Author’s note: i’m sorry for the late updates. I been very busy with my life. A lot of things have been changing and my mind seem to go to lala land a lot these past weeks.
All Zero could think of was that it was quite toasty. He liked the temperature because he was in his dragon form. In it, he could feel the warmth of the area, though it didn’t bother him much as the others. Heat waves danced in the distance, making it a bit difficult to see up ahead from the distortion.
Death was apparent everywhere they stepped, the bones of animal carcass’s who had died were littered all over. Even plants were shriveled up from the heat, unable to sustain much life, leaving the place barren. The plant life was sparse, with the environment and the monsters feral and warped.
The ground was cracked and dried up, they were even a mixture of Obsidian stones merged in with the ground, creating a shiny surface. Quite a few of people had to be careful of stepping off at the wrong angle or they would have slipped and hit their head on a sharp rock.
Zero could still smell the sulfuric smell of the volcanic activity. In fact, he saw pockets of magma still bubbling out from the ground in several different areas, creating new obsidian rocks. They were even small areas of hot, jetting water, spewing upwards out from the ground. When it hit the floor, a hissing sound could be heard as the water evaporated.
What Zero noticed was that they were quite a number of fire monsters, roaming around in the territory. One such creature was an ugly Fire Salamander-like lizard with flaming frills on either side of its face. Its tail was flickering like fire, changing its colors ever so slightly from red to orange, and then back again as it moved its tail side-to-side. Although, what he needed to watch out for wasn’t their fire, but undeniable danger of its devilish mouth. Just a single bite from them would leave a horrifying burn of it’s victims. He made to sure keep himself well out of reach of such an attack..
As they traveled through the territory, they met with quite a few numbers of Fire Salamanders as they got closer towards their destination. It was the first monster that they met and fought against. Thankfully, the Fire Salamanders were easily put down because they were usually alone.
The only time they had trouble with the Fire Salamanders was when it used it special fire breath. It wasn’t a normal fire breath but had a blast of dark energy entwined in with it. When one was hit with the attack, would slowly burn to death, but anyone who even approached them to help would be suddenly attacked by the fire itself. Almost as if it was alive, it would jump onto its next victim and devour it in its flames.
They weren’t just Fire Salamanders, but Fire Hounds as well. Made of a strange mixture of fire and lava, they blazed a brilliant mixture of red and orange. However, what was worst was not their size, which was the normal size of a large hound, but their pack mentality. Zero had seen quite a large pack of them roaming around the open land, and they weren’t just ten to fifteen, but easily over four to six dozen.. They were a walking fire hazard that he knew that they were going to have trouble against.
The Fire Hounds and Salamanders weren’t just passing monsters that people would just hunt for experience. The dark energy wrapped around their body and lethal magic could easily make their attacks difficult or even fatal if they weren’t careful.
When they came upon a large pack of Fire Hound, the fight was intense and even more dangerous than the past fights. Each Fire Hound was smart, and each had their own distinctive roles. Working in perfect synchronicity, they would draw away a large group away from their main forces and attempt to break the army in half into a more manageable fight.
Zero noticed that they lost more people fighting against the Fire Hounds than any other fights combined, and it meant something. They were extra careful against the Fire Hounds, making sure not to follow the bait. Even still, the Fire Hounds would use different tactics to chip away at the army, making their fights more offensive and quick. General Liam and Zero noticed that the longer they fought against the Fire Hounds pack, the higher the chance of the army being destroyed outright.
If Zero had to choose which fight between the two monsters, he would hands down go against the Salamander anyday then the Fire Hounds. Luckily, Zero’s sight was quite strong, allowing him to direct the army away from the Fire Hounds as much as possible. He noticed that the Fire Hounds only attacked when they encroached upon their territory, and even if they saw them off in the distance, the Fire Hounds wouldn’t attack, saving them from unnecessary fights.
Now, the problem was the direction that General Liam was pointing towards. What was strange was that the closer that they got towards the volcano, Zero started to feel very uncomfortable. It was like his senses was telling him to stay away from the volcano and head the other way. He didn’t know what was the cause of this strange feeling, but it was putting him on edge.
So far, he didn’t even get a territory challenge message popping up, or if he should even issue one. The chance that something very dangerous was coming towards them right this moment wasn’t something he wanted to chance, especially when he felt this uneasy and Zero always listened to his dragon instinct. The goal of this mission wasn’t to wipe out the monsters but to retrieve an ancient artifact. Right now, the true battle of survival had started and having more people alive to survive through the oncoming battle ahead was imperative.
