Shadow Slave AU: Vile Wanderer

Arino is a member of a barely surviving tribe in the ruins of the Southern Continent, starting his story around the end of Shadow Slave's Volume 7. Arino is awakened to a seemingly high potential Aspect, but with a debilitating Flaw. How will he unravel the way to survival for his people? Is their Sacred Wanderer they worship truly so Sacred?

inexplicablewren · Book&Literature
Not enough ratings
10 Chs

Wake up!

When Arino awoke, the cavern was empty. Not only was it empty, the cavern was now about the size of a coffin. Shattered thoroughly by the explosion, stone fragments formed the walls by his head, where he had miraculously not been crushed by debris

There was no point in panic however, so Arino kept his mind devoid of fear and focused on other things, like the [Blessing of Stone] which he suspected was the key to his survival here. His wounds were not nearly as grievous as he had feared they would be, but he was definitely not in top shape. He was more or less okay, ready to face whatever came next.

Despite a stalwart mind, Arino did not want to spend another second in this nightmare. He was ready to wake up, and the fact that he had not heard the Spell whisper of his victory instilled the momentarily forgotten fear back into his bones. His heartbeat faster and faster, and he frantically searched his little pocket of air for a way out, and found it.

Directly behind him, was a gap in the piled stone shards. Pushing and pulling his way through it, he felt like some kind of vile worm. Stone poked at him from all sides, tearing the weak fabric he had been wearing almost to shreds. The Silver Guard had a comfortable inner layer, which luckily prevented the teeth of the tunnel from shredding his skin.

Somewhere between the pokes, he felt the stone give a weak pulse. It seemed muted somehow, like something had an authority over it, but he wasn't too worried. He had already been wandering these horrible caverns for close to a week, and he was ready to follow any sort of lead to get him the hell out of there.

Arino followed the pulse until the tight tunnel came to an end, but he wasn't concerned. The stone had brought him here, so he pushed forward praying to the dead gods that the wall in front of him would give out, and when it finally did he was blinded by light.

When his eyes adjusted, he found himself sprawled on the floor of a once grand hall, made of a deeply ancient onyx. Pillars extended dozens of meters into the ceiling, holding a carved portrait of what seemed like a raging storm upon the half-dome above. It shifted and sparked, clouds of stone releasing violent arcs of crystal lightning unto the pillars.

As he inspected the ornate sky, he felt the stone's constant hum begin to ramp up, echoing like a heartbeat in time with the lightning above him. The stone around him was ancient beyond belief, like the bones of the earth beneath them. He stepped forward, and as he passed through the rubble filled hall, he followed an intricate pattern of essence he could very clearly see on the floor.

Whatever being this temple belonged to, had liquid essence flowing through it. He had never heard of essence liquifying like this, much less seen it, but it's potency scared him. He was nervous to look closer and and see it melting through the onyx around it, so he didn't and just kept moving. The essence was clearly flowing from something, and he was deeply curious about it's origin.

He walked past countless onyx statues of soldiers, uniform and elegant. Adorning the temple like pillars of their own, they wielded strange black blades which emanated an aura of death. Nightmarish, like everything else in this hellscape. There was something that drew him past them, almost ignoring the way the flowing floor grew ever brighter.

Arino walked through what he hoped to be the last entryway in the structure into a massive chamber, covered in strange instruments and tools. Obsidian pipes flowed with enough essence to shine through upon the palace like moonlight, connected to a sphere twice his height, glowing with pure energy.

A Sacred Soul Shard stood in front of him, like nothing he had ever imagined before. The implications of it were immense, and Arino was not one to court death when it came to the Divine. All sort of horrible Nightmare Creatures were like gods to him with his meager power, but the actual powerhouses of this world? Not a chance.

He was ready to get the hell out of here and look for something to kill the Lotus once and for all, as it must be severely injured from the explosion. He would have left at least if the stone hadn't gotten louder. It's hum was no longer gentle, and it gnawed at his soul with every thought of leaving. Arino fought the pull for as long as possible, but was not meant to resist in the end. Giving in, he stumbled to the ground in front of the vast shard. the stone was still getting louder, and it's murmurs grew legible until he heard a clear whisper come from some unworldly depths of earth, "Drink."

He was about to touch his lips to the flow of energy from the shard, when a cruel roar broke his trance. Arino turned around just in time to see a mass of silver blades and raging red vines tear through the hole he had emerged from. The Lotus was back.

Arino could see countless torn vines hanging lifelessly from it, occasionally whipping about violently from it's movement as the Lotus inspected it's environment. Arino felt a weight appear on his shoulders when the blossom on it's front opened with a scream coming from the beast.

The vile blossom peeled back layer by layer, until a singular silver orb at the end of a strange stem stood between the silver petals. The abomination had bloomed into a Terror. The vines supporting it had unified into a humanoid form, with the Lotus where it's head should be.

Onyx Soldier's whirred to life, as if deciding the creature was finally worth slaying. They approached it slowly, like the weight of millennia weighed them down. One of them raised it's horrible blade to trim this harrowing bloom, but it was too late. With something akin to thunder shaking the world, the orb at the center of the lotus ruptured, releasing a horrible tendril of slithering darkness.

The shock of the statues being guardians of some sort was quickly shattered by the realization of what was about to consume them. The Tyrant was a rare abomination, capable of Corrupting one directly. Had that pierced him, instead of the previous vine, who knows what would have happened.

That luck wouldn't last long, as in a blink of an eye, the Statues had shattered as if self destructing in an attempt to slay the beast. They didn't succeed, but the shattering of their soul cores shot bits of the corrupted mass all over the Lotus. It seems the flower was not immune to it's own method of corruption, but it was resistant. Arino still had no choice but to run and try to hide behind the Shard.

The mass of writhing Corruption broke through the shell of the shard after a series of devastating blows upon it, and the white moonlight which permeated the strange palace disappeared as it was consumed from the inside out. The world shook, and once again, it was falling on him again.

The Lotus pulled itself through the falling onyx with it's now corrupted vines rotting slowly, and pounced upon him. The stigma of the Lotus was a rotten arm which reached out for his core, seeking to corrupt and consume him, but he was not yet ready to die. He knew it wasn't enough to kill an Awakened Terror, but the pickaxe head he carried like a dagger must have been more than mundane to break through the strange stone debris, and so he stabbed it into the palm of the hand as hard as he could. The Terror convulsed in pain, shocked at being harmed, and Arino ran into the true darkness which permeated the underground without the moonlight banishing it.

Behind him, the stone clouds fell, sparks of electricity occasionally piercing the dark. He looked behind him to see dust rise from the ground and a horrible hand reach out a final time. He stopped to try to catch his breath, but as the hand stopped moving, pain began to permeate his being.

The whisper of the Spell was much more gentle than that of the stone, and damn had he been waiting for it, but it was different from what he expected.

[You have slain an awakened terror, Wretched Silver Lotus.]

The stone crushing it had accredited him with the kill, an unexpected blessing.

[Wake up, Arino! Your nightmare is over.]

[Prepare for appraisal…]