Dark Lord Saga

edited July 2015 in Original Stories
Chapter 1
What is a Hero?

A vast land of turmoil and grace. A land large enough to be called its own world. The Endless Continent encompassed all of the known human race. A population of nearly fifteen billion people. Here where mankind was as numerous as the grains of sand on the earth there was a small village overlooking a cliff of a tall and mighty mountain. A mountain so large that it completely dwarfed many nations, and could be seen from nearly any point in the world. One of the Seven Great Mountains Peaks. The Great Yamato Mountain. 

Here in the smallest of villages, a young boy sat on a wooden chair in the garden. His eyes were glued to a leather bound book in his hand. Around him were children ages 3 to 8 running around playing a game of tag. 

"Grey come play with us!" said Elise. A gentle hand came to rest upon his shoulders. her eyes were as bright as the sunlight behind her golden hair. "It's more fun with more people."

 Grey looked at her strangely and shook his head.

"No it's okay," he said quietly. "I want to finish this book."

Elise frowned, but shrugged and went off to play with the other children. Who could know what the village bookworm was thinking?

Ever since Grey was young he had loved books! The adventure! The pain! The Love! Books were a window to another place and time. In them, Grey could be anything he wanted. A hero. A monster. Or even a girl! The possibilities were endless, and this book he was currently reading described the adventures of the famous Dungeon Seeker Abel who scoured the 138 Dungeon Worlds and single handedly created the Iserian Ranking Chart, which ranked each dungeon by their difficulty. 

Primitive, Cursed, Hidden, Ancient, and Chaos. 

The world was never the same. Now adventurers who were previously all equal in the eyes of the common folk could now compare their achievements with one another for glory and fame, and the most coveted recognition as Hero.

Grey sighed inwardly.

A Hero?

What a lofty title. A person recognized by all the world as a guardian of mankind. If not for the Iserian Ranking Chart who could tell how powerful a person was? Previously, anyone who could walk into a dungeon and come out in one piece was recognized as a true adventurer. But now! If one could venture into a Chaos Dungeon and come back. They would be showered in praise and glory as an insurmountable genius. 

Such a goal was so far away. Grey wondered if he too would one day be able to venture out in the world and receive such praises. But before that could happen he would have to train his body and soul in one of the heroic paths. 

The Heroic Paths. The five paths to ultimate power. The warrior the embodiment of physical strength. The priest the embodiment of vitality. The mage the embodiment of wisdom. The rogue the embodiment of dexterity. And the ranger the embodiment of agility. Five Paths. One goal! To be the strongest in the land. To be a herald of mankind. A Hero! 

Grey sat there in his chair and thought to himself. On this day, Grey would be five years old. Heroes came of age in their thirties or forties if at all. There were instances of some past geniuses reaching the title in their teens, but even so...if he wanted to become a hero he had only a few years to do so before the window of opportunity would be closed to him forever.

After all in the last three thousand years, there hadn't been a single her o in the Endless Continent. Fifteen billion people and not one was capable of reaching the skill required to venture into a Chaos Dungeon. 

Closing the book, Grey sighed. The issue was what path he should take. His physique was not that good. He had come from a family of bookkeepers. His father was a librarian. His mother a record keeper of the village treasury. And while he was grateful for books his father provided him. Grey could only shake his head when comparing his father with those heroes of legends.

Thin and pale with broad round glasses and a stout bushy brown mustache. A friendly face for a friendly smile. Not at all daring or dangerous. Grey could not even remotely imagine his father holding a sword, much less slaying evil monsters with it.

Worst of all. Grey had not only inherited his father's looks, but his mother's figure. Slender. Well-shaped. With small light fingers. As he was growing up his mother would hold his hands and compare them with hers. They were the same! As if he was a girl that had never done an honest day of work. He had even heard other children murmur behind his back he would be better off growing out his hair and wearing a dress.

If his physique made him unfit to be a warrior than perhaps he should try to be a mage?

Mages read lots of books. He read lots of books. Would that not be his dream job? He was not crafty nor agile enough to be a rogue or a ranger. 

There was a common saying that if you don't like it then don't do it! If he was going to train for several years it must be something he loved to do. He nodded in agreement. It must definitely be right. He would set his eyes on becoming a powerful mage like those in legends, even if his magical capacity was not high he could still train to become a priest. 

He only now needed to find out how to train his magical potential so when he left the village. He would be able to defend himself from roaming beasts.

His father certainly must have a book about cultivating magical talent. Grey immediately stood upright and headed towards his father's study.

"Father! Father!" calls Grey into his house. His voice echoes through the hallway. Though his village is small his family lives in the library, which is as big as three houses. It had long narrow corridors, every wall was a book shelf, so there was a maze of books blocking his path.

"I wonder where he went?"

His father was always in the library save for lunch and dinner. Maybe, someone asked for his help outside? Grey walked down the hall and looked through the books. Though still a young child of five years. Grey had read several books ever since his father taught him how to read 3 years ago. Others may say Grey's a genius, but him it was as natural as learning how to plow the earth or pluck as chicken. If you try enough times it is only natural you will learn how to do it.

He looked over the piles of books near his dad's desk. Ruin Symbols, Monster Compendium Vol. III, The Witching Hour. All these books, Grey sorted out and placed them to their proper place in the hallway. As he looked through the books under the farming section of the library, he saw at a shiny cover on the third shelf on the wall and went up to grab with using a ladder.

"Mana Cultivation Techniques Vol. IV."

He found it! A magic book!

His eyes glistened and opened the book. But as he looked inside he frowned. Although, he, Grey was a very bright child. This book was talking about a lot of unfamiliar words. 

Second Heart?

Magic Currents?

He didn't know any of these words. He sighed and placed the book on his father's desk so he could look at it later. This happened from time to time. When there was as series of books. The first book would teach the reader new words so that when they read the later volumes they could easily understand and comprehend what the book was saying. Indeed, magic was a very large field of study. Without inventing new words to describe certain phenomenon how could learn to harness such a mysterious power?

Grey ventured off into the library again and in a few hours he had a stack of twelve books on the table. In them were books about magical items, schools, and even a Vol. III Spell Formation. He, however, did not manage to grab a hold of that elusive Vol. I Introductory Magic Book. 

Grey sat with his brows furrowed. Without the first book to teach him the words. Would he have to try to learn straight from Vol. III? If he made the smallest mistake while he was training he could end up a cripple or worst. Dead! 

As he was about to give up trying to learn magic and wait for his father to return a girl walked in to the library. It was one of the girls from the playground. He recognized her because out of all the children. She had long bangs which covered her entire face. You couldn't even see her eyes! In her hands was a leather book. The words "Vol. I Magic Theory" sewn on its cover.

"Ah!" said Grey, pointing at the book.

"Ah!" yelped the girl, surprised. 

"T-That book! I need that book," said Grey, frantically.

"W-Who are you? This book is mine!" said the girl, shaking her head. Her eyes look frightened. Who was this weird kid yelling at her. 

"Um," said Grey, coming back to his senses. His dad said when asking for something one had to be respectful and patient. "I...can...I borrow that book? I'll give it back to you, but I really want to read it."

"But...this book is mine," repeated the girl. She held on the book even tighter. Ever since she was little she liked reading this book. It had a lot of pictures.

"Please?" said Grey, "I'll let you borrow one of my books?" 

Grey pointed to a pile of books on his father's desk. Many of them had elaborate covers made out of silk and animal hide. 

"Oh," said the girl, looking at the pile. She had never seen these books before. She quickly picked on out of the pile. "I like this one."

It was the book Grey had been reading earlier. 

"Tales of Abel the Dungeon Seeker."

"But you have to promise to return my book to me. I got it from my mom," said the little girl, shaking her head.

"I promise," said Grey. He reached up and shook her hand. She nodded, leaving the book on the desk, and blushing as she ran out the door.

"Hm?" said Grey. He thought it was weird for her to run out the door, but nevertheless the Vol. I Magic Theory book was in his hands! Now, he could really begin to learn how to become a powerful wizard.
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  • edited July 2015
    If you are familiar with this story. I'll be editing some things while going over the second draft of this work here. I'm not sure if I'll post the entire story, but I'm thinking of significantly changing it. 

    As for what the changes are I'm not sure yet. I'm running through a few scenarios and trying to figure out which one works best. Anyway, seeing as xianxia was the biggest inspiration for this work. I thought it be very weird not to post it here. 

    Thank you for reading! 
  • OMG YES GLITCHY!! *BOWS*

    I was sad when you quit writing on RRL.
  • Ah, is this from RoyalRoad? Is that yours? If so... Well done posting it here, because now I'm reading it on RR. Good publicity! 
  • Soarah said:

    OMG YES GLITCHY!! *BOWS*


    I was sad when you quit writing on RRL.
    Ah, thank you.  I was really upset to leave RRL, but I felt the longer I stayed there the more upset I would be. I may go back one day. 

    Ah, is this from RoyalRoad? Is that yours? If so... Well done posting it here, because now I'm reading it on RR. Good publicity! 

    I left the older version of this story back in Royal Road. It'll share a lot of similarities, but this one will be better edited. It is the second/third draft of this story. So I'll be trying to improve upon things I wrote and change a few things with the story. I recommend that you don't read it on RR as the changes might be a little jarring if you try to compare the two.

    Also, if anyone spots any grammatical errors or spelling errors let me know. I'll endeavor on making each chapter as clean as possible. Kind of do all the editing and writing myself. So I miss a lot of things from time to time.
  • edited July 2015
    Chapter 2 
    Magic Theory

    A young boy sat meditatively on a rock atop a waterfall with his eyes closed. His eyebrows were furrowed in concentration.

    A little droplet of water leaped up from the river next to him. Sparkling under the sun before falling back into the river. One, then two, then three. Three tiny drops of water. to an ordinary person it would look like a fish was moving beneath the surface of the river, but if one paid close attention. They would see strange tendrils of vapor rising from the boy's body, flicking the water around him. 

    After the third droplet had fallen back into the river the tendrils quickly retreated back into the boy's chest as if it were a clam hiding in its shell.

    "Only three today," said the boy, looking at the river.

    This boy was Grey! Six years old!

    A year had passed since Grey had obtained the Vol. I Magic Theory Book. 

    When he had first gotten the book he had thought it would be easy to learn magic. After all, in stories a mage would say a few words and then poof! A spell would appear. In reality, magic was very difficult! It had a spiritual, mental, and physical component not to mention all those myriad phrases one had to memorize to activate their powers.

    But above everything else. The most important thing about magic was aura.

    Aura! A distinct spiritual energy generated by every living thing. If a person did not have enough aura any magic they would do would fizzle out or worst yet rebound and hit them in the face. This was an established fact. Luckily for Grey, a person's aura was not predetermined at birth. With enough training and time anyone could be taught how to use aura and even improve upon it.

    The only trouble was, was that while the Vol. I Magic Theory Book did have training methods in how to use aura it was training only suitable for adults!

    Running sixteen miles up a mountain? Lifting two-hundred pounds fifty times a day? Swimming up a river till you ran out of breathe? Was this book crazy? He was only six years old! He could barely lift twenty pounds. Grey might be ambitious and clever, but even he couldn't do the impossible.

    So Grey decided to scale each traning method down to his age. Instead of carrying two-hundred pounds. He would carry fifteen. Instead of running sixteen miles up the mountain. He would run two. As for swimming up a river till he ran out breathe. He settled for just learning how to swim.

    After a year of hard work, his studies had finally gained progress. He could create aura! Initially, all Grey could manage to do was make a small wisp of air come out of his fingertips. But as he practiced relentlessly. His aura gradually began to extend down to his chest and into his lungs. Now when he concentrated hard enough he could make a light gust of wind come out of his body.

    To the other village children who could do the same thing by flapping their hands. This kind of thing was pretty trivial, but to Grey this was great progress.

    A gust today. A hurricane tomorrow! His future looked bright!

    Grey went over to rest by a tree, and picked up a book from the grass where he had left it earlier. He had returned the Vol. I Magic Theory Book to that girl 8 months ago, and was now reading Vol. II Magical Cultivation Techniques. 

    Magic. A mysterious phenomenon that came into existence roughly 10,000 years ago. Back then, magic did not even have a name. It was just called 'miracles' because everyone believed it to be an act of god. 

    It wasn't until six thousand years ago that humans discovered they could harness magic for to their bidding. 

    This era of time was known as the Great Awakening and with it came the birth to many new schools of thought. The most famous of which came to be known as the Six Profound Truths. Truths which altogether sought to explain the nature and origin of magic in this world.

    The Truth of the Soul.

    The Truth of the Mind. 

    The Truth of the World.

