The group of five heroes and the mysterious, yet unnamed girl from the altar had just sat down to see what Jessie had prepared as she pulled off the lid from the pot and cried, "Strings in garlic sauce!" Jessie pointed at the nameless girl, "This is poison to vampires, so if you're one, speak now and be spared, lest this meal burn you from the inside out!"
"Uh?" she stared up at the chef of the day with a quizzical look on her face "But what if I don't know I'm a vampire...and I start burning up...will you put the fire out?"
"Wait, so you're actually gonna burn her?" Ray was surprised, "I mean, didn't see it coming, but that's pretty effective, especially if she didn't now it was covered in garlic first."
"N-no, I have to tell her...I can't just kill her, and besides, she seems nice enough, and I kinda owe her one." Jessie explained, recalling the plunge that the girl took with her, she was pretty sure it was an out of the flame thrower's range and onto the spike covered floor moment. She stepped around and pulled the other young woman's chair out, a spoon in one hand, "Now, I ask that you cooperate and open your mouth as wide as you can and say 'ah'...like an alligator!"
"Alligator's don't say-" Ray shut up at the scary grin his sister gave him, eyes wide with frustration.
"I know that, I was talking about the 'open your mouth' bit!" Jessie growled through her teeth. Se turned and patted the worried girl's head, "You're okay, bro's just being a dummy! Now, let's take a look at these teeth!" Jessie held the spoon under the upper row of teeth and took a breath as she focused on the reflection, "Your canines don't look threatening, and I don't see any hidden teeth behind them, either...looks like you're not a vampire! Now if you're hiding you're teeth by some other manner...well, we'll know soon enough!"
"Your dentistry skills are sharper than her teeth, I'd wager." Jacob said with a grin.
"Oh, thanks, Jake--hey, what's that supposed to mean?!" Jessie waved her spoon at the knight in a jest threatening manner, "Gimme a break, I brush my teeth every night!"
"Umm, I can eat this?" the white haired woman asked tiredly, "I didn't realize it before, but my gut kinda hurts, it's making me a little nauseous."
"Ah, of course!" the brunette chimed, running back around and dipping a large serving spoonful of pasta onto a plate, and handing it to her new acquaintance, "Have as much as you want, I made plenty!"
"It looks...appealing." she decided, after running the fork through the strings. She bent forward and took a bite, the taste of garlic was so pungent, she let it back out onto the plate and leaned back, staring at it like it had backhanded her.
"Are you okay?!" Jessie leapt over the table and landed behind the white haired girl's chair.
"S-So strong..." she muttered, eye twitching from the unexpected favor.
"W-was it that bad?" the hero asked sadly, "Um, you can have something else, we gotta have something else around here for you."
"I-I'm fine, but thanks...it was just unexpected is all." the apparently non-vampire young woman leaned forward and took another bite, this time managing to eat it, "It's almost like a mouthful of hair...but not."
"That's spaghetti...for ya." Sarah chuckled, reaching for her cup.
"Plus, few demons can stand against the power of garlic!" Jacob let out a short chuckle, "They have very sensitive nostrils, it helps them hunt us, but garlic is said to give them major headaches!"
"Really? Well, I don't have a headache, so I can't be any demon." the nameless smiled at the further confirmation of her humanity.
"You certainly look like us," Juliet shook her head somberly, "it's strange to think a human was trapped in that awful realm so long as to forget who she is...or what she is, a human."
"The sage will know who she is." Jacob was already convinced of this, and continued after he raised his cup to his lips, "He knows the truth behind many mysteries, and the events behind every myth, he said he'd give us the details after our return, he will know why she was there, and how to proceed from here."
"He certainly is remarkably learned." Ray agreed, his troubled eyes fixed on the new resident of the airship, "Which is exactly why I wonder that he didn't know that this could happen...I suppose there wasn't a lot of time to explain your story, but he could've told us to watch out for you, gave us a name to expect you with, anything."
