Trekking through forest
Nov. 25, 2054. 3:33 P.M.
Zero waited outside the gates of the City of Elements. Today was the day for the official release of the large-scale quest throughout the three major cities. When the announcement was made a week back, he quickly went to apply for the quest. Agnis, Zeraph, Will, Sekka, Leaf, Valiant, and Reed were the only ones in the range to join in on the quest. M2, on the other hand, couldn’t take up the quest because of his special chain quest that he had been working on since last week.
If he remembered correctly, M2 would be on the last leg of his quest, and he would finish up a couple more days later. Will, on the other hand, was taking on the quest in the Kingdom of Tano with his guild. A week ago, he got news from Aldrin that they had officially moved out of the Kingdom of Terra and headed towards the Kingdom of Tano. The reason is because of Ross’s new guild: Hell Diver. They have been causing quite a bit of trouble with the Hercules guild, and not wanting to take part in Russ’s crazy antics; he left without a second thought.
On the other hand, for Sekka, Leaf, Valiant, and Reed to catch up quickly to level 150 was quite an accomplishment, making the four the strongest group of dragons right after Zero. Zero, on the other hand, was finally level 200. Leveling up became a lot tougher than before. The experience gained through simple quests and even dungeons around the City of Element was much lower and easier to navigate without much trouble.
Zero has been having slight throbbing in his back later when he’s in his Origin Form. He got the feeling that something big was going to happen, and he hoped that it was what he hoped it would be. Still, the aching pain behind his shoulder blade got quite annoying to the point where he found trees to scratch his back.
“Hey, Zero!” Agnis called out to him, waving her hand on her tip-toe.
When he was about to wave his hands, he felt his back start to itch. So halfway into his wave, he started to scratch.
Agnis gave him a quizzical gaze, wondering why Zero was scratching his back. “You okay?”
“Yea, just a bad itch.”
“No, it’s only one spot. But, unfortunately, it’s been getting worse as the days go by.”
“Then let’s go.”
Zero and Agnis walked towards the city town square, ready for the new event that was about to start in the next ten minutes. Throughout the whole time, he constantly scratched his back to the point where it was getting on his nerves. How long would this treacherous itch continue? It just wouldn’t stop; his mind wasn’t thinking as straight as it should be.
“Damn it!” Zero yelled, furious that this back was bothering him so much.
Transformation of the Origin form has been forced.
His body suddenly ached, his bone cracked, his muscles expanded, and his body enlarged. The forced transformation caused him much more pain than necessary, with tears spilling out of his eyes. Nevertheless, his body remained the same. He was now about as tall as a three-story house; his head was more sharp and triangular, with feathered, wing-like ears. Not only that, but he also had been growing a nice crest of horns that were quite spectacular for a dragon. His black, sublime body with gold etchings on the tips of his feathery scales, complete with the back of his spine having splendid spikes with faint feathering mixed down his back. The end of his tail was covered as well, giving it a slight fan-like feel.
“Zero?!” Agnis yelled, surprised at his sudden transformation.
People on the streets hurried away in fear of getting squashed. He was glad the streets were large enough to walk through without much trouble.
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t know.” Zero flopped to the floor; he rolled on his back and squirmed. The itch was getting to the point where it was getting unbearable. Twisting and turning around in his back had caused a problem. Stalls were knocked over; people scrambled around in a panic, trying to get out of harm’s way, pushing their stalls and products from getting trampled on.
“Hey!” A merchant shook his fist in anger.
“Sorry about that!” Agnis quickly came over, bowing in apology.
“Tell your dragon friend to watch where he’s going!” The merchant bent over, picking up his scattered vegetables on the ground.
“Zero,” Agnis hissed, trying to get his attention. She was not succeeding; Zero was rolling even harder to the point where he was doing a back crawl. “Zero!”
Zero froze, his body hitting against the stone building, using the edge as a back scratcher. “Yes?” He growled, annoyed that the itch wouldn’t go away. This time, his head snaked towards the back, and he bit down hard with his teeth.
