27 Catharsis; Erra

Astrum Irae

Eureka led Rigel into a region filled with earthly boils and cavities strewn about with a surprising frequency, making traversal difficult for the pair.

At one point, Rigel misstepped due to the low light levels and his foot slipped through the soft ground. He quickly found himself tumbling into one of the cavities. The bottom fell through and Rigel fell another 10 feet, slamming hard onto solid bedrock. He lay still, shuddering in pain. He could feel the jagged rock dig into his skin alongside the resulting damage from slamming into rock at speeds approaching 15 miles per hour. He coughed up some blood and waited for Eureka to help him, growing slightly more anxious incrementally as his thoughts led him back into his days of asylum.

"Hope you had a nice fall." Eureka's voice resounded out from above the pit.

"Very funny," Rigel curtly replied. "I think I ruptured some organs and am bleeding out. Mind lending a hand?" he followed up in a rather calm voice, surprising himself. He had lost his immortality, and yet still didn't fear dying. In fact, the pain perhaps even felt… good? No, no.

"I'm still human…" Rigel muttered to himself. "Pain is to be feared, not lavished."

While he was muttering to himself, Eureka hopped down and nimbly landed on her feet. She approached Rigel and gently placed her hands on his chest. Rigel winced from the contact but kept silent. He could feel a warm aurora flow through his aching body, mending the irregularities it encountered on its journey. The relief from the agony felt extremely blissful; Rigel let out a sigh of pleasure.

Eureka backed off from the collapsed man and sat down.

"You know, Rigel, I am someone you can trust. I have no mortal affairs besides helping you get back on your feet for a bit."

"How do I know you're not just a spy from one of those assholes?" Rigel countered.

"C'mon. The One True Being would never blatantly pick sides like that. His Lordship wouldn't take away your immortality without giving something in return." Eureka spoke with confidence- enough that it seemed as if Rigel's worries were completely baseless.

"He did. My life," Rigel patiently explained.

"..." Eureka had no response.

"Eureka, I am despised by everyone. I haven't had a friend in this world, and in my old one I hadn't had a friend in years before dying. I think… there's something wrong with me." The melancholic subject brought light tears to Rigel's eyes.

"That's what I'm here for!" Eureka lightly exclaimed. "Like I said, I'm a life coach... of sorts. I can help you out."

"Then why were you so impatient with me when you first arrived?" Rigel wryly laughed.

"...I can't help the fact that I'm impatient. The One True Being created me this way."

"Sigh… Well, it's water under the bridge now I suppose. Hear me out, would ya? Perhaps you'll see what I'm obviously missing."

"Yeah, of course."

"I tried… so hard when I arrived here. I was a bit awkward and conversations were quite painful at times, but I thought it was okay. I… liked them. I thought that they were my first friends in years, and that they were my core support I could lean in in my future endeavors. But…" Rigel trailed off and felt his arms shaking in rage.

"They betrayed me." Rigel kept his emotions under control and didn't yell out of rage.

"They didn't trust me. They tried to kill me, and I let the situation completely fall out of control. We fought… and I killed 2 of the 4 people close to me." Rigel couldn't keep the agony to himself anymore and started sobbing.

"I murdered them, and it's completely my fault."

"Hush now. It's okay." Eureka comforted Rigel with a soft voice, barely audible over the sobs. "Everyone makes mistakes. I'm sure the adrenaline just went to your head. You've had it really rough, Rigel. Maybe not the worst out of all the demigods, but at least you've managed to keep your humanity. They're all shells. Now, now. Take a good rest. You deserve it."

Following the allure of sleep, Rigel slowly dazed off in Eureka's arms and slept for the first time in thousands of years after undergoing catharsis.

Rigel woke up with something thick and soft covering him. He felt the warm kiss of fire emblaze his face. Trying to shake his groggy mind awake, he pushed the wool blanket off of himself and turned to see Eureka sitting next to the fire, cooking some unidentifiable meat.

