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180. Centinels are Crap

The Elf man I was speaking to was called Nes’te’rn. His voice was squeaky at times, especially when he was stuttering over his words. I crossed my arms, listening to his explanation as he told me the story of how he and his crew ended up on this island.

His Class wasn’t exactly built for fighting. He was a Level 72 [Shipmaster Spellcaster]. He had Skills which were supposed to help navigate the ocean and its rocky seas. But unfortunately, a combination of an unnaturally powerful storm and the monsters that came with it tore a hole in the ship’s hull two nights ago. Which was how they ended up here.

“And ever since then, we’ve been fending off Centinel after Centinel. They keep coming, no matter how many we kill”

I glanced over at the ship, lying on its side from being washed in by the waves. The Elves had pulled it further inland, but still at the beach, away from the dense forest apparently crawling with Centinels.

Sitting atop a broken wooden beam protruding from the sand, I nodded along as Nes’te’rn finished his explanation.

“We think there’s a Lair, deep within that mountain. They come only in the morning or at night. So, we’re forced to collect wood in the afternoon to repair what’s left of our ship. If we hope to leave this place alive.”

“I see, I see. That’s very interesting.”

I hopped off back onto the sand and patted a hand on Nes’te’rn’s back.

“Well, good luck with that. I currently have a dilemma myself. I’m currently searching for Gukzar. I think I told you this, but he’s a Cyclops. Supposed to be tall. And maybe old?”

I shrugged as I stepped past the Elf.

“He’s not here, even though I thought he would be. I must’ve gotten lost somewhere. See you guys around!”

I raised an arm as my wings spread out behind me. Nes’te’rn didn’t say a word he just watched as I was about to leave, but a voice called out.

“Wait!”

I glanced over at the Elf woman running in a hurry. She halted, panting with her hands on her knees. Vis’anya took a deep breath and gathered herself as I cocked my head.

“Yes?”

“Please don’t go!”

She sputtered, much to my surprise.

“Huh?”

“If you leave us, we’ll be killed by those Centinels. Our mission is very important to High Ruler Saf’ylos’nusa! If we don’t, she’ll be punished by Dominion As’triel!”

“I… don’t know who these people are…”

I tried to recall if I’ve even heard of them before today, but I was pretty sure this was my first time.

“Dominion As’triel is the newly ordained Matriarch of all of Elvenkind. She entrusted High Ruler Saf’ylos’nusa to bring back weapons of war from the Dwarfs. We were the ones who were supposed to… supposed to…”

Vis’anya’s voice trailed off as she glanced over at the shipwreck. I followed her gaze.

“I’m not sure if I’m seeing your point?”

I was perplexed. Genuinely puzzled by what she was trying to say. Vis’anya shook her head.

“Please, help us!”

“But why? I don’t know you. And I’m busy! I have my own problems.”

My logic made sense to me; I had no reason to aid these people, especially if it detracted from what I was trying to do. But she was insistent. And her next words actually surprised me.

“But you could!”

Vis’anya waved her hands exasperatedly, and I blinked.

“What?”

“You could know us! But not if we die here. You could know High Ruler Saf’ylos’nusa, if she isn’t executed by Dominion As’triel. Please. You dealt with those Centinels without any trouble. If you could just stay with us and protect us from them until our ship is repaired—”

“Enough, Vis.”

It was Nes’te’rn who spoke. He shot her a glare before facing me.

“I apologize on behalf of Vis. She is young, barely a burgeoning adult. I was naive like her when I was her age. I’m sure she’ll grow wiser once she reaches her 50th year.”

I went cross-eyed. 50 years old? I wasn’t even five years old! Or wait, was I? I was pretty sure I was around that age. But I might’ve been under five by just a little bit. Not that I really cared. Years didn’t exist in the Netherworld.

“Wait, but how are you so young at 50? How long do Elves live? Humans only live until a hundred, don’t they?”

Nes’te’rn turned to me from lecturing Vis’anya. She made a face at the mention of Humans, but Nes’ter’n didn’t visibly react.

“Ah, those are Human years. We Elves use a different calendar. Or so I’ve been told by Dwarfs who have spoken to Humans.”

“Oh, that explains it.”

So, Elves had a shorter calendar than Humans for whatever reason. Nes’te’rn looked like he was about to continue scolding the Elf woman, but I shrugged.

“I think I’ll help you.”

I tapped a finger on my chin, and the pair of Elves paused.

“You will?”

Vis’anya brightened immediately.

Nes’te’rn paused.

“But why? Why’d you change your mind?”

I turned to the Elf woman. She was half my height. Long and pointed ears that were almost like horns.

“Vis’anya… or do you prefer Vis?”

“Either is welcome.”

She nodded eagerly. I smiled, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“I think you might have a point. I don’t know you, but I could get to know you. That’s an interesting thought I’ve never considered before. Plus, you guys don’t hate me just because I’m… this.”

I gestured at myself, and she shook her head vehemently.

“I’ve always heard about Demons! I’ve never seen one before! You’re the first I’ve ever met!”

“Really? And you Elves don’t hate me?”

“We hear about how you kill Humans— lots of Humans. We don’t really hate you. I kind of admire it, honestly.”

I beamed, raising my chin.

“Is that so? Well, since you think that. I’ll help you. But I won’t just protect your shipwreck. I’ll do you one better: I’ll kill all the Centinels in this island. Then you’ll be safe!”

I spread my wings wide as the Elves scattered across the sand watched. I wreathed myself in flames before shooting off into the forest.

