“Zero!” Agnis cried out, delighted, as she ran over towards him. Her hair was messy from the ordeal, but that didn’t stop her. She still looked beautiful, even if her hair looked clean or not.
“Zero! You did it! That was amazing!” With an excited glee, she hugged his neck, dangling on it as if her life depended on it.
Zero couldn’t help but be surprised that she took the initiative to get so close to him; it made him uncomfortable. The angle of her chest was especially prominent because of her armor. If he didn’t know her well enough, he would’ve thought she did it on purpose, but he knew she was just caught up in the excitement of taking down a monster.
“Well…uh…” Zero thought if dragons could get embarrassed and turn red, this was the time. He could feel his cheeks turning red.
“Your last attack was sooooo cool!” Agnis eyes were twinkling towards Zero as if he was some dragon messiah.
“Thanks.” Zero sheepishly stated. He glanced away, trying to get his eyes away from her stare. But, if he stared too long, he felt a strange urge to kiss her there just for the hell of it. Then the thought made him turn even redder as his body shifted side-to-side in embarrassment.
Zero couldn’t believe he wanted to kiss her again! His damn raging dragon hormones! He blamed everything on his growth spurt and the heat of the moment.
His friends started to come over, bloodied and tired. Even the other players, who didn’t know we were still alive, came over with a smile.
“Great job!” One of the elven players gave him a thumbs up.
“We did it!” Another threw up their hands in excitement at their gain.
More and more people and the Elven army swarmed around Zero. Even General Liam came over with a happy expression on his face. It was a truly momentous occasion to slay the Demon General Behemoth. Something like this with a small army was unheard of, especially against something so powerful and large.
“That only counts as one!” Jorge yelled, grumbling about how he still had a decent amount of kills under his belt.
Zero couldn’t help but chuckle at Jorge’s competitive nature, but he still was glad that the fight was over. Going after more monsters were suicide, especially when he didn’t have any health potions on him. Surviving against Behemoth was teeth-grindingly difficult, to the point that he thought many times over he would get squashed and die. He thought he would get squished to death in the last attack. That would’ve been a horrible way to die.
General Liam cleared his throat, straightened up, and began a speech. “Today is a joyous occasion. We have slayed the great Behemoth of legends!”
Cheers went around the group at what General Liam had said as they raised their weapons in the air.
“We would not have been able to accomplish this amazing feat without the help of the Drezo Regalia!”
The people cheered in excitement.
“For they have shown us what it is to fight once again with the ancient dragons of history.” General Liam breathed; he held up his head high. Then he reached over to his storage accessory and pulled out the Holy Cloak.
Zero just got a good look at the Holy Cloak. The cloak was something that Zero could tell at a glance was very powerful. Powerful energy radiated off the cloak, making anyone who stood near it feel its holy radiance. Even the golden sheen on the back sparkled like stars, while the pure white feathered collar wrapped around the neck, with a tassel hanging down the front.
Zero wondered what kind of status effect it would give. He expected it to have a powerful bonus from just gazing upon it and being in its presence. But, instead, just from being around it, he could feel his body slightly rejuvenating as if it was healing his stamina.
“With our goal accomplished, we can return to our queen with our heads held up high!” General Liam stated proudly. He then let the others take a couple of second look at the Holy Cloak before he put it away. “Now,” His eyes sparkled towards Zero and Agnis, who were still dangling off Zero’s neck. “As our elven custom, a battle maiden must bless our hero with a kiss of victory.”
Agnis’s jaws dropped, and her eyes darted from General Liam and back at Zero. She then slid down onto the ground, fumbling for words. “Wait, there is such a custom?!”
“Yes.” General Liam started with a straight face. He nodded and waited for Agnis to do what he had stated.
Agnis was curious if she should go ahead and do what General Liam had stated or ask again if he was kidding.
“Bless the dragon!” Someone in the elven army called loudly, cutting through the quiet air. The others started to chant along with the others, becoming a deafening roar. “Bless the dragon! Bless the dragon! Bless the dragon!” The people started to chant in excitement.
Zero wasn’t sure what to do or to think. He was shocked that he got his secret desires answered or that this was all a dream. However, the thought of that one kiss he did with her out of helping her out was brought back to his memory, making him relive that moment.
