Ay, ay! I’m one chapter away from finishing my first story arc. This chapter is slightly longer, but not by much. I have also established the main group so I’ll soon be updating glossary of characters. In addition, I’ll probably make a charter of Base, Advanced and Legendary classes both so I can finally have a reference (and not look a the notepad constantly :D) and you guys can finally understand what the hell is what. Also, this chapter contains a bit more crude language, so heads up to young readers 🙂
Anyway, thank you guys for reading ^^
CHAPTER IX – THE RADIANCE (PART 6)
“The Gods abandon and forget; the friends lament and regret.” – Unknown
Eon’s heart slightly cracked as he looked at the black-hooded figure hovering in the sky and shouting nonsense. His thoughts of other players transferring here were correct, but he was far from being happy. This guy was a complete moron. Not only did he do nothing to hide his level and stats, he even completely exposed himself to whoever was around. And he did it with pride! Eon quickly recognized that he was Human with Base Class of Magus and Advanced Class was Black Magus. Eon’s prediction, unknowingly to him, that this flaunting had something to do with ascending to the Legendary Class were spot on.
Yarrn’s requirement to ascend to the Legendary Class were by no means small. In reality, they were impossible without a fully-fleshed out party of experienced people. It meant recruiting four other actual players – something he wasn’t even certain existed – and then hoping they would actually help him. This was because of one simple truth: Black Magus was quite literally the worst class for clearing dungeons. Forget soloing the dungeon, if this was the game, Yarrn was certain he’d have to beg people to carry him. This was because he couldn’t prepare any inscriptions. Most people picked the Black Magus simply because they had to, in order to get to the Dark Magus. He was the same. On his own, he was worse than level five random creep. So, instead, he found alternative: he laid inscriptions all over the city – after all these were just measly NPCs. His intention wasn’t to kill them, obviously, although he couldn’t help if some were killed or severely hurt. His purpose was the city-scaled inscription that let him literally absorb experience of others. This was the only other way to ascend. It took him a long time and a lot of resources to prepare, so if this failed, he had already promised he’d kill himself and test out the resurrection in this world. The prerequisite for leeching experience, though, was that the people engaged in a battle. If they just ignored him and ran, then he wouldn’t get anything. That’s why he immediately started to taunt in the loudest voice possible.
“This is it! This is truly it!” he continued putting on an act; in reality, he actually felt slightly embarrassed. “The prideful population of Dawnfae is being played around!”
“Hey, you idiot!” he suddenly heard a crisp voice call out to him, surprising him. The voice came from the far bottom, where he saw four people casually standing and looking up. The one that shouted at him was Eon. “If you think that mask is hiding your embarrassed face, then you’re a bigger idiot than I imagined!” whoever it was, Eon was certain he’d never lose in trash talk and insults. After all, that was all he did his entire life. It was his armor of pride. Yarrn clearly flinched; he was terrible at containing his emotions.
“Y-y-you stupid NPC!” he shouted, stuttering. “J-just wait till I’m done with you! Stupid NPC!”
“Looks like you’ve found an equal Lye,” Eon said after a sigh. “Maybe you should go up there and befriend him before this whole thing turns into a mess.”
“He attacked the city!” Lyon shouted. “How could you even think about befriending him?!” the trio besides Eon thought that ‘NPC’ was some sort of abbreviation for an insult, but however much they racked their brains, they couldn’t come up with a suitable one. Eon could think of a few, but when he remembered how these people reacted to the word ‘hard-on’, he had no heart to utter anything more.
“Level 50?” Eon asked with a smile. “Quite impressive. You must have been stuck here much longer than I.” although others didn’t pay much attention to it, Yarrn quickly realized. It’s another damn player! Oh shit!
“W-what are you talking about?” he stuttered again. “I’m – I’m ‘Four Diamond Stars’ you – you idiot.”
“Meet me outside the city,” Eon ignored his stupidity with a sigh. “Clean up this mess fast unless you want me to hack your feathers dry.” a spit was suddenly stuck in Yarrn’s throat; Feathers? He couldn’t mean … no?
However, Yarrn wasn’t an idiot. He had met another player, and from the looks of it he already had a party. Maybe, if he could befriend them, they would carry him. But what about his last half year of life? His cheeks were suddenly streamed with tears. Placing all bets on this newly found player, he quickly disappeared after saving a couple of people, leaving his subordinates to dry. No one was killed. At best, they’d be charged with property destruction. Ah, whatever. They’re freaking NPCs.
