As Zero and Agnis entered the royal library, they noticed that it was brightly lit with glowing yellow orbs that danced magically in the air. Rows upon rows of neatly shelved books were kept clean. Each was in alphabetical order from by authors. Many colored banners lightly flapped overhead. They directed the people to the many categories available.
Overhead moving bridges criss-crossed over each other and connected to different levels. Hundreds of old magical books and relics were safely displayed behind force fields. The magical books and relics flared to life when people walked past them, causing people to stop and marvel at their contents. But the most spectacular sight was the six overshadowing marble statues that were inside the Royal Library arranged in a perfect circle. Each statue blended into the structure, supporting the roof with no other columns visible. They were the six heroes who had saved their races during the dark ages.
The first was a human male with a bastard sword raised to the ceiling. His gleaming white feathery armor and his hawk-like helmet covered the majority of his face and body. A large red garnet was embedded in his armored chest. On the foot of his statue was a plaque with his name written on it: Our beloved leader Drake.
To the left of the human male statue was a human female with a petite circular face. She was shorter, and her long wavy hair was pulled down to one side. It flowed seamlessly around her armored dress. A large round emerald glittered on the top of her oak staff, which she held near her heart as if it was precious to her. Her face looked out with concern. Her name was Lulu.
Not too far from her was an identical face, a twin female with hair cut short to her chin-line. Her face smirked with a mischievous attitude as she held onto a guitar with her right hand and a tambourine with her left. Two large citrine crystals were embedded into her instruments. Her puffy pants and her skintight top overlaid with chain mail hugged tightly against her body, showing off her curves. Her name was Lilith.
An ugly looking troll was next to Lilith. His sharp teeth protruded out of his mouth, which was set in a fierce grin, and a mohawk flowed down from the center of his head to his back. His right eye was covered with a patch, which had a black skull design with diamond jewels embedded into the eyes. He had a slightly hunched back and large feet that looked like he could easily trip over them. Zero could almost see the rough texture of the slight bumps on the troll’s skin. The troll’s name was Cello.
Next to the troll was a short dwarf with a bushy beard. His helmet covered half of his face, and three horns protruded out of it. The dwarf was heavily covered from head to toe in Viking-like armor. His oversized hammer was set standing next to him and his stubby fingers wrapped around it. On the side of his hammer were two large sapphires entwined with sharp, intricate designs. His name was Konnor.
The final statue that completed the circle was a male elf. His tall, elegant stature stood out proudly from all the races. Long hair was pulled back into a ponytail. His armor looked as if it was delicately made with care and love. Out of all the other heroes, he was the tallest. He did not raise his sword that was sheathed in his belt nor hold onto a shield. Instead his right hand was over his chest with an amethyst jeweled dagger. It glistened deep purple as light radiated off it. His name was Samuel.
Both Zero and Agnis walked towards the center of the library, looking with wonderment at what they saw. Agnis continually shook Zero as she pointed out different things, while Zero’s jaw dropped with bewilderment.
“Look!” exclaimed Agnis as she shook Zero hard on his shoulder. “Oh wow. Can you believe that? There are actual flying paper cranes!” she said excitedly. “I remember making one of those when I was a child. I wonder what they are for?” She snatched up one of the paper cranes that were passing by her. Zero looked over her shoulder with curiosity.
Agnis began to read it out loud, “Dear Sarah, Did you know I tasted heaven? It’s true. I tasted heaven the day I met you. And when we made love, you sent me flying, dancing on the clouds while the stars sent down their loving light to shine upon us….” Her voice became quieter and quieter as she kept reading the letter, and her cheeks burned rosy red. She cleared her throat.
“It’s a letter to someone. I suggest we don’t open them up. It’s personal.” She didn’t explain any further. Zero understood as he too looked away blushing. He gulped.
“Let’s get on with our quest. I need to find Librarian Garrett.”
“Sure,” she replied quickly. She let go of the crane to let it fly away.
They continued on as they both arrived at the center of the atrium. He noticed a large block of stone bathing in the sunlight coming from the windows. Golden letters were deeply engraved in the stone, radiating a warm light.
To our six lights that brought us out of the darkness. May you always bring us hope. Your deeds will never be forgotten.
“The six heroes,” Agnis said with interest. “They saved the fire continent from the days of darkness. I wish I could meet them.”
“Yeah, me too.” Zero stopped for a moment and looked at the elf statue. “That elf reminds me of Zeraph.” Zero chuckled as he pointed at the statue of the elf hero.
“Strangely enough, you’re right.” She grinned. “He does have a bit of an arrogant demeanor; it wouldn’t be strange if one day Zeraph was made into a statue like that.” She giggled. “Anyways, he said he’s in the library somewhere and will meet up with us when he’s done.”
“Alright. Sounds good to me.”
A tall looking humanoid white rabbit walked over towards them. It was wearing a butler suit and a glass monocle over his left eye. He stopped and he looked upon them with an arrogant attitude.
“How may I help you?” The rabbit puffed up its chest as his hands were folded behind him.
“Uh.” Zero stared at the rabbit in surprise. “Agnis, it’s a talking bunny.” He elbowed her.