    The Truth of One.

    The Truth of Many.

    The Truth of Nothingness.

    What all six schools had in common was that for someone to use magic they must first undergo a ritual known as the Ritual of Awakening. Even if one was able to train their aura to the highest degree. Without this Ritual of Awakening they would never be able to cast a single spell in their entire life.

    The Ritual of Awakening.

    None of  Grey's books had mentioned exactly what the Ritual of Awakening was. Only that it had to be done. Was it a kind of quest where he had to slay a powerful creature and bring back its body parts? Or was it like a potent elixir where one had to drink it to unlock heir hidden potential?

    Grey sat there looking at the river, thinking about every story he had ever read about heroes. Trying to figure out what it could be. It was times like this that Grey had wished he had been born in a city. That way if he wanted to know something he would only need to knock on the door of one of those mage academies and ask someone instead of staring blankly into space like a headless chicken. 

    So frustrating. To be so close to learning how to cast magic, but being unable to because he was ignorant. Grey frowned and slapped his cheeks to wake himself out of his stupor. No matter what he couldn't give up! So what if he didn't know what the Ritual of Awakening was? He could still train his body and when he got older he could definitely travel to a city and learn from one of those venerable magical experts. 

    Right now he should focus on what he could do for himself. Which was to practice! To run around like a madman and train himself to his utmost limits. So that when he did eventually leave the village. He would be prepared for anything that might happen. 

    Grey closed his book and began to repeat his aura techniques once more.

    Aura was a feeling that originated in his gut. Like the warmth of a good meal, rising up from his stomach up to his lungs, and then out of his mouth. Exhale. And aura would radiate from his body. Inhale. And aura would return to his stomach. Grey repeated and clenched his chest, slowly directing his aura out of his body. Forcing it out towards the grass around him.

    Grey exhaled and everything around him moved as if blown by the wind. Success. Grey smiled, delighted. His body ached, but he had done it again! He had used aura for the fourth time in a row! He leaned back on a tree exhausted. What the book did not mention was how tired one would feel from using aura. Four tiny bursts of wind and Grey felt as if he had ran around the world several times over. 

    "Four! Four times in one day," giggled Grey happily to himself. He grinned stupidly as his eyes slowly close shut, and fell blissfully asleep.

    Many hours later, a loud yell woke Grey up. he opened his eyes to see three children punching and kicking a kid by the river.

    "Hoo," sobbed the kid, covering his head. His clothes had been torn to shreds, leaving him huddled in a bundle of rags. 

    "Take that monster!" 

    "Haha, die monster die!"

    "Go back to the forest where you belong!"

    "Hey! Stop that!" shouted Grey, running towards the children.

    "What? who are you?" spoke on of the children. He was the tallest one out of the group. He had crossed his arms together and had an ugly scowl on his face.

    "I am Grey," replied Grey, politely. "Stop hurting him. Even if he did something bad. That is not right."

    "Not right?" said the boy, raising his eyebrow. "You hear that? He says it is not right."

    He turned mockingly to his friends who both snickered. 

    "I don't think he knows who you are Halden," said one of the children.

    "He is really in for it now," said the other.

    Grey frowned. What were they talking about? Was this tall boy someone important?

    "Hah. Seeing that stupid look on your face you really don't know," snorted the boy. "Look, I am in a good mood right now. Let's say you go back where you came from and I forget you even exist."

    "No way!" said Grey,  shaking his head. He saw the kid huddled by the river, shivering in terror. If he left now wouldn't that mean these villains would continue to beat him up? He wouldn't allow it!

    "I don't care who you are. Please stop hurting him."

    "Or what?" jeered the boy, "Are you going to tell on us?"

    The other two children burst into laughter.

    Grey glared angrily at each of the children. How did these kids turn out to be so mean. His village never had anyone so vicious.

    "Who needs to tell on you?" said Grey. "If I don't like something I will handle it myself like a man. If I don't like you beating up that person then all I need to do is stop you."

    "Oh so tough," laughed the boy. "What? Did you want to fight?"

    "Yeah stupid!" 

    "Ha?" said the boy. He was nearly twice as big as Grey and both his friends were at least a finger length taller. This little kid was really asking for a fight?

    "What are you too dumb to understand? Ugly. Stupid. Poop Face."

    The boy's veins nearly burst from his head. This little punk! 

    "That's it," glowered the boy. "Get him!"

    Grey raised up his fists as the three children ran towards him, but as soon as one of them got close enough to throw a punch. He ran the other way into the forest.

    "Haha. That idiot is running away."

    "Scaredy cat?"

    "What happened chicken legs?"

    Grey ran deeper into the forest. The other children followed him closely, howling insults and shouting all the nasty things they were going to do with him when they caught him.

    Tie me up and hang me upside down a tree? You have to catch me first, snorted Grey unhappily. He ran past a long branch and held it off to the side. As soon as one of the children got close enough Grey let go of the branch.

    Whack! The branch hit that boy from earlier in the face, sending leaves fluttering as it left a mark on his cheek. The boy stumbled backwards clearly surprised. The forest fauna had been so thick that he had not seen it coming. His face was red with fury.

    "I didn't know you liked to kiss trees!" taunted Grey, running farther away.

    "Get him!" howled the boy angrily. "And hold him down when I get there."

    Grey ducked under another branch and came upon a dried up riverbed. He quickly scampered up the rocks. Having ran around the mountains a few times, Grey would often come across these dried up rivers and climb them for fun. A few feet away, one of the children made it past the trees and hurried after him up the river. A moment later, the child nearly fell over, stumbling over a rock.

    The child looked up at Grey in shock, seeing Grey climb up the rocks so effortlessly.

    "What the..."

    The second child made it out of the forest and stared at Grey surprised as well. Grey had climb so far that the child didn't even bother following him, but went over to sit by a rock. The tall boy soon followed after bursting from behind the bushes. His face had an ugly expression when he saw how far away Grey was. He looked over to the child who had followed Grey up the river.

    The child shrugged and shook his head. Who could climb up rocks that fast? Only a freak.

    The boy turned angrily to Grey.

    "Come down here you little punk!" shouted the boy. He was unwilling to admit that Grey had gotten away.

    "What did you say?" laughed Grey. "I don't speak with stupid people!"

    "You!"

    The boy stomped his feet. His hands strangling an imaginary person. So irritating! 

    "Didn't you say you were a man!" shouted the boy, "what kind of man runs away from a fight?"

    "A man that isn't stuuupid!" said Grey, calmly sitting on a rock. He could see that none of the children could make it up the river and sighed in relief. Now that they were stuck down there by the lower half of the river. They couldn't catch him no matter what they did. 

    "Besides! I don't even need to fight you anymore you dummy!"

    "What!" said the boy, angrily. "What do you mean?"

    "I said stop beating up that kid and you stopped. What are you deaf? Should I train you to jump through a hole too Mr. Doggy."

    "You!-"

    "Ah okay, I get it you want a treat?"

    The boy was reeling with rage. He has been tricked! Grey never intended to fight him in the first place. He only wanted to lure him away so that the other kid could escape. Infuriating! 

    He was just a brat! One little tiny freaking brat! The boy picked up a rock and was about to hurl it at Grey when a child burst through the bushes behind him. 

    The child froze immediately upon seeing that the boy in front of him and began to shake uncontrollably in fright.

    It was that kid those children had been beating up earlier.

    "Grey's face suddenly turned pale.

    "Haha," laughed the boy, menacingly. "I was wondering who it was. It was you! What did you forget something? Come let me see if I can find what you are missing."

    "Stop!" shouted Grey, fearfully. He had hoped the young kid had escaped to somewhere safe. Why did he follow them? Grey was now afraid the boy might beat him to death in anger.

    "Oh? You want me to stop?" grinned the boy. "Why don't you come down here so we can talk it out. I promise my friends won't hurt you."

    "Fine!" said Grey quickly. His hands slipped something behind his back. "But you have to promise not to hurt him."

    "Okay. I promise. Hehe."

    Grey made his way down the river and walked to the boy. The boy's two friends sat on a rock next to the trembling kid, but before Grey could speak the boy walked up to him and grabbed him by the neck, lifting him into the air.

    "Haha. I finally I got you. You little punk! I said I wouldn't hit him, but who said anything about my friends? Get ready to get your ass han-ergh!?"

    The boy stuttered incoherently and fainted on the spot, clutching his crotch. Grey had kicked him in the nuts! Grey wasn't an idiot. If he was going to get beaten up. He wouldn't go down without a fight.

    Grey dropped to the ground and looked apprehensively at the two other children.

    "You!" shrieked one of the children. It was the same child who had ran up the river after Grey. 

    Grey pulled out a small stone hidden in the back pocket of his pants and threw it, hitting the child on the head. The kid staggered backwards a few feet and tumbled down the rocks, hitting his head on a rock as he fell. He lay on the ground and stopped moving. His breath uneven and hoarse. 

    The last child opened his mouth in surprise and quickly looked down at his feet. he was about to grab some rocks before Grey pulled out more pebbles out of his pocket.

    "You think you can pick them up before I hit you?"

    The child shook his head and looked apologetic.

    "Um, okay you win. Let me go? I don't like getting hurt."

    "You like hurting others, but you don't like getting hurt?" said Grey, angrily. 

    Fury swelled up in Grey's heart.

    Sorry," said the child, meekly bowing his head. 

    Grey trembled with anger, but shook his head. 

    "Pick up your friends and don't come back here again!"

    Even though Grey didn't like this kids very much. He didn't want to kill them. If he beat them all up and left them knocked out by the river who knows what wild beast might come and eat them while they lay unconscious. 

    If Grey did such an evil thing. He wouldn't never forgive himself. The child nodded respectfully and carried his friends on his back. A few minutes later, the child had made it into the forest and disappeared from sight with all of his friends. 

    Only when those deviants left his sight did Grey relax. The ragged kid from earlier stopped shaking seeing his tormentors leave for the forest. He walked thankfully towards Grey.

    "Thank you," said a lovely voice.

    "Eh?" said Grey, astonished. Somehow. He had expected something manlier to come out of the kid's mouth.

    "Sorry for causing you trouble," said the kid, bowing his head.

    Grey took a closer look at this kid. there was something familiar about his hair. Ah! This kid was the same girl who had given him the Vol. I Magic Theory Book a year ago!
  • edited July 2015
    I'll probably stick with one chapter a week with a chapter release every Saturday around 12:00 Noon. Pacific Eastern Time. It gives me more time to edit at a leisurely pace and reread each chapter several times. I may release chapters faster if I feel like it, but having previously posted a chapter a day for 26 days straight. I'm trying to focus more on content and making it as professional as I can before I go through another round of drafting. I did a few minor edits to chapter one to make it flow better. 

    Anyway, that's it for my notes. I'll see you all in a week. Thank you for reading.
  • edited July 2015
    Chapter 3 
    The 139th Dungeon

    "It's you! What are you doing here?" said Grey. The last time he saw her was when he had given her back her book. She had quickly ran away that time too, but at least she looked healthy. Her current appearance was one covered in mud, torn clothes, and purple cheeks from being beaten to the ground. A mix of sadness and anger rose in Grey's chest. He really should have hit those scoundrels more.

    The girl sat there and fidgeted. She turned her head away as if remembering something painful, and then continued to speak.

    "I was reading by my village tree when those boys hit me. It hurt a lot so I thought if I ran into the forest they wouldn't follow me, but they did and hit me even more."

    Grey scowled. 

    "B-But I deserve it. Everyone in the village says that I am a monster and should return back to where I belong. I don't know where that is though."

    "Eh?!" said Grey.

    Monsters were large animals that could eat people with one bite of their mouths. For this girl to call herself a monster, is this a joke?

    The girl saw the confusion on Grey's face and pulled back her dirty hair. On her forehead was a row of scales receding into her hairline. 

    "Hueh!?" said Grey, taking a step back. 

    It was like the scales of a fish had been folded over her forehead.

    "I was born with this strange thing on my head. My mother says I was born from a lizard and I have no father. It is only normal for other children to hate me for being a monster."

    "That doesn't mean you're a monster." 

    "Really?" said the girl. She looked at him with a bit of suspicion. If she wasn't a monster then why did everyone treat her so badly?

    "You were just born with a weird thing on your head," said Grey. "I have a weird mark on my butt when my mom made me but you would not say I am a monster."

    "But that's different! No one can see your butt, and a mark isn't as scary as this."

    She rubbed her forehead with her hands. The scales made an eerie cracking noise as they brushed up together. As if something was being crushed into little pieces.

    "I'm hideous!"

    Grey shook his head, imitating an adult who was giving a child a lecture. 

