Change, is it worth it?
Zero shook himself awake from his momentarily surprise, and stormed towards Zeraph, peeved at him. He was the cause of the downfall of the barrier as well as the one who had his parent’s Krustallos. The thought of having something that didn’t belong to Zeraph made him angry, mostly because it brought an unwanted memory that he had forgotten.
It was like seeing his actual mother’s soul all over again. Especially in the hand of someone who shouldn’t have it in the first place. The Eternal Soul gave off the same familiar feeling that he had of his real mother. The mere feelings gave him streams of flashbacks of what had happened at the hospital as well as with his brother.
“Zero?” Agnis replied, making her way towards his back as she sat. “Are you okay?” She asked with concern. Something was bothering Zero’s mind, and she knew that what just transpired in front of them was the reason why.
Zero didn’t answer, he went straight towards Zeraph without stopping. His emotions were simmering to the point where it was spilling over, his body was tensed and he glared towards Zeraph as if he was going to burn him alive right there and then.
Even Zeraph could feel the strong emotions that was rolling out of Zero’s body. His hand unconsciously reached over towards his sword, resting his arm on it. He flicked his hair back and stared straight at Zero without flinching. Zeraph wasn’t the type to be scared or intimidated by Zero’s deadly glare, but challenged it instead.
“Zeraph.” Zero replied coldly, his body giving off a slight blood lust aimed towards Zeraph. His tail swished annoyedly as it thumped against the ground. Even his claws dug into the soil, causing a deep indent in the ground. He wasn’t just scraping against it but completely rooting out the flowers and plants that was under his claws without thinking. “Why do you have my mother’s soul?”
“Mother’s soul?” Zeraph asked confused. He tilted his head, looked at the Krustallos and back at him. The thought didn’t register in his mind and was instead confused at what Zero had just said. “It’s just a powerful gem that I found, underneath the castle. ”
Zero scoffed at Zeraph’s answer, then he growled. “That is the Eternal Soul. The stone made from my dragon parent’s soul.”
Then it hit Zeraph as the answer finally dawned on him. His gazed softened, as he looked at the stone. He flipped it a couple more times, letting it slip in between his finger. “That’s why I saw those dragons awhile ago.” He thoughtfully examined the stone as he raised it up into the air, letting the sunlight hit the stone as it sparkled. “You know that never happened, until now.”
Zero wasn’t sure if Zeraph was lying, hiding something from him, playing dumb, or really didn’t know what it was. His mind was in a turmoil, he wanted to snatch the stone out of Zeraph’s hand and keep it safe. The dragon instinct in him was screaming to take the stone now, and destroy Zeraph for stealing something so precious.
There was an inner battle in Zero’s mind that he had to constantly keep in check. His human half was trying to quell the anger of the dragon mind. It wasn’t easy, especially because of the flicker of emotions that seem to ready to burst any minute. Words like thief, murder, and even egg breaker kept flashing in his mind, he had to zone out the raging thoughts until he was finally able to control his emotions.
The strain on his mind wasn’t simple, instead it gave him a slight headache. Luckily, his human mind dominated majority of his thoughts, pushing back the dragon side.
“You still haven’t answered my question.” Zero was getting impatient at Zeraph, the dragon emotions was still leaking out of his tone of voice. “Why do you have my parent’s Krustallos?”
“Do you really want to know?” Zeraph lips turned upwards, enjoying every moment of Zero’s annoyance.
“Yes!” Zero’s voice went up an octave, bringing attention to everyone else. Quite a bit of people were staring at them, wondering what they were talking about.
Zeraph walked over towards Zero, he jumped onto his side, and scaled up towards Zero head. He made himself comfortable as he sat on Zero’s head as if it was his rightful spot.
This annoyed Zero as he shook his head to throw Zeraph off, but Zeraph smacked him once to stop him. Alarmed at Zeraph’s rude action, he was ready to do a splendid head throw, but Zeraph spoke stopping him.
“It’s best that we find a place to talk,” said Zeraph. He casually crossed his leg, not even phased by Zero’s wild head movement. “We don’t want everyone listening in.”
“Fine.” Zero replied, thinking over again if he should throw Zeraph off or not. He decided not to and thought about getting him later on. “You need to tell me everything.”
“Don’t worry, I will.” Zeraph patted Zero’s head. “Let’s go to the rear, away from prying eyes.”
