Chapter 9: Lost in the woods
When Elpis opened his eyes, he was laying on a giant boulder, his chest naked and his pants, like the hair, drenched in water, he felt like he had passed all night drinking, even the sun was being an asshole.
His head filled with Drums, his ears whistling like a Stromphinaz, a bird similar to a cock, that every morning would wake up everyone with acute whistles.
Actually, he had a Stromphinaz right on his chest, he raised the left arm to scare him, only then he realized, he had no arm, the pain assaulted him and a thunderous roar filled the air.
In fact, it was so powerful it actually killed the bird on the spot and destroyed the ears of every being with ears in a radius of 50 meter.
Then came the tears of pain, the wound had actually infected, with insects flying around the stump, probably attracted by the silver blood.
Elpis tried getting up, but he felt he had no power, nor to get up, nor to do anything else, even remaining awake was hard.
After a while, even his tentative to remain wake failed, and he feel back to sleep.
In his sleep, Elpis wasn’t master, he was a prisoner, he kept thinking to all the people in the ark that had suffered injuries or died, because of his incompetence.
He even saw the little girl he had saved; she was sad because he didn’t keep his promise and left her, she kept calling him names and saying she hated him.
He wanted to explain, but he had no mouth, he could only suffer in silence.
Then came the turn of the people that died slowing down the human advance in Labyrinthian. Soldiers insulting him, saying he was too slow, if he had been faster, lots of people could be saved, even his father was against him.
The nightmare ended with everyone participating in a process, in the end he was found guilty and sentenced to death, to carry on the sentence, were called all the soul harvested by him, with paled faces and incomplete bodies, they surrounded him and started ripping him to pieces.
When at last, they stomped on his crystal heart, he woke up.
Night had fallen, he was still on the rock, but he felt a little better now, probably because the sun wasn’t there to blind him.
He mustered all the force he could, and finally managed to sit down, his head was still spinning and most of the limbs didn’t respond, but at least he was alive.
After a few more hours of gradually moving his libs, he could get up and walk, this were probably the after effects of using everything he had to kill the renegade.
The battle was even harder because of the location, near a giant lake, a water spirit was at extreme advantage.
At least, he had fought against a not all-powerful spirit, if he had, the spirit could have used even the body fluid of Elpis body, making him explode from the inside.
Elpis was walking while using a stick he had found to support himself, he tried going south, maybe he could find the imperial highway and use it to orientate.
He also needed to be careful, right now he was no stronger than an old human man, if he were to meet someone ill-intended, he couldn’t even defend himself.
While walking in the dark forest he couldn’t even fully use his eyes, he could perfectly see his surroundings like it was day, but after 100 meters it became blurry, like watching something out of focus.
He kept walking like this for a few hours, even in the darkness; he feared the inhabitants of his dreams and didn’t want to risk seeing them again.
After what felt like 10 hours, he saw a faint light in the forest, he approached it hoping it would be someone’s house or a camp or even a lamp signalling a road.
What he found was quite different, he found the water spirit, she seemed still alive, even thought she still had the 4 spike In her back.
Her rough breath and a few painful moans was what gave away her near-death state. If it was the him of before meeting Summer he would surely acted differently, but after fighting someone apparently powerless, and dying 2 times, he understood that no enemy was worth underestimating.
She had forced him in a very bad situation, it was time for payback, without saying anything, he placed his arm on her back, he was getting ready to suck out her soul, then he remembered, renegade spirits didn’t kill the host, it just occupied the body of a pure of heart.
Killing the woman, meant killing an innocent, this was also proved by the white soul contained in the woman heart.
What he had to right now was, first suck out the spirit, heal the girl and then go away, as much as he knew, the girl could have been a knight, or a mage, truly dangerous to fight such an opponent with his weakened body.
He cut the girl wrist with a rock and placed his mouth on the cut, he was sucking blood, but also the spirit, just like snake poison, after a while he was done, the woman was completely pale, clearly the spirit was what kept her alive, without she was dying.
Elpis used the little amount of power he received from the spirit to heal the girl’s wounds, when he was done, the girl was still pale from the blood loss, but at least she was healed and finally free from the spirit control.
