WINGS OF AN ARCHANGEL
Lino couldn’t help but exclaim joyously from the depths of his heart as he felt wind brush past his cheeks and caress his hair gently. During his descent down into the abyss, he felt madness encroaching upon his mind ceaselessly, forever entombed in colorless shadows. Yet, his climb was the opposite; with a flutter of massive, golden wings, light shone brilliantly all around, illuminating every stone’s edge, every depression in the cliff, every strand of grass, banishing every shadow present. He hardly felt strange over suddenly gaining wings, feeling as though that was where they always belonged. Rather, he felt like it was the part of his body he was missing since the birth, however strange that may appear.
The abyss of terror about whom countless horrifying tales were sang now seemed like any other piece of landscape enriched by immortal colors. A beaming smile hung on his lips as he shouted toward the sky time and again, flying upward and reaching the top edge of the gorge within a mere minute. He landed on the flat land, wings spreading from his back fluttering briefly; he glanced at them from the corner of his eyes, unable to wipe the grin off his face. Not only were they, at the very least to him, an ultimate expression of ‘cool’, but besides the added power of flight, they also had stats that made him drool when he first saw them.
[Wings of an Archangel - Unique Legendary]
Level: 67 (+Growth)
+10% Affinity to Light Element
+5% Affinity to Fire Element
+15% to Elemental Defense
+150% to Flight Speed
Special Effect - While flying, increase Agility by 3%, Strength by 4% and Vision by 10%
Special Effect - Indestructible
Special Effect - Can be turned into a spherical shield briefly, which will reflect incoming attacks worth of 5,000 durability. Recharging time is 1 hour.
[Unique Effect] - The Wings will grow alongside the host; basic stats are increased each 5 levels, while further abilities require specific conditions to be fulfilled before becoming available.
Note: The Wings of the First Archangel, forged in Fires and Light of the First Scripture, from materials never known to the mortal world. Their radiance forever banishes the darkness, yet, with their seed lies one, dormant.
Perhaps the most joyous part of it all was that he needn’t ever discard them, as they’ll grow alongside him, becoming an eternal companion. He quickly withdrew them and sighed deeply, looking up toward the sky with a glee he was certain he won’t be able to hide for a while. Next on his agenda was rejoining Eggor, Aeala and others who must have already crossed the gorge and were waiting on the other end. The plan onward was simple; settle down for a little while, organize a mercenary group, and collectively grow stronger. Lino sincerely felt that he needed some downtime as his journey through the Umbra Kingdom had wholly exhausted him, to say nothing of him nearly dying time and again. He looked toward the east, toward the other end of the gorge were tall forest trees sprung up en-mass, and spread his wings once more, leaping over the edge and beginning his flight. Rather than landing on the other end, he chose to fly over the forest and scout out, as his vision considerably improved when in flight, especially so if he imbues his eyes with Qi.
He quickly discovered a strange phenomenon on his flyover of the forest on the other end; depending on which angle one looked at the trees from, their hue would shift, and even their shapes would bend slightly. Normally they appeared deep emerald, yet sometimes they’d turn scarlet red, other times twilight-colored, and occasionally even bone-white. No matter how much he rummaged through his memories, he was unable to think of a tree that had such properties. From time to time, he’d also hear a deep growl or two echo out from beneath, and occasional cries and singing of the birds. The forest went on for miles, spilling into a massive mountain range at the bottom of which rested a small-sized town. It was barred from forest by a massive, six meters tall wall reinforced with steel support beams, which Lino found rather strange. As he didn’t want to immediately become the center of attention, he decided to first land into the forest before walking over to the town on foot. He wasn’t sure as to whether Eggor and others were settled here, but even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a bit more about the surrounding area before proceeding further.
