Um, let’s rewind a bit. On second thought, that is a pretty hard task, so let’s not do that. It appears that I’m currently falling from the sky since my master literally threw me inside an unknown dimension. Fortune does not compel me as usual. After all, all that my eyes can embrace as a truthful gaze is the endless blue skies that rule the infinite horizon.
“Master… Did you seriously abandon me!?”
Somehow this wasn’t much of a surprise; it is Master that we are talking about after all. Even so, my body is starting to feel dizzy… I can’t stay up, even when I’m falling from a very large distance…
Ceulonia Dimension, 11am/11pm, Paluzaluza Island.
Nothing beats the Paluzaluza Island for what it is! True beauty scourges within Ceulonia, hence the immense magnificence among it. It’s such a shame that this Island is basically inhabitable therefore there are only one hundred if not a bit more people in it. Why is it inhabitable? Because at the top of Paluzaluza Island, there is a fire volcano containing high-level creatures, mainly lava loving ones, the Fogal Edones.
Although they are creatures, they speak the Paluzaluza dialect. Making contact with them is extremely forbidden according to the mighty elder. Should any contact happen between any citizen of Paluzaluza and the Fogal Edones, our lives could be taken away. Well, that was 1000 years ago, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. The Fogal Edones still remain at the top of our volcano. We only know that because once a month they hold a celebration festival which lets us hear their loud celebration roars.
In opposition to this terrifying atmosphere, people started leaving Palizaluza Island, thus this island has become quite empty. All of this because the Fogal Edones still remain within the island. That cannot remain forever. Thus, there is only one thing that can be done, to defeat the Fogal Edones and restore safety to our island!
“This is why… I will rise above them!”
Of course, the Fogal Edones are nothing more than a myth to the younger generation, to the generation that I belong to. However, the elder strictly says for us to not approach the Great Mountain if we value our lives. Still, nothing can be achieved without hard work, which is why I train and increase my abilities day by day so that one day I will have the elder’s permission to slay the Fogal Edones. I love Paluzaluza with all my heart, and I will not stand by just as I watch another generation fade away while living in terror. Unacceptable.
Currently, I indulge myself in training every day. The elder said that if I wanted to defeat the Fogal Edones, then preparations should be done first. First, raising my level to 25 is a must. Elder also mentioned that after that, I should consult him since level 25 is where it all begins. Although, my level right now is only 17. I have no idea how strong the Fogal Edones are in terms of level, therefore slacking off is out of the question. But, in my favor, I have the immense profound Nemoru Jungle which contains all sorts of creatures to kill and raise my level. However, it’s not that easy…
“They are rather wary today…”
Actually, one of the problems that I have been having with leveling up is the following, the monsters inside the Nemoru Jungle are naturally agile, and therefore I need to achieve a certain level of accuracy to completely take them down. But that’s not it, unfortunately. Day by day, with every monster inside the Nemoru Jungle fading away, the monsters start to become aware of my presence and immediately flee. Now that’s troublesome because I can’t hunt them or gain any information about their hideout.
It’s simple to gain information about their hideout, but at the same time, it’s utterly reckless to advance carelessly within this jungle. Every time that I advance a total of fifteen meters right into the upper direction, their levels increase. Assumedly that they are setting up a bait just by sending low-level creatures to me, it’s impossible for me to move forward. Though, not all possess this ability to capitalize on my presence. I’ve noticed that over the years that I have been training that the monsters here follow a pattern.
Every time that I enter the Nemoru jungle, the upper direction monsters on the Northside tend to flee due to my presence, but that’s only if you constantly bother them. Let’s say that you don’t bother trying to hunt them for a month, they will forget how you look and leave themselves open for a hunt. This just proves that these monsters don’t really have much of a memory storage capability. Then again, that’s quite useful, so I do this simple trick to get the best out of this situation.
By hunting the east side, I can’t hunt it for another 1 month. The same applies to all sides for some reason, the North and West. Since I come from South there really isn’t much of an option here. Once, I tried to travel the whole island around just so I could enter from the North side, but it didn’t work due to the huge waterfall blocking my path. More so, there is another one on the other side. That’s just unlucky. So what needs to be done is simple, one side needs to be hunted down until there aren’t any monsters left from that side.
If the hunting on the east side is done, then moving to the Northeast side is the top priority. Then repeat the same. From Northeast to North, then from North to Northwest, Northwest to West, West to Southwest and Southwest to South. By the time I finished one side, that side has a one-month limitation to it. This means, that hunting it is meaningless. In other words, if I were to hunt the east side, then I couldn’t hunt it for another month. The same applies to all sides.
Eventually, advancing more than I should is foolishness. To ensure that I never endanger myself, a line was set to make myself remember where to not pass. If that line were to be trespassed, then I could very well face death by the hands of unknown monsters…
“Don’t want to come out eh? Well then, I’ll force you to!”
One month has passed, so advancing into the East side is possible, but the monsters here are somewhat aware of my presence… That’s new; never did they bother to notice my presence after one month has passed. What’s going on? To test their absence there is only one thing to do, that being, alerting them of my presence. Their levels are 11. Since my level is 17, I’m 6 levels above them, there should be no problem then…
My main skill is that I’m a jack of all trades. By having multiple abilities to my assistance, the Umbral Bomb is a bomb that is based on my level. The bomb grows stronger by my level, meaning that it’s at level 17 right now. The essence of it is all the creatures that are caught in the smoke that the bomb explodes, are to be paralyzed and blinded for a total of two minutes.
For the main consequence of this ability, if the bomb targets have their levels above me, I am the one who gets paralyzed and blinded for two minutes. So, not only is this dangerous but depending on the situation it’s incredibly deadly. Yet if the bomb’s targets are below you in terms of levels, then you are victorious.
This bomb is highly explosive so I have to throw it from a distance where I am not totally caught by it. It would be simple if that was it, but I have to verify if there are any creatures that were affected by the bomb. Ultimately, I have to emerge myself with the bomb smoke screen. It will only show its consequences to me if their levels are above me. I suppose it’s time to go in.
“Exactly fifteen seconds have passed; let’s see how many were hiding.”
And the result is… Fifteen Shadow Bats, Ten Mirage Foxes, Twenty Corruptors Raptors and five Soul Mud Worms. Ahh…. This is not worth the effort at all…
“What is my number today?”
Accessing my Atlas, the number which was given to me was… 7.
“Not bad, Hanquila Skylimit, access.”
Given that I’m a jack of all trades, my Atlas possesses all sorts of weaponry and abilities to its arsenal. Of course, this Atlas belongs to the Elder so I can’t exactly declare it mine since I will have to return it to him someday. Still, the Hanquila Skylimit isn’t a bad choice in this situation. The situation as it stands is that there are the mentioned creatures paralyzed screaming in pain on the jungle mud. There is only one thing to be done, to kill them all. Thankfully, there are no arrows for the Hanquila Skylimit. After all, this weapon is quite large due to the fact that this weapon is a bow. There are some special tricks to it, though. Depending on your level, the abilities on its page continue to unlock. So, I only have 17 options inside the Hanquila Skylimit page. One is perfect for this situation.
“Hanquila Skylimit, verse 9, access.”
[Access has been granted. Do you wish to use Radical Release?]
As per usual, the screen appears right in front of me. The answer is yes, of course.
[Select the targets to use Radical Release on]
Next, there is one way to select the targets to use this skill on.
“Umbral Bomb history, requiring access.”
“Use Radical Release on Umbral Bomb’s targets.”
It’s nothing special really, but the main essence here is that the Umbral Bomb’s targets, which were the Shadow Bats, Mirage Foxes, Corruptors Raptors and the Soul Mud Worms, will now be the targets of my Radical Release. Think of it as accessing a history recorder and utilizing that history to your advantage. Since the Umbral Bomb landed on those targets, my Radical Release will have full effect.
[Radical Release ready, press yes to continue]
However, clicking the option ‘Yes’ right here and now is dangerous. The Radical Release is a rain of arrows essentially. Although to be more precise, the number of arrows will equal my status all combined. For instance, if I have five points in Defense, Attack, Velocity, and Strength, then the number of arrows will be twenty. Plus, depending on my level, the potency of lethality added to the Radical Release will grow even further. Finally, this covers a very huge factor in my abilities; all of my abilities grow stronger by training. I wish it was that simple.
“I’ve got to create distance. Forty-five seconds have passed, and I don’t want to be caught amidst the arrows, so I gotta run for it!”
So far, the only consequence of the Radical Release is that, upon choosing where it will land, the arrows will rain fiercely. My status are obviously more than five points, therefore the number of arrows will be tremendous. Thus, I decided to sprint over the edge of the exit, and then the option ‘Yes’ is clicked, finalizing this once and for all.
[You have chosen Yes. Choose the area to utilize Radical Release.]
Unlike the option that allowed me to choose my targets, this time it requires me to choose an area. With that said, right after that option appears, a large map of the Paluzaluza Island appears in front of me.
I know the area to choose, of course. So without hesitation, I choose the east side of the jungle. There, are the creatures that are currently blinded and paralyzed. In exactly five seconds, they will be slaughtered by the upcoming rain of numerous arrows. But, to achieve such feat first, I need to fire away the barrage of arrows that are inside the Hanquila Skylimit.
These require a bit of physical strength honestly. In the end, I fired them up in the air far away and they directed themselves towards the east side thanks to the area option. The area option is only for one purpose. By choosing where the arrows will land, they will follow the destination. Their destination is, of course, the area that I chose on the map. Ultimately, they will land on their marks. This can backfire though. If the user does not have enough physical strength, then the arrows will never hit their destination in the first place.
To ensure that, I trained my physical strength for a grand total of three years and then my strength status went up to 60. Little did I know, but for this ability to be used, it’s recommended that the user has at least 50 points of strength. I overdid a bit, but it worked out fine. Now all that is left is to wait five seconds.
“One… Two… Three… Four… Five…”
Boom! A large sound that resembled that of an explosion completely bombards the east side of the jungle and right after that, several notifications appear in front of me.
[You have slain a total of Fifteen Shadow Bats! Congratulations! You have gained 85 points of experience!]
[You have slain a total of Ten Mirage Foxes! Congratulations! You have gained 235 points of experience!]
[You have slain a total of Twenty Corruptors Raptors! Congratulations! You have gained 132 points of experience!]
[You have slain a total of Five Soul Mud Worms! Congratulations! You have gained 18 points of experience!]
Ugh, it’s so bad… This experience is basically nothing… And I have to wait another month just to hunt such weaklings… Kill me now. I hope the other rewards are good at least. Huh? Wait, where are the other options? This can’t be all….
“It really is all… Oh damn, that’s bad. Considering that I was at 673 points of experience yesterday, my experience bar is at… 1143!! Are you serious!? That’s super low! To get to level 18, I need 11295 experience points… Just how long will that take me…? I probably and most definitely can mathematically calculate how much time I will have to wait, but… What’s the point, really..?”
This was utterly fruitless. Not only do I have to wait another month, but my motivation to hunt was completely swept down the drain. How difficult… At this rate, standing up to the Fogal Edones is just a fairy tale. Well, at least I have the fresh ocean on my side.
The Island of Paluzaluza is a bit awkward. I’ve heard from the elder that we forged our own traditions instead of actually embracing the culture of Ceulonia as a whole. Not like it makes a difference to me. Culture is incredibly relative since it depends on how one views the world and most importantly the society around. More so, there is something completely unique to this Island.
This island is quite small, but on the west side, it’s always night time while on the east side it’s always day time. I’m on the east side since the monsters here like to walk around the jungle when there is sunlight. They love to indulge themselves into the radiant sunlight. I’m the same, just as my feet receive the small oceanic waves, my love for the sun does not perish.
Suddenly, a voice comes out of nowhere, interrupting my reflecting peace. A very old man in cheap clothes comes running to me but with immense difficulty. Such difficulty that it cannot be called running; it’s a desperate attempt to reach me.
“Elder? What are you doing here?”
It’s certainly not normal for the elder to be here. Most people of this island remain on the west side to avoid a frontal confrontation with the savage beasts here in the east. If so, what is he doing here?
“Z-Zakarias, it’s horrible! Lodya! Lodya is gone!”
That’s normal. Lodya loves to venture the island for her own self-satisfaction. There really isn’t anything strange about that. The elder should know this better than anyone. So why is he fretting over a fact?
“She’s always gone, isn’t she? She’s a wild one.”
“N-No! It’s not that, Zakarias…”
“Then what is it?”