Zero glanced around him and noticed that quite a number of people were watching them. He didn’t realize that both him, Zeraph, and Agnis, had become the center of attention, making him feel quite uncomfortable. Having so many eyes set on him made his feet shuffle forward quickly, as he felt he wanted to get out as quickly as possible. In the heat of the moment, he forgot completely that he was surrounded on all sides by the army.
“Let’s go.” Zero turned around, walking past the soldiers that opened up a path for them to walk through. General Liam rode over on a horse towards Zero. He stopped and glanced up at Zero.
“Zero!” General Liam called out towards him as he steadied his horse. “Can you explain what just happened?”
Zero eyes furrowed, unable to figure out how to explain everything. There were too many variables that he didn’t understand, especially Belial, the fallen angel, and the Eternal Stone. He knew that he would give half baked answers to General Liam, because he didn’t want to tell everything. Sometimes certain secrets were best kept to oneself, especially in Zero’s case.
“Well, for starters, Belial is a fallen angel.” Zero replied, knowing full well that General Liam would ask such question. Instead, he told him first before he could ask.
“I suspected as much, but why did he come to you?”
“He wanted to leave me a message saying that the Demon Prince will be waking up in 4 years and 156 days.”
“4 years and 156 days?!” General Liam shouted shocked at how soon the Demon Prince will awaken. His voice went up an octave that slightly cracked. “So soon?!”
General Liam fidgeted, his face darkened, his hand tightened around the reins as he was thinking deeply in what Zero had just said. “This is a grave news. For the Demon Prince to be awaken is considered a major event. We must quickly retrieve the Holy artifact and make haste back to the queen.”
“Just out of curiosity, who exactly is the Demon Prince?” Zero asked. He had never really heard anything about the Demon Prince until today. There were snippets of the Demon Prince in Lilith’s memories, and other OMs but that was it. He knew that the Demon Prince put a curse on his people, killed off the older generation, and was now is attempting to once again harvest all of his brethren’s soul.
“You don’t know?” General Liam was taken aback by Zero’s word. He expected that he would know about the Demon Prince, because Belial talked about it towards Zero.
“I really don’t know much. Honestly, information about the Demon Prince is so rare that it’s difficult to find.” This was the truth, there wasn’t anything about the Demon Prince in the Draconis Library or the legend about how he disappeared.
General Liam nodded understanding why Zero didn’t know much about the Demon Prince. “The main reason why the six great Heroes of the Fire Continent are so widely known is because of their contribution in sending the Demon Prince back to the oblivion.”
“Wait, six of them pushed the Demon Prince back?” Zero was surprised that the six of them had such a power to send back the Demon Prince. The last that he remembered was that Lilith changed into a demon. “I thought Lilith was dead by then.”
“Only Drake was the last Hero who stood up against the Demon Prince in the final battle. In his last moments, he sealed the Demon Prince with the cost of his life.”
“What happened to the other heroes?”
General Liam became saddened by the memory of the Legend. He sighed and began telling the story. “As we all recently found out Lilith had turned into a demon a while back and were slain. Samuel, Lilith’s husband, vanished. No trace of his whereabouts is known, even the Queen does not know where her father had gone. Some say that he went to search for a way to bring his wife back, others stated that he died by the hand of one of the Demon Prince’s Generals. While Cello, the troll, died when he slew the last known black hydra that rampaged in the war against the Demon Prince.”
Zero listened intently, the story of the heroism of these heroes so far didn’t come out as happy as he had thought they would be. There was quite a bit of a dark side to the story that he never heard about until now.
“Connor, the dwarf was assassinated in his sleep, on the last day of the war against the Demon Prince. Finally, Lulu, the poor soul.” General Liam shook his head, making Zero feel like something really bad happened to Lulu. “She been spirited away, stolen by the Demon Prince to spawn his wretched kind.” He shivered.
Zero stared with gaping jaws, he felt like the happy ending of heroes that he usually hear about was all just a lie. He thought at least majority of them lived happily ever after, but instead he was rewarded with doom and gloom. Hearing about Lulu’s horrible fate made him cringe, he felt like it might’ve been best not knowing about the bad endings of the heroes.
