A magic circle emitting crimson light suddenly emerged on both ends of the bridge. On one side of the path, the magic circle was about ten meter wide. The magic circles on the path to the stairs at the other side were only about one meter wide, but there were several of them.
Within the numerous small magic circles, a horde of sword wielding skeleton army emerged. Their empty eye sockets were emitting crimson light similar to that of the magic circle, and the eyeballs-like radiance looked all around. Their numbers already increased to the hundreds, and they are still increasing.
However, compared with the hundreds of skeleton army, the one at the other side of the bridge felt worst, Hajime had this kind of feeling. What came out from the ten meter wide magic circle was a ten meter tall four-legged beast, it was wearing something that looked like a helmet, this kind of magic beast appeared. If compared to any animal Hajime knew of, the closest would be a Triceratops. However, it had many other additional factors, such as the eyes that gave off crimson light, the sharp claws, the fangs that sounded like clang of metals when they collided, and the blazing horn that extended from the helmet……
When Commander Meld muttered “Behemoth” to himself, that Behemoth took a deep breath and let out a deafening roar.
The roar caused Commander Meld to return to his senses, he quickly started to issue commands to everyone.
“Alan! Lead the students to the stair and break through those Skeleton Soldiers! Kyle, Ivan, Gale! I need you guys to make a barrier as big as you can! We need to stop that monster here! Kouki, hurry and get to the stairs with the others!”
“Wait a moment, Meld-san! We’ll fight too! Isn’t that dinosaur-like monster the most dangerous? We’ll also……”
“Fool! If that’s really a Behemoth, you guys won’t stand a chance at your current state! That monster is a magic beast from 65th floor. A long time ago, even the adventurer that was once known as the “strongest” was unable to defeat this monster! Just make a run for it! I can’t let you guys die!”
Although Kouki faltered for a moment after seeing Commander Meld’s grave expression, he still stood his ground with, “I can’t just abandon you guys!” When Kouki was about to say, “Let’s think of a way to let everyone escape safely”, the Behemoth let out a roar and started to charge at them.
At this rate, the students who were retreating would get trampled to death. But the Hairihi Kingdom’s strongest military force summoned a multi-layered barrier to prevent this from happening.
“Repel all Malice and Enmity, Absolute Providence from the Son of God, Herein a Sanctuary, The Enemy of God Shall Not Pass, 【Absolute Virtue】”
The magical circle for this spell was drew on a two meter square paper of the highest quality, and the incantation was made up of four phrases. In addition to that, three people were required to cast it. The barrier could only provide absolute defense for one minute. The pure white semi-spherical barrier stopped the Behemoth’s charge!
The moment the Behemoth clashed with the barrier, a terrifying shockwave erupted from between them. Everything under the Behemoth’s feet were pulverized, and despite how the entire bridge was made out of stones, it was shaking violently. The retreating students let out a scream and tumbled in succession.
The Skeleton Soldiers were magic beasts that showed up on the 38th floor. They were clearly different from the magic beasts they had encountered so far. In front of them was the skeleton army that made one’s blood run cold, and behind them was that terrifying aura that pressed in constantly. The students were in a state of panic.
Ignoring the formation, they recklessly rushed towards the stairs. A member of the knight, Alan, tried to calm them down desperately, but no one listened due to the imminent terror. One of the female students was pushed from behind and fell down. She groaned as she lifted her head, just to see a Skeleton Soldier who had lifted the sword over its head.
At the same time she let out a scream, the sword was swung down towards her head. She thought she was going to die at that moment, but the ground under the Skeleton Solider’s feet suddenly swelled up. Losing its balance, the trajectory of the blade missed the girl and struck the ground instead. Following that, the upheaval continued like a wave towards the end of the bridge, tripping up many Skeleton Soldiers along the way. This caused some of the soldiers to fall into the abyss.
Two meter off the edge of the bridge was the silhouette of Hajime who exhaled heavily. He continuously used transmutation on the ground. He used the logic of a slide to throw the magic beasts off the bridge. Unaware, his proficiency in transmuting got better because he constantly used it on the whole journey. The range of his transmuting also seemed to have increased.
While chewing the Magic Recovery Pill, Hajime quickly approached the female student that fell down. He helped the girl up with the hand that was equipped with the transmutation glove. Hajime spoke to the still stunned girl with a smile.
