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Chapter 09: Fire and Ice
Date Published: February 27th, 2015
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〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts
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Fire and Ice
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Part 1: Phoenix Legion
Part 2: Blizzard
Part 3: Essence of Fire
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Part 1: Phoenix Legion
They had been at it for hours with no rest and fatigue was beginning to set in. Elrick hoped that they had some sort of stale mate but in his heart of hearts he new that even if they held beck the torrent of small creatures the Demons would respond with another tactic. And so when snow began to fall Elrick knew that this was yet another turn in the relentless tide.
Elrick : " Hehehehe!"
Elrick let out nervous laughter that sounded more like a squeal; catching Arvin’s attention.
Arvin : " Elrick?"
Arvin had thought that he had done something to cause Elrick to squeal, but after noticing Elrick looking up he understood that it was despair. Elrick quickly composed himself.
Elrick : " Bowden; Concentrate Runic fire at 75 metres inside the Psionic Barrier! Drop incendiaries over Vhon’s walls 25 metres should be fine!"
Bowden : " Understood!"
Arvin was pleased that despite Elrick’s despair his judgement was precise and unaffected.
Arvin : " As expected an Eastarli; focused!"
John Maud : " If you stop firing at them the Vampires will get closer! The suppression fire is what’s keeping them at bay!"
Elrick : " And you are?"
Elrick : " I’m Elrick Starlight of the Starlight Clan! This is Mr Arvin"
As Elrick and John Maud shook hands Elrick noticed that all the members of the Seventh Phoenix Legion were wearing Level 2 Armour and he understood who he was talking to.
Arvin : " It’s snowing!"
Arvin spoke as he shook John’s hand.
John Maud : " Ah; I see!"
Elrick : " You’re the Evaluators! What can you tell us about the current enemy?"
John Maud : " Not much I’m afraid! We were on an Island under the supervision of the Continentals. In RET we spent about 534 days evaluating the various Avatar Races. We mostly battled low level Demons so we never had to deal with Vampires or Wyverns; the Continentals took care of those. However I can tell you that to make it snow in the tropics requires Extraordinary Magic."
Arvin : " King Rank Magic!"
Elrick : " King Rank Magic? Are you saying that there is a Vampire Lord out there?"
John Maud : " Knox is split in half by the equator and that makes it relatively warm. Under normal circumstances Master Mages can summon a Snowstorm but to make it snow in the tropics this far from the coast you’d need to affect the weather on a massive scale; they are probably using the Magic Spell 〘Blizzard〙."
Elrick : " Then what do we do?"
John Maud : " It depends on the number of Master Mages accompanying the King Rank Mage. If there’s enough we will freeze to death in about 4 hours."
Elrick : " Are you saying we should evacuate?"
John Maud : " According to my information the Demons are using 【Shadow Cloak】to interfere with teleportation all over Ado. Even the Asgard Continental Republic’s territory on Grandeur is under attack; it’s a full scale attack!"
Arvin : " No one ever anticipated such an Asymmetrical Attack! Who would have imagined that small creatures could be so dangerous? The Vampires must have cultivated them for years with the purpose of using them in this way. As bad as things are on the Knox Continent it’s far worse on the Grandeur Continent; Entire Countries have already fallen!"
John Maud : " It’s unimaginable!"
Arvin : " My Father says we are fortunate that the Dark Elves stumbled upon them; forcing them to act before their plans were complete. The Tens of Billions of Small Creatures could have been Hundreds of Billions of Small Creatures. They attacked at nightfall on Grandeur so there was no warning in the form of a 【Shadow Cloak】. Towns suddenly found themselves overrun by millions of Small Creatures. The Asgard Continental Republic sent the Alvs, the Dark Elves and the Light Elves off-world in order to keep the Vampires from deploying their Armies on Ado. The Midgard Human, the Dwarves and the remaining Elves have deployed in response to request for assistance from Grandeur Nations."
Arvin : " Father says that the Fire Elves will come even if it’s only to kill Vampires; their hatred of Vampires runs deep!"
John Maud : " It goes back to the killing of the Elf-Dragon King of Fire!"
