Author: John Nest
A hysterical Smoke was screaming for Meneur to step out of the Ork library. “Come on! You need to see this!” he screamed, waving the book over his head.
“Check yourself, Boy!” screamed Meneur, hobbling out of the two-story hut. “What do you want a blind woman to see now?” she added, chuckling.
Smoke ignored Meneur’s antics. Instead, he continued reading the acquired knowledge window out loud. “Dragons and other draconic creatures are normally impossible to train. However, through the process of imprinting: a person comes to be recognized by the draconic creature as a parent or a person of habitual trust.” A presumptuous smirk instantly overcame his face. He could already picture himself using the wyvern against the Orks or any other opposing armies.
“Really? A wyvern, huh? I’ve always wanted one… You know, as a guardian for our village,” stammered Meneur, interrupting Smoke’s own delusions of riding on a wyvern above the clouds.
“Exactly!” exclaimed Smoke, enthralled. “So, what do you say? You want to build a Dragon Hatchery here?”
“Sure! Tell me what the book says and I’ll tell our craftsmen to do it,” replied Meneur with the same enthusiasm.
Smoke bobbed his head up and down. “First we need to gather the leaves and branches from a Dracaena Marginata plant. Next, we need to build a nest at least six meters in diameter from that plant, and then we build a kiln with an area of twelve meters and a height of eighteen meters. Finally, we incubate the dragon egg inside the kiln at 1024° for the next twelve months—”
“Wow! That’s a long time,” said Meneur.
“Wait, there’s more,” added Smoke, disheartened. “The flames must be in constant rotation at the speed ranging from at least three kilometers or up to twenty kilometers per hour.”
“How are we supposed to do that?” asked Meneur, shrugging.
“Not sure,” replied Smoke scratching his head. “Let me read some more. Maybe, there’s a section on how to do that?”
Scrolling the acquired knowledge window with his index finger, Smoke stopped when he saw an interesting section.
“That doesn’t really solve anything,” said Smoke, blankly staring at the window.
“What does?” asked Meneur, confused.
Smoke let out a frustrated sigh. “Just found out that the wyvern needs a shorter amount of time, but it’s still six months!” he said, enumerating the items on incubation section.
|Draconic Incubation Periods
Legendary Dragons |———-> 36 Months
Meneur clicked her tongue and shook her head. “What good is that? That doesn’t tell us how to make the flames rotate on their own at all.”
Smoke scratched his head, trying to claw out an idea. “Hey! What about a water wheel?” he blurted out. “I know how to build one from scratch. We can attach the wheel to a circular platform and put the flames on top of it,” he said in one breath, excited. “We can even use the white oak trees from the swamp—”
Smoke stopped himself mid-sentence. “Oh, that’s right. There’s no flowing water here,” he said, realizing the stagnant waters surrounding the hidden Ork village.
“Technically, there is a slight motion in the waters,” said Meneur. “And using Water Manipulation we can increase the speed and completely remove the water from our desired land to reclaim.”
Then, it hit him. “Meneur, are you planning on doing any expansion on your village anytime soon?”
“No, not for another two years,” answered Meneur. “But what does that have to do with hatching my wyvern? I mean our future village protector,” she quickly added.
“And how many of you here can use Water Manipulation?” further asked Smoke.
The old Ork High Priestess’ nose wrinkled and said. “Well, all of the Priestesses can do it,” replied Meneur. “And there’s six of them. Including me, that’s seven. But there’s no way we can move the water around for the wheel for the entire six months.”
“Of course not,” said Smoke, trying his best not to laugh.
“Then, why do I feel like you’re giving me a smug look right now?” asked Meneur.
“Because I’m going to build you a dam!” exclaimed Smoke.
“Huh? But there’s no flowing water!” replied Meneur.
“That’s where your Water Manipulation ability comes in,” explained Smoke. “The canal will be built around your reclaimed island. It will also be divided into two parts. The southern section will be lower than the northern section, but the southern section will have a gradual incline as it reaches back to the northern part.”
“So, we use our Water Manipulation to force the water back up into this upper section of yours,” said Meneur.
“Exactly! You got it,” said a smiling Smoke, happy that the blind Ork High Priestess understood his plan. “And I’ll build a floodgate that will control the flow of the water from the upper region, assuring us of the minimum speed for the rotating flames.”
“Yeah, about that,” interjected Meneur. “I don’t know how we could sustain the flames.”
“Leave that to me,” assured Smoke. “For now, let’s just start building the dam and some of your Guards can fetch me the lumber needed for the water wheel.”
“You honestly think this will work?” asked Meneur, staring at him with her glassy white eyes.
“It’s not a sure thing, but we have to at least give it a try,” reasoned Smoke.
“Fair enough,” replied Meneur and called for the village Guards.
After Meneur’s go-signal, Smoke immediately began working on the dam.
* * * * * *
Two days passed and Smoke had already dug the inclined canal around the entire village. He even finished the flood gate that would control the flow of the water from the upper region.
Today, same as yesterday, Meneur came to visit him. They talked about the way of life of the secluded MaduHai Orks. In turn, Smoke told her about the development of the outside world. During this time, he had raised his Intimacy Level with Meneur to that of ‘Trusted Friend’.
“Forgive me for being blunt, but there is something that has been bothering me for a while,” blurted out Smoke.
“What is it?” asked Meneur.
“You are called the High Priestess and there are six other Priestesses that I know of,” began Smoke. “But in all the time I’ve been here, I’ve never seen any temples.”
Meneur chuckled. “You heathens really crack me up. Why do you need to build a structure to commune with the great god?”
“Huh? I don’t get it,” said Smoke.
“Here, we have been taught that the great god Tezcazin exists within all of us,” explained Meneur. “Each of us carries a fragment of his divine wisdom. That is why we live our lives to the fullest. After all, who knows what will come tomorrow.”
“Um… but aren’t you hiding from the rest of the world here in the swamplands?” pointed out Smoke, while still casually working on the dam.
“To you, it may look like that, but to us, it is a place where we can be free from the shackles of conformity,” said Meneur.
Smoke shook his head, confused. “Still don’t get it.”
“This enlightenment maybe too far from your reach right now,” said Meneur. “Just imagine those OrkElves you mentioned. They’re running around everywhere. Asking for scraps in the cities, and these hapless offsprings of my savage cousins are even forced to live in pomegranate forests.”
“Right? Doesn’t your heart break imagining their lives?” replied Smoke.
“Honestly, it doesn’t sound so bad,” said Meneur. “Their problem is, they lack the sense of self. If they knew that the great god Tezcazin dwells within them then—”
“Didn’t you hear what I said?” interjected Smoke, immediately stopping his work on the dam. “These OrkElves are orphans. They only have themselves to rely on.”
“You may think that it’s bad,” replied Meneur. “But the Orks leave them alone, right?”
Smoke was about to argue with her but stopped himself. “That’s true. Why is that?” he wondered out loud.
Meneur laughed. “You’ve fought against the UrukHai and MoriHai Orks, correct?”
“Yes,” replied Smoke, intrigued.
“But you still have no idea how their mind works,” she stated. She walked over to him and snorted out hot air from her nose. “Let me educate you. The UrukHai, MoriHai and especially the OlegHai are parasites. So, why would they bother with the poverty-stricken OrkElves!”
