We finally left the Safe Zone and went deep into the meadow. The road to Oceana was long and tedious but we were heading to battle now. To summarize, there are eleven players out there on Casthynia ready for battle. To be honest, I really don't have a clue of how we are going to beat them. I didn't have enough training to even gain some sort of skill to defend myself. Come to think of it, there wasn't enough time for me to even do that. Alexandros sometimes glares at me with disdain, even though he tries to hide it. I know, deep inside, he knows I'm just a useless player in his way. But he doesn't care. He just moves on, like a king leading his soldiers into the battlefield.
We were silent for a while. No words escaped from his mouth after his epic speech back at the castle. But, as I started to get nervous, I instantly spoke without thinking.
"So, is Agatha someone important to you?" Damn. The words came out awkwardly. The golden king sneered at me.
"And why are you asking me this?" He said annoyed.
"It's just that, back at the throne room, I saw something connecting. Do you have a history with her?"
Suddenly, his cheeks turned red as he turned his head forward. "You have some nerve speaking these questions to your Master. You should value your life well, because if you were not a Player, I will have cut your head where you stand."
I chuckled nervously. "Well, I will come back anyway. Because of my ability."
"Then I will try again and again until you have suffered much."
Silence. Then, after watching Alexandros calmed himself, I asked. "How do you know Agatha? I just want to know…that's all. She's a powerful woman and she was impressive using her Divine magic."
I thought Alexandros will have taken out his sword and cut my head where I stand, but he didn't. Instead, he answered. "She was my partner. She and I, we stood together when the world was our enemy. I have met many women throughout my days, but none was beautiful and smart than Agatha. She saved me a couple of times when she used her Divine magic to heal me. I owe her much." Then he turned his head swiftly toward me. "Now, I suggest you erase questions about Agatha, understand?"
I nodded with a defeated look. Didn't expect to see Alexandros so riled up about asking questions of a maid. Guess it's best to leave it like that. I want to keep my head on my shoulders, thank you.
The sun was clinging on the skies. But later, it was covered with numerous clouds that transformed the land into a dark wasteland. Cold winds swing our journey and the smell of humidity entered my nostrils. This world feels so real and similar to Earth. The touch of the wind reminded me of the winters.
On the horizon, the city materializes into our eyes. Our destination was near, and so we stopped on the gates. The problem was that the gatekeepers…were dead.
"What the hell happened here?" I asked while inspecting the area. The dead corpse didn't show any sign of injury, or rather a deadly blow that will have killed him. The others were the same. Alexandros waved his hand to examine the body and read the Status of each other.
"Something's not right." He said with a worried face.
Just then, the dead corpses began to gurgle at their mouths. Their eyes opened with shining red. Their hands twitched, their torsos lifting unnaturally.
"Zombies!!!" I yelled at Alexandros. I took out my bronze sword and my hands were shaking. Never expected to see a zombie in real life, or rather in a world based on video game stuff.
"It's time for battle!" Alexandros yelled as the golden sword swiped a zombie in half, dissipating into ashes.
After all my years watching zombie movies, I instantly knew what to do. I aimed at the zombie's head with my sword and swiped horizontally on the neck. It didn't work…although I did take out his HP in half.
"I…Focus, Alister. Focus!" As the zombie opened it's mouth drooling with saliva, I waited for his approach and then: SMACK! Sounds of snapping gruesomely left the zombie's body as it's HP went to 0. With this, I gained 15 EXP.
But the battle was not over. The gates opened as more zombies came rushing outside the city. Alexandros used his golden sword's ability to launch holy spears in the air. Spears sparked with lightning to each undead running toward our position. And yet, it wasn't enough. My body froze as more zombies came from the gates. The only thing I could think was Joan. Feeling her presence will surely help me in this kind of situation. Suddenly, I looked at my Status and saw some status buffs.
The status buffs were Speed increase and Protection from undead. Somehow, by thinking of Joan physically and mentally, I was rewarded. With this, I can survive the battlefield for a little while. And so, I took out my bronze sword and gripped it firmly.
