Light Novel – Zectas – Volume 04 – Chapter 06

Author: John Nest

Warning: This chapter hasn’t been edited or proofread

Note:  For easy character reference please refer to: 
Races and Religions

Side note: This chapter is dedicated to my two sons, as today is both their birthdays. \o/

Arrogance Leads to Downfall

From above the battlefield, a winged Tikbalang surveyed his created earth-dome. It was fifty meters in diameter and three meters thick. Ledur wasn’t keen on this idea, but Smoke convinced him that this was their only option in order for them to kill her.

Ledur suggested to simply trap the Witch from the start, but Smoke countered that Horrabelle could easily escape if left alone. Someone had to be inside with her and finish her off there.

As Ledur scrutinized his dome, he would have liked it to be thicker. However, with the Cavalry Knights closing in on them, this was the best he could do. He estimated that Smoke and Sierra had at least twenty minutes before the Cavalry Knights could destroy his dome.

Yet, Macher did not move as expected. Instead, he and his army ignored the earth-dome altogether. The Cavalry Knights went after the scrambling Vigilantez who were running for their lives.

Along with the Tikbalangs, Adder and his special team stayed behind as many of Horrabelle’s Therianthropes viciously held on to one or two of their comrades.

Mamelon who was about to leave saw this and ordered her Elemental Knights to join Adder’s team. Together, they bravely fought off the Therianthropes who had detained some of their Zectian friends.

Ardu and Vrai who were already halfway out of the plains looked back. They growled and ordered the Werewolves under them to help out as well.

Meanwhile, Ledur was busy thinking of a way to stop the Cavalry Knights. He thought about creating a wall or a trench, but realized that he could not cover the entire plain in time. Ledur then remembered a conversation he had with Smoke.

‘Even if you can’t stop them, then slowing them down will be enough,’ thought Ledur to himself as he repeated what Smoke told him.

Posthaste, Ledur created multiple random walls in the vast plain between the Vigilantez and the Cavalry Knights. The earth walls were only three meters tall and six meters wide. However, Ledur created so many of them that the land in the middle of the Cavalry Knights and the Vigilantez now looked like a small maze.

The mounted Macher was forced to stop in front of Ledur’s sudden earth creation. From on top his dirus wolf, he stood up and allowed him to see through the maze. He tried his mount to climb over it, but immediately found that it could not find any footing, as the wall itself was smooth. He and his men either had to travel inside it or around it.

Macher ordered two groups to head around the opposite sides of the maze, and a one group to turn back and destroy the earth-dome. As for him, he led a group straight into it. He shouted out directions while standing on the back of his dirus wolf. Due to this, they quickly zigzagged their way through the earth walls.

Yet, the dirus wolves had a difficult time traversing the maze as they kept running into each other whenever they tried to make the sharp turns.

Adder was left with 30% on his life bar while the rest of his teammates were below 20%. He then heard Ledur yell from above.

“It’s time. We have to leave, now!” cried out Ledur somberly from the skies.

Adder and Mamelon checked on the still captured Zectians. Both of them realized why Ledur spoke such words. They gave each other a regretful nod, and ordered their teams to retreat.

The remaining captured Vigilantez had less than 10% left on their life bars, and they were in too deep inside Horrabelle’s Therianthrope army for them to rescue.

Even if they could free them, they would still soon die from their fatal wounds. The liberated Vigilantez were carried off by Centaurs and Tikbalangs while others hitched a ride on the war chariots pulled by aardwolves.

Adelige, Rasant, Stark and Weise reunited with their war elephants and rejected Ledur’s order. They stayed behind and tried to help the dying Vigilantez that were still captured.

Stark and Weise rode their own war elephants, while Adelige and Rasant shared one. The trunks of their massive mounts flicked away the Werewolves blocking their path towards their comrades.

Weise got to one of the half dead Ranseurs whom he recognized as Veinard Gars, one of Sierra’s promoted lieutenants.

“Come on, Veinard, we’ve got to get out of here,” said Weise and pulled him up to his war elephant after he pierced the surrounding Werewolves with his Narwhal Horn.

“Thank you, Weise, but you shouldn’t have come. We’ve already accepted our fate,” said the half dead Ranseur. “If you stay here any longer. You’ll all be killed, and the four of you are the last Maneators alive.”

Before Weise could argue with Veinard, Horrabelle’s Werewolves swarmed their mounts and quickly brought down the war elephants’ life bars to 40%.

Weise gulped; and watched Adelige, Rasant and Stark fight off the furry monsters. He knew that Ledur and Veinard were both right. With a heavy heart, he turned to his fellow Maneators and cried out. “We have to leave. King Smoke, would want us to live.”

At once all three war elephants turned around and ran after the fleeing Vigilantez.

Ledur, who was scouring the skies, created several blockades behind the Maneators and delayed the Therianthropes that were coming after them.

Weise looked back and memorized the faces of those they left behind. He applied pressure on Veinard’s open wound to slow down the bleeding. Even though they weren’t able to save all of them, he consoled himself with the fact that they saved at least Veinard Gar’s life.

The trapped Vigilantez knew what their role was. The Arcus and Ranseurs went berserk and fought without a thought of defending themselves. Their suicidal attacks managed to hold off most of the Therianthropes from chasing after their escaping comrades, but only for a few minutes as they were quickly devoured by Horrabelle’s monstrous army.

From the sky, Ledur attacked the Werebears with elemental spikes sprouting out from the ground, temporarily impaling them to it. Yet, the Therianthropes continued on with their chase.

Despite their alphas being stopped, more than three hundred Werewolves pushed on and went after the Vigilantez who were still trying to get away.

Baldaquin, Earat and Louche; who were waiting for their guildmates inside the forest patch, had set up traps in advance and activated them when the Werewolves entered the tree lines. Yet despite their numerous preparations, they only caught less than two dozen Werewolves.

The injured Vigilantez fled through the gaps in between the trees, and broke branches along the way. The Acolytes who rode on the war carriages tried to heal as many as they could, but their mana quickly ran out and could not keep up with everyone’s injuries.

At Thyrsus suggestion, all of the Vigilantez teams scattered. Mamelon’s, Adder’s and Guro’s team went straight. Whereas, Thyrsus, Vijaya, Ichaival and Laernea went right. Sharanga’s, Gandiva’s, Sharur’s and Jinggu’s went left.

Meanwhile, the Maneators stayed behind to fight some of the off. Weise handed over Veinard to Laernea, who had an Acolytes and Shamans riding with her.

Thyrsus hoped that this would give the Werewolves a harder target to follow, and expected the monsters to disperse even more and chase after all the teams.

