Continuing on with my ‘The Radiance’ arc, here’s the 2nd chapter. With the conclusion of this arc, I’ll probably wrap it up in ‘Volume 1′ and neatly gather it all in a single place. Thank you guys for reading, and feedback is appreciated :’)
CHAPTER V – THE RADIANCE (PART 2)
“To my heart, only one had cast a seed that sprung a vine of thorns, thoroughly enveloping it as if magic had tangled with the sorts. Even should I be her mere shadow cast amongst many, outstripped by her wholly light, the drained heart would beat as if riding a Dragon. After all, that is what it means to love someone without bounds.” – Unknown, Year 369 of Moon-Lyn Calender
Passing Than Village, now born strip of all but straw-roofed homes, the pathway was full dirt, surrounded by flowery fields and meadows. It was a rather delightful sight in the morning and had even Elain thaw the cold demeanor she’d usually uphold. Eon had merely paid a glance before returning to his thoughts – he had learned from Lyon that, in order to break through to the Jade ranks, he had to slay one High Beast and eat its Spirit Core. He had quickly connected that to his knowledge of the game, and the two seemed to be rather the same. High Beasts were referred to as party bosses, where even if at the same level as other beasts, they still had higher stats and better abilities. Lyon had promised to take him to one such spot, roughly three hours away from the Than Village, but Eon had already decided to break through today. After all, what was the point of delaying it? It wasn’t a secret that, at the end of the day, however deeply the schemes ran, the brute force overwhelmed all under the vast skies. From what he had learned, if he were to break through to Jade ranks, he’d easily be able to take on the entire Knighthood all by himself. What was the point of scheming if he could just bust down the front doors and annihilate everyone within his sights? Of course, he held these thoughts inwards, as he was certain Lyon would protest heavily.
The only other thing he pondered was which Advanced Class he would embark upon, but at the end of the day, he had set his heart to ‘Berserker’. After all, it provided far better stats than any other class, and his strength would skyrocket to such high bounds that he was certain no one else within the entire Continent would be able to rival him. In addition, battling the High Beast would be his first true challenge since he had entered this world. Casting aside the issue of pitiful bandits he had beaten into submission, he never left the small valley where Dusk Village resided, so this was also a test of his character.
“When we arrive in the Capital,” Lyon suddenly said; he had given up a horse to Elain, as he was a true gentlemen in heart, and instead walked next to it, handling the horse well. “There’s a high chance that some of my brothers will try to antagonize you, and probably invite you into their circles as well. I’m not saying you shouldn’t,” he paused briefly. “But you probably shouldn’t.”
“Stop being a wimp,” Elain said with a sigh, gravely surprising the young noble. “That’s probably the reason you’re at the pitiful bottom. Clay, if you had told me we’d be following this bitch-slapped weakling into the Capital, I’d have rather slept with you than followed!”
“We can always make that happen.” Eon winked, holding nothing back. Hearing his words, the young girl flushed red, averting her gaze, as if finally realizing the gravity of her words.
“Bitch-slapped?” Lyon could only stutter in shame, avoiding everyone’s eyes.
“Besides,” Eon soundly resolved the issue. “What’s the fun of tangling with the top beasts if not to challenge them? Beating on the weak is easy. Destroying the pride, the arrogance and whiff of the overbearing, now that’s worthy of a good hard-on!” even Lye and Lyon suddenly flushed red upon hearing his words, and Elain nearly sunk into horse’s head, daring not even to look at him. How could have I thought following such a perverse man was a right thing to do?! She yelled at herself inwards, contemplating her decisions. “What?” Eon said indifferently. “Wait, why the hell are you people blushing? Just how old are you?!”
“M-my Lord,” Lye was the first to break the silence. “It’s not that we don’t understand,” he said carefully. “It’s just that no one had laid it so openly before. It’s rather crude.”
“Crude?” Eon briefly pondered; he had actually believed himself rather subtle right now. “So if I said something akin to ‘having a boner when laying eyes upon Elain’s tits’, what would that register as?”
Finally, the young girl couldn’t take it anymore, leaping off her horse and taking out her sword in one swift motion, pointing it at Eon as she roared. Her crimsoned features burned down to her neck, and she held nothing back; truly, throughout her entire life, no other man had dared to utter such perverse words in front of her! Not even close to it. Lye had completely lost it and started laughing, tripping over and falling, while Lyon came to a halt, shock painting his face clear. He had no ability to think or process, and Eon’s words began resonating within his head.