Jorge, Sekka, and Valiant snickered, looking at Zero as if he was the luckiest dragon in the world. Reed smacked Valiant in the head, glaring at him for being stupid. Valiant gave Reed a what-the-hell-did-you-do-that-for look, making him frown that he didn’t get what she was implying without words. Leaf sighed, shaking his head at the two as he sat on Seka’s back.
On the other hand, Zeraph didn’t pay much attention to the crowd and was doing his little investigation around the dead Behemoth.
Agnis was frozen in place; she crinkled her beautiful face into a frown and sighed. She waved Zero down, telling him to bring his large dragon head down.
At first, Zero wasn’t sure if he should move forward fast to get there and receive her kiss or go down slowly and ponder the whole thing. His thoughts were fried, debating on what he should do. He didn’t realize until now that he had a crush on her after that incident. Being protective around her and even keeping the other guys away without her noticing.
It just was too obvious to him that he had fallen for her. At times, he thought she caught on to his little charade, but she was oblivious. Then he pushed his claim a little stronger, snapping at the dragons for being too expressive with her, which was a bit inappropriate. The male baby dragons were the dangerous ones; he had to spit fire at them and light their butt on flames to keep them from diving head-first into her chest. Though, he had to admit that they were quite fluffy.
Just when he was overthinking this again, he heard Agnis yell.
“Zero!” Agnis called him out again, getting impatient that he wasn’t moving. Finally, sheFinally, she commanded her head to drop near her height so she could get the kiss over.
Zero tilted his head, confused about what she wanted. He lowered a bit too quickly but not fast enough to bump her. When his large head arrived at face level, he felt antsy. This was Agnis that he was crushing over; those beautiful green eyes stared back at him straight into him as if she was staring into his very soul.
Everyone started to settle down, their eyes glued to the scene as if it was a live drama. Zero could hear a couple of gulps at the thought of what would happen next.
Agnis’s hands raised, cupping his large dragon head in her soft hand. He shuddered as she gently touched his throat. Then, slowly, she leaned forward. Zero gulped, unable to take his eyes off her. Suddenly, he couldn’t see her face anymore because his snout was in the way, making him want to twist to see what she would do. But, before he could, he felt soft, warm lips gently pecking at him on his.
It was different from the one he gave her, but it was enough to make his lips tingle. The warmth spread to his face and tingled down his body, making him jittery. Finally, a crack of smile erupted on his lips as his sharp white teeth were shown.
Agnis quickly pulled back, blushing from what she had done. She coughed a couple of times, looking away embarrassed. For a moment, Zero thought it was cute to see her blush away, embarrassed.
Victory Elven Maiden’s Blessing has been given for slaying a powerful enemy. Therefore, all stats will be increased by 3% for three days.
Zero was awed at the sudden blessing that he was given. At first, he thought it was just a custom, but now it was a different story. Getting a stat bonus from a kiss was a big plus. Now he understood why the Elves saw this as a tradition; the status buffs were no joke that would help him when he went out hunting.
A draconic grin spread out on his lips, making Agnis uncomfortable.
“What?” Agnis squeaked; she was giving him the what’s-with-that-look face stating that it was a bit unnerving to her.
“I got a blessing,” Zero replied chirpily.
“Isn’t that a given? They said it was a custom victory k-k-k….” Agnis was having trouble saying the word until she forced it completely out. “Kiss.”
“It’s not only that; I got status buffs.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yea, a 3% increase in stats for three days.”
“No way, you jest.”
“I’m serious.” Zero gave her a serious expression that stated that he wasn’t lying. “I got a message stating that Victory Elven Maiden’s Blessing was given for slaying a powerful enemy. Therefore, all stats will be increased by 3% for three days.”
Agnis was speechless, unable to say anything else. She turned towards General Liam, hoping he would have the answer to the miraculous message.
General Liam coughed once; he cleared his throat and looked all important. “It’s true.” He replied. “The Elven Maiden’s blessing has always had a….magical power to it. I have been blessed with two in my life.” His eyes started to get dreamy, and a small smile erupted on his lips. The usual stern expression was gone, bringing a whole different expression.
“Two?” Agnis replied, not sure exactly what he was thinking about. “How?”
Snapping back to reality, General Liam spoke, “My wife is an elven maiden or was; her charm still works just as well. It has been known that those who received an Elven maiden’s kiss have always ended up together, though…” he looked up and down Zero, not exactly sure what to say. “A dragon and an elf is a unique combination.”
Zero coughed, a bit embarrassed. “I have another form as well, a human.”
“Oh?” General Liam was interested. “Can you change right now?”