    "Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. So what if you look a bit strange. Do you hurt people?"

    "No," said the girl, shaking her head.

    "Do you make growling noises?"

    "No," said the girl, shaking her head again.

    "Then how are you a monster? You haven't hurt anyone, and you don't act like a monster, that must mean you aren't a monster. Besides, I haven't heard of any monsters can speak human. You are just a normal person with something on their head. If it bothers you too much then wear a hat!" 

    "But-" the girl injected.

    "Girl!" said Grey.

    "What?"

    "You are a girl."

    "Hmph."

    From beneath her hair, the girl's eyes began to shine a little brighter. She did not want to admit it, but being called a normal person did make her feel good. 

    Grey looked up to the sky and saw the sun begin to dip into the horizon. It was the afternoon. He should start going back to the village.

    "I have to head back home soon. You should go home too. My father says dangerous beasts roam the mountain at night."

    "Okay," said the girl, reluctantly. There was something nice about being able to talk to a person normally. In the five years of her life, not one person had spoken to her without a look of disgust or pity. Now, she had for a few seconds, had a real conversation with someone her age. One where she was not nervous, stuttering, or trying to run away. She did not want this feeling to end. 

    "Will I see you again?"

    "Hmm?" murmured Grey, looking at her thoughtfully. "Are you afraid those bullies will come back for revenge? Don't worry I'll send them running. If you need help. I, Grey, will come to your rescue. I am always here in this spot in the morning. If you call. I will come find you."

    The girl nodded. 

    "Okay." 

    She bowed politely at Grey, and walked back to the path leading to a different part of the mountain. Grey likewise returned back to his village. 

    As Grey walked through the front door of the library a voice called out to him from inside. 

    "Good Heavens. Where have you been son?" 

    There was a young man with a bushy mustache leaning over his desk with a quill in hand. His eyes looked anxiously at the stacks of papers to his side. He would write a few sentences, and then take out a stamp, and press red ink insignia before taking out the next paper in the stack.

    Grey took a seat by a stool and spun around playfully. 

    "I went training! I said I was going to be a great wizard remember dad?"

    "Ah yes, I remember. Did you tell your mother you were going out?"

    "Yes, dad."

    His father stamped another document and then turned to face Grey. On his face was a huge smile. 

    "Something incredible has happened today, but before I tell you, you must promise me that you'll listen to everything I say. I know you are young and you like to go out, but this matter is quite serious, even if it is good."

    Grey looked blankly at his father. A thing that was serious and good? What did that mean?

    "I promise."

    "There is a new dungeon! They discovered a new dungeon here on the Yamato Mountain! Now there are 139 Dungeon Worlds on the Endless Continent. The king himself sent his regards to our little village! There will be battalion of knights here in a week!"

    "What!" exclaimed Grey. His heart nearly leaped from his chest. Everyone knew how important dungeons where to each nation. A dungeon contained untold riches, minerals, reservoirs of ancient magical derelicts, and ores. The largest dungeon, the Ancient Dungeon of Wischeria, held enough gold ores to build an entire city. For there to be an untouched dungeon in the middle of nowhere, obviously the king would be interested in securing it for his kingdom!

    Not only that, but driven by the prospects of being the first to explore a new dungeon, there would be several adventurers coming to the village as well! Grey might even be able to ask a passing mage to take him in as an apprentice. This was truly joyous news! 

    "I should!"

    "Grey"

    "Yes?"

    "You are staying indoors. At least till the knights arrive."

    "What!"

    "No butts. It's dangerous."

    "But dad!" 

    This was a once in a lifetime event. How could Grey stay indoors? Like any child who heard some incredible place, Grey wanted to at least take a look at the entrance of the dungeon. It wasn't like he was going to go in. He wanted to take a look! And it was close by!

    "Grey, I know you like to adventure and you said you were going to be a hero. But the world is not a kind place. Not all adventurers are good and with them mucking about so close by I'm afraid some monsters may be spurred out of the dungeon and into the mountain. If that is the case, you absolutely cannot go outside until the knights arrive to maintain order."

    His father looked at Grey seriously. 

    Grey sighed. If there was one person he did not want to offend it was his kind father. His father who carried him on his back, taught him to read, and played with him whenever he felt lonely. Though Grey was young. He did not have much friends since he liked to read lots of books. Who was it that Grey talked to when he had troubles? Who that taught him how to be clever and smart? It was definitely his father. 

    "Okay, I said I would listen and a man keeps his word." mumbled Grey unhappily. 

    "Good, but however," said his father, winking at Grey. "If an adventurer comes into the library, I won't stop you from talking to them."

    "Dad!"

    Grey leaped into his father's arm happily and buried his face in his father's chest.

    How could Grey's father not know how much Grey loved heroes? In his father's heart, there was always a soft spot for his son, who wished to go on an adventure. He too when he was younger, dreamed of becoming a hero, and traveling the world, but having settled in this village his wandering days were now over. Now, simply seeing the joy on his son's face was enough to make him content. When one gets older, their priorities change like the seasons. Who needs to travel the world when one could live happily with a family? 

    In the bowels of the earth, fifty miles away, there is a strange gaping hole in the mountain. This hole is not a natural thing but a living breathing entity. A Dungeon World. Darkness crept in from the forest and two shadows made their way carefully to the entrance. The first shadow pulled up a strange device in his hand, and ran his hand across the ground. He brushed away the dirt and brought up chunks of soil to his nose. 

    "Wet. Warm. This is definitely the dungeon entrance."

    "Hurry it up. We can't wait here all night. Scout first. Then retreat so the rest of the group knows what we are up against. Remember not to go in too deep or you won't be able to get out."

    The first shadow snapped back angrily. "I know what I am doing. Just shut up and watch."

    The man took out a small dagger and moved into edges of the hole. Unlike normal dungeons, the entrance was indeed a vertical shaft, going all the way down into the abyss. The man went down feet first, tying a rope over his waist, and planting an anchor at the edge of the hole. He slide down into the darkness, marking the earthen wall with his dagger every ten feet, until he disappeared from sight. 

    The other man leaned over to look into the hole. It was so deep, that he could not see the bottom. He sat on the moist grass and waited by the entrance. He took out a piece of wood and a carving knife. Flick. Flick. He carved notches into the wood for every minute that went by. At the sixth notch. There was a deep rumbling beneath his feet and the rope anchored by the entrance was suddenly pulled into the hole. 

    "I told him not to go in too deep," the man said coldly, standing up. He shook his head and left for the forest. A dungeon powerful enough to trap a rogue? What kind of treasures would lay waiting in such a place? He could only grin softly. 
  • edited July 2015
    Sigh. I'm having trouble formatting this silly thing again. I usually just rewrite everything onto these forums because copy-pasting obliterates everything I have for spacing. 

    Also, as I was editing. I was rereading my old chapters and I was trying to think of stuff I should be changing. And for the next few chapters. I'm actually quite happy how it turned out the first time lol. 

    I think it's not until Chapter 8 where I really have to start having to work from scratch. So I'll just bletch out the rest of the chapters with some minor grammatical corrections up till that point. 
  • edited July 2015
    Chapter 4
    The Wizard Path

    In the forest there is a man wielding a broadsword as large as himself. He swings and the air moves aside. A single strike and a tree splits apart. His muscles ripple through his shirt and the sweat drips from his hands. He grabs a fist-sized rock with his fingers and crushes it into dust. A moment later, a shadowy figure arrives by a tree. His face shrouded by shadows.

    “Training in the woods again? You warrior types are too diligent. Why not take a break in the morning.”

    The man turned to face the shadowy figured and smiled.

    “You are back? It’s barely morning.”

    “We ran into some trouble. Clifton entered the dungeon .”

    “Eh?”

    The large man looked at him astonishingly.

    “Why did he do that?”

    “He went too close to the boundary. I am guessing ‘it’ sucked him in. It is a variant dungeon, one with a deep chasm for an entrance instead of a cave.”

    The man paused for a moment to think about the implications. Variant Dungeon. In truth, there were special kinds of dungeons. Ones that had a cave for an entrance were the normal ones. You went down a long winding path, but as long as you kept going forward you’d eventually reach the end and get whatever treasure lay inside. Variant Dungeons, however, had all sorts of different shapes for their entrances. These dungeons would often have several forking paths that went off to who knows where. One could get lost in a Variant Dungeon for hours or even days.

    “Well, it happens,” the man shrugged. Adventurers ended up dying one way or another. Once you lost a friend you eventually ended up caring less about the next one.

    “Is our mage up to the task?”

    The man scratches his head.

    “Maybe? I don’t know. You know how eccentric she is. You say one thing about this or one thing about that and she goes crazy. What’s up with these wizard types these days?”

    “Well, she better be ready. I got my escape plan in the worst case. Not my fault if your head goes rolling when we go in.”

    The shadowy figure moves his hand across his throat.

    “Well if that’s all you want to know I am going to go back see if any of our other comrades have arrived. It might be funny to watch some of them fall into the hole.”

    The shadowy figure motioned back to the forest.

    “Don’t go too far Vernon,” said the man, waving his hand. “You know how some of us get testy when we fail? You might get an axe to the face if you laugh too loud.”

    “Me?” grinned Vernon, “What’s not to like about seeing people fail? Hehe.”

    In a blink of an eye, a small gust of wind blasted from the soles of Vernon’s boots, and then the man was gone, back into the forest.

    The warrior shook his head and sighed.

    In a village far away from the new dungeon, on the second floor of the library, Grey looked out the window. A whole week! He had to wait a whole week before he could go outside. Already, travelers had made their way to his village and were asking directions to the new dungeon. A plump merchant with a tall hat spoke to his father outside about setting shop in front the library.

    “I am telling you I need! No, require! This location. It is absolutely necessary,” spoke the chubby man. His cheeks jiggled every time he finished a sentence.

    “These products are the finest of goods! Herbal tonics, poison antidotes, bandages! Where better to put a shop than in front of a library where mages and priests can easily find them? Just think! They come to a village and see a library with a shop in front of it. They can get a book and buy a potion. It’s good for me. Good for you!”

    Grey’s father looked unconvinced. “A library is not only a place for mages and priests. We take care of a lot of paperwork including the villages finances and letters of importance. If a messenger came here. I don’t want to be wading through people to pick up my letter. Never mind pick up things. I don’t want to be anywhere near any disputes you may have with your customers.”

    While the merchant’s deal might be good for any of the other villagers Grey’s father naturally thought of his family. Usually, the first shops that set up near dungeons tended to be scammers who sold poor quality goods and left the area before their customers found out they had been swindled. The last thing Grey’s father wanted was to have some angry adventurer in front of his home. He turned to leave.

    “Ah, sir, please wait,” coaxed the plump merchant. His face sweating. “Perhaps, I was being too forceful? Here come let’s talk over some tea. Let me address your concerns. If I answer your questions? It should be fine? What do you say?”

    Grey’s father paused for a moment and saw Grey by the window. Letting the merchant sells his goods here would attract more adventurers to the library. Wouldn’t that make his son happy? Perhaps, he should consider this matter more deeply.

    “Fine,” said Grey’s father. “but if you don’t agree to all my terms. You have to leave me alone, agreed?”

    “Certainly. Certainly,” smiled the merchant. While there was conversation there was a chance! How could this chubby man, a crafty salesman, not be glad to trade words with a common librarian. He would have this spot no matter what.

    Grey watched his father leave with the merchant to a shop that sprung up near the front of the village. It was only the morning, but the village was vibrant with activity. Every few minutes a new face would arrive near the entrance, dressed in foreign clothes, looking for a place to stay. Many of the new travelers mingled in the village center, discussing their day to day activities, and news they had heard while traveling to the village. In a couple of hours, Grey’s village grew from 22 inhabitants to 57. Already, it was feeling very crowded. In a week, perhaps, it would no longer be called a village, but a town.

    But even so! Grey was not allowed outside. With all these happenings no one was interested in a library as they were in a blacksmith or tailor. When going into a dungeon the first priority is equipment! Not books. It was natural for folks who had traveled several miles to check their gear before they tried anything serious. A second set of clothes? Steel tipped boots? Leather gloves? You would never know when the smallest of things could cost you, your life.

    Grey sat on the second floor and sighed. Now what would he do? If nothing will happen, then he should train! Grey sat cross legged and closed his eyes. From breathe there is life. From life there is motion. From motion is direction. Magic is motion. Magic is imitation. Magic is imagination. Grey recited the words from the Vol. I Magic Theory book. The mind gives direction. The body provides protection. Two in one. Together forms a base. An image swirls in Grey’s mind. The power of the wind, light and soft, brushing against gentle blades of grass.