“Hurry, keep going. It’s alright, if you calm down these skeletons are nothing. Because except for me, everyone else is a cheat!” The female student was unable to take her eyes off Hajime who pounded his chest full confidence, the next moment she replied with an energetic “Thank you” and dashed off.
Hajime had ruined the surrounding Skeleton Soldiers’ footing and had them detained, he took that moment to survey the battlefield. Everyone was in a state of panic, they brandished their weapons carelessly, and even the magics were in disorder. At this rate, it was highly likely that someone would die. Although Knight Alan was desperately trying to bring them under control, it was not going well. During this time, more reinforcements came for the Skeleton Soldiers through the new magic circles.
“What do we do now…… We need a powerful leader…… someone with the power to open the path…… Amanogawa-kun!”
Hajime started to sprint towards the direction of Kouki’s party.
Behemoth was still repeatedly charging at the barrier. A powerful shockwave was produced every time it collided with the barrier, the stone bridge creaked due to the pressure. There were already cracks on the barrier, it was only a matter of time before it gave in. Commander Meld also joined to reinforce the barrier, but it was like a cup of water on a burning cart of firewood.
“Ah, crap! It won’t hold for much longer! Kouki, hurry and retreat! You guys go too!”
“No! I will not abandon Commander Meld and the knights! We must all return alive!”
“Ku, to be so egotistical at this moment…”
Commander Meld’s expression was as if he just ate a bitter worm. In such a narrow space, it would be very difficult to avoid the Behemoth’s rush. Therefore, the best option was to run away before the barrier became ineffective. But such a subtle opportunity could only be grasped by someone experienced, it was highly unlike for Kouki and his party to have such an insight.
While explaining the situation as briefly as possible, Commander Meld urged them to retreat. But Kouki did not take his advice and refused to “abandon” them. Besides, from the look in Kouki’s eyes, he wanted to challenge the Behemoth. He believed if it was him, he might be able to overpower the Behemoth.
It couldn’t be helped, he was still too young. He was overestimating himself a little too much. Commander Meld had showered them with so much praise to maintain their confidence, but it seemed to have produced the opposite of the desired result.
“Kouki! Let’s retreat as Commander Meld said!”
Shizuku, who understood the situation, quickly admonished Kouki and grabbed his arm.
“Sigh~ This is not the first time Kouki is being unreasonable! I’ll back you up!”
“Ryutaro…… Thank you.”
Ryutaro’s statement just fueled Kouki’s enthusiasm even more. Shizuku clicked her tongue at that.
“Are you drunk?! Try to understand the situation! You big idiot!”
As Shizuku was getting impatient, Kaori got more anxious. At this time, a boy jumped in front of Kouki.
As everyone was surprised, Hajime was doing his best to explain the situation by waving his hands.
“Hurry up and retreat! Everyone can’t make it without you! Hurry!”
“What are you saying all of a sudden? What are you even doing in a place like this? This is not a place you should be! Just leave this to us, Nagumo you…”
“This is not the time to be saying that kind of thing!”
It was a fact that he couldn’t be regarded as part of the fighting force, Kouki urged Hajime to retreat but he was interrupted by Hajime who never showed any kind of retaliation before. Kouki’s impression of Hajime was a honest guy who always forced a bitter smile at everything that was said to him. There was too much discrepancy that made him unable to move.
“Can you not see what is going on?! Everyone is in a panic! Just because the team leader is missing!”
Hajime grabbed Kouki’s shirt with one hand and pointed over there with his other hand. In the direction he pointed at, his classmates were surrounded by Skeleton Soldiers and running all over the place. It seemed like they had never been trained before and fought haphazardly. Since they were so inefficient they were being overwhelmed by the reinforcements. As a result, they were still unable to break through until now. Although they were able to preserve their life due to their out of norm stats, it was only a matter of time.
“A power that can break through them is necessary! A power that can erase the fear in everyone’s hearts is also necessary! And the only one who can do it is our team leader, Amanogawa-kun! Don’t just look in front of you, look at what’s going on behind you too!”
Kouki was dumbstruck as he saw his classmates in such a chaotic situation, after shaking his head in admonition, he nodded towards Hajime.
“Ahh, I understand. I’ll go over there immediately! Commander Meld! I’m sorry!?”
