It didn't take long for a familiar face to step through the Illusionary Dome that Lone could only faintly see thanks to his Illusion Magic Resistance.
"Greetings, Nine-tails, Human," Lal'roh said as he raised his bow and eyed the cart behind the two with suspicion. Seven of his fellow Wood Elves followed him out with bows and swords drawn at the ready. "What brings you here during these chaotic times?"
Of course, he wasn't surprised that a nine-tails of all beings would be alive and fine despite not having contacted them in over six months. Lal'roh, was, however, shocked at the excellent condition armour that covered the now taller human's figure. Lone's own armour was very peculiar as well. Only his breastplate was made of metal, it would seem.
The rest was formed of what looked like porcelain-white bone. Had he been wearing a helmet, Lal'roh may have shot him instinctively.
'Chaotic times?... Ah! The fact that there's a load of smoke further inland day-in-day-out? That's probably the Goblin King using the last of his fire mages to try to lure us out, isn't it? Hardly chaotic since it's obvious and actually quite smart since he doesn't know if we're in the forest or not. He'll find out if there isn't a forest anymore, right? It's dumb long-term though,' Lone thought.
Drawing an arrow and nocking it, Lal'roh lowered the tone of his voice. "I shall ask one more time. What brings you here and in such heavy equipment? What is the cart for?"
'Ah. Of course they'd be suspicious. I guess they can't see the women from their angle...' Lone looked to Sophie then back to Lal'roh. "We recently found a destroyed village in the middle of the forest on the south side of the island. There was a group of goblins situated there. Four Goblin Mages and two Hobgoblins included. We rescued seven Wood Elves after slaying the goblins. All female. We're here to return them."
Lone smiled as he saw the men's faces contort with confusion and hope. "As for the armour... Well, that's a secret," he said. 'I'd rather not tell him that we're going to go hunt the Goblin King... They'd probably tag along and they might get in the way. If we need them, we can always run away and ask for help then.'
He could see the hesitation and distrust on the elves' faces, so he stepped back. "Well, we'll go now. Feel free to keep the cart. I only made it in the first place to move the women."
With that said, he lightly grabbed Sophie's hand and wandered off into the forest.
Still cautious, Lal'roh ordered his men to stay put while he checked the cart's interior by himself. He crouched and skulked around the thing until he was just underneath its entrance at the back.
He sucked in a breath of air and pulled back on his bow's bowstring. 'Mighty Primals, should the green devils be lying in wait within this wagon, please grant me strength and let my aim be true,' Lal'roh prayed.
He then sprung up and pointed his bow at the cart's occupants. Almost immediately, it fell out of his hands as tears spilt out of his eyes. "The nine-tails was telling the truth... How... How can we ever repay this kindness?"
Thirty minutes of walking in an almost straight line had led Lone and Sophie right to the temple that was supposedly a dungeon.
They had slowly been circling the building while being extremely cautious so as to not arouse suspicion. Once they had lapped the temple, they made a hasty retreat to the treeline.
"So, how many are in there?" Lone asked.
Sophie would be biting her fingers right now if she wasn't wearing gauntlets. "We counted six-hundred and forty-two normal gobs. Our Mana Sensing wasn't strong enough to reach the depths of that temple, so there is more than likely more of them."
"No specials?" Lone needed to know how many Hobgoblins there were at the very least, and knowing the king's magic power in comparison to themselves and the mages would be useful information to have.
Sophie shook her head. "None. They are either all further in, or they are outside of the temple for now."
Lone nodded. "Okay. Guerrilla tactics it is."
"Guerrilla tactics?" This was a new phrase that Lone hadn't informed her or Soph of thus far, so she was curious as to its meaning.
Lone smirked underneath his now-equipped helmet. "We hit 'em hard and fast. Really fucking hard and really fucking fast. Deal as much damage as we can, then retreat. Rinse and repeat until they're all dead. They have no women now, so they'll dry up sooner or later. We have time. They don't."
"Brutal." Sophie giggled softly. "We like it." Inside of her mind, Soph was complaining about Lone's foul language like she usually did whenever he swore in excess.
"Well then, should we get started?" Lone questioned rhetorically as he cracked his neck and took their weapons out of storage.
"Alone... All alone..."
My forces are gone. Dead. Not a single one lives. Not even my precious warriors or the weak magics. All gone.
I could hear footsteps approaching my grand throne room.
Why? Have they come to kill me too? Fine. I welcome it. What have I got to live for now that my family has been slaughtered?