Eon merely stopped moving as Elain flew in front of him, landing head-first into the tall grass, yapping out in slight pain. Yet, without moment’s hesitation, she was already at her feet, still pointing her sword at Eon.
“I don’t know from which backthrow country you hail from,” however much she wished she could pertain her usual, stern face, she knew herself that she was like a rose atop a neck at this point. His words resonated against the walls of her mind, unwilling to leave. “But, if you keep uttering such nonsense, I’ll have your head on a spike!”
“Relax, relax,” Eon laughed kindheartedly. Who would have thought that these people were so innocent? Even he, someone isolated under skies, had sex in his previous life and was quite accustomed to such sayings as they were rather common among young. Yet, here he stared at that very youth, baffled beyond reason, red as blood in face. “I was merely making a joke. What’s with all the fuss?”
“A joke?” Lyon suddenly voiced his opinion. “That was an insult Clay! And, what’s more, insult straight to maiden’s face! I thought you a better man than that!”
“Well,” Eon pondered briefly, deciding to bully them a bit and have some fun. “Unless you’re prepared to get accustomed to such … khm … villainy, then you may as well leave. After all, my character is the same as my desire: boiling hard!” he exclaimed in such a loud shout that Lyon was certain that even the King himself had heard his voice. All three suddenly dropped to their knees, Lye only one slowly gathering up from the laughter, but after one quick glance at the other two quickly restoring back to it. They were at utter disbelief to his words! “Ah, come on. I’m done with teasing you. You guys aren’t any fun.” Eon sighed outwardly, proceeding forward as if nothing had taken place just moments ago.
The remaining three followed in silence, outside of Lye’s occasional chuckles. He had merely admired and awed at his Lord, but now he had truly grown to like him as a friend. To be able to bring proud Knight-in-making and a Noble down to red tears and knees, now that took a character beyond an ordinary person! He had decided it deep in his heart that, regardless of what Lord Clay commands, he’ll follow him to the bitter end – if for nothing but for laughs.
As they approached the are where High Beasts resided, Lyon was the one to take the lead without uttering a word. He was still trying to discern whether it was a right call to summon Clay with him or not; after all, such crude character was sure to invite trouble the moment his foot entered a grand city! However, he still held on hope that he merely just teased them, as he had said, and find amusement in their bewildered faces. That was, at least, somewhat allowed in Lyon’s scope.
“This here,” Lyon came to a halt, pointing a finger at the hole on the hillside. It was rather crude and obviously nature-made, and barely any of its depths were illuminated by sun. It was surrounded by tall grass and wavering trees at sides, and above rose large hill, encompassing a lake beyond it. To Eon, it was as clear as the day before him: this was a dungeon. “Is a cave with large depth that no one has conquered yet. Aside from first few levels, most Elders in the Kingdom believe that there are hundreds of High Beasts beneath it.”
“Alright, let’s go!” Eon exclaimed and moved forward, leaving the trio behind him dumbfounded again. Even Lye briefly wavered, before quickly casting those thoughts away and following him. Lyon and Elain had only realized what happened by the time Eon had entered the large hole and disappeared in the darkness. They quickly tied up the horse and raced inside.
“Clay, Clay!” Lyon shouted. “What are you doing?! Have you gone mad?!”
“Mad?” Eon asked nonchalantly.
“Didn’t you hear a single word of what I said?! There are potentially hundreds of High Beasts residing in this cave!”
“So what?” Eon casually replied. “It merely means that our haul will be that bigger.”
“Our haul?!” even Elain lost her composure; no matter what she did, she didn’t seem to be able to hold herself tight in front of this man. “You mean our corpses?!”
“What’s the fuss guys?” Lye replied in Eon’s place. “My Lord says let’s go kill some puppies, so let’s go kill some puppies! Besides, I have a feeling you don’t fear my Lord nearly enough. Perhaps this will be a chance to open your damned blind eyes.” although his tone was heavy, it held no hostility. After all, even he, someone who followed Lord Clay since the day he appeared in front of their village, didn’t truly know the depths of his strength. So he merely wished to uncurl them.
