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A note from MelasDelta

Yoyo, second extra chapter of the week. Would y'all be nice and vote for me on TopWebFiction pls? Ty very much it would help me a ton I appreciate it

Amelia: The Level Zero [Hero] | Top Web Fiction

“Wait, Amelia!” Noele shouted out after me.

But I continued walking further down the dark corridor. My footfalls echoed in the winding tunnel as I glanced back at the blonde girl. She stood frozen at the entrance, too afraid to press forward.

“Stop being so scared, Noele,” I called back. “If you don’t hurry up, I’ll just leave you behind. And I won’t be there to save you if some S-ranked monster gets to you.”

“That’s—” She bit her lower lip. The Noble Spellsword quickly made her way to my side. She fixed me with a worried look, speaking in a hushed voice. “I’m not… scared, Amelia. It’s just… you know we’re being watched, right?”

“I am aware,” I said with a nod. “Honestly, I”m surprised you can sense it too. I’d have thought you’d be too low-leveled to notice.”

“Weren’t you the one who said levels don’t matter?” Noele narrowed her eyes at me.

“It doesn’t. And you’ve just proved my point.” I grinned back at her.

We headed down a gradual decline as the blonde girl shook her head. “Don’t you think we should be a little bit more careful if we’re being watched? That means Grat-ra’zun himself knows that we’re here.”

“That’s good, then. We’re here to have a chat with him, aren’t we?”

“He’s… never been keen about having visitors, Amelia.” Noele shifted uncomfortably as we turned a corner. “You saw that death barrier. He’s probably set up a lot more traps ahead of us too.”

“If you think he’d try and kill us, why did you suggest seeking him out, then?” I said flatly as I stopped.

She paused. Blinking, she met my gaze. And she spoke slowly. “I guess I suggested coming here on a whim after you said you killed a Lich King. I was still slightly skeptical when I brought it up at first— that’s why I didn’t really elaborate about how he’s an Elder Dragon until we got here— but after everything I’ve seen from you since then, I know you can handle yourself just fine.”

I waited, knowing she wasn’t finished yet. Noele raised her head and continued.

“But— I’m not you, Amelia. Even if you can walk through traps that can kill S-ranks just fine, I can’t survive that. I have to be cautious, or I can really end up dying here. And I can’t die. Not yet.”

I watched as she gritted her teeth. Just from what I knew about books and movies back on Earth, dragons were supposedly a really big deal, and it seemed to be the same way here in Vacuos. Also, there was apparently a distinction between any old dragon and an Elder Dragon, where the latter carried even more gravitas than the former. Nodding, I patted Noele reassuringly on the shoulder.

“You’re the one who said it yourself: you’re my apprentice now. I’d be a pretty big failure as your teacher if I let you die here while under my supervision, no?” I said simply.

Her eyes grew wide. She stared at me, her mouth bobbing open, at a loss for words. “I—”

“Also, I haven’t gotten my first month’s payment from you yet, so I can’t let you die until then,” I quickly added.

Noele paused. She blinked a few times. Then she rolled her eyes, scoffing. “I forgot you’re only doing this because you’re broke and need the money.”

“That was a joke.” I smirked at her as I ushered her forward. “Come on. Even if there are other traps further down, that death barrier was weak, anyways. So relax, Noele. We’ll be fine.”

“Right, right.”

 

—--

 

Grat-ra’zun watched as both girls continued uncaring further into the cavern. He heard their conversation through his scrying spell. Both of them were keen enough to sense his spying. But it was no matter, because neither did anything to stop it. Instead, the crimson dragon focused his attention on one of the two figures.

That brown-haired human killed a Lich King? Impossible. There shouldn’t be any Lich Kings around in this era. Not when a [Hero] had just been anointed by the World System. That meant Vacuos should have just begun its Cycle of Calamity. It should have taken another century at the very least for a Lich King to be born through their necromantic rituals. Unless… one of the Lich Kings of old had been restored to life.

The Elder Dragon huffed out a plume of smoke as he continued watching the ethereal image in thought. It was unlikely the human had mistaken a regular lich for a Lich King. That was just not a mistake someone who could venture up Mount Arkais would make. So this ‘Amelia’ had to have been telling the truth.