Seven minutes after the Vigilantez entered the forest patch, Baldaquin’s eyes glowed white. “Macher has entered the treeline,” said the Light Wizard to Gandiva, who he hitched a ride on her war carriage.

“Don’t worry, old man. We’re almost at the hidden tunnels,” replied Gandiva with a grin. She then pointed to a winged Tikbalang waiting for them on top of one of the trees.

“What about the Maneators?” asked a worried Baldaquin.

“They’re too big to enter the emergency tunnel, and they know how to handle themselves. Besides Ledur is gonna help them out, soon. Right after he secures us,” answered Gandiva confidently.

Ledur waited for them near the trees of the forest patch ended. It was here where Smoke and Ledur created another tunnel on the ground that was connected to the tunnel system in Mount Vorteil.

After a few seconds, Laernea’s team arrived. One by one, all of the teams of the main strike force and the special teams that were scattered entered the entrance of the escape tunnel.

Despite this, they did not completely lose their tail as almost two hundred Werewolves were still chasing after them. Without decreasing their speed, Horrabelle’s minions charged in after the Vigilantez into the dark passage.

After the last Werewolf disappeared into the tunnel, Ledur landed in front of it. With both his open hands apart, he brought them together and closed the opening on the ground. He manipulated the earth in the area and completely camouflaged the former entrance.

Ledur then flew towards the fighting Maneators, with the sole purpose of leading Macher’s Cavalry Knights to a different direction.

* * * * * *  

The earth-dome that Ledur made was completely sealed. Their only source of light was from Igniz’s flames and the electrical charges coming out of Horrabelle’s body.

Smoke was knocked back as soon as the Witch regained consciousness. He looked around the sturdy, airtight structure and knew that he had a few minutes before Macher and his army could break through.

However, it dawned on him that he had to defeat Horrabelle as fast as he could as there was another element gunning for his life, oxygen.

“Igniz, back inside, bud,” he quickly called out to his symbiote.

His symbiote followed his orders without question, and flew into the metal container on his chest.

“Stay there and keep your fire to a minimum,” he said as he worried that if Igniz’s fire could quickly burn up the limited oxygen inside the dome.

With Igniz’s safely hidden, the only source of light was now Horrabelle. The Witch was the only one clearly seen, out in the open. She quickly canceled her electrical charges, but not before Smoke’s sickle nicked her stomach.

“Argh!” cried out Horrabelle in pain, but her suffering did not end as she was quickly attacked by Sierra’s claws.

The red Werebear used her Double Slash attacked and smashed the Witch hard against the earth-dome behind her.

A loud thud was heard, but then complete darkness overtook the earth-dome. A few seconds passed, Smoke didn’t move a muscle as he couldn’t see anything.

His Cunning of the Dire Fox allowed him to sense Horrabelle’s and Sierra’s general locations, but he had no idea what the Witch was doing. He thought about calling out Sierra, but decided not to as it would only give out his position.

Suddenly, a bright blue light erupted out of Horrabelle.

“Sierra, jump!” he shouted, but it was too late. He saw a powerful Lightning Strike ram into Sierra’s back. She tumbled forward and rolled on the ground.

Fortunately, for her, her cursed form had a high resistance to most elemental attacks and a colossal life bar which displayed (359,199/478,933 HP).

It became pitch black again after the attack. Smoke could sense Horrabelle getting closer to him, so he threw the weighted iron ball at her.

‘There’s no way she could dodge this,’ he thought as he smirked at the charging Witch.

However, the iron ball went right through and completely missed her. She got in front of him and her palms glowed an electrified blue color. The luminance allowed him to see her face. She gave him a maniacal look before she fired several lightning bolts in his direction.

Smoke left an after image of himself after he used his Hyper Jump ability and dodged to the right. He didn’t want to use this ability so soon, but there was no other way he could have dodged that many lightning bolts at such a close range.

“Nyak nyak nyak. Is running away the only thing you’re good at?” taunted Horrabelle. “I thought this was what you wanted? Me by myself, without my army?”

Horrabelle then turned to Sierra. “And my most precious, Werebear. I saw you made two other Werebears on your own. You proved how potent your blood really is. I look forward to draining it from your lifeless body. Nyak nyak nyak!”

Smoke shook his head in dismay. He thought that this earth-dome would give the Witch a big handicap, but he was wrong. Despite her reduced life bar and the poisoned status, Horrabelle was still putting up quite a fight and wasn’t going down easy.

‘She must have a sensory ability like my Cunning of the Dire Fox and Sierra’s Animal Instinct,’ he surmised. It was the only thing he could think of as to how the Witch could find them in this absolute darkness.

Also, he thought that the Witch’s ability was above his, as she easily dodged his frontal attacks and delivered a counterattack on Sierra. He would have wanted to use his current favorite weapon, but he thought that Aral’s Lightning Rods would most probably have no effect on her.

Several things passed through his head, and a question suddenly popped up.

‘But if she had a sensory ability, then how was Sierra able to deliver her Double Slash attack earlier?’ he wondered to himself. He couldn’t find the answer to that puzzle, but he decided that it was safe to talk out loud as Horrabelle had her own way of finding them.

“Sierra, are you hurt?” he asked loudly enough for her to hear.

“I’m fine. But I’m not sure if I could still eat a ram after that attack,” she answered him with a pained voice.

Smoke smiled after he heard Sierra’s encrypted answer. “But a tenderized ram is one of the tastiest dishes this world has to offer.”

He suddenly used his Hyper Jump ability and changed to a different location. He used his Extra Sensory ability to see whether Horrabelle was looking at him, but it appeared that she was desperately searching for him instead.

Sierra then called her attention. “If you say so, Smoke.” She paused and waited until he got into position. “Then, let’s have ram after we kill this Witch,” she said and moved in on Horrabelle.

“Stop with this nonsense!” yelled out Horrabelle. “The only thing you’ll be doing is dyi—”

The Witch stopped talking as both Smoke and Sierra charged at her simultaneously. Sierra with raised claws came at her from the front while Smoke with his Armored Armadillo Shield ran to her right side.

With her left hand, Horrabelle fired several of her lightning bolts at Sierra. The Witch then turned to fire the same attack at Smoke with her right, but found no DarkElf to be hit.

‘Yes! I was right. She doesn’t have a sensory ability, she was only seeing us in the dark,’ he thought confidently and smacked his shield on the back of her head.