Meneur turned to the heavens and look down then she shook her head in dismay. “They only attack places where they can profit from it. They will ravage and pillage that place until it has nothing left.” She then let out a deep sigh. “I fear that soon there will come a time when they will conquer this entire continent.”
“Did you know that the UrukHai’s General came here and threatened us to join them,” blurted out Meneur. “Luckily, he believed me when I asked for a month to prepare before joining their forces.”
“What? Are you seriously going to join the rest of the Orks?” asked Smoke, alarmed. “What about the things you told me about how the MaduHai have evolved into the lovers of nature and logic?”
“I would have loved to refuse him,” interjected Meneur. “Unfortunately, there’s just no way anyone can beat the United Ork Tribes. Heck, even if the Kingdoms of Vitzytl and Thanotl would unify their forces they would still have a hard time defeating us.”
“That is only if your tribe joins them,” interjected Smoke. “The MaduHai are the smallest of the Ork Tribes, but why do you think does the General of the UrukHai insist that you join them?” he asked in a Socratic manner.
“Simple, because we are the only Orks who have the knowledge of Magic,” answered Meneur. “Without us, they won’t have any healers.”
“There you go!” said Smoke. “Then, don’t join the rest of the Ork Tribes.”
“And what? Incur the wrath of the other three tribes? No thanks!” said Meneur, laughing nervously. “Besides, there isn’t even an alliance of the Vitzytl and Thanotl Kingdoms.”
Upon hearing this, Smoke’s smile grew wide. “What if I told you that there is such an alliance!”
“Ha! Then, I’d tell you that you’re lying!” replied Meneur, intrigued. “But if there was… I would probably join the Kingdoms rather than my fellow Orks.”
“Then, why don’t you?” said Smoke. “I’m willing to submit myself to a casting circle of truth, and prove to you that there is such an alliance.”
“Alright, I’ll take you up on that,” said Meneur.
Without another word, a blue casting circle appeared beneath Smoke’s feet.
“Oh, wait. How will you know that I’m telling the truth when you can’t see the color changes of the casting circle?” asked Smoke.
“Don’t worry, I have my ways,” she replied.
Then, he felt a strange prickling sensation near his feet. Blue freezing water sprang out from the casting circle and began to swirl around him.
“Please tell me your name,” began Meneur.
Smoke gulped. ‘Might have been a bit hasty about this,’ he thought.
“Um… Right, about that,” mumbled Smoke. “It’s a really long story, but my name isn’t really Ilad. It’s actually Smoke.”
The temperatures of the icy blue waters remained the same.
“So, you lied to us about your name and being a Magic Swordsman in training?” asked Meneur, peeved.
Slowly, the water hardened around his feet and began to freeze his lower half.
“Tell me your so called long story, and if it does not satisfy me, this maybe the end of you,” threatened the Ork High Priestess.
Without reservation, Smoke began to explain how he was actually from the continent of Wysteria. How he liberated Centzo City from the evil clutches of Duke Burmistrz, and when they were about to finish off the Duke, how his closest Zectian friends Sharur and Laernea died. Now, he was on a quest to revive them which brought him here, to the Sawtorn continent.
“You could have shortened that a bit,” said Meneur when Smoke finished his tale.
“Well, you asked for the long story,” replied Smoke.
“Too bad you won’t be able to finish your main quest in the Sawtorn continent,” said Meneur.
“Huh?” said Smoke. “What are you talking about?”
“Haven’t you been listening to me?” asked Meneur. “The great god Tezcazin teaches us to live in the now because there is no afterlife. That Mictlan – the land beyond this world, is nothing more than a figment of the other religions’ imagination.”
“No!” exclaimed a half frozen Smoke. “Sorry, but I refuse to believe that.”
“Well, that is your right,” said Meneur. “And I shall respect that, but know that you are welcome to convert into Tezcazinity whenever you realize the truth.”
This was not how he imagined their conversation would end, but despite his icicle state, Smoke remained adamant. He refused to believe her stand on Tezcazinity and how Mictlan was nonexistent.
Then, Meneur let out a deep breath. “By the way, I saw everything inside you when I covered you in ice, which is why it is time to do this,” she said, all mysterious.
“Arrgh!” suddenly screamed Smoke. His body writhed in pain and his arms flailed in the air. “What are you doing to me?”
Smoke tried to put up a manatl, but a notification window popped up.
* Consented Ritual In progress…
“Why are you doing this?” screamed Smoke. “I thought we were friends? I only lied about my name—”
“We are friends,” interjected Meneur and continued casting her magic.
The blue ice then began to encroach towards his upper body. It rose to his stomach, then to his arms, until finally, only his head remained unfrozen.
“Kill me already!” yelled Smoke.
A black cloud spewed out from his mouth, creating a short pillar above him. Small lightning bolts struck out of it, hitting his frozen body.
Without warning, the ice that immobilized Smoke liquefied. It turned into an octopus-like creature and swallowed the black lightning cloud with its tentacles. Next, the creature reverted back into ice, before it shattered into a million pieces.
+ [CURED] Your cursed Decay Aura has been healed by High Priestess Meneur
Smoke slumped down on the muddy ground where the casting circle of truth once was.
“How did you—” asked Smoke, bewildered. “I asked the Healers of the Vitzytl Kingdom, and no one could remove that curse.”
“That’s because they don’t have the great god Tezcazin to help them,” answered Meneur.
At once, Smoke felt a deep pit in his stomach. ‘Mictlan exists!’ he thought with conviction, unconvinced of the teachings of Tezcazinity.
“Now that I’ve removed your curse, I shall tell you the conditions for you to continue staying here,” said Meneur. “You shall stick to your name of Ilad within the village.”
“Sure, no problem. But why does that matter?” he asked.
“Well, I wouldn’t want the others to know that you tricked us,” replied Meneur. “Especially, since I am appointing you as Emissary of the MaduHai Orks!”
|+ Quest: MaduHai P.R.O.
Level: A++You have been tasked to assure that the MaduHai Ork will not be targeted by either the Kingdoms of Vitzytl or Thanotl[Quest Forcibly Accepted]
|+ Received emissary emblem of the MaduHai Orks|
“What’s happening now?” asked Smoke, confused after reading the quest window. “Are you sure about this?”
“Like I said, let’s live in the now,” replied Meneur.
* * * * * *
After spending one more day in the MaduHai Ork Village to finish the Dragon Hatchery, Smoke was gliding at top speeds for Votl City – Capital of the Vitzytl Kingdom.
Finally, after six hours of flight(and only one meal break, care of Daga’s growling stomach), Smoke saw the amethyst city surrounded by the different colored mountains. The three tallest towers of the capital stood unyielding as it watched over the city. Despite the familiar appearance, he knew that something had changed within Votl.
Each colored mountain now had a medium-sized fortress guarding it. Using his Telefax Vision ability, he zoomed in on the fort in the red mountain. There, he saw that the Sonstwelters inside the fortress were being trained by high-level Zectian Wizards with Pyromancy.
“Oh, would you look at that,” squeaked Daga from Smoke’s chest pocket. “They must be getting ready for the Continental Quest.”
“I’m surprised to see so many Sonstwelters,” said Smoke. After their successful wyvern hunt, he was now excited to lead another batch of Sonstwelters into battle.
“I wouldn’t depend too much on those guys,” said Daga.
“Why?” asked Smoke.