“I’m not a bunny. I’m a proud member of the Lunar Rabbit race.” The rabbit snorted in discontent. “If you will excuse me, I have more important things to do than babysit a child,” the rabbit coldly scoffed at Zero. He turned around to leave.
“I’m sorry, sir. Excuse my partner. He didn’t mean to offend you. It’s not every day we would see someone like you,” Agnis quickly replied before the large rabbit could go. “I’m Agnis and this is Zero.”
The large rabbit slowly turned around, stood up straight, and looked down upon them with his head held up high.
“Well. It seems there are still some people who are polite,” grumbled the rabbit as he looked down upon Zero with disdain. “My name is Reth. I am the head Royal Librarian. What may I help you with?”
“I’m looking for the book on the Ancient History of the Lotus and Zero here is looking for a Librarian Garrett,” said Agnis carefully, trying not to offend the rabbit.
“Librarian Garrett, that old insane fool must still be researching that same subject. How long has it been since he started doing this? Ten years? No. Twenty years of his life wasted,” said Reth with a mocking voice. His large foot thumped in displeasure. Zero couldn’t take his eyes off the rabbit’s foot and was thinking about many different ways to silence it. Would dropping one of the books stop that annoying tap? I wonder what lunar rabbit would taste like, he pondered. A couple more thoughts crossed his mind. He wondered what it would be like to go hunting after giant rabbits. But he shook himself out of his thoughts to pay attention.
“He will be on the third floor in the section of lost history. You can’t miss him. You’ll know what I mean,” said Reth in irritation, rolling his eyes. He turned towards Agnis and gave her a gentlemanly smile.
“Ah, the Ancient History of the Lotus. Please come this way. You have chosen an interesting book to read. There are thousands of different variations of its contents written by different authors, but there is only one original,” he purred. He directed Agnis towards her destination.
Seriously? What kind of hospitality is this! thought Zero. He couldn’t believe this rude treatment as he watched them walk off. Shaking his head with discontent, he turned and headed towards Garrett.
Passing through shelves of books, he walked up the marble stairs. Its pristine clean marble sparkled with every step. Does that stupid rabbit use its tail to clean the dust off? Or maybe it rolls around on the ground sweeping up dirt with its fur. Maybe next time I should use him to clean up the place, he deviously thought. His arrogant attitude did need a bit of cleaning up. Zero chuckled and continued plotting out different ways to use Reth as a cleaning tool.
He arrived at the third floor. Rows upon rows of bookshelves were neatly kept clean and organized. More large rabbits wearing butler or maid clothes were cleaning up the bookshelves with dustpans. He thought he saw a couple of them cleaning with their fluffy tails, but just as quickly as he noticed them, they disappeared.
He blinked a couple of times, trying to see if anything was wrong with his eyes.
“I must be seeing things…Anyways, where could he be?” muttered Zero as he scanned for the librarian Garrett. From left to right all he saw were neatly organized shelves of books, but just when he was about to scan through the place again, he noticed books spilled over to the side in a back corner. A couple more tumbled over. They landed softly with a thump. He curiously peered over. What he saw astounded him. It was a complete mess. His hands twitched with his desire to clean up.
Rows of books fell over and slid down on top of each other. An old brown rabbit with a short goatee was heavily covered in a variety of papers. His broken monocle dangled out of his top pocket. The books around him were innumerable, from tiny pamphlets to enormous old tomes.
“Gah! These doggone papers. I just stacked them an hour ago,” grumbled the old rabbit as he began to sort through them again. Papers kept fluttering down in front of him and he tried to catch them. Zero walked over and helped pick up the scattered books and papers.
“That prick of a head librarian. He could have sent someone to help me decipher these texts if he had half an idea how important my work is. But nooooooo, maintaining cleanliness and order is his priority.” The old rabbit mocked Reth as he tussled around papers. A couple more books fell onto the floor.
“The young’uns these days don’t understand the value of knowledge. Cleanliness? Pyah. Our proud noble race has been reduced to housekeeping. If our ancestors saw this they would be ashamed! If I get my hands on—” The old rabbit was cut short as he noticed Zero standing in front of him with a stack of his books. “And you are?” The old rabbit put on his broken monocle and squinted at Zero.
“My name is Zero. Are you Garrett by any chance?” Zero moved around the old rabbit, trying to reach the desk that was already littered with dozens of books. He placed the stack gently on top and carefully pulled back.
“Yes. I’m he. How may I help you?” Garrett asked, wary of the new predicament that was before him. “If you came here by Reth’s order, tell him I’m not moving from this spot.” His tail pushed over a stack of books while he was shuffling around more papers. Zero watched bewildered at the clumsiness of this rabbit. He even watched as Garrett’s tail dipped into a steaming hot coffee that was lying on top of the books.
“Gahh!” Garrett tossed the papers in his hands into the air. “Dang coffee. Who put that there?” Garrett rubbed his scraggy tail and shook it. Brown blotches of coffee stains flicked onto the pristine white papers.
“Dang it. Look at what I’ve done.” Garrett waved his hands in discontent.
