Proofreaders: ExperimentBL626, and Vaanouney
Taking purposely slow strides, Canalha leisurely rode over to where Sierra had fallen down. As he approached the injured Werebear, the bandit leader was laughing sadistically on top of his black ctenosaur. The rest of the Brandals joined in on his maniacal laughter.
“BWAHAHAHA. Curious, this is the first time I’ve seen someone like you. I’ve heard about Werewolves but I’ve never heard of a Werebear before. I take it that you’re the leader of this tiny resistance?”
He made a circular motion with his hands, and the Brandals surrounded the wounded Sierra.
“I bet you’re wondering how we found this ‘secret base’ of yours. I’ll have you know that ‘Trap’ abilities are not exclusive to you bastards. We, Brandals have our own specialized unit. I’d like you to meet Ladrão and Morrão. Their levels are over 120. Both of them have advance levels in Trap and Stealth. Although, we only have two of them in the special unit at the moment, but these two are more than enough. I do admit that aside from their special abilities they’re absolutely useless, but they’re not here to fight anyway.”
Sierra didn’t mind the ramblings of the bandit leader. She kept on staring at the ashes of fort Amitié. No living thing was moving from within the flames of the blown up fort.
“Oh, I’m guessing you’re worried for your fallen comrades, right? Don’t worry I’ll have you join them soon enough. Boys! Do your thing.”
Sierra’s lifebar indicated that she still had (159,700/242,200 HP) left.
The surrounding Brandals took advantage of their numbers. Two black ctenosaurs pounced at Sierra simultaneously. Both rider and mount attacked her for 350 damage points and 700 damage points respectively.
The red Werebear shouted and looked up to the skies. She had hoped that Jinggu and Sharur would drop down from the heavens, but nothing happened.
Sierra was in pain, not from the attacks of the bandits but from her heart tightening. She felt like it was being squeezed from the inside.
As she stayed motionless, groups of four black ctenosaur riders took turns and slashed her from all four directions.
Sierra saw that the blue sky was infinitely high and crystal clear and so was her goal. Her claws extended as she looked at the Brandals’ leader.
The moment she spotted him she ran towards him with all her might. The attacks from the Brandals did not stop for one second.
Canalha laughed as he saw the Werebear running towards him. He readied his sword and his whip. The moment Sierra was in range, Canalha cracked his whip, and struck nothing.
Sierra leapt to the side and pounced on the two special Thieves who Canalha was so proud of. With one Thief in each claw, she pinned them to the ground.
She flipped them around so that their backs were right side up. From that position she started hacking and slashing.
The other Brandals were alarmed and tried their best to remove Sierra from on top of Ladrão and Morrão. Canalha tried to restrain her with her whip, but the Werebear was undeterred.
Sierra’s lifebar was quickly draining, but so were the lifebars of the two Thieves below her. Canalha and the Brandals were desperate.
Five minutes passed, and the lifebars of the two special Thieves were below 4%.
Sierra raised both her claws and plunged them deep into the backs of the two men who led the Brandals to their fort. She finally killed the Brandals’ special unit.
The Werebear’s lifebar displayed (62,108/242,200 HP) left. She estimated that it would take less than two minutes before she would die.
With her sharp claws, she lashed out at anyone who was near her. As a result, some of the black ctenosaurs’ eyes were gouged out.
Her furious warpath made the bandits back off. Only Canalha was brave enough to be in her range. He kept on using his whips.
However, Sierra ignored him completely. She was after the weaker Brandals. She planned on reducing as much of their attack force before they could kill her.
Her lifebar was left with (10,096/242,200 HP). All the bandits stayed out of her reach. When she moved the surrounding circle of bandits would move with her.
Canalha’s damage of 1,024 meant that she would be dead in the next ten attacks. Sierra tried her best to gouge out one more eye.
Sadly, she couldn’t get any more victims. The Werebear snarled at the cowardly Brandals who kept running away. Canalha was about to crack his whip when an arrow knocked it off his hand.
The Brandals’ leader turned around and saw a one armed man carrying a menacing double bladed sword. He was accompanied by a Hunter and ten Betulite Fishermen, each Fishermen carrying multiple fishing spears.
All of the Brandals’ attention were on Adder and his men. They were laughing at the small rescue group before them. Then, out of nowhere four falcons swooped down from on top of the forest. Each falcon took their turn and attacked Canalha for 800 damage points.
Canalha madly swung his sword around him to drive off the dangerous falcons.
“Boys, check the sides. I think they have other Hunters hiding behind those tall shru…”
Canalha took an arrow to his side. It came from the northern shrubs, and a second later he took another arrow which came from the opposite direction. The Brandals immediately turned to face the tall shrubs and searched for the other Hunters.
Adder, Thyrsus, and the Betulites came charging at the Brandals, denying them the opportunity to search for their other companions.
They took advantage of the fishing spear’s range. The only range weapon available to the Brandals were Canalha’s throwing knives, which had a shorter reach.
All the Betulites threw their fishing spears and focused their attack on the nearest mounted Brandal. Each spear damaged the bandit for 1,200 points.
After taking all ten spears the targeted bandit fell down and died. The Betulites prepared to do the same attack on another bandit, but not before the grouped Brandals received a shower of fishing spears from the north and the south sides of the forest.
The Brandals saw twenty pairs of bundled fishing spears towering over the shrubs on each side. The spears were gradually drawing closer to them.
“Primo, they have us surrounded. I think there are about fifty to sixty of them altogether.”
Canalha’s lieutenant discerned that it was too dangerous for them to stay any longer.
“Please, it’s time to run. I beg you; sound the retreat.”
“Retreat? Why would we retreat when we’ve just burnt down their bas…”
Another arrow from Thyrsus attacked the Brandal leader. Canalha’s lifebar was still at (162,369/185,000 HP). He was confident that he could survive this battle.
As soon as Canalha finished talking, one more Brandal fell down and died from the multiple fishing spears lodged all over his body.
There were only twenty six Brandals left. The bandits’ focus were only on Adder and his men that they forgot about the powerful Werebear deep inside their clustered formation.
Sierra stabbed her claws on two bandits at once and threw them towards Adder. She then gouged out the eyes of their black ctenosaurs and made them run away.
The Brandals were shocked to see two of their comrades flying over them. The thrown bandits fell directly in front of the charging Adder.
Adder leapt over them and attacked them from behind. As each bandit was writhing in pain, five fishing spears flew towards them killing them simultaneously.
