Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volume 1 - Chapter 4 - It's never too late for revenge

Ouch... wait, I'm alive? How did I get here?

I, Mikhal Donavic, was sent from the Sardon War Council as part of a group of 3 to request aid from Feia. Even though they can't even be call a city-state, their guards have the most combat experience among our allies since they frequently deal with wild beasts out in the frontier. I wouldn't be ashamed to say that we wouldn't be able to take over the town without losing the majority of our force.

The war among the Immortals have escalated to the point that they started taking over [Keep]s and [Fort]s in Sardon Kingdom's western border without the kingdom's consent. Their fight for ownership of the wilderness there have spread and it seems they hold little regards to the lives of Sardonians. Since the emergence of immortals 6 years ago, [Dungeon]s that were deemed impassable have been successfully cleared. According to rumours, there has been only 2 low level [Dungeon]s that were cleared by the immortals. But the treasures from the [Rabbit's Den] and [Arachnid Hell], with their subsequent harvests, sent immortals and royalties alike in the northern part of the continent into a frenzy. It seems we are cursed with one near our borders.

I was on my way from the capital, Ashentor, before getting chased by two Immortal raiders, my seniors had likely perished holding off those immortals. I must have taken the wrong turn at the crossroads while escaping and fainted from my wounds.


"God damn it Bell! Take it easy on me!"

I sit up from the bed I'm on and look out the window.

"«Elemental Dance»! «Surge»!"

*buo dohyu dohyu buwasha-*

A fiery looking cat monster seems to be attacking a young hunter. It swings continuously with a long wooden staff before... faint images of flame, ice, wind, metal and earth tinged by a red aura appears each time the hunter dodge the strikes by a hair's breath. That's until the cat monster... sprayed a wall of water? I pinch my cheek and rub my eyes. Aren't red cat monsters supposed to use fire? Has the world's logic left me? Or did I lose my mind when I fell off my horse?

"And this is an example of 'the best defense is a good offense', all of you know how fast and quickly Rick-sensei can dodge, especially when Bell-sensei goes to knock on his head, right?"

A chorus of laughter follows... are there children here? A young looking minotaur hands a towel to the soaked hunter. I pinch myself again. Aren't minotaurs sought after as guards for nobles? I heard some countries even forcefully enslave them by holding their family hostage. My cheek is still hurting, so I can't be dreaming.

"Had that been a fire-based attack instead, Rick-sensei would be treating us to a BBQ right about now."

Another chorus of laughter fills the air as the hunter wipes himself down.

"Since Rick-sensei can evade Bell-sensei's strikes easily, she has to attack continuously to force him to keep reacting and then surprise him with an wide-area attack. Had she backed off, what would have happened?

Isn't that too reckless? It is completely different from what was taught in the [Barracks]. I can't see the figure, so I decides to move toward the window. There's a dull pain in my right shoulder, oh right... I was cut there by a scimitar, wasn't I? It has been properly bandaged, so it seems like I was treated for the wound.

"Rick-sensei would have kept shooting from a distance and wear her down."
A youthful, high pitched voice replies, it looks like the young pointed ear child --is that a light alf?-- was the one who gave the answer. Now that I look closely, there is about two dozen or so children and youths sitting in a group. All are demihumans of some sorts, it would fill a lower nobleman with jealousy... or a slave-merchant with glee.

"Correct! When you are fighting an enemy capable of long range attack, either run away or keep closing on them without letting up. Always make sure that you either have an advantage or the enemy has a disadvantage, it's okay to run away if you can't win. Remember, if you die, that's it, if you live, you can always fight again another day."

"Oooooohhh!" All the children replies with gusto.

"Why don't you spar with Bell for once instead of just talking all the time?" The one that seems to be Rick-sensei says it in good humour, there's a little smile on his face.

The fiery looking cat monster is actually a woman, her body has shrunk a bit. She turns toward the one doing the instructing, a short-haired young man, and gives a shrug.
The man seems to reply in the same way. He's an average looking man, he looks even weaker than the young hunter, there's no way he can win.

Strangely enough, all the children sat straight and look at the two attentively. The two space themselves apart before the hunter walks between them with the towel he was using. The catwoman is still using a long staff. The short-haired man seems to be using a wooden shortsword and baton, with the shortsword leading in front in his left hand.

"Ready? Start!" The hunter swings the towel down and backs away.

Strange, the catwoman isn't rushing this time, but slowly circles the man. Whenever the man starts to approach, she would thrust or swing her staff, keeping him at bay. The man occasionally have to block the staff with both weapons when he can't evade fast enough. Even then, it looks like he would be flying off his feet at any moment.

