Opening his eyes, it was like he is doing some strenuous exercise. It felt heavy and everywhere in his body it ached.
He could feel the heat of fire near him and a damp towel on his head. In his stump is a bandage.
His stomach is bandage by gauze and his robe is folded neatly beside his bed.
His body is exposed but he is not cold. He could see a blanket on his body and he pushed it away with his right hand.
He looks around slowly. He is on land, with high trees, and the sound of crickets in the distance.
Then he heard a huge splashing.
It jolted him to shocks but he calmed himself down. Looking upwards he could see stars. He is not in the river but he is near one he deduced.
It’s night he mused.
Did he survive? He looked around and he could see Sofia beside him, leaned on a huge tree branch, sleeping.
He on the other hand is lying on a bed of leaves. Beside him is about ten bottles of vials. Most of them is health potions if he has to hazard a guess.
Sofia must force it down my throat to try heal my injury, he mused.
He looks at his left hand. Then he sighed. He only has his right hand now. Even health vials could not help regrow lost limbs.
At least he knows now.
But Azief is not saddened by this fact. He is sure that there is other way to regrow back his hand.
Look at the bright side….which is….hmmm…he could not think of any bright side of losing an arm.
He sighed again
‘Sofia’ Azief weakly said
The girl quickly opens her eyes and then she finally realizes it was Azief.
‘Azief! You’re awake? Are you okay?’ She said as she run to Azief and checks him.
‘I’m okay’ as he said this Sofia hugged him and one could hear her sobbing.
‘You…why…didn’t you….’she said stuttering at every sentence. Sofia felt guilty looking at his conditions.
He lost his hand because of her. By the time she was at the shore she began to realize that Azief was fighting the Supercroc.
When she realizes this, she jumps back into the river, trying to join the fight.
But it was that time she sees that hundreds of crocodile coming attacking the Supercroc, ravaging it like a pack of hyena.
But the Supercroc did not go down easy and Sofia was trying to see among the chaos where is he until she saw a silhouette falling into the river.
Sofia quickly dives inside the river, swimming like mermaid.
Thanks to her high agility even though she is in the rivers, her speed did not deteriorate by much and she quickly arrive at his location.
By that time Sofia heart was in turmoil. She didn’t think he would sacrifice so much just to keep her safe.
For the first time, she could feel that she could rely on him and sees him as a man.
When she saw him, falling deeper and deeper into the river without any response, her heart lurched as she quickly dragged his body upwards.
Avoiding the fierce fighting between the hundreds of crocodile with the Supercroc on the surface of the water, Sofia dragged Azief to the shore.
When they reach the city shore, his face was pale white, his skin was cold, and he was constantly bleeding from his wound.
A deep gash mark on his left arm, and a stump on what used to be his hand, and nonstop bleeding from the stomach.
As she uses cotton and gauze to bandage the wounds and stop the bleeding, her tears kept falling.
She places him under a huge tree, behind a large rock as she gather leaves to make a bed for him and take some dry wood to make a fire.
Then she disrobes him and cleans his wounds.
Sometimes when he went into shock, Sofia would pour some health vials inside his mouth and he would calm down.
She also makes a damp towel to try helping his body fight the heat. When the shocks stop, he was then inflicted by a fever.
It has been hours but the fight between the supercroc and the other crocodile is still not ending.
By the time he was settled in the city shore, the Supercroc has many injuries. Combined with Azief blinding both its eyes, the supercroc is in dire straits.
But the small crocodiles also have suffered many casualties.
Hundreds of crocodile corpse floats on the river, and the area around the clash is dye red, making it look like a river of blood.
Sofia is not that far from the shore which is why she could see the fight.
Sometimes the Supercroc would go underwater and the other crocodile would follow and then they will emerge back at the surface and fights again, each time fiercer than the last.
The area around their fight becomes bloodied as the clear blue water turns red because of their fight.
And the smell also began to reach the city shores which invite some beast to the shores.
Most of it is just some snakes and there is an ape like creature which is a little bit stronger than the normal beast she encountered.
She uses her rain of arrows to riddle it with arrows, protecting the unconscious Azief.
She rose to level 20 and put one skill points to her rains of arrows which make her rain of arrows more powerful and it also decrease the usage of SP to use the skills.
Sofia did not dare venture deeper into the city fearing that she would meet another beast which is why she camped out here, not too far from the city shore instead of making a camp deeper into the area.
She is also worried about him and she could not leave him behind, not after what he has done for her.
So, denying her survival instinct, instead of leaving him…she stays with him, nursing him until he recovers from his injury.
Then she leaned into the tree branch, tired and spent, and she surrendered her mind to the night.
It wasn’t until he awakened that she was stirred and quickly she hugged him.
All these memories fill her mind when she hugged him and she was grateful that the only familiar face she has seen since the Fall is not dead.
Then releasing him from her hug, she stares at him, more like glaring at him and then she began to said with a voice that is trembling, with an appearance of messy hair and a swollen eyes, she said with a hint of anger and gratefulness
‘Don’t do that again’ and finished saying this she hugged him again.
And he sits there, on the bed of leaves, unmoving, not knowing what to do. In his life, there is rarely a time where he hugs somebody or people hug him.
Even in his family there is no hugging.
So he smiles and he nodded his head. He could feel her body heat, her chest heaving and could hear her rushed heartbeat.
He didn’t know….that hugging could be so sensual.
‘Hmm’ he replies in a non-committal gesture.
‘It’s okay now’ he said.
Finally she released him and then he look at her, like he has never seen her before.
Sofia is not a world class beauty and Azief could say that even though he doesn’t have many romantic relations with the opposite sex, he knows a few of pretty beautiful people.
And Sofia could not be considered a beauty that would make you look twice. She is innocent enough and beautiful enough for a girl in a village.
