Inside the shadow space. Everyone was tapping their feet as they were wondering what was going on outside. They had been placed here, and the next second before they could even question what their King was doing, he was already gone.
"You think... he's still alive?" Joy asked.
"It's only been one minute, do you have that little faith in him?" Rick questioned her. "Besides, I think this space would collapse if he was dead."
"It's not a faith thing." Moe snapped back at Rick, who seemed to be quite boastful ever since Quinn had displayed his real strength. It was very annoying for the others. "You saw the damage Earl Ronston sustained from the attack of just one of those things. Since our King used his ability, it means there will be dozens more of them.
"The beast seems to even be able to copy the strength of him. It was a mistake to go after the Nest Crystal when it was protected by those doppelgangers. We should have just gone and searched after another one."
"First you complain that he's weak, and now you say he is too strong." Rick mumbled as he shook his head at the same time.
Not too far away from the group, it looked like someone was coming to. The Earl was slowly opening his eyes. He felt weak and tired even with the blood infusion, but he had recovered enough to get up. When opening his eyes, the first thing he could see was a set of large eyes staring right back at him, and white fur, lots of fur.
"What in the!" Ronsten shouted while quickly crawling backwards. It took him a moment to recognise the familiar looking gorilla who had been staring at him, and he began to notice the space that he was in.
"Looks like you're alive, old friend." Norvic cheerfully greeted the Earl. "His Majesty's beast companion seems to have taken an interest in you and has been protecting you."
"And you just left me in the care of a beast?" The Earl complained, but seemingly understanding the words, Jesk snorted in disdain, forcing the vampire lord to clear his throat in embarrassment. "You did a great job, allowing such a handsome beast to protect me. I'm sure it was following His Majesty's order. I shall praise your hard work, once he comes back."
Hearing these words, Jesk smiled widely and pounded himself on the chest.
"For now, all we can do is wait, but I really wonder what exactly this place is." Nian commented. "It looks endless, and I can't see anything else in here with us… but I'm not the only one that can sense 'that', right?"
The younger ones looked at each other strangely, but the other Viscount and Earl knew exactly what Nian was talking about. A dull energy, not quite a life but a strong one.
Outside, Quinn had obtained the Nest Crystal, which he now held in his hand. It was a fascinating object, and being as big as an ostrich egg it could barely fit in a single hand. Before he decided what to do with it, he needed to make sure he was safe first.
The first thing he attempted to do was either place it in his shadow space or his system, like other crystals he obtained. However, when trying to do so, it seemed with this particular crystal none of those options were exactly working.
Before retrieving the Nest Crystal, there were quite a few doppelgangers that had been following him, and more had appeared near the egg. Now, there was nothing and even the strange sludge that they were on, it had almost lost its colour and consistency as it was slowly turning back into a murky coloured water.
'Those strange beasts, they weren't really beasts in the first place. It must have all been from the power of this Nest Crystal.' Quinn thought. 'When Logan had obtained his Nest Crystal, the beasts didn't disappear but were just no longer interested in protecting it. This is a little different, though, those beasts seemed to come from that strange sludge itself and were powered by the Nest Crystal.'
Just holding it in his hand, he could feel a smidgen of how much power it held, he realised how it was able to do great things. How it was able to create unlimited clones and beasts. What he had, right now in his hand, was definitely something special. For a moment, he even wondered if it might be possible to weaponize its ability to summon doppelgangers to have them deal with the Dalki.
'Is it really impossible to turn one of these into a weapon?'
Seeing that the area was somewhat clear, Quinn was thinking about what to do. He wanted to absorb the crystal now into his system but was a little worried. When evolving his own body, sometimes he wasn't in the best of shapes or states.
He had no idea what a system upgrade would do. So with the little time he had left from his armour's ability before it went on cooldown, Quinn ran and ran until he eventually reached the ship, which was in perfect condition. Opening up his shadow space, all of those that were in it were now released onto the land.
The first thing they did was look around them, to see if there were any beasts. Seeing the ship, though, they knew where they were.
"You decided to head to the ship, after all. That was a wise decision, Your Majesty." Ronsten praised Quinn, unaware of the reality of the situation.
To this, Quinn just smiled, before showing the Earl the crystal in his hand....
"I managed to obtain what I came here for, so let's get out. I don't know what will happen once I use it, so I'll have to ask you all to please look after me." The Vampire King said.
[Would you like to absorb the next crystal and upgrade the system?]
He headed onto the ship, and the others were checking a few things before leaving. They all looked at each other, wondering just how he had done it. Quinn had entered the main part of the ship, and finally he was ready.
[Nest Crystal is now being absorbed into your body]
Immediately, Quinn felt a rush of energy course through his body, yet it wasn't a pleasant feeling at all. The energy was far too much for him to handle. It felt like someone was drowning his body in Qi. His veins felt like they were bursting.
It was so painful that Quinn could only let out a mighty scream. The other rushed into the ship once they heard it.
"What is going on, Your Majesty? Are you okay?" Ronsten asked.
"Don't touch me... " Quinn warned, veins bulging up his neck. "Just stay away. That's an order."
Hearing this, Jesk was making sure that everyone stayed back. Listening to his master's order, but the gorilla couldn't help and stared at the crystal behind him. Eventually, Jesk ran outside, trying to avoid doing something he didn't want to do.
The energy felt familiar yet not at the same time, and using what knowledge he had of Qi, Quinn was trying to get a hold on it, so it wouldn't so vigorously rampage through his body. Unfortunately, no matter what he tried to do, the pain didn't seem to be residing.
It was as if he had no other choice but to just accept the large amount of energy and let it run rampant through his body as it wished.
"Guys, I think we have a bigger problem. A wave of beasts has started heading our way!" Moe exclaimed, staring out the window. The next second and the whole ship shook.
"I will look after His Majesty and keep an eye on him, while you get rid of the beasts." Ronsten ordered.
Heading outside, the group got to work quickly. These were ordinary beasts, not like what they had fought outside, but there were many, and in the distance it looked like more were coming.
"Are they attracted to the Nest Crystal? What should we do?" Joy asked.
"Get rid of the beasts, and let's get out of here!" Nian ordered.
Moe, following orders, blood swipes his way through many of the beasts, and rushed around the back, but he could see that the thrusters to the ship had already been damged. With the ship incapable of flight, all they could do was communicate back to the others and ask for help.
In the meantime, they were stuck here, and they had an army of beasts to deal with.
"Defend His Majesty and the ship, until he is done with whatever he is doing!" Norvic ordered, as he slapped his big belly a couple of times. "That's all we have to do!"
Back in the ship, Quinn was thinking the same thing. He just had to get through this absorption stage, and then he would be able to deal with whatever was happening outside.
Sitting in the same state, Quinn had no idea how much time had passed, the pain was making him lose all of his senses. He was scared that it would never end, but at some point, a message had finally appeared in front of him.
[Absorption of the nest crystal is now at 1%]