World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 43: Did You Know That Trauma Is Not A Good Source Of Power
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April 13, 6:08 pm, Canberra, Australia
"We need to get out of here," said Gadiel. "I can't do this, I should not be doing this."
"No, Tarik, you don't understand!" said Gadiel. "I CANNOT do this!"
"Gadiel, look out!"
A beam came straight from down the aisle just barely missed Gadiel, thanks to Tarik's warning. Gadiel blinked in suprise. He had felt the heat of that beam shave off a little bit of his stubble. If Tarik hadn't warned him…
Wait. How did Tarik know the beam was coming at him?
For a moment, Gadiel thought he saw the figure of a woman standing in the direction the attack had come from. Tarik threw a fireball there almost instantly. But the woman simply vanished, and the ball burst against the wall.
A light, venomous laughter floated through the shelves.
"Do you really think this one would be so stupid as to stay in one spot like trapped little mice?" it taunted. "You'll have to do better than that, Heroes."
The last word was dripping with sarcasm.
"We have to go," Gadiel urged. "We can't fight this thing."
"Why not?" asked Tarik, looking Gadiel straight in the eye. "What happened to sticking with me?"
Gadiel stepped back, as if he had been slapped.
"I-I meant that," he said hastily. "B-but I'm saying this because I care about you!"
Suddenly, he felt something yanking down at the pit of his stomach. Instinctively, he grabbed Tarik and dove to the floor.
A hole the size of Gadiel's fist pierced through all the books of the shelves once more, marking where Tarik's head had just been mere seconds before.
"Please just...let's just go," he whispered, laying on top of Tarik. Tarik looked back up at him, eyes wide.
Realizing the position they were in, Gadiel went red and quickly got off of him.
"I just," he went on. "I can't...do this..."
"Not again..." he muttered, too low for Tarik to hear.
He curled up into a ball, head in his knees. A moment later, he felt something touch his shoulder.
"Okay," said Tarik, not looking at him. "Okay."
Gadiel felt a weight lift off his shoulders. A wave of gratitude rushed over him.
"Thank you," he mumbled, getting up. Tarik didn't say anything.
The two of them quickly made their way out of the aisle, and towards the stairs. They had gotten pretty far from it, and so they broke into a little jog to get there faster. Strangely, no more beams came at them.
The pair slowed down, then stopped as they reached the door to the bathrooms. That...couldn't be right. If Gadiel remembered correctly, then the bathrooms were on the other side of the stairs. They would have needed to pass the stairs in order to get here.
Gadiel looked back. Sure enough, there were no stairs behind them.
Suddenly, he had that pulling feeling in his gut again. Immediately, he grabbed Tarik and pulled him close.
Another beam, this one coupled with that same, disembodied laughter.
"Did you really think this one would let you leave that easily?" it mocked. "This one hasn't had this much fun in centuries. This one won't be giving up this one's toys that easily!"
This time, Tarik pushed Gadiel to the floor, landing on top of his as the beam whizzed past. Without getting off from him, Tarik threw another fireball at where the attack came from.
For a moment, the image of a woman flickered, then disappeared. Suddenly, the place was plunged into silence.
"We have to fight," said Tarik, on full alert, still sitting on top of Gadiel. "We have no other choice."
He was right, but Gadiel didn't want to admit it.
"I can't," he said weakly.
"Why not?" said Tarik, looking down at him again. "You were amazing before."
Gadiel couldn't look into those eyes. He turned his face away.
"That wasn't amazing," he said. "That was terrible."
"Then you don't have to do it again," pleaded Tarik. "Just...help me. Please."
It was only then that Gadiel realized that Tarik was trembling. He looked up at Tarik. Strong, dependable, fiery Tarik. How many times had he seen him uncertain and unsure these past few weeks? More than the entire year he had known him before.
Was this how he normally was? Was his confidence just a front?
No. That didn't matter.
Tarik was asking him for help. How could he say no?
"Alright," said Gadiel quietly. Then, after a moment.
"But can you please get off me first?"
Tarik quickly scrambled off of Gadiel, looking embarrassed.
With that, the two of them got up again, and started moving around, holding hands. They agreed that is was better to actually look for this Captain-class monster instead of just waiting around for it to attack. The problem was trying to find it.
From what they had seen, it looked like it had some sort of illusion ability. The last time Gadiel faced a monster with an illusion ability, all he had to do was realize that there was a discrepancy between the illusion and reality.
However, with the whole 'exit disappearing and no way to escape' situation here, it didn't look like that would work here. This monster's illusions seemed much stronger than the last one's. Not to mention the vaporizing beam. If that hit either of them, they were finished.
No. Gadiel needed to calm down.
He stopped suddenly, in the middle on an aisle, and took a deep breath. Calm. He was calm. Everything was fine. Tarik was here. He squeezed his hand for comfort.
Except there was no hand to squeeze.
Gadiel turned around, only to find an empty aisle. The only thing he could see were shelves upon shelves of books. No Tarik.
"Tarik?" he called out cautiously. "Tarik where are you?"
Did he leave him? Did Tarik just leave him behi-
No. Calm. Calm down.
Gadiel grabbed a bookcase to steady himself, and closed his eyes. Deep breaths. In...out…
He opened his eyes once more.
