They were silent as they walked for a few seconds. Their way, lit by the light emanating from the sword Lakshman was holding. Thanks to it, they could easily see where they were going. The light thrown from the sword was bright enough to make the room was filled with lights.
“We’ve been walking for some time, but we haven’t seen or met with anything yet,” Ondine said after a while.
“Are you expecting something?” he asked as he turned around to look at her.
“No, but all this silence is making me feel uneasy,” she said nervously while holding her two swords at the ready.
“Is something wrong with how quiet it is?”
“It feels like the calm before the storm…”
“Really? I think it’s quite peaceful.”
“You’re saying that now, master, but I’m sure you’ll change your opinion soon enough.”
“Oh, don’t be so negative,” he said and he smiled at her. “Be cheerful!”
“How can I be cheerful when we’re trapped in the middle of nowhere?!” she demanded in a frustrated voice.
“C-Calm down, just calm down,” he hastily said repeatedly when he stopped and looked at her nervously.
“Master is unfair, playing with Ondine more than me!” he heard Tetra’s voice complaining in his mind.
“Now, now,” he thought and he sighed in exasperation.
A few minutes later, they arrived at a turn. When they turned, they saw a shimmering light ahead.
Ondine excitedly said “Master! It’s light! I can see light ahead! Maybe, that’s our way out of here!”
“Ondine, wait!” he said, but she had already charged ahead and left him behind.
Catching up to her, he saw her standing stock still just at the entrance to, what looked like, another room. At that moment, he realised he could no longer see the shimmering light.
“What that just my imagination?” he thought as he wondered about it.
“You were probably drawn in by the Attracting Light, master,” Tetra told him in his mind.
“Attracting Light? What’s that?”
“It’s a powerful glow of light capable of drawing in the person that sees it towards it.”
“I’m guessing Ondine got pulled in because of it?”
“Most like, but master… be careful. Attracting Lights usually lure unweary travellers into traps and you may never escape from them.”
“R-Really?” he thought nervously.
“In the ancient days, many people were trapped by these lights and the Phoenix Titan worked hard saving them. So yes, I am sure about these things and make sure to stay away from them.”
Nodding in understanding, he moved forward. When he entered it, he walked up to Ondine and asked “What’s the matter, Ondine?”
He looked aHe lHd dround and quickly noticed the magic circle. Noticing which circle it was, he could only smile. However, his smile did not carry any sort of humour.
“A Yellow Magic Circle… Why a Trip Magic Circle when we’re already trapped?” Then, as an afterthought, said “Well… at least this’ll get us out of this place… right, Ondine?”
Then he turned and looked at her. She was gazing at the magic circle with half open eyes. It was obvious that she was extremely disappointed to see a Yellow Magic Circle. Moving to her side, he placed his hand on her head and patted her gently.
“It’s okay. We’ll try out luck in the next place we land,” he said reassuringly.
She turned her head towards him and glumly said “I hope so.”
A moment later, Lakshman was holding Ondine’s hand as he stepped towards the Yellow Magic Circle. He looked back at her and smiled reassuringly and stepped into the magic circle. In an instant, both of them were surrounded by yellow light and disappeared soon after.
“Where are we now?” Ondine said when she opened her eyes and looked around.
The surroundings were displayed, thanks to the light emanating from the Phoenix Blade. Lakshman shook his head as he also looked around at the room they were in.
“Well, might as well search around,” he said and Ondine nodded.
Lakshman took the lead while Ondine watched his back. The light from his sword showed everything within ten meters of the vicinity. This helped them navigate the route and successfully dodge hurdles.
“You know, I like how it’s so peaceful,” he said a while later.
Ondine glanced at him, shook her head and said “You’re taking this too easy, master.”
In response, he happily said “You can hardly blame me, can you? We haven’t seen anything bad yet.”
At this, she could only sigh and shake her head once more. Like this, continued to go through the route and ended up inside another room. When they saw a Yellow Magic Circle inside, both of them groaned.
“Here we go again,” he said and smiled rather bravely.
They turned and nodded at each other, before grasping each other’s hands and stepped into the circle. With another flash of yellow light, they disappeared.
The moment they landed in a different area, they suddenly sensed that something was different about it. As they took a few tentative steps forward, they heard loud crunching sounds of eating.
“What?” Lakshman said as he raised his glowing sword high above to illuminate the whole room.
The light stretched across the room and illuminated the source of the crunching sounds. What was illuminated caused Lakshman to become shocked and Ondine to step back hastily with wide eyes.
The darkness was dispelled by the light and revealed a horrible sight. Several black looking creatures were loudly eating. The found they were eating looked just like them with its black lifeless body lying on the ground.