"Well, that is asking for a bit much," Sarah pointed out, "you're basically asking him to think of everything, he may be a human encyclopedia of mythology and magic, but you can't forget to stress the human part of him, he's not reading from a careful detailed script, he's gonna forget stuff, happens to me all the time."
"We can ask him stuff later, he's not here right now, so let's just eat!" Jessie urged, turned to the white haired girl expectantly, "Can you pass that bottle of hot sauce to me?"
"Um, here. I don't understand...does this make the food hotter? Is it made by alchemists?" her purple eyes the picture of confusion.
"Haha, it's just spicy." Jessie shrugged, before further explaining, "I guess cooking is kinda like alchemy, except you harness a different kind of experience: Flavor, and the flavor of hot sauce is...really spicy!"
"C-can I? Hmm...flavor...ah!" the girl rained the red liquid down on her food, and took one bite and let her tongue hang out, waving at it as though it was aflame, her eyes panicked, "Swo haht!"
"H-hey, just drink some tea, it'll be okay!" Jessie assured, watching the poor thing take a few big gulps. She stood up and reached for the red dappled dish, but her hand was stopped short, "Here, I'll just get you a new pl-"
"Wait...I want to try that again...hmm...aah...? Haaaht!" she had the same reaction as at first, but this time sat and let the sensation linger, then eagerly dragged some more spaghetti to her mouth, managing to eat it this time.
"Gotta admire her...persistence." Jacob had to search for a more eloquent word for "stubbornness" or "hardheadedness", but finally found it.
"Mhm, certainly is!" Jessie lauded, twirling her fork to wind the strings around it. The white haired girl tried to mimic her, but it was slow going.
As the dinner continued into seconds, the group settled into a comfortable silence, with Romeo and Juliet exchanging flirty glances, and the unofficially new member of the team slowly getting better at spinning spaghetti. All of sudden the airship shook and the table collapsed on the vacant corner, the chairs tipped over, and all the food hit the floor.
"Always knew it would be that side to give out first!" Jessie muttered, rubbing the back of her head as she checked on the stunned purple eyed woman.
"What was that?!" Ray growled, standing slowly and scrambling to lean on the walls.
"Sounds like some demonic hitchhikers." Sarah grumbled, holding her temple as she fought to regain her balance.618Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡUU0gTBTca2
"If it's demons off the land, they will have venomwings and fell drakes with them." the white haired girl stated, "Even a scrap from the hooks at the end of their wings can kill you if not treated in a timely fashion."
"Well, that's great, I don't know what venomwings are," Ray sighed, not looking forward to the battle outside, "but those fell drakes are more troublesome than anything I've seen in all my life! They're probably the ones rocking this boat...what timing."
"Well, that could be the lesser or greater of two evils...depending on the other two evils." she replied ominously, her wings emerging in dark, feathery magnificence. With a gesture, the others were enveloped by an aura, and started floating along behind her. No one had expected that, but then, no one except Jessie had seen her wings up until now, either.
As they were floated out into the open, what they saw before them was even more terrifying than fell drakes, it was a red light burning behind the usually pitch black sky.
"Even the sky's falling apart...what will happen to the demon realm now?" Jessie turned to the mysterious girl, but she just stared out at the sky ahead of them, "It'll fall in on itself, and you'll have one empty void, all life will be on the bottom, even the venomwings..."
"Speak of the demons!" Jessie pointed out behind her, "I guess they followed us? Just very, very slowly?"
"That is odd...I hadn't thought then, but they should've been on our trail the whole time!" the girl stretched her arms out and let out a deep breath, "Let's just hope you guys have plenty of potions made up."
"I have some magic to counter their poisons." Ray placed his palms together to begin charging his magic, "First I'll charge a barrier to cut down the amount of damage they'll inflict, everyone behind me and lure them in, when they're over me I'll release the spell."
"But there's so many!" the purple eyed girl pointed out, "Can you handle that?"
"I'm scanning them now!" Ray held out his hands, letting the charged magic snap and hit the oncoming swarm, "There are approximately twenty-five venom wings that will attack me, each will swipe at me as they pass within the first five seconds, initial impact from claws is fifteen damage to my HP, the damage from poison is comparable to that of a fell drake."