Smoke used his Hyper Jump ability to move behind her almost instantaneously. He used his shield’s Armadillo Bash and stunned her. His ability should have a full second before she recovers. He switched out his shield with his weighted chain and sickle. He was about to trap her with its chains, but lightning bolts blasted him away before he could capture her.

Horrabelle quickly fired a Lightning Strike at the blown away DarkElf before he could recover his footing. Smoke dodged to his right, but was shocked when he felt a pair of hands grab him. The Black Lady of Malady caught him.

“You’re not the only one who can move fast. I can also ride my Lightning Strikes in short distances,” she said maniacally.

Her body emitted black lightning, which brightened the room. Then, a small mouth formed on each of her palms. Their sharp, jagged teeth sunk into Smoke’s flesh. He had already experienced this before and knew what was coming next.

“Ability Devourer!” cried out Horrabelle and a black progress bar appeared above his head with ‘Cunning of the Dire Fox’ written on it.

Sierra, who was on the opposite side of the earth-dome, saw what the Witch was doing. She moved as fast as her Werebear legs could carry her.

Unfortunately, the progress bar indicated that it only had ten seconds left before completion.

Smoke was in a bind, but he already prepared for this situation. He pointed his hands at the ground behind the Witch and an earth spike came out and struck her squarely on the back.

Horrabelle released her grip on him and sunk down to the ground. Instantly, the progress bar of the Ability Devourer was canceled. Smoke was about to hit her with his sickle, but the Witch fired a Lightning Strike away from both Smoke and Sierra.

The Witch’s body vanished as she merged with her lightning and materialized again, from a safe distance away.

“Nyak nyak nyak. Looks like you learned your lesson, Dark—” Horrabelle stopped talking as numerous stone daggers fell down on her. Smoke used his Earth Manipulation to create an attack similar to that of the invisible knives he experienced in Mystique Forest.

Horrabelle used her lightning to escape the rain of stone daggers, but she got hit several times before she escaped and her life bar now displayed (820,000/1,200,000 HP).

Yet, the red Werebear followed the course of the lightning and was already running towards her.

“Sierra, now!” shouted Smoke as he equipped his Armadillo Shield and used his Hyper Jump ability.

This time, he appeared in front of the Witch and smacked her head with his shield. Shortly after, Sierra used her claws and grabbed a hold of the Witch’s shoulders.

Sierra opened her mouth wide and sunk her sharp teeth into Horrabelle’s neck. Blood spurted out, but the red Werebear kept on going. Fighting in such a feral manner used to appall her, but trained to use it after she saw how deadly and effective it was.

Horrabelle vanished as she merged with her lightning once more and disappeared to the opposite side of the earth-dome. She was breathing hard. She touched her bleeding neck with her hand. The mouth in her palm sucked out the poison. It then coughed out a black goo, closing the wound and ending both her Bleeding and Poisoned status.

“Thank you, my Werebear. I was having trouble with that poison earlier, but you helped me get rid of it,” said Horrabelle sarcastically.

“Now, allow me to show you two how much I appreciate it,” she said calmly. She then chanted and aimed her hands at both Smoke and Sierra before she yelled out. “Dark Chain Lightning!”

Several branches of black Lightning Strikes appeared out of her hands and hit the two of them at the same time. They were knocked back against the earth-dome and was held there as her Dark Chain Lightning attack did not stop.

Smoke’s life bar quickly depleted to 45% as it displayed (89,017/197,816 HP). He quickly switched to his white metallic staff and created a purple concave barrier.

His Manatl completely absorbed the Dark Chain Lightning attacks. He looked at Sierra and saw that she was in pain as she struggled to block Horrabelle’s attack.

He knew he had to do something soon or else Sierra could die. He tried to move to the side, and the Dark Chain Lightning slowly followed his Manatl, but it wasn’t fast enough to change directions.

Smoke left an afterimage of himself as he used his Hyper Jump ability and appeared on the Witch’s side. He was charging in fast with his Manatl in front of him.

Horrabelle shifted her attention to Smoke, which gave Sierra the opportunity she needed to escape. The red Werebear rolled to the side, away from the branches of black lightning.

After she recovered her footing, Sierra also sprinted towards the Witch.

With both Smoke and Sierra coming at Horrabelle simultaneously, the Witch canceled her Dark Chain Lightning and was about to create a Lightning Strike to ride on.

However, before her body could merge with the lightning, the gathered energy from Smoke’s Manatl walloped her in the back as he struck her with his white staff.

Horrabelle’s escape was thwarted as she rolled on the floor. Due to the absorbed power of her Dark Chain Lightning, Smoke delivered 244,000 damage points, and her life bar displayed 48%.

Sierra pounced on the crouched Witch on the ground. Horrabelle’s eyes almost popped out, as the red Werebear squatted on her with her full weight.

Even in the darkness, her big, sharp claws went straight for Horrabelle’s pale neck. Slash after slash, blood splattered on the ground.

Smoke ran to where he could sense Sierra and Horrabelle were, but panted hard as he found it difficult to breathe.

‘We’re almost out of oxygen. We have to kill her now,’ thought Smoke as he tried to stabilize his breathing. He thought about making a hole at the top of the dome or even a small one on the side that could allow the air to enter, but instantly decided against it. He couldn’t risk Horrabelle escaping. He wasn’t sure how small she could manipulate her lightning and there was a risk she could ride it out of the dome.

Then, a bright flash of light flashed in front of him and he saw Sierra’s massive cursed form flying straight towards him. Without thinking it through, he braced his footing and tried to catch her, but the two of them went tumbling backwards instead.

“Twenty percent. Just twenty more,” said Sierra excitedly as she pulled herself up from the flattened DarkElf. “I saw it, Smoke. We can do this!” she said with much difficulty as the thin air finally got to her.

The dark earth-dome suddenly became bright again as a series of lightning bolts came straight at them. Smoke quickly stood up and formed a larger concave Manatl to ensure that Sierra won’t get damage by Horrabelle’s attack.

A full minute passed, before the Witch’s lightning bolts finally stopped. Smoke’s everyday Manatl training proved to be effective as his barrier showed no signs of degradation.

From across the dome, he could hear Horrabelle panting hard for air.

‘Looks like we’re all in the same boat,’ he thought to himself.

He was about to tell Sierra to move, but she beat him to it.

“Smoke, let’s finish this.” she said in between deep breaths.

“I’m ready whenever you are,” he answered back and positioned his feet to run.

“Go!” shouted Sierra and bolted straight for Horrabelle.

Charging in with his Manatl, Smoke ran to the side of the Witch in order to flank her.

Horrabelle fired off her lightning bolts and caught Sierra. The red Werebear tumbled down after taking a few of the lightning bolts directly. Fortunately, for her, the Witch stopped her attacks as she still had difficulty breathing.

