Four people stood outside of a toweringly large metal door with their nervousness impossible to hide. These gathered individuals each came from a different species.
Neon, the fire-breathing Red Dragonoid. A humanoid dragon with scales for his skin and a huge spikey tail trailing behind him. Neon was wearing a set of Mythril-ranked Lesser Dragon armour, and he was holding a greatsword made of pure High Dwarven steel. Despite the leather he was wearing being from a Lesser Dragon, he cared little and wore it proudly.
Zarrin, the Mecha Warrior. Fully clad in an alien steel frame, the young girl with brunette pigtails yawned slightly, showing her exhaustion.
Sino, the overweight Stone Dwarf who had three red beards, burped loudly, shocking his three companions before he laughed. "My bad," he scratched his head and picked up his humungous warhammer that was made from an ancient orcish alloy of some kind. "Anyway, we doin' this or not, Lone? I can't be here for long," he continued as he rubbed his stomach lightly.
Everyone then looked at the fourth party member, Lone, the Golden Foxkin. His nine tails gently swayed back and forth in a mystifying manner before his handsome face donned a serious look. He tightened the grip on his God-bone swordspear.
As the name implied, the weapon he was holding had a long blade that took up half of the spear's length. There was only a small handle in the centre that separated the blade from a smaller replica blade on the opposite end of the weapon. It radiated a holy light and was easily the most powerful item amongst all of their collective gear.
"We're doing it. Everyone ready? Got all your pots and buffs ready?" he asked with concern. Clearly, winning the coming fight meant a lot to him.
"Yeah, I'm ready," Neon replied with his distinct Italian accent that was emphasised thanks to his snake-like tongue.
"Yup," came Sino's gruff reply.
"Ayoo, thanks for bringing me along even though I'm so weak. By the way, I'm ready too," Zarrin said from within her mech suit.
"Good," Lone grinned. He then strolled up to the large metal door and opened it with ease. Clearly, he was far stronger than his appearance would have one believe.
His three companions followed after him as he strolled into the room. What awaited them was a gargantuan blue-skinned dragon that was at least one-hundred meters long. It was busy snoring as it lay on the cold marble of the room's floor. Gold filled the chamber mixed along with jewels and precious materials.
"Okay guys, just like I said earlier, we're going to-" Lone's hushed voice was interrupted by the sound of Sino's loud voice.
"It's not that strong, and we're buffed. Stop bein' such a worrywart. Let's kill this lizard. I really need to go," Sino said impatiently before he charged at the slumbering creature made of pure power.
"Ah, fuck. Fine, Neon, get the dragon's left flank, I'll get the right. Zar, get in the air and cover us with ranged support," Lone ordered before he ran towards the right side of their opponent.
"Sure," came Neon's casual response before he mirrored Lone's actions.
"Aye aye, Captain!" Zarrin playfully responded as the booster jets on her back lit up, propelling her into the air above the battlefield.
'Are we gonna be okay? I feel like I'm the only one taking this seriously...' Lone thought to himself. He soon shook the feeling and decided to focus on doing his job as well as he could.
Thankfully, both Lone and Neon were faster than the short dwarf Sino was, so they reached the sleeping beast's flanks before he was even able to attack it.
Immediately upon getting into position, Lone noticed that - much to his shock - Sino was able to attack it. He'd thrown a dwarven bomb at its face. The creature's eyes jerked awake and it jumped into the air, using its humongous wings to propel itself through the large hall.
The beast immediately saw Zarrin and dashed towards her. She didn't move fast enough and was swallowed whole by it in one bite.
"Fuck! It killed Zarrin! Shoot at it with any ranged weapons or spells you have!" Lone screamed to Neon and Sino.
"Foolish mortals. I shall show you the consequences of attacking the noble me!" Following his booming voice, the dragon flapped his wings, pushing Lone, Neon and Sino back to the walls of the room before a giant fireball spewed out of its mouth.
Lone and his friends were still dazed after the impact with the wall so they couldn't dodge in time. 'Is this the end? All of those hours of work, for nothing? All because Sino fucked it up?'
Lone's thoughts ended there. He was killed.
Staring at the game over screen before him, Darren sighed into his headset. "Sino, what the fuck was that? We trudged through that bloody dungeon for at least five hours, and you just straight up attacked the boss out of nowhere?"
Silence was his only answer.
"Lone, I think he's asleep," a young teen with an Italian accent said through his headphones.
