sinto22 Gavin Sinto

With intense battles, epic leveling-up sequences, and unforgettable characters, "Max Leveling Party" is an immersive and exciting light novel that delivers an action-packed adventure while exploring the intricacies of a game-like world.


Aventure Tout public.

#fantasy #mmorpg #anime #fighting #action
1
2.9mille VUES
En cours - Nouveau chapitre Toutes les semaines
temps de lecture
AA Partager

PT.1 : Fantasy Ascension

A young man appeared within a lush green forest, his hair purple as the light reflected off his hair. He wore merely a black cloth shirt and pants as he opened his eyes to the new world. "Huh...wow...this place is so beautiful, I wonder what awaits me in this massive world" his eyes gleamed orange in the sunlight as he found himself standing on a dirt path through the forest. "Hmm, I need to find a way to town so I can start taking on quests and level up"

Pulling up a black transparent screen in front of him, it was the menu which had your typical RPG options:

•Inventory
•Stats
•Equipment
•Skill tree
•Party
•Summons
•Build
•Social

Going to his stats he was a mere lvl.1 with low attributes. He looked at his class which was a warlock. "Seems my only skill currently is analysis"

[Analysis - the ability to see properties or stats of any magical item or enemy through sight.

Closing the menu, the young warlock sighed. "Seems I'll need to level up before I can take on any serious threat. What use to me is an appraisal skill? Especially in the forest!? Taking a step forward, he almost forgot to decide on his name...

"Name, name...oh I got it...Sukuda Bloodspire. Strange name but should work for now" With everything set, Sukuda ventured through the shaded forest, watching birds flutter through the sky when an abrupt sound of trees rustling echoed through the forest causing him to freeze. (That was too loud to be a mere breeze, there must be something nearby. Please just be a deer!) The rustling continued on his right when a small goblin jumped out from the bushes, lunging right for him, it's sharp claws reaching out for the warlock.

"WHAT!?" Sukuda turned to dodge the incoming creature, one of it's sharp claws piercing his right cheek before landing in front of him. "Tsk! You little shit! I may be only lvl.1, but one goblin isn't really a threat once it's presence has been known. I may not have any attack spells yet, but I can still beat your annoying ass!" He spotted a staff like stick and attempted to pick it up, only for a notification in red text to pop up:

[Can't equip to current class]

"It's just a branch! Tsk, fine hands it is! Bring it bastard!" The small monster let out a loud cry before lunging right for him with both claws out. Just before the goblin could attack, Sukuda ducked down, sending a fierce kick to the gremlin's face. He watched as the little monster landed on the ground before fading into wisps of green light.

"Hmph! Sad a lvl.1 one monster could injure me so easily, I need to be more careful from now on. I can't be one of those adventurers getting killed by novice-level enemies. Now to get to town before another one of those little shits shows up!" Sukada raced through the forest path not taking any chances of getting attacked again by any other forest creatures that might want to strike from behind.

After about a minute of running, the young warlock abruptly stopped to rest beside a large oak tree just off the dirt path. As he struggled to catch his breath, he thought he heard something nearby. "P-please don't be another g-goblin" Taking a deep breath, Sukuda raced off towards the source of the noise, dodging trees and bushes before hearing something erupt off in the distance.

Stepping back onto the path, Sukuda saw a young fellow adventurer fighting against a horde of goblins as they advanced towards the magic caster. The man had brown hair with blue eyes dressed in a brown cloak.

"Flame magic: fire ball!" Sukuda watched as the mage aimed their open palm towards the approaching monsters, manifesting a sphere of flames before sending it right for them. "Raaagghh!" The fireball engulfed the horde in flames, sending them staggering in different directions as they let out cries of agony. The warlock was amazed at the fellow magic caster's power even though they were a mere lvl.4 after killing an entire group of monsters.

Approaching the stranger, the young mage reacted by aiming his hand towards Sukuda. "Sorry, but it's not smart to trust just anyone in these woods. How do I know you're not just some thug just waiting to rob and kill me when I least expect it!?"

Sukuda hesitated before answering: "I'm a lvl.1 warlock who's only skill is appraisal, how do you expect me to steal from or kill you when I could barely even fight off a lvl.1 goblin?" The young adventurer looked him deep in the eyes before lowering his hand. "Fine, but I won't let my guard down until I can fully trust you"

"Fair enough, can I at least know your name and possibly form a party with you? With our levels so low, it's safer if we stick together for the time being"

Ryu...Ryu Tempest and fine, I guess it would be easier if we form a party for now rather than one of us getting killed in these woods, especially you. If you're telling the truth, then you might not last long out here without some kind of attack skill. You may be some random to me...but even a stranger doesn't deserve to die out here in these woods"

Opening his menu, Ryu went to his social, friending the stranger as well as sending him a party invite. Sukuda noticed a notification pop up in front of him:

[Friend Request]
Ryu Tempest

He quickly accepted the request as well as the party invite. Joining the party, he could see Tempest's HP above his like your typical RPG. "Great! Thanks for letting me join your party Tempest, hopefully we can work on creating a guild overtime"

Tempest began walking down the path commenting: "Don't rush yourself Sukuda, it takes a great deal of gold to create your own guild, as well as reaching the level required to even join one. If I remember, the level needed to open a guild is lvl.50. So, it'll be a while before you'll be able to even start your own guild. Follow me, I know where a small town is where we can begin working on quests to raise our level. I saw it a while ago when grinding to reach a higher level before heading to the 1st town. It's best to grind as much as you can before taking on any real quests, otherwise you'll just end up getting yourself killed"

CHAPTER 1: Ryu & Sukuda, the 1st max level members

After about five minutes of walking, the small town came into view from below the hill. The town had many wooden houses and merchant shops with stone-paved streets as citizens dressed in medieval clothing walked along the streets. "Is this the town you were taking about?" Sukuda asked as the pair looked down from the hill.

"Yeah, this is called: Netherworth, it's the only town I've seen for miles, so I assume it's where low-level adventurers go to take on D-C rank quests"

"Then let's hurry and take on some quests!" Filled with excitement, Sukuda raced down the hill as he stepped onto the stone path within the city. He stopped just a few feet inside, looking for anywhere that seemed like a guild or tavern that might be where quests were given. He noticed a few of the people were looking at him in a weird way when Tempest caught up with him.

"For someone that wanted to join a party, you sure do run off when you're excited don't you?"

"Heh, sometimes, but only in rare situations" Placing one hand on his waist, Sukuda looked around but saw no signs of a guild or tavern near the entrance of the town. "Strange, you'd expect them to put the tavern or guild near the entrance to attract more business from new adventurers"

"That's just it, in a place like this, maybe they don't get any visitors anymore. Netherworth seems like they're on the brink of collapse, we should hurry and do the quests here and move on to a more stable town. If you want to level up faster and save gold for your guild, we'll need to take on quests from people who can afford to pay us a decent amount"

Exploring the town, they soon found the tavern near the center of town where the pair could hear a commotion going on inside. They ran down the stone streets before stopping in front of the twin doors. "You think it's just some drunk causing problems?" The warlock questioned.

Tempest frowned. "I doubt it" Without hesitation the party leader stepped inside, only to see multiple people lying on the wooden floor either injured or unconscious. That's when they noticed a man dressed in a black hooded cloak wielding a knife aimed towards a young woman with blue hair dressed in a bartender uniform.

"Hurry and give me all the gold in this place or I'll cut you!"

"I-I'm sorry! B-but we only have a few hundred silver, I'm afraid we're nearly broke as it is!" She kept her hands up, shaking in fear at the sight of the cold thief.

"TSK! LIAR!" The hooded man gripped his knife preparing to stab the bartender when Tempest quickly opened his hand as flames manifested. "Flame magic: Fire ball!" Sukuda watched with wide eyes as his ally launched the blazing sphere right for the hostile target.

The bartender tucked down behind the bar as the hooded man was caught off guard by the burning projectile. "Haaaggh!" His cloak was set ablaze by the flames, causing him to tear it off before it could ignite the rest of his clothes.

Now facing Ryu and Sukuda, the criminal aimed his blade in their direction with a look of blinding rage. "TSSSK! IT'S JUST ONE PROBLEM AFTER ANOTHER, ISN'T IT! WHATEVER! I'LL CUT YOU BOTH TO PIECES TOO!"

Focusing his sight on the enemy, Sukuda's right eye turned blue as he used his appraisal skill to read the stats and skills of their target. "Alright, seems he's a lvl.7 thief with a passive skill known as "ignition" active...it seems to boost his speed and increase his chances of causing a bleed debuff on one of us if we're struck by his weapon"

Tempest smirked forming another fireball within his grasp. "Good to know, if that's all he has going for him...it'll be hard for him to use it if he can't even get in range!" Sukuda watched as the mage shot a fire ball right for the assailant. The man crossed his arms attempting to block the coming attack, only for his body to set ablaze by the intense flames.

"WHAT! H-how could his attack get pass my guard!" With his HP quickly decreasing, he gripped his knife, preparing for one last attempt. "If I die, you're going to share my fate!" The burning man lunged towards the pair before slashing Sukuda across the chest. "PERCISE LACARATION!"

All watched as the warlock staggered back, blood seeping through his cloth shirt just as the thief succumbed to the flames. Both hit the ground as the thief laid motionless while Sukuda gripped his severe wound, his HP going down by one 1% each second. "D-damn it...I'm sorry Tempest, I didn't mean to be such a burden on you, especially...this soon into the journey"

Tempest looked down at him for a moment before smiling as he pulled out a small green bottle. "Heh, don't worry, I got this off a goblin I killed earlier. You better thank me for this later" Pouring the potion into his ally's mouth, a green aura illuminated the warlock for a moment before fading as his wounds were healed.

"That was my only healing potion, so you owe me one when we start taking on harder enemies" Sukuda watched as Tempest held out his hand with a smirk. The young warlock was surprised at his party member's quick change of attitude towards him but smiled back grabbing the mage's hand as he stood up. The bystanders within the tavern cheered for them, thanking the duo for saving them from the threat.

Checking his chest for any scars, he was relieved to see nothing there. "Sigh, at least that health potion seemed to heal me completely, I'd hate to have such a huge scar so early in our adventure" They walked over to the bar where the bartender stood, watching the assailant's body carefully incase the man was still alive. "H-how can I help you two? Perhaps a free meal, normally we won't offer anything for free given are nearly bankrupt village, but saving our lives is worth far more than any meal"

"We actually came to see if this is where we take on quests. We're novice adventurers hoping to raise our level as well as adventurer rank if that's a thing in this village"

The young woman nodded pulling out three files, each a different quest they could take on. "I'm afraid we only have these three currently available. We have:

C RANK - Find and eliminate the goblin king outside the village.

B RANK - A horde of undead have been spotted around the outskirts of the forest and need to be dealt with..

B RANK- An Ogre has captured innocent civilians and must be killed at any cost.

Tempest looked over each one before turning to Sukuda. "We could just do all of these in order, get some good grinding in while we're still in the low-level region of this world"

Sukuda agreed as they accepted the requests and made their way back outside the village. Both walked beside one another as Ryu Examined the paper explaining their 1st quest. "Hmmm, this doesn't seem to give any real details on the location of our target. Sigh, we'll just have to search until we find the damn goblin camp or wherever there king is held in"

About An Hour Later...

The sun shined dark orange upon the forest as the warlock and mage made their way through the endless forest. "Ugh, we're getting nowhere! We've been searching the damn forest for hours and can't find the goblin king's location!"

That's when Sukuda had an idea. "Wait, if we can reach a high point, maybe my appraisal eye can detect any goblins nearby and make them led us to their king"

"Doubt something like that would work, but I guess it's the best we have to go off of" Making their way up a nearby mountain, they raced to the top where a cliff hung over the rest of the forest. Standing at the edge of the cliff, Sukuda opened his appraisal eye as it glowed blue, analyzing everything within his sight like a radar. The info of tress, rocks and woodland creatures popped up rapidly in his vision as he searched for any signs of goblins. That's when he spotted movement off in the distance. Locking on to the specific target the stats popped up:

[Goblin]
Lvl.2
Range: 200 M

"Found one!" The warlock cried out before leaping from the cliff in the target's direction. This caught Tempest off-guard as he jumped after him. "You idiot!" Grabbing ahold of his ally's cloth shirt, Tempest unleashed a blast of flames from his free hand, using it to repel them in the monster's direction.

The pair went soaring through the air when a large tree came into view. Before the caster could change course, they struck the large tree, causing them to hit the ground. "O-ouch, g-good thinking back their Tempest, you managed to get us within 50 meters of the target. Brushing himself off he looked up at his HP which was now at 90%. "Damn, that impact cost me some health, but hopefully the king won't be much of threat compared to his minions"

"S-shut up Sukuda, we would've been fine on foot if you hadn't jumped off the cliff like an idiot. "You should be happy I managed to cast my spell correctly, otherwise we would've either died or been so low on HP that even weak-level monsters could finish us off"

"Alright fine I'm sorry tempest, now let's get to that monster before it runs off" Sukuda took off through the forest, still locked-on to the creature with Tempest following close behind. Sukuda spotted the small green monster sitting under a tree eating a fish when it noticed them running towards them.

Letting out a cry, the goblin took off through the trees with the pair close on his tail. Sukuda kept his glowing blue iris homed on the target as it let out cries. As the pair continued tailing the monster, they noticed it was headed towards a large cave with tons of goblins guarding the cave entrance.

Getting withing 50 meters of the monster camp, Tempest motioned Sukuda to stop behind him, letting the terrified goblin to run inside the cave. "What? Shouldn't we attack? Our target is probably in there, why else would there be so many goblins in one area?" The warlock whispered.

That's when a smirk grew across Tempest's face. "Don't worry...I'll handle this wish ease" Holding his left hand out, the caster formed a fireball once more before launching it into the large fire pit of the goblin camp. The moment his attack made contact with the fire, it absorbed the flames growing bigger before erupting in a fierce explosion, sending the horde of goblins flying in different directions.

Waaaagghh" A few of them cried out as they succumbed to their burns.

Tempest
[LEVEL 5 ACHEIVED]

SKILL OBTAINED: Flame Prison - Trap targets within a cage made of flames

Sukuda
[LEVEL 5 ACHEVIED]

SKILL OBTAINED: Reanimation: Undead Knight

Sukuda filled with excitement the moment he saw his new skill notification pop up in front of him. (Yes! Finally I have a skill more useful than appraising items!) Tempest was also filled with excitement, ready to try a new skill after only having fireball for so long.

Both adventurers jumped out from the trees covering them, standing in the large clearing before the enemy camp that guarded the cave. Six goblins remained as they let out battle cries advancing towards them.

"Alright, time to see what my 1st battle skill can do! Reanimation magic: Undead knight!" Clapping his hands together, a purple sigil formed in front of him as a skeletal knight rose before him. It had dark bones dressed in black armor with glowing red eyes wielding a sword.

"Go!" Sukuda commanded swiping his hand to the left. Letting out a demonic cry, the knight charged towards the monsters, bringing it's blade down with a fierce slash. Tempest watched beside his ally as the undead decapitated one of the gremlins. Dark-green blood splattered across the dirt.

"Alright, it's my turn...stand back Warlock...fire magic: flame prison!" Throwing both arms out, a cage made of intense flames formed around the remaining monsters and undead knight, trapping them withing the blazing formation.

"Heh, good thinking Tempest, with the creature trapped with my summon, they have nowhere to go" Both smirked as Tempest kept one palm aimed at the cage while Sukuda ordered his minion to finish the rest of them. The frightened creatures let out cries while two of them pulled out bows firing wooden arrows at the armored skeleton. However, no matter how many they fired upon the undead entity, it stood staring at them, unphased by the projectiles.

"Attack!" The warlock cried out once more. That's when the summons's eye's glowed red before charging forward with it's blood-soaked blade. It's targets stood no chance as they all were mercilessly killed by the knight in just mere moments. Blood dripped from the summons's blade as it stood patiently waiting for it's next order within the blazing cage.

"Well now, seems your knight is rather skilled for a mere level 5 creature. Our skills will definitely come in handy if we combine them like just now. I wonder if I can use my flame magic to give your minion a burn effect without killing them, we should try it in our next fight"

"That would actually be a great combination if your theory works, but enough stalling, we need to finally take the bastard goblin king out, it's almost night and this is still our 1st quest"

CHAPTER 2: The Dual Magic Casters

The duo proceeded through the large cave entrance as the night sky faded away behind the dark rocky tunnel leading deeper into the cave. Making their way through the dark tunnel, a faint light could be seen just ahead. Both crouched down walking up against the wall as a small fire came into view. In a large stone room sat the fire with a group of goblins and two trolls guarding the goblin king who sat upon a large throne made from the bones of animals and any unlucky soul unfortunate enough to find themselves within the cave.

"There's are target, now how do we go about getting to him without the two orange trolls blocking him?" Tempest looked around the area, counting 10 goblins and two orange trolls. The large brutes looked like eight foot goblins with orange skin and sharper teeth.

Without a word, Tempest trapped the two large brutes within a flame prison to keep them from moving. The king yelled out in a strange language causing the other goblins to spot the two adventurers . "Shit, guess this is the plan! Undead knight!"

Guarding his ally, Sukuda summoned his skeletal knight once more, commanding it to attack the coming horde of goblins. Once more the knight charged in, slicing through each one with ease as blood stained the stone floor. Once the last goblin was struck down amongst the pile of defeated monsters, The cave began to shake as the two large trolls struck the prison's ignited walls. With their thick skin, they only sustained minor burns from the flames.

"Hurry and kill the target Sukuda! I can feel the flame prison growing weaker with every impact!" The warlock nodded reaching the goblin king with his undead minion at his side. The old goblin wore a green robe with a king crown atop his head as he said there, unafraid and waiting for death.