“We need to go; we don’t have time to roll around.”
“I’ll be there in a minute.” Blood gushed out of his back, leaving behind an open wound. He dug into his back nonstop to the point where the pain was blissful. Relief flooded over them, giving him the joy of the annoying pain of the back disappeared. Something small appendages emerged from his back. They were about six inches tall and an inch thick. The appendages even moved at his will, though they didn’t do much wiggle, still well hidden under his feathery scales.
Is this my wing? It’s so……small? Kiyro couldn’t help but be highly disappointed. He thought he would have a large wing magically appear out of his back.
The pain in his back faded over time.
“Are you okay?” Agnis asked; she tilted her head.
Zero had flesh and blood on his mouth, making him look feral. Agnis took a step backward in unease; she wasn’t sure if this was the right time for her to get close or not, especially on how dangerous he looked and the small calamity he had caused on the streets.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Zero sighed with relief. He tried to shift back into his human form, but his body wouldn’t listen.
A failed attempt at human transformation. You can not shift until the growth of your wings is complete.
A failed attempt at human transformation. You can not shift until the growth of your wings is complete.
A failed attempt at human transformation. You can not shift until the growth of your wings is complete.
This was becoming a pain, especially not being able to shift from human to dragon form out of his own will. He didn’t even know how long this growth phase would persist, but at the same time, he was excited at the thought of flying. He remembered the feeling of flying when he was with the Silver Dragon. That flight was unforgettable, and it was something that he wished to experience again.
Agnis gazed at him with worry, but she inched forward. Then, inhaling a deep breath, she reached out toward Zero. Her hands stopped on his side, and she pulled herself onto his shoulders. “Give me a lift, Zero.”
“Sure?” Zero was lost at her sudden change of attitude. Instead of being afraid, she was courageous enough to face him even though he looked scary.
Agnis grabbed his feathered scale; she pulled herself and sat on his back. “Well then, we caused enough trouble; let’s get going, shall we?”
Zero grunted, and he started to trot forward. Suddenly, he felt Agnis’ fingers gently stroking his
back, where he had a horrible itch. He shuddered, faltered, and almost fell to his knees. The strange sensation was euphoric but mind-bogglingly difficult for him to move.
“What is this?” Agnis asked; she leaned forward, her finger caught on something on his back. She gently caressed the newly grown wing-like appendages. Her finger gripped the edge and pulled. The appendage opened up into tiny feathered wings that were blackish gold. It flapped a couple of times every time she touched his wings.
“That’s soooooooooo cute!” Agnis squealed out in delight. “Oh my god, is this what every dragon’s wing first looks like when they emerge?”
“S-s-stop it, A-agnis.” His leg buckled while she played around with his small wings. It was like when he scratched the lower back of a dog, making it almost impossible for them to get back on their feet. That was what was happening to Zero; he couldn’t move.
“But it’s so cute~” Agnis plays with the little wing, stretching and wiggling at it. “It’s so soft~.”
“Stop!” Zero fell over, defeated. His feet were twitching while his tail flopped around like a fish.
Agnis rampage of tackling his wings continued until she was satisfied. Her face was red, her cheeks slightly blushed, but she was happy. She patted Zero on his side and ruffled his scale-like feathers while Zero lay down, defeated and embarrassed.
“Let’s go, Zero. It’s not time to be playing around.”
Zero leg cramps and his mind was dazed. He felt violated, and he cried silently in his mind. But, his poor wings, the sensitivity on it was high, making every touch exhilaratingly pleasing. His whole body trembled and shook as he tried his best to get on his feet but failed.
“Are you done goofing around? We’re going to be late.”
With a huff, Zero grumbled under his breath. “Whose fault is it for me being so weak?” Not him, for sure; if she hadn’t played with his emerging sensitive wings, he would’ve already been there.
“What did you say?”
“Nothing, just hold on tight.” His feet finally stabilized, and Zero walked forward. Each step became stronger, faster, and more powerful to the point where he took a few dozen steps until he reached their destination.
