What is this place? I murmured as I stepped into the devastated room.

It was dark.

No Mana Stone glowed, and the the atmosphere seemed dreary.

My [Unknowable] effect ceased the moment I stepped in, same as Marias.
There was no longer any need for speaking through thoughts, so I abandoned that approach.

If not for the glowing card that floated in front of me, we might have as well been in pitch black darkness.

Are you okay, Maria? I glanced to my side, observing Marias trembling body.

I-its the same the same energy.
Dont you feel it, Jared? The same as that time the same one Stefan had.
This feeling

It was true that the ambience felt dreadfully tense, and I could feel a strange darkness creep upon me, but I wasnt affected at all.

Is it because Im wielding the [Strength] Arcana? My eyes watched the warbling card.

Maria was without protection in this oddly mysterious atmosphere while I had the warm power of [Strength] keeping me safe.

Thats not right.
Hold on

I accessed my Subspace and brought out the second Arcana in my possession.

Take this.
Taking Marias shivering hand, I placed the [Pope] Arcana in her grasp.

Suddenly, a white glow manifested and the light intensified all around Maria.

I could also feel it from where I stooda warm power that seemed to ward away the darkness enveloping us.

A-ah I feel much better.
This is amazing!

It was no surprise that Maria felt the same.
Both [Strength] and [The Pope] gave off a different energy from anything we had ever experienced.

Could the other Arcanas be the same way? I never felt this kind of power when I used them, though

Perhaps it was because I approached the use of the Arcanas with Mana, so they responded to me in kind.

That means each of the Arcanas has this new power within them?!

Just what had I missed out on!

It was possible that the Apostles of Aether discovered a new source of energysomething different from Mana and Miasma.

Ive been so close-minded all this time.
This warm energy around me, and this vile power pervading this room theyre in different realms from what I understand.

Mana and Miasms were currently obsolete.
The Magic I had pursued my whole life was non-functional in this new territory.

I was nothing more than a lay man.

Lay man lay man? Someone told me that.
Lay man S-Solomon?!

My eyes widened as a spark of memories appeared in my mind.

A-argh! Grabbing my head in both discomfort and confusion, I made a shout of pain.

Jared, are you okay? I heard Marias voice, but I was too overwhelmed to speak.

Solomon said that Solomon! What is this??!

Jared! Jared!! Jared!!! Marias voice seemed more distant as I could feel something wash upon me.

It didnt come from my head, but from something deeper.

My Soul!

As if that wasnt enough, I heard footsteps approach us.
They sounded hurried, as the echoes of their boots hitting the ground caused me even more discomfort.

Gahhhh! My eyes tightened and more agonizing groans leaked out.

The footsteps got closer, and before I knew it, silhouettes of people emerged.

Where did they come from? Is there some other door? Gahhh! I clutched my chest and my head tight.

J-Jared, hang in there! Marias voice was trembling now, and my blurry vision couldnt make out her face.

Was she crying? I had no idea.
My mind was a blur, and new flashes of memories appeared.


They appear weakened now!

Lets end them quickly!

I could hear voices manifest around me.
The silhouettes brought out weapons resembling staffs.

The staffs had an obsidian glow, and they seemed like even more concentrated forms of the murky darkness surrounding us.

No you cant hurt me.
You cant hurt Maria too


They fired shots of dark flames at us.
My mind was too disoriented for a counterattack, but I pleaded within myself I pleaded to [Strength] for help.


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