“General Liam!” Zero trotted forward, pushing past through the army as he made towards General Liam who was leading near the front. “General Liam!” He eventually made it next to General Liam.
“Dragon Prince. Is something wrong?” General Liam steadied his horse.
“Yes, I need to warn you there are monsters up ahead. Quite a large amount of them to.” Zero quickly replied, “Right now, I was able to see some Fire Hounds that are in about a pack of one hundred or more, and some Fire Salamanders.”
“I suspected as much.” General Liam knoded. “It’s good to have keen eyes like yours. If we didn’t have you along with us, we might have walked straight into their territory and lost a lot of good men and elves.”
“Yes, though I suspect there is something more sinister on this land.” Zero carefully spoke, knowing full well that wherever they were heading too had a very dark feeling to it that Zero couldn’t get rid off. Something evil was on this land and the ground itself felt tainted.
“You got that feeling too?” General Liam raised up his eyebrow, staring off into the distance where they needed to be headed. “I thought it was just my thoughts being too overly excited about the end of the journey.” He half heartedly chuckled, but Zero knew full well that General Liam didn’t completely meant that.
“Its getting worse, every time we get closer to our destination.”
“I’m afraid that we have to go towards the danger for this mission.” General Liam sighed, knowing full well that they can’t really do much about it. Their mission was possibly in the middle of something very dangerous, and they didn’t know what. “All I can do is pray that we don’t stumble upon whatever it is that we are heading towards, though we will take extra precaution on our scouting missions and double our guards working in pairs.”
“Do you think that would be enough?” Zero asked. He wasn’t sure if that was even enough in the first place.
“No, but it’s something.” General Liam replied.
“True.” Zero sighed. “I’ll keep watch and tell you if I find anything strange.”
“That would be very helpful, especially now.” General Liam replied with wary, he looked around. “These days I been feeling that we are being watched.”
Zero understood that feeling well, especially because he had the same feeling as well. If he knew any better there was someone out there that was watching them without their presence being known, he had to wonder why. The closer they got towards the volcano, the stronger the set of eyes were staring, and it was becoming more and more frequent.
“I have been having the same feeling as well,” said Zero. Again, he felt the heated stare that bore in the back of his head. He whipped around, searching for the source, but couldn’t find anyone. Nobody was staring at him with strong dark intent that he know of as most of the soldiers were either busy walking, talking, or zoning out on their march.
“You got that feeling too?” General Liam whispered towards Zero.
“Yes,” Zero growled, ducking his head a little lower. “I’m not liking it one bit.”
“I’ll see what else we find. Look for me when you have anything.”
“Yes, sir.” Zero replied, he turned around and headed back towards his group. People parted ways to let him through, allowing Zero to weasel his way towards the rear. Agnis, Zeraph, Sekka, Leaf, Valiant, and Reed were huddled around each other leisurely talking about the day.
Valiant had quite a number of skeleton monsters trailing behind him that was still alive through all the past fights. Honestly, Valiant had acquired a large number of skeletons army that stray behind the original army. Not a lot of people liked the skeleton monster army that followed behind them, but they knew that Valiant’s ability was quite helpful in routing and diverting large enemies.
Right now, Valiant’s little army had reached over a little less than two thousand. With every body that he could muster, he would create a new legion of skeleton forces following behind him. He even used the dead bodies of his allies as his skeleton army, although he got a lot of disapproval from the soldiers whenever he done that.
Zero was the one who stopped quite a few soldiers from attacking Valiant out of anger, stating that it was a necessity to the army. They only had a set amount of people, and they needed every bit of firepower that they could get. The reason why Zero hadn’t started on his necromancy like Valiant was that it never crossed his mind to use it. Valiant was already doing a splending job in keeping the skeleton army in check and raising up a decent size.
Though these skeleton army was mostly made out of boars, salamanders, Kilins, and many more. There were a few human or elven shape skeletons, but there weren’t as many as the animal types. So far, Valiant had a limit and couldn’t get past two thousand. Zero suspected it’s because Valiant was still young and didn’t even have enough bodies to create many more. They weren’t as powerful as in their original form, but was still considered a force to be reckon with. Zero was highly pleased with Valiant work, and allowed him to continue collecting more skeletons army as much as he could.
“How was your day at work?” Sekka asked Valiant, her golden dragon head was swaying slightly side-to-side. She smiled with her teeth showing, while Leaf rode on her back while watching off into the distance.