Sukuda gave his minion an order before looking away. The skeleton gripped it's blade firmly before stabbing the target straight through the chest. Tempest watched a little in shock as the monster spat out green blood before dying in his throne.

Sukuda couldn't help but feel bad for killing the creature, but knew he had to finish the quest. "There, now what about-" Just then the flame prison burst into wisps of red mana, freeing the two trolls. They let out enraged grunts as they cracked their large knuckles. One focused on Tempest while the other targeted Sukuda and his knight.

"Shit, I think these trolls might be more than we can handle at our current level" Sukuda called out. His ally frowned responding: "They might have slight fire immunity, but they can still be damaged by it! Flame magic: fire ball!" Once more the magic caster released a sphere of flames, illuminating the cave with bright light. The fire ball struck the troll head on, causing it to stagger back a few feet before stopping itself.

Letting out a menacing growl, the left troll Clapped it's hands together, causing an abrupt shockwave to knock Tempest off his feet, landing back outside. "D-damn, I don't know what's worse: the intense ringing in my ear, or the amount of damage he just inflicted bringing me down to 60% HP"

Blood dripped from his bottom lip as he spat out blood, raising to his feet. That's when he realized both monsters were closing in on Sukuda and his summon. "I-I can't let them reach him! Flame prison!" Instead of imprisoning the large brutes once again, he Instead used it as a barrier to protect the defenseless warlock as the towering monsters began striking the flaming cage.

Sukuda ordered his undead knight to attack the two creatures, while he remained safe within the blazing cube. The undead knight lunged towards the left monster, passing through the walls of the prison with ease as if it were a mere illusion.

"Raaggh!?" Catching the troll off guard, the skeletal knight rushed past it, piercing the foe's thigh as purple blood gushed from it's wound. "Gaaahh!" Letting out a cry of agony the towering enemy fell to one knee as it clinched it's sharp teeth.

Just before the undead entity could strike once more, the 2nd troll reached for the knight, gripping it tightly as it raised the summon up to it's face. Without warning, the knight stabbed the menacing creature through the eye, causing it to release him as he landed on his feet.

With the 2nd troll distracted, the summon threw it's blade into the troll's heart, causing it to stagger back, hitting the ground with a thunderous shockwave.

The immense wave of force was so strong, it caused the cave to shake rapidly as it began to cave in on itself. "Crap, I need to get out of here before I'm buried alive along with these dumb brutes!" Without a 2nd thought he ran out from the flame prison, racing for the cave's entrance as large debree fell from the ceiling.

"Come on I'm almost there!" The 1st troll whose thigh was bleeding spotted the purple-haired caster and attempted to reach for them when a large piece of the cave fell from above, knocking the troll unconscious. Sukuda dove outside just before the cave completely collapsed on itself, trapping the trolls inside.

Sukuda breathed heavily as his heart raced with adrenaline. Sweat ran down his face as he tried to collect himself. "Sigh...looks like we pulled it off. If it wasn't for your flame prison along with the cave-in, I feel I wouldn't have survived against those bastards. I should've used my appraisal eye to estimate their stats before running in there. Sigh, next time I hope I'll strategize better"

Tempest walked over to the warlock, placing his hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry about it Sukuda, the main thing is we're alive, it's my fault we were spotted in the 1st place, but our plan still worked so cheer up. You can't always expect a plan to go exactly as you imagine it, think of a plan as a rough draft to how you want thing as to go. If things take a turn, use it to push you forward to the final version of your plan"

Sukuda looked at Tempest with great surprise, he didn't expect Ryu to say something with such meaning behind it. "You're right, I should just be glad that our plan still worked even if it didn't go the exact way we planned. Thanks Ryu, that makes me feel better"

The pair looked around to see it was finally night. Even with the moon shining down on them, it was still nearly pitch black around them. The pair could only see about five feet in front of them before seeing nothing but pure darkness.

"So...what is our plan now? It's too dark to really go anywhere and doing the next quest would be a bad idea at this time of night" Sukuda commented standing beside the wizard as they looked around at the dark forest with only the sounds of crickets echoing off in the distance.

"Don't worry, I had a plan for this very scenario. Since this world has a build function like an RPG, all we have to do is gather nearby wood from trees and we'll be able to build a small cabin we can use as shelter until we leave this low-level area and actually start gaining money from completing quests"

Sukuda
[LEVEL 7 ACHEVIED]

SKILL OBTAINED : Size Mimicry - Manipulate the size of any item or living thing causing them to grow/shrink

Tempest

[LEVEL 7 ACHEVIED]

SKILL OBTAINED : Impenetrable force - An invisible field of force that stops any attack equal to or lower than the caster's.

"Well, let's get to work...it'll take a while to gather the wood we need to make a fully-build cabin if I'm correct" The pair began attacking trees, gaining +5 wood for each tree they brought down. Sukuna used most of his MP to summon four undead knights at once to gather wood using their swords while he kept watch for any creatures that decided to attack them from the dark.

With five people collecting wood at once, they were collecting about 25 wood every few seconds...

After about an hour of gathering material for their 1st shelter, Tempest used the wood to build a wooden cabin with two floors for them to use as their home until they moved on to the upper-class areas. The cabin had a wooden table and chairs on the 1st floor with wooden stairs leading to the 2nd floor where there were two separate bedrooms for them.

"I managed to gather materials to craft us beds with a blanket and pillows. I managed to find some cotton and a little cloth which was just enough to craft what we needed"

"Wow, surprised you managed to find such materials in the forest" Sukuda responded as they made their way upstairs. The two said goodnight to one another before quickly passing out in their bed...

After a long-needed slumber, Sukuda slowly awoke to warn sunlight flowing the window near his bed sitting against the wall of his room. Rubbing his eyes, they began to focus as he sat up, looking around his room to see only a bed and window in his room. "Hmph, feels kind of weird not to have a dresser or nightstand in a bedroom, but then again...we are limited on resources for the time being. We really should hurry and complete these last two quests so we can get out of here. "I'm lvl.7 and still only wear merely a cloth shirt and pants which are the default clothes! How did Tempest find such nice clothes so quickly?"

Slowly stretching, he got out of bed where he found Ryu Waiting outside. The sun shined over the forest As the sound of birds could be heard throughout the trees. Sukuda walked over to his friend as a slight breeze brushed across his face. "Hey Tempest, I didn't expect you to be awake already. Didn't the sun just come up?"

The wizard nodded looking up at the clear blue sky. "I couldn't sleep, I want to get these novice quests done with so we can move on to the higher-ranking regions. Just like you, I want to start a guild and make something of myself. We've been through a few battles together so I know I can trust you. But we'll need two more members to have a full party. Let's hurry and get the Ogre out of the way while it's still light out"

Sukuda followed Ryu before asking: "Wait, weren't we supposed to take on a legion of undead beforehand?"

"We shouldn't waste time searching for creatures that rarely come out during the day. You may find a small few that hid in shady parts of the forest, but in most cases, you won't find any undead out in broad daylight"

Thinking about Tempest's logic, Sukuda didn't speak further of the subject since most undead were known for only coming out at night and being weak to sunlight. The pair traveled north past Netherworth before reaching the Ogre's cave.

Sukuda groaned in frustration. "Ugh, I knew it was gonna be another cave! After the last one I'm paranoid of going into caves!" That's when Tempest quickly smacked him in the back of the head. "Stop freaking out, if we're going to kill this thing, you're going to need to be level-headed "

Taking a deep breath, Sukuda let out a calm breath before they stood just outside the cave's large entrance. Light from a fire could be sun from the stone walls with faith cries of despair echoed from the cave. "That's probably the kidnapped citizens the quest mentioned. I have an idea to draw the Ogre out, once his attention is on me, free the captives inside"

"Right" Tempest hid behind a large tree as Sukuda clapped his hands together, once more summoning a undead knight. (An undead knight? What is that going to do against a full-grown Ogre!?) That's when the warlock aimed his palm towards his summon. "Transmutation magic: Size Mimicry" The human-sized skeleton sudden shrunk to the size of an ant as Sukuda carefully picked him.

Making his way inside the cave, he could see a large stone room filled with torches on the wall and a colossal green monster fast asleep on the floor. He stepped inside the room placing his knight down before slowly backing up. "Transmutation magic: Size Mimicry"

The tiny skeleton then grew ten feet tall , nearly the size of the Ogre as it pulled out it's equally grown sword. Sukuda noticed three old rusted steel cages in the right corner of the room where he noticed fellow humans were being kept. "Looks like we found our targets, now to draw him out. Skeletal knight, attack!"

The warlock backed out of the cave, watching from the entrance as his summoned ally approached the sleeping brute. Stepping forward the Ogre awoke, revealing bloodshot eyes as it slowly rose to it's feet towering over the ten foot skeleton by a few feet. Hmm? Well now, it's not often an undead vests me. However, the fact it's day time outside means you're not a normal undead are you?"

Without a word, the knight swung it's sharp blade right for the hostile's neck, only for the large brute to catch it with it's bare hand. Firmly gripping the blade, the Ogre shattered it to pieces. Sukuda stared in disbelief as the sword fragments hit the ground like mere glass. (H-how could he break the sword with such ease!? Just how strong is he!?)

Using his appraisal eye, Sukuda was shocked to see the Ogre was a lvl.15. It may not have seemed that much different, but an enemy of that level was far stronger than Sukuda could handle.

Meanwhile...

"If you're capable of manipulating your size, that must mean your caster isn't far behind" Gripping the undead knight by the skull, the Ogre threw the titan-sized across the cave, sending them smashing through the walls, landing in the grass beside the warlock. Sukuda watched as his summon burst into wisps of purple energy before vanishing.

"Shit!" That's when the large green Ogre burst out of the cave, quickly spotting him. "You...you're the one who sent the undead to attack me aren't you!? Sukuda could feel himself shaking from complete fear at the sight of the high-level threat. He tried to utter a word but found them caught in his throat.

"Tssk, weather you are the caster or not, I'm going to kill you and grind your bones to make decorations for my home!" Sukuda struggled to move, his body shaking from both fear and his useless effort to move.

"This is the end human!" The Ogre prepared to lunge towards the terrified warlock when a gunshot rang out across the forest. Sukuda slowly looked up at the giant Ogre, realizing someone had shot him head on in the center of his skull as blood ran down his face.

"W-what!?" Bloodspire stood in shock by the gaping wound in the monster's forehead as a figure crouched in a tree nearby, a grin spreading across their face as they fired once more. The ogre managed to put it's arm up just in time, blocking the incoming projectile as it pierced his wrist.

"TSK! YOU COWARD! COME OUT AND FACE ME! OR ARE YOU JUST GONNA KEEP HIDING!?" Wiping the blood from his face, the massive creature turned towards the forest where the shots came from, clapping with all his might, sending a cyclone of force that ravaged across the woods like a tornado causing many trees to collapse around them.

Tempest watched, still hiding from the opposite side of the area. A figure was spotted in mid-air as they landed before the bleeding ogre. They seemed to be a tall pale elf with white hair and red-eyes dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt and pants with light white armor over his torso.

"Alright, you wanted me to stop hiding? Here I am bitch" With a sadistic grin on the elf's face, Sukuda noticed the elf's teeth were as sharp as shark teeth. (W-what kind of elf is that?) he thought, staring at the strange new assailant.

The duo could only watch as the elf and ogre started one another down. "Can you react fast enough to dodge my next shot monster? Skill: Blood shot" Pulling out a mere pistol, the elf aimed straight for the monster as an orange crosshair formed around his iris. The grin became a calm frown as he calmly said: "Bang" A fierce shot rang out as the bullet moved faster than Sukuda or Tempest could see, going straight through the target's heart, utterly killing him.

With blood running down his lip, the colossal creature faceplanted in front of them, lying motionless...

CHAPTER 3: An almost complete party

"H-he took that ogre out like-like it was nothing...just how strong is he!?" Using his appraisal eye, he could see the elf's stats:

[ Sokoyai Bloodnight ]

Lvl.10

Class: Sniper

(He's not that much stronger than me or Tempest, could it be some kind of type advantage? Like when water is more effective against fire?) Taking a deep breath, Sukuda slowly approached Sokoyai, his feet trembling from the thought of being shot at any moment, "H-hi there, t-thanks for the help back there. We might've been screwed if it wasn't for you"

The elf looked at him through the corner of his eye, a serious look on his face before turning towards him with a smile. "Sure thing! I love taking out strong monsters any time I can! The rush I get from seeing them defeated is enough for me. But hey, if it wasn't for you getting his attention, I might've missed my 1st shot. Big they might be, ogres can be quick when they're actually ready. Seems you wore him out, as well as my 1st assault that got him head on in the forehead"

"You seem like you could be a great addition to our party, would you be willing to join our party? We've been hoping to have a full party sometime soon" Sokoyai put his gun away looking Sukuna in the eye, his ruby red eyes gleaming in the sunlight before answering: Sure, why not, I've had enough time walking through these boring ass woods alone. At least in a party I'll have someone to bother hehe"

Opening his menu, Sukuna friended Sokoyai as well as invite him into the party. The elf's HP bar appeared above Tempest's showing he had joined. That's when Ryu walked over in a fast pace. "Sukuda, are you sure letting this guy into the team is a good idea? I get sadistic hunter vibes from him"

"Hehe, is it that obvious? And here I thought I've been quite calm about it. Why? Do you have a problem with an adventurer who gets pleasure from killing their target? We're adventurers, in this world, it's kill or be killed. Whether you enjoy it or not isn't the point...it's that you're doing what you must to survive in this world. If you hesitate for more than a mere instant could spell your death in that very moment"

Sokoyai stepped forward, staring Tempest down as both glared deeply into each other's eyes. That's when Sukuda sighed. "Enough, both of you. Yes, I don't enjoy killing, but if it's for the good of this world or help us grow stronger, I'll do my best to take down whatever stands in my way" The wizard folder his arms looking away from the elf in frustration while Sokoyai laughed patting him on the back. "Haha! I have a feeling that you'll be a fun one to being around Ryu Tempest!"

"Alright, seems we just have one last quest to do before we can finally leave Neitherworth and actually start getting better equipment. I'm tired of these old rags that also have no defensive stats on them since there the default clothes!"

That's when the elf opened his menu, going to his equipment. That's when a small brown bag spawned in front of him. "Here you go Sukuda, it's not much, but I find these while raiding a monster camp in a random part of neitherworth forest. They're not my style so I never wore them"

Picking up the bag, Sukuda equipped the new clothing. His old novice rags were now a hooded black leather coat with matching gloves and boots. "W-wow, this is exactly what I would've chosen if I had the gold. Thanks Sokoyai, but how could something like this drop from a monster camp?"

"Oh, there were skeletal remains of a warlock left in the camp, at 1st the clothing looked badass but didn't seem to suit me when I equipped it. So, I planned to sell it at a merchant when I got the chance but whatever, glad you like it"

"Let's hurry and complete the last quest of Neitherworth!" Sukuda pumped before taking off down the forest path. Sokoyai chuckled lightly before falling behind with Tempest following last, keeping an eye on the new party member...

As they headed farther north between Neitherworth forest and the nearby city, the party began to notice strange anomalies around them, the once lush green trees were now deformed and dead as if someone had stretched them in random directions. One tree was bent back with it's leaves touching the dead ground like a bush.

"I'm getting a terrible feeling from this place" Sukuda commented as they slowly pressed on, cautiously keeping an eye out for any signs of movement. "Eh, this seems like my kind of place. I can definitely see myself building a small house here. The best part is I could probably just snip people from my bedroom window without having to leave my bed! Ah, what a fantasy to behold"

That's when one of them heard something Rusling nearby. "Wait" Sukuda whispered, motioning them to stop. The noise persisted when a white bunny came scurrying between their feet, taking off in the opposite direction. "Sigh it was just a bunny"

After a slight pause, the once blue sky slowly turned purple with the ground rumbling beneath their feet. "W-what is this!?" Suddenly an abrupt legion of undead began coming out of the dead soil before them as more and more continued to spawn around them.

"T-there's so many of them!" The warlock gasped as the army of undead slowly approached them from all directions. That's when Sokoyai sighed pulling out dual pistols. "Don't just stand there you morons! Fight back!" Bloodspire watched his new ally fire off rounds into the horde, jumping over a few of them as he shot them down in mid-air.

Coming to his senses, Bloodspire clapped his palms together. "Transmutation magic: Size mimicry!" All watched as the magic caster grew 10 feet tall, standing over them like a giant. He struck the ground, sending a wave of skeletons flying back from the enhanced strength thanks to his increased size.

That's when Sokoyai ran up the side of the tree, landing on the warlock's shoulder, pulling out a sniper and firing into the endless crowd. Meanwhile Tempest was surrounded by the undead assailants as they lunged towards him, tackling him to the ground, burying him beneath a pile of undead.

"Tsk, c-can't push them off! TSSK! IMPENETRABLE FORCE!" An invisible shockwave of force sent the pile of skeletons flying in all directions as Tempest rose to his feet covered in dirt. "All of you bastards can burn to ash for all I care! Flame magic: Fire ball!" The infuriated mage launched a barrage of fireballs out in front of him, avoiding the giant warlock while setting the area ablaze with wild flames.

With the flames surrounding the area around them, Tempest prepared to use one last spell before he was completely out of MP. "Both of you, get back!" Sokoyai jumped off his ally's shoulder landing in a tree behind Tempest while Bloodspire used his great size to jump back, landing several feet behind the battle as Tempest casted his final spell. "Flame prison!"

His square cage made of flames trapped a few of them, but wasn't nearly enough. "Sukuda!" He called out. "Right!" The warlock answered, reverting back to his normal size. "Size mimicry!" The once 10 by 10 square then expanded to a 50x50 cube, capturing dozens of the enemies within it's grasp. "Now to finish this! Once more...size mimicry!" The flaming cube than shrunk down to the size of a mere 5-inch cube as He picked up the condensed cage, tossing it into the air.