A violent pulse from the object in my hand awoke me from my anger momentarily.
I know. I must protect you, and I will. Let me think a bit selfishly for now, please.
The orb calmed down slightly when I poured my unending rage into it.
The intruders are visible now. Two tiny people. One with tails and strange looking armour. The other was... a female? A female?!
Hope! The female human from before! It must be! With her, I can create a new family! A new army! I can recapture the elves with the warriors her womb will bear for me!
"Ah, so this is the king? Fuck me. He's even hornier than the others. Filthy creature," the tailed person said as he glared at me.
"What? Insult me, puny mans? I will crush you, feast on your flesh and pillage the female! She will bear my new army! Her insides will remember my shape! Kikikikiki!" I roared in laughter at him.
The next second, I was on the floor and all I could feel was a throbbing pain in my head. It hurts. It hurts a lot! More than when the orb is angry at me! How?! I didn't see the attack, so how?!
"Wow. Yeah, his rank must be high. Two Mental Destructions didn't kill him," Lone mumbled as he cut the Goblin King's head off. "I was a bit surprised that a disgusting pig like him knew how to speak... Still, that was stupidly easy."
Sophie snorted from his side and silently thanked her helmet for hiding her furious blush. It was obvious to her that Lone wanted more information from the creature once he knew it could talk, but the moment it mentioned her and the things it planned for her... he just instantly killed it without a shred of mercy.
Sophie coughed softly before commenting, "Your Mental Destruction is unfair. Although, we are also surprised how easy that was."
She bent down and got a closer look at the Goblin King. "Ah. Deflated stomach. He was starving, it seems. We suppose that makes sense. We did leave the place alone for a few days after we'd confirmed all of the others were dead."
Lone looked shocked. "I never even thought of that... I guess goblins are too stupid to stockpile rations?"
"Probably," was Sophie's lacklustre reply.
"Well... Let's get out of here after we loot the place," Lone said as he began shovelling the golden, silver and bronze coins that littered the room into his Dimensional Storage.
Sophie just nodded and did her part. She gathered up everything on the edges of the room to the centre. When she was dragging the Goblin King's body to the pile of goodies, she noticed a small black sphere roll free from his grasp.
She dropped his massive body and picked up the curious sphere. "Hey, Lone."
"Hmm?" Craning his neck to look at her, Lone shot her an inquisitive gaze.
Trotting over to his side, she showed him the orb. "What's this? It's full of magic. We couldn't tell from a distance, but now that we're holding it, we're fairly confident that something is sealed inside of it."
"Heh..." Lone took the ball from Sophie's outstretched hand and looked at it closely. "I wouldn't know. I'm bad with that stuff for now. It's a real shame I can't copy your unique skills."
"What should we do with it? We're getting a bad feeling from it. It feels... Not evil, but... hmm... wrong? Almost like it shouldn't exist," Sophie noted.
Lone just shrugged. "It's sealed, right?" Sophie nodded. "In that case, I'll just pop it in my Dimensional Storage..." He tried to but it didn't allow him no matter what. "... Or not. I can hold onto it for now. I'll research it when we reach a mainland of some sort. Sound good?"
Sophie turned her back on him and returned to gathering the loot. "Sure. If it ends up biting you in the rear, don't blame us."
Lone sulked as he started storing all of the bits and bobs that had been collected by Sophie thus far. "It should be fine. I can't really throw it away, now can I? It's probably magic, after all." Indeed, magic was one of the poor man's many weaknesses.
The pair had soon returned home and Sophie had returned control to Soph after giving her a very frightening warning.
Lone was lounging in the bedroom since it was dusk already and it'd been an exhausting day. A new type of notification had blocked his vision as he and Sophie were teleporting back home. Now that he was comfy, he took a second to inspect it.
Congratulations! The host has cleared the [F-rank] Dungeon: [Goblin King's Temple of The Primals].
Since the host was an H-ranker upon completion and due to the fact that the host's only companion upon completion was also an H-ranker, the host has been awarded 10 [Dungeon Tokens].
No physical tokens were granted to him, so he had to wonder what they were and what they did. Was it a virtual currency of some sort?
"Is it special to clear a dungeon two ranks higher than yourself? What can I do with these tokens?" Again, as per usual, he was left answerless.
He sighed and decided to take a look at all of his skill and status gains from when he and Sophie had begun their guerrilla warfare. Of course, he'd checked them before going to fight the Goblin King, but he wanted to confirm a few things.
