The Endless Desert
#21
It alarmed the cactus that Sylvanas had determined to jump into the offense. So, they started communicating each other to back off for now and simply observed. 

Nobyl finally managed to get around the pond, under the assumption that Sylvanas would perish by the monsters. So, he got close to her location, accidently stepping on a needle that was deflected by her. “Ouch!” He shouted.

=====

The door is now within Jacen’s sight, the door to where it will make him closer to the legendary Dragon Guardian of legend, Dragore. However, the singular rock warrior pursuit the man and raised his rugged blade, striking him down to stop him from going further.
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Death Hurts

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#22
"Whose there!?" Sylvanas shouted, glancing towards Noel's direction while still holding the dark claws in a defensive position. "If you're the one attacking me, show yourself and I'll make your death painless!"

- - - - -

The blade fell from the rock shogun, only to be blocked by a wreath of black flames once more. It was surrounding Jacen's back and protecting him from harm, at least from sneak attacks. The withered murderer sighed and spun around, blue blames burning in his eyes as he drew his katana once more, slicing into the shogun, only to stop part way in. He drew in a breath as his hands started to shake, glancing over to the pile of rubble that had once been another shogun. He had a panicked look on his face, before gripping onto the sword and pulling it out of the rock golem, taking a step backwards.

"Why is it everything I do ends in violence?" He asked himself, before closing his eyes, reignited with blue flames as he lifted up a hand, black energy surrounding the shogun and freezing him up, before being gently lifted into the air and sliding back and away from Jacen. Or at least, that's what the Withered mage hoped would happen.
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#23
Nobyl narrowed his eyes, realizing that he's about to be exposed and hid behind a nearby rock. "Damnit.. she knows I'm here!" He had to think since these people just kill anything in sight. "Uhh... wait I'm just, uh, a human!" He raised his arms. "I have no intention of, uh, hurting you." 

=====

The Rock Shogun’s arm flung back from the deflection. The sword slip from its hand and crashed near the distracted shoguns. After observing the sword, all of them looked up to see the situation—only for the frozen Shogun crashed onto the ground.

They look onward to see Jacen’s attacks and decided to stand down. The fight, to them, was going to their favors. It is time to let him ascend to the higher floors.
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#24
"Likely story! Most things in the Desolate Lands are either monsters or mutates, pure humans die by the dozen!" Sylvanas shouted in reply.

- - - - -

Jacen relaxed his hand after putting space between the Shogun, the telekinetic grip disappearing. He turned around, sheathing his sword and heading towards the door, fighting to regain control of him mental state. With shaky breath he took hold on the door knob and opened it, stepping further into the castle, further towards Dragore, further towards redemption.
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#25
“S-shit” Nobly mumbled to himself. “Look, you should be grateful that I even alerted you! You were about to get caught up with those monsters. They don’t go down easy, you know!” He tried to craft up a fable to save his skin. “Just lowered your weapon and let me explain properly.” 

====

As Jacen went upstairs, unlike the first floor, it was an area filled with rooms, but more importantly, it was an area filled with ghostly figures that filled the ceiling above him. All of them were lost souls that had their lives taken in this castle.

Dragore, once tender dragon, now a dragon of rage, let out another mighty roar, giving acknowledgement that Jacen had passed the first trials. The voice of the winds once again appears, but this time, it made its appearance in front of Jacen in a ghostly form. It had no intention of fighting the man, but rather, propose another tactic: questioning. 

“You continue to press forward, why?”
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#26
Sylvanas lowered her claws, facing the direction Nobly was talking in. Despite the weapons being down, her stance shifted into a more agile one, paying attention for any need to dodge.

"I'm listening. Don't waste my time and make me wish I had gut you earlier." She warned.

- - - - -

Jacen walked forward, blue robe swaying with every step, his black eyes scanning the area around him. The gem on his katana pulsed dark blue energy as Jacen closed his eyes and focused, before casting his head upwards and giving another dragon's roar in response to Dragore. As it echoed through the hall he was in, Jacen opened his eyes to be greeted by the ghostly apparition.

"Why? Why keep going? Because what I desire resides in the heart of Neusch Castle, Dragore. My soul is black, my eyes are stained, and my heart is burnt. I am a murderer, I am inconsistent, and I struggle to remain focused in anything except my end goal. I've killed, so many, in the hopes I could grow strong by mastering death. Every kill only blackened my soul, ever life taken stained my eyes, every murder burnt more and more of my heart. I am, an irredeemable monster." He stated to the ghost, grabbing at his chest, eyes focused on the spirit. "But if anyone could redeem someone as myself, it would be the Dragon Guardians. They alone have Pure Energy. All others I could have gone to would kill me for my crimes. But if anyone could change my ways, it has to be Dragore. Only a being as world weary, only a being as rejecting of humanity, could give humanity back to a monster." As he continued to speak, his blood began to pump, heart rate increasing. When he finished his words, he drew his katana in front of the ghost.

Just bind him like the rest and be done with it. No! Redemption requires change. A good person doesn't do bad things for good reasons. Only Dragore could change me. I have to change, no matter what. Strength comes from killing, and strength is how we'll beat Drake. I'll find another way.