With Smoke still coming straight for the Witch, Horrabelle created a smaller version of her Lightning Strike and merged with it to move farther away.

However, Smoke already devised a countermeasure for this move. With his Manatl still activated, he used his Hyper Jump ability and collided with the Lightning Strike.

Horrabelle materialized in front of him. He quickly canceled out his Manatl and transferred the absorbed energy into his white staff.

Simultaneously, the Witch raised both her hands and unleashed her Dark Chain Lightning. The two of them delivered their attacks and both were blown backward from each other.

Smoke rolled on the ground and was left with 15% on his life bar. In a crouched position, he created a smaller Manatl. He took deep breaths as he was beginning to feel dizzy.

The low glow from his purple Manatl somewhat illuminated the dark earth-dome, and he could see Horrabelle’s silhouette coming steadily towards him.


Smoke then heard the sound of the Cavalry Knights almost breaking through the dome. He then heard Horrabelle’s voice.

“It appears that the time has come,” she said slowly and drew closer.

When Horrabelle was only a meter away, he could see a clearer image of her in the dim purple light. She only had less than 3% left on her life bar. Percentage-wise, Smoke’s life bar appeared to be higher, but Horrabelle’s actual HP was still more than what he had.

With both her hands raised, Horrabelle shouted. “Maledict!”

A black lightning erupted out of her fingers and transformed into a crow. It flew straight into his chest and exposed his X-shaped scar.

“Argh!” cried out Smoke in agony.

A notification window then popped up.

– [CURSED] You have been inflicted with the Decay Aura

> The Decay Aura will activate whenever your life bar reaches below 25%
> You and anyone else caught within three meters will lose 100 HP per second

At once, a black aura appeared below his feet, and his life bar was steadily being drained. He quickly grabbed his necklace, and used the Heart of Reente’s regeneration. He gambled that it would work despite the curse being in effect.

Luckily, it activated without a problem and began to restore his life at 2% HP per second, but it came at a cost of his mana. Even though he still had enough MP to sustain the necklace’s ability to 26% HP, he wondered if he could last that long.

The Witch only needed one more attack, and he was sure to be a goner. He cursed under his breath as he had almost killed her.

“Nyak nyak nyak,” laughed Horrabelle as she poised to cast her Dark Chain Lightning.

“With this, my sisters will finally smile in Mictlan as I have avenged their—” Horrabelle stopped talking as blood dripped out from the side of her mouth.

From his crouched position, Smoke could see Sierra’s claws pierce through the Witch’s chest. She drained Horrabelle’s life bar to zero.

The last Witch of Wysteria’s dead body slumped down on the floor. An exhausted Sierra dropped down beside her.

A notification window popped up shortly after.

+ Your party has dealt a fatal blow to the Witch of Wysteria: Horrabelle.
+ Your party killed the Witch of Wysteria: Horrabelle.
+ Your party gained 6,200,000 experience points.

As the corpse of the black Witch of Malady faded into oblivion, it left behind several items.

+ Acquired Quest Item for Immense Power of the Blood Moon:
> Witch of Wysteria: Terrabelle blood vial (1/1)
> Witch of Wysteria: Crucibelle blood vial (1/1)
> Witch of Wysteria: Horrabelle blood vial (1/1)

+ Acquired rare hand accessory: Electromagnetic Golem Offering

+ Acquired parchment: Update on Varanus Indicus Experiments

+ Acquired book: The Bloodline of a Thaumaturge

Smoke quickly gathered Horrabelle’s dropped loot. He then switched out his white metallic staff with his Digger’s Wand and pointed it directly under the collapsed red Werebear.

Sierra fell down the tunnel he created and he jumped in immediately after her. Smoke then closed the tunnel’s entrance before the Cavalry Knights could break through the dome.

* * * * * *  

Ten minutes passed inside the moist underground cave that Smoke built. It was barely big enough for Smoke and Sierra to sit comfortably together. It was also sealed off from the surface, except for the several small air holes he created. With a flowing air supply, Sierra was able to breathe normally again.

Smoke also allowed Igniz out of his metallic container and had his symbiote illuminate the small chamber. He thought about creating a larger hole and sending Igniz out to inspect what Macher and his Cavalry Knights were doing, but decided to delay it a bit longer.

He was concerned for the Decay Aura curse, but decided it was not the time to tell Sierra about it.

Instead, he took out the items he looted from the Witches of Wysteria and showed them to her.

“Here, take them,” he said proudly. He smiled at her as he gave her three blood vials. “We finally did it, and you delivered the finishing blow.”

With her shaking paws, Sierra took the three vials and stared at them with disbelief. “What do I do, now?” she asked out loud and saw a notification window pop up.

+ Quest: Immense Power of the Blood Moon
Racial Quest Updated!
Level: A

You have killed all three Witches of Wysteria.

To complete the quest, you must:
1. Make a casting circle with three pentagrams connected in a triangle.
2. Place the blood vials into the three pentagrams.
3. Have the ones cursed with the Blood Moon stay inside the triangle.
4. Chant the spell: “Servire Zectas Aeternum. Revertere ad formam Origo.”

Sierra looked at him with teary eyes. “Smoke, we have to gather all the Werewolves and Werebears,” she said excitedly. “I think there’s hope for them yet.”

“And what about Ledur and his brothers?” he asked hopefully.

“Oh, of course. Them too,” she replied guiltily and lightly slap herself in the forehead for forgetting about them. “We should head over to them now.”

“Alright, let me just send Igniz out and check on what Macher and his Cavalry Knights are doing above,” he said quickly and created an entrance to a shaft that his symbiote could squeeze into.

While Igniz was flying out of their cave, Smoke took out the other items he got from Horrabelle. He had set them aside as he focused on taking care of Sierra as she recover her HP.

“Hey, let’s checkout Horrabelle’s other items,” said Smoke in high spirit. “Maybe we’ll know something about this High General she was working for?”

Sierra shrugged. She was only paying half attention to Horrabelle’s other loot as all that mattered to her were the blood vials.

Smoke first took out the Electromagnetic Golem Offering and inspected it.

Electromagnetic Golem Offering

A rare ring composed of precious magnetic metals. It was created by one of the Witches of Wysteria, Horrabelle. Its black and silver color intertwined with each other. It was crafted to create metallic golems as her minions.