“…She got kidnapped…”
Now that’s impossible. Lodya is more of a beast than most beasts of the east. Kidnapping her would require tremendous effort. If I had to formulate a takedown plan, it would at least require a hundred people with paralyzing abilities. Even then, nothing says that it would work.
“You’re over thinking this. She just left for a while, didn’t she?”
“No… A Fogal Edone came to the village and kidnapped her…”
“What!? But Fogal Edones aren’t supposed to know where we live! How was that possible!?”
This shouldn’t be possible! A Fogal Edone kidnapped Lodya!? Just when I was away from the west side, she was kidnapped…
“I don’t know… I’m sorry...!”
“Excuses aren’t going to cut it, old man! Where did they go!?”
“…To the mountain! Please Zakarias, you’ve got to get my granddaughter back!”
Yeah, as if it’s that easy. If it’s Fogal Edones, then I don’t know my chances against them. That’s not the only thing, I don’t know their levels, their status, and whatnot. This is suicide no matter how I look at it…
“If you rescue her, I-“
“Rest assured. I will get her back by nighttime. I promise.”
I don’t even care what he has to say, first things first…
“Also, please tell everyone in the village to be calm and relaxed.”
“Thank you so much, Zakarias…”
“Get going, old man.”
As I see the elder off, I take a seat on the yellow sand which is on the borderline of the sea waves. Since they are minimal, they aren’t much of a threat. But, if they were larger then my seat would be all the way back.
Alright, I need to resume what happened, basically. Lodya got kidnapped by a Fogal Edone. That itself is pretty bad. I have no idea how strong they are, so going to her rescue might be potential suicide. If only that was the counterpart… I wouldn’t mind facing just one, but who the fuck knows how many are there inside the mountain?
“Damn it, standing here isn’t going to solve anything… I even promised the elder that she would return by nighttime. Why did I have to lie…?”
I know exactly why. Now that that’s done no choice then. I will go beyond the forest and level up. If my success rate here in exactly 0, then if the forest isn’t cleared completely, that just means that my success rate was lower than expected. If so, there exists a necessity to rise above everything which is above me right now. What I need to do is obvious.
As I pierce the sky with my gaze, my resolution remains strong and grasps firmness.
“Alright, let’s do th-“
Wait… Am I seeing things? Why is there something this large falling from the sky?
“H-Hey!! It’s coming in my direction, why!?”
Regardless of what it is, I should analyze it for myself. It might be a new danger to the Island. That cannot happen.
With Cloudon, this should go well. After all, the Cloudon is an ability that simply works like a cloud. However, unlike a normal cloud, Cloudon completely stops the moving target once the target lands on Cloudon. Plus, if something falls on the ground there are multiple consequences, but not with Cloudon.
Poof. The target lands on Cloudon.
“Now let’s see what you really are…”
Drawing my mini blade, the Luja, I take a defensive stance while walking towards the Cloudon. And it’s a…………. boy? What?
“Oi, wake up.”
Perhaps a slap will help.
“I’m going to slap you, okay? No hard feelings. “
Tap. One slap down the drain. He still is not waking up. I don’t have much time to lose, after all, I need to make haste towards my ambition. To level up and rescue Lyoda. Losing time in such a trivial matter is not exactly to my best interests. Therefore, time for a slap barrage. No, wait… Since the ocean is literally right next to me…
“I hope you like the ocean.”
By grabbing the boy’s right shoulder, I take him to the sea and throw him right in. Yosh, that should do the trick, right? If a response does not come in thirty seconds, then he is most likely dead.
“WH-WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!?”
Ah, he’s up. That saves me the trouble.
“Yo, you’re up.”
“Don’t ‘Yo, you’re up’ me!! What did you do that for!?”
I really don’t get why he is fretting over this, really. Is it really that repulsing to taste the ocean? That shouldn’t be right… The ocean is amazing; in fact, the ocean always helps me ease my mind at times. Well, assuming that my mindset is shared by everyone else is certainly wrong. Can’t be helped, an apology should serve.
“Sorry. Are you okay?”
By extending my hand, he will see that my intentions are innocent and pure. My intention is to clear up this misunderstanding as fast as possible just so my mission can start to fruit.
“Ah, yeah! Thanks, you really saved m- No way, I’m saying that!”
Splash. My whole body this time emerges with the cold water lying in the vast ocean.
“Take that! That’s for throwing me in the water.”
Is this guy serious? I offer a peace treatment and this guy throws me right into the water? What the hell is this? Is he an idiot? A retard? Either way, he’s dead.
No, I shouldn’t lose my mark here, who cares about this person, I need to hurry up and go raise my level, ultimately that will allow me to challenge the Fogal Edones. Persisting this matter further is pure insolence. Time to make my way.
“Hey, wait. Where are you going?”
Somewhere that doesn’t concern you. Someone that can’t even take a peace treaty is by no means someone reasonable. Well, I did throw him into the water, so we are in the same boat, apparently. Therefore, delaying this is meaningless.
“Sorry. Got no time to explain. I don’t care how you got here or where you came from. If you need directions, go all the way up, you should encounter a small village. Seek the elder and satisfy your curiosity. Bye.”
A pretty good explanation, I suppose. Let’s see, by including that he can search for directions in the village up ahead, this guy should grasp that he can potentially ask for directions. In the case that he is lost, that’s even better. Because, if he gets what he is looking for, then I will not have to waste any more time here.
“Why can’t you explain it to me, then?”
…Is this guy for real? Can’t he tell that I’m in a haphazard hurry to go do my own business, take a hint damn it.
“As I said, I’ve got no time. Therefore, other people can help you.”
“What are you going to do?”
How is that any of your concern?
“That doesn’t matter.”
“But it does. I want to return the favor. I know that you put that cloud-like skill on to save me from the fall.”
…What? But you weren’t even conscious by the looks on your face back then? It’s impossible to say that you know something when you clearly had no awareness of that.
“How did you know that?”
“I felt something fluffy when I landed. But I was too airsick to actually open my eyes. Sorry, I was conscious the whole time.”
If so, then why didn’t you respond to my slaps? Are you a masochist? What the hell.
“Do you like getting slapped?”
A genuine question with a genuine intention.
“Are you an idiot? Who likes getting slapped?”
THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU RESPOND WHEN I SLAPPED YOU!!!
“This is too much. So you said you wanted to repay me, right?”
“That’s about it. Got any ideas?”
Ideas? Well, to be fair, I have no need for him. Not only does he possess an irritating personality, but he comes from an unknown place. Taking unnecessary risks here might be lethal. Furthermore, by every second wasted here, who knows what Lodya is going through… Ah, there is that, but he doesn’t seem strong, not at all. His physique is normal, I would say. But nothing compared to mine, which immediately is a bummer. Let’s try something first though.
“Oh, you wanna know my level?”
Not bad. To be able to detect that proves that he has at least the minimum awareness required. Still, it’s impressive that he knows what I was about to do.
“Yeah, that would help.”
“I’m only level 7.”
Ten levels below me, now that’s disappointing. No, that’s not disappointing actually. For a second, my thoughts gave me the indication that he was level 0. Therefore, it’s a good thing that he is level 7. This could prove some usefulness.
“Are you experienced in fighting?”
“More or less. It really depends on the situation, I would say.”
Everything depends on every situation, thus meaning nothing. Alright, this is all or nothing…
“You said you would repay me, right? If that’s the case, then help me rescue a friend of mine. I will reward you in any way that you want if we can rescue my friend. Is that cool with you?”
Not like my expectations are betraying me, but in all likelihood, he will be useless. The plan is to use him as a scapegoat as my ulterior motive is to rescue Lodya. Nothing personal, it’s just that you are a person I just met. What’s more important, the life of someone who I deeply care for or the life of someone I just met? The answer to that is pretty clear. Still, that would be hypocritical. Therefore, I believe that with our number advantage, which is only two, we can raid the upper forest and take down really high-level creatures. Ultimately, this will mean that he and I will level up. But first…
“Would you like to hear the situation?”
“That would be helpful.”
Great. Thus, my explanation began. The first thing to acknowledge is that our enemies are probably far stronger than us. Also, we need to level up fast, if possible. Our current time is 11 am, which means that we should have a couple of hours to level up. Regardless of that, we don’t know how much time we have between clearing the jungle and reaching the top of the mountain. It’s safe to assume that we will need at least 3-4 hours. The conclusion being, level up until 4 pm and then make our way towards the mountain. This is all assuming that we do clear the forest and don’t get killed along the way. To ensure that possibility, I will require having this guy be useful somehow.
“I see… So basically we need to rescue Lodya-san before it’s nighttime, but to achieve that, we need to kill the creatures that live at the top of the mountain and to also achieve that, we need considerable strength at our side…”
“I’m glad you understand. Here is my proposal. Since you are level 7, you can gain a few levels in the jungle up ahead. What do you say?”
“No need. Let’s just get this rescue done with. That’s what you want, right?”
It seems he didn’t quite get my explanation.
“You are level 7. I am level 17. I have difficulty in clearing parts of the jungle. If I have such difficulties, then how are you, a level 7 person, supposed to be of any use here?”
“Levels aren’t everything. I have a few tricks up on my sleeve.”
Levels are everything. By the time you level up, every status of yours goes up by a tremendous amount, not to mention that certain abilities level up as well. To say that levels aren’t everything is not incorrect, but it’s by no means totally correct.
You may have a hidden weapon among you, but if you are reckless and think that you can survive in a jungle full of starving beats that are waiting for you just so they can kill you, then you are very wrong. Therefore, it’s somewhat safe to assume that this guy is not all talk, but just in case…
“Oh? What tricks?”
“You really wanna know?”
It’s not like I have a deep interest in it, but it would come in handy.
“If you don’t mind showing it to me.”
Now then, what exactly are you hiding?
“First, punch me in my right arm.”
“Is that so? Then…”
No even questioning as to why he said that I delivered a punch right into the center of his right arm. Of course, using strength here is not necessary, so it was a soft punch.
So this was according to his mindset. This means that what he shows me next is definitive.
“First seal…Break! Defense, rise!”
Wow. So this was what you were hiding? How do I explain it…? It’s like power suddenly formed all over his body. No, that’s not quite it. The moment he spoke those specific words an energy type of aura surrounded his body…
“What’s that supposed to be?”
“You’ll know soon enough. Punch me again. Although, don’t put any strength in it, for your own good.”
Of course, I won’t put any strength to it. That energy looks malicious to anyone’s eyes. Just what was that shroud of energy just now? Either way, I threw a punch at the center of his right arm and the result was…
It appears that my hand broke. That’s bad news.
“Ah! Your hand!”
Physical wounds are much of a problem, after all, inside my Atlas, I happen to own regenerative ability.
“Advanced Heal Spring, Verse 5, Access.”
Much like how it sounds, it produces a regenerative effect. But, it can’t be used for the rest of the day, that’s the downside of it. Of course, utilizing it here is rather unlucky, but going to a battlefield with a broken hand is out of the question.
“W-Was that an Atlas!?”
“Huh? Yeah, I had to use it thanks to that ability of yours. Having my hand broken is quite inconvenient. Anyway, start explaining, what’s that ability?”
“…Sorry, I can’t reveal its name or its secrets.”
Meh, pushing this any further will amount to nothing; he is already going to do a huge favor to me either way.
“I see, so it’s something that you can’t tell anyone about it, basically?”
“Something like that… But, do you trust me now?”
Trusting him or not is irrelevant. Raising my suspiciousness will also do nothing in the end. It doesn’t’ matter whether he has a strong ability or not. If he ends up betraying me for some reason, in the worst case scenario, then I will dispose of him. He is a level 7 while I’m a level 17. It wouldn’t take much of an effort to go over the winning side. But, considering that he is trustworthy and just happen to be a huge idiot, those abilities might come in handy.
“…Sure. Though, what’s your name?”
Asking for his name here is fine, I hate treating people unfamiliarly.
“Rei. And yours?”
I really have no obligation to tell Rei my name, but it would be rude otherwise.
“Zakarias. Let’s get along.”
“Zakarias-san is it? Wahhh… I’m really glad that I was able to meet a decent person right from the bat. Truth is, I was pretty reluctant about trusting the first person that I would see on this island, so I pretended to be dead for a while. But it seems that you are a pretty nice guy. Let’s get along too!”
Out of nowhere, a nice energy type of vibe could be felt from this guy. Just who is he…? Well, it’s fortunate that Rei is easy to get along with.
“Let’s not waste any more time. We need to be fast.”
“Agreed. Who knows what those beasts are up to…?”