“Don’t know, just a hunch,” replied Daga.
After passing through the colored mountains, Smoke began his descent for the main castle. Yet, he could not ignore the changes that the capital itself had undergone.
The once luxurious city had turned into a military zone. The grand stadium where the Magi Gagnant Tournament was held became a training center for low-level Mages. It was a great opportunity for new Sonstwelters who recently joined the game to increase their levels and acquire new abilities.
“Let’s take a quick detour before we report to the King,” said Smoke. “I think we can spare a few more minutes.”
“You’re the boss, Boss,” squeaked Daga and hid inside his pocket.
Smoke landed discreetly behind an alley and walked towards the marketplace. Before he stepped out, he equipped his Paradox Mask and donned his Faux persona.
Instead of seeing fancy trinkets and expensive accessories, he found that the stalls were littered with mid-level magical items. A powerful wind staff was priced at half its usual amount. Upon further inspection, he realized that all of the items were incredibly cheap. Even the pompom juice that he created was discounted at a third of its price.
‘What’s going on here?’ he wondered.
Then, he heard one of the groups of Sonstwelters walking by. They were three Wizards who specialized in Fire, Ice, and Earth.
“Still can’t believe this!” exclaimed the Fire Wizard. “I’ve been stuck at level 50 for almost three months. But with the special training, I’m now already at level 75!”
“Yeah, I was so psyched when I heard Ouragan explain that the city will be releasing several events to increase our levels,” added the Earth Wizard. “It’s a great way for weekend warriors like us to catch up. I even filed for a leave on all the Fridays and Mondays of this month.”
Smoke then sneaked a peek at their faces and found that all of them were men in their mid-thirties.
“Hey, that’s a great idea,” said Ice Wizard. “I think I’ll get some of that action as well. What level was needed again to be a squad leader?”
“Eighty!” replied the Fire Wizard, all smug about it.
“Great! That means you can join my squad then!” exclaimed the Ice Wizard. “Just need to finish the Ice Construct training quest up in the azure fortress, then I’ll become a squad leader.”
“Not if I finish the Flame Make training first!” said the Fire Wizard and stormed away.
“What’s up with Amer?” asked the Ice Wizard.
“Leave him alone, Lyon,” said the Earth Wizard. “Besides, you two are going to be joining my squad anyway. So, stock up on your supplies because my Vantard Squad needs to be ready to go to war with the Orks at any time.”
After witnessing the situation in the marketplace, Smoke decided to report to the palace.
* * * * * *
As soon as he reached the castle grounds, Smoke was led by the Guards towards the royal strategy room.
There, Prime Wizard Ouragan, Prime Wizard Chrysopelea, Prime Wizard Trottel, and Magietrois Eleve were looking over a map of the entire Sawtorn Continent.
Meanwhile, King Kajou and two men Smoke had never seen before were on the opposite side of the table. One of the unknown men was a well dressed Zectian, whom he assumed to be an important aristocrat, and the other was a Sonstwelter who looked like he had some advance form of the Knight Job.
“Faux, finally! Why are you always the last one to arrive? Are you trying to make yourself look important?” asked a smug Trottel, flipping his long orange mane. “We’ve been racking our brains to come up with the best way to attack the Orks, and only the Sonstwelter from the Thanotl Kingdom has been giving out suggestions.”
“Sorry, I thought I was still good on time,” replied Smoke. He then hurriedly turned to King Kajou and lowered his head, careful not to offend the hot-tempered ruler. “Greetings, my most benevolent King!”
Smoke also faced his Flame Master, Eleve. He lowered his head even more so than when he did for the King.
In turn, Eleve gave him a welcoming smile.
As Smoke was about to greet Ouragan, King Kajou’s voice bellowed throughout the strategy room. “Faux! That’s enough with the greetings and face here,” he commanded, stroking his long nose hair and his unruly beard. “By the way, this is Prince Matalim of the Thanotl Kingdom,” he explained, pointing to the mysterious aristocrat. “He is the successor of King Matalas, and he brought an outstanding Sonstwelter with him as well,” he added, patting the unknown Knight on the back.
‘Strange, I’ve never seen the King to be that friendly with anyone before,’ observed Smoke.
“A pleasure to meet you, Sir Faux,” said Prince Matalim, slightly nodding his head at Smoke from across the table. “Allow me to introduce the Duke of Thalzoc City and the General of the Thanotl Kingdom Army,” he added, pointing to the undisclosed Sonstwelter. “This is Duke Tritank.”
‘Tritank? No! Is this the same guy in the forums?’ wondered Smoke, remembering the person who always bad-mouthed him in the comments section. ‘Is it really that easy to be a Duke?’ he wondered, irritated. Thankfully, his contorted face was covered by his Paradox Mask when he turned to face the man in question.
“Hey!” greeted Tritank, nodding at Smoke. He lifted up his faceplate, revealing a young man in his mid-twenties. “Heard a lot of things about you, Faux. Chrys has been really building you up.”
“I see,” replied Smoke, clenching his fists.
“They were clearly exaggerated, though,” replied Tritank. “But I must say, you’re low-level appearance is really tricky. Wearing such crappy items to mask how powerful you are… You’re one crafty player, Faux.”
Chrysopelea briskly interjected. “You have to excuse Faux. He isn’t really much of a talker, but he’s one of the main reasons we survived the last Ork invasion,” he said, patting Smoke’s back. “He’s really a powerful Elementalist too. In fact, he would have probably won the Magi Gagnant Tournament if Ouragan didn’t join.”
“Are you for real? I saw their fight on the videos,” said a smug Tritank. “And he was still clearly below Ouragan’s level,” he sniggered. “I even ask myself why it reached fifteen million views.”
‘What! The finals had that many views!’ thought a surprised Smoke, regretting the big paycheck he would have gotten. He wanted to post a video of him fighting Ouragan as Faux, but he knew that he had to stick to his long-term goal. To reveal himself as Faux or Ilad now would only ruin the foundation that he worked so hard to build.
“I beg to disagree,” interjected Ouragan. “Faux was a very worthy opponent. If he had more time improving his Magma ability, I’m sure I would have lost that match.”
“But that’s the thing with ‘what ifs’; they don’t matter. They don’t change the outcome of what really happened,” Tritank replied to Ouragan with the most unpleasant smile.
“I even saw Faux’s name appear on that stupid thread ‘Tristan versus Amahan versus Smoke’,” added Tritank. “If the stupid masses should be talking about any rising star, they should be talking about me!”
It took all of Smoke’s self-control not to attack Tritank right then and there. Fortunately, King Kajou loudly cleared his throat and stroke his long nose hair and beard.
“Enough with the banter!” commanded King Kajou, silencing everyone in the room. “We’re here to discuss the Orks. So, Prince Matalim, please proceed with the Intelligence you have kindly brought to us.”
“My pleasure, King Kajou,” replied Prince Matalim. “To recap, we have learned that the OlegHai Generals Dastard and Snide have joined with the UrukHai and the MoriHai Tribes.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” Trottel loudly clicked his tongue, but drawing no one’s attention to him.
“When the three tribes joined together, they elected the UrukHai General Wertlosvati to be their Supreme General,” added Prince Matalim. “Provided that Generals Dastard and Snide of the OlegHai Tribe would be their strategists.”
“Pfft, like having an Ork strategist would do anything for them,” said Trottel.
