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AN: For those who don't like cliffhangers, skip this chapter, i'll try to get the next one out tomorrow or latest Wednesday. The last part of the chapter will continue for most of the next chapter hence why i'm cutting it "short". I'll need about 2K words to conclude the last part of this chapter. 

There's a liiiiitle bit more of background on the reincarnated this chapter. More will follow soon..ish.

 I've had a lot of trouble writing this one actually, so I really do hope you enjoy it. 

___________


When Zaran's consciousness returned his eyes had to get used again to the glowing light of the large white crystal that lit up the cave system. Before moving on, he decided to check his stats and check the progress on his skills that he had gotten while fighting over 50 Hellweavers and the Hellweaver king.

Character info
RaceZunoProfessionN/A
Sub-profession 1Hellbeast masterSub-profession 2N/A
Level6Unspent stat points20
Stats
Health160ManaN/A
Strength19Flexibility8
Agility8Stamina8
Vitality8Focus5
Intelligence5Wisdom5
Perception10Luck5
Charm2Willpower5
Reputation
Honour5Fame50


He had gotten 20 skill points but decided to not use them for now. He noticed that he got some free stat points to vitality. Besides that he really wanted to spend some skill points towards flexibility, agility and stamina but decided that he should put that on hold for now. He was still able to beat monsters even with his reduced stat points, so there was no need to spent them for now. Seeing as a new weapon might require stat points to be able to wield it, it was the better choice of storing them for now.

He had gotten the spear, sword and greatsword masteries while he was fighting the Hellweavers, Seeing as how much he used the greatsword and sword, and that he was a supreme expert in using them, the mastery levels had already risen a level and were ready to rise again. The beginner level masteries barely raised his damage at all, but eventually all the little things added up to become something great after all. He did feel like the skill information was mocking him, as they stated that his understanding of the ways of the spear, sword and greatsword were 'nearly inexistent'.

Spear mastery
Level1Exp. left until next level5%
You have set your foot upon the path to master the spear. Although your current understanding of
the spear is nearly inexistent, it still allows you to wield the spear more efficiently.
Increases damage dealt by spears by 0.5% (+0.5% per mastery level)


Sword mastery
Level2Exp. left until next level13.5%
You have set your foot upon the path to master the sword. Although your current understanding of
the sword is nearly inexistent, it still allows you to wield the sword more efficiently.
Increases damage dealt by swords by 1% (+0.5% per mastery level)


Greatsword mastery
Level2Exp. left until next level0.5%
You have set your foot upon the path to master the greatsword. Although your current understanding of
the greatsword is nearly inexistent, it still allows you to wield the greatsword more efficiently.
Increases damage dealt by greatswords by 1% (+0.5% per mastery level)


As he had passed the required level necessary for the bone knife he created, he placed it in to the knife sheath in his belt. Having it ready at any second would make him a little more prepared for otherwise dangerous situations. If he ever were to lose his blade in battle, the bone knife would serve as a temporary back-up. Even if knives aren't the greatest weapon, it would still better to have a knife than to fight empty-handed. Moreover the knife could be used as a throwing weapon to either finish of fleeing enemies or surprise an opponent.

Seeing as he checked everything about himself it was time to check Cindarrah's info. It would be important to know her skills, as well as what type of companion she would be in the future. Zaran had a slight guess as to what sort of companion she would be but he would only be completely sure after he saw her information screen. He called out "Cindarrah's info" and a screen popped up in front of him showing her stats.

Companion info
NameCindarrahRaceHellweaver
Level1
Stats
Health100Mana100
Strength5Dexterity5
Vitality5Intelligence10
Skills
Web shot lvl 1Shoots out an ball of web that explodes on contact and envelopes the target.
Leech lvl 1Drains life from the opponent. When used on a target that is under the influence
of web-shot it deals double the normal damage.