Arvin : " Thousands of years ago the Fire Elf King known as the Elf-Dragon King of Fire was considered the most powerful on Ado, and he lead many of the off-world expeditions to Alfheim with the objective to reclaim it. However the Demons had already claimed it for themselves and so the Elf-Dragon King of Fire raised an army from the Elf and Midgard States to reclaim Alfheim."
Elrick : " States?"
Elrick : " Oh!"
Arvin : " In any case the Army lead by the Elf-Dragon King of Fire suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Vampire Armies."
Elrick : " Isn’t Fire more powerful than Ice? And why didn’t the Alvs join in?"
Arvin : " Under normal circumstances Fire is more powerful than Ice, but in terms of Large scale area of effect Ice has a far larger resource pool. By tapping into the Environment the Vampires turned the Climate to their favour and the Army lead by the Elf-Dragon King of Fire was slaughtered; feasted upon! It’s a humiliation the Fire Elves have never recovered from."
Arvin : " The Light Elves were few in number and King Eldorin would not risk the lives of his Kin on what he labelled Adventurism; the Golden Alvs being logic driven like the Light Elves came to the same conclusion and that meant the Alvs were out. The Dark Elves only respond to the call of the Light Elves so that meant they were also out. The Fire Elves have never forgiven the Light Elves."
Elrick : " Why do the Dark Elves only respond to the call of the Light Elves?"
Arvin : " We don’t know the Details but Dark Elves and Light Elves Consider each other to be Kin; Two Halves of the same thing!"
Elrick : " Is that so?"
Arvin : " As one of the Eastarli they’ll probably let you into their Exclusive Libraries; you can learn about their history if you have the patience."
Elrick had just heard an important clue about the Light Elves and their relationship with Dark Elves, but most importantly about the existence of race specific Exclusive Libraries. From the looks of things John Maud who is a Half Elf hadn’t known about these specific Exclusive Libraries.
John Maud : " Exclusive Libraries huh!"
Elrick : " What the hell?"
Arvin : " Ice worms!"
Suddenly swarms of white worms came through the Psionic Barrier and they seemed to be swimming on the recently fallen snow.
Just as Elrick was contemplating his next move he noticed an environmental pop-up.
~ Ding! ~
Elrick had been feeling cold and that message explains it.
Elrick : " Fucken Blizzard! It’s a Kobayashi Maru!"
- - -
Part 2: Blizzard
Elrick was looking at the swarms of Ice Worms and of particular concern to Elrick was that the Ice Worms seemed unaffected by the Carbon Dioxide and Poison Gases.
Elrick : " Bowden; Acid Grenades!"
Bowden : " Got it! Canons; Fire Acid Grenades! Archers; lay down Runic Acid!"
As always the members of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry immediately reacted to Bowden’s orders and this simple shift in tactics managed to stall the advance of the Ice Worms.
But Elrick knew that this was a temporary fix and the bigger problem that is the Blizzard would not go away.
Arvin : " Good call; the Ice Worms don’t breathe and get what they need from the Ice itself."
Elrick : " How are they getting so many small creatures here so Fast?"
Arvin : " It’s the high level 【Shadow Magic】 Skill 〘Phantom Shift〙; a more powerful form of 〘Phantom Step〙. 〘Phantom Shift〙is not very comfortable but it’s effective. This is not the kind of 『Magic Skill』 you get by dabbling in 【Shadow Magic】 you have to be a true practitioner. You will find that there are 【Light Magic】Skill equivalents that are more Comfortable and easier to Acquire with the trade-off being Higher Mana Requirements."
John Maud : " Could it be that the teleport systems use 【Light Magic】?"
Just then one of the Town Guards approaches Elrick and those around him as Arvin continues to fill the stones with Elrick’s 【Light Magic】.
Guard : " Strategist; Sir Vhon Advises you to pull the Atlantian Clans out of the blizzard where they can Recover."
Elrick : " Understood! Inform Sir Vhon and Sir Valding that I will begin a rotation of Atlantian personnel on the wall. We will draw down to a third and rotate every 30 minutes."
The Guard nods and begins communicating through a crystal. From what the guard is saying Elrick notes that the Guard is not in direct communication with Sir Vhon but with a communications officer in the bunker.
