Chapter 277 Demons
Aldrich and Chrysa stood side by side in the midst of a forest. The trees towered around them like a gathering of miniature towers, reaching high up and spreading their boughs of blue leaves in a ghostly glowing ceiling of flora.
"It's snowing?" Chrysa held out her hand, watching as little dots of white dropped down on her palm.
"That's not snow. That's ash." Aldrich took in a shallow breath, feeling precious little oxygen, and what little oxygen he did get, it was hot, almost burning.
Not that he even needed oxygen.
"Ash?" Chrysa cocked her head. "That means fire, right?"
"It does. Smart." Aldrich patted Chrysa's head. It was curious what she knew and what she did not know. It was not like she had gone through any sort of schooling. What she did know was probably based off of Aldrich's own memories, but exactly how much?
"Mhm." Chrysa smiled happily as she nodded at Aldrich's praise.
A system message appeared in front of Aldrich's vision.
[Trial Quest 3: The Arc started]
[Main Objective: Defeat Dark Eye Deimos]
-Close the Flame Arc
-Save the Velis Temple
-Retrieve the Arselis Seed]
Aldrich moved his hand from Chrysa's head to in front of her face. A spine jutted out of his palm, blood trickling down and pattering on the dirt.
"Quite rude. I was barely done reading." Aldrich pulled his hand back and tore the spine out of his hand. Little threads of muscle and chips of bone clung to it as he tore the serrated edge out.
Chattering clicks echoed above. Aldrich and Chrysa saw a hunchbacked humanoid clinging to the tree trunk. Its long, gangly limbs ended in barbed claws that dug into the wood like climbing hooks.
Spines lined its back and its joints, showing exactly where Aldrich had gotten his injury.
The creature was small, not much larger than a child, with pale, lightly purple tinted skin and a face fused with mangled, burned flesh onto what looked like a tiki mask showing an exaggerated blue lipped grin and angled, angry solid white eyes.
"What is that? It looks gross," said Chrysa. She looked at the grotesque creature with no fear, just a hint of disgust.
"That's an imp. A weak type of demon. From its mask, its under Mur'Kon'Ree, demon god of secrets," said Aldrich.
Chrysa slapped her hands together like she was crushing a bug. The space around the imp distorted before collapsing in on it, splattering it into a pulp as if two invisible walls had crashed against it.
Little flecks of purple skin mixed into a slurry of bright red blood and innards flowed out between the spatial walls.
"You're right, father, it's weak," said Chrysa. "So I made sure it will never hurt you again!"
"Impressive." Aldrich nodded. The imp was probably level 15, but Chrysa had one shot it with minimal effort, despite being just level 20 herself.
Most likely, this was because of Chrysa's real world powers. Chrysalises could naturally manipulate and change shape according to their wills, or, as the Death Lord had noted, at the behest of a greater entity.
Some sort of 'alpha' or 'boss' creature, as Chrysalises naturally formed symbiotic relationships with strong individual creatures they housed within their lairs.
To Chrysa, Aldrich was her 'boss monster', though, because of how their souls were intertwined, the boss to lair relationship was changed to more of a father to daughter one.
"I'm strong, I told you! The 'levels' father gave me made me way stronger too!" Chrysa twirled around proudly.
"You're good, Chrysa. But remember, you can always be better," said Aldrich.
"And here's more chances to improve." Aldrich looked up as several more imps crawled out of the literal woodworks, crawling down treetops with insectoid efficiency. "Make sure to pace yourself. Use as little mana as possible to deal with them because you don't know what you need to save for later.
Anything could come up."
This was not entirely true. Aldrich had a good idea of what was going to happen since he had gone through these quests before. This third one was quite hard.
In terms of relative difficulty, it was one of the hardest. Among the top five, in Aldrich's opinion, beaten out only by the super endgame quests.
The quest involved defeating Deimos, a dark elf warlock, who wanted to rip open a tear into Morhal, the dimension of the demons. He had made a pact with one of Mur'Kon'Ree's Greater Demons to obtain magic in exchange for granting dimensional access to more of the demon's kin.
Deimos was using an elven town as a sacrificial ritual to try and rip open a pathway for Mur'Kon'Ree's demons to come through. The quest involved fighting through a veritable horde of demons - it was no cakewalk, that was for sure.
"Ah, and there you are." Aldrich stepped in front of Chrysa as another demon appeared. This one landed on the ground, a half dozen meters away from Aldrich.
It was bigger. Just a bit shorter than Aldrich. Humanoid, still, but instead of being a curve backed, misshapen spawn of a thing, it was more refined with balanced and athletic proportions.
Same purple tinted skin. Same tiki mask face, but this time with a mouth shaped into an overly curved grin. Black bat wings fanned out from its bat, and it topped off its demonic look with a pair of horns, one curving up, the other curving down.
This was a [Grinner Demon]. Unlike the imps, which were lesser demons, Grinners started at minimum from level 25.
This one in particular was level 30.
"I'll handle this," said Aldrich. "Chrysa, you take care of the little ones."
"Okay, father." Chrysa smiled, fangs bared. Her fingers flared out, space rippling between them.
"And it's about time I tested out my new equipment." Aldrich stepped forward, making it clear that he was going to take on the bigger demon one on one.
"Death Walker, why do you resist us?" said the demon. "We seek only a new home for our displaced brethren."
"You can spare me the self-pity. From what I know, all of you are glorified parasites anyway," said Aldrich. "Latching onto new dimensions, taking on the forms of the natives, doing as you please for no real greater good."
"Greater good? Is such a thing necessary? Is survival not enough?" said the demon.
"Not in my eyes." Aldrich had talked with demons some, but the game obviously did not have all the dialog options a real life encounter brought. "Plus, all of you here are just more experience and, if I'm lucky, item drops."
"Brave talk, Death Walker. My eyes are keen. You are burdened. You have no legion with you. You cannot draw upon the forces of the dead."
"I see. So you can tell?" Aldrich filed down the information that demons could track his status as they could in the game. It was an interesting mechanic that in Elden World, beings related to demons or gods could see things about the player that only a player would know. Like the location of their last save file or how full their inventory was or even reading through game files to check the player's real name.
It was a fun little gimmick that made gods and demons more 'ethereal', as if they were beyond the scope of the mortal game denizens.
Apparently, that transferred to the demons being able to read some aspects about Aldrich's system, particularly the restrictions his quest imposed on him.
"As you are now, you are but a third rate caster. What is a death walker without the dead to heed his call?" said the demon.
Aldrich cracked his neck and knuckles. "Your death."