+50 Intelligence
+30% Lightning Affinity

Equipment Ability:
*Golem Creation (Active)
> Creates a metallic Golem
> Range depend on the caster’s total Mana
> Consumes 75,000 MP per Golem summoned
> Once you’ve used this ability, you cannot use it again for another one hour

> Requires special magnetic rocks
> Requires electro stones as power source
> If a Golem is destroyed, its electro stone power-source can still be recovered

He whistled loudly after he finished inspecting the item. If he equipped this ring, then he could fulfill the conditions for acquiring the Lightning Manipulation tome.

“Mm, Sierra. You won’t mind if I keep Horrabelle’s ring for myself, right?” he asked nervously. He had the other two items from the previous Witches, but Sierra deserved Horrabelle’s dropped items.

Sierra wasn’t paying any real attention to him, and was still smiling from finally completing her racial quest. “Sure. Keep it. I don’t mind.”

“Thanks, Sierra. I knew you’d say that,” he said quickly and equipped the Electromagnetic Golem Offering. He then took out the ability tome entitled “Lightning Manipulation”.

+ consumed ‘Lightning Manipulation’ tome.

The ability tome bound in specially leather with silver lining instantly vanished after being consumed.

+ Learned Ability: Lightning Manipulation
Level: Beginner Level 1
Experience: (0/1,000)

* Power and Speed of Lightning depends on:
> The user’s Lightning affinity
> The level of this ability
* Range increases as level increases

Effect: Manipulate Lightning within 20 meters
MP Consumption: 200 MP

Smoke excitedly stretched out his hand open and tried to fire out a lightning bolt. He imagined lightning coming out of his palm, in a similar way as he created a Manatl. Yet, nothing happened. Not even a spark came out of his hand.

“Strange? Nothing’s coming out,” he said out loud. He wondered why the Lightning Manipulation didn’t immediately work when the Earth Manipulation allowed him to control the earth right from the start.

For several attempts, he repeated the same actions as Horrabelle fired out his lightning bolts but nothing happened.

Finally, Sierra patted him on the shoulders. “Stop. I don’t think you’ll be able to fire lightning bolts. After all, the ability is Lightning Manipulation not Lightning Creation.”

In truth, Smoke came up with the same realization a few minutes ago, but didn’t want to admit it to himself. However, after hearing it out loud, he had to accept the reality that the ability could only manipulate lightning.

Smoke let out a deep sigh. “Yeah, I think you’re right. I’ll just try it out with Aral’s Lightning Rods, later. Anyway, there’s still a parchment and a book.”

He quickly took out both of the items and began to acquire their knowledge at once. The progress bar on the parchment displayed five seconds, while the book displayed fifty.

After a few seconds, an Information window popped up. He read it out loud for Sierra to hear.

+ Update on Varanus Indicus Experiments

Good Day,

Despite recent inconveniences, I have finally completed their transformation. There is no doubt that they will pass off as Humans, Elves and Centaurs. They will be powerful subordinates to your cause.

May the bloodline of Vinceretus rule forever!

Your Loyal Servant,


‘Is this letter suppose to be for her High General?’ wondered Smoke to himself.

“Do you think this could be for Horrabelle’s Boss?” she asked him the same thing that was already in his mind.

“I think so,” replied Smoke with a grin. He couldn’t help himself, but smile at how similar their thinking was lately.

“What’s so funny?” asked Sierra with her eyebrows crossed.

“Nothing. Nothing, I swear,” he said defensively. He quickly tried to redirect the topic. “You know, I owe you an apology.”

“What? For being mean and laughing?” asked Sierra and punched him in the shoulder.

“Ouch!” he yelped out, as Sierra’s attacks packed quite a punch even if she was just messing around.

“No. I wasn’t laughing at you,” he said, while massaging his bruised shoulder. “For the record, I was just smiling.”

Smoke straightened his body and put on a solemn face. “I’d like to say sorry, about being such a jerk with starting the Vigilantez. I know I argued with you about it at first, but the guild really helped us a lot.”

Sierra’s eyebrow instantly rose as Smoke had a serious problem with trusting other Sonstwelters. “Then, I guess a long overdue ‘I told you so’ is in order?”

She tried to make him laugh or at least smile, but Smoke was dead serious about regretting his decision on not forming their guild sooner.

Smoke breathed in deep. “Listen, I just want you to know that I’m still not comfortable with other Sonstwelters, but when you took me out of my comfort zone, you showed me that there are Sonstwelters we can trust.”

Sierra smiled and looked him straight in the eye. “In the future, you just need to remember one thing. I’ll always know what’s best for you, especially when you argue about it with me.”

Before he could say anything in response, the second book’s Information window popped up.

+ The Bloodline of a Thaumaturge

According to legend, a Thaumaturge is a worker of wonders and performer of miracles. Yet, in the olden days, a selfish individual of high authority and power tricked one of the fabled Thaumaturge to teach him of their ways.

Convinced that the individual known as Vinceretus had pure intentions, the Thaumaturge taught him of a few of their techniques. Yet, Vinceretus was keen on learning one ability above the rest. This was the ability to resurrect the dead.

Right away, the Thaumaturge denied him of such knowledge. However, Vinceretus insisted on learning it. Due to this, the Thaumaturge realized his mistake and banished Vinceretus from his presence.

Unfortunately, Vinceretus grabbed a hold of half of his desired ability. This allowed him to reanimate the dead, but at a heavy cost of the living.

The Thaumaturge’s true ability completely brought back the dead whole, body and soul included. Yet, Vinceretus’ stolen ability only brought back the empty shells.

Although, his risen undead attacked under his command, they were far weaker than those with a thinking mind. Vinceretus made up for this with the sheer number of undead under his command.

Vinceretus would have defeated the other sub-races of the Reptilian race the Chameleonese, Crocodilians and Draconians, but the rest of Zectian population was united and wiped them out…or so they thought.

After the downfall of the Reptilian race, their royal bloodlines were hunted down. They say that, each of the High Generals heirs were scattered throughout Zectas.

Each of them inheriting their father’s knowledge and power. It is said, that they were bred to grow stronger with each generation. Until the four of them could unite and reclaim the rightful throne as rulers of Zectas.

It will not be the heir, who is more powerful than a dragon that will rule, but rather, the one that had conquered death. The Bloodline of the banished Thaumaturge who reclaims the dead from Mictlan and orders them to do his bidding.

In the same way, Smoke read the letter out loud for Sierra’s benefit. After he finished reading, he looked at her with curious eyes. “Do you think Horrabelle was working for this High General so that she could revive her sisters?”

“I don’t know. But whatever her reason was, one thing is clear. Whoever this High General is, he is most definitely dangerous,” said Sierra ominously.