“Uh. Sir?” Zero tried hard not to laugh.
“Yeah? What is it?” said Garrett with displeasure in his voice. His large foot stepped around a pile of papers that looked like it was about to tip over.
“I’m not from Reth. I actually came here to deliver something to you. Also, if you know anything about Drezo…” Zero thought for a second, trying to remember the name. He snapped his fingers a couple of times and scrunched up his forehead.
“Ah. Yes. Drezo Regalia.” Zero’s eyes snapped open.
“What did you say?” Garrett turned around slowly, his interest piqued.
“Drezo Regalia.” Zero repeated louder than before. Does he have hearing problems too? thought Zero. He was a clumsy rabbit with hearing problems, not a combination that he wanted to deal with.
“Drezo Regalia. Drezo…Regalia.” Garrett rolled the words on his tongue, trying to remember something. “That name seems so familiar. It’s on top of my head…” Garrett mumbled as he paced back and forth. He thumped one long foot on the ground.
“I swear I’ve heard that from somewhere. Could it be some kind of item? No, that doesn’t sound right,” murmured Garrett as he scratched his head. His ears flopped over to one side.
“This is from Tyrell at Tino’s Egg Shop. He said that you might be able to decipher it.” Zero rummaged in his bag as he handed the torn page to Garrett. Garrett read through it quickly.
“Hohoho! I can’t believe this. This is the missing information that I’ve been searching for.” Garrett tapped the papers with his hands as he excitedly went over to his desk. Rummaging through the drawers, he pushed aside the books that were lying on top of it. Stacks of books and papers fell off to the ground. Zero side-stepped out of harm’s way and Garrett pulled out a large book from the shelf next to him.
Zero glanced at Garrett as if he was crazy. Now he knew why anyone would be upset about cleaning up after him. He just created a new mess right after it was clean.
“Look here. This stands for fire. This means water.” Garrett’s fingers pointed from the torn page to another open book. He looked upon Zero with an ecstatic face.
“Boy, did you know what you just found?” Garrett smiled from ear to ear.
“Uh…a torn page?” Zero said, unsure of the question. He didn’t know if he should entertain this senile fool or just leave right that second so he wouldn’t get caught up with anything else.
“Very funny, kid. It’s the lost history of this city. It states here…” Garrett motioned Zero over to see. Zero carefully walked over the stacked books while he tried not to tip them over.
“Here. It talks about the heroes that slayed the tyrannical ruler of the City of Terra. His reign was so atrocious that the time period became known as the fallen ages. Cannibalism was rampant when the king ruled. They called him the Cannibal King, because he slew his enemies and ate their hearts to gain everlasting life. But it doesn’t end there. Upon the king’s death, the six heroes were cursed to live a wretched life. What happened to them is unknown.” Garrett stroked his goatee, thinking about what he found.
“It doesn’t make sense.” Garrett paced back and forth. Zero looked at him questioningly. He wasn’t sure where Garrett was going with this. “How could the heroes go missing? They were known throughout the Fire Continent.” Garrett’s thoughts were engrossed in the information he was given. Just as quickly as he began pacing back and forth, he stopped.
“What do you mean, the Cannibal King?” asked Zero. It was a topic that piqued his interest. Cannibalism was not much heard of these days.
“Ah yes, the king who devoured his enemies. The reason was to gain their strength, power, and immortality. He was so deathly afraid of someone stealing his arts that he killed anyone who challenged him. Somewhere along the line, he took it too far and started to believe that by eating them he would gain their power and life.”
Zero balked at the thought of someone eating someone else. There were still parts of the real world where small groups practiced cannibalism. He wasn’t so sure if he wanted to meet someone like that any time soon.
“Kid. It seems Tyrell trusts you deeply if he sent you to me. I need you to go to the top floor and get me a book. It’s a very special magic book. It’s called the Record Keeper of Historia. Bring that to me, and don’t get caught by Reth. That aggravating son of a—” Garrett stopped himself from going any further. Zero looked upon him with curiosity.
“Ahem. Just bring me that book. By then I should remember something about this Drezo Regalia. The entrance to the top floor is next to the giant reptile skeleton,” said Garrett. He cleared his throat and continued to mumble to himself about the torn page that he was given.
Meet with the librarian GarrettBring back the book Record Keeper of Historia from the top floor of the Royal Library.
Difficulty Level: D
Reward: Unknown. Possibly a book?
Failure: Tino will not give you any more quests and your association with him will fall tremendously.
Zero quickly nodded and left. He power-walked off towards his destination.
“I can’t stand being around him for too long—I’m already itching to clean up after him,” he muttered. He now understood why Reth did not like him. It was the mess that Garrett made.
As Zero got further away from Garrett, he slowed down and enjoyed his stroll around the library. There were many things that caught his attention. He stopped and looked upon the ancient artifacts and books. It was like he was a child again in a candy store. He wanted to try so many flavors that he didn’t know where to begin.
