WHEN THINGS GO AWRY
Lino sat in the corner of the auction house, growing ever so numb to the headache-inducing prices that his items were being sold for. One after another, the pile just kept on growing till the point he simply couldn’t be bothered to count any longer. With his mind already off to the near future and the war itself, he appeared slightly dazed.
Moment by moment, the auction continued heating up as the remaining [Rare] and [Unique] items were sold off. A few among the audience who were yet to place the bet grew fidgety as they knew what was the last item: an [Epic] grade one. Something that’s as rare as feathers of a Phoenix. They stared intently as the woman atop the platform smiled flirtatiously.
“The next item is the last of the auction,” she said. “And, as they say, we saved the best for last. [Swallower of Skies] is a Level 90 sword, perfect for those of you who aim for speed. Bring it up.” as the cloth atop the table was unveiled and sword beneath shown, it took but a moment for the entire place to fall silent; yet, just that moment later, it erupted in chatter, noise booming all throughout.
[Swallower of Skies - Epic]
Magic Damage: 1820-2400
+100% to Hand Speed
+20% to Agility
Special Effect: infusing the Sword with Qi will unleash pseudo-Sword Lights in a quarter a mile range
Special Effect: attacking will automatically create blurry afterimages as to simulate the unparalleled speed
Special Effect: sword can evolve 2 times by being infused with enough Sky Qi - 1/10,000
Note: Unparalleled in its range, the Swallower is beyond sharp and quick, perfect for swordmasters.
Even Lino was jolted to reality by the erupting cheers, causing him to sigh. By the time he came to, he realized that the price was already at 500 million, surpassing the best-selling totem by a hundred million already. He couldn’t be bothered to stand there any longer so he quietly left, departing from the arena-like auction house and coming to the open field shortly after. It was well beyond midnight, moon in its silver hue hanging high up in the sky, surrounded by countless stars. There was a trace of meek breeze brushing past one’s cheeks, yet the temperature remained on the higher end. Lino looked up toward the sky and wondered how he was going to spend the remaining two and a half months before his promised return. I suppose I ought to start cultivating seriously... I should reach at least Mid Mythic Realm before the war, as otherwise I don’t think I’d be as useful...
“You should get ready.” robotic voice suddenly echoed inside his mind, startling him.
“For what?” Lino asked, frowning.
“I sense immense amount of Devil Qi inside the arena and the surrounding forests.” Lino nearly slipped over and fell, rolling his eyes so hard they nearly got stuck in the back of his skull.
“Holy shit, and you thought NOW was the good time to tell me?!!! What the fuck do you want me to do?!”
“Right, now you go quiet. Screw you. I hope you break your freaking spine.” Lino mumbled curses lowly before turning around and going to the backstage entrance of the arena were Ava was. He knew that there was no time to lose. The hell are they doing here though? Can’t they tell that it’s a massive gathering of cultivators of all things? Ugh, whatever. Lino quickly found Ava who was sitting with glee plastered on her face, eyes shining in gold as she counted the sheer amount of resources inside the few Void Rings atop of her palms.
“Hey.” startled, she nearly slapped Lino silly until she realized it was him.
“Hey my ass! Don’t startle me like that!”
“... quite the --ugh, no time for that. Let’s go.”
“Go where?” Ava asked, slightly confused.
“... I sensed overbearing amounts of Devil Qi around this place. It’s about to boom.”
“No matter how wide you make your ‘o’ mouths, it ain’t gonna change a thing.”
“Oh for the love of--” just as Lino was about to pull her up and outside, a singular explosion bellowed out from inside the arena, followed closely after by screams and shouts of pain and agony.
Both Lino and Ava were blown backward like kites, spiraling past the arena and into the open field where they rolled on the floor for nearly a good half a mile before finally coming to a stop. Lino immediately got on top of his feet and looked toward the auction house, were sky-high flames were raging like demons from hell. A mere moment later, several dozen flashes of light heaved out of the flames and barreled in an arc toward them. Startling him, Lino immediately wanted to escape but realized a firm hand grip wouldn’t let him.
“They’re alright.” Ava said, grim expression on her face. Soon enough, several dozen people landed in front of the two, most of whom were rather young. Lino, though, only paid attention to a few of them, all of whom were at Purity Realm; there was a youth slightly older than him with piercing, blue eyes and neatly tied hair, a stout, tall man with crimson hair and eyes and looking the type who always seems angry, with another woman standing by his side with extremely flirtatious disposition and similarly dyed hair. There were another two youths, around blue-eyed man’s age, the first one having completely bald head and almost expressionless eyes as though he was dead inside. The other was slightly on the older side, almost nearing thirty according to Lino’s estimate. His features were hidden beneath a dark cloak and his figure was on the slender side, bordering bone-and-skin. They all exuded rather dangerous air about them.
“Who was it?” Ava suddenly asked the group.
“Tortar.” the blue-eyed youth replied. “He tried to steal the sword, whereupon he used Devil Qi.”
“Brazen!!” Ava barked suddenly, her expression growing ever darker. “We’re surrounded.” she added, looking around.
“Estimated number?” the blue-eyed youth asked.
“Hah, who cares? Are you that much of a coward Sevan?” the crimson-haired man said aggressively in a mocking manner.
“If you’re in rush to die, go ahead. Don’t drag the rest of us with you.” the man called Sevan replied casually.
“There are at least several tens of thousands of the Possessed,” Ava replied. “A few dozen or so Demons, and a single Devil.”
“What?! Devil?!” quite a few people exclaimed at the same time.
“Up there.” she pointed toward the flames and above; suddenly, everyone turned their heads and spotted a figure neatly hovering in the sky, enrobed in thick shadows, exuding oppressive and dangerous air.
“... Skydevil Variant.” Sevan mumbled, frowning. “This is dangerous. Where did they come from all of a sudden?” If I speak up, they’ll berate me. Yup, definitely. Oh well...
“From outside the Valley, I gather.” Lino spoke up, dozens of pairs of eyes immediately focusing onto him. Nearly a moment later, everyone frowned as they realized they couldn’t see through this rather... poor-looking youth.
“What makes you say that?” the crimson-haired woman asked, smiling while revealing a set of perfect, white teeth.
“Because I’ve come across an army at least half a million strong in the forest outside the Hope Town,” Lino replied honestly. “I gather this is just a scout party.”
“Half a million? That means there are at least dozen Devil Variants,” the woman said, her easy-going disposition suddenly replaced by a grim one. “What the hell? We’ve just barely gotten over the last invasion, and there’s already a new one?”
“There’s no more time to chat,” Ava suddenly interrupted. “Where’s the sword?”
“Here.” Sevan took it out from his void ring and handed it over.
“Keep it for now,” Ava said. “You’ll join me against the Devil. Temar, Seya” she turned toward the crimson-haired pair. “You’ll take the vanguard. Hanner,” she then spoke to the balded man. “Take the supportive role. The rest of you will spread in the groups of five and begin exterminating whatever stands in your path. Lino,” she then turned toward Lino and leaned in closer, whispering into his ear. “You take a chance to retreat. Though I can’t see through you, I very much doubt you’re that strong considering how good of a blacksmith you are.”
“... you underestimate me missy,” Lino whispered back, biting her ear suddenly and grinning as she jumped back in shock. “I’ll take vanguard with those steroid-induced beasts.”
“It’s a compliment,” Lino hollered as he walked toward the two. “Heh, it’s been a while since I’ve spilled some demonic blood,” he mumbled, looking toward the distance where a swarm of black began to gather. “This should help me break through... hopefully...”