“Booooorrrinnng.” Valiant said with a deep sigh, he stuck out his tongue and rolled his eyes. “I thought I would fall asleep if I didn’t smack myself a couple of times. They were a couple of times where I almost sloshed my drink on my face, because I didn’t pay attention.”
“Boring is a good thing at work.” Sekka replied, her voice was slightly jealous of her boring day. “You don’t know how lucky you are.”
“What are you talking about?! Boring is the worst day ever! My mind keeps going into overdrive, making me overthink things! I need to occupy my mind or else I’m going to start thinking about random things I shouldn’t even be thinking of.”
“If I should feed my fish cake or not.”
“What in the world?!” Sekka look at him funny. “Why would you feed your fish cake?!”
“Well, that’s what my mind is thinking when it has nothing to do.” Valiant sighed. For a black dragon to sigh so deeply, he gave off a very scary feeling. Anyone watching him would think something was serious wrong with the world if they saw Valiant sigh so deeply like that. Not only that, the skeleton army would start to creepily chatter with their bones, and come a lot closer step towards Valiant, as if they were some kind of danger.
Sekka and Leaf looked over their shoulders a bit worriedly as they saw the skeleton army eyes glowed green, making Sekka a bit antsy. She unconsciously drew up holy aura around herself and Leaf just in case of a possibility of an skeleton attack. Even Reed stared at Valiant funny when he spoke such weird thoughts.
Valiant finally gave another reply. “Plus, there are times when I wonder if I should fatten it up and eat it for dessert.” The skeletons chatted with approval with Valiant’s answer as if what he said was the brightest idea in the world.
“Okay, now you’re talking crazy.” Sekka shook her head side-to-side in disbelief. She wasn’t sure if she should just stop talking with him entirely or continue to entertain his strange thought.
“Exactly! I am going crazy from boredom!” Valiant whined, he then grumbled a few words and shook his head. “I think i’m going to go get a snack. I’m way to hungry from overthinking.”
“Go ahead, but you do know you got, what, five minute you’re allowed to stay away from the game before it forces you out.” Sekka replied, “why don’t you get something for Leaf as well.”
“I am. She’s the one that messaged me to get her some cheese fries, her lazy butt doesn’t want to move and she’s been poking me in the back to get her some food.”
Reed punched Valiant by the back of Valiant’s neck, she then scowled at him.
“Ow, Reed. It hurts you know.” Valiant snapped towards her, glaring at her. “You’re the one that’s asking for me to get you your food! Be grateful woman!”
“You don’t need to tell everyone!” Reed stuck out her tongue at him. “If you keep telling everything we say, I’m going to hit you harder!”
“See!” Valiant look at Leaf and Sekka in a half gasping voice. “She’s violent! After she’s been taking martial art class, she’s been beating me up whenever she has a free time! I can’t take this anymore.”
The skeleton army started to inch forward, but they were distraught on what to do. They couldn’t defend for their master, especially when their partner was a part of them. Instead, they look upon the two with confusion, waiting for Valiant approval to attack or not.
Leaf snorted, shook his head and crossed his arm. Staring at the two as if they were some comedic duo.
“Be a man and stop over exaggerating. She’s doing you justice by making you move.” Sekka replied, she winked at Reed and chuckled.
“Damn woman. Making me do extra work.” Valiant grumbled, “I’m going afk for a bit. Watch my body for a minute.”
“Will do.” Sekka gave him a brilliant smile that had a hint of mischief on her voice. Reed caught it and her eyes glistened, while Leaf sighed at the two.
The swarm of skeletons marched over towards Valiant, surrounding him like he was under some kind of special protection service. Quite a number of them were pawing at the ground grunting angrily at anybody who got to close to Valiant. Only Reed who was on his back was able to do anything to stop the skeletons from going out of control. They still listened to her, because she had a decent control of necromancy as well.
Agnis and Zeraph was watching and walking beside them, they were listening in their conversation, but they didn’t join in. Zeraph was looking around, watching for any sudden movement and suspicion. Agnis on the other hand had her hand over her head, enjoying the walk as if it was another lazy day.
Zero was listening in the whole time, but he didn’t show his presence yet. He had keen hearing, able to hear a good distance off, and when he arrived the other noticed his presence. They stood up sharper, paying attention to every dazzling movement of Zero’s step. Something about Zero’s presence commanded attention, even if Zero didn’t attempt it. Sekka’s slyness vanished and her eyes hardened as she stood up straighter. Leaf and Reed, both turned towards him becoming silent as they waited for him to speak.