"Ha!" Clinching his fist, Tempest caused the flame prison to erupt in a fierce explosion in a blinding ray of light with wisps of flames raining down like fireworks. "Sigh, looks like that worked. Nice teamwork Sukuda"

Walking back over to his party member he smiled. "Yea, you too. But don't forget Sokoyai, he was the 1st one to go in when the whole thing started. I just froze up until his yelling snapped me out of it" The white-haired elf walked over with one hand on his waist, smirking. "Heh, Don't mention it. I'd hate to see you both get your asses killed so easily. I did enjoy the intense battle just now. Though, I had hoped it'd be a little more difficult than mere skeletons"

Sukuda laughed. "Heh, I feel no fight will be good enough for you. Let's hurry and submit these rewards and head towards the next city, hopefully a more economically stable one so we can buy some equipment like weapons or magical item that might aid us in battle"

"Only if they'll be strong opponents too! I'm excited for a good beat down!" Sokoyai grinned revealing his sharp teeth cracking his knuckles. The trio made their way back to Neitherworth as moonlight illuminated the village's stone-paved streets with lanterns hanging on the side of every other door.

As it began to rain down upon Neitherworth, the party made their way inside the tavern where they saw the same woman at the bar as she cleaned and catered to the small few within the tavern. "Oh, welcome back Sukuda, Tempest...I didn't think you'd complete those quests so easily. Well, a deals a deal. I don't have much obviously, but this is the best I can do"

She reached into her pocket pulling out three gold coins. "Here you are. As I said it's not much, but it's at least enough for you to get something to eat or a place to stay on your journey. If you're unfamiliar with the conversion of coin, allow me to explain it as well as I can: 1st you have the bronze, these will hardly get you anything in this world but good to collect and save up. Next, we have the silver coin, these are a lot more common epically with those of middle class and your average citizen. One silver piece is worth 100 bronze pieces. Lastly, we have the best-known currency which is the gold piece. These are rare amongst low and even mid-class civilians. One gold piece is worth about 1,000 silver coins so don't expect to just find them lying on the street like bronze pieces"

Sukuda thanked the kind bartender before he and his trio finally departed Neitherworth, heading north through the vast green forest in search of a more bountiful quest where the party could upgrade their low-level gear and hopefully find the next member of their party.

It continued to pour down, causing them to take refuge in a nearby cave. Sokoyai stood outside, unaffected by the rain washing down on his already soaked body while Tempest managed to gather some wood and use his pyromancing skill to light a fire. Meanwhile Sukuda sat close to the fire, his new black hooded cloak drenched from the relentless rain, causing him to shiver.

"D-damn it, I h-hate being cold and wet. The heavy feeling from these wet clothes don't help either"

"True, I also hate the feeling...but in that bad of a storm, we probably wouldn't have found the next city and end up getting lost somehow. As for the small cabin I built somewhere in these woods, it also would've taken too long to find it. It's better to just stay here for the night until the storm clears up in the morning and we can see"

That's when Sukuda thought of something. "What about your fireball, couldn't we use that to see at night?" His ally shook his head, telling him that his flames couldn't withstand a storm like this unless he was using an actual attack. A mere flame for a light would be easily blown out.

"Hehe, so embarrassing you mere humans are scared of a mere rainstorm, we blood elves can withstand both intense flames as well as sheer cold temperatures. So, this storm only comes as a soft breeze to me" The two magic casters gave him an annoyed expression as they sat near the crackling fire.

"Awww, there's no need to be like that you two, I never asked to have these traits from my race, I'm just proud of being what I am...look at it this way, if we need food or supplies in a similar scenario, I can easily go out and hunt for what we need. Heh, it's not like there's anything in this region that can actually kill me, they'd be lucky to even pull off a surprise attack on me"

The Next Day...

A soft breeze brushed across the young warlock's face, causing him to quickly sit up. His vision slowly focusing, he saw the fire had died out with nothing but bits of wood remaining from the pile. He looked to his right, only to see Ryu still fast asleep against the wall. Not wanting to wake him, Sukuda walked outside into the sun-lit forest, light flooding the region with raindrops dripping from the leaves.

"Ah, glad the rain finally stopped" Feeling his clothes, he realized they had already tried while he was sleeping. "Heh and looks like my clothes are dry too! It feels so good to have the cold-heavy feeling gone. Now the question is...where's Sokoyai..."

Just as the young caster prepared to search for his missing party member, footsteps could be heard in front of him. He slowly raised his hand in the direction of the rustling footsteps, prepared to use his size mimicry skill if needed. That's when Sokoyai stepped out from thick forest, holding a large sack in one hand. "Sokoyai? Where'd you go? And why are you carrying a large sack around with you?"

The elf smirked, tossing it over to the warlock. "Why don't you open it and find out? I'm sure you'll be surprised and possibly impressed" Sukuda was unsure for a moment but knew there was no point in arguing. Checking the bag's inventory, he was surprised to find dozens of raw meat filling the bag's entire inventory capacity.

"How did you manage to collect this much meat while we were sleeping!?"

"Oh, my race merely requires half of that as a human, so I can go off three to four hours of sleep and still have the rest of the night to do what I like hehe. So, while you both were fast asleep, I spent that time hunting wildlife collecting meat for us"

The purple-haired adventurer was a little uneasy, but also impressed by the gunslinger's skill in hunting wildlife. "Though I'm a little uneasy about all this, I'm also impressed with your hunting skills. Let's go wake Tempest so we can eat then head north to the next city"

Making their way back into the cave, Sukuda sat the large sack onto the cold stone floor before approaching Tempest, still fast asleep. He crouched down to the snoozing wizard, lightly hitting him with his wrist, only for Tempest to be ineffective. "Sigh, wake up Tempest"

"You're being too gentle Sukuda, I'll show you how to wake him up" Walking over to the sleeping wizard, Sokoyai slammed his foot down on the poor caster's hand, causing him to cry out in pain as he snapped awake. "See, I told you, being gentle doesn't work for heavy sleepers like him"

"Tsk! You bastard! Couldn't you have found a better way of waking me up instead of nearly fracturing my hand!? What if you had broken it and I couldn't cast spells efficiently anymore!?"

"That wouldn't happen, with us being in the same party, you may feel pain when I attack you, but you won't retain any injuries or loss of HP unless I challenge you to an actually duel"

Forcing himself to his feet, Tempest glared angrily at the Elf, pointing straight at him. Alright then, I challenge you to a duel. If I win...you'll leave the party" A pop-up appeared in front of Sokoyai:

[Accept Duel?]

"Heh, very well...I shall accept your duel. But if I win...you'll lose your right to complain about me ever again and if you do...I shall get you when you least expect it"

[Duel Accepted]

Both stood outside, facing one another as the battle commenced. A red circle surrounded a large area around them, forming an invisible dome to keep anyone from interfering in the duel. Sukuda could only stand and watch as his two allies fought.

"Flame magic: Fire ball barrage!" Going all-out right of the back, Tempest sent four flaming projectiles right for the blood elf who grinned. "Skill: Bullet split" Sukuda watched as the fireballs slowed down to the point they were moving in slow-motion. "Hmph, seems your attack isn't fast enough to catch me just yet"

Quickly pulling out dual pistols, Sokoyai fired several rounds at the wizard. "Force magic: Impenetrable force!" Placing both hands out in front of him, Ryu formed an invisible barrier out in front of him as his opponent's bullets were deflected. "Hehe, s-see, I can keep up with you as well" The wizard taunted as sweat ran down his face from the adrenaline rushing through his body.

"You're defiantly a skilled mage...however, you didn't count on one flaw to your skill" Aiming a single pistol towards the mage, Sokoyai's smirk suddenly changed to a serious frown. "You can't keep the field manifested for long. Skill...blood shot" Once more, an orange crosshair formed around the elf's iris as he fired a single shot at the drained wizard. Bloodspire watched as his friend's barrier went down, leaving him wide open. With no time to react, Tempest was shot right in the head, blood dripping from the wound as the poor caster hit the dirt on his back.

[Duel Finished]

"Looks like we're done here. Though I did enjoy fighting you, I hope you don't hold this against me...it was you who commenced the duel to begin with. I never back down from a fight, especially when it's someone challenging me. Don't beat yourself up over this Tempest, don't forget your class deals in crowd control while mine deals in speed and precision. Not to mention I'm two levels ahead of you which doesn't help"

Approaching the downed combatant, the elf extended his hand to the wizard. Tempest laid there, a disappointed look on his face as he stared up at the sky. "I challenged you and I lost...I guess I don't really have a reason to complain" Taking a deep breath, Tempest took Sokoyai's hand helping him up. "I still don't really enjoy your company, but look forward to our next duel"

Sukuda was surprised to see the pair smirk at one another as if now friends. With the barrier down, both adventurers made their way back to the cave where the trio finally enjoyed some of the meat Sokoyai had gathered for the party. With Tempest's pyro skill he started another fire to cook the raw meat...

Finally ready to head out, the party once more traveled through the forest, finally reaching the northern city several miles from Neitherworth. As they made their way to the top of a hill, a large city could be seen not far from them. The city had a large stone wall around it with a large castle in view that looked as if it were made of solid gold. "Finally, a city that looks like the kind of place we'll get high-ranking quests as well as a bountiful reward to match!"

Filled with excitement, the warlock took off towards the kingdom with the others right behind him. "Wait up Sukuda! You don't have to run! Ryu called out trying to keep up with the party leader. Meanwhile Sokoyai jumped tree to tree, easily keeping up with his ally like a ninja.

The trio reached a large gate made of solid gold with a tall knight in black armor guarding it. "Halt travelers! Stay your business here!" Being the acting party leader, Sukuda approached the menacing knight answering: "I am Sukuda Bloodspire and we're here as adventurers trying to make a name for ourselves. We hope to take on high-rank quests and rise through the ranks until we reach S-rank adventurers"

The knight looked down at him then at his party members. "Hmph! You three seem like mere runts compared to the many high-ranking warriors I've let pass through here. Though, you don't seem like you have any evil intentions...very well...welcome to Wolfborne, one of the four royal kingdoms of the world"

The trio watched as the large golden gate slowly opened before them. A large city came into view with many tall buildings made of stone and gold lining the clean stone-paved streets as middle and upper-class citizens walked about the busy streets. The young adventurers ventured through the gate, admiring the vast array of shops and restaurants.

"Hmm, it feels weird to finally be in a large royal kingdom after spending days in a small village like Neitherworth" The warlock commented as they continued walking about the city. Not long after entering the kingdom, they were stopped by a fellow adventuring group. Their leader was a tall muscular man with long brown hair dressed in dark red knight armor. His party consisted of a mage dressed in a black hooded cloak and a female archer dressed in silver and green light armor with blonde hair in a ponytail.

"Heh, I can tell just by looking at you three, you're nothing but low-rank trash. You three might as well head back home before you get yourself killed, no one here will take you low-level adventurers seriously" Their leader crossed his arms leaning towards Sukuda with a smirk. The warlock clinched his fist as he felt anger building up inside him. Using his appraisal eye, he could read the fellow party's current levels:

[Maximus ]
Lvl.30
Class : warrior

Along with their leader, the other two were about the same level as him. As badly as he wanted to break Maximus' jaw, Sukuda knew the strength difference between them was far too great. (Tssk, you won't be so confident when my team surpasses yours in just a few days"

This caught the 2nd party off-guard before Maximus abruptly burst into laughter. "Hehe, haha! You honestly believe your peasant party has any chance in beating ours!? We're level 30 and A-rank adventurers off the Wolfborne kingdom! You three will be nothing more than dirt on my boots"

The high-level trio began walking past them when a smirk grew across Sukuda's face. "You say we're mere dirt, but overtime...we will get stronger, even stronger than the likes of you. You're no adventurer, at least...not an honorable one. You seem like another typical narcissist who's ego has gotten to big for their boots"

"What!?" The red knight frowned in anger as he turned around and marched back up to the young caster, pulling out a great sword. The others watched as the assailant lifted the fierce steel blade over his head with one hand. "I'd be careful what you say runt, I could strike you down with a single strike"

Standing his ground Bloodspire snapped back: "Is that so? Then go on...strike me down with your impressive blade great knight" A crowd was now circled around them in the center of the street as many watched in surprise at the sight of a mere commoner talking down to a high-class swordsmen.

"F-fine, you want to die so badly!? Just remember...you asked for this!" Gripping his sword firmly with both hands, he brought it with a fierce strike, only for Sukuda to catch it with one hand. Many gasped as blood dripped from his bare hand. "H-how is this possible!? You're only level 9, you should be dead!"

Tempest and Sokoyai looked at their leader's HP which was now at merely 45%. The purple-haired adventurer slightly smirked looking up at Maximus dead in the eye. "T-this will teach you n-not to talk down to those who are lower-level than you" without breaking eye contact, He used size mimicry to shrink the knight's great sword down to the size of a mere toy sword. "Next time...don't treat us common folk as trash"

Dropping the shrunken blade onto the street, Sukuda walked past the trio who stood frozen in shock by his ability. Making their way through the crowd, Sokoyai excitedly placed his hand on his leader's shoulder cheering. "Wow Sukuda that was badass! I can't believe you took that attack singlehandedly and only lost 45% of your HP! How did you know it wouldn't kill you!?"

"There was multiple factors, the 1st was he didn't attack at full strength therefore limiting his attack, 2nd was the fact since I blocked his attack, it cut his remaining attack percentage in half. So in the end...he only landed maybe 40% of his actual attack power against me thereby making me come across as much stronger than I actually am. But I still meant what I said, those who talk down to others deserve what's coming to them. So then, shall we proceed to the tavern to see just what kind of quests lay in store for us?" The gunslinger and mage nodded, still surprised by their leader's brief change in attitude.

They saw many different kinds of shops on their way to the tavern which sat near the middle of Wolfborne. Unlike Neitherworth, this tavern was much wider with a 2nd floor. Pushing the twin doors open, the trio found themselves within a massive tavern with clean wooden floors, many wooden tables spread out in parallel rows and a bar with 20 seats aligned it.

"Whoa, this tavern is nearly three or four times the size of the one in Neitherworth, and livelier as well" Making their way past the rows of wooden tables, they reached the bar which seemed to be made of solid gold as it shined in the light. Waiting at the bar, they saw a bell sitting there with a note that read: "Ring for service" Sokoyai picked it up, quickly ringing it as it echoed throughout the tavern.

A deep male voice called out: "I'll be right there, just a moment" After about a minute, a tall buff man dressed in a black formal coat with brown hair and a beard came around the corner. "My apologies dear travelers, I normally stay up front but had something to attend to real quick. How may I be of help to you three?"

"Yes, me and my party are looking for high-ranking quests to complete so we may move up as adventures and upgrade our gear. As you can see, we haven't had much luck when it comes to loot drops out in the areas of Neitherworth"

The man examined them closely before responding: "Ah yes Neitherworth, sadly that area is a terrible place if you're expecting to do anything aside practice new skills you've acquired. That area has nearly no loot drop rate. I'd suggest you also try not to mention you're all from Neitherworth, many high-class citizens see Neitherworth as the lowest of the low and will no doubt look poorly upon you if they find out. Best to forget about that place and start racking up quests so you can upgrade your gear to something more upper-class. That board in the corner of the room has all available quests. Before I can assign you to one, I must see which adventurer rank you each are. But since you're new here and your only prior experience is Neitherworth, I'm afraid I'll have to assign you all to C-rank. Normally it's D-rank, but I can tell you three aren't one's to disappoint so I'm willing to push you up a rank"

The elf and mage groaned in frustration while Sukuda thanked him for his help before making his way over to the board on the wall in the right corner of the room by the bar. He could see so many quests but were all B-rank or higher. After looking through the few C-rank quests there were, he pulled it off the board to examine it further:

[Cargo Escort]

Rank: C

Info : A cargo carriage is in need of an escort through the forest to the next town over, protect the carriage until they reach Conovale

Reward : 200 Gold

"Hmm, this sounds irritating, but in the slight chance there may be enemies...sigh whatever, seems this is the only tolerable quest I can find for the time being"

"Oh, you found us a quest?" Tempest asked with curiosity. The warlock nodded. "It's not as interesting as fighting a full-grown ogre, but it's the best I can find from a mere C-rank. We just have to escort a stupid carriage and we'll be paid 200 gold"

Sokoyai laughed commenting: "How can you not see this is a win-win situation Sukuda!? If their carriage is attack, we get to fight something, if it doesn't, it's an easy 200 gold!"

"I guess when you put it that way you're right. Let's just get this over with so we can see how much good quality equipment costs in Wolfborne" Making their way back over to the bartender, Sukuda placed the request down, informing him they'll take this job.

"Ah an escort quest, a great 1st start for C-rank adventurers. You'll find a man standing by a white horse carriage just outside the city gate, he's the one who put in the request. I wish you all luck in your 1st quest here in the Wolfborne kingdom"

Making their way outside the city walls, they quickly spotted a thin old man dressed in a brown vest and pants, waiting beside a horse carriage The old man noticed them and slightly smiled. "Hello young ones, are you three here to lead me and old Bessey here through green vale forest? I've been waiting days for anyone to accept my request"

"Don't worry, me and my party shall accompany you through green vale so you may reach your destination"

"Oh, thank you young man! It does my heart good knowing there are still those willing to help an old man like myself in times of need. I'd normally go myself, but I've gotten too old to fend off any ravenous beasts that may be lurking just of the path. There are creatures out there that can smell the food in my carriage and try to steal it. Not long ago, I was making my route from here to Azmarin when a large creature knocked over my carriage, causing my poor horses to run off. When I came to, a valiant knight in red armor was there to help me back to Wolfborne before anymore beasts appeared"

(Valient knight in red? Could he be referring to Maximus? Valient is the last word I'd use to describe him. Could he be putting on a fake heroic façade to come across as a perfect adventurer in the eyes of the kingdom to mask his narcissistic personality?) Looking up at the old man, he asked if he was ready to start heading to Azmarin.