“No, my wings are growing, and it’s best not to change until it’s fully grown.”
“I see then; that’s good news.”
“It is?” Agnis squeaked, a bit taken aback by General Liam’s words.
“Yes,” General Liam coughed, turning towards the people. “The maiden had blessed our hero!”
Agnis blushed scarlet, unable to say a word. She wasn’t sure that what she had done was a good or bad thing anymore; even though she wanted to complain, she couldn’t. It just wasn’t the right time too.
People screamed in excitement, staring at Agnis as if she was a goddess descended from heaven. Honesty, Zero would’ve thought by now they would worship her for her battle skills and her looks; she looks especially. Unfortunately, she had quite several suitors always chasing after her, making Zero’s work a bit harder.
General Liam raised his hand to quiet down the chaotic voices; he breathed in and let out a booming voice. “Our mission is only half complete!” He stressed the words half complete. “We must return to our homeland and deliver our mantle towards the queen! Get ready to harvest whatever we can from the Behemoth and move out!”
The players and the army started to move, slugging their tired bodies toward the Behemoth. Even Zero knew that the skin, bones, meat, and other parts of the Behemoth would become powerful items that could help him make his armor. He needed more powerful armor and reinforced his sword, Kamori, a growth-type weapon.
They greedily tore through the Behemoth’s skin, peeling away as if it was precious material. Even Zero was working his way, pulling away the pieces he wanted. He noticed that the skin of the Behemoth was a lot stronger around the chest area, so he went to pull a good amount of it. At a glance, he could tell that the hardened skin from the Behemoth would make superb armor, given that harming the Behemoth was a lot harder than any other kind of monster.
Even though there was a lot of broken skin, burnt scraps, and chunks of flesh gone, there was still plenty left for everybody. The tendons were snipped off to use for the bow, bones were broken and stored away, and even the teeth and claws were taken. One thing that Zero noticed was that the meat of the Behemoth was quite nasty. He couldn’t tear into to eat. Instead, he was washed with a wave of intense nausea the moment he.
The Behemoth’s body was dismantled for a third of the day, leaving a good half of it untouched. Everyone knew that it was impossible to take everything, especially with something as gigantic as this. General Liam marked the location of the Behemoth for future scavenging if there were any more left.
The sun was finally setting when Zero reached the heart of the Behemoth’s body. He had pushed past and dug out tons of meat to gain something special, and he was right. The Behemoth’s heart was crystallizing about the size of Zero’s whole body, making it huge, possibly even bigger.
Zero wondered how he would take something so precious before realizing that he could just put it away in his storage space, which he had been doing in the past hour. He didn’t expect that the amount of space that these bones, tendons, and skin were taking was a lot more than normal, quickly filling up a third of his storage space, and that meant a lot.
Also, he noticed that the crystal heart glowed an eerie green. The power he felt from the crystal was hauntingly enchanting but very dangerous. It was like he was in the presence of the Behemoth, still alive, right there and then, making him shiver. He unconsciously took a step back, a bit intimidated.
The eerie green glow faded away, lessening the overpowering feeling. Zero snorted, shaking his head for being over-imaginative, thinking the Behemoth might return. He was still determining if he should take the crystal now, but he knew treasure like this was hard to come by. Raising his claws to forcefully drag the crystal heart out, he touched the heart, and a blast of green energy shot outwards.
Zero was suddenly swallowed up by the memory that invaded his mind and appeared before him.
He was in a desolate land where fire and ash were constant. Volcanoes blew up, showering the land with gray. It wasn’t like the place where Zero was now, every direction that he looked, all he saw was red. It was fascinating that strange, burnt-up, black trees were twisted and deformed into human shapes, each with a black fruit that littered all over its branches.
Behemoth was slugging his giant body toward the center of the area, where Zero saw a boiling lake of lava spewing fire. In the middle of the boiling lake was the fallen angel Belial, floating in midair as he lazily cast his gaze around him.
“Oh?” Belial slowly turned around as his wings kept him afloat. “Why, if it isn’t the pet guardian dog, Behemoth.” He snickered, egging Behemoth on.
Behemoth growled and spat out a blast of air towards Belial, who wavered but was still flying in the air.
“You didn’t like that?” Belial raised his eyebrow, crossing his hand in front of him. “Good, because I don’t like you. Plus, it fits you perfectly,” he snickered.
Behemoth glared, unable to say anything but grunt.