When they arrived, the town square was crowded with players, making it difficult for Zero to push through. He had to be extremely careful not to step on anyone, but luckily, most players moved away for him to step through. A path was forming towards the center, where he saw a Valiant and Sekka surrounded by the crowds. Their partners, Reed and Leaf, were busily signing autographs as if they were celebrities.
“Valiant! Sekka! Leaf! Reed!” Agnis called out, she got on her feet, her hands hooked around his neck, and she waved toward them in excitement. Players turned towards her and gazed at her with wonder. She was like a fierce battle maiden with flowing white hair, sitting on top of a fierce dragon.
The two dragons and their companion turned their heads towards Agnis and brightened up when they saw Zero and Agnis. Valiant, who was sitting down, puffed up like a peacock, got up and happily greeted them. Sekka, on the other hand, yawned; her large golden mouth showed an array of fierce teeth, causing the people to step back.
Zero had outgrown Valiant and Sekka and they only came up half his size, making them the second largest dragons in Drezo Regalia’s species. He was quite proud of these two, who had grown quite quickly in the Pyramid of Light. They had even made a name for themselves in the past month, becoming famous in Elven city. Honestly, all eight dragon generals had made quite a name for themselves throughout the city and the dungeons.
The eight dragons were considered at the forefront of dragon evolution, their teamwork exceptional, and their buildings on the island quite beautiful. So many NPCs and players had come far and wide to see them.
Even Zero needed help getting the crowd off him without being sought out, especially since the whole of Draconis city knew he was the Prince of all Drezo Regalia.
“You guys made it,” said Agnis.
“Yea, though you guys just made it in time. What took you so long?” Valiant asked, curiously peering at them.
“Agnis, that’s what.” Zero grumbled. If Agnis didn’t tackle his poor wings, they would’ve been here by now, but that wasn’t the case.
“I understand perfectly,” Valiant spoke, nodding his head. “Girl problem.”
“What do you mean girl problem?” Leaf squinted, her hands on her hips, not pleased with how both of them said that. “We don’t cause problems; you guys are exaggerating.”
“Leaf, this is the one time you won’t understand,” said Valiant. He was squirming under Leaf’s intense gaze, boring into him like a drill. It was quite a sight to see a fierce black dragon that looked like a reincarnation of a demonic dragon be afraid of a young girl.
Leaf cocked her hips, her foot tapping in annoyance. “Explain.”
“Ladies and gentlemen!” A hoarse voice cut off Valiant’s attempt to say anything. A human male soldier called out to the crowd on top of a Diaz. A buff-looking male with Viking armor stood straight. His hand was on the hilt of his sword while a beady eye stared out into the crowd. “We are pleased that you are all here. My name is Liam, a General that works under her majesty the Queen. Today is the day that we set out into the Dark Continent to retrieve the Holy Mantle and bring glory to the Elven Queen. This Holy Mantle protected the great Hero Samuel during the Great Rose War, fought two hundred years ago. Finally, we have found the whereabouts of this lost item, and our great Queen has asked the citizens of the City of Element to retrieve this sacred object.”
The crowd bustled and whispered, all wondering what unique item this was for a large-scale quest to start. It has been a while since there has been a large-scale quest. Everyone was excited to participate in this grand adventure.
“The Dark Continent is perilous with danger; since the downfall of the protection of the Fire Continent, high-level monsters have been slowly encroaching upon our lands. This quest isn’t for the faint of heart or the weak. We only want the best of the best willing to take on this challenge. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of a safe return. Instead, it is more likely that you will die on this journey.”
Silence followed; the players were straining to hear more about the quest. Some were getting iffy about joining in.
Zero didn’t hear much information about the Dark Continent; there had been some rumors that this Continent was considered one of the three hot zones of dangerous high-level monsters that lived in the place. There was one instance when a level 400 monster had walked in the vicinity of the edge of Fire Continent borders, causing a nationwide alert throughout every kingdom.