    Grey exhales and vapors rise out from his body, tenderly scattering papers around him before coming to a rest.

    “Ho, ho, ho.” said voice.

    Startled, Grey opened his eyes. There was a young woman, dressed in long overflowing robes, and a tall pointy hat standing in the corridor. In her hand was a staff with an emerald jewel at its tip.

    “I came here to see if they had any books about the plant life in this area, but instead I find a young initiate? How curious.”

    The woman tilts her head playfully.

    “Little boy, you wouldn’t happen to know where I would find that book would you? It seems the bookkeeper is not here.”

    Grey’s heart jumped out of his chest. It was a mage! A real life mage!

    “I-I know! It’s over here on the second shelf next to forest survival guides.”

    Grey quickly ran up and brought the book to her in a flash. His eyes beaming with anticipation. The woman took the book with amusingly and opened its contents. She flipped through the pages and paused every now and then to write down a note on a small slip of paper. When she finished, she looked down, and Grey was still ogling her enviously. She smiled and laughed inwardly to herself. What’s up with this fellow? Why does he look like he is about to eat a piece of meat?

    “Little boy, why are you looking at me like that? Could it be you want my body?”

    “What! What no!” though Grey was a little child he had read enough books to know where babies had come from.

    The young woman grinned. “Oh? So you know what that means? Perhaps, you are not such a little boy after all.”

    Grey’s face turned scarlet red! What is this woman saying!

    “So if not my body then why do you look at me like that?”

    “It’s just since I was even younger I set a goal to be a powerful mage, but I have not been able to get very far. To see the real thing. I am really happy.”

    The woman laughed. “What is so special about being a mage? You only do a few tricks and people think you are all powerful. Always, asking you if you can do this or that. It is really a bother.”

    “I-It can’t be!” said Grey upset. How can this woman say that about herself. “Magic is a powerful force. The strongest mage can topple mountains. They tell the earth to move, it moves. They shout at the sky and even the clouds would obey.”

    The young woman smiled. “Little boy, you read too much books. Besides mages don’t you know all the paths use magic? Even those hard headed brutes called warriors use it in their training.”

    Grey looked astonished. Though he had read lots of books about mages he did not read much about the other heroic paths. Everyone used magic?

    “I thought warriors used something called inner rage?”

    The woman scoffed. “It is the same thing. Those idiots just don’t know what to call it.”

    Grey thought to himself. “Miss, I have not asked for your name.”

    “It is Baylee. Just Baylee. Though if you become my husband than perhaps I’ll tell you my last name.”

    “Miss, don’t joke with me!”

    “Haha.”

    Grey fidgeted nervously. His thoughts returned to his original goal. There was now a real life mage in front of him! Was this his chance to leave the village?

    “Miss, can I ask a question and perhaps a favor?”

    “Ask away,” smiled Baylee. “Though if you ask a favor it’s only right I know your name mysterious boy.”

    Grey nodded.

    “My name is Grey. I am reading books to train my aura, but I am progressing quite slow. I also don’t know much about how to cast spells and I would like to ask if you know how I would pass the Ritual of Awakening.”

    “You haven’t passed your Ritual of Awakening?” Baylee said, astonishingly. “Just now didn’t you meld magic?”

    “Yes, but only because I have read a Vol. I Magic Theory book. I have my basics down, but as for what the Ritual Awakening is, I really have no clue.”

    Baylee pondered to herself. It was unheard for a mage to be able to utilize magic before they underwent their awakening. Could this boy be a genius? In her heart she had begun to grow fond of this boy. Now this thought made her want him more.

    “I could explain it to you, but it really is a bit complicated. How about I promise to help you with your awakening on a later day? I still have things to do today and I don’t think my friends will be very happy if I suddenly disappear.”

    “Thank you!” Grey’s heart was fluttering with excitement.

    “So if that was your question what was your favor?” said Baylee.

    “I ask that you take me in as your apprentice!”

    “Ho~”

    Baylee smiled. This little boy.

    “You know it is only polite to offer something to receive something? If I teach you what will I get in return?”

    “Hmmm,” thought Grey, carefully. ” If you teach me, I will be grateful for the rest of my life! Fire or cold. I’ll definitely help you no matter what.”

    The woman giggled. “Haha, you really read too many books. You are starting to sound silly too. That’s fine. I don’t dislike that sort of person. From this point on, you are my apprentice. Come, let’s go I have much to see in this village before I go back to my friends.”

    “B-But?” Grey interjected. How could he forget his promise to his father? He was not to go outside for another week.

    “What? Are you unwilling? Aren’t you my apprentice?”

    “I promised my father I would stay inside till the knights arrive. Could we wait for week before I leave?”

    Hearing this. The woman grinned mischievously.

    “Where the master goes, the apprentice follows.”

    She picks up Grey and out of the library they went! He had been kidnapped!
  • Webpage is up!


    I'll post Chapter 5 tomorrow once I take another look at it. 
  • Wow..lol Thanks for the chapter!
  • edited July 2015
    Chapter 5
    Dagger and Sword

    A little boy is being carried by the collar of his shirt. His feet dangle in the air. Though this child is a very bright child, right now everything is going out of control. This woman has kidnapped him!

    "Ah!" said the boy fidgeting in the air. The boy could free himself if he wanted to, but he dare not offend his first teacher!

    "Stop being so silly," Baylee said, putting Grey down. "You are outside now! Did the heavens strike you down? You need to learn that promises don't hold any more power over you than the wind. A mage is a master of his own fate, situations changes with time, what may be right one moment may not be right later."

    Grey looked up at Baylee.

    "But...I promised my father."

    "A man's promise is only worth as much his strength. Little Grey, didn't you say you would be my apprentice and I would be your master? Right now, I am teaching you something, will you care to listen?"

    Grey blushed and nodded. He felt a little embarrassed.

    "It is not that I wish you harm, but as a clever kid you should know your limits. In the future, if you are so pig-headed you'll find yourself in an impossible situation. Say you are in a dungeon with your fellow party members. You are told to hold this formation to guard each other from monsters. A monster leaps up and tears your leader away. Do you stick to the formation? Or do you act to save his life?"

    "I would save his life!"

    "Wrong!"

    Grey shook his head in disbelief? Was he suppose to let him die?

    "I should let him die?"

    Baylee smacked him on the head lightly with her staff. "Silly kid. Who said anything about letting so and so die."

    "But you said?"

    "I know what I said, but you are not asking the right questions. Why are you in a formation? Who are you in a party? You are a mage. You are the brains of the group. If you get bitten on your hand should you focus only on the bite? What if there are more monsters lurking about? You go to save one person, but the person next to you might get snatched away instead."

    Baylee's eyes looked distant as if recalling a memory.

    "That's why you stay in formation. You protect what you have, then think about how to save the person you lost. Just the same with promises. They are only useful to people childish enough to believe in them. You break them if you have to. The most important person is you! If you are dead, then everything goes to waste."

    Grey contemplated on Baylee's words. He could not agree with her, but many of the things she said made sense. Would he risk killing others to save one life? If one had to tell a lie to protect his friends, would it be considered evil?

    Baylee looked at Grey softly.

    "Little Grey, let me ask you again what is your goal in life?"

    Grey's eyes lit up.

    "To become a powerful mage!"

    "Then as your master it is only right for you to follow me," Baylee explained. "A master and student relationship is for life! Besides, it's not like I am callous enough to take you away without tell your parents."

    Baylee placed two fingers on her lips and whistled. A sheet of paper flew from underneath her hat, folded into a paper airplane in mid-air, and traveled all the way back through the library door till it came resting on a desk.

    "This whole time I was writing a letter while speaking to you. Aren't I clever? Ho, ho, ho."

    Grey shook his head playfully. If he was a silly kid. Then Baylee was a silly adult.

    "Alright! Enough of this. You have two feet. We have to go to the tailor to spin some rope and knapsacks. Follow me."

    "Knapsacks?"

    "For the treasure," Baylee grinned.

    At the 139th Dungeon World a group of adventurers prepared to enter the dungeon. They numbered three in all. A priest, mage, and warrior. There was only one problem. A shadowy man who sat atop a tree branch kept laughing at the misfortune the group had suffered. Their ranger had fallen into the pit, screaming all the way down after she had lost her footing. A little shake of the earth, and down she went.

    "Gahaha," laughed Vernon. Rangers were known for their speed and light feet. Only this time she was so light that when the earth moved she dodged into the hole by instinct. How could Vernon not resist laughing at how clever this particular Dungeon World was? To move the earth in such a way that adventurers would accidently leap to their doom.

    The warrior of the group, a large burly man clad in half-plate, looked at Vernon coldly.

    "Fellow. You think that was funny? She was my friend. Laugh again and I'll shove my sword up your ass."

    Vernon chuckled. "Oh? Are you talking about little old me? Go on. Go on. Who needed that woman anyway? To die before you even entered the dungeon, isn't that embarrassing?"

    "Fellow I warned you!"

    The warrior leaped up and struck the shadowy man on the head. His blade, a silver claymore, sliced the figure in half and splintered the tree into a million pieces. A moment later, however, Vernon appeared on the top of another tree with a smirk on his face.

    "Ah, so scary. To strike down a helpless tree. If you had cut it better. Maybe we could have made firewood."

    "Prick! You think you can keep running. If you want to trash talk then stop running away like a coward. What? Am I too scary for you?"

    "Scary?" said Vernon, incredulously, "You? Haha. I run because I find it amusing to watch people try to chase me."

    Vernon jumped down the tree and pulled out a pair of three foot daggers from underneath his cloak. Their blades glistened with a sinister light.

    "If you want me to get serious."

    He grinned with murderous intent.

    "Killing someone like you is no big deal."

    "Wait friends. No need to fight," spoke the priest, putting his hands up in a friendly gesture. If he did not stop this fight now. It might really get out of control. "What happened to Melissa was an accident. Johan calm down."

    "Move out of the way Carl. Can't you see this bastard is asking for it? Those rogues types are always like this laughing and stabbing people in the back. Screw his mother and his father too!"

    Johan turns to face Vernon.

    "You think those little glow sticks scare me? You have lost your mind if you think that compares to true strength!"

    Johan dashes forward. The weight of his body shifts left and right. He weaves as if he were a fast moving lightning bolt.

    "Earth Crusher!"

    Johan shouts at the top of his lungs. His sword is bathed in a strange brownish light. He strikes with the force of thousand pounds! Vernon softly smiles and walks straight into it. His hands seem to split into two, then three, than four mirages. Countless blades that crisscrossed into a web of flashing lights.

    "Spider Silk Illusionary Formation."

    Dagger and sword collide!

    One, two, three, eleven, eighteen, twenty, a hundred! So many blades it looks as if the air itself is being ripped apart. Johan's claymore penetrates Vernon's defense by three inches and is stopped completely! Spider Silk Illusionary Formation. How fierce! Johan could only look at Vernon with shock.

    "You are not on my level. Fool."

    Kidney. Lungs. Spleen. Three blows at the same instant leaving hideous wounds. Johan didn't have time to react before blood spilled from his mouth. Johan staggered back gurgling blood and fell to his knees.

    "Johan!" screamed the mage, hatefully. "Bastard you will regret that!"

    "Will I?" laughed Vernon. The mage put up her staff, but Vernon had disappeared from her sight.

    "Vanish?!"

    Vernon chuckled.

    A metallic flash suddenly appeared and the mage's eyes rolled back into her head. She fell down unconscious.

    "Just you now friend," smirked Vernon, reappearing over the mage's fallen body. Carl's face had lost all color. The average priest was a supporting role with little to no offense. Had Carl been more skillful the match could go either way but at his level the best he could do were healing and detoxifying spells. His eyes darted towards Johan who had now collapsed on the ground. If he healed him would it make a difference? This rogue had defeated Johan in two moves!

    "Don't be rash!" shouted a hoarse voice.

    The ground in front of Vernon suddenly exploded, kicking up a cloud of dust and debris. A Giant Crow, nearly thirty feet long, flew down on a patch of dirt. An elderly man with white overflowing robes and a bandana on his head stood on the back of the Giant Crow.

    "Oh? To escape my Giant Crow's Paralyzing Gaze. You are quite something."

    Vernon smiled a few feet away. It wasn't unusual for adventurers to butt in on each other's fights. When everyone wanted to be the strongest, it was natural to them to seek one another out. Who cares if they are already fighting someone? Some gatherings had thirty adventurers in one large brawl.

    "To sneak attack a rogue? Are you asking for trouble? Who are you honorable senior?" Vernon asked, politely.