“Sorry, I’ll retreat first.” The moment Kouki turned around and said this to Commander Meld, the barrier finally fell along with Commander Meld’s howl. The raging shockwave assaulted Hajime and the others directly. Hajime quickly stepped forward and transmuted a wall, but it was easily blown away. However, he was able to weaken the shock wave. The whirling dust was blown away by Behemoth’s roar.
On the ground was the groaning Commander Meld and three knights. Their body was unable to move due to the after-effect of the shockwave. Behind Commander Meld and the knights, Kouki and his party had also fallen to the ground, but they got up quickly. Looks like Hajime’s wall was effective.
“Ku…… Ryutaro, Shizuku, can you buy me some time?”
As Kouki asked them, he walked towards the two who still seemed like they were in pain. Since Commander Meld had been disabled, it was up to them to do something.
“I guess we don’t have a choice!”
“……I’ll try to think of something!”
Both of them suddenly assaulted the Behemoth.
“Kaori, start healing Commander Meld and his men!”
Kaori moved according to Kouki’s instruction. Hajime already got beside Commander Meld. In order to not get caught up in the aftermath of the battle, he quickly conjured a stone wall. Although it seemed nothing more than paper wall to the Behemoth, it was still better than nothing. Kouki began to chant in order to unleash his big skill.
“Divine will! Perish everything that is evil with your light! The breath of God! Blow away the ominous clouds and purify this world! The mercy of God! Forgive all my sins with this strike! 【Heaven’s Might】!”
An aurora gushed out from the Holy Sword after the chant. The skill was similar to the 【Soaring Flash】, but it’s power was on a completely different level. The aurora gouged the bridge as it shot towards the Behemoth, shaking the bridge with its might. After the chant, Ryutaro and Shizuku had already cleared out. However, the two were extremely exhausted. They suffered a considerable amount of damage in such a short period of time.
The bombardment of light hit the Behemoth directly. Light had painted that area white. The intense vibration caused cracks to appear on the bridge.
“With this…… Haa~ Haa~”
“Hmph! As expected, shouldn’t we have done this earlier?”
“Hu… It’s just that……”
Ryutaro and Shizuku returned to Kouki’s side. Kouki breathed heavily after using such an enormous amount of magic power. That skill earlier was Kouki’s trump card. His remaining magic power were almost used up. Behind them, Commander Meld and the fallen knights stood up after they got patched up.
Not long later, when the light and the dust settled down, in that place…… was an unscathed Behemoth. The beast sent a death glare at Kouki and growled. After that, it raised its head, the horn on its head began to glow red-hot and emitted a high-pitched sound like that of fingernails scraping the glass. Following that, the helmet ignited like a lava.
“Don’t just stand there! Move!”
Commander Meld’s voice helped Kouki’s party to regain their senses. The Behemoth soon began to dash forward, and then it jumped towards Kouki. The red-hot helmet fell towards them like a meteor.
Even though they jumped sideways immediately, the shock-wave caused by the impact still blew them away. They rolled on the ground with rumbling sound, when they finally stopped, they had wounds all over their body. Commander Meld, who finally regained his movement, rushed over. The other knights were still being treated by Kaori. The Behemoth’s horns were stuck on the bridge. After bracing its leg, the Behemoth pulled it out.
“All of you, get up!”
All he got in response were groans. They were probably paralyzed by the same shock-wave that the Commander and the knights received earlier. It seemed like they received considerable damage to the internal organs. Commander Meld turned his head around to call out to Kaori. What got into his line of sight instead was Hajime’s figure.
“Boy! Carry Kouki and retreat with Kaori!”
The commander gave Hajime such instructions. Kouki, only take Kouki along with him. That instruction indicated that it would be great even if only Kouki was able to get away, it was probably that kind of wish. Commander Meld clenched his teeth and prepared his shield. He planned to put his life on the line to hold back the beast.
Hajime looked at the commander who were prepared for certain death, and proposed a plan. This may be the only way to save everyone from this situation. However, it was too silly, the chances succeeding was also very low. It would put Hajime in the most dangerous position. Commander Meld hesitated, but the Behemoth already got into battle mode. Its helmet started to sizzle red-hot again. They had no time.
“……Can you do it?”
“I can definitely do it.”
Hajime looked at Commander Meld with resolute gaze. Seeing Hajime like this, a smile emerged on Commander Meld’s face.
