Author: John Nest
Dark flames covered the flamberge, which blocked the massive war hammer of the Ork Colonel. Its blaze fueled by the incarnated symbiote—Igniz.
Smoke, who stood behind his friend, was taken aback at the turn of events. All of their strategical planning were blown away by the sheer force of the Orks. Except for the collapsed statues, the destroyed ancient monuments kept the Ork Horde within Etonner Valley. Looking around, his eyes zoomed in on the executioner blade protruding out of Meneur’s back.
“Cover me,” Smoke said to Igniz.
He used his Hyper Jump ability and vanished. A split-second later, he reappeared in front of Wertlosmorder—the three-meter Ork, holding the handle of the executioner blade.
Concentrating his mana on the ground, he erupted two pointed earth-spikes from the ground and pushed Wertlosmorder backward. Meneur gasped in pain as the executioner blade was forcibly pulled out of her abdomen.
Smoke quickly created a spherical Manatl shield, securing both him and Meneur inside it.
“Here, drink this,” said Smoke, pulling out a jar of pompom juice and pouring out over Meneur’s mouth.
Meneur coughed out the pompom juice along with her blood. “It’s okay. I’m fine,” she said weakly.
Several waterballs floated up from the ground and splashed themselves on the deep wound in her stomach. Yet, the Ork High Priestess’ life bar remained the same and showed no signs of recovering.
SCHILD SCHILD SCHILD
Sparks came out of Wertlosmorder’s executioner blade as it struck the Manatl. Ever since using the sacred clay staff, Smoke was confident that his barrier had gotten stronger.
“Go, don’t worry about me,” said Meneur.
Ignoring the raving Ork outside his barrier, Smoke focused on the old High Priestess. He could not understand why Meneur, who cured him of Horrabelle’s curse, could not heal herself.
“No,” he replied. “Something’s wrong.”
The sacred clay staff on his left hand glowed as it continued to store the energy from Wertlosmorder’s attacks.
“Truth is, Ork Priestesses have potent healing powers. But we can’t heal ourselves,” confessed Meneur.
Smoke stared at the injured blind Priestess. He then pointed his right palm over her open wounds. Small balls of white light flowed out from his hands towards her lesions and slowly replenished her life bar.
Scanning the battleground, Smoke saw the sky lit up with dazzling lights as various elemental spells rained down from the mountains surrounding the valley.
However, the battle with the main body of the Horde was still some distance away from them. OrkElves rushed out of the huts as they were stabbing their spears into the block of ice were the Orks were frozen. All of them desperate to finish off the Ork entourage. The two MaduHai Priestesses named Sauf and Secours came out of hiding and supported them with their healing.
Smoke also spotted Cynar leading a large group of OrkElves on foot. They were chasing after Wertlosvati, who was running towards the sea of jade giants.
CLANG CLANG CLANG
The sound of a flamberge clashing against a war hammer drew Smoke’s attention. He watched from within the safety of his Manatl while restoring Meneur’s life bar.
* * * * * *
Igniz was awkwardly holding the Salamander’s Tongue with his right hand. He was backing away as he matched Wertlosrauber’s war hammer, blow against blow.
The Ork repeatedly struck down from overhead, beating Igniz to his knees. Yet, the incarnated symbiote persevered and defended with the flamberge. Sadly, his life bar was not as sturdy as his resolve. It now reflected 45% remaining.
Igniz knew that his training sessions with Smoke were not enough for him to master the flamberge, but he faced the Ork Colonel anyway. After all, it was second nature for him to defend his symbiotic partner.
In a defensive kneeling position, Igniz felt each blow of Wertlosrauber’s war hammer as it continued to pummel from above. But then it stopped, as a surprising blow came from below.
As the Ork’s war hammer was about to hit Igniz, he plunged his flamberge deep into the ground. The loud resonant sound of metal clashing echoed. Igniz was pushed back, his sword plowed through the earth.
“Fatyonir tikar!” screamed the Ork, blindly charging at Igniz.
With his sword still stuck in the ground, Igniz’s left palm burst into a dark blaze. He pointed it at Wertlosrauber and unleashed a continuous stream of flames.
The Ork Colonel tried blocking with his war hammer but it was useless. The Ork’s jade skin turned black, charred as it came in contact with the dark flames.
When Igniz finished his attack, the Ork was left with several open wounds where blood was visible. Wertlosrauber’s life bar reflected 50% and was inflicted with the burned status.
For the first time in his incarnated flesh, Igniz grinned. He thought he had gotten the upper hand against the Ork Colonel. But then he got an ominous feeling. Concerned, he turned to face Smoke’s direction. He was confused to find that the Manatl barrier had been canceled and Smoke pointing his palms at him.
Then, Igniz felt the ground he stood on shake. An earth-spike came from behind him. He turned around and found the tip of the executioner blade parried by Smoke’s earth-spike.
However, the second Ork Colonel’s sword still grazed his shoulder, making Igniz drop his flamberge on the ground. At the same time, Wertlosrauber’s war hammer painfully made contact with Igniz’s left arm. All Igniz could do was block it with his left arm, forcing him down.
Falling, Igniz heard Smoke scream his heart out. Then, he saw the war hammer and executioner blade directly above him. The two Ork Colonels were about to deliver their finishing blow.
Convincing himself that this was not his time to die, Igniz reached for the handle of the Salamander’s Tongue and used the sword’s ultimate ability—Incinerator.
A dark blaze erupted without warning. Igniz’s purple flames merged with the scattered fiery blades of the flamberge. Its minuscule shafts created a massive sphere of burning steel, which engulfed Igniz and the two Ork Colonels.
Both Wertlosmorder and Wertlosrauber were forced to take a defensive stance. Yet, their efforts were all in vain. Blood gushed out of their green skins as each shaft of the Salamander’s Tongue pierced in and out of them.
Igniz remembered how Smoke stayed in its epicenter when he used this ability. It was so that he would not receive an own damage penalty from the broken off shafts.
However, Igniz knew that this was not a problem for him. The incarnated symbiote walked over to Wertlosrauber first. He kicked the jade giant in the back of his knee, bringing him down to his height. Igniz then placed his left palm on the Ork’s face and burned it to a crisp, reducing the Ork’s life bar to zero.
With one Ork Colonel down, Igniz focused his attention on Wertlosmorder. Seeing as the Incinerator ability was about to wear off, Igniz threw the handle of the Salamander’s Tongue at the second Ork. The hilt of the bladeless sword hit Wertlosmorder in the eye. Igniz then ran towards the Ork and jumped on the Colonel’s knees, using it as footing. He choked the Ork by the neck and released the dark flames out from his hands.
At this time, the Incinerator attack ended. With the blazing sphere dispersed, Igniz and Wertlosmorder came into full view of the world again.
Desperate, the Ork Colonel slashed Igniz in the back. It was his last attempt of freeing himself, but the burning sensation on his neck made him drop his massive executioner blade instead.
As the last hit points of Wertlosmorder ebbed away, Igniz released the Ork. His second kill fell on the ground, next to the vanishing body of his fellow Ork Colonel. Igniz’s own life bar reduced to 10% and was steadily withering away.
Straightaway, Smoke appeared next to Igniz and made him drink a jar of pompom juice.
“Here you go, Buddy,” said Smoke, quivering. “You did great! But you almost gave me a heart attack there.”
Daga, in her human form, pulled the recovering Meneur next to them. “You okay, Big Bro?” she asked Igniz, smiling. “Smoke was panicking when you used that flaming sphere thing. But I knew you were gonna be alright.”
“Who wouldn’t?” defended Smoke. “Didn’t you see his life bar? And don’t tell me you weren’t crying yourself. I saw you,” he said to Daga.
“Fine. I was,” said Daga, dropping Meneur and running over to Igniz. “You were kind of pushing it,” she said, taking away the pompom juice from Smoke so she could be the one to give it to Igniz.
“Alright. I need you three to stay put,” said Smoke. Scanning the area around them, he saw that the OrkElves had already killed all of the frozen Orks and were running after Cynar. He then dug a wide crater in the ground and shifted the land where Meneur, Igniz, and Daga were on, placing them inside the hole. “Daga, you’re in charge. Make sure they recover their life bars.”
After making sure he created enough air holes, Smoke sealed them underground.
Turning to face the battlefield ahead, Smoke gulped involuntarily. Despite the onslaught of elemental spells from on top of the mountains, the intimidating war cries of the Ork Horde did not waiver.
Smoke inhaled deeply and released all of his anxiety in one breath. He felt like everyone in Sawtorn was here. He then jumped and glided towards the battle that would decide the fate of this Continent.
* * * * * *
Cynar ignored everything that happened with Faux and the Ork Colonels. His sight solely focused on the escaping Wertlosvati.
His blind rage made him unaware of the battlefield. like the elemental spells that bombarded the heavens. The magical attacks of the allied kingdoms did damage the Orks, but it also enraged them as well. The Ork Horde brazenly charged towards the mountainsides. Heads of dirus wolves flew through the air, as the green giants made contact with the mounted Knights.
