Nightfall in Alfyro
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
The sun began to set and the moon began to rise as evening descended upon the city. It was twilight, and the sky was dyed in a brilliant mix of orange and black to match. Most of the city’s population had retreated indoors.
Its streets weren’t nearly as populated as they’d been during the day. The few people that wandered about were far less rushed. In fact, they almost seemed to blend into the backdrop. The whole town had taken on a more relaxed atmosphere. Its emptier streets and beautiful architecture came together to form a cityscape I could only describe as enchanting. The experience was so magical I could almost hear the town’s evening BGM.
Like everyone else still outdoors, Lefi and I had also melded into the scenery. We walked side by side as we slowly made our way towards the the inn we had stayed at the night before.
We had already bid the hero farewell—at least for the day. Surprisingly, she seemed to enjoy her time with us. So much so, in fact, that she had happily asked us to meet her in front of the governor’s manor the next morning without any sort of prompt on our parts. I guess all that hero training she’s gotta do has made her so busy that she rarely ever gets the chance to kick back and relax. I should probably help her blow off all her excess stress. Guess I’ll have to figure out a good way to entertain her next time she hits up the dungeon.
“I have to say,” said Lefi, breaking the silence. “I cannot help but label it a shame that we are the only two of the dungeon’s inhabitants to partake in this experience.”
“Yeah, true. Having them here would’ve made this trip a whole lot more lively.” A bit of a smile appeared on my face as I imagined the scenario. I could practically see Illuna excitedly dash around the alleyways while Lyuu chased her with a look of panic plastered all over her face all the while. Unlike the two overly energetic hooligans, Leila would probably stand by and keep an eye on them with a smile.
Rir and Shii though… yeah, no. The only possible thing I could imagine the two of them doing was causing a huge uproar. The same went for the three wraith girls.
“Heh.” I chuckled a bit as I imagined the mess they would cause.
“What is it?”
“Nah, nothing too important.” I paused for a moment. “It’s just that… I really didn’t expect you of all people to say that.”
“I concur.” Lefi nodded. The smile on her face was a bit of an awkward one. It was clear from her expression that even she found it strange. “Never once had I ever imagined that I would one day long for the presence of another.”
“Yeah, true.” I led my reply with a shrug. “But honestly, I’m liking this whole just you and me thing a good bit too. It’s been a long time since we’ve had anything more than just a moment to ourselves.”
“T-That, I cannot refute.” The dragon girl stuttered as she did her best to keep a grip on her composure. “And I daresay, I find it strange that I have known you for no more than half a year. It feels as if you have been by my side for decades.”
“Right? Those are some mighty fine words right there. Almost makes me think you actually do more than just laze around all day.”
“That claim is one that you make for the sole reason that you knew not what my days were like prior to my relocation. My former nest was one in which I spent many a day naught but drifting back and forth between this land and the land of dreams.”
“Wait. You’re saying you’re actually being less lazy now…?”
“Precisely. I have spent my time in your presence expending much more energy than I have in the period that preceded it. It cannot be helped that I find myself too drained to assist you with the housework.”
“Talk about faulty logic…” I turned towards the dragon girl and flashed her a wry smile.
We continued our journey in silence, basking in the city’s warm atmosphere as we did. But alas, the silence was broken.
By a scream.
A woman wearing clothes typical of an adult out to enjoy the city’s nightlife shrieked like a banshee as she came tumbling out of a nearby alleyway. After her chased a man holding a bloodstained knife. Oh man, look at those eyes. That guy’s totally lost it.
Adding to the effect were the dry groans that leaked from the man’s lips. God. Fucking. Damn. It. Man, today was going so well. But noooo, this asshole has to show up and spoil it.
“Fuck you! And fuck that stupid ass bucket of cold water you ruined my mood with too!” I shouted as I picked up a nearby rock and whipped it at his face. The projectile whizzed through the air and almost seemed to dig into the side of his skull as it hit him dead on.
Unable to defend himself from the sudden attack, the man was sent flying into a nearby building, where he promptly collapsed. The wound was a pretty heavy one. There was blood everywhere. I was sure that the man had either died or suffered a concussion. But much to my surprise, he got right back up.
His head twisted towards me in an unnatural, eerie fashion as his body rose in a manner that almost made me think of a jiangshi.
“The fuck? That’s hella creepy,” I said.
“You would do well to activate your Magic Eye,” advised Lefi.
I followed Lefi’s instructions and looked towards the crazy dude with the skill active. The hell? His whole body’s covered in some sort of magical energy. It almost looks like it’s binding him.
“I believe it would not be incorrect to declare the man before you a corpse,” she said.
“Indeed. Necromancers are amongst the enemies I’ve faced in the past. The spirits they employ are restrained by mana. The fetters that bind him remind me much of their work.”
“I see…” I nodded. Alright, yeah. I get it now. Dude’s a zombie.
Though I had labeled the man as a zombie, he wasn’t operating under the influence of some sort of virus. His reanimation had instead been brought about by a magic-based means. Specifically, he had been dominated. Someone had taken control of him in the same manner I had taken control of my cursed axe. He was practically a puppet.
I knew that there had to be someone out there controlling him, but my enemy detection skill wasn’t coming up with any results. Alright, enough thinking, Yuki. Deal with the zombie first. Think after.
I frowned a bit and began contemplating my next steps. It’d be easy if the guy was just infected. Virus controlled zombies can be ended with a quick snap of the neck. Or I could just flat out blow his head off and call it a day. But the fact that he’s being manipulated with magic means he’ll probably keep moving even if he’s missing his brain.
“So how’d you handle these things anyway?” I turned to the dragon girl for advice.
“It was a simple task. I merely set the necromancers themselves ablaze.”
Oh, I get it. You have to light filthy things on fire so you can disinfect them. Makes sense.
In the end, the only conclusion I came to in the short span of time I had was to overwrite the mana that kept the corpse moving with my own. Fortunately, it had already switched its target and began lumbering towards me. The way it walked got to me. It was disgusting, inhuman.
I immediately knocked the creature over and grabbed it by the back of its skull the moment it touched the ground. I gathered up my magical energy and immediately forced it through the man’s head. The mana that already existed within resisted me. But that was all it could do. Heh. That ain’t anywhere near enough juice to stop me.
The zombie moaned and convulsed as I continued to forcefully channel my magical energy throughout. But no matter what it did, I didn’t stop. The man’s struggle, however, did. The forces compelling him to motion were overruled. And so, he collapsed. Much like a puppet with its strings cut loose.
Editor’s note: Hey, guys! Joker here. Man, it feels like it’s been forever since I did a proper editor’s note. I know you guys missed me, so let’s dive right into it. Yuki’s been enjoying his time in the city, which is good. If only all the crap that keeps happening wouldn’t. It would make for a much more positive experience for him and Lefi. And yeah, I’d have to agree with him. Illuna would be running around everywhere while Lyuu tried to catch her. Leila would probably look at books somewhere. Rir and Shii, though, probably wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms by the townsfolk. Such a shame. Rir is King Good Boy after all, and Shii is a lovable puddle of jello. He could probably clear the whole town of trash easily. He’s the world’s best recycle monster, after all. But it looks like our resident Demon Lord is gonna have to smash some necromancer’s head after ruining his day with Lefi. Poor guy doesn’t know what’s about to hit him. But I guess he’ll find out soon. See y’all in the next chapter!