Conquest – Chapter 14: Direwolf

“I-I’m sorry,” Kashi stammered, disbelief in his voice. “Could you please repeat that?” His surprise was justified. Razznik was a name Suzuki had formed by using the English slang ‘razz’ which roughly meant un-cool; rough; different; and adding the ‘nik’ suffix just because. There was no way such a random name would pop up in a game made by Genaco by accident.

It was undoubtedly the Razznik from King’s Journey. But Suzuki had deleted him when he quit the game… had he not?

“What’s wrong boy?” Fladnag asked, eyeing him suspiciously. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“N-no.” Quick, think of something! If he finds out, you’re as good as dead.

“You would not happen to have any relations to that fiend would you? Because if you do…” His aura was so thick, it became visible to Kashi, who shrunk back under the dark intensity.

“Surely you jest,” Kashi managed with a plastered smile. “I have no relations with such a monster. I was simply shocked over his treachery.”

Kashi grumbled in his mind to himself  “ I’m sorry Razz. You’ve lived your life. I
cannot die here”.

“Yes, shocking is it not?” Fladnag relaxed and Kashi heaved a huge sigh of relief. “I do not trust anyone who seeks power for the sake of power. I would sooner trust someone bent on revenge, for even his desire can one day be satiated.” He gazed at the elf, disappointment in his eyes. “I fear you are similar to Razznik. You seek power, but you will never be satisfied. Without purpose, you will drown the continent in a sea of blood and I have witnessed more than enough pointless bloodshed. Leave; I shall not slay you, though I should.”

“Wait!” Kashi pleaded. “Please give this one a chance to prove himself. I wish to atone for my country’s sins.” Why is everyone in this game so high-maintenance?

Fladnag studied the elf he thought to himself ;

Regardless of his reasons, he found me. He possesses strong willpower if
nothing else – I can use him .

“If what you say is true, then I will give you a chance. There is a single living creature in this forest beside the trees and us. Slay the beast.”

 

Quest complete!

You met Fladnag. Though queer and dangerous, he possesses an undeniable fountain of knowledge. Play your cards right and you just might learn something important.

 

New Quest: Slay the Direwolf

Difficulty: E

Rumours of there being an infestation of Direwolves in the Naman forest has been revealed to be largely exaggerated. A single beast has made its home west of Fladnag’s home. He has requested that it
be slain.

 

Kahi’s eyes glowed with joy. A serial quest!

Serial quests, like their name suggested, were quests that linked up to another, forming a story of some sort. The rewards gained from serial quests increased the more were chained together – of course, the same could be said for the difficulty.

If all he had to do was defeat one direwolf, it should not prove too difficult unless it was above level forty.

“I accept.”

You accepted the Quest: Slay the Direwolf

“Good. Come back when you are finished. Yanakal will guide you there.” Fladnag waved him off. It was clear he was done talking.

“I will return soon,” Kashi said and left the home, glad things went smoothly.

The trees to the his left moved away from each other forming a path. Rife with anticipation, Kashi followed the path.

“Is it alright to trust the elf,” Yanakal’s voice reverberated inside Fladnag’s home.

“Trust is a luxury we cannot afford.” Fladnag conjured a cup of tea into his hands, savouring its rich scent.

“That said, there’s nothing that says we cannot manipulate darkness to serve the light.”Smiling, he took a sip of his tea. “It all depends on his performance during this test though.”

“He will fail.”

“Really? I believe he will pass. There is much more to him than meets the eye.”

“We shall see.”

“Yes, that we shall, shan’t we.”

***************************************************************************************************

The path Kashi followed led to the mouth of a cave where he paused to consider his options. One way in or out; he would be hugely disadvantaged if the wolf was waiting for him. He equipped his bow and loosely notched his arrow, using  as he entered the cave.