"I'll start running those numbers." Sarah immediately bowed her head and closed her eyes, muttering under her breath, hands over her ears to drown out Ray's voice as he continued.
"I'll assess the threat now and aloud for your benefit, it will also serve as an example of how the Strategic Table of Attributes Tallied Under the System works."
"STATUS for short." Romeo interjected.
"The system here refers to the Celestial System of Measurement developed by the Great Priestess over two hundred years ago." Juliet added as a side note, "We call it CSM for short!"
"Now, pay careful attention, it's a lot to listen to but we have some time before they're on us." Ray hoped that would keep her attention completely focused on him and not the impending threat, "Let's take a look at my STATUS, specifically my health potential index, which is two hundred, which means the energy I have sustaining me is two hundred health points, and my registered defense against damage on the CSM is ten. Damage incurred won't reduce my total index, but it will reduce the energy currently sustaining me, HP, in total I'll lose five HP from most of their claw attacks when you subtract my defense of ten, but I'll say seven to allow for varying individual strength from the monsters, considering the highest threat level present. I total they will deal one hundred and seventy-five points of damage, which will leave me with a decent total of twenty-five HP left, and that's only if they're all as strong as the strongest there."
"The fell drake's poison rating is fifty percent of one HP--and that is absolute damage, regardless of how awesome your defense is--to HP every thirty seconds, that means after the first minute," Sarah informed, after Ray gestured for her to go ahead while he focused on another spell, "Ray will run out of HP and be in a critical state where one hit means death, and if he's poisoned when that happens...Ray will die."
"But you forget," Ray said, grinning, "My accumulated exp is eighty-five, they're each worth five exp, my next level is fast approaching!"
"Wow!" Jessie cheered, giving her brother's shoulder a friendly slap, "Way to go, Bro, level thirty, look out!"
"Indeed, now everyone, behind me!" Ray laid one hand on the deck, and looked up at the approaching swarm, "Sleeping Campfire..." lines of red embers crossed over each other and spread along the floor under him, and he slowly rose, hands together as he charged another spell, keeping his mind clear as the swarm fell on him, diving with claws outstretched, "...Flaming Net!" flames circled around him and went up, ensnaring a dark, angry mass of wings and screeches, bent over backwards, staring up at the venomwings, hands slowly pulling away, a crimson glow burning between them, exploding into a fiery projectile as he swung his arms apart, "Beacon of Flames...Ray of Hope!"
Ray fell to his back with a grunt, crying out from the attack's recoil, and watched as his sister leapt through the fading net of fire, "A trail of glitter follows the fallen, but is it a mere rock, or an angel diving from the sparkling sky? Shooting Star! Make a wish!" she swung her blade and a thousand sparks shot through the still burning monsters, and exploded as she sheathed her sword again, "How are you holding up, Ray?"
"Hmm, they leave purple claw marks just like fell drakes, amazing..." he turned to Jessie and opened a bottle of potion, taking a quick drink before throwing it at a venomwing Sarah was fighting, sending it to the ground so she wouldn't spare much effort on a near finished monster, "you should've seen the other guy."
"Well, you gotta be careful, you used two Spirit Bursts back to back, you must be out of mana." Jessie started to fish out a potion for him, when he shook his head.
"You're forgetting one thing...level up!" he glowed faintly as the sudden surge of new power replenished his energy, "I hope you're watching close, new girl, just take it slow and build from the basics, therein lies the key to true power!"
"And working together!" Romeo shouted, activating an aura to draw the remaining venomwings to himself.
"As a team!" Juliet leapt over the swarm dancing around Romeo and closed her eyes, then fired an arrow through the mob that attacked her boyfriend, and after a few moments, all the monsters that had flown through the attack were caught in a fiery blast that damaged Romeo's HP, but it also made his attacks stronger.
At the rate they were going, the majority of the venomwings would be wiped out, but the white haired girl noticed something unusual.
But then a violent tremble much more powerful than the last struck the airship, it was unmistakable.ns 22.214.171.124da2