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78. Drakes

“Are you sure we’re heading in the right direction?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“Then why aren’t we there yet?”

“Because the map is not to scale, Salvos.”

“Are you sure?”

Daniel stopped midstep, turning to glare at me. He held up the map, smacking a finger in the middle of it. Blinking, I took in the illustration of the Motharis Mountain Range: the topography depicted the risings and the failings of the hilly landscape, with a gradient hue to highlight different regions around the vast area.

“Can you read the map?”

He posed the question simply. I shook my head.

“Nope.”

“Then stop complaining!”

I scowled and crossed my arms.

“Fine!”

Sighing, Daniel turned around and began leading the way once again; he shoved his way through a thick bush as I followed behind him. We were in a far more foliage dense part of the mountain range. At a far lower altitude, so the land was no longer covered by the thin layer of sleet making it slippery and difficult to walk on.

The plants here weren’t exactly lush with green, but they existed. Without the parasitic kzoth weeds to drain the land of life, it seemed that some vegetation could grow up in the mountains!

But right now, they were making Daniel’s life horrible. Muttering curses under is breath, he stomped through the forest while swatting his hand in the air.

“Damn bugs.”

He slapped a hand on his shoulder. Splat. An insect— about the size of his hand— went flat on his gambeson. The Human man made a face as he wiped it off on a nearby tree.

“Does killing those give you any experience?”

I finally asked, having seen him slay those creatures for the past two days.

“They do not. But they’re annoying and killing them gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

“Huh.”

This time, I was the one who stopped mid step. My Human companion turned to face me with a raised brow.

“What is it?”

I pointed an accusing finger at him.

“You’re wild.”

“No, I’m not.”

He replied without skipping a beat.

—--

Our trek through the Motharis Mountain Range would have been a lot faster if Daniel was not so slow. Unfortunately however, he didn’t want me to pick him up and run my way straight to the Brilsum Ruins. So, I had to settle with a long, drawn out trip there.

The trip did not prove to be entirely futile, since we encountered quite a few different Species of monsters on our way there. Many of them were around my level, such as the [Flayer Vultures] or the [Millenispods]. The latter being the worm-like monsters I had seen before meeting Gabriel that burrowed through the earth and spat acid.

Defeated [Flayer Vulture of Hunting - Lvl. 53]!

Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

Defeated [Large Millenispod - Lvl. 49]!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy with the help of others!

None of those lower leveled monsters gave me a level up. Not until we ran into the Drakes.

A deep, piercing kind of shriek cut through the forest— it shook the leaves as small birds burst out of the canopy of trees, fleeing whatever it was that made the sound. The roar was accompanied by another one, and another one.

Many booming roars exploded around the forest; my head snapped in the direction where it came from as I narrowed my eyes.

“That’s…”

“Coming at us.”

Daniel drew his sword as a fire sickle came to life in my hand. I exchanged a glance with him.

“Should we run? It sounds dangerous.”

“Do you want to run?”

“Nope! I can probably… maybe… escape whatever it is that’s coming for us.”

“I can’t.”

“That’s why I’m asking you.”

I shot him a thumbs up— my concern for his life showing through that gesture. He shook his head and gripped the hilt of his blade with both hands.

“We’ll see what it is.”

Heavy, thudding footsteps shook the ground as whatever it was came closer and closer to the small clearing we were in. The trees opened up to reveal a large scaly creature, walking on two thick legs and two stubbier arms. Its body was gray-green in color with small blotches of black patterned just around the jagged horn-like protrusions running down its spine.

It stood at half the size of the [Prima Saeve], however it was no less menacing when it turned its beady red eyes towards us. Daniel blinked.

“Is that a T—”

It opened its mouth and released a fiery sphere of flames at us. My eyes grew wide as I identified it, before grabbing my companion and pulling him out of the way.

The blast opened a hole in the ground that sent dirt and rubble flying in the air. The fireball bloomed like a flower in the middle of the summer— and I didn’t like flowers!

Daniel and I picked ourselves up as the monster turned its crimson eyes towards us. I spoke hurriedly to my companion.

“It’s a [Horned Drake]. Level 65. And my [Deadly Instincts] is telling me that it’s dangerous.”

“A Drake?”

He stared at me for a moment, then cursed.

“Fuck. They’re strong. Help me take out its feet so I can get at its head.”

I nodded and I sped straight to the monster, leaving him behind. The Drake saw my approach and spat a breath of fire towards me— the flames not a concentrated sphere, but a plume that swept up the ground and incinerated the grassy floor. Leaping aside just in time, I sent my own [Scorching Wave] at the monster, smirking knowingly. My fire is definitely hotter than yours!

The flames singed the scales of the Drake, causing it to stumble back— but no more. It did not burn it badly, only a light singe left where the flames landed. I scowled and Daniel called out.

“Its feet, Salvos!”

“I got it, I got it.”

Rolling my eyes, I rolled away from the gaping maw of the Drake that threatened to crush me. It ate up the dirt ground as a [Charge of Embers] propelled me to the legs of the beast. I swung my fire sickle once—

And found it lodged on the hard scales of the monster.

