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179. Mountain Island

I soared above the ocean, its pure surface reflecting the sky back up to me. Or was the sky reflecting the ocean? I wasn’t actually sure. All I knew was that it was blue just as the sky was blue. And it looked pretty.

It glittered and sparkled like there were thousands of crystals and gems sewn onto the layers of the rippling waves. I flew close to the water as my skin shifted. My body changed. And I was no longer a Human. No longer a mortal.

I was Salvos, a Demon, flying with my wings like bones.

I could do whatever I want! I was free to do whatever I wanted! Even as I cut a hand through the water surface, leaving a trail of splashing water behind in the sea.

Apparently, that was a bad idea.

I saw a shadow emerge from the deep sea. A figure of black, almost rotund from where I was. [Passive - A Hunter’s Sense] warned me of what was to come, and I immediately zipped out of the way.

A large fish shot out of the water. It reminded me of the ones I saw back in Wimborne. Except… bigger. Much bigger. It was probably three times the size of a house!

It had four fins, two on each side of its body, and a jagged blade-like shape protruding from its back, gleaming black.

[Hollow Whaleshark - Lvl 43]

“Are you serious?”

I bared my teeth, accepting the challenge as I watched the monster sink back into the sea. It circled around me as the black blade on its back shone.

“Do you really think you can—”

I paused right in the middle of creating a Nebular Bow. I’m not supposed to use my Subspecies… Right, I forgot about that.

A beam of dark energy shot up, and I flew out of the way.

“Huh. How am I supposed to deal with you?”

It was large. Very large for a Level 43 monster. I had only a few Skills for my Class. [Banish] and [Spatial Sight] were of no use. But I knew some space magic. Like how to carry things with invisible hands. Or how to crush them. Or how to teleport.

But I couldn’t carry a monster this large. Nor could I crush it. Unless—

I narrowed my eyes as I watched the Hollow Whaleshark prepare to shoot up into the air. An idea crossed my mind.

“You’re gonna wanna try to level up more before you try and eat me, jerk!”

I dove down as it exploded from the water. It tried to clamp its jaws around me but I teleported past its dozens of layers of teeth, straight down its throat. Acid poured out of its insides. It began to rise as I went deeper down its gullet, before tearing through the side. I heard a screech as the entire creature shook. But I was too preoccupied searching for its heart to care.

“Probably not going to gain as much experience from doing this!”

I found the beating, deformed shape, held up by veins and arteries. I raised a hand from a distance, making a squeezing motion. And magic gripped the heart. It began to compress, crushed by space itself. I could feel it in my hands, even if I wasn’t actually touching it. It was very, very hard. Solid, like a rock.

Still, even as the entire monster’s being shook, I continued to tighten my grip around it. I grunted as I felt mana being inefficiently poured into the spell, tiring me. But I wasn’t here to refine my magic or use Skills.

I was here to kill monsters, level, and find a good Class advancement.

“Die you stupid thing!”

Blood seeped out of pores forming on the surface of the heart. Before it finally exploded.

It burst open from the top and bottom as its side was squished into a pulp. A sound resounded in my head as the monster stopped shaking, suddenly rapidly descending.

 

Defeated [Hollow Whaleshark - Level 43]!

Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

 

I tore my way out of the giant fish, wondering why I didn’t gain any additional experience. It’s because I didn’t just use my Class, isn’t it?

Oh well. There was plenty of time to go. And the best part was? I didn’t need to sleep!

I continued to fly over the ocean as the sun set and night fell over the world. Dark clouds gathered over the sky, bringing with it a storm. And soon, I found out, monsters of the deep too.

 

—--

 

Defeated [Hollow Whaleshark - Level 41]!

Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

 

...

 

Defeated [The Deep’s Tendrils - Level 46]!

Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

 

...

 

Defeated [Aquatic Tigereel - Lvl 35]!

Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

 

 

Class [Adept of the Fae] Level Up!

[Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 32] -> [Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 33]

Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!

 

“I thought sea monsters were supposed to remain in the water!”

I wasn’t averse to fighting. I wouldn’t just attack anything without any reason; if there was due cause, I’d definitely fight a Human even if they didn’t confront me. But there was a spectrum from mindless to creatures which could actually think.

And these underwater creatures seemed to fall into the more mindless side of thinking. Maybe it only seemed that way because they were the ones attacking me, and the ones which were actually smart didn’t. Regardless, I held no apprehension about killing them.

They were just really annoying. And they didn’t give an amazing amount of experience either!

But eventually, the storm subsided. Light returned to the sky, and I could continue my search.

“So, the sun is rising from there, and that means I’m supposed to be going there. I see.”

I could see snowy lands to the east. I was certain that those were the Elven lands Humans kept talking about. As long as I was high enough up and could see it, I had to be traveling in the right direction, right?

“An archipelago and a volcano. I’m searching for an archipelago and a volcano.”

I continued on until the sun was at its zenith. That was when I spotted the first set of islands littering the ocean surface. It formed a semi circle, with the islands growing larger towards the center. I flew over it, narrowing my eyes.

It definitely seems like it was the right distance from the Elven lands. There even were signs of a shipwreck at the very edge of one of the small islands. But something was off.

“It doesn’t have a volcano!”

