Zero walked through the town square in his human form. He had a bunch of things that he was looking for, especially a variety of seeds for planting. He had gone through ten different stores looking for seeds. He was able to gather about forty different varieties of species of vegetables, grains, and fruits. Each type of Seed he had bought cost over five gold a piece, but he did not stop there.
In every shop he visited, he was able to gather a couple more different varieties of seeds, but it was actually getting more and more difficult to find seeds that could be used to harvest for food.
Even if the village was going to be isolated for three months, that still wasn’t enough time for any plants to be harvestable. So trading and hunting for food were prioritized for a small village.
He casually walked through the dense crowds looking for anything else he could buy. The Draconis Village had started floating through the sky in the direction of the City of Elements. At the rate the Draconis Village was flying, it would take exactly three months to reach their destination.
Even still, he did not gather enough for the quest. The number of repetitious items sold on the market was large, but still, he checked every open merchant stall from old to new. He also walked through the slums market and found several interesting rare plants that he would never expect to find.
“Hey, Mister.” A runny nose kid with tattered clothes called out to him. “Mister!”
Zero stopped and turned around to see a young boy the age of seven-run up to him, waving him down. Mister? This was the first time someone called him mister at his age, especially if he was in a young teenager’s body. The only thing he could think of was that this kid saw his true age.
“Hey, kid, I’m not a mister yet.”
“Hehe.” Something about the boy told him that he knew more than he should, “I heard you were looking for seeds to buy.” The runny nose kid replied, smiling. He rustled into his pocket and brought out a single large seed that Zero had never seen before. Gently he picked up the seeds from the young boy and held them up.
Elven blessed Apple Tree Seed.
A special apple tree seed that the Elven race has blessed. It can grow fifty times faster than a normal tree and produce five times more apples. However, even its bears’ seeds give half the rate of the first-generation apple tree.
Zero was ecstatic about what he was given. This was truly a blessing for his small village, which barely had anything to grow and live off of.
“Do you have any more like this?” Zero asked.
“I can give you more if you help us out.”
“What would that be?”
“We want you to take us away from the slums.”
“An ancient race of dragons has been prophesied to bring us to the sacred sanctuary of the Drezo Regalia.” The little boy’s form shifted into a human cat. Tails grew out behind him, his eyes turned feral, and cat ears popped out of his head. “If you take us with you, I can get you what you want. He flicked his clawed hands out with a couple of more seeds in hand.
Zero looked over each one of the seeds. Every single one of them was exotic in its way, with different types of properties that he had never even seen before. Each one of the seeds was better than the next. His hands inched forwards, wanting to grab them all, but the boy pulled back his hands.
“You’re demi-humans,” Zero whispered. “I didn’t know that there were cat people here.”
“We’ve been in hiding in the slums till the right time. We expected your people’s return. Please guide us.”
“But I don’t know anything about the sacred ground,” Zero said. “Please, we need your help taking the sacred Seed safely this year. The Seed has been dying since the resurrection of the dragons. This isn’t the only thing I would give you in return for your help.”
We are bringing the Cat People to the Sacred grounds of the Dragon.
A new race of demi-human cats appeared out from hiding. They ask the Drezo Regalia to take them to the sacred grounds of the Drezo Regalia to plant the Sacred Seed. If the Seed is not planted by the end of this year, it will die. Would you like to accept?
Quest Level: D
Reward: 300 blessed seeds + an unknown item
Failure: death of a Sacred Seed
“I’ll help you.” The thought of losing a sacred seed and the prize of over one hundred blessed seeds made him agree to take the quest. Now he only needed to worry about one hundred more seeds he had to collect. Then it hit him. He still had the seeds that the Leprechauns had given him. So when he finished the quest, he could collect all the seeds he needed.
“Really? Thank you, thank you, thank you.” The cat boy purred happily. “My name is Tyga.”
“I’m Zero. It’s nice working with you.”
“Same here,” Tyga replied with a smile. “Come on. I want you to meet the rest of my family.”
Tyga bounded forward into the dimly lit alleyway. Zero went quickly, not to lose sight of him. He was having difficulties following close behind him. Tyga slipped through tight spaces, climbed on walls, and jumped from building to building. Everything about Tyga screamed that he was the perfect example of an acrobatic cat that could weasel one’s way out of anything.
Zero was a human, and even he still had difficulties following after Tyga. There were many instances where Tyga would stop and look back, waiting for Zero to follow behind him. Zero thought he had lost Tyga a couple of times, but just when he thought he was lost, Tyga would appear before him like a ghost.
“Keep up. I heard dragons were faster than this. You’re so clumsy that anyone could hear you a mile away.” Tyga laughed as he perched on a rail and looked down upon Zero.
Even though Zero had light steps, it did not compare to Tyga. Even with his Ninjitsu training, compared to a cat’s ability, it didn’t compare. For a human, he was considered extraordinary.
“If you’re looking for speed, you got the wrong type of Dragon. You want the white Dragon for that.”
“White Dragon? There is more than one type?”
“I thought you knew everything about Drezo Regalia’s by the way you spoke of them.”
“No. I know nothing at all. I only heard tales of the Dragon race.”
“You have a lot to learn then. The eight different colors of the Drezo Regalia’s race are Red, White, Black, Gold, Green, Blue, Silver, and Bronze. Each with their special abilities even.”
“Really?” Tyga’s ears twitched with excitement. “Then what color are you?”
“You can say I’m part Gold and Black.”
“There’s such a thing as a gold and black dragon?”