"You're right, we should start heading there now before the sun begins to go down, I'll have to go slow so each of you can walk alongside the carriage in case any beasts try to attack"

With the carriage finally moving, Sukuda walked on the left side with Tempest walking on the right. Meanwhile Sokoyai followed behind, wielding a single firearm in one hand for quick reaction in case the others couldn't attack fast enough...

2 Hours Later...

Noon had just passed as the sun began it's slow descent over the forest. "We should be there soon, I appreciate the three of you for helping an old man with such a boring task, I know you'd rather be fighting monsters right now"

"Don't worry about it, we're just glad we could hel-" Before Sukuda could finish his sentence, a large humanoid wolf lunged from the forest right for him, slashing him across the face as a sheering pain rushed through him. He went flying through the air, landing on his back with blood running down his face while the others advanced the mysterious creature.

Sokoyai fired several rounds at the beast's face, only for it to have little effect as the bullets hit the dirt. "Shit, what kind of werewolf is this!? Aren't they only out at night!?"

"Who cares!? We need to keep it from killing us! Flame magic: fire ball!" The mage sent a fierce sphere of flames right for the beast. The projectile erupted in a wave of immense flames, setting the area ablaze with flames. However, it seemed to have no effect on the beast as it just stood there.

Gripping the right side of his pierced face, Sukuda slowly rose to his feet as flames whipped around them. "I don't know what the hell you are, but I can tell you're no ordinary werewolf are you? Someone sent you to attack us, didn't they? Why else would a fucking werewolf be stupid enough to come out in broad daylight? That was your 1st mistake. Size mimicry!"

Keeping his vision focused on his target, the werewolf shrunk down to the size of a mere ant. Realizing the disadvantage, it was now in, it took off back into the forest attempting to get away. "No you don't! Appraisal eye!" With his eye glowing blue, he locked on to the beast, keeping track of him by the pop-up of info that followed him.

"That's when Sukuda noticed something in the beast's info:

[Werewolf]

Race: Familiar

Lvl.20

"Familiar? So he really isn't a werewolf...someone sent this beast after us deliberately either to kill us or steal the poor man's food"

CHAPTER 4 :
Something Strange Within Wolfborne

Instead of pursuing the creature any further, Sukuda decided to head back to the carriage where his friends were waiting. The right side of Sukuda's face had been badly scratched by the familiar, causing him to keep his right eye closed as he returned to his party.

"Sukuda are you ok? That beast look like it did a number on your face with that surprise attack" Tempest commented concerned. Their leader sighed responding: "I-I'm fine...we might have bigger problems to deal with" His party looked at him confused.

"What do you mean? You're saying the werewolf escaped!?"

"Not just that Ryu, that wasn't a werewolf...it was a familiar" Both Sokoyai and Ryu looked at him in confusion, unsure what that was. "Sigh, a familiar is a kind of spirit or demon that links with another. Meaning, someone summoned that beast aiming to kill us or steal the contents in the carriage. I have a feeling I know the bastard behind this, but sadly I don't have proof. I'll have to force the truth out of him. Otherwise, I'm sure this will just keep happening to innocent people like this old man"

"Who do you think is behind this?" Tempest asked curiously. Sukuda looked him dead in the eye answering: "Maximus, he's the only one who would have any desire to kill us. But that's only if the familiar was planning to kill us. If his goal was the food, then there's someone else who's behind this. Either way, it's best we watch our backs as well as keep an eye on Maximus"

After helping the old man the rest of the way, the adventurers made their way back to Wolfborne to collect their reward. Making their way up to the bar, Sukuda informed the bartender of their completion.

"Great work you three, though I see your party leader wasn't so fortunate. Are you ok Sukuda?"

"Yea, I'm fine, the bastard just got me by surprise when I wasn't looking. Luckily I only lost 50% of my HP. By the way, is there something that could raise our level beside pointless C-rank quests? Not to be rude sir, but my party has better things to do beside escort missions or looking for a lost pet"

The bartender sighed placing both hands on the bar. "Alright, I can see you're willing to put in the effort while also ignoring no as an answer...There's a big tournament that will take place tomorrow morning, they start early since so many adventurers take part in the event. If you want to level up faster and also make a name for yourselves, I'd say sign up. But be warned...this tournament isn't just some duel for fun...if you're defeated during the tournament, you'll die permanently. That's why it grants so much EXP, you're risking your life against dozens of other participants"

"What are the rules exactly? Is it solo free-for-all or are there teams?" Tempest questioned. The man continued: "There isn't really set rules for the tournament, you're allowed to form teams with as many other participants you'd like. You're only goal is to be the last one standing"

A look of pure excitement grew on Sokoyai's face as he cheered. "Yes! I've been waiting for a battle like this! This will be the perfect thing to test my capabilities as a sniper! Sukuda we need to enter this tournament! Please tell me we're entering!"

Sukuda nodded with a slight smile. "No doubt Sokoyai, we need to raise our level so we're not looked down upon by the upper-class of Wolfborne. I will do anything to become stronger. I'm tired of feeling limited with my abilities, I need to reach a level so high, even that bastard Maximus won't mess with us!"

Sukuda

[LEVEL 10 ACHEVIED]

SKILL OBTAINED: Light Magic: Sanctuary- Form a dome of light that protects those within it from most attacks

SKILL OBTAINED : Vampiric Touch - Steal the HP and MP of any target within your grasp

Tempest

[LEVEL 10 ACHEVIED]

SKILL OBTAINED: Lightning Strike- Unleash a bolt of lightning from your finger or palm.

SKILL OBTAINED : magic missile - Fire a barrage of projectiles that explode on contact with magic energy

Sokoyai

[LEVEL 11 achieved]

SKILL OBTAINED : Imaging Bullet - Creates an after image of each shot when active.

"Great to get two new skills rather than just one this time. Not to mention my HP and MP increase with each level up making it easier for me to use spells more frequently. We started with 100 HP and 50 MP, but now we have 150 HP and 100 MP!" Bloodspire clenched his fist with a feeling of accomplishment rushing through him.

Pulling out his dual pistols, the young blood elf smirked rushing outside as the sky illuminated with a pink light, signaling it was evening. Sukuda and Ryu rushed after him, confused on why the elf had run off so quickly. Making their way through the streets, they spotted Sokoyai who made his way outside Wolfborne. The pair finally caught up to the elf who stood just outside the forest waiting for them.

"D-damn it Sokoyai, w-why did you take off like that!?" The warlock groaned out of breath. Tempest agreed also winded from the sudden running. That's when Sokoyai replied: "Isn't it obvious why I came out here? I wanted to try out my new skill in the woods, as well as have us build somewhere nearby for us to stay so we're not wasting money staying at a boring inn"

"He's got a point Sukuda, in a kingdom like that, it's best we just build something nearby, so we don't waste our hard-earned gold staying at some generic or overpriced inn when we can just build a suitable house to use for the time being. Like before Sukuda, just find me the materials and I'll get to work on our new house" Tempest waited while Sukuda and Sokoyai began cutting down trees to collect the wood that fell.

With his increased MP capacity, Bloodspire clapped his hands together, manifesting six purple sigils in front of him as six undead knights floated up from the necromancing symbols. "Good, seems I'm capable of summoning as many undead knights as I want so long as I have enough MP to do it"

Ordering the knights to collect wood for him, Sukuda opened his skill tree for the 1st time where he noticed something new about his skills. Moving over to his necromancing nature, he tapped on [summon undead] that's when he realized it had an augment feature. There were many kinds of undead he could summon but they were locked because of his level. The one's available for him were:

Lvl.1

Knight

Lvl.5

Mage

Lvl.10

Vampire

"A vampire sounds useful, especially with it being the newest augmentation in my necromancing nature as a warlock. Looking at my skill tree, kind of feels like I focus a little too much on my necromancing nature as a magic caster heh, hopefully as I level up, I'll expand to other magic natures"

After informing the others of how the skill tree worked with magic natures and skill augmentation, Tempest decided to check his augments while Sokoyai told them he was fine with how his skills already where. Opening his skills, Tempest went to [Fire ball] tapping on it:

Lvl.1

Fire ball

Lvl.5

Flame serpent

Lvl.10

Flaming Cyclone

"Hmm, a serpent could be useful with mobility, but a cyclone would be handier with cornering enemies as well as trapping them" After a moment of thinking, He selected the cyclone augment, changing his mere fire ball skill into a blazing cyclone.

Tempest closed his menu to see the undead group dropping dozens of wood at his feet before going back to collect more. Rubbing the back of his head in surprise Tempest commenting: "A-alright, I think we have enough wood, you should have your undead stop before we cut down too much of the nearby forest and a resident gets mad at us"

"Heh, yea sorry about that. I didn't think they'd be this good at collecting materials. At least now I know what to use them for when I'm not using my other undead augment summons" Calling his undead back, they vanished in a burst of purple wisps before flowing back into Sukuda. "It's also a good thing I regain MP if I recall them. If they're defeated, I don't get back the MP I spent on them"

While Sokoyai tried out his new skill in the forest, Sukuda watched his ally build their new home just outside of wolfborne. "Alright, with the wood your undead gathered for me, I should have enough to build an entire house rather than a mere cabin this time" Standing in the middle of the now empty area between wolfborne and the forest, Ryu began placing down the wooden foundation...

1 hour Later...

Night was beginning to fall as the mage finally finished up building their 1st official house. It was far bigger than your average peasant house which ranged from a mere hut to the size of a cabin while their house was a two-floor wooden house about the size of a modern-day two-story home.

"Impressive work Tempest, maybe you could get some extra gold on the side building houses for people haha!"

"Yea, but let's hope it doesn't come to that. Which reminds me...we still have that 200 gold from that escort mission we did earlier, why don't we go down to the market and see if we can get any good equipment from there. It'd be nice to have something extra for the battle royal tomorrow" Tempest looked at Sukuda with a smile.

"Alright, but if the prices are too high, I'm leaving. What about Sokoyai? Do you think there's something he'll want from the Wolfborne market?" Tempest shrugged responding: "He seems like he's off doing his own thing, I'd say we should just leave him be until tomorrow. He'll be stuck with us through the whole tournament anyway"

"Fair point let's go" Making their way into Wolfborne, they made their way to the shopping district where shops and merchants were aligned throughout the streets. Spotting a merchant selling magical artifacts on the right side of the street, Sukuda quickly rushed over to check it out. All kinds of staffs, wands and relics were spread out on a large wooden table and hanging up behind the man who wore a dark-purple hooded-robe.

"Welcome young adventurers...just how might I help you this fine night?"

"I and my friend here are in the market for a magic relic to help us in the mist of battle like a wand or staff"

"Ah, then I might have just what you're looking for. Sensing your magical aura young caster, I can see you radiate the nature of the necromancer, a dark aura which to some is an evil nature, you seek to control your surroundings as well as dispel the evil around you...is that right?"

The warlock was silent, surprised by the old man's words. "Hehe, given your silence, I can tell my hunch was correct. I have just the staff for you young necromancer" Turing towards the wall behind them, he pulled off a black staff with a red crystal ball on the tip of it. "This is a powerful staff known as the staff of Sorrow, the owner of this powerful item was a great and powerful necromancer who had power over life and death himself. I've heard legends that his power still flows within the relic. Normally such an item would be 300 gold, but since your magic nature seems to sync with it, I'm willing to give it to you for 150 gold. How does that sound?"

Sukuda turned to Tempest asking if he was ok with it. "150 is most of what we have, if I buy it...then we'll only have 50 gold to spend on a relic for you" Tempest placed his hand on his ally's shoulder with a confident smile. "Don't stress over it Sukuda, we can always do more boring ass quests until we rank up to better quests. Plus, I'm a little picky on the kind of staff I want. So go ahead and get it, we'll just wait till we have enough gold again"

Nodding to his friend, Sukuda handed over the 150 gold before taking the magic relic. The moment he grabbed the staff, an abrupt burst of purple mana swarmed around his body, a slight tingling feeling rushed through his body as if an immense amount of mana was flowing into him.

Relic Skill Obtained : Undead Body - Take the form of an undead, making oneself immune to death until MP runs out.

"Wow, this staff granted me a new skill, let's hope it'll be useful in the battle tomorrow. Let's hurry back so we can find Sokoyai and finally get some sleep, I don't need to be tired from the beginning of the tournament"

Making their way back to the house, they saw the blood elf sitting on the front steps of the large wooden house waiting for them. "About time you guys got back, I'm hurt you left without me, what if I wanted to check out the market!?"

Bloodspire sighed wielding his staff in one hand. "I offered to invite you, but Tempest thought you wanted time to yourself to practice your new skill"

"I did, but that was before I knew you would go to the market! There was probably some really good shit wasn't there!?'

"Well, we didn't check out much there, 200 gold isn't much in Wolfborne. We only had enough to get me this staff and it was only because the man selling it gave me a discount since he said my magic nature synced with a necromancer relic"

The elf sighed. "Makes sense, a magic nature is similar to an affinity, like a type of magic you're talented in even without proper training. Well anyway, next time you guys go to the shopping district, at least let me know"

The Next Morning...

Sukuda laid comfortably in his king-sized bed on the 2nd floor of their house when someone lightly trapped on his face. His eyes slowly focusing, he jumped slightly to see the white-haired elf standing over him. "d-damn it Sokoyai! You didn't have to scare me like that. H-how long until the royal is supposed to begin?"

"We have about an hour. I thought I'd wake you both up an hour early so you'd have time to wake up and mentally prepare" Rubbing his eyes Sukuda sat up as sunlight peeked through his bedroom window, illuminating his room.

"T-thanks Sokoyai, let Tempest know I'll be down in a few minutes and we can get something special to eat at the tavern rather than just raw meat from the sack you gave us"

"Alright!" Filled with excitement Sokoyai rushed down stairs. Meanwhile Sukuda summoned his necromancing staff in a flash of purple light as he used it to pull himself out of bed like a cane. "Sigh, it's only been a few days and I already feel like it's been a month. Not saying I don't enjoy fighting and growing stronger, but it's still tiring at times" Taking a deep breath, the warlock made his way downstairs where he found Tempest and Sokoyai waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

"Wow, I'm surprised you're already awake Tempest, and here I thought you'd be out cold to the point even Sokoyai couldn't wake you"

"Ugh, I did my best, but no matter how much I tried he wouldn't leave me alone. So, I eventually gave up and got out of bed"

"Well, now that everyone's up, let's hurry and head over to the tavern so we can get something to eat before the battle royal" Sitting at a large round table in the tavern the bartender walked over to them. "Well, I'm surprised to see you three coming here to eat rather than a quest. Getting in a good meal before the big battle royal?"

The party leader nodded. "Yea, we have some gold left over from our last quest and I thought we should eat something special before such a big event"

"Then may I suggest the salted boar with bread and some soup? It's one of our best meals here at the harp fox tavern. I'll even give you one on the house for your 1st time entering the battle royal"

The trio smiled with excitement, thanking the kind bartender before they went to prepare their order. After a few minutes, they came back, placing their food down in front of them. Tempest and Sokoyai dove right in, enjoying the food to their heart's content while Sukuda carefully tried each item, making sure he would like it before actually eating.

"Come on Sukuda, we only have about 15 minutes until the battle royal, why not enjoy the food rather than taste-testing each item?" Tempest commented, still enjoying the wonderful meal prepared for their special occasion.

"I just want to be sure I like it 1st, also it's more respectful to saver one's food rather than scarf it down you two" After finishing their meal, Sukuda left a gold coin on the table before making their way towards the tournament taking place in the center of the kingdom where dozens of participants were gathered in the town square which was a large open area in the middle of town.

Dozens of adventurers in armor wielding all kinds of weapons crowded the area as a tall young elf wearing a purple cloak stood on a platform before them. He had long blonde hair with green eyes as he smiled. "Welcome all willing warriors and adventurers to this year's battle royal, where only the last warrior or team shall be left standing. Allow me to inform anyone new to this event about one crucial rule"

The once joyful expression on the elf's face turned dark as he spoke. "Once this royal begins...you shall be transported inside a magical dome which prevents respawn. Meaning...just like fighting a boss or any real enemy, once your HP reaches zero...you'll be gone forever please keep that in mind. Now with that out of the way, let us prepare the teleportation. Since there are so many of you, please be sure to be within the town square. This spell takes about a minute to complete"

The trio watched as the elf clapped his hands together closing his eyes as if to pray. That's when a green sigil began to form across the entire town square. Sukuda watched as the impressive magical symbol completely formed beneath them. That's when the elf cried out: "Divine magic: Mass teleportation!"

A pillar of green light engulfed the town square as the crowd of warriors were teleported all at once....

CHAPTER 5 The Battle Royal Begins

As the pillar of light faded around him, Bloodspire suddenly realized he was alone in the middle of the forest. He summoned his staff, scanning his surroundings. Looking up he saw a massive barrier made of purple mana covering miles of land. "Hmm, that must be the dome the elf was talking about that keeps our HP from regenerating like if it was just a duel. But shit, I didn't count on the three of us getting separated during the teleportation. Seems I'm on my own until I find Sokoyai or Ryu"

Aiming his free hand out in front of him, he summoned a vampire before him. The vampire was a tall pale man, dressed in formal black tux with matching pants and white gloves. The undead had black hair as he opened his reds eyes that gleamed in the light. "Marcel at your service master. Just how may I serve you?" The vampire spoke with a seductive tone as he smirked with his hand over his chest in a formal manner.

