Light Novel – Zectas – Volume 03 – Chapter 05

Proofreaders: Vaanouney & Timaeus

Note: For easy character reference please refer to: Characters

Soul Searching

Sierra laid down on a grassy field outside the edge of a forest. Her eyes fixated on the night sky above. She wore a meaningful smile on her werebear face.

A starry sky coupled with a yellow moon reminded her of something intimate. She half-expectantly waited for a meteor shower to suddenly appear, but it never did.

Two large werewolves with furs of black and gray stood at a height of 2.8 meters. Both of them stationed at the edge of the forest. From afar, they silently stood guard over their Alpha.

Rear, the black female werewolf, specialized in stealth whereas Phen, the gray male werewolf, focused on fending off attacks. The two werewolves remained vigilant, as this area was within the territory of their werewolf pack.

Under Sierra’s orders, Laernea and Gandiva led the party to a forest three kilometers away from the werewolves’ den. Here, in Lapitna Forest, Sierra decided to hold their vantage point.

Despite her newly acquired Lycan subordinates, thoughts about her time in the real world kept running through her mind. She thought it wise to gather some time away from her men and process what she was feeling.

‘Smoke hasn’t called me ever since we got back from the trip. Just what did that kiss mean to him? It was all so sudden. I felt fireworks and I’m sure he felt them too, but why isn’t he saying anything about it?’

She had more than a thousand questions, yet her time for personal musings ended abruptly when she heard her name being called out.

“Sierra. Sierra. Are you awake?” An OrkElf carefully walked over to her and slightly shook her shoulders. It was Sharur who called her name. She sat up and listened to Sharur’s report. “The Tikbalangs’ captain, Ledur, is looking for you. Should I tell him you’re here?”

“Nah, I’ll join you on the way back to the main group.” Sierra stood up. She dusted off her werebear fur and followed Sharur into the forest. As Sierra walked past Phen and Rear, they submissively followed her.

Laernea, Gandiva, Jinggu and Ledur sat around a campfire. She heard tall cypress trees creaking loudly. Twenty monstrous Tikbalangs perched on the trees, hidden from plain sight.

She couldn’t understand how Tikbalangs could be masterful tree climbers with their unproportional limbs or even as to why they would climb trees, but she thought that it could come in handy for jumping at an unsuspecting victim.

Seeing as some space was left beside Ledur, Sierra sat down next to the winged Tikbalang. “So, I heard you had something important to tell me?”

“Yes. Smoke called me. He asked if you could spare me and the rest of the Tikbalangs. If you allow it, he told us to head back to the Margome mountain range. He said he was heading to the Simiavulg village.”

Sierra almost half stood up and had to consciously stop herself from making a scene. Suddenly, Laernea rose to her feet and grabbed Ledur’s shoulders.

The lioness Lioumerean asked the winged Tikbalang fiercely: “Why are you only saying this now? Who knows what kind of trouble Smoke is in already?”

“It sounded like he was in control of the situation in Mount Yunggo. It’s just that he might have a hard time facing the Simiavulgs alone. He also said he needed to re-focus. Something about making up for lost time since he was away from Zectas for so long?” Ledur said with a straight face.

Sierra saw that Laernea calmed down and went back to where she originally sat. The red werebear then stared into Ledur’s eyes. She tried to see if he was telling the truth but couldn’t tell from his body language. She worried about Smoke. She knew that facing the Simiavulgs would be an arduous task.

She stared into the campfire. ‘But why couldn’t he have called me for help? What did he mean by “re-focus”?’

She turned to face Ledur. “I see… Then please leave for Margome immediately. Laernea and Gandiva, take Ledur and his Tikbalang platoon back to Smoke.”

Laernea had a concerned expression. “It’ll take us almost two days to get to where Smoke is. I hope he isn’t in any serious trouble.”

Sierra got up. “Sharur and Jinggu, please head back to Verbrannt. I think I’ll be able to train Phen and Rear better if I’m alone.”

Sharur immediately stood up when he heard her command. “Sorry, but I’ll have to disobey that order. You’ve seen how organized that pack of werewolves was. There’s no way you can face them with just two werewolves at your side.”

The red werebear stomped her foot, which created a loud sound. The Tikbalangs balanced on the trees had to grab ahold on something so they wouldn’t fall.

A deep imprint of Sierra’s foot was left on the ground. “This is a direct order! I want all of you to leave immediately. You need to understand Smoke’s message. We have to focus on our priorities!”

Jinggu spoke out “We understand. We’ll take our leave right away.” The older OrkElf forcefully pushed his brother towards one of the stag moose carriages.

Laernea and Gandiva sat in the driver’s seat. They did not have to wait long for the Tikbalangs.

THOMP THOMP THOMP THOMP

Swiftly, twenty Tikbalangs came down from the trees and boarded their designated carriages. Ledur gave Sierra a respectful bow before joining them.

Sharur, forced to remain seated by his brother Jinggu, strained his neck to catch a glimpse of Sierra slowly disappearing as Gandiva began to speed away.

* * * * * * 

Sierra and her two werewolves stalked a lone ancient bison. The beast had a body length of three meters. It was larger than the ancient bisons she saw before.

The unsuspecting creature grazed beside a small creek inside a forest fragment of Lapitna. She thought that these were the perfect conditions for a successful kill.

“Phen, you take the front. Rear, do your specialty and attack from behind. I’ll remain hidden and wait for the ancient bison’s reaction.”

As a sign of acknowledgment, the two werewolves grunted and growled. ‘I wish these guys could talk. Well, at least they understand my commands.’

She positioned herself in between her werewolves. She excitedly waited for them to attack. ‘These werewolves could become the cornerstone of my own private army.’

Sierra briefly looked back on her past experiences.

‘Sure, I have command over Smoke’s private army. Sure, I have a village that technically belongs to me. But none of that feels like it’s really mine.’

She pondered on about her accomplishments in Zectas. Somehow, Smoke played a major role on all of them. Even with Phen and Rear, she used Smoke’s newly acquired Tikbalang squadron to subdue them.

