Benei stilled his mind with a deep breath, lungs expanding, stomach rising, fear expelling from his body in slow waves as he exhaled. He thought of Master Chen Khong’s achievement of true emptiness, and momentarily wished his own karma had been stillness. Alas, he was meant for less humble, more worldly achievements. When all was said and done, regardless of the outcome, Benei would be a hero. The long years of his life, his endless practices and studies demanded it.
Another breath, full of resignation, and he lifted his foot onto the first step. The hard shell of the demon’s chitinous armor clattered across stone as it skittered closer to the monolith and let out a warning cry. Benei exhaled, and climbed another step.