Crouching behind some bushes, we carefully made our way closer to where the group of monsters were reportedly located. Foxkin warriors led by Reia were nearby and our job was to bait the monsters into following us right into an ambush.
“Do you see them?” I whispered to Nes.
Even though it was daytime, visibility was still low within the forest and I couldn’t see or hear any of the monsters we were hunting. Dragonkin eyes were superior to Human eyes, they could see farther and more clearly. Their other senses were also superior to that of a Human. Even if I couldn’t pick up something through the dense vegetation and trees, maybe he could.
“There are too many obstructions but I can hear movement not far from here. We should be relatively close. I say we draw their attention here and then fall back.” His response was prompt and reasonable.
“Maybe a little light show should get their attention?” I said to the two siblings.
Allein nodded and began preparing her magic power to cast her spell. Seeing her focusing on chanting and preparing her magic, I decided to prepare some of my own magic and two black flames flared up, one on each hand. With our preparations complete, Allein let loose a lightning strike towards the trees in the direction of the monsters. The lightning struck a tree producing a thundering sound on impact.
“That should get their attention.” I said while waiting patiently for the enemy to come investigate.
The three of us continued crouching and Allein began preparing another spell while waiting for the enemy to show themselves. Even I could now hear the approaching enemy, and soon several kobolds came crashing through the underbrush around the tree which had been struck by lightning. I immediately sent the two ‘Void Flames’ I had prepared forward towards the enemy, dropping two of the kobolds. At the same time, Allein released several ‘Ice Shards’ which struck some of the others.
Now that we had their full attention, we ran as fast as we could in the opposite direction. The monsters roared and screamed and came rushing after us. We could hear distant monsters responding to the cries of the ones closest to us and we knew the chase had begun.
While running, Allein kept the monsters behind us in check by sending magic attacks towards them, but some of the monsters returned fire by throwing spears or trying to shoot us with arrows. Thankfully, there were many trees which provided cover for us and their attacks were ineffective.
We still had somewhat of a ways to go before we arrived at the ambush point, we made sure that the location was in a different direction from the village just in case any of the monsters escaped and reported back to the main group. This made the job of being bait more difficult for us but it was necessary to ensure the safety of the village. We also needed to make sure to kill as many of the monsters as possible and needed to draw them in quite a bit just in case.
Kobolds were faster than I expected, but for the time being we were staying ahead of them and Allein was doing an excellent job of keeping any from getting too close with her magic. Just a little longer, I thought as I was beginning to tire from the constant running.
Looking back, I just barely dodged a javelin that had been thrown by a monster before it was killed by Allein’s ‘Ice Shard’ attack. However an arrow found its mark and struck me in the back of my shoulder, almost sending me tumbling to the ground in pain. Noticing that I had been struck by an arrow, Nes and Allein quickly supported me before I could fall. Regaining my balance, I pushed on despite the pain. I couldn’t stop here, we hadn’t made it to the clearing yet where the Foxkin would be waiting in ambush.
My shoulder was stinging and it took some effort to bear with the pain while still retaining my speed, but I pushed through it. The clearing where the ambushers waited soon came into view and I urged myself on. I started to feel somewhat sluggish and I could also feel the blood from the arrow wound trickling down my back. I kept pumping my legs as hard as I could, if I stopped now, I was dead.
Breaking through the trees into the clearing, the three of us made our way to the opposite end and dozens of Kobolds came pouring in behind us. The Kobold’s had good senses themselves which is why we didn’t want to bring the main force of our warriors too close, instead luring them in with a small number.
They weren’t too intelligent, however, and couldn’t respond to the rapidly changing situation. Their desire to catch the three of us drove them into a rage which made them incapable of processing the new sensory information they were receiving. They walked right into the ambush and once they were visible within the clearing, the Foxkin waiting in the treetops began their bombardment, starting with Reia’s ‘Fireball’.
The once peaceful clearing became the site of a massacre, as one monster after another, found themselves in a crossfire of elemental attacks which devastated them. I swiftly found a tree to put my back to, and Allein frantically got to work pulling the arrow out of my shoulder. She was having some difficulty doing it because she was afraid of hurting me more.
