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A note from UnstoppableJuggernaut

Hello mighty readers of Fool!

Today I would like to do a shoutout that feels like it needs no introduction. Void Herald has come out with a new fiction that I'm really excited about: Underland. This is a darker fantasy that's not a litRPG, and has a unique magic system. Very similar to Bloodborne in tone, and what a coincidence is that? Since I was just talking about Bloodborne 2 yesterday!

I really suggest checking it out. 

Alrighty, let's finish this fight like Master Chief. He doesn't afraid of anything.

The flight potion released in a cloud, mixing with the dust and spraying over Alex and his captor. The monster continued assaulting him, desperate to get around his shield with its claws.

Alex’s mind raced in confusion

Why wasn’t-

‘Breath!’ he thought. ‘It hadn’t cried out when Claygon had hit it! It's not coughing from the dust! The bloody thing is holding its breath!’

He shot the forceball behind his head and began spinning it around, whipping the dust and potion-cloud directly at its eyes. The monster snorted, shaking its head as the gaseous mixture flew into its face.

Choo.

A powerful sneeze erupted from the creature, immediately followed by a gasp as it sucked in a deep breath of air. A breath of air filled with potion.

Its eyes went wide with realization. It knew what the gas could do.

Whoosh!

Alex was rolled to the side as the monster suddenly shot away, striking a wall with a howl of pain.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

The creature slammed into the granary floor, walls, ceiling and beams with horrifying force. Alex climbed to his feet—protected from the gas by his Orb of Air—and watched the beast crash through shelves loaded with flour sacks.

Crnch.

Wood splintered as the white powder was scattered all around him.

Scrrrp.

The monster's screams rose to ear-piercing shrieks with each impact.

A bloody arm flew end over end past Alex’s head, torn from the monster by the flight magic pulling the limb one way, while the body was dragged another.

Crack!

Something cracked as the monster slammed into Claygon’s massive body and bounced off.

Alex swore, ducking quickly as it flew over his head.

He kept his eye on it as it rebounded around the granary, then he connected with Claygon.

“Keep holding that shelf up, but if that thing comes near you again, hit it hard,” Alex said.

Claygon’s lower arms rose, ready to strike as the monster was flung around the building.

He didn’t have to wait long: it bounced off a wooden support beam and launched toward the golem.

Whoosh!

His massive limb snapped out.

Crunch.

Something shattered from the impact; Alex heard hard objects rattle across the floor as the monster was blasted toward the front of the building. He looked down just in time to see a stinger-like tooth roll to a gentle stop by his foot.

Crack.

The creature’s body glanced off the doorway and sailed into the night.

Alex ran after it, instructing Claygon to stay where he was.

He got outside just as the creature was raising its hand to protect itself from a tree that it slammed into torso-first, only to drop to the ground before being dragged along the grass, then shooting into the air like a bird. It spun, whirled and looped repeatedly—trailing blood through the night—before it finally crashed to the ground as the potion’s magic faded.

It had travelled far from the granary, landing in a twitching heap.

Shockingly, it began to rise. The resilience the thing had was terrifying.

It began to drag itself farther away, trying to put distance between itself and Alex. It could barely crawl and was leaving a trail of blood staining the grass from its many wounds and ragged stump. Alex listened for breathing with his potion-enhanced senses. He could hear shallow breaths slowly wheezing from its chest.

It was almost done.

He took a step toward the monster as his mind turned to loved ones. He was worried and wanted to get back to them.

The monster suddenly shuddered and fell over.

Its breathing stopped.

Good, now he could get back to his sister and Theresa. Alex turned and began to head back toward the manor when something occurred to him. He remembered the xrythak eggs and how valuable monster parts were. This was an opportunity. He’d have to get the creature’s body, but dragging the heavy monster corpse all the way back to the manor himself—since Claygon had his hands full—would be a problem. He didn’t want to leave the body unattended but he needed to get back.

Maybe he could kill two birds with one stone.

Alex looked through the battlefield until he saw what he was looking for.


The Ravener’s hunter desperately crawled away from its quarry.

It shuddered; bones were shattered throughout its body and its muscles were torn. Its breath rasped and was becoming shallow. Its vision swam. Its thoughts were cloudy.

If the hunter hadn’t been granted supernatural fortitude by The Ravener, it would have died several blows ago. If the statue’s strike to its jaw had landed solidly, its skull would be pulp.

As it was, it knew it would not escape the battlefield alive.

There would be no return to its master.

