Noma paced back and forth next to the village portal. He didn’t know if he should go back. His honor told him he wasn’t welcome there anymore and he should stay away.

“What honor? You only have greed. Stupid, stupid Noma,” Noma said out loud as his body grew and contorted in odd ways.

He wasn’t sure what he was expecting to get out of his deal with the Lich Prince. The voice in the back of his mind that promised to help him get control over his greed was no longer there. He had betrayed his own party for no reason, not that he had a good reason to begin with. He wondered if he should go back, but wasn’t sure how the rest of the party or the Martyrs would react. Would they kill him for his betrayal? He certainly wouldn’t blame them if they did. Still, that would be a fate far better than what he just doomed the three Earth humans to. When the Lich King got his hands on them he would most certainly steal their souls so they couldn’t respawn. Maybe he even had the power to change their respawn point. If he did he would torture them to death over and over again, only stealing their souls when he was ready for them to die for good. The thoughts made Noma shudder. He had learned many legendary things under the revered Salmaana, and many terrible things. The most terrible of things all centered on the Lich King as he was the most powerful leader of the evil factions. Noma could not have betrayed his friends more, even if he actually meant to.

He had to go back into the village and tell someone. If he did someone might be able to find the Earth humans before they got delivered to the Lich King. If he had any chance of redeeming himself and saving his friends he needed to do it quickly. Noma moved to jump into the portal but realized he didn’t fit. He had worked himself up so thoroughly that he was now triple the size of his friend Patrick, and way too large to fit into the portal.

Noma focused on Salmaana to try and calm his mind and body. If he could calm down his body would return to its normal size. He thought about when Salmaana first taught him about portals. He had been afraid his limbs would be chopped off if they were too large to fit into the portal. Salmaana had giggled at him when she found out why he was so afraid of portals, and then she told him that that wasn't possible. She told Noma that a lot of people fear things because they don't understand them. It was a fond memory he had of her, but only one of the many lessons she taught him. Noma focused on his old teacher and his body began to shrink. Unfortunately, his thoughts eventually brought him back to how he failed her. He began to grow again as shame and anger bubbled up inside him. It was much easier to focus on loot when he needed to calm down. He could caress it and watch how it gleamed in the light. Focusing on rare items or even gold was always so easy, but he didn’t have any.

“Patrick. James. Alex. Lilly. Torunn,” Noma whispered to himself as he recited the names of the people he met in the small village on the edge of the Great Savanna.

As he said each name he recalled their faces. He focused on how each of them treated him with kindness, even though he was a Prakx. He focused on how each of them fought bravely for a cause they knew little about. He focused on their values and how they were good, honorable people, that didn’t give into their greed like he did. It was then that Noma realized he was good too. If Salmaana believed in him he should believe in himself. He didn’t withhold the reward from James because he wanted it for himself. He just didn’t give it to James because he didn’t remember. For him to not remember he held control over something that was tremendously valuable meant that he wasn’t greedy. If he was, in fact, greedy, he would have been constantly obsessing over the reward and it wouldn’t have slipped his mind. That meant that he still had control over his ancestral weakness for greed. He always had control over it. The Prince just tricked him into believing that he didn’t. The Prince knew he was hyper-aware of his own weaknesses. He had to be suspicious of himself. He always had to question if he wanted things because he needed them or if he wanted things because he was greedy. That hyper-awareness was how he controlled his greed. That was how he kept it in check. The Prince simply used his own self-awareness against him.

No longer feeling worthless, Noma’s body returned to its normal size. He immediately jumped through the portal to get help.


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About the author


Bio: Writer of disparate LitRPG stories.

Current works = Legends of the Great Savanna (published) , Milton (Ongoing)

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