These past week, Zero seemed more regal and majestic like a true Dragon Prince. The way he held himself, the way he gracefully walked, and the powerful aura that came out of his body that commanded his presence be known was instinctively being put out towards any creatures that stood in his presence. Wild animals cowered in fear, low level monsters ran away before they even attempted to fight against him. Even if they attempted to try and swarm him, they wouldn’t dare.
Players and soldiers even felt the power of Zero’s dragon spirit becoming stronger every territory battle that he goes through. The more power that he accumulated and the more he protected them, the more respect they gained towards Zero. Even when he stood against the Fallen Angel, Sekka and Valiant all felt a swell of pride for being the same species as Zero.
Zero was growing into his dragon body a lot faster, becoming more like a dragon than the days when he was forced into a human form. There was something different about being a dragon twenty-four hours a day nonstop than being human. He could smell, see, feel, and even use almost majority of his strength at his peak ability, while in his human form, he could only exert about fifty percent of its full potential.
“Zero!” Sekka called out with a pleased expression. “Glad to see you here with us.”
“Sekka.” Zero nodded towards her. “How’s everything in the back. Did you see anything suspicious while I was gone?”
“Not that I know of honestly.” Sekka replied, “There really hasn’t been anything strange. The Fire Hounds tend to keep to their own territory, while the Salamanders like to bathe in the molten lava. Other than that we get less action than before.”
“That’s a good thing,” said Leaf. He patted Sekka on her golden neck, telling her not to get to excited over fighting. Sekka had a knack of heading into more battles than Valiant. “Too much fighting can get tiring to one’s mind. We need to rest for a bit before we dive back into battle. Plus, it’s not good for your health in the long run.”
“Not healthy for you.” Sekka snorted. “I like the blood, guts, and even the bone crunching sound of monsters breaking under my claws.” She evilly laughed, contradicting her whole angelic image.
Quite a few soldiers who heard her gulped as they walked faster to get out of her reach. They didn’t want to be near her when she went on a rampage.
Leaf choked up and furrowed his eye. He then look at Zero, giving him the do-something-about-this-crazy-dragon face. Zero gave him his best dragon shrug and looked away stating that Sekka was his problem not his. He wasn’t good with woman, and now dealing with an angelic dragon that didn’t fit the persona of an angel wasn’t his expertise. He wondered why Sekka didn’t take the black dragon form instead of a golden dragon.
Zero cleared his throat, he had to ask. “Sekka.”
“Yea?” Sekka was finished with her best imitation of an evil dragon.
“Why did you choose to be a gold dragon?”
Sekka thought it over for a moment then a very beautiful smile that dazzled his sense. “It’s because I always saw angels as monsters and Golden Dragons are close to being an angel.”
“Huh?” Zero asked confused. He thought demons were monsters not angels.
“Don’t you know? For an angel to combat against a demon, they must be a monster themselves. A powerful one at that.”
“But, you can get the same effect with being a black dragon.” Zero coughed, “plus, it fits your image.”
“I know.” Sekka replied, “but, I believe an angel are more dangerous than a demons. And it’s fun throwing people off with my looks. It gets more interesting when they find out that I’m not a good golden dragon that everything thinks I am. To see their twisted expression….. kuhuhuhuhu.” She broke out into a sinister chuckled, making Zero wonder if Sekka was right in the head too.
“Please don’t mind her.” Leaf was expression, but Zero could see that he was trying his best not to throttle her then and their. “She gets like this time to time.”
“I see.” Zero said slowly, taking a good look at Sekka. He now knew why Sekka was rising up so fast in levels. She was a bloodthirsty battle freak. That’s the only answer that he could come up with and it didn’t fit with the Golden Dragons’ image.
“I’m back~” Valiant gave out a singsong voice as he proudly announced his return. The skeleton army dissolved and went back into position, trailing behind Valiant and the living army. He glanced around and saw the multiple different expressions installed on each person. “What’s going on? Did I miss a good joke?”
“No.” Zero replied, “Welcome back.”
“Oh! Captain!” Valiant happily replied as he bounded over. Reed squealed, holding tightly on Valiant’s neck, trying not to fall off. “You’re back!”
“Valiant. You’re unusually happy. Did something good happen?”
“No. Just happy to see you’re here with us.” Valiant tail thumped in excitement as he glanced up at Zero with awe. He always saw Zero as some kind of hero, the way he fought in his dragon form had inspired him to become more savage and diabolical like any true black dragon. Already, Valiant was given a name as the Grim Reaper on the battlefield.
