Randidly had thought long and hard about the issue of whether to just cut their losses in the Raid Dungeon and run. But there were a few issues that Randidly wanted to resolve before they departed.
First, and most importantly, the issue of their Champion. When the Creature had fled into the Raid Dungeon, it had taken the two Regalias of the Champions of their Zone. Apparently, whenever a person would hold both, they would transform into the Champion for the Zone, and gain…
Power? Skills? A learnable ability?
Randidly wasn’t sure of the specifics, but it couldn’t be denied that this was a gift of free power from the System, and they had the means to bring it under their control. You couldn’t always count on a genius like Lyra usurping control of the Village Spirit, enabling them to had a glimpse behind the curtain of the System.
Then Randidly grimaced because they hadn’t really obtained that at all. All that really changed was that Lyra asked him to trust her more.
Shaking his head, Randidly dismissed that thought. It would distract him from the issue at hand.
The second issue was… simply put, to fuck up whatever the Creature was attempting to do in the Raid Dungeon currently. Randidly wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, but he wanted to put a stop to it as soon as possible before that sick being could twist it to suit its own needs, and destroy countless lives in the process.
It wasn’t a well-formulated reason, because Randidly couldn’t really quantify the future threat of the Creature if it could accomplish what it wanted. Because it was primarily looking to hide from the System, letting it live in the Dungeon had seemed like a deceptively attractive option, but Randidly stubbornly refused to accept it.
When it came to the Creature… Randidly’s eyes narrowed.
Which led very easily to the third and final reason. Randidly wanted, very much so, to make that piece of shit pay for what it had done to him, and also to others. Just the fact that it warped the Raid Dungeon scenario like it had in order to drive the Dintan to being indebted to it was diabolical on a level that Randidly felt driven to salt the very earth it walked on to spite it.
However… those destructive tendencies needed to stay cautioned. The Creature should never be approached in a fit of rage. It would be prepared for that.
But it would be hard to say all of the points and counterpoints in Randidly’s head to Thea so he simply nodded to her quest. “Yes. There is more to do.”
To his surprise, she accepted that, nodding and turning away. And so, with one less thing to worry about, for now, Randidly turned back to the Wild Rider, only to find that she was awake, smiling weakly up at him.
Still, Randidly didn’t relax, because her eyes were completely pitch black, without a hint of light.
“You make for an interesting nurse,” Ten’Malla said, a shallow imitation of the playful and callous monster that she used to be, masquerading as a young girl. When she spoke, her voice quavered, as if her strength failed her halfway through a sentence. Randidly could only frown.
“What? Nothing to say? No questions? No missions?” Ten’Malla raised a hand as if to brush her hair out her eyes, but her hand just pressed against her forehead, her fingers twitching slightly. She grimaced and reached with her more functional left hand to cradle her almost useless right. “I might look like this right now, but I’m still very powerful you know? I could devour you all.”
Just because Randidly hoped that it was cut off these jokes, Randidly snorted humorlessly. Then he crouched down next to her, his eyes scanning her as best as he could. He would have preferred Rose to be here for this, but… he wasn’t afraid of Ten’Malla, per se, because her powers as Wild Rider appeared to be gone, but she was a mysterious entity, to begin with. Even now, her loyalties remained… unclear at best.
Which was why, Randidly decided to make a show of good faith, asking nothing in return.
Reaching out, Randidly held his hand over her head and dug his fingernails into his palm. When the skin stubbornly refused to give, he pressed harder. And then harder again, until several drops of emerald blood welled upwards. He flipped his hand, so his palm was facing upwards and allowed the blood to pool between his cupped fingers. All the while, Randidly focused on that blood, emphasizing healing.
It would be rather silly if his blood melted her to nothing but bones at this juncture after he had spent all this time waiting for her to wake up.
Randidly offered her his hand. “Drink.”
She eyed him suspiciously, her eyes flitting from his hand to his face, and then back to his hand. Then her eyes scanned around, taking in the smoky battlefield around them, the Grey Death Cultist standing at attention behind Randidly, to the distant sounds of battle and movement.
Randidly wasn’t sure at all what she was looking for then, and whether she founded. But she nodded and tried to sit up and lean forward.
Instantly, her body rebelled against her, small spasms running through her, and Randidly leaned forward quickly, his arm pulling her body upwards, towards his other hand, so she could drink his blood. Belatedly, he realized that if she was going to ambush him in some way, there would be no better time than when he was trying to help her.
His eyes became emerald fire, watching her like a hawk. But as the spasms slowly ceased and fell away, she simply sipped at his blood, taking it inside of her. Gently, Randidly laid her back down, backing a few steps away from her, both for his safety and for hers.
For several seconds nothing happened. Ten’Malla opened her mouth then, likely to make a comment about how nothing happened and then her eyes widened.
“Holy fuck, that feels good,” Ten’Malla said, her eyes wide. Then she shivered. Her chapped and crusty lips healed. The small wounds on her body disappeared. Her twitching right hand had one last, desperate spasm, and then settled somewhat, in her lap. Even the strange tendrils of Aether raised themselves to the heavens, then curled back inwards on themselves, slowing their expansion to about double pre-removal of the blind.
Sighing, Ten’Malla leaned back and just let Randidly’s blood run its course. Randidly watched, immensely curious. He had never really attempted to heal anything with his blood. He wondered if there were any lasting side effects or short term stat boosts, and whether giving it to her was a mistake. How would the healing function? Did the System invalidate blood types?
Where had the Wild Rider come from anyway? Was she a stronger being than him? Had she been before…?
It was about 5 minutes of amusing himself with similar questions to these before the Wild Rider sat up again, on her own this time. Her eyes were bright, and she considered Randidly directly, no longer couching it in jest.
“You didn’t need to do that.”
Randidly’s smile was sardonic. “…do you think I don’t know that?”
Ten’Malla shook her head slowly. “If you knew what I knew… you would not help me. This is… partially my fault. And your blood will only hold me together for a while. Very soon, the pain will rise again. My body might be failing but…”
Randidly nodded slowly. He had sensed as much. One thing that was obvious now was that the cloth around her eyes both had the effect of controlling those tendrils and keeping her body working. Because although she was not basically a shambling corpse, there was nothing actually wrong with her body. These were all effects of a much deeper, much more personal ailment.
As if she could see the suspicions in his eyes, Ten’Malla pressed her face into her tight fists and said. “My companion… was taken from me. Ripped from my grasp.”
Which was what Randidly had suspected, but was not a good thing to hear. Especially with Neveah being in that strange stasis. To see how powerfully it would hit him, should she die… But he supposed that was to be expected. Their souls were bound together, seemingly by Aether. IF that was ripped away…
A light went on behind Randidly eyes. Those tendrils then… were the ripped ends of that spiritual connection? Then what was happening was she was instinctively reaching out for a bond…? But since it had already been destroyed, the current attempts only accomplished, perverting her soul further…
“Before I lose the will to admit this…” Ten’Malla said slowly, then she stopped for several long seconds. “I… that girl is still alive. That girl I used as a body double, so long ago… but she’s made a name for herself now. That’s why I don’t think you can forgive me, for what I put her through. Here… she is known as Zith. Jemma is Zith.”