Hello, Fanfiction readers out there! For those that may or may not know me, I am Ashbel Longhart, a fellow Fanfic author like some of you are and known for works such as RWBY: The Amnesia Swordsman and Futari wa PreCure: A New Legend! For those that do know me, hello! And for those that don't, nice to meet you. Now, before I go any further, cue disclaimer!
(Disclaimer: I do not own Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka, Danmachi for short, or Dark Souls. Both belong to their respective owners. I just own this story and nothing more. Please Enjoy.)
Now I am going to be the first to admit that I had no plans of publishing this story like this. What I mean is that I had plans to publish this, but not this early. I have too many other stories that I'm currently working on and so I can't afford to publish another one and get swamped like I usually am. But my dumb hands could not stop themselves when they went and made a few more chapters for this story. Yeah, you heard me right people, there are more chapters of this story ready and waiting in the back. At the time I'm writing this, I have about four other chapters ready and it makes me mad because I could have used that time to work on my other stories, but no, I was in too much of a Dark Souls mood and I couldn't stop myself. Well, I talk more, but this is already getting long so let's just get this started and I'll see you guys on the other side.
Now, time for some Jolly Adventuring!
Is It Too Much To Ask To Be Left Alone?
Grace 1: Adventurer Once, Now Undead(Dead and Back Anew)
Adventurers. People who explored the Dungeons and earned fame and fortune through exploration and the killing of Monsters. The Dungeon is a complex labyrinth divided into many Floors. Each Floor contained Monsters and more powerful Monsters began to appear the more an Adventurer goes down a Floor. Of course, this isn't always the case.
It all happened so fast for him. He was a Newbie Adventurer, having started out about half a month ago. A Rookie as green as grass. Receiving the blessings of his Goddess and with some armor and additional gear, he's been tackling the Dungeon for quite some time. He had been in here for a while now, fighting Monsters and getting stronger along the way. Nothing new. While he couldn't see the skies, which was obvious considering he was underground, he knew that it was approaching lunch hours and now was a good time to return to the surface for a break before coming back. But after half a month spending his time here, he thought it was time to try some of the lower floors to see where he stood. So that's what he did. He traveled down to the Fifth Floor. It was only about half an hour later that he came to regret this.
He ran and screamed. A roar echoed behind him, prompting him to run faster and scream louder. It was catching up to him. He was pretty well known back in his village for being quite fast but even he wasn't confident that he could outrun the beast that was chasing him.
A Minotaur. A Monster found in the deeper parts of the Dungeon. What the heck it was doing all the way up here in the Fifth Floor, he didn't know. And right now, he didn't care as he concentrated on running for his life.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. He had come here to get strong and maybe find a cute girl to hook up with just like his grandfather wanted. He knew there were risks to becoming an Adventurer, everyone who became one knew that.
The monster down here were defiantly strong but he made sure to keep a level head when fighting and he's been doing pretty well so far, earning prizes and experience.
And that's when a Minotaur appeared.
Knowing that the Monster was way out of his league, he did the smart thing and run. But the Minotaur pursued him endlessly and it was only through sheer dumb luck that he was still alive right now. But his luck soon came to an end as he, much to his horror, ran into a dead end.
Panting with exhaustion and shaking with fear, he could only push his back against the stone wall and drop down to his butt as he stared up at the Monster in terror. This was it. He was going to die now.
In another time, someone would have come to his rescue. This Minotaur had fled from a party of high-ranking Adventurers and would be killed by a beautiful blond swordswoman which results in feelings growing within the boy. He would then continue to grow stronger from there, achieving a great many things alongside friends.
Unfortunately, in this time, his savior, his salvation was a few minutes behind and would not be able to save him in time. So the boy could only scream as the Minotaur raised a fist and brought it down. The last thing he heard was the crushing of his skull.
"...Oh, you... You're no Hollow, eh?"
"Well, what do we have here? You must be a new arrival. Let me guess. Fate of the Undead, right? Well, you're not the first."
"You! Yes, you! Here, over here! Please, you must help me!"
"You are Undead, as well? Then we've no time to fraternize. I have my mission, and you no doubt have yours. We must not let this curse overcome us."
"Is it not so that thou art new? Thou fared well to find me. But cometh thee not for the grave of Sir Artorias? My advice true, forget this! The legend of Artorias art none but a fabrication. ...Traversing the dark? 'Tis but a fairy tale. Have thine own respect, go not yonder knocking for nothing, I say!"
"Why not join me, as a warrior of the Sun? Righteous knights, guardians of all that is good, in the name of the Lord of Sunlight! ...Only if it would please you, of course. Well?
"...Oh dear...What have we here? Are you a new servant?"
"Quelaag? Please, sister, do not cry. I am happy, truly. I have you...don't I?"
"Chosen Undead. Your fate...is to succeed the Great Lord Gwyn. Chosen Undead, who has rung the Bell of Awakening. I wish to elucidate your fate. Do you seek such enlightenment?"
"I can guide thee, and illuminate the truth. Undead Warrior, conqueror of the Four Kings, is this not your wish? To know the truth of men, and the Undead?"
"Thou art strong, human...Surely thine kind are more than pure dark. I beg of thee, the spread of the Abyss...must be stopped."
"Hmm... A mere Undead, yet you can see me? Fascinating... I am Quelana of Izalith. I am not often revealed to walkers of flesh. You have a gift. Are you, too, one who seeks my pyromancy?"
"Ah, hello! You don't look Hollow, far from it! I am Solaire of Astora, an adherent of the Lord of Sunlight."
"I am Laurentius, of the Great Swamp. I will not forget my debt to you."
"Forgive me. I was absorbed in thought. I am Siegmeyer of Catarina."
"Mm, you seem quite lucid! A rare thing in these times. I am Logan."
"Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am Oscar of Astora."
"In case you have not heard, I am Reah of Thorolund."
"I'm Alvina of the Darkroot Wood. I command a clan of hunters who track down defilers of the forest graves. What dost thou say? Wilt thou not join us?"
"Your ambitions have sealed your fate. But, who'd have thought I'd be the traitor? Sometimes you never know, do you... Keh heh heh heh!"
"My father...all Hollow now...has been subdued. He will cause no more trouble."
"...Who are you...Stay clear...stay clear of my work...Curses upon you!... How dare you disturb me!"
"...Finally, I have found it, I have!... ...My very own sun... I...am the sun!... ...I've done it...I have... ...Yes, I did it...I did!"
"I ask just one thing. If I do go Hollow, then finish me off. I beg of you."
"I have waited for thee... Foolish slave of the Gods, and pawn of Frampt... I will kill you... And become the true Dark Lord..."
"The First Flame quickly fades. Darkness will shortly settle. But one day, tiny flames will dance across the darkness. Like embers, linked by lords past."
"Ashen One, hearest thou my voice, still?"
A pair of eyes snapped open. A mouth opened to gasp for air even though the lungs of the person have long since rotted. Instead of sitting up or trying to stand, the body rolled to the side before quickly getting up to the knees as hands reached for a weapon, a sword due to how the hands moved to the side, only the hands grasped empty air when they reached the person's waist.
"Huh?" Confused while also letting out the first noise it had since waking up, a pair of red eyes looked down in confusion as to why there wasn't a sword his side. He then quickly remembered that he wasn't using a Straight Sword at the moment but a Greatsword and reached for his back only to grasp empty air once again. He reached behind him with both hands but much to his dismay, there was no sword or shield on his back, only a decent sized backpack. That alone was cause for concern for him
Before the boy could freak out, he took a deep breath in before letting it out, calming his nerves. "Calm down, Bell Cranel. Don't panic and access the situation." The now named Bell Cranel first checked himself and to both his confusion and horror, he was not wearing armor and was instead dressed in familiar clothing.
He wore a brown coat with a small black patch on the right side above his chest along with a long sleeved black shirt underneath. He also wore black pants, a beige belt with a silver buckle, and brown shin-high boots. A small chest plate covered his chest while a decent sized backpack was slung over his back, as mentioned before. Finally, hanging from the back of his waist was a dagger.
"These clothes..." Bell said to himself as he finally stood up on his feet, looking at himself and blinking to make sure he was not seeing things. "These clothes...I haven't worn these in ages. I thought I threw them away?" Bell clearly remembered these clothes being torn and withered by time and threw them away in favor of wearing the Knight Armor of the corpse that had been literally dropped in his cell. It certainly provided more protection than his clothes.
