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144. The Truth

We gathered the bodies of all the Kobolds that assailed us that night and buried them. Well, first we took their loot. And then we buried them.

They didn’t have too many valuable things which we could use; some of them had protection artifacts, or weapons that inflicted extra damage. I had no use for them, especially since I could create my own blades that were just as powerful— or even more powerful— than what they had.

And it was not like I could layer protection artifacts on top of each other— for example, now that I had a Pendant of Greater Protection, the effects of my Ring of Lesser Protection were basically nullified. According to Daniel, this was because stacking enchantments was not possible. If it were, someone could buy a dozen Ring of Lesser Protections and wield them all to match a Pendant of Greater Protection.

Considering the price of both in the market... I did not know the price of either in the market.

So, while my companions were busying themselves, sorting out what they got. I focused on my Status.

I was Level 98, getting close to Level 100. At that point, I would not only evolve once more— into an Archdemon— but also get a Class. Edithe said that I would simply start from Level 10 with the Class. I was likely going to get [Mage] or some kind of basic variation of it.

Although, since I had accomplished many different feats, it was possible I would get a rarer, more specialized Class that was befitting of me. Whether or not it would lead towards becoming a [Space Mage] was uncertain.

Those were things to think about later. For now, I focused on my current Stats and Skills. While I did end up winning the race against that [Rogue], Tarba, I struggled to keep up with him. Even if the Greaves of the Wanderer helped against fast opponents, it was not something I could use very often.

I have also been neglecting my [Wisdom] as of late. So, the only two Stats I raised were [Agility] and [Wisdom]. As for Skill Points, I raised [Ember Core] to its max, spending the remaining points on [Passive - A Hunter’s Sense].

It was my last Skill, and I felt like it was close to being maxed out as well. I wondered if it had been maxed out, I’d have been able to notice whoever was it that stalked me back to my companions. Or was I even followed? Perhaps that simply tracked me down.

If they had a decent level [Diviner] or [Tracker], it really wasn’t that difficult to find me so close to the city.

Salvos (Death of the Destroyer)

Species: [Greater Demon of Pride]

Subspecies: [Asura Changeling] - Lvl. 98

General Skills:

[Advanced Mana Manipulation] - Lvl. 6

[Identification] - Lvl. 5

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

[Racial Skill: Mortal Form] - Lvl. 4

[Rest] - Lvl. 4

[Lesser Enhanced Wisdom] - Lvl. 2

[Title Skill: Zealous Call] - Lvl. 3

Stats:

[Available Stat Points: 0]

[Vitality]: 100 (+5)

[Strength]: 80 (+5)

[Endurance]: 88 (+5)

[Wisdom]: 142 (+5) (+6)

[Agility]: 201 (+5)

Skills:

[Available Skill Points: 0]

[Advanced Fire Creation] - Lvl. 30 (Maxed)

[Barrage of Cinders] - Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

[Ember Core] - Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

[Flame Burst] - Lvl. 15 (Maxed)

[Flaming Breath] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Intimidation] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Radiant Slash] - Lvl. 15 (Maxed)

[Self Haste] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Passive - A Hunter’s Sense] - Lvl. 9

[Passive - Blue Flames] - Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

[Passive - Weapon Mastery] - Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

I returned to my companions once I was done sorting out my Status. They had piled up every artifact they found that could be of use or sold. The others were disposed of with the bodies.

I sifted through the rings and amulets— the swords with sharpening enchantments and the daggers coated with poison. I didn’t need those. I needed something magical or protective. Or something that helped me move faster.

Unfortunately, I only found two things of use for me. The first was a staff. It was what Res had on him. The [Cultist] doubled it as both a walking stick and a medium for casting magic. And apparently, it was quite effective at doing the latter.

[Cane of Retribution: Medium Grade Weapon - Significantly enhances the effects of a spell. Can be used three times a day.]

I considered taking this for myself. However, I knew how much more Edithe needed such an item, so I put it aside. And that left… this. Whatever it was.

[Dreaded Goblet: High Grade Equipment - Used in rituals to call upon the wisdom of the Old Gods.]

I stared at the artifact. It looked like an oddly shaped cup. I placed a clawed finger inside of it, finding that its insides were clean. It had a metallic surface, although its color was a dark green. Not something I saw often in metals.

Maybe this is that metal that Humans think are rare. What was it called again? Ori… orical… oricalculus?

That was close enough.

I turned to my companions, raising the Dreaded Goblet.

“This! I want this!”

The pair exchanged a glance. Edithe shrugged, and Daniel waved a hand off dismissively.

“Sure. You can keep it.”

“Yay!”

I exclaimed, holding up the Dreaded Goblet. I was curious what kind of wisdom the Old Gods— or Dragons, as they called it— would bestow upon me. Was it a boost to my magic? Or was it some kind of great knowledge? Maybe it was something that I could use to learn everything I needed to master interplanar travel and find Haec!

With those happy thoughts in my head, I pocketed the Dreaded Goblet, keeping it in my own personal sack of belongings as my companions divided up the rest of the loot. Edithe took the Cane of Retribution, while Daniel kept a poisoned dagger for himself.

It wasn’t something he truly needed— however, if he ever lost his long sword, he would at least have something to fight with.

