"Let’s go, for whatever it’s worth, the folks upfront have already cleared the way by going ahead," Garen walked into the door.
Behind the door was a room about the size of a small house’s living area. The walls of the room were decorated with carvings of weird faces, some crying, some in fear, some stern faces etc.
All around the walls of the entire room were filled with these stone faces. It was as if they had protruded out from within the walls and were trying to escape, hundreds, if not thousands of them.
Celine couldn’t help but inch closer to Garen as they walked carefully towards a pair of massive stone doors on the opposite side of the room.
The right door was ajar, obviously someone had already walked into it.
As the pair walked into the door.
Tens of metal needles suddenly shot out from every direction in the corridor beyond, blocking the way forward.
Garen pulled Celine and took a step back.
The needles shrank back into the floors and walls, once again revealing the dark and seemingly endless corridor.
"Be careful, it looks very dangerous," Celine reminded, "I smell a horrible stench coming our way."
"A stench?" Garen was stunned hearing that, and he started paying a lot more attention to the walls on both sides of the corridor.
On each side of the wall was a small hole about the size of a fist. From within each of those holes, a wormlike creature that glowed a dark green hue started to climb out. When both wormlike creatures finally made their way out, they revealed locust-like wings from their body and started flying; then only the duo could make out their full appearance.
These weren’t just worms, they were little girl-like things that had dark green skins covered in smooth insect scales. While they had a slender and potentially attractive body shape, their faces were a total turn off as they looked incredibly sly and evil, not to mention the horrible stench.
The worm-girls flapped their wings rapidly, and made insect like noises. They were headed straight for Garen and Celine. As they got closer, they opened their mouths to conjure some sort of an evil smile, revealing a set of saw-like teeth.
"Sprites!" Celine took two steps backwards, hoping to pull away from them, "these must be the legendary sprite, be careful! They have very sharp teeth!" She slowly pulled out her belt, her gaze never straying away from the two sprites.
"Sprites?" Garen was at a loss for words, these abominations looked absolutely hideous, and yet they still had such cute names, surely their appearances did their names no justice.
"Garen you focus on protecting me! Sprites especially like eating little girls, they’ll definitely focus all their attacks on me!" Celine yelled in fear.
"Ha?" Garen only just noticed, the two sprites only paid attention to Celine with their gazes of greed and lust.
The two sprites suddenly pranced on Celine. They didn’t even bother with Garen, they just circumnavigated him by flying around his left and right.
Garen reached out his right hand and very swiftly caught one of the sprites. With his left hand, he flicked the other sprite with his finger, sending it on a collision course with the wall.
Grabbing the sprite felt just like grabbing a typical beetle. Their body had no warmth whatsoever.
"Just like a typical insect, so weak," Garen frowned.
"Be very careful, sprites have a really resilient body structure, the Neptune Fist have records about them in their books, documenting how they’re very hard to kill!" Celine quickly reminded, "no matter if you burn, drown or stab, whatever you do, you will never be able to completely get rid of them!"
"Wow, that’s something," Garen’s frown grew deeper.
On the other side, the sprite that had been struck to the wall got back on its feet and was now back in the air. This time, it was onto Garen with deadly speed.
Garen swung his free hand and slapped that sprite to the wall, then he squashed it against the wall to be sure.
The part of the wall which met his hand sank in around his palm, a great amount of dust fell from that spot and around the corridor.
As Garen lifted his palm off the wall, the sprite underneath was unscathed, looking only a little dizzy.
"They’re really strong indeed!" Garen finally realised.
He suddenly felt a sharp pain on his right hand, and quickly let go of the sprite he was clenching in it.
As he pulled his palm back, he saw a small wound cut open by the teeth of the sprite. They definitely had some really sharp teeth, seeing how they were able to bite through his tough skin with ease.
"Let’s just run! Head straight towards the needles!" Celine drew her belt in one quick motion, whipping the now free sprite, sending it into a dizzy spell like its other half.
Garen followed closely behind Celine, running towards the spot where the needles protruded earlier.
The needles protruded from every part of the walls and floors again, but this time, Garen mustered his might and kicked right into one of them. With a loud snap, it broke into half, revealing a small space for the two of them to run through, and away from the sprites.
They sprinted for a while, encountering many junctions along the way, but each time Celine wouldn’t even hesitate, she would sniff the air for a split second, then continue forwards.
After a long run, and a few more flights of stairs, they were finally stopped by a massive black arched door measuring at least 10 meters in height. Like the other doors from before, it was also ajar, revealing a spacious black stone hall within.
The black stone hall was brightly illuminated, in its centre, there was a black altar with a silver double-edged sword stuck into it.
The double-edged sword was about the width of a palm, and on it there were carvings of fist sized symbols. On its hilt were two sprites smiling and hugging each other carved into it in perfect uniformity.