The light streaming from the outside disappeared as the trees closed, sealing off the entrance. The cave plunged into pitch-black darkness, leaving Kashi walking completely blind. Fortunately, it was narrow, so by keeping his right hand on the wall, he did not lose his direction. However, he kept falling over rocks, into holes he failed to see, and cutting his hand on sharp edges. Slowly, but surely, his health was being
chipped away.

“Shit! If only I could see…!” he grinned as an idea formed his mind.

If he could learn skills like  <<Night Vision>> then maybe, just maybe…

Kashi strained his eyes, willing his eyes to pierce the darkness; to shed some light into the darkness enveloping him.

 

Passive Skill : Dark Eyes

Natural assassins in the night, the dark elves developed the ability to improve their sight in darkness.

Improves sight in darkness by 10%

 

Yes! Kashi rejoiced as little shapes began to form in his vision. It was nowhere near perfect, but at least he could now tell the difference between a hole and bare ground. Despite what the window said, he instinctively knew this was not really that special of a skill. Any adventurer in a similar situation might get the skill – as long as they were prepared to go through the boredom of raising the stealth skill.

He spotted a very huge drop in front of him and stuck to the wall, shuffling across the tiny ledge. If he had not gotten the Dark eyes skill, he would have died right there for sure. Does this game not understand the meaning of Difficulty E? Granted, if you had the prerequisite skills, they were quite simple, but this was twice now that lack of information had almost killed him.

A few minutes later, he finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and rejoiced. He would not be battling the beast in the darkness of the cave; that would have spelled certain death.

The exit led to a small meadow, beautiful beyond comparison; Unlike the Naman forest, there was life here. High cliffs shielded this spot from the rest of the world, the sole exits: the cave he just came from and a clear stream that formed an arch around the meadow, flowing in and out of the cliffs.

At the centre of the clearing was a large apple tree, lush and beautiful. Below it, was the beast he had come for. A Direwolf the size of a man, with fur white as snow, curled up in its sleep. It was the kind of sight any artist would fall in love with, and he had to suppress an urge to draw what he saw.

Kashi hesitated, his hands quivering as he drew the bow. Was he to slay such a beautiful creature? To stain this magnificent painting of nature? He wrestled with his conscience as he crossed the stream, the cool water slapping against his thighs.

‘Do not hesitate. It’s just an animal; do it!’

“Aaah!” with a loud cry, he released the arrow, and it struck its target true in the heart.

CRITICAL HIT!

Crying in pain, the beast leapt to its feet and stared him down, golden eyes burning with anger. It lunged at him, teeth bared.

Fast!

Kashi dove out of the way, barely dodging its fangs. He fired a shot, but the beast was quick and agile, dodging the arrow by a hair’s breadth. He followed up with ⌈ Homing Arrow⌉ and this time it could not dodge it. The arrow hit it in the head, but it did not slow down.

Kashi learnt the greatest disadvantage of skills right then and there: the cooldown time. After using the skill, his body froze in place for two seconds, giving the beast ample time to charge him. It pushed
him to the ground, just as he regained control of his body, and continuously tried to maul him, his only defence, his hands which he used to hold it back.

Its claws however, were free and it did not hesitate to rip through him, grinding away at his health, which dropped rapidly. Realizing he would be dead in a matter of seconds, Kashi kneed the beast in the abdomen. It faltered for a second and he used that chance to toss the beast off of him and roll out of the way.

Without wasting a moment, he got back to his feet and gambled on ⌈ Multi-Shot ⌉ hoping it cut off all avenues of escape. The beast was too agile however, and slipped in between the arrows. Frozen in place, Kashi knew without a doubt he was as good as dead.

But then, something peculiar happened. The Direwolf dashed back and allowed an arrow to hit it in the abdomen, protecting the apple tree from being destroyed.

“What?” Kashi fired another at the beast, but it did not move from its spot, growling in pained defiance.

His health was a measly fifty-six points; one more scratch from the wolf and he was dead. He knew this, and was not going to miss out on the opportunity that had presented itself.