What I’m also glad about is that he shares basically the same sense of justice. Not exactly a sense of justice, but just the simple understanding of the basic idea here, which is, rescuing Lodya. Nonetheless, there is a consequence to our team up; I’m going to be at this guy’s mercy afterward. I really hope that he forgets about that, it would be quite convenient. Either way, me and Rei marched towards the Nemoru jungle.
Nemoru Jungle, 11 am, 11 pm
To avoid any unnecessary encounters, we took the course that was already premised to be a peaceful route. By all means, I have cleared those monsters earlier; therefore the east side is clear. The problem is that the mountain is located at the North Side of the jungle, which means that we will face monsters no matter how what route we take.
“Say, why are there one moon and one sun up at the same time? Isn’t that awkward?”
“Awkward? How is that awkward?”
The sun and the moon have always been up in Ceulonia. Although, never did a question about its existence came forth. Maybe this is a good thing yet my knowledge is insufficient. But, having some basic knowledge doesn’t hurt, so it’s only natural that even someone as me knows about this.
“It’s just that… In my dimension, the sun only comes up in the morning, the time of the day where there is sunlight. On the other hand, at night, the moon comes instead of the sun, but they are both up at the same time here… That’s why it’s awkward.”
“Dimension? Rei, what are you on about? You sure your head isn’t messed up from that landing?”
“Oh, you don’t know? That there are other dimensions out there?”
As we walked the dominated hall of this deep jungle by my actions earlier, my curiosity couldn’t help but wonder.
What does Rei mean by dimensions? Still, it’s really quiet here. It’s been a long time since I’ve bothered to check a part of the jungle once it’s wiped out. Even though a long time ago, I used to check them, no such things are done anymore.
"What did you mean by dimensions?"
Rei then took a while to think about his next words. By my guess, he should be thinking on how to phrase them, since it seemed as if he was about to lay some serious unknown information or something, in that case, paying attention seems required.
“You see… Do you believe that this is the only world there is?”
“World? You mean Ceulonia?”
“I suppose, that’s the name, I think.”
If this question was directed to another person in Ceulonia the immediate answer would be something along the lines of ‘Ceulonia is the only existing planet!’ or something hypocritical like that. But, what was truly taught to me was that we should question everything that is already supposedly true.
Because everything that is true is a lie. Or so, my elder implies. I have no real intention of obeying his creed since I don’t exactly care that much about culture and all that. As long as Paluzaluza is a safer place, that’s all I care for.
Though, now that the question comes to me, it’s my supposed duty to think about this matter, right? Besides, if one is being questioned its good manners for the one who is being questioned to deliver a sophisticated answer, if possible.
“I don’t. But, it’s not like I have a statement or proof as to why I don’t believe to back my argument up. I simply don’t believe in what I don’t see with my own eyes.”
“Hm, well, you will not believe this, but there are other worlds inside a vastly extended horizon of new worlds out there, just waiting to be explored! And this is just one of them, I call them dimensions, but calling it worlds isn’t wrong either!”
So Rei says, with the enthusiasm of a thousand stars. Really, what a bright guy he is.
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. Wouldn’t it be cool to visit and explore new worlds out there?”
Cool? Who knows? I, for sure, don’t. If it’s cool to explore new things, then what’s the point of doing it? Everything grows old naturally; therefore there is more value in treasuring something which is already old while protecting it with all your might.
“I don’t think so. If exploring new worlds means abandoning the older worlds then, no.”
“That’s not what I’m saying. What if you could do both?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t achieve anything without sacrificing something in order to make advancement. Given that, I will never abandon what’s already mine for something which isn’t it.”
Being as vague as I could, keeping my intent away was a good thing. Though selfish, my true motive is to always protect this Island. I could count the infinite stars in the sky and even then, the number of cowards who ran from the responsibility of protecting this island would be greater than the stars erupted in the sky. Simply said, the whole world could be transported to a whole new dimension, for all I care, my body and soul would remain here. I was raised and created here. In no way in hell will I dishonor this home of mine, even if it means turning a blind eye on the apparent truth.
“Zakarias-san, you’re quite stubborn.”
“…Be careful. Have you noticed?”
“Yeah. Four creatures up ahead. What do we do?”
A wise choice would be to check their levels, but that could eventually cut our time to react. Wait, we are two, which means…
“I will go ahead. You stay back. When I give the signal, attack. If I come running in your direction, then we retreat. We will repeat this tactic until we reach the mountain. Understood?”
“Just out of curiosity, what exactly will give you the information that you need to know whether we retreat or not?”
Smart question. That came out unexpectedly.
“By the time I advance, I will immediately check their levels. If they are above me at least 5 levels, then we will retreat, otherwise, we move forward. I’m confident that I can take down enemies that are at least 3-4 levels above me. But after that, it’s sorta impossible for me.”
“As I thought, you really are forgetting something essential here. You have me. What that means is, those monsters will stand no chance as long as we go one by one. It’s simple, but if we outnumber one target one by one they will all fall. With that said, I have a better tactic. I will agree that we should retreat if their levels are that far ahead from yours, but instead of retreating completely, we simply bait them into thinking that we are running. By making ourselves baits, we then strike back to our target. However, we can only achieve this by baiting one target at a time. What do you think?”
This guy is surprising. He behaves like a total idiot but he can get serious when confronted in danger. That’s really helpful. Besides, his strategy is better than mine, surely. Rei is right, I did forget about him being here. The reason as to why I couldn’t think a tactic where we used our number to our advantage is because I’m not used to teaming up with someone. It’s like when you team two solo players up. However, in this case, Rei has some clairvoyance when it comes to forming tactics like this. Although…
“Wait. I will admit that I did forget some things you mentioned, but that just made me realize one thing. If we are two then this just becomes simpler. In all likelihood, this bait has a high success ratio, I will not argue about that. But we can definitely make more progress with this tactic.”
“What are you saying, Zakarias-san?”
“For starters, instead of baiting just one, we can definitely bait them all. Though, to make sure this completely works we need to do preparations first.”
I then explained my whole plan to Rei, which took us exactly 1 hour to achieve. He, by this time, should be returning back with a horde of monsters on his back while running for his life. By my calculations, all the enemies that are up on the northeast side and the north side should all be coming after him.
With me giving him an illustration of what course he should follow, he can avoid direct confrontation with monsters, but in the end, the main goal is to goal to where the most powerful are and then to bait them.
Following the most powerful ones, will be the weakest, ultimately reaching to the conclusion that they will all abandon their positions just to chase this one guy who pissed them off. Man, that’s really dumb, though if they manage to kill their target is really worth it. However, it’s obviously not that simple.
The target that they are chasing is Rei, he must have a trick upon his sleeve or something, or at least my gut tells me. He did break my hand, after all. Well, I, technically did, but it works out the same way.
“Zakarias-san!! They are here! They are here!!!”
Okay then, step one, rescue Rei while he is being chased by an incredible, ridiculous amount of monsters. To close all the abnormalities that do not allow this step to work, I will have to use my Atlas yet again. Though, that’s not exactly something to complain about. Every time that I use my Atlas, that certain spell, skill, weapon, etc, will gain experience points on their own, which is fantastic. Of course, that is only possible if we do happen to kill all these monsters.
“Lonquis whip, verse eighteen, access!”
By extending the Lonquis whip towards Rei, he can grab it right when he finishes his objective.
“Rei, do you see it!?”
“Yeah! Just wait a bit longer!!”
So he says while he carries an absurd amount of monsters chasing him behind his back. Still… How exactly is he faster than those monsters? There are some creatures with different expressions and physical characteristics than the ones I see. Some of them even send chills down my spine. Yet he faces forward while I am here on top of a tree, just waiting for this to work. Not very long after, step two is finally completed.
“I did it! Grab on please!”
“Okay, come on up.”
Step two was the following: Rei lures the rest of the horde into the excavated hole, thus allowing me to proceed with step three.
“I… am never doing that again!”
If I was in your position, then I probably would be able to relate to your anxiety and fear. In fact, just by gazing down from the large tree in which we both stand at the moment, a total of hundred if not more monsters roar at us while they manifest their anger for not getting their prey. Now then, what are their levels…?
“Did you check their levels?”
“You do realize that if I turned my back just for a second there, I would have died, don’t you? But well, now that I am here, I’ve already checked a few. Want to know?”
“The strongest of them all, which is the one with the large spikes and spiked teeth, do you see it?”
Naturally, he is among the one that my recognition scan does not process, in other words, he is being seen for the first time, and the same could be applied to me.
“Yeah. How much?”
“He’s level 28.”
Twenty-eight!? If the strongest is eleven levels on me then how are we supposed to even face the Fogal Edones!? Do you mean to tell me that all of this is potentially for nothing? Screw that shit… This is too unfunny for a joke.
“You are probably having some negative thoughts right now, aren’t you?”
“Don’t mind me. I’m just brainstorming.”
“It’s no use. I am like you in that sense. Once something that is beyond your hope starts to entwine within your plans, you lose all rationality and begin to despair. It’s too early for that, Zakarias-san.”
“You’re right. Let’s proceed with the plan.”
Honestly, to think that such an easy line would make me realize how dull my reflection was… No matter, the time has come to use step three.
“Alchemy, Verse ten, Access.”
“…Do you just have everything?”
“Everything? This isn’t even mine in the first place, so I really don’t have everything. As a matter of fact, I have nothing.”
Really, there is no way that this powerful Atlas could be mine. This Atlas belongs to the Elder’s bloodline. This Atlas is to be given to Lodya, actually. I’m nothing more than a puppet in a sense. Though, if these abilities allow me to achieve feats beyond all normalcies, then I have no problems playing puppet.
“That’s really strange. You and the Atlas seem to be made for one another.”
I won’t deny that, since this Atlas is very useful, though, this isn’t the time. Let’s get on with it.
“Alchemy Mixer, activate. Mix Gasoline and Oil.”
[Dynamite has been formed. Stock it?]
That’s a yes. And so, the next step comes into play. Step three: Throw the mix right inside the hole. For that to be possible yet another mix needs to be done.
“Alchemy Mixer, Level three, activate. Mix Regular Bomb with Dynamite.”
[Wait one minute until it’s done, please.]
“Oi, oi, what exactly are you going to do with it?”
“You’ll see. Let’s just say that they won’t like it.”
It would be questionable if they liked it. However, this could very well be suicide if one of them happens to be a fire absorber. That would be extremely troublesome. So troublesome that we would have to retreat… Eventually, a minute passes.
[D.I.B has been formed. Stock it or use it?]
Use it, of course.
“Now then, I’ve kept you waiting, haven’t I?”
I’m literally talking to monsters. Many would consider me clinically insane.
“Since its lunchtime, I will give you an appetizer. Enjoy.”
Alas, the bomb that was being held in my hand is set loose right into that abyss collected with monsters. Though, that’s only step three in reality. Still, the monsters are rather displeased as they continuously howl against me. Their roars are so loud that my eardrums might be dead soon.
“Amazing! Are you a magician or something?”
“A jack of all trades. Though, that’s only thanks to this Atlas. Otherwise, I’m probably inferior to you.”
“But still, you are the one utilizing the Atlas. As a pilot, you are considerably incredible, in my opinion.”
It makes me believe that I am truly arrogant by not being able to deny that.
“Can you guess what’s gonna happen next?”
“Um, let’s see… You threw a bomb that was a mix of gasoline and oil, which means you will use something that is extremely good in this situation?”
Correct. It’s actually a really old trick, but just so happen to work here, because all the preparations are done for.
Unlike most of my skills or spells, I can’t always rely on this Atlas. Therefore, I have individually developed multiple weapons just in case that one day this Atlas is taken away from my control. That will inevitably happen someday. Though, in contrast to that possibility, I began forming my own Atlas. Although, only one page has been achieved so far. Quite the shame, honestly. Regardless it works well. My giving a command, my command will immediately summon the weapon. In this case, Igara. Which happens to be, a lava thrower.
“W-Wow, what is that!?”
“Just a lava thrower, why the surprise?”
“It’s not just a lava thrower!! You even got a mask and a hat almost like a… Fireman!?”
That’s the embarrassing part about this, I thought it would be cool to make my Lava thrower connected to my Atlas by an invisible thread, but I decided to add some side characteristics. After all, Fireman’s do help stop the fires, but since the purpose is to throw more fire, I decided to forcefully mock Firemen. It’s a despicable act, but oh well. I am despicable.
“Well, you might want to close your eyes. Some real fire is gonna go down.”
