Once I had heard about the issue that Fyor was expected to have in the future, I was noticeably less excited about it. I mean, there were plenty of ways for the girls to counteract the increasing gravity problem, even if it was just to create a training regiment that involved teaching people either the monk class or something else that provided stamina boosts. Hell, I’d say it would even be a good idea for people to have that kind of training anyways, given that the upper floors become significantly more dangerous as well.
Either way, I decided to simply fast forward Earth by another ten years. I had already given the instruction to Aurivy to move the Fairy Gate once the elves had the land set up. This way it would give some time for the diplomatic relations to settle after the change, as I was quite sure that things would get hectic for a little while.
Within the kingdom of Salor, a group of nobles were sitting around a large table, laughing merrily as they sipped their wines. They were the ones who had chosen to leave when the threat of having the gate taken was issued, intending to reclaim whatever land it had arrived on. And yet, four days after the deadline had passed, they returned only to find that their worries were in vain. The gate remained where it had always been.
They weren’t sure if the Keeper had really been bluffing and couldn’t move the gate, or if the king had managed to fool him into thinking that his demands had been met. Either way, their land was secure.
However, just as they were celebrating, a young kitsune man rushed into the room, throwing open the door. There was a look of sheer panic on his face, but in the drunken minds of the nobles, that meant little. “What are you doing here, boy?!” One of the nobles, a kitsune woman with raven black hair, asked in a slurred tone while she shakily rose to her feet.
“I-i-it’s gone!” He stammered out in a panic, afraid that he would get more than a simple punishment if he did not speak immediately. “The gate vanished!”
“What’sh thish boy talkin’ bout now?” Another noble asked, his red skin seeming a bit darker than normal. “The gate canna’ be moved.”
“It’s gone!” He shouted out again. “It just vanished!” Rather than staying around to wait for the nobles to collect their wits, the boy ran out of the room in order to inform other influential people about this matter. Maybe there would be some who weren’t elbow deep in their drink by the time he found them…
Following this event, the kingdom of Salor suffered a cataclysmic change. The people, who had found out about the king going against the Keeper’s wishes and costing them all the gate, went into a rage. Families had been separated, no longer able to contact their loved ones.
From the king to the nobles, all were forced to take the blame. Even those who had pleaded to give in to what the Keeper wanted could not protect themselves. The public raged, and they suffered for it. When the ruling faction fell, the kingdom had been destroyed.
Over the following months, three nations were born in the land that had once been Salor. Each was small, barely having the ability to protect themselves from the local monsters.
To the north was the Jahud, a nation formed from those who believed they saw reason after their bloodlust had passed. In reality, they were just looking for someone else to blame. Now, they blamed the Keeper for taking the gate away from them.
To the south lived the Sunari, a nation that simply wanted to pick up the pieces of what was left behind. They did not want to cast blame or throw stones anymore, and only desired to live with what little they had left.
Finally, centered around the portal leading to the elven lands, there was the city-state of Lor. They were the ones who had been closest to the shore when the violence broke out, and furthest away from those that they could blame.
When news reached them that Salor was falling, they thought that some terrifying monster had emerged. Thus, the lord of Lor had passed through the gate to the elven lands, and requested aid from the locals to fortify his lands. The request was granted, with a hundred strong masters being sent to help with the defense.
Yet days passed, and there was no attack. Rather, the real cause of the disturbance reached their ears. As they had elven soldiers guarding their walls, it was only natural that they learned where the gate had gone. In his panic, the lord ordered a seal on this information, afraid that the splintered remnants of Salor would join forces and attack his land in order to storm the territory of the elves.
Unfortunately for him, the world had grown too much. Information could no longer be contained so easily once it reached the public’s ears. He had bought some time, allowing the other two nations to be born, but the news soon got out. While Sunari showed little movement, the same could not be said of Jahud.
The armies of Jahud flew upon the night, wishing to go forth and crush the elves like they had done the king of Salor. Their victory over the nobility made them confident in their strength, and they thought themselves invincible. They had no idea that their actions had awoken something slumbering within the ground.
A monster of lowly birth, too strong for its own good. Its skin stronger than enchanted steel, its teeth sharper than spears. When it found that it did not have a proper source of food, it was forced to hibernate, conserving as much of its energy as it could to prepare for a day when a better meal appeared before it.
And when blood spilled and filled the soil, dripping into the chasms where it had put itself to rest, its nose twitched. Slowly, its eyes opened. The beast was by no means massive, a mere six feet tall and ten long. On the surface it looked like a pitch black wolf, but its fur seemed to shimmer as it moved.
Within the blood, it smelled food. A food that it could feast upon, food that could sate its endless hunger. And so, the wolf lifted its head and howled. And with that howl, the world around it shook. Rocks fell from the ceiling of the chasm, crashing down around it. Some landed directly on the wolf, shattering on contact.
Soon, a hole appeared, letting the beast see the sky for the first time. This was the birth of destruction, for a calamity walked the lands. It took a step forward, vanishing from its position and appearing on the surface above. The food around it had grown stale, the battle here fought many days ago.