“Could you just— Shh!” Tritank said to Trottel, signaling the Lioumerean Prime Wizard to shut his mouth with his fingers from across the table.
Normally, Smoke would have sided with anyone who would scream at Trottel, but this time, he wanted to protect him from an even bigger pain in the ass.
“Duke Tritank, please keep your voice down,” reprimanded Prince Matalim.
“Trottel, shut up!” said King Kajou simultaneously.
“I’m sorry your, Majesty,” said Trottel, lowering his head before King Kajou.
“Fine! I’ll be quiet,” replied Tritank to Prince Matalim.
With that, the strategy room fell silent again.
“Now, if everyone will allow me to continue,” began Prince Matalim once more. “Dastard and Snide’s first act as the united Ork’s strategist was that they sent Wertlosvati to recruit the last Ork tribe, the MaduHai Orks.”
Prince Matalim paused and turned to face Trottel and Tritank. The two of whom remained silent and behaved.
“Now, my sources told me that Wertlosvati was successful in this endeavor,” added Prince Matalim with a grim expression. “It appears that our worst fears have come to reality. All four Ork tribes have banded together.”
“Ahem! Excuse me,” said Smoke.
“Faux! You better say something that will win this war or I’ll make an example out of you for interrupting this meeting,” threatened King Kajou.
“Actually, it is,” replied Smoke, taking out his MaduHai Emissary Emblem. “I come here not only as one of your Generals but also as a representative of the MaduHai Orks.”
“What! Are you betraying us?” King Kajou screamed at Smoke.
Tritank, who was nearest to the King got showered with some of King Kajou’s saliva, which he had to wipe off his face.
“Of course not,” replied Smoke. “The MaduHai Orks want nothing to do with the other Ork tribes,” he turned from King Kajou to Prince Matalim, hoping that they would understand the plight of Meneur and her village. “In fact, they’ve decided to withdraw their support to Wertlosvati, provided that the two Kingdoms won’t attack them but protect them instead.”
“Hmmp! Well, isn’t that convenient,” said King Kajou. “Are you sure this isn’t some sort of trap?”
“My thoughts exactly, your Majesty!” chimed in Tritank. “How can we be sure that this is legit?”
At this point, Eleve loudly raised her voice. “Faux, hand over that Ork Emblem,” she said, motioning for Smoke’s symbol of being their emissary.
“Sure,” replied Smoke and gave the emblem to Eleve.
“I could put a casting circle of truth on Faux but this is more direct,” said Eleve. The Ork Emblem then floated on top of her palms and a pure white flame engulfed it. “My King, as you well know, my white flame can destroy anything that is counterfeit.”
“Of course, I have no doubts of your flames, Magietrois Florissant,” replied King Kajou.
“So what if he’s an emissary of the MaduHai Orks,” said Tritank.
“So what?” asked Eleve in the most condescending manner. “Do you need me to spell it out for you?” Without waiting for Tritank to respond she continued talking. “This means that instead of fighting all four Ork Tribes, we now only need to fight three of them. Not to mention that the MaduHai Orks have very potent healing magic.”
“Well done, Faux!” exclaimed King Kajou. “As expected of my General. You may tell the MaduHai Orks that the kingdom of Vitzytl accepts their surrender.”
Then, a quest update window popped up.
|+ Quest: MaduHai P.R.O.
Ambassador Quest Updated!
Level: A++[1/2] King Kajou of the Vitzytl Kingdom has accepted the MaduHai Orks’ peace offering
Smoke was pleased with what he had read, but he needed to clarify something. “That’s great, your Majesty but they aren’t surrendering,” he boldly retorted. “They’re simply asking for a peaceful coexistence with your kingdom and the Thanotl Kingdom,” he added, turning to Prince Matalim.
“Fine! Tell them that we agree to their term of us not attacking them,” began King Kajou. “But I won’t be sending any soldiers to protect them either.”
“What about you, Prince Matalim?” asked Smoke.
“I was taught that you can only trust an Ork as far as you can throw it,” replied Prince Matalim. “But let me consider it for the moment, Sir Faux.”
Upon hearing this, Ouragan boldly raised his hand and said. “But, Prince Matalim, once Wertlosvati finds out of the MaduHai’s betrayal they will surely be their next target. We have to act now!” He then turned to face King Kajou. “Your Majesty, we must make our move and send aid to the MaduHai village.”
“Excuse me, Ouragan,” interjected Smoke. “But I agree with King Kajou on not sending any reinforcements.”
“Are you sure?” asked Eleve, surprised. “You do realize that their entire village will be annihilated if we don’t?”
“No! That won’t happen,” replied Smoke, shaking his head. “Because we’re going to strike Wertlosvati and his Orks before they can attack anyone else.”
“And how do you propose to do that?” asked Tritank. “The last known location we have of the Orks is that they’re in the Derobe Mountains. Entering their stronghold would be suicide.”
“Actually, I was planning to attack—” began Smoke but was cut off by Tritank.
“You’re actually planning to do a suicide mission, aren’t you?” accused Tritank. “Your Majesty, Prince Matalim, we shouldn’t do this. The risk is just too high!”
“Of course not,” replied King Kajou, nodding at Tritank. “Faux, you have to think of a better plan than this,” he said as he turned to face Smoke.
“Excuse me, King Kajou, Duke Tritank,” called out Prince Matalim. “But I believe that Sir Faux did not say that we should attack the Orks’ fortified mountain territory. Please, let us allow him to finish.”
Although his face was hidden by his Paradox Mask, Smoke smiled at Prince Matalim. “Thank you, Prince. As I was saying, I propose that we launch an attack one week from now in the valley of Etonner.”
“Why would we do that?” asked King Kajou. “There’s nothing there but rock coyotes, steel sheep, a few horned rabbits and sometimes sand cheetahs.”
Before Smoke could answer, The Vitzytl King stroked his nose hair and beard. “I get it!” said King Kajou. “You’re planning on increasing the levels of our men, but let me tell you right now, Faux. I’ve already thought of that.”
‘I thought Ouragan was the one who came up with that?’ Smoke wondered to himself.
“So, we don’t need to go there to train anymore,” added King Kajou.
“Um… We won’t be going there for training, your Majesty,” said Smoke. “We’re going there because a week from now, the UrukHai, MoriHai, and OlegHai tribes will be there.”
“And how did you come by this information?” asked Prince Matalim.
“I know this because that’s where they’re supposed to join up with the MaduHai Orks,” replied Smoke.
Unexpectedly, Prince Matalim chuckled. “You should have opened with this when you spoke about the MaduHai Orks’ proposal.”
“Why?” asked Smoke, confused.
“Now that we have the upper hand on the Orks, I, Prince Matalim heir to the Thanotl Kingdom accepts the MaduHai Orks’ peace offering.”
|+ Quest: MaduHai P.R.O.
Ambassador Quest Updated!
Level: A++[1/2] King Kajou of the Vitzytl Kingdom has accepted the MaduHai Orks’ peace offering
[2/2] Prince Matalim of the Thanotl Kingdom has accepted the MaduHai Orks’ peace offering>>Return to Meneur in the MaduHai Ork village to claim your reward.
“Thank you, Sir Faux!” said Prince Matalim. “Although half of our men are still lacking in training, I think that our two Kingdoms should be able to handle the Orks now.”
