Author’s Note: First off, today is Thanksgiving day. For the People who celebrate Thanksgiving for a positive reason to be thankful for the bountiful food, Happy Thanksgiving to you guys. Secondly for the people who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I truly understand why for that my condolences, though I am not sure it would even be enough for the many who had been massacred.
For the people who don’t know the history of Thanksgiving, it’s not all happy-go-lucky festival.The first Thanksgiving Day where the Native Americans and the Pilgrims share food peacefully once did happen, but following after….Let’s say its not pretty. The second thanksgiving did occur in the year 1637, but it was nothing like our Thanksgiving today.
In the predawn hours the sleeping Native Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day Of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.
Cheered by their “victory”, the brave colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with a many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.
Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.
With that being said, please give thanks for the right reason. Sometimes we all forget that bountiful food is a privilege to have, because right now they are people out there in the world that can’t have the delicious meal that you ate today to the point of stuffing ourselves silly. Its not only foreign country, but OUR own people who can’t afford such luxurious meal. So, please instead of being Thankful for one day, remember to give thanks everyday that you have food to eat.
Remember, what you put out to the world, the world gives back in three folds. Either it be positive or negative, the push and pull of your thoughts, and actions comes back to you in full circle. Either it be giving out food to a homeless, or cursing someone for own selfish reason. You just don’t see it. Have a blessed day and please enjoy the story.~
Pyramid of Light
“This is the place.” Elron stopped in front of a giant pyramid.
Zero and a large group of over eighty-two dragons and their companions arrived at the foot of the Pyramid. He was in his human form, looking around for the entrance to the Pyramid. His hands touched the rough texture that rubbed against his skin like sandpaper.
Elron’s whole appearance had changed back into his usual form. No more was he an ugly monster elf, but a beautiful appearance that all elves had. The sharp slant of his eyes looked wide and elegant, with hair that was black as jade and even a masculine chin but feminine lips combined into one. He was living, breathing art.
Zero couldn’t help but feel dwarfed compared to the monolithic building in front of him. He wondered how such a large building was created. It reminded him of the famous Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
“Where exactly is the entrance?” Agnis was beside him. “I don’t see anything.”
“I honestly don’t know.” Elron shrugged. “I mean, it was always like this from the start. There has never been an opening to get inside. If the elf queen said it is true, then the appearance should appear for us.” His baby dragon companion, that was just recently born, Dede was resting on his shoulder like a scarf. Her silver scale glistened like water as it fluctuated every time she moved.
“So I’m going in there too, huh…” Dede spoke with a whisper. “Will I be okay?”
“Do you want the truth, or do you want me to lie?”
“Ugh. Good question. I want to hear a bit of reassurance about what my thoughts are thinking instead of heading into danger.”
“Good, because I don’t want to lie.”
“As always, you’re a goodie two shoes.” Dede sighed.
“Hey, that’s how I was brought up. It’s chivalrous, and I enjoy it.”
“I’m not so sure now if your motives are good after you said that.”
“What? Come on; we’ve been childhood friends for a long time.”
“Yea.…” Dede puffed up a black smoke that escaped from her breath.
“If you are that worried. Here.” Zero rummaged through his pocket and pulled out the Silver Queen Beetle that wiggled in his hands, trying to get free. He brought it up before Dede’s snout, telling her to eat.
“Ew! Gross! What are you trying to feed me?!” Dede cringed, and she slunk back. Her head swiveled away, trying to get out of Zero’s hands.
“You need to eat it if you want to get stronger quickly. I’m not sure how strong it is there, but you won’t survive.”
“You’re trying to kill me. Elron, what are you doing but not stopping him.” Dedee hissed.
“Hey, I don’t know much about being a dragon, so coming from an expert here might be a good idea.”
“Hell no!” Dede stressed every word.
Zero did not listen to her riot and instead whipped his hands into her mouth when she momentarily opened it. The silver beetle disappeared, and he held down her snout. Dede thrashed around Elrond’s shoulder, trying to pull back and get rid of the bug out of her mouth, but the sweet taste of the bug was gulped down in seconds.