That was one of main the reasons why she decided to be alone. She needed to subjugate the rest of the werewolf pack with her own power.

As her werewolves got closer, Sierra readied herself to pounce. Rear stealthily got close to the ancient bison and dug her claws deep into its backside.

The beast cried out in pain and tried to kick her off with its hind legs. Yet, the black werewolf expertly dodged the ancient bison’s kicks.

With the beast’s focus on its back, Phen came out of his hiding place and slashed the ancient bison’s throat. The force from Phen’s attack threw the bison’s neck up into the air.

The gray werewolf sank his fangs deep into the ancient bison’s neck. Sierra watched as its life bar went from full to 30% from those attacks alone.

Sierra jumped out from behind the bushes and slammed her claws into the ancient bison’s spine. The beast’s body hit the ground hard. Phen and Rear remained unfazed by Sierra’s attack.

Both of the werewolves kept on clawing and gnashing at the targeted bison.


+ Your party has dealt a fatal blow to the ancient bison.
+ Your party gained 170,000 exp.

Sierra couldn’t believe how much ancient bisons were worth in terms of experience. These bulky beasts gave almost the same amount of experience as the skeleton knight, the boss inside the mausoleum.

Based on this hunt, she decided to take on groups of up to three ancient bisons. They patiently stalked their next targets.

When the ancient bisons got within their attack range, they sprang from their camouflaged positions and took on one bison each. The startled beasts started to huddle into a defensive formation. Sierra noted that the beasts were massive but not aggressive by nature.

She anticipated the ancient bisons’ reaction and gave orders to her two werewolves in advance. She asked Phen to encircle them while Rear would run in between them before the beasts could close their ranks. The red werebear and gray werewolf ran circles around the panicked beasts.

Sierra and Phen attacked the ancient bisons as they ran. The monsters retaliated by thrusting their horns. The red werebear got damaged, but her high defense only resulted in 9,000 damage points.

With Rear in position, Sierra gave her the signal and the black werewolf performed a swirling attack which made multiple slashes at hind legs of all three ancient bisons.

The beasts buckled and slumped down to the ground. Rear’s backstab attack severed the hind legs of two ancient bisons.

Only one managed to run five meters before its hind legs were torn off. Phen instantly gave chase and devoured the ancient bison.

Sierra and Rear plunged their claws into the two crippled ancient bisons. It was a bloody and messy scene. Sierra couldn’t believe the way she fought.

With her primal instincts surfacing, her attacks became more raw and savage. The hunt with her two werewolves not only increased her Lycanthrope Control, but it also increased her Animal Instinct ability and basic attack power.

She hunted two more groups of three ancient bisons. After the third successful hunt, Sierra decided to go after ancient bisons that were in a group of five or more.

Their first battle against a group of seven ancient bisons lasted four times longer and reduced Sierra’s life by 10%.

They kept on hunting the larger-numbered groups until Sierra’s life bar displayed 30%. While she rested and recovered her HP, Phen and Rear searched for their next targets.

As she sat, she pondered whether to raise the stakes even higher and go after wild war elephants that they had seen before.

However, Sierra didn’t see any sign of the behemoth war elephants nearby. In her werebear form she had a high recovery rate which made her accustomed to resting in order to regain her HP.

She rested for ten minutes and her health recovered to 60%. She decided that it was enough to push on against the larger groups of ancient bisons.

Yet before they started, Rear went over to her and offered her crushed purple berries. The black werewolf grunted and motioned for her to smear them over Sierra’s wounds.

Sierra allowed the black werewolf to put some of the mysterious purple paste onto her wounds. Her missing 40% HP replenished at an increased rate after Rear applied the purple paste.

Due to Rear’s crushed purple berries, Sierra had no further need to rest. After her group of Therianthropes would wipe out a group of ancient bisons, Phen and Rear would search for purple berries to give to Sierra.

They repeatedly hunted the ancient bisons until she no longer needed to give out any commands.

Due to the fact that they hunted without rest, Sierra’s level increased by two, while Phen and Rear’s levels increased by three.

Sierra at level 102 led her two werewolves who were still at level 97. She took notice of how high their HP were despite their low levels. She wondered if this was an innate ability to Therianthropes. 

Hunting with Phen and Rear proved to be extremely efficient and exhilarating. Aside from the increased levels, there was something else that fueled her to hunt even more.

Sierra’s Lycanthrope Control ability increased dramatically to Intermediate Level 9. She couldn’t believe how fast this ability had been increasing its level since Phen and Rear joined her pack.

She thought it was similar to having a newly created character rapidly level up by hunting with a character 400 levels higher, without the constraint of the 10 level gap rule.

Ever since Phen and Rear joined her, she discovered a new side to her werebear curse. She was able to unleash her feral nature and allowed it to run wild. She did not realize that she had been inside Zectas far longer than what the new health safety patch allowed.


HEALTH WARNING!
Please log out within the next thirty minutes or you will be banned for the next 24 hours. Note: Once logged out, you are banned for the next four hours.

Astonished, Sierra read the warning window for the first time. She thought that getting four hours of sleep would be fine.

Sierra ordered her two werewolves to hunt safely and to return to this same spot after four hours. She allowed them to target up to two ancient bisons at a time. The werewolves growled in confirmation.

* * * * * * 
Like clockwork, Sierra logged back in precisely after four hours. Her mind was solely focused on the game. She did not want to be distracted by needless thoughts of Smoke.

AWWWOOOOOOOOOO! AWWWW! AWWW! AWWWOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Her black and gray werewolves greeted her with a resounding howl. She patted their heads and was greeted with a pleasant window notification.


Lycanthrope Control
    Passive
    Level: Advance Level 1
    Experience: (1/10,000,000)

    Your understanding of your curse and new life has shown great improvement.
    To be able to control your werebear form means mastery of the Therianthrope curse.