I gazed my eyes at Alexandros which was cornered by a horde of zombies. I instantly knew I needed to help him. I stepped out my foot to the ground and instantly flashed toward him much quicker than expected. Alexandros, shining with golden brilliance, shined away the undead into oblivion. And, I took out my courage and helped him take out his flanks. My bronze sword increased in strength as Alexandros shining light gave me holy blessing. With this, I took out as many as I could, cutting off head after head, until the undead cease from the battlefield.
Alexandros and I panted as the wind took out the ashes of the undead. The cloudy sky finally let the rain fall.
"Let's investigate the town. It's a possibility that Barry and his Master are involved." He said as he sprinted into the gates. I nodded and followed him.
Oceana was quiet after the attack. I saw the corpses of the villagers, laying bare into waste. The wooden houses were silent without any void of life. Such a catastrophe of human corpses gave me a sense of dread as nobody will have ever known of this hideous attack. If Barry involved, he will pay for his crimes.
I heard someone screaming on a nearby house not too far from our position. I took out my sword without thinking. As we approached the wooden house, the door was destroyed, probably by force. In the darkness, litters of wood and glass cracked as my steps touched the cold floor. Then, my eyes targeted the scene. There was a little girl, her face shrouded with fear, lay sitting with her arms hugging her legs. And in front of her, two undead were dragging themselves toward her victim as their mouths drooled with hunger.
My instinct quickly reacted as I plunged my sword toward both creature's heads and cut their HP into 0 until they screamed with agony. For once, they tried to say a word to her as their final breath left into ashes.
I approached the little girl. She was wearing a red and black stripes dress, with a pointy hat that mages wear. She has short brown hair, with stormy eyes. "It's alright. They are gone. The danger is over." I offered my hand but she didn't budge to get up.
I looked at her and her Status popped out.
Alexandros approached her and crouched. "What is your name, dear?"
Her grey eyes lifted into his. "Hestia." She said with a scared voice.
He smiled with comfort. "My name is Alexandros and this is my partner, Alister. You don't have to worry. I offer you safe haven on my golden castle. It will protect you from harm."
But she hesitated to move. Instead, she started to cry. "I don't want to go. I want my family back."
"Where are they? Did they left you here?" He asked, and then it hit me. She knew exactly what happened here. Because I saw her eyes, looking at me with sadness and relief. It was clear that the assailants here were their parents who turned into undead. A guilt suddenly ran into my body.
She sobbed. "I want them back. Why did they have to attack me? I don't get it…"
Then I took the initiative and soothe her. "It's not your fault, Hestia. You may not understand this but your parents never had the intention to harm you. They changed because of the result of necromancy. But they loved you no matter what form they were."
Alexandros lifted himself and left the room to summon the golden chariot to escort Hestia. While I was alone, she calmed herself and she spoke a little bit.
"My mother, she is an expert of sorceries. I was studying at the School of Draconian Sorceries. I was learning the branch of fire. I'm still a rookie, but mother always gave me extra lessons. Today, she was supposed to teach me a fire spell, but when I came home, I…" Her eyes started to water again and I comforted her. Why does this feel so real? She's an NPC and yet…
"Mr Alister?" she said with a timid expression.
"Please, call me Alister."
"Can I…can I go with you? I…will like to help you on your journey." She said with a pleading expression. "I know my parents won't return back, but at least…I can help my hero." I don't think that's a good idea. And I bet Alexandros will refuse that thought. We are at war. Doesn't she know that? Aren't NPCs willing to understand their world?
But before I could answer, Alexandros quickly dashed into the room with distress. Something was wrong.
"I can sense powerful mana inside the Oceana Cathedral. There's a Master there."
Hestia and I exchanged looks and told Alexandros to take the girl away from the city. But Hestia refused to go. She wanted to join our party, but Alexandros and I refused to let her go along as there will be a battle that will harm her. Hestia changed her plea to staying in her house until the battle was over because she didn't want to go to the golden castle alone. So Alexandros locked her room with a locking spell to protect her from enemies.