“I didn’t expect we would entrust our lives up to you, I ask of you to save everyone. Therefore…… We’ll leave the rest to you!”
Commander Meld walked towards the Behemoth after saying these. He released a simple spell to provoke it. Looking at how the Behemoth was targeting Kouki earlier, it seemed to have a habit of baring its teeth at those attacking it.
Commander Meld firmly fixed his gaze on the Behemoth. After that, it pointed its red-hot helmet at Commander Meld, it suddenly charged and took a leap. Commander Meld intended to provoke it till the last moment, he stood there confidently. At that moment, a small incantation could be heard.
“Disperse, 【Wind Wall】”
He jumped backward and chanted simultaneously. Following closely, the Behemoth landed at the area where Commander Meld was previously stationed at. The 【Wind Wall】 was able to deflect the shock-wave and debris from the impact. Since the Behemoth’s attack pattern was simple, it was still possible to avoid it. But if he was to dodge while protecting Kouki’s party at the same time, they might be completely annihilated.
Again, the Behemoth’s horns were stuck on the bridge. Hajime quickly threw himself into the fray. The remnants of the blazing heat burned his skin, but Hajime endured the pain and began to chant. He only had to chant the name, it was the most simple and only spell in his possession.
The Behemoth’s movement to pull its head out from the stone was stopped. Even if it smashed the stone in the surrounding, Hajime would continue to transmute new stone. Bracing its legs, the Behemoth was going to forcefully pull its head out, but Hajime transmuted around the foot this time. While it was struggling, the head sunk another one meter into the ground due to transmutation. The Behemoth’s power was so terrifying, cracks would appear the moment he let up for a brief second. It wanted to escape, but it was stopped by Hajime’s transmutation every time. In the end, the Behemoth’s entire head was buried underground, it was quite a silly figure.
In the meantime, Kaori and the recovered knights gathered everyone together, they attempted to carry Kouki’s party back. At the skeleton soldier’s side, it seemed like some students had regained their composure and started to cooperate with each other. The reason for the recovery was because of the girl Hajime saved earlier. It was an inconspicuous contribution from Hajime.
“Wait! Nagumo-kun is still over there!”
Facing Commander Meld who urged them to retreat, Kaori protested fiercely.
“That is the boy’s battle! We are going to break through the Skeleton Soldiers and unfold an all-out magic attack after we secured a safety zone! Of course, the boy will retreat during that time! We will hold up the Behemoth with magics until the boy get back, then we will retreat to the upper level.”
“Then, I’ll stay and help!”
“That’s out of the question! ‘Let Kaori retreat and heal Kouki’ That’s what he said!”
Kaori who still wanted to say something came to a pause after receiving Commander Meld’s sermon.
“Don’t let the boy’s effort be in vain!!!”
Including Commander Meld, the one with the highest firepower was without a doubt Kouki. If she did not use her healing magic to recover him, they may not have sufficient firepower to stop the Behemoth when the time comes. That is why it is necessary for her to heal Kouki while retreating. By the time Hajime exhausted his magic power and couldn’t use transmutation anymore, the Behemoth will start to move.
“Breath of Heaven, Fill to the brim, Purify and Heal, 【Heaven’s Blessing】”
Kaori was crying, but even so she continued to chant. A pale light engulfed Kouki, this is a magic that heal physical wounds and recover magic power at the same time. Commander Meld placed a hand on Kaori’s shoulder and nodded. Kaori also nodded in response, then she turned her head again to look at Hajime who continued to cast 【Transmutation】 desperately. After that, Commander Meld carried Kouki onto his shoulder and retreated. Shizuku and Ryutaro were carried by the knights.
The numbers of Skeleton Soldier was still increasing, the quantity already exceeded two hundred. The side that led to the stairs was crammed with Skeleton Soldiers. However, in a sense it might be a good thing. If there was a gap, the students would try to push through and get themselves surrounded. As a matter of fact, when there were only a hundred of them, the students were caught up in a dangerous situation.
Despite that, there was no casualty, it was all thanks to the knights. It was not an exaggeration to say that they were desperately protecting the students with their own lives. As a result, they are now covered all over with cuts and bruises.
The increasing numbers of the Magic Beasts led to great panic, the students even forgot to use their magic, they only waved their spears and swords recklessly. Under this kind of circumstances, if they lost the knights’ support, they would fall apart in matter of minutes.
