The landscape around Lone morphed and he was no longer in the courtyard. He was in his bedroom back on Earth. He was wearing a simple pair of boxers and a white t-shirt that was still stained with some of last night's dinner.
On his desktop, he could see the game that he poured all of his effort and spare time into. Before he could look at it for much longer, something, or rather, someone, tugged on his shirt.
With a sleepy voice, Sophie said to Lone, "Mmm, Darren, what're you doing? Come back to bed."
This was Lone's ideal life. A peaceful time with just him and Sophie back on Earth. Lone almost felt himself getting dragged into this fantasy, but thankfully, there was a huge flaw with it that was able to wake him up from this dream-like scenario.
"Darren?" Lone smirked. "I never told Soph my old name."
As soon as he said that, Lone's surroundings shattered like a mirror being smashed into a million pieces. He was back in the courtyard and he could see Eolande holding her head as blood dribbled out of her smiling mouth.
"Your mind is stupidly stable, huh? Well, I bought enough time. Thanks again for the wand, Husband," Eolande said flirtatiously.
The next second, eight sharp tails penetrated his body while a dagger found it's way into his eye.
Fep, now shapeshifted into King Ele'hunda, sent a punch that was strong enough to belong to an X-ranker right into Lone, separating his torso from his legs.
As soon as Lone's upper body landed on the ground with a wet thud, Eko's Holy Palm struck him and almost blew him to smithereens.
A dry laugh escaped Lone's broken and disfigured lips. "Perfectly done. Eolande weakened my Aura with her illusion and you all worked expertly together to bring me down. Breena and even Eolande ranked up."
The Demon Princess, the only who was still frozen solid from Lone's Aura, even in its weakened state, felt powerless.
Everyone covered their ears as Lone's body created an unbearable noise while it healed. He used his new skill, Stamina Redirection in conjunction with Minor Healing to help his Basic Regeneration, and within a few seconds, Lone was as good as new.
With a wave of his hand, he restored his clothes. "That'll do for now. I've nearly used up all of my mana."
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Illusion Magic Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 6.|
|Congratulations! The host's unique skill [Basic Regeneration] has levelled up! It is now Master Level 3.|
"Huh?" Eolande cocked her head in confusion. Wasn't Lone trying to kill them?
Rachel flew at him and tried several times to pierce his body with her tails since her fire magic was useless, however, Lone's physical stats far outstripped Rachel's now that he was a high A-ranker while she had just recently become an S-ranker and wasn't accustomed to her newfound strength.
"Calm down! Calm down!" Lone shouted as he kept evading the raging Rachel.
"You killed Swind!" Rachel wasn't going to listen to Lone no matter what he said.
"Swind!" Lone yelled. "You can come out now! Calm your girlfriend down!" Lone was beginning to regret his extreme training methods.
Sophie giggled lightly. 'I said that you were too cruel, Lone.'
"Yes-ss, Mr Immortus-ss," Swind's calm voice said as he walked out of the manor and stepped back into the courtyard. His chest wound was nowhere to be found and he looked perfectly healthy, ignoring his exhaustion, of course.
Rachel stopped moving her tails and looked dumbfounded as she stared at Swind. "B-But you... He... Huh?"
Swind approached Rachel and gazed at her with a sorry expression on his face. He scratched his cheek before he said, "Mr Immortus-ss told me that no matter what, I ss-shouldn't come out until he called for me. It was-ss the best way to make it feel more real, apparently."
"Is that what he whispered to you when he stabbed you?" Eolande asked with some snark in her voice.
Swind hesitated for a moment before he answered. "No, Miss-ss Eolande. At that time, he ss-said, 'I'm ss-surprised, good job.'"
"Then..." Rachel was confused, but she felt like she was starting to put the pieces together.
Fep laughed as he sat on the ground and shapeshifted back to his regular blue-skinned and earless appearance. "That makes sense. So you knew beforehand that Lone would do this? No wonder you were able to overcome that frightening aura. He never targetted you with it from the start, huh?"
"Indeed. As-ss expected of Mr Fep," Swind praised. "When Mr Immortus-ss gifted me with my new tail, he told me that he planned to do ss-something like this to force us-ss to gain enlightenment, although, apparently he never expected myself to rank up."
"You honestly surprised me, Swind. I thought I'd be able to 'kill' you easily. You really are a Wanderer through and through," Lone said as he brushed the dirt off of himself and stood up. His MP had already started to recharge.
"As expected of Master." Breena's usually emotionless eyes were shining.
Lone flicked her forehead. "You knew all along, didn't you?"
"Of course. Master would never try to kill us." Breena's voice held an unwavering confidence in it.
Lone grinned wryly. "Still, it hurt like a motherfucker when you stabbed my eye, you know?"
"Master is undefeatable, so I knew that you would be fine," Breena replied in a knowing tone.
Sophie pinched Lone's side and grabbed one of his tails. "Potty mouth."
Eko was still a bit perplexed. "Why do this though? I don't think it was really necessary..."
"I wholeheartedly agree," Eolande said while nodding.
The Tylwyth Teg appreciated the chance to use her new wand, but she felt bitter after seeing the illusion that Lone's mind has created under the effects of her skill. She was upset that it was Sophie who had appeared, not herself, despite how selfish that sounded.
Eolande didn't even care that she had become an XX-ranker. Love did strange things to people, and a two-hundred thousand-year-old girl was no exception to that rule.