"N-nice to meet you Marcel, I've summoned you to protect me from enemies and help me search for my party members. We are in a battle royal and were separated during the teleportation spell"

"Ah, very well, I shall do what I can to aid you master. In your battle and endeavor to rejoin your allies. I pray not to the soul that dare try and harm you whilst I'm here" As Sukuda began to walk aimlessly through the forest, unsure of where to go, Marcel followed closed behind.

Not long into the walk, the sound of a twig snapping alerted them, causing Bloodspire to freeze. That's when a large buff swordsman wearing a sleeveless black cloth shirt and tan pants attempted to ambush them. He prepared to strike the warlock down with one swing of his steel blade.

That's when Marcel moved at super-human speed, catching the tip of the sharp blade between his fingers. "Oh dear, seems that wasn't enough to break through my guard my dear sir. Perhaps you'd like another try? Or...maybe that was the best you could do" The calm nature of the vampire suddenly turned sadistic, a smirk growing as his eyes glowed red. Before the swordsmen could react, the vampire advanced forward, sending a fierce blow to the foe's abdomen. The assailant coughed up blood before impacting a nearby tree with a fierce impact.

"Oh my...it seems I over did it master. I do apologize" Marcel commented as he fixed his blood-stained glove. The young warlock was shocked by the vampire's immense speed and power, unable to speak. (This vampire...he's far stronger than a mere level 10 summon. Just what is he...)

Snapping out of it He replied: "Don't worry Marcel, you have nothing to be sorry about. As long as you protect me, you're doing a great job"

"Ah, you don't know how much that means to me sir Bloodspire, your praise is more than I could ever ask for. Shall we continue to search for your lost allies?" The caster nodded before venturing further through the endless forest...

Meanwhile...

Sokoyai sat crotched upon a large tree, peering through his scope as he looked for targets to take down. That's when he spotted a knight in heavy black armor walking alone, a large great sword on his back. Aiming right for the knight's head, Sokoyai took the shot, watching as the bullet spiraled right for it's target.

The bullet struck the side of knight's helmet leaving a mere dent in the forged steel. That's when the knight noticed where the blood elf was and pulled out their monstrous blade. "Sword strike: Demolishing Slash!" In one abrupt strike, the knight unleashed a fierce wave of force, splitting through the forest like a drill as it borrowed right for the elf.

"Shit!" Just before the attack hit, Rednight dove from the tree, landing on a nearby branch when it abruptly snapped, causing him to hit the ground with the knight marching towards him. "N-no, I won't be defeated by one mere knight! Bloodshot" His eye glowed red with the orange crosshair forming as he aimed his sniper towards the coming threat. Spotting a weak spot in the knight's armor with bloodshot, Sokoyai fired once more, this time aiming right for the warrior's waist.

To the knight's surprise, the bullet pierced through the right side of his waist, leaving his right side vulnerable to an attack.

"Heh, not bad elf, but it'll take more than a mere weak spot for you to get through my defenses" The knight taunted with a deep voice, aiming his large blade towards him. At that moment, a sudden cyclone of intense flames engulfed the knight trapping him within the blazing spiral of flames.

"H-huh?" Sokoyai looked around expected another enemy when Tempest stepped out of the bushes with a smirk on his face. "Hehe, tough luck Sokoyai, seems you might need my help already. I could tell your bullets were having little effect against such high-quality armor. However, looks like he didn't have an enchantment on his armor to nullify magic attacks"

The flames died out, reveling the knight to still be alive after such an attack. "Heh, so you two are together huh? Well don't get cocky, I still have more than enough strength to take on the likes of you two" Gripping his sword firmly with both hands, the combatant pierced the ground with all his might, causing the area around them to crack apart like a minor earthquake, sending a devastating shockwave of force in all directions.

Both adventurers put up their guard only to be sent flying back by the sheer force of the attack. Sokoyai went staggering across the forest before smashing into a large oak tree knocking the air out of him.

Tempest was sent in the opposite direction, soaring over the forest before descending towards the ground. "Shit! Flame prison!" Clapping his palms together, he formed the flaming cube around himself, impacting the area like a burning meteor. Lying in the dirt the cube vanished leaving the young caster vulnerable...

Far Away....

Sukuda continued his search for his missing allies when an arrow came soaring straight for him. The wooden projectile came to a halt a mere inch from his eyes, the arrow in between Marcel's fingers as he frowned facing the direction it had come from. "Hmph!" The vampire tossed the arrow right back, sending it moving even faster than it had come. Sukuda heard a sudden cry of pain signaling the arrow had hit someone.

Without warning, a barrage of arrows began shooting out from the bushes right for them. Sukuda prepared to use undead body to charge in when his vampiric servant motioned him to stay put. "No need Sir Bloodspire, allow me to handle these weaklings. They dare attack you yet hide within the forest like the cowards they are!" Sukuda watched as Marcel snapped each arrow that came his way, striking it with just the side of his wrist as broken arrows fell at his feet.

After nearly a minute of non-stop arrows, the onslaught finally let up. "Heh seems they ran out of their pitiful arrows. Vampiric skill: Bat capture" Holding his gloved palm out, bats manifested out in front of him, flying through the bushes before pulling out three men dressed in light gray and green gear holding bows. "So, you three were the cowards trying to attack my dear master. I'm afraid you've made...a dire mistake"

Once more his vampiric summon gave a cold evil look before punching each archer in the chest with quick precision. The force of his blow was so powerful, it caused the trio's hearts to stop. The warlock watched as the bats dropped the defeated enemies as they burst into wisps of green light meaning they've been killed.

Sukuda felt bad for the poor archers but knew he had to survive and help his friend before the high-level participants got to them 1st...

Nearby, a tall man dressed in a black hooded cloak walked through the forest. He had black hair with ruby red eyes as a calm frown appeared on his face. "This royal is lacking in skill, surely someone worth my time is still alive within these woods"

Just then a random fighter lunged towards him from the trees, throwing a fierce punch right for his face when something red manifested between them utterly blocking his fierce blow, a wave of force shook the trees around them. "W-what!?" The man dressed in a Gi was surprised to see a large dark-red axe levitating between him and the hooded target.

"You're of no interest to me" The axe vanished in a flash of light as the hooded man struck his target in the abdomen with an open palm, sending him soaring backwards in an immense wave of force. The poor man impacted a tree a few meters away as he sat motionless up against it, fierce pain surging through his body.

The dark man slowly approached him, lowering his black-gloved index finger towards the wounded combatant. "Berserker skill: Ignite. His finger glowed with a red flame swarming around it. Make peace with the warm embrace of death"

"N-NO, NO PLEASE I CAN'T DIE LIKE THIS! NOT LIKE THI-" Touching the target's forehead with his glowing index finger, the poor fighter's eyes and mouth lit up before his entire body erupted in an explosion of blood and guts. "Sigh, I question why I even entered a battle royal if it's just filled with low-level scum that can't even go a full round with me"

Making his way through the maze-like forest, he heard someone nearby. Manifesting his great axe in one hand, he sent a devastating slash across the trees before him, creating a clean path before him where he spotted Sukuda and Marcel.

"Hmm, those two look more competent than the trash I've seen. Let's see what they're capable of"

Sukuda turned to see the hooded man walking towards him with both hands in his pockets. (T-this guy...he seems...different than the others)

"You there, you seem like an actual adventurer compared to the shit stains I've delt with beforehand...come and show me what you're capable of. If you're still alive, then you're either a threat or a lucky bastard"

The warlock hesitated for a moment before shouting: "Attack Marcel!" The vampiric assistant nodded. "As you wish my lord. I shall deal with him in an instant!" Moving at super-human speed, the summon attempted to strike the mysterious assailant in the chest, only for his great axe to deflect the fierce attack.

"Hmph, so this one is a summon instead of a participant, which means you deal in summoning and necromancing magic. Interesting...you may actually be worth fighting. But let's see just how good you are necromancer!" Tossing his blade into the air, the hunter advanced toward the vampire, striking him across the face causing him to stagger back and fly into a tree. His feet touched the side of the tree, allowing him to launch himself right for his assailant.

"Heh, your vampire servant is quick on his feet, but the longer the fight goes on, the slimer is chances of winning are. You may want to give it everything you got before it's too late vampire"

"Heh, my, my someone's a little overconfident now aren't they?" Marcel answered back before landing a direct blow on the target's face, causing him to slide a few feet across the dirt before stopping himself,

"Hehe, this is rather fun, I can't remember the last time I had a decent fight like this. Allow me to tell you my name Necromancer, my name is Akuyomi Suki, I am hunter class and have beaten nearly every monster and opponent that were foolish enough to stand in my way. It's been some time since I had to use this skill, but I feel I should show it to you so you can see just how dangerous a hunter can be when it's used correctly. Berserker skill: Pain enhancement!"

Sukuda watched as a red flame-like aura engulfed Akuyomi, his cloak blowing in the force of his power as he pulled his hood back reveling his red eyes, his once calm expression becoming a smirk. "I'm sure you're wondering just what this skill does, allow me to enlighten you...pain enhancement allows my SPD, ATK and DEF to increase with every amount of damage my body takes. In short, defeat for you is inevitable!"

"Shit! Marcel, end this now!"

"Yes, lord Bloodspire!" Moving at full speed, the vampire used his focused punch in attempt to stop Akuyomi's heart, only to watch as it had no effect. The hunter stood unphased by the attack while his immense aura grew brighter. "Like I said...inevitable" His axe fell from above, allowing him to catch it with one hand before throwing it right at his vampiric target from close range.

Instead of piercing straight through him, the axe sent Marcel impact a large oak tree with the axe piercing into his chest. "Right, I forgot with vampires being undead, a mere laceration won't kill them. It seems I'll have to try something else. Relic skill: flair eruption" The warlock watched as the hunter snapped his fingers, causing his great axe to explode in a devastating explosion of raw power. Tears filled the adventurer's eyes as the only thing left was a large, scorched area before them.

"Y-you bastard! You killed Marcel!" Summoning his necromancing staff, an immense amount of purple mana bust out of him, matching the level of red flames emanating from Akuyomi. A look of rage as tears fell from his eyes as Sukuda aimed his staff towards his target. "Relic skill: Undead body!" The caster's eyes became black with purple irises in the center as a crack formed across his face. "I won't...let you get away with this...YOU BASTARD!" A pillar of purple light shot into the sky as he advanced right for the hunter. "Vampiric touch!"

Bloodspire's fingers glowed red as he reached for Akuyomi's throat, only for the hunter to slap his hand away and sent a devastating blow to his chest. The magic caster was sent soaring across the forest, smashing through several trees before impacting in front of Sokoyai and the armored knight. His MP drained, the warlock's body reverted back to normal leaving him in a weakened state. He looked up at Sokoyai who was surprised to see him. "S-soko-yai?" They watched as he blacked out in between the large knight and blood elf.

"Huh, that was strange, now then...it's time to finish this annoying elf once and for all" As the black knight pulled it's blade from the ground, both looked to see Akuyomi walking towards him, his great axe floating beside him with his hands in his pockets. The knight groaned. "Ugh, what now!?"

"Which one of you is allies with the necromancer?" The hunter questioned, pointing to the unconscious warlock. Sokoyai choked out: "I-I am" Akuyomi glared at the blood elf, examining him before letting out a sigh.

"Then take your ally and get back, I don't want that necromancer dying on me, I plan to fight him one on one once this royal is finished with" Still confused on what's happening, the elf picked up Sukuda, carrying him away from the fight while the knight and hunter stared down one another.

"Hmph, you would stand in my way hunter? I won't hesitate to kill you if needed!"

"You might seem big and threatening, but I don't sense any real potential within you, you're nothing but muscle and bluff. But if you're really that confident in yourself, then by all means...kill me" Both stood motionless, staring at one another...

After a long pause, the knight charged forward, wielding his steel blade. "DIE!" Bringing his blade down in one fierce strike, he felt something instantly stop it. Looking down before him, he witnessed Akuyomi holding the blade of his sword with his bare hand. Blood ran down his palm, but he didn't show any signs of pain.

"As I said...all bluff. Skill: Ignite" Once more Akuyomi made contact with the blade, causing it to explode in a burst of steel fragments. "Maybe in your next life you'll be a real threat" In a sudden move, Akuyomi punched straight through the knight's weakened armor, tearing out his still beating heart before crushing it in his grasp.

"Y-you're a m-monster" The knight uttered before collapsing face down in the dirt. Akuyomi looked down at the deceased warrior responding: "A monster? No, I'm one who stands above that...I am the bringer of death"

With the battle finally finished, the dark hunter made his way over to Sokoyai who had placed Sukuda's unconscious body beside Tempest who was also out cold for the moment. "So...you both are his allies hmmm? Though he's not the brightest, I can sense great potential radiating from him which means you both might have potential as well. As much as I hate people, I'm willing to join your party"

Sokoyai looked at his confused. "Why would you want to join our team? We're not that strong yet, there's far stronger warriors you could team up with in this world"

"True, but strength is a mere part of what makes a true adventurer. Your party leader has the potential to be far stronger than most warriors, but he has a want to not only become stronger, but also protect what's precious to him. I know he has the traits of a real adventurer, not the trash that comes to Wolfborne looking for money and other selfish reasons"

At that moment, all of them were transported back to Wolfborne where they found themselves before the elf who congratulated them on their victory. "Well done all of you, especially you Akuyomi, you had the most kills out of everyone. I dare say you would have won solo if not for helping this party here. Though, that's not to say they didn't do a great job in the royal as well! Let's give these four a round of applause!"

The crowd around them clapped in excitement for them...

A few hours Later...

[Sukuda]

[LEVEL 15 Achieved]

Skill Obtained : Life Transference - Give a portion of HP to an ally or store HP within an item, Hp returns from item when HP reaches zero

Skill Obtained : Clone - create an exact copy of oneself either as current, child or elderly. Clone stays until either HP reaches zero or is stopped by caster.

[Tempest]

[LEVEL 16 Achieved]

Skill Obtained : Dispel Magic - Cancel any spell or magical attack around caster's level.

Skill Obtained : Air walk - Caster can levitate/fly as well as control up to three others giving them the ability to fly within 20 feet of the caster.

[Sokoyai]

[LEVEL 17 Achieved]

Skill Obtained : Elemental Shot - Imbue bullets with magical energy. The element is random each time it is cast.

Skill Obtained : Sentient shot - A single bullet locks on to a target and follows it for up to 100m.

Sukuda awoke in his room, a fierce pain in his head as he realized where he was. "W-what happened? Tempest! Tempest are you here!?" That's when a familiar face stepped through the door. Sukuda was shocked to see Akuyomi standing in the door, his arms crossed with a slight smirk on his face. "About time you came to, that elf has been worried about you both four hours now, he was afraid you'd never wake up"

"Sokoyai? But what about Tempest? He's ok too, right?"

"Yea, he's passed out in his bed. I'm sure he'll wake up soon, you both used so much MP at one time, your bodies couldn't handle it. Tempest was knocked out when he impacted the forest inside his flame prison while you used so many spells at once, your body couldn't handle it. I'll give you some time to wake up before we head out"

That's when Sukuda got out of bed, jumping to his feet before a sudden light headedness rushed through him. Holding on to the wall for support, Sukuda commented: "D-don't order me around like you're the one in charge, I'm the leader of this party, not you so don't act like it"

Both glared at one another before Akuyomi smirked. "You're right, how rude of me, allow me to request to join your party and you can remain the party leader" That's when a pop up appeared in front of the warlock:

Party request: [Akuyomi Suki]

The young adventurer hesitated, staring at the notification before pushing accept as the warrior was added to the party. (Hmm, I don't think I ever looked at his level) Looking at Akuyomi's HP bar in the left of his vision, he could see his party member's levels with the berserker at level 25. (Ah, so that's how he beat me and Marcel so easily, even with my vampiric summons's enhanced stats, the level difference was still too great for him to win against this guy. If we ever have to fight this guy again...I hope our power will be enough)

Taking a deep breath, Sukuda waited for the light headedness to pass before making his way outside. Outside he found Sokoyai eating some of his cooked meat on the front steps of the house before he noticed the party leader.

"Sukuda! I mean...Sukuda you're alive, I'm glad you're ok. I wondered when you and Ryu would wake up. I guess Tempest hasn't woken up yet?"

"Not that I'm aware of. He must've taken a bad hit if he's still out cold" The warlock commented sitting beside the blood elf on the steps. That's when Sokoyai asked: Sukuda, do you ever think we'll reach our goal?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean the goal you had when we 1st formed our party, you and Tempest said you wanted to make a name for yourself and form a guild. When do you think we'll be able to start the guild? We have four members which is your standard party, but now we need to form a guild if we're to form a reputation for our party and expand beyond just four members"

"Fair enough, I'll make my way to Wolfborne and see if I can learn how to make a guild, I'll be back when I can" Summoning his staff in a flash of purple light, Bloodspire pulled himself up before stepping onto the bath between Wolfborne and their house. That's when a hand grabbed his shoulder.

Spinning around he saw Akuyomi standing behind him, his typical calm and emotionless expression on his face as he commented: "You shouldn't go by yourself, you just woke up and probably aren't at full strength. I'll go with you in case something happens"

The purple-haired adventurer was unsure about this but knew fighting would get him nowhere with the berserker, so he just sighed and continued walking towards Wolfborne with his new party member close behind.

Making their way inside the kingdom, they were quickly stopped once again by Maximus. "Heh, you're still here runt? Here I thought you would've been killed by now" That's when he noticed Akuyomi standing a few feet behind him, giving him a cold look. A sudden chill ran up the knight's spine. "A-akuyomi, w-what are you doing here with this runt!?"

The berserker slowly approached the red knight with his hands resting in his pockets as he looked at the frightened knight. "I decided to join the warlock's party...I can tell he has great potential, certainly more than you do. Though I'm not fond of people, I question what pleasure you and other high-ranking adventurers get from looking down on those you deem lower than you. Sukuda has only been here a few days and already reached level 15 with unique abilities at his disposal. What about you Max? You've been in Wolfborne for a month and only reached level 30. Just what have you been doing this whole time?"