In order to avoid friendly fire, the hidden attackers from the sides focused their fishing spears on the bandits furthest away from Adder and Sierra.
“I’m sorry, Primo, but we have to leave right now.”
Canalha’s lieutenant and another bandit grabbed their leader and dragged him off of his mount. They forcefully carried him westward.
“Nooo! Tenente, you better release me now or you’ll suffer the consequences!”
“I’m ready to sacrifice my life for yours and our men. When we’re safe I will not run away from your wrath.”
Canalha understood, the situation did look disadvantageous. He ordered to sound the retreat.
As the Brandals were running away. Sierra snatched two more bandits and held them down with her claws. Canalha saw what the Werebear did and shrugged of his lieutenant and ran off to finish her.
Sierra’s claws were busy with the two pinned down bandits when she felt the sting of a knife on her back. Leaving her with only (6,096/242,200 HP). Adder, Thyrsus, and the Betulites were running as fast to save her.
Canalha saw that they would reach her soon. He hitched a ride on one of the unmounted black ctenosaurs but not before he aimed six of his throwing knives at Sierra’s back.
With the running black ctenosaurs on her sides, Sierra’s eyes were fixed on Adder. She felt like everything around her was in slow motion. She didn’t know how to tell him that Jinggu and Sharur were dead.
Sierra was still in a daze at the turn of events. She couldn’t comprehend why Adder and Thyrsus were waving their hands frantically at her.
She tried to turn around but it was too late. Canalha’s knives served their purpose.
Sierra’s vision turned pitch black. A second later a system notification popped up.
|– You have been killed by Canalha’s throwing knives!
– You lose 1 level!
– All The stats that have increased in the last level up will be rolled back!
– Because you have DIED You cannot log in to ZECTAS for another 24 hours!
* * * * * *
Sherry trembled and cried as she stepped out of her special edition gamepod. She remembered how Nash described the feeling of dying in Zectas.
This was her first time to experience it. Nash told her that it was like falling in your sleep, but that wasn’t what she felt. What she experienced was an extreme anxiety attack.
She thought that it could be a different experience for everybody else. She also considered the fact that she was distressed. Seeing as she just witnessed the death of Jinggu and Sharur right in front of her eyes.
Zectas’ realism was more than enough to make her grieve for the NPCs. In between her sobs she realized an obvious problem that she completely forgot.
How in the world was she going to explain this to Nash.
Sherry started to panic. The gears in her distraught head started to turn. ‘If Adder chose to contact Nash inside Zectas then shouldn’t he have called by now.’
She got her cellphone and stared at it with anticipation. She felt that Nash’s call would come any time soon.
An hour passed and she still did not receive the dreaded call. She wanted to log back into Zectas but she still had twenty three hours left.
Sherry tried to cook some of her Zectas’ recipes but she was too distracted. Her eyes would always find themselves looking at her phone waiting for Nash’s call.
She paced around the kitchen, she decided to go back to her room. She remembered that these many hours was more than enough time for her to get some much needed sleep.
However, lying down with your mind running was a sure way of depriving yourself of sleep. She thought she would go to the park and have a nice calming stroll.
While watching the trees, Sherry remembered Otaczac forest and quickly wanted to think about something else. She sat down on one of the park benches.
She stared at the afternoon sky and admired its auburn brilliance. While watching the beautiful setting sun, tears started running down her cheeks.
The culpability of losing Jinggu and Sharur followed her wherever she went. She decided to do some mobile banking to distract her mind from such sad thoughts.
Despite all her efforts, her mind would always find its way back to the twin OrkElves. She conceded and started to cry once more.
Then, she remembered Jinggu and Sharur’s life long wish. They wanted to look for other OrkElves. Sherry decided to read up on all the information she could find about Orks in Zectas.
She also thought to look up the different religions in Zectas. She didn’t want to experience one of Adder’s disappointed stares.
At a jogging pace, Sherry headed home and quickly went to her laptop to find all the information that she needed.
She used the remaining time on research and only took quick breaks for basic necessities. She found that the forums did not have as much information as she had hoped for.
Sherry started to search through other player’s blogs and conspiracy theories for answers.
The hours passed and there were only a few minutes left before she could get back into Zectas. Sherry never got Nash’s call, which she interpreted as Adder not contacting him.
* * * * * *
Sierra’s eyes opened. She expected to be in front of their burnt down fort, but instead she saw the welcoming fountain of Nanahuatl.
It took her a couple of seconds to realize that this was her last save point before dying. She hadn’t been to any other villages or cities since they started the Maneator quest.
Twenty four hours ago, she wanted to get in contact with everyone in her party, but when she was back in Zectas she couldn’t bring herself to contact any of them.
Sierra was still deep in thought when an old man wearing a high-end wizard robe lightly tapped her shoulder.
“Oh, Darius. You startled me.”
“Sorry about that. I just wanted to ask how you were. You looked deeply troubled. Is everything alright? Wait a minute. You appeared here, in front of the fountain alone. Don’t tell me… Is Adder and everyone else dead?”
Sierra instantly came to her senses and defensively answered.
“NO! No, no, not everyone died… Adder is alive, at least from the last time I saw him and I think all of the Hunters are alive as well.”
Darius looked at Sierra intensely.
“Then are Laernea and Gandiva alright? Hmm, Gandiva’s suppose to come here to get the latest batch of double bladed swords… No… That means that… Jinggu and Sharur? Are they really dead?”
Sierra tried her best to hold back the tears. She hadn’t been this emotional since her mother passed away.
“I’m so sorry. Smoke divided his private army and he gave me command over Adder, Jinggu, Sharur, Sharanga, Vijaya, and Thyrsus. Maybe he should have left Adder in charge. I thought I had everything under control. I thought I was protecting them. I honestly thought they would be safer inside the fort. How could I know that those Brandal bastards had such massive explosives. If only they followed my instructions and ran away. They would still be alive today.”
The red Werebear whimpered. Darius patted her back to console her.
“I’m sure those two knew what they were doing. If they could talk, they’d probably say that they didn’t regret anything. I bet they’re smiling right now, wherever they are. Don’t beat yourself up. Learn from this experience and grow from it. You have to be strong for everybody else… Um, how did Smoke take the tragic news?”
Sierra covered her face with her claws.
“I… haven’t told him yet, and I think no one else has as well.”
“Oh… But you are planning on telling him right? You can’t keep something like this from him.”
“Of course! He’ll eventually find out, sooner or later. He might as well hear it from me. If you’ll excuse me. I’ll give him a call now.”