“Yep. You’re staring at one right now.”
“My friends will be so jealous when they hear I became friends with a gold and black dragon.”
“You’re going to like M2. He’s the one that told me you were buying up seeds. Not only that, he is one of our three elders.”
“M2?” Zero had never heard of that name before.
“He’s an Adventurer like you.” Tyga slinked through an opening on the wall. Zero had to squeeze through sideways to get in. If he was any bigger, he didn’t know if he was able to fit in. They continued through the winding dark catacombs till, finally, Tyga stopped in front of a door.
Zero almost lost track of how they had made it through the underground passageway. Everything looked the same, and even after the tenth turn, he had to pay extra attention to the peculiarities, or he might have gotten lost.
“We’re here.” Tyga sang chirpily. He rhythmically knocked on the wooden door. “Our hideout isn’t much, but it’s the closest thing we have to a home.” Finally, the door swung open, and Tyga entered first.
With a step forward, Zero entered right behind him. He was standing on the cliff of an underground area. Lines, bridges, and ropes were crisscrossed among one another as they attached from one building to the next. It was a perfect example of a cat haven.
As far as his eyes could see, Zero saw humanoid cat people balancing on thin ropes, with all either running, walking, or perching on them as if it was nothing. Some had heavy items perched on their shoulders and balanced perfectly on the lines. Kids were chasing one another in a game of tags, and even the elderly cat people gracefully walked amongst the lines.
“Come on.” Tyga hops onto a metal walkway was enough for one adult human. He tiptoed on his feet and walked on it as if it was nothing.
Zero stared at the thin walkway before him and gulped. This was not a possible feat to cross over without falling. He did not have the perfect balance like a cat in his human form, but he was a Drezo Regalia. A being between a dragon and a human meant he had some abilities that differentiate him from a normal human.
Zero placed his feet carefully onto the walkway with a slow step forward. His arms were outstretched to keep his balance. He knew this was a death trap, but they were no other way across. It was just one walkway to the other side; the only problem was the fall. He could feel his hands sweating from nervousness as he glanced down, his vision temporarily blurred.
“Come on, Zero!” Tyga called out. He was at the other side waiting for him. “It’s not that hard.”
“It’s easier said than done! I’m not made the same way as you!”
“This is not the time to forget.” Zero took a couple of steps forward. His leg was shaking. He tried his best not to look back down and stay focused on what was in front of him. With each step he took, he felt his confidence grow. His steps slowly quickened, and he walked forward.
“You’re doing great! You’re halfway there!”
Zero speed slowly but surely began to increase, and he could feel his steps becoming more confident as his unease slowly drifted away. Finally, he went to a full power walk, and then into a run. A sudden thrill hit him hard, and he felt liberated running on the thin walkway. For a human, his balance was superb, and he easily made it across.
“Nice. You’re almost like a cat. You just need a cat ear and tail and you would pass as one of us.”
“I’m going to decline.”
“Really? You know, it’s great being a cat person.”
“I think I like what I am right now, but thanks for the offer.”
“No problem. Well being a Dragon sounds cool in itself. So what’s it like flying?”
“I haven’t done it yet. I don’t have wings.”
“You don’t have wings?” Tyga gasped in shock. “That’s like saying you don’t have cat ears and
cat tails. Is that even possible for a dragon?”
“I’m still growing. I’ll probably get one later on.”
“I hope you do. You’d be grounded for life if you didn’t have one. But, of course, I’m not sure you will even be called a dragon first.”
The thought of not having wings worried him. He didn’t want to miss out on the ability to fly, especially after O.M movies that he had seen of Dragon’s flying. But, he pushed those thoughts aside and instead focused on what was in front of him. Getting wings was something he didn’t have to worry about till later; after all, he knew he wasn’t fully grown yet.
“This is the house M2 should be inside.” Tyga knocked and pushed open the door. “M2! It’s me, Tyga. I brought over the one you sought for.”
Zero walked behind Tyga and noticed a large handsome male black cat. He was bent over jotting down notes in the book. They were hundreds of figurines placed on walls that he had never seen before, from small stone dolls to hand-carved models. They were so many that he wondered what purpose they served. Turning around, Zero saw a white star-shaped mark on his forehead.
“If it isn’t Tyga. You’re here earlier than I expected.” M2’s voice purred with glee.
“You know I’m the best at finding people, things, or places.” Tyga happily replied.
“Zero, is it? The first ever Drezo Regalia to awaken back into this world.”
“You know me?”
“Why wouldn’t I? I know almost every piece of information that comes through my network in this world. You slayed the hero Lilith. You are the Chief librarian of the Draconis Library. You brought the Lunar Rabbits back on track in becoming scholars. You even saved the Leprechauns from the Evil Magician Mano, and now they are serving the Drezo Regalia race. You even slayed the Minotaur in the Maze of Gereum. Not only that, you found your lost species and brought them back to the world. Even now, as we speak, new Drezo Regalia’s are being born in your Draconis Library. I must say you have accomplished quite a lot in the short time you have played.”
“I was not the only one that took down Lilith. They were other people there as well.”
“That’s not how the world sees it.” M2 walks over and examines him.” And even still, you are not even an adult. Truly someone worth watching over to see what you would do next.”
“I see. Why are you named M2? It’s a bit strange.”
“Ah, that. I got tired of everyone calling me MemoryMaker out loud. Many of these other cat people have difficulties saying my name correctly, so instead, I shortened it just for them. All the others outside this place know me as MemoryMaker than M2.”