Guard : " I’m to inform you and the other Chiefs of the Heated Locations that will serve as Shelters along the wall"
The Guard hands Elrick and John Maud maps of Vhon with a number of Places Marked; indicating Shelter Locations.
Elrick : " Thanks!"
Guard : " That’s all then; I’m off!"
The Guard leaves and Elrick and John Maud pass the maps to their respective subordinates and they use clan communication systems to pass the word.
John Maud : " The Level 2 Gear we’re using has higher levels of environmental protection so we can set our rotation time to an hour. We would be willing to take over for starlight while you rest up!"
Elrick : " That would be helpful; Thanks!"
John Maud : " Most of the Phoenix Legions use Machine Gun Rifles and make little use of the Military Grade Longbows and that means that the Runic Ammunition will only be about 0.52% as effective as the Runic Arrows; when comparing each Arrow to each Bullet."
Elrick : " What do you need?"
John Maud : " Access to your Gas Powered Grenade Launchers."
John Maud : " That would be helpful!"
Elrick : " We’ll rotate Canon Operators to help you use them!"
John Maud : " Thanks!"
With that Elrick gave the instruction for nearly 95% of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry to withdraw to the Shelters in order to Recover from the cold, the other Clan chiefs left a third of their forces on the wall sending the rest to their designated shelters; resting from the brunt of the Cold.
- - -
Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry had been divided into their Raid Groups in order to cover most of Vhon’s Encircling Wall and because of their designated positions on the wall their designated Shelter would need to be close to their position on the wall. All the Raid Group Captains had to go where Bowden and Elrick were sheltered in order to review strategies.
When Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry reached their 5 designated Elrick received status reports on the wellbeing of the members of the Starlight Clan. Most of the Clan Chiefs that weren’t on the wall deliberately gathered in the same Shelter along with their respective Clan Executives. The Clan Chiefs wanted to share information and flesh out any further changes in Strategy.
Elrick was not so arrogant as to assume that the other Clan Chiefs did not have valuable inputs, and as they all huddled around the provided Mana Stoves he explained about the Large Scale Global Attack by the Vampires, the likely presence of a Vampire Lord outside Vhon and the mobilization of the Asgard Continental Republic’s Armies.
Elrick then listened intently to the inputs from the other Clan Chiefs. Of particular interest to Elrick was their assessment of the situation on the wall, and the overwhelming feeling is that they would not be able to hold should Elrick’s measures against the Small Creatures Fail. The Clan Chiefs commended Elrick for Starlight Spark’s use of Carbon Dioxide and Poison Gases to block the waves of Small Creatures.
Elrick expressed his concern that he was forced to remove Ranged Suppression Fire Support and that meant that the Vampires now had more room to manoeuvre. Elrick’s other concern was Vhon’s ammunition Stockpiles, and he informed the other Clan Chiefs that Vhon’s Ammunition Stockpiles were based on Sustained Supply Lines from the Kingdom of Vale but with Grandeur under attack the Supply Lines have been disrupted.
Once Elrick mentions concerns with Vhon’s Ammunition Stockpiles to the Clan Chiefs he immediately notices a wave of gloom wash over them. Elrick understood their glum demeanour and up until the Blizzard he had thought that they could hold out against the Demons, but once the Blizzard hit Elrick understood the situation to be impossible; a Kobayashi Maru.
- - -
After several rotations it looked like the situation had settled and Elrick could see relief in the faces of everyone around him. However had never believed in luck and he liked the fact that there was no luck system in Realm Eternal; it validated his own belief that there is a quantifiable level of predictability in all systems that is the basis for Nature.
Therefore Elrick expected that the Vampire strategy would predictably shift in reaction to actions he had taken. He had gassed the Small Creature and the Vampires responded by the Blizzard and Ice Worms and now that he had used Acid on the Ice Worms the Vampires were sure to respond in some terrifying way. The cold was growing more intense and that meant the clock was ticking.
The people of Vhon had no escape from this nightmare; there was no word on the fates of those who had been evacuated back to Grandeur. In all likelihood most would have perished during the waves of Small Creatures that had invaded Vale Towns and Cities. The Young and Elderly that had been evacuated to vale would have been amongst the first victims if they were housed in temporary shelters.