Everyone feared the possibility of a monster of such a level. No one had even reached level 300 yet, and to fight a level 400 was considered suicide. The large-scale battle against the Landsharks wouldn’t even compare to the level 400 or above monsters; they were considered babies compared to the 400s.
“But if we succeed, the reward will be great; your names will be etched in the history of the Elven Kingdom. In addition, you can take a weapon of choice in the elven treasury vault.”
The mood suddenly changed, and excitement rang throughout the crowd.
“Weapons of choice in the Elven Treasury?!” A young human male yelled out in excitement to his friends. “That’s like giving us an A-class weapon! Elven weapons and armor are considered one of the tops!”
Players chatted, their voices increasing every second. Even Zero’s ears perked when he heard the possibility of getting an Elven weapon or armor. He could finally get stronger armor that he could wear. The armor that he had on now was great, but he wanted something stronger. It was time for him to find better gear to outfit his human form.
“Also, our dragon friends have graced us with this expedition. The dragon prince himself has come to join in on the quest.” General Liam spoke out loud and turned towards Zero. He gave him a small bow, making everyone turn their heads toward Zero.
Zero froze; he wasn’t used to this much attention. In all honesty, it unnerved him. Being in the center of attention was something he didn’t quite like; too much attention brought jealousy and problems.
It’s not like Zero was afraid of challenges; he just saw them as useless headaches where he could use his time more wisely in leveling up and exploring new areas. So far, he was able to scout out with Agnis a good distance away from the City of Elements and into the high-level monster territory. He didn’t need more attention and having people trail behind him like paparazzi.
“The dragon prince is here.” First, some of the girls squealed out in excitement. Then, they gaze up at him in awe.
“What’s so great about dragons.” Some of the others started with jealousy. “I could kill him in one hit.”
“Shut up,” The girls glared.
“With this, our chance for success has increased exponentially, giving us new ways to scout and fight,” said Liam as he cleared his throat. “With this, we shall depart in a half hour. I suggest that you all move towards the southern gates of the city. For anyone who wants to leave the quest, please do it now. For people who do not, please head towards the designated area.”
So far, no one had moved; the idea of a rare weapon or armor excited them. Players who had
applied were suddenly given a quest message to choose from. Eventually, the crowd headed toward the city wall’s southern part.
Would you like to join the Quest of the Holy Mantle? This is your chance to leave the quest without any penalties. Please choose your answer wisely; if you leave the quest in the middle, a heavy fine will be placed on you.
Yes or No?
“Yes.” Zero voiced his approval. He wouldn’t let this rare chance slip by, especially for a high-level quest that doesn’t come out very often.
You have accepted the Quest of the Holy Mantle.
Quest of the Holy Mantle
The Elven Hero, Samuel, was the last elf to hold onto the treasured legendary artifact that had been passed down by royalty. This Holy Mantle has the unique property of countering magic and protecting the wielder from prying eyes. The Queen of the Elven Kingdom has set up a special quest to enter the Dark Continent to retrieve her father’s equipment.
Quest Level: B+
Failure: Loss of levels and decrease in affinity with the Elven Queen.
Reward: One high-level piece of equipment of Eleven made armor or Weapon. Increase in affinity with the residents and the Elven Queen.
“You know, isn’t your blood pumping from excitement?” Valiant asked. He swayed back and forth, excited to strike out toward where they needed to go. “I’ve been waiting for this for a whole month!”
“All he’s been talking about these past few days was this quest,” said Reed. She yawned as if she was tired. “I didn’t have a wink of sleep because he wouldn’t shut up.”
“You’re better than me.” Leaf twitched his cheeks in slight annoyance. He raised his arm and crossed it in front of him. “You should see how hyper Sekka was this morning. I was dragged and brought here five hours early.”
“Five hours early?!” Valiant spoke, shocked. “That’s even more intense for me.”
“Yea, I know, and that’s saying a lot.”
“Well, at least they are enthusiastic about what they want to do,” Agnis replied. “I’m even
looking forward to today as well.”