“Just yank the damn thing out already!” I gritted my teeth and angrily shouted at her.
The arrow had hit the bone in my shoulder and hadn’t gone through, so it wasn’t too deep. Even if she caused more damage by ripping the arrow out, she could easily just heal the wound. I just wanted her to get it out quickly.
“Alright! I’m going to pull it out as hard as I can!’ She complied with my request and pulled it out causing me more pain than I expected. She began chanting healing magic immediately and started healing the wound. The pain was gone after a couple of minutes and I could feel the wound closing.
The battle was still raging behind us as the Foxkin continued their barrage of magic. Initially, the Kobolds had been completely surprised and half of their number had been cut down before they realized what was going on. With the Foxkin hiding in the trees, it was difficult for them to hit their targets from the ground below and some of them began climbing the trees to retaliate.
“Thank you Allein…. sorry I shouted at you.” I said while breathing heavily, my chest rising and falling rapidly.
She didn’t seem to mind the fact that I had shouted and smiled while standing over me as I sat with my back to a tree. “It’s fine, now get up, we have more enemies to kill.”
She said that way too enthusiastically, I thought with some concern.
Allein helped me stand as her brother watched on quietly, as expressionless as he always was. Other than when he was angry of course. I unsheathed my sword and summoned more of my flames, encasing my left hand and arm in them.
The three of us charged into the clearing and engaged the enemy who had yet to climb into the treetops. Bodies fell all around as Kobolds were killed in their attempt to climb the trees. Some of the Kobolds had made it to the top and were fighting with some of the Foxkin without much success. Individually, the monsters were no match for the Foxkin who were fighting on their own turf, and without being able to overwhelm the Foxkin with numbers, their attacks were futile.
A sudden unfamiliar growl resounded from somewhere beyond the trees and two large lizardmen came crashing through the forest towards me. These were most likely the commanders of the monster raiding parties. They were not as quick as the Kobolds so I had plenty of time to prepare as they came within range of my blade.
I blocked the first attack using my left arm which was covered by my ‘Void Flames’ and countered with my blade, cutting into the lizardman’s arm and jumped back, dodging a second attack from his companion. With the element of surprise I was able to get a quick strike in but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold out for too long against two of these monsters. Nes and Allein noticed my plight and jumped in to aid me.
Allein threw ‘Ice Shards’ at one of the lizards while Nes spun to action with his spear, striking the other down with a series of rapid thrusts that the lizard could not defend against. With the first lizardman distracted by Allein’s magic attacks, I sent my ‘Void Flames’ into the monster’s exposed side and my flames burned its flesh uncontrollably, dropping it to its knees writhing in pain. Another magic attack from Allein finished it off.
I searched the clearing wildly, the adrenaline pumping through my body, but no enemies remained alive.
“Fayde, calm down. They’re all dead.” Allein brought me to my senses and I finally relaxed.
Reia jumped down from the treetops and ran over to me with a worrying expression, “Fayde are you okay? You looked injured when you ran into the clearing.”
She started searching my body for wounds, but I stopped her, “I’m okay, Allein healed me so it’s fine.”
She sighed in relief, “I was worried when I saw you injured, thank you Allein.”
Allein crossed her arms and gave Reia a smug smile, “Of course, I would never let anything happen to Fayde, he belongs to me, remember?”
Reia gritted her teeth and it looked like the vein in her head was about to pop, but she remained quiet.
I didn’t bother getting in between the two, I was too exhausted to bother. With the monsters all dead, the rest of the Foxkin came down from the trees as well. The entire clearing had been devastated and residue of the elemental magic that had been used to slaughter the monsters, was clearly visible everywhere.
“Alright, Reia and I need to return to Enrain to warn the town before the monster’s get there. They will need some time to prepare so we need to hurry. Allein and Nes, you two can help the Foxkin warriors keep tabs on the monster’s army just in case they send out anymore raiding parties, but try not to be seen okay?”