Where had Tarik gone? The answer was obvious; nowhere. This Captain-class obviously had some sort of illusion power. She was able to make the exit impossible to see or get to, so she could probably make it so that he couldn't see or hear Tarik, and vice versa. The answer came quickly once he calmed down.
Damn. He was really freaked out about the whole 'losing control' thing back there, wasn't he?
Well, no time to freak out now. He needed to find Tarik again.
Gadiel looked around, but all that was around him were books. All of them in perfect condition.
Well. That was probably an effect of the illusion. With the amount of fire and ice they had both used, Gadiel wouldn't be surprised if the entire fourth floor's books were destroyed beyond repair. He made a quick mental apology to the university.
However, that meant that Gadiel probably wouldn't be able to communicate with Tarik through the books or whatever.
So what could he do?
Seriously, he was stuck. Gadiel couldn't think of anything. He looked up at the stacks of books beside him and…
Was it just him, or did this aisle seem a lot...narrower?
He placed his back on the bookcase, and stayed still. No movement whatsoever.
He started walking out of the aisle. The tall shelves around him were suddenly giving him claustrophobia. He felt like they were closing in on him, even though he just proved to himself that they weren't.
Except they were. He could feel the shelves coming closer and closer, the exit to the aisle getting smaller and smaller. He started to run, to get out faster.
The shelves started closing in faster. Gadiel had no time to bask in the feeling of being right; he needed to get out. The cases were too close, almost touching him. The exit was just a little further. He twisted his body sideways, to give himself a little more room and-
And he tripped.
Gadiel closed his eyes and held his breath, certain that death was there for him.
Except the shelves had stopped moving.
He warily opened one eye, to confirm that nothing was happening. Slowly, he started moving to exit the aisle, and once again, slowly, the shelves started closing in.
He stopped moving. The shelves also stopped moving.
He moved backwards. The shelves moved back, a little, giving him some more room.
What a terrible trap.
Gadiel walked back to the center of the aisle, thinking as the shelves moved back again. It seemed like the monster wanted him to stay right where he was. That said, it wasn't killing him yet. That probably meant that it was going after Tarik first. That, or it was setting up a death trap for both of them.
Either way, Gadiel needed to do something. He looked up at the shelves towering above him.
Well, if he couldn't get out by walking���
He started to climb the shelves, slowly making his way up. Except that it seemed to take him ages to get to the top. The more he climbed, the higher the top seemed to be.
Gadiel jumped down, landing lightly on his feet. No way out from above either. Then what about through?
With a large swipe, he cleared a shelf of biology books, and forced himself through the tight space between shelves. A few minutes of huffing and puffing later, he got through to the other aisle.
Feeling please with himself, he went to clear the next shelf. The plan was to keep hopping shelves until he reached the end of the shelves. But before he went on with his plan, he stopped.
The shelf ahead of him had already been cleared. Frowning, he looked at all the books that had been taken off the shelves.
Alright, back to the drawing board then. There was no way to get out of this situation with brawn, it seemed. Gadiel racked his brains on some sort of solution, but the only thing he could think of was to dispel the illusion. And the only way he could think of to do that, was to defeat the monster.
But Gadiel had no way to do that either. He couldn't even find the monster.
Or could he?
They had found the Monster Nest due to some sort of sensing ability the pendants had given them. And cause of the glowing tattoos, but he had no way to check that now.
How had it felt again?
Gadiel sat down, crossing his legs in a meditation pose, and closed his eyes. It wasn't like anything else was happening. He took in a deep breath, deeper than usual, from his nose. He held it for a few seconds, before letting it out, along with all his worries.
Be aware of everything aware of him. Be aware of the monsters.
He felt a familiar sinking feeling in his stomach. But it was dull, distant. Gadiel focused on it, trying to see if he could get any more information from it.
Suddenly, the feeling changed, to a burning sensation. It didn't hurt, but Gadiel knew it meant something bad.
His eyes snapped open.
"Tarik!" he yelled, turning around.
No one was there, but somehow, he knew Tarik was in danger. The burning sensation didn't stop. In fact, it got hotter.
Gadiel started running out of the aisle again. As expected the shelves started closing in on them. He didn't care. It wasn't real.
But he knew that Tarik being in danger was real.
The burning in his stomach got hotter, almost uncomfortable. He knew the danger was growing, whatever it was.
"Tarik!" he yelled, reaching out. The shelves were closing in, but he didn't care.
He needed to be there.
He needed to help Tarik.
Whatever it took.
Gadiel felt a burst of cold erupt from his body, freezing the shelves in place. He slipped out of the aisle quickly.
Gadiel felt himself crash through something, the sound of broken glass reverberating through his mind. He saw Tarik in front of him, shoulder bleeding. Tarik's eyes grew wide as he saw Gadiel.
But Gadiel was already looking past Tarik, towards his assailant. A thin, snake-like woman, with the body of a spider, grinning evilly as it pointed a finger at Tarik. A ball of light had already charged up at the end of its gnarled fingernail.
But it was too late. The beam fired.
Immediately, Gadiel raised a hand. His reaction was instinctive, based on emotion.
He wanted to save Tarik.
It didn't matter the cost. He needed to save Tarik.
The burning sensation inside him burst, filling him up with righteous fury.
And a blast of fire erupted from Gadiel's hand, flying past Tarik's head, intercepting the beam.
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