“Huh.”

The Drake kicked me, instantly knocking out the aura of protection I had from my Ring of Lesser Protection, sending me flying back to a tree. I rubbed at my back and found my eyes widening as a dark shadow loomed over me. Its tail came swinging down and I activated [Self Haste].

I hopped out of the way as a fire bow was conjured on one hand, and focused on creating a Blazing Bolt with my other hand. Another sphere of destructive fire came hurling at me but it was much easier to dodge now. I loosed Blazing Bolt after Blazing Bolt, all going for its legs, and they landed, doing far more damage than my previous attacks had.

The volley of fire drew my breath short, taking a chunk of mana out of me, but it was enough to cause the large monster to stumble forward for a moment. And it was then Daniel leapt up at it and swung his glowing sword.

“[Hero’s Slash]!”

The blade severed the neck of the Drake, shearing through its scales like it was paper, and killing it instantly. It fell with a mighty crash, shaking the ground and scattering any birds that might not already fled.

Defeated [Predatory Horned Drake - Lvl. 65]!

More experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels above you!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy with the help of others!

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 53] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 54]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

“I leveled up!”

I exclaimed, pumping a fist in the air. Daniel faced me with a smug smirk.

“I leveled twice.”

“Huh— how?!”

“I dealt the finishing blow.”

“What?!”

I stared at Daniel, aghast. I tried identifying him, but once again, his Necklace of Obfuscation did not allow me to see his true level or Class.

“You’re lying! I did all the work, I should have gotten more experience!”

He gave me an uncaring shrug.

“Unfortunately, Salvos, that’s how it works. The one who gets the kill gets more experience, although he gets less if others contribute enough, they may gain close to as much as he did.”

Placing a hand over his mouth, he looked at me mockingly.

“Maybe you should have hurt it more before letting me finish it off.”

“I did hurt him— I mean, it— you just have that stupid cheat Skill—”

“Perks of being a [Hero]. Better luck next time.”

I scowled, crossing my arms. Then a thought crossed my mind. Or a memory, in fact. Not one from long ago, but a recent one.

“Next time…”

I grinned and faced Daniel. And as if the world had the same thought as me, a roar once again broke through the forest. My Human companion had a stupid look on his face as he registered what that was.

“Maybe next time won’t be so far from now, after all.”

A Drake burst through a nearby thicket of trees, uprooting one of them as it roared a challenge at us. Just before Daniel could curse like he usually did, a second one came crashing behind us too.

[Horned Drake - Lvl. 61]

[Horned Drake - Lvl. 64]

“You’ve got to be… two of them?! But that Skill resets every other day!”

“Too bad. Let’s see if you can deal with one of them on your own.”

I raised my fire bow, already with a Blazing Bolt nocked on and ready to fire as Daniel brought his sword up warily, finally getting his curse out.

The two monsters charged us and we met them in battle. Perhaps if we were two other Gold Ranked adventurers at our levels, we would have been slaughtered by these Drakes 10 levels above our own.

But we dealt with them. And we dealt with the ones that came after them. Because we weren’t ordinary adventurers. We didn’t even have regular Classes— I didn’t even have a Class!

Daniel was a [Hero] and I was a Demon.

So, while it was a struggle to take care of these angry Drakes, we did it. Over time. We had to run from some and fought them using tricks and teamwork, using the terrain and our wits to our advantage. After a few days passing through this forest full of Drakes, we were able to survive.

And this time, I was the one to level up twice.

Defeated [Angry Horned Drake - Lvl. 61]!

More experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

...

Defeated [Predatory Horned Drake - Lvl. 59]!

More experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy with the help of others!

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 54] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 55]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 55] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 56]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

Salvos (Death of the Destroyer)

Species: [Greater Demon] (Mortal Form - Human)

Subspecies: [Midday Changeling] - Lvl. 56

General Skills:

[Advanced Mana Manipulation] - Lvl. 3

[Identification] - Lvl. 5

[Racial Skill: Universal Language Comprehension] - Lvl. 1

[Racial Skill: Mortal Form] - Lvl. 2

[Rest] - Lvl. 2

[Title Skill: Zealous Call] - Lvl. 1

Stats:

[Available Stat Points: 0]

[Vitality]: 58 (+5) (-6)

[Strength]: 40 (+5) (-6)

[Endurance]: 63 (+5) (-6)

[Wisdom]: 77 (+5) (-1)

[Agility]: 114 (+5) (-6)

Skills:

[Available Skill Points: 2]

[Advanced Fire Creation] - Lvl. 18

[Charge of Embers] - Lvl. 5

[Fire Strike] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Ignition] - Lvl. 5 (Maxed)

[Scorching Wave] - Lvl. 5

[Self Haste] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Passive - Blue Flames] - Lvl. 15

[Passive - Deadly Instincts] - Lvl. 7

[Passive - Weapon Mastery] - Lvl. 4

 

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