He looked at the armor and equipment on him and had only two words to say.
"This sucks." Bell could feel his face form an expression of disappointment as he looked at himself. The only piece of armor on him was the chest plate. He didn't have any gauntlets, greaves, or anything else that could protect his body. Hell, he didn't even have a helmet on him. The chest plate was of low quality and he doubted it could stand three attacks against the Hollowed and Demon monsters he faced in Lordran. Hell, he bet if he showed this to Andre the old blacksmith would have thrown it in the trash. And don't even get him started with the dagger. It too was of low quality and would instantly break if used against an armored opponent or someone with tough skin. That he was sure of. And he was pretty sure he abandoned the use of backpacks in favor of multiple pouches that would hang on his belt. They were less likely to get grabbed by an opponent and even if they were to be grabbed, his arms were close enough to prevent it.
"What was my younger-self thinking coming into the Dungeon like this?" Bell said as he spoke a familiar word that he hasn't said in...forever.
Dungeon. Now that's a word he hasn't hear himself speak in so long. No matter how many years have passed, he still remembered his time in the Dungeon...and how naive he was.
'Seriously, going into the Dungeon just so I could pick up girls? What was I thinking? I don't care if it was for my grandfather, the desire alone is just stupid.' Bell thought to himself. The plan was simple. Go into a Dungeon and get stronger fighting monsters. If he continued to do so, there was a chance a girl might find herself in trouble and he would save her. From there, the girl would no doubt fall in love and grand adventures would ensue.
Bell sighed as he thought about how stupid he was. This was a Dungeon, a nest of Monsters. The only people that dared to come here were Adventurers. There was little to no chance of there being a damsel-in-distress in a place like this. The fantasy his younger self dreamed of was a work of fiction. A hero's tale. And he was no hero.
Bell quickly shook his head to bring himself back to reality before he brooded any further. He tended to do that a lot from time to time. It was a bad habit he formed whenever he would find himself alone which was nearly all the time during his journey through Lordran. So yeah, he brooded a lot. And if people knew what he's been through, they wouldn't blame him. Now then, time to see where he was and wonder how many times he'll die this time.
He appeared to be in a cave-like area as the said area was quite spacious allowing maximum movement. To his surprise, green glowing lights lined the walls, illuminating the place and allowing him to see in this place which would have no doubt been dark without the lights. The lights seemed natural and not man made which confused him but he didn't question it in favor of checking his surroundings for any enemies that wanted his head. Strangely enough, as he looked around, he couldn't help but think the place was oddly familiar to him.
'This place looks like the Dungeon, the fifth floor to be exact.' Bell thought as he couldn't help but feel mocked. It wouldn't be the first time. He clearly remembered this place despite his many years as an Undead. The Dungeon is where he died, struck down by a Monster as his helpless younger self could only scream for help. It never came and the next thing he knew, he was in the Undead Asylum and later learned that he was an Undead, a corpse brought back to life. It was quite vexing that he couldn't remember what had killed him. He remembered seeing horns but that was about it. And with how many times he's died in his journey, he was not about to keep track of how exactly he died only if it benefited him such as learning an enemy's attack pattern.
Unconsciously, Bell reached for the thing that proved and reminded him of his Undead Status. The Dark Sign, located on the right side of his neck near his jugular vein. It was warm to touch as if to signify that he was 'alive' right now. It should have been the only spot to be warm as the rest of his body was cold as a corpse which wasn't surprising considering what he really looked like under the illusion cast over him by using Humanity to reverse Hollowing. But as he felt around his body, he was surprised at the faint feeling of body heat from under his clothes. It was like there was a faint fire burning right underneath his skin, providing warmth. But how was that possible?
Bell was soon brought out of his thoughts at the sound of a roar. Quickly, he turns to his left and sees the sight of a Bull-like monster charging straight towards him. The battle instincts that have been ingrained into him kicked in instantly and he jumped back to avoid the charging monster as it crashed into a wall. As the Monster took a moment to pick itself back up, Bell took this chance to see what was attacking him.
As said before, it was a Bull-like monster. Its body was that of a man whose muscles gave the impression of a bodybuilder. Other than that, the legs and head were that of a bull with fur covering the legs and shoulders as powerful looking horns were situated from the sides of the skull. In all honesty, it looked like a mini Taurus Demon. Man, had that been a long time ago.
Red glowing eyes stared right at Bell but he didn't freeze up. Rather he was struck with a sense of déjà vu.
'Why do I feel like I know this thing?' Bell thought but pushed the thought aside in favor of making battle plans as he drew the only weapon he had on him. 'Okay, let's see. Shield: Don't have it. Armor: Don't have that either. Weapons: A dagger that would possibly do no damage to the foe in front of him. Once again, Bell cursed his younger self at his lack of proper equipment but didn't panic. He's been in worse situations before.
The monster before him soon recovered and roared at him. Bell didn't even flinch as he sent a cold, hard gaze back at the monster as said monster actually flinched back. That's never happened before, Bell noted. But the monster recovered quickly and roared again as it charged towards him. As it charged, Bell looked at the monster's body from top to bottom. The skin of the monster was no doubt tough so he doubted his dagger would do any sufficient damage. If anything, it would probably break upon contact. So since he couldn't attack the beast directly, he'll search for weak points and last he checked, the eyes were always a good spot to attack.
To any other person not a high-class Adventurer, the Monster before Bell would have appeared fast. But to the Undead himself, the Monster was as fast as an Armored Boar. He dodged the thing quite easily before he reached his hand out and grabbed one of the Monster's horns and swung himself onto the Monster. He then raised his dagger and stabbed it into the Monster's right eye with no hesitation. The Monster's screams of pain echoed through the area as it tried to buck Bell off of it. But the Undead held on tight as he tried to pull the dagger out but it seems he underestimated his strength as he found the dagger stuck, probably lodged in the Monster's skull. Trying again with one last pull, Bell managed to free the dagger…or rather its hilt that is. The blade had broken off as the said blade was still in the Monster's eye. Bell once again cursed his younger self's choice of equipment before being forced to jump off the Monster as it attempted to shake him off by slamming it's back against a wall. Bell jumped off before it could do it as the Undead landed safely before throwing the dagger hilt away. It was useless to him now as was any weapon that broke. Should he resort to his bare fists? He was pretty strong with how many souls he spent in order to use the Greatshield of Artorias and to use weapons such as Greatswords and Greataxes. But then again, he preferred if he had a weapon on him.
Deciding to abandon the bare fist idea, he decided to use a different plan. It was one of his oldest ones but its effectiveness has always shown itself during his most dire times. With that plan in mind, he began the process. First, he needed to find a cliff. He didn't know if there were any in this place but he'll search. Turning around, he ran and the bull monster followed after him.
'Good.' Bell thought. He needed the monster to follow him. This was the plan. Once he found a cliff, he would lead the monster close to it and use the Miracle, Force, to knock the Monster down to its death. It was a simple battle tactic but one he greatly loved. It certainly showed its worth against those Silver Knight archers at Anor Londo, fucking bastards. Now once he found a cliff, all he needed to do was use his Talisman and—
Bell's eyes greatly widen in pure horror. He patted the right side of his belt…but there was no Talisman.
"No…" Bell mutters in horror as he comes to a stop and looks. Still no Talisman. Along with him not having his preferred shield, sword, and armor, he didn't have his Talisman. And if he didn't have his Talisman then…Bell reached for his back and concentrated. But no matter how much he willed it, the familiar feeling of wood never came into his hand. He did not have his Catalyst either. At this point, Bell felt like hyperventilating which should have been impossible as he was Undead meaning he was probably just copying the action to show off his panic.
"Hey, calm down! No panicking during a fight!"
A voice in his head snapped Bell back to reality. He just made a huge blunder. Never ever panic during a fight. It'll cost you your life. If he didn't have access to his Miracles and Sorceries then...what about his Pyromancy?
Bell raised his right hand up to his face and concentrated while also begging for the familiar flame to appear. To his relief and delight, a flame was produced, one he was fairly familiar with. After all, the flame was a part of himself and was given to him by a precious friend.
"A pyromancer's flame is a part of his own body. The flame develops right along with his skill. … When I gave you that flame, I gave you a part of myself. Please take good care of it."