“Excuse me.” A group of female elves walked over to them and giggled like school girls. They
stare at the group of dragons with awe and wonder.
“Yes?” Agnis turned around and glanced down at them.
“We were wondering if the Dragon Prince could give us a ride.”
“Hey! You’re not supposed to ask that! He’s royalty!” The girl elbowed her friend to stop her
from saying anything more than necessary.
“Well…” The girl with yellow hair squirmed. “I was just trying.”
“Um…Zero?” Agnis turned towards me, looking for an answer. Not sure if he would give her an okay.
“What?” Zero asked. He stood his ground; he wasn’t happy that he was suddenly asked to be
given a ride like a horse. The other girls stared up at him, wondering what he would say.
“So?” The girl with yellow hair asked, twiddling her fingers.
“No,” Zero replied. “I’m sorry, I’m not comfortable with strangers.”
“Oh,” the girl’s gaze cast down, her lips became a frown, and her shoulder started to shudder.
“Ah, you made her cry.” Her friend replied. “You’re the worst.”
Zero felt that the girl was using her tears as a weapon to get to him. He felt uncomfortable as large tears started to trail down her cheeks. She quickly wiped it away and composed herself.
“No. It’s alright,” she replied with a half-hearted smile. “I should’ve known that royalty wouldn’t give rides to commoners.” The way she said it was sweet but cold like a dagger.
The other girl whispered and gave Zero death glares. Then, they came around her and started to pat her on the back, telling her not to cry.
Her words rubbed Zero the wrong way. How could she misinterpret what he said as not like giving a ride to a commoner? What does she think he is? A horse. He snorted, blowing hot air out of his nose. The girls yelped, stepping back from the sudden wave of hot air wrapped around them.
“Take that back,” Agnis replied shortly after. “He’s not like that.”
“What are you talking about? He thinks he’s all that because he’s dragon royalty.” One of the girls shouted, glaring at Agnis. The heated stare between the two intensified.
“You don’t know him. You cry as if it’s the world’s end because he said no. Grow up, he’s people
just like us, and he can say no if he doesn’t find it comfortable.” She snapped, her hand crossed in front.
“Hmph, you think you can get away just because guys crawl up to your feet with a snap of a finger?”
“Woah, that was uncalled for.” Valiant spoke out in complete disbelief.
“She is Zero’s partner, and partners aren’t sluts,” Reed slid off Valiant’s back. Anger laced her body while she pointed at the group of girls. “If you weren’t so rude, others might not have minded giving you a ride, but now you’re all complete dicks just because things don’t go her way.
If you want to call someone a slut, you should look at your friend. Everything that she’s wearing is bought. Her armor is called Red Fox Armor, $2,000 on the net, the Eleven Fairy bow is $600, and those Sprite Boots are $200. Not only that, she tears up from being rejected. How the hell do you think she’ll be able to go up against monsters with that timid attitude? Seriously? Zero worked his way up, he just recently found out he was royalty a month ago, and you think that was bought like your friend here? Hardly.” She spat, waving her finger in front of the girls with her hand on her hips.
People stopped to see what was going on with curious eyes, and more and more started to form around them, making the girls uncomfortable.
Zero and the rest of the group were completely startled by Reed’s outburst; she wasn’t the type to start a fight or be outspoken. Even Valiant stared at her with a glowing pride that seemed to blossom on his face. If he could fist pump in his dragon form, Zero thought he could do it any moment.
“So get your head straight, grow up, and stop acting like a complete bitch.”
The other girls stood there in complete shock, unable to say anything but stand there looking stupid.
“That’s my girl!” She shouted Sekka; her mouth was littered with a full set of sharp white teeth that glistened under the sun, making them look completely dangerous. It wasn’t until Sekka spoke out with a chuckle that made the others snapped out of their stupor.
“You dragons are all arrogant pricks!” The girl shielding her yellow-haired friend stood up and pointed at them. “I swear, I’ll make sure you all die!”
