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Monster Lair

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The airship's bow creaked in the wind gales coming up from the desert. Nacht gazed down at the sand dunes, sighing quietly to himself and looking back over his shoulder. Sol had taken the steering wheel, leading the airship with rather secure movements. For a long time, Nacht had thought of Sol as a loud-mouthed, good-for-nothing brat, with a much too hot head for their all sake. But from what he had experienced lately, the warrior chosen by the light side of the world wasn't too bad, both on and off the battlefield. It just took a while to get used to his bragging.

"Where are we heading to, Sol?" Nacht shifted from one foot to the other, yawning to himself. He had been up all night to fight monsters once more. Even after the struggle with the power of Nil, the monsters were preoccupying most of the time of their day still. Of course, Sarah was mostly residing over Burtgang and resurrecting the once prideful kingdom from the ashes of the long war with the Avalonian Empire. Their party still was going strong without her, but there was just something amiss without her. "I don't see what we could do here in the desert. Is there something we could do in Gardenia?"

"Well..." Sol grinned, giving the airship a slight steer to the right to turn towards Gardenia. "I heard that they opened a new arena there, but that it's not like the one we know. They don't have those strange monsters there, but rather monsters we have met before. From what I heard, we can fight against endless hordes there, thanks to some strange kind of portal having shown up."

"Shouldn't that be worrying?" Nacht shook his head. "I don't know if I like that."

"From what I heard, it's the perfect proving grounds for both beginners and veterans." Sol laughed lightly. "I don't know, but it just sounds really awesome to me. Plus, you can keep anything the monsters leave behind. And since it has become really important to use the leather of monsters to craft clothes, it's quite alright, I guess." Sol whistled lightly, nodding to himself. "I'm slightly worried, too, but hey, we have to grasp every opportunity. The world is still recovering from the splitting and reuniting done by the crystal. So, it's only good we can do something other than trying our hardest to not waste the resources we have left. Instead, we can take what we are receiving from the monsters. It's not the best thing to do, but it's the best deal we could get at the moment."

Nacht simply shook his head, but didn't argue against it any further. He didn't quite like the way Sol thought about it. It was too simplistic. There had to be a hook about it somewhere, a catch which would maneuver them into quite the predicament. Then again, there was something undeniably practical about the way all those monsters appeared in Gardenia's new arena. Nacht suspected that the hordes wouldn't come forth endlessly, but he still had a bad feeling about it. If the monsters were trying to come into their world still, something could be horribly off.

"So you want us to go there and fight some of the monsters?" Nacht rubbed his eyes, yawning once more. "You do know that I was working on beating back monsters all night long? And that I didn't really sleep all that much yet?"

"I know." Sol hummed to himself, slowing the airship down as they approached Gardenia. "Which is the reason why we will take a day off before going to the arena."

"You are absolutely crazy." Nacht yawned, even as they got off the airship and entered the city of Gardenia. The sun was just about to rise, and a hint of the heat of the day was coming through. But it wasn't nearly enough to make him feel awake or vitalized. Instead, he relied on Sol to stir him towards the inn, and before he could even complain any longer about all this fuss about the arena, he already had fallen asleep.

Later that day, when the afternoon sun was turning the sky an almost blood red, Nacht and Sol went a little outside of Gardenia, where the new arena was. They both could feel a strange power deep below the arena, but it wasn't the power of Nil, of which they both were sure. Nacht had to pull Sol with him, since the more hot-headed male insisted on finding out what exactly was producing those monsters. Since the other warriors were gone off to see to some other chores, though, Nacht was definitely not in the mood of getting both of them into trouble. They could only work properly with everyone involved, and finding out what was wrong just like that would have been too risky.

"Alright, we made it just in time to sign up for some battles." Sol rubbed his hands and grinned. "That should be a piece of cake for us, Nacht, right? After all, we have pretty much beaten every single monster in the book."

"Yes, pretty much." Nacht sighed, shaking his head. "But I still don't like how this all is built up. It seems to be so risky, and that is just … odd."

"Come on, Nacht, don't try to make me regret coming here with you. See, there is so much to do here, and we could still use some experience. We still can become stronger, there is no doubt about it. And we really need every last bit of strength if we want to make sure that every last monster of this world will be kicked out for good."

"Yes, but I still don't like this at all. I don't know what to say to make it any more clear, but this is all just so confusing. If there is a monster lair beneath the desert, we have to check it out at some point. We can't just allow the monsters to multiply endlessly."

"Okay, I can see the point of that. But I still think we should make the best of it. Plus, there is something really tempting about fighting so many monsters." Sol chuckled, looking just the slightest bit unhinged. "I mean, we pretty much can gain strength without match like that. There is so much we could do with that."

"Alright, I get it, Sol, you don't need to repeat yourself endlessly." Nacht sighed, patting Sol's head slightly condescendingly. "Alright, we will go through this, and the next time we come here, we might want to explore where the Hell those monsters are coming from."

"That would be interesting, yes." Sol appeared to really think about it for a moment. "I can't imagine them cooperating, really. I mean, they sometimes were dicking each other over, so why would they come like that? Do you think it was some sort of last farewell from Nil? Some sort of … I don't know, hidden weapon that would go off when Nil leaves the world alone?"

Nacht cocked his head to the side, shrugging. "It's a theory, well, but I don't see how that would happen. Wouldn't it have been more practical for Nil to have the monsters break out right away?"

"Yeah, but maybe he just wanted to have the last word. Bastard emperor." Sol growled and drew out his paladin sword. He had stuck with this job, while Nacht had stuck with being a dark knight. The rest of the group had picked some of the other job classes, but their main focus still was on only one job.

Nacht watched how other fighters took on the monsters, some of those monsters being breeds he never had seen. There were some strange new strays of the monsters, which seemed to be more aggressive, but somewhat less enduring than their already known relatives. They did have some nasty new abilities, though. Which made it so much more important to have the Fusion abilities they had gathered at hand.

"Incredible." Sol shook his head. "That's incredible. "Some of those monsters could eat the ones we fought so far for snacks."

"Agreed." Nacht rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Oh well, we are here already. And we will make sure that there won't be any danger coming from the monster lair. Else, I won't be able to sleep peacefully at night..."