'Laurentius...' The flame in his hand brought both joy and sadness to Bell. No matter how many times he died, he still remembered the day the Pyromancer of the Great Swamp gave him his flame. It had started out small, but now, the flame before him was strong, clearly showing the accumulation of his teachings with Laurentius, Quelana, his service to the Fair Lady, and of course, his experience.
'Thank the sun that I still have this.' Bell thought to himself before turning towards the direction the bull-like monster would no doubt come from. Since he had no access to either his Miracles or Sorceries and since he had no weapons, his Pyromancy is right now his strongest weapon against this monster.
'A few fire orbs should do the trick.' Bell thought as he set the pyromancy spell in his mind. Now all he needed to do was wait for the monster and when it appeared, it would be greeted with fire to the face.
"I don't think it's coming." Said the voice in Bell's head.
Bell raised an eyebrow in confusion but did not dare deactivate the flame in his hand. Had he outrun the monster? He doesn't remember being that fast but then again, his friends had always commented on how fast he was even when wearing armor. And since he was wearing light clothing, his speed had increased. He certainly didn't notice.
After waiting about another minute, Bell finally relaxed seeing that he had indeed outrun the monster, but he did not dare deactivate his flame. He still had no idea where he was right now and it was always better to have a weapon drawn out and ready to be used in a split second. But first, he had another matter to attend to. Such as...
'Who are you?' Bell thought, addressing the voice that was in his head. Last time he checked, his head was voice free. It didn't help that this mysterious voice sounded a lot like him.
"Who am I? I'm you of course."
'Don't play games with me. Who are you and why are you inside my head?' Bell raised his flame to his head as if to threaten whatever the voice was.
"You're not seriously thinking of frying your brain, right?" A moment of silence. "By Gwyn's beard, are you insane!?"
'That's currently up for debate since I have a voice in my head.'
"I'm telling you, I'm you!"
'If you're me then tell me, what's the last thing I did before I woke up?' Bell thought/asked. Truth be told, he can't remember what he had been doing before he woke up. He remembers that he had been wearing armor based on the very armor of Artorias the Abysswalker along with wielding the Abyss Greatsword and Greatshield of said Abysswalker. But why he was equipped in that set, he can't recall.
"You don't remember? You defeated the Hollowed Lord of Cinder, Gwyn, and linked the First Flame."
At that did it all come rushing back to Bell. With armor providing the best fire defense, with a shield that provided great stability, and a sword he had grown to be quite proficient with, Bell had fought against the former Lord of Sunlight and triumphed over the Hollowed Lord. Soon after he stood before the First Flame and planned to use his very self to strengthen it, preserving the Age of Gods for a bit longer. But before he could even extend his hand towards the flame...
"I should have left you to rot in the Undead Asylum! My dream! My purpose! You took everything from me!"
Bell instinctively slammed his eyes shut as the memory appeared in his head. He remembered now. The event that took place before he could link the fire. The event that broke his very beliefs.
"Do you believe me now?" The voice asked.
"Yeah..." Bell spoke as he let out a sigh, or perhaps he was mimicking one. Undead don't need air so the act of sighing was nothing more than a false act.
"So that's how it is."
"How what is?"
In an overdramatic fashion, Bell fell to his knees and let out a long, dramatic sigh. "I've finally lost my mind."
"After all the death's I've experienced, after all I've been through, my mind has finally been broken. I've finally gone insane. I'm surprised it took this long but it was bound to happen eventually. Dying multiple times is not good for the mind. And I've been dying for years. Perhaps the final straw was when I willingly set myself on fire. Yes, that must be it."
"Hey! Get a hold of yourself! You're panicking!
"I'm not panicking," Bell said as he calms down again. While he was surprised at the new voice in his head, he didn't bother with it as he had priorities to deal with. The first being...
'Finding the one who took my equipment and burn them to death.' Bell thought while holding up his flaming hand.
"Yeah-wait, what? Shouldn't your first concern be finding a way out of this place?"
'That can wait. First I must get back my armor, my weapons, my items, and especially my catalyst and talisman!' Especially those last two items. He'd sooner face the Four Knights of Gwyn all at the same time then lose those two precious items. He would even go as far as to say that they were, to him, more important than his own life. That's how important they were to him.
"I know you want to get your stuff back, but think about it. You're all alone in some unknown area with little to no armor and your only weapon is your Pyromancy. Your flame may be strong but you have a limit to how much magic you can cast."
Bell grunted in annoyance but knew that voice in his head had a point. What he had right now was not ideal and while he was confident he could take down anything that attacked him with his flame, there was a limit to it. And said limit was the reason why he rarely used magic during a fight. His magic was strong, that he was confident of, but his reserves were average at best, maybe a little above average considering his level, which meant he could only cast some of his more powerful arts a few times. Truly, his situation right now was not ideal and it would only be suicide to venture through this area with what he has right now.
Bell sighed. As much as it pained him to do, he'll have to prioritize getting out of here than finding his equipment. But he swore that once he was prepared, he'll come back here and look for his stuff. And seeing as he couldn't summon his precious Bottomless Box meaning he didn't have said Box with him, said stuff was ALL his stuff. Bell let out another sigh, this one filled with annoyance before he began to search for an exit out of here.
Along the way, he ran into more monsters. Such mentions were ants the size of a human child, creatures made of literal shadows, frogs with one eye, men with dog heads, and what Bell could tell were literal Goblins. All these monsters gave Bell a huge wave of nostalgia. He knew what these things were but for his Undead life he couldn't explain why he knew. The same went for the area he was in. He had found a set of stairs that went up and seeing as he had nowhere else to go, he went up and as he did the surroundings changed as the monsters in the area were getting weaker and weaker to the point where he could beat most with simply his fists. For some reason, he felt as if he should have dug for something from the monsters he beat to death but he seeing as he had nothing to cut said monsters up, he left them alone. There was no way he was going to rip them apart just to satisfy his curiosity. He wasn't a Darkwraith, may those souls rest in peace and their idiot Kings burn in hell.
"These things are surprisingly weak." The voice in Bell's head commented as the white-haired Undead punched a pouncing Goblin, dislocating its jaw and snapping its neck, killing it.
'Even Hollows wearing no armor could take at least one of my punches.' Bell thought as he couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed at the strength of these monsters before him. But he was able to limit the use of his flames so there was a plus side.
As he walked, each step filled in caution as he never trusted a situation to be as easy as it was right now, he noticed that the appearance of monsters had become less and less. He wasn't complaining but that just made the Undead even more conscious of his surroundings. If there had been a Bonfire nearby, he would have taken this chance to have a small break but seeing as he didn't have his Estus Flask with him, the boon of all Undead, he didn't stop. Eventually, he came upon more stairs and soon went up them. This was the fifth time he's come upon a flight of stairs and he was starting to wonder if he was going the right way. Many times he's taken a wrong direction during his journey through Lordran which ended with him getting lost within the capital of the Gods. Though said missteps have led him to some interesting encounters, some more enjoyable than others.
After some time, Bell finally reached the top and came upon a new sight. A door.
Now a door meant a lot of things, especially if one was found in a place like this. Once he entered through the door, he would either find himself outside, in a room, facing a trap, and/or etc. The list was long and Bell wished he had a shield on him just in case he did come upon a trap.
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? At least it's not a Fog Gate."
Bell silently agreed with the voice in his head, especially about the Fog Gate. Whenever he came upon one, there was a high percent chance that he would face a being much larger than him or much more powerful. It would not be a lie to say that Bell had developed a sense of paranoia towards Fog Gates. But back to the story, Bell went to reach for the doorknob when suddenly, said door opened on its own, causing Bell to jump back and summon his flame in preparation for an enemy. He expected to see a Hollow warrior, another monster, a demon on fire, or some new monster he's never seen before that would attack him on sight.
What appeared from the door was, in fact, none of these things. To Bell's utter surprise, what came through the door was, in fact...
"Hm? Oh, hello." It was a human man. And he could tell it was a human for it was almost impossible for Undead skin to get as tanned as the man before him unless one used a bunch of Humanity and stayed under the sun's rays for long periods of hours. Most Undead tend to be quite pale under their armor and Bell was no different.
"Back from the Dungeons?" The man, wearing a chest plate and shoulder pads while carrying a claymore on his back, said to Bell as two more people appeared by the man's side. A woman wearing robes and wielding a staff that identified her as a mage of sorts, and another man, slightly younger than the other two who had a pair of cat ears on his head.
"...Does that man have honest to flames cat ears on his head?"
Bell didn't respond back as he simply blinked in surprise.