“Fine. Fine. Whatever. I know why you have come here.” Belial spoke with indifference, waving his hand in front of him. “Your master is asking around to join his army, isn’t he?”
Behemoth nodded sharply, disliking the thought of Belial even joining.
“What? It’s not like you’re worth my time.” Belial snorted. “The demon prince is just a prince in name only; what could he give me that I could get myself?”
Behemoth rolled his eyes at what Belial had stated. Then, he conjured up a magical weapon that made Belial eyes become wide. Floating in the air, in front of Belial, was a flaming blue sword that blazed like fire. Sparks of holy light danced outwards like fireworks in erratic interference, but Zero could even feel the power that the sword was giving. It was an angelic weapon that even made Zero hunger to have for himself.
“No, it can’t be.” Belial’s hand reached over as he got closer. He wrapped his around the hilt, making the blade flare out angrily in white, burning Belial’s hand. Yanking back in surprise, he looked down at his hand and noticed that it was burnt black, but just as quickly as the wound burnt him, his skin quickly healed. “You found my Soul Sword….”
Then Belial started to get angry, and the aura around him intensified, becoming stronger and deadlier. Finally, Behemoth was struck by the power Belial gave off, taking an unconscious step. He, too, raised his level to match the intensity of Belial’s power.
“Oh? The dog knows how to bite?” The end of Belial’s lip curled upwards, giving him a nasty snarl. This time, Belial didn’t hold back his power; the intensity was so strong that Zero could feel the high power that was even stronger than Behemoth.
Behemoth shuddered; the density of the power pushing him down to his knees was incomparable to what he had outputted. He was getting lower and lower to the point where the Behemoth was literally on its belly as its large head was pushed into the ground.
“Disgusting vermin, how dare you have what is mine!”
The power intensified and cracked until a large crater was finally formed underneath the Behemoth as he kept getting pushed in deeper and deeper. Bones started cracking as the ribs broke one by one. Behemoth screamed out in pain at the power the Belial was giving him. It was all he could do to try to get squashed alive desperately. Finally, the sword floating in front of Belial clattered onto the ground, standing proudly underneath the sunlight.
A sinister smile erupted on Belial’s face, making the fallen angel a creepy sight. But, of course, something so holy, looking so sinister, would make anyone nervous, especially on a beautiful child-like Belial.
“Enough!” A deep scratchy voice shot around both of them, startling Belial from the sound. He looked around to see where the voice came from but could not find anyone who yelled in such a powerful voice.
“Who’s there?!” Belial cried out, still searching for the source. He was spinning around so quickly that he looked like a small tornado.
“Belial, brother.” The voice said softly, making their Belial hair stand up.
“Brother?” Belial frowned, not liking that he was associated with someone or something he couldn’t see. “How do I know you are my brother? Show yourself!”
A chuckle formed, causing even Zero to search hard for the source of the laughter. He was getting chills running up and down his spine; even though he was an apparition, he couldn’t help but feel like he was there when the laughter happened. For sure, he thought he would have nightmares just hearing the voice itself.
“You know I can’t.” The voice stated in deep regret. “I am not strong enough yet.”
Belial stopped scanning around; he flapped in the air as he crossed his hand in front of him. “So, I’m guessing you’re the dog’s owner.”
The deep chuckle started again, affirming what Belial had said. “What if I am?”
“Why do you have my sword? No one should’ve been able to touch or find it, especially of your kind!”
“My kind?” The voice spoke, “You know just as well as I that you and I are the same kind. We have followed the morning star to this world and lost our right to hold our angelic weapon and armor. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to transport such things.”
“You have found a way?” Belial was surprised at what the voice was suggesting, and the thought of holding his dear weapon again created a surge of greed. “What is it? Tell me!” He commanded in an arrogant fashion like all fallen angels.
“Follow me, then I shall tell you.”
Belial thought it over for a moment, then he snorted at the thought of serving under someone else. “Why should I follow you?”
The voice was silent for a moment, “Don’t you want to see this world cave under? To bring back the end and start a new beginning? A beginning where the supreme rule?”
“And who might this supreme be?”
The voice chuckled. “That would be me. I am now a greater being that has transcended, a Demon Prince, higher than all beings in this world. For I can give you a more powerful weapon than the sword of the past.”
Belial was stunned by what he heard, then he threw back his head, laughing so hard that he almost fell out of the sky. He had to correct himself so he wouldn’t fall onto the ground. Then, flapping back up, he repositioned himself away from the ground. “You make me laugh; how can there be something more powerful than an angelic weapon? Do you not know what sense that makes?”