Dede’s eyes watered as if she was about to cry. She was so ashamed that she ate the bug that she writhed and tightened around Person’s neck. Elron had to try his best to pry her back from choking him, but just as he was prying her away, Dede began to change.
Elron’s whole face was being attacked by Dede’s change. Dede’s magic swirled around Elron like blades of wind. Each cut left a small red line on Elron’s face. In alarm, Elron pulled out his magical barrier to combat Dede which was going out of control. He had to slip a thin physical barrier around his head to stall back the possible massive damage that Dede was going through.
The change went through another five minutes of struggle between Dede and Elron, and it became quite a funny sight. Zero couldn’t help but snort with laughter as he saw the comedic act between the two. Dede did not let go of Elron’s neck and head while Elron was busily trying his best to pry her off with magic but miserably failed.
Finally, Dede settled down, but her appearance did not change as much. She grew fatter but not as big as a large dog. Dede released a gasping breath of air as she slogged forward in exhaustion.
“W-what did you do to me.” Dede gasped. Her silver face was hanging off Elron’s shoulder, barely able to lift it.
“Help you grow.” Zero had to hold back his laughter.
Elron looks worse. His face was littered with cuts, and his hair was disheveled. It reminds Zero of someone who got electrocuted from the way his hair stood.
“Let’s..not…do that again.” Dede painted. “I for sure do not enjoy that.”
“Me too.” Dede gasped. Her grasp loosened around Person’s neck.
“Don’t worry; you only can have one anyways.”
“I’m glad to hear that…”
“Zero!” Agnis ran over with the last remaining group of dragons. Beside her, Zeraph came as well, and they both stopped next to him.
“Agnis. Glad you’re here, though, Zeraph. You know this is a dragon and their companion only, right? I don’t know if you could even enter inside.
“Doesn’t hurt to try. If I can’t, I’ll roam until you come back out.”
“M2 and his villagers will be staying back in the Draconis Village. They told me to tell you they hope you succeed.” Zeraph passed on his words to Zero.
“For sure.” Zero nodded. “Well then, let’s get started, though I don’t know where to be”
The Pyramid shook as dirt and stone started to tumble down from the size. Finally, a large hole the size of a bus opened up. An eerie dry wind seeped out from the darkness, beckoning them in. Zero had an inkling of what could be inside; he had heard stories about how the pyramids were the large tombs of dead pharaohs. Riding a dead person’s tomb sounded like a horrible idea. Worse, the possibility of getting cursed sounded like something that he wouldn’t want to get. One curse was enough, but two? He was not too keen on such a subject.
“Are we going to step in?” Dede whispered. “I mean, fighting against dead people does not sound like something I enjoy.”
Agnis gulped. She, too, was not too fond of entering something that they did not know about. Then, a dreadful scream echoed throughout the hallway and burst out from the entrance making everyone shiver. They peered into the unknown darkness, wondering what was inside, but even still, the majority of the dragons and their companions took a couple of steps back with unease.
“I’m not liking this at all,” Agnis whispered. “Why the heck do we even have to do this?”
“Because the queen said so.” Zero dryly spoke. He was the first one to take the step in. Agnis followed after glancing around the darkness anxiously. She summoned her holy fire to light up the darkness surrounding them at every corner. The bright blue light floated above Zero allowing him to see in the pitch-black darkness.
The Pharaoh’s curse has been activated. All statuses have decreased by twenty points. However, for the first adventurer to enter the Pyramid of Darkness, all experience points and drops have increased by 2x for the next week.
Raid Dungeon has been activated. Only a total of forty-one dragons and their companions may enter at the same time.
Zero groaned. The message pasted in front of him was like a lullaby that crippled their power. This made the fight inside five times more dangerous than before, making it even harder to accomplish.
Everyone slowly moved into the Pyramid after Zero, and they, too, had the same message that Zero was given. What was more surprising was that Zeraph had stepped through. The message that he got only allowed forty-one people, not forty-two. How Zeraph got in, he was not even sure.