Maximus and his party stood frozen in fear as Akuyomi stepped closer, mere inches from the knight's face as he looked deep into his eyes with a calm look. "Y-you can't talk to me like t-that Akuyomi, I'm five levels higher than you! I could kill you right here and no one would even care"

"Hehe, is that right Max? Shall we settle this little rivalry of ours here? You know level isn't the only factor when it comes to battle right? Or have you forgotten? Just like you forgot how to be an honorable knight. You're nothing more than a selfish knight, working for a corrupt king who only cares about showing off his wealth and control. All these buildings made of gold here, he just does that to show off his wealth to commoners and other kings and queens. But his followers like you mean very little to him"

"No, you're wrong...our king Julius is a kind and honorable man who cares for all the people of the Wolfborne kingdom, how dare you speak not of his greatness! I shall kill you so you can't sully his name any further!"

Sukuda watched as the female archer, hooded mage and red knight prepared to attack them when Akuyomi motioned for his party leader to stay out of it. "This is my fight Bloodspire, don't interfere, this has been coming for a long time now"

"You really think you can take all three of us all on your own? Even for you Akuyomi that's a foolish choice. Shira, Yuno, strike him down!" Sukuda watched as the archer and mage unleashed a barrage of arrows and fireballs, only to see Akuyomi's great axe floating in front of him as he used it to deflect any incoming attacks from the hostile pair.

"Hmph, two level 30's and yet you can't even break through my relic weapon. Allow me to show you just how dangerous a legendary relic weapon is, when a true wielder uses it" Throwing his hand into the air, the axe began spinning in front of them like a fan before the berserker snapped his fingers, activating it's relic skill flair eruption.

The parties watched as the legendary weapon erupted in a massive explosion that seemed to shake the city around them. With Sukuda and Akuyomi in the same party, the relic skill had no effect on him. The light cleared revealing the city streets scorched for nearly a mile by the fierce attack.

Shira and Yuno were covered in severe burns before they collapsed before their party leader. Maximus' armor was burned but luckily saved him from the full brunt of the explosion. "Have you realized it yet Maximus? Adventurers are worth more than their Level. I just defeated both of your party members who were also five levels higher than me with mere ease. So, what's your argument now Max?"

The knight was frozen in fear, his body trembling with wide eyes. "O-only one chance...come familiar!" Sukuda watched as a black mist manifested beside the red knight before it took the form of the werewolf familiar that had attacked Sukuda and the others on their escort quest a few days ago.

"T-that thing...it's the exact same creature that attacked me and my party days ago!" Sukuda commanded growing angry. The berserker held out his hand as the great axe reformed itself before vanishing in a ray of red light. "Ah, so you've been doing your lord's dirty work stealing food and resources from the innocent people of this kingdom and giving it to your precious lord Julius like the piece of shit that he is"

The familiar bared it's sharp claws growing towards the pair while Max slowly backed away. After a slight silence, the werewolf lunged towards them, attempting to slash Akuyomi across the face when the ruthless warrior caught the beast by it's arm. "Berserker skill: Ignite" Max watched in horror as the werewolf let out a howl of agony, it's eyes and mouth lighting up before exploding. Though, instead of blood in guts, all that was left was dark mist.

"There, with both his familiar and party defeated, it shouldn't be hard to finish him off" The pair turned to see Max had fled the battle. Bloodspire asked where he could've gone when Akuyomi answered: "It's obvious where he went.. he ran back to the king's castle in the north part of Wolfborne probably to beg for the king's help or protection. We should head there quickly in case something...inconvenient happens"

The warlock was unsure what his party member meant by that, but knew it couldn't be anything good...

CHAPTER 6 Corruption Across The Kingdom

Maximus ran towards king Julius' colossal castle, it seemed to be made from near solid gold. Racing past the two guards that stood watch before the large gate, the red knight ordered them to close it behind him and keep a close watch for a pair of adventurers that might attempt to enter the castle.

With the castle gate closing behind him the knight in red raced down the golden corridor into the large open lobby of the castle. In the large lobby were two stairs covered in red carpet, one leading to the west wing while the right lead to east wing. "Damn, I can't remember which staircase lead to him...whatever, I don't have much time before those bastards reach the castle!"

Heading up the west staircase, Maximus ran down the red-carped corridor as he saw paintings of king Julius on the white walls, leading to two large doors made of gold with gems on them. "Here it is, the king's throne room! I must reach him and explain the situation before those bastards catch me!"

Meanwhile...

The two knights dressed in black armor spotted a pair approaching the castle gate. The guards unsheathed their blades as Sukuda and Akuyomi stopped right in front of them. "You two! We've been ordered not to let you through! I'd suggest the both of you turn back now...unless you'd rather be struck down on the spot"

Before the party leader could respond, Akuyomi took a step forward, causing both guards to jump into the air, sending a fierce dual slash right for the berserker, only for their blades to come to an abrupt halt. "Hehe, I'm a berserker, it'll take more than mere swords to strike me down men" The two knights looked to see Akuyomi had stopped their blades just by blocking with his fists.

All could see blood running down his wrist yet didn't show any signs of pain or discomfort. "I'll give you both one chance to let us through, or I'll have no choice but to end your worthless lives. You can stand here and die for a corrupt ruler, or you can run away and save yourselves"

The two knights looked at one another before forcing their blades down harder, trying to break the berserker's guard.

"I see you've chosen your fate...don't blame me for what happens next" His eyes glowed red, Akuyomi knocked both swords into the air causing them to spiral in mid-air before hitting the ground across the castle yard. "You have no weapons, so just how will you both defend yourselves?"

"HAAGGHH!" One of the knights threw a punch right for Akuyomi, only for the skilled berserker to catch his fist. "Ignite" Sukuda watched as light filled the knight's armor before the poor warrior erupted in a gush of blood and guts, their armor falling to pieces in the middle of the blood-stained soil.

"W-what the hell!?" The remaining guard shouted in utter fear. He shook uncontrollably when Akuyomi looked him dead in the eye. This caused him to run off screaming in fear, leaving the castle gate unguarded.

"Shall we proceed Sukuda?" The warlock nodded as his ally opened the gate. Finally, inside the castle, they saw two sets of stairs and decided to split up. Sukuda heading down the left corridor and Akuyomi the right.

Meanwhile....

"Sir what should we do!? Akuyomi and his party leader are almost here, we need to do something!" Maximus got down on his knees before king Julius who sat upon his golden throne covered in jewels. The king wore a dark-purple royal robe with a king crown atop his head. He was an old man yet tall and well-built for his age.

The knight watched as the old man rose up from his chair looking down upon his follower with a cold look on his aged face. "Don't worry Maximus, you shall become stronger than you ever were with this magic relic. I've kept this with me for this very moment" Reaching into his pocket, Julius pulled out a small dagger, a sinister purple aura outlining the blade with magical letters written across the side. "Protect Wolfborne from those criminals Maximus, become the knight of Wolfborne!" Without hesitation, king Julius pierced the red knight across the torso with one quick slash.

"M-master!?" Max looked down at the deep laceration across his chest as blood began to run down his body. After a few seconds, his blood flowed back inside his body with the wound quickly healing itself. "W-what's happening to me!" The knight's once normal face began to grow cold and pale with his eyes becoming completely black with a purple light in the center of his eye sockets.

"Rejoice sir Maximus, I've used the dagger of damnation to turn you into an undead, you shall no longer feel any pain and should have unlimited stamina"

That's when Sukuda burst into the room. "There they are Maximus, deal with them!" The once proud knight now nothing more than a mindless undead, under the control of the king. "Hmph, you're merely a level 15 going against a level 30 undead knight. You're either hiding something, or very foolish. Maximus, deal with this low-rate commoner!"

Letting out a monstrous groan, the undead knight charged right for him, throwing a fierce blow head on only for the warlock to evade the strike just in time. Maximus struck the wall beside his target causing it to crumble apart.

(Hmmm, seems he's gotten a bit faster from his undead transformation. I'll have to end this quickly so he doesn't get a chance to hit me!)

"Undead summon: Vampire" jumping back, a purple sigil formed in the center of the room as Marcel manifested before them. The king gritted his teeth staring at the summon. "Hmph! So, your magic nature is necromancy!? Fine, it doesn't matter, I now know your magic nature and therefore your weakness! Since your magic consists of necromancing, that means your nature's weakness is holy magic! Allow me to show you the perfect counter to your nature! Holy magic: Divine barrier!"

All watched as a radiance of holy light formed around the red knight like transparent armor. "Behold peasant! An S-rank knight enhanced by an undead curse with a holy radiance that weakens undead magic, thereby greatly limiting your effectiveness"

"Hmm, this man speaks too much, shall I kill him for you sir Bloodspire?"

"Go ahead Marcel, I can handle a mere mindless undead on my own, no matter their level Light Magic: Sanctuary!" Sitting in a meditative state, He clapped his hands together closing his eyes. Focusing his magic, Sukuda whispered: "Clone..." The zombie knight watched as a white aura illuminated the warlock's body. That's when Sukuda suddenly split into two with an exact duplication beside him.

What!? He's capable of duplication magic so soon!? A mere level 15 would never be capable of such advanced magic!"

"You took your eyes off me!" Marcel shouted, appearing behind the king with a smirk on his face. In a sudden attack, Marcel punched straight through Julius' chest, ripping his heart out in one swift motion.

"Y-you wretched creature, I won't let you get away with this, I won't be killed so easily!" Gripping the cursed blade tightly, Julius stabbed himself with the demonic relic. Blood ran down his chin as he fell to his knees on the brink of death. All watched as the corrupt king began to corrode as the elderly flesh fell from his body with mere a skeleton remaining still wearing the purple robe and golden king crown.

The once normal human then spoke with a demonic voice: "Behold mere human, the cursed relic has transformed me into the undead king! Behold my true form!" Marcel sent a fierce kick to the back of the undead king's skull, only for it to do little to no damage. "Impossible" The vampire gasped before the assailant grabbed him by his throat. "My power has far surpassed that of a mere vampire" Julius sent Marcel impacting into the floor with a devastating choke slam, leaving the poor summon at 20% HP.

"H-he almost killed Marcel with a single attack!? Tssk, I need to finish this, Marcel return!" The injured vampire vanished in a burst of red mana as Sukuda prepared to go all out against the skeletal king. Opening his hand, he summoned his staff still within the safety of Sanctuary. "We can do this, we just have to attack faster than he can counter" Sukuda told his doppelganger who stood beside him. "Let's go!"

Dropping the protective field, Bloodspire spun his staff, focusing on his assailant with a determined look on his face. Both advanced towards the king, completely ignoring Maximus who stood mindlessly in the corner of the room.

The pair clashed with Julius, the throne room shaking from the immense wave of power. Julius blocked their coming attacks with his wrists. "Impressive, even in my level 30 form, seems a level 15 can keep up when they use the right combination of skills. Sadly, you can't hope to keep this up for long"

An abrupt shockwave of dark energy sent both warlock staggering back before landing on their feet before the corrupt ruler. "I may only be level 15, but I've grown in a short period of time. From merely appraising items, to being capable of creating a perfect duplication of myself. Allow me to take it one step further Julius. Relic Skill: Undead body! Holding his staff towards the air, both he and his clone transformed into Undead, unable to feel pain or go below 1 HP so long as his MP remained. "But wait, there's more! Size Mimicry!"

Sukuda's doppelganger then grew ten feet high, towering over the sadistic king. "Finish this clone!" The duplication unleashed a barrage of blows to Julius, it's immense size multiplying it's strong attacks as Julius was punched into the ground, the entire castle shaking by each blow that connected with the undead king. Though he couldn't feel pain, the force of the clone's attacks were so powerful, it kept the wretched king from moving from it's pinned spot.

Bloodspire could see Julius' HP going down, but knew it wouldn't be fast enough to defeat him before his MP was drained from his relic skill. Looking at his MP, he watched as it slowly decreased each moment. (Damn, I have just a few moments before my MP is completely drained!)

Suddenly tentacles made of bone shot up from the ground, sending the doppelganger flying as he was pinned against the wall, the sharp bones piercing through his undead body. Sukuda then felt a wave of dizziness rush through him. Realizing he was now completely out of MP, the dazed warlock fell to one knee, his vision growing blurry. "D-damn it" His duplication reverted back to normal as blood dripped from the bones piercing his body.

Meanwhile Sukuda collapsed from exhaustion, hitting the carpet while his clone cried out in utter pain. "Hehe, the real you may be unconscious, but....I'll enjoy touring you" The undead king rose from the crater in the center of the room, slowly approaching the unconscious magic caster. As Julius reached down to grab him, a glowing red great axe came spiraling into the room, decapitating the villain's skeletal arm as the bony limb hit the ground.

"Tssk, who dares attack me!?" King Julius looked towards the large open door to see Akuyomi standing in the large doorway, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed and a calm glare. "You really shouldn't leave doors open, someone could sneak in and attack you from behind" A smirk grew across Akuyomi's face. That's when Julius heard the legendary relic began to vibrate behind him. The impaled weapon abruptly shot up from it's location, spinning directly for it's target's skull like a boomerang.

"Such impudence!" The undead king retracted his skeletal tentacles, wrapping them around his body like a protective barrier as Akuyomi's weapon struck one of the thick bones. Sparks flew from the blade as it attempted to pierce through. While the pair clashed, the doppelganger laid up against the wall in a pool of his own blood.

"Hehe, glad you m-made it in time" The moment the clone's HP reached zero, it faded away leaving only a bloodstained wall. With Sukuda out cold, it seemed as though it was up to Akuyomi. That's when something struck one of the bone tentacles leaving a crack. "What!?" Akuyomi turned to see Sokoyai standing beside him aiming his sniper.

"I assumed something was wrong when Sukuda's MP reached zero. Tempest just woke up but said he was still too weak to come. So...this Is the bitch we're supposed to kill?" The berserker nodded. That's when Maximus lunged from the corner of the room right for them when Sokoyai sighed aiming right for his skull. Pulling the trigger, the blood elf headshot the mindless undead causing it's head to burst in a burst of blood. "Hmph, knocked"
"Rrrrr, I'MGROWING TIRED OF THIS! PREPARE TO DIE WORTHLESS ADVENTURERS!" Undead skill: Soul link!" Throwing both hands out in opposite directions, a flow of dark-red mana shot out from his chest, hitting Akuyomi's heart as the flow of energy connected their bodies. "Heh, what will you do now blood elf? So long as our souls are linked, you can't hurt me...unless you want to inflict the same amount of damage on your ally here"

At that moment, Akuyomi let out an unimpressed sigh. You really didn't think this through did you? Berserker skill : Pain enhancement" The king watched as the red flame-like aura illuminated the man's body.

"W-WHAT IS THIS!?"

"You really didn't research my class, did you Julius? I'm a berserker/Hunter, with this skill, the more damage I sustain, the higher my stats will stack until a minute is up. So...who will die 1st? Your already injured body, or my enhanced body? Sokoyai...give him all you got"

The blood elf nodded charging in, whipping out dual pistols. Skill : Elemental Shot! Skill : Sentient shot!" The two pistol barrels spun, landing on a random element like a slot machine as one landed on fire and the other on lightning. "Try to keep up with this bitch" Aiming right for the enemy, Sokoyai fired a single shot from both firearms as each bullet was Imbued with elemental magic. With his 2nd skill, the bullets locked on to the target, flying around him like wasps as they struck the bone tentacles repeatedly before coming back for more.

With each impact, Akuyomi flinched from the pain inflicted upon him from each attack. The red aura slowly grew brighter from his buff with his DEF increasing slightly while Julius continued to take the same amount of damage. "Your HP is low Julius, with each injury I sustain, my defense will just rise until either you break the spell, or die" Akuyomi took a step forward, his berserker aura illuminating the room. "Let's see if you'll survive this. Berserker skill : Hunter's fury" Focusing all of his attack, Akuyomi sent a powerful kick right for the bone tentacles protecting the Kin.

The immense attack paired with his buff, Akuyomi's kick shattered every tentacle, breaking through the tyrant's defenses. The shockwave was so fierce, it sent Julius impacting the wall behind his throne leaving a large crack. "Y-you peasants, t-this is blasphemous"

The pair watched as king Julius hit the ground, his HP finally depleted. The man reverted back to normal before lying motionless before them. "Sigh, didn't expect that old fool to be such a problem, normally kings just use others to fight their battles, but seems that old bastard actually had the power to back it up" The hunter commented before making his way over to Sukuda who had just began to wake up from his low MP.
Sukuda
[LEVEL 20 Achieved]

Skill Obtained: Soul Link - Any damage inflicted upon the caster is also transferred to the target connected to the link. More than one link can be connected but uses more MP

Skill Obtained: Astral projection- Caster leaves their mortal body and can freely roam within 100m of their body. Astral projection can phase through walls and people. Can possess another living thing through physical contact of astral form. Closer to your body you are, the stronger your projection.

Sokoyai

[Level 20 Achieved]

Skill Obtained: grenade - Throw a bomb that detonates on contact of a target or surface.

Akuyomi

[Level 27 Achieved]

Rising to his feet, Sukuda spotted the king's throne, still perfectly intact within the destroyed throne room. Walking over to it, Bloodspire sat down as a pop up appeared in front of him:

[Claim Wolfborne?]

YES? NO?

With a slight smirk, he selected "yes" curious on what would happen. The pop up disappeared as a ray of blue light covered the kingdom.

[Achievement Unlocked:
Ruler of Wolfborne]

A golden crown symbol appeared above Sukuda's head. The pair looked at before asking him what happened. The warlock sat on the throne for a moment before responding in a shocked tone: "We did it...we took over the kingdom!"