+ Ability to control up to fifty Lycanthropes
+ Ability to communicate with your Lycanthropes

She stared at the screen for almost a minute. An ability increase from Intermediate to Advance usually meant an extra added bonus, but she couldn’t believe that the wish she made earlier would be granted.

Sierra looked at the black werewolf strangely and Rear suddenly spoke to her. “Alpha Sierra, what’s wrong?”

“I can understand you. Can you understand me?” Asked an astounded Sierra.

“Of course. Both of us have understood you right from the start.” Answered Rear.

“And what about you, Phen? Can you understand me as well?” Sierra looked at the gray werewolf.

Phen responded with a nod and a grunt.

“Hmm, I guess I can only understand you, Rear.”

“Hahaha. No, you can understand him fine. He just doesn’t usually say anything.”

Sierra clicked her tongue and lightly ruffled the fur on Phen’s head. “You had me going there.”

Phen bowed his head. “I apologize, Alpha Sierra. That is how I usually communicate.”

“Alright, alright. I see that the two of you have followed my orders. Good. Now, let’s resume our hunt.”

“Ahem…” Rear spoke out. “With all due respect, I think now that you’ve gained the ability to talk with us, we should also use the Pack Mental link.”

Sierra’s eyes lit up. “By Pack Mental link, you don’t mean that I can get information from this connection, do you?” The bookworm inside her thirsted for new knowledge.

“Yes, that’s one of its functions, but we often use it to for quick strike plans. As our Alpha, you have the ability to open a link with us by using a specialized  members list. I heard that you can also see other information from specific pack members.”

Sierra nodded her head and excitedly waited for Rear’s next instruction.

“Just say ‘Engage Pack Mental Link’.”

“Alright, let me try that now. Engage Pack Mental Link!”


  Pack Mental Link Established!
  Pack Name: <>
  Pack Members[2]: <>
Phen
Rear

Through the knowledge of the Pack Mental link, Sierra learned that Phen and Rear were called Betas. The second in command next to Alphas.

She tried accessing Phen’s mind and a window which contained different folders popped up.


Pack Mental Link: Phen
  [Fighting Abilities]  [Special Techniques]  [Information]  [Inaccessible]
  [Pack Attack Patterns]  [Individual Attack Patterns] …

Sierra was bombarded by the information in Phen’s folders and had a hard time exploring all of them. When she opened the Fighting Abilities folder, it showed her a video of Phen executing a specialized ability.

However, the folder that caught her attention was the one labeled Inaccessible. She wondered what that was and asked Rear about it.

“That’s usually where a pack member holds personal information that they don’t want to be shared with the rest of the pack, but as our Alpha you can access it by using your Alpha Rights.”

Afraid of what secrets her pack members might hold from her, Sierra forced Phen’s Inaccessible folder open and found a humiliating image of Phen being urinated over by a red werewolf similar to his size.

Phen held his head down in shame. Sierra felt guilty after she saw the embarassing video, but she held it in. “I’m sorry, Phen, We’ll get that red werewolf.”

Sierra patted the gray werewolf. “Perhaps next time you’ll get to confront that red werewolf head on.”

Phen bowed down. A bewildered Rear followed the gray werewolf and lowered her head as well.

Next, Sierra accessed Rear’s mind. She scoured through Rear’s folders and found one about the purple berries.


Guerison Berry

Medicinal berry only usable by the Therianthropes. Can be eaten by anyone, but its medicinal effects are only applicable when it is mashed into a paste and applied over the wounds of Therianthropes.

As Sierra read through the information on the purple berry, she heard Rear’s voice but didn’t see the black werewolf’s mouth moving.

‘Alpha Sierra, I’d also like to report that we’ve found a herd of war elephants one kilometer west of here.’

“Good, good, but how exactly are you doing that? You know, talking to me without moving your lips?” Sierra asked with a raised eyebrow.

‘Same thing. Through the Pack Mental link. Just enable Pack Whisper and you can speak normally through your mind.’

Sierra searched for the settings tab in the Pack Mental link and customized it.

‘Wow! Alright, I think I’ve already taken too much time exploring the Pack Mental link. Let’s head towards those war elephants!’

With the Pack Mental link enabled, Sierra’s movement speed increased by two. It wasn’t much of an increase numerically, but it reduced their travel time by twenty minutes.

When they got to a cliff overlooking the location where six adult war elephants and four calves were currently grazing, Sierra discovered that Phen and Rear’s original pack had arrived before them.

Fortunately, Smoke’s constant reminder of being vigilant rubbed off on Sierra. They arrived without the werewolves detecting their presence.

With her Advance Animal Instinct ability, she counted that the werewolf pack had thirty-two members present. Due to her recently increased Advance Lycanthrope Control, Sierra was focused on adding more members to her pack.

From above the cliff, she saw that all of them were smaller than Phen and Rear. The thirty-two werewolves’ fur varied from red, brown, black and gray.

‘Which werewolves would you recommend first, Rear?’ Sierra asked inaudibly through their Mental Pack link.

‘Well, red werewolves have high health but low attack. Brown werewolves have average abilities. Black werewolves are like me – they are great stalkers, while the gray werewolves have high attack and low defense.’

‘Okay, we will go for the black werewolves. I will get ready to hold those two werewolves hidden behind that rock. Phen and Rear, you two will surprise them and lead them straight to me.’ Sierra pointed at a pair of black werewolves directly below them.

‘As you command.’ Rear replied while Phen grunted. Both of them immediately followed her orders. Sierra ran fast and got into position.

Sierra waited confidently for Phen and Rear to intimidate the designated werewolves. Just as she expected, the two black werewolves ran with their tails behind their legs towards her.

They tried to stop when they saw a red werebear right in from them, but it was too late. They ran straight into Sierra’s paws and she assimilated them into her pack.

Now with four werewolves at her command, she quickly gave out more orders through the Pack Mental link. She went after four more black werewolves nearby and added them to her pack as well.

As her werewolf pack increased, Sierra got bolder and bolder. She almost roared out loudly. She wanted to call all of the other werewolves’ attention to her, but her judgment got the better of her and she held back her roar.

