The Trails of Moonlight

Chapter IV: Perillous

"In the face of great peril, we stand."

426 AR

The day started like any other; 

Another scheduled relic hunting expedition, further down Dragon's Descent. Throughout the week under the command of our youngest squad member, "Clarent", we've made further progress down the Aberrant-infested labyrinth. And while the first twenty floors did not pose much of a threat, we've decided to open only twelve of these floors to the daring public, as it was fairly easier to reach them in case an emergency arises.

Despite us being against the involvement of other people in our own- dare I say it, perillous explorations; conditions beyond the thirteenth floor made us rethink our options. I personally know that everyone in our little squad of seven can handle our ground, but with the number of these abominations increasing exponentially, we'd rather not take any chances. And with a large concentration of energy detected in an area further down, the promise of acquiring another relic for Kingsfall's museum is just too hard to miss. And so, we've enlisted a mercenary to our advantage two days prior to the day; an adventurer with a decent amount of combat experience, or so he said..

Little did we know that this was our very mistake.

Reaching the 30th level of the labyrinth was made far easier through his help. And there, we found the relic we've sought after. A black, ornate heater shield- mere inches longer than one's arm, floared above a large, shallow well, sparkling from the mysterious frozen crystals embedded within the labyrinth's walls.
We were so occupied with securing the area from the Aberrants that we never noticed until we heard light sloshing of water. The mercenary waded through the knee-high pool, heading for the relic in the middle. Raising our arms were futile. Our bullets and bolts, seemingly deflected with a mere wave from his hand. It was only a matter of seconds before he reached the relic.

A ripple of purple energy blasted all seven of us away from him.

The relic's transformation has revealed to us its true nature. The shield broke into five lateral pieces; originally obsidian stones adorning the equally black metal ow  glowed a harsh, bright indigo as they floated in mid-air, held together by an aura of blue-violet flames. In his hand, what seemed to be an old torch now blazed with an indigo helix serving as its lance.

They all said it was a mere story. But there it was. 

Perhaps it was fear of imminent death… Dread of a future with such a relic in his hands… or simply an effect of the pulse that blasted all away. We were all rooted in one place; unable to stand, save for one man.

The squad leader took all of his resolve, rising against the shield bearer that walked toward us in a mockingly slow gait. In response, Clarent took his bayonet mounted shotgun and murmured something under his breath. He bit the loose bit of gauze resting on his index finger and tore the bandage off of his arm as he jumped into the fray.

I wanted to stop him from making such a reckless charge… but my voice betrays me as it drowned all words except his name.

 

"Aiden!!!"

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Chuunichi

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