Sierra walked to the direction of Smoke’s house. She wanted to get some privacy. Smoke answered her call on the first ring.
“Hey! I’ve been wondering when you’d call. I was so busy after winning the tournament that I completely forgot to check in with you. I’m so sorry. Anyway, have you found the exit?”
Smoke’s voice was ecstatic. It was clear that he was in a state of euphoria. It was understandable, given all that devoted attention and luxurious prizes.
Sierra thought that she would just tell him directly but it wasn’t as easy as she thought.
“Oh… Well, we still haven’t found the exit. Although we’ve finished investigating all the villages. Don’t worry we’ll find it sooner or later.”
“Ahh, that’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I know you’ll eventually find it.”
Sierra took a deep breath and readied herself to tell Smoke the horrific news.
“Listen… I have to tell you something important. While we were waiting for the Bran…”
Smoke wouldn’t let Sierra finish her sentence.
“Right. Well, let me tell you, once you’ve won that championship and equipped this glorious armor the crowd just wouldn’t let go of you. I’ve had dozens of friend requests that I decided to disable the friend request notification. Oh, and that reminds me. Do you remember Macher? The Cavalry Knight who helped me enter the city?”
“Yeah, I think so. What about him?”
“He offered to be my sponsor in the Mounted Race event. It costs 80,000 zecs to join, and if I agree I get to join for free. What do you think? Should I accept his offer? He only asks that when I win the grand prize I give him ten million zecs from the winnings. I think it’s a fair deal.”
Sierra was upset with Smoke. She wanted to tell him the sad news but he was too full of himself to give her the chance.
“It sounds like you’ve already made your decision. Why do you need to hear what I think?”
“I knew you’d agree with me. Alright, call me when you get any new developments on your search. I’ll also do the.. Hello? Sierra? You still there? Hmm. She hung up on me.”
Sierra couldn’t believe Smoke. How could he be so insensitive and not give her the opportunity to tell him about Jinggu and Sharur.
She went back to the fountain where Darius was still waiting for her.
“So, how was it?”
“Well, he was too occupied with winning some tournament in Coatl that he wouldn’t let me tell him what happened.”
“But did you really try to tell him?”
“I tried, believe me I tried, but I think I’ll tell him about it later. When he has gotten over all this hype of winning.”
Darius was troubled, he stared into the fountain to calm himself. He carefully watched the flowing water.
“You know, I wish all relationships were as peaceful as this fountain. Sadly, it isn’t. I think if you want a relationship to work then you need to have a strong foundation. One way of building that foundation is through trust. I think trust between two people is like this egg.”
Out of nowhere an egg appeared in Darius’ right hand.
“I think gaining someone’s trust is like holding this fragile egg. It can take a few cracks here and there but once it’s broken, it’s broken.”
Darius released the egg and before it hit the ground it disappeared.
“Make sure you keep those cracks at a minimum. Anyway, Gandiva will be here soon. You can hitch a ride with her. I’m assuming you want to rejoin with Smoke or Adder?”
“Yes, yes. That would be great.”
“While we’re waiting, why don’t you tell me what you’ve been up to these past few days? Perhaps sharing your experience will help you deal with the grieving process.”
Sierra told Darius about their investigation on the five villages of Poludnie, Nisko, Betul, Salah, and Silap. She also asked him about Cuezaltzinity. She wanted to get a deeper understanding about the other religions as well.
A few hours passed and Gandiva finally arrived.
“Sierra? What are you doing here? I thought you were out looking for the labyrinth’s exit?”
“Uh… Something came up. I can’t tell you all the details yet. If you don’t mind, I’d like to tell you after I tell Smoke. I hope you understand?”
The Lioumerean tigress looked puzzled but nodded her head nonetheless. Darius came out of his house, and with his right hand he levitated the batch of double bladed swords to be delivered.
“Here they are. Let me just drop them beside in carriage and you’ll be all set.”
“Oh, wait. Please give me a second. Let me just empty my carriage. Smoke gave me some stuff to to give to the Nanahuatlanos.”
“That’s okay. Let me help you with that.”
Darius made a series of motions with his left hand and the assorted packages floated into the air.
“Where do you want me to put them?”
“Right in front of Smoke’s house would be great.”
Darius calmly placed the levitating bundle of double bladed swords into Gandiva’s carriage and proceeded to bring the assorted packages to Smoke’s front porch.
“You know, Gandiva, I can’t get over how mature you and Laernea have become.”
The tigress Lioumerean beamed, she was proud that her master had praised her.
“On that note. I want you to respect Sierra’s request and keep everything you know about this trip to yourself. If she’s going to tell you anything, let her do it on her own volition. Don’t force it out of her. Okay?”
Gandiva’s smile disappeared and her face became serious.
“Of course, of course… So, I can’t ask questions then? Wait I still need to ask you whether Sierra wants me to drop her off somewhere. You are still planning on going to Adder and everybody else right? I hope that’s okay to ask?”
Sierra grinned at Gandiva’s effort of having a serious conversation.
“Yes, that’s alright. If you don’t mind, can you drop me near Betul? Adder and everyone else should be there.”
“That’s no trouble at all. Let me just do one quick thing. After I finish this up, we’ll head for Betul immediately. Just give me about ten minutes.”
Gandiva went to Smoke’s house and rang the newly installed village bell. Everyone heard the bell and excitedly went outside their homes. The villagers couldn’t wait to receive their gifts from Smoke.
The Lioumerean tigress also promised all the kids to give them one action figure of the participants in Coatl city’s ‘Swordsman to Knight Tournament’.
When Smoke heard about Gandiva’s promise, he gave her more than enough money to buy all the children a complete set of the wooden action figures.
Gandiva also delivered a variety of vegetables and fruits for Franz Briar and his family to plant. She also delivered an abundant supply of meat and spices for everyone to enjoy new dishes.
She gave silk, linen and other raw materials for sewing to James Jackal, and the top of the line tanning tools to Howard Hide.
Peitro Fischer also received the latest fishing rod and ten new nets for fishing. Smoke had something for everyone in Nanahuatl.
Everyone gathered in front Smoke’s house were laughing and showing their new items to each other. Darius who stood beside Sierra told her that this scene was something that he thought he would never see again.
“Smoke saw this scene once. I never imagined that he’d follow in Kumbaba’s footsteps. Kumbaba was…”
Sierra stopped Darius’ from telling her who Kumbaba was. She knew that he was the great DarkElf village chief of Nanahuatl who was also the only Beggar Imperator of the secret society of Verum de Mendicantibus.
