"That wraps up the class. To summarize our discussion today, let me say that demons and mankind have been coexisting for ages,
and that mankind and demonkind wage war because mankind wanted to defend themselves from the demonkind, who need humans as their source of food."
Teacher Alderman concluded his class with around 10 students sitting in a circle around him.
Teaching in an open landscape, the beautiful scenery felt peaceful but this one student didn't show that feeling.
He raised his hand and asked, "Teacher, have you ever heard of the Orb of Phalanea?"
"Yes, I have. Has it piqued your interest, Cathal?"
"It has. Could you please tell me more about it?"
"Well... In short, the orb has an ancient, powerful restoration magic that can restore demons to humans, if they were once humans.
It's located at the Phalanea Forest, and it's guarded by hordes of beasts, ferocious man-eating creatures and unspokable dangers.
I am amazed at anyone who attempted to try to claim the orb, and I'd be more toward those who return safely from the forest, with or without the orb."
Young Cathal opened the steel-clad door in his house, leading to a dark room. Chained, a man grunted at him. But his pale skin, dark eyes, growing horns, and growing fangs weren't so convincing.
Instead, Cathal touched his face gently and whispered, "I'll get that orb, brother. We can be a family once more."
Dark tree trunks decorated the shadowy landscape of the forest Cathal stepped his feet to. What appears to be human and animal limbs hanged across the path.
Clumps of bushes stared at him without any word. Barely visible black trails snaked through the ground. Despite in the afternoon, no traces of sunlight dared to enter the Phalanea Forest.
Cathal encountered a crossing. He referred to a piece of paper he brought and gave himself a nod, "This must be the way," as he walked to the right.
Greeting him was a horde of creatures some swore it was a vampire. But Cathal's eyes could not reflect any stanger wonder. They resembled a large rat, with horns and fangs.
As they growled, he could smell the scent of blood. "Chupacabras. Really?!" He grumbled, as he drew his hand axe.
Throughout his way, he encountered many that tried to claim his life. Wyverns, Chupacabras, Wendigos, Cerberuses, and even Zombies.
In his heart, he felt grateful that teacher Alderman taught him so much about how to survive and fight back, and those skills were especially useful.
With only minor injuries, Cathal managed to proceed so far he discovered the ruins of an ancient temple.
After going through the steps, he discovered a glowing orb sitting at the center of an open space. What remained of stone pillars decorated every corner of the space.
Standing near the orb was a middle-aged man. He looked bright, he glowed light from within his body. His face was friendly enough to convince Cathal to sheathe his hand axe.
"Welcome, traveler," greeted the man with a wam voice. "You are the first in centuries to visit my temple. Allow me to greet you properly, Cathal Glens."
"How did you know my name?"
"The world is full of wonders. Rest assured, I mean you no harm. I am Phalanea, the keeper of this sacred temple. This is my orb, of which you are seeking, I assume?"
"Yes. But how did you--"
"I know all, my eyes are wandering across the continent, foraging countless information from any living being they encounter. You are not beneath my notice, young prodigy.
With my orb, you can indeed restore your brother.
I'm testing your resolve, and it appears I have acquired the results. No man with stronger wills and wits passed through my lovely pets, let alone stepping their foot here.
You are worthy, Cathal Glens," Phalanea stepped aside, welcoming a path for Cathal. "You may step forward. The orb you may claim, the benefits you may reap."
Cathal tooks steps forward and got closer to the orb. As he begun reaching for it, Phalanea, who was standing beside him, showed a wide grin.
Cathal noticed this, but his mind told him to reach for the orb.
Just before his fingers could touch the orb, when their distances was so close, Cathal and Phalanea was surprised to see a knife flying at a high speed.
It nested on the orb, cracking its surface. From the crack, dark smoke emitted so rapidly. It clouded the space behind the orb, and from within, demons emerged.
Both Cathal and Phalanea were surprised as they noticed Teacher Alderman's presence, wielding a shotgun on his back, carrying four more knives on his waist.
"I am glad I'm on time," he commented. "Cathal! That is not the orb you seek. You have been deceived!"
Cathal was too surprised at his teacher's presence, while Phalanea, with a disgusted look, charged at Alderman. He landed a palm strike on Alderman's chest, sending the teacher flying away.
"Teach!" Cathal shouted.
"Hmph. I was so close," Phalanea turned around. "Your naivety will prove useful once it's digested."
The demons growled. One of them charged at Cathal. He managed to block the attack, but the demon's ferocious strength knocked Cathal away. He pinned Cathal on the ground.
He showed razor sharp fangs, ready to devour the young man.
Alderman was seen again, this time flying above the ground. With glowing amber eyes, he stared at the demons and Phalanea. "Lay a finger on my Cathal, now I dare you."
"And what do you think you can do?" mocked Phalanea.
"Giving you all a lecture, on woe."
The teacher emitted blue force from his hand, and sent it toward the demons. It flied in sound's speed the demons were knocked back before they noticed. Cathal stood up.
Phalanea transformed himself into a dark humanoid creature with sharp claws.
He turned his attention at Cathal and charged, but Alderman's knife thrusted his throat before Cathal could have a chance to retaliate.
The angry teacher knocked Phalanea with a drop kick to his back and stepped on the demon's body, pinning him down. He pulled the knife on Phalanea's throat. Now at the teacher's mercy, Phalanea could not move his body.
"You will tell us where you hid the orb," Alderman demanded.
"Make me," challenged Phalanea.
"With pleasure," Alderman's glowing eyes gazed at Phalanea's eyes. Flashing images of the orb's location slid through the teacher's vision. Eventually he understood where the orb was located.
"Cathal," called he. "Yes, teach?" "I'll teach you a new skill. Ready your axe." "What skill?"
"Anatomizing a humanoid demon."
Cathal placed the glowing orb above his brother's head.
Slowly, the light dissipated non-human features from his brother: his horns slowly disappeared, his skin returned to his former brown skin, his eyes reverted to human eyes, and his overall look restored.
Overjoyed, he hugged his brother tightly and cried. "Brother! You're back!"
"Cathal...? Is that you?"
"Yes, it's me, Oliver... I can't believe it, it's really you...!"
Alderman, who was standing behind Cathal, gave the two siblings a warm smile.
Cathal then released the hug and turned around. "I cannot thank you enough, teach. You've given us hope, this is a miracle I thought it could never happen.
Tales will pass as more people will know that The Orb of Phalanea is actually the demon's heart."
"Your strong resolve and love for your brother guided you. I merely play the support."
"I am forever in your debt, teach."
"Will you live that long?" Alderman cracked a friendly laugh. They laughed.
"Also, teach, can I ask you something?"
"Anything, my boy."
"How did you do all that? You never told us you could use magic, fly, or even do what with your eyes to Phalanea and all--"
"Well, let's just say, I was gifted with flashy wits." Alderman rolled his eyes.
"Oh, come on! You're always so secretful about yourself! Tell me a thing or two about you, can you?"