There would not even be another chance to attack the quarry. It had failed.

‘No!’ it thought. ‘I cannot fail. I cannot.

A loud, wheezing breath escaped it, the hunter collapsed on the ground. Its chest rose and fell once. Twice. Then its breathing stopped.

On purpose.

Even as its body grew colder, it held on to a last bit of life-force and will. Its teeth were shattered, ruining its venomous bite. One of its claws was gone. But it had one claw left.

If it could feign death just long enough to lure the quarry close, then it would manage one final attack: a claw that would swipe across a precious blood vessel in the leg. It was its only chance. Listening carefully to the sound of the quarry, it waited, preparing for it to get within striking range.

Then the quarry spoke:

“Hey, Brutus! Brutus!” it called out in a surprisingly gentle voice, though the hunter had no idea what it meant.

There was a pause, then the prey spoke a single word:

“Fetch.”

Fetch?

The hunter was unfamiliar with the word.

What did it mean? Was it a magic word that the mortal was usi-

It paused.

What was that noise?

Like massive paws churning the earth.

The assassin continued to play dead, yet felt panic rising as the sound bounded closer. Something…unfamiliar rose up. Fear. Not fear of failing its purpose but—for the first time in its young life—fear for its continued existence. It recognized the fear as what it saw in the creatures it had killed.

Now the proud hunter—one of the most elite of the Ravener’s monsters—was the same as them: prey.

Helpless, prey.

The hunter had become the hunted.

Fear drove it to turn at the last moment to try and fend off whatever was coming. The sweep of its claw—once swift, decisive and deadly—now seemed weak and feeble. It struck too early, well before the three-headed beast that rushed it was in range.

And now the last of its strength was expended.

The final thing it saw in the mortal world were three sets of canine jaws surging toward its neck.

It still had no clue what ‘fetch’ meant.


Alex panicked when the monster—which he’d thought was dead—struck out in an attack toward Brutus. But he needn’t have worried. After the feeble swing of its arm, Brutus jumped onto the creature and mauled it thoroughly.

It stopped moving. Permanently, this time.

Already on his way back to find his loved ones, Alex had paused briefly when the monster had acted, but he was making his way to the back gardens again. Brutus followed, bringing the monster’s carcass like it hardly weighed anything.

The battle was over.

At the front of the manor, the few monsters still alive were scattering in all directions, licking their wounds and crying out in fear. The patrizia had left some of his guards behind, while he took a contingent—including Isolde and Khalik—and rushed toward the back of the manor.

Alex could no longer hear sounds of fighting coming from the back, but quickened his pace.

When he arrived, the monsters were either gone or dead. Guardsmen and servants rushed here and there, bringing bandages, poultices and potions.

Bodies with sheets covering them from head to toe lay motionless on the ground. People—guards and guests alike—lay groaning on blankets with their wounds being tended to.

One of the dryads was moving among the wounded. She chanted to the spirits of her forest; her hands glowed with a green light that also shone along the branches of her willow-like hair. Where she pressed her hands to the injured, wounds closed and healthy colour returned to their skin.

“Theresa!” Alex cried, looking around among those being cared for. “Theresa!”

He’d trusted her to be safe while he was chasing the monster, but what if she'd only pretended to be okay? Maybe her wounds had been worse than they’d looked. Maybe her bleeding had gotten worse while he was fighting the monster and-

Alex let out a yelp of pain as something collided with him from the side. Warm, strong arms wrapped around him.

“Agh!” he grunted. “My monster wounds! My monster wounds! You’re squeezing my monster wounds!”

He looked down to see Theresa—most of her wounds looked like they’d been healed by dryad-magic or bandaged—hugging him with her head pressed into his side.

“Oh, thank The Traveller, thank The Traveller you’re alright!” Theresa said, loosening her grip on him. But only a little.

“Hey, that’s my line.” He hugged her back tightly, grunting as she was pressed against his wounds. “I kept imagining all kinds of horrible stuff, like I’d get back and you’d be dead or something would have kidnapped you or like you got hit on the head and lost your memory or-”

“Alex, just hold me,” she said. “No doom and gloom. Monsters attacked. We won. You’re okay. I’m okay. We’re okay. Let’s not get caught up on the what-ifs.”

His mind immediately conjured three or four more what-ifs, but he just acknowledged them and let them go. Instead, he tightened his grip on his best friend…and now his love.

He wasn’t planning on letting go any time soon.

Though he needed to check on Selina.