“I know who Kumbaba was. He was your closest friend, right?”
Sierra smiled as she saw the happy faces of the Nanahuatlanos. She thought that Smoke had become too self-absorbed, but as she saw the scene before her. She realized that maybe he hasn’t.
“Don’t worry. I’ll tell Smoke about Jinggu and Sharur, as soon as I see Adder and everybody else.”
After Gandiva gave out all the packages she turned to Sierra and asked if she was ready to leave.
The red Werebear nodded and the two of them were on their way to Betul.
* * * * * *
Sierra and Gandiva spent the next couple of hours talking about Smoke’s adventures inside the heraldic city of Coatl. The Werebear made sure to keep Gandiva thinking about anything else aside from asking her about Jinggu and Sharur.
Gandiva pushed Tulin to his limits but the trip back to Betul still took another day.
The two of them finally saw the village that they were headed to. However, Betul was not the same place as Sierra remembered it.
Instead of the broken down walls. The village was surrounded by fortified wooden trunks that were higher than the hidden fort that they had built.
Betul village looked like an improved version of their fort, except for this one prominent feature that Sierra had never seen before.
Scattered a few feet away from each other were tall wooden towers with steel nets attached to them. Sierra couldn’t understand what they were for.
She had a warm familiar feeling about the village with its new enhancements. She asked Gandiva to go near the village entrance.
The reinforced village gates opened and revealed a giant tower that looked like a steel umbrella that covered the village’s center.
As the gate fully opened, Sierra saw a group of individuals who were waiting for them. Adder and the Hunters were there along with the other Betulites.
Everybody was smiling with relief when they saw Sierra, all except for Adder. His face was as solemn as a statue.
Sierra looked at Adder and quickly shifted her gaze to the ground as she stepped off from Gandiva’s carriage
She tried to look at him again and this time, both of their eyes met and saw each others pain. They were both ashamed of their failure against the Brandals.
Thyrsus came forward and welcomed both Sierra and Gandiva.
“Welcome to the new river-fort village of Betul and this is their village chief Cacique.”
Sierra and Gandiva shook hands with Betul’s chief.
“Hi, like sir Thyrsus said. Welcome to Betul. We had seen better days, but now that Adder and your men are here, I think we’ll see those days again.”
Gandiva was surprised to see Thyrsus do the introduction. It was usually Ichaival who made them. She also noticed that Ichaival was not with them. Along with Jinggu and Sharur.
“Wow! I’ve only been here once but it looks so different. You guys really converted the river-port village into a river-fort village. Not bad, not bad at all. What are those umbrella thingies for?”
Thyrsus answered squarely.
“It’s all thanks to the efforts of the Betulites. All of them including the children pitched in to reinforce this place. Those umbrella thingies are Sharanga’s inventions. They are anti-exploding barrel defenses. We’ve learned quite a few things from our destroyed hidden base.”
Thyrsus guided them into the inner parts of the village.
“Of course, it was under Adder’s leadership that we were able to make this quickly. We’ve also trained most of the Betulites to use their fishing spears against the bandits. There were originally just twenty Betulites who were there when we were about to rescue you, Sierra. We’re truly sorry it wasn’t a successful rescue… All of us are really sorry for your death. Adder most especially.”
Gandiva screamed at Thyrsus when she heard that Sierra died.
“Sierra died?! How could you have let her die? No wonder she didn’t want to talk about what you guys have gone through. Even if she is a ‘Sonstwelter’, we promised that we would never let them die. Not even once!”
Sierra quickly interjected Gandiva’s lecture on Thyrsus.
“It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine. If only I was a better leader then Jinggu and Sharur would still be alive…”
Adder tried to talk to Sierra, but his words would not form into sentences. Sierra went on to talk about the noble OrkElves.
“I don’t mind dying. I could handle that, but Jinggu Attrayant and Sharur Attrayant were my responsibility. They were truly men among men. If only…”
Sierra’s speech about the OrkElves was interrupted, when two pairs of olive green arms hugged her from the sides. The Werebear couldn’t believe what she saw. Jinggu and Sharur were alive.
“You… But I saw the fort explode. How could you have survived?”
The twin OrkElves laughed. Sharur began to explain how they escaped the blast.
“Do you remember Ichaival’s tour of fort Amitié?”
“Yeah, but vaguely.”
“Well, if Thyrsus hadn’t interrupted him. He would have said that there was an emergency exit under the piled up pine marten’s pelts at the center of the ground floor. Vijaya thought that the place looked too dreary, that’s why she placed them there. She said it would act as our ‘rug’. The exit would lead out to an above ground exit one kilometer away.”
Sierra couldn’t believe what she heard. She thought that the piled up pine marten’s pelt were just there for Vijaya’s aesthetic purposes.
The OrkElves suddenly looked serious as they kept on with their story on how they escaped. This time it was Jinggu’s turn to speak.
“We miraculously lifted the emergency exit door on the ground and dove in, barely escaping the explosion. The blast caused a massive cave in and Sharur and I had to literally run for our lives. It was a good thing that Commander Adder insisted on making the tunnel to be wide enough for us to run through.”
Sierra was speechless. She smiled as tears of joy flowed out from her eyes. She tried to repress them but her tear ducts were out of her control.
She had spent the last two days grieving over their deaths and here they were alive. It was her own fault for not contacting them. She didn’t see any dead body, she simply assumed the worst and her guilt reinforced that.
She didn’t mind that she had to suffer through that torture. As long as Jinggu and Sharur were alive then that was all she needed.
She would gladly suffer through that torment if it meant it would bring her dear friends back from the grave. The OrkElves were touched by Sierra’s tears. They quickly apologized for having her endure the pain of their deaths.
“We’re really sorry. We didn’t mean to make you think that we were killed. We tried to run right back to you, but we were too late.”
Sierra smiled an even brighter. She wiped her tears and hugged them tightly.
“It’s alright. It’s not your fault. Everything was really my fault. I didn’t confirm anything. I didn’t try to contact you once. But all of that is in the past. What’s important is that we’re all alive and back together.”
Everybody joined in on Sierra, Sharur, and Jinggu’s group hug and the mood was lighter once more. Thyrsus gave Gandiva a short version of what they had been up to the last few days.
While they were catching up with Gandiva. Sierra went to talk with Adder. She noticed that he was still silent the whole time.
Sierra decided that it was time for her to apologize. However, she was shocked to hear Adder speak instead.