The first thing he noticed was that she only had four stats, which condensed all of Zaran's stats. It was probably meant to keep the screen more tidy and giving more options would just create more work for both the game designers as well as the players. If the companions had the same amount of stats as the users and users would have to keep note of every single one while developing their companions, it would be a daunting task. Zaran was thankful that he didn't have to keep track of too many stats along with his own.

Going over her skills, he wasn't surprised to see the web shot pop up again. It had been part of almost every Hellweaver's repertoire. He was grateful that Cindarrah already had it, since it would certainly be a valuable asset in a lot of situations. He wasn't quite sure what to make of the leech skill, the description was a little vague and he hadn't seen any of them use it.

Zaran started moving out of the cave and went back towards the cavern where he killed the Hellweaver king. Cindarrah just kept sleeping on top of his head, firmly stuck no matter how much he moved his head. Zaran had tried to move his head completely to one side, but she still stayed firmly rooted on his head. Still smiling because of Cindarrah, Zaran arrived in the wide open area where he killed the king. But unlike what he expected it was not quite empty.

A single humongous muscular bearman stood in the middle of the cavern with his greatsword lodged into the ground, both hands gripping it tightly. He was three meter big, his arms looked like they were as big as a log and a powerful aura emanated from him. Large scars donned every visible part of his body. You just knew that he had gone through countless life and death battles. A particular large scar that ran straight across his chest stood out. It was quite deep and it seemed that if it was just slightly deeper his lift would have been lost.

Only wearing shorts and some makeshift shoes, he just stood there, waiting. Zaran noticed him first and saw the scar. He recalled this wound as he had been the one who gave birth to it. Before saying anything Zaran quickly accessed the menu and put 10 points in strength and 10 in agility. He was sure this was Nekorath.

"Hi Nekorath. I guess you're not here for pleasantries?"

"Who would come here to chat with a bastard like you. No, instead Akhuath sends his regards." The bearman said as he lifted the greatsword up let it rest on his shoulder.

Akhuath again. What does he have against me. Zaran thought while thinking about all the times he had fought others that had reincarnated and worked for Akhuath. There were too many times to count. Every person who reincarnated had to choose a god to work for. Those who worked for different gods fought if they met it each other, but meeting others was mostly a stroke of luck. Never would they actually seek out others and kill them. But Akhuath was different for some reason. He had sent multiple of his own against Zaran. He didn't know why and it bugged him.

Each god gave a blessing to their champions. Zaran had chosen Venuras the god of tranquility initially. His blessing was quite good as it allowed him to force peace between two parties albeit temporarily. Later on he switched to a few different higher ranked gods until he ended up with Isis, the over-goddess of life. She had a powerful blessing that allowed him to raise someone from the death. 

"Why does the god of destruction want me dead in an online game?" Zaran asked as he took the greatsword out of the horizontal sheath on his back. 

No answer came. Instead Nekorath instantly ran over to Zaran and swung his greatsword down. Zaran raised his greatsword sideways, meeting Nekorath's greatsword and let it slide of his own. Even though he had parried the hit, he could still feel the boundless power behind it.

Zaran's face turned ugly to behold. Nekorath had equal if not greater strength than him. This would prove to be troublesome as Nekorath had always been extremely proficient in the greatsword. The last time they met up was quite some reincarnations ago, making Zaran unsure as to how much his skill had improved compared to Nekorath's. He just had to pray that his improvement had been greater than Nekorath's.

Nekorath swung his sword sideways and Zaran quickly ducked, as he couldn't backroll with Cindarrah on his head, the greatsword just barely passing over Cindarrah. As he ducked he had brought the greatsword to his side and struck upwards as he raised himself again. Nekorath pulled back his greatsword and only barely made it in time. Not prepared to take the blow Nekorath was forced to take a few steps back. Not giving Nekorath time to recover Zaran took two steps forward while simultaneously slashing diagonally down with one hand, bending his right knee to give the slash more velocity and then instantly switching hands with the blade to create another upwards cut. Nekorath defended against the first slash but he couldn't prepare for the second slash and a large cut appeared on his body.

