Syèl bit down on a tasty beef jerky he had bought from the last town, impressed by how accurate the taste was. A mile-marker revealed he only had a few miles left until he reached his destination. In hindsight, he should have bought a horse – the money he gained from bounty hunting could have easily bought him one.
There was no use regretting it now, besides walking had its perks too.
An odd sight gave him pause. An old man in dirty robes and a blue sash was collapsed in the middle of the road, his walking stick a few feet in front of him. Syèl stared at the old man, then offered a quick prayer to the deceased and moved on. It was none of his concern who bit the dust.
One of the bony hands moved with lightning speed and grabbed his ankle.
“Iyaaa!” Syèl screamed, his voice reaching record pitches.
“Forgive me, forgive me,” he begged, clasping his hands together and bowing.
“I’m not dead!” the old man cried, raising his head.
“IYAAAA!” Syèl screamed even louder at the terrifying sight.
The old man was extremely bony, with terrifyingly wrinkled skin. What scared him the most though, were the exaggerated large eyes, that only opened halfway.
“What are you, a baby?!” Zombie grandpa scolded as he grabbed the ankle with his other hand.
“Noooo!!” Syèl yelled and repeatedly stomped on the old man with his free leg. “Let me go. Let me go!”
“S-stop hi-hitting me! I’m not a zombie.”
“That’s exactly what a zombie would say!” Syèl countered, increasing the intensity of his kicks.
“Fool! Zombies can’t talk!” he screamed and Syèl hesitated.
“You sure you’re not a zombie?” Syèl examined the old man closely.
“I am not!” he sat up, crossed legged and picked his walking stick. “Youth these days are so rude.”
Syèl coughed and put on his most serious face. “What happened to you old man?”
“Don’t you go pretending like nothing happened!” the old man scolded then broke into a fit of coughs.
“Are you alright old man?”
“This is nothing. The burden I carry as mayor of Neverun is much heavier.” He looked up at the elf who had been stomping on him.
“…A meal would be nice.”
Syèl pulled out a beef steak he had been saving for later and handed it to the old man. The mayor accepted the tender meat and bit down on it, pleasure apparent in his creepy grin.
“How about a drink to wash it down?”
Syèl sighed, taking out a bottle of juice from his inventory and handed it over.
The mayor downed the drink in one gulp, and belched like a Walrus. “Ah, that’s the stuff. I also need some coins to get to the next town and beyond.”
A vein popped in Syèl’s forehead. “How much do you need?”
The mayor smiled, rubbing his hands together. “You seem like a rich lad. Could you spare me five gold coins?”
“F-five?!” Syèl currently had six gold coins from bounty hunting after spending the rest of his earnings on rare armour for mages.
“Don’t be stingy now.” He had the creepiest smile Syèl had ever seen.
“Goodbye.” Syèl turned to leave, but chills went up his body as those bony hands grabbed his ankle again.
“Will you cut th-”
Syèl decided to play his game. “Fifty silver.”
“One gold-fifty, and that’s as low as I am going.”
“Deal. One gold-fifty it is.” Syèl handed him a single gold coin and fifty bronze coins.
“These are bronze. I meant silver.”
“It was never specified, or are you going back on our deal old man?”
Grumbling, the mayor pocketed the coins. “Hmph, youth these days. No respect.”
“Yes, yes. I’ll be leaving now.”
“Wait! I have one more request to ask of you.”
Syèl rubbed his face with his palm, exasperated by the old man. “What else do you want?”
“You look like an adventurer that can hold his own in battle. My village has been overrun by Cocaktrice.
Could you help me chase them away?”
Syèl decided not to let it slip he was already heading there. “What’s in it for me?”
“You would be doing a good deed for helpless citizens of the same country.”
Syèl yawned, feigning boredom. “Not interested.”
“Okay okay! There is a trapdoor in the temple behind Alure’s statue. Legend has it a great source of power is hidden inside. Accept my request, and I will give you the key if you succeed.”