“Listen, I’m really sorry. If I only listened to your advice and stayed away from the Brandals like you said. Then you wouldn’t have died. It was my fault that you died. I haven’t contacted Smoke about the incident as well. I wanted to apologize to you first before I’ll tell him that I will quit his private army. I’m not fit to be a Commander at all. I was just waiting for your return before I was going to leave.”
Sierra had enough drama in the last forty-eight hours.
“No! No, stop that. We’ll learn from this mistake and grow from it. What’s done is done. From now on, let’s just work together. If I didn’t believe that wiping out the Brandals was the right thing to do, then I would’ve stopped you from the start. I didn’t regret with agreeing with you. How do we get rid of these Brandals?”
“Shall we have our meeting now? I’ll have Thyrsus prepare the materials and discuss the plan that we’ve come up with.”
“Oh, not right now. Let’s just have a quick joyful reunion first. Come on, let’s join in on the party.”
“Alright, I’ll join you guys in a bit. Let me do a quick check on our sentries. Please go with Village Chief Cacique. He’ll prepare a special table for you.”
Cacique and the villagers prepared a long table and asked them to wait for a bit. It took them less than twenty minutes to prepare three meals.
Sharur and the Betulites had cooked a special feast in honor of Sierra’s return. They had bluegill soup, barbecued blood pheasants, and steamed catfish.
While they were eating. Sierra asked her OrkElf cooking instructor about how each dish was prepared. The village was filled with laughter again.
Adder was busy talking with Cacique. Sierra noticed that he still looked troubled. She asked Sharur how he was after their failed rescue mission.
“Adder was the one who was affected the most. The Brandals had already left when Jinggu and I were reunited with them. He didn’t believe that a ‘Sonstwelter’ would revive like the legend says.”
“Sonstwelter? What’s a Sonstwelter?”
“Why you of course. That’s what we ordinary Zectians call people like you and Smoke. A person who lives in two worlds at the same time.”
“Smoke and I are called Sonstwelters and you are all called Zectians?”
“Well, technically a Sonstwelter is also a Zectian but a special one. This is a legend that was passed down from my mother. She said that she learned this from her elders and her elders’ elders.”
The young OrkElf made a fist with both his hands, he intended for them to look like worlds.
“The legend goes that there will come a time when our world…”
He looked at his right hand and said.
“Zectas will be populated with Sonstwelters. Beings who originally comes from another world called Sonst.”
Sharur then looked at his left hand.
“A Sonstwelter can freely move in between these two worlds. They have the same potentials as a normal Zectian but they have other amazing abilities unique only to them.”
“Abilities? Like what kind of abilities?”
“Legends say that a Sonstwelter could disappear into thin air and reappear in the same spot. Most of the time your kind doesn’t age at all and the best out of all the legends was that when a Sonstwelter dies, they will always come back to life after four days. A Sonstwelter’s return will be a complete rebirth. If a limb was lost then they will grow back that limb. Even if their heads are chopped off, they will still come back as if nothing happened. The end of the legend states that when the day comes that Sonstwelters own most of Zectas, that will be the day when the great gods will return.”
“How come I never heard or read about this before?”
“Well, it’s kind of taboo for an ordinary Zectian to tell a Sonstwelter this legend, because if an ordinary Zectian would do that then they would become that Sonstwelter’s slave forever. Or at least that’s how the legend goes. I don’t think that part is true though. I mean here I am and I’m not your slave or am I?”
Sharur laughed as he finished his explanation about Sonstwelters. After he stopped laughing at his own joke. Sharur asked Sierra a serious question.
“If you don’t mind can you tell me what’s it like? I mean dying as a Sonstwelter?”
Everybody in the table fell silent and wanted to hear Sierra’s answer. Sierra looked around and saw that all eyes were on her.
“I can’t really put it into words. I mean, every ‘Sonstwelter’? Did I say it right? Well every one of us experiences a different feeling when we die. That was my first time dying. I felt like my heart was being crushed even when I got back home to Sonst. If it’s alright with you I don’t want to re-live that experience again.”
The silence around the table continued. All the members of Smoke’s private army made a vow to themselves not to let Smoke or Sierra die again.
The serious tone in the atmosphere remained. Gandiva said her farewell to everyone, as the meals were taken away. She needed to head out to Coatl. She was already late as it is and didn’t want to anger Smoke.
* * * * * *
With their long table all cleared out. Thyrsus took out a small scale model of Otaczac forest, which contained the Brandals’ ruined castle. There were currently seven small figurines that roughly resembled Sierra, Adder, Thyrsus, Vijaya, Sharanga, Jinggu, and Sharur.
Sierra and the rest of Smoke’s private army were gathered around the table. They were joined by Betul’s chief Cacique and twenty Betulite Fishermen armed with their fishing spears.
Adder stood at the head of the table and started the meeting.
“This plan was mostly conceived by Thyrsus. He’s knowledge on the fighting potential of the Fishermen of Betul and the dimensions of the Brandal’s base were the main points of this plan. As such, I’d like for him to lead this meeting.”
Adder stepped aside and Thyrsus stood in front of the attacking party.
“Thank you. I came from a long line of Fishermen, I knew that the Betulites had a great fighting potential. They just needed someone to encourage them to fight and to assure them that they will have a shield to protect them from the bandits’ melee attacks.”
Thyrsus pointed to the Betulites present in the meeting.
“To reassure the Betulites of their safety. We’ve built an emergency escape boat that could take all the residents away safely into the river and head for Coatl.”
He pointed to five riverboats anchored on the river.
“In the past few days. We’ve trained these twenty men to their limits and presently, we’ve almost doubled their damage. Even after all that training, their average HP is still around 30,000 points. I think they will be most effective on the back as another part of our range unit.”
Everyone else clapped in recognition of the Betulites achievements in the short amount of time.
Thyrsus then displayed twenty pieces of a small figurine, meant to represent the twenty Betulites that were to join them on the raid of the ruined castle.
“One of the Betulites overheard a bandit say that they needed to feed eighty persons, during one of their raids. We used this number as our baseline of their count, we didn’t even bother to deduct the bandits that we eliminated on our last encounter with them. Our main force would be divided into two groups. The left group will be under Sierra’s command while the right group will be under Adder’s. These twenty Betulites will be divided into those two groups. Their spear’s range are much shorter than our arrows. This means that we need to get closer to the bandits in order for us to efficiently hit them.”
Sierra remembered that the Brandals’ ruined castle was still well reinforced. It would be very difficult for them to destroy their walls with just spears.