As Eon said, he truly did wait for him outside the city, alongside the three others. Yarrn knew that Eon was a player, but he wasn’t certain about other three. He approached with caution, but after seeing that the trio had no intention of attacking him, he relaxed a bit.
“What the hell were you doing?” although he was a player, Eon still viewed him as an idiot. Because that’s all he was!
“Advancing…” Yarrn said in a low whisper. So much flamboyancy for Advancement. Oh my God this is so embarrassing!
“Why not just run dungeons like everyone else? Hire a couple of skilled people and have them carry you.” the sudden terminology that Eon and this black-hooded person began using confused the other three, but they said nothing.
“Are you nuts?” Yarrn said calmly. “In total, there are maybe fifty people on the entire continent who could help me. Out of those fifty, maybe three are selling their services. Out of those three, the cheapest would cost as much as this entire city standing behind me.” Who the hell was this noob? Did he just transfer here? Oh no! Did I just shit all over my future?!
“Your stats were terrible,” Eon sighed, pitiful look on his face. “Why the hell did you choose Human? From the looks of it, you don’t look like a person with a lot of friends.”
“Shut up!” Yarrn suddenly exclaimed, blushing again. “I was just testing! I didn’t know … so, brain-born, what race are you?”
“Fallen.” Eon bluntly replied.
“Fuck you.” Yarrn said without a hint of hesitation, suddenly crouching. “You unfair pay-to-win OP bastard. What’s your strength? Two hundred?”
“Four hundred and something.” Yarrn suddenly fell flat on his ass without any intention to recover. He wasn’t the only one; Lye, Lyon and Elain, who so far mostly remained silent trying to figure out what ‘pay-to-win’ and ‘OP’ meant, suddenly had faces covered in shock, tears streaming down their cheeks. Four hundred and something?! They all thought in unison.
“Game balance is really terrible…” Yarrn sighed. “Did you already advance to Legendary?”
“No, I’m just barely Level 17.” Eon replied honestly.
“Fine,” Yarrn suddenly positioned sideways next to Eon, bowing down. “Let us test the resurrection mechanic. Behead me please.”
“Shut up,” Eon said. “You intelligence must be in hundreds right? Why are you acting like a kid?” when the three who still hadn’t recovered suddenly heard hundreds and stats again, their brains simply shut down.
“You should know about Black Magus.”
“Yeah. It’s the most useless thing after starting armor.”
“Even if I had fifty thousand, would it make any difference?”
“Just Advance then.”
“I was trying to do it you idiot!” Yarrn suddenly shouted at Eon. “If you hadn’t interrupted me, I probably would have by now!”
“This idiot here is somewhat of a follower,” he pointed at Lyon. “And he’s some sort of a Noble, so I couldn’t just let you rampage through the city, could I?”
“Then take responsibility and carry me!” Yarrn’s mask fell off, revealing a rather young-looking face. He had dim, brown eyes and triangular jaw. His lips, as well as nose, were thin and his eyebrows even more so. If not for the voice and lack of breasts, Eon would be certain this was a woman.
“Sure, just help me get some skills.”
“Because of your strength I’m assuming you’re a ‘Berserker’, right?” Yarrn asked.
“You planning on dual-wielding?”
“Just stack passives then,” Yarrn said; indeed, not only just this world, but he was also more knowledgeable in terms of game knowledge as well than Eon. After all, Eon merely just skimmed through some basic guides to get some understanding of the game. Yarrn, on the other hand, had learned far more. “It’s pointless to seek active skills now since most of them won’t be usable once you max out the grip. What about Legendary Class?”
“Didn’t think that far.” Eon replied honestly.
“You’re just an overpowered pay-to-win noob, aren’t you?”
“It’s kind of shameless how quickly you admitted that.” Yarrn sighed. “However, even with your current level, you should be able to solo carry me. Where the hell did you get that shiny armor anyway? Stats look freaking ridiculous.” Eon stopped Aura Concealment and let Yarrn take a good look at his stats. Truly, for a level seventeen character, he was kind of overpowered. The drawback of the Fallen in game wasn’t actually present here; after all, he could easily hide his race so others wouldn’t hunt him for the feather. The restriction on the weapons was useless with such a stupid passive. Even Eon, someone who lacked in-depth experience in gaming, knew that this race should have been patched ages ago.
