I shook my head, disappointed. With a crestfallen sigh, I let go of the pebble and it dropped to the ground with a heavy thud.
“Just a regular piece of rock. That’s dumb. What about this?”
It was an almost perfectly round gray ball. I was excited, thinking it was finally what I was searching for—
[Rock - It is a rock.]
But nope. It was just any old rock. Nothing special about it.
I tossed it to the side and sauntered off.
A voice came at me from above. I blinked and looked up to see the Devil hovering beneath the sun. He had his arms crossed and his lips were curled into a frown.
I gave him an inquiring look. He sputtered.
“What in my name are you doing?”
“Um, looking for the Cursed Boulder like you asked me to?”
I answered him. But he just stared at me, eyes twitching.
“I’ve been watching you turn over every piece of rock you see for the past three days.”
“Yep! That’s what I’ve been doing! Although… three days, huh?”
I tilted my head back.
“That’s less time than I thought.”
Sal cut me off, floating down next to me. I frowned.
“How are you flying without wings—”
“If you really want to get this job done before your school break is over, I suggest you stop picking up every pebble on the ground and start looking around for people.”
“Why would I do that? Aren’t I looking for rocks, not people? Cause rocks aren't people, Devil.”
“You’re not looking for a rock. You’re looking for a boulder. A Cursed Boulder.”
“A big rock! The size of that!”
The Devil gestured at a nearby rock. Bigger than the others, but very much still a rock. I crossed my arms.
He glared at me.
“If I have to watch you stare at rocks for the next three days, I will throw you straight to the Endlands for our next lesson.”
I looked at the Devil, perplexed. But he just shook his head.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I shall take my leave. Go and find someone, Salvos. Before I grow bored of you.”
I harrumphed and spun around. Without even looking, I knew the Devil was already gone at that point. I glowered as I searched this rocky wasteland. I was at the ‘entrance’ to the Beastmen Plains, or so Sal said. That meant I could find Beasmen around here, right?
Well, first I had to figure out what Beastmen even were. I didn’t know what they looked like. But judging from their name, I was going to assume they were people who looked like beasts. Maybe like [Beastkin]? But those were Spirits. And—
I glanced up at the blue sky dome above.
And I was still very much in the Mortal Realm. Definitely not the Spirit Plane. It had a green sky— I think.
My thoughts were interrupted as a soft growl crept up on me from behind. I turned to face the source of the noise, finding a pair of beady yellow eyes preying on me from between a set of cliffs. I cocked my head.
“Um, can I help you?”
I raised a brow, and a creature emerged from the shadows. It had four legs, like a kind of dog. Except if the dog lacked fur and was incredibly thin. Also, four times as big as a regular dog. Honestly, it could probably eat a whole dog.
[Gloomcoyote - Lvl. 61]
“[Gloomcoyote]? What kind of a name is that?”
It didn’t respond. Instead, it slowly approached me, circling me. More [Gloomcoyotes] appeared from behind, joining the first to flank me from all sides.
I tapped a finger on my chin.
“Are you called a [Gloomcoyote] because you’re sad? Why are you sad?”
My eyes widened.
“Did something happen to your family? I know— Belzu killed your family, didn’t he?”
The first [Gloomcoyote] leapt forward, and I easily stepped to the side.
“It’s a big problem. He’s been killing a lot of people these days.”
A second and third [Gloomcoyote] tried to pounce at me. They failed. I skipped away with a grin.
“I’d feel bad for you and your family, but…”
I felt a power surge through me. A set of invisible hands reached out, smacking back the first [Gloomcoyote] as it tried for me again. [Mystical Projection] held it in place as it struggled.
“But, unfortunately, you’re wild.”
With that, I sped forward and sliced its head off. I held up my claws, facing the remaining [Gloomcoyotes]. And I bared my teeth.
“So, I don’t really care.”
They weren’t the only ones to attack me throughout the day. But no matter what monsters came, I disposed of them quite easily. After all, I was far higher-leveled. Also, I had the Breastplate of Alexander on. It was not like any of them could hurt me, even if they were my level.
Defeated [Goomcoyote - Lvl. 61]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
Class [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] Level Up!
[Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 52] -> [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 53]
Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!
Class [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] Level Up!
[Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 54] -> [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 55]
Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!
Mountaintooth crept alongside the side of a cliff wall, holding in his breath with trembling lips. Despite his rather intimidating name, he was anything but intimidating. After all, he was but a cub— a little lion that walked on two feet without any claws, no more than five years of age.
Behind him, Amberarm and Sharpbraid followed. It was night, and the three children were lost in the mists that plagued the Bladed Mountains. Every cub of their tribe knew better than to venture deep into such a dangerous area, especially when it was dark. But they had no other choice. Their tribe had been slain. They were forced to flee— to the next village.
And the fastest way to reach it was by skirting the edges of the Bladed Mountains. At least, here, their attacker wouldn’t pursue them.
“Keep it down.”