Rei decides to finally close his eyes. Now then, I suppose that it’s time for the final step. Step four: Incinerate them all!
“Kept you waiting! Here’s the main dish, bitches!”
Maybe a bit rude… Though, these are monsters. Whatever the main purpose of the bomb earlier was to apply the effect of gasoline mixed with oil to create maximum ignition as the main effect. Of course, this is only possible because gasoline and oil are highly compatible with fire, thus this obviously came at handy. But… This is… Just… So… Cool! The ecstasy one gets from this is beyond anything live inside this world.
“Can I open my eyes now?”
“Sure thing, Rei. There are only a few left, but they are dying, as we speak.”
As Rei opens his eyes again, he speaks.
“Say, who gets all this experience?”
“I do, but I’ll use it to boost my Lava thrower.”
“Isn’t that unfair though? I helped you mainly but you get all the experience.”
Circumstantially speaking, it really comes down to the one who delivers the final blow. It seems that Rei has yet to grasp that factor about the Leveling System. This alone is one of the reasons as to why many choose to go solo, just so they don’t have to share experience points among those who they find either unworthy or weak.
Either way, if it’s unfair… That’s some question. He did do the majority of the work here, but I finished them off, so in my opinion, we are on the equal ground here, but I can understand where he is coming from. Fairness is a really explicit concept overall. In all likelihood, this is probably fair because we both did our parts equally.
Although chances are, he will not agree with me on this, thus giving me the realization that it’s meaningless to argue over something as trivial as fairness. If you can’t stand unfairness, then be more unfair, that way, you will be the one thinking that is the most supreme fair person in the end. It’s really a matter of thinking and perceiving things, that’s why I hate the concept as a whole.
“Maybe so. Anyhow, let’s hurry up. Now that the path is all clear, we can enter the mountain.”
We then waited out until they all died. All the experience which was straightly delivered right to me was used to boost my lava thrower’s abilities. Since relying on this borrowed Atlas is a foolish mistake, it’s time to start adapting to this new Atlas of mine. However, as far as I’m concerned, after 3 years, a page was the only thing that I could produce. Sometime in the future, there will be the necessity of finding out how to forge and create a full fledge Atlas-like the one right here. Asking the elder would be a wise move, though, to ensure that, rescuing Lodya is our top priority.
“Hey, we can descend now.”
“That’s true. Let’s go.”
“Yeah, but just how did you plan all that out?”
It’s really basic honestly, but it seems that he wants a thorough explanation about this.
“So do you remember when I told you that we would need strength so big that it could create a hugely large and deep hole?”
“The plan was only able to work because, with your Seal Break, you excavated a hole that deep. The main essence was that you would bait all the monsters right into that hole, therefore trapping them right in. Our individual power isn’t enough, not even combined, thus we had to use secondary methods to achieve victory, essentially. By using the hole, we set afire the hole swarmed with beasts, which gained an explosive ignite thanks to that bomb mixed with gasoline and oil. Do you get it? It really was basic.”
“But how exactly did you know a path to make contact with the dangerous ones?”
“This might sound exaggerated but I’ve been training myself over the last 3 years. In other words, I’ve scourged through this jungle as a whole, several times. On winter, all the monsters here hibernate, which gives me the perfect chance to explore this jungle. I even encountered a few creatures that were not totally hibernating. In the end, I left at maximum speed. That’s how I know this jungle quite well.”
Most of that is true, but I’ve forgotten to mention one single important detail. The Fogal Edones do not hibernate, no matter the season. That’s the terrifying part about them. No matter when or where they are always on alert.
“Say, why did you train for all those years?”
“That’s rather personal…”
“True. Then, if we get Lodya-san back, will you tell me?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen… Didn’t you see how far ahead of those creatures were in terms of levels? What makes you think that we can defeat them all and retrieve Lodya?”
We need to defeat them and bring Lodya back to the village. I’m even down to offer my life if it means that she can survive and live well.
“Earlier, you were pissed off because you immediately realized how overwhelming they are, right?”
It can’t be helped, in the face of adversity; you are either the weakest or the strongest. I, by far, was the weakest. Although such a scenario didn’t happen, it’s terrifying to imagine a scenario where I would lose. I don’t want that.
“Yeah. I’ve come to realize that even if I give my life away, it will amount to nothing. I’m prepared to die, but not ready to taste defeat. I can only die if I taste victory, not defeat.”
“But, isn’t the answer to this so obvious? You used a plan through secondary methods to win over the monsters, didn’t you? Why can’t you just do it again?”
…That might just work, but assuming that we did use secondary methods we would need an extremely big plan for that to work.
“Hypothetically speaking, if we did use a plan, would we be able to rescue Lodya?”
“In my opinion, this plan would have to be created by you. I’m terrible at plans, Zakarias-san.”
As Rei and I walk towards the north direction, the distance between the mountain and the jungle is closing in. This is bad… I need to think of a plan that will allow us to rescue her. Not to defeat the Fogal Edones, but to simply rescue her. But that’s too circumstantial. However, a situation which is circumstantial is already flawed in the first place. By looping through those holes, the situation itself can stop being circumstantial. Still, that will require an obvious setup. We can’t defeat them, that’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t distract them.
“See? You are already thinking about something, aren’t you, Zakarias-san?”
“Rei, you don’t need to be so formal, really. I’m in your debt so far, you have my thanks.”
“You are thanking me too early. Thank me when we rescue Lodya.”
Top of the Mountain, Fogal Edone’s tribe home, 2 pm, 2 am.
“Chief!! We’ve brought a female! Can we celebrate this!?”
“Oh! This is extremely rare! A female!? We shall have her become the Chief’s bride!”
“Prepare the fireworks, tonight we feast!!”
At the very top of the mountain, while the volcano is not yet erupting, the Fogal Edone tribe celebrates the rare event that is currently happening. People suspect the Fogal Edones to be monsters who venture the Paluzaluza to cause mischief for their only purpose to be the terror of the remaining people that still live in Paluzaluza. However, in reality, they are just like any other person, but they are bandits to be more precise.
Myths tend to spread a certain degree of truth in it, though that’s about it. It mainly contains lies that are simply added up to appeal that myth even more. Of course, once the myth is confirmed, all the doubts and uncertainties go away yet that’s irrelevant in face of the Fogal Edone Tribe. They only care about their position on this Island and nothing more.
“Release me at this instant! If you don’t, you will pay!!”
Still maintaining her fierce personality, Lodya rejects this tribe as a whole.
“Pay? HAHAH, then why aren’t you making us pay, huh!?”
“Trust me, once he comes, you are all dead. It’s just a matter of time, really. You are all brain dead just for that.”
“Yeah right! As if someone can oppose us! We are the Fogal Edones, nobody can stop us!”
While one of the members of the tribe said that, those words led right into major roars from all over the tribe yet one member looked dissatisfied from afar as he played with a burning rock that appeared to be on fire. Needless to say, that rock came straight from the volcano pits. Surprisingly enough, the volcano was not in a state of eruption.
“Young lady. What’s your name?”
“Oi, introduce yourself to the boss!”
Zap. A head is sent straight flying at such speed that none from the Fogal Edones could intercept who did such an act. Of course, the main orchestrator could very well identify who did it, because it was no other than himself.
“Fure, what’s the number one unspoken rule of this tribe?”
A red-haired man then, without fear, answers the question that came from the one at the highest position of the tribe.
“To never disobey the chief’s orders, no matter the occasion.”
Getting up from his long chair, a tall man who stills plays with his stones starts clapping loudly. Everyone could witness the cold-hearted man who wore a long black jacket with white jeans. This man was no other than the chief of the tribe. Unlike most tribes, the chief is not someone who is old or particularly strong physically. Which elevates the question, is calling this group a tribe the right choice?
“Correct. So, young lady, what’s your name?”
Terrified about the possibility of meeting the same fate as the man who was pressuring her just a few moments ago, the young lady with a fragrant brown hair decides to not lie.
Furthermore, the chief who has blue hair closes the distance between him and her and issues the next question at hand.
“Lodya, was it? I’ll try to remember your name. I’ve got no particular interest in you. In fact, I planned to kill you just to raise the morale of this group. But what you just said caught my honest utter interest. You said some fancy words, like ‘once he comes, you are all dead’. Who is this ‘he’?”
“I won’t tell you! Screw off. Why do you want to kill me in the first place, you psycho!?”
Resisting with every ounce of her might, Lodya retorts against the chief, hoping that her effort wouldn’t be fruitless.
“I’ve heard that you had an amazing Atlas with you, so my intent was to take the Atlas away and kill you afterward. But it appears you do not have it. Where is it?”
“I’m not telling y-“
Grasping her cheeks with a powerful force, the chief enforces fear in his next words as he marks his gaze right into the girl who is helplessly trying to not break down from all of this.
“It appears I have not made myself clear. You saw what happened to him when he tried to defy my orders, didn’t you? Anyone with a brain would realize that what just happened to him would happen to anyone who tried the same feats. Yet you defy me, not once, but twice. Your spirit is truly brave, but I will not repeat myself again. Who is this ‘he’ and where is the Atlas?”
At that exact moment, a trembling sound came from the nearby volcano. A sound so extreme the Earth itself began to shake. Amidst this interference, the supposed chief was quick into realizing what was about to happen.
“Hm. It seems that our little interrogation will not proceed any further. We have angered the volcano. Or more precisely, someone did… Fure, Cesa, Invi, we’re leaving.”
By calling out the three members who always remained by his side, two men and one woman proceed to follow the chief away, meanwhile the rest of the tribe.
“Where are you going!?”
Such uproars came from the rest of the tribe members as the chief was leaving the usual spot that the tribe habituated. The chief, however, bothered to say no words as he just cast these simple words away.
“Almawatnaught Safirina, access.”
A ship, greater than the whole island itself appears right above the Volcano as if to symbolize supremacy over the Island of Paluzaluza. With more than fifty side wings, the ship possessed a smile up in the front that looked completely realistic, if it wasn’t realistic already, to begin with.
“God, what about the girl?”
“Irrelevant. The volcano is erupting. This base is done for.”
Asking that question to the chief whose nickname is ‘God’, was a middle-aged woman who looked to be on her late twenties. With yellow hair, she presents a rather casual uniform as she wears simple blue jeans and a red mercenary shirt.
“God, shall I?”
With a simple nod as a reply, Fure recites the following words.
“Lifeless ladder, construct.”
Thus, with its direction towards the gigantic dreadful ship above, the ladder climbs up to the ship’s entrance. Ultimately, they stop, allowing the ladder to hold its firm position for the remaining members to make their way inside the ship. Finalizing their stay on this Island, the small group couldn’t help but utter in mystery.
“God, you’re aware of the truth behind this, aren’t you?”
“Cesa. Nothing can be guaranteed. Therefore, I cannot respond to your question with the answer in which you have in mind.”
“Even so, this dimension had nothing by itself. How come you just pretended to play tribe for five years straight?”
“My own enjoyment limits itself to no boundaries. Even those who seek to get away from those boundaries.”
Middling in the conversation, the middle-aged woman named Invi, rapidly marks her words.
“Where are we going now?”
“To see the Boss.”
“Ah, it’s that time of the decade again?”
“It appears to be. We will be getting a new agenda, essentially.”
“That’s awesome! After spending five years like this, I began to feel so bored!! But now that we will get a new schedule, it means that we can kill and slaughter again, right!?”
“It depends on the orders, Invi. The Boss’s orders are truly exquisite as they hold many mysteries behind them. Yet it’s certain that no dimension is safe once we get our new orders. I can only imagine myself performing a requiem for the fallen dimensions.”
“Yes, it will truly be a sad time for them.”
Finalizing their doings on the Paluzaluza Island, God, Fure, Cesa, and Invi take aboard the airship and leave immediately. Though their motives are unknown, who knows what they might bring forth in the future.
Nonetheless, aside from this mischief, trouble still ran rampant as the sound continued to increase even further. Proportions of rocks were being elevated from the ground as a signal that the volcano was about to erupt. Therefore, the rest of the Fogal Edones left by the exit and started to flee while panicking, thus the lonely girl was given a chance to finally act freely.
“…Are they gone? Looks like it. Seriously, what was that talk all about, also why is the volcano…WAHH!!”
Taken by the element of surprise because nobody bothered to explain to her the current situation, her inner self starts to go crazy as she escapes from the exit as well. Though their base was small, there were still quite the ways to go before reaching the exit, which was the huge main gate. First, to reach the exit, one would need to go through two main gates made of wood. Fortunately, the gate guardians have all escaped when they gained awareness of the volcano erupting. Ultimately, Lodya was able to reach the main gate in no time, which was until a voice…
A silent voice that could be heard from a close distance reached out to Lodya. Not being able to identify the voice coming from an unknown place, the brown-haired young lady forms even more caution.