“Hurry! Get him before he reaches the Horde!” screamed Cynar. He was unsure how many OrkElves were with him, or if there were even any at all. Regardless, he pursued the Ork at his fastest speed.
When he got closer, Cynar used one of his paralysis darts and aimed for Wertlosvati’s legs.
It only slowed Wertlosvati for a split second, but that was enough for Cynar to make his move.
Cynar used his Spur Step ability. The OrkElf Assassin vanished and reappeared in front of the Ork Supreme General. The instant movement allowed Cynar to land one powerful drop-kick directly on the Ork’s forehead.
The sudden attack forced Wertlosvati downward. However, the Ork swung his double-headed ax as he fell, slashing Cynar’s arm through his chainmail.
Picking himself up from the ground, Wertlosvati spoke to Cynar in Orkish. “Half-breed, you’re beginning to show signs of being my son.”
“Shut up!” screamed Cynar in the common tongue.
Four after images of Cynar appeared in front of Wertlosvati. The Ork Supreme General could not block his son’s rapid kicks which came from all directions.
Despite the numerous hits, Wertlosvati’s life bar was barely damaged. That was until one critical strike from Cynar’s steel boots struck the Ork under his chin.
As Wertlosvati spat out a broken tooth, ten spears came to attack him.
Cynar’s OrkElves finally arrived to support him.
Regrettably, none of their weapons could penetrate the Ork’s tough jade skin. Instead, the OrkElves were all knocked back as Wertlosvati blasted them away with his double-headed ax.
“Stupid fools! Your attacks only work on grunts!” taunted Wertlosvati in Orkish.
“Use your chains!” commanded Cynar, removing his own chain attached to his belt. He twirled it above his head and threw it around Wertlosvati’s body. Ten more chains were thrown and entangled the Supreme Ork General.
“Gakgakgakgakgak. Fools, it’s my win,” said Wertlosvati, confined by the OrkElves’ chains.
Then, Cynar’s eyes grew wide with frustration. He turned around and finally noticed the tall wall of jade giants that had encircled him and his men.
With one swift motion, Cynar and his OrkElves were pinned down by Orks much taller than them.
Two Ork Grunts then rushed to free Wertlosvati from his chains.
When Wertlosvati was freed, one of the Ork grunts kneeled down and said. “Daking Wertlosvati, provlamir katir. Gitraytor tas OlegHai Generalir Dastard ugi Snide.”
Cynar, whose face was pinned on the grassy knoll, grinned at his bastard of a father. For the Ork grunt had just reported that the two OlegHai Generals had betrayed Wertlosvati. Apparently, Snide and Dastard left him there as bait while they escaped Etonner Valley.
* * * * * *
A powerful surge of wind rushed Smoke’s face as he glided through the air. From up here, he had a great perspective of the battlefield.
After scanning the grounds, Smoke grunted. He found Cynar and a few of his men captured by Wertlosvati and his Orks. Looking farther down, he spotted a group of OrkElves trying to fight their way towards Cynar. Unfortunately, they were up against twice the number of Orks.
Realizing that he could not face Wertlosvati and his Orks by himself, Smoke searched for allies to help him.
“Faux! This is all messed up,” shouted someone from behind him.
“This isn’t the plan at all!” added a second elderly voice.
Turning around, Smoke spotted Chrysopelea and Ouragan flying fast towards him.
“We’ve got the valley blocked,” said Chrys, pointing at the fallen statues of the former kings. “But I don’t think the guys from Thanotl can hold off the Orks much longer,” he added, indicating the melee battle on the foot of the mountains.
“Our Mages need more time to cast the Lightning Tempest,” interjected Ouragan.
Upon hearing this, Smoke noticed a small cluster of white clouds gathering overhead. But it was nowhere near enough the hail and lightning storm that they had discussed earlier.
Smoke nodded. “Let’s buy them some time,” he said, directing Chrysopelea’s attention to Wertlosvati who was stepping on Cynar’s head.
“Is that the Ork Supreme General?” asked Chrysopelea.
“Let’s give it a try,” said Ouragan. “I’ll handle his soldiers. You two take care of Wertlosvati.”
With that, the three of them zoomed towards their targeted Ork.
Ouragan then began to fly in a clockwise manner. The green grass was plucked out from the earth as he created a powerful tornado.
Shortly after, the Ork grunts along with their dirus wolves and hell boars flew up in the air, caught by the turbulent winds.
Ouragan was careful enough to leave the OrkElves outside his tornado’s area of effect.
Pieces of the ground shattered, molten rocks flew everywhere, as Smoke used his Comet Crush ability and landed on top of the grunt next to Wertlosvati. He then pierced the stunned Ork with his earth-spikes and trapped him on the ground with earth-cuffs, leaving the grunt bleeding to die.
Meanwhile, Chrysopelea let out a strong gust of wind from beneath Wertlosvati. The Ork General flew five meters in the air.
Smoke then pulled Cynar toward him by shifting the ground where the Ork Assassin was pinned to. Then, he launched a large earth-spike and struck Wertlosvati’s spine, skewering him in mid-air.
“You’ve got to kill Wertlosvati now!” Smoke said to the wounded Cynar. His eyebrows furrowed as he noticed that the OrkElf’s life bar was less than 30%. “With his head on display, we might lower the Horde’s morale.”
Just as Smoke finished talking, several Orks fell from the sky as Ouragan’s tornado attack ended.
Yet, even though the windy twister had finished, Smoke still heard a rumbling sound. Looking at the direction of the mountainside, he saw a large dust cloud heading towards them.
Leading hundreds of mounted Knights, Tritank emerged out of the wall of Orks. They forcefully carved a path out of the Ork Horde.
“Don’t think I don’t know what you two are doing!” Tritank screamed at Smoke and Chrysopelea. Pointing his hands to the sides, he signaled the mounted Knights with him to fan out and fend off the Orks. “Where’s Wertlosvati! His head is mine!” he asked Smoke, trotting towards him.
“No!” exclaimed Cynar, propping himself up. “I mean… he isn’t the one pulling the strings. The real leaders of the Ork Horde are Dastard and Snide.”
“What?” asked Tritank, surprised. “Doesn’t matter. A General’s head still gives a great contribution to this campaign,” he said, charging his dirus wolf towards the skewered Wertlosvati.
Without another word, Smoke gave Cynar a jar of pompom juice and pushed him towards the bleeding Ork General. Then, the ground rumbled as an earth-dome came out from below and sealed Wertlosvati and Cynar inside it.
“What the hell!” yelled Tritank, as he pulled back his dirus wolf before hitting the earth-dome. “You’d give that prized head to a Sonstwelter? What’s wrong with you?”
Chrysopelea flew towards Tritank. “Never mind that. We’ve got to find those two OlegHai Generals.”
“You go ahead,” said Smoke. “I’ve got to make sure the OrkElves will be safe.”
“Something’s really wrong with you,” said Tritank, looking down at Smoke from his mount. “Let’s go, Chrys,” he said, turning to him. “You better tell Ouragan about the OlegHai Generals too,” he added, pointing at the elderly HighElf attacking the Orks from the skies.
Left behind, Smoke stood on top of his earth-dome and called out to the OrkElves. “Everyone, fight near the dome. I’ll cover you as much as I can.”
Now, that Igniz had been incarnated into a Flame Knight, Smoke could no longer initiate his flame attacks. So, he was limited to use earth-spikes or earth-balls to support the OrkElves.
But then, dark flame-swords came from behind the OrkElves and slashed the enemy Orks they were facing.
With thirty-two purple flame-swords surrounding him, a fully-healed Igniz rushed the Orks with his fiery Salamander’s Tongue in hand. In just a few seconds, he cleared the Orks in his path and stood next to Smoke on top of the earth-dome.
“Geez! When did you get this good?” Smoke asked Igniz.
Igniz did not answer. Instead, he gave Smoke a knowing grin as he killed four more Orks with his flame-swords.
“Where’s Meneur?” asked Smoke.
“She had Daga accompany her,” replied Igniz. “Something about giving justice to her heart.”
* * * * * *
Enclosed inside the earth-dome, Cynar fell into a near pitch-black arena. Thanks to his mother’s Elven eyes, it only took him a few seconds to adjust.
Then, he saw the shape of his detested father free himself from the earth-spike where he was skewered.
“Gakgakgakgak! You think you can finish me off because of this?” provoked Wertlosvati. “Even if I’m half-dead, I’m still stronger than you!” he added while feeling the hole in his stomach. The Ork then hunched on his back as he searched the ground with his hands. He was looking for his double-headed ax.
In absolute silence, Cynar bolted in front of Wertlosvati. While the Ork was still crouching, Cynar landed his steel boots against the Ork’s thick chin.
As Wertlosvati’s head flew back, Cynar kicked away the double-headed ax that was next to the Ork. It slid across the opposite side of the earth-dome.
CLANG CLANG CLANG
The sound of a heavy double-headed ax resonated in the darkness.
“Don’t need no ax to kill you,” said Wertlosvati, planting both his feet on the ground. “Your friend wasted his life-saving you, cause you’re gonna die today!”