Suddenly they heard some low hums and loud banging noises coming from within the hall.
A massive living thing was thrown against the arch of the door, shaking the ground around the hall as it landed, and raining more dust onto its inhabitants from the ceiling.
When the dust cleared, Garen and Celine finally make out what the massive thing was.
It was actually a giant sprite towering over 5 meters in height!
It looked just like the sprites from before, greenish body, with full breasts and a slender body. All across its naked skin was covered in tough green insect scales, its mouth filled with sawlike teeth and a face that was insidious beyond belief.
The giant sprite roared, and got back on its feet almost immediately.
Garen and Celine hastily ran into the door.
Within the hall, Duskdune Shura and Flamingo were standing calmly on one side of the altar, Flamingo wielded the black sword, and was fending off combined attacks from Beo and another person.
The three of them were engaged in an intense fight, making sounds like a hurricane had struck.
Beo was sent flying to the wall after being slashed by Flamingo, as he slowly slid off the wall, he started puking blood, looks like he was injured pretty badly.
Flamingo swung his sword around casually, and a silver circle of light appeared in front of him.
CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!
Another bearded man dressed in military fatigues wielding a short axe stood in front of the silver curve, his body suddenly shook violently, small red spots suddenly appeared underneath his skin, as if he was having a bad case of goosebumps.
Flamingo rose his sword and slashed it downwards.
Another low hum, and the bearded man too was sent flying backwards. He rolled on the ground for a while before finally ceasing and lying flat, his axe flew around and landed in the side of his head with a loud crack.
Garen and Celine also noticed a woman in a suit sitting against the wall in the hall. Her face was incredibly pale, and her chest was pierced through by a dagger, pinning her against the wall as her blood dripped into a puddle on the floor.
Yet despite this, she was still alive, and still struggling to pull the dagger out of her chest.
As Garen and Celine entered, everyone ceased in their steps and took notice of them.
The giant sprite flapped her massive wings, with a strong gush of wind she pranced towards Flamingo. She waved about her fingers which were tipped with incredibly sharp nails, almost dagger-like.
Flamingo’s eyes glew a golden red, the sword in his hand didn’t even move, but in front of her a silver cross appeared in response to the sprite’s attack.
A bright spark bursted between the cross and the giant sprite, sending the giant sprite and Beo flying backwards to the wall again. As they hit the wall, cracks in the stone wall were left in their wake.
The giant sprite was now dizzy, and was unable to get back on her feet.
Flamingo grimaced, and swung his sword in a circular motion with one hand, turning his gaze to Garen and Celine. He had obviously just easily fended off the attacks of Beo’s squad, and along with it, conveniently took down a grumpy giant sprite.
Garen noticed that from the beginning till now, Flamingo had not even bothered to take off his black cloak, he’s been fighting with only one hand this whole time. In other words, these skilled warriors paired with a legendary being are so powerful that normal folks don’t even deserve their need to be serious in fighting them.
"Take care of yourself," Garen said softly to Celine before striding confidently towards Flamingo.
"What’s up? Are you here for the Sword of the Sprites and the Blood of Secrets too?" Flamingo looked at Garen doubtfully, "The Blood of Secrets requires a certain brewing process to work. So even if you get it, it’ll be useless to you. Only members of the Immortal Palace Alliance have the recipe, therefore only if you join us would you be allowed to use enjoy the Blood of Secrets."
Garen shook his head, "I’ve only just heard about the Blood of Secrets, I honestly have no full picture of what’s going on here." He looked around at everyone in the hall, Beo and gang were either knocked out or heavily injured.
"Then why did you come in?" Flamingo was now intrigued, "You should know that only grave danger awaits you here right?"
"Of course," Garen nodded, "My objective is simple, and since you’re a member of the Immortal Palace Alliance, could you please tell me where is Sylphalan?"
Duskdun Shura and Flamingo stood stunned, they exchanged looks and didn’t utter a word. Flamingo’s originally calm face also suddenly turned distressed.
"Syl...phalan….what business do you have with him?" Flamingo was silent for a while, then said this.
Garen didn’t reply, he merely stared at him silently. He knew these two definitely knew the location of Sylphalan. After the many rounds of fighting the group, while Duskdune Shura and Flamingo looked absolutely unscathed, they must have at least suffered some damage or at least exhausted their energy. Hence Garen was confident that if he tried, he could at least inflict heavy damage on them should a fight erupt. Not to mention compared to Beo, right now Garen was closest in terms of skill level to the two of them.
"Screw it, Flamingo." Duskdune Shura suddenly spoke, he slowly walked up to the altar and lightly pulled out the Sword of the Sprites.
With a soft sound, the Sword of the Sprites was slowly pulled out from the altar.
"We’ve achieved our objective for this time, you can have the sword. There isn’t what I want here. Let’s go."
Duskdune Shura turned around and left straight through the door.