“That’s an even stranger name than the first one.”
“You could say that, but it was just a spur of the moment when I logged into this world. Sadly I can’t change it that easily even if I wanted to.”
“You should have thought it over before you started.”
“I know.” M2 sighed. He shook his head and licked his fur on the back of his paws. “It started to wear off, so I don’t mind anymore.”
“I see.” Zero walked over to the chair and sat down on it. “I’ve gotten a request from Tyga that your people needed a way to the Draconis’ Sacred Grounds.”
“My people want to live again in the Draconis’ Sacred Grounds. We have heard that you have obtained a piece of a sacred building. What was it called again?” M2 scratched his chin with his claws. “Now I remember; it’s Draconis Library.”
“You are saying Draconis Library is a sacred ground and that there is more?” Zero leaned over, baited by M2 words. “What other buildings are there? No, wait, how many more? Where can I find the rest?”
“Woah, Woah. Calm down. Even though I am known as an information network, I don’t know everything about Noriene. Take us to the Draconis Library, and we can start from there.”
“I’ll do it!” Zero stood up excitedly. He now had a chance to better understand Drezo Regalia’s history through the information network that M2 provided. This gave him even more of an edge in creating what he wanted. A hotspot network of information brokers just like M2, and using the Draconis Library as the base. The wealth of knowledge he could ask for in exchange for the new and old customers that they could provide for.
The Lunar Rabbit were natural historians, and the cat people are known for their ability to go and find hidden secrets, given enough time. If he does this right, he could sell information for a price.
With a smirk on Zero’s face, he got up. M2 twitched his nose and flicked his ears, wondering why Zero was making an awkward face. Then, a cough was heard and snapped Zero out of his momentary daze.
“You were saying about helping your people live on the sacred grounds. If everyone is ready, I could lead you to the Draconis Village right now.”
“This is not my decision. You must speak with the other elders before they conclude.” M2 turned around. Tyga’s eyes sparkled as he stared up at M2 with respect. He passed M2 and ruffled his hair. “Please follow me. Stay close behind, so you don’t fall.”
Zero, M2, and Tyga left the small building and hopped from one ledge to another. They climbed on the side of the buildings, jumped from one to another, and even balanced on thin stone walkways. A couple of times, Zero almost fell off the ledge of the loose bridge. At higher places, heavy winds blew through and shook the lines.
With a gulp, Zero wobbled back into position. He made it safely across dozens of thin walkways and lines that zigzagged out high in the air. Finally, they stopped in front of a large round wooden building with large windows. It was as if the building and the wall were almost a part.
He could see the building was different as soon as he got close to it. There were an amazing amount of gems engraved on the door. They sparkled and cast light onto the surroundings.
“Are those real jewels?” Zero couldn’t help but ask. To leave gems out in open display made him weary of how these cat people did not go over and pick them off the wall. Were they that virtuous that they did not steal from one another?
“No. There are just glass marbles. Both elders collect them for a hobby.” M2 replied. “I was fooled as well when I first saw it too.”
“They are quite pretty.”
“I agree. Here you will see lots of interesting things that are on display. We are collectors, and it is our nature to collect things we enjoy.”
“I collect bugs,” Tyga replied happily. “So far in the whole Fire Continent, over 1023 different types of bugs exist.”
Zero couldn’t help but stare at Tyga’s outburst. “That would explain why you have so many figurines,” he replied to M2.
M2 nodded. “You might think it’s an obsession, but it’s in our nature.”
Zero couldn’t help but think that this player he met was just saying that to cover up his obsession with figurines. M2 definitively fits in perfectly with the race of cats with his obsession. He did not dispute what M2 had stated and instead quietly followed along.
“Elder Mako. Elder Miki” M2 pushed back the curtains that were replaced for the door. Inside, two elder cats sat on the rug with their legs crossed over.
“Come in, MemoryMaker.” Elder Maro called out with a gruff voice. His eyes were so thick with gray fur that Zero wondered how he could even see.
“Why don’t you visit us more often, sweety? We miss your companionship.” Elder Miki purred sweetly. Her wrinkles smiled with her when she smiled at M2.
“I was busy taking care of the village to which you have given me the task.” M2 walked over and sat in front of both the Elders. Tyga and Zero sat next to him.
“Pish. You know as well as this village doesn’t need that much maintenance. You were out doing your hobbies again. Not that we are against it.”
“You caught me, Elder.” M2 chuckled. “You know as well as I that our hands can not stop collecting what we love.”
“True. I would have probably filled this room with even more glass jewels if I weren’t so old.”
“Tyga, how have you been,” said Elder Miki. She raised her hands and motioned him over. Tyga got up and sat on Miki’s lap. Her boney fingers began to comb through his fur as she cleaned him up.
“I’m doing fine Elder. I found a rare beetle that I have never seen before. I named it Tri-Rhino Beetle by the triple horns that it has. I think that it could be a mutation.”
“Really? I would like to see it.”
“I’ll be glad to show it to you.” Tyga chirpily replied.
“MemoryMaker, is that the Drezo Regalia that you sent Tyga to find?”
“Quite fascinating. He looks more human than a dragon. I had expected a more dragon-like appearance.”
“I am in my human form. I do have my dragon form as well. Though changing in here doesn’t seem to be a good idea.”
“Well, well. What a surprise. A dragon so young is still alive today. You do not know how pleased we are to know that there are more of your kind. It’s been so long since the death of so many of your kind.”
“You know of the war that killed off the Drezo Regalia?”