-15 (185/200)

Nekorath staggered backwards and took another hit from Zaran who had brought his greatsword down and slashed vertically, creating yet another large cut on Nekorath's body. After taking that hit Nekorath jumped backwards, creating some distance between the two. Zaran was glad that he had added some points to agility since he wouldn't have made that second hit if he hadn't. He could really feel the difference in stats. The power behind his slashes had increased and his handling speed had heightened.

-15 (170/200)

Nekorath looked at his wounds and revealed a wicked smile. He too had lived through countless lives and stood at the peak of power for most of them. Besides his loss against Zaran, not many had been able to give him such a life threatening scar. Nekorath roared and ran forward, activating one of the passive berserker buffs he had access to. It was the buff 'rage' which gave him increasingly higher strength the lower his hp dropped. it was the lowest level and currently he only received one extra strength but even that could create an advantage in this fight.

Nekorath swung his greatsword down on Zaran, who met his greatsword with his own, this time using two hands to deflect Nekorath's strike. As his strike was parried, Nekorath kicked Zaran in his stomach making him fall flat on his butt. Zaran immediately rolled to the side and quickly got up again.

-5 (155/160)

Nekorath didn't give Zaran time to recover however and immediatly swungs his greatsword sideways to his direction, Zaran raised his sword to block but he hadn't reacted quite in time. Taking the blow in an unfavourable way, his own greatsword hit his side and the impact forced him on the ground yet again. Zaran rolled to his side away from Nekorath as another blow came slashing down. He dodged this blow likewise but was met with another one as he tried to get up again. After a few more sideways rolls and strikes from Nekorath, Zaran finally found an opportunity to get up again.

Zaran gritted his teeth as he tried to hold back a few unkind words, but he knew he would do the same Nekorath had done, so he really had no right to say anything. Instead he focused on the battle again. He couldn't let such a mistake happen again. While he hadn't taken any damage, he should have looked quite pitiful there.

Another blow came, but this time Zaran was ready. He parried it and struck Nekorath in his chest with a quick stab.

-10 (160/200)

Nekorath quickly recoverd and struck Zaran, taking a huge amount of his hp in one strike. 

-15 (140/160)

Another hit came and the two became deadlocked, pushing their greatswords against each other, neither side being able to budge. Zaran eventually gave in a little, just to kick Nekorath in his stomach as Nekorath tried to gain an advantage by pushing Zaran back. Nekorath had foreseen this through and slammed his greatsword down instantly, chopping deep into Zaran's leg.

-20 (120/160)

Zaran roared out from the pain and brought his greatsword down on Nekorath, cutting deep into his shoulder.

-10 (150/200) 

With both of them having three quarters of their health left the battle had just begun. Both were already pushing their virtual bodies to the limit with every strike. They cursed at it when they got hit or when they hit since it still did not move as well as their real bodies. While normal users would be thinking it was an incredibly high-leveled fight, to Zaran and Nekorath this felt like a boring, tedious fight.

Neither of them had a finishing move available and they were both hacking away, trying to force the other person's virtual body in making a mistake. With how low leveled they were this was an easy thing to do. While their mind was imagining the battle scene, the body just couldn't keep up. Both Zaran and Nekorath gritted their teeth as they ran forward exchanging blow after blow. After ten strikes both of them were pushed back, neither of them harming each other, but both visually improving their accuracy and handling of their greatsword with every hit. 

"Let's see how long you can keep up with me!" Nekorath roared as he ran up to Zaran and furiously brought his greatsword down. 

Zaran met Nekorath's greatsword and slightly pushed him back this time, creating a slight advantage. When he tried to strike Nekorath however, his blade was parried and he had to dodge a hit, Nekorath's greatsword only barely missing Cindarrah, who was still sleeping on Zaran's head even with all the commotion taking place. Zaran quickly brought his blade to meet Nekorath's again and both Zaran and Nekorath used two strikes for each other. Yet again both strikes were equal in power and neither gave away. Pushing back and forth for a while, neither was giving in this time, neither falling for the other traps. They were simply at a standstill... 
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NianKaraz

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