“I know that there are things out there in this universe that are locked away so that nobody can get them. The power one could cut the planet in half and even destroy stars.”
Belial snorted at such thoughts and waved his hands. “That’s just legends.”
“Oh really?” The demon prince questioned Belial, making Belial wonder if what he said was true. “Let me tell you something, brother. There are beings out there that have the power of light and dark, like a god. Stronger than you and I, I shall take such a soul and make them into my weapon when that time comes. It has been done before.”
“You think you have the power to do such things?” Belial wasn’t completely buying into Demon Prince’s words, but Zero could see the hunger in Belial’s eyes.
“I do, and you should follow the winning side.” The demon prince said haughtily. Belial rolled his eyes at the arrogance of the demon prince’s words. “Well then, thank you for telling me what I need to search for. I don’t bow down to anyone, so with that being said. Goodbye.” He raised his hands as a small but very powerful energy ball appeared in his hands.
With a flick of his fingers, the dark energy ball shot toward the Behemoth’s head. Suddenly, a powerful blast of magic deflected Belial’s attack, creating a barrier around Behemoth himself. The ball flew backward, hitting the nearest volcano, and completely demolishing it in one go. Following after, a jet of powerful lava shot forward, spraying everywhere.
“Not bad.” Belial looked over his shoulder to see the destruction behind him. He then smirked, knowing full well that attack wasn’t his strongest. But, even still, he didn’t fire another one. “Well then, I have no use staying here.”
Belial dived forward, grabbing the hilt of his sword as he shot back into the sky like a comet. He then disappeared as a burning flare of fire blazed behind him as he disappeared. After that, the memories started to waver and change.
Zero could feel the rage Belial had caused unto the Behemoth, it wasn’t pretty, and the stirring emotions started to get to him too. It was chaotic and dark, almost deliciously enjoyable that the feeling was becoming a part of him, making his mind into a fury of mess. He knew the longer he stayed connected with the Behemoth, the more chaotic his thoughts became.
The most powerful thought was revenge and to kill Belial, who had sullied his pride. Zero became increasingly angry, and the thought of killing Belial became intense. He wanted to rip the wings out of Belial and trample him under his claw; the thought of seeing blood excited him, making his golden eyes murky black.
“Zero.” A female voice softly called out to him as it became louder. “Zero! Snap out of it, Zero!”
The blur in Zero’s eyes started to clear up; his head was low as he was in his predator position, crouching low like a tiger hunting for its prey. When he glanced around, he noticed that everyone was staring at him worriedly with their weapons completely drawn.
“What’s wrong with you guys?” Zero tilted his head, straightening up as he looked at them as if they were crazy.
“Zero!” Agnis angrily spoke; she cocked her hips and placed them on her side. “You went all feral on us!”
“I did?” Zero was shocked to hear something like that, especially to turn on his friends and allies. But he wasn’t the type to be mad.
“Yea, you went all angry and tiger-like, spitting and hissing at us not to get close. We even saw your belly glow green as you were ready to spit out that nasty dark fire you use!” She threw up her hand, annoyed that he had gone crazy.
“Hey. Hey. I didn’t do it on purpose; I was….uh….” Zero tried to explain, but he didn’t have anything to counter why he went feral. “I just zoned out, you know. Like when you see flashes of images before you and forget where you are.”
Agnis thought over what he said; she knew what he was talking about as her anger deflated. “Did you see the future?” She asked worriedly; her posture changed as she started to walk towards him with worry. “What did you see?”
Zero wasn’t sure if he wanted to talk too much about it; the power he felt from the whole experience was mind-numbing. Only a few times he got scared, and the power he felt was way too real. He remembered the incident when he met the demon who stole his mother’s soul and even possessed his brother. Belial was the type of fallen angel equivalent to those demon powers he felt, but the Demon Prince felt more sinister and real.
In-game monsters or bosses gave him a certain level of fear, but the one he felt through the memory of the Behemoth was pure evil. So he could still fill the oppressive power of the Demon Prince crawling all over his body that he had to shake it off as if it was a living thing.
“You….alright?” Agnis asked, a bit concerned at his unusual behavior.
“Yea. Thanks.” Zero started slowly. He pushed the unwanted thoughts aside, straightened up to his normal self, and gave her a reassuring dragon smile that told her it wasn’t a bad vision.