Vale like the other Kingdoms relied heavily on the Psionic Barriers, and as such would have seen no need to have adequate Shelters meant to protect against waves of Small Creature. The use of Small Creature by the Demons is an expectable result of security complacency; arrogance and overconfidence would have lulled many into a false sense of security.
Everyone would have forgotten that Red Dragons possess High Intelligence and Vampires are Elf Born; making them Half-Elves. Everyone would have forgotten that at the top Demon power was the High Intelligence of the Dragons and the Elves. Even the venerable Continentals would have underestimated the capabilities of their enemies; a mistake they would now pay for.
All over Ado people would be reminded that the low level demons are but foot soldiers of the Demon Race that has essentially conquered the Galaxy. The people of Ado would remember that the Age of Reason has long since fallen; leaving chaos that has stubbornly persisted for thousands of years. Even as they weep for their fallen loved ones they would know that their complacency made the deaths inevitable.
- - -
At the Bunker Lord Vhon had seen The True Measure of Courage. Lord Vhon recognized that the Atlantian Adventurers Freezing in the Blizzard without adequate protection from the elements weren’t doing for the promised 2 Gold Coins; they sis it because it needed to be done, because they answered a Call to Arms, to honour a civilized people’s duty to one another and finally because they have the Courage of Convictions.
At that moment Lord Vhon understood the effect the Atlantian Adventurers would have on Ado. The Atlantian Adventurers would remind the people of Ado about the Courage of Ancient Times when men ventured into the wilderness, when courageous men & women pushed back the frontiers of the unknown and established a civilized order on Grandeur.
Lord Vhon understood that the Atlantian Adventurers would ignite the passion for Adventure and begin a new age of conquest. Lord Vhon hoped that Atlantian Adventurers will start the process of taking back the continents of Ado that are teeming with monsters. The Atlantian Adventurers who have no fear of death would venture into the unknown.
- - -
Half of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry was on the wall and Elrick was with them. Thanks to the well equipped 320 strong 7th Phoenix Legion Starlight was able to bring out half of its force despite the colder environment in response to an increase in the number of Ice Worms coming through Vhon’s Psionic Barrier. Elrick didn’t like what he was seeing; he didn’t like it at all.
Vhon was now covered by 2 metres of snow; everything was white. They had been at it for hours and fatigue was setting in; making it more and more difficult to maintain the watch. The Sky is Black and the ground is white but the most disconcerting is the constant ringing of explosives; Runic Arrows, Runic Bullets and Runic Artillery Rounds.
The fact that Vhon was now covered by 2 metres of snow meant that the Ice Worms could now more easily swim under the acid layers and it was becoming more and more difficult to restrict them to within the first 100 metres inside the Psionic Barrier. The fact that the full force could not be deployed on the wall meant that more Ice Worms were slipping through forcing the Guards, Soldiers and Militia to engage.
- - -
Elrick was watching in dismay as all his planning was being undone by the combination of the Blizzard and Ice Worms. And now something new was coming up.
DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!.....
Elrick : " Mother-Fucker!"
Arvin : " It’s the spell 〘Ice Spear〙; at that level it looks like Master Rank 〘Ice Spear〙!"
Elrick : " Endgame!"
DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!..... DOOM!.....
Bowden : " Looks like a lot of 〘Ice Spear〙s; are they tiring to bring down the Barrier?"
Arvin : " It’s more likely the 〘Ice Spear〙are meant to add to the 〘Blizzard〙thereby hastening Vhon’s defeat!"
Bowden : " Elrick?"
Elrick : " Hehehehe!"
As the situation grew grim Elrick seemed to have resigned himself to his fate even as more and more Ice Worms reached the wall.
- - -
As Elrick stared blankly into the field of Battle the sound of cannons and Heavy Machine Guns could not be ignored; it drowned out everything. Men yelling could be heard all over the wall; clan chiefs were giving orders to their men. When Elrick looked around him he realized that it was indeed the End, and all that remained was a question of Valour.
More and more of the Ice Worms were coming up the wall and soon the wall would be overrun. However there was still a Trump Card; Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry had thrown Incendiary Gas Grenades over the wall, and even though the area was covered in snow it’s still combustible. The big problem is that once the Trump Card was used the last line of defence was gone.