"«Backslide»! «Stardust»!"

The man slides backward as though he's gliding and then a dense cloud of firefly-like specks of light surrounds his shortsword.

"Trying to go long range? I won't let you! RRAA! «Pump Up»! «Elemental Dance»!"

The catwoman seems to increase in size, the same way she looked when she sprayed that wall of water at the young hunter. She rushes up in front of the man while spinning her staff within a blink of an eye. It seems like it's the man's loss.

Unexpectedly, the man managed a quick cross block with both of his weapons before pushing it down to his right. The shortsword glides along the staff, heading straight for the catwoman's leading hand. She was quick to notice, dropping her left hand, going with the force of the parry, the fiery cat-like thing swung left, whipping her right leg right at the man's head with a roundhouse. Which he back off away from immediately, slightly before his sword can reach her.

The cloud of light on the man's sword is mostly gone now, whatever plan he had wouldn't likely to succeed now. Their distance is merely a few step away. I expect the fight to end soon.

"«Nya nya nya nya nya, NYAA»(Elemental Blade - Water)! "

Five blades of water flies toward the man in quick succession from her staff before dashing after them. It looks like she is intending to finish the man off... but... did... did the man just smirked?

The man unexpectedly dashes towards the blades of water, is he insane?


A cloudburst of light suddenly emits from the catwoman's staff, briefly blinding her which causes her to block the light with a paw. The blades of water sudden slows down and even seems to be heading backward toward her.

"«NNNYYYYYYAAAAA»(Elemental Blade - Chorus Strike)!!"

She reacts extremely quickly and swings the staff in an overhand strike , absorbing the blades of water and the cloud of dazzling light almost completely and sends an even larger blade of water forward. The man had already sidestepped to her right when she was blinded, so her strike is meaningless. The man swings his sword, stops suddenly, then gently place his sword on the catwoman's neck. The large blade of water bursts in the distance behind him.

"Holy shit..."

The young hunter have a funny looking expression as though his mouth has become a cavern. The children cheers while the catwoman shrinks down a little in size before falling flat on her back, completely outstretched, giving off a hearty laughter. The man withdraws his sword and baton, smiling.

"Why is she... laughing after getting defeated? What's with those attacks? These are... monsters... all of them are monsters..."

"Monsters? Where?" Asks a voice next to me.

I nearly jumped out of my skin seeing the pale, translucent blue-haired, expressionless little girl standing next to me.

* * * * *

"He claims to be a Sardonian messenger on his way to Feia and was attacked by some users during his journey. Should we believe him?"

Till nods at Rick, "his uniform is definitely from the Sardonian Intelligence corps, and it was true that he was attacked."

"I only saw one attacker though," Bell says with a frown.

"I already blew one away before you got there."

The group turns toward the girl, at the unexpected report, as well as her cold tone of voice.

"Let's ask why he's heading to Feia." Kun breaks the awkward silence.

The group is chatting in a chatroom with De'muel and Mak'ra listening in. The confused looking blonde boy with blue eyes look around the conference room with curiosity as they continue their discussion. The chatroom feature of the users allowed invited people to chat within a secure bubble where sound will be prevented from leaking out, the range is somewhat limited though.

Walking out of the confine of the chatroom, Rick orders the messenger into the chatroom. "Get in here, boy, we need ask you some things."

The blonde boy stares at Rick with a frown, "I'm no boy, I have already been granted the adult name of Mikhal." It's common practice for the people of Zrewheig, at least for the humans, to have a childhood name and an adult name when they reach the age of 13. When one gets an adult name, it's expected that they will act like an adult, and be received as such.

"Until you have some facial hair or some hair down there, you are going to be a boy to me, now get your ass in there before I kick it in for you." Rick had helped Bell in treating his wounds, so he actually know that for a fact.

Mikhal's face turns red, from a mixture of shame, anger, humiliation and angst. He reluctantly walk toward the center table in the conference room. The youth in front of him was able to mostly dodge that monster's attack, he figured it wouldn't be wise to agitate him. Especially since it seems like they saved his life.

"... do it this way."

The boy is surprised when he approached the table, he couldn't hear anything when he was sitting on the sofa. But there seems to be a full blown discussion going on.

"Have a seat... What should we call you?"

"Mikhal is fine."

"Okay, have a seat, Mikhal." Kun is doing most of the talking since he appears to be the most average of everyone there.


"Tea?" Mak'ra offers a cup as Mikhal sits down on a chair.

