713 Enemy Encounter
“Where am I?”
Serah Crimson found herself in a strange location, all alone and not sensing anyone around her.
Her crimson hair danced slowly as she began to walk around—refusing to stay idle for any reason at all. Finding herself in a strange region, surrounded by white sands and recognizing nothing, Serah realized that she needed to be on the move.
‘Where did everyone go? Was this caused by the enemy?’ She suspected something similar could have happened to Neron.
If the enemy was capable of interfering with their teleportation, then it only followed—or at least, it was possible—that Neron could have been caught off-guard the same way.
‘But, even in Timeless World?’
Ultimately, though, Serah knew that simply asking questions would get her nowhere. As such, she needed to investigate the area.
Her heart was pounding in both fear and worry. The plan was going wrong before it even started. However, she refused to give in. She had to rejoin the group, but there was something more that weighed heavily on her mind.
Something she resolved to do no matter what.
‘Neron… I’ll find you no matter what!’
Serah considered following Jared’s initial plan of a stealthy advance, but after realizing that the enemy probably knew their position—since they were most likely responsible for their sudden division—Serah decided to resort to more drastic measures.
Flying at an immense speed, she swept past the white expanse, looking around her for any sign of Neron. It felt like the island was much larger than she had been led to believe. Even though she had reduced her speed to better allow her to process her surroundings, Serah was still moving very fast.
Yet, it seemed like the landscape was endless.
Fortunately, her doubts were quelled by the facility she finally saw in a distance.
It looked like a massive dome, and something about its aesthetics told of a research facility. Serah was glad to finally see an observable structure—something more substantive than sand and the endless sky.
She rushed towards the structure, her eyes widening in anticipation, and her mind prepared for whatever she might find. And then—after a moment—she made her descent.
‘Should I first investigate the outer parts before venturing in? Something about this building prevents me from seeing through or sensing anything within it.’ Serah wasn’t specifically a sensory Mage, but her instinctual abilities and immense proficiency in Magic made something like this basic.
Yet, she found her senses being blocked by the material.
‘I should be cautious, but…’ She took a step forward, determined to get what she wanted.
‘… I’m going in!’
“Hold it right there.” A voice commanded from above Karlia, instantly halting her in her tracks.
She swiftly leapt from her location, coating herself in dense energy as she looked up to see someone floating above the massive dome.
This entity was a female with crimson skin, black hair, and violet eyes hidden behind her glasses. She donned a white lab coat, but that did very little to hide her big bust—one which appeared even bigger than Serah’s—and her overall attire made her look like a scientist.
However, this entity’s large wings that flapped behind her, as well as her dangling tail—coupled with her red skin and sharp fang-like teeth—made it apparent that she wasn’t human.
She was a Crimson Demon.
“The Succubus Demon… are you the 3rd Seat?” Serah asked, her glare intensifying as she maintained eye contact with the demon.
“Kido is dead, so I got promoted.” The floating demon spoke, almost as though sighing.
She descended from her heights, landing on the ground with her classy, heeled shoes. Something about her rang of a dedicated, official lady. Someone who simply wanted to get back to work.
“What is?” Serah was already prepared for conflict.
Her Arcana was ready to be activated, and she could instantly conjure her other abilities to handle the threat. Serah still had no idea if she could win, but…
‘I have to try!’ Her mind echoed in resolve.
“The Martial Blade God should be the one taking care of you. I find it highly improbable that you escaped his surveillance.” The Succubus replied.
However, after appearing to be in thought for a while, she simply sighed and shrugged the whole thing off. She muttered something like; “Who could possibly know what he was thinking?”
“Hey, can you just pretend you never saw me? I’m actually very busy right now. You could just keep going straight down, and I’m sure you’ll spot some of your friends.”
Serah couldn’t believe what her opponent was saying.
‘Isn’t she a member of the Cult? Why wasn’t she engaging her? I’m her enemy, no?’ Serah found all of this incredibly suspicious.
Could it perhaps be that this wasn’t the Succubus Beruel had told them about? No, she matched his description quite well.
‘Her eyes, her outfit, her looks… her chest.’ Serah felt somewhat intimidated by her enemy’s slightly superior knockers, but she tried her best not to dwell on that.
There were more important things to consider.
“Look, I don’t want any trouble. It’s like I said, I’m busy. Don’t worry, I won’t harm you. I’m pretty sure you’d end up facing my colleague along this path. Your allies are also in that direction, so it would benefit you to just ignore me and move on.”
Serah found the whole thing even more suspicious. Why was this lady so adamant about convincing her to pass through? Could it be—?!
“What exactly are you busy with? You don’t want me to intrude on your research facility, it seems.”
“But why? What do you have hidden there?” Serah narrowed her eyes.
“Personal stuff. None of your business. Now, just go.” The Succubus appeared tired already.
She adjusted her glasses in the right position since they slipped out of place thanks to her constant sighing.
“I can’t just leave.” Serah’s resolve intensified as she prepared herself even more for a direct confrontation.
Serah’s crimson aura shrouded her entire body, and she swiftly began running many strategies through her mind. Possibilities swirled within her mind, but one primary motivation kept her from leaving her opponent.
‘Neron… Neron could be here!’
“You won’t find anything here. Really.” No matter what the Succubus said, it only made Serah suspect her more.
“It’s nothing personal, but… not only are you a member of the Cult, but you might also be holding the man I love.”
Thus, Serah prepared herself not to show any mercy or hesitation.
“I have to fight you!”
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