Wertlosvati bit his own tongue as he received successive kicks on his kneecaps. Cynar then followed up with a straight kick to the groin and swiftly backed away.
Wertlosvati tried to catch Cynar, but the OrkElf Assassin disappeared before the Ork’s arms could grab him.
“Pesky little rat,” jeered Wertlosvati. “Is that all of you’ve go—” the Ork bit his tongue once more as he suffered another kick to the chin.
Confident of his speed, Cynar continued on his hit and run tactic. Even if the damage was minimal, it still piled on and steadily reduced Wertlosvati’s life bar.
Wertlosvati covered his head with both his arms, only to be struck in the groin again.
The Ork resorted to defending both his head and groin with only one arm. However, this was not enough to stop Cynar’s Spur Step kicks.
“Come on! Is this it? Is this really how you imagined your revenge?” sneered Wertlosvati, blood dripping on the side of his mouth. “Your mother would cry at how cowardly you fight!”
Cynar ceased his attacks. He stopped not because of what Wertlosvati said, but because he was out of breath. Alas, the confined space did not allow him to continue his blinding attacks as he had already consumed most of the breathable air.
Even after the numerous strikes that he dealt, Cynar realized that he did little damage. Although his blunt kicks felt good, he needed to change his technique. He knew he only had one more attack left in him.
Taking out his paralysis darts, Cynar galvanized his resolve. He charged Wertlosvati for a last-ditch attack.
Cynar threw his paralysis darts at the Ork. His specialized training paid off as the sharp points of the darts pierced the thick green skin of his bastard father. Two darts punctured Wertlosvati’s throat while four more penetrated his arms.
Drawing closer, Cynar kicked the darts on the Ork’s left arm. He forced them deeper into Wertlosvati.
The paralysis finally took effect, as Wertlosvati’s left arm fell lifeless on his side.
As Cynar was about to kick the other arm, Wertlosvati grabbed him by the waist and squeezed the OrkElf next to his chest.
“Gotcha!” yelled Wertlosvati at Cynar’s ears. “Tell your mother… you sucked!” he jeered, dislocating Cynar’s arms, squashing the OrkElf with his death-embrace.
Trapped in the arm of his father, Cynar could feel his life being forced out of him. Looking up, he saw the paralysis darts sticking out of Wertlosvati’s neck. He gathered his last ounce of strength and stretched out his neck as far as he could. Cynar headbutted the tip of the paralysis dart and plunged it into the Ork’s throat.
Gradually, Wertlosvati’s death-grip on Cynar eased off.
Cynar forcibly freed himself from the Ork and kicked him behind the kneecaps. Wertlosvati fell face first on the ground.
With both his arms broken, Cynar stood in front of the paralyzed Wertlosvati.
“Think this will fill the hole inside you?” asked Wertlosvati, paralyzed on the floor. “Bet your mom and friend are cryin—” The Ork stopped talking as Cynar’s steel boot kicked his mouth.
“Fuh! That all you got—” began Wertlosvati but was unable to continue as Cynar began stomping on his head.
“Waaaaaah!” screamed Cynar as he unleashed all of his frustration, hatred, and pain with each squashing sound made by his boot. Tears flowed down as he continued crushing the Ork’s cranium. He only stopped when the body finally vanished out of existence.
Then, the earth-dome receded into the ground. Smoke and the incarnated Igniz greeted the moribund Cynar.
“Was worried there for a moment, but I knew you could do it,” said Smoke. “As soon as I sensed that you were—” he stopped talking and rushed to Cynar who collapsed on the ground, next to Wertlosvati’s double-headed ax.
“You got him, right?” he asked one of the OrkElves who also ran for Cynar.
To which the OrkElf nodded.
Smoke picked up Wertlosvati’s heavy weapon and inspected it.
|Maniaxe (Double Headed Axe)
Crafted as an offering for insane god Amok. Its bearer was said to feel his head being split in half unless its blades had a taste of blood.
> Warrior Variations Only
> Level 100
* Disregard Pain (Active)
> Reduce all physical damage taken by 50%
> Gain Immunity to all control-impairing effects
– Requires: 100 MP/second
– Max Duration: 300 seconds
– Receive: 10% of accumulated damage after ability ends
* Cleave (Passive)
> Weapon swing range + 300
> Enemies caught in the arc receives 50% damage
After inspecting Wertlosvati’s weapon, Smoke threw it over to the incarnated Igniz. “Wave it around, Bud,” he said to his symbiote. “The Orks need to see their Supreme General is dead.” He then looked at the gathered OrkElves surrounding them. They numbered in the hundreds. “Cynar has defeated their General. Now, let’s rid Sawtorn of all Orks. Everyone, follow me!” he yelled and led five hundred OrkElves against a forest of green giants.
* * * * * *
With the fiery flamberge in his right hand and Wertlosvati’s double-headed ax in his left, Igniz led the charge against the Orks. Using the Maniaxe’s Disregard Pain ability, the grunts’ barely did any damage to him.
Smoke stayed behind Igniz and supported him with earth-attacks while yelling. “Kamuir sunod. Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!” which roughly translated to Wertlosvati being dead and the rest of the Orks would soon follow him.
“Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!” The OrkElves followed Smoke’s lead and chanted it to their enemies. “Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!” It had become their war cry.
The former dark ember sprite, in his Flame Knight persona, proved to be most useful.
Smoke created two walls out of earth-spikes, which turned into a path for his symbiote.
“Sauf and Secours, stay within the safety of the OrkElves,” said Smoke to the MaduHai Priestesses. “Prioritize healing them over me.”
“Same for me,” added Igniz.
Smoke was about to protest but trusted in Igniz’s fighting prowess.
Each one of the unfortunate grunts laid out before Igniz froze at the sight of Wertlosvati’s ax. But before they could attack or fight, the petrified Orks fell victim to his Salamander’s Tongue. All the OrkElves had to do was to finish off the dying the Orks left in his wake.
“We’re heading there!” commanded Smoke, pointing at the flying Ouragan and Chrysopelea.
Smoke could have flown with them, but he felt that he needed to lead the remaining OrkElves or they might all perish.
Dust clouds formed directly below Ouragan and Chrysopelea. Smoke surmised that it was caused by Tritank and his mounted Knights.
As they drew closer, the Orks they faced became stronger and much harder to kill.
“We’re almost there,” said Smoke out loud. “Just stay inside the pathway,” he added, observing some of the OrkElves poke their spears at the Orks. They targeted the grunts who were trying to attack them despite the protruded earth-spikes. “Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!” he screamed, joining the OrkElves’ war cry.
As Smoke’s entire unit moved deeper into the Ork Horde, the Ork grunts took advantage of their rear. They climbed through the wall of earth-spikes where there were no spears to stop them.
“Fubar! Fubar!” screamed one of the OrkElves near Smoke. “Sir, they’re right behind us!”
Smoke could do nothing but watch his men in the rear being slaughtered by the Orks. He erected a third wall of earth-spikes which stopped the Orks from reaching the rest of the OrkElves in the back.
“Stay compressed!” commanded Smoke. “Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!” He yelled again, but it clearly had lost its effect on the Orks as they fought more aggressively against them.
With less than five hundred meters to Tritank’s legion, Smoke continued his time-consuming vigilant pace.
Looking up, he spotted Ouragan and Chrysopelea dive down. Ouragan’s powerful twister sealed a section away from the Ork Horde.
Smoke surmised that they were fighting against one of the OlegHai Generals—the real leaders of the Ork Horde.
“Alright, let’s look for the second one,” said Smoke.
As Smoke looked around the battlefield, he felt something had changed. Then, it hit him. The elemental attacks from above the mountains had stopped.
A fourth of the Horde had broken through the Knights on the mountainside. Thus, the Magical units shifted their focus-fire on the Orks heading straight for them.
Smoke had half the mind to go and support the fallen Knights, but a dark shadow overhead changed his priorities.
A horned gray wyvern hissed its forked tongue. It had returned for Smoke in the most inopportune time. Ashen smog poured out from its nostrils, creating a thick haze of Ponderous Mist. It dove fast towards Smoke.
– [ENCUMBERED] Ponderous Mist has increased your weight by ten times.
By now, Smoke was used to this status ailment. However, the hoary fog had spread wide and affected the Orks as well.
Smoke heard the screams of discomfort in Orkish as the Ork grunts were addled with the Ponderous Mist. He grinned as he watched them move slowly.
“Igniz, I’m counting on you,” said Smoke to his incarnated symbiote as their visibility vanished. Seeing nothing but the ashen smog, he created a complete Manatl around himself.
SCHILD SCHILD SCHILD SCHILD
The gray wyvern’s sharp talons scratched the purple Manatl, but Smoke’s barrier stood defiant.
Wertlosvati’s Maniaxe was useless inside the Ponderous Mist, but the Salamander’s Tongue’s Incinerator ability bypassed the added weight.
Igniz, who remained outside the Manatl, unleashed hundreds of flaming shafts against the wyvern.
Each fiery shard punctured the massive draconic creature. The wyvern cried out in agony.