Zero snapped his head towards them so quickly that they flinched back. His body tensed up; he stood up straight until he made himself big. His black scales shifted from a radiant sparkle to a dull black with heart-jerking oppression.
“What did you say?” Zero golden eyes glowed dangerously, and Green mysterious fire started to
spark off in his mouth like fireworks.
Everyone who was watching started to scuttle backward, fear laced their hearts, and the oppressive aura of a dragon started to ring alarmingly across the town square. Silence filled the air, and people held their breath, worried about what would happen next.
“I-I s-s-said, t-t-that all you d-d-dragons are arrogant pricks and assholes!” She shouted, bringing herself up as best as possible, and pointed towards Zero.
“I see.” An evil grin slowly spread across his lips; his claws extended outwards, scratching against the ground floor. Even Valiant and Sekka, dragons themselves, started to step back and shudder.
“It seems you don’t understand the word ‘No.’ Plus, you begin creating your fantasies without completely understanding why. I told you, I don’t feel comfortable letting a stranger ride my back. Plus, I am no horse that you can get up and ride on me like an animal. My partner is the only one who can sit there because I know her, and she’s my friend. Have you even attempted to be my friend? No, you didn’t even make an effort.”
Green and black flames spat out of his mouth like a raging torrent of fire every time he spoke. The s’s of his words became longer, and his tongue flickered out like a snake. His eyes glinted with disgust at the girls in front of him. Even his tail moved back and forth with irritation; a couple of times, he knocked over a basket of fruits and other items.
“Not only that, you disrespected my friends and my partner. So I believe you should leave before I slaughter you in front of everyone when I’m asking nicely.”
The girls stood unmoving; Zero suspected a few couldn’t move from their spots. Their faces were laced with horror, their bodies shaking, and even their scent was the familiar scent of fear that he knew too well.
“I said leave!” With a blast of green and black flames, he shot downwards in front of them. A wave of hot air slapped them in their body, and they stumbled and scrambled backward. Each of them ran away, trying to outrun the other.
Zero temper started to lessen, and Agnis and Reed stared behind them with amused expressions. Then, the people watching started to move around again, leaving the premises. Some stayed behind to chatter, staring at Zero and his gang with awe. The others shook their heads and looked towards Zero with disfavor, but most nodded in understanding of what had happened.
“Fufufufufufu,” Agnis’s bell-like voice chuckled, her hands covering her mouth.
“What are you laughing at?” Zero’s head swiveled over towards his back. The intensity he had around himself disappeared and was replaced by confusion. This whole time, the air around them was serious, and Agnis just broke it with a snap of a finger with her laugh.
Agnis reached over and patted his neck. She then pointed towards his shoulder, where his baby-size wing was fully opened. Her hand reached over and poked his wings a couple of times.
“So cute. When you got angry, your wings opened up and started to flap. It looked like you were trying to cause a fury of the wind, but all it did was flap around so cutely that I couldn’t take my eyes off it.”
Zero wasn’t sure what to say; maybe it was a bad idea to let her ride on his back, especially because it seemed like she won’t stop attacking his poor little wings. He wished his wing would hurry up and get bigger as soon as possible so she wouldn’t make fun of him. But, unfortunately, his life was on the line whenever she played around with his wings.
He already had a headache from her childish behavior, but at the same time, he couldn’t help but watch her cute smile. These days, he’s been watching her increasingly, her actions becoming cuter by the second. Sometimes, he thought that her whole persona seemed to sparkle with life, making it even more difficult to look away. Finally, he had to tear himself away before he was caught staring for too long.
With a loud cough, he caught her attention. Her hand was itching to tackle his wings again, but he stopped her just in time. “We should be going. The army will move out soon, and we wasted twenty minutes.”
“Ah.” Agnis straightened herself, pulled back her white hair as if nothing was wrong, and nodded. She was back to the cold elf princess attitude that she usually wore on her face. The nobility could come second to the elf queen, making it charming. People mistook her at times since the beginning for an elf nobility from the way she carried herself and the clothes that she wore.