With that, the joint strategy meeting swiftly shifted to plan their attack on Etonner Valley.
* * * * * *
After the meeting was over, Smoke, Chrysopelea, Ouragan, and Eleve were left behind the strategy chamber as Tritank hurriedly led King Kajou and Prince Matalim out of the room by himself.
“Guess Tritank has some more stuff to talk about with the two of them,” innocently said Chrysopelea.
“What’s the deal with him anyway?” asked Smoke. “You never mentioned him when we were hunting the wyvern.”
“I know, he didn’t really stand out much when I was talking to Prince Matalim,” explained Chrysopelea, surprised. “I did overhear him mention to King Kajou and Prince Matalim about how he still needs to find a special mount to fully utilize his Hidden Job.” Then, he turned to Smoke as if he recalled something. “He also kept asking about you. I think he’s a fan,” he added, slapping Smoke’s shoulder and smiling at him. “He keeps asking me if you post videos or have a forum dedicated specially for you.”
“And what did you tell him?” asked Smoke.
“Faux? Come on, it’s me,” replied Chrysopelea, shrugging his shoulders. “Of course, I told him that you weren’t interested in any of that and that you prefer to be left alone. I even told him how you don’t have a guild.”
“I see,” replied Smoke. “Thanks, Chrys.”
“Sure, no problem,” replied Chrysopelea. “Tritank seems okay, but there’s just something about him that rubs me the wrong way, you know?”
“I know!” exclaimed Smoke. “Believe me, I know!”
Then, Eleve stood in between the two of them.
“Ouragan, why don’t you take Duke Chrysopelea and tell him about the other tasks that are expected of him,” said Eleve in a commanding tone. “Now, that he has become a Duke and a Prime Wizard at the same time.”
“Certainly, I’ll do that right away, Magietrois Florissant,” replied Ouragan. “Duke Chrysopelea, please follow me.”
“But I thought you already told me about that stuff?” asked Chrysopelea, following after Ouragan.
Before Smoke could do anything else, he was pulled into a corridor. Then, Eleve waved her elderly hands and teleported the two of them into the tallest tower of the capital – the Magietrois Tower. Only a fiery afterimage of themselves was left.
Smoke felt the now familiar tingling sensation of being teleported through the flames.
When he regained his vision, Smoke saw a massive library of books, rows of tables filled with magical items he had never seen, and floating flames which illuminated the room. Smoke removed his Paradox Mask and seconds later he caught a whiff of strong sulfur, like that of rotten eggs but it soon passed him by.
“Wow, this is my first time here,” said Smoke as he observed the massive chamber.
He then walked to one of the tower windows to look at the city below.
“I’ve never taken you here before because of—” began Eleve but her voice was abruptly cut off. She massaged her neck as she cleared her throat. “Anyway, I just wanted to congratulate you on becoming an Emissary to the MaduHai Orks.”
“Oh, that!” said Smoke. “I just got lucky with that one. It was all thanks to this little fellow right here,” he explained and reached into his pocket to pull out Daga.
“Oh, my! How cute!” exclaimed Eleve, tickling Daga under her mouth.
“Hey, stop that!” squeaked Daga. “That feels weird!”
“Oh! It talks as well?” said Eleve, surprised. “But she’s a bit feisty, isn’t she?”
“Yup! I think so too,” agreed Smoke. “Anyway, is that really why you suddenly whisked me away?”
“What? Can’t a teacher want some alone time with her student?” asked Eleve, pretending to be hurt.
“Normal teachers can,” replied Smoke. “You… not so much.”
“Hmmp!” exclaimed Eleve. “Fine! You can just leave then. I really only wanted to see how you were doing.”
Smoke’s eyebrows instantly raised. ‘What game is she playing?’ he wondered. While thinking what Eleve’s angle was, he spotted a large gathering of Sonstwelters on the ground below. He used his Telefax Vision to get a better view and found that they were near a circular-structure made out of marble with Corinthian columns around it. “Um. What is that?” he asked, pointing at the building near the city square.
“Oh, that’s supposed to be some sort of oracle. But no one knows what to do with it,” replied Eleve. “It popped up a couple of days ago. I’ve never seen one before. Haven’t even read them in any of my Master’s books.”
‘That must be the update everyone’s been talking about,’ he surmised.
“Sure would be nice if I could get a look and examine it,” Smoke thought out loud.
“You want to?” asked Eleve. “I’ll tell the guards to close down the oracle for you. Is an hour enough?”
“That would be plenty!” exclaimed Smoke, excited.
“Alright, give me a couple of minutes,” said Eleve. “I’ll teleport you to the oracle once it’s done.”
Without another word, Eleve left a fiery afterimage of herself as she teleported out of the Magietrois tower.
‘Something is definitely up with her,’ thought Smoke.
Left alone, Smoke wandered around the intriguing Magietrois tower. Facing the thousands of books lined up on the shelves, he could not help himself but let out a Cheshire cat smile. He ran his hands through the myriad of books on the shelves as he scanned through the titles.
‘A Kiss to Melt a Frozen Heart’,’Warlords of Sawtorn’,’The Scattered Sisters’,’Mounted War Strategies of the Meridianus’, ‘Listen and Wait – Tricks of a Shaman’, were some of the titles he had not read before.
A slight frown covered his face as the shelves did not contain any ability tomes, but it soon faded as he realized that he was in an all you can read buffet. He chose the ‘Mounted War Strategies of the Meridianus’ and ‘Warlords of Sawtorn’ books to acquire their knowledge first.
Suddenly, he thought he noticed a small figure walked behind him. Smoke swiftly turned around but found nothing there. Nor did his Cunning of the Dire Fox pick up anyone else in the room with him. “Daga, you sense anyone else in here?” he asked the little gray mouse inside his pocket.
“Nope, it’s just us,” replied Daga. “By the way, can you—”
“Give you something to eat,” said Smoke, finishing the mouse’s sentence for her.
“Eh-hehe, if you don’t mind,” answered Daga.
Smoke grinned and gave her a sizable chunk of cheese.
“But it’s really strange. I could have sworn someone was there,” he said out loud, picking up two new books after he put the ones he finished into their proper places. “Must have been just the lights,” he said, pointing at the floating flames that were following him around.
Smoke resumed devouring the books as the blue progress bar of each one in his hands whizzed by. While doing so, he observed the several magical items on the table. He knew that each one of them was a powerful artifact and could greatly increase his offensive power. Yet, he dared not touch any of them as he feared it would upset his Intimacy with Eleve.
After acquiring the knowledge of a few books, a notification window popped up.
+ Your total ‘Acquired Knowledge‘ has increased your Intelligence by 1.
‘Whoa! These books greatly increase my Acquired Knowledge experience bar,’ observed Smoke, placing back both books onto their respective shelves.
After picking up another set of books, he began to explore the Magietrois tower further. While walking around, Smoke found a writing on the wall. “‘Tis not light that we require but fire. ‘Tis not the gentle shower but fearsome thunder. ‘Tis through the ground that we found each other. Only through firestorms, lightning-strikes, and earthquakes do we know what it is to be alive – FMA.” he read out loud.
“I wonder what FMA stands for?” he asked his Beggar Shade.
“How the heck should I know,” squeaked Daga, nibbling on her cheese.
After reading a few more books, the same window popped up again.
+ Your total ‘Acquired Knowledge‘ has increased your Intelligence by 1.
