The Many Lives of Cadence Lee

by

vladerag

Chapter Thirty Six - Birds of Prey, But Not Birds of a Feather

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A note from vladerag

Last one for RR today!  Probably.

Side note: those of you who have left suggestions and corrections in the comments; I am not ignoring you, I just get so many notifications that my head spins.  It might take me a while to even find your comment and then fix it across all copies of this web novel.  I actually find them really helpful and try to give recognition when I do notice!

  Now I know that you came to these lectures to learn about killing monsters and becoming a better adventurer, but today’s lecture is about the Races.

  No need to groan kiddos, this is important information for any adventurer. Many of you will travel to exotic places and meet all kinds of individuals, some of which won’t be human. So you need to know the basics of how to interact with them. Since all of you are humans - I think anyway, I’m not about to strip you and check - we are going to mostly skip talking about humans in this overview.

  The Races are divided into Demihumans and Sapients, and confusing the two is a good way to get yourself killed. Demihumans are monsters. They have Classes and they can be as smart or smarter than you, but they level their Species and Evolve. Sapients, on the other hand, do not have a Species Level but can take many more Classes.

  The Sapient Races are Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and any half breed between them. Despite what you might think, there isn’t a “superior” Race - among the Sapients anyway, Half-Elven Dragonkin are qualitatively better than pretty much everyone else - but rather each Race has its own talents and flaws.

  Humans gain experience much faster than any other Race or monster. If you feel that you aren’t Leveling fast enough, you aren’t working hard enough. What takes an elf one hundred years to do might take the average human only ten years, while a talented and determined human might do it in one.

  Of course, elves can afford to spend a hundred years gaining a Level. Those rumors of elven immortality you have undoubtedly heard? They are pretty damn accurate. Elves naturally gain Vitality over time, so they never actually grow old. They also have monstrously large Health pools and can survive injuries that no human would.

  If you stab an old elf in the heart they can just pull it out and walk away without a care in the world.

  And they very well might, because the oldest elves tend to become less and less interested in the world as they age. Eventually, they stop moving altogether and enter a meditative trance called “reverie.” These ancient elves in their reveries rarely ever interact with the world again, completely uncaring about their surroundings. People can and have walked up and slit their throats without them bothering to react.

  For the record, slitting their throats came nowhere close to killing the ancient elves.

 

  -part of a lecture from S-Rank Adventurer Dre the Massacre given to new Adventurers.







Rei’Reihammara Solily POV:

 

  “-just didn’t think we would be traipsing up and down hill sides to hunt toads of all things!” Ylma was complaining as she blasted another Juvenile Boreal Toad away. “These things are hardly even a threat, so what is the point?”

  “They pay in gold,” the normally quiet Karlin growled out as he skewered one of the smaller Hatchlings on his sword. “That is the only point that matters.”

  “Well of course they pay in gold, Evergold is a gold mining town! Gold is the only thing they have!”

  “If it helps Ylma, there is a good reason to have us do this,” I interject before Ylma can start ranting again. “Even though these monsters are weak, they serve to give experience to stronger ones. The more experience in the ecosystem, the more powerful monsters it can support.”

  “...so if we cull the weaker monsters we prevent the more powerful monsters from Evolving,” Ylma was able to figure out the rest from what I had told her. Giving her just enough to figure things out for herself was much better than telling her something; Ylma would argue against anything that she hadn’t thought of herself.

  “That might be true, but I’m with Karlin here,” Chaurl - who was doing absolutely nothing but standing by watching us kill swarms of toads - said. “Do we really need a reason beyond, ‘they pay in gold?’ We’d be unlikely to get silvers for work like this anywhere else, they’d pay us in coppers.”

  “Nah, this wouldn’t be a coppers job,” Rauvin didn’t even bother to stab the smaller ones, dispatching them with a single kick instead. “Sure, the lower stages are just trash, but the babies have to come from somewhere. The Adult Boreal Toads would be a threat to many adventurers.”

  “One of them could kill me, for sure.” Tamlin spoke up, taking a moment to wipe his brow. “Most people don’t have Rauvin’s durability or your firepower Ylma.”

  It certainly was true that we had expected a bit more out of the “savage south,” but I can’t say I am disappointed to have an easier time than I had thought I would. For that matter, we were only a couple of hours out of Evergold; for all I knew, there were rampaging Elementals right over the next hill.

  “If you have this swarm handled,” I certainly thought they did, toads were hardly dangerous for Adventurers like us. “I will scout ahead and get an idea of the lay of the land.”

  Rauvin waved me ahead and I dodged away from the toads and ran off into the trees. I might not have an advanced Class, but with both the [Hunter] and [Scout] Classes and my Elven heritage it was easy to fade into the forest and avoid fighting the monsters that prowled around.

  Our party was out on a basic three day “clearing” quest. We would travel one day away from the town, kill everything we could find for a day, and then come back. We would have to take a trophy from every kill and turn them in at the local Guild to get our pay, and this kind of job usually paid poorly except in very dangerous regions.