“But,” General Liam leaned over, “these are more on the line of rumors. The winner of the war replaced the majority of what I had told you and glorified them by the victors. Only our Queen knows the true history of the Heroes of the past, and the thing is what I have told you, she has not refuted it once.”
Zero darkened at the thought of what he had just learned. “What exactly was the Demon Prince even trying to accomplish?”
“That is a question we don’t completely know, but rumors states he wants to destroy the whole of Noriene for his own selfish reason.”
Selfish reason. That was what all humans, living creatures with intellectual minds, and even demons were known for. The question came down to what was the Demon Prince really planning on and why the Drezo Regalias? Was what Belial said was true that their souls could be used to make powerful weapons? He wasn’t sure, but he knew he needed to get to the bottom of this or it would bother him.
“You better be careful, young prince. When the Demon Prince awakens, we will have war once again, but this time it will be for the fight for all our survival.”
“That would be quite a battle.”
“Yes.” General Liam scratched his chin. “Though, I had to wonder, what was that power that pushed away the Fallen Angel?”This time he glanced over towards Zeraph, waiting for an answer.
“It’s a one time special ability that the stone can put out. I don’t know much about it, but I suggest that we don’t count much on it for help.” Said Zeraph. He pocketed the stone, so General Liam wouldn’t ask to see it or for the others to start eyeing for it.
Even Zero felt a bit mad that Zeraph had put it away, but when it disappeared from sight, his mind became a lot more clearer. He had to wonder if the lull of power from the stone was the cause of majority of his anger, but he wasn’t quite sure or did he wanted to test that theory out.
“Ah, I see. You must’ve gotten the spell from a powerful wizard.”
“Something like that.” Zeraph waved his hand, not giving him a full answer.
Zero knew that Zeraph was lying, for a good reason too. The Eternal Stone was a powerful ancient Krustallos that protected the whole Fire Continent. If General Liam knew about this, he probably would have lost his mind or worse, killed Zeraph on the spot for disrupting something so powerful.
Honestly, Zero wondered if Zeraph had any infamy points that put him on the radar for stealing the Eternal Stone. Plus, players would possibly even hunt him down for it if they knew what it was. But from the looks of it, Zeraph didn’t have any assassin or bounty hunters attempting on his life for the past few days.
“That would make sense.” General Liam bought Zeraph’s half baked answer.
Zero couldn’t help but watch in amusement with their conversation, fully knowing that wasn’t the case to begin with.
“Though, why dragons?” asked General Liam. “I have never heard about there being a Dragon Spell.”
Zeraph coughed a couple of times, clearing his throat. Zero wondered what crazy excuse Zeraph would conjure up to cover up his lie. Even Agnis was silently giggling as she watched them converse with one another. She had to cover her lips, so she wouldn’t give away that Zeraph was lying.
“Well, I asked for an illusion magic to be put in the stone. It was more of a scare tactic on the enemy and to cover up the true essence of the magic.” Zeraph confidently stated. He then patted Zero’s head a couple of times as he held onto his horn. “I had this idea from my friend here. Who wouldn’t cry out in fear when they see something so powerful, especially a fully grown adult.”
“I see.” General Liam thought it over, then he brightened at what Zeraph had said. “This is good that the magic you have brought kept away the Fallen Angel. Without it we probably would’ve been dead.”
“Yea,” Zeraph raised up his hand as he slicked back his hair. “Something like that.”
Zero lip twitched, trying not to burst out from saying Zeraph was a horrible liar. He had to keep it all in himself and give him an earful when they were more privately alone.
“Well then, we should get moving.”
“Thanks for the information, General.” Zero quickly said, so that General Laim wouldn’t go back and asked Zeraph anymore questions.
“No, thank you for such an information. We’ll continue moving forward for now.” General pulled the rein as the horse started to move forward. “We’ll need your help once again to quickly push through the territories.”
Zero knew that they would be fine for another 150 miles, the last boss battle added new territories that allowed them to bypass the Kilin’s territory without too much trouble. The army didn’t need much of Zero’s help, especially because they were all strong themselves, making traveling a lot easier. Fighting low level monsters didn’t give him much experience points, he had to take on a bit more challenging monsters to even level up.
“We’ll be fine for another 150 miles.” Zero replied, he started to walk towards the back. “If you need me, I’ll be at the back.”
General Liam nodded and didn’t say anything else. He spurred his horse forward, leaving the three of them alone.