His Intelligence was increased twice while he waited for Eleve to return.
Smoke turned around at the source of the crackling sound and found a fiery silhouette of Eleve, which steadily began to materialize.
“Hey, you didn’t try any of the items on the table did you?” asked Eleve as soon she completely materialized.
“Of course not!” replied Smoke. “Although, I did read several of your books but don’t worry, I put them back in their proper places.”
“Just the books, that’s all?” asked Eleve, unbelieving. “You didn’t touch anything else?”
“Yup, just the books,” replied Smoke with a straight face.
“Good, because I’ll know,” she said. “Anyway, the Guards have secured the oracle for you.”
“Thanks, I really appreciate this—” replied Smoke but was cut off as Eleve had already teleported him towards the oracle.
With Smoke out of the Magietrois Tower, Eleve then turned around and lowered her head. “Well, Master? What do you think?”
A few of the floating flames merged and formed into a young girl and spoke when she fully materialized. “Hm… he didn’t try to take any of the items. But I wasn’t sure if that was because he was honest, or just plain dumb not to recognize their powers.”
“Master, please! You’re talking about Smoke here! He even became an Emissary to the MaduHai Orks,” reasoned out Eleve.
“Fine! He’s got my approval,” said the young girl.
“So, you’ll meet with him?” asked Eleve, hopeful.
“Huh? What now?” asked the fiery young girl, taken aback. “Oh, what I meant to say is that he almost has my approval. He just needs to survive this next trial.”
* * * * * *
Smoke hurriedly put on his Paradox Mask as soon as he materialized in front of the oracle. Yet, he was surprised to see that the city square was completely deserted.
‘Of course, it is,’ he realized as Eleve had the place secured for him for the next hour. He turned to face the white marble circular structure lined with azure designs. Its Corinthian columns were over three meters in height and one meter in diameter, with an equal space of one meter in between them as well. Walking around the edifice, he found that there were no visible entrances of any kind.
“Hey, you think you can help me figure this one out?” Smoke asked the little gray mouse inside his pocket.
“Sure, I need to burn some of the cheese anyway,” replied Daga. She leaped out and scampered around the oracle. She carefully inspected every single detail of the building, but even after ten minutes, Daga still found nothing. “Sorry, Boss. It doesn’t look good,” she reported, twitching her nose along with her whiskers.
“If you can’t find it physically then I’ll try from another perspective,” said Smoke.
Smoke activated the second ability of his Cunning of the Dire Fox – Extrasensory. A surge of mana shifted from within his entire body. At the cost of 90,000 mana points, his eyes turned golden and become that of a dire fox’s. His view became filled with a spectrum of lights. Yet, what was clear to him was the distinct lines in some of the Corinthian columns. He began to shift the lower columns, which revealed a space behind it. Limited on time, he forcibly pushed himself into the tiny opening he managed to create.
“Aaaiiee!” screamed a wide mouthed Smoke as he fell into a cavernous space. He tried to open his cloak and glide, but not before his back smashed into the ground.
– You received a fall damage of 10,000 points.
Massaging his back, Smoke ignored the damage window as his eyes darted around the cavernous chamber he fell into. The ceiling was natural, made out of stalactites. Yet, the floor was made of the same marble as the edifice above, only that it was covered in sand.
“Boss, you alright?” squeaked Daga from above the small opening he created. “Don’t know why, but I can’t seem to enter this hole.”
“That’s fine. Just stay there. Don’t worry about me. I don’t sense any monsters down here anyway,” replied Smoke. “I think,” he added in a whisper.
After acclimating to the underground lighting, Smoke found another temple in front of him. This time, it was an octagonal-structure with a dome for a roof and a sand covered stairway towards its wooden doors.
Needing better visibility, Smoke was inspired by the lighting in the Magietrois Tower. He launched four fireballs and manipulated them to hover near him. With the underground cavern illuminated, he found a pathway opposite to the octagonal-structure, but it only led to a dead end as a cave-in blocked its path.
Before heading for the door, he decided to try and move the rocks with his Earth Manipulation but found an irksome notification window instead.
– Cannot control this Earth with your current level of Earth Manipulation ability.
‘Fine!’ he thought and headed back towards the door. The floating flames gathered toward him as they illuminated his way on the steps.
Smoke leaned into the wooden door as he pushed with all his might.
Sounded the rusted joints of the door.
|+ Entered Oracle of Aphend
One of the eight oracles of Aphend. These temples were lost during the great war against the Reptilian race. It has been said that it was because of the power of the oracles that the new age of Zectas has come to be.
While Smoke was still reading the information on the Oracle of Aphend, another notification window popped up without warning.
|+ Achievement Unlocked!
*** CONGRATULATIONS SMOKE!!! ***
> You are the first Sonstwelter to enter any of the Oracles of Aphend!
+ You’ve gained the title: Chilanes
|+ Title Unlocked!
>> Gained Title: Chilanes [Seer]> You are to be the messenger of the gods and speak directly to their people.notes:
> Title grants you +5 to all stats!
> Title will be removed if someone else acquires more Chilam Balam books than you!
|+ Level UP!
You have 10 stat points ready for distribution.
He was overwhelmed by the series of notification windows. A beaming Smoke placed all of the windows side by side as he took his time reading all of them.
Then, an ancient leather-bound tome was floating in front of him. Yet, something felt wrong as soon as he touched the book. It took a few seconds for him to realize what it was that was missing – the blue progress bar when he was acquiring the knowledge of a book.
‘Is this thing broken?’ he wondered.
He gathered the four fiery flames to take a closer look at the Chilam Balam. He tried opening it and found symbols written on the book.
‘Hm? I’ll just put this away for now,’ he thought, placing it inside his inventory window.
Suddenly, a bright light from the center of the room blinded him.
– [Blinded] You see nothing but white light!
“Huh?” asked Smoke, covering his eyes with his hands. Despite this, he could still see a strong glare. “What the hel—”
“Language!” reprimanded a female commanding voice. “You shall watch your mouth while you are in here, Young Man.”
“Who is that?” asked Smoke, squinting but seeing nothing but pure white light.
“I am Aphend, the wisdom of this world and a direct messenger of the gods,” answered the female voice. “Which you will also now be!”
“Eh, say what now?” asked Smoke, confused.
Then, a quest window popped up.
|+ Quest: Ways of the Chilanes
By the will of the gods, you are obliged to spread their words!
Reward: The Smoking Mirror of Tezcatlipoca
[Quest Forcibly Accepted]
“As the Chilanes, you are compelled to tell the world of what is coming,” explained Aphend.
“What if I don’t? Do I receive some sort of punishment if I don’t finish this quest?” he asked, making sure of what he got himself into.
“Not receiving the reward shall be punishment enough,” answered Aphend.
‘Smoking Mirror? What does that do?’ he wondered, intrigued. “That sounds great,” he said but still slightly skeptical.
“Now, remember these words well,” began Aphend. Her voice became louder and modulated. “Today, the world has become complacent about its situation. It has forgotten the tribulations of the past. Soon, it will experience the terrors that are written in the forgotten books. When the Sonstwelters reign will begin, so shall be the precursor of the end.”
“Huh? That’s kind of a lot to remember,” said Smoke. “And how am I supposed to tell this to the world? And where do I go once I’ve completed this quest? Do I return here?”