"Wait, what do you mean we took over the kingdom!? You mean...you're the king of Wolfborne now!?" Sokoyai commented. The party leader nodded. "Seems after defeating king Julius, we just had to sit in his throne to claim this kingdom as ours. I wonder if being king of an entire kingdom has some kind of perks that comes with it"

Opening the menu Sukuda spotted a new feature on the list that read:

[Conquer management]

Opening the new feature, Sukuda Could access a list of every kingdom they had control over, along with a detailed map of the entire city, import and export routes and menu that gave him the choice weather to destroy a building or build a new one with the city's current funds.

"Hmmm, interesting seems I have access to just about everything in the city, even it's income which I can use to build or destroy anything we need in the kingdom"

"Wow that's awesome, with control over an entire kingdom, we'll have far more power and influence in this world! We should try to take over each kingdom until we have complete control over the world!" Sokoyai suggested. This caused Sukuda to glare at him with a serious expression on his face.

"We took down the king because he was a corrupt bastard, I won't go around killing and murdering innocent people just because we want more power. We're quickly becoming stronger each day, we don't need a kingdom to rely on in terms of power and strength, we just need it so we can form our guild. Why build a mere house, when this entire kingdom can be our land and this castle our guild headquarters. Besides, the citizens of Wolfborne and Conovale won't have to worry about bastards like Julius our Maximus stealing from the poor anymore"

"Conovale?" Sokoyai questioned. The warlock reminded him of the escort quest they did days before and they had to escort the carriage to the city to the city east of Wolfborne which was known as Conovale.

"Well, I think it's time we finally explore our 1st dungeon" Bloodspire suggested as he rose to his feet. Sokoyai looked at him confused before asking: "What kind of dungeon are you referring to? You mean a literal one, or one of those large ones where you can find rare loot?"

"The 2nd one obviously, it'll be a great way to grind for loot as well as level up faster without worrying about killing innocent people unlike in the middle of the city or in the forest where there's only weak or average level monsters. Dungeons are said to be where powerful monsters are as well as gold and loot"

That's when Akuyomi spoke up: "Alright, then just how do you expect us to find a dungeon? The entire time I've been here, I've never seen any sign of a dungeon or anything close to it" Sukuda pondered for a moment before responding: "There's bound to be someone within Wolfborne that knows where to find them. If there are dungeons in this world...someone's bound to know their location. Let's go check the tavern in the city, I'm sure someone might know"

"Wait, if you're the king of this kingdom, shouldn't you stay here in case something happens?"

"Don't worry Akuyomi, I have a little Mp back and got that covered...clone" Closing his eyes, his body glowed once more as a perfect copy of him manifested beside him. "Stay here, we can't let anyone know the current king is away" His doppelganger nodded sitting in the throne with his right leg resting on his right. "There, now let's go"

Making their way outside, they quickly headed to the tavern. Akuyomi reached the bartender 1st. "Hey, my party and I were wondering if you knew about any dungeons that might be nearby?"

"Hmm, that's a tough one sir. I've worked at this bar for many years and have heard rumors of dungeons scattered all over the world but not enough info on their location and doubt you could find them by mere rumors. Sorry adventurer, but I truly have no helpful information to help you on your search"

"Damn, thanks anyway" Making his way over to his party members, he informed them of the situation as the elf and warlock groaned in frustration. That's when a nearby woman dressed in a black coat with long red hair, golden eyes and a black fedora hat. She looked at them with a calm glare before slowly pulling out her black pistol, firing it right at Sukuda's skull when it suddenly was repelled by an invisible force, causing the bullet to rapidly bounce around the room before running out of momentum.

"Heh, you have quick reflexes, new king Sukuda Bloodspire" A smirk grew across the stranger's face as she rose up from the table, slowly approaching them with her left hand on her waist. The party stared at her when she began laughing with one hand on her face. "Oh, come on don't take it so seriously! I was just testing your reaction Sukuda, I could tell you were the party leader and had to be sure you weren't just some weak shrimp with bodyguards. However, it seems you have the power to back it up"

His allies stood beside him glaring at her as Sukuda summoned his staff aiming it towards her. "Just how do you know my name and why were you eavesdropping on our conversation!" The gunslinger smirked reaching into her pocket. Sukuda gripped his staff firmly, preparing to attack when she pulled out a golden compass with a glowing blue arrow on the compass.

"This compass is a magic relic that tells me where the closest dungeon is, I snagged it from an old mage I killed a while ago. If you let me join your guild, I'd be happy to lead you to all the dungeons you'd like. It's gotten rather boring raiding them by myself, though there have been a few that seemed too hard for even me to enter. So, what do you say we join up and wipe out all the dungeons in this region together?"

"She seems fun, I want her in our group" With a smirk the berserker held his fist out to fist bump the red-haired girl who smiled doing the same. Sukuda sighed before making his staff vanish in a flash of purple light. "Alright fine...welcome to....the leveling party"

She shook his hand before bursting out in laughter. "Ha! The leveling party!? Come on, surely you can come up with something better than that! How about...max leveling party? Since our goal is to reach max level"

"Oh, that's really good! Come on Sukuda, we need to make that our guild name!" Sokoyai cried with excitement. Sukuda opened his menu where he finally created a guild for their fast-growing party of now five members.

[Guild Created]

[Sukuda +4 others have joined Max Leveling Paty guild]

There, the era of max leveling party has begun! Sukuda announced as he raised his fist into the air as civilians within the tavern just looked at him with confused looks. That reminds me, what's your name? He asked.

"My name is Hiara Sujico, glad to be a part of your team. Shall we head to the dungeon now?" She smiled holding out her magical relic with the glowing arrow pointing north.

CHAPTER 7 Max Leveling Party Is Born

Making their way outside the kingdom, they stopped by their formal house where Tempest sat on the front steps bored yet finally at full strength. "Tempest! Glad to see you're finally at full HP and MP, that battle must've taken a lot out of you!" Bloodspire cheered in excitement.

The young mage nodded rising to his feet. "Yea, I can see a lot happened since I was out. Sorry Sukuda, but I'm here and finally ready to get back into the fight!" The party leader smiled patting his friend on the shoulder with a smile.

"Glad to hear it. Before we go, allow me to meet Akuyomi and Hiara, they joined our party while you were unconscious, but now that you're back, we can finally all go on a dungeon raid together. Akuyomi joined our team during the royal while we met Haira just a few minutes ago while looking for info on dungeons"

"Hi I'm Akuyomi"

"And I'm Hiara, nice to meet another member of max leveling party" With the group together and ready, Hiara followed direction on the compass as it led them to the closest dungeon in the area...

10 Minutes Later...

Heading north from Wolfborne, they came to a small clearing where they spotted a trigram on the floor. It glowed white made of some kind of magic. "What is that? Could it be some kind of trap?" Sukuda guessed as the party stood before the trigram, hesitant to touch it.

"This is a dungeon trigram, it's a magical sigil that transports any who make direct contact with it to the dungeon it's linked to. I've only been to two dungeons so far, but I can guess the color of the trigram reveals the difficulty of the dungeon"

White - Low threat

Green - Average

Yellow - High threat

Red - Extreme

"Not sure if there's a 5th color, but those four are all the colors I've seen from the dungeon trigrams. See you all inside!" They watched as Hiara raced onto the magical seal, vanishing in a ray of light. Letting out a sigh, Akuyomi brushed passed the others walking through the rift as well. Tempest and Sokoyai looked at Sukuda who cracked his neck, letting out a deep breath before charging forward with the pair following close behind...

Sukuda opened his eyes, finding himself standing within a large stone corridor with large overgrown tree roots stretched across the walls and floor. "Hmmm, guessing we need to follow these roots back to the massive tree it came from and there we'll find our dungeon boss probably" Sukuda announced, summoning his black necromancing staff.

"This dungeon looks kinda large, we should split into two teams and cover more ground" Hiara suggested as the group huddled together. The warlock thought for a moment then answered: "Hiara and Akuyomi, you'll take the west area of the dungeon while Tempest and Sokoyai takes the east"

"What about you Sukuda? You gonna stay here?" Tempest asked confused. Sukuda then shook his head. "I'm going to use one of my special abilities to search for our dungeon boss. I recently gained the skill : Astral projection which allows me to leave my physical body and phase through walls undetected. With this skill, reaching the tree's center shouldn't take long. Though my body will be vulnerable, I doubt any monsters will come all the way back here. So go on and clear the dungeon out while I scope out the dungeon"

Sitting in a meditative state, Sukuda slowly closed his eyes as his soul floated up from his motionless vessel. The world around him now looked negative, the walls and floor glowing white as he stood within the Astral plane. He looked at his hand then his astral form. "Strange, it feels as though I'm in my body but...somehow lighter. I'll think about it later, I need to get to the tree's core and see just what we're dealing with!"

He soon realized he could fly in the air while in his astral form. Quickly flying through the air, Bloodspire phased through each stone wall obstructing his path. He could see many low-level monsters roaming the dungeon beneath him such as goblins, different color slimes and skeletons.

After about four or five walls, Sukuda stood before the largest tree he ever saw. It was far bigger than anything the warlock had ever seen. He felt like a mere ant compared to such a colossal tree.

Meanwhile a purple slime noticed Sukuda's body and began to hop over to him...

Just down the left corridor...

Akuyomi and Hiara were fighting a horde of different monsters as a goblin lunged towards the berserker who threw a punch so powerful, it caused a wave of force that sent the green gremlin flying back without even making contact with his fist. The female demon hunter pulled out a small dagger that glowed purple, charging past her teammate and piercing through several goblins at super-human speed.

Akuyomi watched as the red-haired adventure slashed six different enemies within a mere second before standing with her back to them. The slashes left behind by her cursed blade caused all six monsters to become paralyzed with purple electricity surging around their twitching bodies. "Demonic Transmutation!" The berserker watched as the demon Hunter's armor morphed into a demonic muscular arm as she spun around, gripping it tightly with her other hand aiming it towards the paralyzed targets. "Hell needles!"

A barrage of sharp spikes shot out from her transformed palm, piercing through each goblin as green blood gushed from their bodies before they collapsed dead. Taking a deep breath, Hiara's arm reverted back to normal. That's when Akuyomi slowly clapped responding: "I'm liking you more and more Hiara, you're just full of surprises hehe"

She looked at him with a frown. "I appreciate it, but I don't necessarily enjoy using my demon hunter transmutation abilities. I may be level 25, but don't really have any impressive skills that don't require me to tap into some kind of demonic power. Anyway, let's keep going, hopefully Sukuda has reached the dungeon boss by now"

Back at the entrance...

Red pyro slimes surrounded Sukuda's empty vessel when the purple slime guarded him. The red slimes all shot fire balls from their mouths when the purple lightning slime took in air, forming a protective barrier around the warlock with it's own rubbery body. The horde of flame slimes watched as the electric slime sent bolts of electricity right for them, utterly defeating them.

With the hostiles defeated, the purple slime reverted back to it's ball form, sitting beside the adventurer. That's when Sukuda awoke back within his body. He noticed the slime snuggled against him like a pet, this caused him to jump to his feet, worried the creature would attack. But as he watched, the slime just hoped over rubbing up against his leg as if it were a dog or cat.

Though he was hesitant, Sukuda patted the creature's head. That's when a notification appeared above the slime:

[Electric Slime has formed a bond with you]

[Name your pet: .......]

"Hmm? Didn't know this world had a pet/bond system, thought summons were about the closest thing you could get to a pet. Pondering for a moment, Sukuda typed in his pet's new name. "I'll call you Denjiro, it's a name that means electricity or to be fast"

[Denjiro has been added to summons]

Petting his new friend once more, Sukuda faced towards the large corridor. "Mow then Denjiro, let's hurry and reach that colossal tree before the boss fight begins!" The small purple slime bounced open down excitedly before the pair raced down the stone walkway...

In the east corridor...

Dozens of undead skeletons charged towards Tempest and Sokoyai, most of them were knights wielding swords while a small few were either archers or mages. "How the hell does this count as a low threat!? They may be only level 5-10, but in this quantity, they're certainly a threat!" Jumping into the air, the young used air walk to levitate in the air, above the small army of undead crowding the hall. "Magic missile!" Aiming his palm towards the monsters, Tempest unleashed an onslaught of small projectiles made of pure pink mana. Each one erupted a fierce explosion the moment it made contact.

Sokoyai watched as the entire hallway lit up in a blinding ray of pink light as Ryu unleashed a merciless barrage of projectiles. "Whoa, even though he's the lowest level of the party, he sure can dish out damage when he needs to"

Realizing his MP was now down to less than half, the drained mage dropped to the floor, landing beside the blood elf. "Well, that's all I can do until either my MP refills or we get to the dungeon boss. It'd be foolish to waste all my MP against mere pawns then black out again against the boss"

"I guess it's my turn then! Time to kick some ass!" Pulling out his dual pistols, the white-haired elf charged forward. One of the mages in the group sent a fireball right for the gunslinger, only for him to kick off the ground with both feet, evading the coming sphere of flames by a mere inch as it soared through the air before exploding against the wall.

Spinning in the air, Sokoyai unleashed a barrage of rounds at each target with perfect precision. He landed in the middle of the crowd, grabbing an undead by the leg before whipping them around like a weapon, knocking several other skeletons back before tossing him to the crowd. "Elemental sentient shot"

Aiming towards the horde, the barrel of his firearm spiraled before landing on ice. A smirk grew across his face as he fired a single shot towards the remaining targets. The ice magic bullet fired straight through a skeleton, utterly incasing it in a layer of thick ice. Keeping his eye focused on the bullet, the small projectile darted through each undead, trapping it within a prison of ice until the bullet finally dropped to the floor.

"The pins are set up Ryu, it's your job to knock them down"

"Sigh, fine...but only since you managed to trap them all in place. Flame magic: Blazing cyclone!" A fierce cyclone of intense flames manifested around the trapped targets as the ice began to rapidly melt. "Hmph!" Clapping his palms together, the cyclone began to condense until it erupted from the sheer amount of flames building up.

All that remained were scorched bones of the defeated targets. That's when Sukuda raced past them. "Hey guys!" The pair were confused for a moment before realizing what had just happened. "Hey wait up Sukuda!" The duo called out before racing after him...

Back at the west area...

Hiara and Akuyomi walked over a pile of defeated monsters, making their way past a stone corner as the endless overgrown roots along the walls began to become thicker meaning they were getting closer to the center of the massive tree. Seeing an open doorway at the end of the stone corridor, the pair were about to run towards it when a stone golem formed up from the ground. It was made of the same stone as the dungeon with glowing green eyes, standing seven feet tall.

"Is that the dungeon boss? But not even in the boss room yet" The woman commented in confusion. Akuyomi pointed up with his index finger, summoning his red great axe. "I doubt that golem is actually the boss, chances are he's just a guard to keep us from reaching the boss, basically a 2nd line of defense in case the mere low-rank monsters weren't enough. Hmph, you know...I've never fought a stone golem before. Let's see just how menacing you are"

Raising his hand to the air, Akuyomi snapped his fingers. His legendary relic took off down the corridor, spinning at an immense rate. The buff golem tilted it's head at the last second, evading the overpowered relic's blade just in time. As the Golem prepared to charge, Akuyomi crossed his arms with a smirk on his face. This caused the stone entity to pause, only for the great axe to come flying back like a boomerang, striking the back of the creature's rocky head. "Hmph, too bad you can't feel pain, but I'm sure you'll notice this" Snapping once more, his magical weapon blew up in a devastating explosion of blinding flames. Once the smoke cleared, it revealed the stone monster standing motionless, it's head utterly destroyed with scorch marks left on it's shoulders.

After a slight pause, the creature crumbled to pieces before them. "There, now let's hurry and reach the dungeon boss before Sukuda and the others get attacked" Racing into the boss room, all five adventurers stood before the colossal tree. Green wisps floated around them when the ground began to vibrate beneath them. They watched as a yellow golem burst out from the ground in front of the tree. It stood 15 feet tall as roots from the tree connected itself to the golem Imbuing it with nature magic.

"This must be the dungeon boss, it makes the other one look puny" Hiara commented. The golem's body glowed with green light as it looked down at them. It lifted it's colossal foot, preparing to crush them in one swift attack. That's when Sukuda aimed his staff towards the air. "Sanctuary!" His team watched as a golden barrier of holy light protected them from the incoming attack. The dungeon boss slammed it's foot down on the protective magical field, only to realize it couldn't break through.

"Good work Sukuda! Air walk!" Ascending into the air, Tempest soared out of the safe zone and threw both hands out in front of him. "Magic missiles!" Bloodspire kept the barrier up while he watched the golem stagger back by the onslaught of magic projectiles impacting it's torso.

Just before any of them could react, sharp roots shot out of the tree, piercing Tempest from all directions as blood dripped from his wounds. "Tempest!" The party watched as their injured ally was pulled towards the tree before being pulled inside it's thick oak. "Damn it, the bastard captured Ryu!" Bloodspire cried out.

That's when Hiara placed her hand on the frustrated party leader's shoulder responding: "Don't worry, if Sokoyai and Akuyomi break his guard, I can knock him down with my best offensive skill"

"Right, leave it to us, you ready Sokoyai?"

"No sweat Akuyomi!" Sokoyai dove outside sanctuary firing shots at the titan-sized golem's chest, only for it to have little effect against it. That's when the boss turned it's attention on the blood elf, throwing a gigantic punch right for the gunslinger. That's when Akuyomi blocked their attack with his legendary weapon. A fierce shockwave shook the dungeon from the mere force.

That's when Sukuda had an idea. Aiming his hand towards his ally's overpowered relic he shouted: "Size mimicry!" Without warning the great axe grew 10 times bigger before the party. "Go ahead and break his guard Akuyomi!" A grin grew across his lips as he slowly raised his hand. "Let's see just how deadly it can be when it's size has been multiplied!"