Despite the Ponderous Mist, the silhouette of the gray wyvern became clear to everyone. It was covered in illuminating pieces of the Salamander’s Tongue.
The Ork grunts abandoned attacking Smoke and the OrkElves. Instead, they went after the draconic monster which interfered their battle.
Dozens of Ork Grunts leaped onto the wyvern. They plunged their weapons into the wyvern’s thick scales.
Igniz seeing the opportunity, manipulated the flaming shards. The shafts of the flamberge exploded outwards, hitting the grunts. Then, he had the pieces of the sword implode back into the wyvern again.
The Orks were now nailed to the wyvern, both receiving the Burned and Bleeding status ailments.
“Gaaaaak!” cried out the wyvern. It rolled on the ground scraping off the Orks and the shards out of its body. The grunts laid still, as their last hit points had already left them.
Smoke canceled out his Manatl and pointed his glowing earth-staff at the draconic monster.
The wyvern had less than 15% left on its life bar.
Smoke propelled himself with a sudden burst of earth-pillars under his feet.
As he jumped over the wyvern’s head and was about to deliver the finishing blow.
In turn, the wyvern’s talons came rushing from the side, ready to do a dual-exchange.
Smoke tightened his body as he was about to be hit by the wyvern’s claws, but was suddenly kicked out of the way by Tritank. The pompous Sonstwelter came out of nowhere.
“What the?” said Smoke as he fell to the ground, off course from the wyvern. “I don’t need your help!”
Tritank sneered. “Who says I’m helping you.” The pompous Sonstwelter then chanted out loud. “Wyvern Imprint!”
A blue light engulfed both Tritank and the gray wyvern. It took less than three seconds for the light to vanish. But when it did, Tritank was already on top of the draconic beast.
“Finally got my mount!” screamed Tritank, jubilant. “I’ll be back. After this one fully recovers,” he said to Smoke. “Don’t worry if you can’t get the Generals. I’ll do it when I return.”
“Let’s go,” Tritank said to the almost-dead wyvern, which was now under his will.
Despite its injuries, the gray wyvern could still flap its wings and flew up into the sky.
“Here, this should help you a bit,” Tritank added. He patted on the wyvern’s head and the draconic monster lets out another Ponderous Mist from its nostrils.
Tritank saddled Smoke, the OrkElves, his own men, and the Ork Horde with the added encumbrance weight. All of them had to fight it out inside the low visibility mist.
* * * * * *
A howling hurricane blocked a small section of the valley. The Ork Horde could do nothing to enter Ouragan’s powerful twister. But it was slowly losing strength as it had been sustained for more than thirty minutes.
“Duke Chrysopelea, think you can handle a few more grunts?” asked Ouragan, flying overhead.
Chrys looked up and saw that the old HighElf looked winded. “Sorry, but no.” He said, and created a mini-tornado of his own, preventing the grunts from attacking him.
“Then, you better fly up,” said Ouragan, his face pained. “Can’t hold the hurricane any longer.”
“But we haven’t found the OlegHai General,” reasoned Chrys. “I’m sure he’s here somewhere.”
Abruptly, the howling winds stopped. Ouragan fell down, unconscious.
Chrys flew up to catch the old HighElf. “Hey, you alright?” he asked. Then, he noticed that Ouragan’s mana bar had been completely drained and that his life bar was already at 10%. “What happened? I didn’t see you get hit.”
Ouragan faintly opened his eyes. “I used Essence Conversion. It uses my life force and converts it to mana.”
“What? How could you be so reckless!” exclaimed Chrys, carrying the old man by his arms while flying upward. He scanned the mountain top, to where his own army was. “We better return to—” he stopped talking as he spotted a battalion of Knights, Bishops, and Mages led by a flashy tiger Lioumerean.
“Wait, Trottel’s here,” Chrys said to Ouragan. “His healers can help you,” he said and dove straight towards them. He landed next to the Priests. “Take care of him,” he said to one of the clerics. “I’ll leave you here for a bit. I’m just going to see Trottel,” he said to Ouragan and ran off.
In a matter of seconds, Chrys reached the front lines. “Hey, how did you get past the Orks?” he asked Trottel.
“Oh, it’s you,” replied Trottel. “It was easy. I had my army charge down the mountain when I saw the Knights of Thanotl fall.”
“What about my basecamp?” asked Chrys, worried. “Our walls are still holding, right?”
“Don’t know,” replied Trottel, hardly paying any attention to him. “As long as will kill Wertlosvati, we’ll win this war.”
Chrys shook his head. “Wertlosvati’s already dead. Faux’s OrkElf friend killed him.”
“What!” exclaimed Trottel, surprised. “But why are the Orks still fighting? I thought they would surrender once their General was killed.”
“Yeah, turns out it’s the OlegHai Generals we should be after,” replied Chrys. “Ouragan and I spotted one of them in this area.”
Then, they saw the gray wyvern cover an area near them with them Ponderous Mist.
“Is that the wyvern Faux was hunting?” asked Chrys out loud.
“Never mind that,” said Trottel. “We’ve got to focus on the Orks. Faux can handle himself.”
As Trottel was about to direct his Knights forward, twenty Orks with special armors blocked their path. These Orks were shorter than the ones they faced before. All of them were equipped with two knives.
“They’re called the MoriHai Marauders,” blurted out Ouragan, who suddenly landed behind them.
“Hey, you alright?” asked Chrys.
Trottel hissed. “It will take more than that to beat the strongest Prime Wizard.”
“Thanks, old friend,” said Ouragan to Trottel. “But you shouldn’t underestimate these Orks.”
Without warning, the MoriHai Marauders vanished inside the formation of Ork grunts.
“Looks like they ran off,” sneered Trottel. “Guess seeing three Prime Wizards at once was too much for them.”
“I don’t think—” began Chrys but was cut off as two of the MoriHai Marauders leaped up to attack him with their knives.
Chrys blocked them with a powerful gust of wind. One of the MoriHai Orks was blown away but the other evaded it and struck him in the arm.
Ouragan sent a surge of wind, which picked up the MoriHai Ork and sent him hurtling upward. The Ork’s limbs were then severed by wind-cutters in mid-air. “They’re faster than your average Assassins,” he said to Chrys.
Meanwhile, Trottel sent out branches of lightning from his wand and randomly fired at the Ork grunts. He kept firing until his mana bar fell below 30%. “There, am sure I got at least four or five of them.”
Chrys and Ouragan exchanged looks as they watched the fallen bodies of only Ork grunts disappear out of existence.
Then, both Chrys and Ouragan took to the skies. Their aerial advantage gave them a clear sight of the MoriHai Marauders.
Chrys created an Ork-sized poisoned-filled twister and contained four of them. The ones caught in their own personal twister fell down to the ground, convulsing as the poison entered their system. Their life bars were steadily depleting.
Whereas, a fully-recovered Ouragan unleashed ten columns of wind, launching a Marauder on each one. They flew over forty meters in the air. Only to land with their arms and legs dislocated.
“Wait, these guys are just a distraction,” blurted out Chrys as he spotted a conspicuous movement within the Horde. “Over there,” he said to Ouragan. “Think that’s the OlegHai General?”
“Let’s go find out,” said Ouragan. The old HighElf then hovered over the Lioumerean Prime Wizard. “Trottel, take care of the remaining Marauders,” he said and flew after Chrys, who was chasing after the supposed OlegHai General.
From above, Chrys saw two Orks who fit the profile of being the General. One was larger but older while the other wore a similar armor to the Marauders, only more decorated.
As Chrys dove closer, he heard the older Ork call out to the ornate Marauder. “General, escape through the fallen statues. Our men have secured a path for you,” said the Ork in the common tongue.
“Follow me,” said Chrys to Ouragan, who had just arrived.
Chrys created an Ork-sized twister and tried to capture the ornate Marauder.
However, the Ork easily evaded Chrys’ attack. He then took out two wavy knives that were at least a meter in length.
“Is that the OlegHai General?” asked Ouragan.
“Looks like it,” replied Chrys. “Careful, he’s got some fancy knife.”
“That’s called a kris,” replied Ouragan. He then sent out a jet of air but failed to hit the Ork as well.
Unexpectedly, the Ork vanished. Only to materialize behind Chrys. The wavy blades plunged into his back.
Ouragan was about to help Chrys but dozens of Ork grunts had surrounded them. The old HighElf was forced to leave Chrys to fend for himself while he created a powerful tornado around the two of them, preventing the other Orks from entering.
Chrys tried to free himself, but the wavy blades were stuck good. “Fine! Don’t get off me!” he said and trapped himself and the Ork inside his own green twister which was filled with poison gas.
The powerful winds were about to pick the Ork up, but the ornate Marauder wrapped his legs around Chrys’ waists. “Boangi, dilir kar kafildir nakir.” he yelled in Chrys’ ears. He pulled out one blade at a time, only to stab it back in. The twin blades alternated with each other, each strike lowering Chrys’ life bar.
