and requires a lot more mana, so lower-level priests can’t manage it.”
“Yes… but how do you start? How do you know who to resurrect?”
“You’d need some part of them. A piece of hair, a drop of blood, some items they used frequently. A bond works as well, such as the Slave Bond.”
“It isn’t so complicated. What you ultimately need is their mana signature.” Elaya explained.
“Of course! That’s how it is!”
She didn’t need to explain anymore. It worked under the same concept as the Map, Portal, or just about anything else in this world. Mana had a signature to it, and no two people were alike. The native Fae from this planet had a mana signature too much like the native flora and fauna. Thus, they rapidly broke up and became mixed into the life force of the planet, making resurrection for them impossible. I theorized that you might be able to resurrect if you were fast enough and high-level enough, but compared to those that came from other worlds, they only had one chance.
Mana was used to map out areas, and that same mana was infused into Cartographers, which was why their job had a slightly magical element to it. That’s why a map from earth didn’t work, while a map from this world made by a cartographer did and was ultimately more valuable. In the same way, mana was used to find the soul and summon it. You could get that signature from many different places. However, what did that have to do with Faeyna cleaning?
Elaya didn’t say more, so I figured she wanted me to think about this on my own. It didn’t take long before I understood. Faeyna had taken a bin where she had swept everything and then set it on fire. She started to put all of her belongings in there, although she had packed far more meagerly than anyone else. She still didn’t hesitate to burn everything that she wasn’t wearing.
“She’s destroying anything attached to herself.” I realized. “If anything remained, then she could be resurrected by the Demon Lord Aberis. She intended to make things permanent.”
I also came to realize that maids had a skill that made them rather terrifying. I didn’t know if anyone knew about this skill, but Faeyna was using it naturally, so maybe she did. The skill she was using was Mana scrub. A maid couldn’t just clean up a physical place, they could also manipulate mana and spirit. As I looked around, I realized she had expunged the entire building of her presence. Rather than someone who had stayed here several days, but by the time she walked out of this place, she’d have no more presence than someone who had just walked down the street.
This kind of skill didn’t seem that useful on the surface, but it allowed someone to hide. Even a hunter wouldn’t be able to follow them. They’d be truly difficult to find.
“The only reason I was able to find her was because of the stuff left behind in Chalm.”
“What about the others?”
“Raissa’s presence was in the city, but she managed to leave. I don’t know where she went.”
Raissa was most skilled and hiding her presence. While Faeyna could clean up after her presence, Raissa could not let her presence be leaked in the first place. Those were two different styles from two different women.
“Siti, they didn’t take much of an interest in. She got sanctuary with the Traveler’s Guild. It pays to be a guild member. Even a Demon King doesn’t have the guts to piss off the Blue Mages.”
I nodded as I recalled my own budding Blue Mage powers. White Mages could practically defy death, while Blue Mages were capable of controlling space. If they refuse to help, the Demon Lord Aberis would have a hard time keeping them in place. While the Travelling Guild wouldn’t specifically help a country at war, they still could rapidly move troops and supplies. A country that lost them would be at a military and economic disadvantage.
“And you didn’t rescue Eliana?”
“Was I supposed to?” Elaya asked. “She wasn’t in any danger, and it would give Master motivation. Plus, I didn’t expect Master to be gone so long.”
By the time Elaya would have realized something was wrong, it was already too late. She probably thought she could have returned at any time to handle the rest. Then, she ended up trapped in the Maid’s Lament.
The shield that was protecting those in the embassy broke down, and they stormed into the building. Breaking into the embassy was already an act of war against Aberis. No matter who was in this building, an embassy was supposed to be a safe haven for those from Aberis. Once it was stormed, it was like invading an enemy. It was no wonder that Aberis was about to go to war with the Ost Republic.
Faeyna pulled out a small vial from a drawer and then downed it just as soldiers broke into her room. I didn’t have to look hard to see what it was. It would trap someone’s soul in their body. It was a suicide potion.
I watched helplessly behind an invisible wall as Faeyna was grabbed. The bottle fell on the bed, and the soldiers didn’t pay it any mind. She didn’t put up any resistance as she was dragged out into the street. I followed, but I was stuck along the side, unable to get within five feet of their group. I was a ghost once again, only able to watch Faeyna’s fate. I had been waiting for Faeyna to pull out a knife or summon a spell, but no such thing occurred. How was Faeyna going to go?
“All we were able to find in there was the maid.”