“Tch, we aren’t stupid Fayde! Like some monsters will be able to spot us if we don’t want to be seen!” Allein replied with a slightly annoyed expression.
Nes slammed the butt of his spear into the ground and said angrily, “I think Fayde underestimates us sister.”
“Alright, alright, relax! I didn’t mean anything by it.” I did my best to calm Nes down, he really didn’t seem to like me much.
After calming the two siblings down and assuring Reia that I was fine, I decided to walk around the clearing and made sure to absorb the ‘Dark Matter Contamination’ from as many corpses as I could find. I felt a surge of energy and knew that I had definitely become stronger. I wouldn’t know for sure until I checked my status, but I certainly felt that I had.
Reia and I then left the clearing and made our way towards the town of Enrain as quickly as possible. There was no time to delay, we needed to warn them.
‘GRRRRRR!!!! So, they failed!? I can’t believe this!” A man was angrily smashing his fist against a table as he spoke.
“I warned you that it wouldn’t be so simple.” His companion, a woman, calmly responded to his words despite his aggressive actions.
“Tch… He got lucky! If it weren’t for those fucking beasts than he would be dead right now. We will need to deal with them at some point.” After venting his anger, the man finally calmed down and began to consider his next course of action.
“That’s all well and good, but what do we do now? We only have a fraction of the manpower we had before.” The female agent reminded her male companion and he grimaced while considering her words.
“He only survived because of those disgusting beasts…… let’s wait till he returns to the town. He will be vulnerable here… “ He said while organizing his thoughts.
The woman had a thoughtful expression as she held her right elbow with her left hand, and tapped her right index finger on her cheek, “It might work, we still have several assassins at our disposal, but if they fail again…..”
Her fellow agent clicked his tongue and replied resolutely, “That won’t happen! It must not happen! You know which inn he is staying in….” His grin became a wicked smile as he continued, “we’ll kill him before he even knows what happened… “
In a way, the woman felt bad for their target. She didn’t particularly like killing a man in his sleep, but it wasn’t personal, it was her job.
Reia and I traveled through the night without sleep until we arrived at Enrain. I was absolutely exhausted but we didn’t want to waste time. Every moment we could give the town to prepare for the oncoming invasion was crucial. Naturally, the first place we rushed towards was the Adventurer’s Guild. We had no way of contacting the local lord and it was questionable how much credence would be given to our word so informing Orban was our priority.
As we traveled through the town to the Guild, there was no sign among the populace that danger was approaching them. The town was lively as it usually was with hundreds of people in the marketplace and others going about their daily chores. Women washed clothing while hanging their clothes outside on ropes to dry. Children ran along the streets, playing with their wooden swords or other toys. None of them knew that an army of monsters would soon approach.
“It seems the monsters successfully evaded their scouts by sticking to the forest…. I wonder how they were able to come up with such a strategy.” I mostly mused to myself not expecting an answer.
Reia heard me and responded to my query, “Most monsters are dumb, they act more on instinct, but some are smarter. Some adventurers think that there is something guiding them, leading them, or something along those lines but there is no proof.”
I thought about her response, but with the limited knowledge I had, I could only speculate.
Since there was no time to stop and greet anyone, we did our best to push our way through the throngs of people and eventually found ourselves at the Guild. It was much more packed than usual and many adventurers were currently eating lunch and drinking merrily as they discussed recent adventures or quests.
Reia and I rushed over to the receptionist without delay and asked to see Orban, explaining that it was an emergency. Noticing the severity of our words, the receptionist made haste and within a short time, Orban had whisked us away into his office.
Even though I call it an office, it wasn’t really all that fancy. It was a relatively small room with the bare minimum of furnishings and very little light made it in through the wooden windows. Orban had us sit down at a small table and told us to take a moment to catch our breath.
Seeing that we had calmed our breathing, he asked us bluntly, “So, tell me, what’s the emergency?”