“Zeraph,” Zero asked.
“How did you get past the entrance?”
“I’m not quite sure. For some reason, I’m a different party.
“Really? I mean, I thought only one party could go through a raid at one time.”
“What Zero said is true,” Elron spoke. “Until we all die or all of us get out, nobody can enter inside. Raid Dungeons are made specifically made like that, though there aren’t many out there that we know of. So far, there are seven Raid Dungeons throughout the whole Fire Continent itself. This would be the eighth. So the only thing I could think of is that you’re an anomaly that’s somehow connected to this dungeon.” Elron spoke with reassurance. He nodded, and he stroked Deede’s head.
“Possibly. Doesn’t matter, though; one extra person will help, right?” Zeraph shrugged his shoulders without much thought. He did not care much about why he could get in without much trouble.
“True. One more person to help is better to survive this dungeon.”
The thick walls were slowly opening up, becoming larger, and the path continued to wind through the darkness left and right without a pointless direction.
“Arrrggghhh…” With a deep sound, the dead mummy was seen walking around in front of them with its bandages partially falling off its body. A pungent smell of rotting flesh and dead skin was shown, making it look grotesque.
“We got company.” Agnis quickly pulled out her bow and aimed. She carefully lined up her arrow and swirled around her holy fire at the tip of its edge. Then, letting go, she took the first shot, in which case the arrow pierced through the mummy’s head. Then, stuttering backward, it rose back up again.
“Arugula!” The mummy cried out and stumbled forward towards Agnis.
“Great. A mummy. That means there is possibly more.” Dede frowned.
“Don’t jinx us,” Elron spoke with haste. He pulled out his heavy sword, which was decorated with floral patterns.
Both Zero and Zeraph followed after, and everyone else as well. Even though the pathway allowed ten people across to walk side-by-side, the room was still tight for them to fight without disrupting each other’s flow. Not only that, Zero couldn’t shift into his dragon form without being stuck between the tight walls.
More and more appeared from the darkness and were drawn by the mummy’s voice. Finally, Agnis’ arrows flew straight at its mark, making a pin cushion out of the first mummy. It fell forward dead.
“That’s not too hard. It took, what, six arrows?” Agnis spoke with confidence. “My senses are telling me that these things are weaklings.” She fired more, causing three more to fall without much of a hitch.
“I must say, you’ve been doing quite well, aren’t you?” Zeraph stormed into the heat of the numerous mummies that made up the scrub. His sword dangerously whipped around him, cutting the monster’s half like grass.
Elron whistled. “Quite a fabulous skill.” He enjoyingly took in the sight of Seraph’s attacks and defense. “It makes my blood boil. Wait for me!” He dove into the thicket of the fight and decimated the enemy as if they were nothing.
“Hey! Hey! Hey! Elron, don’t forget I’m still on your neck! I don’t want to die!” She expelled a burst of fire from her mouth, barely damaging the mummy.
Zero stood back without taking part in the battle and instead watched as the swarm of dragons rushed forward to take part in the heat of battle. It didn’t take long for all the mummies to fall dead. The voices of the dragons and their companions spoke out sharply with enthusiasm.
“Look at that. They were nothing special.” A green dragon spoke cockily. His tail drummed on the floor like a happy dog.
“I know. I for sure got a lot more powerful.”
“Did you see me tear those monsters apart with my teeth? I shredded it into pieces!”
“That’s nothing. I did better than you. Took me ten hits to kill it.”
“Seven for me.”
“What? That’s nothing. I mean, we were all attacking it all at once.”
Zero sighed. The unruly attitude of players was excitedly speaking out with enthusiasm at killing the mummies in front of them. At this rate, it was all good in destroying the monsters, but they still needed to be careful not to be killed.
The group continued forward; Zero, this time, did not take the lead. Instead, he allowed the others to wipe out and grow stronger. Zeraph and Agnis noticed Zero not partaking in the battle and followed his example. Instead, Elron and Bebe took the lead, giving Bebe a chance to grow up quickly in the dungeon.