Zero walked a bit fast towards the back, leaving behind the large army until it eventually dwindled down to a handful. He kept a good distance, where he could still run up towards them when there was trouble.
Eventually, Zero stopped and slowed down his pace, following behind the army. He didn’t break away to far for he knew they might need his help later on to challenge the boss, but he didn’t stay to close to let other hear their voices.
“Now, explain.” Zero replied, he faced towards the army, walking in a steady pace. Agnis leaned on his neck as she started to wipe down her sword. Zeraph on the other hand was sitting on his head, staring out into the distance for any suspicious activity.
“It’s simple really. I was doing a quest, and came upon it.”
Zero grinded his teeth, Zeraph had a knack for not telling essential information. “That’s not very informative. Details.”
“Like I said, I was doing a quest. It lead me underground, in which case I believe it was under the castle. Quite a large complex unnecessary tunnels if you ask me.” Zeraph crossed his arms. “I was stuck downstairs for god knows how long, but eventually popped up in the city library or should I say Draconis Library.”
“Wait, you had the Krustallos since then?!”
“Yes. Actually, a lot longer. Moving the Krustallos from the heart of the castle was a pain. You don’t know how much trouble I went through to get out of there with it.”
“I bet. That’s not something you should even be having in your possession.” Zero growled, the thought of someone who wasn’t a partner or a dragon having a Krustallos irritated him. It actually made him on edge just thinking about it.
“Finders keepers.” Zeraph chuckled with a smug smile, wiggling his eyebrows.
Zero scowled when he heard what Zeraph had said and a deep rumble erupted out of his throat. His dragon emotion started to resurface, peeking through his words. “They’re not things to collect.” His words were low, close to an angry hiss.
“I never said that they were.” Zeraph patted him on the head to calm him down.
“You make it sound like it is!”
“Calm down,” Zeraph rolled his eyes as he crossed his hand in front of him. “I’ll give it to you when this is all over with anyways.” He replied, not caring that it was a very powerful item.
“You will?” Zero was caught off guard by what Zeraph had said. The dragon mind was so stunned that his mind went completely blank. Majority of the time, other players wouldn’t fork over something so valuable, especially something so powerful. Even though there isn’t much that Zero had found out about the use of Krustallos, it was still something worth keeping.
“Yea, why not?”
“Well….” Zero was having difficulty now telling him how crazy he was to give up something powerful at the same time, he was contradicting his own thoughts. Having his parent’s Krustallos back at its rightful place was what he wanted. This feeling of protectiveness of his parent’s Krustallos was strange, but at the same time familiar.
Zero wasn’t sure if it was his dragon form that was resonating with the Krustallos or his own heart and mind telling him a couple different thoughts. Now that he thinks about it, he wasn’t sure which was which anymore.
“Don’t worry about it. I know what you’re trying to say.” Zeraph replied, not really caring that he was giving up something powerful. “At the end of the quest, I’ll hand it to you.”
“Yes.” Zeraph licked his lips as he sat crossed legged on Zero’s head. “It’s a game, Zero. Yes, I would like to get strong, but my objective in this game isn’t just that.”
“What else is there?” Zero asked, not completely getting what he was saying.
“Haven’t you ever thought that there was more to this game?” Zeraph asked.
“You don’t mean there’s more, do you?” Agnis asked. “Like there is something really special about this game?”
“Yea, something like that.”
Zero thought it over for a moment. He had a feeling for a very long time that this game was more than meets the eye. For Angel and his group to spirit away quite a lot of Seeded players was really strange in itself. Then, the strange occurrence that they kept having in real life that seem to coincide with the game, almost as if the game world was slowly merging with reality.
The whole black dragon incident was something completely out of the ordinary, making him feel like what he had just experienced was all in his head. If it wasn’t for the others, they would’ve all brushed it off as some kind of bad dream.
“Lately, I been feeling that the game is hiding something,” said Zeraph.
“Like?” asked Agnis. She wiped down her sheat with a soft towel and sheathed the blade back in.
“I don’t know. It’s just fascinating.” Zeraph’s words had a tone of amusement like he was hoping that something like that would happen again.
Agnis raised up her eyebrows as she turned towards Zeraph. Her armor clattered as she moved. “You need to give us a better explanation. We can’t read minds you know.”