“Who is this!? Identify yourself!”
Descending from a nearby tree, the young man known as Zakarias waves his hand with a smile on his face.
“Hey there. You’ve been away for a while.”
“Oh, it’s just you.”
Facing utter disappointment, Zakarias couldn’t help but place his right palm all over his face.
“Still the same as ever. Let’s go, the elder is waiting for your return.”
“I know that. But, quick question, Zakarias.”
“Who is that?”
Quickly pointing out the one who still remains at the top of the gigantic tree, the young man who is being pointed out, is looking at the exact direction as to where the Fogal Edones are running into, hence his attention is far away from what’s happening below him.
“He’s an ally.”
“He’s called Rei.”
“I’m surprised; it’s not like you to make allies.”
To Lodya, Zakarias was known as someone who hated the help of others, therefore seeing him developing a bond like this to another person was rather offensive, since he denies every help he can get, especially Lodya’s.
“Zakarias-san, there is one Fogal Edone running up to the village!”
Rei then descended from the gigantic tree and landed on the firm ground where Zakarias and Lodya are at the moment.
“Zakarias, can we trust him?”
“I’m in his debt, so there isn’t much of a choice.”
“You, on someone’s debt? How is that possible?”
“I really wonder...”
Of course, Zakarias was rather unhappy about the fact that Lodya allowed herself to get captured like that, hence giving her a lecturing glance.
“It’s not my fault you know. Everyone in the village is useless and you were away, the odds were against me, no matter how you look at it.”
“Well, there’s no denying that.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt your little chat, but are we going to do something about the Fogal Edone or not?”
Interrupting Zakarias and Lodya’s talk, Rei decides to mark the most important factor that is to be considered at the moment.
“Forget it. They are all level 23.”
“Yeah, I checked their levels while I was away. They are crazy strong. Fighting just one of them is impossible.”
“Yeah, let’s get this over with.”
“I can’t believe we thought this out so much and then this is our result. Talk about anti-climatic.”
“For real. Never ever have I been this disappointed at an opposing force. How many experience points do you think he will give?”
“Hey… Did you guys listen to what I just said?”
“Probably not more than six hundred honestly. Man, that sucks! I thought we were going to put our lives on the line or something, but this guy is just…”
“What exactly are you talking about...?”
It was no use. Lodya couldn’t possibly understand what those two were on about. As they walked towards the village, a ray of hope could be witnessed as the Volcano stopped erupting. A brief shining ray pierced the dark smoking clouds that ruled the sky temporarily as if to transmit the message of victory.
“Still, I’m surprised that it managed to work, Zakarias-san.”
“Huh? Oh, you mean that?”
“That only managed to work because our opponents were major dumbasses; therefore it was bound to work. However, if I knew earlier that they were such dumbasses, we could have concluded this far earlier.”
“Well, they aren’t entirely dumb. Some actually had the brain to realize that the volcano was supposedly erupting. Isn’t that a smart move?”
“I suppose so. But, what of it? That worked out in the end, that’s all it matters. Wouldn’t you agree, Rei?”
“No objections here.”
“Hey, you two……..”
“With that said, how are we going to tear down that Fogal Edone?”
“Relax, if the most dangerous beast of the Nemoru Jungle is level 28, then we have nothing to fear against a level 23. While it’s true that he is five levels above me, we just need to dispatch some serious teamwork. Remember, numbers above levels?”
“Haha, that’s true, Zakarias-san. If he is that weak, then he’s got nothing on us, really.”
“Though, we can’t let our guard down. In theory, we are at a disadvantage here, you know? Forming a plan would be ideal. What do you say we use the baiting tactic again?”
“Eh? Bait again? That’s boring, let’s go with something new this time.”
“Alright, your plan or mine?”
“Yours, of course. I suck at plans, Zakarias.”
Enjoying their sweet conversation, Rei and Zakarias were making their way towards the main village of Paluzaluza Island. However, they were only noticing their exchange of words and not the rage that was slowly but surely being built on a certain girl who was right next to them. This was inevitable, ultimately.
“You two, look at me for a second.”
“Lodya, what it i- GAH
“Ah, sorry for igno- GAH”
A sound that resented strength of supreme magnitude landed right on their left cheeks as a consequence for ignoring her presence and mostly her words.
“Hey! What was that for! A slap out of nowhere!? Are you insane?!” Exclaims Zakarias
“It wasn’t out of nowhere you idiot. You have been ignoring me over twenty minutes. If you don’t start talking then next, I will apply kicks to your golden zones.”
“N-No, anything but that, please.”
“Oi, Rei! Don’t cower like that!”
“Still not willing to talk?”
“Zakarias-san, it’s probably not going to work.”
“Honestly. I was a fool for even trying such a thing.”
“More secrecy is it!? I’m assuming you don’t mind the consequences!”
Gulping every inch of his saliva right down to his sour throat, Zakarias makes the righteous choice.
“Lodya, calm down! We were just joking; we will tell you anything you want! So please, stop looking at us with those eyes.”
Her eyes were one that was ready to assassinate the target right on that spot, most likely, the respective targets mentioned earlier. Though, as soon as Lodya realized that Zakarias had the most truthful of all intentions she let down her guard and relaxed for a bit.
“Looks like you aren’t going to lie anymore.”
“…I never lied in the first place.”
“Want to die?”
“I’m so sorry, your majesty.”
It appears as this conversation has taken a weird turn as these three make haste towards the village by sprinting.
“Hey, new guy. Your name is Rei, right? Where do you come from? I’ve never seen you before.”
Swiftly taking his eyes of the jungle course which was filled with numerous trees, Rei initiates in an exchange of words with Lodya.
“I come from another world.”
“…You should know that I’m not too found with jokes by now.”
“He’s serious, or at least I think he is. He actually came from the sky above, literally!”
“So you are lying too Zakarias? Alright then…”
Lodya makes her stance yet again.
“L-Lodya-san, please wait! Right now, my origin should be irrelevant right? Shouldn’t we work on our priorities first, which is to get to the village first? Look ahead, we are even quite far from it.”
His sense of direction is right, there are still a few kilometers up ahead until the village can be observed and most importantly, breached to secure its safety. Even so, they continued to have this hasty talk while running at a considerable speed.
“Nope. You could very well be a spy for those guys who kidnapped me. Do you really think that I’m just gonna follow you ahead? Stop joking around, you.”
Initially, they were all running up ahead without any interruptions in the first place, but this time around, Lodya decided to stop running, thus remaining still on her position.
“Lodya, I get that you are confused, but believe it or not, he is one of the pieces who made your rescue to be possible in the first place.”
“What are you talking about? I escaped on my own; you two didn’t do anything in the first place.”
“You really think so? Don’t you think that it was somewhat convenient that the volcano started to erupt in the first place?”
“That was simply a natural reaction. Or are you saying that it wasn’t?”
“You’re assuming that the volcano erupted in the first place.”
“I saw it with my own two eyes. It’s no use trying to fool me.”
“Here is what really happened. The volcano erupting was nothing more than a mirage in the first place. It never actually happened, or else this island would be on fire right now. It’s extremely unlikely to survive if the volcano suddenly erupts.”
“Then, what really happened?”
“Verse twenty-six. Do I need to explain more?”
“This is why I hate to depend on others.”
One side presents solid situations which should serve as enough evidence, but the other side refuses to believe due to her profound denial for some reason. The situation itself is looking quite hopeless.
“How about this then? If we beat the Fogal Edone that is running towards the village, then wouldn’t that prove that I am not one of them? If such a case would happen, then Zakarias-san could easily kill me.
You’ve checked my level, haven’t you?”
“…That’s a fair point I suppose, but what if you team up with the Fogal Edone? Wouldn’t we be at a disadvantage then?”
“I don’t think so. If that’s the case, then Zakarias would terminate me immediately and then you two could defeat the Fogal Edone, right?”
“It is as he says Lodya. If you so doubt him this much, then Rei, let me and Lodya handle the Fogal Edone, okay?”
“Zakarias, that’s dirty, I don’t even have an Atlas.”
“You can have mine. Actually, it’s from your grandfather, which will eventually be given out to you. Sorry for keeping it a secret. You can have it. I’ll be fine on my own. Now, can we hurry up?”
Being tired of her childish remarks, Zakarias empties out his left pocket by tossing a mini rusty book to Lodya. It seems that Zakarias was by no meaning up for this trivial exchange of words. This immediately made Lodya realize how childish she was being.
“I.. am s..”
“Save it. The village is our number one priority.”
And so, Zakarias begins to sprint as fast as he can, while leaving the two of them behind. Soon enough, Rei starts to pace up as well. Not wanting to stay behind, Lodya slowly catches up to Rei as well.
“…Idiot…” She murmurs
Even though he heard that Rei didn’t mention a word, mostly because he felt that this was a necessary reflection or so he thought.
Ganshandaro Village, 4 am, 4 pm.
The sun on the east side is still up, while here it’s nighttime. A village with one hundred residents. This village has seen better days, certainly. Yet my power is growing old along with my age. Defying the young and powerful goes beyond my ken, unfortunately. My only hope is my granddaughter.
While my hopes still remain strong, my power to control the actions that happen outside my field of control grows rather weak, such is the reality. Even my son has abandoned me, but my granddaughter has not. In order to deliver my last gift to her, in the hope that she one day becomes successful with her life, all my dedicated time has been poured into perfecting an Atlas.
However, since my powers are ultimately fading away, the necessity to uphold a better user in order to perform my tasks had to arise, therefore, my legacy could only be trusted to one person in this whole Island. Though in painful circumstances constantly, this person has managed to keep up his composure for the greater good of this island and for that, I am forever grateful.
Ages have faded away like a candle amidst a wind storm yet this abandoned island still stands. The problem which occurred today was my granddaughter being kidnapped by a stranger. Realistically, it’s no stranger. Information about them is existent, but countermeasures for their actions are not. I remember clearly, about a few hours ago, a tall man arrived at the village and directed himself to where Lodya was… Some tried to defend her, including me. In contrast, those villagers got severely injured. Of course, I was too, but that’s partial in this matter. There is only one person who could bring her back. I pray that the Atlas is serving you well, Zakarias!
“Elder! I-It’s them!!”
Uncovering such an emergency was an acquaintance of mine. Considering my own age, this acquaintance is pretty close to my age. Wearing a normal rusty cloth, Ven alerts everybody in the village and lastly to me, what’s currently happening.
“Again? Such troublesome youths.”
There is no mistake in it. By saying ‘them’, Ven most likely refers to the ones who came by the village earlier. Though, his panic might express false truths in all honesty.
“Ven, how many are there?”
“J-Just one of them elder!!”
I guess my guess was right in the end. It’s only just one. Still, even if it’s just one, we are no match for them… My attitude on the outside shows that we should not fear them yet the reality is, we should fear not. By being no match against them, the correct choice would be to avoid confrontation and thus allowing all the villagers to run away.
Maybe to another refuge, if possible. But, there is nothing of that sort. This village stands alone, abandoned and left to die at the hands of such strangers who have nothing to do with this island. The shame of not being able to protect this home I so love bears tremendous guilt. If my granddaughter can be saved, then it’s a good thing. All the supposed sacrifices are worth if it’s to ensure that one life gets saved.
“Mhm. Then, I will get going.”
“But elder, you’re wounded! You can’t possibly fight against him.”
“Don’t joke around, Ven. I might look old, but I’ll have you know that I can still pack up a fight. Besides, you call this being wounded? This is nothing.”
“No worries. I’ll be back really soon.”
If I show fear now, who knows how the rest of the village will react. Even though these wounds pack quite the pain, it is still no excuse for an elder, a protector of this village and Island as a whole to back down now.
For starters, I left the min house made of wood and went right to where the trouble source was. Needless to say is, finding the source was by no means difficult, in fact, it was severely easy. As a contradiction to my own expectations, he was going right in my direction, thus the inevitable confrontation began.
Producing a giant dark silhouette on the ground behind him, a tall man, who was different from the one who came this afternoon, stood right in front of me. Although he had a dark silhouette, it was only possible to produce such because there were immense fire lights on. It’s currently night on this side of the island.
“Are you the one who has the Atlas?”
“This village does not welcome those who are outsiders. Leave at once.”