But for some reason, looking at her now, she looked beautiful in a way he couldn’t describe.
And he smiles at himself. Like before, he smiles not knowing the reason he smiles. It was not hopelessness like before.
Could it be…and he extinguishes the thought.
Sofia finally realizing that she hugged him too tight before and hugging him with no clothes on, she could feel heat rushing to her cheeks and she almost yelps in surprise.
She blushed red in shyness and averts her gaze from Azief bare naked body.
‘We can rest here for tonight’ Sofia said after she calmed herself. Azief nodded.
By now he has heard the story of how she saved him from drowning and he has also heard about the attack of the crocodiles with the Supercroc.
Hearing this of course he is surprised.
The fact that he survives and the fact that the supercroc has been fighting for hours with almost an army of crocodile and is still not defeated, Azief is grateful enough that he only loses his hand.
Maybe his pill could sap the energy of the Supercroc and help the horde wins the war between the Supercroc and the Alliance of Crocs.
Azief decided to call them the Alliance of the crocs for laughs but Sofia was not laughing when she heard the joke.
She just says that he has a very terrible naming sense. He got up and he said.
‘Help me to wear my robe.’
‘Rest, Azief.’ She said, clearly not agreeing with him even moving around. She worries too much.
He shakes his head. He wanted to see the monsters that have bitten his hand. He wanted to see its downfall with his own eyes.
‘I want to check the battle.’ He said to Sofia while Sofia just sighed.
‘Why would you do that?’ she asked.
‘That beast made me amputate my own hand. If you could imagine cutting your own hand and the pain of doing it….’and he sighed then he continued.
‘I wanted to see it last moment with my own eyes.’ He said
‘You…you stubborn oaf’ she said.
Clearly she was angry yet she came forward and helps him with his robe. Then they walked nearing the shore and look behind the rock.
Sofia always maintained a lookout
By now hundreds of crocodiles bodies (this sounds wrong. Carcasses, corpses?) floats around the area.
There is only two crocodiles fighting the supercroc by now but the supercroc has been injured heavily.
It was bleeding from everywhere, its hard scale has already been shattered, and it has lost it right leg.
From the looks of it the two crocodiles going to win as it eat the exposed flesh of the large crocodiles, like they are feasting on a large banquet.
‘There must be a lot of loot there, waiting to be looted’ Azief said as he looked at the hundred dead crocodiles.
‘Hmm’ Sofia agreed and nods her head.
If not because that she feared that there is other hidden danger in the river, she would swim and loot them all.
‘Look’ Azief said and that startled Sofia.
‘What?’ The last moment of the Supercroc and there is a smirk in his face. Sofia feel chills looking at his smirk.
He looks at the stump on what used to be his hand and looking at the Supercroc last moment he heaved a sigh of relief.
‘It is done’ he said coldly, and his mind has already thinking about what’s next and whether he needs to change his plan.
‘Let’s go and make a camp underneath the tree. We’ll discuss other stuff in the morning’
Sofia nodded and they were about to return to the huge tree when suddenly Azief felt pain in his left arm and he fall down.
He falls suddenly and without warning and Sofia who was behind him was shocked and quickly she rushed to him, lying on the sand, wriggling in pain
‘Azief, what’s happening? Hey, answer me. Are you okay? Where do you feel pain? Tell me.’ Sofia was anxious and perplexed on what just happens.
Azief is right now feeling a pain he never felt before, as blood jutted out from the stump and he could see in front of his eyes, as nerve and veins was formed out of thin air.
When the nerve and veins was completely constructed, flesh appears out of nowhere, this time encapsulating the nerve and veins; all the while he has to bear the pain that felt like he was being skinned alive.
Then as if that was not enough, he could hear his own bones cracked and he howls in pain.
Sofia was beside him hugging him, as he began seizing and Sofia looks at his pain like she could felt it and tears keep falling, fear, anxiety, all this is mixed in her emotions.
She doesn’t want to lose the only person she knows in this dark and cold world. She has lost her mother, her boyfriend and now she is going to lose him too?
She could not accept that.
She could not accept another lost. And thinking of the dark days ahead, even if she survives, she would be alone again, and that thought scares her more than she cares to admit.
In Azief body, his bones keep breaking, almost like his bones were branches of a tree, the sound was popping and the broken bones can be heard loudly.
Then his bones reform and his skins stretched, which brought another level of pain, and his scream filled the area.
He howls and he screams, tears of pain flowed from his eyes, gritting his teeth, and Sofia is trying to hold him down as she is also scared and shocked at seeing this occurrence.
There is nothing she could do because she know nothing why this suddenly happens ,so she could only cried because of fear and she hugged him trying to console him, trying to ease his pain somehow.
A minute later, the pain stop and so does the scream and then both of them look in awe and shock of what has transpired
Sofia is more shocked than him. She look at him as he gets up and she could see he was taller than before and even ….handsome than before.
Azief has this black spot on his face and scars because of acne but now, his face was flawless.
Looking at his arm, Sofia could see a well sculpted muscle and then she look at his height. Azief height is 172cm before but now he is 182 cm now.
Standing he emits some kind of a powerful aura, and with his black robe combined with the oppressive aura around him now, he looks almost like a death god.
Sofia who was close to him could feel herself feeling weak, like his aura is oppressing her somehow unintentionally.
His pale face before is now full of energy and he look healthier and powerful, like the injury he had before was a lie.
What has happened to him? she mused. Azief on the other hand is overjoyed and excited.
His hand returned. He also felt a primal strength coursing through his body, and he realizes that he is taller and stronger than before, the feeling like he is invincible and then a notification appears.
Looking at it, he was dumbstruck and then slowly a smile formed on his mouth, finally understanding what has happened to him.