“At this rate, they’ll wipe out the first level.” Agnis walked next to Zero with her hands next to her hilt.
“That’s better than nothing. We are still determining how powerful the enemies will be the deeper we go. “
“Better than nothing.”
They continued forward and found their way toward the second level, third, and fourth going deeper into the Pyramid. At each level, there were more and more mummies, but no change in the monsters.
Zero couldn’t help but feel that something was off. Even though they went deeper into the dungeon, only a few changes hindered them from pushing forward. It did give the lower-level players a large jump in levels, but even still, they were a bit far away from the higher-level group.
When they arrived at the fifth floor, the group appeared in a large room with open grassland and a small casket with ancient Egyptian writings. A ghastly green light appeared from the ground. It lit up the room one by one. Hieroglyphs lit up the walls.
“I feel you won’t like this any more than I do.” Zeraph was carefully walking over to the casket.
The others spread out to see if they were anything that they could pick up and look for any treasures. Zero felt like a thief looking through the room for anything they could find. His hands traced against the runes, wondering what each one was saying. He felt that the words on the wall would tell a different story if only he could understand.
Suddenly he stopped. One familiar Egyptian word on the wall represented the ‘gate of death that he remembered while studying. When he looked around a bit more, he realized it had cropped up many times. It’s just that he needed help understanding why and for what purpose.
“Did you guys find anything?” Zero called out to Agnis and Zeraph.
“Nothing here but grass and more grass,” Agnis spoke. She walked over to the casket, wondering what was inside. A large group of dragons and companions were trying to figure out ways to open it. “Though, I wonder what this thing is hiding.” She brushes her hand against the cold stone as her fingers trace the carvings.
Zeraph glanced down at the casket as well, wondering what was inside. He pulled a scroll from his bag and placed it on the stone slab.
“What are you doing?” Agnis glanced over his shoulder.
“Nothing of too much importance.” Zeraph spread out the scroll and took out charcoal. He started to smear the charcoal over the carved rune. He specifically picked the large one with smaller words written around it in a circle creating a sun-like drawing with words.
“Wait, why these hieroglyphs?”
“I get a feeling we will need it later.”
“Hah? Gut instinct?”
“Something like that.” Zeraph was hunched over, diligently working on copying the hieroglyphs. “This is too troublesome.”
“Then why do it seriously…” Agnis let out a sigh.
“I told you, I have a reason.”
“Then don’t complain.”
“Do it for me then.” Zeraph handed her the charcoal for her to work.
“Nope. That’s not my job.”
“Pft, then don’t say anything as well.” Zeraph went back to scribbling away at his paper.
“I give up.” Agnis let out a sigh.
Zero, too was stuck and did not know what to do. There was no exit except the entrance that they came from. Walking over to the middle of the casket where Agnis and Zeraph stood, he wondered what else to do next. Right now, all he could think of was how to advance, but not a single player could read the hieroglyphs on the wall.
“What is he doing?” Zero stopped behind Zeraph and glanced over his shoulder.
“Drawing. He said it’s important and might help us later.” Agnis shrugged and walked around the casket, thinking not much of it.
“Well, if he has a reason, it could be helpful in the end.”
“If you say so.”
Zero watched Zeraph finish up his drawings and roll them back up. He stood up straight with his back turned away from the stone casket. “Well, I’m finished with that. Did we find anything?”
“Nope. Nothing at all. The others are still looking.” Zero pointed behind him, where all the others were diligently searching for a way out. “I mean, this is not the end we are searching for.”
“Well, things will eventually show up in due time-” Zeraph took a step back in surprise. The casket in front of them started to glow all around it. Even the hieroglyphs were glowing ruby red, signifying that something was going to happen.
Zero took a few steps back, worried that something might happen if he walked up too close to it. The stone slab moved, grating against each other as black smog spilled out of its content.
“What the hell is going on?!” Zeraph replied with shock. He pulled out his sword, ready to fight. Everyone else was on edge, ready to attack if something happened.
The black smog crept on the floor, slowly encroaching upon the players. Zero couldn’t help but feel that whatever was coming upon them was dangerous.
