The stairs were long and narrow. They had to walk one by one to fit inside and reach their destination.
The sound of multiple people walking down the stairs, echoes throughout the room, making the souls of those below it freeze. The light couldn’t pass through from the entrance, so they had to raise a light orb to illuminate their way. The walls were cold and wet, with an occasional moss surrounding them. The pitter-patter of water interlocked with the breathing of the people who walked down.
Arroth felt something crawl up his back as if centipedes were running from his spine. But when he looked, there was nothing there. He kept his eyes ahead, trying not to feel the cold air sliding up his arms and the whispering people in his mind.
When he had just rested his mind, he realized that something on him seemed to be glowing.
"What is that?" Zulta pulled the pendant from Arroth's necklace and examined it in all corners. "A family heirloom?"
Arroth raised a brow at Zulta and took the pendant back. "I have no family."
Zulta hummed and turned back to where they were heading. "It's a very useful thing you got there." He looked at the palm of his hands, then raised his head to look at Araya. "It's perfect for dark places!"
"Indeed. Very similar to my family's heirloom of sorts." Araya retorted.
Arroth looked down on the pendant, feeling an unexplainable feeling rising from deep inside. If his speculation before was correct, the pendant should be the lost artifact of the heavens. But he didn't want to give the pendant to the angels before he could kill Dayan, and wearing the pendant makes him feel at home with himself.
Although he works for the Angels, he didn't want to fully commit his needs and wants to them. They are the beings who give them shelter to live on, and in return, they do their dirty work for them. But everything that isn't proven to be theirs is out of the question. Arroth continued to watch Araya's actions. If the man were to take another look at the pendant or say that it was the missing artifact, he would give it to him and explain why he kept it, but if he didn't….
"But the heirloom is golden. That one is bluish." Araya searched something from his chest, and showed the group and golden Raindrop pendant, with silver frames covering it. "It's a pretty useless heirloom and is just used by the family to guide their heirs through the Maze."
Maze? What maze.
After Araya's voice died down, the darkroom lights up, showing a massive labyrinth, housing three different levels of minotaurs and seven flying demons. Arroth looked at Araya, brows knitted into a frown. Why were there demons and demon beasts below the library, and who else knows about it?
Those flying demons looked as if they were blind, flying in all directions, often hitting their heads hard on every wall. Their eyes were covered with black cloth that was dipped in heavy yin energy water. It was as if they were trying to fool them into thinking that they were still in the demon’s realm.
The labyrinth was a maze whose walls were bookshelves, and the locations of each book change multiple times a day. The minotaurs are guardians of the maze and are often found reading some books in their free time.
The group walked through the entrance of the maze, and Arroth suddenly felt the air freeze up. When he looked back, the entrance was gone. "What the-"
"Stay close. " Araya raised his necklace, lighting up the forks that were upfront. "We need to reach the very middle of the maze." He paused beforehand adding. "Minotaurs might pop out of nowhere, so stay vigilant."
The maze felt long and endless, with no sign of reaching their destination. Araya kept his arm up in the air, using the pendant to decide where to go.
They formed a line, following a single golden light. Behind Araya was Mu Yunda, whose eyes were closed, chanting spells to ward off evil creatures. Danaya behind him walked briskly, chanting a different spell than the other. Zulta and Arroth walked side-by-side, talking about food that tastes better when cooked in a specific way.
After walking for another thirty minutes, Arroth felt the ground shake. He looked towards Araya and found that the people in front of him were gone, and a wall of books had separated them. He turned to his left, and Zulta was gone too.
The ground continues to shake, even making the books on the shelf fall to the ground. Arroth noticed that the floor had a faint red glow in them as if veins connecting one line to another.
He felt the ground shake harder, making his feet unstable. He fell to his knees, feeling his entire body shake.
And in seconds, a giant shadow covered his entire body. And he felt the hot breath of the Minotaur touch his skin.