Instead of a mountainous peak at the center island, there was a massive depression. A hole. Like a crater. And around this basin was a rocky floor that seemed to almost leak into the ocean. I snapped my fingers.

“This can’t be it! Time to continue!”

I proceeded with my flight, grabbing a handful of snacks quickly as I passed over the island, nicking the bugs that swarmed over its canopy of trees. Another day passed, although it was filled with less fighting as no storm came at night.

A few monsters attacked me. But these were lower-leveled than the previous ones. So, I disposed of them with ease and no levels gained, crushing them out of the air. I passed by more islands— more archipelagos— and found nothing. A thought crossed my mind that I might’ve been lost. I mean, I was going further and further east, wasn’t I?

Not until the dawn of the next day. I saw a string of islands, like a line, with hills and valleys on each of them, progressively growing taller until peaking at the center island, before reducing in height as it continued.

“There it is!”

I perked up and began to descend. But I paused.

“Is that a mountain or a volcano?”

I was pretty sure that it was a mountain, not a volcano. Although, weren’t mountains just volcanos? That was what Daniel told me once. The only difference was volcanos threatened to shoot lava out from time to time, but not always.

And this perfectly fits the description that [Fisher] gave me. Gukzar the Cyclops had to be here, right? In fact… was that his ship over at the center island?

I headed straight down as I saw specks moving on the pearly white beach. Figures with swords and bows fended off creatures skittering rapidly out of the trees. The undulating shapes moved fast, even on the sand. And they dug into it too, leaping out like spring traps all around the beach.

I recognized the monsters immediately.

Centinels.

Their segmented bodies were covered by a thick shell that was always so annoyingly hard to break. They streamed out by the dozens, snapping their dangerous mandibles at the small figures protecting the ship.

I didn’t recognize these people. They didn’t look like Humans, which was the only reason why I dared approach them without transforming into a mortal. Well… Kobolds hated Demons too. But Cyclopes did not, right?

They weren’t that high-leveled. They were struggling to fight off the [Junior Centinels], so I highly doubted they could do anything against me even if they tried. So, I swooped down anyway, grabbing one of the Centinels as it leapt at a female figure.

She was short— about four foot tall, with incredibly pale skin, rosey cheeks, and bright orange hair. Her scream was high-pitched. Shrill. But she stopped when she realized the Centinel was just floating in the air, wriggling. She blinked.

“What in—”

I hurled the Centinel high up into the air, back into the forest, as I landed before her. I placed my hands on my hips, letting my wings return into my body, fixing her with a look.

“Hi, I’m Salvos!”

“Erm, h-hi? I’m Vis’anya…?”

“I’m here to save you and your leader!”

Her small eyes widened as I heard a skittering rapidly approaching me.

“Behind—”

I spun around, digging my claws deep into the [Junior Centinel]’s underbelly. Blood oozed around my claws as it struggled, before its entire body snapped in half, and I tossed it aside.

 

Defeated [Junior Centinel – Lvl. 52]!

Little-to-no experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 50 levels below you!

They were too tough for me to deal with using my Class. Or at least, too annoying to kill.

Vis’anya stared at me with her jaw dropped as I let the Centinel for. Another voice— deeper in cadence, but just as high-pitched— called out to her.

“What are you doing, Vis? Pick up your bow! They’re swarming us!”

The man raised a gray staff, aiming it at an incoming Centinel. Vis’anya struggled to her feet, but I shook my head.

“It’s fine. I’ll deal with them.”

Before she could say another word, I spun around and opened my mouth.

“Burn.”

The Centinels froze before they were incinerated. All the dozens of them filling the beach were turned to ash, just like that. The sand, touched by my flames, turned to glass. A blue aura overcame the beach for moments, making it seem like it was the ocean or the sky. But it was over soon after it began.

I took a step back, dusting my hands off. When I spun back around, I saw a dozen little figures gaping at me. The man who spoke to Vis’anya had his eyes bulging out of its sockets. Then he dropped to his knees.

“H-how…?”

Then he hurriedly bowed.

“Oh mighty Demon, immortal of the Netherworld, why have you come here?”

The rest followed suit. Vis’anya too. Her head dropped to the sand as her pointed ears aimed at the sky.

“I’m here to speak with Gukzar!”

I announced. And I sauntered up to him casually, proffering my hand. He hesitated, cracking an eye open as he looked up at me. I tried to smile reassuringly.

“And there’s no need to be scared. Just call me Salvos, alright?”

“I-I… see, mighty— no, Salvos.”

He straightened, letting out a soft cough, but he didn’t meet my gaze.

“I do apologize, but we know not who this Gukzar is.”

“He’s a Cyclops, I think. He’s supposed to be this tall, one eye? You don’t know him?”

“Unfortunately, our crew hasn’t made contact with any Cyclopes any time in this decade.”

“Aw, that sucks.”

I glowered. So, this was the wrong place, after all! I’d have to go searching again, didn’t I? I was about to go when I paused, glancing around at these people, barely more than half my height.

“What are you, anyway? I’ve never seen people like you before.”

“Us?”

He didn’t seem too keen to speak, but he did so anyway, overcoming whatever apprehension he felt from being around me.

“We are worker Elves, serving under the High Ruler Saf’ylos’nusa. We were supposed to deliver a shipment of eldergreen wood to the Dwarven states when a storm wrecked our ship a mere two nights ago.”

 

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