As Barbara's image disappeared completely, Yomite sighed and faced the door. He reached for the key he was given by Venti before, and with a slight hesitation, he inserted it into the keyhole.
The door creaked open, revealing not an exit but an elevator.
"An elevator? Seriously?" Yomite groaned, feeling a wave of annoyance wash over him. He had been afraid of elevators ever since that fateful day, and the thought of stepping inside one after such an emotionally draining trial was not a pleasant prospect.
Once he clicked the button to call the elevator, it slowly descended to his floor, opening up.
As it did, Yomite immediately frowned.
"Are you fucking...kidding?"
It was as if a nightmarish scene from a horror movie had come to life before his eyes. The once luxurious elevator had been transformed into a chamber of horrors, with blood and gore smeared across every surface.
The walls, once adorned with intricate patterns and delicate artwork, were now splattered with dark red stains, as if someone had taken a paintbrush soaked in blood and flung it carelessly around the confined space. The once gleaming golden trim that framed the elevator was now tarnished and dull, obscured by the grime of violence.
The floor was no better. A thick layer of coagulated blood covered it like a macabre carpet, making it difficult to discern the original color beneath. Among the blood, bits of crushed organs and torn flesh were scattered haphazardly, as if a human body had been forcibly torn apart and thrown about the small space. Some of the organs were still identifiable – a section of intestine here, a piece of lung there – while others had been so mangled and crushed that it was impossible to determine what they had once been.
The smell was overwhelming – a potent mix of iron from the blood and the stench of decay, with a hint of something almost metallic. The air was thick and oppressive, making it difficult for Yomite to breathe without feeling nauseous. The combination of the sights, smells, and the eerie silence that filled the elevator created an atmosphere of absolute dread.
Despite the horrifying scene, Yomite noticed that the elevator's single button was oddly untouched by the carnage. The polished gold buttons gleamed in the dim light, providing a stark contrast to the bloody chaos that surrounded them.
Yomite took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. "Alright, Yomite, you can do this. It's just an elevator, and you've faced far, far worse disgusting beings with giant penises today." He cautiously stepped inside, doing his best to ignore the tight feeling in his chest.
The doors closed behind him, and the elevator began to ascend slowly. Yomite clenched his fists, his heart pounding as he attempted to keep his fear in check. He reminded himself that he had just navigated the trials and faced his worst fears, so he could surely endure a simple elevator ride.
As the elevator ascended, it began to wiggle weirdly, causing Yomite to frown at the unsettling sensation. He gripped the railing tightly, his knuckles turning white as his heart raced.
He looked below him at the remains of some human and suddenly had a thought, "That's...not my old body, right...? If that's the case, then it's understandable why Sia had to make me a new body from scratch instead of just healing it...yikes..."
Suddenly, the elevator came to an abrupt halt, and without warning, it plummeted downward at an alarming speed. Yomite screamed, his terror reaching new heights as he clung to the railing for dear life.
"I knew it would happen again! I hate elevators! I HATE THEM!" he shouted, his voice cracking with panic.
The elevator continued to fall, and Yomite's thoughts raced as he mentally prepared himself for the worst. Just as he began to lose hope, the elevator screeched to a stop, jolting him violently but ultimately sparing him from a disastrous fate.
Gasping for air, Yomite cautiously opened his eyes and found himself on an unknown floor. The elevator doors creaked open, revealing a dimly lit hallway that stretched into the darkness. His heart still pounding from the harrowing experience, Yomite cautiously stepped out of the elevator and into the unfamiliar hallway.
As Yomite's eyes adjusted to the darkness, he noticed a figure further down the corridor. A woman, hidden within the shadows, her gaze fixed intently on him. Yomite felt an overwhelming pressure emanating from her, forcing him to his knees involuntarily.
He tried to speak, but his voice failed him. It felt as if he put on the restraining bracelet once again.
The mysterious woman appeared surprised at Yomite's presence. "A new person attempting the trials after five hundred years? How intriguing," she mused, her voice low and melodic.
She studied Yomite for a moment, her gaze piercing through the darkness. "You have made it this far, but your true test awaits you on the last floor," she informed him. "If you manage to complete every trial, we shall meet again."
With those words, the enigmatic woman vanished, leaving Yomite alone in the dimly lit hallway. He struggled to process what had just transpired, his heart still racing from the unexpected encounter.