Roughly hundred meters separated the entrance to the thick forest of color-changing trees and the gateway into the town. A watchtower stood on each end of the gate, armed with bow-wielding men wearing leather armor. Hiding behind the trunk and glancing out to scout the situation, Lino’s eyebrows furrowed momentarily; the men on the watchtowers were oddly on high alert, their eyes darting about ceaselessly. He also spotted black, singed spots all over the gate and the surrounding walls, seemingly only recently somewhat remedied from the former disaster. Echoes abound broke out of the town and there were nearly dozen smoke patches bellowing out into the sky in strange swirls. Lino immediately recognized them to be odd, and it took him but a moment to realize they were arranged in a pattern and that they were, ever-so-slowly, converging toward center point of them all, bending over unnaturally. Formation? What for? He thought deciding it would be best if he could sneak in rather than bang on the front door and ask for the entrance. After looking at the two guards on the tower, he was rather startled as they were both Level 80, though they weren’t cultivators. The town he considered just a curious oddity was turning more and more bizarre the longer he stayed here. He was on the verge of simply turning around as he very much doubted the others were here. Deciding to risk it and check thoroughly, he donned the [Cleft Shadow] and began shifting sideways in-between the trees, evading the eyes of the men on watchtowers, inching slightly closer to the town. He managed to find a singular hiding spot on its east side, fifty meters or so away from the walls, behind just large enough rock. After he hid, he carefully used his Divine Sense, ready to bolt it should anything go awry.
Holding his breath, he felt his vision expand beyond the rock, inching closer and closer to the town’s wall. Ten meters... five... one, within less than a breath, his Divine Sense encroached upon the wall and Lino immediately felt alarms going off inside his head. By instinct, he immediately withdrew Dragon Spear and Celestial Rod; he switched the latter into its second form, while he braced former over his head and spun it circularly. A massive pole immediately elongated from the rod, breaching the rock and embedding into the earth as it propelled Lino backward. All this took less than a second to occur, and just as Lino’s feet took off the ground, a hail of blazing arrows blasted against his makeshift shield made from spear’s spinning momentum. The arrow’s sheer and pure strength blew him backwards through the air and just as he began rejoicing, he felt back of his neck go cold. He immediately shifted his spear backward and pierced, while also bending his body in such way that the plate part of his chest armor would welcome the incoming blow while also activating the piece’s <Ring Burst> ability. Invisible wave of energy spread out with Lino as its center; a groan of pain and a loud clank occurred almost simultaneously as Lino felt massive forced drive him back whence he came from yet again. He almost felt like a mud ball being tossed around by a bunch of kids, causing him to curse inwardly. He somersaulted while still in air and landed firmly on his feet, bracing for another attack. However, it never came. As the dust storm settled, he looked around and was immediately assailed by confusion.
“Lino?” a familiar, slightly cold voice called out from behind, while a melodic, yet cynical one, came from upfront. Glancing back and forth, Lino recognized two faces who appeared just as confused as him - Lucky and Shaneine.
“Eh? What the fuck guys?! Why are you trying to kill me?!” Lino cried out immediately as he realized the deadly danger was over.
“What do you mean trying to kill you?” Lucky scoffed. “Why are you sneaking around like some sort of a rat?”
“... your mom’s a rat! Would you just bang out at the front door and sing ‘hey I’m a friendly’ song with the whole town seeming to be a convergence of something shady?”
“What are you doing here?” Shaneine interrupted the two before they went deeper down the rabbit hole.
“... looking for you guys?” Lino replied, tilting his head. “I’ve finished my business so I figured I’d regroup with the rest of you. Where is everyone else?”
“...” Oh for fuck’s sake. I haven’t even been gone two days, the hell happened in-between then and now?
“Aah,” Lino sighed, putting the spear and rod back into the void world. “So... what happened?”
“Come inside,” Shaneine said. “Lucky, escort him.”
“Do you really hate me that much?!! You just need to stand near me so they don’t start shooting me!”
“I don’t hate you,” Lucky said as the two began circling the wall and going back to the front entrance. “I just find you repulsive.”
“... oh. Lucky me.”
“Hey, screw you!! The entire journey over, you did nothing but make bad puns out of my name!” Lucky exploded all of a sudden. “Does anything useful transpire in that rotten head of yours?!”
“... is it depressing that this is the biggest reaction I’ve ever gotten out of a woman?” Lino teased, grinning.
“...” Lucky suddenly froze, as though the circuits in her brain fried. It took her a moment to recover, her angry expression replaced by a wholly blank and placid one. “Get your ass moving and shut up.”
“I wrote you a song. Do you want to hear it?”
“Luckily I don’t.”
“See?! See?! If you’d just embrace your name,” Lino cried out. “We’d make a great team!”
“... so, anyway, what happened after we separated?” Lino asked as they inched closer to the front gate.
“... a lot,” Lucky replied, sighing faintly. “It’s a long story.”
“... I haven’t seen you guys in like a day and a half. How long could it possibly be?”
“... oh, you have no idea.”