The wind rustles the leaves in the forest and a woman could be seen feeling nervous. A man with black robe walking calmly, at least that is how it seems in her eyes.
Sofia looks behind her sometimes. Every few second she would stop and tries to listen with her ears for any suspicious movement.
Sometimes she sniffs with her nose, trying to smell anything out of ordinary.
Azief look at Sofia behavior and he chuckles.
‘They are not there anymore, Sofia. they are only guarding the bodies.’ Hearing this Sofia lowered her guard.
‘How can you be sure?’ She said, looking behind her again and trying to detect anything unusual.
‘I know.’ He replies. Sofia is too cautious
‘But why? Why guard the bodies? It doesn’t seem….logical.’
‘I don’t know. But it’s not something simple.’ Azief said
‘How did you notice them?’ She asked
‘The smell. The stench of blood. The rustling in the bushes. The lack of any beast corpse near the bodies. Almost like anything that came near the field was stopped.’
‘I have enhanced smell. How come I didn’t smell anything?’
‘My sense is more acute than yours. ‘
As they walked through the forests, Sofia become the vanguard and Badge her assistant. Sometimes, if Sofia in a tight spot he would lend his help.
But as they progressed deeper Sofia is getting accustomed in fighting, so much so, that she didn’t need his help anymore.
As they walk further and further, they come across a dark forest with trees that almost reached the clouds and the leaves provides not only shades from the sun but blotted out the sun, that the forest is cold and dark, like those forest in Grimm tales stories.
As they walked ahead suddenly they heard a roar not too far away. Azief smiles.
‘That is the alien’ he said.
‘You recognize it?’ Sofia said, her arrows were already on standby position, ready to shoot anything, in a moment notice.
‘I couldn’t forget that sound.’ He said.
So they move forward when suddenly they both stopped at the same time. He quickly unsummon Badge back.
Even though the cost of summoning him outside is not that high and Badge is useful sometimes, but comparing him and his pet, the one who has been pulling the weight in the battle is him.
‘There are people’ his ears perked up. Sofia nodded. She realizes it too. But it’s not a couple of people….but hundreds of people.
He could hear the conversation and as they pass deep bush they then see one thing they did not expect to see in these dark forest.
A stronghold with wood walls and a watchtower, a huge gate all constructed by wood. They are some guards on top of the tower and guards on the entrance of the gate, moving in a pattern, guarding the wooden stronghold.
‘What is this?’ Sofia asked disbelievingly. It is clear from her tone she did not expect to see a stronghold in a forest.
‘I don’t know.’ Azief reply but he began examining the surroundings.
On the west side of the stronghold, Azief could see the alien, his objective, his only quest from World Orb.
Lying on the ground leisurely, with protective barrier surrounding the alien, it is resting without any worries.
About a 100 people trying to break through the barrier. Sometimes the alien will spit green goo from his mouth and a few men with shields would take the brunt of that corrosive spit.
‘That’s my target’ Azief said. He needs to kill it. And then he checks the quest windows again.
DESTROY THE DEMONIC ERTHEN
The Demonic Erthen is a low level beast in the planet of Qarthan. They have acid spits, parasites that could live under the skins and strength that surpass the Homo sapiens. Defeat the beast to gain your class rewards.
TIME LIMIT: ONE MONTH
VICTORY CONDITION: KILLING THE DEMONIC ERTHEN
FAILURE CONDITION: FAILING TO KILL THE DEMONIC ERTHEN IN ONE MONTH
REWARD: UNIQUE SKILL OF SHADOW LORD
In the case of failure, the class of Shadow Lords will return back to the roster of Unique Class Up and all the experience collected during the tenure of having the power of Shadow Lord will be given to the next inheritor.
‘What should we do?’ Sofia asked. She notices the group that is trying to kill the beast in vain.
But Azief is still looking at the barrier. At moment like this, Sofia knows just to let him collect his thoughts so she didn’t say anything
As he looked at the barrier, he got a revelation. Could it be? He smiles. Thinking about it, it is logical.
