The magic runes spinning around her scattered like water snakes and slithered toward the crystal ball hovering in the air. Soon, the smooth surface of the crystal ball began to crack. Lapis clenched her teeth and observed quietly.
"Stop! What do you think you're doing!"
The figure of light screamed as it stretched its arms to stop Lapis. But before his arm could touch Lapis, the magic runes swiftly retaliated and lashed towards Rafah like a whip.
It forced Rafah to retreat, but Rafah clearly didn't have any intention to stop. Rafah bellowed and the surrounding floating crystal balls began spinning rapidly, shooting scorching rays of light at the magic runes. Alas, it didn't have any effect on the Symbol Protection.
Along with a sharp crack, many crystal balls shattered into countless pieces. Their radiance gradually dimmed and collapsed to the ground after losing the magical sustenance that kept them afloat. If one looked closely, there were many tiny skulls within the dimmed crystal balls.
This wasn't an ordinary place.
Lapis knew that the Behermians originated from this place and it was also the birthplace of their nightmare. While it may be true that past Behermians indeed chose this path to fight for themselves, their faith had long been twisted over the years. The end of the battle didn't make them give up on the path to a perfect Behermes - instead, it was the start of a tragedy.
The Behermians who had died long ago had their spirits captured in a crystal ball and corrupted by the Behermes Family. These Behermians weren't able to resist because every Behermian possessed Spirit Crystals within themselves.
It was just as what Gillian had explained - the Behermians were like computers without a firewall and were interconnected with each other through something like the internet. The corruption permeated into the system from the central server room of the 'Behermes network.' Other than transmitting a virus to the dead Behermians, there wasn't any other purpose for it.
"Stop right this moment!!"
As the crystal balls shattered, the radiance on Rafah's body dimmed. He grew frantic and bellowed for Lapis to stop.
Lapis, being timid by nature, shrunk her body in reflex and tears of fear brimmed below her eyes. She almost threw the necklace away in panic.
However, Lapis carried on.
She would never give up.
The spirit's determination to achieve perfection had destroyed the entire Behermes Family in the process. It passed the virus through telepathic means and incited the Behermians to obtain perfection. However, their mental state ended up being destroyed and the Behermians who contacted the 'virus' became walking zombies. Their population gradually declined and all of them perished in the end.
Lapis was a being closest to perfection according to the Behermes Family's standard. And because of that, she was immune to the mental corruption that had ended the Behermians. That was why she could escape the city of death and its viruses.
However, Lapis would never forget the damage done to her home. Her predecessors who were supposed to be quietly overseeing their newer generations had destroyed everything she had ever known. That kind of pain was something that couldn't be washed away with time.
But she couldn't do anything to stop it at that point.
She had accepted her fate and tried to lead a simple life according to her parents' wishes. While the life of a mercenary was far from safe, it was at least much better than being manipulated by a bunch of lunatics and their walking zombies.
After becoming a mercenary, Lapis had witnessed and experienced many things. Tragedy didn't only apply to the Behermians, but also humans as well. There were suffering everywhere, so why was there no one there to rescue them? What about herself? She neither possessed any legendary world-changing powers nor good luck even though she was 'near perfect' from the Behermes Family's perspective. Even if she could muster enough courage to challenge the spirits, how could she remove all those spirits and return the Behermians to normal all by herself?
Lapis knew that she wasn't any good in battle. Randolf had already been promoted to an official ranger while she remained as an Apprentice. She couldn't perform her duties as an alchemist properly even though it was apparently her area of expertise as a Behermian. It was only when Lapis found out that Rhode was heading to Unicorn Peak that she could proceed with this plan.
After musing to herself for some time, Lapis finally solidified her decision to come here.
Since the ship had already sailed, she can't possibly turn back now.
Only a Behermian with a royal bloodline like her could enter this chamber. She also knew that she was the only one who could destroy these spirits.
Lapis straightened her body and lifted her necklace high in the air. Beneath the tears and the worry-ridden face was a brave and undeterred woman.
"Stop it!! You are destroying the final wishes of the Behermes Family!"
Rafah bellowed at Lapis as she lifted up the necklace. However this time, Rafah reacted swiftly and caused the remaining crystal balls to emit a bright light. In a blink of an eye, the figure of light grew many times larger and only stopped when it reached three meters tall.
Lapis' legs turned soft.
The fearful figure of the giant almost pushed her to the brink of giving up, but she managed to squeeze out the last of her bravery and encouraged herself to chant the incantation.
Soon enough, the magical runes transformed once again as countless of lines rose up into the air, producing a spiral which soon formed a giant as well. Both giants were roughly around the same height, but compared to Rafah, Lapis' rune giant was slightly dull.
Both giants began brandishing their arms.
Both sides had no intention to defend. As each punch landed, it released a deafening sound. Giant Rafah and the rune giant sparred mindlessly; each blow was extremely terrifying, and every time they clashed, they would let out meaningless howls.
All Lapis could do was to observe. The rune giant was Lapis' ace. It was the royal family's defensive device passed on from one generation to another. Although Lapis wasn't the brightest of the bunch, she wasn't dumb either. She didn't think that she could eliminate the spirits all by herself.
Could she succeed?
Lapis wasn't confident.
The rune giant once again struck giant Rafah which caused it to take a few steps back. Lapis became slightly optimistic.
Can I win?
Giant Rafah stabilized its body and dispelled Lapis' joyous thoughts with its angry howl. It swung its massive fists and rays of light erupted from the surrounding crystal balls. The rays were like chains which latched onto the rune giant's body, stopping it from moving entirely. And at this moment, Giant Rafah clenched its fist and transformed it into a sharp blade. The giant took a step forward and slashed the blade downwards!
The blade slashed at the rune giant's torso, tearing a long, gaping rift from its shoulder to its lower body. Bang! Along with a loud sound, the rune giant's body trembled and exploded into countless of dust particles that floated into nothingness.
Meanwhile, the necklace in Lapis' hand shattered and a huge impact swept her off her feet before she could scream. The broken necklace flew out of her hand and landed on the ground.
Lapis trembled as she stared at the broken necklace on the ground.
Before Lapis was able to react, Giant Rafah spoke once again.
"You disappoint me, Lapis. As the closest one to perfection, you dared to oppose us?"
"I... I have never said that I wanted to be perfect." Lapis struggled to lift her head and refuted.
"Since things have ended this way, we can only force you to be one!"
Giant Rafah extended his arm and pointed at her.
Shiing!! Chains flew out from the crystal balls and bound Lapis' body. Although the woman struggled with all her might, she wasn't able to move at all. Lapis could only stare helplessly at the colossal finger that had already reached her face.
"Show me your Spirit Crystal, mend the defect, and fulfill our desires!"
That was her last cry.
The next moment, Lapis' body flew into the air, and a beautiful, pure white flower bloomed on her chest. A multi-colored crystal floated quietly at the center of the flower. Then, it began to flash.