“Do I know of it? Yes. We do not forget things that are passed down from mouth to mouth. We remember the exact words that our forefather has told us during the time of war.”
“If you do not mind. I would like to hear a bit of it.”
“This might take a while to tell, but it’s not like you don’t have time.”
“But what about getting everyone to get ready to leave? It’s going to take a whole day for the
word to travel,” said M2.
“Tyga will go and spread the word.” Elder Miki was done with combing through Tyga’s fur coat.
“I’ll gladly get it done.” Tyga bolted up, ecstatic that the elders had given him a job. “Don’t worry; I’ll make sure it gets done.” With light steps, Tyga went out the door to complete his task.
“With Tyga’s energetic spirit, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finished the job in under a day, and with the people he knows, it’s a deal. Now, I was saying about the war.” Elder Maro coughed a couple of times as if he got something stuck in his throat. “The war between humanity and the dragons started from love and ended with hate. It was known that the Queen of Drezo Regalia was considered the most beautiful dragon human known throughout the land. Like you, they had two forms, one a human and another a dragon. The King of Drezo Regalia was considered the most brilliant and handsome man. The Queen’s hair was dark and pitchless like the night. Her skin was ivory like a newborn baby, and her lips were red like an apple. While the KingKing his golden hair was like a fiery halo. When one set their eyes upon him, they would mistake him for an angel. He was like the sun, and she was like the Moon. Their dragon form was even more outstanding and perfect. They were compatible with one another like night and day. During their reign, it was considered the dawn of peace and expansion. They were thousand upon thousands of dragons that colored the sky like jewels that flew across the sky, helping the people of the lands.”
The jewels in the room began to shine even brighter as Elder Mako continued to spin his tale. Zero wondered if magic was also in the air because the light morphed and spun into the same tale as the Elder.
“It all started when the Dragon Queen visited a human kingdom called Torran in the Continent of Light. She was a temporary ambassador for her people to speak with the newly established KingKing and went over to say her welcome. The human KingKing fell in love on sight when he saw the Dragon Queen fly down from the sky and land gracefully like a swan. She shifted into her human form, and right there and then was when it all had begun. It didn’t take long for the human KingKing to fearless take a chance to woe the Queen’s hearts. Trying hard to win her heart, she did not move or sway from the human King’sKing’s words and instead hardened her heart. It didn’t take long before the words reached the Dragon King’s ears. He flew towards the Kingdom of Torran like a demon and reached the Kingdom in under three days. The moment he landed onto the soil of the Kingdom’s land, the ground trembled with such ferocity that one would have mistaken it as an earthquake.”
“That’s quite unbelievable. Was the Dragon King that enormous?”
“No, He was considered the smallest out of all the Golden dragon race; even still, his power was immeasurably powerful. That said, the Dragon King’s power rumbled and shook the whole Kingdom; his anger was filled with rage at the human King who was disrespecting his wife and him. The whole castle was destroyed from that one landing, and the human KingKing asked for forgiveness for his rudeness, and he would never again try to sway her love for the Dragon King. Even still, the Dragon King raged and was going to continue to destroy his whole Kingdom. If it were not for the sincerity of the words of a young human child, the Dragon King would not have stopped. He left the Kingdom of Torran with his Queen and vowed that his people would not come and help the Kingdom in their time of need till a new king was in place. This had caused a large commotion among the citizen and even the nobles, for they were known to be the oldest allied forces with the Drezo Regalia. It didn’t take long for a new king to take the old KingKing in place, and he was exiled out of his country. The human KingKing left and traveled into the Kingdom of Dark, where the Kingdom of light’s old rivals was. It took twenty years for him to climb to the top, where he married into the family royalty. He was finally again named King of a kingdom, and this time throughout his long, difficult journey, he vowed to himself that he would kill the Dragon King.”
The light in the room had begun to flicker into darkness. Cold swept through the room as a vile creature emerged from the shadows. Wings that were tattered and torn from the war as a humanoid-looking figure sat on a throne.
“The prince of darkness or the fallen light. The King of all darkness, a demon, was called forth from the fiery depth of hell. The Kingdom of Dark’s human KingKing called forth and made a pact with the devil. To give him the power to snuff out the Golden Dragon King and take the Black Dragon Queen his wife.”
“Wait, wasn’t the king already married?”
“Yes, he was. That did not mean he did not have other concubines. They were a saying that he was a lecherous old fool that chased after varieties of woman to satisfy his hunger of not getting his one true love.”
“The heart is not easily swayed when one cannot see past their past love.” Zero spoke. M2 heard his comment and nodded in agreement.
“Love and hate are an extreme opposite of each other. So I wouldn’t be surprised that hatred has become the human King’s obsession.”
“What happened next?”
“The human KingKing went and started an all-out war. He took over the neighboring countries, slowly engulfing each Continent with bloodshed and death. Three-fourths of the Kingdom was engulfed in war. It took ten years to take over the whole eastern hemisphere, and finally, they went to the west. His passion for the Dragon Queen turned into an authoritarian takeover of the world, his one spot to become the supreme leader, no, a god over the whole Noriene. At first, the Drezo Regalia did not participate in the war; it was not until seven years later that they went into battle, but it was already too late. Half of the world was under the Human King’sKing’s hands, and the other half was not fully ready. Defeat after defeat, Kingdom fell in days, months, and years till the dragons were pushed to the edge. It was not until the True Dragon entered the battlefield did the tide of war changed. They gave the Drezo Regalia a special power that helped them push the battle in their favor. Even still, the Demons that corrupted and fought with the human KingKing did not waver and instead relentlessly push forward even more.”