Elrick was hesitant to use the Trump Card as he knew that once used it would come down to swords and spears, but the inevitable could not be Avoided Forever.
- - -
Elrick realized that Arvin finished making light grenades a while ago and had been assisting on the wall.
Elrick : " Mr Arvin; It’s time for you to Go!"
Arvin : " But I can still help!"
Elrick : " You’ve done enough Sir! This is our moment!"
Arvin : " Good Hunting!"
Arvin the Alchemist reluctantly left; flying towards Vhon’s Adventurer’s Guild Tower. Elrick could see John Maud coming over to him. Elrick had sent the signal calling all Atlantian Clans to the wall and as they came up the wall they looked dejected; hanging their heads in defeat.
John Maud : " So it’s that time?"
Elrick : " It has to be!"
John Maud : " We had a good run!"
Elrick : " If this is to end then we will End like men; on our Feet!"
Bowden : " Valour!"
John Maud : " A knight is sworn to Valour!"
Bowden and John Maud smile at each other seemingly relishing the Idea of close quarter combat.
- - -
Part 3: Essence of Fire
When the number of Ice Worms coming over the wall was in the thousands Elrick knew that it was time.
Elrick : " Bowden; it’s time!"
Bowden : " Archers; Runic Arrows find your mark!"
As the Runic Fire Arrows landed just 25 metres from the wall there is a massive explosion of Fire as the Incendiary Gas Combusts. Thousands of Ice Worms are singed and thrown into the Air and there is a pause as no Ice Worms reach the wall due to the fire. For a moment the cold of the Blizzard is abated and Elrick can feel heat on his face.
An extraordinary scene of Fire on Ice is witnessed; a Beautiful Scenery no one expected. There are Two Lines on the Wall; Atlantians with Shields Swords, Spears, Axes and Knives on the First Line and natives with Bows and Machine Gun Rifles on the Second Line. Elrick looks at Bowden and nods triggering Bowden to Start hitting his spear against his shield. This starts a chain reaction that all those on the First Line emulate.
The sound of clinging metal reverberates throughout Vhon. This action boosts the morale of the men & women on the wall; psyching them up for the coming battle. The clinging of metal also lets the people of Vhon know that the Final Battle is about to begin. It is a signal for all non-combatants to head towards Vhon’s Adventurer’s Guild Tower in preparation for an Emergency Evacuation.
Elrick looks over to his right and notes that all the members of the 320 strong 7th Phoenix Legion were using Level 2 Military Grade Swords and Shields. Elrick knew that Level 2 Military Grade Swords and Shields cost over 10 times that of Level 1 Equipment. Level 2 Equipment uses the 5000 Mana Crystals which cost anything from 80 to 100 Silver Coins.
The Level 2 Military Grade Swords the 7th Phoenix Legion were using were Heat Swords and Electric Swords. The tip of the Heat Sword is insulated and uses the 5000 Mana Crystal to generate over 1000 degrees Celsius which creates a hot cutting tip and the tip of the Electric Swords is insulated and uses the 5000 Mana Crystal to generate a High Voltage Tip that can Stun or Kill.
At prices of 20 to 40 Gold Coins the Level 2 Military Grade Swords and Shields were way beyond the price range of Starlight Spark and Elrick could only look on in envy at the high quality of equipment at the disposal of the 7th Phoenix Legion. As unfair as it seems there was no way the Phoenix Consortium was not going to give themselves some advantage over other Users.
As Elrick was contemplating the advantage of the Phoenix Legions the Fire simmered down and a new wave of Ice Worms emerged from the now watery snow.
Elrick : " Here we go"
John Maud : " Bring It!"
Bowden : " Contact!"
As Bowden yells-out the swarm of Ice Worms slams into Shields, Swords and other mêlée weapons on the First Line as gunfire and arrows erupt from the Second Line.
- - -
The scale of the Battle on the Wall is immense; the army on the wall was killing more than 5000 Ice Worms a second under freezing conditions. They were dispatching wave after wave of Ice Worms and the momentum and tempo of battle was escalating. When the First Line was losing stamina the Second Line would use Runic Explosive Ammunition to give the First Line some breathing room.