Focusing on his target, he sent the massive weapon spiraling right for the golem's skull, only for the boss to catch the axe's blade between it's hands mere inches from it's face. "Impressive golem...but this was a lose-lose situation" Clinching his fist the massive axe blew up in a massive explosion, causing their assailant to stagger back.

Now open to an attack, Hiara reformed her demonic arm, jumping into the air and sending a powerful strike to the titan's abdomen. "Demonic strike!" The demon hunter sent a devastating blow to the colossal golem with red demonic energy flowing through her arm into the attack.

Max Leveling Party watched as their enemy fell back with a thunderous boom, hitting the ground on it's back. "Wow great work Hiara!" The team leader called out. The red-haired hunter fell from high above, landing before the party. The golem burst into wisps of green light leaving a few pieces of loot, along with freeing Tempest from the massive tree.

The magic caster fell onto the stone floor breathing heavily. "D-damn it was hard to breathe in that small space. As big as that tree is, I think that golem was attempting to suffocate me inside it"

Looking down at the glowing loot before them, there was a wand, a ring and a pair of boots. Rising to his feet, Tempest picked up the wand, it was dark-brown appearing as your typical wand a wizard would use. "Hmm, says this wand has a fire nature affinity. All fire spells do 5% more damage as well as 10% more range when equipped"

"Seems like a great first weapon for you then Ryu, what about this ring?" Using his analysis, he could see the properties of the ring:

[Ring Of the eternal flame]

Effect: When HP drops below 40% form a barrier of immense flames around the wearer.

"Since Tempest got the wand and it doesn't seem to fit the rest of us, might as well give it to Akuyomi, he seems to have a flame nature as well" With his thumb Sukuda flicked the ring over to the berserker who caught it with ease. "Last is the boots which is up to any of you, boots don't really fit the apparel I'm going for as a necromancer, at least not these brown leather ones"

Once Sokoyai decided to equip them, they were transported back outside in front of the trigram. They noticed the trigram had stopped glowing meaning they couldn't use it to get back in.

Sukuda

[Level 20 Achieved]

Skill Obtained: Necrotic Puppet: This spell allows the caster to control a single creature, commanding it to perform tasks and fight for the caster. The creature will be imbued with magical energy and will be much stronger and faster than normal.

Tempest

[Level 17 Achieved]

Relic Skill : Trap of gravitation - Create a magical trigram around an area, making the gravity around them 10x heavier

Sokoyai

[Level 21 Achieved]

Akuyami

[Level 28 Achieved]

Hiara

[Level 26 Achieved]

Sukuda asked: "Where's the next one Hira? Surely there's another not far from here" She nodded once more pulling out her magic relic as the arrow pointed in the opposite direction leading west.

"Before we go, I just need to check something the party leader urged before opening his menu. Scrolling down to summons he tapped on his only summon which was Denjiro as the purple slime spawned in a flash of light.

"Huh!?" The others jumped back for a moment, confused on how Sukuda even got a summon. Tempest looked at the small, cute creature before asking: "How did you manage to get a pet from the dungeon!? Was it a reward or is this a new ability you have!?"

"I'm not sure, I was using astral projection to search the dungeon quickly, but when I returned to my mortal form this slime had protected me by forming a barrier around me with it's own body" That's when Hiara's attitude suddenly changed as her eyes lit up picking up the soft purple creature and wrapping her arms around it. "AWWW IT'S SO CUTE!"

All watched as she spun around holding the slime up looking into it's shiny black eyes. "DENJIRO IS SO CUTE, PLEASE LET ME HAVE HIM!" Sukuda blushed denying her request. "Sorry Hiara, I'm the one the slime formed a bond with, I can't just give him to you. Maybe you'll find your own pet soon"

"HMPH!" The demon hunter shoved the slime into his arms before stomping off. Everyone looked at each other before slightly laughing and following their party member...

CHAPTER 8 : All Fun And Games Until...

Reaching the next trigram, they noticed it was glowing yellow meaning it was a high-threat dungeon. "Are you sure we should do this? We already had a little trouble in what was considered low-threat which I for one call bullshit on, now you want to go straight to high-threat!?" The necromancer exclaimed in both fear and worry for the party.

"Alright, you can wait out her Sukuda, wouldn't want you getting killed in here" Akuyami taunted pushing past him before vanishing in a flash of yellow light. The party leader groaned in anger before the others followed off their party member.

(Shit, shit, shit!) Sukuda clinched his staff in his hand, his heart racing before he charged through the teleportation trigram. He found himself in a dark hallway covered in some kind of purple infestation on the wall, spores filled with red goo and black fungus all over the walls. "I have a bad feeling about this" Sukuda whispered under his breath in fear.

Meanwhile the others walked a few feet in front of him checking out the new creepy dungeon. Sokoyai pointed out how awesome the walls looked filled with excitement. "I wonder what kind of boss is in a badass dungeon like this!" As they walked past one of the spores, one of them burst open with the red substance landing on the gunslinger's right arm. "Shit this stings!"

The blood elf jumped back gripping his right arm as his HP began to slowly go down from the acid-like goo covering his arm. That's when the others noticed a large dark-red mosquito-like creature had been freed from the spore that had burst. It's wings moved rapidly as it went straight for Hiara, attempting to pierce her arm and drain her of blood.

"Demonic transmutation!" Transforming her left arm into it's black demonic form, she used it to block the coming attack as the insect struck the armored arm with it's massive needle, only for it to fail. "Heh, it's going to take more than that to pierce through demon skin!" Clinching her mutated fist, she punched the blood-sucking creature against the wall as it splattered against the infested wall. "Sigh, now...make sure not to touch any of the spores, the slightest touch might cause another one of those things to come out"

Sokoyai watched as the burning substance finally vanished from his arm and the pain was gone. "Sigh, finally the burning stopped, that was the worst pain I've ever felt since I got to this world. Looking at his HP, he realized he was already down to 60% just from being hit by one spore. His heart began to beat faster as the party carefully made their way through what felt like an endless hall of spores with an insect asleep within each one...

After about two minutes of dodging hundreds of spores, they finally made it into a large circular room where another colossal tree sat in the center of the room. That's when Tempest commented: "What is it with dungeons and trees?" They looked at the tree, it was dark-purple with a red aura glowing within it along with dark-red leaves.

After examining it for a moment, the tree began to move! The party jumped in shock as they threw one of it's large branches down with a fierce slam. The party managed to evade the attack when all the leaves on the tree abruptly flew off, filling the dungeon with leaves floating around them. That's when one of the leaves touched Sukuda's cheek causing it to burn him as the single leave was set ablaze before becoming ash. Realizing the point of all the leaves floating around them, Sukuda used sanctuary to protect them from the millions of small projectiles.

All watched as peddles landed on the transparent barrier before completely burning to ash. "Don't worry, we're safe so long as we stay within sanctuary!" The necromancer uttered as he continued to use more and more of his MP to keep the magical field up.

"Maybe I can speed things up! Trap of gravitation!" Pulling out his wand, Tempest aimed his wand towards the monstrous plant as a white trigram formed around it. The ground around it began to vibrate as the gravity became 10 times heavier around the infested tree. His allies watched as it struggled to move from the immense weight along with all the peddle hitting the grow disintegrating in a wall of flames.

"Well done Tempest, maybe now we can deal with this freak of nature" Akuyami announced before charging in with Hiara right beside him. "Hunter's fury!" Focusing all of his attack power into his fist, the pair sent a fierce punch straight for the infected tree's torso as a wave of force shook the entire dungeon. Their target staggered back, nearly ripping from it's roots before hitting the ground with a massive crash as the floor around them began to crack apart.

"Seems Ryu's increased gravity also boosted the damage inflicted on the tree when it hit the ground" Sukuda watched still within sanctuary as a purple mist began to flow out of the bosses' body. The hunter and berserker landed in front of the tree when the purple gas floated past them. Before either of them could say something, the pair collapsed on the ground, passed out from the mysterious gas.

"Shit! We need to help them before it's too late!" Bloodspire cried out. That's when he saw Sokoyai and Tempest being affected by the gas as well even within the magical field of sanctuary. "S-sukuda" One of them uttered before collapsing. The warlock could feel a dizziness wash over him when his pet slime jumped onto him, forming a protective layer over his body buying him a few moments before he ran out of oxygen.

"U-undead body!" Transforming himself into an undead, the gas floated past him with no effect. "Hmph! Your poisonous gas has no effect on me! I'll finish this before you can kill my friends! Size mimicry!" Increasing his size equal to the tree, the necromancer stepped over his unconscious friends, gripping the tree and pulling with all his strength. The tree let out sadistic cries as it's branches whipped him from all directions in an attempt to stop him, only for Sukuda to tear the monster from it's roots ultimately defeating it.

Out of breath the young warlock turned back to normal, shrinking back to his normal size as he fell from 10 feet in the air. Denjiro quickly detached itself from his master's body before taking in air to grow into a large cushion just before Sukuda landed on him...

About an hour later...

Bloodspire awoke still within the dungeon, noticing his party were still out-cold from the poisonous gas. Luckily his friends had about 20%-40% HP left so they were still alive just unconscious. "Let's hurry and get our party out of here Denjiro, it's not safe for them here if any of those large insects show up"

"mm, mm" The slime uttered nodding it's head. Denjiro took in as much air as it could, pulling the party inside it's expanded body before they found the trigram that brought them back outside. "Sigh, I think that's the last dungeon, for today, I warned them it was a bad idea and they nearly got themselves killed. Whatever...I'm just glad we managed to keep them alive"

Denjiro dropped each member out of his mouth while Sukuda carefully set them up against a tree to rest in a random part of the forest. Sitting down to rest, the warlock soon fell asleep...

Sukuda

[Level 23 Achieved]

Tempest

[Level 20 Achieved]

Sokoyai

[Level 22 Achieved]

A Few Hours Later...

He awoke to someone lightly slapping his face, only to see Sokoyai bent down looking at him closely. "Heh, glad to see you're ok Sukuda, we were all worried something might've happened when we all blacked out. Seems you managed to get us out of the dungeon before that rotten tree could finish us off!"

"Yeah, you're welcome. I'm just glad to see you all made it out safe. Let's hurry and head back to Wolfborne before it gets too late" looking up at the sky, they could tell it was getting late as the sky began turning violet signaling evening...

Making their way back to Wolfborne, Hiara asked where the others will be sleeping tonight. "I usually sleep randomly like an inn or random cabin I find in the woods when I'm out monster hunting or searching for a dungeon"

As they walked through the streets, Sukuda replied: "I and my party at the time figured out the king and his shit of a knight Maximus were abusing their power and stealing from the innocent, once we found that out, I personally took care of ending his miserable life and therefore claiming Wolfborne as my own"

Hiara was taken aback by Sukuda's blunt confession. She spoke up: "Isn't that a bit extreme? Killing the king and his knights?" Sukuda's expression hardened as he turned to face her. "Do you know what it's like to see your people being oppressed and robbed of their hard-earned resources every day? To live in constant fear and uncertainty? The king and his knights were corrupt to the core, and someone had to put a stop to it"

The group fell silent as they followed Sukuda through the streets of Wolfborne. The town looked different than before, with merchants and townspeople going about their business like nothing had happened. It was if the previous regime had never existed. Hiara broke the silence. "Sukuda, are you saying that you're the new ruler of Wolfborne?" Sukuda shrugged nonchalantly. "I suppose you could call me that. But I don't rule with an iron fist like the previous king. I make sure that everyone has a fair chance and that justice is served"

Reaching the golden castle, Sukuda led everyone through the large royal lobby Where they were taken up stairs to the east corridor where rooms were aligned across the hallway. "You can choose any one of these bedrooms Hiara, Tempest...I'll be in my room if anyone needs me, but I'm sure I'll fall asleep before something actually comes up"

While the rest of the Party closed the door to their new rooms, Sukuda made his way across the corridor where he found his clone still sitting upon his throne fast asleep from boredom, snores echoed throughout the large room. "Heh, you may be a perfect duplication of me, but I doubt I snore this loud"

Approaching the snoring doppelganger, Sukuda lightly kicked his foot. "Hey wake up, you did your job pretending to be me, all that's left is for you to keep watch over the castle in case we're attacked. You don't have to just sit in here, just stay within the castle" The clone slowly stirred awake, rubbing his eyes and letting out a deep yawn. "Oh, Sukuda? I must have dozed off for a while" Sukuda nodded in response. "Yes, but We can't afford to let our guard down now, not after all that we've been through. Make sure to stay alert and keep a lookout for any potential threats"

The clone nodded, quickly getting up from his throne stretching his limbs. "Don't worry, I'll handle things from here. You should get some rest" With a nod once more, the young warlock made his way to his royal bedroom before utterly passing out the moment his head hit the pillow...

As the sun shined over Wolfborne, Sukuda was awoken by his pet slime Denjiro who bounced excitedly before him, it’s purple circular body jigging. Sukuda sat up in his bed as he looked at Denjiro. "What is it, Denjiro? Why are you so excited?"

Denjiro made a series of cute noises, bouncing even higher as it communicated with Sukuda. It seemed to be pointing towards the window. He got up from his bed, walking towards the window to see what it was that had Denjiro so excited. Looking outside, he saw a group of villagers standing at the gates of the castle, they seemed nervous, looking around as if they were being watched.

Sukuda quickly got dressed, motioning for Denjiro to follow him. As Bloodspire made his way out of the room, he knocked on each member’s bedroom door, alerting them that something might be happening near the castle gate.

"What's going on?" Hiara called out from behind her door. The purple-haired caster spoke louder: "There are villagers at the gates. We need to find out what's going on. It could be nothing, but it’s best we check the situation in case something really is happening”

That’s when Tempest stepped out of his room half awake. “What are you yelling about Sukuda?” The mage yawned trying to keep from falling over. Bloodspire told him to wait until everyone was here before he explained it once more. “I hate repeating myself, so it’s better to just wait until the whole party is finally here”


As the rest of the group gathered in the hallway, Bloodspire began to explain the situation at the castle gates. "From what I've gathered, there seems to be a group of villagers gathered at the gates. They seem frightened. We need to investigate and see if we can help"

“Sure, why not, it’s not like we have much to do at the moment” Hiara commented before the party made their way outside the castle. Standing in front of the royal castle gate, Sukuda watched as a group of citizens ran up to him in fear. “Thank heavens you’ve come king Bloodspire! Something awful as happened outside the kingdom. We normally send explorers out to find needed resources such as extra food or veins containing ore or gold. We may be a wealthy kingdom on the outside, but our once terrible king Julius wasted our kingdom’s gold to appear more wealthy towards the other 3 kingdoms…anyways, some of our explorers have gone missing around an abandoned temple but I and my fellow explorers are too scared to look for them”

“Alright, me and my party will search the temple for your missing friends. I’d suggest you stay in the city until we figure out what happened”

Max Leveling party set out towards the abandoned temple, keeping a wary eye out for any signs of danger along the way. After traveling for about an hour, they arrived at the temple, they noticed that the entrance looked old and worn. The path leading up to it was overgrown with ivy and weeds, suggesting it hadn't been used in quite some time. However, as they approached the entrance, they could feel a sense of unease settling over them.

“I’ll go 1st, you all stay behind me in case there’s an ambush” The berserker warned. Suddenly Sokoyai snapped back: “Fuck that! If there’s an ambush, it’s going to be a blood bath!” The blood elf dashed past the others pulling out a pistol, following Akuyomi close behind.
As they reached the top of the stone steps, Sokoyai spotted a figure standing in front of one the white marble columns aligning the entrance. “Watch out!” Throwing his arm Sokoyai fired a single shot right for the suspicious figure, only for the silhouette to dodge with immense speed.

“Nice shot…but I’m afraid a mere firearm won't do you any good against one who’s foresight surpasses that of a mere human” Stepping out from the shade, a tall muscular man with dark skin Stepping forward into the light. He wore a gold GI like your typical marital artist, he had spikey light brown hair with one big strand lying across his face. “I’m curious of just how strong your party is…could it be enough to beat my foresight?”


Akuyomi looked at the man with an intense stare. He could feel power emanating from him. "Who are you?" he asked, getting ready to draw his legendary weapon the martial artist smiled, his eyes glittering with excitement. "I’ll tell you, but only if you can survive two minutes against me…I am a master of foresight and a skilled martial artist, I came here to test my skills against worthy opponents… and it seems I have found them.”

Sukuda was confused by his challenge. “Do you mean fight each of us in a 1V1 or do you mean our entire party!?” Their target smirked going into a kung-fu stance. “I mean I’ll take all five of you on!” Hiara clinched her fist growing frustrated towards the new combatant. “Tsk, you really think that low of us!? I’ll show you that it’ll take more than just foresight to win a fight! Demonic transmutation!” The fighter watched as her left arm transformed once more into a giant muscular demon arm. “I’m going 1st!” She cried out advancing her opponent.

Her party watched as she threw a fierce blow right for the martial artist. That’s when a 3rd eye opened in the center of his forehead. It’s iris glowed gold as their foe could see mere moments into the future and know the demon Hunter’s next move. “Your next words will be: “Demonic strike”

“Demonic strike!” Hiara sent a sudden punch straight for him, only for the man to lean just out of the way of her fierce attack. The fighter grinned, his eyes flickering with amusement. "Impressive, but not enough" He launched himself towards Hiara, moving with blinding speed.

She tried to counter with another strike, but again he seemed to anticipate every move she made, dodging it with ease. Hiara gritted her teeth in frustration. She had never faced an opponent with this level of foresight before, and knew it was going to be a tough fight. She took a step back, her demon arm reverting back to its normal form.

As the rest of the party moved in to help, the stranger seemed to anticipate their every move with ease. Sokoyai fired their weapon, but the Seer was already out of the way before the bullets could even hit.

20 Février 2023 19:03 0 Rapport Incorporer Suivre l’histoire
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Gavin Sinto fantasy action/ sci-fi writer

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