World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 41: Turns Out That Monsters Don't Have A Concept Of "Personal Space"
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April 13, 5:45 pm, Canberra, Australia
Gadiel waited in the seating are near the entrance to the library. Students and professors milled about, lost in their own little worlds. He watched them go about their own lives, somewhat fascinated at how little they knew of the danger right in front of them.
He had realized once he confesed to Tarik - he'd felt this feeling in his stomach before. It had been right before they went back to the shop for the second time, when he was studying on the third floor before Tarik came along. At the time, he just thought he had eaten something bad. But now...
When the feeling didn't go away when he confessed to Tarik, he realized that something was up. He should've felt lighter and better, since he was voicing his feelings. Even when he'd admitted things he didn't like, at the very least the knot in his stomach would loosen.
But it hadn't. And when he remembered that the upper level had been closed for about a year now, around the same time as it was theorized that the portal had opened up...
Well. That was just a little too big of a coincidence, wasn't it?
Then again, the monsters hadn't really moved for about a year now, if they had really taken the fourth floor. Wasn't that rate just a little too slow?
"Not necessarily," Tarik jad said over the phone. "After all, they establishing nests all over the world. And apparently it takes time for monsters to come through."
Gadiel supposed that made sense.
He glanced out to the entrance wistfully, wondering when Tarik would get here. As if summoned, Tarik appeared, walking through the glass doors and looking around.
Gadiel stood up, and waved Tarik over. Tarik's face split into a grin, which made Gadiel smile in turn. He watched as the shorter man ran up to him, unbuttoned his winter coat to reveal a purple vest and white undershirt.
"You know that there will be monsters here," said Gadiel, eyeing Tarik's outfit. And maybe just a little more.
Tarik waved off his complaints.
"If I'm fighting monsters, I want to look good doing it," he said. "Besides, it went fine last time."
Gadiel didn't have much to say to that. He took Tarik's hand, and started leading him up the stairs.
"Are you sure about this?" Asked Tarik as they walked. He looked up at Gadiel's broad shoulders, wondering what he was thinking.
"I'm not sure about anything, really," said Gadiel. "Except that I really, really, really want to be around you, Tarik."
Tarik raised an eyebrow, but also felt his face grow hot. Sometimes, it was nice to have a darker skin color, if only because no-one could tell when he was blushing.
"Besides, you need me," Gadiel went on, not realizing the effect of his words. "Who else is gonna watch your back?"
He looked back at Tarik and smiled.
"Literally, I guess," he added.
They made their way up the stairs, until they reached the landing of the stairs leading to the fourth floor. The way up was closed with yellow safety tape. It wouldn't be too difficult to go under it.
"Can you feel it?" said Gadiel.
Tarik nodded. The pit in his stomach that he had first felt when he came to the library had only gotten heavier. At this point, it was more like a boulder.
"Take off your hoodie," said Tarik. "Let's check the mark."
Gadiel did as he was told without complaint. Underneath his hoodie was a slightly too-tight black t-shirt. He turned around and waited for Tarik to check his mark.
"What are you waiting for?" asked Gadiel, turning his head to the side.
"Uh, right, yeah," said Tarik, pulling Gadiel's shirt back to check the mark. It wasn't that he had been admiring Gadiel's broad back muscles, no. He was just...um...waiting. For reasons.
"It glows white," Tarik noted.
Gadiel nodded, then turned back around to look up the stairs. So it was true. The fourth floor really had been turned into a Monster Nest. There were actual monsters up there now, doing who the hell knows what.
Tarik looked up at Gadiel. He knew he was hesitating a little. He put a hand on his shoulder, noting how firm it was, and gave a little squeeze.
"Ready?" he asked, squeezing his hand a little.
That seemed to do the trick. Gadiel closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and nodded.
They went under the tape together.
Gadiel wasn't sure if it was just in his mind, but he felt that as soon as he went past the line, the air had gotten a bit colder. He narrowed his eyes; something was definitely off.
"You feel that?" Tarik whispered.
Gadiel nodded. It was nice to know it wasn't just him.
The quickly climbed the stairs and reached the fourth floor. The pair stopped before walking into the library proper, however.
From where they were standing, all they could see were rows upon rows of books. If Gadiel's memory was correct, there would be desks lined up along the walls to the far right, near the windows. Bathrooms were to the left, but he wasn't sure about anything beyond that. Probably more books.
"Should we split up?" Gadiel whispered.
Tarik looked at him like he was crazy.
"Do you want to die alone?" He whispered back. "I don't care about efficiency I'm sticking with you."
He grabbed on to Gadiel's arm to make his point. Gadiel couldn't help but blush as his face split into a silly grin.
"Okay," he said, and headed right.
They walked past the shelves, together, peeking through the aisles as they passed. There didn't seem to be anything or anyone here.
But something was definitely off. Gadiel could feel it in his bones.
"Let's try going in the aisles," Tarik whispered. They had reached the far right of the floor, at the end of the rows of shelves. There wasn't anything here but desks and more books.
Weird for a place that was supposed to be renovated. Normally, they'd be moved out to make renovations, no? And as far as Gadiel could see, there hadn't been any changes to the floor so far.