“Wow, is that earthquake magic?” Zero’s eyes piqued with interest as he walked towards the ancient artifacts encased in glass. He had his hands on the glass as he looked through it enthusiastically. Large scale elemental magic that affected the environment was rare to see, especially if it affected an area on a grand scale. Such abilities cost a lot of mana and had a high casting time. Even the cool down time took a while. He knew that right now he did not meet the requirements to even be able to learn such skills. Truthfully not even one of the players in Noriene had learned such grand scale magic nor was it heard of yet. Right now the magic on display was nothing in comparison to the legends he’d heard. The one on display was just a prototype of the legendary skills.
A passing group of children loudly talked amongst themselves about their assignment. Zero turned his head. He noticed them following a female rabbit as she explained the ancient history of the relics. The teacher chastised them, and they quietly followed after her. Small magical paper cranes whizzed past him as they delivered messages to their recipients.
What kind of magic did they use to make these? Zero thought as he watched the paper cranes fly past him. He hadn’t seen these cranes in the city. Why is it that it only works in this library and not anywhere else? He continued to ponder as he watched them.
This could easily help with the mailing system around the city. It would be cheaper to send things from one to another, but the privacy could be a problem. He wondered why the King hadn’t implemented the system into the city. It was a brilliant way to save money. He won’t have to pay for the delivery of mail, just someone to enchant the birds to a specific sender. But there are couples of problems with that, from weather to possible interception. If it was up to him, he would find different ways to make this more profitable and efficient. It would less man power to send everyday mail throughout the kingdom and use his skills that he earned through the possible new job he was going to gain.
He continued on his way to his destination, and at the end of the hallway to the right, Zero noticed a giant reptilian dinosaur skeleton. Its large teeth gleamed evilly and its jaws were opened wide, looming over the spectators. It kind of reminded him of a merge between a pterodactyl and a T-Rex. It was something he would never want to meet in real life. Upon looking at it for a while it did remind him of a wyvern. Next to the giant skeleton, he noticed a small door the size of a child.
It was a peculiar single door. It did not feel out of place; it reminded him of a utility box that he had at home. The brown wooden door looked worn and old. Already he could see it slightly hanging off the edge of the copper hinges. Players and NPCs passed by it without a second thought as they continued on their daily routines. He was surprised by how people completely missed the door behind the giant bones and continued onwards.
Glancing around, he casually walked towards the door and picked up a book off the shelf. He did not want to look or act suspicious by hanging around too long at the door. He took his chance and quietly walked towards it with ease. He turned the handle and pushed. Nothing budged.
“It’s locked.” Zero squatted down as he checked to see if anyone was looking. The coast was clear. He pulled out two very thin lock picks that he’d bought awhile back at the blacksmith store. Fiddling around with the lock, he heard a soft click. With one last quick look around him, he pushed it open and entered.
It was a narrow stairway; the low ceiling reached down to his head. It felt like the stairs went on forever as he ascended towards the top floor. A couple of times Zero had to feel around because there were no visible lights. The air felt thin and dry, and he felt as if the walls were coming closer and closer together on him. There were a couple of times when the walls touched both his shoulders.
As he reached the top, he had to squeeze through sideways on the last hurdle. All that stood before him was a small red door. It was the same size as him. Turning the door handle, he gently pushed it open. Out before him lay a wide open space. A high circular dome ceiling was supported by thick wooden beams. In the middle of the room was a platform. On top of it was a gray pedestal with a single book laid open. Soft, light-blue orb lights danced around it as it lit up the room. Even the book had a soft glow that helped light up the surrounding. Zero looked around suspiciously. “This feels like a trap.” He lightly stepped closer to the book. “Doesn’t a game usually have a guardian somewhere or booby traps? It shouldn’t be this easy.” Zero warily moved towards the pedestal.
With each step he took, the blue magic light around the pedestal seemed to glow brighter and brighter. A magical pen automatically wrote down words he did not understand. It wrote in constant speed, and each page turned as it was filled.
He scanned around, looking for any clues of possible danger. He even took an extra step to search all around the pedestal. He did not want to take the chance of being caught in a trap.
Reaching over to pick up the book, with a swoosh of wind the book flipped through thousands of pages. In that brief moment of contact, he saw snippets of scenes of different people’s lives play before him. Their life and death, sadness, and happiness, days he could not describe but understood.
As he continued to watch, a scene of the fat man from the mansion appeared. The fat man’s whole life was played out before him from child to adulthood. Zero saw the twist of unfortunate events that took the fat man down the path of self-destruction: the betrayal of friends and loved ones, being captured and tortured to death, and at the last moment being saved by the vampire Dion in which he gave his eternal loyalty of servitude, bonding them together through a contract. Dion was his savior and master that twisted his heart to complete blackness.
As the years went on, the once young man’s eyes and heart turned cold with hate. His body bloated from the wealth of food that he was given, and then his path began towards the torture of his captives. Then finally he encountered Zero, who killed him to end his atrocities. When this vision was done, the book closed and the pen stashed away inside the book.
“Did I just see that? How?” Zero looked upon the book with interest. What he saw was a personal in-depth history of the fat man’s life. He had not wanted to see it, but now he understood how he had turned out the way he did.
