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128 Divine Guardian

 "Why aren't you afraid! Why aren't you suffering! Are you trying to beat me with that little stick after I have become so powerful now?!"

Cecil was roaring like a raging behemoth. Having lost all rationality, the last of his human form was slowly consumed by tumors and tentacles as he became an evil, sinister monster.

Its body that disregarded the principles of conservation of energy and mass was filling half the room. Parts of it were coiling around the marble pillars that were sculpted with gold and silver flower patterns and filling them with cracks, even crushing the floor plates under its weight. Green pus splattered over the floor as it thrashed around, billowing waves of pungent white smoke while it sizzled.

Be that as it may, Angora showed no fear. Anger fueled his words with strength, making it sonorous and powerful.

"Cecil, you are so stupid. You've fallen so low because of your own desires, although there's one thing you are right about: I definitely possess a god-given treasure."

"That's mine! Mine-mine-mine-mine-mine-mine-mine! Give it to me!"

Eyeballs were growing out of the tumors and tentacles coiled around the marble pillars and staring at Angora without blinking. The flesh that was once Cecil's body then split right down the middle like a blossoming daisy, with each 'petal' laden with small but razor-sharp teeth.

The monster without a name hence gaped its wide, bloody maw and bit down at Angora.

Nonetheless, Angora grasped his wand at the same moment and shouted the activation 'command'.

"Divine guardian, summon!"

Faint silver radiance shot out of the tip of the wand to assume the form of a majestic lion.[1] It did not attack, but merely bellowed at the monster lunging at Angora and sent it flying with an invisible force, slamming it heavily on the wall and cracking hairline fractures over it.

"That's the treasures... it's supposed to be mine... all of it is mine..." Cecil's voice was reverberating out from the monster's body.

"No, you're wrong again. What my god granted me wasn't this wand." Angora said, holding back the words 'it-was-just-a-quest-reward'. "The god of my faith had merely granted me the courage to stand before you, monster of evil, and the strength needed to purge all of you."

Even though the monster had lost its savagery right then, Angora had no intention of letting his guard down. "Guardian spirit..."

"Wait...!"

Suddenly, Cecil's face appeared over the creature's flesh, with a pleading look as he begged sincerely. "I have been tricked by a demon of the Secret Eye Society! They fooled me with a mirror, confounding my mind so that I would drink a suspicious potion... It's all their fault! Don't kill me! We have the same blood flowing in our veins, and I could still be saved! I know I was wrong, I apologize, please, for father's sake..."

"...Kill him." Angora did not hesitate in his command.

The lion, given form by the dual divine power of Justice and Games merely slashed with its claws once to tear the monster into mincemeat, just as it was about to become a full-fledged demon. The holy light shining over the lion's body also instantly vaporized the green pus spurting out, and the remaining divine power from that one slash also swiftly cleansed the remaining pieces of flesh, reducing them to white dust that was blown away with the night winds coming from the windows.

"It's precisely because we share the same blood that I can't forgive what you did, brother."

Angora said quietly after everything was over.

He was also aware that Cecil was only trying to buy time so that the Demonic Roe hatched. If he became a full-fledged demon, the guardian spirit would never be able to destroy even if it could win.

Looking up, Angora watched the great lion that stood beside himself. He realized then that in comparison to Will Smith-or more correctly, the genie, the lion was not as quick-witted even though it appeared more majestic.

That was when he realized that his quest was completed.

Moreover, even the two additional quest rating objectives were met thanks to what Cecil said in his plea for mercy.

The root of corruption was the 'suspicious potion' that he had mentioned.

And the culprit was undoubtedly an existent demon of the Secret Eye Society.

But while Angora was still checking the system, the tower had finally reached its limit and was about to collapse.

Knowing that, Angora turned off his interface and dashed to where Vela had been and found Horan looking at him.

Angora did a double-take. "When did you recover? Did you hear what I said just now?"

However, he did not continue asking more questions as the floor shook even more violently. Throwing the old man over his own shoulder, he didn't run for the stairs but instead jumped down the empty center of the spiral stairs!

"Guardian spirit!"

The lion guardian spirit caught him easily at his call, its thick and soft fur acting as the perfect cushion-Angora felt no pain at all.

"I never passed out from the start... I kept myself conscious because I was afraid that I would never wake up, and I became lucid when that retainer of yours had me chug down that weird potion." The old man slowly said, after being briefly surprised by what Angora did.

He was silent for a moment, before mildly consoling Angora. "I'm sorry about that kid."

Angora assumed that his father was referring to Cecil, only to realize later that he was speaking about Vela.

Vela's death right in front of Angora's eyes naturally enraged him, but Players do resurrect three days later... and she had even asked the others what was going on in the forums just a moment ago...

"Yes..." Angora therefore vaguely skipped that conversation. "Dad, about Cecil..."

"He started an uprising and was summarily executed. You are my only child from now on... and if you want, I could hold the handover ceremony for my dukedom tomorrow." The old man said quietly. "You are now a lord who fits the bill, and all you have to do is beware so that others would not learn about your mother's bloodline."

Angora was not actually coveting the dukedom which was within reach, however. Taking Tunaya as his domain would be wonderful, but prying eyes meant great restrain, complete unlike the small town where he had more freedom.

"As for that, I have a suggestion, Dad."

[1] EXPECTO PATRO-