“Hmph… still, an elf. My lord won’t be displeased.” The Xin stand-in declared. “At least, she’s a docile slave, so obedient.”
“What would be the point in running?” She responded. “I’ve already lost everything.”
The Xin stand-in frowned, but then nodded her head. Two soldiers grabbed her and started to pull her down the street.
“Come on, Elaya, tell me how this ends?” I asked through the Slave Communication.
Although she took the potion, that wouldn’t cause her to die. That only trapped her soul in her body, setting up the conditions for a permanent death. In reality, she could still be resurrected if someone appeared and cut her soul from her body. I could do such a thing easily with Alysia. I suspected that Elaya had done the same, which means that she’d have seen Faeyna’s body.
“It ends with water.”
“That’s right. I had to fish her out of a river. It wasn’t easy. She had died when her body struck various rocks. I was able to resurrect her.”
My eyes danced around wildly looking for her plan. My eyes eventually shot to a bridge that was coming up. That had to be it. I vaguely recalled that this bridge passed over a river that had some pretty fast and deep waters. The undertow was supposedly deadly. Even if I fell in it, I would likely get sucked down and die. Everyone who fell into it found it impossible to escape. They usually just resurrected them. If such a place existed in my world, they’d probably just cover it up or bury it, but since resurrection existed, they just used guard rails.
This also made it the perfect spot for Faeyna. If she leaped into those waters, then she would disappear, and after wiping out the rest of the evidence, they’d never be able to resurrect her. The group of them made it on the bridge. The story was running out of time. The ground started to shake.
“Wh-what is that?” I looked around from right to left, that’s when I saw a black substance that resembled water flooding down the river. “When did this happen?”
The entire city was flooding. Anywhere the dark water touched was destroyed. It was a twenty-foot-tall tidal wave crushing the city.
“It’s a miasma purge. Every time there is a cycle, it shoots out the mana spring. It’s what happens at the end of the story. It’ll just reset again. This is why I didn’t want any of the citizens getting trapped in the dungeon. It’s certain death at the end of the cycle. Ah… I guess it’s impossible to change things now.” Elaya sighed.
“You could have told me that earlier!”
“Relax, I’ll get you out of there. Now that you’ve seen the end, we can figure some way to finish the lore in the next cycle.”
“Mm, this is how it ends. She jumps off the bridge. You can’t change that. However, once we can get her to recognize your existence…”
As if to make her point, I slammed into an invisible wall as I tried to step onto the bridge. At that moment, Faeyna lets out a cry. She managed to knock away the guards, catching them by surprise. She ran for the edge rail of the bridge.
“No…” I tried punched the wall, but it was as impassible as always.
“I’m sorry, Master. This is just the way it ends. It’s really a shame that you’re not in any of these memories.”
“I’m… not… I’m not in this dungeon!”
“This dungeon is a curse? Why wouldn’t I be in this dungeon?” I demanded. “Because… I was there!”
There wasn’t a memory of me buying her, or us fighting Shao, or any of it. Faeyna didn’t consider those curses. Even if she felt jealousy, or fear, or unhappiness… from the moment we were together until the moment we were apart, not a single memory was part of her curse. The rumbling of the water was growing now, and the wave was getting closer.
“What are you saying?” Elaya asked in confusion.
“She’s been recognizing my existence this entire time,” I stated as Faeyna climbed up the railing, turning around.
The guards took a step forward, but they remained hesitant, as they didn’t want to get pulled off the cliff with her.
“She’s… been trying to incorporate me in her lore. She wanted me to be a part of her story. She didn’t try to cast me as anything else. She’s been wanting me here all along. I may be the darkness in her heart, but I’m also the cure.”
My body began to glow as I accessed my dungeon store. I changed what I had equipped. I knew what I had to do now. The final boss wasn’t her brother, and it wasn’t Faeyna. It was these damned walls! I pulled back my fist as Faeyna lifted her arms. I had to get to her, there was no other choice.
“Master, this is the dungeon lore that already happened,” Elaya spoke helplessly. “You can’t change the climax.”
I let out a roar and punched with all of my might. The wall resisted my fist, but I knew that I couldn’t fail here. I wouldn’t let Faeyna face it one more time. The water rushed forward, and Faeyna started to fall back.
“Faaaaeeeeynnnnaaaaa!” I screamed as I forced my feet forward.
The invisible wall shattered, and I went flying onto the bridge. She had already fallen back too far. Faeyna’s eyes locked with mine. She let out a gasp.
And then she continued to fall from the ledge, unable to stop herself.