Reborn: Evolving From Nothing / Reborn: Evolving From Nothing Chapter 78: Yukeli
Gerulf slammed down on the ground, cracking the ice as he landed. The white leather hides that covered his body were glowing, his sharp Aura wrapping around him like a pointed lance.
“Siegfried!” He bellowed, charging towards the steel bubble that covered his comrade and Jasper.
He only barely caught a few hurried movements as their targets fled inside the Ice Keep, the door slamming shut behind them.
In just a few split seconds he sprinted over towards the warping steel pillars, his chest heaving from exertion.
They had started sprinting here as soon as they found the place Jasper had set off a Dark Signal Orb, the tell-tale leftover aura still present. They’d charged off towards the Ice Keep, eventually finding a trail of dead Grakons, and faint traces of Slowing Strob Rays, a slowing Darkness Spell that was used to slow enemies. Siegfried had an artifact that allowed him to cast a limited number of those, and hence they knew they were on the right trail.
As they followed the trail, Gerulf had realized that their targets were purposefully being allowed to head towards the Ice Keep. Siegfried must’ve wanted to wait for all of them to meet up before engaging, standard operating procedure for their team. They would only engage at all if it seemed obvious that the target would escape otherwise.
“In here.” A muffled grunt could be heard from inside the steel pillars.
A second later, the steel pillars fell away and melted into dust, revealing an injured Siegfried and an unmoving Jasper.
“Mika! Get on Jasper, now! He’s hurt bad!” Siegfried bellowed, clutching at his own arm. It was twisted off at an angle.
With only a slight wince, he twisted his arm, setting it correctly into place. He then withdrew a Light Pill from his Spatial Ring, an expensive Grandmaster Class one. He swallowed it whole, feeling the rush of healing energy rise in him.
Mika, the other Light Wizard in their troop, rushed over to the still figure of Jasper. Immediately, a pure, Light Aura covered her, giving her an almost angelic appearance. They had two Light Wizards on their team. One that specialized in close combat and speed, Jasper, while the other that specialized in healing magic and long distance combat, Mika.
“What happened, Siegfried?” Gerulf stepped forward as Siegfried sat down, meditating. He motioned with his hands to the two other Shades on their team, directing them to form a secure perimeter.
“The Fox had a subordinate.” The Steel Wizard began, looking at the flesh on his right arm. Four trails were drawn on it, seared and burned a bright red.
“It didn’t seem particularly strong. It was tough, defensively, and it had a lot of physical strength, but I couldn’t detect even a hint of an Aura off of it. It’s like the Grakons, physically powerful but that’s it.” He waved his hand in the direction of the sunken Ice Keep.
“It was, however, incredibly skilled in close combat. It was my mistake to rush to engage without the full team, but if we didn’t, they would’ve fled inside the Ice Keep. Well, they did anyway.” He sighed, his voice full of frustration.
Gerulf grunted, turning to look at the entrance to the underground stronghold. A set of cut stone stairs led to the Mystic Door that blocked the Keep off.
“Alright.” Gerulf returned, turning his head to look back out towards the exterior of the city. The racket from the ongoing battle between King Class warriors was continuing unabated.
“The big Grakon won’t be back here for at least 4 or 5 hours. Their fight will last them that long. We have time.” He continued, rubbing his forehead.
“He’s stable!” Mika’s voice interrupted him, the healing Wizard calling out from the side. Siegfried and Gerulf turned to look at Jasper’s downed figure.
“His right leg is badly broken, and several of his organs ruptured. He’s broken 19 different bones, and the injuries he’s sustained will take a great deal of time to fully heal. However, he is in a stable condition.” Her voice was cool as she laid out his injuries.
“Alright. Good.” Siegfried’s voice was full of relief. His eyes hardened as he continued,
“Gerulf. Start breaking us through that door, your Piercing Magic is our best bet. The Fox can mold light, but there is no chance she can make it through the Red Portal within 4 hours. She might not even be able to melt through to it at all.”
Dorian stumbled past the entrance, clutching his head. Gradually, his thoughts were returning to normal as the deluge of memories that had swarmed him seemed to fade, settling in the background.
‘Dorian. I am DORIAN! Not Yukeli!’ He forcefully reasserted himself, his identity wavering for a brief second before wavering down.