So he kept firing, and the wolf kept on glaring at him, refusing to surrender. He knew the wolf knew he was the end of his ropes. One attack from it and he would be dead. What was so important that it refused
to leave that spot and chose death over.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit!” Kashi cursed out loud. He bit down on his lip so hard his health points began to drop, all the while firing at the beast. At some point his vision became cloudy, and he blinked away the tears that were forming in his eyes.

It’s just an animal; furthermore it’s an A.I. You are not doing anything wrong. He reassured himself with those words, but the look in the eyes of the beast told him otherwise. He recognised that look: it was one he wore everyday when he woke up and looked in the mirror – disdain for those who unjustly persecuted him.

“Please die,” he begged.

The beast finally succumbed to its injuries and fell to the ground, its body blocking the tree.

 

You completed a Quest!

Slay the Direwolf.

Rejoice, for you have slain the world’s most
peaceful animal. Return to Fladnag and tell him of your bravery in battle.

You levelled up!

You levelled up!

You levelled up!

Skill increased: Rapid Shot increased to 3

Can now fire three additional arrows in one shot.

Skill increased: Multi Shot increased to 3

Accuracy increased by 30%

 

Kashi stared blankly at the window. He should be happy he had won, but he felt less than dirty and cheap. “Shit!” he cursed, gripping his bow, and turned to leave when a little yelp caught his attention.

A little black wolf, just a tiny bit larger than a puppy crept out from under the tree trunk. It nudged its mother with its nose, its cries ripping at his heart. To his surprise, the mother moved, and licked the cub.

The direwolf nudged her cub forward, towards Kashi, barking something at it. Whatever it was saying, the child refused to listen as it cried at her, begging her; but her time was up. With one last glare at Kashi, she drew her last breath and her head fell to the earth, never to rise again.

Kashi watched, unable to move as her body glowed, pulsed then burst in a myriad of light particles, rising into the sky. And again, he watched in horror, as the earth where she fell decayed. The magnificent apple tree aged five thousand years in seconds, crumbling to dust. The hand of death did not stop there; it spread around the meadow, killing every plant in its path, and instantly dried up the stream.

The ground shook beneath his feet as the cliffs began to crack, rocks crashing down to the earth playing a requiem for the queen, accompanied by the cries of her son.

It’s just a game. It’s just a game.

Kashi repeatedly told himself as he took a step back followed by another and made to run away. But he stopped; his legs would not move – not while the cub wept in the background.

Cursing, he ran to the cub and picked it up, ignoring the pain as it bit down on his hand. It was still so weak that it hardly scratched his health.

“Hold on!” he cried as he ran into the cave, dodging falling rocks and jumping over the hole traps. But they were just too many. Shielding the cub with his body, he dashed through as the falling debris chipped away at his health. 43..30…21..20..13..6..1..

With a desperate yell, he dived out of the cave as the last of the debris came crashing down.

Live no Evil had a peculiar system. The lower your health points, the weaker you became physically. This might have been to add some realism to the game, but now it was a huge burden on him as he could not move from his position. A short rest would raise his health by a bit, but as weak as he was, even the cub could kill him if it wished.

Fur as dark as his skin blocked his vision, with two red eyes boring down at him with hatred.

Ah, so this is how it ends.. I guess I deserve this.

Instead of taking the final blow, the cub sat down beside him, with its back to him as if protecting him. What? Kashi questioned as he drifted off into sleep.

The cub mourned its mother as it remembered her last instructions. “Go with the elf, little one; your future lies beyond this cove. He wept, even as he slew me. He possesses a kind heart, yet is willing to do what is necessary. Watch him, study him, protect him, judge him. Grow with him, and when you are strong enough, pass your judgement upon him. Be strong little one, for I will always be with you, watching over you. From here and beyond.”

“Yes.” it said as it raised its head to the skies and howled one last time for its mother. “I will do as you say, but I shall not judge him. Once I am strong enough to face him in open combat, I will kill him. For that is my final judgement. Until then, I shall protect him from all else.”

 


Author: LegacyTMG  my widget for counting

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