But that would not deter the beast, its eyes looking north. It could smell food. So much food to eat. And the food was moving.
Another step brought the wolf out of the clearing where it had appeared, and landed it several kilometers away, where it could see the food flying in the air. The food was attached to such frail red birds, but that didn’t matter. It would eat it all the same.
Once more, it let out a howl, shaking the ground and the trees. Nearby, the army of demons flew with spears in hand, ready to fight to quell the rage in their hearts. But when that sound hit them, they halted. Many were pushed back purely by the force of the howl, others finding themselves bleeding from the ears, but that was not the worst of it.
The minds of the demons began to grow clouded, their memories becoming hazy. All of their levels were being stripped away by some unseen power, and with them the experiences accumulated. One among them turned, and saw the pitch black wolf standing atop a hill in the distance. “It’s that thing!” He shouted out, recalling the howl that had shook their very being.
The army of demons turned on this new target, the mages casting magical lightning down on it. However, the wolf simply stood there, unphased. Next came the warriors, charging down with their spears. They stabbed at the wolf’s small frame as soon as they approached, only to have their spears break upon contact with its hide.
Their shock did not last long. No, they were currently in the way of its food. Such tasty food, it made the beast feel stronger, faster. It raised one of its paws and lightly swatted at the demon in front of it. The demon’s body burst as if a balloon popping, blood and gore splashing everywhere while bone shrapnel flew out.
Ahh, there was the food. The tasty food, yummy food. Good food. Opening its maw, the wolf did not let out another howl. Rather, it breathed in. A vortex of wind began to pull in the demons, a black sphere forming in the mouth of the beast. One by one they fell into the sphere, their bodies crushed by the pressure long before they had the ability to resist.
Soon, the last of the food was gone, and the wolf turned to look north again. It could smell more food. So much more. Finally, it would not feel hunger. Finally, it could feast.
This was the day that Jahud fell. A disaster fell upon their lands that none could withstand. This sated the wolf briefly, before it looked south. And on the next day… Sunari fell. Lor, blissfully unaware that death was approaching, still prepared for the approach of the Jahud armies. As it meant protecting their home as well, the master from the elven lands did not return home and chose to aid in the defense.
At least, until they felt it approaching. A strength beyond that of any mortal. In their hearts, they prayed. Prayed for the protection that only the gods could provide. Some even urgently sent messages to the only mortal they knew of who could stand against it.
Ever faithful to her duties, Tsubaki appeared just as the wolf was approaching. However, even she felt terror deep in her soul when she sensed the strength of the monster. The beast before her, just barely visible on the horizon, easily qualified as a fully matured disaster. But, there was more to it than that. A strength she didn’t even feel from the Ten Disasters.
“Well, this turned into a real mess, hasn’t it?” A voice spoke up from next to her, catching Tsubaki by surprise. Turning, she saw a familiar lycan woman with black hair, clad in leather armor. In her hand was a shining golden bow.
“You… Lady Accalia?” Tsubaki asked politely, knowing the goddess on site. She was beastkin by birth, so the appearances of the four Sister Goddesses had been engrained into her since she was a baby, let alone the fact that she had personally met this goddess on multiple occasions.
“That’s right. Don’t worry, I’m only here for a moment. You can’t take that thing on by yourself, can you?” Accalia asked as she turned to face Tsubaki, her eyes seeming to pierce deep within the kitsune’s heart.
“I… No, it is unlikely. This creature is far stronger than any disaster I know. I plead with the Goddess for aid.” Tsubaki bowed her head low as she asked Accalia for assistance. She had faced Disasters before, though they were not mature. Even then, she knew that only her strongest weapon could deal any damage to them. If this thing was even stronger than those… it was unlikely that she would be able to harm it.
“That’s what I’m here for.” Accalia lifted her hand, offering her bow to Tsubaki. “You have the qualifications to wield my bow in this battle. I trust your Archer levels are not just for show?”
Tsubaki blinked in surprise, before remembering that she was in the presence of a Goddess. “No, my Goddess.” She humbly accepted the bow, feeling the great weight of it in her hands.
“This is the Bow of the Wild Hunt.” Accalia explained, and only now did Tsubaki notice that the wolf had stopped in the distance, held down by some unseen force. “It does not take arrows, only the energy of its wielder. Mana, Ki, even your spirit can be used. The more energy you put in, the stronger the result. Now, it’s time for me to go. I think you can handle it from here.”
As soon as her words faded away, so too did she. And so did the restrictive binding placed on the wolf in the distance. It stood up, and there was a fury within its eyes. It had been held back from eating, and it felt the hunger approaching again.
Tsubaki looked down to examine the bow, and noticed a series of engravings on it. Birds, wolves, all manner of beasts were carved into the golden weapon. When she looked up and saw that the wolf was approaching again, she jumped up onto the wall. “Everyone, back through the portal!” She commanded with her loudest voice.