Despair struck the students who came to realize it. The girl that Hajime saved earlier appealed to them, the minority of the students fought bravely in a group, but they were almost at their limits, they have an expression that looked like they were about to cry. Just when everyone thought it was already too late……
A pure-white slash cuts right through the ranks of the Skeleton Soldiers, and then it exploded. The Skeleton Soldiers that were pushed to the side edges of the bridge fell into the abyss. After the slash, the Skeleton Soldiers fell like an avalanche. The students saw the path that led to the upper level. That was their only salvation, the only thing that drives them to brandish their swords!
“Everyone! Don’t give up, I’ll open up a path!”
He spewed those lines as 【Soaring Flash】 tore through the enemies. The charisma displayed Kouki raised the students’ morale.
“Guys! What have you been doing this whole time? Remember the training! Organize into groups at once! You fools!”
The appearance of the commander that everyone relied on and the skill that knocked down the enemies, the unparalleled 【Soaring Flash】. As well as that normally reliable voice, when all of these came together, the declining morale resurrected immediately. Their body were no longer feeling numb and their mind cleared up. But in reality, it was the effects of Kaori’s magic, the Calm Mind magic. To a certain extend, when the relaxation magic was combined with Kouki’s performance, it was super effective!
Everyone with high aptitude for healing magic began to treat the wounded. Those with high aptitude for magic began the chants for powerful magic at the rear. Those with high defensive power served as vanguards. Instead of attacking, they focused more on defending.
The knights who recovered also join the fray, then the signal for their counterattack was ignited. They launched their cheat-like magic and martial arts which descended upon the enemies like a surging wave. The enemies were wiped out at an astonishing rate, they had finally passed the spawning rate of the Magic Beasts.
Soon, the path to the stairs opened up.
“Everyone advance! We must secure the open space in front of the stairs!”
Kouki started to run as soon as he shouted. The fully recovered Ryutaro and Shizuku followed closely behind. They cut through the encircling Skeleton Soldier like a hot knife through butter. Finally, they broke through the besiegement. Behind them, the Skeleton Soldiers wanted to enclose the path to the stairs again, but they were scattered by Kouki’s magic.
The classmates revealed an astonished expression, it was only natural. The stairs was just before their eyes, it was only to be expected that they wanted to get to a safety zone at once.
“Everyone, wait! We must help Nagumo-kun! He has been suppressing that monster by himself all this time!”
Hearing Kaori’s words, the classmates exposed a doubtful expression. They thought it was impossible, after all, Hajime was tagged as an “incompetence”. However, when the perplexed classmates looked over at the bridge, Hajime was really there.
“What the, what is going on there?”
“That demon’s… upper body was buried?”
Facing the students who were filled with doubts, Commander Meld issued the orders.
“That’s right! That boy suppressed the monster by himself to let us retreat! Vanguards! You guys deal with the Skeleton Soldiers! Rear guards! Prepare your long-range magic! The boy’s magic power will exhaust any time soon, attack simultaneously the moment he starts to run! We must stop the Behemoth!”
The students braced themselves when the voice resounded, but there were no lack of people among them who looked at the direction of the stairs reluctantly. You can’t blame them, they just had a near death experience. Even one second was fine, they wanted to get to safety as soon as possible, that was only natural. However, when Commander Meld shouted to hurry up, they no longer hesitated and returned to the battlefield. Among them was Hiyama Daisuke. Since all of this was caused by him, Hiyama was really terrified, he wanted to get away from this place as soon as possible.
However, the scene from that day suddenly flashed in his mind. It was the day before they entered the dungeon, the event that occurred when they were staying in Holward. He was tossing and turning restlessly in the bed due to anxiety, so Hiyama went out to get some fresh air after going to the toilet. After he calmed down by feeling cool and refreshing breeze, he was going to return to his room. However, he saw Kaori in her negligee along the way. This was the first time he had seen Kaori in such a state, so he instinctively hid and held his breath. Kaori passed by without noticing him.
Hiyama was interested and followed her, until she stopped in front of a certain room and knocked. The one appeared on the other side of the door was…… Hajime. Hiyama blanked out. He liked Kaori, but he thought that he was not good enough for her. When comparing himself to Kouki, he felt like he was way out of his league, so he gave up.