Now that he thought about it, her armor had changed to make her features stand out even more. She wore silver and black armor that was a mix of an armored skirt. On her shoulder were feathered clothes wrapped around her like a scarf, and even the high-knee shoe covered most of her legs. A crown-like headband covered half of her head, letting her white hair drape downwards to her chest with her elf ears peeking out to the side. The only part of her skin showing off was her face and a few of her legs; the armor covered up the rest that she wore.
Even an elegant elf bow tip with feathers was strapped to her back, and on her side were two swords, one longer than the other. She looked like a warrior elf princess; her right hand rested on the hilt of her sword as she gazed off towards the city exit. Her sitting on a large black and gold dragon made it even more intimidating and regal, especially for someone like him. He was considered a rarity in the dragon species. Honestly, he was the only one alive in the world he knew of.
“Well then, let’s go.” Agnis waved her hand in front of her; her heels clicked on my side.
Zero felt like a horse. His eyes squinted toward her, and her mouth opened to say something, but Agnis interrupted him.
“What are you waiting for? You said we’ll be late, right?”
“Then let’s go!”
Zero gave a defeated sigh, his shoulder slumped, and he started moving towards the southern gates. They continued through the tall elven buildings, a mix of plants and trees, which made up half the building. Just walking down every corner of the city floor was an exotic artwork that naturally blended in with the environment.
They eventually made their way toward the front of the gates, where thousands of players were present. People were divided by guilds and parties, and quite a few were solo players. When Zero’s group stepped out into the field, everyone turned their gaze toward them.
“We bring quite the attention to ourselves, don’t we?” Valiant chuckled. “Especially our captain here.” He walked up from behind Zero’s left.
“So what?” Sekka replied, not caring about the states that she was given. A majority of the female side of the group gazed at her with excitement. Her presence as a gold dragon was more angelic and calming than Valiant. “Just ignore them.”
Valiant, a black dragon, had a heavy dark atmosphere around him, making the people near him tense. He looks like an evil dragon that came out of a fairy tale. With one look, the people turned their gaze away from him and continued doing their work.
People split ways for Zero’s party as they moved towards the center. Then, finally, they settled down and waited for the event to start.
“Hey, Zero!” Zeraph’s voice called out in the dense crowd. He squeezed his way past the thick crowd of people.
“Zeraph, what took you so long?” Zero asked. Zeraph was usually the type to be on time, but today he wasn’t. Instead, he looked a lot more winded than usual.
“I had to finish up a quest.” Zeraph quickly replied. He bent over, trying to catch his breath.
“That’s what took you a while, huh.”
“Yea, you wouldn’t believe the number of tasks I had to check off. I was moving around for a chain quest as some delivery service.” He snorted, straightened himself, and ran his hair backward.
“Chain quest?” Zero cocked his head. “That would do it to you.”
Zeraph grumbled under his breath. “I was lucky enough to finish it just in time, or I wouldn’t have made it here today. So let’s get this quest over and done with.”
A loud blast of a horn trumped outwards. Everyone turned their attention toward the sound,
wondering what was causing it. What people saw next were tens of thousands of elven troops wearing green and silver armor, covered from head to toe. They walked towards the group of players and stopped in front of them in a rhythmic beat.
Liam, the human general of the Elven Queen, stepped out, riding on a brown horse with his helmet wrapped in his hand near his waist, gazing out towards the players. His voice became low but loud, catching everyone’s attention with a shout.
“Thank you all for coming here today. It is my pleasure to lead you toward our Holy expedition. Seeing so many young and old willing to serve our Elven Queen brings great joy.” A stern gaze scanned around the surroundings. “We are headed to ancient lands shrouded by mystery for thousands of years. We take this step forward towards bringing glory once again to our people.”
People hung onto his every word, excited at the adventure to come. They all knew that the Dark Continent was considered a danger zone, especially because of the large number of high-level monsters roaming the land. However, the countless treasures explored terrains, and even gaining new lands was possible.