The quest is auto generated which means the monster is also generated.
Since the monster is the requirement for successfully completing Unique class criteria, the monster would be protected by the World Orb and if that logic is true, then that means the barrier is for him.
Only he can enter.
Thinking about it, it is logical. Being a Chosen already grants you boost in stats and special abilities.
So, people who chose the secret class also had to experience more danger. No pain ,no gain.
But the reason he is smiling is because, thank god, he evolved first. The Demonic Erthen is a low level beast in the planet of Qarthan so…..he is confident he could kill it.
It might not be as leisurely as killing the apes and snakes but it still would be pretty easy. That just shows how confident he is of killing the beast.
The Shadow Lord profession is already in the bag he mused.
‘Azief?’ Sofia nudges him and Azief snapped back to the present.
‘What do you think we should do?’
‘We greet whoever in charge here first.’ He decided.
‘You don’t mind they are attacking the beast?’ Sofia said, looking at the people throwing javelin and riddling the barrier with bullets.
Nothing seems to penetrate the beast barrier.
The only fortunate thing is that the beast did not come out of its protective barrier.
‘Why? That’s your quest right?’ then Azief explains his theory and Sofia nodded in understanding.
‘So that’s why!’ she exclaimed
‘So you have all the time in the world’ Sofia said, laughing. He just smiles and then he said.
‘Remember. Address me as Lord Shadow inside the stronghold later.’
‘Why would you want that? Everyone knows your name now don’t you think? She said, clearly puzzled by his decision
‘Wouldn’t that just make people want to grab the unique skill from you?’
‘Maybe. Or maybe not. Either they will got so tempted that they will try to attack me, or scared enough not to offend me. In the end, both methods have pros and cons. And since I don’t like pretending to be weak, I might as well pretend to be strong.’
He understand the concept of pretending to be a rabbit but he doesn’t want to.
Because pretending to be rabbit also invites troubles. If that is the case, why should he bow to people, when he can look down on them?
Thinking of the pros and cons he decided to spread the name Lord Shadow. He was already well known by the World Orb announcement.
Azief believe reputation is also important in this new world. Now that there is such a convenient thing as the announcement by the World Orb, why would he not exploit his fame?
After they decided in their course of action they moved to the stronghold.
The moment their silhouette is spotted the guards on the towers screams and then most of the guards on the tower either brandishes their swords, aimed their arrows, or preparing to throw their spears and javelin.
Some even in shooting position, holding a sniper rifle in their post while some are targeting the duo with fire arms, machineguns, 9mm, and many others.
They are well armed Azief mused which makes this stronghold more mysterious. Modern weapons all disappeared when the light came.
Other than the things you store inside the storage rings, all modern weapons or necessities disappeared after the Light fell.
Then this means whoever supplied this stronghold with weapons, is either someone high up in the military or the most likely theory, the guards or supervisor of a weapon storage facility.
Azief also realizes there are some people who uses firearms but their pistol are imprinted by runic design which means their firearms is granted buy the World Orb.
So the World Orb did not only grant cold weapons, but also hot weapons to humans.
Interesting he mused.
‘Who are you! Identify yourself!’ The guards on the front gate said with a deep voice. The guard was bulky and in his hand was a curved saber.
He was Malay. The one on his right side was Chinese.
Sofia let Azief take the lead this time. She on the other hand pointed her arrows to the people on the watch.
Azief approached the main gate slowly.
To the crowds they felt an unexplained dread as the man in the black robe comes approaching.
They couldn’t see his face, only the black robe fluttering, as the wind blows his robe gently, each steps soundless, like he didn’t even walk those steps but swaying with the wind.
This is not the first time the guards is asking the people coming here to this stronghold the same question but this time he unintentionally screams because of the pressure bearing down on him.
Lord Shadow on the other hand did not stop walking, nor does he offer any explanation.
Sofia just sighed. Faithful to his character she mused as she follows from behind, still overlooking the watchtower.
‘STOP!’ The guard said but Lord Shadow keep advancing.