“I’ll be back tomorrow with all of them dead!”

I was curious. I haven’t fought Centinels in a long while. The last time I went into a Centinel Lair, all I encountered were [Younger Centinels]. I was curious now, if there would be any [Older Centinels] or even [Senior Centinels].

I’d like to try them in a fight.

 

—--

 

[Passive - A Hunter's Sense] helped me find the source of all the Centinels in the island with ease. They came from the central mountain, towering over the forest and its lush green canopy. There was a large tunnel halfway up the steep slope, clearly burrowed through by the Centinels.

I saw the [Junior Centinels] lining the ceiling and the side walls. I simply burned them off with my blue flames, and they peeled off as their bodies shriveled up into balls.

 

Defeated [Junior Centinel – Lvl. 51]!

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

 

They weren’t a threat. Even as they leapt up at me. I easily dodged them and pressed on.

 

Now entering [Lair: Centinels Camp].

 

I dealt with all the [Junior Centinels] guarding the entrance and entered a large cave chamber full of Centinel eggs and [Younger Centinels]. I paused as I saw the small, squirming figures, constantly hatching and killing each other in a bloodbath.

“Here, I’ll help you guys with that!”

I gripped a handful of the tiny shapes with space magic and began to compress them into each other. There was a squelching sound as they let out a soft shriek, and after a few moments of hard concentration, they were squished.

 

Defeated [Younger Centinel – Lvl. 21]!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels below you!

 

 

Defeated [Younger Centinel – Lvl. 34]!

Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

 

I gathered their eggs as well, squeezing them as the figures within struggled to break free. They were squashed, but gave no experience.

“Huh. I should just burn them.”

I hurled balls of fire down at the eggs poking out like rocks and moved on, focusing only on the [Younger Centinels]. They weren’t hard to kill, to say the least.

The most dangerous part about this evolution of the Centinels were their speed and their terrible mandibles which could chew through rocks with ease. A party of Silver Ranked adventurers would have a lot of difficulty dealing with them. But I didn’t, since I wasn’t in danger of their attacks.

I flew out of the way with ease whenever they came leaping at me. Or catch them with my space magic. Or they’d just burn on my armor if they did land on my back.

It really wasn’t much of an issue. The biggest problem was how they seemed so intent on killing each other, that I received less experience than I should’ve for each kill.

I was getting bored of just using my Class to with the [Younger Centinels], wanting to use my flames and be done with it, when I heard a rumbling. The ceiling shook as a creature— no, a pair of creatures burst out from the ceiling. More Centinels poured down. A mixture of [Junior Centinels] and [Younger Centinels]. But a main, large creature which opened up that massive hole stood far taller than the rest.

It was about two dozen feet in length, with multiplied layers of sharp feet on its underbelly, below its shell. Its segmented body was protected by a thick carapace that seemed to sizzle with smoke— some sort of acid that could even eat through rock and stone.

[Older Centinel - Lvl. 83]

“Huh. Are these your children?”

I was answered by an ear-piercing shriek. The [Older Centinel] trampled over the other [Junior Centinels] and [Younger Centinels] as it lashed out at me, striking the hard stone wall and shredding it like it was paper.

“Woah, you’re fast, aren’t you?”

I floated above its head as it completely missed its attack. Baring my teeth, I grabbed the edge of one of its segments of shell, trying to pry it open with space magic.

“And durable too!”

It flipped around as acid poured out of its mandibles. I ducked out of the way, seeing that its underbelly, too, was protected.

It was a monster that was Level 83. A Platinum Rank threat. But here was the thing about Centinels. I’ve learned that while they had a strong layer of protective carapace over their body, their skin itself was far softer and weaker.

“So, I just have to rip that stupid shell out of your back, don’t I?”

I zipped through the air as the Centinel followed me, ripping apart its own children in a rage. Or maybe they weren’t its children. These were wild creatures. Maybe they just came to existence naturally, just like how I did.

Whatever the case was, I didn’t let go of its slowly denting shell on its back, somewhere around the middle of its long figure. Its shell wasn’t one long piece of armor, but separated pieces, like platemail. So, that meant I didn’t have to break its whole back to get to its soft body.

There were a few close calls, where the [Older Centinel] nearly struck me. It would’ve been dangerous. Not only was it not too far below my level, but as often said, Centinels had powerful bites.

My [Vitality] wasn’t the highest for my level. I did have a Pendant of Greater Protection and a set of flaming armor. But I wasn’t going to let myself get hit for no good reason.

It was going to take a while to even open it up for proper attacks. And it would take just as long to kill it.

“But it’s a good thing I have all the time in the world, don’t I?”

I grinned as it thrashed about, sending corpses of other Centinels flying and splattering on the walls and the ceiling. Laughing, I danced with the [Older Centinel] until it could dance no more. I broke it down bit by bit, slowly, with only my Class and my own Stat superiority.

When I was finished, the Centinels Camp was empty. A whole day had passed of non-stop fighting. But I won.

 

Defeated [Older Centinel – Lvl. 83]!

Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!

 

Cleared [Lair: Centinels Camp]!

Experience is awarded for clearing a Lair!

 

Class [Adept of the Fae] Level Up!

[Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 33] -> [Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 34]

Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!

 

Class [Adept of the Fae] Level Up!

[Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 34] -> [Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 35]

Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!


Class [Adept of the Fae] Level Up!

[Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 35] -> [Adept of the Fae - Lvl. 36]

Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!

 

[Advancement Available]

 

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