The demon stiffened like a mouse that was fighting back, its fur rigid. I pressed the scarf harder against my nose as the smell grew worse. I was almost like something was coming out of me.
The kidnapper chose that moment to wake up. “Why is it so loud?” he muttered, sitting up. Then he froze, his eyes widening. “Huh? Ah! Stay away from me!”
It was so unpredictable. The demon instantly opened its body to devour the kidnapper.
“Ahhhhh! S-save me, please!”
The demon enveloped him, and his screams died instantly. It looked like he was struggling with a blanket, but soon he became flat on the ground, as though he had been digested as part of the liquid demon.
I froze on the spot in terror. “H-he ate—”
“Don’t move, Iona.”
Ridrian was watching, his expression serious. Trembling, I turned.
After it absorbed the kidnapper, the liquid demon suddenly grew a mouth with teeth. Now it looked so much creepier.
Ke. Keke, Iona. Keke.
Every hair on my body stood up straight.
“It—it can talk?”
The black demon stood there, turning its mouth toward me.
I staggered backward.
“You’re just desperate.” Ridrian swung his sword, an annoyed look on his face.
The dark sword slashed the demon, and he screamed as he split into two halves.
Is it done?
One of the split halves lunged at me. In that moment, all my thoughts ceased.
“Iona!” Ridrian screamed. He rushed toward me, but the demon’s other half was charging after him at full speed.
Kyak! Iona! Kyak! Mine!
“Damn it! Get lost!”
I thought I heard Ridrian’s flustered voice, as well as Eris’s and Dylan’s. But I didn’t even have a chance to notice.
There was still some distance, but I let out a scream of despair as the demon came after me. The dark nightmare overshadowed me, and I thought I might melt like the kidnapper. Was this how I would die in this world?
The scarf came off as I stepped back, and I breathed in the contaminated air.
Instantly, the world turned white.
“Huh? What is that?”
“Uh, Mom? The sky is glowing!”
“What? What are you talking about?”
The children playing stopped and pointed at the sky. The parents looked up, and their eyes widened with terror. The clouds in the sky were gathering as though they were being controlled.
Just then, a massive pillar of light beamed down in the middle of the Etherium, all the way from the sky above. The immense light continued to glow, and for a moment everyone in Etherium thought they might go blind.
“Oh—oh my God, what is that!”
The pillar of light that suddenly appeared in the world was placed on some building’s top. The people who were passing by were so surprised, they took a couple of steps back.
That moment, it dawned on the people that the pillar of light was made of divine power.
“Huh? My foot doesn’t hurt,” someone said.
“Huh? I—I can see!” exclaimed another.
The pillar of light remained for the next couple of seconds, then disappeared, leaving light particles in its wake. It was beautiful, like a spring day.
“What just happened?”
Many people had witnessed the pillar of light in the middle of the Empire, and the people within a one-mile radius had been healed of all injuries. Everyone called it ‘God’s blessing’, and they began searching for the cause.
“Iona!” Ridrian’s heart sank as the demon’s half racing after Iona.
No! Not Iona!
He stretched out his hand towards her. He couldn’t lose her again. She was right there. She was reachable, and he couldn’t lose her like this again.
It was in that moment that he realized what Iona meant to him.
Just as he rushed toward her, the demon’s other half attacked him, wrapping himself around his arm. Ridrian felt his skin melt. Ignoring the pain, he made to swing his sword, but just then, there was an immense burst of light in Iona’s direction. It was practically blinding. Before it could hit him, he lifted his arm to cover his eyes.
What is this?
Something weird happened. As though the light was the stuff of divinity, the demon screamed and broke apart. No, that wasn’t it—the second the light touched it, it turned white and was reduced to dust.
The demon is—
The tremendous light disappeared immediately, leaving behind nothing but light particles. Ridrian reached out to touch one of them. It had zero impact but was instantly absorbed by his finger.
If the demon is gone…then it’s divine power. But this was the same light form as the one from the palace pond when Iona sang…
As he stared in confusion, Eris let out a scream.