43 43. Crimson Fire

How much time had passed? It was unknown. How much time was left before his demise? Sylvester did not know this either. What he did know was that his hands looked like a skeleton, and the exit was close by. They had been crawling at snail speed for so long that their actions were robotic now.

Sylvester kept focusing on the shield, not allowing the creature to touch them. Miraj was exhausted, yet he kept pulling Sir Dolorem. The three were utterly drained and wished to do nothing but rest after getting out.

To hell with the exam, to hell with this mine.

By now, Sylvester had mastered how to harden his light magic, he could probably make spikes with it too, but it was unknown if it would hurt ordinary people. And he had no magic left to try it on this creature.

"Just a little more." He said. It was unknown if he was motivating himself or the two others with him,

His vision had started to get blurry long ago, but all he knew was which direction to walk. His legs were screaming at his brain to stop, but he forced himself… all thanks to the mental fortitude he had inherited from past experiences.

"T-There… we're close!" Sylvester noticed a giant blockage at the front. It was the boulder at the cave's entrance. But now he had a new headache. He needed to shout to get it moved, as he had no spare energy left, not even to scream.

"Okay, we're nearly there. I want all of you to scream 'open' at the same time." He instructed the two.




Sir Dolorem looked left and right for the third voice, as it had come from beside his ears. It creeped him out, but he decided to ignore everything that happened in the cave. Something was pulling him, and he knew Sylvester didn't want to reveal it, so this was the least he could do.

"Once more!" Sylvester whispered.





Some movement happened. Sylvester's heart elated at its sight, and he was on cloud nine when he noticed daylight falling in from outside. 'Yes! It's daytime… Wait, I spent the whole night inside?'

He couldn't falter here. The end was always the most crucial part. Unless he was out, he needed to keep his focus on the shield. 'I hope the help has arrived.'

"Just a little more!" He muttered.

The closer they got to the exit, the crazier the creature became. Sylvester longed to bask in the sunlight creeping in, as that would mean the creature couldn't follow.

"You go out first. I will keep the shield upright unless all of us are out."


The creature screamed because of the increasing sunlight from outside. Its movements showed a hint of caution. Its three red eyes squinted a little, the light was doing its work on it.

Sylvester slowly backed towards the exit and pushed Sir Dolorem out of the gap. Then, he put a step out, then his back. He kept looking inside at the creature's face. He had no idea if the thing felt emotions, but he sure noticed a look of disappointment.

He smiled and showed a middle finger to it. "Not today…."

"Favored One!"

He heard a loud shout calling for him as he fell back on his skinny buttocks. The sun's intense rays hit his face, revitalizing him and making him feel like he had found a new life. 'I hate caves!'


But just then, the scream of the creature echoed again. One of its pointy legs protruded out of the small gap of the entrance that was still being closed.

Sylvester had fallen just outside, so he was still in reach of it.

He saw the black leg and cursed inwardly. He tried to raise his hand quickly to create the magic shield.

"Return to your realm, filth!"

Out of nowhere, a loud voice echoed.

Bam!—Following that, a strong thud resounded. Sylvester noticed a figure wearing dirty red robes and a visor on his face. The pointy hat was the same as eight years ago, and so was the staff in hand. Today was the second time in his life he felt grateful for this violent man's arrival.

'Let's hope he can do something.'

Inquisitor High Lord had descended from the sky with fire under his feet. Then he rushed forward and used his staff to slam away the creature's legs.

Crack!—Not only did he stomp the leg, but he also broke it apart with one move. However, that was merely the start, as he smashed his foot on the ground and threw the giant rock covering the cave away like it was a pebble.

"You shall receive no welcome here, filth. Dare to appear this close to my Holyland—SINNER!" Inquisitor High Lord punched his free left fist towards the cave.

Woosh!—Nobody saw what happened, but everything turned crimson. The fist released fire of such great intensity that it blew into the cave like a flood. The sound of such a move made the strongest storms feel like a little whistle.

Boom!—All of the mountaintops in the vicinity blew off and started spewing fire as if they were volcanos. The fire went so high that it turned the clouds red, making it appear like the world was ending.

The violence was unprecedented. Sylvester did not even know such things could be humanly possible. The man here didn't even appear to be struggling and simply burned the entire cave system across the mountains.

"BEGONE, FILTH!" Inquisitor High Lord boomed in great anger.

The fire seemed to resonate with the anger and turned deep red, fitting for a man called Crimson Fire, the 3rd Guardian of Light.

The people from Goldstown, even those from villages tens of kilometers away, all fell to their knees and prayed. Those who knew not this fire was vanquishing evil felt it was the wrath of Solis. So they prayed, they cried, rich or poor, noble or not, setting away their pride.