"How long was I asleep for…?" Rigel asked with much effort. He could barely even keep his eyes open from the enervation plaguing him, not to mention the formation of complex thoughts.

"About 2 weeks," Eureka succinctly responded.

Rigel suddenly noticed the empty agony gnawing at his gut and looked pleadingly at Eureka. She chuckled and ripped off a chunk of the meat and tossed it over to Rigel. He caught it- to his mild surprise- and attempted to appraise the mystery flesh momentarily.

"Won't I just throw this right back up?" he grumbled.

"You act like there's plants out here," Eureka mocked in response.

Rigel moaned a bit and then bit a chunk out of the meat block. The tender, savory juiciness conveyed by the rich piece of crude meat seemed more delectable and desirable to Rigel at that moment than any gourmet ever created in the universe.

"Mmm!" Rigel let out a surprised squeal of delight and wolfed down the meal. He lay still momentarily before, true to his fears, he vomited the entire thing up.


In the background, Rigel could hear the feminine laugh of Eureka resounding out. With a grimace, he turned and looked over to her.

"How'd you even get meat if there's no plants here anyhow?" Rigel asked, vastly perplexed towards the matter.

"Ecosystems are really different here as compared to your 'Earth'," she replied. "The sun's energy can be absorbed by most competent creatures these days, I suppose. If they stay still, a lot of creatures can live entirely off of the sun. There are other ways for them to obtain energy, but that's starting to delve into se~~~cret knowledge of the world."

"Hmm…" Rigel murmured to himself. "How would those creatures obtain the basic nutrients and vitamins and minerals and such like that?"

"Se~~~crets I say," was the only response Rigel received.

Rigel scoffed in response to her air of mysteriousness and dropped the subject.

The due sat in silence for a few minutes, basking in the glorious aroma of roasted meat while pondering their own individual thoughts.

"Eureka," Rigel finally spoke. "I would appreciate it if you disregard my previous ramblings."

"Oh?" she replied. "And why's that?"

"It's quite simple. I am a demigod. Demigods have no apparent weaknesses."

"And who says that?"

"I, a demigod, do."

"Seems rather narrow-minded to me."

"Perhaps. Does it matter if it is?"

"I suppose not. But what if I refuse?"

"Then there's nothing to be said about the matter. I'm asking you for a favor, not making a declaration of silence."

"I see."


The 2 went back to their silence for the better part of an hour. The silence was only broken when Eureka jumped up and said, "So, Rigel the demigod, what is your plan?"

Rigel met her gaze with his own and replied, "Zephledawn. Zephledawn should help me increase my comprehension of mana and magic."

Eureka merely giggled in response and jumped straight up and out of the hole.

"Do I have to teleport out of here?" Rigel asked himself. He felt his ragged, erratic breathing and the inner anxiety claw at his chest.

"...The odds of the act of teleporting directly killing me while in mortal form is low… but it's not zero. I very well could kill myself right now by a stupid mistake. Wouldn't that be funny? A once-immortal demigod killing himself with a magic that he's practiced for 2 thousand years."

Rigel clenched his teeth and steeled himself before initiating the teleport. He could feel the vast amount of mana coursing through his body ravage every cell it touched, but focused his consciousness on the act of commanding the mana to compress his body and shooting him upwards.

As he did, Rigel could feel his body ripping apart and condensing into a minuscule 2d object momentarily before miraculously appearing 25 feet above where he was just before. Rigel felt excruciating pain ravish his mortal frame and wailed out loud in sheer anguish and agony, but he still managed to grab onto the hole's edge and pull himself up onto the surface.

Laid out across the ground, he coughed. With it, blood flew out of his mouth and onto the arid earth.

Rigel writhed amuck across the ground, spasming uncontrollably unintentionally. He couldn't focus his vision on anything around him or inspect his own condition.

"Eureka!" he managed to scream out. "Help!"

With Rigel's last bit of unused energy used, he went back to rolling and flailing like someone who had just received one hundred thousand volts of electricity, then passed out from shock and exhaustion.