“No! Your heart shall tell you whether you have accomplished your divine task,” answered Aphend. “Once you have done so, the reward shall appear before you.”
“That sounds convenient,” said Smoke, his hands still covering his blinded eyes. “What’s next?” he asked, excited.
“Now, I shall return you to the land above,” replied Aphend. “Remember to spread the words of—”
“Wait, wait, wait a minute,” interjected Smoke. “That’s it? Aren’t you supposed to be an oracle? Aren’t I supposed to give you a problem, and you tell me the solution?” he exclaimed, hoping to find the answer that he had been searching for in the Sawtorn continent.
Aphend did not respond. A few more seconds passed and there was nothing but silence.
“Fine! I shall answer one question,” she replied, albeit sounding annoyed.
“How do I get to Mictlan?” instantly asked Smoke, hopeful.
“Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha!” chuckled Aphend. “This is my first time talking to someone who willingly wants to go to that place.”
“Laugh all you want, but just answer my question,” said Smoke with a louder voice.
“I do know the answer but it is not my place to tell it to you,” said Aphend. “Fear not. In time you shall know.”
“Pfft! Some oracle you turned out to be,” said Smoke out loud.
“You question my ability?” shouted Aphend. “Let me show you what kind of oracle I am!”
“Sure, sure,” replied Smoke. “But let me tell you right now, you’ll only impress me if you tell me the way to Mictlan.”
“Stop your idiotic attempts of getting information on the land of the obliterated,” commanded Aphend. “Instead, let me tell you how to get rid of that pain in your heart.”
“Huh? What are you talking about?” asked Smoke, confused.
“You have lost someone from your world, correct?” said Aphend.
“What are you doing?” asked Smoke, peeved. “How do you know that? What is this? Is this some sort of joke?” he asked, looking everywhere but seeing nothing but the same white light.
“I told you, I am the oracle, the wisdom of this world!” answered Aphend. “I can see what is in your heart, into your soul.”
“This is bull!” said Smoke, hurriedly accessing the menu to logout.
– Cannot log out during this event.
An error notification was the only thing he could see aside from the white light.
“Aphe— whatever, can you just send me back already?” asked Smoke, irritated.
“I will, but you have to answer my questions first,” said Aphend. “Tell me, can you do something to bring back this person that you have lost?”
Although pissed at how the game somehow managed to read his mind, he remembered how he had been traveling back and forth from the hospital, police station, and their home but all of to no avail.
“No!” replied Smoke, frustrated.
“Does it benefit you or anyone else, for you to continue acting this way?” asked Aphend.
This time, Smoke remembered how he took out his frustration on his girlfriend. How he neglected his brothers and even himself.
“No!” was his reply again.
“Do you think the person you’re missing would want you to act this way?” asked Aphend in a softer tone.
“No…” replied Smoke, falling to his knees. His eyes turned watery.
“Then why do this?” asked Aphend.
Smoke could not utter a single word in response.
“Change. Instead of holding on to this resentment, remember her. Remember the things she has taught you,” went on Aphend. “There is no standing still because time is always moving forward.”
When he heard this, Smoke felt his insides twinged. It was the same thing that his Mima said to comfort him when his parents died.
“How do you know that—” asked Smoke but was cut off as he was forcibly logged out of the game.
* * * * * *
Covered in sweat, Nash stepped out of his game pod all confused but with a wide smile on his face. ‘What was that?’ he wondered. ‘How could the game know all of that?’
He scrambles for his computer and checks his email. Nothing. There was still no updates on finding their missing Grandmother. Yet, somehow he felt lighter, like a thorn stuck in his heart had been removed.
Clicking on a picture of his Mima on his hard drive, Nash said with conviction. “We will find you, and I’ll always practice the things you’ve taught me.”
After taking a deep breath, he clicked on the Zectas website and searched for any videos or anything related to the oracle. As he scrolled through the website, he found a several of them. Yet, all eight sites of the oracles only contained images of the circular structure from the outside.
Then, it hit him. He realized that he left the oracle in Votl City wide open. He wanted to log back into the game but a newly created forum thread entitled ‘Smoke the Seer’ rose to the top of the page straight away.
|DetectiveRonan: Okay, okay, so let me share my hypothesis. I think that Smoke managed to get into one of those oracle buildings when that global notification popped up in front of everyone.
DMX: Wow! Great job, Detective! (I was being sarcastic in case you didn’t deduce that!)
Earat: Woohoo! This is awesome news for my guild. Too bad I just got banned from the game.
Emagine: My two cents, I think a new major patch is coming.
DMX: Did you just say patch? You, Sir, have offended me!
Emagine: Oh, shut up, @DMX! And get back to finding a way for us to get into that Longana Cove!
DMX: You have offended me again! @DMX disappears into a corner searching for clues.
FastInFastOut: But what does this mean? I’m sure that Smoke just got an S+ Quest, I just wish he’d share with us.
Atiman: Isn’t it funny that people get offended by everything right now. Like me, I’m offended that Smoke got a global notification while the Decane Guild has never gotten one of them!
Purrfect: Meowk! For the glory of the Lioumerean Race!
Eyerate: Shut up with that cat talk! I told you to stay in your cat forums!
CatatonicKing: Meoow! You have the right to be offended, as we Lioumereans have the right to offend! All Hail the claw!
DetectiveRonan: @DMX, I know how to get to the Longana Cove but I’m not telling you now!
CatatonicKing: Alright, alright. I’ll tell you what that global notification is all about. The next patch is going to be a flood of events especially catered for the Lioumerean Sonstwelters! Ha!
TriTank: Forget about all that crap! Who cares if Smoke got a global notification? What you should all check out are the Sawtorn continent’s Events! I promise it will blow your mind!
Nash smirked. He shook his head when he read Tritank’s name. ‘Guess it really is him,’ he surmised. Then, he remembered that Eleve had locked down the area near the oracle. So, he took a few more minutes and enjoyed the sandwich he had prepared earlier. After wolfing down his meal, he drank a full glass of water and stepped back into his game pod.
‘Got to make a video of the oracle after I close its entrance,’ he reminded himself as he closed the lid.
* * * * * *
When he opened his eyes, Smoke saw his worried Flame Master pacing near the oracle.
“Smoke! You’re back!” she exclaimed and hugged him, relieved. “When I suddenly felt your presence disappear, I thought something powerful got to you. I tried entering the oracle you opened up but I think only a Sonstwelter can enter it.”
“Oh, really?” said Smoke, fascinated. He looked around and found the area near the oracle still deserted. Thankful that Eleve had locked the place down.
“Boss! Boss, you’re back!” exclaimed Daga.
Smoke looked around until he looked up and found the little gray mouse on top of the marble edifice. She leaped and landed on his shoulder.
“Good to see you too, Daga,” said Smoke and placed her inside his chest pocket. “Could you give me a second? I’ll explain everything after this,” he said to Eleve and Daga. He moved with purpose as he resealed the entrance to the oracle. He then turned to his Master. “Actually, this building leads to something bigger below. It’s some kind of ancient temple…” he began, and updated Eleve on what the oracle told him, minus the part where Aphend advised him on his personal problem.
“I see. So, you really are a Seer now?” said Eleve, nodding her head. “No wonder your ‘Gahum’ has changed.”
“Are you sure?” he asked, checking the mana flow of his body. “I don’t feel any different.”