Chrys tried choking the Ork but could not reach him. His punches also did little damage as he focused on Intelligence and magic. Desperate, he activated the wind-cutters within his poison twister and slashed the Ork’s back with it.
It was a struggle to see who would last longer. The Ork kept stabbing him from behind, while his poisonous gas and wind-cutters worked at the Ork’s life bar.
Just as Chrys watched his red life bar go down below 5%, a notification window popped up.
|+ You’ve dealt a fatal blow to the MoriHai General: Schaf
+ You’ve killed the MoriHai General: Schaf
+ You’ve gained 3,000,000 EXP
+ You’ve gained a level
Chrys ended his poisonous twister and fell down next to the fallen MoriHai General. He picked up the kris and wondered out loud. “You’re not the OlegHai General? But I—”
Then, Chrys caught a glimpse of the older Ork, who called this one his General earlier. He winked at Chrys as he disappear into the crowd. The sneaky OlegHai General had taken off his ornate armor and hid with the Ork grunts.
* * * * * *
Encumbered by the Ponderous Mist, Smoke launched four earth-spikes, hitting the Orks who popped up next to him. His visibility was limited by the gray fog.
“Igniz, we need swords!” shouted Smoke.
At once, sixteen flame-swords materialized in mid-air. Their orange glow gave some clarity through the murky mist.
Smoke used his Fire Manipulation ability and took control over half the swords that Igniz made.
Since Smoke could no longer use his synergized state with the incarnated Igniz, this was what he came up with in order for him to use flame attacks.
Fighting almost blind, Smoke had the OrkElves form a chain, holding the person in front of them by the shoulder. He led one file while Igniz, who stood right beside him, led the other. The men following Smoke, kept thrusting their spears towards the left side, while the OrkElves behind Igniz attacked to the right. The MaduHai Priestesses named Sauf and Secours scattered themselves in between their two line formation, optimizing their support range.
The Ork grunts, who were also in the dark, only felt the sudden attacks. Whenever Smoke or Igniz heard an Ork scream, they sent their flame-swords to finish the job.
Pushing through the mist with this formation, Smoke spotted a tiny creature which camouflaged perfectly with the gray mist.
“Big Brother Igniz!” squeaked Daga. The little gray mouse scampered through the fog and hopped on the incarnated symbiote’s shoulder.
“Where’s Meneur?” asked Smoke, who felt ignored.
“Oh, right!” blurted out Daga. “I came looking for you because she’s up against Dastard.”
“Damn it! Why is she being so impulsive?” said Smoke out loud. “Where is she now?”
“She’s somewhere west of here,” answered Daga.
Smoke nodded. He then yelled out to his men. “We’re going after Dastard.”
They continued with their two-file line up as they advanced westward. The Orks were more affected by the Ponderous Mist as they were much slower than the OrkElves.
As they advanced farther, Smoke spotted a wide silhouette up ahead. He guessed that it was an army, but did not know whether they were friendly or not.
“Igniz, can you light that up,” said Smoke, pointing at the group in question.
In an instant, sixteen flying flame-swords flew over the unknown division.
Somewhat illuminated, Smoke saw Tritank’s army huddled together in a circle. They were led by a fat Sonstwelter Captain.
“Hey!” shouted Smoke to the fat Knight. “Have your men go westward. One of the OlegHai Generals is there.”
“And who are you supposed to be?” asked the fat Knight, indignant.
“I’m Faux,” answered Smoke quickly. “One of the Generals for the Vitzytl Kingdom.”
“Hmph! Sorry, no can do,” said the fat Knight, shaking his head. “Tritank left Captain Gras in charge of this army.”
“And which one is Captain Gras?” asked Smoke, looking behind the fat Knight.
“Why, me of course!” retorted Gras.
“Eh?” asked Smoke, confused. “Anyway, let’s go. Lead your men out of here.”
“Like I said, no can do!” replied Gras, louder. “We’re staying right here. Tritank said to hold this ground. No one’s gonna make us move, not the Orks and especially not some unknown General wanna be.”
Daga then jumped from Igniz’s shoulders onto Smoke’s. “Forget about them. Meneur needs us!”
“Right,” said Smoke, nodding his head. “Forward!” Not bothering to waste any more time with Gras.
After ten minutes and two hundred Ork grunts felled, Smoke and his men reached the boundary of the Ponderous Mist.
It was then that he saw the grim development of the battlefield. ‘What a mess!’ was his immediate thought. He used his Telefax Vision to get a clearer picture.
A medium-sized twister was in the east. Ork grunts, wagons, hell boars, and dirus wolves were picked up by the turbulent winds. He surmised that Ouragan and Chrys were probably fighting there.
Smoke then turned his attention over to the fallen effigies. The ruins of the former Kings of Sawtorn held firm and blocked the valley’s passage. He could see that the Knights were still holding their ground. Whereas, the Wizards and Priests located above them continued their ranged support. That was probably the only part of the plan that was going well for them at the moment.
Then, a large movement near the mountaintop caught Smoke’s attention. The commotion was near Prince Matalim’s flamboyant Tent. A myriad of elemental spells continuously came out from the Wizards stationed outside the Prince’s Shelter. But thousands of Orks on top of dirus wolves and hell boars were easily breaking through the Knights, Priests, and Wizards who were posted near the barricades protecting the Prince.
Smoke closed his eyes and his eyebrows crossed. He was weighing the option on whether to help Prince Matalim or to go to Meneur.
Then, for once, Smoke was pleased to see the sight of the otherwise irritable Tritank. The pompous Sonstwelter was on top of his newly subjugated wyvern. He was flying over the Orks threatening Prince Matalim’s tent. Tritank then covered the Orks in Ponderous Mist.
“Daga, where to?” asked Smoke, his objective focused.
“That way,” squeaked Daga, pointing over to the section of the Horde near the collapsed megaliths.
Smoke sighted a banner within the Ork Horde and headed straight for it, but was stopped by Daga.
“No, that’s just a decoy,” said Daga. “Dastard is somewhere to the right of that banner.”
Smoke clicked his tongue. “Sneaky Orks,” he said and changed the direction of his OrkElf army.
“Igniz, take the lead,” said Smoke.
Equipped with a fiery flamberge on his right and a dreadful ax on his left, Igniz sliced through the Orks blocking their path. He then used the wide arc of the Maniaxe and created a wide gap in the Orks formation.
“Split into five lines,” said Smoke to his troops. He stood still while the OrkElves got into a square position.
He had the ground he stood on rise upward, creating an earth-pillar at the center of this new formation. Once completed, he then created an earth-spike wall which only left the front open. He had one of the Ork Priestesses cover the OrkElves near the wall, while the other was sent with Igniz in the front lines.
“Forward!” said Smoke and slowly added more earth-spikes to the sides as they did so.
Ten minutes had already passed, but Smoke and his men had only moved a hundred meters.
Smoke, who still remained at the center of their movable-barracks, oversaw the fighting on all three sides. He disregarded the front and entrusted it to Igniz.
Then, one of the OrkElves from the front lines ran up to him. “Sir!” called out the OrkElf. “Excuse me. But Sir Ilad is having a difficult time advancing.”
Smoke looked to the front and his eyes widened. He saw Igniz was up against four Orks wielding massive claymores. These jade giants were equipped with weapons that rivaled those of Ork Colonels— Wertlosmorder and Wertlosrauber.
Thankfully, the MaduHai Priestess named Sauf was good at her job. Igniz’s life bar remained above 75% as she positioned herself behind the incarnated symbiote.
“Everyone, hold your ground!” shouted Smoke. “Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!” he chanted.
At once, the OrkElves cried out their war mantra. “Fatay nairs Wertlosvati! Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!”
Smoke left his earth-pillar and glided towards Igniz. But before he descended he heard Igniz call out.
“Look up ahead,” yelled Igniz, pointing at the cold mist farther away. “Go help Meneur, I got this.”
Smoke checked Igniz’s life bar and found it at full capacity. ‘Yes, Sauf is a dependable healer.’
Suddenly, Daga jumped off Smoke. “Go!” she screamed as she fell. She landed on one of the claymore-wielding Orks and bit his ear.
Grabbing this opening, Igniz charged forward with the maniaxe and knocked all of them backward. Daga sprinted towards the Ork Priestess as Igniz used his flamberge’s Incinerator ability. A flaming sphere of the fiery shards engulfed the four Orks and Igniz.
“Daga, make sure both of you stay alive!” said Smoke as he glided towards the cold fog.
* * * * * *
From above, Smoke could see the Orks who tried to touch the mist were frozen solid. He also saw a shape hidden within it—a mound of ice.
However, there was a small opening at the epicenter of the frozen ridge.
Without hesitation, Smoke dove in. The moment he entered through the hole, he felt his body stiffen. The air was below freezing. He created a spherical Manatl to protect himself from the cold. Before, he would have used flames to warm himself up, but he could no longer do that now.
Inside, he found hundreds of Ork grunts frozen solid. There were even a few hell boars caught by Meneur’s freezing spell. They were still alive, but all of their life bars were below 5%.