“How are we suppose to break down their walls? I doubt that the Brandals would just come out of their base just because we would taunt them.”
“I leave that part to our Range Siegers. Their specialty is in taking down castle defenses. They’ve got it covered.”
Jinggu and Sharur kept on nodding their heads as a sign of affirmation on what Thyrsus just said.
“With the walls broken down. Adder and I are 70% sure that the Brandals’ raiding team will come out to greet us. That’s when both teams simultaneously charge for the castle and lay everything to waste.”
Sierra couldn’t understand how the plan would work at all. They only had one melee person on each team and that was herself and Adder.
Even if the Hunters and the Fishermen could take out as many as three raiding bandits before their encounter, they would still be outnumbered and the other bandits would just attack the low HP Betulites directly.
“I think Adder and I can only manage to hold five maybe six bandits at a time. Do you think we could reduce their numbers to be only that much. When you said that the Betulites just needed a shield, I don’t think that Adder and myself would be enough to defend everyone.”
“That’s where Ichaival comes in.”
“Now, that you mentioned it. Where is Ichaival? He’s been missing since fort Amitié burned down.”
Sierra looked around the table for the Human Hunter.
As if on cue, a loud marching sound came from outside the village. One of the Betulite sentries shouted.
“They’re here. They’re really here!”
Betul’s main gates were opened. Ichaival came into view accompanied with twenty-eight Avendre mercenaries. Each mercenary wore a thick leather armor and was equipped with a saber and a medium sized kite shield.
* * * * * *
Everybody left the village of Betul in high spirits. They traveled through Otaczac forest stealthily. Thyrsus informed them that they should be safe to travel for the day because the Brandal’s shouldn’t come out until tomorrow.
The raiding party totaled fifty-six members altogether. Their opponent’s numbers were estimated to be around eighty but Sierra and Adder were confident that they could manage to win against such disadvantageous odds.
Sierra wondered why the Betulites number were lesser than the when they tried to save her in the forest. She asked Sharanga about the missing Fishermen.
“I thought that there were around fifty Betulites who were there on the ambush in fort Amitié? What happened to the rest of them? Were they killed after I died?”
The young WoodElf was taken aback when she heard Sierra’s question.
“Uh, uhm, no. Not a single Betulite died.”
“Then where are they? I mean, we need all the help we can get.”
“Ohh, you mean the ones hiding behind the tall shrubs? Hehehe… There were really just five men on each side. Sharanga was on the northern side, while I was on the southern.”
“Wait… what? But I saw at least fifteen spears on each side?”
Sharanga giggled as she saw Sierra’s puzzled face. The WoodElf started to explain what happened on the fort.
“Through his falcon’s eyes, Thyrsus saw the Brandals coming towards our hidden base. All twenty Fishermen were gathered in one place and Adder mentioned that if we only had two more groups of the Betulites then surely the Brandals would run away. Then it came to me. I thought we could give them the illusion that there were three times as much Betulites.”
“How did you manage that?”
“I got a long piece of wood and drilled four holes with equal distances between them. I placed a bundled spear in each hole and tied it with rope. I virtually made one Fisherman into four. Sharanga and I had five Betulites on each side who had this long piece of wood attached on their backs.”
“Now, I get it. I thought the whole time that those Betulite Fishermen were very well trained. They marched in perfect order. That was ingenious! Good job.”
Sharanga frowned and looked down to the ground.
“But it wasn’t good enough to save your life. Before, I thought that a Sonstwelter’s life was easy. I mean you’re practically immortal but then I guess it’s kind of like being tortured repeatedly, having to experience death over and over again like that. I can’t imagine going through such a painful ordeal.”
Sierra patted the young Huntress’ back.
“Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t that painful and I know that you guys did your best.”
The young WoodElf did her best to smile at the Werebear, she admired Sierra’s resilience. Sharanga hoped to be as brave as her.
Four hours passed and Sierra and her group of avengers arrived at their destination. They were hidden in front of the Brandals’ hideout.
Straightaway, Jinggu and Sharur ran in opposite directions. Jinggu took the right side while Sharur took the left.
The OrkElves first objective was to take out the Snipers on top of the seven sentry towers on each corner of their ruined castle.
Sierra and Adder each took command of their teams. Sierra’s team was composed of Sharur, Sharanga, and Thyrsus.
While Adder had Jinggu, Vijaya, and Ichaival. Each team had ten Betulite Fishermen and fourteen Avendre mercenaries with them.
Sierra heard the first screams after five minutes passed since the OrkElves left. With less than a minute of interval they heard six consecutive screams, one after the other.
Thyrsus informed everyone over their party channel on what his falcon saw.
“Alright. Jinggu and Sharur have knocked down all seven snipers. The first scream alerted the Brandals and most of them are presently gathered outside their central keep. Also, there are signs that they are about to open up their gates.”
Sierra saw Sharur running towards them. The OrkElf signaled some of the Betulites to follow him. They went to the tall shrubs further behind Sierra. A few seconds later they came out with two catapults. The same catapults that destroyed their wooden fort.
The red Werebear couldn’t understand how they got a hold of the catapults.
“Why are those things here?”
Sharur answered her while pushing one of the catapults.
“The Brandals were running for their lives and they completely forgot about their four catapults. Sharanga also made some enhancements on their exploding barrels. You’ll get to witness that soon enough.”
The OrkElf ordered the special exploding barrels to be placed in between the two catapults to make the reload easier.
Upon hearing the Brandals attack on fort Amitié, an idea exploded in Sierra’s head.
“Wait. Sharur don’t aim for their walls. Give me a sec. Let me contact Jinggu.”
Sierra quickly spoke in their party channel and called for Jinggu’s attention. She spoke to both the OrkElves at the same time.
“Guys, Change of plans. I want you to aim for inside their castle. Hit the area where they are currently gathered. I want them to have a taste of their own medicine.”
The OrkElves were on opposite sides of each other but both of them smiled the same wicked grin at the same time.
Jinggu and Sharur made adjustments to all four catapults and loaded each one with Sharanga’s special barrel. When Sierra gave her command all four barrels were launched over the ruined castle walls and hit their marks perfectly.
The Range Siegers had a bonus of 100% increased damage when attacking against forts, castles, and other types of encampments.
The OrkElves quickly reloaded their second round of exploding barrels and launched them in quick succession.
However, while the second batch of barrels were still up in the air. The Brandals’ main gate was lowered and the damaged Brandals came rushing out on foot.