“W-What are they?!” Lakshman exclaimed at the sight of those black creatures.
The creatures stopped crunching and turned their heads to them. They had large heads with black eyes, but red pupils. Their mouths were slightly open as saliva and black blood dripped down.
“T-They’re scary looking…!” Ondine muttered as she covered behind him.
The black creatures similar sat there and stared at them. Nighter side made a move for almost ten seconds. Suddenly, the black creatures slowly rose to their feet and faced Lakshman and Ondine with a look similar to how a predator eyes its prey.
“I don’t like the look in their eyes!” Ondine said to Lakshman nervously and he wordlessly agreed.
The black creatures slowly moved towards them in a slow motion. They outstretched their arms and continued to walk slowly towards Lakshman and Ondine. Then, their movement slowly became faster and soon they were almost jogging towards them while snarling like wild beasts.
“W-What to do…? Should we just… kill them?” Lakshman asked hesitantly while he held up his sword in front of him.
Ondine did not reply, but Tetra did.
“Master! Destroy them!”
Reacting in surprise he thought “What? Destroy?”
“I don’t have time to explain, but destroy them, master!”
“What do you-?”
“Just, DO IT!”
At her shout, he instantly reacted. He held his sword in horizontally and pulled it back. In an instant, he challenged large amounts of his energy into the blade. He narrowed his eyes and he swung the sword at the oncoming black creatures.
As he swung, energy was released in a cutting wave and it incinerated the black creatures. All that was left was the burning bodies of the creatures. A moment later, their bodies dispersed into black particles before vanishing.
“Phew,” he said with a sigh and rubbed the sweat off his forehead.
He turned to his left and found Ondine looking at him with dazzling eyes. Then she grabbed his arm and began to rub her face against it excitedly.
“Master, you are truly amazing!” she said as she continued to rub his hand against her face.
“R-Right…” he said, unsure what he should do.
A few seconds later, he wretched his hand free of her grip. With his sword at the ready, he and Ondine walked over to the spot where the black creatures disappeared at.
“What were those things?” Ondine asked nervously.
“I… I don’t know,” Lakshman said with a shake of his head.
Suddenly, he remembered Tetra ordering him to destroy them. He wondered why she told him that and decided to ask her anyway.
“Tetra, would you tell me about these things? I feel as though you know about them.”
“Yes, master. I know what these things are.”
“So, what are they?”
There was a moment of pause. Then, he heard her speak in his mind.
“These black creatures are also known the Dungeon Crawlers. These things can only be found when you get trapped after stepping into the Trip Magic Circle.”
“I see, but that doesn’t explain why you told me to destroy them. Are they that powerful or something?”
“No, they are not. They have this ability to multiply or regenerate each time a part of their body gets destroyed.”
Lakshman widened his eyes in shock as he loudly exclaimed “They can regenerate and multiply?! What are you talking about, Tetra?!”
Ondine looked at him coldly and asked “Are you talking to Tetra, master?”
He turned to her and nodded as he said “Yeah.”
“I see,” Ondine said, but she wore a disapproving expression on her face as she said “If that’s the case, why not she speak out loud so that I can also hear what she’s saying?”
“Um… that is…” Lakshman said hesitantly, unsure what to say or do.
In that instant, his sword began to glow so brightly, they had to cover their eyes. Then the sword disappeared from his hand, much to his surprise. A moment later, they opened their eyes and saw Tetra standing next to Lakshman, radiating in a bright red light.
“I’ll speak like this,” Tetra said as she glanced unhappily at Ondine. Then she looked at him and asked “Is that okay, master?”
“Ah… Yes! That’s fine,” he said and nodded at her.
She nodded back and continued to explain about the black creatures.
“Those black creatures are called the Dungeon Crawlers, which are only found within the rooms that people enter once they are trapped.”
“I already guessed that,” Ondine said scornfully. “Now, tell us what you were telling, master, about that regeneration and multiply ability.”
Tetra glared at her and said “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
She stuck her tongue out at Ondine and returned to her sword form.
“You’ve upset her,” Lakshman said
“I can hardly be blamed for being annoyed for not being included in your conversation,” Ondine said
Grabbing onto the hilt of the glowing sword, Lakshman turned to and looked at Ondine with his eyebrows raised.
“What? Why are you staring at me, master?” she asked with a puzzled look on her face.
“Oh… I was just thinking that you lack manners…” he said slowly.
“Huh?” she said as her eyes widened. Then, as he turned around and began to walk away, she loudly called after him “Master! What do you mean I lack manners?! Master?!”
At her shouting, he did not stop or look around. He simply continued to walk away. Feeling flustered, she ran after him with a worried look on her face.