Being so close, Sylvester felt his heart pump with newfound inspiration. His eyes, always golden, were now red from the fiery reflection. The heat from the fire was as warm as a mother's embrace.

He did not know what happened to the creature inside, but he reckoned not even its ashes were left. He felt an urge, a deep desire right there. This was what he wanted, what he needed; this was the path to a peaceful life.

'Strength! Supreme Strength—I want it!'

To be able to remove all life's problems with a wave of his hand, he knew he had the talent to go even beyond Inquisitor Hight Lord, and he couldn't even fathom what power that would be like.

'Now I know why the Pope is so feared and revered.'

Inquisitor High Lord started walking into the cave next to ensure his fire did the job. He passed by Sylvester's body, glancing at him. It was unknown what face the strong man hid behind the visor, but Sylvester did sense the burning pungent aroma of anger and a mix of chills with fear.

Slowly, the man vanished from his view, but the dozens of mountaintops kept roaring with fire. It was truly hell on earth, and merely one man caused it.

'What happens if all Guardians of Light come together? How strong are other Kingdoms?' Sylvester wondered a great many things.

But one thing he noticed was his inability to even move. His eyes also started to close slowly, exhaustion finally took a toll, and the adrenaline lost its effect.

"Favored One!" Chief Marigold came rushing to help.

"G-Get Sir Dolorem to safety! He's infected. And get me some food!" He demanded.

By then, the team that had departed with the Inquisitor High Lord arrived and took over the situation. There were three healers and five more inquisitors of various ranks that Sylvester overlooked.

The Healers quickly picked him up in arms and ran towards the Monastery. There appeared to be a sense of hurry in the eyes of the healer. Sylvester noticed more from his senses, a taste of tangerines—anxiety, it meant.

'Why do they look so worried?' He wondered. He wanted to ask, but he realized he could no longer open his mouth. Even his arms and legs were numb as they simply swayed with the movement.

His eyeballs could move, however.

'What's happened?'

In a matter of minutes, he found himself on a comfortable soft bed in the Monastery, and he felt like closing his eyes and just being at peace.

"Quick! Call Lord Inquisitor back! We will need his help! This kid… there is no muscle left on his body! His blood pressure is non-existent. Look at him—so pale! So much deficiency of Solarium, how is he even alive?" the healer that Sylvester could notice shouted at the other two inquisitors.

'No muscle?' Sylvester's mind wondered. But he felt this was not his end, as he could feel energy slowly reappearing in his body.

'I hope Sir Dolorem is fine. It'd be a shame if after all this...' With that thought in mind, he finally closed his eyes. There were no dreams this time, as even the mind wanted to just shut off for once after coming up with so many hymns in the cave.

With his dozing off, the news spread about the condition of Sylvester in the town. The people surrounded the Monastery, waiting for any news. They kept their little pendants of the Church Insignia in their hands, praying for recovery. Some had tasty food with them, hoping the God's Favored would eat.

But thanks to that, Miraj got something to eat. At other times, however, Miraj was always sitting near Sylvester's pillow, keeping an eye so no one would harm his adopted baby.

Inquisitor High Lord soon returned after his little excursion into the mountains and helped with the healing. A Grand Wizard's simple healing magic was usually more effective than the advanced spells of a regular healer.

So the man sat there day and night beside Sylvester, casting magic every fifteen minutes to provide a gradual boost of Solarium to the body. This was a problem with Solarium deficiency. If one were healed abruptly, it would blast the veins and kill the patient.

"Sir Dolorem, how could you be so careless, letting God's Favored be this reckless?" Inquisitor High Lord scolded the man, laying on the bed adjacent to Sylvester. But he looked much better as all he had lost was blood.

The infection from stab wounds was still there, however, as that would require a Blood-rays Ritual to heal. Other than that, he was fine and… regretful.

"Archbishop Lucas ordered me to follow him. I should have declined… no matter what." Sir Dolorem mournfully replied, guilt intensifying after seeing Sylvester's thin body.

Inquisitor High Lord's eyes behind the visor flashed red as he cast another healing spell on Sylvester. "Indeed, Sir Dolorem. You could have cost us the future of Faith with your actions. But I must accept the fault lies in me as well."

"Y-You had nothing to do with this, my lord. It's my fault." Sir Dolorem blurted in panic.

Inquisitor High Lord shook his head. "No, I should have foreseen someone attempting to order you around with their high rank. Perhaps, we must reconsider your position in the church upon returning. No one should be allowed to order the aide to God's Favored. Your duties are to the Faith and then him, that's it."

The big man glanced at Sylvester next. "For now, we wait for this brave young child of Solis to heal. It's a miracle he even survived this ordeal. Truly—A blessed child."

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