Zero thought the story sounded familiar. It was the same story that the Leprechaun woman had told him but without so much detail.
“The final battle took place on the Fire Continent. The last of the Drezo Regalia’s species and its allied forces, against the traitorous human KingKing that sold his soul to the Demon for power.
On that fateful day, the sky turns red from the flames of the Dragon’s breath. The ground shuddered with power as both sides fought for domination. It was an all-out war. Nobody was going to leave the lands till one was dead. Even the battle between the Dragon King and the Human King riding on his powerful demon bird was fierce and dangerous. They fought, leveled lands, and decimated thousands of troops. Their battles took place in the sky and were still in a stalemate. It was not until the prince of demons came on the battlefield that the tide of war changed.”
“The Dragon king was pushed back from the overwhelming power of the Demon prince. Unholy terror was unleashed that devastated the world. A spear of dark light appeared from the sky and aimed towards the heart of the Dragon King. At that last moment, the Dragon Queen stepped in and sacrificed herself in her stead. From her action and love for the Dragon King, a sacred spell activated from her crystal heart.”
“A spell can only be done by self-sacrifice and true love. A pure white light came out from her and sent a shock wave. Everything the light touched made the darkness recede where it came from.” With a snap of elder Mako’s finger, he accentuated his story. “Just like that, the Demons
and the corrupted humans were gone.”
“So you’re saying pure white light from love destroyed all the demons and saved the world? It sounds so cliche.”
“It is considered a famous love story. Even I feel warm in the heart just thinking about it.” Elder Mako reached over to Elder Miki and smiled. “The whole Fire Continent had become cleansed from darkness and had become a sanctuary. But, though her love was eternal and powerful, it did not save her. The King wept and died a week later. He, too, sustained grave injuries on the battlefield, and his heart was broken from his loss. He had ordered his people to take his and his wife’s crystal heart and forge it into a sacred item. From that day on, the sacred item became known as the Eternal Crystal. From its power, one could feel the sacred light’s power. Its protection has kept the Fire Continent safe from invasion until the current invasion.”
“Wait. Wait. Back up. The Eternal Crystal was protecting the Fire Continent from invasion till now? That means…”
“The World Quest.” M2 finishes his thoughts. “That would explain the message about how the Fire Continent’s protection was over.”
“Something must have happened to it.”
“That is the first answer one would come up with when one thinks about the whole ordeal.”
“We noticed from the signs in the stars that something would happen to the Eternal Crystal. It was a matter of time. With the blessing gone, my people can not stay here any longer. No. It is unwise,” said Elder Mako.
“We believe that darkness is brewing once again. We should leave this land and follow the awakened young dragons,” Elder Miki nodded her head in agreement. She shifted to make herself comfortable.
“What do you have to do with this in the first place? Why go to the sacred ground of the Drezo Regalia, and how come you know the history of the Dragons in the first place?”
“Didn’t you know? We used to work hand-in-hand with the Drezo Regalia in the past. Just like the Leprechauns that you have freed.” Elder Mako chuckled. He saw Zero’s reaction and couldn’t help but laugh. “We are considered well-known star gazers and information gatherers. However, our powers were cut in half since the day of the fall of the Drezo Regalia’s final battle. We thought all of your kind had died out since the battle, but we knew we were wrong when we heard the news that the Draconis Library was brought back to life.”
“So going to the sacred grounds will help you how?” Zero couldn’t help but repeat the question repeatedly throughout their conversation. He sounded like a broken record player.
“It is our last pilgrimage to gain the power of foresight. Then, we bathe in the sacred waters to be enlightened by our gods.”
“Cats with foresight. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore.” Zero muttered under his breath. From rabbit scholars to leprechaun butlers and now fortune-telling cats. “Can’t you go to other sacred waters or make one or something?”
“If we could, we would have done it long ago. Sacred water is called sacred for a reason.” Mako clicked his tongue in disdain. “If we had had such without making a pilgrimage to the sacred grounds, we would’ve known about it long ago.”
“So where is this sacred ground at anyways?”
“City of Elements.”
“The Elven city? The place where the Draconis Village is heading too? I did not tell a single person that. How-“
“We are cats. We know how to find information when we want to. Even though certain information was elusive.” Elder Mako’s tail twitched with annoyance. “Even though we are great information gatherers, we still don’t know much about certain things. For example, the whereabouts of the Eternal Crystal are still considered missing even now. If only we had found it sooner, maybe we could have done something to stop the invasion from happening.”
“What’s done is done. There is nothing else we can do but move forward. It’s best not to dwell too deeply into it, dear.”
“I know, sweetheart, but it has been bothering me since that day. Coincidentally, the barrier that protected the land has come down. It is called the Eternal Crystal for a reason. But, even finding out what happened to the Crystal is a mystery.”
“Dear, don’t think too deeply into things. You’re getting wrinkles, and you’re burdening yourself too much. You have a knack for overthinking things.”
“I’m sorry. I know. I’ll let it go for now.”
“Good.” Elder Miki purred.
“Elder!” A young male voice called from outside the building. “Elder!”
Elder Mako got up first to check out what the commotion was all about. The rest followed after him, curious about who was yelling.
“Elder Mako! There are soldiers at one of the side entrances into our home!” Tyga was waving down Elder Mako in worry. “The others had already left to stop them, but there are just too many!”
“What? They’ve already come so early?”