    Vernon face showed no emotion, but inwardly he was worried. A Giant Crow? This senior must be a spirit master, a type of mage that specialized in taming wild beasts. Though Vernon enjoyed fighting other people. Beasts tended to be far more unpredictable and difficult to handle. Without knowing how strong this old man was, Vernon dared not attack back.

    "You do not need to know my name," answered the old man, dismissively. "I was watching from afar. I know these fellows attacked you first. So I cannot fault you for defending yourself, but to attack their healer would be unjust. What? Where you planning on leaving them in this state for a wild beast to eat them?"

    The old man pointed at bloodied Johan and the unconscious mage.

    Vernon shrugged inside. This old fellow was quite insightful. Vernon had entertained the idea of watching a wild monster eat these wounded adventurers alive. Wouldn't that be fun? His thoughts then turned towards his chances of killing the elderly man if he did a sneak attack but he quickly dismissed that idea as well. Though invisibility worked well on humans who relied on sight. That Giant Crow would have some extra senses that would detect him if he drew close. Stupid beast. So troublesome.

    Vernon shook his head and bowed politely. If the game was no longer fun. Why stay?

    "Well, out of respect for you senior I will take my leave. Seeing as no one died. Perhaps we will even be friends later. Haha."

    He gave a wide smile and vanished back into the woods.

    Carl breathed a sigh of relief.

    "Honored Elder. I can't thank you enough for the help. I-"

    The old man raised his hand.

    "No need to thank me. If anything you should blame your party's lack of foresight. To attack an advanced level rogue when you fellows are all novices. Are you courting death?"

    Carl looked shocked. "Advanced? He was an advanced level rogue?"

    "Youngster," sighed the old man. "That rogue used a high level skill three times. One to escape your warrior's initial attack. A second to block his strike. And the third when striking back. Even if you are ignorant. You should have sensed something was wrong when your warrior's attack failed the first time. Don't tell me you think a warrior's battle sense is inferior to that of a rogue?"

    "I-I..." Carl was a loss for words.

    The old man shook his head. "The earth is large, but the sky is larger. Let this old man give you some advice. Don't pick fights unless you know you will win. You see that fellow dare not attack me without knowing my strength and left quietly. You can curse him for nearly killing you, but even he has more common sense! Next time your warrior friend decides to pick a fight. Try harder to stop him!"

    The old man waved his hand and the Giant Crow took off blasting a gale of wind as it flew into the sky. Carl sat stunned for a moment and then hastily made his way towards Johan to tend to his wounds. They weren't life threatening but they were serious enough to incapacitate him for a several days. At the very least, they weren't going into the dungeon anytime soon. He could only sigh to himself and begin casting his healing spell.
  • edited August 2015


    Chapter 6
    Levels of Power

    A young woman and a boy walk down the village hand in hand. In any ordinary circumstance one may think they are mother and child, but these two were Baylee and Grey!

    “Little Grey,” smiled Baylee, tenderly.

    In the last few hours, the two had been going store to store. In her heart, she could not help but admire how helpful her new apprentice was, even going as far as to carry her things without being told. She felt quite happy and held him by the hand like a mother hen guiding it’s chick. Though this clever child was smart, one could often forget he was only six years old! At his age holding hands was still as natural as breathing the air. Had he been older then perhaps he would have been more embarrassed.

    “Let me ask you something. Are familiar with a thing called Power Levels?”

    Grey tilted his head thoughtfully.

    “Is that the Iserian Ranking Chart?”

    Baylee smiled. “Not quite silly child. Though you are quite close. There are seven levels of strength. Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, Master, Saint, and Heroic. All adventurers fall under one of these categories.”

    “But?” Grey frowned. “I thought the Iserian Ranking Chart told people how strong an adventurer was?”

    “Silly kid. The Iserian Ranking Chart tells people how strong a dungeon is. To ordinary people even an elementary level adventurer can appear to be an expert. The Ranking Chart just made it easier for people to tell the difference. What elementary adventurer can boast about doing a Chaos Dungeon? Only scammers and fools.”

    “Ah!” thought Grey.

    “At each level of strength an adventurer’s power grows exponentially. This can usually only happen through some insight into the natural laws of the world. The difference between an elementary level adventurer and an intermediate adventurer is as high as the sky. The same goes from those of the intermediate to the advanced level.”

    Grey nodded excitedly.

    “Naturally, to break through each level one has to undergo rigorous pain and suffering.

    Achieving the elementary stage would normally require 10 years of training.”

    Grey stared at Baylee with shock! Years of training just to get to the elementary level? If it took several years to move from each level then by the time he reached Heroic would he drop dead from age? No wonder no one was as hero! It was impossible!

    “If that’s true then no one can ever be a hero!” lamented Grey.

    “Haha. It is good you are clever. You can see why to adventurers anyone wanting to be a hero can only be called a genius or a lunatic.”

    Grey sighed inwardly. He did not think the road to be a hero would be so tough. Would he spend his whole life in vain trying for something he would never achieve? Baylee saw the despair in Grey’s face and smiled to herself. It was good for a person to have a firm grasp on reality. If one was always in dreamland, they might become deluded and foolish in the future. She placed her hand on his shoulder to comfort him.

    “Do not worry though. Little Grey you are quite smart. To be able to meld magic at your age. Do you not know it takes a person 5 years to be able to do that? Forget 10 years. It’ll only take you 7.”

    Grey eyes lit up once more.

    “Besides don’t you think you are underestimating your master? Can you guess what level I am at?”

    Grey looked at the Baylee and thought carefully about her age. She looked quite young but if what she said about training was true then she should be a little older.

    “You should be thirty years old! Intermediate level!”

    Baylee whacked Grey with her staff.

    “Who is thirty years old? Little Brat! I am not an old woman. I am twenty one! I am an advanced level mage.”

    “Advanced Level?!?” Grey could only gasp in astonishment. “B-But you said it took years!”

    Baylee puffed out her chest. “Of course it takes years. It takes years for normal people. Who said I was normal? I was also clever as a kid and now I grew up. In a few years perhaps your master will also become an expert! You can praise me now.”

    Baylee smiled.

    “Master you are amazing!”

    “Ho, ho, ho. With me teaching you who can say it will even take 7 years. When you go through your Ritual of Awakening perhaps you will have already reached the elementary level.”

    Grey heart leaped for joy. He could perhaps be an elementary level adventurer at age 13 or younger! Could there be anyone at that age that could claim the same? He thought not!

    “Alright, silly child. Now you won’t look so ignorant when conversing with other adventurers. Let’s start heading back to my camp. I think my party will be entering the dungeon soon. I have to start planning for the trip in.”

    Grey nodded and followed Baylee. The two passed the village entrance and went into the forest. His village fading into the background behind him.

    From the gaping chasm that was the entrance of the 139th Dungeon World, there could be heard a howling scream coming from its depths. An orb of light about fifteen feet wide leaped from the base of the chasm and shot through the air. It spun in the air before crashing into the ground, leaving an impact crater three feet deep.

    “Did we get out?”

    The orb of light dissipated revealing a party of four adventurers. A warrior, mage, rogue and ranger.

    “Air!” shouted the warrior. Her arms grasping at the sky. “We made it? Praise the sun!”

    The chubby mage panted. Sweat dripping from his head. “Yeah. That’s how you do it. Now, you fools owe me a week’s worth of food.”

    “Good enough,” sighed the rogue. Her hands still trembling. “What the hell was that?”

    “We lucked out that’s what happened,” whispered the ranger. Her leather jacket torn to shreds. “A Basilisk and a Giant Serpent. What’s next? A 10-Headed Hydra?”

    The warrior stood up and picked up her large hammer. “Could it be a Cursed or Hidden Dungeon?”

    The rogue shook her head. “What kind of Cursed or Hidden Dungeon has traps like that? Walls that flip over and toss you every which way? Ceilings that drop monsters on your head? This dungeon is really too strange!”

    A loud roar sounded off from the dungeon and everyone’s eyes flashed with fear! It wasn’t over yet?! A black shadow leaped from the hole and flew up into the sky. Fifty feet long it casted a long shadow on the ground. Horns on its head, a long snake-like tail, and bat wings. It was a Winged Wyrm!

    “Oh common,” said the warrior. “Go away you freaking lizard!”

    “Formation! Triangle Formation!” shouted the mage. Warrior in front. Mage in the center. Ranger right corner. Rogue left corner. The Three Pillars of the Lunar Palace that hold the stars in place! Magic radiated from the corners of the triangular formation, forming a barrier that connected all the three sides together. Maximum Defense!

    The Winged Wyrm opens its mouth and spit out a noxious pale green gas.

    “Acid Breathe! Brace yourself!”

    The mage quickly drew an array of symbols in the air.

    “Evil Poison Seal!”

    The pale gas brushed against an invisible barrier, burning the ground like fire around the four adventurers. Everything it touched withered and died in seconds. Even whole trees were reduced to twig-like husks.

    The mage looked up fearful. He could not keep up the barrier indefinitely. “Sachi!”

    “I got it!” The woman pulled back the notch of her bow. The strings hummed with a strange force.

    “Shatter point!”

    An arrow flew from her bow and pierced the Winged Wyrm’s left wing. The arrow glowed for a moment and then exploded into several fragments tearing the soft flesh to pieces. The Winged Wyrm was caught off balance then dropped from the sky with a tremendous crash, crushing everything beneath its massive weight.

    Debris rushed like a storm, engulfing the whole area in a murky dust cloud. The warrior leaped up, rushing through the dust cloud. As she moved, the dust parted as if pushed aside by an invisible force. Aura! Energy radiated from her body. Not only can aura be used to push aside obstacles but find an enemy. She extended her battle sense to cover the whole area and rushed to meet the Winged Wyrm before it recovered!

    In her hand resonated with power. Strength. Unbridled and Unrestrained. To her right! She leaped up and struck the dazed Winged Wyrm in the head. Roar! The earth rippled beneath the Wyrm’s vast girth. The warrior ducked as a gigantic tail flew from the dust cloud and slammed at the ground, smashing the earth to a pulp. Rows of knife-like teeth. It’s gaze was like death itself. Piercing with malicious intent.

    The Winged Wyrm sank its claws deep into the soil, and the ground began to reverberate. The grains of dust in the air and ground begin to swirl around the Winged Wyrm. Not good!

    “Don’t let it use it use its Special Attack!” yelled the mage.

    The Winged Wyrm gaping mouth opened. Fangs as long as spears. The air itself seemed to grow cold and still. A dagger swift and small flew into the air straight into its throat.

    The rogue! She had her eyes closed, moving her hands rhythmically, guiding the dagger deep into the Winged Wyrm’s belly. It’s weak point was the major coronary artery near its heart!

    “Phantom Blade. Demonic Possession.”

    She gripped an imaginary dagger in her right hand and slashed down at the air in front of her. The dagger inside the Winged Wyrm copied the motion, slicing deep into the gut, severing heart from body. The Winged Wyrm eyes dilated in a shock sensing something was terribly wrong. It gave one last piercing howl then collapsed lifeless on the ground. Dead.

    “It is dead right?” mumbled the warrior, walking to her companions. She looked at the lifeless beast corpse with disdain and concern. For a beast to rise up from the dead was not unheard of. She walked around it cautiously as if it were a dangerous thing.

    The rogue nodded slowly. “Unless it’s got two hearts. Should be dead. We butchering it?”

    “No,” spoke the mage, shaking his head. “It should still have poisonous gas inside its belly. Leave it alone. Besides, I want to sleep. One thing after another. Can my heart get a break?”

    The rest of his party members shrugged in agreement. After this ordeal they all had their share of life and death situations for the day.

    From the forest, a young girl with long bangs looked at the party of adventurer’s with terrified eyes. Upon hearing a loud boom she had come to see what had happened and witnessed the entire battle, terrifying her little heart.

    The warrior noticed the presence through her battle sense. Her eyes turned to meet the girls. The warrior tilted her head in surprise, thinking that it was a trick. A girl this deep in the woods? Who was this little child?

    “Little girl?” said the warrior, drawing the attention of the rest of the adventurers to the girl. “Are you lost?”



  • Thanks for the chapter! And curse you FOR STOPING ON A DREADFUL CLIFFHANGER!!
  • Hehe. Thank you XD.
  • edited August 2015
    Chapter 7
    Frost Wolf

    In a gathering in the forest there were twenty or so odd adventurers talking excitedly amongst themselves. Many carried large exotic weapons and armor that could eclipse the sun. Baylee and Grey just walked outside of this group, arriving a moment ago.

    “What is this?” mumbled Baylee, complacently. “So many people in the middle of the road. Was there a fight or something?”