“Well said Lye! Well said!” Eon laughed innocently. “You truly are one of my men! Show no fear, hoist that spear!”
His laughter resonated against the cold walls. Elain and Lyon followed in silence, already resigned to abandon the two clearly mad men the moment a High Beast appeared! Even Knights had to come in dozens if they were to kill even a single High Beast, what the hell was this man sprouting on about?! Even if he was a Fallen, so what? These were High Beasts! Not only were there stats insane, they also could cast magic and summon followers! What can a single man do to such a devastating power? Nothing!
Lye, on the other hand, didn’t have any particular thoughts – he just knew he wouldn’t die, and neither would his Lord. If he knew anything of Lord Clay, he knew that the man was as smart as they come; he wouldn’t blindly shout non-sense and drag himself into deadly situations.
Eon hummed a light melody as they descended deeper into the cave. It was structured in such a way that there was a singular path that cascaded downwards, in spiral fashion, flattening at few spots where an opening in otherwise firm earth would shine light. He had guessed these were the levels Lyon spoke of, but since he didn’t care that much, he decided to go from bottoms up! After all, it’ll be a lot easier.
They had finally reached the deep abyss; Eon had calculated that they were on the tenth floor. He was afraid that the entrance would be closed unless nine prior were cleared, but his worries were fruitless as the grand entrance was laid before them. It had the width and height of a castle, and truly stood like a mountain. It was also built out of iron, unlike others that were built out of earth, and had runic inscriptions run through the veins of the metal. Without hesitating even for a second, he immediately headed inside, two of his hands behind his head, still humming the melody. Lye followed without complaint, while Elain and Lyon had remained in front of the gates. They considered themselves lucky, as it seemed you have to enter the doors in order for monsters to attack you, and they didn’t wish to probe any further – any further would mean certain death! They would simply sit in front and wait for the conformation of deaths, and head back outside.
Eon was rather disappointed when he entered the ‘boss room’. It was rather dim and entirely built out of earth, with dozens of pillars holding up the ceiling at each side, creating a straightforward path to a round clearing. He had believed that the tenth floor would really be something special, but in his eyes it was rather trashy. To a certain degree, even Lye was disappointed; after all, the gates really sparked his interest, but now he merely wished to sigh in disappointment.
“Who dares thread my realm?!” a shout came from the clearing, followed by a gust of wind. Lye was slightly taken a back, but Eon didn’t even budge. Looking at his Lord’s face, Lye concluded that he was actually disappointed!
“This … this …” Eon stuttered, unable to believe it himself. The grand boss of the tenth floor of the first dungeon he encountered was … a Rat King! “Oh sweet God …” Eon crouched down, holding his hands against his forehead. “And here I expected good hauls. What good hauls? My shit is worth more than anything this idiot is guarding. I even promised those two morons I’d bring good hauls! I’ll lose my face! You shitface!” he suddenly screamed a the Rat King who, himself, stood frozen and dumbfounded at the reaction of the human in front of him. In truth, Eon actually wanted to cry. “Give me back my dreams! Tell me you aren’t the actual guardian of this shithole, and that there’s some dragon or something behind you! Give me back my damn dreams!” once again, Lye burst out in laughter. Seeing his Lord’s reaction, he truly wished Lyon and Elain followed them, even if all four of them died.
“H-h-how dare you?!” the beast was clearly enraged, but Eon kept on wailing about his dreams being shattered. “To insult the great Rat King! Even death won’t be an equal punishment!”
“Insult?” Eon muttered. “How could I possibly insult something which is insult to life itself? Ah, whatever. At least I’ll break through. What the hell was I expecting anyway?” Eon sighed. “Lye, just stay back and laugh. Rag your clothes a bit, let’s scare those two cowards.”
“Oh?” Lye’s lips suddenly curled into a devious smile. “I like your words my Lord.”
“Ah … my dreams…”
Resigned, Eon drew his sword out and stopped concealing his strength. Although Rat King wasn’t that strong, he still had instincts of an animal; after all, it was ‘Two Jade Stars’ High Beast! Once the posture of this human in front of him changed, a sudden urge to bow down and beg for his life appeared. However, he was the King after all! How could he bow down to a mere human? And, as such, the battle commenced.