Elrick was wearing 5 Agility Rings to boost his agility by 10 EXP, 5 Durability Rings to boost his Durability by 10 EXP and 4 Bracelets Attribute + 4 EXP to boost Strength, Vitality, Dexterity and Awareness respectively. With his Attributes augmented by Items Elrick could keep up with the rest of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry.
Attributes are an indicator of maximum potential and because the systems governing Realm Eternal are meant to be natural running out of Stamina is something you feel as you would in real life; the same applies for Satiety, Fatigue and other bodily functions. If you feel hungry or thirsty you’d eat or drink and if you need to use the toilet to pee or take a shit you’d do what’s necessary.
Similarly there was no system message telling the users and natives that they were cold because they could feel it. The damage caused by the Blizzard differed from person to person and depended on the Overall defence of the individual as well as the additional defence offered by equipment and items. Night Elves being naturally resistant to the Cold took 50% less damage as a racial skill.
- - -
The high tempo battle had lasted over 2 hours and it was evident that the army on the wall was taking a beating. They had killed thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions of Ice Worms but there was no end in sight to the torrents of Ice Worms. Over 300 users had already been killed and very soon they would reach a tipping point.
They couldn’t maintain a full contingent on the wall under extreme weather conditions but they had set up tents on the wall for quick recuperation with the support of an inordinate amount of recovery potions cooked up by Arvin. This war situation is where something like Alchemists and Herbalists proved their worth as support systems.
Alchemists, Herbalists and other Potion Makers had been providing rear support since the first waves of small creatures showed up, and without that support the army on the wall would have already lost to fatigue and exhaustion. Normal people all over Vhon had been supplying the combatants with food, water and blankets; adding yet another crucial layer of support.
This constant support by the people of Vhon is what keeps the Militia fighting. Even as the Ice Worms spit their Liquid Nitrogen Compound on the Users they fight through the considerable pain of skin instantly freezing. The lack of healers meant that the militia relied on potions, but even so the locals came up with imaginative solutions such as the tents on the wall.
- - -
Bowden noticed that Elrick was in high spirits and so even as they fought side by side he thought to ask.
Bowden : " You’re taking to this better than I thought you would! What’s your secret?"
Elrick : " Fear Accompanies the possibility of Death but Calm Sheppard’s its Certainty!"
Bowden : " Huh?"
Bowden : " Oh!"
Bowden Finally understood Elrick’s state of mind.
Elrick was going all out because he wanted to die but everyone who saw Elrick the weakling High Elf fight with everything he’s got thought it was tenacity and inner strength. Therefore not wanting to be outdone by the weakling High Elf they dug deeper and found their own inner strength; this spread throughout the militia making them fight even harder.
Naturally Elrick was perturbed by the Fighting Spirit of the Atlantian Militia; he couldn’t understand where they got their boundless energy. Elrick noted with concern that the battle had lasted twice as long as he had anticipated, and despite his best efforts death had not come swiftly; people kept stepping in to rescue him from an imminent death.
If only they could hear Elrick’s internal thoughts.
〚Elrick : " Dam-it I’m Cold, and every Joint Hurts like a motherfucker! I have to Die as quickly as possible but it has to Look Good; a Hero’s Death!”〛
Elrick’s internal dialog was of a man who wanted to run away without such cowardly actions costing Starlight Spark its Hard Earned Good Name, but his clumsy attempts to die a Hero’s Death was changing the tide of the battle, and because of that Charisma and Leadership Attributes were rising. Elrick however was to focused on the fighting to notice.
Elrick was between Bowden and John Maud and every-time he got himself into a sure-kill situation these two would step in to rescue him. Bowden is adept in the use of the Shield and Spear and John Maud is beyond competent in the use of a Shield, Sword and where necessary the two pistols hanging on each hip. John Maud was going for the Gunslinger set-up.
Elrick wasn’t about to give up on his Hero’s Death so he kept fighting; hoping that an opportunity would present itself; on this Elrick had singular focus. Elrick could only laugh as a hail of bullets saved him from another pinch; the local guards and soldiers had joined in on defending him from his carefully constructed sure-kill Hero’s Death situations.