And maybe he should get his wounds looked at too.

And tell the patrizia about how Claygon was holding up a part of his granary.

A short ‘woof’ drew his attention.

Brutus was looming beside Theresa and him, with the limp form of the monster in two mouths.

“Good boy,” he mouthed at the cerberus, who wagged his tail. Later, Alex would also need to look into what the hell kind of monster it was that had tried to kill them.

Another thought occurred to him, making him smile.

Operation ‘fetch’ was a major success.


“Alex!” Selina cried as she rushed into her brother’s open arms.

Now that the last of the monsters had been wiped out and the patrizia’s guards, hounds and dryad allies had chased off or killed any stragglers, Giuseppe had declared the estate safe.

Everyone who’d been rushed into the manor were allowed to come out; his little sister had sprinted out of the crowd, looking for him. Alex was glad his hug was big enough for the two most important people in his life at the same time.

Thundar followed, shaking his head. Much of the earlier drunkenness had faded from his eyes. Alex supposed that a pitched battle tended to sober one up. “That little imp actually punched me in the arm trying to get back out here. It hurt too: we might’ve won faster if you’d just turned her loose.”

Alex didn’t even reply, shifting so that his bandages weren’t pressed against Selina.

“We won,” Khalik said. There was a note of victory in his voice, but his eyes were sad. “But at a cost. Some lost their lives tonight and a sweet memory is now sour.”

Thundar looked on grimly. “It could’ve been worse. A lot worse.”

“Evil beasts!” Alex heard a familiar voice.

Isolde was near her cousin, staring at the monsters as they were dragged from the garden. “Evil, evil beasts!”

Her hands balled into fists.

If looks could kill, those monsters would have been completely disintegrated by her glare. She seemed to be more upset than Giuseppe was. The patrizia was still rightfully in full-blown leadership mode and was busy directing servants and guards to serve his battered guests as much as possible.

He’d already commanded several of his sky-boats to the back garden, and they waited to ferry the tired and newly healed back to their homes when they were ready to leave. Servants went among those who’d recovered, offering hot wine and food to soothe the belly and nerves.

Yet, Alex could see the tension in Guiseppe’s every move.

It reminded him of how Mr. and Mrs. Lu had been on the night the Roth Alehouse had burned.

Collected and decisive on the outside.

Distressed on the inside.

Alex was distressed about not knowing the origin of the attack.

He’d have to tell Baelin about what had happened tonight: the chancellor would have access to Thameish bestiaries for research purposes. They might be able to tell them if the three monsters were from Thameland; if they were, that would confirm Alex’s worst fears. He was really hoping, though, that the reason the beasts had attacked him had nothing to do with Thameland: maybe the damage his potions had done to their forces could be the reason they’d targeted him.

As the night wore on, most on the estate learned from the dryads that a creature like the one Brutus had fetched had attacked them in their forest: most concluded that it was some local creature of sharp intellect. Or something from the city: there had been times in the past when a wizard’s experiment had escaped to wreak havoc in the wider world. Or something that had emerged from deep in The Barrens, where the horrors grew more numerous and deadly.

Still, Alex could help but wonder.

His attention was drawn by the sound of Isolde approaching. The young woman looked troubled, but she smiled weakly as she came to her friends. “How do you all fare?” she asked gently.

“Good, all things considered,” Khalik shrugged. “It is a shame, though.” He looked up at the glowing illusionary fish still swimming above the garden. “This was no night for blood.”

“It was not,” Isolde said, with a deep mournful note in her voice. She glared at the monster dangling in Brutus’ mouth. “Vile, awful creature.”

“Yeah, about that.” Thundar bent down, looking at the wreckage that was the monster’s corpse. “What is it?”

“I have no idea,” Alex said. “But I plan on taking it to Baelin and I’m planning on finding out. I’m sure a lot of people will be very interested in knowing where it came from.”

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A note from UnstoppableJuggernaut

YES! I've been waiting to put in the fetch-kill for AGES! I am so happy, lol! I didn't manage to get in the fuel-air explosion right away, but did get THIS!

Hahahhahaha!

Alrighty, I'll see you all tomorrow! Only a handful of chapters left until the end of book 1!

I'll see you tomorrow, my fine friends!


Big thanks to all my readers—I appreciate each and every one of you—and a very special thanks to my patrons on my Patreon

If you want, I'd love it if you boosted me on Top Web Fiction through the following link.

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UnstoppableJuggernaut

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