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54 The Odd Nightclub Pt.1

    --Eira POV--

    I skip down the road, and Eden follows closely behind. In the background, the building continues to burn brightly, and smoke rises into the air. At first, the system only wanted to say the total essence I acquired, but I insisted it repeats each and every one. I worked hard for this!

    [9 Essence Acquired]

    [8 Essence Acquired]

    [9 Essence Acquired]

    'Is that it?! Status!' I shout in my mind.

    Name: Eira Callista

    Gender: Female

    Level: 3 (0/50)

    Health: 325/330

    Mana: 118/150

    Strength: 18

    Endurance: 18

    Agility: 19

    Intellect: 15

    Constitution: 33

    Talents: Paranormal

    Skills: Intermediate Blood Magic; Novice Scythe; Novice Shadow Magic

    Titles: Heir of Blood

    Essence: 493

    '493! I was 106 essence in the hole before, but now I'm at 493!'

    "Eira, uhm, do you..."

    I wave my hand at Eden, "Shush. Give me a moment. I'm basking in our success."

    'Okay, system. Uhm, let's see. I want to level. No, wait, I want to level twice! It's been so long.'

    [Ding!]

    [Achieved Level 4!]

    [Ding!]

    [Achieved Level 5!]

    A strong warmth fills my body and my knees shake a little. I grab onto Eden's shirt to stabilize myself.

    'What the...? Leveling twice seems to increase the feeling quite a lot. What would happen if I did it three times!? Wait, no, I should save the essence in case I need to convert people and carve the Goddess's symbol into them. Excluding when I carved the symbol into Aponi, the system's been charging me every time since and has even been increasing the cost. I refuse to go back into debt!'

    I stop walking and lean against one of the cars nearby. I glance upwards to make sure Eden has also stopped. She stares off into the distance but doesn't seem to be going anywhere, so I continue.

    'Status.'

    Name: Eira Callista

    Gender: Female

    Level: 5 (0/50)

    Health: 345/350

    Strength: 18 -\u003e 20

    Endurance: 18 -\u003e 22

    Agility: 19 -\u003e 24

    Intellect: 15 -\u003e 20

    Constitution: 33 -\u003e 35

    Talents: Paranormal

    Skills: Intermediate Blood Magic; Novice Scythe; Novice Shadow Magic

    Titles: Heir of Blood

    Essence: 368

    [Congratulations, Host. For obtaining an intellect of 20, you can now utilize mana shielding at the cost of your mana pool.]

    'It was dependent on intellect? Why didn't you say anything all those times I tried to make the mana shield work?'

    [This system thought it would be good for the Host to learn these things on their own.]

    'What? I could have died! How is this not in my memories?'

    [Either it was not within the fragment that makes up the Host or Callista purposefully removed the knowledge from the fragment.]

    'Why would she do that?'

    [It was always Callista's hope that the Host gains a semblance of independence and self-reliance. If she did remove some of this type of knowledge, it is unknown to the system.]

    'Are there other things like this?'

    [Unable to retrieve information.]

    'What?'

    Suddenly I feel someone poking me, "Eira."

    "Oh, yeah. You needed something earlier. What is it?"

    Eden points, and I turn my head. In the distance is what appears to be a nightclub. Neon lights shine and illuminate the streets as loud electronic music blares from the inside of the building. I stop and glance at the surrounding buildings and street lights, finding none of them seem to have any power. That's when I notice that the music has stopped, so I look back, and it begins to play again. I look away, and it again stops. Nervousness and confusion come over me, and I read the nightclub's name, "The Scarlet Inferno."

    'This seems like it could be a trap.' I think to myself.

    "Weird. You'd think a place like that would be swarming with Crawlers." I hear Eden say.

    I grab Eden and begin to pull her away, "Let's leave." I say nervously.

    Together we spin around only to find the nightclub is once again in front of us. I yank Eden by the arm into an alley to our right only for the nightclub to once again block our path. I quickly enter one of the buildings, only to find it hollow with the nightclub sitting in the middle of the room. A cold sweat forms on the back of my neck.

    [Ding!]

    [Main Task: Investigate the Nightclub

    Task Objective:

    1) An abnormal nightclub appeared in the middle of the city and insists on your presence. Investigate the mysterious nightclub and see if it holds any relevant secrets.

    Task Reward: Customized Weapon

    Failure: Death or Early Departure.]

    "Eira, what's going on?"

    "I'm not really sure, but someone seems to have caught us in some kind of mental magic field, a pocket dimension, or a combination of magics."

    "Can you get us out?" Eden asks with a hint of concern.

    I use my storage ring to pull out the Mana Pulse Earring, "I think so, but..." I look at the system's task and sigh, "Let's check it out first."

    "Is that a good idea?"

    "Absolutely not. Anyway, still have your eye patch, right? Put it on and let's go."

