World Boss? No Thanks! 19: The Other 'Me'
‘Come forth, my Hellsteed!’
*rumble!* Amidst the darkening heavens, a splash of blood red smeared itself across the pitch-black canvas. Immediately, the gigantic bronze gates of Hell rose from the ground, heralded by an ever-increasing sense of dread as I stared down the engraved faces of two fiendish ghosts flanking that tiny crack to Hell.
Even though I knew they were just engravings, I couldn’t help but shiver at their strange expressions. Ones that seemed to smile and yet not at the same time; to cry and not cry at the same time.
Compared to that towering gate, what was once a giant python seemed ever so miniscule. Just looking at its imposing silhouette, the python couldn’t help but undo its bindings in a bid to escape immediately.
Beastial instincts stirring, it knew right away what it was facing ---despair! It was a sense of hopelessness that could only come from the overwhelmingly powerful creatures of the abyss and the aura of death they radiated.
That fear which enveloped it came from that distinctive abyssal aura of the Underabyss. It was a fear engraved into its bones from its ancestors, a reaction from its inbred slave nature lurking within its bloodlines. The python loathed this gnawing sensation within itself that screamed:
Bow, prostrate yourself.
How could mere mortals stand up to the extraordinary!
Narrowing my eyes, I couldn’t help but feel an inexplicable sense of familiarity as I stared at the giant bronze gate.
I could clearly feel it: this was something of mine.
Thus, I extended my claws and gently caressed the engravings on that bronze gate. As I did so, the wear marks on those two ghosts seemed to vanished as the areas I touched had been renewed.
The moment that happened, the two ghosts let loose a sound that sounded like a laugh and yet not like one as well; like a cry and yet not like a cry. Grating like a low howl from the abyss yet also shrill like a virgin’s hymn, this was the opening stanza to madness and a bone-chilling finale at the same time.
Yet amidst all that, I knew that this was the sign of their approval of me. That bronze gate welcomed my arrival!
Even though I had never seen such a strange sight before, my body didn’t reject it at all. It was as if I had seen this multiple times before.
This bizarre sense of familiarity circled around in my head like a watchful eagle on the hunt.
*kakaka…* The bronze gate slowly opened up and immediately I was buffeted by a sinister wind stemming from the depths of the abyss themselves. As that chilling breeze washed over me, it penetrated every bone in my body and as it did so, I felt my lifeforce leave me in a stream. Even so, it felt like my body brimmed with endless power.
“Hu hu hu!” From within that ever-widening crack, a horse galloped forth, body as black as the night and covered in roaring flames. Its visage was covered in an equally pitch-black metal helmet that made it seem like a warrior covering up its critical spots.
With each step it took, a scorched mark was left behind as if a raging fire had ravaged that spot.
This was my steed, from the dark depths of the abyss itself, it came looking for me in pursuit of the flames of the mortal world.
“From now on, you will be known as Hounding Flames!” I opened my mouth and even though my throat didn’t tremble in the slightest, an unknown voice spewed forth as if it had come from the void itself.
‘Hold on, who is this?! Where did he come from?!’ My inner mind panicked, eyes fixed on this unrecognizable ‘me’.
“Fret not, other me! Even though I’ve seen you multiple times before, I’m sure you’ve never seen me before. Greetings for the first time, my name is ^%#%%$%^*.” ‘I’ stood there, body stalwart like a mountain, eyes focused onto myself. Within those eyes, I could see the faint gleam of joy.
*WHOOSH!* The moment ‘I’ tried to say out my name, the sinister winds of the abyss wrapped around my ears and blocked out ‘my’ voice.
“So that’s how it is, you’re still too weak. That’s why you can’t hear my name? Seems like our meeting was too premature, truly a shame!” A regretful expression crossed ‘my’ face as ‘I’ shook my head. “For the current you, using [Hellsteed] is still too premature, you...need to get stronger.”
‘No, I want to know right now, why am I here, why…’
“The current you cannot even hear my words so you have no right to know these answers! If you wish to find out, journey to the holy city of the humans ---[Margare]!” ‘I’ stretched out my claws and pointed to the west. As ‘I’ did so, a solemn majesty seemed to radiate off that finger.
I couldn’t answer at all and merely nodded my head.
“Then, we’ll leave things as is for now.” ‘I’ nodded head. Slowly, that presence began to fade away.
“Oh right, there’s still something I need to do.” As if ‘I’ just realized something, ‘my’ lips curled into a rueful smile.
“There’s no way that worm is getting away so easily, those who try to harm my kin...will die!” ‘My’ eyes chilled as I raised a finger and pointed at the giant blackwing python.
Acknowledging that command, that hellsteed galloped after that python with a *whoosh*.
[Trampling Purgatory]! Without even a chance of screaming, it was reduced to cinders and scattered with the winds.
[Widdle Dragon has risen to Lv.19!]
[Widdle Dragon has fulfilled the requirements for evolution! The following options are available for evolution!]
“Farewell, me! Next time we meet, I pray you’ll be stronger!” ‘I’ chuckled before disappearing with the bronze gate and hellsteed.
With that, the blood red night sky receded and the night fell silent once more. Underneath the watchful eyes of the moon and stars, all that remained was that sinister chill in my bones.
(Edited by: Tahaku)
(ED notes: I seriously think other “him” is like an ancestral spirit, or something of the sort)
Special thanks to Kaung Thant Win Naing!!