New Quest : Slay the Cockatrice
Fodam, mayor of Neverun has pleaded with you to rid his town of the vile beasts known as cockatrice. You can choose to either slay, or chase them away.
Remaining monsters: 28
Rewards: +200 Fame, Key to Alure’s Crypt.
“Accept,” Syèl said.
“Thank you. The town is just a little ways down the road.”
“See you later, old man.”
Syèl waved as he left. He paused and turned around to see if the geezer had started his journey.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Syèl face-palmed when he saw Fodam sprawled out on the floor.
It was a damn scam!
Kashi and Leila glared aty Blade and his guildmates, nocking arrows into their bows. He counted twenty three of them, ten of which were mages. Since this was virtual reality and not a computer game, he might be able to take on the warriors, but all of his skills could not protect him against those number of mages – not yet at least.
As he considered which way they should run, Kira came out from the cave. Her presence caused an instant reaction among the assailants who paled at her size.
“Kira! The mages!” Kashi ordered, using their momentary pause to shoot three of his attackers. It did not kill them, but as they staggered from the impact, Kira dashed through their middle, aimed at the mages behind them.
The mages launched ice and fire balls at her, but they bounced off her fur, having received great magic resistance from eating so many spriggans and their Spriggan Lord. Growling she ploughed one over with brute force, and gouged on the helpless mage.
A warrior attempted to strike her from behind, but an arrow dug into his arm, and he screamed in agony.
Blade glared at the elf. “I may still forgive you if you stop now.”
“Come!” Kashi challenged as both he and Leila dashed forward.
Blade swung his spear in a horizontal arc to hit the both of them.
“That’s not how you use a spear.” Kashi said as he somersaulted over Blade. Leila saw the attack coming and stopped her charge, then shot an arrow, pinning him to ground.
“I just used <<Paralysing Shot>> on you. You won’t be able to move for five seconds.” She said as she resumed her dash past him. The Elven archers had similar plans: take out the small fry before facing the stronger one.
Kashi landed behind Blade and blocked an incoming strike with his bow, then kicked his attacker in the stomach pushing him back, before turning him into a pincushion. Bow in hand, he charged right into their middle, diving low when swords almost sliced him. He got onto a handstand and kicked them in the face, then got low and kicked their legs off the floor.
Arrows pierced his hand breaking his balance and he glared at a group of archers a ways off that were already releasing another volley. He back-flipped away from their onslaught, right into the path of warriors who had been waiting for him.
Having learned from their previous failures, they swung low and high in an attempt to cut off his avenues of retreat. However, Kashi spread himself flat and rolled in the air, passing through the small space between their swords. He landed behind them, feet spread out with one hand behind his back, and the other supporting his body.
“Stay still!” they cried as their partners surrounded and swung down at him. Several cries of pain rang out as arrows pierced through their hands. The source of the arrows was unknown as Leila had quickly hidden herself in the forest while they had their focus on Kashi.
A true archer.
Impressed by her, and not willing to be outdone, Kashi delivered a helicopter kick, kicking them all in the china and sent them flying.
Once they fell, he dashed at full speed towards the archers who had no time to react because of his uncommon agility. He delivered an upper-cut to one of them, punched her in the gut, then kicked her into her fellow archers.
A loud shout rang out behind him and he turned around to see Blade swinging his spear down at him.”I said that’s not how you use a spear!” Kashi took a step into Blade’s open guard, grabbed the spear with his left hand and palmed him in the chest, sending him flying into a tree.
Holding the weapon he had wrestled from Blade, Kashi made a show of twirling it around him, then held it diagonally behind him, and motioned for the warriors still standing to come at him. Screaming, they charged weapons held high, and he treated them to some of his spear-play.
“You hold a spear with both hands, making sure the pointy bit is closer to your left hand, assuming you’re right handed.” He lightly dodged the guild members’ swings, while he continued his lesson. “For a basic attack, step back on your right foot while pulling the spear to your right side, level with the ground, then rotate your shoulders counter clockwise, allowing your hands to follow the swing, then..”