Silently, the two of them walked through an aisle at random. They looked around, but there wasn't much to see. Mostly books, surprisingly. But every now and then, as Gadiel gazed through the gaps between books, he thought he saw something dark walk between the aisles.
"Did you see-" Gadiel began, but Tarik cut him off. He nodded, affirming that yes, he had seen something move in the next aisle over too.
They both stopped moving, trying to peer at the thing in the next aisle. It too, seemed to have stopped moving. Gadiel wondered why; it wasn't as if foot-soldier monsters were clever enough to read. Were they?
As Gadiel pondered the intelligence of the monsters, Tarik moved closer to the shelves. Suddenly, he pushed against it, hard.
Nothing happened. Gadiel stared at Tarik, eyebrow raised.
"You know the book cases are nailed down, right?" He whispered. "Specifically so students don't do what you just tried to do."
"Shut up!" Tarik hissed, embarrassed.
Gadiel grinned, and-
A monster burst through the shelves, sending books flying, right between the boys. Tarik and Gadiel immediately moved back, into the book case behind them.
The monster slashed and growled, but only its head and claws fit between the shelves. Therefore, it was stuck.
"W-what do we-"
Before Gadiel could finish his sentence, Tarik placed his han on the monster's head and blasted it with fore, point blank. He held the monster tight as it tried to thrash about, until it finally stopped moving.
"Well that was a lot weaker than I expected," Tarik remarked, letting go of the monster's charred head. All that was really left of it now was a blackened skull.
He looked up at Gadiel, who was frozen in shock.
"Hello, you there?" He said jokingly. "We don't have time to waste. The monster probably called all the others."
"R-right," said Gadiel. "We should disable the nest before that."
Tarik looked at Gadiel strangely. Then, he smacked his head in realization.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you," he said. "The only way to disable a Monster Nest is to beat all the monsters inside it."
Gadiel had no time to voice his displeasure, as a boar/lion/bat hybrid monster suddenly dropped in from above, dive bombing him. He barely had enough time to dodge, but Tarik wasn't so lucky.
The monster rammed straight into Tarik, knocking him to the floor. The monster flew off for a few meters, slowing down.
"Tarik!" Gadiel rushed to Tarik's side.
"I'm fine, I'm fine," said Tarik, but let Gadiel help him up. He looked back at the monster, who was now slowly turning around.
Luckily, its tusks missed. If it had gored him, Tarik had no idea how he would have survived. Neither of them had any healing powers, after all.
"It's alright, we just have to-"
Gadiel pushed Tarik forward, just as a monster burst from the bookcase behind them, coming out just where they had been. Gadiel didn't even waste time looking at the monster, he dropped to the floor and placed a hand on the monsters foot, and summoned an ice spear of ice straight down.
The monster roared in pain, staring hatefully at Gadiel, who had already backed off. It tried to step forward, but it was stuck. Gadiel saw now that the other monster was a gorilla, lion, bat hybrid, with some sort of goat legs with human-like feet that allowed him to stand upright.
The boar monster was coming back.
"Up!" yelled Gadiel, and started climbing the shelves.
Tarik didn't need to be told twice. He started scrambling up the shelves faster than Gadiel, who had a height advantage.
Just in time.
The boar monster flew straight at them, missing them by inches, and into the other monster stuck in place. The stuck monster, realizing what was about to happen, stopped trying to free itself, and struck its claws straight out.
The boar monster flew straight into the claws, screeching the entire time, impaling itself on the monster's arm.
"Look out!" yelled Tarik, who had somehow already reached the top of the bookcase. Gadiel immediately dropped to the floor, and rolled away.
Before the monster could even look up, a blast of fire enveloped the entire monster.
Tarik kept the fire on the monster, eyes burning the entire time. He watched as the monster burned it's flesh turning black, curling up, it's eyeballs evaporating, along with its skin. He watched as the monster went limp, it's muscles unable to move, charred, as-
Tarik blinked, surprised by the sudden hand on his shoulder. He turned to find Gadiel atop the bookcase with him, with an expression he had never seen on him before.
"That's enough," he said. "You're okay."
Gadiel reached out, and wiped away a tear from Tarik's face. Tarik was startled. When had that happened?
Suddenly, Gadiel pulled Tarik into a hug.
"It's okay, I'm here," he said softly.
Tarik wanted to protest, wanted to say he was fine, but for some reason, he didn't. Gadiel's arms were warm and comforting, and for some reason, made Tarik tear up even more.
"What the hell?" Tarik chuckled, tears streaming down his face. "Pourquoi je pleure?"
"It's okay," was all Gadiel said, holding him tighter. "I'm here."
For a moment, it was just the two of them, lost in their own little world.
Gadiel's body stiffened. Tarik wiped his tears, and looked up to see him looking in the distance at something.
"You okay now?" asked Gadiel.
"I've been okay this entire time," said Tarik, chuckling as he undid himself from Gadiel's embrace. If he was honest, he wouldn't have minded staying like that for a little forever longer.
"Good," said Gadiel. "Cause once this is over, I'm going to kill you."
Tarik turned to find a herd of monsters, all climbing up the bookcases to face the two of them. He lost count at about twenty.
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