"Excuse us then, we're going down ourselves." The man, no doubt the leader of this trio, said, snapping Bell out of his stupor before moving to the side to allow the trio to move down into...the...
"Dungeon..." Bell said, noticing the word that came from the man. Bell could feel his eyes widening as he looked towards the door, left open for him by the trio. He glanced back down to where the trio had left before quickly turning and sprinting out of the exit. The Undead only got ten steps out of the exit before he came to a stop as he came upon a sight that left him speechless.
Cat and dog ears on top of heads. Big beefy men both big and small height wise. Pointed ears that identified some as elves. And last but not least, more humans. The sight of the great number of people around him left Bell reasonably shocked. For one, he hasn't seen these many people in years. Another reason, he recognized the likes of elves, dwarves, cat people, Chienthropes, and other kinds of races. The last reason why he was shocked is that the area he was at right now was familiar.
"It can't be...!" A feeling similar to adrenaline surged through Bell as he ran, sprinting past people, bumping and pushing a few which resulted in some hateful cries, before he came upon a flight of stairs that spiraled upwards and immediately ran up them. Once at the top, he came upon even more people but he ignored this as he raced towards one of the exits. He was in such a rush that he didn't know that to the eyes of other people, he was a complete blur.
Finally, he reached the end of the exit and came to stop once he felt his feet slam down on soil ground, kicking sand and pebbles as he skidded to a stop. Mimicking the act of being out of breath, Bell looked at his surroundings with eyes in total disbelief.
"It can't be...there's no way!"
"What? What is it? Where are we?"
From a birds-eye view, Bell would have been a simple dot amongst others in the vast city area. Shaped like a circle, the city was divided into eight sections with many different buildings filling each section. And at the center of the city was a huge tower that looked like it reached past the clouds and gave the illusion that it might even reach the heavens themselves.
Bell turned his head to look up at the said tower. He knew this tower. It was the tower, Babel. And if this was here, then…
"I'm back…" Bell breathed out. He couldn't believe it. He was back. He was back in the Labyrinth City Orario.
He was home.
The loud banging of the Guild door opening made everyone in the building jump up in surprise. Now, something like the door opening loudly would not have bothered most people that much. But when the doors were kicked open so hard that they were torn off their hinges and flew over the reception desks, forcing the employees to duck for cover, then it was only natural for everyone to jump in surprise.
A pair of slender pointy ears poked out from under the desk followed by a pair of emerald green eyes peeking out. The owner of these eyes then stood up along with the rest of the guild workers. Dusting any splinters off of her shoulder-length brown hair, Eina Tulle adjusted her glasses as she and everyone else looked to see who had literally kicked the doors off. The half-elf blinked in surprise for she knew the person standing by the now doorless entrance who was looking around the building frantically.
Hearing his name, Bell snapped his head towards Eina and the half-elf could not help, but jump in surprise again when Bell turned to her. His eyes were practically bloodshot as dirt and blood covered his clothes and body. By the gods and goddesses above, the boy looked like he had just escaped from hell itself.
Before Eina could blink, Bell covered the distance between him and her, practically slamming into her assigned desk as she jumped for the third time today. It seemed she was not the only one surprised by the boy's speed as everyone blinked once before snapping their heads to the white-haired boy. Or was it teen? Eina couldn't help, but notice Bell seemed a lot taller and older than she remembered. He didn't look like a 14-year-old boy anymore, but rather a 16-year-old teenager. Did puberty hit him?
"You!" Bell pointed a shaking finger at the woman and looked at her in a way that made it seem like he was trying to remember something.
"Yes, I'm Eina." Said the woman as she also couldn't help but notice that, besides his appearance, Bell's voice seemed slightly deeper too. There was only a tad bit of change in his voice, a tiny drop so small that it was barely noticeable, but it was there. Just how hard had puberty hit him?
"Are you okay, Bell? You're a mess." Eina voiced her concerns. She wasn't sure if it was because she was Bell's adviser or not, but she felt greatly concerned about the way the white-haired boy(teen?) was acting.
"I...I'm fine," Bell said, but Eina didn't believe him for a second.
She grabbed him and dragged Bell upstairs to go take a shower. After practically shoving the boy in did she then go and waits for him in a small room that was separated from the guild. It was here that she would talk to Bell, giving him advice and teaching him the ups and downs of adventuring and diving into the dungeon. After half an hour of waiting, Bell entered the room, clean and looking a lot calmer than he previously was. His coat was gone, leaving Bell with just his shirt and pants.
"Have you calmed down a bit?" Eina asks.
"I...yes." He nodded, taking a seat across from her with the only thing separating them was a table in the middle. "Thank you for letting me use the showers."
"Don't mention it." Eina said before asking, "Bell, did something happen?"
"What do you mean?" He raised an eyebrow at her as if he didn't know what she was asking.
"Bell, you kicked the door so hard it flew off its hinges, and you looked like you just escaped from hell itself," Eina said, voicing her earlier thoughts. "Did something happen in the Dungeon?"
After Eina had finished asking her question did Bell go silent. The half-elf crossed her arms and waited for the boy to speak. She was patient, but fortunately, she didn't have to wait long as, after a minute or so, Bell spoke.
"I ran into a Minotaur."
"You WHAT!?" Eina screamed the last part as she looked at Bell in alarm. For Bell's part, he didn't seem that fazed by the half-elf screaming in his face. "What happened!?"
"Well...I went to the fifth floor." Bell began, looking like he was struggling to remember what had happened which confused Eina. "While I was there, a Minotaur appeared and I fought it."
"You fought it!?" Eina exclaimed loudly, looking at Bell like he was crazy.
"Yes." Bell nodded without hesitation. "I took my dagger and stabbed it into its eyes, but it broke when I tried to take it out. Weaponless, I then decided to run and escape. As you can see, I was successful in escaping it."
"Okay..." Eina said, unsure of what Bell had told her. For one thing, how did he, a Lv. 1 Adventurer, outrun a Minotaur, a Lv. 2 Mid-Floor Monster? It should have been impossible, but when Eina thought back to Bell's display of speed earlier, his story held weight. But where did he gain such speed from?
"So you went to the fifth floor, encountered a Minotaur, fought it, before managing to escape it."
"Yeah, that about sums it up," Bell said almost nonchalantly, making Eina let out an exasperated sigh.
"Geez, it's bad enough that you're going into the Dungeons by yourself, but going into the lower floors? How many times have I told you taking risks is absolutely not allowed? Adventurers must not go on an adventure, remember?" Eina said.
"'Adventurers must not go on an adventure...'" Bell repeated, seemingly deep in thought before saying, "Always be careful and well prepared."
"That's right." Eina nodded, glad that Bell had remembered the hidden meaning to her words. "You're still new to being an adventurer, Bell. You could easily die if you're not careful."
Bell for his part just nodded at Eina's words.
"So, how did you escape the Dungeons? You said your weapon broke so I'm guessing you managed to avoid encountering any monsters along the way?" Eina asked.
Bell opened his mouth as if to say something, but then suddenly stopped and closed his mouth. He then said, "Yes, that's right."
The half-elf raised an eyebrow at the young man. The way he had said that was suspicious as if he was hiding something.
"Anyway," Bell began. "If it's okay with you, may I leave now? I have places to be at."
Eina wanted to protest, saying that weren't done talking yet, but she knew she could not keep Bell here forever and she needed to get back to work.
"Alright, you may leave. Make sure to cash in your items before going home. You wouldn't want to worry your goddess, Hestia, now, right?" Now Eina expected a reply like, 'I know, I know,' or even a small laugh nervous from her charge.
"Cash in?" A confused reply was not what she expected nor was the confused look Bell gave her.
"Cash in your items. You know, exchanging items for Valis from your dungeon run?" Eina explained.
Bell continued to give her a look of confusion which was starting to worry the half-elf until a look of realization formed on the teen's face.
"Right. Cash in my items for Valis." Bell said as he took out a pouch from his side, jiggling it to make the contents inside rattle. Magic stones were no doubt what was inside the pouch and from the sound of it, there wasn't a lot in there which made sense to Eina. Going by Bell's story, the young man's usual time in the dungeon was cut short, which meant he didn't get as much as he usually did.
"Anyway, I best be going now. Wouldn't want to keep...Hestia waiting." Bell said before he left the room. Eina watched him go with worried eyes when suddenly, Bell stopped and turned back to her.