Agnis let out a sigh of relief that Zero was okay. The people watching were also relieved that they didn’t have to go through a second fight with another creature and had all seen Zero’s power. He wasn’t a simple pushover, especially with his dark fire that could burn and devour their flesh.
“It wasn’t too bad.” Zero tried to blow it off as if nothing was wrong. “Just saw Belial and Behemoth talking and heard the Demon Prince’s voice. Other than that, nothing too serious.”
“Really? That’s it?” Agnis wasn’t completely trusting that Zero was okay, she had seen his expression change a couple of times when he went feral as well as the worry that crossed his face.
“Yea.” Zero reassured her again. “There’s nothing much to it.”
Agnis searched Zero’s face, making sure that he was really alright. Of course, she knew he wasn’t, but she didn’t push it further. “Okay. If you say so.”
Zero nodded, thanking her for not asking any more than necessary.
“By the way, Zero, what will we do with the crystallized heart?” Agnis pointed at the heart behind her.
Zero looked over her shoulder, frowning at the heart. He preferred to avoid walking up towards it and touching it again. The thought of possibly seeing the same vision was something that he didn’t want to go through with anytime soon. When he was thinking about what to do with the crystallized heart, it started to shimmer and glow black.
“What in the world?!” Jorge, who was the nearest one to it, shouted out in surprise as he stumbled backward. He was just about to touch the crystal when it completely changed, startling him.
Everyone looked towards him, wondering what he had done.
“I didn’t do it!” Jorge yelled, putting up his hands, showing that he wasn’t the one that set it off.
The crystal heart started to shimmer and morph, eventually becoming a baseball size crystal as it dropped. Then, something flew out of the air, swooping down as it picked up the heart and disappeared. Not many could catch what came down from the sky, but Zero saw. A black raven swooped low like a hawk, taking the stone with it as it disappeared into the atmosphere.
“What just happened? “Agnis glanced up towards Zero, hoping he had some answer.
“I don’t know,” Zero replied, amazed at the scene. Now, there was a large cavity inside the Behemoth’s body as it started to smoke and decay.
People stepped back in alarm at the sudden change. The Behemoth’s body started to turn black as a foul smell of rotting meat wafted through the air, hitting them full-on in the face and stumbling back in a gag. The Behemoth’s meat didn’t take long, and even the bones crumbled into black dust, leaving nothing behind. Even the ground was stained black, leaving nothing but the shadow of the once-great being that they had fought.
Zero wondered if the skin, bones, and meat he collected had disappeared, but they were fine inside his inventory.
“Let’s move out!” General Liam called out to everyone. People slugged their tired bodies. Everyone knew that resting near the volcanic area was a bad idea and that pushing into the forest was safer.
Zero, too moved forward, realizing that his muscles were now screaming at him to rest, but he didn’t. He didn’t want to be left behind. Valiant, who looked even more eerily dark, was being dragged by Sekka, who was snapping at his legs to hurry up and move. Only a few talked throughout the walk, but when they came to the edge of the volcanic land, they set up camp and rested for a couple of days before continuing their journey.
Days quickly turned into weeks as the remaining army and players trudged along the same route back toward the city. They have met many skirmishes, but the fight was better than the first time they went through the forest. Zero still had power over the area where he controlled, making their way much faster.
Right now, there were about 600 elven troops and 251 players that were able to survive the enemy attack. There were still some losses, but it was better. When they finally arrived back at the castle wall, the moment the door opened, cheers erupted across the whole city. People were lined up on both sides, throwing confetti, rice, hats, and even for some reason, shoes. They were all excited at the thought of seeing the Holy Cloak that the remaining army had brought. Elven soldiers stationed in the city quickly congregated around General Liam to protect him.
Even the Drezo Regalia, Leprechauns, and the Rabbits, that usually don’t often come to the city floor came over to watch the whole event.
The surviving players and people started to straighten up, filled with energy at the explosive welcome. They wouldn’t often get welcomed in such a way that was much more enthusiastic than the last one when they survived the Land Shark attacks.
“You know, I’m kind of liking this.” Jorge started with glee. Zero was enjoying the attention as they marched through the crowded streets. Agnis was on Zero’s back, waving towards everyone in excitement, while Zeraph stood there with his arm crossed in front of him.
Sekka and Valiant were having a posing contest to see who would have the most squeals as they walked by. Every time they smiled or did a pose, people would go wild, though at times Valiant would scare people more than get cheers.