He did not run just walking slowly to the front gate but for some reason it is like Death is coming to their doorsteps.
The guards instinct tells him to run, screaming to him to run. But instead in his panic he yelled.
Then the front gate small door opens and from it appears 12 men who is all armed and armoured.
They look at the approaching man in hood and they said it again
‘WHO ARE YOU! STATE YOUR INTENTION AND CEASE YOUR MOVEMENT!’
The leader of the first company is Naim. He looked at the approaching man and the man says nothing.
He could even swear he could see a trace of a smirk on the face under the hood.
‘STOP or we will be forced to take action!’ the man said.
The reason why Azief is provoking this stronghold is because he wants to know… what kind of place this is.
A tyrant living like a king stronghold or an organized band of people….or bandits.
There is also a fact that this is just fun. He knows he is truly strong and he wanted to strike the fear of God inside the heart of these men.
He wanted to establish superiority. It would be easier for him later.
He could feel that the guards level is mostly around 10 or 12.They are basically ants in his eyes.
The reason why he needs to establish fear? It is to establish power? The reason why he needs to establish power? For the beast!
He could see that the stronghold is not that far away from the beast.
From the trace of battle around the area, one could surmise that they have been attacking the beast countless of times but they failed.
He didn’t think this is because of their weak level. Why? Because they have enough number to overwhelmed the beast.
The ranks of the beast are merely an extraordinary beast which is one rank down from Unique rank monster.
The reason why they fail is because of the barriers. Azief could see that they couldn’t enter the barrier.
But he believes he could. This quest is tailor made for him.
But if he decided to offer his service to this stronghold he needs to prove his worth. One might ask, why does he need to offer his service when he could easily just as enter the barrier and kill the beast?
Why…it’s because of profit of course. Thinking about the gold these people have and pills, he is in a joyful expression.
He has his plan of course.
And the other reason, is to not offend people when he doesn’t know the full story. Maybe there is a high leveler in here but Azief doubts it.
Because he couldn’t feel that pressure. But still it safer to be safe and just offend them slightly instead of offending them all the way.
But he is sure, among these people there is no Chosen.
The reason why he is sure of this theory is because, if there is a Chosen here in the stronghold, then they should have known about the barrier characteristic.
As long as the barrier is not broken, the monster won’t attack the stronghold. The monster is waiting for Chosen to fight with them.
And third reason, a lord, should behave like a lord. He is a superior being than homo sapiens why should he deals with normal people and extra characters?
The leader of this stronghold should meet him and offer respect or something along that line.
‘STOP! ‘The First Company yelled again. The people on the watchtower did not do anything since there is no order from up top.
They just watched murderously at the duo and in standby position.
There is some trace of determination on his face. The people on the tower also began feeling dreadful.
Who is this duo coming to the stronghold?
People ask them to identify themselves, yet they didn’t say a word.
When the first company came the people in the tower smiles in relief since surely they thought the duo would feel a little bit fear and comply with the guards request.
Yet they stubbornly not saying anything which only increases the uneasiness they feel toward these strangers.
This is not the first time they are visited by some weird people. A few days ago they were visited by a man claiming himself to be Thousand Face but he was denied entry.
Then the man disappeared.
Today, a man clad in black and a woman who looks like a Spartan warrior goddess, with a beautiful bow sling on her back coming to their stronghold.
And the scariest part is that even after the First Company shows themselves, the duo still looked calm as a still lake.
‘STOP!!!’ The first company yelled as they began marching forward. Step by step they moved forward in uniform position. They all used a spear.
As Azief walked forward he looked at the leader of the First Company, Naim, murderously. As he did, the man’s body suddenly began to shake and his organs felt as if they would stop working.
His bodily function seemed as if it had lost its ability to function. The blood drained from his face, and astonishment filled his eyes.
A massive pressure bore down on him, causing him to shake so violently that he thought he might fall into pieces.
Lord Shadow continued to look at him.
This was the crushing power caused by the vast difference in their race. Azief is not a Malay.
He’s not even human any longer. He’s a Novus Sapiens, a higher life form and being. Like the difference between an ant and a human.