"Thanks, Eina. I'm...glad we could talk like this." He said before he finally took his leave, leaving a surprised Eina. She then realized something.
'Wait, "Hestia?"' For the while Eina's known Bell, he's never referred to his goddess by name before. She looked towards the door Bell had just left through, wondering what was going on with the boy-er, teen. Gods, this was getting confusing.
Walking down the streets of Orario, Bell stared down at the gold coins in his hands he had exchanged for the stones he had in his bag. Valis is what they were called and what he had on hand was worth 1200.
"If these were souls, this would barely be enough to buy two Black Firebombs or a Green Blossom." Bell could only nod in agreement with the voice in his head as he stashed away the money and focused his attention on his surroundings.
Various species of people passed by him as he minded his own business. Houses and stores lined the vast city area, making it feel like one could get lost if they didn't know the place, or weren't careful. This was natural as the city was known famously as the Labyrinth City. It certainly was a better place to live than Lordran, Bell thought, but to be fair, that place was dying out.
'How long has it been since I've last walked through these streets?' Bell thought to himself, taking in everything around him. A feeling of nostalgia came over him like a wave as he continued walking with no destination in mind. Or so he thought as hours of walking later, he found himself standing before an abandoned church.
This two-story building that used to pay respects to the gods was almost completely broken. From the appearance alone, one could see broken stone everywhere. One can easily tell this building has gone through many years of disrepair, having faded from the memories of the people. A sad fate, much like the Undead. On top of the entrance, which had no door, was a statue of a goddess, though which Bell couldn't even begin to guess as the body of the statue was tattered and a smile could be seen on the goddess' face even though half of the said face was missing.
Walking inside, Bell could see the interior of the building was just as bad as the exterior. Dense weed can be seen growing out of the broken floor, most of the ceiling had already fallen apart, and a big hole could be seen through the roof, allowing sunshine to come through and fall upon the altar that had somehow managed to keep its original appearance.
Clad in his armor, but with his weapon and shield put away, he approaches the woman praying by the altar. She hears him coming from the clanking of his armor and turns to face him with a smile.
"I was wondering when you might return. It is a great relief to see you. Now, let us speak of Miracles."
Bell winces and grunts in pain, bringing a hand to his head as the memories come rushing in. He expected tears to start forming from his eyes, but nothing comes. That's to be expected, he's last since cried the last of his tears back in Lordran. But that didn't lessen the pain in his chest.
"Rhea..." Bell mutters, lowering his hand as he looks down sadly.
"There's no changing the past."
"I know," Bell said before his body begins to move to a wall next to the altar. From afar, no one would have noticed, but up close, there was a gap in the wall. A secret entrance, Bell deduced. Reaching his hand forward, he pulled open the secret door to reveal stairs that led down to a basement.
Once again, just like at the Guild, memories of his younger self came to him. The previous ones showed him doing things like walking through Orario or exchanging items for Valis. Others told him the names of people such as with Eina. The memory that showed up this time was him going down the stairs to another door that led to a spacious basement room. And when he opened the door, there was someone waiting for him.
Following his memory, Bell climbs down the steps to the door below. Slowly, he reached for the handle of the door, but just before he could touch it, the door flew open, making Bell jump. The feeling of wanting to jump back and go for a weapon that was not on him came over him, but it was soon squashed down when he saw who had opened the door.
A youthful female stood before him. Petite and beautiful, her appearance looked to be between a little girl and a female teenager. She was quite short too. Even if Bell had looked like his 14-year-old self, the girl would still be shorter. Her black hair is tied into two twin tails which reach down to her mid thighs, and keeping her hair tied are accessories that feature blue and white petals along with bell-shaped ornaments. Her attire, which Bell couldn't help but be appalled at, is a white mini dress with a blue ribbon around her neck and one tied under her breasts around her arms, and a pair of white gloves. Bell couldn't help, but notice that due to her small frame, the size of her breasts was quite emphasized. The ribbon the girl was using certainly didn't help to change any of that.
"What is with that outfit?" It seems the voice in his head was also quite appalled by the girl's outfit.
Blue eyes blinked at him before the girls raised her head to his.
"Oh! Bell, welcome home! I wasn't expecting you to come home this early."
The second Bell heard the girl's voice, memories came rushing back to him. The girl before him was Hestia, a goddess. His goddess. The one who took him in when no other Familia wanted him. The one who graced him with a Falna so that he could become an Adventurer.
'Hestia...so that was the name.' Bell thought, finally remembering the name of the person who had kept him going through Lordran in the beginning.
When he woke up in the Undead Asylum, he wanted nothing more than to return to his goddess. When he had been given the task to ring the Bells of Awakening, her image kept him going through the toughest of situations. But that soon changed the more times he kept dying. Slowly, he had forgotten about her. The first thing that went was the name. After that was her face. Finally, after many years, he could only remember the shape of her figure, but even that was a blur in his mind. He didn't know what kept him going after that. A sense of duty? A desire to do what he believed at the time was the right thing? Or perhaps when he finally reached his destination, he just wanted everything to end.
But as he stood before this goddess, everything he had forgotten was slowly starting to come back. For an Undead like him, this was quite the miracle.
"Bell? Are you alright?" Hestia asked, looking worried when the young man hadn't said anything for a while and just stared at her. She soon started to fidget a little under his gaze.
As the memories finally finished flowing into his head, Bell expected to feel happy now that he was home and back with his goddess. Instead, he felt nothing. He didn't smile out of joy, nor did he want to just hug the small goddess before him. None of those feelings came over him as he had expected. Perhaps his time in Lordran had changed him more than he thought.
Nevertheless, Bell knew he couldn't just keep staring down at the goddess forever. So he put on a small smile, an action that greatly surprised him more than he thought, and finally spoke.
"I'm home." The words that came out of his mouth felt so foreign to him. And by the great sun, when was the last time he actually smiled? It felt like it took everything from him just to produce that small smile on his face.
"Y-Yeah," Hestia said as she moved out of the way for Bell to enter the room.
To the right of him, there was a small sofa that he remembers he used to sleep on. To the left was bed big enough for two people, three if you squeezed in. In between, there was a small table Bell remembers where he and Hestia would eat together. All in all, Bell was reminded of how poor they were.
'So that's what that earlier compulsion was.' Bell thought, having felt the need to dig something out from the bodies of monsters he had killed. It was the need to dig out the magic stones which he would then later trade for money.
"Yeah, welcome back," Hestia said as she closed the door and turned to him. "You're back earlier than usual. Did something happen?"
"Ah, well..." Bell, who had conquered every challenge Lordran had thrown at him, found himself stumped while he pondered on what to tell the little goddess. He couldn't exactly say that he died and became an Undead.
"How about just telling her the lie you told Eina. You know, about the Minotaur."
Bell thought about what the voice in his head suggested and later did as told.
"You encountered a Minotaur!?" Hestia exclaimed as she ran her hands all over Bell. "Are you alright? Are you hurt anywhere?"
"I am fine. I managed to escape with no injuries." Bell said, feeling awkward with the goddess running her hands all over him. "I lost my dagger though when I tried to fight it."
"You fought it!?" Hestia exclaimed loudly again, practically screaming in his face. Bell, for his part, didn't even blink.
"Yes," Bell said, having no need to hide that part of the story. Like with Eina earlier, he was telling half-truths and half lies. He did not mention how he did not plan to outrun the Minotaur, and he did not mention his Pyromancy as his previous self never had such an ability.
Hestia, once she was done checking him, narrowed her eyes at him, searching for any lies in what he said. Finding none, she relaxed a little.
"Well, as long as you're alright and alive, then I guess everything's okay. Just promise me that you'll be careful next time."
"I will." Bell nodded his head as he said that. During his time in Lordran, he was nothing, but careful. He always made sure his armor was in top condition, his weapons were sharpened and durable, checked his shield to make sure they were still strong, he had enough Estus in his Flask, equipped any rings that might help him, and made sure to carry any items that might help him in the long run. No matter the enemy, and no matter the situation, Bell always made sure he was ready for anything.
"So, how much did you make today?" Hestia casually asked. The Undead simply took out the coins he had on him to answer. "Less than usual, huh? Well, I guess that's to be expected. But don't you worry Bell!"
Bell raised an eyebrow at the goddess' excitement before she suddenly placed on the table two mugs of water and a plate full of...what were they called again?
"Tada! I made a lot of small contributions today at the store's revenue, so I got a lot of potato croquettes! Today's dinner is a feast of potato croquettes! What do you think, Bell?"