At the center of the freezing mist, he found Meneur impaled by a peculiar weapon. She was standing next to a large block of ice twice her height.
“You made it,” whispered Meneur, the mark of dried-up blood left on the sides of her mouth.
“What happened?” asked Smoke, canceling his spherical Manatl and rushing next to her. Upon closer inspection, he found that the owner of the unusual weapon was stuck inside the block of ice.
“That’s Dastard,” said Meneur faintly, pointing at the frozen Ork next to her. “Fumbled—big time,” she added, her eyes whitened.
Smoke sensed that it was not caused by her blindness, rather it was due to Meneur’s life bar which displayed 3%.
He then turned to Dastard and found that the OlegHai General’s life bar displayed (485,000/1,500,000 HP).
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, taking out a pompom juice and forcing the healing drink down Meneur’s throat. “We’ll finish him together.”
“Never mind the drink!” angrily said Meneur. “Hit him now!”
“No, we need to heal you—” began Smoke, but was slapped by Meneur.
“I said… kill him!” she screamed. “While I still have the power to hold him,” she added slowly, her voice wavered.
Smoke stepped back and took in a deep breath to clear his head. He needed an attack that would finish the job but he also had to account for Meneur’s safety.
“Alright. You ready?” Smoke asked Meneur.
“Do it already!” replied Meneur.
Smoke launched a thick earth-spike, with the intent to impale Dastard and simultaneously free Meneur.
However, the moment the earth-spike broke through the block of ice, Dastard’s sword shifted and pulled Meneur along with him. The Ork General had evaded Smoke’s attack and escaped.
As the peculiar sword revealed its true shape, Meneur’s life bar was drained to zero. A thick blunt blade with a hook at its tip, a blade-crescent for its guard, and a metal stake for its hilt.
Meneur’s lifeless body fell to the ground. As it started to fade out to nothingness, the OlegHai spoke. “Thanks!” sneered Dastard. “She almost got me there,” he added, standing up to his full height and revealing a second hook sword.
The OlegHai General towered over Smoke at two and a half meters. Yet, he was lean compared to Wertlosvati. His tusks were also shorter but his hair was longer which covered his face.
“Shouldn’t have underestimated her just because she’s blind now,” said Dastard, who spoke fluent Lacerta. “Anyway, who are you supposed to be, DarkElf?” He paused as if he recognized Smoke. “Oh, wait… I know! You must be Faux! The smartass who thought he could defeat the Horde.”
Smoke immediately put up his spherical Manatl and tightened his grip on the clay staff.
Dastard charged at Smoke and attacked the manatl.
SCHILD SCHILD SCHILD SCHILD
Sparks flew out of the hook swords as it made contact with Smoke’s barrier. His clay staff began to glow as it stored the OlegHai’s attacks.
Yet, after only four strikes, Dastard stopped attacking. “So, you’re really a Manatl user.”
Dastard leaped backward. “Thought you could hit me with that charged attack, huh?” He laughed. “Sorry, but I’m not an idiot.”
The OlegHai General began to leave. When he reached farther away, he stopped. “See you around, Boangi,” he said to Smoke. “Feel free to stay inside your cozy Manatl while I lead my Orks to victory,” he added and started walking again.
Standing in the same spot, Smoke observed Dastard’s actions. The OlegHai General casually strolled onward, about to exit Meneur’s frozen cavern.
Smoke then stared at the now empty space where Meneur’s body vanished. He took out a jar of pompom juice and finished it in one gulp.
“Fatay nairs Wertlosvati!” called out Smoke.
“Whoa! You know Orkish?” asked Dastard, turning around. “Call me impressed,” he added, pointing his twin hook swords at Smoke. “But Wertlosvati being dead, is a good thing. A Horde with many leaders is fast, but a Horde with one is unstoppable.”
Dastard chuckled. “Heck, now I only have to kill Snide and I’ll be the ruler of the Ork Hor—”
The OlegHai General stopped mid-sentence and dodged backward as Smoke attacked him with two earth-spikes from the ground.
“Tsk tsk tsk. That’s not fair,” complained Dastard. “You get to attack me, but I can’t hit you. Besides, Meneur already injured me badly,” he reasoned farther, indicating that his life bar was already at 32%. “Get out of your Manatl and I’ll fight you.”
Smoke ignored Dastard and launched eight more earth-spikes. But Dastard easily evaded all of them.
“Am not sticking around for that kind of fight,” said Dastard and started running for the exit.
Smoke erected four earth-spikes to block the Ork’s path.
Dastard laughed and struck two earth-spikes with his hook swords. The earth-spikes crumbled as it met the blunt force of the Ork’s blades. He then bounced over the torn-down earth-spikes and was about to leave when he heard Smoke call out.
“Wait!” said Smoke, canceling his Manatl sphere. “How’s this?”
“Hmm… Don’t know,” said Dastard. “You could just put it up again.”
Smoke threw the sacred clay staff near Dastard’s feet. “There! Satisfied?” he asked, tightening his Gauntlets of Orcinol.
“Well, I’ll be!” exclaimed Dastard. “You’re really looking down on me, huh?”
Dastard got off the broken earth-spikes and walked slowly towards Smoke. His twin hook swords made an irksome sound as it scratched against the ground.
Then, when Dastard got closer, the OlegHai General charged at Smoke.
In response, Smoke sent up eight earth-spikes. All of which were pulverized by Dastard’s hook swords.
Needing to create some distance between them, Smoke leaped back as he prepared to launch another attack. But the metal stake at the hilt of Dastard’s hook swords suddenly slashed his left shoulder, sending him sprawling on his back.
Confused at how the Ork cleared such a large distance between, Smoke looked up. He saw that Dastard had linked the twin swords by their hooks, greatly extending the reach of the weapon.
Dastard spun the hook swords around one more time before he grabbed the second one by its handle, holding each blade with one hand. “Looks like I got you there,” sneered Dastard.
Ignoring the pain, Smoke formed a fist with his right hand. Eight earth-spears were crafted in mid-air and flew straight for Dastard.
Leading with the crescent guards, Dastard deflected the earth-spears one by one. He only stopped on the last one and caught it by the hooks of his sword. He pivoted his body around and sent the caught earth-spear back at Smoke.
In response, Smoke simply opened his palms and disintegrated the earth-spear into dust.
Unexpectedly, Dastard popped up in front of Smoke. With one swipe of his thick blade, he caught Smoke’s left leg by the hook. He pulled Smoke towards him and pierced the metal stake of his second sword into Smoke’s shoulder.
Simultaneously, an earth-spike struck Dastard’s groin. The OlegHai jumped backward and avoided from being impaled.
Smoke clutched the wound on his shoulder. He wanted to assess Dastard’s fighting ability and gauge the damage of the hook swords. He thought he had the advantage, what with the OlegHai already being injured. But only after taking two hits, his life bar was reduced to 65%. None of his ranged earth-spikes struck the Ork. Yet, the blunt hook swords packed more punch than he thought. Three more attacks from those thick blades would surely claim his life. Moreover, there was another thing that bothered him. His body was already shivering. It was so cold Smoke could see his breath.
“Oh-ho! What’s this? No resistance to Ice, huh?” mocked Dastard, extending his swords and embraced the freezing wind. “Not to brag, but I’ve been in this situation before,” he added pointing around the ice cavern Meneur created. “And I won last time too.”
Needing to recover both his life and mana bars, Smoke hid inside an earth-dome.
CRACK CRACK CRACK
“Aww. I like this one!” jeered Dastard from outside as he whacked his hook swords against Smoke’s earth-dome. “Won’t you come out and play.”
Smoke gulped down another pompom jar. He only had one left. As he tightened his Gauntlets of Orcinol, the earth-dome crumbled. He used his Serval Shoes’ Trailblazer ability and escaped Dastard’s reach.
“Now, that’s lame!” said Dastard, threatening Smoke with one of his hook swords. “Why would you want to warm up a perfectly cool place like this.”
Without another word, Smoke used the increased movement speed from the Trailblazer and ran circles around Dastard, leaving a wall of flames in his wake.
“What? You just gonna run around?” asked Dastard, trying to follow Smoke’s movement in the flames. “Come on, Boangi. Show me what you go—”
Dastard’s face flew backward as his neck was forcibly twisted by Smoke’s right cross.
Smoke used his Hyper Jump Ability and hopped out of his circular fire wall. Sharp spikes protruded out of Smoke’s knuckles as he activated the gauntlet’s Panthera Claws ability, increasing both his attack speed and damage. His fists disappeared into a blur.
Dastard tried to counter with his crescent guard, but Smoke used the Ork’s stomach as a foothold and leaped back into the flames.
The OlegHai General extended his hook sword into the path of the Trailblazer, but Smoke sprang out to punch him in the face instead. After just two brawls, Smoke reduced Dastard’s life bar from 30% to 10%.
Dastard stumbled back to the center of the circular flames. He connected his twin swords by the hooks and in a circular motion attacked the wall of flames with the metal-stake on the hilt.
Once again, Smoke hopped out and evaded the Ork’s hook sword. However, this time, he was stabbed in the back by the metal-stake. Dastard changed the trajectory of the hilt as he pulled the sword back towards him.