    Eden looks at me and nods. "Okay," she says with a little hesitation.

    I keep a strong grip on the Mana Pulse Earring, 'Pocket dimension or magic-based this nightclub is being magically held here. If I use the earring, it would probably disrupt the flow of magic long enough for us to escape.'

    As we approach the door, the music only gets louder. Standing next to the door, there's a large bouncer with his arms folded tightly. He wears a plain white mask that covers his eyes. Where the eyes would normally be there is a pair drawn on and a single blood-red tear below one of the eyes. He looks toward Eden and I without speaking, so even with the mask, he still seems to be able to discern our location.

    '\u003cAnalyze\u003e'

    --Eden POV--

    I watch Eira stare at the bouncer without moving. The bouncer says nothing but simply stares at the two of us. Oddly Eira removes her mask, and her eyes are hollow. An incredibly uncomfortable feeling takes hold of me as I recognize this look. Those are the eyes I made when that man killed my mother.

    Eira doesn't say anything after that; she simply enters the nightclub, and I follow. We first enter an area that looks to be some kind of hookah bar. Although outside the music is blaring, here it's oddly much quieter. A woman is playing the harp in the corner, and like the man outside, she is wearing a white mask with drawn-on eyes and a blood-red tear.

    Strange people sit around and stare at us with lust-filled eyes. I call them people, but many of them obviously aren't human. I hear a whistle from behind and turn to find something with an obese body and white worm-like head extending from its neck, motioning for me to come to its table.

    I turn quickly only to find myself slamming into someone or something's chest. I fall to the ground with a thud.

    "What the ** you think you're doing, bitch?" someone shouts.

    I look up to see a tall, slender thing with disproportionately long arms, legs, and a tiny torso. Its face has insect-like mandibles, and the skin is stretched tight to the point you can see into its eye sockets.

    "I-I'm sorry." I barely manage to squeeze out.

    "Sorry!? You must be new around here, 'sorry' ain't gonna cut it." it says.

    "You speak English?" I ask in surprise.

    "English? Dumbass, of course not, it's just translation magic. Now let's talk about what you can do for me."

    It's hard to tell, but it looks like his mandibles make something akin to a smile as he reaches toward me with his disturbingly long arms. Suddenly I notice Eira has moved in front of me.

    "What do you want, brat? Is this your friend?" it says with a laugh.

    Eira's right eyebrow twitches slightly, but still, she seems to be a bit lost in thought. Without a word, Eira raises her foot and kicks the thing's shin, and a loud crack rings out. The thing's leg bends backward, causing it to collapse to its knees.

    "AH! You!" it screams.

    Not giving it a moment to recover, Eira takes a step forward and grabs it by its left ant-like mandible. Another crack rings out as Eira rips its mandible from its face and rears back before slamming it into its eye socket. The thing lets out some kind of high pitched screech. Eira's face shows a hint of displeasure at the thing's squealing as she removes a sheet from her storage ring and stuffs it into the thing's throat.

    "Demonic mutt," I faintly hear Eira whisper.

    I look around the room, and although everyone is staring at us, no one seems to be fazed whatsoever at what's just happened. In fact, a few seem to be enjoying the events taking place. The thing struggles to remove the sheet from its throat, but Eira doesn't stick around. She simply grabs my hand and pulls me further into the nightclub.

    The next area we enter seems to be more akin to what you'd expect from a typical nightclub, with loud music and "people" dancing. Oddly, the "people's" shadows and the people themselves seem to be out of tandem as their shadows dance differently than the people do. Eira glances around the room, but seemingly not finding what she's looking for keeps moving.

    We enter yet another room, and this one seems to resemble a cocktail bar. Similarly to the other rooms, this room's music is also different. This time instead of electronic music or a harp, there is a band in the corner playing jazz. The people in the band wear white masks with drawn-on eyes and a blood-red tear.

    'So are the people in the white masks the workers here or something?'

    "Psst, over here."

    Eira stops and turns her head toward the sound. There sits a man in a black cloak in the corner booth.

    "Shadow demon." I hear Eira whisper.

    We approach the table and the demon, I guess, motions for us to sit, but Eira continues to stand and stare at the man.

    "...Who is in charge of this place?" Eira asks.

    "Eh? Uhm, the Abraxas Demon over there in the corner, but hey, I went to the trouble of bringing you here so that we could talk." the demon says with confusion in his voice.

    Eira just stares at the demon. She takes out a cell phone and a piece of paper. She writes a number on the paper and hands both the paper and cell phone to the demon.

    "Later. We'll talk later." Eira says with a distant look.

    "What? But?"

    Eira just walks away without acknowledging the cloaked figure further. Eira proceeds to walk in the direction of the table where the so-called "Abraxas Demon" is seated.
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