Undeniable desire to wreck malice is all that can be seen in his eyes. This person is by no means a peaceful one. The way he looks at the rest of the villagers with a psychotic smile also appeals to more evidence. He shan’t have his way.
“That was not my question geezer. Where the fuck is the Atlas?”
“There is no Atlas here. Leave!”
“Is that so? Then you wouldn’t mind if I burn this whole village down, would you?”
J-Just how unreasonable can a person be!
“Stop this nonsense at once! There is no Atlas here, so there is no need for further nonsense! Cease your ways at once.”
“No, you don’t get it! I was planning to burn this village either way. But now that you have gone out of your way and said that there is no Atlas here… It’s so sad. If you had an Atlas you and the rest of your people could have enjoyed a little glimpse of hope. You will all die while being burned down inside the burnable flames of hell!!”
Immediately after that, he raises his hands which were inside his pockets right to the pillars which held up the fire. While he did that, the question arose, just what was he trying to achieve with this? Nevertheless, what happened next…
“I can’t see anything!”
“Where did the fire go!?”
Worries came from all directions. Even I was worried to a certain extent because whoever this person is, he just took all the fire that served as light. Thus, we are currently in the dark, a similar situation as to when one is blind.
“White hell, activate!!!!!”
Right after those loud words were uttered away, multiple white flames rose from the ground and started to burn up the village. Such chaos was at sight, no hope could be seen.
“You, why are you doing this!?”
“Why!? Do I need a fucking reason to do what I damn well, please? I don’t think so, old man! Though, if you are so eager to stop my actions why not try and fight me, huh!? I’m always up for a fight!”
Wasting time in this conversation will lead to nothing. More so, while we are here talking it out like this, countless flames are running rampant throughout the whole village. To think that such time would come… What can an old man who has long past his prime do at this rate!?
“Is there anything that you want? I can give you anything which is in my power, just stop this fire please!”
“Huh? I didn’t hear you quite well there. You will need to kneel down so that I can hear you.”
Guh… Unbelievable… No choice, my pride or the village.
As my knees drop right into the cold stiff ground, I could feel the chilling screams of the children that were still in the village piercing through my ears. Just what did we do to deserve such punishment…?
“Hahahah!! So desperate! That’s it, that’s it! Beg for mercy more!”
“Please, stop the fire. I will give you the Atlas!”
“…Really? Then bring me the Atlas, first.”
As much as I would like to be in charge of the situation here, he has the power here. Nevertheless, while we were exchanging words, his level became apparent. Level 18, was it? Damn it… If only, the Leveling System was still with me…
“Rhong grandpa! Are you okay?”
A childish voice now comes right to me. With a simple cloth, a very young girl comes running into me.
“Tesla! Don’t come near!!”
Ignoring the surrounding flames plus my heed, Tesla continues to slowly walk as she worries about me. Though it makes me feel good, this is not the time for such a thing. If she doesn’t get out of here she will.
A creep laugh coming from the exact creep who is right in front of me emerges from within the depth of that psychotic smile. However, the look in his eyes wasn’t only malice this time, this is…!!
West side of the Nemoru Jungle, 4 pm, 4 am.
“Zakarias, aren’t we there yet?”
“We will be soon. Just keep running.”
“This is tiring.”
“Deal with it.”
We have been running for about one hour so far, if not more. But I’ve been getting a strong scent of fire. More so, it’s starting to come from up ahead. There is no denying it, just as the village is right up ahead, it’s coming from there!
I need to get there as soon as possible. Remembering now, there is a speed spell verse right inside the Atlas. But this Atlas has more consequences than actual benefits. Are all Atlas like this? Either way, who knows what might be happening in the village…
“No way. Walk normally instead of running all the time!”
Is she being serious right now…? She wants me to walk at her pace, which is slower than a turtle. I’m lost at words. Also, she holds something which is important right now, which is the Atlas given by the Elder.
“Can I borrow the Atlas for a bit?”
“Will you walk with me if I do?”
Hell no. I’m going to use the Spell Speed to accelerate basically. Though, I’ve never used it before. The Elder strictly said to me to only use the last verses of the Atlas in case of emergency.
Of course, the Atlas from an outsider’s point of view doesn’t go beyond a rusty old book. Yet the truth holds a different story, within each page, there are verses in it. At least in this Atlas, therefore saying that this is the same to all Atlas out there is a huge mistake.
Essentially, this Atlas that the Elder will eventually give to Lodya contains a lot of pages with verses in them. Some of them are spells while some of them are skills. Although, I really wish this was more organized because the constructor apparently gave no actual care about the spell and skill orders since they are all literally mixed up. That’s what you call bad organization skills.
Ultimately, there is one page that lies all the way at the end of the Atlas, which is the forbidden page. I’ve never taken a look at it, for several reasons. One of them was because the Elder said that if one were to try to access it at a low level, then that person might suffer consequences.
“Zakarias-san, what are you going to do with it?”
Coming out from behind me, Rei asks away the question. Naturally, Lodya doesn’t complain about it, since she is interested as well. Though, it’s quite apparent that at this rate, bad things will happen if I don’t do anything soon…
“Rei, Lodya. Take care.”
“W-Wait, you just said!”
“Verse 103, page 0, Spell Speed access, Galactic Drive.”
Not leaving any second to spare, I burst off. Seeing the angry expression on Lodya’s face really implies trouble for me, as she likes to complain every time things don’t go her way. Anyhow, the west side of the Nemoru Jungle covers exactly twenty-five kilometers overall, therefore this was the wisest of decisions.
Still… As I continue to sprint at an abnormal speed, it feels as if there are no consequences whatsoever. Was I overthinking when I thought that there would be consequences? That can’t be… Every spell and skill comes with a cost.
Nonetheless, this is quite the feature, as the name Galactic Drive says, it most likely means that one would have the ability to sprint out at a galaxy’s speed. I’m not sure how that works, though.
“You seem to be having fun.”
What was that? A voice? Could it be that someone is nearby!? It must be…
“Who goes there?!”
As my voice completely leaks out a huge roar mixed with an interrogation intention, my galactic drive is put at hold for a bit. Though, to my surprise, none was there… Right in front of me, on both of my sides, lastly, on my backside, there is none. Only vast trees and bushes. A typical jungle. Am I going insane?
“I must be tired…”
Occasionally, once in a while, blaming my lack of sleep seems to work. But that voice felt so real… What the hell was that? Probably nothing, honestly. Once again, the Galactic Drive which was on hold enables me to sprint at a speed which goes beyond natural fast speed. Given that the flames up ahead are somewhat easier to smell now, it’s fair to say that the distance between my current position and the village is not far.
“You know the Galactic Drive works faster on solid ground. Just my suggestion, but you might want to go to a place where it has water! For example, if you go right to your left, you will encounter an ocean. That would be solid ground, no?”
Ah, I’m really going insane. When did this happen? Could it be that…? No, I can’t find any plausible explanations for my current insanity. No matter…
“I wouldn’t call insanity hearing a real voice inside your head.”
There it goes again. I really, but really, am insane. How great. Anymore surprises that I should know?
“Your village is on fire at the moment. Hurrying up would be ideal~.”
W-What!? On fire? As I thought… The fire that’s coming right into my senses comes from somewhere but from the village? Just wait, I’ll be there in a few seconds!
“You won’t make it on time. Give up. Go back to your friends. At least you can tell them that the village is done for…”
I’m speechless right now. I didn’t know that being this insane would be this troublesome. Hearing voices inside my head is one thing, but to have that voice argue against my hopes is something else.
“I’m not really arguing against your logic. I’m simply telling you that it’s a futile move to go up ahead. You would be wise to listen to my words!~”
“ARGH! SHUT UP ALREADY, YOU DAMN VOICE!!!!!!!!!!”
My voice packed quite a punch right there. As my rage produces its primal form, my undeniable anger spells out that this voice is completely driving me insane, thus to relieve some stress, I decided to yell out loud.
“No way! I’m not shutting up!”
Somehow it’s even responding to my own damn thoughts. If this really is insanity, then I want out. No more of this annoying girly voice.
“I am not annoying!”
Though, insanity or not, it shouldn’t matter, right? One way to supposedly faint insanity is to cleanse one’s mind or to completely ignore the voice inside your head, right? Plus, there is one way to test if I am truly insane or not.
“Hey, who are you?”
“So you’re finally going to stop ignoring me, eh?”
No way, this is too awkward. Speaking with a supposed voice? I have not fallen this low nor will I. Hence, the discussion will not even begin. Plus, this is not even real, to begin with. It’s most likely a mental construction or something.
“I am real!! Fine! I will prove it to you, look at the book!”
Book? I hold no book. Come on self, have you gone this insane? Being insane is one thing, but being dumb is another. Although, right inside my left pocket, something begins to tremble violently, to the point where it leaves my left pocket and flies up in the air as if to demonstrate something.
“What is this…?”
Right after, the book opens itself at a rapid pace and ends on a straight open page.
Words begin to unfold on the white page that is right in front of my eyes. The words which were being written in the end were:
‘You are not insane!’
…I see. So I really am not insane. That’s a relief. For a second, my own mentality started to shatter for a bit. Though, this could literally be seen the other way around… What if my own mind conveniently made me write these words without myself realizing it!?
“Erm! You are free to interpret me as you please, but doesn’t saving your village take the most of all priorities here?”
That’s really tricky you know. I didn’t know that I could be this tricky, especially to myself. While my own mind is getting abused by my own insanity, other plausible truths decide to bombard me like a barrage of bombs.
“Really… You are so stubborn… Forget it; it was my bad for even assuming that you would have the power to be useful.”
“Say, I will approve of your existence if you can get me to the village on time. What do you say, voice?”
To give in to insanity or to save the village. Such trivial matters are currently swirling inside my mind right now. Lastly, if I’m able to agree with myself that I can save the village while insane, then it’s a plausible effort, which in the end should mean that I am not totally insane.
“Ah! That’s a good idea! I should have thought about that before! To convince yourself by your own actions that you are not insane, not bad!”
Bam. The Atlas that was still flying around hits me in the forehead.
“Okay, okay, my bad on that one, voice. So can you make me go faster?”
“I’m mad now! You keep calling me by ‘voice’ and annoying! What’s the matter with you!?”
I was wrong. On top of being annoying, this voice is chi- No; I’m digging my graveyard here, honestly. Also is it just me or can this voice read my thoughts? Let’s test. This voice is childish and annoying, test, test.
Bam, bam and bam. Three horizontal hits on my solar plexus. That hurts a bit though.
“Alright! Calm down will you? Allow me to apologize for my behavior for the past few minutes. But seriously, can you make me go faster!? I’m losing time here!!”
“..Grhhh… I am not childish! I won’t tell you! Take that!”
“Please!! I will do anything, literally anything, if you allow me to go faster, just this once! Can’t you see I’m desperate!? I even have to ask a voice for power, is it that much to ask for, damn it!”
Truth to be told, I know nothing about this page zero. The only spell that the Elder told me to use in an emergency was the Galactic Drive. Hence, I had knowledge of it. But other than that, I know nothing. Sure, this Atlas might be a bit versatile, but it means nothing if the pilot lacks the means and methods to use it in the most correct of all ways.
I don’t need to speak out loud, honestly. This voice can hear my thoughts. Yes, anything.
“Very well then. Galactic Drive, level up!”
The following notification appears right on a popping screen:
[Galactic Drive is now Level 2! Congratulations!]
“This should do. Now, go ahead. Galactic Drive is now faster since it went up a level. You knew that, right?”
That’s certainly true. Once a spell or a skill goes up a level, it naturally increases the power of the ability that lies within that spell or skill. Therefore, if the speed of Galactic Drive was insanely fast a while ago, then now it should be…
“How exactly did you make a spell gain a level?”
“By giving it experience, how else?”
“Yeah, but how did you do that?”
Secrets invite the worst kind of situations honestly. Secrecy is arguably one of the most dangerous lines of lies that could lead to disastrous events. No matter, let’s test the Galactic Driver. One, two, three… BOOM!
“W-What is this speed!? I can’t control it! Oi, voice, what did you do?”
“You said you wanted to go faster, right?”
Using my intentions against me like this, that’s pretty cheesy. Though, if this means that I will get to the village faster, then it’s all good. I wonder what the distance is now…
“Zakarias, you are fairly close. It’s only two kilometers to go. Good job!”
Two kilometers, huh? This voice is quite useful honestly. More so, the Galactic Drive. Although, this speed is really not controllable, hence my weird position. I’m essentially running straight forward, but my torso is all inclined to the upper front. Now, that’s pretty pathetic.