Most of the bandits’ lifebars were almost halved from their averaged HP of 90,000.
With the well placed position of Sierra in the left side from the main gate and Adder on the complete opposite, the Brandals were momentarily confused on which group to face first.
Canalha and the black ctenosaur raiding force were nowhere to be seen and the lack of leadership was apparent in the confused state that was on the Brandals’ faces.
Both Sierra and Adder ordered to carefully move forward and place the bandits within the Fishermen’s range. Once the bandits were in range, The Fishermen released their fishing spears and slowly started to eliminate the injured Brandals one at a time.
The Hunters’ falcons gave a great distraction on each end of their pincer attack. Sierra saw that the bandits on her side pushed forward without any care for their lives.
There were only eighteen bandits left on her end, and they had the look of suicide attackers who were only there to take out as many people before they die.
Sierra’s group was still intact and remained at twenty-eight fighters, herself included. She ordered her fourteen Avendre mercenaries to engage the suicide attackers with her.
She took on two bandits at once while the other mercenaries faced one bandit each. This left two bandits to run directly for the Betulites.
Sharanga and Thyrsus were both given command over five Betulites, and they made a pin cushion out of the two bandits with their arrows and fishing spears.
Both Hunters instructed their men on which bandit to aim and slowly they started to kill off one Brandal at a time. They focused on helping the Avendre mercenaries first because they knew that Sierra could handle herself.
While they were busy fighting the Brandals on the ground. Twenty snipers climbed the front walls and started to attack them.
Most of the mercenaries managed to block the Sniper’s arrows with their kite shield but Sierra had just lost two of her melee attackers from the sudden shower of arrows.
Sierra ordered for Sharur to destroy the wall where the Snipers stood. She saw two exploding barrels launched into the air and a few seconds later another set of exploding barrels were launched from Adder’s side.
Adder’s area was also hit with the same attack from the Snipers. The top of the castle’s wall crumbled and the Snipers were blown away.
There were twelve Snipers who fell on the ground and survived the blast. They sustained their range support from behind of the bandits.
Sierra asked Sharur to leave the catapult and moved closer to the Betulites. She couldn’t risk the life of her comrades from the splash damage from the exploding barrels.
She ordered Sharur to aim for the Snipers as she charged towards them herself. She ordered seven mercenaries to join her.
Sierra took several arrows on her arms and torso before she reached the Snipers. Sierra’s lifebar now displayed (199,155/238,300 HP).
She unleashed her feral rage when she finally reached the Snipers’ area. She aimed her claws at their heads for an increased damage.
The Snipers’ maximum HP were at 120,000 but most of them only had 30% remaining when they fell from the top of the wall.
Close combat rendered the Sniper’s bows useless and Sierra saw that they switched to their knives instead.
Sierra’s seven Avendre mercenaries took on one Sniper each while Sierra faced the remaining five.
– Attacked by Brandal bandit. You’ve taken damage. Health -40.
– Attacked by Brandal bandit. You’ve taken damage. Health -40.
– Attacked by Brandal bandit. You’ve taken damage. Health -40.
– Attacked by Brandal bandit. You’ve taken damage. Health -40.
– Attacked by Brandal bandit. You’ve taken damage. Health -40.
The red Werebear smirked as she saw the puny damage from the Snipers’ knives. She didn’t bother to defend their attacks and just went on a rampage against the Sniper that was in front of her.
Sierra killed three of the Snipers before the mercenaries came to help her out with the remaining two. Together they did quick work with them and killed them in a blink of an eye.
There were only five remaining bandits fighting against the Hunters and the Betulites. Sierra looked to Adder’s end and saw that they only had three remaining.
Sierra and the seven mercenaries rushed to attack the five bandits from the back, but as they ran a loud thundering sound came from behind their catapults.
A mounted Canalha and twenty of his black ctenosaur riders jumped out of from the back of the tall shrubs and stormed towards the unprotected Sharur, Sharanga, Thyrsus, and Betulites. Canalha left five mounted Brandals to secure the catapult.
Sharur understood their intentions and quickly targeted his huge ballista at the stockpiled exploding barrels. The Orkelf released his spinning fire bolt and hit his target.
The explosion blew everything within five feet of the barrels to kingdom come. Canalha shouted and ordered his charge to shift from the Werebear to the Orkelf.
The five remaining mercenaries were still busy fighting the last five bandits that they were not able to give their needed support to the Betulites.
Sharur, Sharanga, and Thyrsus all focused their attacks on Canalha, but the riders in front of him would block any incoming projectiles with their bodies.
The Brandal that was hit by Sharur’s bolts was knocked off from his black ctenosaur. Sharanga threw two of her traps and immobilized two of the bandits that were about to stampede them.
Thyrsus took command of all the Betulites and focused on one bandit at a time. The Fishermen would wait for his arrow and attack quickly after him. The Betulites had been efficient in retrieving their fishing spears from the fallen bandits around them.
Canalha was left with eleven stampeding black ctenosaur riders. He was dead set on killing the OrkElf that had blown up his men and his catapults.
The leader of the Brandals were only a few feet away from Sharur when he dodge the OrkElf’s spinning fire bolt. Canalha cracked his whip and disarmed Sharur’s ballista.
Canalha kept on with his whip attacks and Sharur’s life quickly drained to (62,258/80,000 HP). Sharur grabbed a hold of the whip to stop the next attack.
The Brandal leader threw the base of his whip at the OrkElf and proceeded to throw his deadly knives as well. Sharur was hit by all six knives and was at a clear disadvantage.
Canalha was about to throw another set of knives when Sierra tackled him from the side and threw him off his black ctenosaur.
Sierra was filled with bloodlust. Her claws kept on slashing through Canalha’s face and body. Canalha’s lifebar instantly displayed (151,261/185,000 HP).
Five Brandals quickly threw ropes over the infuriated Werebear and dragged her off their leader. Canalha laughed as he Sierra captured.
“A base for a base eh. You’re more resilient that I thought. You may have killed most of my men but I’ll kill you again and that blasted OrkElf before I’ll run to our headquarters and ask our Ultimo to give me five more battalions and wipe out the rest of your group.”
* * * * * *
When Canalha leapt out from the behind Sierra’s group, Adder instinctively knew that they had to rush to her side quickly.
He ordered his men to plow through the remaining bandits and run as fast as they could to Sierra, but he knew that the distance was too far for them to make it in time.
Adder called on Jinggu and told him to recalibrate the catapult and aim for Sierra’s location. The Range Sieger didn’t move and was hesitant at his commander’s decision.