“Quest I guess.” Eon replied after a short pause. What he did in Dawnfae would probably be considered quest in the game.
“Yeah, whatever,” Yarrn said. “What about these three depressors?”
“Just your above-average NPCs,” Eon said. “Assassin, Priest and Knight who wants to be Guardian. What do you need for advancement?”
“Kill on Moonfall Dragon and his two commanders and luck that he drops Moonshine.”
“Why? Because you want to have a party unlike any before?”
“It’s an open-field dungeon at the very border of the Kingdom.” Yarrn said ignoring Eon’s taunt. “You should probably MT and have that chick be off just in case something goes wrong. On the way there you can probably level decent amount so the other two won’t be completely useless.”
“You seem rather knowledgeable.” Eon praised; even though this guy was an idiot, he was the smart type – type Eon liked. Their unpredictable personalities were fun to peek around, but they also knew when to get down to business.
“No flattery please.”
“Want to join my party?” Eon suddenly asked, surprising Yarrn – but not by a lot. He was also hoping to team up with Eon; after all, Fallen with good gear wasn’t something you find every day. Especially if it was player. He kind of began missing his motherland, mainly because there wasn’t anyone he could talk to about it, so however much he was angry they disturbed his plans, he was more happy he’d found a comrade in a similar situation.
“What’s your end-goal?” Yarrn asked; even if he wanted to join, he wouldn’t simply sit around wooden cabin in the woods and eat rabbit meat every day until he dies.
“What else but conquering this world?” Eon replied with a smile.
“I like you.” Yarrn replied with the same smile.
“Before we set out, I need to circle back to my village,” Eon said. “To see how far they’ve progressed and leave them with future plans.”
“Wait, you already have village? How the hell did you manage to do that?”
“……” dead silence. Those game designers shouldn’t be allowed to ever make a game again in their damn lives!
Without wasting any minutes, Eon shook the three out of their utter confusion and they proceeded back towards the Dusk Village. They didn’t know how, but they were suddenly paired up with two high-end experts – and they were going to kill Moonfall Dragon! Their thoughts were utter disarray.
Even if they’re experts, they’re insane!
I want to go back to my mom…
My Lord and Idiot Lord are … they are … something …
On their way back, they didn’t talk much. It was mainly chatter between Eon and Yarrn about the world; Yarrn slowly explained what he had learned. But, because he lived mostly secluded and low-profile, he didn’t know too much of what was happening outside of Dawnfae. He also never encountered another player although he suspected that there might be some.
Elain, Lye and Lyon grouped slightly behind the first pair and discussed what they had heard. Even though, under any other circumstances, they’d have left the moment someone mentioned words ‘kill’ and ‘Moonfall Dragon’, when they looked at the stats of these two, they coughed up blood after having tears stream down their faces. Even if the three of them combined into a single entity, they’d still be twice as week as either one of them! This is so unfair…
As they strode through the woods between Than and Dusk Village, all five noticed that something was odd. As they did, without holding anything back, all five sprinted at exactly the same moment Approaching, dark feeling grew within Eon’s heart. As soon as they reached the vast plains, his heart suddenly stopped. He couldn’t move. Lye, instead, rushed past him, worried look on his face. Elain followed quickly behind as did Lyon. Yarrn and Eon remained standing, as they have already understood everything.
The place where Dusk Village used to flourish was now a sigh of floating bits of ash, not even a spark of flame to be found. Walls and buildings were nowhere to be found, and Eon didn’t detect a single aura coming from the village. Maybe they escaped and hid someplace? Maybe they rebelled and moved? His thoughts were hopeful, but his ultimate conclusion was realistic. The two slowly joined the other three who were rushing through the village like madmen, looking for anything, even though they had realized. All five knew, but three couldn’t accept it. After all, even if t hey were Eon’s people, he was still grounded and realistic person. Yarrn had no personal attachment to the event, but even he felt a sting. After all, he wasn’t a murderer; in reality, back in the modern world, besides working as a bartender, he also used to volunteer at shelters and such, and had grown quite a liking towards others. In truth, he never considered others NPCs; after all, this wasn’t a game. This was a living and breathing world. Just like he did, others had dreams and aspirations.