“Stay back, don’t let the black smoke touch you!” Zero took a couple more steps back. “Head back into the–!”
Bam! The door to the entrance closes, leaving them all trapped inside the large room. Amidst the darkness, a figure appeared. A black-haired pale skin human being stepped out from the cloud of smoke. With each step, it took the darkness wrapped around its body like a cloth creating a cape. With a yawn, it stretched its arms and groggily walked forward.
“Who the hell are you?” Valiant was the first one to speak. His black scales matched perfectly with the darkness that came after them, but what differentiated him from the humanoid being was that he was filled with life while the other wasn’t.
“An unwanted guest has arrived.” The being yawned as if they were no threat at all. “I want a little more sleep.” With a snap of his fingers, all the dragons and their companions were teleported away outside the Pyramid.
“What the?” Zero stood speechless, facing the front entrance of the Pyramid. “How?”
“I don’t know,” Agnis replied with the same shocked expression as Zero. “We just got booted out without a single chance to do anything.”
“I’m not even sure why, though? I mean, wasn’t that a boss character? Does this usually happen when fighting in a Raid?”
“No,” Elron whispered. “This is the first time I’ve heard about it too.” He went quiet, not sure what to say.
“Wait.… where’s Zeraph?” Agnis searched around, trying to find him in the large crowd of players, but she did not find his presence anywhere. “Did he?”
“I don’t know.” Zero replied. “I’m going back inside and see what’s going on.” He walked forward towards the entrance with hurried steps, but an invisible wall suddenly stopped him.
Twenty-four-hour time limit cools down before entering the Pyramid of Light. After that, new party members who have yet to step foot may enter the Pyramid.
Zero was surprised at the message. “I think we have a problem.”
“What?” Agnis came over, and she, too, was blocked out from entering. “Ah…I now know what you mean.”
“We might have to tackle this problem a little differently. We should start a second lower-level group to raid inside the Pyramid. This should allow them to level up while the main force cuts through to complete this quest.”
“You know what, that’s not a bad idea. I’ll tell Valiant and the rest about this, and we can start on a second group to enter.” Agnis spoke excitedly. She ran to Valiant to talk about the plan that Zero had just spoken out.
Zero was going to think about it a bit more, but it seemed that Agnis was already putting the plan into play. He could already feel a headache forming in his mind; the trials to break through the fifth floor might become harder than he had expected. All he could do was find answers by deciphering the hieroglyphs on the wall the next time they entered.
“Stay back. Let me handle this.” Zeraph held up his hands, holding Zero and the others back. Once again, they were in front of the same rune-stone casket. The green orbs lit up the dark room, and the runes glowed again.
With a rumble, the stone casket opened, allowing the black smog to spill out from its content. The smog spilled forward like liquid, and a silhouette of a human being appeared from the darkness. A black cloak fluttered behind its back as the man yawned wearily.
“So you guys came back.” The man frowned and crossed his arms. “Why won’t you let me sleep? What does it take to get a nap around this place? Already you and another group came to wake me up one after another.”
“I’m sorry to disturb your sleep Anu, but I would like to meet the King who sleeps in this tomb,” Zeraph spoke confidently. He did not seem to show any sign of restraint or problem that what he said was false.
“You too?” Anu sighed. “Though, how were you able to figure out my name? Are you his messenger?”
“Well, we can say something like that.”
“Hmm…then it must be of importance. Nobody should’ve been able to figure out my name but the King himself. So then the way to the King will be opened, though I will also come with you to see him.”
“Sure. The more, the merrier.” Zeraph whistled, pleased at the outcome. The stone casket shuddered and groaned. Its heavy stones moved, allowing a largely invisible passageway to lead downstairs.
“How did you figure out his name?” Agnis walked over next to him and whispered.
“I have my sources. I told you what I was doing had a reason.”
“So you’re saying that what you copied was his name? You know how to read ancient Egyptian writing?”