Honestly, Bell didn't know what to feel. It's been years, possibly centuries since he last laid eyes on proper looking food. These potato croquettes certainly looked and smelled better than a Dung Pie. But then again, anything was better than a dung pie. He was also reminded that because they were so poor, Hestia herself had to work as well in order to earn money.
"This looks great." Bell decided on saying as he grabbed a nearby wooden chair and sat down. Hestia herself took a seat on the sofa, sitting right across him as she smiled and laughed happily at his words.
"Well, dig in before they get cold."
"Right." Taking a croquette from the pile, Bell could not help but stare at it. When was the last time he had actually eaten? He remembered eating dirt during his time in the asylum when he was hungry and desperate. He also remembered eating fruits and plants from the Darkroot Garden during his time as a Forest Hunter. But after that, as the years went by, Bell eventually stopped eating all together. He was an Undead, and Undead don't get hungry. The only things that sustained Undead were Estus, Humanity, and Souls.
'Do my taste buds even still work?' Bell thought as he continued to stare down at the croquette in his hands.
"Is something wrong?" Bell was snapped out of his thoughts by the voice of Hestia who was looking at him worriedly while eating.
"N-No, it's nothing." Bell insisted before he looked down at the croquette and finally took a bite of it.
The taste...there was none. Despite the fact that the treat in his hand looked and smelt good, he could taste nothing. As he chewed, he felt like he was chewing on warmed mush.
'So even my taste buds have been lost.' Bell thought as he continued eating despite not tasting anything. When had he lost his sense of taste? Was it during his time in Blighttown? There were many times when he tripped and fell headfirst into those treacherous poisonous swamps. Perhaps it was when he traversed the Demon Ruins and fell into the pools of magma? Or maybe it was that one time he ate a dung pie. Why he did such a thing, the reasons were lost to him. But his gut told him it had something to do with a bet with one of his friends.
'Perhaps it's not that I lost my sense of taste, but rather it was just slowly destroyed during my time in Lordran.' Bell thought. It certainly seemed plausible.
"I'm sorry, Bell." Bell stopped eating when Hestia suddenly apologized. Looking up, Bell saw the goddess looking down sadly.
"Huh?" Naturally, Bell was confused.
"We haven't found anyone yet willing to join my Familia. It's probably because my name isn't widely known."
Familia. A type of faction under a god or goddess made up of adventurers and supporters headed by said god or goddess. And because Familias is headed by gods, they are thus named after them. For example, because he served under Hestia, he was a part of the Hestia Familia. Thinking about it now, Bell felt that Familias were similar to Covenants.
'I've certainly been through a lot of them.' Bell thought to himself, thinking back to his services to Alvina, the Fair Lady, and working alongside his fellow Warriors of Sunlight.
"You get the same blessing no matter which god you serve." Bell pointed out. Since it didn't matter which god or goddess one served, the remaining factor left when picking who to serve under was popularity. He tried recalling just what were the most popular Familias in Orario are, but it seems that bit of memory had yet to resurface.
"I hate having to force you to do all of the work though..." Hestia said, looking down sadden.
"I don't mind. And you're working hard too." Bell said before stuffing the entire fried potato into his mouth. Since he couldn't taste a thing, he might as well just finish the thing instead of continuing to take small, pointless bites.
"...I'm sorry you struck a contract with a rookie goddess like me," Hestia said, tearing up a little. Bell jumped a little at the sight of Hestia tearing up.
'Shit! She's crying! What do I do!?' Bell thought to himself, trying to figure out how he should cheer up to the divine being in front of him. It was quite ironic, really. He has fought and killed literal gods before, and now here he is, trying to cheer up one.
"I-It's fine. Even if it's just the two of us, I'm sure things will work out." Bell said. Even if it was just him and Hestia, Bell didn't see any problems with that. Back during his time as a Chaos Servant, minus Eingyi, he was literally the only one serving and helping the Fair Lady in providing her Humanities when she needed them. It may not have cured her sickness, but it did help alleviate her pain, and that was enough for him.
"Bell..." Somehow moved by his words, Hestia wiped away her tears and cheered up. "You're right! We're still just starting out as a Familia! Once we manage to get a more comfortable life, more people will surely begin to join us!"
'I...didn't say any of that.' Bell thought.
"Hehehe..." Hestia laughed and smiled at Bell. "I'm really blessed to have met someone like you."
"I'm glad to have been of some help," Bell said, taking his a sip of his water. Since water didn't have a flavor to begin with, drinking the cool liquid was oddly satisfying like he was taking a sip of Estus. The only difference being he wasn't in a life-threatening situation.
"Alright, let's update your Status and make ourselves a better future!" Hestia said, standing up.
'Status?' Bell thought, confused at first until he realized what Hestia was talking about. 'She must mean my Stats.'
Status, God's Grace, or Falna. Being the only legal power gods can use in the mortal world, they can improve a target's stats by carving hieroglyphs through the medium of fresh blood. With this, by using excellia(experience points), a person's basic abilities, skills, and level can go up. It's powers like these that make people worship the gods.
'Should I let her see my Status?' Bell thought to himself. Though the use of Bonfires, Bell has technically been modifying his own stats all on his own, picking which stat he wanted to increase. By that logic, he didn't need an update in his status, though thinking about it now, when was the last time he actually sat down and looked at his stats? It felt like a long time since he had actually needed to increase anything.
'Hmm, seeing as I don't have my armor anymore, perhaps an increase to my natural Resistance is needed.' Bell thought before nodding to himself.
"Alright," Bell said, agreeing with Hestia as he got up...and was soon at a loss at what to do.
'So...how did this go again?' Bell thought.
"What are you waiting for, Bell? Take your shirt off and get on the bed." Hestia said.
"R-Right." So he was stripping? Well, he already felt naked without his armor with him so might as well. Taking his shirt off, he threw it to the sofa and went to the bed. Digging through his recovered memories, he then laid down on his stomach and waited for Hestia to jump on his back. After 5 minutes of nothing happening, Bell raised an eyebrow in confusion as he got up and turned to see Hestia staring at him, blushing beet red while a line of drool was dripping down from her mouth.
"Hestia? Is something the matter?"
Hestia soon snapped out of whatever daze she was in, shaking her head and quickly wiping away the drool from her mouth.
"I-I'm fine! Everything's fine! Now just lay down!"
"Okay..." Still a little confused, Bell laid back down and seconds later, Hestia was on his back.
Hestia blinked once. Then twice. A third time. And a fourth and fifth for extra measure. But no matter how many times she blinked, the numbers before her did not change.
[Bell Cranel] [Level: Seven(?)]
[Development Abilities: Abnormal Resistance-A, Hunter-A, Luck-D, Escape-B, Magic Resistance-B]
[Skills: Pyromancy, Sorcery, Miracles, Chosen Undead(Unkindled), Lord of Cinder, Soul of Cinder]
This...what is this? This level, these stats, these skills, what is all this!? This...this was impossible!
'These stats are unreal!' Hestia mentally screamed in her head and who could blame her? Bell, her child, was a Level Seven and was S rank across the board! Not only that, but they were all of equal number, each stat reaching to the absolute maximum of the rank. How does one even achieve that!? And what was that question mark right next to the level for?
'This doesn't make sense, where did all this power come from? And just what are these skills?' Miracles? Lord of Cinder? Just what were those?
Something wasn't right. She met and knew Bell, lived with him even, for half a month. The human wasn't even nowhere near ready to break through the first level, and yet his Status showed him being on the same level as the strongest adventurer in Orario! Not mention some of his stats and skills weren't right. Why were Intelligence and Faith grouped together with Magic? Just what is that anyway? And what are these skills? She read the description, but it just left her with more questions than answers.
Pyromancy: The art of conjuring fire. Must have Pyromancy Flame in order to use.
Sorcery: The art of casting magic. A Catalyst is needed to use this art.
Miracles: The art of casting magic through the use of Faith. A Talisman is needed in order to use.
The first three skills seemed simple enough to Hestia, if a bit confusing. They all seem to be a form of Magic, though the second Hestia laid eyes on the list of things her child could do, she was overwhelmed. Chaos Storm? Homing Crystal Soulmass? Sunlight Spear? Just what was all this and where did her child learn these!? Don't even get her started on the next three skills.
Chosen Undead(Unkindled): (?)