Smoke looked at her with a peaceful heart. He feared for her safety when Horrabelle was alive, but with the Witch gone, he had nothing else to fear. This was why he would not let this knowledge dampen his bright disposition.

“Let’s just deal with that when it happens,” he said positively. “Let me just check on Igniz.”

Smoke’s eyes turned white as he used his Symbiote Vision. Through Igniz’s eyes, he saw Macher lead a group of his Knights pass through a maze-like obstacle course and into the forest patch where the surviving Vigilantez were running into.

As Igniz changed directions, he then saw other Cavalry Knights exit the destroyed wall of the earth-dome. They were headed towards Braucht Hilfe village.

As he surveyed the battlefield, Smoke saw the black and silver metallic rocks scattered on the ground. The rocks were out of his reach, but since he was going to dig a tunnel to escape anyway, he decided to take a quick detour.

He told Sierra that he was going to start digging a tunnel towards their comrades’ location. He conveniently mapped a route that enabled him to pick up the black and silver metallic rocks. He made tunnels towards the surface, and made holes that brought down the rocks. He hurriedly closed the holes as soon as Smoke got the magnetic prerequisites.

The two of them steadily headed to the agreed Vigilantez’s assembly point. Smoke and Sierra crawled silently as he led the way with his Digger’s Wand, creating more tunnel as they moved forward.

* * * * * *  

Six hours after their battle in the plains of Braucht Hilfe Village, the Vigilantez survivors gathered in their temporary hideout in Mount Vorteil.

Originally, their strike force had more than four thousand members. Now, they only had a little over two-thousand-nine-hundred members and a hundred war chariots left.

On the bright side, none of Smoke’s core members got critically injured during their confrontation with Horrabelle’s army.

Exhausted and beaten down, their morale was at an all time low. Until, two figures emerged out from the shadows. Smoke and Sierra arrived with the great news. The sacrifices of their fallen comrades were not in vain. Their two leaders announced that they finally killed Horrabelle.

All the core members immediately ran to meet them.

Adder shook Smoke’s hand. “So, you finally put an end to the Witches of Wysteria.”

“We did, but you should be congratulating Sierra for that,” replied Smoke as he pointed to her. “She’s the one who finished her off.”

“I knew it!” exclaimed Sharur who ran to Sierra and congratulated her. “I knew you’d be the one to do it.”

Despite Sharur’s OrkElf height, Sierra still stood taller than him. She patted her on the shoulders and smiled.

“Thanks, Sharur, but Smoke did most of the work. I only delivered the final blow,” she replied modestly.

“Now, don’t be like that. Tell us more,” persisted Sharur and most of the core members joined in on his request.

Smoke then took out three blood vials from his backpack. Sierra had returned them to him for safekeeping, as her cursed form made it difficult for her to carry such precious cargo.

“We’ll tell you more about Horrabelle’s battle later, but right now I need to talk to the rest of the Vigilantez,” he said with a serious but joyful expression.

He gathered his fellow guild members. “Everyone, let me just say that all of you fought bravely and brilliantly. I am deeply honored and proud to be called a Vigilantez.”

“Many of our brothers and sisters bravely sacrificed their lives today, but it was for a noble cause,” he said somberly. “Let us offer a moment of silence in their honor.”

Everybody immediately placed their fist over their hearts and bowed down their heads. After a few seconds Smoke spoke to them once more.

“Their valiant deaths were not in vain. Because of them, we finally killed the last Witch of Wysteria,” he said brimming with pride. “We’ve permanently stopped Horrabelle from capturing any more children for her experiments and most importantly, Sierra and our other cursed members have finally found a cure.”

At once all of the gathered Vigilantez cheered, except for one winged Tikbalang. Smoke immediately ordered to make the necessary preparations for the casting circle that Sierra told him.

While they were working on with completing the ritual, Ledur walked up to Smoke.

“I just wanted to tell you that you have been an honorable leader. You’ve always taken into consideration the lives of all our members, but as this is war, lives will always be lost,” he said regrettably. “Despite this, no matter what happens next, my Tikbalang brothers and I will remain loyal to your righteous cause,” said Ledur sincerely.

Smoke was taken aback. He had noticed that Ledur kept to himself the last few weeks and barely spoke to anyone at all. Sure, he was still friendly with everyone, but his responses were always less than two words or none at all.

“Well, I’m glad you feel that way. I always value your opinion, and if you think that I’m wrong please feel free to tell me. I have no qualms with listening to reason,” replied Smoke with admiration.

Before, Smoke only looked up to one Zectian, and that was Darius. Now, he looked up to three. Adder and Ledur were added to that short list, and he made sure to show them proper respect.

Ledur patted Smoke’s shoulder with his hoof and went to his fellow Tikbalangs. It looked like he was going to have a long discussion with them about the ritual.

Meanwhile, Phen and Rear, her gray and black Beta Werewolves, went over to meet with Sierra.

“Excuse me, Alpha Sierra. Can we speak with you candidly?” asked Rear, and she pointed to the quiet gray Werewolf who stood beside her.

“Of course,” replied Sierra enthusiastically. “I bet you’re excited to return to normal, right?”

“Actually, that is the very topic we would like to discuss with you,” said Rear flatly.

Sierra didn’t understand her Werewolf lieutenants. “What do you mean?”

Phen bowed his head and Rear followed shortly.

“We’ve talked with the other Werewolves, and forty of us have come to the same decision,” stated Rear plainly. “We will not take part in the ritual.”

“What?” Sierra growled loudly as they were talking in Therianthrope tongue and came out as growls and grunts to a non Therianthrope. “Isn’t this what we’ve been fighting for?”

“It was one of the reasons,” said Rear as she began her explanation. “But then we realized that if we lose our Werewolf bodies, we could no longer fight with the same strength for the Vigilantez.”

Rear continued to voice out their reason. “We think that it was Cuezaltzin’s divine intervention that turned us into Werewolves. You personally have seen the difference we’ve made in Zectas. Our cursed forms have saved plenty of people and we will not stop now.”

Sierra shook her head and would not allow it.

Phen nudged Rear in the back, and the black Werewolf added more reasons to support their wish to remain as Werewolves.

“Also, Vrai and Ardu have both been magnificent Werebears,” she said with admiration at the young Therianthropes. “In your absence, they managed to convert more than two-hundred of Horrabelle’s Werewolves into our pack.”

Despite the good news, Sierra’s face remained unchanged.

“If you put that into consideration, then forty of us who will remain as Werewolves will not matter as much,” said Rear with a strained voice. “Of course, Vrai and Ardu will join the ritual, and Rear and I will take command of your Werewolves.”