Zero carefully pulled the book off the pedestal. He neatly packed it away in his wrist accessory and left the raised platform. The blue light disappeared and the room dimmed to darkness. He could not see anything in front of him.
“Well, that was easy,” he muttered as he felt his way towards the small door. He was surprised it was this simple.
The whole room shook as something loud and heavy fell onto the ground. Bright red fiery orbs pulsated on as the whole room turned an angry red. Zero’s eyes were wide open in surprise.
“No way. I should’ve known.” Zero slapped his head. “Something this special would always have some kind of guardian. I was just too naive to think it didn’t.” Zero turned around to face his adversary.
A lion-like monster stood in front of him. Its sheer size encompassed him as he looked up at it. It was about the size of an elephant. It let out a deafening roar, and Zero was pushed back as he slammed into the wall. His bones shook and rattled from the bellowing roar.
“I hope the others didn’t hear that,” Zero said with worry. He did not want anyone else to find this place.
Zero shifted into his Origin form. His muscles tensed as they rippled with power. He grew as large as horse; his muscles became sleeker, his fur shorter, and his neck longer. His tail was still sleek and fluffy. He could now allow a small child to ride on his back.
“Everything seems a bit smaller.” Zero blinked in surprise. It’s been awhile since he’d shifted. The last time he had turned was at the Mansion of Dion; lately he had been strengthening his human form to compensate his weak form. So far not much had changed, but it was enough for him to handle the lower-level monsters in the area without his origin form.
Zero was surprised. Everything in his vision looked smaller in comparison to what he was normally used to seeing, but still the lion was larger and taller than him.
With another powerful roar, thousands of snakes fell from the ceiling. They rustled, rattled, and hissed beneath Zero’s feet as he struck down upon them. Already he was feeling a bit woozy from their venomous bites. If he did not take care of this predicament soon, he knew he would die.
Large and small snakes emerged from the littered dead snakes. Dodging their venomous fangs, he snapped at them in the air and ripped them apart with his teeth. But they multiplied like maggots, and he could not keep this up. In a matter of minutes, the room could be full of them. Zero zipped through the snakes as he ran forward toward the lion.
Another blast of an ear-splitting roar pushed Zero back, and he could not move a single step forward.
“Again? Damn it,” growled Zero as he struggled to push forward. With each step he took, numerous blasts of powerful roars were let off. Thousands of hissing snakes snapped at his heels.
“At this rate I am going to die from snake bites.” Zero snapped at a snake that was ready to bite into his back heel.
With one giant inhale of breath, Zero spewed out green noxious gas that stunned the surrounding snakes. He quickly pulled out a small piece of flint and jumped toward the lion. With a flick of his nails on the flint, he ignited the area.
The flaming shockwave pushed the surrounding snakes off the ground, while the others were completely vaporized. No new snakes were made as they dissipated into nothingness. Zero rode the air current towards the lion’s gaping mouth. With claws outstretched, Zero clasped down upon the top of its gaping jaws. His nails dug in deeply, securing his position. The monster flung its head like a captured wild stallion, and it tossed him around like a ragdoll. Grasping down upon it, Zero bit down hard, drawing blue blood. It bucked hard like a bull. He did not let go. It was a life-and-death fight and he was going to win.
Zero’s throat rumbled in a deep growl.
“No way are you getting away,” muttered Zero with fur and skin in his mouth.
A sudden sharp strike came from behind him. It penetrated his skin. Gasping in surprise, he let go. Zero was flung backwards onto the ground and he skidded to a stop against the wall. A large, black, demonic-looking snake appeared as a tail from the lion. From his golden mane a goat face emerged bleating loudly.
“A chimera,” Zero whispered.
With a vicious growl Zero sprang forward into a sprint. He was not going to lose. Weaving in-between its legs like a snake, Zero slashed at its heels. While he was running through, it was getting a bit difficult to dodge between the snapping snakes and the chimera’s claws. Several snakes sank their teeth into him, and he had to yank them out with his teeth.
He could feel the effect of the poison coursing through his veins. His legs shook and gave up on him. In that split moment the chimera pounced on him like a cat and swiped him hard.
Tumbling through the air, he flew across the room. Zero coughed up blood. His eyes gleamed with life. He could feel his side throbbing in pain. Already a couple of patches of fur were gone.
“Tch. This is nothing. I have been through worse than this.” He coughed up more blood.
Steadily getting on his feet, he pulled out small black-colored eggs. They were filled with flint that he had carefully ground into fine powder. It had taken him awhile to fill the eggs, but it was worth it. He was going to try out a new idea he’d thought up a day ago. All he needed to do was to detonate the eggs in his mouth at the right time after he spewed out his noxious gas. He worried about it possibly igniting in his mouth and blowing his brains to smithereens, but for some reason extremely hot things did not damage his mouth.
Gently stuffing the black eggs into his mouth, he carefully arranged the fragile eggs into rows in his cheeks. Right now if he looked in the mirror, he probably looked like a chipmunk that stuffed its mouth full with food.
The chimera and Zero charged forward at each other. They tore through fur and drew blood as they clashed. There were severe slashes on both their bodies, and large bite wounds covered the lion’s head. They tumbled onto the ground trying to get the upper hand. Zero’s aim was to tear off that wretched snake that bit him.