As soon as the mysterious woman disappeared, the darkness that enveloped the area lifted as well, revealing the exit from the second trial. Yomite, relieved to have finally completed the challenge, stepped outside.
Little did he know that the challenges he had faced so far were just the very beginning, a small tip of the iceberg, and that his journey in the Spiral Abyss was far from finished.
"Finally, back home..."
However, as soon as he emerged from the trial, he noticed that something was amiss. He looked down at himself, only to realize that he was still in the body of a small boy. Despite having finished the trial, the debuff hadn't disappeared!
"Are you serious!? There is no way I'll be a kid forever, right?
Yomite couldn't help but feel frustrated by this unexpected development. He had assumed that completing the trial would restore him to his normal self, but it seemed that the trials had more surprises in store for him.
Glancing at the ground, Yomite sighed in relief as he noticed his claymore lying nearby. Thankfully, it had come with him after completing the second trial. He couldn't imagine having to go back to the location filled with those bizarre and unsettling "dick monsters."
Lost in thought, Yomite was caught off guard by the sound of footsteps approaching. He looked up to see Lisa, a mischievous glint in her eyes, "Ara, it seems you have passed the trial. Congratulations, my dear student."
"Yeah, but...Why am I still like this? I thought completing the trial would change me back to normal."
Despite his success, Yomite was clearly unhappy with his current situation, his frustration palpable.
Lisa chuckled, evidently relishing Yomite's predicament, "Well, it seems the trial had a lasting effect on you. But don't worry, these effects should wear off eventually...I think."
Yomite's eyes widened in panic. "You think?! What if I'm stuck like this forever?!"
Lisa simply shrugged, her grin never leaving her face. "Well, I suppose that's just something you'll have to live with. But look on the bright side – you'll get to experience the wonders of childhood all over again. Something I always wish for. Being an adult is depressing, you know. Once you grow up, you'll find out."
Yomite groaned, knowing that Lisa was teasing him, but was unable to come up with a witty retort.
As they walked together, Lisa couldn't resist teasing Yomite even further, "You know, I've always wondered what it would be like to have a little brother. I suppose now I can find out," she said, her eyes twinkling mischievously.
Yomite rolled his eyes, trying to ignore her playful jabs. "Hey, hold on a second. Don't forget, I'm still a grown man stuck in a child's body. I wouldn't want you to underestimate me and end up losing your underwear to a little kid."
With that Lisa, stopped. Her face lit up with joy as she let out peal after peal of laughter, her breaths coming in short gasps.
A tear glistened in her eye, and she chuckled softly, brushing it away. "You never fail to amuse me, Handsome," Lisa said, her voice rich with genuine delight.
She leaned in close, the warmth of her breath tantalizing his ear as she playfully whispered, "But I'm not sure you'll be able to manage that."
Yomite's face clouded with confusion. "What do you mean? Why wouldn't I be able to do that? I can sneak around without a problem, especially in this small body of mine. It should be easy to steal."
Lisa's lips grazed his earlobe as she whispered seductively, "Because, at the moment, I'm not wearing any."
She pulled back, her laughter as melodious as a symphony, reveling in Yomite's stunned expression.
Her hand rose to her lips, and she blew a teasing kiss in his direction, followed by a playful wink. "Caught you off guard, didn't I?" she laughed, the sound dancing through the air.
Yomite, recovering from his surprise, couldn't help but join in her laughter. "You certainly did," he admitted, his eyes sparkling with amusement.
As her laughter faded, Lisa gifted Yomite with a warm, heartfelt smile. "I cherish our playful banter, Handsome. It brings light to my day. I should savor these moments while I still can."
Yomite's brow furrowed. "What do you mean? 'While you still can'?"
Lisa's smile persisted, but she offered no explanation, leaving her words shrouded in mystery.
"Hey, would you explain?"
"You aren't planning on killing all of us or something later on, are you? Like doing some brutal experiments on us like on animals and then disposing of us...right...?"
Her eyes twinkled with mischief, and she seemed to relish in Yomite's growing frustration.
Sighing, he conceded, "Alright, if you don't want to tell me, that's fine. But don't come complaining to me if something goes wrong because you kept secrets."
"Secrets?" she challenged. "Don't you have things you'd never tell anyone, too?"
He paused. "...True."
Lisa's enigmatic smile remained as she looked away, her gaze wandering over their surroundings. Yomite, sensing the shift in the atmosphere, decided to let the matter rest for now.