Chapter 36 “The servant”
The skin of this stretch was inordinately dry and old, just like a skeletal hand covered with a thin layer of epidermis. Indeed, it was so dry that it resembled a threadbare trunk of a tree.
After the old man gestured the three individuals to come inside – the index finger aiming directly at Du Wei – the hand then pulled back into the wall.
Du Wei was the first to recover from this shocking scene. Reaching out after striding several steps forward, he touched it, he touched the wall in which that frightening being retreated to. It was soft and light to the touch, more like touching water. Believing its safe, he directly moved his entire arm inside the cave wall.
“It looks like… my hand can go in,” Du Wei’s voice was a bit hoarse, evident of how nervous he really was.
Clinging together with their hands clasped tightly against one another, the two ladies in the back were still hesitant.
“You sure we can go in?” Joanna appeared nervous in her eyes as she faced the boy, “What if that thing on the other side is coming at us with evil intentions?”
Indeed, the situation was very uncanny that she must consider that possibility.
“We don’t have a choice, it’s either we stay stuck in here or go take our chances.” Du Wei mildly replied, waving Vivian to come to his side. “Do you trust me?”
Over this question, Vivian answered it with a vigorous nod that left no questions about her trust. Together, Du Wei led the way first by holding the sincere girl’s hand behind her and in they went.
“Oh Almighty God, please bless poor little Vivian and Du Wei… Oh… and my sister as well!” Inhaling deeply to gather her breath, Vivian only managed to mutter this to herself before disappearing through the rock slab completely.
Gritting her teeth after witnessing her peers disappearing before her eyes, Joanna had no choice but to follow suit after gritting her teeth.
With everyone gone, the underwater cave would naturally return to its peaceful calm like no one has ever laid foot here. For Du Wei’s group though, things were rather different. It was like a nightmare when they transverse through the rippling wall. Dark and eerily quiet over on the other side, they can’t see a spec of light here nor could they hear anything. The only thing they can do now was to walk, walk using their intuitions and senses to lead them forward.
The other side must be using some kind of magic trick.
What if the other side decides to withdraw the magic when we are halfway down the path?
Would we be stuck inside the rocks forever?
How long do we have to stay in the dark?
While Du Wei continues to worry about all these questions and dilemmas, something abrupt occurred in front of them. Feeling like they’ve been released from the confines of the darkness, what appeared before their eyes was another cave several times larger than the last.
To their surprise, in the middle of this large space was a man wearing a long black gown and a tall pointed hat. Floating there, this person wasn’t touching the ground at all!
“Hey, it’s you isn’t it? You are the one who led us in here?” Du Wei asked.
That person didn’t reply, instead, he raised his hand and pointed his finger to signal something.
A big cave, dim lighting, cold air, a human floating from the ground while wearing a black gown… This situation was definitely frightening. Even if Du Wei was a man from another world where science reigned supreme, he cannot help but go dry in his throat over this freaky scene.
“You are… scared.” It was the same shriveled up voice from before, “Why?”
First inhaling deeply to compose himself, Du Wei replied through grits and stones: “We should be the one to ask ‘why’. Why have you led us here?”
That person didn’t respond, leaving him to ask again. “You must be the host here! Our raft got flipped in the sea. Did you do that? And does that monster belong to you? At any rate, what happened to us is that we fell into the sea and the whirling water brought us into this cave. Again, did you do that? Where are we? Who are you? And why are you doing this to us?”
Finally, after a long minute of this eerie silence, an old “mwahaha” laugh broke out. Using God as his witness, Du Wei can swear that in this and his previous lifetime that he had never heard something so malevolent.
“Stupid human…” the old voice replied, “You should thank me for saving you… If I hadn’t cast the magic, you would have been eaten by it already.”
The reply stunned Du Wei’s group!
“You mean… you saved us? What is this ‘it’ that you speak of?” Du Wei’s heart was pounding, “And who are you? Where are we?”
Another set of “mwahaha” laughs came as a result of his insistent questioning.
Floating over until there were only a few steps worth of space left in-between them, Du Wei can finally get a good look on that face.
It was a face of inhumanly white. This horrified the three there because they can almost see through the skin and down to the bones due to how transparent it looked.
Without exception, anyone who would have the misfortune to meet such a being would forever be scorned to have nightmares of this day.
While the two females in the back were horrified to the point where they were shaking incessantly, Du Wei could only brace himself by biting the bullet: “Please, who are you and where are we?”
No longer on equal footing, Du Wei’s attitude now was more conspicuous about his manners.
“Can’t you ask some more meaningful questions instead?” The old man had a mocking expression as the arm underneath that black gown raised itself.