Lord of Cinder: Augment power of pyromancy, sorceries, and miracles. Augment damage from weapons. Decrease damage taken from fire.
Soul of Cinder: (?)
For some reason, the first and last skills were locked and hidden away from her, no matter how many times she tried to pry for information. The only one she was allowed to see was this Lord of Cinder skill. From the description, besides powering up his magic skills, it also increases the damage Bell can dish out should he ever wield a weapon of any kind, such as a sword or knife, while also decreasing any damage taken from anything fire-related. All in all, it sounded like a very powerful skill.
But still, what does this Chosen Undead (Unkindled) and Soul of Cinder skills even mean and do? The latter skill seemed related to the Lord of Cinder Skill while the former just left Hestia greatly worried.
Something wasn't right here. These stats, these skills, nothing about them made sense.
She tried looking into Bell's experience. This was another power gods had. Besides granting Falna, they had the ability to look into the experiences of their blessed child as if they were reading a book. Hestia herself considered this a breach of privacy, but there was nothing she could do about it.
Like Bell had mentioned before, he had gone down to the fifth floor and ran into a Minotaur. He then ran away from it and then...nothing. The words that told Hestia of Bell's experience just stopped there, as if something were blocking it.
"Hestia?" Hearing her name, the goddess was brought out of her musing by Bell. She must have been lost in thought longer than she realized. "Is something the matter?"
'You tell me.' Hestia thought as she looked down at Bell's outrageous stats on the stat sheet in her hands. A second later, Hestia snapped her head back at Bell, having noticed something.
"What did you just say?"
"Huh?" Bell glanced over in confusion.
"What did you just call me?" Hestia asked again.
At that moment, Hestia felt like an arrow had shot through her heart. Her name. Bell had called her by her name! Before it was just "Goddess" and nothing more. Sure, it was just Bell being formal and kind, but after half a month of living together, she expected Bell to get used to living with her and start calling her by her name. She's been using his since the day they met. Frankly, she had almost given up on getting Bell to call her by her actual name, but now...
"Hestia?" Hestia felt another arrow go through her chest. "Is something the matter? You're acting strangely."
"I-It's nothing!" Hestia said, trying her best to come down from cloud nine and failing miserably.
"Are you sure? Your face is all red." Bell pointed out.
Indeed, Hestia's face was completely beet red from blushing. From Bell's point of view, it looked like she had a fever. The small trail of steam coming from her head certainly played a part in that assumption.
"I-I'm fi-!" Hestia began to say until she glanced back at the stat sheet in her head. Looking back at Bell, she then made a decision.
"Actually, I am feeling a bit under the weather. It's making me unable to properly read your stats." Hestia lied, folding up the sheet and stuffing it in between her breasts. But who was she really lying to? Bell, or herself?
"Oh, okay," Bell said, getting up from the bed and allowing Hestia to see the newly developed muscles of her child. Bell's physique before hadn't been so developed so to see this new change...
Despite being a goddess, Hestia thanked the high heavens for granting her this gift. She tried not to pout when her child put back on his shirt, though she couldn't help, but notice that said shirt looked a little small on Bell. In fact, was it her imagination, or did her child look older?
'Must be that thing humans call puberty.' Hestia thought. As a divine being, she would forever retain her current appearance, never aging. One of the biggest reasons gods such as herself came down from the Upper World was because of their deep interest in humans. But just because they were interested in them, doesn't mean they technically know about them. All Hestia knows is that Humans age, grow bigger, and eventually die. It's not like she knows human biology. Compared to the life of a god, human life was fleeting. That was just facts.
"I'm gonna step outside for a bit." Hestia was brought out of her thoughts when Bell spoke up, heading towards the door.
"Eh?" Hestia blinks before looking back at the plate full of potato croquettes on the table. She then looks back at Bell. "What about dinner? You're not gonna eat more?"
"I'm not feeling all that hungry tonight. You can have the rest." Bell said before opening the door and taking his leave.
Hestia watched as Bell left in worry. Her child wasn't hungry? That couldn't be right. They were quite poor right now so any food they could put on the table was a blessing. Perhaps his encounter with the Minotaur had shaken him more than she thought? Maybe that was it? If so, then she could give her child space and when it was time for sleep, sneak into his bed and cuddle up next to him.
When Bell made it up the stairs, night had fallen as through the holes in the roof of the building, he could see the stars. Going outside, the Chosen Undead was greeted by the night sky and the cool air brushing against his face. He breathes in the cool air through his nose before letting it out through his mouth before he sets his sights on the tower that acts as the lid over the Dungeon, Babel. With the tower lit up and the lights of the buildings surrounding it, it made for quite the sight.
"I'm really back," Bell said to himself as he took in everything.
"It is pretty hard to believe. After everything we've been through..."
Bell agreed with the voice in his head. He was quite tempted to pick up a rock and bash his head just to make sure he wasn't dreaming. But then again, Undead don't dream for they don't need sleep. The only form of 'sleep' an Undead got was the brief period of death whenever an Undead was killed before being revived at a Bonfire. Even then, no dreams ever came during those periods. Or maybe they did, but Bell had just stopped dreaming after becoming numb to the experience.
What now...yes, that is the big question. Here he is, back home and away from Lordran. No more would he have to traverse the ruined kingdom that was plagued with demons and death, fighting for his very life at every second. He was free, free to do whatever he wanted. But that's the thing, just what did he want to do? Should he follow Hestia's example and get a job? Or perhaps he should take up the sword and shield again and traverse the Dungeon as an Adventurer, the very thing he had come here to do when he was younger. He certainly wasn't going to go out and try to find damsels in distress. And going to the Dungeons didn't quite appeal to him as it did when he was a naive boy. He was free, thus he could choose to not have to fight anymore.
'But the fact remains is...' Bell thought to himself as he looked back at the abandoned church building. He was back home, but there had been no change. Time was still the same as when he was fourteen. Both he and Hestia were still poor.
Now personally, Bell had no problems with his living arrangement. After living in Lordran for who knows how long, something like this was normal for him. But the same could not be said for Hestia. She was a goddess that had come down from Tenkai, the Upper World, to start a Familia and become famous. She would find humans who wanted to join her, grant her Grace to them, and bond with them as they went adventuring through the Dungeon. But with the way things are right now, with how poor they are, such a thing will never happen.
So the goal he needed to accomplish was to help raise money so they could afford to live a better lifestyle. By getting a job, he would certainly earn money and if everything went well, they could be rid of this church in a good couple of years. But...
Bell turns and stares at the tower of Babel in the distance. Raising his right hand, Bell called forth a flame the size of a small ball and stared at it.
Adventuring. By going into the Dungeon and coming back with a large number of magic stones, the amount of money he could gain would be more profitable than getting a job. And with his strength and skill sets, Bell was quite confident he could make it big. But therein lies the problem.
Fame and fortune. The old Bell had come to the Labyrinth City for those very things, but the Bell right now had no need for such things. His passions and ambitions, his hopes and dreams, they had all been washed away during his time in Lordran. That place had done a good job in smashing such things from him. It wouldn't be a lie to say that the Bell right now was a completely different person from the Bell that wanted to be an adventurer, inspired by the stories his grandpa, whose face and name he could no longer remember, had told him during his childhood. Making it big in the city, becoming famous and making a name for himself, such things did not interest Bell in the slightest. If he was asked what he wanted, then, to be frank, he just wanted to be left alone.
Being left to his lonesome and enjoying the peace around him. Compared to his experience in Lordran, such a thing was bliss to him, but no matter how he looked at it, by being an adventurer, he'd be able to make more money faster and thus be able to help Hestia move away from this poor life and into a better one. The sooner that that happens, the sooner Bell can finally hang up the sword and enjoy peace for however long he can.
"Looks like there's no other way," Bell says to himself before sighing. Just when he thought he could finally stop fighting...
"I'll just have to be careful." Careful, like he'd always been in Lordran. Except this time, instead of being careful not to die to whatever wanted him dead, he had to be careful of showing people his abilities. No matter what, he must make sure to not let others see just what he was truly capable of for that would only attract attention to himself.
"Well, guess I better head back inside," Bell said, dismissing the flame in his hand as he headed back into the church to turn in for the night. As an Undead, he didn't need to sleep, but that didn't mean he shouldn't watch over Hestia in case of an attack. As unlikely as that was to happen, Bell would still watch over her. Expect the unexpected, calculating the highly unlikely variable, imagining scenarios that could happen no matter how unlikely or unbelievable; it was this way of thinking that's kept Bell from Hollowing and dying not as often compared to other Undeads. Had he not been taught to think like this, Bell was confident the number of times he met death would have happened more times than not.