“Orban, there is an army of monsters heading towards Enrain as we speak. They were using the forest as cover. I don’t know how much more time we have until they arrive, but if they continue at the pace they were traveling, I figure we have a day and a half at most until they arrive.” I blurted it all out as quickly as I could and there was a look of shock on Orban’s face.
“Are you sure? Did you see them yourself? This is grave news and it has to be certain before I can go to the lord with this.” His words made sense, if he reported this and it didn’t come to pass, there would be serious repercussions.
“My tribe’s scouts originally scouted out the army, and while Fayde and I didn’t see the army personally, we did fight with a large raiding party which broke off from the main army. There were many kobolds and they had lizardmen commanders. My kin were absolutely certain there were a couple of thousand in the monster’s army and that their target was Enrain.” Reia informed the Guildmaster.
Orban sat back in his chair and sighed deeply while considering my information. He rubbed his own bald head with his hands and closed his eyes before saying, “Alright, I will go straight to the lord of Enrain immediately and inform him of this. He will most likely send out his own scouts to confirm, but he should at least start mobilizing the local forces. In the meanwhile, I’ll need to inform all the adventurers and get them organized for battle. You two should get some rest, you look exhausted.”
With our mission completed, I could finally relax. I took a deep breath and blew out some of the stress that had built up. I was still worried about the town, but at least we had done what we could.
“Don’t worry Fayde, we should have enough of a force within the town to hold off the monsters and the walls won’t fall easily. We will have mages reinforcing the walls and gates to the city. If it’s just a couple of thousand, it should be fine. These invasions happen every now and then, this will be my second invasion since I became Assistant Guildmaster here in Enrain.”
Orban was obviously trying to comfort me and his reassurances did help me feel more relaxed now that I knew the town wouldn’t be in too much danger. I also heard an interesting piece of information, that mages could reinforce the walls of the town. I wonder if that makes them as sturdy as stone walls, perhaps this is the reason why they didn’t bother building stone walls around the town. Saves money too. My mind went straight to the strategic applications and I was interested to see how they would defend the city.
“Well, that’s all we can hope for now. Reia and I did our part, I suppose you will want us to take part in the battle too?” I asked inquisitively.
Orban nodded and said, “It is expected in these types of situations, but go get some rest first, the both of you.”
“Let’s go Fayde.” Reia stood and the three of us left the office.
Orban said his farewells and left to inform the local lord of the impending danger.
“Time to check my status and then I am going to sleep until tomorrow!”
Reia and I walked over to the divination room and I finally had an opportunity to check my status:
[Level: -1 EXP: 0/0]
[Health Regen: 0.05/min] [1/min while resting]
[VP: 120/120] [Void Threshold: 125 Next level 180]
[Void Regen: 0.25/min] [5/min while resting]
Strength: 11 ( Modifier +1, Representation of your attack power as well as your physical strength)
Dexterity: 11 (Modifier +1, Representation of your reflexes, movement, agility, and evasion)
Constitution: 12 (Modifier +1, Representation of your resilience and affects health/health regen)
Charisma: 10 (Modifier 0, Representation of how others perceive both your physical appearance and personality as well as your skill at social interactions)
Intelligence: 138 (Represents intellectual capacity, Affects Skill Growth)
Wisdom: 175 (Represents an accumulation of life experience and common sense)
Acquired Proficiencies: Sword (Level 4/10 Intermediate), Evasion (Level 3/10 Intermediate), Tactics (Level 3/10 Intermediate), Leadership (Level 2/10 Beginner), Endurance (Level 2/10 Beginner)
Blessings: Blessing of the Void (?)
Special ability: Molecular absorption (Absorbs dark matter contamination strengthening host)
Inherent status: Immortality (Immortality grants agelessness, your body and soul will no longer age)
Affinities: Void (Your natural and innate magical affinity, Void Element)
Void Element: Void Flame (Strengthened) (8VP – 2VP/min) (Manipulate larger and more intense flames from the Void for both attack and defense)
I was very pleased with the amount of growth I had obtained in just a few weeks of living in this world and I could definitely feel more power brimming within me. With faith in my potential, I looked forward to becoming even stronger. Time to get some sleep.