As the rain gently touched the muddy ground, the cathedral in the north loomed with lightning. Alexandros warned me that someone is inside with powerful mana. If this is Barry's Master, this is our chance to remove him from the game. That way, Barry will be removed from the war. But, I doubt he will be alone.
"Alister," he said with a serious voice. "I want you to understand the merit that this war will take when we defeat them. All eleven players and masters will try to be their best to get the Crown of Infinity." He turned his head, his golden hair wet. "I need the Crown. No matter the cost." He said those words which sounded a threat, but not too harsh as I anticipated. His lust for the Crown has given him a determination to succeed. His aura of conquest shines within.
We walked toward the Cathedral without saying anything. Why does he care of gaining this crown? What will it help? I shook my head away from him and gazed at the cathedral. It was 30 meters wide, 100 meters of length and 120 meters of height. There were two spiral towers looming with two bronze bells, glinting with the drops of rain falling and the flashes of lightning. The structure was gothic, dark and silver gives the essence of a darker tone. Toward the small staircase, and into the cathedral gates, Alexandros takes out his golden sword. Something bad is going to happen here. The ivory gates were closed, but I sneaked in and placed my hand on it. It was unlocked. Alexandros and I pushed together as the door groaned with an echoing sound that vibrated the dark gloomy hall.
In the north, there were candles lit on the floor. Chandeliers burned with orange lighting. And in the middle was a statue of a woman with a sword and a shield. Below her was someone crouching beneath it. It was a man with bronze armor, sandals and a cape, wrapped within his neck. The sound of praying diminishes as the gates of the cathedral slowly closes.
Alexandros walked with his head high and approaches the man. I thought he was going to attack him, but instead, he waited for his opponent to face him. The kneeling man soon took account of the situation and he got up from the floor and turned his head toward the golden man before him. He has a handsome face of a prince, with a small scar on his right cheek. His dirty hair shined as the lighting focused on him. His muddy eyes pierced Alexandros' staring eyes as he lay bare with a serious face.
"Sir," Alexandros boomed on the hall. "Are you the man responsible for turning the citizens of Oceana into undead?"
But the man exclaimed. "Are you?" He looked at the statue. "I was praying, for the monster that has awaken these foul creatures. Perhaps, the criminal will find repent of his heretical crimes. That is why I'm here. To kill the monster."
The caped man balled his fists. "Are you the monster who turned them into undead?"
"No. I do not conjure necromancy. It's an abomination." He answered.
"Then we both agree on something. And here I thought that Hades himself was involved with this. But, I never thought that my journey will lead me to a gloomy world filled with innocent souls to fight for a crown. Such a way is an insult to humanity."
He continued. "I can sense you are a king, more like a conqueror. I too wanted to become a king. But I was robbed by my brother. My desire to claim the throne led me to overseas, to hunt for a relic that represented the symbol of a king." But he crossed his arms. "But, I have no desire to fight you. Instead, I want to fight the monster who killed the citizens of Oceana. That will please my consciousness."
Alexandros laughed. "Do you really think that I want weak? I am a conqueror. I killed thousands of soldiers in my way. And here I am. Destined to fight. Fight me. Or are you a coward who doesn't desire the Crown of Infinity?"
His eyes shined as lightning strikes outside. "So, you desire so much to fight me? Such is your nature, Conqueror of Kings." He turned his voice into a serious tone. "But no. I'm not a coward. I told you I have no desire to fight you, but instead you insult me. The crown is destined to be mine." He snapped his fingers and a bronze spear floated on the air as he grabbed the handle with ease on his right hand and a round shield on his left hand.
Alexandros smirked at him. "Before we duel, I will like to know your name. My name is Alexandros, ruler of Macedon. And you?"
His spear erupted with electricity as the golden cape shined through. "If you must know, I am Jason, heir to the kingdom of Iolcos. And I'm your opponent."
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