Sierra had already gathered twelve werewolves when she spotted another group huddled further ahead. She went after six black werewolves hidden behind the trees.

From their posture, she knew that they were still waiting for a signal to attack. She needed to move fast before the werewolves would leave their posts and attack the war elephants.

Just when Sierra’s werewolf pack got into position, they heard a distinct set of howls. The targeted werewolf pack jumped out from their hiding place and ran after the war elephants.

However, the non-assimilated werewolves were the ones caught off guard when they discovered that there were only twelve of them left. The war elephants charged straight at the twelve surprised werewolves.

The non-assimilated werewolves scattered and ran into bushes and trees only to be caught by Sierra’s werewolf pack. They were held down by Sierra’s werewolves until she got to them.

One by one, she converted all of the captured werewolves until she had thirty-four werewolves in her pack. After she assimilated all the werewolves, she ordered them to regroup and circle around the war elephants.

Sierra interpreted the war elephants’ confident demeanor. She concluded that the war elephants knew of only twelve werewolves near them. Once her newly expanded werewolf pack had them surrounded, she growled out loudly and the whole pack joined in.

With thirty-four werewolves at her command, Sierra felt that her body had become faster and stronger. She divided her pack into four groups. Each group took on one adult war elephant.

Since there were six adults among the tusked beasts, Sierra faced one of them alone while Phen and Rear faced the remaining one.

Sierra’s werewolves overwhelmed the war elephants with their numbers. The war elephants tried to fend off the werewolves with their trunks and tusks, but once they were pinned down to the ground, it was game over for them.

Phen and Rear’s war elephant charged at the gray werewolf head on. Phen did not shy away from the challenge. He took the brunt of the force of the war elephant’s trunk directly.

The gray werewolf was pushed backwards, while Rear came from behind and ripped off the war elephant’s tail. The beast turned around, giving Phen the opening he needed.

With his sharp fangs, Phen took out a big chunk of flesh from the war elephant’s throat and blood gushed out from its neck. Rear followed by pushing the war elephant to the side until it tipped over.

Once it was laid out, Phen and Rear went straight for the throat and kept biting away until the war elephant’s head was separated from its body.

Sierra’s target was rapidly approaching her.  A war elephant’s basic attack was to charge straight into the opponent with its tusks.

Sierra stood her ground and the war elephant’s tusks hit her stomach. Yet, she was not pushed back nor did the tusk penetrate her body.

The war elephant’s attack only managed to deal 1,000 damage points against the red werebear. Sierra felt that this newfound strength came from being the Alpha of a werewolf pack.

The red werebear placed her massive arms around the war elephant’s neck and snapped it like a twig. Then, Sierra climbed onto the beast’s back and delivered a heavy blow to its spine.

The war elephant fell to the ground and shook vigorously. It could no longer control its movement due to its dislocated spine.

When she saw that her prey had been paralyzed, she called for pack members who were still waiting on their turn to feast on the war elephants.

From the Pack Mental link, Sierra learned that a werewolf pack followed a hierarchy. Those of the lowest class would wait for the scraps left by those above them.

She wanted to change that and gave this untouched prime prey to the Omegas, the runts of the werewolf pack. As the Omegas ate, she noticed that most of the werewolves who belonged to this group had red fur.

Sierra decided to call them her Red Omegas. She did not know why, but the red werebear felt a strong connection with them.

She took only a portion of the meat and ate on top of a rock. The adolescent war elephants escaped unharmed. She ordered her pack to leave them alone.

She only wanted to hunt monsters that were already fully grown. Her werewolf pack could not understand the reason for that order, but all of them obeyed without question.

All thirty-four werewolves were being well fed with the six war elephant feast laid out before them. As her pack ate, Sierra decided to examine her pack through the Mental Pack link.


Pack Mental Link Established!
  Pack Name: <>
  Pack Members [34]: <>
     Phen
     Rear
     Rouge
     Rojo
     Pula
     Marron
     Moreno
     Kape
     Noir
     Luto
     Itim
     Gris
     Rucio
     Abo
     …

Sierra’s werewolf pack greatly increased in size and she had a hard time keeping up with the new members. She decided to call them by groups.

She divided them according to their specialties which coincidentally followed their hierarchy. The pack listened to her thoughts and she called out their new group names.

‘Gray Gammas, Black Deltas, Brown Epsilons, and Red Omegas.’

Immediately, her werewolf pack stopped eating and grouped themselves according to the new criteria. Phen joined the Gray Gammas, while Rear joined the Black Deltas.

Sierra would not allow her two seconds-in-command to join other groups. ‘Phen and Rear, please step forward. You two shall remain in your own group called the Betas.’

Once all her werewolves were in place, they all howled loudly together.

AAAWWWWWOOOOOOOOO! AWWWW AWWWW AWWWWWOOOOOOOO!

Sierra smiled as she listened to her pack’s howl, but an alarming yet intriguing information came to light when she delved in the Pack Mental link. She discovered that her pack’s former Alpha still existed.

She wanted to face him and challenge him for the rest of the original pack, but she knew better. In order for her to win, she had to train together with her werewolf pack and turn them into an unstoppable force.

         
* * * * * * 
Sierra received important calls from Adder about the situation in Verbrannt. Problems with the different immigrants and races had increased.

She asked him to create smaller communities and give all the different immigrants their own space for now. She wanted to return, but she could not leave without defeating this other Alpha.

The rushed training with her new pack only lasted two days. It was extremely short, yet in that span of time, her werewolf pack had hunted ancient bisons and war elephants with surgical precision.

After each hunt, she would share their food equally to all her pack members. This gave the previously low-ranked members of the pack a noticeable increase in Strength and Agility.

Sierra also made sure to allow more experience points to go to Phen and Rear. In the past two days, her level hadn’t increased at all, but the levels of the two Betas increased by 2.

This unorthodox method intrigued the pack and it greatly increased her intimacy with each pack member. As a whole, her werewolf pack had reached 90% Intimacy.

At that point, she gained another ability.