“I am not a voice!”
No, you are a voice. Or that’s what I think at least. If I hear a form that expresses their words with sound, it’s, therefore, a voice. Was it wrong to assume that was the correct choice? Perhaps there is a more deep meaning to the full concept of ‘voice’.
“Then, what are you?”
“Look ahead. Isn’t this the so-called village?”
Fair point. Though, my question was not answered. But I sincerely don’t give a damn, really. A childish voice that is unknown to me is partial to the current situation. This is probably the consequence for using page zero. Honestly, this voice is getting on my nerves. So, there is only one thing to do right now.
“Ah, wait just a se-“
Ganshandaro Village 6 am, 6 pm.
Leaving what just happened aside, insurable circumstances were happening right around the village. To think that the Galactic Drive took only thirty or so seconds to reach here. That ability is obviously crazy. But if it means that one has to listen to that voice all the time, then forget it. I’m really good without it. Plus, that confirms it. Since I’m not listening to that voice anymore, it should mean that the voice was without a doubt an independent existence.
Independent, in a sense where it has no necessity to depend on myself to survive. Also, that Atlas will not be mine but will be given to Lodya. After finishing resuming my own thoughts, what needed to be done was to enter the village. Right now, a huge wood gate stands right in front of me. Of course, it’s all broken. Reason for that being, an intruder broke right through it. It’s all burned though.
This alone is evidence enough to determine or to at least create secure speculation about the intruder. Regardless of that, my path still remains clear. Through the endless flames that appear right in front of me, multiple bodies could be witnessed. Some still remain alive, though a bit wounded by the fire. While some remain dead while their loved ones mourn for them.
“…That’s not even remotely funny…”
Those bastards… They think they will get away with this, don’t they? They live on our torment. To them, our torment is pure joy. While to us, their joy is explicit torment to them and only them. Sick fucking bastards. I can’t even form a respectful stance about this. What am I supposed to do when I met them?
No, first things first… What can I do right now? Will rescuing the other villagers accomplish anything right now? I don’t think so. To completely solve a problematic situation, it’s necessary to always go to the main source, that being, the ones who brought forth this white hell of flames. By eradicating them, the problematic roots are then gone, thus the salvation can begin.
Though, even if that’s the case, can I stand up against them? What if their levels are above mine? What if they have the number advantage? What if they have hostages? What if- It’s no use thinking about it... It’s easy to speculate about something I don’t know. What’s hard is to gather all of my resolve to completely destroy the problem that lies within.
Just… what the hell is the answer here? Lodya is safe. Rei is… I suppose trusting him would be a little bit premature, but not much choice there. I will just have to wait and see what awaits me then.
“Old man! Forget that stupid Atlas, hand me over that girl!! Gahaha!! This is great but so great! To have the ability to feast on such a young one like you!!”
A creeping voice that’s supposed to sound scary and threatening from a person who is deliberately being crazy for some reason. It’s not exactly rare to see these kinds of people around the world, more so, in one’s daily life. Ah, I see… That voice, it can only be them… That voice, it felt familiar for some reason.
In my mind, I would always imagine what they would look like. Sometimes they would look so ridiculously huge, it was as if comparing an ant to a gigantic tidal wave. Of course, I was the ant. Occasionally, I would see myself rise up to them but would immediately lose because at the time, I would forget something so essential to my victory. Ordinarily, I would die the moment the battle would begin. Such tragedy, honestly.
“Come on little girl!!!! I’m not going to hurt you, come on~!!!!!!!”
“Tesla, run away!!”
The desperate old man leaks a desperate cry in the hope that the little girl would recognize his most desired intentions. Needless to say, it was obvious to me what those intentions were. He wanted her to run away just so she wouldn’t have to suffer the same fate as the others who have died in the fire. Maybe her fate would be a bit different. Still, it’s a no brainer that she could not be allowed to suffer such destiny.
Also, it really is just to show how concretely unfair certain situations can be. I like to think that this world is unfair, but the people in it just work their absolute fucking hardest to make sure it’s even more unfair. The odds of someone who is completely weak surviving against a person who has the superior edge on them is notably high. My question is not, why? But, how?
How is such injustice allowed? Do lives have to be taken away just for the simple sake of enjoyment of others? Don’t others share the right to have a good life and fulfill their most demanding dreams? Perhaps, that’s simply wishful thinking. Then, wanting to eradicate such people who destroy the rights of others having a good life isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Tesla, the frightened little girl, comes running slowly in my direction. Her terror was an understandable one. However, the orchestrator of such chaos was not showing signs of giving up, as he wittily ran after Tesla.
“Zakarias nii-chan!! Help!”
I can’t help you by myself. Instead of that, I can give you something far greater.
“Where are you going, Teslaaaaaa-chan!?”
What a psychotic way of saying a name. Especially to a girl whose age is still so young. A twisted mind showing how much twists it has on its own. Allowing what will happen next to be seen by a girl at her age is bound to create a trauma. No… The trauma has already begun.
“What’s wrong, why are crying?”
“…Who the fuck are you, kid?”
“Elder, take Tesla away, will you?”
For some odd reason, the Elder looked at me with the eyes of someone who has seen a dead person. Either way, the way his eyes are right now just goes to show that he is probably traumatized for not being able to do anything except cower in fear.
Though, he has severe wounds all over his both arms. He most likely tried to stop this intruder in order to protect the village. A fair and admirable attitude towards someone who is superior to you, though, it’s by no means a good choice.
“Tesla, let’s go!!” Says the Elder as he firmly grabs Tesla’s left sleeve and runs with her
As those two leave off, the intruder was more focused on me instead.
“Sorry about that. Wouldn’t want them to witness such a pathetic crying that’s gonna come from you. This will be over in an instant anyway.”
“Heheh…Haha….HAHAHAHAHA!!!! KID, WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TALKING T-“
Spash. The intruder’s right arm which was going to be directed at me as if forming a strong punch flies away at a rapid momentum. Hm? Isn’t that awkward? Aren’t they supposed to be really strong or something? How come this worked out in the end? Is this a dream? It would so explain as to why this situation is going so incredibly swiftly.
“M-MY ARM!! KID, WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO MY RIGHT ARM!!!!!! ARGHHHH!!!!!!!”
“Pipe down already. I only cut down your right arm. It’s an inferior price for what you have done. You intentionally set my village on fire. You think one arm is gonna cut it?”
“S-Stay away from me, you damn monster! Guah!!!!”
He runs away like a true coward. Though, he being a coward was a more known fact to me than anything at this point. That’s the true nature of the Fogal Edones in general. Since he is one of them, then he was bound to react like this. Yet running away will amount to nothing. He is so, but so slow. Ultimately, he was running in circles while trying to find a way out while crying out of his eyes for his lost right arm.
“W-What do you want!?!?”
“Where are the others?”
“I don’t know, damn it!! Leave me alone.”
“I see. Then, do you have any last words?”
I do think it’s fairly fair to give a sinner their last moment, thus their last words. Sure, he might have done something which is beyond redemption, but as I held with my gloves the Yagyu Sunblade, his next moves were already decided. Ah, now that I mention it… How come activating the Yagyu Sunblade had no activation requirement whatsoever? It just came to me automatically, how weird…
“Last words?! Don’t get cocky just because you managed to luckily cut my arm you bastard… I’m level 18 while you are level 17; you stand no chance against me!"
Oh right. Forgetting to check his level might have been a bad idea. Though, level 18? You are only one level above me, why exactly are you getting cocky? That’s contradicting to what you just said… Then again, one that is a level higher than another is bound to get euphoric about it, I suppose. Very well then.
“Magna Circus, Level 4, activate!!!!!!”
Aside from the countless white flames that were already consuming half of the village, the nameless man activated an ability of his. It’s probably a spell, given that his Atlas is flying right in front of him. Now, what exactly does this ability do?
“You damn kid…!!! Heheh, did you know? Once you get hit by one of those fireballs you will turn to ashes?”
One of those fireballs? As he points out to them with his right index finger, my eyes unconsciously follow them. Oh, so that’s what’s going on. Right above me, there are about 10 or 12 fireballs spinning around in a circle. That’s not the only thing, as they continue to speed up; the circle just keeps on getting bigger. Dodging them might be a bit troublesome.
“Don’t I just have to kill you before you can land one on me in the first place?”
What I would be more worried about is if those fireballs decided to drop down to the other villagers, but they have seemed to have evacuated. I have to thank the Elder for that one, even though he was terrified earlier; he supposedly managed to keep his mature stance while protecting the village. A truly admirable person at heart. Failing here is not allowed, no matter the cost.
“You just keep on getting cockier you freaking kid, eat this, fireball parade!!!!!”
Hm, this might be impossible to dodge on my own. What other options do I have on my own? On my own Atlas, there are only three weapons so far. Of course, it’s not really an Atlas in the first place, just a page in the first place… Although, once I use a weapon, I can’t use another for 10 minutes straight. Ultimately, I’m stuck with the Yagyu Sunblade, which is not a bad thing, since it has its own privileges. Using the Elder’s Atlas is out of the question. I wouldn’t want to reveal to this sick bastard that I have what he is looking for, which in the end means…
Vash. A mini fireball comes right to my face at fierce speed, by tilting my torso down a bit; I managed to dodge the first fireball, however…
“Oi, Oi!!! That’s only the first one!!!!”
Correct. Given that there are more to come, dodging them all will be impossible. Sacrifices will probably have to be made. Nevertheless, instead of dodging, running up to eliminate the source of the problem would be the correct choice.
“Y-You, what are you doing!? You have to dodge them or else the fun ends!!”
Not really, if I just kill you, they should all go away, supposedly. Even so, five fireballs are chasing me down in my back while I attempt to close the distance between me and this guy. Normally, closing our distance here would be a piece of cake yet that’s the case. These fireballs are excessively fast. Maybe because they are level 4? I see. So even a guy who has no sense of morality whatsoever has managed to find a place on his wicked heart to devote himself to something. That’s still unforgivable though. To devote your time for something that will only bring down others, this is why…
“YOU PEOPLE CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO EXIST!!!!!!!”
Screw protecting the Atlas anymore if I kill him right here and now, he won’t have a chance to retaliate, to begin with. Am I an idiot or what? To believe that I could beat someone who is higher in terms of levels than me? Reality is not that simple. And judging by the look on his face, he probably has not used all of his abilities. No…. He hasn’t used them, to begin with.
“Getting angry now, huh!? Let’s raise the stakes here, SHALL WE!? Magmatic Armageddon, activate!!!!!!!!”
For some odd reason, the fireballs that were chasing me down like crazy have returned to him. What is happening? Trying to analyze the situation, I stood there as I tried to gather any tiny bit of information which could be useful in this duel, but all that could be witnessed was the rest of the flames which were consuming the rest of the village getting dragged right into both of his arms. Specifically, his wrists first, as if he was tasting the fire, to begin with.
“Ahhhh…… This felt well, such a delicious fire…”
Did he eat the fire? How is that even possible? No… Lots of things that shouldn’t be possible are allowed here in this world in the first place. Huh? How come I know this…?
Zach. A high dropkick comes flying right at me. Unfortunately, since I was too busy daydreaming, the drop kick hits right into my abdomen.
That was a devastating kick, to the point where it drives me away for twenty meters back. More so, it was different from any ordinary kick. Essentially, a kick is normally simple force applied in your leg in which you delivered the kick to gain a blow on the opponent. Yet this was totally different, it not only hurt but it burned… As my eyes who were still trying to open up to the reality of me standing on the ashen ground, I could see that my normal shirt had been burned out.
“Hey, hey… Stand up already… What happened to your confidence a while ago?! Huh, answer me!!!”
Having closed our distance, except this time he was the one doing that, he launches a kick barrage right at my abdomen. Needless to say, those kicks felt as if they were pure flames by themselves. Is this his ability, the Magmatic Armageddon!? To have the fire right inside his body, how ridiculous is that!? Coughing blood was also a matter of time, the ground ran stagnant as the dark red color of blood started to spread around. This… isn’t good... I have to do something…
Gathering every ounce of my strength, I raise my voice so loud that even this psychopath has to realize what’s about to happen in the first place. Ah man, I really didn’t want to hear this voice again, but I’m really at the verge of death here…
“Bastard, you have another Atlas?! No way… Y-You’re just bluffing!!!!”