Finally, after nearly an hour, Lye was the first to crumble. This was the first time Eon had seen him cry; genuine roar flew through his lips and disappeared like smoke. He was crying. This was his home – the place where he grew up. He knew everyone. Shortly after, Elain did the same. She cried even loudly, sliding her arms at her sides, looking up to the sky as if asking the other-wordily beings for explanation. Lyon, on the other hand, suddenly walked up to Eon, carrying a helmet. The helmet was branded with silver, but what struck Eon was the emblem embedded at the both sides: fiery phoenix. Yarrn quickly understood, as did Eon.
“Clay…” Lyon muttered, at loss for words; he loved his family, after all. And he knew it wasn’t the whole family – just a select few demented. Yet, despite it, each time he’d think of his birthright, he wished to burn any connection he had with it.
“Lyon,” Eon said, his face growing dark. “I consider you a friend – that’s why I’m telling you this. I’ll eradicate your entire family, down to the last child. Everyone who carries ‘Phoenix’. After I am done, my life is in your hands.” no one said anything; this wasn’t a negotiation. This wasn’t a threat or a warning. It was simply as Eon had said – a courtesy of a friend.
“Please,” Lyon suddenly knelt before Eon, tears in his face; however much he wished he could plead for his family, just a mere glance back broke his entire determination. “If you think of me as a friend, save those under ten. I’ll make sure they renounce their families and separate them. As a payment, I offer my life. I know … I know it isn’t enough … but …”
“You idiot!” Lye suddenly joined him, punching him flat to the ground. “If Lord did that, then what would be the difference between him and the Alstar?”
“Th-then why?” Lyon asked, surprised.
“Loyalty,” Elain said, not bothering to cover heart-broken look on her face. “As simple as that.”
“Clay…” Lyon muttered but was interrupted by Lye and Elain who also suddenly knelt before Eon.
“We will come with You,” Lye was the one to speak. “We know that we don’t stand a chance and will merely hinder You, but however much wronged you are, and pardon my disrespect, it can’t compare to us.”
“I’ll leave his head to you.” Eon said, turning around. “Will that be enough?”
“Yes.” Elain and Lye said in unison, their bloodshot eyes slowly filling with hatred and fury – and above all determination.
“Lyon,” Eon then turned to the young man who sat dumbstruck on the ground. “When chaos emerges, take out those you want to. I trust your judgment. You’ll have one day to make preparations. Yarrn,” Eon then turned to the young man standing next to him; he had solemn look on his face – he seemed accustomed to the scene, much like Eon. It slightly surprised him, but after seeing it he finally decided he can trust this smart idiot. “Three hundred and ninety-six unmarked graves where village used to be. Can I ask you to do this?”
“I’d stab you in the ass if you didn’t.” Yarrn replied.
“How many tours?” Eon asked.
“Just a half.”
“More than enough.”
“I’ll leave this to you then.”
While Yarrn stayed behind, four took long strides as they moved towards Dawnfae. Conquer the world? How? Am I an idiot? I want to hold the world and govern people, yet I can’t even protect a small village. I’m not a conqueror. I’m a fucking failure.
Lye’s thoughts shifted to Hawk. However much he teased him, he was still his sworn brother. They grew up together and had dreamed since they could hold sticks of defending their village from bandits. Every day they’d beat each other senseless, going back home filled with bruises and battered bodies, still smiling. Lye wasn’t over-emotional person so he knew that however much he screamed, nothing would change. After all, living have no place to meddle with the dead – for dead do not hear. All he can do now was transcend Hawk’s final wish. Make it a reality. Pity person would blame Clay, but Lye knew it was stupid. How could he have predicted that someone as cruel exists? To wipe an entire village of innocent just because he got slightly shamed? Lord Clay was the first to voice out his thoughts, and from today onwards, he knew, there wasn’t any other place for him but to walk the same road Clay takes.
Elain, on the other hand, wasn’t as calm and collected as Lye; her thoughts weren’t with the dead, but with the living. Fires fumed within her young heart, willing to explode out in endless curses. But even she knew the curses were pointless; it was her sword that will curse. Although, for the past few years, she hadn’t been around her friends as much, she was just like Lye – she grew up with dream of protecting her family and friends. She wanted to become a Knight so they would no longer have to bow down to others. In the end, it didn’t matter. She didn’t blame Clay either; after all, only complete idiot would. She could tell from Clay’s eyes, though, that he did blame himself – same as Lyon. That feeling could even be worse than sadness in her eyes. She wanted to voice that it wasn’t their fault, but couldn’t. Words were meaningless. Even if she did, they’d merely reply ‘Yeah’ and sink even lower. Time. Time is the bandage without a challenger.