From those skeletal fingers, a cluster of stars began rapidly rising out of it, catching Du Wei’s group by surprise in the process.
Suddenly, the walls were lit ablaze with candles, brightening up the entire cave with it and revealing the set of accommodations nearby: a stone table, some chairs, and a cabinet ordained with some items.
“Please, take a seat. You are my guests after all,” pointing to the stone chairs, “We can talk about this slowly.”
Then in a twist, the being cast a remark like he just recalled something, “Oh, let me think about what we are missing… Oh, I know.”
Looking up to face the ceiling, he snapped those fingers and shot a spark of light into the top. Crumbling under the magic, the ceiling soon opened up to reveal a golden chandelier ordained by twelve sets of candles there. This would of course shock Du Wei and the girls at the wonders of this spell.
This was especially true for Vivian and Joanna because only they would know how amazing this feat was.
Marvelous and overwhelming, those are the only words they can come up with.
“My little guests, is there anything else you would like?” The dark being sounded unconcerned.
“… food, and fresh water.” Du Wei asked with a tinge of hope in his voice, “We haven’t eaten for days.”
“….” The being laughed. Fortunately he didn’t laugh out loud; it was a silent chuckle. A skeleton’s restrained guffaw clearly does not make observers feel comfortable.
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“I’m sorry but I can’t do it,” the person shook his head. “My magic can create anything in here… with food and fresh water being the exception. What you see in here are magic illusions: the table, the chairs, and the lights. They can trick your eyes and your senses of touch, but in the end they are not real. For that, I cannot alleviate your hunger or thirst.” He appeared surprisingly apologetic there for some reason.
But to Du Wei and the others, what he can do was more than enough to put him in a superior position.
“Vivian, can you use your magic to create all the objects in the room?” Du Wei asked the silly little girl next to him out of curiosity.
Vivian shook her head immediately: “Not even our teach-teacher can!”
Du Wei then looked to Joanna, who replied with: “Maybe this mage here is a God?”
“Oh little lady with the white hair, what did you say?” The old man had clearly heard Joanna, “You presume to take me as a god?! HA, if it was as you said…”
He drew closer to Joanna, his tone serious and deep, “Why don’t you tell me what your image of a god is?”
Clearly rattled by the sudden advancement, Joanna unconsciously leaned backwards to gain some distance: “God… God is God! The being who created this world and everything……”
Not waiting for Joanna to finish her statement, the dark being suddenly grew enraged!
As his gown fluttered there due to the blast of air gushing out of his existence, he roared: “LIES!!!!!!”
Due to the ferocity of that voice, even the cave and everyone inside were shaking vividly to the point where it’s dizzying.
In order to placate the ancient being, who was clearly hostile now, Du Wei carefully spoke out using a nervous tone, “So mister… what do you know about the ‘truth’ then?”
Strangely enough, the question had a calming effect on the dark being. Retracting that oppressive aura, he turns back to Du Wei: “Now is not the time to talk about this. First tell me your names my little guests.”
“Why?” Joanna asked.
“Because that is the basic thing to do when showing respect to your host.” The being then made a condescending chuckle, slightly shaming the girl in the process.
Without any hesitation, Du Wei cried out to meet the demand, “Du Wei Rowling, eldest son of Earl Raymond, the Deputy General of the Roland Empire.”
After that was Vivian turns, followed by Joanna who only yelled out her name and nothing else.
“Ah, good, good,” the host reveals a freaky smile, “a nobleman and two fine sorceresses. This time the guests are more interesting than the last at least.”
“So, mind letting us in on your name?” Du Wei puts on a friendly smile, “As a host, you should show some basic respect to your guests as well.”
“Me?” The dark being’s tone deepened, “My name is irrelevant. If you must know, my name is… Chris El Douri Sauniere Allah Bart Chilla Iglar.” He spoke his extremely long name in one go, leaving Du Wei and his friends in a complete daze.
At last, the man moved forward with the subject “… Actually, I’m not the host here. I’m just a servant, I’m the most loyal servant!”
This mighty being who controls magic at the supreme level is but a servant? Who can possibly afford to use a being of this magnitude as a servent?!
“So… Your master is…” Du Wei was very careful in his tone. In fact, it’s drawing close to the point of venerating at the coming answer.
Even a blind man can see this person’s power are no laughing matter. Imagine the one behind that controlling him!
“My master is…” The being laughed, offering a twisted smile in the process, “You must know his name too. Although he has many different names over the years in your books, but the most common is…..”
He paused and smiled, letting his words sink in, “The Devil.”
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