He gingerly take the cup as he stares at the small antlers on top of the demihuman's head.


Kun gives a cough to draws the staring boy's attention.

"Now Mikhal, why were you being attacked by Dawn's Moonlight?"

"They were from Dawn's Moonlight? That would certainly explain it."
The boy absentmindedly sip a little of the tea, the intensely sharp and refreshing flavour causes him to snap his head up. He slowly take another sip before realizing the expectant look from everyone in the room, waiting for him to continue.

"As everyone know, the immortal guilds of Dawn's Moonlight and the Monochrome Blades are vying for supremacy in the Field of Ashes. The Sardon kingdom had suffered indignation after indignation. We were sent to gather help from our allies and neighbours to push those two immortal guilds out of our territories."

Bell, Kun and Rick all look at each other meaningfully.

"They are at war?"
"When did this happen?"


The group bombards Mikhal for the next hour or so with questions after questions, squeezing every bit of outside news they can. In return, the boy also asks questions of his own. Although they have kept somewhat updated with the internet forums and newsgroups, exact details are hard to determine since one would need to be a member of a given guild to gain access to some of the more sensitive information.

The news they've gathered are general news that the average user would know. But they did managed to learn that other [Novice]s and the basic [Class]es aside from [Mage] don't have the option to learn {Magic}, at least there are no mentions of it. As a matter of fact, there's no mention of anything about mana aside from MP, INT's and WIS' affect on it, and the various spells that [Mage]s and their advanced version can use. So this mean they have discovered a secret among secrets for mana in general.

They had developed their own [Skill]s by combining their knowledge and understanding of the books left by the headmistress before testing it in the forest. «Elemental Dance» for example was based on the «Elemental Blade» series of attack from the advanced [Warrior] class of [Elemental Blademaster]. This class is able to add Metal, Wood, Water, Fire or Earth attributes to their attacks. But instead of continuously using MP to produce a new effect for each strike, «Elemental Dance» uses the residual mana and aftereffects from the previous strike to produce the next element's effect. When used successively in a combo, the mana cost is reduced significantly while dealing massive damage. This is because there's nothing recorded out there with complete elemental resistance, additionally, each element can cause certain status effects upon a successful strike.

Aside from just [Skill], there's also [Growth] and [Magic]. Till had focused almost exclusively on [Magic], while Bell was able to learn how to use [Growth] alongside [Skill], and Kun dabbled in all three. Rick, seeing all the shiny new toys everyone else got, decided to learn as well, he's further behind than everyone else, but at least he's able to enchant his arrows before firing them. They intend to act as though they are advanced class users with hidden classes when they go out of the [Forest of Illusions]. Bell the [Elemental Warrior], Kun the [Master Appraiser], Rick the [Trickster] and Till the [Storm Mage].

With the safeguards in place, they intended to venture out to recruit some new students. That was the plan anyways, until the sudden rescue they had to perform for Mikhal. This, however, is an unexpected gift, for both parties.

Having a non-user with some first hand experience of the situation would prove extremely useful. For one, users tends to ignore non-users since they are NPCs according to the system's manual. Aside from quests and buying/selling, they serve little to no purpose. As such, they are ignored completely unless users wants something from them. So their information can be extremely reliable.

On the other hand, having other immortals sharing ideas and thoughts from their perspective may very well reduce casualties on Sardon's side. So the exchange of information was rapid, detailed and concise. Which also leads to more tea... that Mikhal downs faster than Mak'ra can brew.

The end result was, Mikhal can go request help from Feia once he's healthy enough to travel. Since his horse is likely dead in the forest, one will be provided to him. In exchange, he has to make a {Blood Oath} that will keep him silent about finding the academy until one of the four has deemed enough time has passed.

This way, Mikhal can complete his mission. The group on the other hand will be able to make a plan to bring [Monochrome Blades] down, and if possible, [Dawn's Moonlight] as well. The first guild took advantage of Bell, Kun and Rick. They still shudder at the thought of logging into their own dissection. The latter guild started the fight with them.

They would have ignored [Dawn's Moonlight], but its guildmember had attacked Till. The armour fragments that Bell brought back had radiant moon emblems on some of its parts. There were high-grade guild-tier [Berserker Potion]s and [Healing Potion]s as well, if Bell hadn't killed the raider in one go, he might have used those potions to turn the table on her.

The group, along with the De'muel and Mak'ra, continues their planning while Mikhal returns to the infirmary to recuperate, with a pot of tea of course.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the chapter!
    Well that awesome that they can use magic even though their classes aren't mages.


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