If she could kill this creature, everything would be fine. But if not… she could at least destroy the portal, and prevent it from reaching the elven mainland. Seeing that even Tsubaki was uncertain about victory, people began to panic. They rushed towards the portal in a frenzy, not even hesitating to trample over their kin if it meant getting out.
Tsubaki simply sighed as she saw this, and then saw that the wolf was opening its mouth. Without hesitation, she plucked at the string of the bow, finding that it took quite a bit of strength to draw it back. But she did still draw it, and fed some of her energy into the bow.
The ki she fed into the bow created an arrow with a bird’s beak as its head. When she released the arrow, it shattered, turning into a golden bird that flew towards the wolf. The wolf was just about to let out its howl when the golden bird smashed into the side of its head, making it flinch slightly.
That small flinch was enough to let Tsubaki know that this battle was possible. “Goddess of Death, I offer to you a sacrifice.” She whispered a prayer to Irena as she pulled the bow. “My lord, by your command, I become your blade.” Then came her oath to her Keeper.
Her energy soared, forming a tangible aura around her while the wolf growled in frustration. The earlier attack was the closest thing that it had felt to pain. While it did not truly hurt, it was enough to give this beast, which had never before felt pain, pause. Somewhere deep in its mind, it recognized a sense of danger.
But at the same time… the food standing before it was the tastiest food it had ever seen. And never underestimate the hunger of a wolf. It took a step forward to charge again, Tsubaki’s eyes barely able to track its movements.
Five arrows formed along the string of the bow, attached to the string without her even needing to hold them in place. One blue, one an earthen yellow, one silver, one green, and one pure shining gold. With the five arrows, the true power of the bow released itself. Dense fog rolled up from the ground, and the sky overhead darkened. A howl emerged, but not that of the Disaster.
A voice spoke up, seeming to radiate from the bow itself. “Begin the hunt.” Tsubaki took that as the command to release the bowstring, all five arrows launching out at different angles.
The ki arrow shattered again, this time turning into over a dozen birds, dozens more forming from the mist. The mana arrow likewise shattered, creating six glowing blue wolves, six more joining from the mist.
Next came the arrow of nature, which took the form of three flaming horses, and the arrow of Tsubaki’s spirit which granted them ghostly riders. Similarly, more horsemen emerged, summoned from the mist.
Finally, the arrow of Tsubaki’s divine spark. Her strongest weapon. The divine arrow did not change into a beast, nor a spectral warrior. Instead, it became a man. His body was clad in leather furs, and two axes with bone blades rested in his hands, but she knew his figure. The man she knew as her lord led the Wild Hunt.
When he lifted his axe, and pointed it towards the wolf, the birds let out a caw that filled the air, diving down and pecking at its flesh. Tsubaki had placed all of her energy in the attack, to the point where her body was beginning to shrink once again. However, there was an obvious result. The hairs of the wolf, which had not been phased by the stabs of spears, broke, the skin that could resist falling boulders was pierced.
The wolf felt pain for the first time, letting out a cry as one of the birds pecked out its eye. Its cry caused the air to visibly shake, the birds around it shattering. But after the birds came the wolves. Twelve wolves made of mana charging forward, running as a pack. They were considerably smaller than their target, but they still lunged at it.
The Disaster raised its paw to crush one of the wolves, biting at the head of another, but there were still so many more. They clawed and bit at its flesh, showing a power that could only be displayed by a godly weapon. Yet even still, this only caused small changes in the health bar above the wolf.
Tsubaki began to grow nervous as the last wolf perished, and the six horsemen charged in. By now, the monster was scared, but it was also angry. It opened its mouth, once again summoning the vortex that had claimed so many lives.
The walls of Lor shook under the pressure of the wind, the wards activating to hold it strong. Even Tsubaki had to hold on in order to be sucked in, now that she had lost so much of her strength, let alone the horsemen. They and their horses collapsed, turning into mists that flew into the mouth of the wolf.
Finally, the Huntsman stepped forward, seeming unaffected by the wind. While the wolf watched him approach, it felt a stabbing pain in its mind. The spirits it had consumed rampaged within it, tearing it apart at its weakest point. Now, the health bar began to decline sharply, whimpers emerging from the wolf’s mouth.
When the Huntsman arrived in front of the wolf, he struck down with one of his bone axes, cleaving off the head off the weakened disaster. Tsubaki let out a sigh of relief when she saw that the health bar disappeared, the vortex of wind no longer pulling on her body. Tsubaki felt a small pain in her head, as if something had gone missing, but knew that she could ask the Goddess about it when she saw her again.
Just as Tsubaki prepared to go and greet the Huntsman, she saw him shatter into golden light, a small smile forming on her face. Belatedly, she realized that he was only an entity summoned by the bow, rather than the true Keeper. As that thought occurred to her, she noticed that her hand was now empty. The Bow of the Wild Hunt had vanished! Instead, she saw a message appearing in front of her.
You have successfully raided the World Wolf, a being beyond the limits of power!
Congratulations! You have earned an achievement!