First, he called upon his status and asked the system to display all of the gains from when he and Sophie had rescued the elves. That was a fun little trick he'd discovered recently, so now, he could recap certain growth periods easily. A very handy function. Although, neither Soph nor Sophie saw the value in being able to do this.
|HP:||4,500/4,500 [+3,020]||SP:||3,891/11,060 [+6,410]|
|Strength:||310 [+157]||Vigour:||450 [+302]|
|Dexterity:||445 [+271]||Agility:||333 [+207]|
|Vitality:||1,106 [+641]||Luck:||63 [+7]|
|Charm:||77 [+5]||Charisma:||46 [+6]|
|Magic Power:||1,190 [+394]|
"The charm and the charisma adds are new, but I still haven't gained any new levels even after killing the king... So is it normal to gain stats despite not ranking up? I'm inclined to think the answer's a big fat 'no'," Lone mumbled to himself as he slotted his hands under his head.
"Hmm... Will this give me good or bad attention when we reach civilisation?" Lone just shook his head lightly and moved on to his skills.
|Unique Subskill: Bone Armour|
A subskill unique to the host, Lone Immortus.
Allows the host to use the unique skill [Basic Regeneration] to push the host's bones outside of their own body and use them as a weightless shield.
The strength of the bones will increase with mastery. The strength of the bones will also increase the more that they're broken and damaged.
The host can create [New!] a full suit of armour (does not cover the host's tails).
[New!] The host can create a shield at whatever size they wish outwards from any point of their body.
|Cost:||None to invoke (30-minute cooldown). Drains MP to recreate rapidly or to heal at varying levels depending on the speed of the recreation or the severity of the damage being healed. [New!] The cost of the shield will vary depending on its thickness and size.|
|Mastery:||Expert Level 1 [Up 3 levels]|
No matter what he did, this skill would not even budge past expert-level-one after getting there. Both Lone and Sophie reasoned that the attacks of the goblins and Sophie were too weak to justify levelling the skill up even though they did increase the strength of the bones themselves.
|Unique Skill: Basic Regeneration|
A skill unique to the host, Lone Immortus.
Grants the host the ability to passively heal injuries at a moderate rate. The healing rate can be increased in exchange for mana.
|Cost:||40 MP (per second per 1% increase in healing rate)|
|Mastery:||Intermediate Level 10 [Up by 6 levels]|
"Hmm... Maybe I should have let the king hit me once or twice?" Lone asked himself before he laughed out loud. "What a stupid idea. I'm not a masochist. It'll rank up when it ranks up, I suppose."
|Passive Skill: Swordspear Mastery|
A sub-skill of the skills, [Sword Mastery] and [Spear Mastery] which is critical for swordspear-users and passively allows for better handling and control over swordspears.
All swordspears used by the host will cut and pierce their targets 15% [+10%] more easily.
[New!] Grants the talent [Pierce]. Say the word [Pierce] and the host shall perform a piercing strike with twice the host's maximum force on the desired area.
|Cost:||1,000 SP to perform the talent [Pierce].|
|Mastery:||Intermediate Level 2 [Up 9 levels]|
"A lovely little boon... It's a shame it stopped levelling after about two-hundred kills. I wonder if the system decided I wasn't learning anything from the gobs anymore? Damn it. Even more questions," Lone grumbled.
He then checked his Illusionary Dome skill, but despite using it every three days, it had only levelled up four times in the past nine months. Lone guessed that it had to be used on 'intruders' and fool them to grant level ups. In fact, for all he knew, levelling it up simply by casting it might have been impossible for normal people. He definitely wasn't going to ask Rewal'eh even if she was whom he had stolen the skill from in the first place.
"I guess that's everything, Huh? Real shame that I never got hurt. Woulda been nice to rank PPR up to advanced... No, no. Control yourself. Don't fall down the path of depravity, Lone," he said to himself jokingly.
At that moment, the door to the bedroom creaked open. "Soph?"
Peering up, Lone found himself swallowing a gulp of saliva as the sight of the girl entered his eyes. She was stood there awkwardly as she twiddled her fingers, but more importantly, she was only wearing a very risque set of underwear that Lone had made for her as soon as they had formalised their relationship only for it to go unused.
The most important detail, however, was that she was in her twenty-year-old body and she was inching closer and closer to the bed all the while with a roaring blush strewn all over her face.
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