Jacen stood in front of the ghost, face contorted in pain as he struggled to decide what to do, body shaking as he was wracked with indecision. Kill, and grow strong. Or repent, and find another way. Following half a minute of tension, the pain suddenly subsided in Jacen's body, face becoming calm. In a swift motion he raised the katana before impaling it into the ground. As Jacen had his eyes closed, the katana glowed with black, spectral light. Using his sixth sense to sense out the energy of the room, he was seeking every single ghost and bound spirit trapped in this place, using his necromantic magic to feel them all out. And from there, feel where all of these spirits were bound to, what was keeping them trapped in this place. Presumably, some sort of focal point or binding site.

Capture them all, bind them to his service, add these lost souls to his power? Or set them free, release them unto the afterlife, and let them go.

"None of you shall spend a day longer trapped in this castle if my power is able to do something about it. Unless I fall here, today, you all will walk free!"
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#27
“I’m traveling with a partner of mines, we’re just two mutants finding some ways to survive, and we been tailing you guys for a while. Based on the level of carnage you left behind, you two are more than capable. Especially the other guy. He was able to break through the illusion quite easily, if I may add. If you have any food or valuable items… just give it to me, and we’ll be on our way.” 

=====

The voice of the winds shook his head back and forth. “You are a foolish mortal, but…” The ghostly figure observed the room around them, the spirits, floating aimlessly. They had chained around their necks, an item that show proof of their battle against the mighty Dragon Guardian, and lost.

The voice of the winds grew closer at Jacen, not afraid by the possibility that he could destroy or bound him. “Free us or not, take us or not, freedom is never achieved, for we have all accept our face as sinners. You, one day, will repent for your crimes, forever bounded by the rage you awaken. The death you cause. And the blood you spilled.” 

The voice of the winds left himself defenseless against Jacen. “Do as you wish and continue your path to the dragon, warrior of death. I will not stop you.”
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#28
Sylvanas smirked before bringing her claws up again, red eyes filled with spectral hate.

"You have three seconds before I gut you. Don't make me waste even more of my time by killing you." She warned with deadly intent.

- - - - -

Jacen closed his eyes and kept his grip on the sword impaled in the ground. The katana started to emit black energy from it's blade and the embedded gem, glowing with unnatural light. Smoke started to seep from the ground, briefly obscuring Jacen's appearance, before raging black-blue flames from within the smoke revealed his position.

"Your deaths were enough of a price to pay to the dragon. Even if I fall, I hope in some way you manage to find peace." He stated as the smoke cleared, pulling the Blackfire Katana out of the ground and wielding it. Jacen's eyes burned with his corrupted flames, and his blade glowed with unnatural, necrotic magic. The twelve, now eleven, gems he carried on his person floated out from under his robe, glowing with black light. Jacen smirked as he raised the blade, bringing it down on the chain of the first ghost that had been talking with him. He sliced at the chain, making sure not to hit the spirit itself, to free it from it's binding. Once that was done, he vanished in a plume of black magic, reappearing and slicing another chain before disappearing and reappearing all over again, teleport spamming to every single last spirit present in the room and freeing their bindings. With teleportation, it didn't matter how high up each spirit was, since well, teleportation.

Once Jacen had cut through every last chain he teleported himself back onto the ground and fell against a wall, breathing heavily as his sword dropped out of his hands, and two of his gems faded away without light or color, remaining suspended around him. The sheer number of teleportations had taken a lot out of him, both physically and magically. He laid against the wall, just recovering from such strenuous effort.
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#29
“Someone feisty!” Noybl back up a little back. “Hey, don’t you think it was a bad idea to leave your partner behind? You know what he’s up against, right? He’s going to fight a Dragon Guardian… they are powerful beings! I may have something that worth to aid him in battle. If you have food or items!” He was trying to persuade her. His intention was clear; he simply wanted to take her body to the Dalv Tribe. They are looking for people like her to aide in their conquest. He wasn’t going to let this girl go to waste in this dangerous desert.

===========

“You are indeed a fool…” The ghostly figure, the voice of the wind, said. Yet, despite the wording of his message, his tone was sincere, grateful for what he had done. All the other ghosts were able to move freely, aimlessly moving around.

As Jacen recovered, a mysterious robed man walked in front of him. He looked up at all the spirits, counting them one by one. He summoned a scythe and tapped the ground multiple times. All the ghosts nodded and came to his side. “So many ghosts here at once.” He pulled out a watch, checking the time. “Time of Gathering…”

He turned to the exhausted Jacen. “Jacen.” He nodded and did not say anything further. He walked past him; the ghosts followed right after.

The ghostly figure, the voice of the winds, stared at the robed man. He knew what he was, what his intention, and what his purpose. He, too, followed him. “Jacen, the one who carries a deathly sin. Your journey has a dark fate. It’ll be cruel, destructive, and you may never find what you called, a way to drown the sins blissfully. But the actions you took today… may influence that dark path. Your destination lies beyond this point, down the hall. You will meet the Dragon that resent humanity.” The Ghostly figure disappeared along with the robed man.
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