“That’s the thing.” Zeraph said a bit excited, he then glanced down towards Agnis. “There just something special, almost as if two worlds are becoming one. Why are there Seeded Players? What are the Seed Shard’s true purpose? And the million dollar question is how is the supernatural side of the world interacting with game?”
“Magic?” Agnis shrugged her shoulders. “That’s the best answer I could give honestly.”
“I don’t know. Real magic is different from the fantastical crap that you see on the movie.”
“True. I’m just throwing it out there.”
“I know.” Zeraph tapped his fingers on his arm, while he was thinking about everything. “Do you want to know what kind of quest I got?”
“Does it have to do with the real world?” Zero asked, the way that Zeraph kept going back to the real world and the questions of the game made him ask such a question.
“Yes.” Zeraph’s words brought a slight chill down Zero’s back. “Plus, we’re all experiencing a lot of unusual events.”
“True, but that could all be in the mind.” Zero replied, knowing full well that wasn’t the case. He had way too many shares of unusual events even before all of this happened.
“You know just as well as I that’s not the case. I wasn’t a believer until everything started to click in place. Especially, the power we have all gained.”
Power. That was something that they all never expected to gain. What was worse was Zero had gained more. Not just seeing the dead, but now to the point of hearing, sensing, and even interacting with them with his own power that he never thought was possible. All the Seeded players had some form of supernatural power, and they were rapidly evolving.
Not only that, any quest that had to do with the real world was something that he didn’t quite like, especially because the reality shouldn’t have any fantasy gameplay at all. It was just too weird, almost mind bogglingly creepy. There were times when he wanted to stop playing the game all together, but something about the game drew him back in. The metaphysical power that he gained was possibly because of these real life events that triggered his mind into forming them, that was the only answer that he could think of at this minute.
His unquenchable curiosity of why or what’s going to happen next kept him coming back, though the majority of the reason was being forced to play by Angel’s group. Their true purpose, he didn’t quite know, but he suspected that they were training all the Seeder players to become part of their group to do evil deeds. If he could, he wanted to get out of the crazy cult group and just enjoy playing on his own free will.
“So, what exactly do you have to do?” Zero asked carefully, wondering what Zeraph had to say.
“Well first off, the second Seed Shard Quest had started.”
“What?!” Agnis shouted, she quickly covered her mouth and glanced around. There were a couple of people who glanced over to see what was the ruckus was about, but they quickly went back to what they were doing. She eventually, slowly pulled down her hands and gaped at him. “You don’t mean ‘The Seed Shard Quest.’”
“Yes, it’s that.” Zeraph reassured her.
“No way.” Agnis gasped, she then started to get excited at the thought of the Seed Shard Quest that Zeraph was in the progress of completing. “How did you get a Seed Shard Quest?”
“I’m not quite sure, but I just received one.”
“That’s so cool.”
“I don’t know if that’s something to say that it’s cool.” Zero replied. Another Seed Shard Quest meant another widescale event. Whatever it was, it required the Eternal Stone, meaning something very powerful was possibly going to come. Especially if it meant changing the history once again in a short span of time. With the loss of the Eternal Stone’s protection, the Fire Continent had no defense against high level monsters. With that being said, what other crazy event would change the face of history. The question now is, was the change worth it or was it better to leave it as it was? That was something he didn’t know.
“True, but I always wanted to try a Seed Shard quest from beginning to end,” said Agnis. “At least once.”
“I think I’ll pass.” Zero replied. “There are two many factors that could spell disaster, and if you fail, things go south.”
“Yea.” Agnis shoulder slumped. “Still, I’m going to get my own Seed Shard Quest or wait.” She brightened and looked up towards Zeraph. “Let me join in on your quest!”
“No.” Zeraph shook his head his voice was stern and quick to deny her.
“What?! Why not?” Agnis pouted. “Are you trying to keep everything to yourself?”
“Absolutely not,” snorted Zeraph. “If I could, I would’ve dragged both of you guys in to do the quest with me. For now, it’s a one person quest.”
“So, how much more do you have to do to complete it?” Zero asked.
“I think it’s going to take awhile honestly. My best bet is that i’ll be finished near the Yami Hikari yearly event that they are going to do in the summer.”
“You serious? It’s going to take that long?” Zero was surprised at how long the quest was going to take, especially because quest don’t take that long to complete. But then again, Zeraph was doing the quest by himself, which was already difficult enough.