  This was, supposedly, a very dangerous region and Evergold had gold to spare, so we could expect a very nice paycheck for our efforts. Personally, I planned to use the money we earned here in Evergold to receive training in becoming a [Tamer], as the Class would help me in my goal to become a [Ranger]. It was far more efficient to have a professional train me in the Class than it was for me to just abduct a toad or something and try to teach it how to behave.

  That was a few decades away though. It would take time to learn the Class and I wanted to stay with my party for as long as they were adventuring. I might be young and yet to feel the weight of time on my shoulders, but I knew well enough that a decade or a century here or there wasn’t really important. I would still be considered barely above a child by other elves long after my current comrades were dust.

  For the most part, my scouting was uneventful. Although the further out I traveled the more dangerous the monsters were; the town guard likely helped to clear the areas around the town itself. Stone Lynx were some of the most common and in some places I even saw Wisps, which meant there had to be a place with a very high mana density somewhere nearby. Wisps themselves weren’t particularly dangerous, but their presence could mean that Elementals and elemental monsters might be nearby.

  I was fairly sure that was further west though, and not in the direction we were heading. I would still mark it on the map and ask about it back in town, it would be best to deal with it before it started spawning monstrosities and twisting the local monsters into more dangerous creatures.

  Other than that, everything looked clear. I was able to head back and say as much to Rauvin and eat a delicious lunch prepared by Chaurl.

  “The innkeeper back in Evergold took me aside to ask if you ate meat, you know.” Chaurl chuckled as he ate his stew. “If we had a copper for every time we were asked that question we wouldn’t even need to work.”

  “It always surprises them when I say that I prefer meat over greens,” I muse, admittedly I preferred fresh fruit to either of those though. “I have no ideas how these rumors spread so much, although at least he didn’t think I ate human children raw or something.”

  After lunch, we continued on our way while killing all the monsters in our way. It wasn’t until we had descended down into one of the valleys and were following the path up the other side when my [Dangersense] twinged and I threw myself to the side just in time to avoid a bolt of lighting striking the ground where I had just stood!

  “MONSTER IN THE SKY!” Rauvin called out as I scrambled back to my feet and knocked an arrow, squinting against the glare of the sun while I tried to see the threat. It didn’t take long to see, I have no idea how we missed a massive eagle like bird that seemed to be partially made of lightning but none of us had noticed it until it had struck.

  I had an arrow flying and another nocked in a second, meanwhile I heard Ylma shout: “It is a Thunderbird! But I thought they only lived in the Far South!?”

  My arrow struck the monster in its shoulder, it looked like barely a pinprick but I was actually glad that my arrow was able to penetrate the monster’s feathers and skin at all. This battle was all up to Ylma and I, and this was proof that our fight wasn’t hopeless! But my [Dangersense] started to scream again and Ylma started shouting for everyone to run as all of the frontliners scrambled for cover.

  The Thunderbird responded to my arrow with a blast of lightning like nothing I had seen before! I was half blinded, but I could feel the ground shaking; the path had been buried by rubble!

  “Shit, we need to run!” I shout to everyone, “we can’t fight this thing, but if we can get to cover…”

  The only way to go was along the bottom of the valley, going back the way we came would leave us too exposed. Rauvin cursed, hauling Tamlin to his feet, and started running. Meanwhile, when I thought the monster was going for another bolt I sent another arrow into it and the lightning dissipated. I could make it flinch!

  Our fighting retreat down the valley eventually led us to despair; the valley opened up into the plains! If we went there we would be hunted down with ease, there was only one option left…

  “Rauvin!” I called to him as I shot another arrow at our pursuer, “We need to split up, I’ll lure it away!”

  “No! You can’t risk your life like that! You-”

  The Thunderbird had dodged my arrow and another bolt descended from the heavens like the fist of an angry god. It didn’t hit us, but it did collapse another part of the valley, we would have to go out on the plains and worse…

  “Shit, the damn thing is intelligent!” Karlin growled and I cursed in my head as we were forced to run out of the valley.

  And now we get picked off, one by one. I thought to myself, seeing the Thunderbird swoop down and - get grabbed by a giant tentacle!

  “The hell is that!” Tamlin shrieked as the Thunderbird fought against the giant tentacles wrapping around it.

  “No time to ask questions, one of those tentacles is coming for us!” Ymla yelled, throwing a fireball at a tentacle snaking towards the party. “Don’t let it grab you!”

  The tentacle came close to Tamlin who struck out with his spear only to be thrown back in a shower of sparks!

  “Fuck, the lightning is being conducted through the thing!” Chaurl shouted as he rushed to the fallen Tamlin. “Ymla, can’t you do something about this?”

  “Warding against lightning is difficult, I could if I had time but it would take a while!”

  The Thunderbird had managed to fight its way free and was now screeching at… Well it looked like a turtle with octopus tentacles coming out of its mouth.