Rolling into a feral frenzy, Zero weaseled out of the chimera’s grasp. He already felt a large bruise forming on his ribs. There were a couple of close calls where the snake almost constricted him to death. He loosened up the hold by furiously tearing at its skin with his jaws. Blue blood matted his black fur around his mouth.
With his claws, he slashed down upon the snake, severing it into two. In a roaring pain, the chimera slammed its paws across his face, and the eggs cracked in his mouth. Without realizing it, he swallowed the pieces of powdered flint into his stomach.
Zero’s eyes widened as he realized what just happened. That was a horrible idea, thought Zero. His mind raced through many scenarios of what could happen next, but it was cut short by his stomach bubbling and gurgling. A noxious smell and smoke escaped through his nose as if his stomach was on fire.
Zero felt bloated and was about to hurl. Luckily his head was aimed towards the chimera. He blew a curtain of fire. The inferno blazed across the chimera’s face, a storm of heat and smoke, burning all over its fur.
He looked upon the blazing chimera with his jaw agape. Zero was stunned.
Before he could give it a second thought, he felt another gurgle in his stomach. With the chance he was given he rushed in and blew another noxious flame onto the chimera. With quick strides he jumped in midair and pulled out small pieces of flint. One after another, like a machine gun, he ignited them and shot them toward the chimera.
The flints made a sound like firecrackers, and then a simultaneous chain reaction of explosions surrounded the chimera. Blue blood and patches of fur flew in every direction. Roaring loudly in pain, the chimera fell on the ground, lifeless. With it last dying breath, its chest caved in on itself as air escaped.
Panting loudly, Zero steadied himself. “That…took…a bit longer…than expected.” He wheezed with every breath. Glancing around, he noticed a small pile of silver coins and monster items: things that he could either sell or use to create or upgrade items. There were also large canine teeth left behind by the dissipating burning carcass.
“Lucky.” Zero whistled in delight. Scampering around like a cockroach, he quickly picked up the treasures and stashed them away.
“That was a workout.” Zero wiped his sweat with his paw. He was satisfied with the outcome. Not only that, he leveled up three times. It was a great exercise. He didn’t expect that being over level one hundred would make things this much easier. It was time to get back to Garrett.
Zero pulled out the book with his paw and then gripped it in his jaw. He was only a couple of feet away from Garrett. Walking through the small passageway was a lot easier than when he was in his human form. A lot of players and NPCs stared at him while he was walking around in the library, and the rabbits were bent on kicking him out, but he dodged them.
Zero walked up to Garrett who was sitting in between the towers of books. Garrett’s gaze was completely focused on the book that he was reading. Zero trotted up towards Garrett and dropped the book in front of him. With a loud thump, it landed perfectly between Garrett’s legs. Zero sat down and looked up at him.
Garrett stopped what he was doing and adjusted his monocle. “A dog?” He peered at Zero.
“It’s me, Zero.”
“Is that really you? You look different. I swear I thought you were a human the last time I saw you.” Zero’s fur was missing in a couple of patches, but he didn’t look too bad. A couple of cuts and blemishes, and a lightly bruised eye—it had been awhile since he’d gotten this beaten up. Zero ears flopped over as he tilted his head.
“You look quite beat up.” Garrett looked upon Zero with a smile.
“Yeah. Well, you didn’t tell me there was a chimera guarding the place.” Zero pushed the book in front of Garrett. He was a bit annoyed that such vital information was not relayed to him. Possibly a good smack on his face would wake this senile rabbit, he thought.
“I’m surprised you succeeded. Most people would die upon meeting the chimera,” said Garrett, surprised. He carefully picked up the book from the ground.
“So you’re saying you sent me on a death run knowing there was a chance I could die? Wouldn’t a little bit of a warning be of some help?” said Zero, annoyed.
“No. It was a test to see if you could pass. And you did splendidly.” Garrett adjusted his broken monocle again. He peered toward Zero with interest and got up. He walked carefully around him to examine him.
“Ah, yes. Now I remember. Drrrezo Rrregalia,” said Garrett, rolling his Rs. “I read about it somewhere a long time ago. Drezo Regalia is what you are,” he said with glee.
“Wait. I’m Drezo Regalia? It wasn’t a job?” Zero raised his eyebrows. He thought he was going to get a cool-sounding job.
“A job?” said Garrett, appalled, “You call Drezo Regalia a job? This is your race we are talking about. You are the last remaining individual of an ancient race of humanoid dragons.”
Zero mouth fell open. “Wait. A dragon? Do you see me as a dragon? I’m a fluffy creature. Where are my scales? My wings? I thought I was a werewolf or a giant fox-dog.” Zero pulled on his skin to show him his fur with his paw and danced around to look at his back.
“Did you breathe your first fire? You should be that age right now.” Garrett inspected Zero closely. Zero stopped what he was doing and looked at Garrett with wide eyes.
“Actually, I just did a while ago up at the top floor. I almost choked on flint,” said Zero. His paws went up to his throat, hoping he didn’t singe off patches of his fur.