    She walked into the crowd, not caring who she bumped, pushing through everyone. Grey followed close behind. In the center of the crowd was a large gemstone the size of a person! A deep emerald color that dazzled the eyes and glittered under the light.

    “At least fifty tallies,” spoke a red haired beauty. The sword on her waist seemed to distort the air around her as if it were a flame. “The fellow who discovered this must have been kissed by some god in his previous life.”

    A blue haired man with long robes shook his head. In his hand a large staff with three gems embedded at its tip to form a flower. “I tell you I have seen this before in the Kagloria Dungeon. It’s an King Emerald Treasure. A divine gemstone that can store up to three hundred different spells. You inscribe your glyphs into its surface and infuse it with magic. Right here is enough to make a complete set of armor. ”

    The crowd collectively gasped in astonishment. An armor that could cast spells? In a life or death situation this was quite valuable.

    “So who is the fellow who found this rock? Don’t tell me it just happened to be here on its own?”

    A man with a golden scythe shrugged his shoulders. “It was here when I came by the road.”

    The rest of the crowd joined in.

    “Me too.”

    “Yeah, walked by and saw it.”

    “Saw people here, so I came too.”

    “So,” mumbled a young green haired woman carrying a twin hammer. “What everyone is saying is that it is free?”

    Free? In the world of adventurer’s there was a thing called finders keepers. Now that this crowd of people found this priceless treasure, the question now was who was going to keep it? Everyone’s eyes turned dangerous.

    “Okay,” said Baylee, turning around. “Grey let us leave.”

    Grey gawked at the large emerald stone. Something so priceless, ordinary folks would go their entire lives without seeing one, even adventurers seldom found such treasures. It was natural to be mesmerized by such rare beauty.

    “Grey!” said Baylee, nearly shouting. She quickly pulled the boy back into reality. The atmosphere was already getting perilous. She could feel the warriors in the group releasing their battle sense.

    Grey snapped to attention like a fish taken out of water. Baylee grabbed his hand and started to make her way out of the crowd. She barely made it out of the outer circle before a loud explosion erupted behind her. Adventurer’s leaped left and right, avoiding one another. In a large scale fight everyone was the enemy!

    Baylee pulled Grey close to her and released her battle sense to protect him. Aura from an enemy adventurer was strong enough to harm a normal person directly. Warrior’s especially had an oppressive aura that slowed the movements of their opponents. If used on a normal person with no magical resistance, it would squash them flat like a bug.

    Grey shook with both terror and excitement. The adventurers of his dreams were fighting all out before his eyes. As a boy. How could he not be awed and amazed by their flashy techniques? Baylee waded past flying daggers, earth tremors, and fierce winds, holding Grey close to her. Whenever an attack would find their way to her location, it would then suddenly veer off to the side, deflected by an invisible barrier.

    “Wind Barrier!”

    Even in such chaos, the battle had a methodology to them. Rogues frequently targeted weaker adventurers, appearing and disappearing as they pleased. Warriors targeted each other wanting to prove their superiority to their own peers. Mages waited till the last moment to swoop in to take victory, only defending themselves from danger. Rangers on the other hand…attacked everyone.

    One such ranger stood in front of Baylee. Her hair rippled as if alive. Her bow was also something special. A triple bow string with large five foot arrows. This was no doubt a Great Dragonslayer Longbow.

    “Who are you!” asked Baylee, venomously. It was obvious to all that she had a child and wished to leave. Who dared stop her?

    The ranger bowed his head. “You might not want to fight but I do! Raise your staff or die standing!”

    The air around Baylee turned to ice. “Don’t you know who I am? Baylee the Frost Wolf! You dare challenge me still?”

    “The Prodigal Mage?” said the ranger, astonished. Who had not heard of this genius? Her name was famous in all the lands as one of the rising stars of the world. If one could count the people that had a chance to reach heroic level. Her name was would be one of them!

    Inwardly, the ranger grinned.

    “So what if you are famous? This only makes me want to fight you more! I too am quite special. My name is Vera the Windfury. Come let me taste some of your magic.”

    Baylee glanced at Grey.

    “Grey. Today, it looks like I cannot avoid trouble. So what? I’ll show you something little kid. Hold this treasure. It’ll keep you safe for a bit.”

    Baylee slipped a small white translucent gem under Grey’s shirt and walked a few feet away so that Grey would not get caught in the crossfire.

    “You blood thirsty fellow,” said Baylee, angrily. “I’ll teach you to fear mages.”

    Vera smiled. To fight was to live! How could there be any joy greater than that!

    “Penetrating Bone Spear!”

    She loose the notch of her longbow. An arrow as large as a sword screamed through the air, warping the space around it.

    Baylee whispered incantations under her breathe. Grey watched her carefully. As a clever boy how could he not miss the meaning behind his master’s words. She was an advanced mage! Perhaps he could gain some insights of his own and progress faster to the elementary level.

    All at once, the arrow violently came to a stop, spears of ice jolted from the ground, skewering it like a wild boar. Her eyes glowing. Baylee let loose a torrent of destruction!

    “Coldsnap. Ice Lance. Frozen Orb. Frostbolt. Winter’s Grasp. Lunar Tundra.”

    Spells one after another, so fast it boggled the mind! What was this!? Vera could hardly react before the ground beneath her froze. Struck on all sides by a venerable blizzard. She leaped backwards, but she had been trapped! So many spells!? Faster than the wind! Her arms pierced by blades of ice. Her legs snapped to the ground. Her longbow sealed in a frozen rock heavier than the earth. A long frozen blade flew to her neck to take her life. Death!

    A loud explosion resounded where Vera had been, but Baylee did not wait to see if her spells hit. Instead, she swept Grey off his feet as soon as she finished casting and ran away! Who cares about that fight? The most important thing to her is her apprentice! To have him die so soon, would surely break her heart. She leaped up before another fellow could jump in and attack her and with him in tow disappeared in the woods.

    “Master? Did that woman die?”

    A few miles away, Grey asked Baylee quietly. Ever since that encounter, there was a strange silence between the two. Inwardly, Grey berated himself for being too caught up with that King Emerald gemstone to realize the danger. Though originally he had been excited to see such crazy action. He realized he had put his master and his life at risk for his lapse of attention. If his master had instead died in that fight would he still be here standing? This made him feel very guilty.

    Baylee looked at Grey and sighed.

    “From the power of that arrow. That woman was most likely another advanced level practitioner. For her confidently to attack me. You think she would die so easily? She had high level equipment that would lessen my attack before it struck. If the fight lasted too long. Who could say who would win? She underestimated me. So I taught her a lesson. She is not dead kid, but I imagine her neck should be aching.”

    Baylee could see Grey’s nod slowly. She knew the kid felt guilty so she let him wallow in his thoughts for a while to better his character. Already, Baylee had grown very attached to Grey. Such a kind hearted child. Just too silly and young. He had enough sense to know when he was wrong and reflect on his actions. Could any kid say the same? She thought she punished him enough and then smiled, reaching out and ruffling his hair playfully.

    “Silly kid. You look so sad. As long as you know you were wrong. I am not upset. Be more happy! Say! Did you see how cool your master was? You can praise me again!”

    Grey’s eyes lit up and he smiled.

    “Master! What was that amazing thing you did! So many stuff came out at once!”

    Baylee smiled.

    “That was a multi-spell attack. Let me ask you Grey. What is the greatest weakness of a mage?”

    Grey remembered the time that arrow flew through the air. Baylee stood doing nothing casting her spell. At that time his heart truly leaped in fear. He thought Baylee might be killed before completing her incantation.

    “Would it be the time it takes for you to complete an incantation?”

    Baylee smiled. This clever kid. To gain such insights from one fight. Truly a genius.

    “That’s right. It takes time for mages to prepare. Rogues? Warriors? Rangers? They all use magic in its raw and unrefined form. We actually have transform our magic to give it real substance and power. That attack I showed you was a little shortcut some mage’s figured out so many years ago. If it takes time to cast one spell, why not cast a bunch of spells at the same time? That’s why in a fight high level mage’s are the most fierce. If you let them rest for a few moments, then you get hit with all sorts of things at once. ”

    Baylee looked up the road and saw a large warrior talking to a chubby mage.

    “By the way it looks like one of my fellows is waiting for us. Dane! What are you up to you old man?”

    Dane turned around and smiled back.

    “Ah, these fellows just came from the dungeon. I thought it might be good to trade some information so I am giving this fellow some of our bread for a little tip or two.”

    Baylee smiled playfully. “Fellow, if food is what you want, let this woman cook you something delicious, then maybe we can about some maps?”

    The chubby mage smiled back. To fellow mages who traveled upon the path of knowledge a meeting was always a chance to learn something. A young girl with long bangs clung to the chubby man’s robes and peeked her head around him to see who it was. The minute her eyes fell upon Grey she quickly ran up and leaped into his arms. Everyone turned to stare. What?!
  • edited August 2015
    Man....I-I thought since lasts chapter you left us on a cliffhanger you would chill for awhile..BUT NOOO another cliffhanger after another? Y-You sadistic bastard >:( Btw I love the story, But I dunno about the author.. *cough* Thanks for the chapter!
  • edited August 2015
    Man....I-I thought since lasts chapter you left us on a cliffhanger you would chill for awhile..BUT NOOO another cliffhanger after another? Y-You sadistic bastard >:( Btw I love the story, But I dunno about the author.. *cough* Thanks for the chapter!
    Hey! Lol. Suffer! Suffer more! 

    Edit:
    Actually on that note I forgot to say I'll try to return to posting daily. I am going to do a test run to see if it works out, but thinking of how long I want this to be. I won't be able to finish it if I post weekly. I just hope the quality doesn't suffer too much later on. 

    I'll try to make the schedule 11:00AM. One chapter per day. 

    No promises though!
  • RPGlitchy said:

    Man....I-I thought since lasts chapter you left us on a cliffhanger you would chill for awhile..BUT NOOO another cliffhanger after another? Y-You sadistic bastard >:( Btw I love the story, But I dunno about the author.. *cough* Thanks for the chapter!
    Hey! Lol. Suffer! Suffer more! 

    Edit:
    Actually on that note I forgot to say I'll try to return to posting daily. I am going to do a test run to see if it works out, but thinking of how long I want this to be. I won't be able to finish it if I post weekly. I just hope the quality doesn't suffer too much later on. 

    I'll try to make the schedule 11:00AM. One chapter per day. 

    No promises though!





    Yay chapter per day? BUUT remember young author.. QUALITY>QUANTITY

    Damn..I knew it! RWX secretly trains authors/translators to be sadistic bastards!!>:( I WILL BE THE ONE TO REBEL! I WILL BE THE ONE TO START A REVOLUTION!! Once the books and translations done...obviously ..
  • edited August 2015
    Chapter 8
    Little Cloud
    “Grey!”

    The girl had quite fond memories of their first conversation and had gone out to the forest to find him again. Who would have known in a single day so much would change? Monsters and adventurers all over the place. Parts of the forest blasted to pieces. The mountain had turned strange and dangerous place overnight.

    “Ah,” said Grey surprised. “What are you doing here ragged kid?”

    The girl let go of him, her head a few inches taller than his, and shook her head sniffling. “You still call me that? My name is Sho. You are rude. To not even ask for my name last we met.”

    She pretended to punch his cheek. “There! Now we are even. I, your older sister, forgives you.”

    “Who is my older sister?” giggled Grey. He reached out and poked her on the cheek. “This extra layer of meat here? Did you eat a big chicken last we met? If anything you should call me older bro, and I should call you little sis.”

    Sho puffed her cheeks. “Y-You! You are making fun of me!”

    “Haha. Who can say?” laughed Grey, hiding behind Baylee.

    “Come back here! Calling me a chicken. Then you must be an egg! Let me crack you open!”

    Sho chased after Grey. Her hand raised to whack his forehead. Swoosh! She misses! Grey runs around Baylee followed by Sho. They spin round and round like a pair of rabbits! Baylee stood still watching the whole thing admirably but now this was too much. Using her like a tree. This kind of thing is too silly. She lifted her robes and sent both kid’s flying into the air. She snapped her fingers and softened the earth so that both children plopped head first into the ground like a pair of bean sprouts, their legs sticking out of the ground.

    Baylee plucked Grey from the ground and whacked him in the head.

    “Ow!”

    “You silly kid. To use your teacher in your silliness. Taste the end of my staff. Let me crack your egghead several more times.”

    Whack!

    “Ow! I’m sorry teacher!”

    Whack!

    “I feel really bad!”

    Whack!

    Grey covered his head and looked at Baylee with pleading eyes. The ultimate weapon of a kid! Puppy eyes!

    Whack!