“Yea, I seriously need to go around the whole Fire Continent to get this quest over with. Though, I have a good feeling that I would end up back at the Sky City at the end.”
“How are you so sure?”
Zero walked slowly, his tail swiping side-to-side. Zeraph stated that he would bring back the Eternal Stone when he was done with it. He trusted Zeraph enough to know that he wasn’t the type to go back on his words.
“Anything else that we should know?”
“None, right this minute.” Zeraph replied.
Off in the distance, Zero saw the crowd suddenly split apart. The buff looking Troll, Jorge, was making his way through the crowd. If they didn’t move fast enough, Jorge would push his way through, paving his own path. Just a simple push by Jorge arms, the soldiers were easily pushed aside, especially the Elven Soldiers who seem so easy to move around. Their thin looking armor didn’t seem heavy or strong enough to hold back a Troll’s strength.
But, that wasn’t the case. Elven armor was considered one of the lightest armor made in Noriene, and when it came to the ability to hold against attacks, it was considered a top grade armor. The majority of their armor and weapons were heavily enchanted with magic that helped either strengthen, protect, and even cast magic to enhance the person who donned the armor.
When Jorge pushed, the eleven soldiers moved like water, splitting away from a moment of contact as they shook their head towards Jorge with dislike. Trolls and Elves had a very long history of heated arguments, hate, and war. Luckily, their dispute wasn’t as bad with the humans, making it look like their squabbles are considered child’s play.
“Hey! Watch it toadfoot!” An elven warrior shouted as he snarled at Jorge.
“Shut up, pansies.” Jorge snorted at their lame outburst, he shrugged it off as if nothing was wrong and kept on pushing through until he was finally at the edge.
“Hey, watch where you’re stepping!” Another howled as he got his foot stepped on.
“Damn, tree huggers.” Jorge spat, he adjusted his armor and grumpily walked towards Zero. “I swear, there’s one too many of them out here.”
Zero watched with amusement at the number of commotions that Jorge was able to conjure up in a very short amount of time. The number of name calling and curses were extraordinary, especially hearing so many different names of being called toadfoot was quite interesting.
“Hey! Dragon lizard!” Jorge raised up his hand in front of him and stopped.
Dragon lizard? Zero couldn’t help but stare at him strangely. Agnis snorted into a laugh and held on to the side of his neck, trying not to fall off. Zeraph just stared at Jorge and shook his head.
“I have a name you know.” Zero replied, staring down at Jorge. He didn’t like how he was called a Dragon Lizard.
Jorge shifted in his spot and rubbed his hands a couple of times. Then a goofy grin plastered on his face. “My bad. I just couldn’t remember you name all of sudden. You know, the momentarily memory loss does happen at times.”
“Then you have a serious problem. I suggest you go to the doctors.” Zero’s words were quicker than his thoughts, making him feel a bit bad for stating things without thinking about what he would say.
Jorge snorted. “You know what I mean. Short term memory loss. Sheesh.” He thumped his chest, shaking at Zero’s retort.
“What do you want?” Zero asked a bit to coldly. He realized that whenever he was in his dragon form, he tend to be more rude and sarcastic than in his human form. The thought did cross his mind that his animalistic side took more control of his mind when he was in this form. His patience was a lot more short and the thought of having friends or emotional connections with others were a lot more distant.
“Calm down, lizard breath.” Jorge joking replied with his hand up in the air to calm him down. “I came here to congratulate you.”
“Our little bet of course.”
“I feel a bit slighted that you forgot.”
“Well, that is to be expected when you had a Fallen Angel fall on top of our heads you know. In actuality, he’s the one that killed it.” Zero honestly didn’t like the thought of being marked by Belial, he already was having enough trouble with Demon Prince, who was the mortal enemy of all Drezo Regalia’s, and now to have the interest of a Fallen Angel wasn’t something he wanted. Trouble just continually came to knock on his door, it was enough to give him a headache.
“True, but you took down majority of its health. If it wasn’t that stupid angel, I’m sure you would’ve killed it.” Jorge grunted, he glanced up at Zero with expectation. “Anyways, let’s have some more fun, shall we?”
“Like?” Zero didn’t quite like where this was going. The definition of fun sounded close to constant warfare. Leveling up was fine with him, but possibly heading into constant trouble wasn’t. Jorge seemed like a guy who would head into trouble without any preparations, and he wouldn’t be surprised if he died from his stupidity.