“We need to be ready.” Zero replied. He knew that right now the leisure mentality needed to be less as they watched their surroundings more. “I think in a day or two we’ll be arriving to our destination.”
“You don’t mean the volcano right?” Reed soft voice spoke out with concern. “I been getting a very bad feeling about it for awhile now since we entered the area.”
“You too?” Valiant asked a bit surprised that Reed said such words. “I thought I was the only one that felt uncomfortable coming here.”
“Same here.” Leaf and then Sekka replied at the same time.
“I felt the same way.” Agnis replied, she finally entered into the conversation. “There something here. I just know it. I suggest that we stay paired up as much as possible.”
“Aren’t we already doing that?” Valiant asked, “We have our companions you know.”
“Yes, but I was thinking more of a four man team.”
Zero thought it over, a four man team wasn’t a bad idea, but they were one short. Sekka, Leaf, Valiant, and Reed usually teamed up together, while him, Zeraph, and Agnis was another team. Right now, he didn’t really have anyone in mind to work together that will work well with them.
“We’re still one short,” said Zero.
“I’m already called up someone to take our fourth member spot.” Agnis quickly replied, knowing that we were one short. “You met him before, so he won’t be that difficult to deal with. Plus, I think he’s interesting.”
“Wait.” Zero had a bad feeling about who Agnis was talking about. “Who exactly did you call?”
“Dragon Lizard!” Jorge shouted waving his sword over his head as he stomped through as the soldiers splitted ways. He slung his sword on his back, knocking a few soldiers on their face as he turned.
“No, you didn’t.” Zero replied with a half groan and a moan.
“Oh, yes she did.” Zeraph stared in amusement. His turned back and forth from Zero to Jorge and then to Agnis as his eyebrow went up questioningly at Agnis’ mentality.
Zero had to wonder why him of all people? He was a bit to battle hungry for Zero’s taste and a bit too pushy on his thoughts, though he did have a good fighting skill that could be helpful overall. Jorge wasn’t dead weight, honestly. he was quite good with his heavy word. There were times when Jorge would just swing his blade once with his bulky muscles and it would cut down the enemy in half with one swing.
Even the high level monsters had difficulty blocking his heavy attack, making his attack quite formidable. Not only that, he wasn’t slow on his feet with that heavy sword plastered on his back. He at least kept up in pace with Zero’s speed, but wasn’t as fast as an elven warrior. Either way that was still highly impressive for a moving tank like Jorge.
“Because he’s not a bad guy,” said Agnis with a straight face. “Plus, you’re being rude, thinking he’s all that bad.”
“You’re right. He’s not a bad guy,” replied Zero. “He’s just way too pushy on his opinions on fighting.”
“That’s exactly who we need right now. We’re going into a dangerous territory and right now we need every help we can get, especially someone as strong as him.” Agnis folded her hands in front of her as she frowned at Zero’s opinion. “Plus, right now the strongest players in this event is only a handful. I haven’t met with many and majority of them are in a party with their own group. Jorge is alone right now, and he’ll be a great asset.”
Zero wanted to blurt out that there was a reason for Jorge being alone, not a lot of people like him. Either it be elven, human, or any other race. Still, Zero reeled back his negative thinking and tried to look at it with a more positive outlook. There could always be someone worse like Russ, in which case he would go forward into the danger by himself if he had too. The thought of buddying up with Russ infuriated him, making him want to punch the bastard a couple of times for ruining everything.
“Yo~” Jorge slammed his giant sword in front of him. “You called me?” He was excited to be called over towards the party.
“Yes, I did.” Agnis replied. “I wanted to inform you that I wanted you to join in on our for man party.”
“Sure!” Jorge replied joyfully at the thought of finally joining in with Zero’s team. He leaned forward on his blade, waiting for what to do next. “What are we hunting now?”
“Nothing right this moment,” said Agnis. “We’ll be staying near each other as we get closer to the destination.”
“That’s it?” Jorge wasn’t as highly pleased with not doing anything at all.
“Yea, that’s it for now. We don’t want to jump into too much fight right this moment.” Agnis walked over towards Zero’s side, before hoisting herself up onto his back and settling down comfortably. “We don’t want to waste too much energy until we get to the good parts.”
Jorge was thinking over what Agnis had said, he then nodded a couple of times, and hoisted his sword back onto his shoulder. “Fine, with me.”