“Are you two idiots!” Reed hissed, smacking Valiant in the head. “What are you doing, scaring people?!”
“Ouch, Reed. Damn it, woman, your slap hurts ten times more than getting hit by the Behemoth.” Valiant whined.
“Oh really?” Reed gave him a doubtful expression; she raised her hand and smacked him more.
“Woman! If you don’t stop that, I’ll-!”
“Or what?” Reed replied with a stern voice as she placed her hand on her hips, telling him that if he said one more word, there were serious consequences.
“Uh…hehe.” Valiant looked away, pretending nothing had happened.
“Burn!” Sekka chided, laughing at the two.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” But Reed replied, “Leaf will put you in place if you don’t behave.”
“No, he wouldn’t.” Sekka faked gasping. “I have been behaving very well. Right, Leaf?”
“Not really.” Leaf bluntly spoke. He was waving towards the crowd slowly with a gentle smile.
“These past weeks, you’ve had nothing but a headache.”
“What?! I was not!” Sekka stated as if she was really offended.
“Not when you and Valiant have been stirring up monster nests every few miles. We would’ve made it back faster if it wasn’t for you guys. Don’t think I didn’t notice. I was watching you.”
Valiant and Sekka sheepishly lowered their heads, realizing they were caught red-handed. Sekka coughed; he turned towards the crowd and returned to showing off her dazzling smile that would make anybody gasp or go into a kneeling position in prayer.
On the other hand, Valiant would grumble a few words as he kicked a couple of rocks in front of him when he accidentally kicked one too hard and smashed it into the vegetable cart, causing it to break. People screamed as they scattered away like roaches, as Valiant stared for a moment with open jaws before quickly turning away as if nothing had happened.
“See.” Leaf shook his head, sighing at his behavior.
Zero couldn’t help but chuckle at his friends; what Leaf had said was right. If the naughty duo didn’t stir up the hornet’s nest full of monsters, they would’ve traveled through faster. However, he didn’t complain because it incentivized him to continue hunting and leveling up. Getting experience points was getting a lot harder and harder. He was also constantly hungry, which allowed him to fill his stomach as they pushed through the dense forest.
Right now, his wings weren’t two stubbles anymore. They were about a good size of Agnis’ whole arm. If he flapped them hard enough, he could start up a small flurry of wind that would throw Agnis off. Sometimes he would do this purposely because she kept bothering his wings; other times, it was an accident. Either way, he was proud that they weren’t small anymore. At this rate, possibly in a month or two, he felt it would be fully grown.
Eventually, everyone made it towards the castle, entering through the giant gate that welcomed them in with soldiers lining up on the sides. Each one of them had a trumpet raised towards the sky with blue flags hanging down from it as they blared a welcoming note.
They entered through as they went towards the Queen’s throne. Stopping in front of her throne, General Liam was the first to come forward and give her a bow. All the other elven soldiers did the safe in unison, causing everyone else to follow after.
Zero gave the Queen a small bow of respect. He then waited for what was going to happen next. General Liam straightened up as he brought the Holy Cloak forward towards her. The Queen stood up, her eyes sparkling in excitement as she saw her father’s cloak. When she reached over, tears of happiness spilled down her face. She brought it over, placing it on her forehead as she covered herself and silently wept.
Everyone was shocked that the Queen cried in fright, making them nervous. Even Zero didn’t like seeing someone so beautiful cry in such a way that he didn’t know what to do.
General Liam walked over and hugged her, stunning everybody. Even the elven soldiers, who were usually stoic, gasped. To be so bold as to hug the Queen herself wasn’t customary, or something is done often in public. Usually, this meant that they had something for each other.
The Queen quickly wiped away her tears and coughed, telling General Liam that she was okay. When they pulled apart, both of them were blushing. Instantly, Zero knew that those two had something going on. Everyone knew then that there were rumors of General Liam and the Queen’s relationship; today, it has been confirmed. She then leaned forward, giving him the
ceremonial kiss on his head.
Though, the people didn’t hate General Liam at all. Instead, he was famous in the city for being the right-hand man of the Queen’s sword. Today, his reputation has increased astronomically because of his success in bringing in the Holy cloak that her father had worn. The last known famous fight was against the Land Sharks, where he was the leading force that drew them back.
