Let The Blade Drink Deeper

Davriel's Tachi felt light in his hands as he turned to the mess around him. The curved blade, thin and serrated, was soaked in blood. He hadn't meant to do that, yet it didn't really matter. The damned blade hadn't been fed for too long. Davriel straightened the sword, watching the red sink into the black metal, and slid it into its sheath. He would have to clean it later. He walked over the corpses, sighing as these new lives weighed on his conscience. Despite the reward, he still had trouble paying the price at times.

Pushing his morality aside, he walked further into the level. He wasn't sure which level he was in, probably twelve, but the strange halls unnerved him nonetheless. He took a hearty sip of almond water to ground himself, a reminder of his own existence. He gripped his sword tighter, breathing heavily. The death weighed on him just as much as the level.

He felt the sword vibrate against his waist. Pulling it from its sheath again, he looked down at the blade… Crimson Kanji trickled down its black surface. Davriel read the lettering and frowned. Did Aklavos seriously expect him to just walk into a M.E.G outpost and kill one of the department heads? Whoever led team "Trial Testers" wouldn't be undefended.

"I'm not that daft, Aklavos. If you're trying to kill me, you'll have to try harder." As he spoke, the blade vibrated angrily, then the words disappeared from its metals. Slowly, new ones took its place.

Travel below and find the mask. Deep below zero lies your task.

He blinked at the text and narrowed his eyes. The sword was surely trying to kill him now. Additionally, it was doing a terrible job of rhyming. Davriel glared at it and pondered. The damned blade had offered him a life for each one he was willing to take. Thanks to his already loose morals, he had accepted. And now it wanted him to wear a mask. Davriel pulled up his phone and maneuvered through the database, eventually finding what he assumed the blade spoke of. Object 24. The wall masks. After a cursory read, he looked back down at Aklavos. He weighed the pros and cons. The mask should be helpful, and the downsides weren't anything he wasn't already doing.

He sighed and brandished Aklavos. This wouldn't be too bad. The journey from anywhere to zero was easy enough with it. He slashed through the metal wall, revealing an empty black void behind the white steel. As the Tachi slid through the wall, he felt a stinging pain in his arm. Aklavos was feeding on him. He cursed at the pain, grimacing. Despite the mass of souls it had devoured, it still hungered. He would have to be careful while using the blade, lest his soul be next.

He walked through the new cut in the wall, black enveloping him for a second before he fell through a manilla ceiling light into level zero. He grimaced at his blade, pain throbbing in his wrist. Aklavos was already hungry again. He took the sword up again and used the hilt to try and crack the wall. Instead of hitting, the hilt went through, his hand following, then the rest of his body as he noclipped through the wall.

He fell out into a achromatic hall. He looked ahead through the ominous distance. He just needed to find a mask. He started his trek, sheathing his tachi. As he walked, he looked up the level he was in. After some searching and matching results, he came to Level 0.4. Since the level used to be negative, it was 'below zero', so to speak. The wifi was choppy, the lack of windows making it difficult to connect. Every once in a while it would cut off. Apparently the doors would clip him into Level 331. He would avoid it if he could. After maybe a mile of walking, he started hearing piano notes. He looked through his phone downloads and started playing heavy metal, hating the sound of slow unorganized piano. He saw two people in the distance. He stopped. The blade vibrated. He unsheathed his weapon and quickened his pace towards them, his heart thumping.

He left the bodies behind, grimacing. Slowly, he saw the static overcome his sight. Black and white colored his vision. He had a basic understanding of the level thanks to the database entry, but reading and experiencing something were quite different. He still saw no masks, just the endless white and black doors. He hoped the mask wouldn't be in the level beneath. That would be a much more imminent danger.

As he walked, his music chopped off. He looked at his phone. The text was too small and the static was too great. He would have to go without it.

The piano was accompanied with the sounds of smooth jazz. A mobsters voice echoed, the voice filtered as if through a radio. The voice said something or another about karma, but Davriel ignored it. He didn't need more weight on his mind than there already was.

He sighed, seeing something in the distance. He had no idea if it was a serious threat or not, and couldn't take the risk. If his blade suddenly got violent, he might end up instigating a fight he couldn't win. He sighed and looked at the door to his side. He turned the knob and walked through.

The level reeked of corpses and mildew. The basement was dilapidated and ruined, water filling the lower half. He listened closely, bringing his phone up and turning on the flashlight. Almost five feet away stood a tall, lanky humanoid figure with an unnatural smile. In less than a second, he pulled his blade to position and prepared. Within the blink for an eye, the entity appeared a foot behind him. Davriel twisted towards it, then slammed his blade down.
He missed.