Zero was stunned how easily Jorge just agreed not to go out and fight like a madmen. He had to wonder if Jorge had hit his head on something, but he quickly changed his mind and turned towards Agnis who was blowing at her fingernails as if what she did was the most natural thing she has ever done.
Zeraph chuckled a couple of times, hiding away his smile. He then ran over and leaped onto Zero’s side. Quickly he scaled up on Zero’s back and made himself comfortable.
“Come on. What are you doing down there for!” Agnis shouted towards Jorge.
Alarmed, Zero whipped his head towards Agnis, giving her a completely disbelief expression.
“What?” Agnis raised up her eyebrows, blowing one last time on her nails. “He’s a teammate. Deal with it.”
Zero couldn’t even grumble out loud because he was stunned. She was right, but at the same time he felt like he was some kind of carriage or a bus. At this rate, he wondered if Agnis would just call upon a large number of random people to climb on his back like there was nothing wrong.
“Don’t take it to heart.” Zeraph patted my back, reassuring me that I wasn’t going crazy. “Just let him on this once.”
“Fine.” Zero sighed, then he turned towards Jorge who was waiting near me. He stared uncomfortably at him as he wavered back and forth. He was wondering why Jorge seemed a bit antsy, but he didn’t asked. “Are you getting on or not?” Zero replied sharply.
“Uh…” Jorge gulped as he glanced up. He then took a deep breath and shakily came over. One hand after another, he slowly climbed up. It wasn’t until he was half way up did he stopped for a good minute unable to move any further.
“Are you alright?” Agnis called out as she leaned over towards the side, watching Jorge tremble from the height.
“Y-y-yea! I’m doing great!” Jorge squeaked, he then pulled himself up again.
“You should hurry it up. Zero’s probably going to start moving soon!”
“Okay!” Jorge partially yelled that sounded close to a gasp.
Zero found it amusing to see a burly looking troll scared of heights. Agnis seem to fare a lot better on heights these days making him impressed on how quickly she was able to adapt. He thought it would take awhile but it seemed like she was able to quickly get over the fear. Maybe it was because of the many frightening jumps, and near death climbs that Agnis was able to quickly adapt.
Now that he thought about it, there were many instances where Agnis was screaming at the top of her lungs to stop, but he ignored her like usual and jumped. That was when the screaming started, and all he could think about was the adrenaline pumping jump, trying to catch his fall. Almost all the time, he’s able to stop the fall, he wouldn’t jump unless he was sure he was going to make it.
He didn’t just do it once or twice, he did it every chance he got. In which case, at first it pissed off Agnis but now she didn’t complain. Instead, she urged him forward to go faster at times, or pointing at him the best route to get to one spot to another.
When Jorge finally got on, Zero bolted forward, jerking Jorge backwards.
“Arugh!” Jorge grabbed on tightly onto his spine, he was sticking so close to his body that he looked flat. “Slow down!”
Zero didn’t listen, he whipped to the side, causing Jorge to slightly lift up from Zero’s body. Valiant and Sekka ran right behind him, when he bolted forward. They didn’t ask why he was running, but followed closely behind. Fighting alongside Zero, they learned not to ask but react to the situation.
They were quite a bit of distance away from the main army, slowing down to talk to one another or stop for a few minutes, eventually causing them to distance themselves. Now they needed to run to catch up and Zero was going out into a full out sprint.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Jorge voice was upward in a shrill, holding on for his dear life. Agnis leaned forward as well as Zeraph, keeping low so that they wouldn’t be blown off by the wind. While Jorge was fluttering behind like a flag.
Zero saw in the distance the scenery started to change. They were more rocks jutting out from the ground like hills. The army was heading in between the cliff, making their way towards the volcano.
With a good push off his hind leg, he half flew forward. His claws landed onto the side of the rock, getting a good grip on the side. He scaled a couple of feets, pushed off into a jump as he caught himself into the next. The whole partially flying/falling was an exhilarating effect, especially because of his powerful body that allowed him to do such acrobatic acts. This was one of the main reasons why he liked and enjoyed his dragon form.
If he was in his human, he wouldn’t be able to do such outrageous jumps. There were times when he had to, but he wouldn’t chance it as often as he was in his dragon body.
Zero then scaled up the side of the cliff, stopping for a moment to enjoy the view at the edge. With a deep breath, he let the hot air enter his lungs, giving him a slight shiver that ran up and down his spine. He could feel his fire energy in himself started to churn up in his stomach, this allowed him to blow fiercer and hotter flames that he didn’t think he could muster until now.