“Flint you say.” Garrett poked at Zero’s stomach and then lifted his chin from left to right. He brushed his hands on Zero’s fur as he let go.
“Interesting,” murmured Garrett as he raised Zero’s paws over his head. “Look at this.” He lifted Zero’s chest fur. “You have a small crystal growing on the middle of your chest, hidden underneath your coat.” A golf-ball-sized crystal grew on his chest. It was an interesting mixture of black and gold swirling constantly together in a pattern. Garrett lightly tapped it with his fingers. It softly glowed golden.
“Interesting. Very interesting.” Garrett tapped at it a couple more times. The crystal glowed brighter, pulsating like a heartbeat. “I must say this is truly unusual. I wonder what it is?” Garrett continued to tap at it harder. His face inched closer to it, trying to see what it would do. As he tapped it once more, the crystal fell off Zero’s chest and hit the ground. A single pure sound echoed out.
“What did you do?!” gasped Zero, flabbergasted at Garrett’s actions. His paws wildly patted at his chest. He felt an empty cavity where the golden black crystal had been.
“I’m going to die!” Zero swooned. He tried to steady himself. He stumbled around like a drunkard and fell. He thought he was already seeing the end of his life flashing before his eyes.
“Oh, quit your whining. I don’t see death upon you,” declared Garrett as he rolled his eyes. He hunched over and picked up the crystal.
“How do you know I’m not dying?” Zero eyes widened. He quickly sat up. His ears perked up and he looked upon Garrett as if he was crazy. He wished this insane rabbit would make sense for once.
“I can see when someone is going to die. Right now there is nothing. You’re healthy as a buck.” Garrett dismissed him. He closely examined the stone that he picked up.
“Fascinating. It’s truly fascinating. If you don’t mind I would like to study this crystal more. I will surely give it back the next time you come by. It might take a bit of time though.” Garrett’s eyes sparkled with the possibility to find out something new.
“Are you sure I won’t die?” Zero looked at him suspiciously. He knew this old rabbit was a loony, but after checking his status menu there wasn’t any difference in his health or mana. It was like it was meant to fall off.
“Yes. Yes,” Garrett quickly said. He twirled it under the light. Dazzling sparkles of gold and black light cascaded down upon the floor. Garrett turned towards Zero with a wide grin.
“I wonder if you have more.” Garrett’s stepped towards him as if he was some new specimen that he had to decipher.
Just as he was about to pick up Zero’s tail, Zero yelled out, “Hey! Hands off.” Giving him an evil glare, Zero snatched it out of Garrett’s hands. Zero held onto his fluffy tail and stroked it. Nobody was going to come near him to check him from behind. He did not like how dogs sniffed his behind when he was in his origin form. He’d had to whack a couple of them away from him in the past.
“After you find out what it is, you need to tell me right away. Got it?” Zero asked with a bit of suspicion. That small crystal was a part of him. He was a bit worried that it might be something like his heart, or worse, a part of it. He shuddered. “Let me look at it.” Zero opened his paws towards Garrett. Garrett placed it on his paw.
An automatic message appeared before him.
A magical crystal that is formed throughout one’s age. A source of power that dissipates when used. It can be detached without harming the owner of the crystal. No other information is known.
Zero handed it back.
“Do not worry. I will surely give it back to you. To see the last remaining Drezo Regalia is truly an honor. If you don’t mind, I would like a piece of your fur.” Garrett slowly reached over to Zero’s fur, ready to pluck out a handful; Zero swiped him hard across his hands.
“Yes, I mind.” Zero glared as he flexed his claws, ready to strike again if he reached towards him.
Garrett blew and shook his hand. He tried to calm the sting that Zero gave him.
“What do you mean by humanoid dragon?” Zero asked. He shifted back into his human form so Garrett wouldn’t touch his fur again.
“Well, humanoid dragons are a branch off of True dragons; they carry the bloodline of both humans and dragons. This is so fascinating. If you don’t mind, I would appreciate it if you keep this book with you.” Garrett handed him the book Historia. An alarm went off as the message appeared before him.
|Quest: Meet with the librarian Garrett completed.
Quest: History of Drezo Regalia completed.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” Zero looked at Garrett with confusion. “I don’t need a book.” Both quests gave him the same reward. A book: Historia.
“Open it and you will know.” Garrett agonizingly held it towards Zero, not wanting to part with it.
“You can keep it.” Zero pushed the book towards Garrett. He did not want some old crusty book that did nothing for him. Especially after all the hard work he did, he only gained a couple of levels and a book. If this old geezer was having so much trouble parting with it, maybe it was best for someone who would appreciate it instead.
“No. No. Please. It would be an honor for an old scholar like me to give it to the Drezo Regalia. It would be best in your hands.” Garrett closed his eyes as he roughly handed it to him.
Zero was just about to give it back, but was stopped. The old rabbit shook his head. He knew then that he could not give it back anymore. He would accept it graciously.
Carefully opening the book, a flashing black and gold light appeared before him. Thousands of different images danced before him: records of different people’s life history played out before him. A gust of heavy wind appeared out from the book and surrounded Zero. He could feel different sounds, smells, tastes, and emotions.