Jorge wiggled his eyebrows as an smug smile appeared on his face. “We continue our kill count, of course.” He snorted, pleased that he came up with such an idea. “Let’s see how many bosses we can kill until we get back to the City.”
“What if I say no?” Zero asked, wondering what Jorge would say. He kind of wanted to know what Jorge reaction would be, especially because he was a muscle head. Already, he had two thoughts forming in his mind, the first was that Jorge was going to get angry and challenge him into doing something stupid, or he wouldn’t care and leave him alone. His beat was on the first one and he waited for Jorge’s answer.
Jorge stomped angrily, shook his fist at Zero, and grunted a couple of times that sounded close to a snort. For a moment there, Zero thought Jorge reminded him of a angry boar, ready to skewer him with his tusk.
“You can’t do that.” Jorge replied, trying to calm himself down.
“Why not? I have every right to.”
“If you do, I’m going to KS all your monsters.” Jorge replied haughtily as he grinned mischievously. “You won’t ever level up in this mission until you say yes.”
Zero couldn’t believe Jorge tancturm. It was like a child, throwing a fit until he got what he wanted.
“Did I just hear him correctly?” Zeraph asked amused, he shook his head down at Jorge as if he heard something completely foreign. “He’s going to go around kissing your monsters? Don’t you know how unsanitary that is?” He shuddered just thinking about it. “What stupidity is this?”
Agnis bursted out laughing as her clear voice rung outwards. “Oh, my god!” She gasped for a breath of air, her hands were on her stomach as she was reeling over, trying not to fall of Zero. “I can’t believe I just heard that!”
Jorge smug smile was quickly turning into a frown as his hand become a fist.
“This is priceless!” Agnis slipped up, falling over towards the side. She squealed as her hand flailed around her and grabbed Zero’s wings.
Zero jerked in alarm at the harsh tug to his small wings. It sent a jolting pain that made him crumpled onto the ground with a loud thud. Jorge jumped back in alarm at the sudden crash, while Zeraph held on tightly to Zero’s horn. Agnis was able to pull herself up before she would get squashed by his giant body.
“Damn it, Agnis!” Zero yelled angrily. He was on his side. For some reason, he couldn’t feel his legs, making this whole experience really weird. It was like Agnis pushed a perfect pressure point on his back, making him lose all feeling in his legs. How his wings had some hold over his legs, he didn’t understand. All he could do was roll around on the floor with his large body to get back to sitting on his legs. “Watch where you’re grabbing!”
“Sorry.” Agnis gasped, her face flushed from laughing to hard. “I couldn’t help myself.”
Zeraph didn’t understand why Agnis was laughing so hard. He asked again, this time wanting an answer to why Agnis was laughing. “What’s so funny? Did I miss something here?”
“No.” Zero replied. He weakly moved his front legs up under his body, while attempting to move his back legs as well. Now, he looked like a giant cat with both of his legs tucked underneath.
“Then?” Zeraph let go of Zero’s horn and plopped back down.
“KSing isn’t the Kissing that you’re thinking about.”
“I don’t get it. They sound the same.”
“K S stands for kill stealing from other players. While kissing is a physical kiss with a partner.”
“There was such a meaning behind a KSing.” Zeraph slowly nodded as he finally understood what Jorge had said.
“It’s a game term.” Agnis was finally back to herself, wiping away her tears. “I expected you not to know such terms, but man was that funny.”
“How do you know I wouldn’t know?”
“Simple. All your actions and replies are so not nerd terms. Their too clean. My guess is that this is your first game you played ever.”
“Well, if you put it like that, then yea.”
Zero grumpily got up, still annoyed at the painful pull from Agnis. His wings were sore and felt like it was electrocuted. He couldn’t really flap it anymore and felt a tingle in his wings. Every time he moved his wing, a short shockwave spread throughout his body and ended up on his toes and fingers, giving it a weird electrical fell. He had to stop it all together so he wouldn’t trip all over again.
“Is that really the best you can do?” Zero replied, “Ksing is not going to stop me from ignoring you.”
“Well, you’re right.” Jorge nodded as he folded his arm in front of him. “I just wanted to say that once to see your reactions, but it seem I got a completely different reaction all together.”