To call it a battle, though, would be a thrift lie. To compensate for breaking his dreams, Eon had played with the beast to his heart’s content. He first cut off the beast’s tail and had him run around the clearing, in circles, as he chased the beast. Once he grew bored of it, he finally decided to end the beast’s suffering and spliced its head open with one, swift and decisive swing. He hadn’t even used a single ability and he had defeated the boss of this entire dungeon. What’s the point of even entering the other levels?
After a few moments, the body of the Rat King suddenly went up in smoke and shortly after a hole opened up in the ground, from which a platform carrying a golden chest arose. The chest was rather adorned by symmetrical weaving and had a radiant glow to it. It opened up on its own and Eon approached it quickly. Despite his initial wails, Eon was still surprised when he saw the loot. Aside from the jade-colored stone he needed to break through, there was also quite a bit of gold, almost two hundred to be precise, some decent leather armor, even some potions and scrolls for spells! This repaired his mood slightly, but not by much. After all, beyond items, he had expected some grand beast to appear so he can actually test his skill! He was still left in the dark as to how strong he was.
The moment Eon laid eyes upon the Rat King, he knew just how weak the creature was. Its strength was barely at sixty, and there wasn’t even a single ounce of intelligence there. Its most terrifying ability was Rat’s Poison, which dealt ten damage per second for fifteen seconds, and that was even if it landed an attack. How pathetic was that? Was the race of Fallen really this overpowered in the game? What kind of a shitty game design is this?! He thought inwardly, gathering up the items. He gave leather armor to Lye who quickly exchanged it; even though it was of no use to Eon, it still gave Lye quite a boost. And it seems that even Lye reached level fifteen by merely being the same room as him. As it was the case, the jade within his hands suddenly broke out in two, as if it finally recognized that there were two people who had slain the beast, even if Lye didn’t do anything.
He also decided to share the four potions with Lye, giving him two, while he kept the scrolls and gold. Lye had no complaints as he basically didn’t do anything. However, even though Eon was disappointed, Lye was finally able to see the depths of his Lord’s confidence. He was certain that even if Hawk, Elain, Lyon and himself were to fight the beast, there was a high chance that they wouldn’t take it down without any heavy injuries. Yet, Lord Clay even played with it before ending its life with a single strike! This was truly something unheard of.
“Conceal your aura,” Eon sighed. “Let’s just tell them that the floor was cleared already and that there wasn’t anything in it. Would they even believe me if I told them I’d defeated it within a minute?”
“It really does seem as if I need to keep my wits about you, my Lord.” Lye said with a smile after nodding.
“Eat this,” Eon handed him of the second part of the stone. “Let’s break through this ‘unbreakable barrier that separates the weak and the strong’. God, this world is a joke.” Lye smiled, quickly popping the stone in its mouth. It quickly melted and dissolved.
Since Lye was rather good at sneak attacks, his advanced class became ‘Assassin’, giving boost to his vision, stealth and ability to throw knives and wield daggers. Seeing that his abilities had skyrocketed, even Lye couldn’t keep his composure and he burst out in joy.
Although Eon complained, after he progressed to ‘Berserker’ class, even he felt the insurmountable strength encompass him. After all, his strength was suddenly doubled, expanding into realms of mid three hundreds! Who else in the world had that kind of a strength at mere ‘One Jade Star’ rank? Probably no one, Eon concluded.
“How will we explain my armor?” Lye asked as they neared the exit.
“Just tell them we found it on the ground,” Eon sighed. “Someone probably left it because they thought it was worthless or something.”
“My Lord is truly wise.”
When Elain and Lyon saw the two emerged unhurt, they were both surprised and wary. When Lye told the cover-up story, they seemed to breathe in relief. To add to it, when Eon declared they’re leaving this place, two of them lit up with joy, glad they’ll finally be leaving this chasm of death. Lye played with a knife on their way up while Eon still continued to sigh. After all, however much he liked being strong, he still felt it was unfair he merely obtained this power by luckily choosing the right class. Within three months of barely doing anything, he’s probably one of the strongest people on the continent. How was that fair? And, even more so, how was that adventurous? He sought battles that would rain supreme in his heart, making it boil. But he wasn’t disheartened. After all, it was just a first dungeon; he was certain there were hundreds more, and battles he will wage in the future were sure to strike his heart and, more so than wealth, power and fame, he desired those battles the most.