Even Elpis had earned something from this battle, by absorbing the water spirit, he could now restore energy by drinking water, and he could us the water just like the spirit before.
The future use for the water element he had absorbed were unlimited, too bad now he was lost in a forest, by eating the grass he could somehow restore something, but it would take too much time.
He decided to leave the woman there, in his condition, he couldn’t carry her, he also couldn’t imagine her reaction upon seeing him.
He kept walking till dawn, his legs were getting heavy, he decided to take a little break under a tree, he ate some grass and leaves, this made him feel a little better.
While he was resting, he heard someone getting closer, from the number of voices there were 6 people, they were talking about how they had robbed and killed a family near there.
He tried to get away from there, but he was not fast enough, suddenly from the bushes, a band of robbers came out.
They were armed with rusty short swords and wooden shields, one of them had a long bow and some arrows, none had any kind of armour, they were dressed with heavy cloth and one of them was dragging a big sack.
When they saw Elpis, they exchanged him for an old man, after all, he had white hair, was using a crane to walk and he missed an arm, they naturally underestimated him.
When he turned around and they saw his eyes and his bare chest, they all got scared, a monster had appeared in front of them, but, by how he was behaving, they understood he was injured, hoping in a great reward, they formed a circle around him and drew their swords.
(for those wondering why I included the chest, Elpis chest has a glow generated by the heart that is visible even from the outside, also the muscle distribution is quite different from a human.)
The first to attack was a boy on the left, taking advantage of Elpis missing arm, he tried shoving his sword in the monster’s chest.
But Elpis didn’t even react, a rusty iron sword, couldn’t even hope to cut his skin, moreover, it was handled by a newbie, it represented no risk for him.
He waited for the sword to hit him, the iron blade shattered, the boy losing his balance, fell on the ground, he was clearly startled, but he didn’t have any time to form his thought, he started feeling dizzy and passed out.
What had happened to the boy? Elpis had just placed a hand on his back and sucked out his soul, after the 100 elites, his soul sucking power had increased, if it kept growing at this rate, he could suck an enemy’s soul at quite a distance.
The other bandits seeing Elpis was no pushover, tightened their grasps on the weapons, the archer took a few steps and fired 3 arrows in quick succession.
Hard to believe, Elpis fell like a sack of potatoes after being hit by the arrows, the bandits were in ecstasy, who would thought only 3 arrows were enough, they lowered their weapons and approached Elpis corpse.
3 of them were taunting the corpse with their swords, while one was patting the archer’s back, then something went wrong for them.
Elpis corpse suddenly rose, no sign of injuries, he placed his hands of two man and they fell to the ground, the third tried to run, but it was too slow, Elpis stole his soul too.
In only 3 seconds, the situation had been reverted, 4 men were laying on the ground, lifeless and Elpis was currently watching the last two survivors.
“Come now, or die suffering.”
Elpis eyes were once again brimming with energy, those 4 men had helped him recover about 3 %( 2.66%) of his energy, but it was more than enough to move normally.
(Let’s learn how Soul energy make Elpis stronger, a science lesson by DR. Nicolosi)
(I actually used arithmetic’s here. Elpis base power is worth 40 souls of energy, from every soul he absorb, he can increase his maximum power of about half the soul energy, half goes to increase the size, and half fill it; he absorbed 216 human souls, which means his current limit power is 108+40+2 from the water spirit, 150 souls worth of power. If Elpis power supply is currently empty, he can’t make his limit grow, he can only fill up, when his “tank” is full, every new soul enlarge his limit.)
(Humans on the other hand, start with a base power of one soul, when killing someone, they automatically absorb only 10% of a soul’s power, and then when they transform, they use almost all their earned power to create a new body, which means a demon, is worth 10 soul energy, but by killing he can increase his power, of about 5 for every kill.)
He calmly approached the two terrified bandits and effortlessly absorbed their souls, he was around 7% of his power, and couldn’t use telekinesis or creation, but he finally felt whole again.
He started to run, his speed was no lower than a horse, his only thought? Going back home and meet the others.