Arroth stood and raised his arms to defend himself from the bull's attack. Sparks flew, and the sound of metal colliding with one another resounded throughout the hall.
Arroth’s hand turned into a black, metallic gauntlet, filling his aura with demonic glow. The gauntlet had sharp claws that glowed a cold sheen, and had a purple gem glowing at the back. The mark of Befafes was decorated on the palm of his gauntlet. The claws were designed with silver blades, erected at the sides of his fingers. The gauntlet was directly connected to his skin, replacing his arms as a weapon.
He jumped to the side, dodging the incoming attack from the bull.
"Where are the others now." He mumbled, looking to where he last saw the group.
The minotaur swung his axe towards an Arroth, leaving a deep cut on his arm. Arroth quickly dodged to the side the moment he saw the axe, but he wasn't able to completely move out of it.
The bull proceeded to ram its head towards him. Arroth looked behind him and jumped up to reach the top shelf. The minotaur's horn slammed through the shelf, making a large hole to the other side.
Arroth jumped down and ran in the opposite direction. "Araya! Zulta! Where the hell are you people at?"
On the other side of the battlefield. Zulta had his swords out, facing three flying imps. Those imps could smell the Yang energy from him and could tell that he wasn't one of them.
Those demons have been trapped in the maze even before the great war between the two kingdoms came. Their hatred towards the other beings is unparalleled, and many wouldn't hesitate to eat one.
Zulta was still young, he was a hundred years younger than Arroth, but his sword-wielding is fantastic. Fighting outdated demons shouldn't be a problem.
He swung his sword to the right, hitting one demon in the eye, making his swing back to the other two. He grabbed three books, and threw one to each demon, before dashing in to fight.
The demon blew fire from their mouths, forcing Zulta to draw back. His eyes widen as he stares at the blue flame coming from each of their mouths. He blocked the flames with his sword, but the hems of his sleeves were burnt.
"How troublesome." He raised his sword, and in seconds, two more swords were formed from a golden glow. The swords flew, attacking each demon with its mighty glow.
Zulta sat crossed-legged on the floor, eyes closed while chanting spells from deep within. He maneuvered his sword to fight, with his hands forming different seals.
Soon enough those demons died from the hands of immortal lights.
Zulta stood up and searched for the others.
Arroth kept his eyes open for the bull. He summoned his gauntlets, slashing any other obstacle in his way. He couldn't see the minotaur anymore, but he shouldn't feel safe. There were still other dangers lurking in the dark maze, and who knows if another minotaur would arrive.
The moment Arroth thought about it, a gigantic Minotaur came dashing from the side. Its eyes were red, horns were made of iron steel. His arms were covered with multiple marks, indicating that this demon isn't playing any games. He held a sledgehammer on one hand, and a two-headed axe on the other.
His eyes found Arroth, standing in the middle of his way, and in an instant, he charged.
Araya and the other two went to look for the rest. There was no immediate danger around them, but there were multiple forks that lead to one.
They asked the pendant to give them a path to where Arroth and Zulta might be. But for some freak coincidence, they found a gigantic Minotaur, dashing to wherever.
They followed it, hoping that this bull is dashing towards a prey (aka Arroth or Zulta). When they found the bull, their eyes widened, unable to believe what just happened.
Zulta ran all over the place, using his instinct to navigate. When he finally saw the silhouette of the demon/angel he was looking for, his eyes couldn't help but rise. But this didn't last when he saw the bull charging in.
When the three sides finally met, they couldn't help but feel giddy, yet in an instant, the glow from one man's palm shook them out of the trance.
Arroth didn't see what happened, but Arraya, Zulta, Danaya, and Mu Yunda witnessed it.
When Arroth raised his hand to block the Minotaur, a bright blue beam came out of his palm, striking through the heart of the Bull.
Blood flooded the floor, and a giant half-bull half-man body, flopped to the ground, lifeless. And a half-blood demon-angel was sitting, eyes closed around a pool of blood.