Lone sighed a little. "Well, I wasn't planning to be so rough nor so forthcoming with this little 'training exercise'. I was gonna be upfront about it and my intentions. You know, something like, 'I'm not gonna stop until you rank up'."
"But?" Eolande said.
"But... Ythmagobla's generals will be attacking the world tree in two days, so I had to speed things up a little bit. I'm sorry." Lone looked a bit ashamed. He wasn't proud of how he had acted, and he genuinely didn't like deceiving his friends, but he felt like he had no other choice.
The undisputed best way to rank up was when you were fighting for your life. "Still, Swind ranked up even though he knew he'd be fine and so did Breena even though she'd figured out I wasn't going to kill anyone..." For some reason, Lone felt cheated.
'Maybe there's more to enlightenment than just danger?' Lone thought.
The Demon Princess scoffed. "Ythmagobla's generals? Even for you, that's a bad joke."
"You don't need to believe me. Anyway, you couldn't move under the pressure of my Aura of Dominance, so I doubt you'll be of much use," Lone teased as he began taking out bottles filled with a milky-white liquid from his Dimensional Storage.
"Wha-" The flustered Demon Princess was cut off by Lone.
"Eko, Swind, Breena. Come here. This is a high-quality spirit essence." Lone then split the bottles into three piles. The first had two bottles, the second had ten bottles while the third had fifty bottles. "These should be enough for you three to reach the next bottlenecks."
"None for me?" Eolande asked.
"I wish I had enough spirit essence for you to reach the peak of XX-rank, but I don't, so sorry, no, none for you. Same goes for Rachel," Lone answered honestly.
Eolande blushed slightly. "I know that. I was just teasing you... You don't have to be so serious..." she said under her breath.
Letty appeared out of nowhere. "I'm curious about where you got that spirit essence, Nine-tails, but that can wait. Are you sure Ythmagobla's generals are coming here?"
"As sure as I can be, unless, of course, the world tree itself is a liar," Lone replied.
"I see. The world tree, huh? I don't fully understand, but if you're telling the truth, we need to report this to the King and to the Great Elder as soon as possible." Letty wasn't laughing and had an unusually solemn look on her face which didn't suit her.
"I was going to go talk to the King about this anyway. Why don't you go tell Lipsilk?" Lone suggested before adding, "Also, tell him to come see me. I have something to talk to him about in private."
'That Darkness that was practically spilling out of him... It was hard to notice when we first met, but during the trial the other day... I should see If I can heal that. There's no way he can fight to the best of his abilities while he's holding back so much Darkness.' Lone needed as much power as he could get to fight against Ythmagobla and his generals, so he was more than willing to expend himself if it meant he could get Lipsilk back to full strength.
"Okay." After agreeing, Letty flew away, presumably to go find Great Elder Lipsilk.
"Soph." Lone looked at his fiancée and grinned. "Do you mind taking over?"
"Huh?" Sophie didn't understand. 'This wasn't enough?'
Lone shook his head. "We don't know how powerful Ythmagobla's generals will be, and I'm pretty sure that Breena and Swind can rank up at least once more before they arrive."
Lone then looked at Eko, Fep and The Demon Princess. "Fep and Eko as well. Once Swind, Breena and Eko have finished consolidating their levels from the essence, go all out on them. You can ignore the Princess. She's a lost cause."
"What did you just say, Fox?!" The Demon Princess yelled.
"What?" Lone looked at her like she was being unreasonable. "You were the only one that couldn't move under my Aura of Dominance. Even Fep and Breena, both C-rankers, could do that. Are you really an A-ranker? Eko is the same rank as you and he managed to overcome my aura."
The Demon Princess got a little bit stuck for words at Lone's harsh comment. "I-I am... I-I just wasn't prepared..."
Lone sighed. "How about this," Lone said as he took a steel greatsword out of his Dimensional Storage and threw it towards the Demon Princess.
"... What?" The Demon Princess couldn't discern the meaning behind Lone tossing such a simple and weak weapon at her.
"Use that, not your legendary sword. You are strong, I admit that," Lone clearly stated before adding, "Otherwise, it would have been impossible for you to become an A-ranker in the first place."
"But relying on your sword is going to get you killed one day. No ifs, no buts, it will." Lone walked right in front of the young teenaged girl and tapped his finger right over her heart. "Strength comes from here, not from your equipment."
"Then what about Swind?! He could only fight against you because of his sword and mechanical limbs!" The Demon Princess felt like Lone's lecture was fundamentally flawed after seeing his exchange with Swind only a few minutes ago.
Lone shook his head. "You don't get it. Swind is probably the strongest person here. His only flaw is that he hasn't lived long enough to reach a rank suitable for his strength. The things I've created for him just allow him to channel his innate power, you, on the other hand, you're relying on your weapon, not letting your weapon rely on you."
Lone tapped her chest once more. "Use the steel sword and prove to me that I'm wrong."
With that said, he left the speechless girl and went to find King Ele'hunda.
Meanwhile, as Lone was talking to the Demon Princess, Sophie was grinding her teeth. 'Stupid Lone! You didn't have to touch her chest! It's because she's flat-chested, isn't it?! Lone is such a pervert!'
For some reason, the Demon Princess felt a chill go up her spine as she picking up the steel greatsword. She looked at Sophie only to find her smiling. 'Was it just was my imagination?'
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.