“You knew this was going to happen?” Zero asked. “I thought the KingKing didn’t know you lived here. Even I didn’t know.”
“We had information these past few days that the New King had decreed extermination of all half humans and beast people from the city. It was not a known fact because they started in the slums. It won’t be long before they spread to the other parts of the section of the city.”
“Which way Zero. Which way is to your village?” Elder Miki asked quickly. Her tail nervously swung back and forth.
“To the south of the outer city. I’m not sure if it has gone into the Forgotten Forest yet.” Zero quickly replied. He didn’t doubt the NPC’s words that they would bring harm to his Draconis Village at all. Unfortunately, they were in the same predicament as him. “Tell any other beast man and hybrid humans to make it to the city’s south. I’ll guide you from there.”
“That will be done.” Elder Mako replied. “Tyga. memory maker. You heard the man. We don’t have much time. Burn the houses, so the new KingKing doesn’t use our food and technology against us. It will give us time.”
“It shall be done, Elder.” M2 sprinted away. Zero could see him quickly hopping from one building to the next, shouting to his people to head towards the secret exit. Even Tyga went opposite from M2 to cover a different portion of their village.
“Zero. We must go towards the secret exit. My people were already prepared for such things to happen. A majority of them should be at the secret exit by now. Follow us, and we shall show you the way.”
We are bringing the Cat People to the Sacred grounds of the Dragon.
A new race of demi-human cats appeared out from hiding. They asked the Drezo Regalia to take them to the sacred grounds of the Drezo Regalia to plant the Sacred Seed. If the Seed is not planted by the end of this year, it will die.
Escape from the Kingdom’s soldiers through the secret underground passage. Do not get caught or killed. Do not let Elder Mako and Miki die, or the quest will fail.
Quest Level: C
Reward: 300 blessed seeds + an unknown item
Failure: death of a Sacred Seed
Elder Mako and Miki casually walked towards the edge of the walkway and jumped downwards. They landed perfectly on another building without even getting hurt. They continued their pace running across the walkway towards the direction they were headed for.
Zero stared at the feline’s grace and power to avoid getting injured. They could still land gracefully onto the next building’s ledge for an old cat. He wondered how he was going to get down without hurting himself badly. This whole underground village was not made for normal people to walk through. In actuality, he felt bad for the soldiers that would have to come into the village and fight off the cat people.
Climbing and fighting were not easy due to the dexterity one needed to stay balanced and not fall. However, if the cat people were to fight, it was in their favor to win, and they could hold their ground against the invaders. The only problem was how strong they were. That was the question he asked himself when he studied the cats.
They weren’t weak for sure; they had agility and dexterity. Even using guerrilla warfare would be in their favor because of their body structure. M2 seems to be quite powerful from the looks of it. When he first met, he did not feel like easy prey to overcome. However, this was no time to overthink the possibilities of these cat people and instead figure out a way down without getting hurt. Quickly, he scanned for different options and found his route.
Zero ran across the walkway and jumped towards the next building. He jumped further from his momentum and ended up on the opposite building. Without any rest, he continued running forward.
With quick judgment, Zero could hop from one building to the next without too much trouble. He was glad that he was a part dragon, or he wouldn’t be able to do any of these acrobatic jumps. Zero followed closely behind as best as he could with the two elders. There were many times when they slipped out of his sight just as quickly as they appeared.
Chasing a cat was a lot more difficult than he liked. He concluded that the cat people did not need help in keeping the soldiers back. They would be tired just from chasing them through the building.
Zero stopped momentarily and glanced back over his shoulders. Off in the distance, he saw smoke rising towards the ceiling. Fire blazed like wildfire as it brightened up the area even more. The fire licked the buildings and caught quickly on fire. It helped immensely that the buildings were so close to one another that the fire spread easily. The cat people dashed away from the buildings as they made their escape.
A clash of metal against metal could be faintly heard from the distance. Even the sound of cat people hissing in anger at the intruders. Elder Miki appeared next to Zero, startling him with her unexpected appearance.
“Dear, we need to go. We can’t stay here too long, or we will miss the opportunity to escape.”
“I’m sorry. I just was wondering how things were going over there.”
“MemoryMaker is one of our finest warriors. He would do just fine in keeping the soldiers at bay. Now, we are almost there. Let’s go.” Elder Miki gently pulled on Zero’s hand and guided him the rest of the way.
They arrived in front of a ledge where hundreds of cat people of different colors and ages were waiting for Elder Mako and Elder Miki. Elder Mako went up to the wall and placed his hands against the wall. The stone wall shook and then opened, allowing them passage. In a single file line, they entered.
“How many of our people are missing?” Elder Miki asked as she came up next to Elder Mako.
“We’re missing about twenty of our kind. They should be coming right about now. They are our quickest and most agile warriors that would get the job done.”
“I know, but I’m just worried.”
“Go on ahead. I’ll follow behind when the rest are here.”
“Be careful, dear.”
“I will.” They both rubbed their faces against one another and purred. Elder Miki went in first through the passageway with the others. Elder Mako stood to the side, letting his people go through.
Zero did not know if he should follow after or wait with Elder Mako. Even though the strongest warriors of the cat people would be coming any moment now, he did not know if something might happen to Elder Mako before they got there. The quest specified that if either Elder Mako or Elder Miki died, the quest would end up in failure. Protecting the elder was not easy, especially when they needed to escape without being caught. He decided to wait a bit longer and see if Elder Mako wanted him to go through.
Off in the distance, humanoid cats were running in their direction. Then, finally, a group of fifteen came bounding forward and stopped in front of Elder Mako.