Forcibly flying towards Dastard, Smoke felt the Ork’s crescent guard pierced his chest.
Dastard lifted him up and twisted his sword, inflicting more damage. Smoke’s life bar instantly fell to 50%.
“Got you now, Boangi!” jeered Dastard.
The circular flames from Smoke’s Trailblazer ebbed. A bleeding Smoke looked down at Dastard and said. “No, I got you.”
Smoke used the flames from his Trailblazer and melded it with the earth. A massive magma-hand came out from underneath Dastard and squeezed him to death.
A choking Dastard released his grip on his hook sword, which made Smoke fall to the ground.
Dastard’s green skin turned black and the smell of burning flesh filled the ice cavern.
Smoke got out a healing salve and applied it on his chest. He looked up and watched as the last hit points of Dastard was crushed out of him.
A notification window popped up and confirmed that it was over.
|+ You’ve dealt a fatal blow to the OlegHai General: Dastard
+ You’ve killed the OlegHai General: Dastard
+ You’ve gained 4,000,000 EXP
+ You’ve gained a level.
He walked over to where he threw his sacred clay staff and picked it up. Then, after Dastard’s body vanished, he heard the sound of two heavy objects fall to the ground.
Stowing away his staff he rushed to pick up Dastard’s dropped items.
+ Acquired epic hook swords: Sun and Moon Blades
Upon closer inspection, he saw that one of the hook swords had a gold handle behind the crescent guard. A sun was etched into it. Whereas, the other sword had a silver handle engraved with the moon.
|Sun and Moon Blades (Hook Swords)
These swords were said to have been forged for the sons of the great god Cuezaltzin—Tecatl and Tonati. Yet, a tragic accident occurred when the two of them died during a sparring session. Cuezaltzin laid Tonati’s body in the sun and Tecatl’s body in the moon. As a sign of remorse, he had the swords turned into blunt weapons but was given a special property to work well together.
+ 200% Attack Damage against Ice-based Creatures
* Solar Slash (Active)
> Consumes all of your MP and transforms the Sun Blade into a ray of Sun. It inflicts your maximum MP x 1.5 of pure Fire Damage
-Warrior Variations Only
– Needs maximum MP to activate
+ 200% Attack Damage against Fire-Based Creatures
* Lunar Force (Active)
> Consumes half your MP and increases the weight of the Moon Blade by 10% of the MP you used.
– Warrior Variations Only
– Needs half of total MP to activate
Sun & Moon Blade
* Brothers Reunited (Active)
> Consumes a third of your MP to teleport you from the sun blade to the moon blade and vice-versa.
– Needs at least a third of total MP to activate
– Maximum Range is 200 Meters
Smoke smiled in amazement, but then he frowned as he remembered that Meneur had been killed by these swords. He walked over to where her body was. The only thing that was left was her long brown robe. He collected it and stowed it away.
With nothing left for him inside the ice cavern, Smoke ventured outside.
He was taken aback at the booming sounds of thunder. Dark clouds filled up the sky as massive lightning bolts struck down the ground. Hailstones as large as a man’s head pelted from above.
Electrocuted bodies of the Orks and their mounts were laid out everywhere. There were even a few Sonstwelter Knights who were unfortunate enough to be caught in the range of their Lightning Tempest.
Yet, despite the expansive attack, Smoke could see a fluid movement from the Orks. They were not running around like headless chickens. Instead, they marched at a steady pace towards ruined effigies of the former kings.
Using his Telefax Vision, he found that the Wizards and Priests defending their trap’s exit had all been wiped out. The majority of the Horde continued to run out of Etonner Valley.
The mounted Knights assigned there abandoned their posts. Instead, they shifted their focus on attacking the Orks climbing the mountainside.
Following the direction of the mounted Knights, Smoke spotted Tritank and his wyvern. They were still defending the place near Prince Matalim’s tent. A massive mist of gray had split the mountain in half. Smoke assumed that hundreds of Orks were still trapped inside of it, remembering how they had almost reached the crowned Prince of Thanotl.
The mounted Knights blocked the escape of the Orks caught in Tritank’s Ponderous Mist.
A torrent of elemental spells continued to rain on the hapless Orks. Some did manage to get out of the mist, only to be skewered by the Knights’ lances.
Then, Smoke spotted two persons flying above him. Ouragan and Chrysopelea rushed towards the valley’s exit. But they were not flying too high up as the lightning strikes also targeted them.
Once the two wind specialists arrived, they began powering up a tornado to block the Orks’ escape.
Chrys and Ouragan’s tornado caught dozens of escapees and sent them hurtling upwards. But there were even more Orks who simply moved to the side and continued to rush out of the valley.
Boulders and earth-walls were also being put up, but the Orks are expert climbers. The ones on foot scaled the earth-blockades like there were carved-out steps on the mountainside. Dirus wolves and hell boars were discarded without a care. Their riders joined their jade-skinned brethren and clambered over the boulders.
A confused Smoke did not know what to do. The Lightning Tempest had finally been activated, but there were barely any Orks left in the valley.
Then, a little gray mouse suddenly scampered onto Smoke’s shoulder. “Snide is leading the Orks to retreat,” she happily squeaked. “Except for the ones caught in the Ponderous Mist, most of the Orks have left the valley and are running for their lives,” she reported proudly.
“That’s bad,” replied Smoke.
“Huh? What are you talking about?” asked Daga. “We won.”
“No,” somberly answered Smoke. “Because we were here to wipe them out.”
* * * * * *
It had been a full day after the joint armies of Vitzytl and Thanotl fought the Ork Horde. They wiped out the ones trapped inside the Ponderous Mist and the grunts left frozen for dead inside Meneur’s ice cavern.
Smoke had just logged back in after his scheduled two-hour sleep in the real world. He opened his eyes and found his bare, modest-sized tent empty.
He wondered if Igniz and Daga had already reached the swamp lands, as the MaduHai Priestesses asked to be brought home. Cynar and the OrkElves offered to lead them there by themselves, but Smoke wanted to Igniz and Daga to join them.
Needing some air, he stepped outside to what he thought would be a now desolate valley but was astounded to find bustling Sonstwelters everywhere.
The once green valley was blackened by their campaign. Craters and scorch marks from the Lightning Tempest were evident. Even though the war against the Horde was over, there were still numerous Sonstwelters in the war-torn Valley. A few of them were scavenging for dropped items that were otherwise unclaimed. Whereas, the ones belonging to a large guild were busy rounding up dirus wolves and hell boars abandoned by the Orks.
Without notice, an elderly HighElf grabbed him by the shoulders from behind. “Thank Tlaltezin you’ve returned,” blurted out Ouragan. “Hurry! King Kajou and Prince Matalim are about to go to war.”
“The King’s here?” asked Smoke, surprised.
“Yeah, he arrived a few hours ago,” replied Ouragan. “He began asking how the battle went and when Tritank and Prince Matalim came to his tent… Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing King Kajou isn’t a Warrior.”
Ouragan led Smoke towards an even more stately tent than the one Prince Matalim used. It could easily fit ten of the Prince’s tents.
“Magietrois Florissant, I found him,” said Ouragan to Eleve as soon as they entered.
Inside the vast tent, Smoke spotted the hairy King trying his best to pull out a sword from its scabbard but was unsuccessful. Chrysopelea and Trottel stood next to the King, both pointing their wands at the crowned ruler of the Thanotl Kingdom.
Simultaneously, Prince Matalim had drawn out his sword. Tritank and ten other Knight Captains had their own weapons and shield at the ready. They stood closely behind their Prince.
“This is bad,” said Eleve to Smoke, worried.
“Calm down,” said Prince Matalim to King Kajou. “It doesn’t have to be like this.”
“Ha! You’re one to talk!” screamed King Kajou, still trying to pull out his sword. “This was our chance to wipe out the Orks for good, but your Knights abandoned my Wizards and Priests. You caused this whole operation to fail, thousands of my citizens died for nothing.”
“Hey!” called out Tritank. “My Knights knew it was a lost cause defending the valley’s exit. It’s not our fault your Wizards and Priests weren’t smart enough to run for their lives.”
“How dare you speak to our King that way!” yelled Trottel, launching a lightning bolt at the Sonstwelter.
Two Knights stepped forward and blocked the attack with their shields.
“King Kajou, I know this is far from our desired outcome” began Prince Matalim. “But there are several merits that we’ve accomplished.”
“Hmph!” scoffed King Kajou.
“Our initial goal was to kill their Supreme General—Wertlosvati,” added Prince Matalim. “We did that. We even killed his UrukHai Colonels.”
“The MoriHai General called Schaf…and the OlegHai General named Dastard were killed too,” chimed in Tritank.
“Wow! What gall to say those accomplishments,” countered Trottel. “Wertlosvati was killed by Faux’s OrkElf friend, Schaf was killed by Prime Wizard Chrysopelea, and Dastard was killed by Faux himself.”