+ Learned Ability: Lycanthrope Pack Mastery
        Passive
        Level: Beginner Level 1
        Experience: (10/1,000)

        * All members of your pack are willing to die for you.
        * Your pack has complete faith in your leadership.

        * Your growl increases pack members’ attack speed and damage by 2%
        * Your HP increases as your pack increases
        * Pack Members cannot be assimilated into other packs
          as long as you are within 200 meters of your pack member.

Sierra enjoyed the many achievements she earned by herself. ‘I guess Smoke is right – it is better to focus on yourself.’

She had not experienced this many improvements to her character since she joined Smoke, but now it was as if a limiter had been removed from her.

‘My werewolf pack’s abilities may have increased, but I want to spend another two days increasing their levels. Phen, Rear. Plot a course towards your old territory.’

Her thoughts would only be heard by her pack members as her Pack Mental link was always enabled. Sierra was bothered at first, but she found that she had nothing to hide from her werewolf pack.

They hunted monsters along the way with intention of fighting other werewolves. If there were no monsters to hunt, they would have skirmishes amongst themselves.

The Gray Gammas, Black Deltas, Brown Epsilons and Red Omegas learned to cooperate outside of their own special squad. This was all thanks to Phen and Rear’s training method.

The two Betas would pick several pack members at random and assign them into a team. This not only allowed for everyone to expanded their pack efficiency, but also increased their camaraderie with one another.

At the end of the first day of their two-day journey towards the other Alpha’s territory, Sierra sensed other werewolves running towards them.

This pack had fourteen werewolves alongside two Betas and an unusually large Therianthrope. She assumed this Therianthrope was the other Alpha.

Sierra roared loudly and called her pack to attention. The red werebear ordered them to head to the plains. She wanted terrain with no hiding spots and no escape routes.

They formed a semicircle in anticipation of the other pack. It was one day earlier than she had planned, but she welcomed the other pack’s challenge.

When the enemies came into view, Sierra was surprised to see a white werebear leading the other pack from the front. ‘Of course! Why in the world was I thinking that the other Alpha would be a very large werewolf?’ She thought to herself.

The white werebear brought his pack members to a halt when they were twenty meters away Sierra’s pack. He stood up straight and called out to Sierra.

“Finally! I’ve been searching for you ever since I got this curse. We are destined to be together, you and I.” The white werebear aimed a devilish smile at Sierra.

Sierra raised her eyebrow. “You’re a Zectian. Why would you say that we’re destined to be together?”

“Oh? I take it you haven’t spoken with Mistress Horrabelle? We are her magical creations. She even begged her sisters to lend some of their powers to her just to create us.”

“Horrabelle? I don’t know anyone by that name.”

“Perhaps you might know her other name – The horrid witch of Wysteria.”

Sierra’s eyes turned blood-red with rage. This was the witch she had been hunting for.

The white werebear went on to say. “I’m Wodin. Father of our future pack. Did you know that a werewolf pack doubles its overall abilities when it has a male and female Alpha? So, I’ve come here to meet you. I’m guessing that you were rushing to me to unite our packs, right?”

“You’re partially right, but my pack will only have one Alpha.” The red werebear growled at Wodin.

The white werebear raised his paws in the air. “Stop! If we fight now, I can assure you that we will lose precious members of our pack.”

Sierra held her ground. She agreed with what Wodin said. She did want more members into her pack. At thirty-four versus sixteen, her pack’s victory over Wodin’s was assured. However, it did not guarantee that she would have thirty-four members left after their battle.

Her thoughts disrupted when she heard Wodin speak up.

“I have a proposal for you. A straight up one-on-one battle. If I win, you will become mine and we will lead the pack together.”

The red werebear looked at her pack members. Her gaze lingered on Phen and Rear. “You didn’t even mention what I could get if I win.”

The white werebear answered with a smug smile. “Well, that will never happen. So I didn’t bother to bring it up.”

“A one-on-one would be fine, but it wouldn’t show off our abilities as Alphas. I propose a three-on-three. You and your Betas against me and mine.”

“I have no problem with that. Geraz and Frekaz, step forward.”

Two Beta werewolves with furs of brown and red were larger than an average werewolf. Yet Sierra didn’t fail to notice that Wodin’s Betas were slightly smaller when compared to Phen and Rear.

Sierra recognized Wodin’s red Beta werewolf from Phen’s inaccessible folder.

Wodin’s Beta werewolves walked proudly into the circle created between the two packs. They stopped when they reached their Alpha.

Sierra gave her orders through the Mental Pack link. ‘Phen, Rear, make yourselves look smaller and weaker.’

Without question, Phen and Rear did as they were told. They walked towards the inner circle with their tails between their legs.

Sierra keenly observed all of her opponents’ reactions. Geraz lightly punched Frekaz’s shoulder and gave him a knowing nod.

‘Phen, Rear, you two first take Geraz head on. Don’t give him a chance to move at all. Wodin looks strong. There is a fifty-fifty chance he could kill me. I want you to come to my side ASAP.’

Both of Sierra’s Beta werewolves replied in unison. ‘Your will, our claws!’

The red werebear stared straight into the white werebear’s eyes and with a howl, their battle for unifying the Lycanthrope Pack began.

With both of his sharp claws up over his shoulders, Wodin came rushing towards Sierra. The red werebear had high confidence in her defense, so she calmly planted her feet into the ground and made a cross guard with her arms.

Wodin’s claws deeply scratched Sierra’s arms and damaged her for 30,000 points each. Sierra’s life bar displayed (246,433/356,433 HP).

This was only the second time she had received such high damage from a simple attack. The first time was from Mitleid, the Maneator King.

Sierra reflexively dodged Wodin’s next attack and pushed him away with a counter attack. She used her Double Slash ability and sent the white werebear five meters away from her.

This gave her enough time to check on Phen and Rear. After she saw the progress of her Beta werewolves’ battle, she resumed her evasive maneuvers.

She dodged each of Wodin’s attacks by retreating slowly. She led him away from the Betas’ fight. None of Wodin’s attacks reached her.