Kashi did as he said, then thrust the spear forward and down, stabbing a surprised and frustrated adventure, then repeated the motion on several others, rotating his hips counter-clockwise to add more force.
“That concludes today’s lesson.” He tossed the spear back at Blade. “This is not a PC game. You cannot rely on the system to carry out your attacks if you yourself do not even know the basics.”
Blade caught the weapon, surprise, fear and a newfound respect on his face.
“Do you still want to go?” Kashi asked.
“No. I know when I’m beaten.” He unequipped his weapon and raised his hands in defeat.
“Good. Kira, you can stop now.” Kira reluctantly jumped off the mage she was about to snack on.
“I’ll give you a fair warning for not killing me. Nyte, Asha and our boss are nothing like me. As strong as you are, you cannot possibly beat them.”
“We’ll find out eventually, won’t we?” Kashi left the defeated guildmembers, accompanied by Kira and Leila who came out of cover. “Thanks for the help.”
“No problem. More importantly, where did you learn to fight like that?”
Kashi pondered on the question. He could not exactly say he had learned it from Razznik seeing as they were separate entities. “I inherited them.”
“You’re from a family of athletes aren’t you?”
He thought of Suzuki and Razznik. They were a sort of family, in their own messed up way. “Sure… let’s go with that.”
Syèl walked under a wooden Arch that announced he had reached Neverrun. The village was completely abandoned, the houses completely destroyed. He saw several stone and on closer inspection, realized they were petrified humans and elves.
Their terrified expressions as they were petrified while trying to run was unnerving. Most of them were facing away from the same direction, and meandered through the statues careful not to hit them. The debris surrounding some half-statues revealed they were not as strong as one would think.
Facing something capable of this, it was no surprise the warriors had been intimidated. As he followed the roads he heard the unmistakable sounds of clashing swords and increased his pace.
He jumped onto a building, then ran along rooftops cutting the distance he needed to travel in half. A field came into view and he saw the strangest animals he had ever seen attacking a single target.
Cockatrice looked like giant cockrails who had spent their lives inside a fastfood joint eating the people that usually ate them. They were extremely fat, with large wings that allowed them to jump and hover in the air for a few seconds. Despite their size, they were quick with their feet and could pierce through steel with their large beaks.
He jumped onto a nearby silo for a better view.
The feathered beasts were focused on a human female, wielding a rather large Katana. She was dressed like an English male of high royalty in blue trousers with a design he could not see from so far away, and a blue long jacket on a black shirt.
Her long , blond hair was tied into a high ponytail.
Syèl watched, impressed as she blocked a stab from the beast’s beak, pushed it back and beheaded it in a clean slice. As it fell, its brothers crowed loudly in anger and he green aura emanated from their eyes.
The girl darted around, trying to dodge the beams. A couple of them curled into a feathery ball and raced towards her. Though she was shocked by the attack, she did not lose her composure, and ducked low, forming a ramp with her sword. The cockatrice rolled onto her blade and she pushed upwards, launching it into the air.
Several others surrounded her and pecked at incredible speeds, but she parried all their strikes – even those from her blind spots.
“She’s good.” Syèl sat down, deciding to see how this played out.
“You’re not going to lend a hand?” a familiar voice asked behind him.
“No, why sho-” he whirled around, surprised by the fact that someone had managed to sneak up on him. His surprise only doubled when he saw who it was. He had perfect memory and he recognized the lady in front of him as the blond he had met briefly at the mall.
What was even more surprising was the fact that she was the same person who was fighting down on the field – he confirmed this by glancing back to the field where the blondie was still fighting.
She swung her sword with chilling accuracy and he barely had enough time to jump away onto the field,
where the other her was fighting with the cockatrice.
The double jumped down, landing with beautiful grace. She raised her sword and charged Syèl, who summoned <<Blades of Blood>> and parried her strike, dropping to a knee from her unbelievable strength.
“Shit!” I may be in trouble.