Now that was all that settled, it was time to proceed with our next course of action.

“What do we do now?”

I finally asked my companions. This time, neither Daniel nor Edithe made a visible reaction. In fact, they didn’t respond, waiting for the other one to speak. I crossed my arms— I only had two, since I was still in my Kobold form.

“Now that this annoying Zix knows we’re here, we can’t just wait around for him to send more Kobolds after us, right?”

“But Xidra’s requisition—”

Edithe started, but bit her lower lip, cutting herself off.

“I understand that you want to help Xidra. She’s my friend too! However, if we stay here, we’ll be in a lot of trouble.”

“Salvos is right.”

Daniel nodded, stepping up beside me.

“For all we know, this Zix might be coming after with a small army of high-leveled bodyguards right now. We need to at least move our camp to somewhere safer.”

The red-haired woman was conflicted. Rightfully so. Not only did she owe her life to Xidra, they had gotten along in the brief moments they had with each other. But logic prevailed in the end.

“Fine, we’ll relocate.”

Edithe sighed, picking up her belongings.

“However, we’re not fleeing. We aren’t going to shirk our responsibilities. We made a promise, and we’re going to keep it.”

“Of course.”

I gave her a reassuring nod.

—--

The three of us found a cave by the side of a mountain a bit away from the forest. We chose this place as our hiding spot as it was much harder for anyone to get the jump on us with only a single entrance to our camp. Plus, we had a better view of our surroundings at this elevated ground.

I could stand guard and catch anyone who was approaching the cave from the rolling hills of gray below.

It was still night time. The sun hadn’t risen just yet. But my companions have decided to forego sleep. Apparently, their precious nap time was less important to them than their lives.

I was glad that they at least got their priorities straight on that front.

It was a little bit after the sun rose when I spotted the speck in the distance; it was a little black mark in the blue sky above. I saw it approaching us rapidly, and I narrowed my eyes.

“I think we have company!”

I readied a Refined Blazing Bolt. There was plenty of time to prepare, so I enhanced it further, until its flames were white. The approaching speck soon became clearer as my companions came to my side— I narrowed my eyes as I could finally make out what it was.

“That’s… Hoxle!”

Daniel and Edithe both blinked. They squinted, leaning forward, trying to make out the flying Kobold. The red-haired woman frowned.

“You’re right— wait, Salvos, what are you doing?”

I nocked the arrow on the fiery bowstrings, not glancing at Edithe.

“I’m going to shoot him down before he can crash on us!”

Daniel nodded, approving. But the red-haired woman stopped me from shooting the bow, stepping in front of me, blocking my way.

“Edithe, get out of the way! Aw, he’s already here.”

Hoxle the [Diviner] made an uncharacteristic entrance by landing lightly on just ahead of us. His feet touched the ground with a soft sound— not the usual smash and tumble he always did.

He stepped forward, a serious look on his face.

“Salvos the [Mage], Edithe the [Mage], and Daniel the [Warrior].”

Edithe and I stopped our bickering, and Daniel crossed his arms. I stared at the Kobold man.

“Hoxle the [Diviner], is something the matter?”

I could make a guess about what had likely occurred in Unarith— Zix received the missive from the dead [Cultist], and was probably trying to stir some trouble up for the Risen Dragons.

I was right.

Hoxle explained that the Scale Sentinels were gathering an army to scour the plains beyond Unarith for us. They were willing to search every nook and cranny we could be hiding in to slay us and retrieve the treasures of the Scale Guardians.

“And they are not alone. They have found allies amongst other factions— the Hollow Claws, the Sacred Fangs— those that belong to the Cult of the Gods. They will do everything in their power to kill all three of you.”

“So, what do we do then?”

“Xidra the [Herbalist] no longer wishes to burden you with her responsibilities.”

I stared at Hoxle, defiant.

“We want to help her. She’s our friend.”

Edithe stepped up beside me, although Daniel was a little less enthused about it than us. The Kobold man shook his head.

“She expected that. That is why she sent me here. To bring you to her.”

Before any of us could ask the obvious questions, he began to elaborate.

“Firstly, she would like to take the burden of protecting the Totem of Incense before its destruction off your shoulders. It was a mistake of her to pass it onto you— her fear was her own undoing.”

Hoxle almost seemed to scowl as he spoke— perhaps he and Xidra had clashed about this before. I could see the sparks.

“Secondly, she would be able to offer you protection in Unarith. The Scale Sentinels won’t be able to act so freely against another faction. Especially one as influential as the Risen Dragons. Now that you’ve been discovered, there’s no point in keeping up a blanket of secrecy when it would only be to your detriment. We’ll be able to delay whatever actions the Scale Sentinels will take so that you can escape without being hunted. Even fool them into thinking you’re still in the city when you’re long gone. There are plenty of things we can do to aid you.”

My companions and I exchanged a look. Leaving Unarith without an army chasing after us sounded quite nice.

“Lastly—”

Hoxle’s gaze glazed over me. He glanced between the two Humans. There was apprehension in his voice as he continued.

“Xidra would like to speak to both of you about the truth.”

“The truth?”

Edithe blinked. She turned to Daniel who seemed just as confused as her.

“What truth are you talking about?”

The Kobold man sighed.

“The truth about the end of the world.”

 

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