She wondered whether she was indeed faster than the white werebear. It was possible that Wodin had his own plan. ‘Over thinking won’t do me any good.’

Sierra remained calm and focused. She took a step back and taunted the white werebear. “This is it, Wodin. This will be our last exchange.”

Wodin leapt into the air and aimed his claws at the red werebear. Sierra checked on Phen and Rear once again. This time, she smiled. She took on a defensive stance and planted her feet into the ground.

Wodin’s attack was coming straight for the red werebear, but this time Sierra did not bother to cross her arms to block it. She took the white werebear’s claws straight into her stomach.

The white Alpha’s eyes widened in fear. Sierra understood then and there that Wodin had no intention of killing her. Sierra’s life bar had been reduced to (126,4333/356,433 HP).

After Wodin’s attack, Sierra executed her plan immediately. She held firmly onto Wodin’s arms and used all of her strength to hold them.

The white werebear tried to escape Sierra’s herculean grip but was unable to. As Wodin was focused on retrieving his paws, Phen and Rear came from behind him and severed both of his legs after a series of well-coordinated strikes.

Sierra held on firmly to an amputated Wodin. She could feel Wodin’s pain as his claws trembled inside her stomach.

“I bet you’re thinking how such a thing can be happening. Let me tell you what I learned as an Alpha… It always pays off to take notice of all your pack members.”

Wodin strained his neck and saw decapitated bodies of Geraz and Frekaz behind him.

“Wodin, your overconfidence was the key to my victory today. Too bad you won’t have a tomorrow to learn from this mistake.”

Phen came forward and bit off Wodin’s left while Rear did the same attack on Wodin’s right arm. Sierra painfully took out Wodin’s claws from her stomach.

With apathy, Sierra watched Wodin’s stumped body being devoured by Phen and Rear. The gray werewolf went straight for the head while Rear wolfed down the white werebear’s intestines.

Normally, she would not allow for such a horrific act to occur, but she needed to show this to Wodin’s pack members. For them to know that she was the rightful ruler of the unified pack.


+ You’ve dealt a fatal blow to the Alpha Werebear: Wodin.
+ You’ve killed the Alpha Werebear: Wodin.
+ Your party gained 1,000,000 exp.
 + Level UP!

     You have 10 stat points ready for distribution.
     Your HP has increased by 5,000.
     Your MANA has increased by 500.
     Your Fame has increased by 1.

Phen and Rear gathered Wodin, Geraz and Frekaz’s loot. They gave all three items to Sierra. The red werebear received a Druid’s mace, a Witch’s cloak, and an Alchemist’s belt.

Sadly, these items could only be added to her Backpack window for now. In her werebear form, she could not equip these items.

However, a different information window popped up and surprised her.


+ Unified Werewolf Pack:
  Sierra and Wodin’s werewolf packs had been assimilated into one.
  + Werewolf pack members: 48.

Sierra grinned proudly. She excitedly got to know each of her new pack members.

* * * * * * 

Smoke checked his surroundings. He couldn’t believe the battle he was witnessing. He carefully studied whether the participants of the battle below him had sensed his presence. If he had not seen it with his own eyes, he would have doubted it being true. He recalled how he found the party of ten Sonstwelters accompanied by one Zectian each.

He assumed that the Zectians accompanying the Sonstwelters were either hired mercenaries or their own personal guards.

He thought that it was rare finding another Sonstwelter this far out in the Wysteria continent. So he decided to follow them for a while.

Mount Yunggo was a host to a variety of monster lifeforms, but the aggressive ones were limited to below ten species. The unknown party of twenty went up against the monsters of Mount Yunggo with ease.

The aggressive monsters they faced were an army of tree frogs, a pack of badger dogs and a family of ruby bears. They dealt with the monsters like they were made of paper.

The three-foot slimy tree frogs’ poison was usually lethal. The small-sized monsters would attack in hundreds. They would use their tongues like whips and poison their targets.

Luckily for Smoke, his high poison resistance protected him from the tree frog’s poison attacks. They left him alone after realizing they could not harm him.

The unknown party, who had no poison resistance, relied on the Zectians who accompanied them. All ten Zectians had the Job of Battle Monks.

They had an ability called Antidote shield which protected themselves and the Sonstwelter they were paired with. Two Sonstwelters stepped to the front of the party.

One was a female HighElf Aero Magus. She had long braided red hair which reminded Smoke of Sierra. She took out her wand and created a whirlwind strong enough to pick up all the loose rocks, logs and leaves nearby, as well as the tree frogs, and vacuumed them all inside.

Smoke had to use his rare gloves, the Claws of Chiropterra, in order to get a strong grip on the tree he was on. Otherwise, he would have also been sucked into the whirlwind.

The other party member was a male Human with unruly black hair. He followed the Aero Magus’ attack with a lightning surge aimed at the monsters caught in the whirlwind.

Huge bolts of electricity were coming out from the Electro Magus’ wand as he kept on killing the tree frogs until he finished off all of them.

The Aero Magus dispersed the whirlwind and the party of twenty people climbed up to the next level of Mount Yunggo. There, they faced the badger dogs.

These monsters were the masters of the middle tier of Mount Yunggo. The badger dogs only had a body length of 1.8 meters from head to tail, but their deadly attributes were their coordination, stealth, and speed.

The badger dogs built an intricate tunnel system in the mountain. They would spring out and attack stone deers, rabid racoons and sometimes a ruby bear if the opportunity presented itself.

Since Smoke was stalking the party, he decided to remain on top of the trees. When the party reached the middle level of the mountain, forty badger dogs came out from their burrows hidden in the mountainside and surrounded them.

The Zectian Battle Monks proved to be very formidable hand-to-hand fighters, as each of them dealt with two badger dogs at a time.

As soon as the badger dogs leapt out to attack them, they were met with spiked metal gloves worn by the Battle Monks. The monsters’ skulls were getting bashed in by the sheer impact of the gloves.