Who could it have been? Grat-ra’zun wondered. Which of the five Lich Kings could it have been? Immediately, the dragon crossed out two options from the list. It couldn’t have been Fihla the Only Female Lich King and Ruler of Arelioth’s Pass, nor could it have been Ar’elith the First Lich King and Lord of All Undeath. If it had been either of those two, half the continent of Laxo would’ve been plunged into chaos in just a week.

In fact, Grat-ra’zun was certain he’d have been woken up by panicked [Messages] and private [Missives] from empires, nations, and magical institutions all around the world on the very first day. But that hadn’t happened. So it couldn’t have been Ar’elith or Fihla.

That left Hozef the Lich King of the Forest, No’tika the Barbarian Lich King, and Znai the Undying Lich King of Insula. The Elder Dragon wasn’t certain which of those three it could’ve been. But considering that this human was a [Warrior], the most probable Lich King to have died by her blade was No’tika.

The Barbarian Lich King was famous for fighting with a small undead army, and even then, he would be at the front lines, being the first one to tear apart his enemies. The others would have too large a horde by their side to allow a lone adventurer to draw close. Not unless she came with her own army to counteract their numbers.

But judging by the fact that there were only two intruders wandering down the cavern, Grat-ra’zun could infer that Amelia, in fact, had no army she could call from.

In any case, any [Warrior] who could best No’tika the Barbarian Lich King was a considerable threat, even to the Elder Dragon. Grat-ra’zun was no fool. Anyone who could penetrate and disperse a death barrier with such ease should be taken seriously. There was no mistaking it— it wasn’t an accident or a fault in the spellwork.

He was an Elder Dragon. Igniz’s Arcane Champion. He was a master of magic, and he knew he wouldn’t allow his defenses to be poorly maintained. Shaking his head, Grat-ra’zun drew a clawed finger in the air, tracing runes out of pure mana. Instantly, these symbols connected far-off spells that had lay inert for centuries. He moved his hands like he was turning a switch, and his eyes flickered back towards the ethereal image.

“The easiest way to deal with [Warriors] is—” He watched as the hallway just ahead of the two humans glimmered dimly with magic. Invisible runes carved into the stone reactivated, breathed with a new life. “—to kill them with traps.”

Amelia walked forward, not realizing that the hallway around her was going to become her permanent prison. Her companion, Noele, didn’t notice this either. This time, both were walking blindly into a trap.

“Perish,” Grat-ra’zun whispered, and the spell symbols in his hands flashed. Rot in the [Eternal Prison of Heat Death]!”

The pair of adventurers paused as the ground beneath their feet shimmered brightly. Noele was the first to react. She leapt back, realizing that they had been caught. But she was too slow. Her back slammed against a white wall. A spatial cube formed around the two humans, trapping them in a rapidly cooling zone.

“Shit— we can’t get out!” the blonde human exclaimed. She spun around, only to slow in her movements. With each step she took, her body began to shiver more and more uncontrollably. “This is…”

Noele’s eyes widened. She looked down at her trembling hands, breathing in short gasps. Frost filled the room. Snow already flaked her eyelashes. Grat-ra’zun watched, pleased to see the effects of his spell in its full splendor.

He scarcely had the chance to cast the [Eternal Prison of Heat Death] as it was one of the few magicks he knew that required proper preparation beforehand. After all, it created a pocket space entirely separate from this realm with its own terrible climate. In a few more moments, the entire cube would be at absolute zero, any and all heat snuffed out, and all life left for dead.

The blonde human opened her mouth, speaking slowly. “So… cold—”

And Amelia punched the wall. The white cube shattered. A gust of warm air swept over the corridor, blowing away the snow covering Noele. The remnants of the pocket space collapsed around the two humans.

Grat-ra’zun’s eyes bulged from their sockets. “I-impossible…”

But his eyes weren’t deceiving him. He looked on as Amelia turned to her companion, tilting her head.

“You alright, Noele?”

“I’m fine… still a little bit cold.”

“You should stick closer to me— I probably would’ve saved us sooner if you hadn’t jumped back like that.”

“R-right.”

The two pressed on as the Elder Dragon watched. At first, staring baffled. Then snorting out bits of crimson flame in anger. He rose in his chamber and roared.