Of course, this way of thinking was hammered into him rather than properly taught...
Bell lets out a pained cry as his head was smacked by a wooden sword before he falls to the ground, holding his head in pain as his teacher stood over him.
"You have no talent, you don't have vast amounts of intelligence, and you're not some high-class noble with status. You're just an average bumpkin with nothing to his name. You're strength's not enough to break rock, you're intelligence is lacking the skill for magic, you can barely take a hit before keeling over, and if you think for a moment that speed of yours will get you out of any situation, then you're wrong!"
Bell grits his teeth in frustration as he gets up and glares at the man.
"But," Bell stops and blinks at that. "What you do still have is that brain of yours. That thing in your head has been with you since the day you were born, so use it. Always keep thinking. Think of ways to defeat your opponents. Think of plans on how to fight your next opponent. Think of scenarios that are unlikely to happen, but could happen anyways. Think of how you can improve what you lack. With enough souls and a Bonfire, you can cover your weaknesses and perhaps one day, you will gain weapons and armor that put the rest of us here to shame, but at the end of the day, your brain shall forever be the greatest weapon you have. So always keep thinking, and never stop planning. If you do that, the chances of you dying will start to decrease."
Keep thinking and keep planning. For years those words have kept Bell from giving up when there were so many times he could have. The man he was back then couldn't even compare to the way he is now, but no matter how much stronger he was now, he didn't let it go to his head. By following those words, Bell had overcome any challenge thrown at him.
A sad smile forms on Bell's face as he thinks back to the man as well as those that have helped him during his time in Lordran. The fact remains, without the teachings of those people, Bell couldn't have gained the strength and power he has right now. For that, he will forever be grateful.
But right now, he had a goddess to look after. And tomorrow, Bell Cranel, the Chosen Undead, would go back to adventuring. The thought alone made him want to smile and laugh...but that urge was dashed when he came upon a wooden crate sitting in front of the altar.
"Uh, was that always there?"
'No.' Bell narrows his eyes as he approaches the crate that hadn't been there before cautiously. His hands went to his side to grab a sword that was not there, being reminded once again at his lack of proper equipment. He'll have to buy a sword later. Though with his current budget, the best he could afford was probably a knife. Well, better than nothing. He felt naked as it is.
Approaching the crate, he instantly saw a card on top of the crate. Picking it up, he saw the card depicting some sort of clown or jester. Raising an eyebrow in confusion, Bell turns the card over to see a small message.
Thought you should have this back. ~M.C.
"M.C.?" Bell mutters in confusion, staring at the message on the card for a good minute before he looks back down at the crate before him. Throwing away the card, Bell grabs the lid, using his strength to tear it off. He paused, making sure the noise hadn't attracted Hestia's attention before Bell calmed down a bit and moved the lid aside before looking to see what was inside.
Bell's body froze as his eyes widen in surprise. Unfreezing himself, Bell reaches in the wooden box and pulls out a metal helmet, an Elite Knight Helmet.
"This is..." Bell ran his thumb over the helmet's surface, feeling the metal as the moonlight above shined over him and the helmet. From the way it gleamed, the helmet was clean, cleaner than Bell has ever seen a helmet be. Not a lot of equipment Bell found had been clean, having been found on the ground discarded or on the body of a corpse. The way the helmet shined under the moonlight almost captivated Bell and he thought the helmet was just made, having come right out of a blacksmith.
But no, the helmet was not new. Despite its clean and new look, Bell could spot multiple tiny scratches all over the helmet, some bigger than most. They were barely noticeable, showing the care that had been put in to repair it. And that's when Bell knew.
"This is mine." The helmet in Bell's hands, it was his own Elite Knight Helmet, the same one he found along with the rest of the Elite Knight set all those years ago. All the scratches on it, he recognized all of them.
Looking inside the box, Bell found the rest of the set; the gauntlets, the leggings, greaves, the chain mail shirt, the leather armor he would wear over the chainmail shirt, even the surcoat was there as well as his belt of pouches. Sitting on top of it all were two bags with one that seemed stuffed full of something.
'But no sword or shield.' Bell noticed as the only thing in the crate was his Elite Knight armor and the bag. Picking it up one of the bags, the jingling sound of coins was heard from within. Untying the knot, Bell looked inside and found a good amount of Valis inside.
'There's enough in here to buy me a sword as well as a shield maybe.' Bell noted, setting down the bag before grabbing the other one and opening it up. His eyes widen when he saw two familiar looking bottles.
'An Estus Flask! And...what is this?'
Inside the bag was indeed an Estus Flask, the great boon of all Undead. But along with the Estus Flask was another flask, though instead of being filled with the orange life liquid, a bright blue liquid filled the flask's content.
Taking the unknown flask from the bag, the second Bell laid his fingers on it, the familiar sensation of information pouring into his head came over him. It was a sensation Bell had grown used to it happened every time he laid his hands on an item.
'Ashen Flask...' The name came to Bell's mind as what the blue flask could do filled his mind.
Placing the flask back in the bag, he looked at the card he had thrown away which had landed on the side to allow the jester pic to be displayed.
A jester...and the initials M.C...suddenly, it clicked. Eyes widening again only this time filled with more caution, Bell looks around frantically before rushing outside. He looks around but sees no sign of who may have dropped Bell's armor.
M.C., there was only one man Bell knew that had those initials. Granted, the M part was more a self-claimed title, but that's all Bell knew him by.
"Chester..." Bell muttered the name of the man who may have been here.
Marvelous Chester, a shady man he had met when he had been dragged through time. He was here. He was in Orario, like him. And he was out there somewhere, doing who knows what.
Looking down at the helmet in his hand, Bell looks over to Babel tower. He just found another reason to go adventuring.
And there you have it. For those that have already seen the preview of this in my Story Ideas, this is the edited and completed version of this chapter. Not a lot of action in this chapter, but stories don't need that to be good. Of course, I know I'm working with both Danmachi and Dark Souls here, but that's not the point.
Now to continue where I left off from the top, I had planned to publish this after some of my workloads was finished, but as I said, my dumbs hands couldn't help themselves and made a total of four more chapters for this story. So yeah, expect those to come out soon and then have this story take a bit of a hiatus due to the fact that I seriously cannot work on this until I lessen my workload. So once the rest of the chapters come out, this plus the four others are what you're gonna get until I can finally get back to this. So sorry in advance to those that'll come to take a liking to this story.
Now on to other matters such as my handling of Bell. Now I feel some of you might call me out in how I'm handling Bell's personality and how it's different from the anime/manga/LN, but let's look at this logically. Bell has just gone through the Dark Souls experience, fighting demons and Gods that have killed millions of players around the world multiple times. Not to mention the fact that he befriended and lost a lot of friends and teachers he made there such as Rhea and Solaire. Take all of that into account and tell me, do you really expect Bell of all people to come out of that and still be the same man? No, such a thing is impossible. No matter what, be it Bell or someone else, they're going to come out a changed man and that's what I'm showing here. Bell who's come out a changed man due to the experience he had in Lordran.
Now, this doesn't mean I'm completely changing Bell's Character. There are still remnants of his old personality which I'll try to show in the other chapters, but for the most part, this Bell will react to things much differently like his meeting with people like Ais and Lili. Also, the reason I made his body older is that I cannot picture a 14-year-old wearing full armor. Such a thing is too silly so I aged his body a bit even though he should technically be an adult. Time may be convoluted in Dark Souls, but Bell was there for a very long time, both in the Undead Asylum and Lordran. After his experience, he's gonna be a bit stunted in some aspects such as social activity.
Also, about Bell's stats. Before some of you complain about making him too OP, think to yourself. As the Chosen Undead, you fought literal demons, giants, knights, dragons, gods, and triumphed over them all in the end. After all of that, how can you expect Bell NOT to be overpowered? It's only logical. And as for that "?" mark next to his level, well, that's a surprise/secret. The only clue I'll give is that "Soul of Cinder" Skill in his Status. I'm sure a lot fo you can think of a lot of theories as to what that could mean.
Now, I think I covered everything I wanted to say. I hoped you all liked the chapter and look forward to the other chapters coming out. This is Ashbel Longhart, signing out. May the Sun bless you all.