“General Liam.” The Queen’s voice went out clearly for everyone to hear. He straightened up, staring at her squarely, not wavering for what he had done. “You and your soldiers have succeeded in something that would be considered almost impossible. To fight bravely for this Kingdom and bring back my lost father’s cloak. I thank you.” She gently bowed. People gasped; for the Queen to turn was rare and had only been given a few times.
“Your highness, I was not the only one who has done this. My soldiers and the Adventurers, who have fought alongside me, have more credit towards this fight than me alone. So many had died through the long, arduous journey, but this would’ve been impossible without them.” General Liam spoke.
“You are right, general. For the soldiers and Adventurers who have died, their families will be compensated and taken care of.”
“Your majesty, there is one more that I must tell you. Without the Dragon Prince and his companions, we wouldn’t have survived the Behemoth’s attack when we retrieved the Holy Cloak.”
Loud noises erupted when they heard about the Behemoth’s appearance. Something so legendary and powerful was unheard of, especially to know that the Behemoth was there when General Liam’s army was there to retrieve it.
“Is that so?”
“Dragon Prince, step forward.”
Zero felt everyone’s gaze rest upon him. He took a deep breath and casually but proudly walked forward as best as possible. It wasn’t often that he would be called forward by royalty; even though he was considered one now, he didn’t see himself as a dragon prince in the first place.
“Once again, you have proven your worth countless times, young prince.” The Queen gave him a soft expression that made his heart slightly thump. To see the beauty close up a second time was still extraordinary. “For that, I am grateful that you have survived the difficulties. To slay the Behemoth from legends is something no normal man or elves could usually do, but with your help, you have saved a small number of my people here today. Moreover, as royalty, you have shown that you still care for the people around you. I commend you for that.”
Zero felt ashamed; the thought of only saving General Liam had been constantly in his mind throughout the fights more than saving everybody. He was no hero. So when the Queen stated it in such a way, he realized the weight of his status more than usual.
Saving only General Liam because of the Holy Cloak was the mission, bringing back the same mentality he had when training at Danketsu Ryu academy. Still, at the same time, it was different. Even though the soldiers were data, he had formed close bonds with them.
“For your gallant help, I shall give you a reward.” She clapped her hands as magic swirled before her.
Quest of the Holy Mantle has been completed.
You have leveled up.
You have leveled up.
You have leveled up.
Magic sparked, and a large piece of dragon armor appeared before Zero. Zero could tell that the material made for the dragon armor was powerful; he could feel the energy was still alive, pulsating outwards and towards him.
“Your father would’ve wanted you to have this.” The Queen replied as the magic flew towards him and clasped around his body.
It had a silverish look towards the armor that snugly fit his body. Gold accented the sides and front, especially around his chest, where his Krustallos was located. He could feel the power from his Krustallos radiating along with the armor, giving it a light sparkle. Zero’s arm and leg were lightly wrapped near his shoulders as extra spikes elongated from behind. Even his neck was half-wrapped, and he wore a helmet over his head, giving him an extra pair of longhorns.
In the middle of his helmet were two crystal stones: gold and black. Each swirls together as if they were in constant motion. Right now, Zero’s whole demeanor changed into a powerful dragon warrior. The princely aura around him has amplified, giving him a more regal and majestic look. One could tell that he was born to wear that armor. Strangely enough, it wasn’t heavy at all. He could tell they were some magic imbued in them that allowed him not to be bogged down by weight.
You have received 100,000 gold coins and the Dragon Armor of Light and Darkness.
Dragon Armor of Light and Darkness
An armor made from the power of the King and Queen of the Drezo Regalia’s species. An armor that no dragon can wear without the ancient bloodline of royalty. This armor was known to be the last one made before the King and Queen died in battle.
All statuses boost by 5% constantly throughout the whole day. At night, dark elemental power will increase, while light elemental power will decrease. During the day, the opposite would be true. The only time when both light and dark would be equal in strength is sunrise and sunset when both elemental powers will rise by 30%.
Fame increased by 1893. Affinity with the people inside the Elven kingdom has risen to the max. Therefore, all discounts in stores will be lowered by 10%.
“Use it well.” The Queen replied, there a soft motherly tone in her voice.
“Thank you.” Zero gave a small nodding bow, delighted at the luck he was given.
Zero couldn’t help but give off a draconic grin at the luck that he was given. He turned around and headed back toward his spot as the Queen continued to give off rewards to each player. All Zero could think of was how lucky he was to gain something this powerful, and he couldn’t wait until he tested it out.