Valiant and Sekka stopped not to far away from him, searching around for any possible enemies. They saw off in the distance to the right, a large group of Fire Hounds were circling around the side of the cliff and heading towards the army direction. Not to far away from the left were a large number of Fire Salamanders, but what was different about it was not just one or two, but many. They were also heading towards the same direction as the army, making Zero wonder if there were some force pulling the Fire Salamanders towards the army direction.
Zero knew that he needed to quickly make it towards General Liam before they are caught unsuspected. At the rate that the two group was going, in less than ten minutes, they were going to clash.
“That.” Jorge huffed in between each words. “Was. Not. Fun.” His arm was shaking, while his face was quite pale for a Troll.
“You don’t know the half of it.” Agnis replied a slight mischievous grin appeared on her lips, knowing fully well what Zero was going to do next.
Jorge at first didn’t understand why Agnis gave him an uncomfortable smile that told him there was something wrong, before he even got a chance to speak.
Zero didn’t let Jorge catch his breath, he went into a running start, jumping off the side of the wall. Jorge voice screamed at an unusually high pitch that Zero was quite surprise he was even able to create such a sound. Even still, he didn’t allow Jorge’s voice to distract him as he twisted and turned like a cat to get his claws into the wall. Streaks of claw marks cutted through the thick walls, allowing him to slow down his descent.
He then used the momentum to spring forward, allowing him to bounce off into the next wall seamlessly. If anyone saw him now, all three of them looked like they were running on the wall at the way they jumped from one point to the other until they cushioned down onto the ground.
The moment Zero landed, he sprung forward into a full out sprint. He could feel his muscles constricting and releasing, giving the burst of speed that he need. Not even under five minutes, he made it to the rear of the army.
“Move out of the way!” Agnis shouted at the top of her lungs.
The soldiers jumped back, startled by Zero’s suddenly appearance. Some fell backwards, trying not to get trampled or hit by Zero’s tail. Zero zigzagged through the crowd as fast as he could without hitting and stepping on anyone as best as he could.
“Move! Move! Move!” Agnis repeatedly shouted to get the soldiers out of the way before they got squashed.
Zero saw General Liam off in the distance, “General!” Zero roared, frightening his horse into a rear. “Enemies are flocking on both sides!”
General Liam had to control his horse before he could even reply, when he finally got his horse under control, he shouted back. “Where?!”
“East and the West! Fire Hounds coming from the East first, while the Fire Salamanders in a large group!”
“Damn!” General Liam cursed. “Everybody in formation for a full out battle!”
The army started to shuffle into position, breaking into two formations. The close range combat was in the front while the long range was huddled near the back in groups of fives. They were postioned in an upside down V shape position, ready to take on the oncoming enemy.
From the right side, not even a couple minutes in the Fire Hound were coming from the corner and heading straight towards everyone. People quickly scrambled into position as fast as they could to meet the enemy head on.
Zero, Valiant, and Seka broke apart from each other. They both took a spot where they were best needed. Zero went up towards the front of the formation, where he was ready to divert and fight them head on. His dragon instincts started to get excited at the prospect of the fight ahead, and rumbled into a purr.
One thing that he liked about battle was the free food that always came his way, especially now that he was always hungry, he saw the monsters as prey to be eaten. He enjoyed the fight, though at times it got repetitive and annoying, as his dragon side was getting impatient at waiting. Without realizing it he bolted forward, clashing head first into the oncoming swarms of fire hounds.
Zero towered over them as the fire hound redirected their attacks on him. He swiped his claw at the first swarm, throwing them into the air with a yelp. With a swipe of his tail, he bowled through the Fire Hound like a bowling ball.
Zeraph and Agnis fired arrows after arrows from his back, using every opportunity to get in an easy kill. They threw down magic in between their shots, giving Zero the backup he needed. Zero’s wild turns and lunges made Jorge slip up more than having a good balance like the other two.
“Dog gone it!” Jorge yelled peeved that he was having a hard time getting up on his feet. His hand was digging into Zero’s back, trying not to fall of his back. “Why the hell is your back so slippery!”
“It’s not that bad.” Agnis fired off a shot at a Fire Hound that attempted to scale Zero’s back. “It’s all in the core you know.”
“Core s’mores. Their all the same thing!” Jorge was finally able to get one of his leg under his body as he steadily stood up on his knees with his hands out in a T position to catch his balance.
“Actually their not.” Zeraph was chuckling at Jorge’s predicament. “S’mores are something you eat, while your core is in your stomach area.”