“I can’t do that. The blast from the exploding barrels will damage all of our comrades.”
“You’re not gonna be loading the catapult with a barrel. You’re gonna be launching me at them.”
Jinggu couldn’t believe what he heard. He was impressed by his commander’s radical decision and obediently adjusted the catapult.
The recalibration of the catapult took longer than expected. Adder was only launched into the air right after Sierra was captured by the ropes of the five mounted Brandals.
Adder attempted to use his long double bladed sword as an aerodynamic rudder to guide him to Canalha. Jinggu’s marksmanship was right on target and Adder was right above Canalha when he started to give his long speech.
+ Attack hit. +LIGHTNG DMG. BACK ATTACK. Adder damaged Brandal Leader: Canalha for 6249.
After successfully landing a back attack on Canalha, Adder fluidly took a low running pose and headed to Sierra. With his double bladed Blitztod, he slashed off the ropes that had bound her.
All the while Sierra’s eyes were fixed on Canalha. Adder took on all five mounted Brandals and Sierra went straight for their leader.
The remaining ten black ctenosaur riders rushed to overwhelm the already outnumbered Adder. The one armed commander saw their gallop and made a decisive retreat towards his men.
Canalha was separated from the other Brandals as Sierra aggressively chased him into his ruined castle. He kept on throwing his knives at the Werebear but Sierra simply deflected them with her claws.
The Brandal leader steadily retreated further into the grounds of his hideout. Sierra’s focus was on his rattled face.
Canalha started to run and made huge leap over the grounds. Sierra followed him steadily and as her foot stepped on the ground that Canalha had leapt over, it caused the ground below her to collapse and she fell into a deep pit that was filled with spikes.
Canalha burst out into his maniacal laughter and went closer to the death trap.
“Bwahahahaha! How silly of you. You really thought that I would cower before a pathetic beast like yourself. Now, you’ll have the full taste of my knives on your impaled bod…”
Sierra leapt out of the pit. She was able to grab ahold on the walls with her claws and escaped from being impaled on the spikes below.
She pounced over Canalha and pressed him down with the full weight of her Werebear body. Her claws focused their attacks on both his arms.
Sierra was determined to sever them off. The Brandal leader screamed in pain as he felt his limbs being slowly removed.
After a few more slashes with her claws. Sierra finally amputated both of Canalha’s arms. His lifebar displayed (17,786/185,000 HP).
Canalha spewed out his blood and was left with less than 10% of his life.
“Hahahaha… Well played. But you should know that I’ve already sent a runner to warn our Ultimo about this incident. When he doesn’t hear from me, he’ll send hordes of Brandals here and wipe out all of yo…”
Sierra formed a pentagon with her claws and plunged it deep into Canalha’s heart. She squeezed it hard from the inside and crushed it. The Brandal leader’s lifebar was completely depleted.
+ You’ve dealt a fatal blow to the Brandal Leader: Canalha.
+ You’ve killed the Brandal Leader: Canalha.
+ You’ve gained 300,000 exp.
+ You’ve gained a level.
As the body of the Brandal leader Canalha started to fade, it left behind a precious loot.
+ Acquired epic knife belt: Brandal’s Infinite Knives.
Sierra picked up the epic knife belt and placed it inside her backpack window as soon as she did she received a game notification.
|Incurred the wrath of the Brandal Bandits.
You and the rest of your party members will be hunted down by all of the Brandals.
Sierra closed the notification window and stared blankly around the ruined castle. She stepped outside to check on the results of their counter attack.
All the members of Smoke’s private army were alive, but there were still casualties in their hard fought battle. There were left with only seventeen Betulite Fishermen and eighteen Avendre mercenaries.
* * * * * *
The aftermath of their battle against the Brandals was catastrophic. Sierra and her comrades were still slowly recovering.
Sharur and the WoodElves were busy cooking a medicinal blood pheasant stew, while Adder and the rest of Smoke’s private army were picking up the loot that was left behind.
The Betulite Fishermen and the Avendre mercenaries were gathered around the camp fire and waited for their medical treatment.
After an hour when everybody was fed and was treated. Sierra gathered Smoke’s private army in front of a smaller campfire. There she told them about the imminent Brandal horde that was coming.
“Most likely they will kill everyone in the unprotected villages. I propose we warn everybody, have all of them escape to a far and safe place. Maybe Coatl or some other place. Canalha said that this was just a small fraction of their entire organization. We can’t risk facing them.”
Adder quickly interjected.
“But Smoke sent us here to secure the labyrinth’s exit.”
“I know. I’ll have to talk to Smoke about all of this. I just want to have an escape plan for all of us before committing to anything else.”
All of them had somber faces. They didn’t look like they had just won a great battle.
* * * * * *
As Sierra and company stared at the campfire, cold yellow eyes with black slits watched from a far. The hidden figure ran further away and contacted her High General with her golden magical plate.
“High General Lizardo, this is Netteria. I have urgent news. One of the encampments of your Human ally Ultimo Maire, has been decimated by a resistance group composed of some Betulite Fishermen and Avendre mercenaries. They were led by a red Werebear and a one armed man.”
The High General’s eyes widened.
“Red Werebear? One armed man? Are you sure they weren’t led by some stupid looking DarkElf?”
“I’m positive. All the Elves that I saw were two WoodElves and two OrkElves.”
“HAHAHAHA. He may not be there but that is clearly Smoke’s army. So, he has made it as far as Coatl. I wonder if Maire’s luck will be better than mine in dealing with him. Thank you, Netteria. Continue on spying Maire’s activities. I don’t want him double crossing me.”
Lizardo stood up from his throne and walked towards an ornamental Knight. He pulled the Knight’s lance and a secret door was revealed on the wall beside the Knight.
He went inside his secret chamber. The hidden room was wide and spacious. It was dimly lit. It had a comfortable chair and a table filled with his memoirs.
One of the walls had several shelves that had several large glass containers on them. Each container had a light green fluid in it, together with a severed head.
Lizardo took one of the glass containers and placed it on top of his table. He took a seat and started writing. He looked at the severed head and spoke.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have changed my mind. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken you up on your offer, Spyteria. Maybe I should have kept you on Smoke’s trail. I really thought that he would stay in the far southern regions of Nanahuatl. Oh, well. What’s done is done. I just wish Talino would tell me how to deal with that accursed DarkElf. If Talino wasn’t the only Lizardite Shaman left, I would’ve killed him ages ago.”