“Elder. It’s good to see you are well.”
“I’m glad to see that all of you are fine. What happened with the rest?”
“M2 is keeping the soldiers at bay. He gave us a chance to escape. But, instead, he said he would be coming right behind us.”
Elder Mako furrows his bushy eyes. “Hurry, enter the secret passage, and protect the rest of our people. I shall stay out here a bit longer.”
“Yes, elder, but you need protection. We can’t just leave you out here by yourself.”
“It’s alright; I have a Drezo Regalia to protect me.”
All the cat warriors snapped their attention to Zero. But, at first, they didn’t pay much attention to Zero till now.
“Are you sure this is the Dragon that you speak of? He’s not much older than a boy.”
“Do not be fooled by one’s appearance. He is much older and stronger than he looks.”
The cat warriors seized him to see if Elder Mako’s words were true. Even still, they did not completely believe in Elder Mako’s words and were just about to say something more when Elder Mako raised his hand. He shook his head to stop them from saying anything further.
“I understand.” The cat warrior bowed. “Move out. We must protect our people!”
The cat warriors roared in unison and went into the secret passageway.
“Do not mind them. This is the first time seeing a Drezo Regalia. They are not gifted with the foresight to see your true form. What they see is just an outer shell of who you are.”
“You knew what I look like?”
“I had foreseen it.”
“How? I thought you had to visit the sacred grounds to gain such ability.”
“Only a rare few are born with the ability of foresight. The rest must take the pilgrimage to obtain it.”
“So that’s how you guys were able to stay hidden for so long.”
“That is correct. However, my gift is not as strong as our ancestors. We are known to be able to go in and out of trance with our will freely, but now we are not able to. I cannot help but feel ashamed of how useless I am when it comes to using my abilities.”
Zero was silent. He understood the feeling of helplessness when he needed to help people.
Five cat warriors were running frantically towards the Elder. Right behind them was M2.
“Elder, get in the passageway now!” M2 shouted. Zero noticed a large lizard monster chasing closely behind them.
Elder Mako’s eyes widened from the sudden outburst. He listened to M2’s words and headed into the secret passage. The five cat warriors ran past Zero. Zero followed behind him, and the last one to come through was M2. He barely slipped through the crack as the passageway closed. Before the entrance was completely closed off, M2 threw a poisoned dagger at the Lizard. It squarely hit the Lizard in the eye and the door completely closed.
The walls were brightly lit with torches. A couple of the cat warriors took the torches in hand and walked with them.
“That was a close call.” M2 was leaning against the entrance wall. He pushed up and began to pat himself off. “I thought I would be lizard food any minute now.”
“How did it go?”
“Elder, don’t worry. All the important documents were brought with me, and the buildings and extra food we could not take were burning brilliantly. They won’t be able to take what we left behind.”
Elder Mako sighed. “I’m glad to hear that.”
The group had begun to walk towards the first group that entered.
“I did not expect them to bring the Fire Lizards, though. I didn’t see how serious they would be about the hunt. I was so wrong.”
“What does a Fire Lizard even do?” Zero asked.
“Their well knew for their tracking ability. They need a bite of your blood to find you.”
“Did you get bitten?” Elder Mako worriedly asked.
“No. Luckily none of us did.”
“We were too fast for that lizard, Elder.” The warriors chuckled. “We were playing tag to see who could agitate the fat lizard anyways.”
“I got the most hits in.”
“No, I did. Didn’t you see it roll over when I slammed into it?”
“What are you talking about? I got the first hit and made it roll onto its back.”
“You guys all fail. M2 did the last hit. We all know M2 threw that poison dagger.”
All the cats smirked and nodded in unison. Zero couldn’t help but think these cat people were very playful. They played with their foe as if they were a toy instead of killing them in one hit.
“That lizard’s going to have a hard time getting that out, but you won’t believe what I have.” A warrior cat whistled. He was hiding something from behind his back, smirking.
A lizard’s tail came from behind the cat warrior’s back. It was still squirming in his hands as he showed it to the rest of his group.
“Hands down, you win this round.”
“Bwhahahahahahah. A tailless lizard. You’re the best. I was wondering what had happened to its tail. It was running so oddly after us.” M2 couldn’t contain his laughter and instead held himself up against the wall. “I swear you should’ve seen the way it ran. It reminded me of someone who got their butt on fire.”
The others bawled in laughter at the sight of the Lizard’s tail squirming in the warrior’s hand. It was even passed around from one cat to another. They cracked jokes as they continued down the long winding pathways. Time flew by quickly as the joyous laughter rang through the passageway.
At every turn, the boisterous laughter and jokes they crack would continually ring throughout the inner walls. It wasn’t long till they reached the main group, who stopped in a large room where everyone could fit in.
“What’s happening? Why did everyone stop?” Zero glanced over to see everyone sitting down and eating.
“We are eating before we go out. We all need our strength before we take on this dangerous journey. So let us go and feast on a meal before we head out.” Elder Mako replied. He was heading towards Elder Miki, who had finished cooking food over the fire. A strong smell of fish and stew drifted into the air.
Zero stomachs grumbled from the strong scent, and he could not help but walk forward in hunger.
“Here you go, dear. I knew you would also be hungry, so I made you something to eat.” Elder Miki handed him a bowl of food. She also went around and gave the others as well.
“Elder Miki. You make the best food. Elder Mako, you are lucky to have someone like her.” One of the cat warriors replied. He was busily taking large bites and almost inhaling the food.