    Baylee dropped Grey to the ground.

    “You clever little punk. You think you can move my heart with those tricks! Puppy eyes! Bah! Didn’t you forget I used to be a kid too. Reflect!”

    “Okay,” Grey nodded solemnly, rubbing his head.

    “As for the other one.”

    Baylee walked over to Sho and plucked her out of the ground.

    “You!”

    Sho trembled with her eyes closed! She didn’t know this woman! And now she was about to get hit by her!

    “Are not even fat. Stop taking things so literally.”

    Baylee tossed Sho into the air and spun her round and round.

    “Ahhhh!”

    “It doesn’t feel so good does it! So stop spinning around people!”

    She gently set Sho down to her feet. The girls eyes were swirling in circles. Her feet wobbling. Baylee took her staff and then bonked Sho on the head. Sho fell backwards onto the ground. Defeated.

    “That’s what you get silly kid number two.”

    Dane smiled and shook his head. “Sis? Don’t you think you are being a little too mean to your juniors? By the way who is that little kid you brought?”

    Baylee scoffed. “Who is mean? This boy is my apprentice. To act so silly in front of people, he needs to be taught a lesson. That little girl too!”

    “Haha,” laughed the chubby mage. “Truth be told I have been trying to find the family of that little girl, but she insisted on staying in the mountain because she was waiting for someone. If I am not blind, I see that person is your little friend.”

    Baylee turned amusingly towards Grey. “You little fellow. What have you been doing behind my back? Have you done this and that with this girl?”

    Grey’s face turned red. He shook his head. “T-Teacher!”

    “Ho, Ho, Ho. ” Baylee chuckled.

    Sho sat upright. Her head slowly going back to normal. “Grey what does she mean this and that? Did you mess with me some more when I was waking up?”

    “Shush! It’s an embarrassing adult thing!”

    “What is an embarrassing adult thing?”

    Dane, the chubby mage, and Baylee looked at each other and laughed to themselves. These little kids. One was smart, but silly. The other was just silly. Both made a good pair.

    “Now, now. Let us old fellows leave these little ones alone,” said Dane, smiling. He walked up to Sho and helped her to her feet.

    “Is my sis too mean? Do not worry I will tell you her embarrassing secret. Then she will not bully you so.”

    “Che,” waved Baylee, dismissively. “Who has an embarrassing secret. You want to be left alone in the dungeon?”

    “Haha,” Dane leaned in and whispered. “She has a funny mark on her face. It’s right here between her….”

    ?!?

    Dane’s eyes all of a sudden seemed to dilate with shock. He quickly leaped back so suddenly that it put everyone on guard. What had happened?

    He pointed in surprise at Sho’s forehead.

    “Those are?! ”

    Scales! The chubby mage gasped in surprise. Everyone’s eyes suddenly turned cold and distant. The warrior drew his large broadsword on his back. Grey could sense something was wrong and leaped to her defense, running in front of her.

    “Stop! Don’t hurt her.”

    “Little kid,” said Dane, his voice suddenly menacing and unkind. “Get away from that girl right now.”

    Grey looked to Baylee. Even her eyes were ice cold.

    “Silly kid. Move aside.”

    Grey shook his head. “No! It is just a strange mark she got from birth. She is not a monster or something. I promised to protect her no matter what!”

    Baylee eyes darted to Dane and then the chubby mage. She gestured for them to lower their weapons and then cautiously approached Grey. She kneeled down on one knee and placed her right hand on his worried face. Sho trembled behind him.

    “Kid. Do you believe in this master of yours? Didn’t you say you would help me fire or cold?”

    Grey nodded.

    “Good.”

    Baylee reached behind Grey and plunged her hand into Sho’s head and ripped out a chunk of flesh.

    “No!”

    Sho fell lifeless to the ground.

    Grey shook Sho’s shoulder but she does not move. She has been killed!

    He turns to look at Baylee. His eyes full of anger and sadness. How could his master trick him so! To say such words so that she could get close enough to kill his friend!

    “Ho, Ho, Ho.” mumbled Baylee. “Those are some eyes silly kid. Try opening them wider. Your friend is not dead.”

    Grey looked at Sho and turned her face around. The scales on her head were gone. Her eyes slowly fluttered back to life.

    “Alive?” Sho said, astonished.

    “Ragged kid, I thought you died.” said Grey, stroking Sho’s forehead. If not to kill her why did everyone turn so vicious? Grey look to Baylee confused. In her hand the piece of flesh that she grabbed from Sho’s head. The flesh moved as if it were alive and then morphed into a small little lizard.

    Baylee nodded. “As I thought. This should be a Parasitic Dragon Spirit. A type of creature that feeds on its host magical energy. For this to be attached to you little girl. You must have some ridiculous talent.”

    Dane looked at Baylee with concern. She shook her head and stopped him before he could say anything.

    “Do not worry old friend. Once you purifying a thing like this, it becomes a normal spirit that can even be a pet. Give me a moment and I shall have it looking cute.”

    She waved her hand over the creature. Her staff radiated with power. Magic seemed to gather all around her, surrounding her body in a glowing yellow light. A light like stars that fluttered and whirled about. Her right hand was the lizard. Her left hand her staff. She moved her staff up drawing a triangular seal into the air. Six seals in one. Seven in a circle. Divine Tribulation. Spirit Transformation! She swung her staff down and a lightning bolt appeared over her head, striking the lizard with tremendous strength.

    Kaboom!

    Dust rattled up from where she stood. The lizard’s form shifted and dangled in the air. Its scales turned to feathers. It’s claws into talons. On its back sprouted two wings. The little lizard was now a dove! Feathers as white as snow.

    The dove looked up to Baylee’s face, puffing up it’s little chest.

    “Ho, ho, ho. So adorable.”

    She gently petted the dove on the head with her finger. Dane and the chubby mage relaxed the grip on their weapons. The danger was now over.

    Grey looked astonished at Baylee! What kind of magic was that!

    Baylee looked at Grey smiling. “Haha, kid your mouth is about to fall from your head. Didn’t your teacher say she was clever? Remember what I said and stop being so pig-headed. Your master knows right from wrong silly boy.”

    She gently tossed the dove to Sho who caught it in surprise.

    “Here! It was with you for the last few years. It’s only right that it goes back to you for a few more. Give it a name so it knows what to call itself.”

    The dove chirped and danced around in Sho’s hand. Sho smiled. Who would have thought that thing on her head could actually be a cute thing? Now with her face fixed maybe no one will treat her so bad. She suddenly felt very grateful to Baylee. Sho politely bowed to Baylee.

    “Thank you kind Ma’am.”

    Baylee shook her head. “No need to thank me little sister. It was only right to do so.”

    Sho smiled and shyly nodded back. That woman called her little sister. It was as if she had a real family.

    Sho thought for a moment then looked up at the sky.

    Clouds that cast a shadow in the sky and make the land turn a gray color.

    “Ah!” she said, “I know! I shall name you Little Cloud.”

    “Little Cloud?” said Grey, tilting his head. “Why did you name it like that?”

    Sho shook her head and smiled. “It’s a secret! Maybe, when you start calling me older sister. Then I shall tell you.”

    The chubby mage, Dane, and Baylee look to themselves and smiled. This silly girl.

    “Okay. Okay,” said Baylee, clapping her hands. “No more exciting things today. Let this sister cook some good food for you all.”

    Dane shrugged. The chubby man chuckled. And like that this group of adventurers, two children, and a spirit dove walked happily back to their camp.
  • edited August 2015
    So as I was working on the next chapter. I kind of playing around with an image I saw online, and kind of did a pseudo book cover in MS Paint. I think the words for the title might need some work, but it doesn't look half bad does it? 

    image
  • It's looks good...But I don't think it fits with the story. The picture looks a bit too "dark" for this heartwarming story, know what I mean? Unless your the story I haven't read is darker than, yeah.. it looks good. Thanks for the chapter BTW
  • edited August 2015
    Eh...the picture is too 'dark'  for DARK LORD SAGA!?!?! Not dark enough!? Hm. Quite a predicament. I shall reflect upon your words. Mwhaha.
  • edited August 2015
    RPGlitchy said:

    Eh...the picture is too 'dark'  for DARK LORD SAGA!?!?! Not dark enough!? Hm. Quite a predicament. I shall reflect upon your words. Mwhaha.




    Dark Lord Saga...I'm kinda stupid -__- hehe.... I mean in the end it's your choice..

    ..Lol xD Too dark for Dark Lord Saga
  • I find the picture really nice, but maybe make the font different, and also not use black for it, since it blends into the picture
  • edited August 2015
    Chapter 9
    The Gaping Maw

    In the Great Yamato Mountain, there were two forests between Grey's village and Baylee's camp. The Kara Forest and the Forest of Brevis. The Kara Forest had been named after the word 'Care' which means to 'look after'. While the Forest of Brevis had been named after the word 'Brevity' which means 'a short time'. Although it was difficult to distinguish these two forests at night, during the day it was easy to see which part of the forest you had walked into.

    The Kara Forest was made up primarily of conifers and low hanging fruit trees. It lay on the eastside of the mountain and the trees were all brightly colored. A splash of orange, red, and yellow that spilled over the surreal landscape. The feeling of being in a painting was one most traveler's would describe their experience walking through the forest. The leaves on the forest floor would run wild as one would step through them. Swirling as if touched by the painter's brush. Deer, rabbits, and bluejays were common here and there were no predators save for the occasional hunter from one of the villages. It was beautiful.

    The Forest of Brevis was a forest made out of bamboo, a tall grass that shot up from the ground, touched the sky, and arched back down into the soil. It lay on the southeast side of the mountain. From afar, it was as if a row of humungous green snakes were burrowing and unburrowing through a sea of mud and dirt. The sun was a faint light in the sky. The forest a thick grassy meadow. There were shadows under the long bamboo stalks and one could not see more than ten feet without having their vision obstructed by yet another strafe of bamboo.

    It was here that Baylee, Dane, Grey, Sho, Little Cloud, and the chubby mage found themselves in the early morning, having eaten a large dinner the night before.

    "I must go back to my folks," said the chubby mage. His staff had an azure crystal affixed to its end. His cloak a white and blue, stuck out in the dimly lit background. "We might be trying our luck again later in the day, but our warrior wanted to see if anyone was selling high grade gear. While our rogue. I'm sure she's already off to find herself a new boyfriend."

    The mage bowed and then left towards an opening in the bamboo. As he did, a man appeared out of the shadows, startling everyone except for Dane and Baylee.

    "Hello friends," said Vernon. "What do we have here? Who are these little children? Did you two get married or something while I was away?"

    Dane scoffed. "Fellow, stop scaring the kids. I already heard about your mischief from the other adventurers. Why do you always got to pick a fight?"

    "A fight? Me?" laughed Vernon, "I am but a delicate flower. It's not my fault if one or two folks get a taste of my thorns. Beautiful things are to be admired, not touched."

    "Saying such strange things again," mumbled Baylee, shaking her head. "Regardless, you have good timing. We are all here now. Did you sort out your things?"

    Vernon smiled. "Of course. Flash powder, poisons, extra rope, and sleeping bags."

    Baylee laid out a map on the table in their tent. Grey and Sho leaned over curiously. A little spirit dove peeked from the top of Sho's head.

    "Well, then I'll begin our strategy of attack. The first obstacle is obviously the entrance. The chasm goes down about seven hundred feet. There is no bottom, at least I assume if you ever reach the bottom, you'd be crushed by some incredible magical force. Every forty feet, jutting out the corners of the chasm, are tunnels that take you to a different level of the dungeons. The first three hundred feet have been explored to around 15%. After four hundred feet there is a strange force that blocks you from entering the tunnels. The tunnels themselves are much larger about fifteen feet high. Near the bottom at seven hundred feet, the tunnel entrances then shrink to only three feet wide. Enough to crawl, but not to walk. Of course these too are protected by a strange force."

    Dane nodded his head. "Then it is a stepwise dungeon?"

    "That is correct," replied Baylee. "We have to complete the areas near the top to be able to enter the areas near the bottom. The force blocking the lower levels should dissipate once we reach the end of each level."

    "What's the boundary area?" asked Vernon.

    "Around forty feet. The moment you see the first tunnel. The dungeon will suck you right in."

    Dane shook his head. "Hungry fellow isn't he?"

    "More like hilarious," laughed Vernon. " I saw it gobble up a ranger the other day. Was quite the spectacle."

    "Also, from what I discussed with Marlin, it appears the dungeon has already gained a name. People are calling it the Gaping Maw."

    "Better then calling it new dungeon or big hole dungeon I suppose," murmured Dane.