Naim realizes it at that moment, that the man in front of him is an existence far surpassing him.
Naim knew that by merely lifting his hand, this man, clad in black, face that covered by his hood, and robe caressed by the winds, could explode him into a million pieces.
An intense, indescribable dread welled up within him.
Shaking, he coughed up blood, as he could feel his internal organ almost stopped functioning.
His hand trembling, all of his hairs stands up, sweat drenching from his back and he even dropped his spear with a loud thud, so scared that he didn’t even dare to take a step backward.
The 11 other men had already begun to feel sick to their stomach, but seeing this, seeing the Hooded Man standing there like an imposing mountain, their hearts shook.
They knew that this mountain could exterminate them all in an instant. They trembled and they too, unconsciously, drop their spears.
Azief actually rely only on his racial abilities and fear aura.
The gap between his level and this 12 men in front of them is like the difference between the Heaven and Earth.
As he looked down at the eleven men who trembled in fear, he could see respect and fear in their eyes.
When he looked at them, each and every one of them was shaking in his boots.
Then he spoke and his voice was cold and devoid of emotion which only increase the fear and wariness that the people in the stronghold feel for this man.
‘My name is Lord Shadow’ he said slowly but nobody dares say anything. Then they remember the notification they read a few days ago.
‘Lord Shadow…the one who defeats the Unique monster a few days ago?’
‘Is that him?’ Some of them whisper.
The guards also feel a little fear. Some of them fight a few of the beast and they know how fearsome a beast is…but this man in front of them defeated a Unique rank monster.
How much power he wields if he could defeat such monster?
From what the guards know from the higher ups, a Unique monster is usually a prehistoric beats and the monster that this Lord Shadow defeated is 40 feet long.
How do they know this? Because they once patrolled the Pahang River before they moved here deep in the forest.
They know the monster that lies deep beneath the river, the size and its power.
So, knowing that one man could achieve what hundreds of them could not do, it fills their heart with fear and awe.
That is even bigger than most dinosaurs.
No wonder, the guards mused.
No wonder, he feels like peeing feeling the pressure of Lord Shadow. Now, he doesn’t feel that embarrassed
Then Lord Shadow said
‘Call your leader. Bring him here. Tell him that Lord Shadow summons him here.’ He said, like a bearing of a King.
Usually one would attribute this kind of thing like being prideful but the leader of the first company doesn’t detect that from Lord Shadow.
All he could detect was a pervading fear and coldness originating from Lord Shadow.
Usually if anyone demands to meet the leader they won’t be entertained. But, Naim knows the power of this man before him.
Defeating a Unique monster.
Even the Generals on the Headquarters can’t defeat such monster. It would take a large operation to try to kill the Unique monster and the casualties would be high.
The man in front of him, could also be categorized as monster.
With one glance, he already destroy whatever fighting spirit he has, and with another glance almost paralyzed his brothers in arms in fear.
‘Hurry up’ he said and as his gaze swept over them they trembled.
‘Yes….Lo..rd shadow. We will inform the Captain.’
‘You.’ Lord Shadow pointed to one of the guard guarding the front gate and the guards almost wet himself.
‘Bring me two chairs.’
‘YES!’ He screams unintentionally, quickly as he runs inside the front gate and bring Lord Shadow and his lady companion a chair.
The woman behind Lord Shadow just giggles. When the chair is handed to them, they sit leisurely in front of the gate.
The people who are fighting the Demonic Erthen also retreats back to the stronghold, but they returned from the back so they didn’t know about the commotion.
That day, the administrative center of the stronghold is in a mess as the Head Captain get a report and when he heard that the man waiting in front on his front gate is Lord Shadow, he canceled all of his plan for that day and rushes from his office to greet the man.
On the other hand, Lord Shadow and Sofia was sipping tea on the front gate. It was like they are in a picnic in front of the gate ,unmindful of everything.
As Lord Shadow smiles under his hood, he mused.
This is the disposition of the strong. He mused **********************************************************************