“Now, with the combined forces of the queens and adventurers alike, we shall reclaim our Holy Mantle that brought glory to this city for many generations!” He yelled with enthusiasm, lifting his helmet in the air. “Let us proceed for the glory of the Elven Queen!”
Everyone cheered into the air with wild enthusiasm. Liam put his helmet on his head and spurred his horse forward. The giant army lurched forward into a steady rhythm, heading down south towards the Dark Continent.
Zero and his group followed behind. Days passed as the armies marched slowly toward the south. There wasn’t much fighting going on through the dense forest.
They talked, camped, and continued walking onwards behind the Elven army. The journey on
foot was less exciting and fun than many people thought it to be. Instead, it was a repetition of the day as they strolled, lugging the supplies behind them.
Zero and his group eventually made their way toward the edges of the border of the Fire Continent. The sharp contrast of the scenery changed from the lush forest to open rolling plains. There weren’t many trees, but tall yellow grass appeared at the waist. Even the monsters were more skittish, running away from the large moving army that slowly descended upon their habitat.
As the army emerged from the trees, Liam shouted to a halt. “Halt!”
Everyone stopped, waiting for what their general would do and say.
“We are at the borders of the Fire Continent; this is my last chance to tell you all that you can turn back now. What we face in these plains are not just monsters we fight in the Fire Continent, but monsters of legends!” His voice was harsh and to the point. “There is no remuneration if you turn now, but once you cross into the plains, I will not tolerate any disobedience! Do you understand?!”
“Yes!” Adventurers and soldiers yelled, but no one moved.
“Good. Then follow me!” Liam was the first to step into the open plains without holding back. He didn’t show fear or worry and dived straight in. The soldiers followed his example effortlessly while the Adventurers glanced around to see if others would back down. So far, no one stopped moving and headed into the thicket of the grass.
Throughout the afternoon, the hot, beating sun-scorched downwards on the soldiers and Adventurers, making them sweat every step they took. Hours went by until, finally, the sun started to set.
General Liam stopped the soldiers from advancing and ordered everyone to step up to camp. Soldiers and players busily moved around as tents were set, food was cooked, and even fire started.
On the other hand, Zero didn’t need to put up the tent. He was too big to fit inside the tent he brought along with him. Even now, the food problem has become much more problematic than before. His large body took three times more than usual, and all he brought was enough for a one-month trip for a human body. Now the food that he has left for a good two weeks. He didn’t know how long this trip would last and knew that he had to hunt for food very soon.
Walking over towards the half-made tent that Agnis was working on, he flopped down next to it and sat waiting for her to finish.
Agnis had most of her armor off; she brushed back her white hair over her ears and gave a satisfied grunt when she was complete. Then, turning around, she gazes up at Zero with a frown.
“Why haven’t you changed yet?” Her hand was on her hips.
“Can’t shift? Since when?”
“Since my wings erupted from my back.”
“I don’t know, but until it’s fully grown. So I’m stuck in this form.”
Agnis thought it over, her finger tapping the side of her hip. “That will be a problem, especially your food intake.”
“Yeah, I noticed.”
“Do you want to go out hunting tonight? So we can stock up on meat that we will desperately need.”
Zero nodded. “That would be a good idea.”
“Well then, I’ll call Sekka while Valiant watches over our things.”
“Good idea, plus I was getting tired of just lazily walking with nothing to do these past few days.” Zero groaned. “I can’t wait to shred a couple of monsters with my claws.”
“Yea, yea. Don’t go crazy on me yet.” Agnis patted my side. “Give me a moment, and I’ll call everyone over.”
Agnis turned around and started to call the others through her friend list. Zero, on the other hand, sat and waited. During the time that he waited, he felt a strange presence swamping the field. Something was out there, making him feel antsy, and the presence was getting closer and closer.
A high-pitched scream erupted in camp, making everyone freeze up what they were doing. Zero bolted up onto his legs and scanned into the dark. What he saw made him tense up.
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