He growled as Amberarm purred in fear. She clutched Sharpbraid by the arm— he was the oldest of the three, with a semblance of a mane growing around his neck.
“But what if we’re attacked by a [Gloomcoyote]? Or worse— a [Savage Critter]?”
Amberarm already had claws, unlike Mountaintooth or Sharpbraid. Female cubs mature earlier than male cubs in regards to claws and fangs. And he claws dug deep into Sharpbraid’s arm. He yelped.
“Ouch! That hurt!”
He stumbled back.
Honestly, the only thing Mountaintooth had going for him over the other two was his name, as well as his sense for survival. And right now, his senses were telling him that they were in danger. His round ears perked up as something shifted just ahead of him. He made a quick shushing motion to his friends, backing up against the cliff wall. Practically hugging it.
They followed him right as the thing emerged from the shadows. It trudged over the rocky floor, sending small pebbles down crumbling down the steep decline that oversaw the actual Beastmen Plains. It walked on six legs, with pink skin that blended with some of the colorful landscape. Its head was like a flowerbud, tightly shut with only a pair of nostrils— no eyes. And it approached the three cubs.
A [Savage Critter]. Mountaintooth’s eyes grew wide in recognition and fear. It had to be over Level 70— he couldn’t identify it, but it was supposed to be a very high-leveled monster that only the strongest of his tribe could defeat.
Sharpbraid gritted his teeth and glared at Amberarm.
“You just had to open your big mouth, didn’t you?”
“You’re the one who yelped like a kitten—”
“Quiet. Both of you.”
Mountaintooth snarled. He didn’t want to speak, but he had no choice. His friends wouldn’t shut up, and a [Savage Critter] relied purely on sound. Its head snapped directly towards him, and he tensed.
His friends froze, unable to say anything. He just wanted to stand there and hope for the best too. However, he knew better than to do that. It would kill them. It knew they were there.
The [Savage Critter] stalked their way, each foot followed by another. Like a cacophony of thuds with each step. It sniffed the air as it drew closer. It could smell their fear. The perspiration that wetted Mountaintooth’s fur— it perfumed the air, attracting the monster like a butterfly to a flower.
This is where it ends… Mountaintooth closed his eyes. He couldn’t warn the other tribes. This was the one thing Papa had tasked him to do. But here he was, going to die to some monster. It was so ridiculous. He… he… no.
He wouldn’t give up here. He looked over at his friends as he peeled himself from the cliffeside.
That was all he said. They stared at him as he dashed to the side. The [Savage Critter] jerked up to face him in surprise. It took a moment to register the footsteps, not instantly pouncing in case of a trap. They were savage, not stupid, after all.
Mountaintooth didn’t really know what he was doing. He didn’t even have a Class yet. He was close— he was Level 8. But no Class. All he had was his one Racial Skill.
“Come here you ugly, deformed dog!”
He shouted, and his voice echoed through the Bladed Mountains, slicing the blanket of silence and cutting through the thick mist covering the tall, vertical cliffs.
It caused the monster to pause for a second. A single second. Mountaintooth wasn’t even sure if Amberarm and Sharpbraid listened to him. He just needed to draw the [Savage Critter] away from them. Maybe it would even forget about his friends once it finished eating him.
He slammed his eyes shut, accepting what was to come with open arms. The [Savage Critter] howled and leapt forward as its face opened up— like a terrible flower unfurling to consume him. Mountaintooth waited for his death to arrive. He hoped it would be quick. But it came slowly. So slowly, in fact, that it never arrived.
Blinking, he opened his eyes and stared at the floating [Savage Critter]. It struggled mid-air, held by an invisible arm as it snapped at the air. A figure appeared from the mists. One with silver hair and gleaming golden eyes.
It had a dark blue coat of fur that somehow only reached to its arms and legs— not the hands or legs or face— with a black mane-thing around its neck. It vanished and appeared right before the [Savage Critter], baring its not-so-sharp teeth.
“Hi. I’m Salvos.”
For whatever reason, this thing— this Salvos— seemed to greet the monster. However, the [Savage Critter] broke free from whatever was holding it and struck for the Salvos.
The Salvos ducked under the attack and frowned.
“That’s rude, you didn’t even tell me your name!”
It struck the [Savage Critter] twice, and the monster died. Mountaintooth couldn’t help but gawk at that. How…?
[??? - Lvl. ???]
Mountaintooth couldn’t identify either the Salvos or the [Savage Critter], but the gap between them was so large, the former couldn’t even put up a fight.
He wasn’t sure how to react. But it was clear that the Salvos was not there to harm him— or if it was, it was intelligent enough to speak. So, it was better off for Mountaintooth not to aggravate it. He got to his feet, stumbling and murmuring under his breath.
He inhaled deeply, bowing low.
“Thank you, you saved my life—”
“Finally, a person!”
Before he could finish saying his thanks, the Salvos picked him up and spun him around.
“You’re a lifesaver!”
It exclaimed. Mountaintooth blinked.
“But… you’re the one who saved me.”