“I know.” Elder Mako grinned. “I would never trade her for anyone else.”
“Honey.” Elder Miki purred as she cuddled next to him. “You say the sweetest things.”
“Elder, Please. Not when we are eating!” The rest of the cat warriors called out in desperation.
“Oh, be quiet, you fools. You are all just jealous.” Elder Miki hissed and glared at them.
“Too much love in the air.” One of the cat warriors jokingly gagged. Then, the one next to him hit him in the head.
“Respect your elders.”
“That hurts. Just become you don’t have a sense of humor doesn’t mean you go smacking people
in the head.”
“Guys. Guys. Calm down. He meant no harm.” M2 quickly intervenes to quell the two felines from going into a full-out cat fight.
“Is this what you have to deal with every day?” Zero asked. The cat warriors were carefree people who liked to play games and crack jokes. It would be easy to be sucked into their world if one was not careful.
“Yep. This is what I have to deal with every day. It’s not a bad feeling, though. You won’t believe how fun hanging out with these goofballs is.” M2 grinned. “Sometimes I can’t help but forget they are NPC’s. They’re so lifelike that I think they are real.”
“I completely understand what you mean. But, unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder every day to tell the difference from actual living people.”
“You and me both. I sometimes wish they were real.” M2 voice trailed off, and look down into his bowl. He picked up the spoon and took another bite out of his food. “Anyways, we need to eat as much as possible. We don’t know when we would be able to have peace like this when we get out into the open.”
“Someone take out the milk whiskey!” A cat warrior crow out into the crowds. “We should celebrate by getting out here safely!”
“Yea! That sounds like a great idea!”
“Anyone has some Milk Whiskey?”
The voice of the people’s moods was quickly changing to delight. The thought of alcohol at this time when they were still escaping from danger was truly astounding.
“Is this normal?” Zero couldn’t help but voice his opinion to M2.
“Yep. They celebrate every little thing. The funny part is that even when they drink Milk Whiskey, they are twice as dangerous as when they are sane. You thought their playfulness was bad now. Wait until you see them when they drink.”
Zero was appalled at what he had just heard. Getting a power-up from drinking was unheard of. Especially in such a crisis. Drunken cats. What could be stranger than that? He stopped himself before he jinxed himself and instead went with the flow. Milk Whiskey was passed from one cat person to the next. Even the young kits were given a drink as well.
“Aren’t they too young to take a drink?” Zero asked.
“Oh, you mean this? Nope. Milk Whiskey isn’t alcohol. It just have an effect that’s similar to alcohol for my people. The best part is that it tastes great.” M2 chugged down the milk and wiped his lips with his arm. “I’ve never found such a great drink that is better than this throughout the Fire Continent. It would truly give a run for its money for any alcohol bar that I know of.”
Zero was at first skeptical till he, too took a sip. A warm, bubbling feeling ran down his throat and into the pit of his stomach. A rush of heat exploded throughout his body as he felt warm and energized. It tasted strangely like strawberry milk mixed with a hint of melon.
+10 increase vitality, strength, and stamina from drinking Milk Whiskey for the next five hours. You feel slightly tipsy from drinking.
“The best part of it all is getting a status bonus.” M2 happily replied as he finished drinking his Milk Whiskey. “There isn’t much food that gives a great status bonus. Only high-level cooks can create such an effect.”
“This is quite unusual.” Zero hiccuped. He felt happy and satisfied.
“Now we are ready to take on the world.”
“It’s too early to take on the world, but I say the closest feeling to it.”
“You’re a funny kid.”
The voices of the cat people were merry as they celebrated their success in getting out of their village with not a single one dying. Even though they celebrated, everyone ate quickly and got ready to leave. They did not dally for long since they knew their journey was just beginning. With their equipment packed away, Elder Mako stood up.
“Ahem!” Elder Mako cleared his throat. Everyone stopped to look up at him, wondering what he had to say. “I’m glad to see that all of our people could leave without a single scratch. With this, our true calling towards our future is waiting for us beyond the exit. We will become who we once were in the past. Our lost gift will finally be restored, and this young Dragon will take us to the sacred grounds.” Zero was pulled next to him by Elder Mako. “He is the Drezo Regalia we were waiting for. His people have finally come back from hiding. It is now our turn to come forth and not hide anymore.”
The cheers of the cat people bellowed outwards, making the walls tremble. Their echos continued till Elder Mako raised his hands.
“We must remember, once we step out of this safe enclosure, danger lurks in every corner. Therefore, I need all of you to stay close and move fast. We do not have the luxury of casually walking as if we are sightseeing. Do you understand?”
“Then off we go!” Elder Mako turned and walked up to the rock wall. Just like how he had placed his hands to open the entrance, the exit was done the same way. The ground rumbled as the door to the exit opened. Bright light entered the area, blinding everyone momentarily.
“He says quite a speech,” said Zero.
“That’s not even half of it.” M2 mischievously grinned. “He’s known even to rile up the dead.”
“You’re pulling my leg.”
“What, you don’t believe me.”
“Sounds too far-fetched.”
M2 chuckled. “You’re right. I was.” He tripped Zero, walking in front of him as they followed the crowd leaving through the exit.
“Hey!” Zero caught himself before he completely fell forward.
“What?” M2 ran away laughing.
Zero couldn’t help but feel at ease when he stepped out into the light. Even though he had to guide the cat people to the Draconis Village and was blacklisted by the Kingdom, he didn’t feel worried. Instead, he looked forward to what was going to happen next.