However, Hajime was different a different story. He was inferior to him, at least Hiyama thought so. So it was ridiculous to find Hajime always in the presence of Kaori. ‘If that’s the case, aren’t I good enough?’ Hiyama was wondering if he had gone crazy while thinking of something like that. But Hiyama seriously thought like that, his resentment towards Hajime continued to accumulate, it was already to the point of hatred. He probably wanted to win over Kaori by using the Grantz Crystal, that’s why he was getting impatient.
Hiyama remembered all that, and looked at Hajime who was suppressing the Behemoth all by himself. At the same time, the figure of Kaori praying for him entered his line of sight…… a dark smile gradually bloomed on his face.
Just at this time, Hajime felt his magic power running out, and he had ran out of recovery pills. He quickly shot a glance backward and noticed that everyone had already retreated. They already got into formation and preparing to chant. The Behemoth was still struggling, if he stopped transmuting like this, it would probably struggle for a few more seconds. During this time, he had to pull some distance. The bead of sweat from his forehead entered his eye. He was extremely nervous, the thumping sound from his heart had never stopped until now. Hajime was trying to find the perfect opportunity to retreat.
At the same time when dozens of cracks appeared, Hajime used the last of his 【Transmutation】 to restrain the Behemoth. After that, Hajime started to sprint.
Five seconds after Hajime started to run, the ground splits open. The Behemoth crushed the ground and let out a roar as it stood up. That angry look in its eyes was unlikely to be mistaken. It began to scan the surrounding for the enemy that humiliated it —— Hajime entered its vision. Again, the Behemoth let out a roar, even louder than before. In order to catch up to Hajime, it began to store up power in its four limbs.
However, in the next moment, every kind of magic attacks arrived in succession. It was like shooting stars in the night sky, multi-colored magics bombarded the Behemoth. Although they were unable to deal any damage, they were able to stop it from advancing.
I can do it! Hajime was convinced, he lowered his head and dashed while taking care not to fall. Honestly speaking, it doesn’t feel that good with all those lethal spells passing over his head. However, he believed those cheats wouldn’t make that kind of low-level mistake. He continued to run, he should have pulled thirty meter apart from the Behemoth. Hajime instinctively loosened his cheek. However, just at this time, his expression froze.
Among the endless stream of spells, one fireball bent slightly…… It was shot towards Hajime’s direction. This was clearly aimed at him.
Doubt, bewilderment, and astonishment all ran through his brain, Hajime was stunned. Even though he stopped and slid on the ground immediately, that fireball still struck the ground right in front of him. He was blown back the way he came from by the shock-wave. Although he avoided a direct hit and didn’t suffer from any internal injuries, his semicircular canal was damaged. His sense of balance was thrown into disorder.
He stood up and took a few steps unsteadily, but…… it was impossible for the Behemoth to be suppressed by the shots forever. After Hajime got up —— the roar reverberated from behind —— Hajime couldn’t help but turn his head around to look. For the third time its horns started to glow red-hot, the Behemoth firmly fixed its gaze on Hajime. After that, it raised its shield-like red-hot head, and charged towards Hajime.
The unsteady head, hazy vision, and looming Behemoth; His classmates in the distance had anxious expressions, they let out a sad call and furious roar.
Hajime mustered the last ounce of his strength to jump away. After that, the furious waves of attack landed on the bridge. Behemoth’s attack shook the entire bridge. With this point as the epicenter, terrifying cracks began to spread. The bridge let out a crunching sound.
And finally…… the bridge collapsed.
After bearing that kind of powerful attacks repeatedly, the bridge finally gave in.
The Behemoth let out a cry, and desperately used its claw to scratch the slanted rock bridge. However, the place it was clinging to also collapsed. In the end, the Behemoth fell into the bottomless abyss. The Behemoth’s death throes was still resounding.
Hajime crawled on the ground and wanted to escape somehow, but every place that he could reach fell one after another.
(Ah, this is bad……)
While thinking like that, he turned his gaze towards his classmates at the opposite side. Hajime saw it —— Kaori was being held back by Kouki and Shizuku. As for the other classmates, some had pale face, while others were covering eyes or mouth. Meld and the Knights also had a mortifying expression.
And then, the scaffold that held Hajime finally crumbled. Hajime fell into the abyss while looking upwards. He stretched his hand towards the light that gradually became dimmer……