The party’s six Daemon Knights equipped with demon bone armor took out their black Ogre slayer swords and shields. It only took two slashes from their lengthy swords to kill a badger dog.

In a flash, the whole pack of forty badger dogs was wiped out. He heard one of the Daemon Knights shout. “You can’t handle us. No one can stop the Dikaya guild!”

Two male Lioumerean lions with the job of Arch Bishops equipped with red and blue Bishop vestments reprimanded the boisterous Daemon Knight at the same time.

“I told you to keep your voice down.” Said the Arch Bishop clothed in red vestment.

However, the Daemon Knight kept on making loud noises. The two Arch Bishops simultaneously attacked him with a Purification Ball.

The force of the surprise attack pushed the Daemon Knight down to the ground. The Arch Bishops’ synchronized attack made Smoke realize that these two Sonstwelters looked exactly the same.

He immediately thought that the two lion Lioumereans were identical twins. From the reactions of the rest of the Dikaya guild, Smoke could tell that these two were their leaders.

The blue Arch Bishop then addressed the rest of his party members. “If you ever want to catch up to Decane, you better stick to our rules.”

With sullen faces, the rest of the party members followed the red and the blue Arch Bishop up to the next level of Mount Yunggo.

There, the party of twenty saw the entrance to a cave where they met the ruby bears. The three-meter monsters emitted a red glow from their sharp ruby-like bodies.

Ten ruby bears came out from the cave and engaged the party of twenty in a fierce battle. The party was in a disadvantageous position of being on lower ground.

Fighting on an inclined surface was generally favorable for those higher up, and the ruby bears looked like they understood this concept as well.

The hardened monsters charged downwards at full speed. The Aero Magus and Electro Magus attacked with their spells at the same time, but their attacks simply bounced off of the ruby bears.

The Daemon Knights met the ruby bears’ charge with their shields. Each Daemon Knight managed to stop one ruby bear, but there were four more charging at the Dikaya guild.

Always on the lookout, the Battle Monks tried to double-team the four ruby bears, but their metal gloves could not penetrate the ruby bears’ hard armor.

The four charging ruby bears pushed on unperturbed. The red monsters went after the Arch Bishops and Elemental Magi behind the Battle Monks.

Boldly, the Arch Bishops stepped in front of the Elemental Magi. Both of them placed their cleric maces on the ground and created casting circles with Anti-Blessing runes written around them.

With the downward force and the speed that the ruby bears ran at, they could not help but step into the blue and the red Arch Bishop’s casting circles of Anti-Blessing.

As soon as the monsters made contact with the casting circle, their hard ruby-like armor turned into red fur. Ten Battle Monks jumped at the four furry ruby bears.

The Battle Monks’ metal gloves dealt their intended damage. Sound of broken bones could be heard with each impact.

The two Lioumerean Arch Bishops roared. This time, the two of them ran to help the Daemon Knights locked in combat with the ruby bears still equipped with ruby-like armor.

Careful to remain unnoticed, the red Arch Bishop cleverly positioned himself behind the ruby bears and created an Anti-Blessing casting circle right under the ruby bears’ feet.

At the same time, the blue Arch Bishop cast an aerial spell Offensive Blessing on the Daemon Knights. Two golden sword icons appeared over the Daemon Knights’ heads.

With the ruby bears’ ruby-like armor dispersed, all six Daemon Knights attacked in a synchronized manner. They lopped off the ruby bears’ arms and sliced off their heads.

Smoke wasn’t sure how these Sonstwelters learned about the exponential damage inflicted by lopping off limbs and then going for the head, but it clearly showed that these members of the Dikaya guild knew what they were doing.

After the battle, the red Arch Bishop replenished the party members’ life bars with another aerial spell. Red crosses appeared over their heads.

The blue Arch Bishop did a similar gesture, but this time blue stars appeared over their heads. With their life and mana bars both filled, they took out pieces of bread to increase their Satiety.

Smoke thought that his method of preparing meals was better, as it raised intimacy amongst comrades and the delicious taste of the dish was very realistic, but he envied how cost-efficient Dikaya’s methods were.

The DarkElf situated on a redwood tree noticed that the party began preparing their equipment. He did the same. He was ready to jump to the next tree, but stopped once he noticed the presence of four Human-sized creatures approaching.

He saw four Simiavulgs carrying long black metallic staves step out of the bushes and into plain view. The group had all four of the Simiavulgs sub-races. A gorilla, a chimpanzee, a gibbon and an orangutan.

The DarkElf remembered Eldmar’s description of them having Humanlike stature, but with dominant apelike features.

The gorilla Simiavulg stood at a height of six feet and two inches. He had black fur covering most of his arms and legs. His hair had a military cut and it stood up increasing his height in appearance.

The chimpanzee Simiavulg was the shortest among the four. She stood at a height of five feet. Her black hair was so straight that Smoke thought she could work as a shampoo model. Provided that only her hair was seen.

The female gibbon Simiavulg stood beside the chimpanzee and she had an equally beautiful blond hair but this was curvy and bouncy.

Finally, the male orangutan Simiavulg walked in front of the three Simiavulgs and spoke out to the Dikaya guild.

“You have entered Simiavulg territory. Leave now and no harm will come to you.”

The red Arch Bishop replied with a big smile. “At last. We’ve found the Simiavulgs. We’ve been looking for your village for quite some time.”

The blue Arch Bishop added. “We’re not leaving, especially now that we’ve found what we were looking for.”

“Please leave peacefully. Cuezaltzin would not wish for us to shed any needless blood.” Pleaded the orangutan Simiavulg.

“We’re here to increase our strength. A quest informed us that if you train in a Simiavulg Village for a month you could get unimaginable powers. We don’t know if it’s an item or a level increase but we’re dying to find out.”

“Howk, howk. That might be difficult since there hasn’t been a non Simiavulg in our village for hundreds of years.” The gorilla Simiavulg answered back.

The blue Arch Bishop let out a maniacal laughter. “BWAHAHAHAHA. True, but we know that if we defeat you, you will be obliged to take us to your village.”