A horrible burning sensation filled Davriel's head as it smiled at him. Davriel averted his eyes and slashed. He heard an inhumane, agonizing screech as his tachi sunk into its skin. The sound grated against him, a scream reminiscent of previous victims. He was glad this wasn't human. He twisted his blade before pulling it out, using the momentum to pull the thing with it. The sword flipped in his hand, the hilt slamming forth into the being's face. Then, he took a heavy swing at the being. The entity shed no blood as its head fell from its body. Aklavos vibrated, hungry for a soul that this thing lacked.

Davriel kept the weapon out, fully expecting more of them. He looked around, seeing a deeper pool past the door in front of him with a light near the end. The way opposite led through a shallow part with multiple doorways that faded to complete darkness. Having no solutions for dealing with smilers, he had to go for the light. His steps were quite loud in the water, and he feared he may be attracting more entities.

He made it to another doorway, seeing a flashlight a room away. He heard someone talking. Someones? Multiple people. He cautiously walked through. M.E.G agents? If so, it would be a relatively clean kill. He peeked around a corner. Five people. Three of them wore masks, and the other two were gagged and tied. A crate was in the room's center, a lantern and Glock lying upon it.

Two of the wearers wielded guns. The other held a knife and was holding it to one of the gagged members throat. She was wearing a volto mask. The mask looked quite dull, a white player split into two sections conjoined in the center with red paint. A circle around the eyes was embossed with what looked to be golden wax. Perhaps fancy to some, but it looked… Colorless, to Davriel. White with a spray of red and gold. She took one of the captives gags off, and her blade sunk lightly into his skin.

"We didn't want to do this, but you leave no choice. Where are you keeping the stock of masks?"

"I won't… I can't answer that." The captive replied.

"Then we'll have to kill your friend here."

Davriel slid into the room, behind the first wearer, a arlecchino wearer clad in black. The Volto wearer opened her mouth to warn the man… But a stab through the spine did the trick. The man fell dead, arlecchino mask falling off his face into the murky water. It sunk down, blood staining the water's surface. Suddenly, another one of the entities appeared, not dissimilar from the one that attacked him earlier. It smiled at one of the captives, who tried to scream through her gag. It was futile. It wrapped its arms around her, and they both disappeared.

Didn't matter much. It just made his job easier. The other woman, wearing a blue and black kitsune mask, jumped back from where the entity had appeared. She was facing away from him, yet expertly dodged aside from his slash. She was out of reach. She sighed with relief as the entity disappeared, then turned to Davriel. She pulled the gun up, aiming for his head, and shot. He flinched, but the gun jammed. He wouldn't let the opportunity go to waste.

She took a step back, and Davriel dashed forward, a slashing leap. A bullet flew from the side, and skimmed Davriel's shoulder. He stopped, glancing aside, and the Kitsune wearer leaped back again, trying to fix her gun. Davriel threw the blade at her as she was paying attention to her pistol, and it pierced through, stabbing through the middle of her chest. The body sunk down into the water. He turned to the person with the volto mask, and felt another bullet pierce his knee.

"Shit, No!" Her curse was paramount to a shout, and he felt his morals shake.

Her gun dropped, empty of rounds.His hesitation was cut short as he felt Aklavos stabbing into his mind. He grabbed Aklavos, then started stalking towards her. A few feet away, a captive frantically looked between him and her. With a quick stab, Davriel's blade took the prisoner's life. He brandished his sword at the mask wearer.

"I'll give you one chance. I need a mask. Give me one and I'll let you live," he threatened. He let the lie fall. She could likely jump back quicker then he could attack, so it would be quicker if she just handed him the mask and he stabbed her.

"I… just take the ones on the floor!"

"I don't think I will. The one on your face. Remove it."

"I'd rather not," She said, her voice suddenly deeper, sharper. She lithely leaped back up, and Davriel slashed down. She barely avoided the hit and with a lunge, an explosive burst of speed and pain, her dagger stabbed into his heart. He looked down at the wound and frowned.

"Think twice before you mess with a maiden," she said.

Davriel narrowed his eyes. "I don't have the luxury of thinking twice. That's this one's job. How many lives do I have left?" he asked out loud.

His blade shone a brilliant blue, and crimson splotches wrote out the number thirty three. The light slowly fades into black.

"What? How?" She asked. Her eyes were wide behind the mask, and he remembered the first time someone tried to kill him. No matter. This would end here.

"I'm not so good at dying."

His hand shot out. He grabbed her throat in one hand, dropped his blade, and grabbed her wrist in the other. With a painful crunch, her wrist was broken. He ripped her mask off, her body freezing like a deer in headlights. He casually picked up Aklavos, the blade shaking in anticipation. Davriel put the tip of his sword to her heart. Then he ran her through.

He pulled Aklavos up with a sickening lurch, and the woman slumped into the water. He looked at the Volto mask. He supposed he would have to wear it anyway. He glared one more time, at the mask, then the sword. He raised the mask and attached the bloody prize to his face. His blade stilled, heavy with souls. He felt a headache start to form, as throbbing pain echoed throughout his skull.

I Can Speak Now.

rating: +6+x
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