“Somewhat. I had to go back and check my sources, but Anu is not the main name written in big, bold letters. So we’ll be looking into something a bit more complicated. I’m not sure where to begin.”
“Literally or metaphorically?” Zeraph joked and nudged her by the ribs.
“You know what I mean.” Agnis rolled her eyes.
Zero was listening in on their conversation and noticed that Anu transformed into a jackal, flew over towards Zeraph’s side, and followed quietly next to him like a guard dog. He had to wonder what was Zeraph’s angle on all this. He remembered not being kicked out of the dungeon and was inside for another five hours. During that time, another raid team, a lot lower in level, entered the dungeon and slowly but surely swept through till they were finally able to enter the fifth level and stated that they saw Zeraph still on the fifth floor.
It wasn’t until they entered the dungeon, Zeraph was kicked out back to the beginning and brought outside without a single scratch. Following after was the raid team, only a few minutes behind.
Zero had specifically asked him what he had found out, but it seemed as if Zeraph did not talk much about it except how he might have found a way through. He had a million questions, but Zeraph walked away before he could ask. The way things were going, Zeraph was getting a bit unusual throughout this raid.
“Did you get a chance to check out the lower levels?” Zero asked carefully.
“Well, that’s the thing, I only got to stick around on this floor. I logged out several times to ensure my readings were correct. If I understand correctly, the test has already begun.” Zeraph answered casually without much effort of hiding anything.
“Tests? What kind?”
“There are a total of fifty levels. Each tenth level, we got a boss on our hands, and the layout of this dungeon is slightly strange. One second you’re going downstairs; another, you’ll be going back up. Though it seems that each floor is different.”
“Something on that line, not hundred percent sure if it is, but the exit will always be different. So all we can do is push forward; that means no going back.”
“That shouldn’t be too much of a problem.” Zero continued forward with Elron leading the large team. He was in the middle of the group letting the others level up and at least attempt to get closer to Zero’s team, who were all high-level. The average level of the dragons was around level 75. While Zero, Zeraph, Agnis, and Elro were past level 140. Valiant and his group were all around level 110, leading their specific teams.
“The problem is that if we die, we have to start all over again. So this raid might take a lot longer than a couple of days, by my calculation, possibly a few weeks.”
“A few weeks?” Agnis stated in alarm. “How are we supposed to sleep? I mean, we are all humans with a life of our own.”
“I expected as much. I suggest designating a specific time slot dedicated to clearing the dungeon. We will only be able to get out of this place to get more supplies if we die. It’s stupid if we attempt to run away to get more supplies. The rest time to enter the dungeon corresponds exactly with the twenty-four hours a person normally has before they get back in. We need to push forward and use every single able body to map out as much of the terrain as possible.”
“I agree, though there is one more thing that we should look into.”
“What would that be?”
“We should also use the time when we also die to map out the dead zone levels.”
“You serious? Why?” Agnis was not liking the sound of exploring the spiritual world at all. “I just don’t like the ominous feeling that we have to deal with. Can’t we just, you know, bypass it as well?”
“No. I felt that there is more to the place than you think.”
“What do you have in mind?” Zeraph was interested in what Zero got to say. He seemed a lot more excited than usual.
“If I remember my Ancient Egyptian history, I know they were quite religious with the spiritual world of the dead. The way they wrapped their kings and people into mummies was all steps to preserve the body for the afterlife. If this Pyramid follows the same principle, our real battle starts when we die. Not when we are alive.”
“That is an interesting twist of events. I’m going to completely back you up on this as well. I wondered why the words gate of death kept repeating themselves on the walls repeatedly. This might be the answer that we were looking for.”
Agnis sighed as her shoulder slumped forward in defeat. “So you’re saying that we all eventually have to die.”
“Technically, no. Having two teams was the smart way to do this. We will all be stuck in the spiritual dimension when one team dies. This allows the second team to enter and reach the final level. Attacking on both ends might be the key to winning this raid.”
“I never heard of such a strange raid before. I mean, to fight when you’re dead simultaneously as the living? I mean, that sounds so crazy.” Agnis was astonished at what she was hearing.