    Baylee nodded her head in agreement. "I say today, we go in scout the higher levels to test the strength of the dungeon and then work our way down. No point in doing a suicide run if we don't have to. Any questions?"

    "No," shrugged Dane, "Sounds good to me."

    "Uh," said Vernon, hesitating. "Can we ste-"

    "No!" said Baylee, angrily. "Stop stealing people's things you danm addict!"

    "B-But what if they accidently fe-"

    "No," said Baylee, sternly. She really dislike this fellow. Stealing. Bah! The last time this fellow stole something that victim followed them and attacked them in the dark. She had been in her nightgown and had to smack the intruder half-naked. She never forgiven him since.

    "Fine," mumbled Vernon under his breath. "That just means I got to do it when you aren't looking."

    "You say something~!?"

    "N-No," said Vernon, "I said nothing! Nothing here but the wind!"

    Baylee eyed Vernon suspiciously.

    "Well, if that is all then we meet at the entrance in four hours!"

    Dane and Vernon nodded and went off to sort their things. Grey quickly walked to Baylee.

    "Master, what about us? Did you want us to stay in this camp?"

    Baylee smiled and ruffled Grey's hair.

    "Of course not. Why would I leave you here?"

    Grey's eyes start to glow. Could it be?!

    "You are not going in the dungeon silly kid," said Baylee, dashing his hopes.

    She moved towards Grey and gently drilled her fist into his head.

    "O-O-Ow."

    "You little imp. Haven't you been listening? You think we can take a fellow like you who hasn't even had their Ritual of Awakening? Get your head on straight!"

    Baylee kneeled and spoke eye-to-eye with Grey. "Little Grey. I'll be leaving you with some friends nearby. They have children too. So go off and play with them for a bit. Also, make sure to start teaching that little friend of yours cultivation techniques. She should be even more talented then you. Perhaps, I shall gain two apprentices by the time I return."

    Grey looked blankly at Sho. Sho looked back curiously.

    "But before that, I need to give you something," said Baylee. She turned around to face the outside of the tent. "Vernon! You weird fellow. Give me your wind boots."

    "Why do you need my boots?" yelled Vernon, a distance away. He was sorting his belongings in his tent, casting protective wards to prevent other thieves from getting his stuff while he was away.

    "Who cares why I need them?" yelled Baylee back. "If you don't give it to me, I'll shove an icicle up your ass."

    "Fine then! Steal from the rogue. You fatso!" shouted Vernon, tossing the boots from his tent. They landed in front of Baylee who squinted her eyes towards Vernon.

    "What did you call me!?" said Baylee.

    Vernon hesitated for a moment and thought whether it was worth it to antagonize their mage. The temptation was strong. Rogues were all mischievous folks in nature. In the end. He couldn't resist.

    "I called you fat! You fat woman!" laughed Vernon. He readied himself for Baylee's wraith, but didn't imagine a few seconds later icicles would burst from underneath his tent.

    "What!" yelped Vernon, surprised.

    He leaped up and ran around as the spikes shot up from the ground.

    "Ah!! Ah!!" shouted Vernon, running around his tent. "Okay! Stop! I'm sorry!"

    Baylee snapped her fingers. In an instant those icicles ceased to exist, evaporating into the air as quickly as they appeared. A loud wail came from Vernon's tent afterwards.

    "Ahh!! My bed. No...Samantha. I only slept on you for a day."

    Baylee rolled her eyes. This weirdo...actually gave his sleeping bag a name. Why would you do that? No...she didn't want to know. It would probably be some frivolous or perverted reason for having such a thing.

    Baylee picked up the wind boots and handed it to Grey.

    "Try these on."

    "Okay," said Grey. He took one last glance at Vernon who started rolling around on the ground in anguish. This was a tantrum right? This adult was throwing a tantrum right!?

    "Grey turn your head. Or else you might get infected by his stupidity," mumbled Baylee.

    Grey nodded and giggled to himself. Vernon was kind of funny. Grey took off his old shoes and put the boots on. They were man's boots, several times larger than his feet. He moved clumsily in them for a moment before they suddenly began to shrink. Smaller and smaller until they perfectly fit his little feet.

    "These are wind boots. A high grade item that lets folks get away from danger. If you need to escape for any reason. Don't hesitate to use them. You only need to direct your aura towards them to activate their abilities. Also, keep that gem I gave you a while back safe. It's a light gem infused with healing properties. It'll heal you only once. So don't think you are invulnerable. We'll be back in a few days. Stay out of trouble. You hear?"

    "Okay," said Grey solemnly. To be given such items at his age was a priceless gift. He would surely not misuse them.

    "Alright, now let your teacher prepare her things...."
  • Failboat said:

    I find the picture really nice, but maybe make the font different, and also not use black for it, since it blends into the picture

    Hmm. I might use red. I'll see how it looks. I am not sure what colors go good with black and white. 
  • Thanks for the chapter!
  • edited August 2015
    Chapter 10
    Adventurer's Camp

    The adventurer’s camp was located a few miles away from the entrance of the 139th Dungeon. In the beginning, the camp looked more like mounds of dirt piled up in a row. Earth was the easiest element to move, so parties often just made their tents on the spot with whatever they could find. Only wealthy groups such as Baylee’s could afford portable tents. And it wasn’t just because everyone had thought that carrying tents around the wilderness was a bad idea. It was just that fabric which was durable enough to be enchanted with protective wards and invisibility charms was exceedingly rare.

    And if you couldn’t guarantee your camp would survive being trampled on by hordes of monsters, then what’s the point of carrying all that stuff all the way to the middle of nowhere? People were simply better off creating something from scratch than waking up in the middle of the night wondering why there was a hoof print on their face. There were also a few lazy individuals who just couldn’t be bothered to carry anything other than what was bare minimum to arrive at their destination, and these folks slept in the wide open, inviting all sorts of things to attack them.

    Warriors would often say this was a sign of manliness. To face any enemy no matter what! Mages would just say they were ‘idiots’.

    But as time passed, with groups lining up to enter the dungeon, people began to accumulate a dreaded feeling known as ‘free time’. And thus all the really bored mages and all the really bored warriors began to sculpt elaborate houses that would put most cities to shame, and also to compete with one another to see whose house was the best looking. So by the time that Grey had arrived at the camp, the whole place looking like something out of a fairy tale.

    Mansions sprung up from the earth with a water fountain in front, a picketed fence, and rows of freshly cut bushes. Others made houses entirely out of fire. Using wind to taper the floors and prevent people from being burned from the flames. Another fellow grew a large tree and carved himself a home with stainless glass windows and a row of steps leading up to the front door, which was on the top of one of the branches.

    “Geh,” mumbled Vernon. “These fellows get really bored so fast.”

    Vernon really dislike hard work. To see people working hard. Made him feel sick in the stomach.

    “What did you expect,” laughed Dane, heartily. He looked at one of the other warriors who was carving his house out of solid rock. “Look at that guy. Solid rock. Ha. Try making it out of monster bones. Newbie!”

    It could be said that the warriors loved competitions of strength so whoever had the most manliest house could brag about it and make everyone jealous. Rock showed a person had strength. But monster bones? That meant you had to kill several hundred monster or one big ass monster to make that house. It was clear which one was harder to do.

    Dane looked at another house where the warrior had made his house by punching several trees together. It looked quite ugly on the outside, but to Dane each fist mark represented a unique martial skill. While not as impressive as a house made out of monster bones, one had to admire the quality of each attack. To strike a tree and break it in half? This was easy. To strike it and have nearly 1,000 different manners of attack? This was what you called ‘showing off’.

    “Master why don’t we have a house like that?” asked Grey, curiously. He looked at a house made out of water. It was shaped like a huge jelly where you would walk through the walls to get inside. There wasn’t any stairs either. To get from the first floor to the second. You’d merely enter the wall and swam up until you reached the second floor.

    “Too lazy,” laughed Baylee. “Besides if I made a house like that I would be afraid someone would poke it and pop it like a bubble.”

    Baylee made the impression of a bubble popping and tickled Grey, causing him to giggle. Sho looked behind him and frowned, pouting her cheeks. Baylee pretended not to notice, and continued walking. Grey you will have trouble in the future, laughed Baylee in her head.

    Baylee led Grey and Sho to a cottage near the middle of the encampment. Here various adventurers had small stalls opened up with goods laid out on a carpet. Some items were from their recent ventures from the dungeon, while others were simply random trinkets they got from trading.

    In front of the cottage, an incredibly ancient warrior with an long beard was playing with a group of children near a picketed fence. The warrior would pass a glass ball to one of the children, and that child would pass it to another one. The thing was none of them could throw the ball or touch it with their hands. They had to use their arms to snake the ball up their shoulders onto their opposite arm and to the next person. Once the ball fell down. They would start all over.

    “Hey William!” said Baylee, looking at the old man.

    “My isn’t it Baylee,” said the elderly warrior, smiling.

    A little girl came up and tug the warrior’s shirt as he was about to leave the group, asking him to come back and play.

    “Just continue without me Leila,” said William, “Let Grandpa talk to these fellows first.”

    “B-But,” said Leila, looking upright with cute eyes.

    “Go along now,” said William, shooing her away. She looked back and quickly returned to the group.

    “Sorry for the trouble,” said Baylee. “Looks like you have your hands full.”

    “Ah, it’s no trouble. What can I do for you old friend?”

    “I have a few kid’s for you to look over,” said Baylee. Do you think you can take two more?”

    “I can,” said William, “A few more children wouldn’t hurt. Did you want me to do some exercises with them or just watch over them.”

    “The basic magic lessons please,” said Baylee, “Though don’t spoil them too much. Especially, this imp right here.”

    Baylee gently tapped Grey on the forehead.

    “He might not look like it, but he has already started using his aura. This rascal. He might become some astonishing figure in the future. Best keep his curiosity in check or else his ego will be as high as the sky.”

    “Master,” said Grey, his eyes bright. He has been praised!

    William’s eyes grew wide. Aura? That was something most people had to be taught. For him to use it at his age…the only word that came to mind was ‘talented’. Frighteningly ‘talented’.

    “Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me,” said Baylee, quickly. “Your master doesn’t like being stared at.”

    “Okay,” said Grey, looking away.

    Baylee smiled.

    “Silly kid. Listen to William alright? He may be a warrior, but he knows a thing or two about magic. He’ll answer any questions you have before I get back.”

    “Yes, teacher.” said Grey, respectfully. He looked to William. “My name is Grey. Please take care of me.”

    “And polite too,” chuckled William, “I like him.”

    Grey felt Sho hiding nervously behind his back, and gently pulled her in front.

    “It’s polite to greet someone who is going to take care of you,” whispered Grey to Sho.

    “O-Okay,” said Sho, nervously. Truth be told. She had never met so many people in her life. While she was not nervous when looking at them from afar, to ask her to talk to strangers was something that came unnatural for her.

    “My name is Sho,” said Sho, politely. “Please take care of me.”

    “I will do my best,” smiled William. These were two good natured children. Their parent’s would certainly be proud.

    “Oh,” said Baylee, offhandedly. “That girl is even scarier than the boy. I removed a Parasitic Dragon Spirit from her the other day. Careful around here else you might end up falling on your face.”

    William nearly fell backwards. “P-Parasitic Dragon Spirit?”

    Baylee saw the stunned look on William’s face and pointed to the spirit dove sitting on Sho’s head. His face turned pale, and he took a step back. Spirits were often named after the features of creatures they took after. A Dragon Spirit was amongst the strongest types of spirits in existence.

    And a Parasitic Spirit at that? That meant it had to consume an enormous amount of magic from its host to survive. This girl’s talent…it wasn’t even in the realm of belief. Someone like her could only be mentioned in those stories of legend. A person with magic powerful enough to rival a dragon? What kind of insanity was this?

    “I am off! Stay out of trouble!” laughed Baylee, leaving William with his mouth wide open.

    Grey and Sho both nodded as Baylee left with Dane and Vernon.

    William looked at these two children in disbelief. If they were normal children then it wouldn’t be so bad. He would only need to care for them, and teach them a trick or two before their caretakers would return, but these children was anything but normal! One was a genius and the other a freak of nature. If anyone else knew these two were under his care they might kidnap them and sell them off to some kingdom to be a military weapon.

    “Baylee, y-you scheming mage types. You left me with a ton of trouble!”
  • edited August 2015
    I also kind of wanted to share something I posted on my website. It's a picture of Grey! haha. I got it from miki4015. Cause one of my friends was like this sounds better if it were a manga. So I was like. Okay, then how about I go to a manga website and ask someone to help me draw it then! lol. Maybe, this can be a side project I update every now and then. 

    Featured image
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