Despite the Simiavulgs pleas the Dikaya guild went on the offensive. Immediately, the Arch Bishops cast buffs on their party members.

The Aero Magus cast her strong whirlwind and it picked up all the loose objects in the area. A dust tornado formed around the four Simiavulgs and they disappeared into the tornado.

Lightning struck down from the heavens as the storm clouds gathered by the Electro Magus appeared. Bolts of lightning kept on attacking the insides of the tornado.

The red Arch Bishops created an inner Anti-Blessing casting circle while the blue Arch Bishop created an outer version of the same ability.

The double Anti-Blessing casting circle would not alone remove all buffs but would decrease the life and defense of its victims by at least 30%.

Three minutes passed and the tornado and lightning’s power started to fade as their Magus ran out of mana. Twenty Dikaya members surrounded the area near the tornado’s edge.

When the Aero Magus’ tornado attack finally dispersed, the Dikaya members found four Simiavulgs intact. Their targets holding firmly onto their black metallic staves.

The Simiavulgs’ life bars appeared and it revealed that all of them had over 250,000 HP. Yet, the truly terrifying thing was that even after the tornado and the lightning attacks, all of the Simiavulgs’ lives remained at 100%.

The Daemon Knights and Battle Monks ran towards the unscathed Simiavulgs. Their Ogre slayer swords pointed up to the sky and came crashing down against the Simiavulgs.

A yellow force field covered the four Simiavulgs in a dome like shield. None of the Daemon Knights’ swords could penetrate the barrier.

The Battle Monks metal gloves only created sharp ringing sounds every time they made contact with the yellow force field.

Three minutes of constant sword strikes and metal gloves pounding ensued against the Simiavulgs’ yellow barrier. Yet, Dikaya’s members could not make a single dent.

Special attacks from the Daemon Knights and Battle Monks all used mana, and they stopped when they all ran out of it. The two female Simiavulgs stepped outside of the barrier when their attacks ceased.

In a flash, the chimpanzee Simiavulg and the gibbon Simiavulg rammed their black metallic staves into the Sonstwelter Daemon Knights. Instantly killing two of Dikaya’s members in a single attack.

The Aero and Electro Magus were both about to drink a blue potion bottle when the orangutan’s black metallic staff skewered both of the two Sonstwelters at the same time.

After witnessing the one-hit-one-kill ability of the Simiavulgs, both of the Arch Bishops started to retreat, only to be faced with the gorilla Simiavulg.

“You should have listened to what Doctus was offering you. He told you to leave quietly, right?”

In sudden panic, the red and the blue Arch Bishops used up all of their known abilities against the gorilla Simiavulg. They cast various purging orbs, toxin orbs, anything they could think of until they used up their last mana point.

The gorilla Simiavulg grinned from within his barrier. “Tsk tsk tsk. I told you, you should have listened to Doctus. Oh well, know that I, Tenvis shall wait for your return if you are stupid enough to do so.”

Tenvis ended his barrier and raised his black metallic staff over his shoulder.

KLOOGG! KLOOGG!

A swift downward-motion strike to each Arch Bishops head knocked them to the ground and killed them. The orangutan faced the Battle Monks and asked them.

“Do you want to end up like your Sonstwelter counterparts? Remember, they could return but you, ten, cannot.”

The ten Battle Monks quickly glanced over at each other, and understood that they had come to the same decision. All of them ran the opposite direction from where the Simiavulgs stood and escaped with their lives.

Smoke remained motionless. The four Simiavulgs stood their ground until the Battle Monks were out of sight. He had been waiting for Ledur to arrive with his Tikbalang corps, but he feared that the next time he would meet the Simiavulgs they would have more than four members in their Simiavulg party.

He knew he needed to do something and it had to be now. Smoke could only think of one way that would give him the highest chance of being allowed into their village.

Hidden on top of a redwood tree, he was suspended fifty meters into the air. The DarkElf looked at the dizzying height. ‘Well, here goes nothing.’

Smoke jumped from the tree and crashed into the branches below him. One of the thick branches broke his left arm while the smaller ones scratched his face.

The suicidal fall took less than four seconds but it felt like an eternity to Smoke. He finally smashed hard into the ground. CRAAASSSH!

The DarkElf tried to stand up but he discovered that he had broken his right leg. He was left with 8% of his life. ‘This is perfect. I sure hope this works.’

He tried to crawl to where the Simiavulgs were, but his injured body could not move very well. So he decided to call out his targets.

“Hey, Simiavulgs! I mean, Doctus! Over here!”

In less than three seconds the DarkElf was encircled by four Simiavulgs.

“Eeii. DarkElf? Why do you know my name?” Doctus asked.

“I was a captive of those Sonstwelters you just dispatched. They left me here as an offering to you. I don’t know why they didn’t use me. I prayed to Cuezaltzin to be saved. Luckily, the great god has answered my prayers.” 

“Why in the world would they think that the Simiavulgs would want a DarkElf as an offering?” The puzzled chimpanzee Simiavulg asked.

Smoke faced the female Simiavulg and replied.

“I don’t know myself. All I know is that if I don’t get help soon I’ll be dead and I my body will return to their hideout, where I’m sure they will use me as bait again.”

The four Simiavulgs discussed with one another.

Smoke thought that this was the best time to use his Beggary ability. “Please save me! Cuezaltzin will surely grant you favors in the here and now.”


BEGGARY ABILITY SUCCEEDED!
  > You have convinced the Simiavulgs to pity you. Your intimacy with these four Simiavulgs has temporarily increased to 80%.
  Note: Intimacy levels will only last for 24 hours.

Doctus, the orangutan Simiavulg walked towards him. “Your faith in Cuezaltzin has rescued you. I find you worthy to be saved.”

The orangutan Simiavulg grabbed pieces of branches, leaves, and vines and threw them onto a pile. He drew a transmutation circle around the pile and created an emergency gurney.

“Come, Tenvis, Meras, and Castas. Let us help this DarkElf to our village.”

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