Eleve kept nodding her head and said. “You definitely have. In fact, I think you can almost conjure your own Automaton Knight now.”
“Really?” said Smoke. He quickly opened his Status Window and checked his mana bar. She was right. With the ten stat points left over from the last level up, he could indeed conjure his own self-thinking soldier. “Wow! You’re right,” he said and allocated all of the needed points into Intelligence.
“So, what do you plan to do now?” asked Eleve. “We still have a few days before we face the Ork Horde, but does being a Seer prevent you from fighting against them?”
“Don’t think so. If anything, this should give us an advantage,” replied Smoke. “I’m going back to the MaduHai Village, and I think I’ll train my Automaton Knight there.”
“Sounds like a plan,” replied Eleve. Her wrinkled face relieved and smiling. “Well, better get going then. It’s almost time for the lock down here to end.”
“Why the rush? If I didn’t know any better, it sounds like you’re trying to get rid of me,” chided Smoke.
“Me? Get rid of you? Of course not!” replied Eleve, forced. “I am relieved to know that you’re in one piece, but I have some preparations of my own that I need to do.”
“Oh, sorry,” said Smoke. “I didn’t realize. Alright, I’ll see you in Etonner Valley two days before the Orks’ arrival.”
“You bet,” replied Eleve, smiling. “Now, go already!”
“I’m going, I’m going,” said Smoke and leaped away to glide for the MaduHai Ork Village.
As he flew farther away from Votl City, Smoke looked back and replayed what Aphend told him. In his synergized form with Igniz, he smirked and boosted his speed by using his flames to propel him faster.
After two hours of uneventful flight, Smoke’s Cunning of the Dire Fox sensed a monster near him.
‘That’s odd?’ he thought as he was way up in the sky. He looked around but saw nothing.
Then, the monster drew closer from behind him. Smoke turned around and got a clear view of what it was. Its forked tongued hissed at him. It angrily shook its head, pointing its two horns at Smoke. The surviving gray wyvern had come for him and its eggs!
“Hey? Why did you stop?” asked Daga, sneaking her tiny mouse-head out of Smoke’s chest pocket. “Why is the wyvern here!” she screamed, alarmed.
Before Smoke could reply, the wyvern instantaneously let out a burst of speed and was about to ram him out of the sky.
Luckily, Smoke managed to dodge by a hair’s breadth. He fired a volley of fireballs at the wyvern but his attack barely made any dent on the monster’s life bar.
Concentrating more mana into his flames, Smoke turned the fireballs into sixteen flame-swords and sent them flying towards the wyvern who was blitzing towards him.
However, the wyvern braved the incoming flame-swords and continued straight for Smoke.
His maneuverability on the air was limited. After all, he only had his Hooded Cologus Cloak to rely on for flight.
Knowing that the wyvern will get him this time, Smoke created a full spherical manatl around himself.
The gray wyvern’s spiked tail attacked his manatl barrier from above and sent him plummeting to the ground.
As he fell down, Smoke spotted a pomegranate forest patch and tried to fall towards it. He heard the cracking sounds of branches as he broke through the tree line.
A deep crater formed where Smoke landed. His manatl dispersed without him absorbing the attack into his staff, but it did protect him from the fall damage. Due to this, his life bar remained practically unharmed.
‘This is good. This is way better than fighting that monster in the air,’ he thought as he psyched himself up.
The wyvern let out gray mist from its nostrils as it slowly began to descend, flapping its wings with menace. Yet, it kept some distance away from Smoke.
‘What the— It must have realized the range of my magma-arches,’ surmised Smoke. He launched more flame-swords at the wyvern with great speed.
Restricted by the pomegranate trees, the monster had little room to dodge. However, the damage on its life bar reflected less than 1%.
With the wyvern looming at him from above, Smoke decided to escape on the ground with his Hyper Jump ability.
Unfortunately, the monster had already released its gray smog before Smoke could get out of its area of effect.
– [ENCUMBERED] Ponderous Mist has increased your weight by ten times.
With him inside the mist, Smoke’s Cunning of the Dire Fox lost track of the wyvern’s location.
Smoke hurriedly equipped his Digger’s Wand, but before he could dig a hole to escape into, the wyvern’s bony tail struck him in the arm. Despite the strong gravity of the mist, he was still knocked back by five meters.
That one attack damaged him for 10% of his life bar. Sprawled on the ground, Smoke pulled out his Beggar Shade from his pocket. “Daga, make a run for it.”
“But what about you and Big Brother Igniz? You’re still in your synergized state,” squeaked Daga. “Besides, I’m also affected by this smog.”
“Fine, looks like we’re in this together,” said Smoke.
Needing cover, he started to create a manatl shield, but was forcibly stopped when his left leg was suddenly crushed by the wyvern’s talons. The monster snuck its leg underneath Smoke’s barrier before it could completely surround him.
“Damn it!” he cursed out loud, thinking that this would mean certain death.
Then, the wyvern let out a blood-curdling scream. “Aaagaaayak!”
‘This is it,’ he thought for sure. Seeing nothing but the mist, the seconds before the wyvern attacked felt like an eternity.
Smoke waited for the sharp bony tails of the draconic monster to come down on him. Five seconds passed. Then, eight. Then, twelve. Still, there were no razor-sharp bones penetrating his body.
“Agayaaaaaak!” screamed the wyvern again.
This time, Smoke discerned that it wasn’t a scream of a monster about to attack, but rather of a monster in pain. He searched around the thick smog and caught a glimpse of the wyvern’s gray scales punctured by throwing spears.
Due to the attack, the wyvern stopped producing more of its Ponderous Mist. For a second, Smoke saw outside the smog and spotted the leader of the spear throwers.
On top of his dirus wolf, Cynar shouted out commands. “Attack! More spears! Beistand, take the Inferno Squad and flank the beast.”
At once, a burly OrkElf, riding his own dirus wolf, led a whole division of their mounted soldiers to the opposite side.
After giving out his instructions, Cynar’s arms went into a blur as he attacked the wyvern with his paralysis darts.
“Ayayay!” cried out the wyvern. The monster flapped its wings as it began to ascend out of the pomegranate forest.
“It has resistance to my darts!” shouted Cynar. “Don’t let it escape!”
In response, the wyvern shifted the focus of its Ponderous Mist towards the OrkElf leader.
Fortunately, Beistand and his division reached the other side of the beast. They began attacking the draconic monster with their spears, causing the wyvern to cease its smog attack.
“Raaaayaahh!” screamed the wyvern, before it flew out of the pomegranate tree lines and disappeared.
After a few seconds, the Ponderous Mist grew thin, until it finally faded.
“Thank god you were here,” said Smoke to Cynar as he propped himself up and walked towards him.
However, before Smoke could stand on his feet, he was surrounded by hundreds of mounted OrkElves. All of their spears were menacingly pointed towards him.
“Hey, what’s going on?” asked Smoke, confused.
Smoke heard a swish in the wind then noticed that a paralysis dart had struck him squarely on the chest.
– [PARALYZED] Paralysis Dart has dulled your movement for the next 5 seconds
Cynar led his mount towards Smoke and said. “Didn’t I tell you that I’d kill you the next time I see you!”
‘Oh, right!’ recalled Smoke, remembering his lowered Intimacy with Cynar after Blaise’s demise.