The memories were scattered and disjointed, over what appeared to Dorian to be a period of roughly fifty years of Yukeli’s life. Most of the memories involved constant physical training, fighting, and sparring. Sometimes through huge, epic battles with thousands of combatants, and other times just a single Wizard or warrior.
A few, however, were ripped from his childhood.
Yukeli was a human, born to an impoverished mother and no known father. He had a single older brother, one that was seven years older than him. His family had lived in a poor village near a wide, open forest teeming with wildlife, in the outskirts of the Kingdom of Binor, on the planet Tallew.
The memories about Yukeli’s childhood were scattered and few, but Dorian could already tell that the boy had been born a prodigy. An absolute genius.
At the age of 1, he could already walk and talk, learning the Common language in a matter of months. At the age of 2, he had become a wordsmith, studying from the few books his family possessed. He had a deep love for poetry and expressed his feelings for the world around him in poems.
At the age of 3, he had won a great deal of acclaim and fame for his poetry, all as a mere child. The Lord of the territory he lived in had personally sent a dozen gold coins to reward his mother, allowing them to move into a real house, in a real town and leave the poor outskirt village. He single-handedly pulled his family out of squalor, a sweet, innocent and cheerful boy.
At the age of 4, his life took a turn.
The planet he lived on was conquered by a race of powerful creatures.
A varied race of beings known as Demons.
A mass slaughter took place, as the human race on his home planet faced extinction.
And suffered from it.
Before his eyes, as a pale, trembling 4 year old, hiding in a wooden cupboard in his nice home’s kitchen, Yukeli watched his mother have her heart ripped out.
His house, and that of many others, were destroyed. Everyone found was killed, usually in cruel, torturous ways. The Demon Race was not a kind race. They were cruel, their nature bloodthirsty and capricious.
Yukeli hid in the rubble of his home for two days, managing to survive off an old jug of water and a mostly burned collection of hardbread. He dug around slowly, searching desperately for his older brother. He didn’t dare to call out, the Demons still alive and active around him.
When the Demons moved past his city, moving on to another as they swept over the planet, he made his escape.
He fled from his ruined home, scavenging food and water to take with him. He gathered up supplies, eventually managing to find an abandoned Spatial Pouch in a destroyed merchant’s shop and load it up.
One thing led to another, and he eventually left the city.
And came upon a scene that was burnt into his mind forever.
A field of wooden crosses lined the outside of the city wall. Thousands of them, crudely contracted from broken wood, some from stone or metal.
Each cross held a body on it, a corpse of a human now dead.
As his eyes trailed over these wooden crosses, his eyes were drawn to a particular one.
One he stopped in front of, staying quiet for several minutes.
He had found his missing brother.
The memories blurred here, skipping past to a scene in a forest, where Yukeli was standing alone, looking down at a sluggish river. His face was marred, tears dripping down it.
“If I had been stronger, I could have done something.” He whispered, his hands clenched.
“If I had trained, studied magic, I could have done something.” His entire body shuddered,
“I wasn’t good enough.”
The young boy was silent. His shuddering stopped as he forcibly calmed down, his voice taking on a calm edge,
“I wasn’t good enough.”
“But I will become good enough.”
“You will rue this day.” His eyes flashed,
“I will exterminate you.”
“I will exterminate your entire species.”
“I will become more than good enough.” His eyes twitched, his voice filling with emotion,
“I will become so mighty nothing can stand in my way.”
“A good fighter? A strong Wizard?”
“I will achieve the pinnacle.”
“I will become perfection itself.”
His entire body shook as he uttered those words, a promise of death, full of power.
The memories blurred once more after this, skipping and jumping around, sometimes ahead several years. They became more and more scattered, memories of battles and wars.
Most of the remaining memories were of Yukeli fighting against hundreds, and thousands, of Demons, Humans, Aethmen, Vampires, and beings of varying races in the 30,000 Worlds. Of Yukeli becoming a staunch ally of the Draconic Tribes in their war against the Demon race, and a powerful fighter in his own right.
Yukeli used hundreds of different techniques, studying more than a thousand different Mystic Arts to become a master in close combat. For Magic, he studied multitude of different styles before settling on a single type.