“So, you’re going to give up now?” Zero asked, hoping he would say yes. He got up, shook his whole body, and started to follow behind the army once again.
“Of course not. I need to know who’s the best. You or me.” Jorge pointed to himself and stuck out his chest.
“Look, I don’t really care about this contest and all,” said Zero. His tail flicked back and forth a bit annoyed that Jorge wouldn’t leave him alone. “Instead, I would like to have as much peaceful time as possible throughout this whole journey. There are already enough crazy things happening, and adding another burdensome contest is troublesome.”
Jorge grumbled when he heard what Zero had said. Then he straightened himself up, clapped his hand, and smiled. “Don’t worry. It would be worth your time. Plus, it’s still on. We’ll see who will have the most kills, especially boss monsters, by the end of this journey. Now, I’m off to slay some more monsters!” He turned around with a grin on his face. Strutting forward, he didn’t look back once towards Zero who gave him a mixed expression.
Zero wasn’t sure how to take in all this, Jorge was the type to not listen to a single word that he had said. Even Zeraph gave Zero a pitying look that told him that he was an unlucky bastard stuck with a delusional player.
“It happens.” Zeraph shrugged his shoulder, than patted Zero, telling him everything is probably going to be alright.
“We get one of those type of players in quite a lot of games. Just ignore him, Zero. He’ll get bored fast.” Agnis replied, staring after Jorge amused. “He’s not the problem you should worry too much about. Instead, what are you going to do with the threat that the Fallen Angel Belial stated to you?”
Zero focused on Agnis’ question, he mulled it over, trying to figure out what to say. He couldn’t really do anything against Belial right this moment. All he could do was continue on with the quest, plus he didn’t have much information on the Demon Prince and Belial in the first place to do anything.
“Nothing.” Zero replied. This was the best answer that he could think of right this moment.
“Seriously? That’s a bit worrisome.”
“Yea, but it’s best not to think too much about it. It’s unnecessary stress that accumulates over time. Best to go with the flow until I find answer.” Zero knew that unnecessary over thinking makes him become too stressful, especially because he had a tendency to overthink things at time.
“He has a point. Over thinking it would make you mess up. Best that you think it over time when you have a clear thought of the whole situation.”
Agnis sighed, glancing at the two unsure quite what to say. “If you say so.”
“I know so,” said Zeraph.
Zero continued to leisurely walk behind the large army, thinking over everything that had happened today. He tried his best not to think to deeply, but there were just so many questions that he wished he knew the answer to everything. Eventually, he gave up and just enjoyed the nice stroll through the plains.
They were times, they saw the army swarm in around a large group of monsters that reminded him of the Kilin that they have fought, but they were quickly routed without any trouble. The army didn’t even a third of their people and easily moved through the plains.
Time quickly flew by as Zero, Agnis, and Zeraph talked leisurely about everyday topics, sometimes even bringing up the latest news and about the Academy. What they were doing and studying, Zero especially like listening to Agnis concept on magic theories, but he wasn’t sure if even half of them was even possible.
They battled a few more boss monsters and fought a couple of territory battles. Thankfully, in none of the fights did Zero or the army lose many of their people. They were some casualties, but the Elven warriors were all pros who were a lot stronger, faster, and well coordinated to bring down a high level monster. Their using Zero as the bait also gave them more free reign to kill the monster without getting the full frontal assault of the monsters attack.
There were times when Zero tanked the boss monster himself as magicians cast heavy magic against the boss monsters. They couldn’t get too close because some of them were either too poisonousness or to hot, making the fight difficult. Zero was the only one who could combat against the boss monster without getting poisoned or burnt alive.
As they continued, the plains slowly started to turn barren, becoming small rocky hills. The ground even changed from the golden wheat color to ashen grey. Even off in the distance, Zero saw a volcanic mountain standing proudly alone by itself. Gray smoke erupted off the top, telling everyone that it was an active volcano.
The temperature began to slowly rise, making everyone started to sweat, but they kept pushing forward. They wasn’t even a single grumble from the Elven soldiers and the players were the only ones that cried out their discomfort.
“We’re almost there!” General Liam called out, catching everyone’s attention. “This is it! This is where our battle truly starts!”
Everyone nervously gazed off into the distance for they all felt the dense power of magic the closer they got towards the volcano.