Again, Sierra shook her head after she heard Rear’s statement.

“Alpha Sierra, please. Think of the Vigilantez with a diminished attack power,” Rear begged Sierra to reconsider. “And we still have a long way to go before we free Centzo and kill Duke Burmistrz.”

“If your concern is the lowered attack strength of the Vigilantez, then why don’t you talk with Smoke,” said Sierra with uncertainty. “If he’s fine with you remaining as Werewolves, then I won’t say anything else in the matter.”

“Thank you, Alpha Sierra,” said Rear. The two large Werewolves knelt down before her.

Rear stood up and awkwardly asked the red Werebear a favor. “Mm. You won’t mind translating for us, would you? We can understand him, but I don’t think he can understand us.”

“Of course not,” said Sierra with a grin. “Why would I mind. I told you, I always have your best interest at heart.”

The three of them went to Smoke`, and Sierra spoke for Phen and Rear.

Sierra told Smoke of the Werewolves intention and of how they were concern for the waning strength of the Vigilantez. “…So, that’s the gist of it. Well, what do you think?”

Smoke covered his mouth with his index finger, while he pondered on Phen and Rear’s point. He already thought about the consequences of losing their Werewolf and Tikbalang forces, but he thought they could be trained into Ranseurs, Arcus or Rangers. Yet, he never considered the fact that some of them wanted to remain in their cursed forms for the sake of fighting for their cause.

A part of him wanted to accept their offer, but he quickly dismissed the idea. He didn’t need Sierra to glare at him to tell him that this was wrong.

“I’m sorry, but I won’t allow it. As tempting as it sounds, I have to deny your request,” said Smoke with finality. “Regardless if you lose your Werewolf abilities, you will still be able to fight for the Vigilantez. It wasn’t because of your Werewolf strength that we won, but because of your bravery and determination.”

After Smoke gave them his decision, Phen and Rear looked at each other and accepted their defeat. They lowered their heads and respected their orders.

After the preparations were completed; Sierra and Ledur along with two Werebears, two-hundred-eighty-five Werewolves and ninety-six Tikbalangs gathered inside the great casting circle.

Smoke gave Sierra a long, white robe, useable by anyone. It had no special attributes, but it was exactly what Sierra would need after her curse was lifted. Everyone else of the transformed had a similar white robe laid out in front of them.

With their clothing secured, Smoke then placed the Witches’ blood vials inside their designated pentagrams and backed away from the casting circle.

With all of the cursed Vigilantez inside, Sierra uttered the words. “Servire Zectas Aeternum. Revertere ad formam Origo.”

Instantly, their dimly lit underground hideout was enveloped by a bright red light. A red blood moon appeared above the casting circle. It was steadily growing in size. As the cavern was not big to begin with, it descended upon them and covered all of them whole.

As the red light was extremely bright, Smoke and everybody else covered their eyes. Slowly, the red luminance faded away and left a cloud of dust in its wake.

Several people clothed in long white robes emerged out of the dust. A red-haired HighElf walked over to Smoke. Her long curly hair reached below her shoulders.

She smiled at him nervously and said. “So, what do you think?”

He got used to looking up to see into Sierra’s eyes, but now she was shorter than him, the same height in the real world. He grinned at her deep satisfaction. “You know, I think you looked prettier with a little fur on your face.”

Sierra instantly scowled and punched him in the chest, but instead of flying away, Smoke remained where he stood. “And your punches have grown a lot weaker too,” he said as he pulled her in for a tight hug.

All of the core members watched the two of them from the side. Sharur and Laernea stood right next to each other. The Lioumerean lioness cried tears of joy for Smoke and Sierra, she then saw a tear trickle down Sharur’s face.

“You know, it helps to accept that they’ll only ever love us as friends,” she said to Sharur and patted his shoulder.

Sharur hurriedly wiped his tear away and shrugged off Laernea’s hand. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and the OrkElf walked away from her.

“No use talking to him about it,” said Jinggu, Sharur’s twin brother. “You may have dealt with your feelings for Smoke, but he has to go through this on his own. I don’t think he will listen to anyone, anyway.”

Mamelon stepped away from the core members and went towards Smoke and Sierra. After Smoke, she was the first one to congratulate Sierra from removing the curse.

“A pleasure to finally see the real you, Sierra,” she said as she shook her hand.

“Thank you,” she said happily and fervently shook Mamelon. “You don’t know how good it feels to use my hands instead of claws.”

Mamelon stepped aside and Sharur quickly followed after the Aqua Knight.

“I always knew you were amazing, even when you were still a Werebear, but I never knew you were this beautiful,” said Sharur and firmly shook her hand.

“Really? Well, thank you for saying that, but I think you’re just being very polite,” she said self-consciously. It had been over a year in the real world, and she got to know these Zectians really well. Yet, now that her real face was projected out, everything felt different to her.

“I’m sure you’ll get tired of seeing my face soon enough,” she replied and laughed. Except for Sharur, everyone joined her laughing.

“I’m just being honest,” Sharur said sincerely. “In fact, it’s clear why Smoke thinks so highly of you.”

Before Sharur could say anything else, Laernea pushed the OrkElf aside to give the rest of them some room. The other core members took turns to speak with the curse-free Sierra in her HighElf form.

While his core members were talking to Sierra, Smoke was looking for Ledur. “Rudel? Rudel?” he called out Ledur’s name from when he was still a Volataur, a winged Centaur.

Yet, no matter where he looked, the only long robed people he could find where people. None of them were Centaurs.

Then, it dawned on him. The dust inside the casting circle had not yet settled. “Rudel? Are you still inside the casting circle?” he asked apprehensively.

“I’m here, Smoke, but I told you to call me Ledur,” replied a winged Tikbalang who stepped out of the dust. He was shortly followed by his Tikbalang brothers.

“Ledur, I’m so sorry. I honestly thought that your curse would be cured by this ritual as well,” said Smoke sincerely.

“It’s alright,” replied Ledur and rested his hoof on Smoke’s shoulder. “I was prepared for this, and I told my Tikbalang brothers of the same thing.”

Smoke realized that it was from the time when Ledur spoke with the other Tikbalangs before the ritual began.

“But how did you know?” Smoke asked sadly.

“I didn’t,” said Ledur and sighed. “Like you, I was hopeful as well. But then I knew that lifting my curse wasn’t going to be this easy.”

As sadness and guilt filled him, Smoke nodded and tears began to swell up in his eyes. He promised them that he would remove their curse, but he failed them instead.