He further specialized himself in researching specific types of Fate Magic, those centered around the Soul Spell Matrix of a being, the cycle of life, the concept of reincarnation, and a few other related topics.
Fate Magic was incredibly complex and abstruse, difficult to understand for even the most adept Wizards.
As for the laws of the universe, Yukeli discovered a Law that was previously unknown. The Law of the Absolute.
“Grrr.” Dorian growled, taking control and shutting the memories off, leaving them in the back of his head. He put a pause to looking over them, realizing that now was not the time.
All of this had taken only a few split seconds.
He blinked as he roused himself, looking around.
He was in a brightly lit entryway, glowing white torches giving off a magical white flame, coating a set of iced over stone walls. The floor beneath him was made of fine, carved stone, and set with ornate patterns of Grakons doing various everyday actions, like walking, eating, sparring.
It appeared to be some type of hall at the front of this ‘Ice Keep.’
A resounding boom drew his attention behind him, to the doorway of the mostly underground castle.
The door to the keep was made of some dark, black metal. Magical symbols glowed all over it as it slammed shut, the Humanoid Form of the Lightsworn Fox Arial breathing deeply as she leaned against it.
“We made it.” She exhaled, wiping a sheen of sweat off her forehead, her voice full of relief.
“That will hold for at least a couple of hours.”
A small pause occurred as Dorian looked at her, and she looked back at him.
Dorian took a deep breath, looking around the frozen entryway.
“So what now? It seems like we just trapped ourselves, with a group of ferocious Shades outside trying to kill us.” He held his hands up, waving them around.
The fox girl bit her lip slightly, turning to look down the hall, towards a stone doorway on the opposite side of the entrance.
“We need to make it to the bottom of the Ice Keep, towards a secret place called the Red Portal. It’s a strange, magical device that connects to another, inactive portal hidden away in the sister city of Icicar, Dragonmount City. Specifically, on the tallest hidden mountain in that city, a mountain shrouded from sight in mysterious fog, one almost impossible to see.” She said, crossing her arms as she shivered,
“If we can make it to there, we can lose them completely. They have a pair of able Fate Wizards that have been tracking me through Fate, but using the portal will sever that connection completely.”
Dorian listened to her explanation, his eyes following her closely.
“Alright. Assuming this is all true, how do we make it to the Red Portal?”
“This is where you can help, actually, Dorian. The Red Portal is locked away at the depths of the Ice Keep, behind a huge wall of Gworen Ice. This wall is fed by the Traveling Ice Waterfall, and will repair any damage it takes shortly after taking it.” She continued,
“If we use your dragonfire to keep it from regenerating, and my Sun Sword technique to melt it directly, we should be able to safely push through to it!” Arial said confidently, her eyes shining.
“But first, we need to turn the portal on.” She proclaimed, walking down the hall, away from the entrance. Dorian stood still for a moment before quickly following her.
She moved confidently through the entrance, to a larger, more resplendent hall. Hundreds of tables and chairs were spread out in this hall, some type of great feast room. The cold ice that covered everything gave this room an eerie appearance. All of the chairs and tables were oversized, made for creatures much larger than them.
“And how do we do that?” Dorian asked, kneading his head.
“The Throne Room through here has a simple activation circle. All I need to do is break through it with my Sun Sword, and then we wait for a few short hours.” She responded, traversing the feast hall.
“After that, the underbelly of the Keep will open up, and we can find the Portal Room and the waterfall of magic ice blocking it.”
Soon they exited the feast hall, passed down one more frozen corridor, and came into a large, stone room, supported by several grand stone pillars. A long, faded and frozen red carpet lay down the middle of this room, leading to a raised stone platform where a lone, black throne sat.
Arial jumped up onto the platform as soon as she saw it, snapping her fingers. Immediately a glowing sword of light appeared, giving off faint sparks of fiery light. It was almost blindly bright, Dorian noted, as he stared at it.
Arial stood perched above the throne for a moment before stabbing her blade down into the huge stone chair.
A huge gust of wind burst out of the throne and shook the room, the air knocking around. Dorian stumbled backwards before righting himself, his knees bending.
He could feel a rush of ancient, magic energy flowing fiercely. The entire keep seemed to shudder, shaking beneath his feet.
“Now all we need to do is hide and wait.”