“Yeah? Well… My wyvern and I killed more than a fourth of the entire Horde!” claimed Tritank
“What? You’re honestly going with that,” argued Trottel, exasperated. “If you sent your wyvern to the valley’s exit we could’ve kept the stupid Orks within the reach of our Lightning Tempest!”
“If you’re going to point fingers, then blame it on Meneur!” retorted Tritank. “Wasn’t this her plan? And Faux’s OrkElves could have stalled the Orks from escaping. But I guess they weren’t as dumb as your Wizards and Priests to sacrifice themselves for a lost cause.”
The back and forth arguments between Trottel and Tritank only worsened the situation.
Then, King Kajou finally pulled out his sword from its scabbard and tried to attack Prince Matalim. But the stout King was too far away, hitting only air and stumbled on the ground by himself.
“This is the end of our alliance,” declared King Kajou, sprawled on the floor. “After we wipe out the Orks, we’re claiming your lands next,” he added as he was being helped up by Trottel and Chrysopelea.
Eleve clutched Smoke’s hand and said. “You’ve got to do something. If this happens, then the Horde will win.”
With certainty, Smoke knew that she spoke the truth. It was clear that the alliance was over. Instead, an all-out war would break. The MaduHai Orks and OrkElves would be offered up as sacrificial lambs, reasons why this whole undertaking failed. He could see the Horde running rampant throughout Sawtorn. Especially now that they were solely led by Snide.
Stepping away from Eleve and Ouragan, Smoke suddenly let out a burst of maniacal laughter. “Hahahahaha! You fools did everything I wanted!” Each one of his palms pointed at King Kajou and Prince Matalim. Swiftly, he captured the royals in earth-binds. Before anyone could react, he got out his sacred clay staff and surrounded himself in a spherical Manatl.
A second too late, Tritank, Trottel, and the Knights from Thanotl went to attack Smoke’s barrier.
SCHILD SCHILD SCHILD
But their strikes and elemental magic could do nothing against his Manatl.
“Faux? What are you doing?” asked Chrysopelea.
Ouragan and Eleve both looked at each other, confused.
“Now, listen well. For this thought-out plan is too impressive not to share,” began Smoke, making his voice deeper, acting out his self-imposed role as the villain. “It all began when I successfully infiltrated the 13th Magi Gagnant Tournament.”
“What?” asked Chrysopelea out loud, shaking his head in disbelief.
“During the preliminaries, I searched for Magietrois Florissant and became her student.” He smirked and winked at Eleve. “All I did was play along. With that, I gained her trust and her powers.”
“What are you doing?” asked Eleve in a whisper.
“Just play along,” hushed Smoke. “I intentionally placed second and lost the tournament to win Ouragan’s favor,” he went with a much louder voice. “But was surprised that I also fell in good graces with that snot-nosed imbecile,” he added, pointing at King Kajou.
“Why you little—” began King Kajou, but was silenced by an earth-wrap which covered the King’s nose hair and mouth.
“You see, I was working with the Horde the whole time,” revealed Smoke. “Thankfully, General Snide is a genius. He sensed that something was wrong with the MaduHai Orks. So, he sent me there.”
“How long did you plan this?” asked Tritank. “And to think that I would’ve offered you to join my guild!” he added with disgust in his voice.
An earth-ball struck Tritank in the jaw and knocked him down on the ground. “Shut up!” yelled Smoke. “I’m talking. This is my time!”
Tritank remained silent as he propped himself up.
“I gained the trust of the MaduHai Orks and became their emissary,” said Smoke. “And General Snide was right. Those magical Orks couldn’t be trusted.”
“Wait, so you didn’t kill Dastard?” asked Chrys. “No…” he paused as another realization came to him. “Don’t tell me you were the one that killed Meneur?”
“What of it?” asked Smoke. He gulped as he swallowed his guilt. “The MaduHai and OrkElves knew nothing. They followed me like mindless sheep.”
“And then you told Snide of our plans,” interjected Prince Matalim. “But why did the Horde still enter the valley?”
“Um… Well, that’s because…” stammered Smoke, his voiced cracked as he searched for a response.
“Because Snide didn’t tell anyone else,” concluded Prince Matalim. “This was his plan all along to get rid of the other Ork Generals.”
“And now he has full control of the Horde,” added Chrysopelea. “My King, we shouldn’t fight with the Thanotl Kingdom,” he said to the bound up monarch.
“That’s right!” exclaimed Smoke. “But with the way things are going now, I’m sure that this is the end of this pathetic alliance. Everything for the Horde!”
All of a sudden, Tritank attacked Smoke’s Manatl once again. The Thanotl Knights and Trottel joined in.
Smoke reinforced his Manatl, but after two minutes it showed signs of dissipating. He took in a deep breath and prepared for his death. He smiled at Ouragan and Eleve. If this was what it would take to preserve this alliance, then he was more than willing to make this sacrifice.
Tritank yelled out. “Everyone, let’s kill this son of a bit—”
Was the last thing Smoke heard as he unexpectedly felt a tingling sensation in his entire body. He was teleported away and left only a fiery afterimage of himself.
* * * * * *
When Smoke opened his eyes, he found himself in front of thousands of books, magical experiments, and floating balls of fire. He had seen this place before, it was the Magietrois Tower, a place hundred of kilometers away from Etonner Valley.
A small figure materialized from the flying balls of flames. It belonged to a familiar young girl.
“Flora?” asked Smoke. “I thought you died?”
“Child, that was but one of my Avatars,” she replied. “People used to call me Magietrois Florissant. But I don’t mind if you call me by that name.”
“You’re the real Magietrois Florissant?” asked Smoke, astonished. “Can you help me get to Mictlan?”
“My, my, my, presumptuous, aren’t we?” said Florissant. “Truth is, it’s our eldest sister Magna who is an expert in the afterlife.”
“Then, can you tell me how to find her?” asked Smoke.
“Wow!” exclaimed Florissant. “Ingrate much? A little thank you would be nice. After all, I just saved your life from that mob.”
Eight flying fireballs moved next to Smoke. He then felt dizzy, suffocating. The fireballs around him were sucking out the oxygen.
“Forgive me, Magietrois Florissant,” gasped Smoke and lowered his head to the floor. “Thank you for helping me.”
“Good. That’s better,” she said. The fireballs dispersed and she propelled Smoke in mid-air. “Now, normally, I wouldn’t have bothered with you. But Eleve kept on insisting that you were worthy… that you were special.”
“Eh?” replied a floating Smoke, oblivious of what to say. He now realized where Eleve got her sadistic nature.
Florissant loudly sighed. “You know, I kind of hate you,” she blurted out. “It’s not a good thing to be wrong in front of your student. But this time, I’m sort of glad I was.”
“Um… thank you?” said Smoke, afraid to lower his Intimacy with a real Magietrois. Then, he was gently lowered to the floor.
“You’re acting could use some work, though,” said Florissant. “Putting that aside, that thing you did back there was unbelievable. You do know that you can never step foot in any of the cities of Sawtorn again, right?”
“Yeah, but they needed a common enemy to hate,” replied Smoke. “Otherwise, they would have blamed each other.”
“There were about a dozen more solutions to that problem,” said Florissant. “But the one you came up with was very touching.”
“Um… touching enough to contact your sister Magna?” he asked with a wide grin.
“Definitely!” replied Florissant, nodding her head. “Only problem is… I don’t know how to find her. Both of them for that matter. Magna and Ancienne never respond to my calls.”
Smoke’s eyes widened as the flying fireballs swirled above Magietrois Florissant. In but a few seconds, he could already feel the temperature of the room drastically rise.
“As the youngest sister, they asked me to stay behind,” she said something ordinary, but her anger was clearly conveyed in her tone. “Of course, I obeyed,” she went on. Her frail figure of a little girl slowly changed to that of Flame Giant. She was even bigger than two Gargantuan Goblins stacked on top of each other.
Smoke strained his neck when he looked up at her full height. He steadily backed away from Florissant, feeling her blazing heat. Smoke’s life bar was being depleted. Despite his high resistance of 90% against Fire, he still received the Burned Status. He quickly got out his sacred clay staff and put up a spherical Manatl. Otherwise, he would have surely been killed.
“But after thousands of years… I just wish I could see them again,” she said somberly, slowly reducing in size and flames, reverting back to the little frail looking girl. “Anyway, enough about me reminiscing,” she added and stared at Smoke fully-focused on reinforcing his Manatl. “What are you doing?” she asked, confused. “Why are you so far away?”
Smoke canceled his Manatl and his Burned Status alleviated. “Nothing. Was just touched by your story.”
“Right… So, you want to talk about my sisters again?” asked Florissant.
“No!” exclaimed Smoke. “That’s fine.”
“Oh, alright,” replied Florissant. “Guess talking about old has-beens is kind of boring. Besides, what you really want to know is how to get to Mictlan, right?”
“Yes, yes, yes!” repeated Smoke, hopeful. “If it’s not too much trouble,” he hurriedly added.
“Well, I happen to have a one-way passage there,” said Florissant. “But I’m not sure if you can get back to Zectas once you’re in Mictlan.”