“These humans dare make a mockery of me? I will show them why I am the Glorious Terror of Mount Arkais!” He once again swiped his hand through the air, activating another spell. “Behold my might— [Omnidirectional Acid Hail]!”

Amelia and Noele reached a circular chamber as the dragon unleashed the spell at them. Large glowing green spikes came crashing down from every direction. Whether it was from the walls, the ceilings, or even flying up from the floor. This acid hail poured forth like rain, threatening to both pierce and melt the humans.

There was no way to dodge this. There was no way to defend against it either. Maybe Amelia could’ve saved herself, but her companion was doomed. Grat-ra’zun’s smile widened into a sneer of triumph… then slipped in shock.

Amelia casually strolled forward, blade in hand as she deflected every single one of the approaching glowing green spikes. Her hands moved as a blur— a perfect barrier that protected both herself and Noele who stuck close behind. They walked through the chamber unscathed, reaching another tunnel that descended further into the dragon’s lair.

“T-that’s…” Grat-ra’zun hesitated for a moment. Then he collected himself. “No matter. There is a reason why I have labored greatly to protect my lair. Those are far from the last traps they will find. Burn in a [Pit of Black Fire]!”

He roared as hole appeared beneath the two humans, threatening to drop them into dark raging flames. But Amelia just grabbed Noele and blew hard against the ground. The breath of air carried both of them up and out of the pit as the black fire was extinguished down below.

“Be torn apart in a [Particle Storm]!”

Amelia slashed up, shearing straight through the blanket of nanoparticles buzzing her way.

“Be obliterated by [True Lightning]!”

She redirected the bolt of—

.

.

.

They were getting close. Only a single corridor remained between the two humans and the Elder Dragon himself. Nothing could stop them. Grat-ra’zun had exhausted nearly everything in his arsenal. He only had a single remaining layer of defense.

“How about this?” he panted as a massive spell circle formed beneath him. “[Keeper Of Antiquity, Born From Dust. Lend Me Your Strength, Doll Of Mud. Take My Life, And Crush My Enemies— Golem Creation: Greater Earth Elemental]!”

The corridor before the two humans shifted. Bits of rocks broke off from the walls and ceiling, forming the vestiges of a giant figure made from stone. And Amelia kicked it aside before it could fully take shape. It collapsed into a pile of rubble as she urged Noele ahead.

“I think we’re reaching the end—”

The image vanished. Grat-ra’zun sighed, his wings slumping. All his traps had failed. His lair had been fully breached. Never in a thousand years did the dragon ever imagine two mere humans could make it this far. No— it was only the work of a single human as a second trailed behind.

“And now, they’ve arrived.” He closed his eyes. He could hear their footfalls growing closer as they would soon reach his hoard.

Grat-ra’zun wings spread wide, and a puff of smoke escaped his nostrils. They might have broken through his defenses, but there was still something that could be done. A single thing. The only thing that was left.

He flew up, moving to finally greet the two intruders before they found him themselves. To meet them at the entrance to his hoard.

 

—--

 

“Do you hear that, Amelia?” Noele frowned, glancing around. “That sounds like…”

“The beating of wings,” I said simply. “Brace yourself, Noele.”

She blinked, only to be blown off her feet as a hulking crimson mass came crashing down before the two of us. A red dragon barred the entrance to the final cave chamber. Scales glittering. Smoke puffing from its maw. It spread its wings wide as it brought its head down until its gaze was level with me, staring with slit-like pupils and golden eyes.

“That’s—” she started.

“I AM GRAT-RA’ZUN!” the dragon roared. “THE GREAT RAKAARZUN. GLORIOUS TERROR OF MOUNT ARKAIS.”

I stood my ground as I unsheathed my sword. Grat-ra’zun breathed out once, and a blast of smoke washed over me. The gust nearly sent Noele flying even further, but she clung desperately onto a nearby rock. A white glow overcame my blade as I readied myself, and the dragon continued listing out his titles.

“IGNIZ’S ARCANE CHAMPION. KING OF THE CRIMSON FLAME. ONE OF THE LAST ELDER DRAGONS LEFT ALIVE IN ALL OF VACUOS. AND—”

Grat-ra’zun raised his head. I narrowed my eyes. Noele winced, trembling in fear. But the dragon just bowed back down as he finished.

“—I surrender.”

I blinked. “Oh.”

 

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