Words peeled off the pages as they swirled around him. Bursting into thousands of pieces like fireworks, the words exploded and disappeared. Every single word was gone. A shimmer of light appeared before him. It was a red and blue infinity sign that merged back into the clean empty page.
Zero’s vision distorted as his mind became clear. His eyes glazed over. He felt his spirit leave his body and travel to an unknown place. He didn’t know where he was or how he got there. All he knew was absolute pitch black darkness.
Nothing moved, nothing stirred. An emptiness that filled no void. A place where no moon or sunlight could ever reach nor sound could ever escape. Only coldness was its friend.
A pair of bright green, diamond shaped, raptor-like eyes opened slowly. They glowed mesmerizingly in the dark. Soft gold light flickered on the gold markings that accentuated its body. Its large, reptilian face lazily rested on top of both its claws. Six pairs of sharp horns decorated its head like an emperor’s crown.
With a slight shift of its body, it caused millions of bone sounds to crunch underneath its weight. A puff of hot steam blew out of its nose, creating a soft mist of acidic smoke. Clouds of hot steam settled down onto the ground, hissing and sizzling, melting through the bones.
“I know you are there,” said the creature lazily. Its voice booming, it lifted its head. Two more pairs of diamond-shaped eyes opened wide with interest. In total there were six. Its head bobbed side to side like a snake’s.
Zero watched from the cover of the darkness. He wasn’t sure if he should approach it or stand back. Instead he stood still, entranced, as he watched the eyes moving from side to side. Appearing out of nowhere, a thin film of light swirled around him, protecting him. It was hiding him from the creature.
“I can ssssmell you.” Its tongue flickered out like a snake’s. Its head shifted towards the scent. “You are not afraid, child of Adam?” It chuckled.
Lifting itself up from the mountain of bones, its majestic stature sat comfortably on the bones. It flickered out its thick tongue. It sniffed the air; one golden claw ground through the bones and turned them into fine dust.
“I can almost taste you.” Puffs of smoke escaped its nose, “I can ssssseeee you.” Its eyes blinked wide with interest.
“Have you come to mock me?” it whispered, its voice tinged with anger and surprise. Its long slender tail appeared from behind him and wrapped around its body.
“So you have come to stare at the beast.” It angrily slammed its fist into the piles of bones as it arrogantly puffed up its chest. Thousands upon thousands of ghastly green orbs appeared from the pile of bones. Souls of the dead screamed in agony, despair, anger, and sadness. They began to float upwards into the void, dimly lighting their surroundings. As far as the eye could see, piles upon piles of endless human bones lay underneath the dragon’s body.
“Let me hear your voice,” it whispered through the darkness. It waited patiently to hear. It has been a thousand of years since it has heard anyone’s voice.
Zero stood silent. His soul rattled with fear. Something about this did not feel right. It felt too real.
“No?” The beast chuckled as smoke rose from its nose. “One day you will sing for me with your pretty little voice. Your name is of no importance to me. Many have come, and none have ever left. But it seems you are lucky today. I am here, and you are there.” All six of its eyes glowed bright and dangerous. It rumbled deeply in its throat in annoyance. Its tail flicked from side to side. How it wanted to taste the flow of fresh human blood, the life force of power.
A burst of noxious green gas erupted from its mouth and surrounded him. Electric sparks crackled in its throat. It spewed out a chain of lightning that set off the clouds of gas. An earsplitting explosion erupted in a chaotic green flame. Six black, enormous wings fully opened. Its black and green scales glistened from the fiery flames. An angel of death and destruction. The life taker. The Beast. The Dragon.
“I will come for you.” It grinned evilly from ear to ear as it shuddered with ecstasy. “I will be reborn.” Its maniacal laugh echoed endlessly into the void.
Zero’s vision clouded over as his ears were still ringing with laughter. He was viciously yanked back into his body. His eyes cleared and he blinked a couple of times.
“Are you okay?” Garrett was staring at him worriedly.
“Yes…” Zero’s chest tightened. He gulped. Something about the beast felt familiar. He just didn’t know what. It was like a nagging feeling in the back of his mind. He looked back at the book, trying to see if it would take him back to the place of the beast.
As he fumbled around with the book, he watched as the infinity sign swirled and shifted into a circle. From the circle a small seed emerged out into a three-dimensional object towards Zero. Gently picking it up, he carefully examined the seed. A rusty color with rough texture, it was the size of an almond.
“A seed?” Zero was stupefied at what he was given. “More seeds? From small box of golden seeds to now one large seed? What is with this game and its damn seeds?”
Just as it appeared before him the seed melted into his hands like a liquid and disappeared. His hands shook violently and his veins started to pop out. He attempted to stop it and failed.
His heart raced. The room began to spin as his vision slowly faded.
“Wh-aa-t? Not agaa-i-nnn…” Zero’s speech slurred as he stumbled. The last thing he saw was the message that appeared in front of him as he blacked out.
|A new primary job has been obtained.
Record Keeper of Historia.
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