“It’s possible,” Zero reassured her without a second doubt. “I fought numerous times in the spiritual realm. The people who died when we were fighting the Swamp Fairy still fought them after they died. In that battle, I fought with them side-by-side and completely obliterated the Swamp Fairy’s spiritual form.”
“At the time when I went unconscious. I had to make my way back from the other side and slip back into my body. I’m glad I made it back before Russ completely overwhelmed our forces.”
“So that’s when you woke up?” Agnis’s eyes turned wide from shock. She was having a difficult time processing all this information. At the same time, she was starting to believe every word he was saying.
Zero slowly nodded.
“Damn.” Agnis stomped. “I was hoping what you were saying was just a joke, but after the Black Dragons that escaped from who knows where I don’t know if I can take it as a joke anymore. Those things were freakishly scary. I have never seen such creatures before; I mean no disrespect towards the Black Dragons, but the thought of them changing into evil makes my skin crawl every time.”
“I don’t think they all do. It’s just the ones that get consumed by rage.”
“Well, I hope you’re right because the population of black dragons is a lot higher than any other dragon species in the Draconis Village.”
“I know. It’s something I can’t do anything about.”
“Yea.” Agnis sighed. “So what’s the plan? We push through as much as possible, get overwhelmed by the enemy, then die? We’ll all lose a level, which is pretty big for someone like us, where our levels are pretty high. I mean, I’m getting closer to level 150 very soon. You know, past level 150, it’s not a walk in the park.”
“I know. It’s something we have to take a bet on.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Me too. Agnis.” Zero whispered.
“So, our plans?” Zeraph glanced towards Zero, waiting for what he would say.
“Push as far as we can and map out as quickly as possible. If we die, we die. Then we’ll push forward in the other realm as well.”
“Wait. Is there a penalty for death in the game if you die twice?”
“I don’t know.”
“Nobody has taken the chance to see what happens. Rumors are going around that it’s not a favorable outcome if they do.”
“Those are just baseless rumors.”
“Well, we should still tell everyone about the plan before we go head first into something we don’t know about.”
“I know.” Zero stopped, and he messaged all the eight sub-leaders telling them to stop and come huddle around him. “I just sent them a message. They’ll be here in a second.”
Every dragon and its companions tightly wrapped around Zero, Zeraph, and Agnis. They were suddenly wondering what Zero had to say when they arrived at the sixth level. Before they continued, they waited for Zero’s message.
“Zero!” Valiant trotted over with the others. “What’s the hold-up?”
The others were curiously peering toward him, waiting for an answer.
“We got something we should do.”
“Aren’t we doing what we should be doing already? I mean, there isn’t much to do but blast through this dungeon.” Valiant chuckled.
Reed smacked him on his head. “Enough with your lame joke, and listen to what he has to say.”
“Hey! That hurts.”
Valiant grumbled and sulked.
“We will push as deep as we can through the dungeon and map out as much of the terrain as possible. Our team’s objective is to get to the end as quickly as possible for the second team to get through it easily.”
“What do you mean? Why would we need the second team anyways? I mean, aren’t we enough?”
“No. There’s more. The battle will get worse as we get deeper, and that’s a given, but our real objective as a team is to die and get into the spiritual world.”
“You’re kidding me, right?” Valiant gave Zero a weary look. His tail was already flopping back and forth in agitation at the thought of death.
“No. This battle is two folds. One team will push through in the spiritual world, and the other team will go through the physical world. The number of players that can enter this dungeon is already predetermined in the physical world, but that does not mean that the spiritual attack is not welcomed. If my guess is right, it works on both dimensions.” Zero cleared his voice. “This Pyramid is possibly made by the Egyptians, meaning their belief system is slightly different. We are in a pyramid crying out loud; it’s a tomb for a king. The world of the dead will be where we have to go.”
“Are you sure that’s even a good idea? I mean, can we do it?” Valiant wasn’t gung-ho about diving into the unknown. Everyone who had died made it a priority not to explore the world of the dead. The game elements of this world were a lot more different from the physical world. Things did not happen the way players wanted, so the spiritual world was a big letdown for many players.