"Fuck! Well, I have to be at school in an hour, so I need to go. I can't believe I pulled an all-nighter like this just to die and gain nothing. What a waste of fucking time," Darren sighed again as he stretched his back.
"You swear so much for a teacher. Have fun, Mr McCullen," a girly voice that could have only belonged to Zarrin teased.
"I'll try. Catch you both later. Tell Sino I hate him if he wakes up before I get home," Darren joked back.
Even if he was pissed off and depressed, there was no point taking it out on his only friends. The one thing worse than being miserable, in his opinion, was being lonely and miserable.
Darren had been playing a popular MMORPG for the past year with a few of his friends that he'd met online and he was the leader of their group and the strongest player on the server because he'd spent every spare penny he'd earnt with his day job on the game.
His character was the well-known, Lone Immortus. A Golden Foxkin who boasted strong agility and dexterity while having a wide array of skills.
By day, a boring teacher at a regular high school, by night, a powerful leader of elites. It was just a shame that his group had yet to defeat the game's final boss. Today was supposed to be the day that changed, but for whatever reason, Sino had lost all of his reason during the final encounter.
Sighing a third time, Darren put his computer on sleep mode and had a quick shower before he left his apartment and then cycled to school. He would have driven, but he had sold his car to fuel his addiction to the game. Microtransactions were his enemy, but boy were they a tempting mistress that he willingly let himself get seduced by.
The other teachers made fun of him behind his back, but he couldn't blame them. They called him a loser and a nerd, but they were right. Darren spent every single one of his waking hours either working, playing games, or watching anime. He was truly pathetic, but at least he could boast that he actually had a job, unlike many other people in a similar situation as him.
It took him twenty minutes to reach the high school he taught at. Arlith High School. It was fairly an ordinary high school in the fairly ordinary Scotland, no different from the rest really. Darren ignored the mocking gazes of the teenaged children as he locked his bike up.
He just swiftly made his way to his classroom once he was sure his vehicle of choice was safe. It'd been stolen once, so he used two locks now and the bike had a tracker in its frame to prevent something like that happening again.
If he hadn't spent seven years training to become a teacher, he might have quit considering his treatment here, but the pay was great circumstantially, the holidays were amazing and he loved what he taught.
Darren opened the sliding door to the room and was surprised to see a very familiar student had arrived before he did. It was still another fifteen minutes before his first lesson started, but he understood when he saw who it was.
"Good morning, Darren," smiling brightly with her beautiful and refreshing face, the girl greeted.
Weakly smiling in return, Darren replied, "Mr McCullen in school." The girl just stuck her tongue out rebelliously in response. "You're here a bit early, Hazel."
"Mum woke me up early since she's going to visit Dad's grave today," Hazel said casually, though there was a sad undertone in her voice.
Darren frowned. "I see," he said. 'I shouldn't have asked. I forgot today was the anniversary of that sicko's death.'
She walked up to his desk and helped him arrange his teaching tools and books after noticing him spacing out. "You're so helpless, Mr McCullen. Did you stay awake late last night again? I can see the bags under your eyes," she joked to lighten the mood.
"O-Of course not... I just had a bad night's sleep," Darren stuttered in response. He felt ashamed at being called out like that by his younger sister, whom he usually only spoke to once a week.
"Hmm..." Hazel stared at him closely.
"W-What?" he asked while he turned his head, avoiding her gaze. He really didn't want to talk to her right now. Not with their father on his mind now. He'd only end up getting angry.
"Nothing," she smiled brightly before she returned to her desk.
'What the fuck? Then don't say 'hmm' like that...' Darren complained internally.
After that peculiar encounter, the day continued and he taught history to every class until the final bell at quarter to four. Several pranks had been played on him as per usual. He was just thankful that another day had ended and he was almost free.
Now all he had to do was clean up and wait until five o'clock before he could go home and sleep for a few hours.
As soon as he was done fixing the kids' mess in his classroom, the twenty-four-year-old teacher walked out of the room, but as soon as his foot touched the floor, it rippled in every direction and everything turned pitch-black.
Something life-changing had happened to Darren, and it was at that moment, that the pathetic shell of a man that he once was, began shedding and peeling away.
Support "Lone: The Wanderer"
- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
Bio: Hey there, nice to see you. I'm just an ordinary man who enjoys writing, which is great since it's my full-time job now thanks to the support from you guys over on Patreon! I hope you enjoy my novels if you read them, and if not, I hope you enjoy looking at my profile.