Once again, my words manage to demolish his self-composure. Though, to ensure that I wasn’t bluffing, I would need to grab the Atlas and show it to him. But my strength has faded away a long time ago with all those kicks. My internal organs are most likely in pure hell right now. It was worth the try, but as soon as the Atlas didn’t show itself he started to regain his composure yet again.
“Hey, boss!! Don’t die yet!!”
Ah that voice, could it be that you are…? A desperate move such as opening my eyes just to look up happened, thankfully for me, luck was on my side today.
“Y-You weren’t bluffing!? You had another Atlas!? Bastard… JUST FOR HOW LONG WILL YOU KEEP GETTING ON MY WAY!?”
Voice, can you hear me!?
“Loud and clear!!”
Perfect. The dude took such distance but now that he has lost the ability to reason, he is slowly but surely coming back to where I am right now. What needs to be done right now is… to gain some distance!!
“Roger that! Galactic Drive, autopilot mode, activate!”
As soon as those words were heard right inside my brain, my body started automatically to run away as far as it could, although it really was only for about fifty meters. The zone in which we were fighting right now was the main plaza of the village. Hence it’s burned; it’s nothing more than a plain vast long area with ashes all over the place. In all likelihood, being able to see anything right now would be impossible, especially with all the flames gone. However, there was a sudden element of surprise which decided to rise up at this exact moment.
“Bastard!!! Show yourself, you coward!!!”
And so, he continues to angrily roar as he wants me to show myself. Hell no, I need to recover for a bit, just a bit. My physical condition is in no way near as good as it should be. That and all the events done today, it’s only normal that I would be physically drained honestly. Still, my priority has not changed, that is, to defeat this guy. But how exactly am I supposed to do that? While the fire was out he could perfectly see in the dark while I couldn’t, therefore he got the upper hand on me not so while ago. Plus, his abilities now contain fire? Not to mention his physical attacks do as well? That’s just too much for me, what exactly can I do…? I continue to ponder the possibilities as I hide between the trees outside of the village for a bit.
“Hm, boss! Sorry to interrupt your thought process, but what’s with that get-up?”
Idiot, don’t force me to speak. What if I decided to speak out loud? Wouldn’t that guy be able to immediately identify where I am right now? Still, get up?
“Yeah, get up. You have some weird clothes on!”
That’s just a self-designed costume. As soon as I activate one of my weapons it comes with it. Don’t laugh at it; it’s just that ability alone gives no sense of fashion in it. If you are going to beat someone up, then do it with fashion. This is a Paladin get up for the most part. A dark armor with a dark paladin helmet while the Yagyu Sunblade is mostly dark too but with orange parts too, essentially the orange parts are supposed to represent sun blazes. Also, I’ve managed to forge it for one simple reason too, despite being quite heavy; the dark armor gives a little bit of protection against elements. I suppose that explains as to why I’m not completely dead yet.
“Wahh!! Amazing, boss!!! You did it all by yourself, but how? I want an armor too!”
Now is not the time for this! The only reason as to why I bothered to turn the Atlas on is because I need your help. How do I defeat this guy!?
“You should just wait; your two friends are coming, aren’t they? Why not just wait for them?”
…Don’t joke around. This is my fight. Nobody else will get in my way.
“Is that so? I see that Boss is quite stubborn! Then, why not kill him from the get-go?”
What’s up with the boss? Also, if that was possible then I would have done so a long time ago! He not only is a level above me, therefore all of his natural statuses such as strength, velocity, defense, and attack are beyond my own. Not only that, but he has fire abilities to his kit! How absurd is that?
“You give orders only, you remind me of what a ‘boss’ would look like. Truly a tyrant, honestly.”
I AM NOT A TYRANT!
“Aye, aye! So you want a way to defeat this guy… Why not just use Galactic Drive to speed up and stab him with the Yagyu Sunblade? Wouldn’t that work?”
That is a possibility, however, I can barely move, you see. I’ve got no strength left to do such movements. The Yagyu Sunblade is by itself quite heavy; therefore it requires a lot of physical strength in the first place. This isn’t to say that I don’t have it. I do, but not at the moment, since this armor also consumes quite the physical strength in the first place too.
“If it has so many restrictions then why use them in the first place? That’s really dumb, Boss!”
Normally, that would be the case. But my opponent uses fire enhanced spell in the first place. My other two weapons are not that great against fire, this is the only weapon which is good against fire. The Yagyu Sunblade has a 5% chance of absorbing fire. Since it’s at level 1, that’s the gist of it. Once it levels up more and more, the chances will increase, supposedly.
“That’s still reckless boss! However, you should listen to my words. By using Galactic Drive, you don’t have to waste physical condition in the first place. Remember how the autopilot didn’t waste any energy?”
About that, what was that in the first place?
“Hm… It’s kinda hard to explain it, boss! Just think of it as an alternative mode. Though, once you are in autopilot mode, you can’t use other abilities!”
A restriction huh? It would be too overpowered otherwise, I suppose. So what’s the plan here?
“To use the Galactic Drive in autopilot mode and stab him right in the heart, boss!”
Yeah, I got that part. But didn’t you just say that while in autopilot mode that I couldn’t use any other abilities? That’s a contradiction since it means that it would be a run to suicide, wouldn’t it!?
“Not true, boss! Once you reach him, I will deactivate the autopilot mode and then you can kill him! It will be fantastic teamwork!”
I see then-
“Boss, I should mention this, but…”
“Found you, bastard!!”
Damn it! Once again, I was too focused on absorbing any type of information which would enable me to win over him to the point where I ignored his existence as a whole. That was a bad idea. Hey, you know what to do, right?
“Leave it to me, boss!”
Bash. As the fire fist cuts the large tree, the Galactic Drive takes me right into the starting position where the fight started. Looking at the ocean horizon, I see it rising. The Sun proudly emerges from the bottom of the blue horizon while the moon of the west descends in consent. This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for.
“Oh, what is that you were waiting for, boss?”
“You see. There is another feature of the Yagyu Sunblade! Once exposed to the sun, it starts to gain temperature. There is a reason as to why I have these black gloves on.”
To make sure that the sun helps me with my victory, the necessary move is to rise up the heavy crescent blade that lies in the palm of my right glove. As the crescent blade rises, it begins to absorb energy from the sun to the point where it continuously burns. Of course, by now, he should be here, in fact, he is.
“Done playing hide and seek, you little bitch? Gah, gah…”
“Yeah. Sorry for the wait, this will be over in a second. Are you ready to repent for your sins, sinner?”
“…You fucking bastard… I’M GOING ALL OUT NOW, MAGMATIC CATAS-“
As if I would allow you to perform that spell. In the first place, there is something that I have noticed about your fighting pattern. You need to actually hold up your arm up to conjure that spell. Although this is merely speculation, it wouldn’t be surprising if the spell that you are casting requires the fire left inside your body, thus you held your arm up for that entire reason. Therefore, there is no reason to allow you to have another arm. You already have no right arm and you now have no left arm.
“Boss, that’s evil…”
“GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! M-MY ARM! GIVE IT BACK, GIVE IT BACK!!”
It seems the plan has worked out, though it wasn’t exactly as planned. The plan was to use the Galactic Drive as a mean to direct myself right to him, ultimately this voice would deactivate it and my Yagyu Sunblade would pierce his heart. Plus, the Sword itself has absorbed quite much.
By allowing it to absorb the sun’s energy, it gained more heat; hence its power has increased. In the end, it wasn’t even necessary to follow the plan thoroughly, because taking his other arm off has left him in a state of paranoia. But, it was essentially the same, by activating the Galactic Drive while in autopilot mode and deactivating it when it has reached the target’s ideal proximity; the Yagyu Sunblade cut his other arm off.
Nevertheless, this wasn’t my doing, but this voice’s… Also, calling it voice is rude honestly. A name perhaps? I wonder if it has a name in the first place…
“I don’t have a name, boss!”
Quick-witted reply as always. Also, this ‘boss’ thing is embarrassing, cut it out already.
“No way, boss!”
This really is a trivial matter, but I’ll give you a name then. Mino. I’m assuming you are female by your voice, therefore a female name for you. Ah, why even bother giving it a name, really? It will be her Atlas after this, right? This Atlas isn’t even mine, to begin with; therefore there is little meaning in giving this voice a name. I will never be able to hear it again, after this.
“Boss, what are you talking about!? What is ‘Atlas’? And why won’t you be able to listen to my voice anymore!?”
“Ah, not again, boss!”
For the second time today, the voice makes her leave. Sorry, Mino makes her leave. That’s better, now then…
“My… arms….. They… are gone..!!”
“Still mourning about your fallen arms?”
“Y-You have to give them back, please I will do anything!!”
“You say funny things for a killer. You beg me to give your arms back, willing to do anything according to your words. What about the lives you took? Will they come back if I beg you hard enough? HUH!? WILL THEY!?”
“Those were just some lives. What do the weaklings matter in this world!? This world is crawling with weaklings that hold no purpose in life whatsoever!! However, if you are stronger then you have a purpose already!!!!! Isn’t that great!? To live stronger while preying on the weaklings that rot this planet down!?”
I really am stupid. There is no point in arguing with someone who has no sense of morality or any capability of upholding any justice inside his heart. His heart is filled with a void of hatred and malice altogether for the most part. There is only one place for people like you. As my eyes gain firmness to abolish the usher of hope standing right in front of me with his knees on the dark ground.
“Sorry, that was meaningless to ask. Before you die, tell me, why do you do this? There must be a reason as to why you do this, right?”
“Guh… Reason, you say? I don’t need it. Just their screams, while they dream of hope just to be transformed into impermanent terror, are enough for me!!”
He can barely speak due to the fact being, he has lost two arms, and therefore he is seriously bleeding. Still, to think that even despite his situation he would still spout such load of bullshit. You belong in hell.
“Zakarias nii-chan! You’re alive!”
Such words came from the mouth of a young girl who is still alive thanks to the Elder’s efforts. I suppose the fact that I have been fighting with this guy over a bit has caused some worries to go up….
“Tesla, why are you…? Shouldn’t you be with the Elder, why are you here in the first place, it’s dangerous!”
“… A little girl…!”
Huh? What the hell is saying…? Why is he smiling like that..?
“A LITTLE GIRL!! TESLA-CHAN!!”
“Gyaaa!! Stay away!”
I see. Once again, my stupidity has proven to be fatal in this situation. To delay the punishment of those who need to pay for their actions is a fool’s errand. It was at this moment, that I realized, the existence of pure evil does exist. Even with his arms cut off, even being at the verge of death’s doors, true evil will perceive its malicious intentions to the very end.
Forgiveness cannot be allowed to be given to such people in the first place. This is not right. This is wrong. I suppose lives hold an entirely different meaning when you throw your ideas of justice in them. In this case, the man who lustfully got up and attempted to chase away the running girl is, without a doubt, an unnecessary existence.
“This world rejects you.”
Slash. The first head of the Fogal Edones has been achieved. Although, my only regret here is that Tesla witnessed a cold-blooded murder. It couldn’t be helped, forgiveness is once again relative and selective, and so, there is no way that forgiveness can be collectiveness in this rotten world.
Tesla begins to cry. It really was obvious this would happen. I then raise my hand right into the sun and look up to the blood that was spilled all over my dark glove. Since there is no reason to maintain this form on, I might as well deactivate it. Tesla needs to be taken care of. Furthermore, I need to check how much causality this guy has caused with his little prank. Plus, rebuilding the village will be necessary as well. It should be no difficult matter; after all rebuilding, some construction sites is quite easy, thanks to our back up resources in a case like this. Ah, of course, there will be a need to bury the bodies of the people who died. Still, that much is the obvious part, what comes after is something beyond my knowledge.
“Tesla. Are you okay?”
“I’m scared! I want to go home!”
She probably doesn’t have a home, to begin with, after this. I can’t even guarantee that her parents are alive after this. I hope they are. Though, that’s really just wishful thinking. What if they are dead? What then? Am I supposed to present plausible lies that are not the truth in order to tone her sadness down? No matter the cause, I will not lie. Because hiding the truth is evil itself.
“Right! Let’s go ho… me…”
Hmm? What’s happening? Was my vision always this blurry? Why is everything turning dark all over the sudden? I need to sleep. I’m quite tired. I deserve to sleep after this, don’t I? But just a bit, I can’t sleep for much long. This village needs me and I need it. A selfish mutual co-existence.
“Zakarias nii-chan!! What’s wrong!?”
“Nothing, I just need a little bit of… sleep….”
Sinking into the depths of my unconsciousness, my face connects with the cold dark ground as the sun illuminates the entire village, thus creating a giant silhouette that represents my fallen body.