“Yes, we can. I know there will be level reductions, but the experience points on the other side are much better. Trust me on this. I have lived through the first twenty-four hours and made it back alive, and I know what I say is true.”
The players’ voices cried out in concern as they bombarded him with questions.
“Really? Doesn’t the dreary oppressive air make it difficult to travel?”
“What about the level handicap that I had heard about? Is that true as well?”
“Is the game system the same as fighting in the physical world? I mean, has anything changed?”
“What about where we are going to start if we die? Do we leave off where we died or what?”
“Enough!” Zero’s voice boomed loudly, causing everyone to leer back in surprise. They did not think that Zero’s human voice would make such an impact, leaving them all a bit shaken.
“To answer your question, there is no level handicap. You’ll lose one level; if you fight and live, you’ll gain more levels than when you started. That is only if you fight the monsters in the game. There is no reward if you do not put your life on the line. The dreary atmosphere gets to you, but that does not mean it’s impossible. When I say it’s possible, it’s possible. For the people who are concerned about the game mechanics in the spiritual plane, there is a big change. The physical skills that you have acquired do not work. Instead, what you need to take with you is belief.”
“Belief? What good would that do?” A young green dragon spoke in an outburst. “Belief is not going to cut down monsters.”
Zero eyed him down and sighed. “I’m saying that once you’re dead, you’re dead. You don’t bring anything from the physical plane. All you got was the birthday suit that you were given. Now with that, it does not mean it’s all over. What I meant by ‘Belief’ is that you need to believe that you can conjure up a weapon you are familiar with. This weapon is made from your energy and takes shape into a weapon. This is your best weapon in the spiritual world. Remember this, and don’t panic.”
“That’s easier said than done. How are you sure we won’t get even a worse penalty than before if we die a second time?”
“I don’t. That’s why this is a game. Be glad it’s only a game. We have to take chances somewhere, don’t we? If we want to succeed, failure is part of the process.” Zero was walking around, meeting each individual in the eye when talking. He stressed his points as best as he could. “Walking with our tails between our legs won’t let us get anywhere we need. So take a chance, a jump of faith, because you don’t know if that next jump was easier than you think.”
The players nodded in understanding as his words touched and inflamed their souls in excitement. Their chatter became louder as they thought of the possibility of coming.
“Well then, one last thing, we are going to chart out the physical world to let our lower-level players in team two level up faster and safer. We don’t want them to die, and we need all of them to make it to the final floor. That said, for the people who died, ensure you all find each other in the spiritual realm and stay together in groups. I don’t know how or where we will end up. Until we find the answer, we’ll keep pushing forward.”
“That sounds like a decent plan for now.” Valiant and the other dragons nodded their heads in agreement.
“It’s the best I got. We’re all going in blind.”
“True. Wish we had a map of this place.”
“Well, we better start one then, shouldn’t we?” Reed smirked. “I mean, it would be good if you start using your head too for once in a while.”
“What are you talking about? I always do.” Valiant shook himself like a dog trying to buck Reed off his back. But, instead, Reed held on tight with a smile plastered on her face. “I swear, after the bullying incident, you got much meaner.”
“Meaner? Hardly. I became much cooler.”
Valiant snorted. “If you say so.”
“I did.” Reed haughtily replied, sitting up straight on Valiant’s back.
Zero couldn’t help but chuckle at the two; they worked more efficiently together than before. Compared to his friends, Valiant did a pretty decent job of getting things under control when leading his group of friends. He was a natural-born leader in his way.
“Well then, let’s get back on the road.”
The players trudged forward into the dark passageways as they stepped through the unknown with more dedication than they had before. Even though death was imminent, the chance to explore a whole plane excited everyone at the prospect of getting stronger than they already were.
Zero knew he couldn’t slack off and patiently observed the surrounding areas. He did not want to lose to anyone in the early stages of the game. But, on the other hand, he knew it would be detrimental to the team if they started dropping like flies too soon.
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