  “Nevermind, the bird is running. Grab Tamlin and get out before that thing sends those tentacles after us!” Rauvin ordered, but the tentacles were fast and didn’t seem to care about my arrows at all, no matter how many I hit them with! Tamlin seemed to be unconscious and there was no way they could drag him away in time, the tentacles were already closing in and about to strike-!

  They were knocked away by a blast of compressed air, yet another monster had joined the battle!

  “That is a Gale Wyvern,” I shouted, recognizing the species as one that lived in the upper boughs of some of the Great Oaks that also contained Elven Groves. “What is it doing here!?”

  Was it… protecting Tamlin? That was crazy, but the wyvern had even landed! Who had ever heard of a Gale Wyvern landing in the middle of a battle!? The fact that it was fighting against whatever the hell that was instead of trying to grab one of us was a good sign in my opinion.

  “Come on, back into the valley!” I shouted, sending another arrow into a tentacle as the others ran back into the valley before following them myself after I saw the wyvern take off and get away from the other monster.

  “Chaurl, how is Tamlin?” Rauvin asked as soon as he could catch his breath. Tamlin did not look good, he had taken a massive shock and was still smoking.

  “Bad.” Chaurl said tersely, his hands glowing with power. “Too bad for me to handle, Jakkus is powerful but I am not; he needs to make it to the healers in Evergold and fast.”

  I saw Rauvin glance at the collapsed rubble. Now that we weren’t being chased by a murderous Thunderbird, we could climb it but… There was no way we would be able to get Tamlin to Evergold quickly.

  I heard a small sound and immediately whipped my head around, fearing the worst only to see a curious sight. The Gale Wyvern was sitting on a nearby boulder, watching us intently. Suddenly, I had a wild idea. Wyverns were smart although they weren’t really sentient, but it would have known what it was doing when it helped us.

  The others had turned a little after I had, prepping their weapons with hard looks on their faces. I, however, set my bow down and slowly walked forward with my hands up to show my empty palms.

  “Hey there,” I tried to say calmly, praying to whichever god that would listen that I was able to get the idea across. “Can you help us?”

  The Wyvern cocked its head, looking at me intently as I approached.

  “Ray, I know you want to be a tamer but now is not the time,” Rauvin said quietly, warily. “And Wyverns are Dragonoids, they are basically untamable by anyone but an expert anyway.”

  “Will you help us,” I asked again. “Please?”

  The Wyvern responded by rolling over, which was not quite the response I had hoped for, but it wasn’t a dangerous one. I have no idea what proper Wyvern behaviour was, but there was no way that it was anything but an invitation to come closer and I did. I inched forward until I was able to touch it, feeling its scales and feathers beneath my hand.

  Getting it to get back on its feet and allow me to climb on its back took all the courage I could muster, but it let me do it! It even let me guide it!

  “Chaurl, you know what I am thinking,” I said, as I looked down at Tamlin. “Would it work?”

  “The risk-” Rauvin began, but was immediately interrupted.

  “It is our only chance,” Chaurl replied grimply. “Take him to Evergold, we will make it back as soon as we can.”

  The Wyvern allowed us to get Tamlin onto its back, where I held him as we took off. The ground that it had taken us hours to traverse melted away as we sped through the air, and soon Evergold was in sight. Alarms were sounded almost immediately, so I had the Wyvern set down in front of the gate - to do otherwise would risk us all being shot down.

  “Guards!” I shout from the back of the Wyvern, “We need help, we have an injured man here!”

  To their credit, the guards quickly managed to understand that the Wyvern was under my control. Kind of… Technically it wasn’t, but I had no intention of telling them, at least at first, but after Tamlin was rushed away to the healers…

 

  “[You have met the requirements for the Class: [Tamer]!]

  [You have 4 open Class Slots.]

  [You have Classes available, would you like to see them now?]”

 

  I quickly chose [Tamer] and gained a new ability: [Wild Pact], which I immediately used. I felt the bond, the link, reach out to the Wyvern and the Wyvern accept it!

 

  “[You have met the requirements for the advanced Class: [Ranger]!]

  [You have met the requirements for the advanced Class: [Wyvern Rider]!]

  [You have 3 open Class Slots.]

  [You have Classes available, would you like to see them now?]

  [Note: [Ranger] is a consolidated Class. Classes combined into [Ranger] will have their Slots opened again.]”

 

  I immediately chose both, uncaring about the Classes that were combined into [Ranger]. With a chance like this coming by, I was sure it was something I would never regret.

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A note from vladerag

Also, for those interested, here is a post I made regarding the mechanics of this life.

And here is a list of nerfs that happened because I accidentally made everyone op.  Might have overnerfed, but I am not sure yet. :/


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About the author

vladerag

Bio: Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories!

You can find them here! https://royalroadl.com/profile/76129/fictions

And if you are interested in supporting me, you can do so here as well! https://www.patreon.com/vladerag

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