Chapter 2.4: Memorial

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"Now tell me why that isn't the case," Mathias instructed.

Astral sighed and looked to the sky, seeing nothing but fog. "If that were the case, there would have been a spike in demonic activity. They would have been drawn here like moths to fire."

Mathias nodded. "You're positive that energy is being drained, and you seem to be sure that this for ascension. Are you maybe neglecting another possibility?"

"There are a couple of others. The energy could be used to attack the shields and break open the gate, but that energy would have to be gathered nearby or else they'd risk losing it in transit."

"Unless they use a focus," Mathias considered.

"Could multiple vessels be used as a focus?" It's true that the vessels could move to the desired location, but they'd have to release their energy simultaneously which would be the equivalent of suicide. The vessels would have to be zealots for that scenario to play out. From what she understood of vessels, they were people who are imbued with the essence of a god. 'Or wannabe god,' she added to herself. It would counter-intuitive for the god to sacrifice parts of himself. It would cripple him...wouldn't it?

Mathias' soul was flickering. Astral suspected that the idea frightened him. "I don't think there was ever enough energy here to allow for a single vessel, not to mention a coven of them. If there were a single vessel wouldn't we be able to sense it?"

The light of his soul dimmed and flushed with fuchsia. "I believe the vessel would have to be active in order for our primal instincts to pick it up," he hesitated to volunteer.

"In the scenario suggested, they would have to be active in order to contain the energy. Vessels are short lived once they become active. If they're particularly well built, they could up to a year. " Astral continued, watching the way the pulsing of her tutor's soul slowed, returning to its calm state. "It'd be too risky. They have to be sure that the vessel belongs to the right entity. One false move and one of their minions could turn out to be a double agent. Besides, they aren't exactly a dime a dozen. Would it be possible to possess multiple vessels at the same time?"

Mathias' left eye began to twitch. He rubbed his left temple to ease the strain. His soul had stopped pulsing altogether.

Astral smiled sweetly at her tutor. She was enjoying this.

"Ascension sounds good," he croaked. "Let's go with that."

"But you suggested that wasn't the case," Astral offered, concerned. She was happy to explore alternatives, if only to watch the changing hues of his soul.

"Now that I think about it, the only other alternative is birth, but energy demons don't give birth," Mathias volunteered, speeding things along.

Astral fell silent. 'How would an energy demon reproduce?' She wondered. It seemed strange to her that they wouldn't find some way to replicate. If reproduction wasn't possible, the energy demon they were planning to face off with tonight would have had to have been around since...

...since forever.

They could help her with her history assignment! Mathias soul calmed as the idea struck her. Her rueful smile broadened, but she thought better than to toy with her tutor any further. He would never agree to such a selfish reason to keep a demon alive. She'd have to agree, of course; history was built on perspectives, not truth.

Before she knew it, Astral began her trek down the memorial path to return to the town center which was a little under two hours away on foot.

Heading directly back to town wasn't her plan. She had another four hours of darkness to pursue her prey during its active period. With the exception of powerful demons who could tolerate the lights harsh punishment, most demons could safely manifest in darkness. It meant that a hunter's work hours was between nightfall and daybreak.

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