“You know what I mean.” Jorge growled, showing off his teeth. He struggled to get his other leg underneath him to gain the balance that he needed.
Zero took a sharp turn, taking out a Fire Hound that lept in the air in the attempt to strike at his neck. This caused Jorge to slip and fall flat on his face onto Zero’s back as he let out a startled yell.
“That slip up was spectacular.” The edge of his lips curled up into a smug expression as Zeraph fired off another shot. He missed as the Fire Hound bolted in a zigzag motion and jumped up onto Zero’s side. Zeraph stashed away his bow as he slung it on his back as he pulled out his sword in one fluid motion. With a powerful swing, he cut deeply into the Fire Hound as molten lava spewed out of its body.
That was one of the reason that Zero was glad that he wasn’t in his human form swinging his blade. The monsters in this area all seemed to oozed out deadly lava like blood that melted through the sword if it wasn’t enchanted. Luckily for Zeraph, his blade was elven crafted, meaning that it was already enchanted. Though the other players weren’t as so lucky with their weapons and had it melted upon impact.
They learned quickly to enchant their blades when fighting against the Fire Hounds and Fire Salamanders. It wasn’t pretty in the beginning when their blades melted, quite a handful of players died from beings swamped by the sudden unexpected attack. Now, they all learned quickly as they swarmed in on the Fire Hounds.
When General Liam saw Zero charge forward, he quickly issued his army to follow pursuit to back him up. The battle was heated, literally, as fire spells and magic flew around in the battlefield all around them. Countering the fire spells were Ice and Water spells that splashed into the Fire Hounds in floods. The Elven warriors were exceptionally good with magic and their control was perfect.
As the battle got heated, the Fire Salamander came through from the west. They weren’t as fast as the Fire Hounds that came wave after wave, instead they came lumbering along slowly. Even though they were an easy target, they weren’t as easy to take down as the Fire Hound. The reason was because of their thick hide that kept them protected. The majority of the physical attacks were difficult to pass through, while only magic was able to cause any damage.
This caused the army to quickly shift gears as the physical combat to fight against the Fire Hounds and the magician against the Fire Salamanders. Zero and his group tore through the Fire Hounds as if they weren’t such a big deal, especially Zero, Sekka, and Valiant. They were all immune to the Fire Element that invigorated their energy every time they were hit with it.
“Don’t let anyone of them escape!” Zero roared, frightening the Fire Hounds. They slipped up, while a handful of them tucked their tails and started to run the opposite way.
Sekka and Valiant routed out the ones that tried to escape. Valiant’s skeleton army swarmed in on the opposite side of the Fire Hounds, blocking their path as they hacked away at the Fire Hounds.
Zero was glad with the extra support from the skeleton army, it made the fight that much easier to handle, giving them the leverage they needed. It didn’t take long for the army to wipe out the Fire Salamanders and Fire Hounds, though Zero couldn’t get to eat anyone of them.
When he destroyed them, they would melt and dissipate into the ground, leaving behind coins or items but no carcass for him to eat. This made him annoyed that he didn’t have anything to quench his hungry stomach and he was starting to get a bit worried that there wouldn’t be much food at the rate that he was consuming.
They continued to push forward through the cliff and eventually came upon a large cave like opening. Zero stopped in front of the cave that towered over his body, making him wonder what was large enough to fit something that was five times bigger than him to create something so big. Everyone stopped to gape at the scene before them.
“What in the world?” Jorge was finally able to slip off Zero’s back as he landed with a sigh. He then looked around staring in complete amazement at the sheer size of the cave itself. “A dungeon?”
“Yea.” Agnis slipped off and landed without a sound. “I bet if we enter we’ll get a message.”
“Then what are we waiting for?” Jorge was finally back to his old self. “Let’s go in.”
“Not so fast.” Zeraph jumped off and landed not too far away from them. “Don’t you see the danger signs around you guys?”
“What danger signs?” Jorge tilted his head, not seeing what Zeraph was talking about. “I don’t see anything…..oh.”
Zero saw what Zeraph was talking about. Up against the wall were large streak marks of claws digging into the wall itself, leaving an ugly scar. It wasn’t just in one place, but in multiple places. He had to wonder what was big enough to create something so large, even placing his own claws up against the wall didn’t compare to what he saw.
“I got a bad feeling about this. We need to tread carefully.” Zeraph replied, he scanned slowly around him.
Zero carefully took a step forward and a blaring message appeared in front of him.