“Fret not,” said Ledur. “I still have hope that someday. We will return to our true forms. Until then, I would like to follow my brothers’ and try to keep a vow silence.”

Ledur smiled at him and patted his DarkElf white hair. He tried to laugh off the tears away.

“So, that’s what you were doing?” he asked as he desperately tried to change the topic. “Alright, from now on, I won’t try to put you in a situation where you need to talk. Although I wonder how that will go since you’re one of our important strategists.”

The cured people from the Therianthrope curse walked to meet the Tikbalangs. They hugged them and swore to help them be free of this dire affliction.

Smoke walked over to Sierra and updated her with Ledur and the Tikbalangs status.

“Our cure didn’t work for them, huh?” she asked rhetorically. “You did tell them that we won’t stop until we find a cure for them, right?”

Smoke’s eyebrow raised. “Of course. That’s the first thing I said.”

Suddenly, Sierra realized something. “Did you tell him about Horrabelle’s parchment? Didn’t that say that she had a way to make those monsters from the mountain to look like Humans, Lioumereans, Elves and Centaurs?”

He shook his head. “No. I didn’t want to keep his hopes up until I have something more concrete that a letter.”

“Well, I guess that makes sense,” she answered passively.

Smoke stared down on the ground, as he felt responsible for the Tikbalangs curse.

“Hey, I might have something that will cheer you up,” said Sierra enthusiastically.

“Really?” asked an intrigued Smoke. “What’s that?”

“Right when the blood moon engulfed us in its light, I saw a quest window for a Job change,” she said excitedly. “Of course I don’t plan on going there now. Seeing as we only have less than two days left before Centzo’s attack.”

“That’s great. I was thinking how this long quest was suppose to make you powerful when all it did was curse you,” replied Smoke with the same level of zest.

“But that wasn’t my good news,” Sierra said slowly for suspense. “When I searched through my abilities, I found the same Acolyte abilities from before, but I found one new ability that I never saw before.”

“And what’s the ability?” he asked anxiously. After Sierra’s transformation into a HighElf, he felt more at ease and talking with her became easier.

“Its called Transmogrify,” she said with a knowing grin. “I haven’t used it yet, but I think it looks really promising.”

* * * * * *  

After Smoke and Sierra got a quick power nap in the real world, they both returned to Zectas at the same time. They needed to log in quickly for they had less than thirty hours left before the Brandals would launch their full out attack on Centzo.

Smoke and the Vigilantez survivors gathered in a forest patch, fifteen kilometers north of the city. Prosjak told him that after he assassinated Horrabelle, he was to lead his forces to this location.

Supposedly, a letter from the Duke’s adviser would arrive, and help them with their task of defending the northern side of the city. He appreciated how Prosjak worded this instruction. It was as if he never considered the possibility that Smoke would fail his mission in Braucht Hilfe Village.

While they waited, Sierra checked with the rest of the formerly cursed Therianthropes and confirmed that all of them had the same Transmogrify ability. They now had the ability to shapeshift into Werebears and Werewolves at will.

Personally, Smoke would have preferred if they used this ability only as a last resort, but only Sierra had enough abilities to fight without Transmogrifying, whereas the rest of them were untrained to fight outside of their cursed forms.

Under the guidance of Phen and Rear, Ardu and Vrai took command of Sierra’s former Therianthrope army.

Meanwhile, Sierra dressed in her battle acolyte set. She also equipped Smoke’s Armored Armadillo Shield and a fire enchanted battle mace. The red-haired HighElf took command of her fellow Acolytes and began to train them how to defend for their lives, in case the Iron Knights guarding them were beaten.

Thyrsus suddenly called for Smoke and the core member’s attention. Apparently, his falcon saw a large group heading their way.

“…From the way their moving, it appears that they know of our present location,” reported Thyrsus after he canceled his Falcon Vision.

“Should we run for it?” asked Laernea and Gandiva simultaneously. The two Lioumereans were already riding on their stag moose, ready to move.

Guro, the lioness Gladiatrix, raised her hand in disapproval. “It is best if we stay in this position. Prosjak’s instruction proved to be very effective when we were in Braucht Hilfe.”

“I agree. Ichaival, please send the Banalite Archers and the Arcus without war chariots up the trees,” added Adder.

Smoke and Sierra had no problem with Adder and Guro’s suggestion. He then ordered for the entire Vigilantez force to prepare to engage the incoming forces.

Along with the Iron Knights, Sierra had the Acolytes spread out among the Vigilantez. Her life bar and attack power may have gone down significantly, but she thought that her ability to heal and tank simultaneously more than made up for it.

After she had the Acolytes in position, Sierra signaled Ardu and Vrai to Transmogrify. At once, the two teenagers transformed into Werebears and the rest of the Werewolves transmogrified after them.

With all the Vigilantez prepared, they waited for the unknown army.

Then, the sound of a large army marching came from in front of them. A legion of fifteen-thousand Avendre Mercenaries appeared before them. Each mercenary wore a thick leather armor and was equipped with a saber and a medium sized kite shield.

Fifteen Avendre stood above the rest as they wore full metal armor and carried long claymores by their side. One of these mercenaries raised both his hands and slowly approached Smoke. In his right hand, he carried an encased parchment.

“I have a letter from Prosjak,” said the Avendre Mercenary and handed him the sealed document.

Smoke hurriedly began to acquire the letter’s information. Shortly, a notification window popped up.

+ Centzo’s Defense

Good Day,

Congratulations on vanquishing Horrabelle. Now, your next assignment is the first phase of the plan we discussed before. As we have discussed, we know of four possible scenarios. Regardless which one they decide to take, we are sure that a large force will be coming from the north.

Duke Jeune has given you the task to ward off all attacks coming from the north. Six kilometers southeast from your current location, there should be a gathering of over 30,000 Brandals.

To help you with this endeavor, Duke Jeune has sent for these Avendre Mercenaries as reinforcements. I know that you may still be greatly outnumbered, but this was all the force the Avendre could muster.

The Brandals objective is to take the northern gate and lay waste to the citizens of Centzo, while yours is stop them at all cost.

I look forward to sharing a drink with you after we rid this region of these bandits.

May good fortune be with us all.

Best wishes,


After Smoke finished reading the letter, the Avendre Mercenary knelt down before him.

“My name is Commander Jeter Pion. My brothers and I have strict orders to serve the DarkElf known as Smoke,” said the mercenary. “What are your orders, Sir?”

Smoke looked at the mercenary and to the rest of the Avendre. He then glanced at Sierra and his core members.

“Gather your fellow Commanders, Jeter,” said Smoke eagerly. “We have a city to free.”

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