〚Elrick : " For Fuck’s Sake!”〛
- - -
Just as Elrick had found a way to fall over the wall the top of Vhon’s Adventurers Guild Tower began Glowing; indicating that the teleport system was Active. When the Ground Based Teleport Platforms Light-Up three Red Dragons emerge; four legs and massive wings they had the form of True Dragons. These aren’t’ scaly Dragons like the Wyverns or the Red Dragons Elrick had seen in the Phoenix Consortium Videos.
The Red Dragons that emerged have smooth glossy skin similar to those of Dolphins and Whales, and rather than fearsome monsters they look like beings of extraordinary beauty. Locals on the wall erupt in cheer as a total of 15 Red Dragons, 3 White Dragons, 2 Brown Dragons, 2 Blue Dragons and 1 Green Dragon emerge from the teleport platforms.
The Dragons don’t waist time and immediately use the skill 『Dragon-Breath』. The difference between『Dragon-Breath』 and the skill 『Dragon-Fire』 is that the skill 『Dragon-Breath』 releases massive amounts of Hot Air. The injection of Hot Air by 23 Elf-Dragons brings immediate relief to Vhon, and the Militia are finally relieved from the cold.
All Dragon species are capable of 『Dragon-Fire』. The Elf-Dragons did not use 『Dragon-Fire』 for fear that the intense heat of Dragon-Fire would kill people throughout Vhon. The Elf-Dragons are over 80 metres in length and the largest of the 23 Elf-Dragons is the 95m Green Dragon, and as they take to the sky they seem to use 【Wind Magic】 before they start flapping their massive wings. Most of the Elf-Dragons have 7 elves of the same type riding on their backs.
- - -
Elrick is surprised when a 90m Red Dragon Takes notice of him and approaches him.
Elrick : " Eh!"
Princess : " My oh my! I never expected to see an Eastarli on the front lines."
The Voice of the Red Dragon is soft and female but unexpectedly loud because of the size of the vocal cords.
Elrick : " A woman?"
Sniff!.... Sniff!.... Sniff!....
She sniffs Elrick; tasting his scent.
Princess : " You smell Delicious!"
Princess : " You’re immortal right? How about letting me have a little bite?"
Elrick : " What’s in it for me?"
Princess : " Oh? Willing to negotiate?"
Attendant : " Princess?"
Princess : " What? He seems like a willing participant."
Attendant : " But he’s an Eastarli?"
Princess : " An Atlantian Eastarli! Who knows if he even falls under the Eastarli Domain?"
Princess : " It’s fine! It’s a Great Chance!"
Elrick : " What do you mean by willing participant?"
Attendant : " Some people request to be Consumed by Elf-Dragons upon Death!"
Elrick : " What do you get? And isn’t it Cannibalism?"
Attendant : " Sentient Creatures are a very rich Mana Source! Dragons have no issue with legal Cannibalism!"
Elrick could see that all the other Elf-Dragons have already left Vhon and were now laying down 『Dragon-Fire』 immediately outside Vhon’s Psionic Barrier.
Elrick : " What do I get for letting you kill me?"
Princess : " I can’t kill you; that would be against Elf-Dragon Laws! You’d have to commit suicide."
Elrick : " And I would get?"
Princess : " You’re a greedy one aren’t you?"
She takes out a Large Crystal about 1.5 cubic metre in size and places in front of Elrick.
Elrick : " What is this?"
Attendant : " It’s a Crystal Node; used to power Town Psionic Barriers. It should be worth 70 Platinum Coins!"
Elrick : " Heh?"
The princess takes out a runic stone and places in front of Elrick.
Princess : " This is a contract rune, I’ve already signed it. If you accept my proposal sign the contract by dropping your blood on the Rune stone. The penalty for breaking the Contract is a year on Chaos Island. Do you Accept my Offer?"
Elrick : " We have a deal princess!"
Elrick pricked his hand with an Arrow tip and dropped his blood on the Rune Stone.
~ Ding! ~
You have signed a Dragon Contract with a member of the Red Dragon Royal Family.
Princess : " Excellent! I’ll collect After we remove the Filth attacking Vhon"
The princess takes the Rune Stone and flies off.
Attendant : " Sorry!"
As the attendant flies off Elrick is bewildered by the Apology. Only now does Elrick notice that everyone within sight has gathered around him; mouths gaping at the fact that Elrick has just earned over 7000 Gold Coins just by letting himself be eaten.
- - -
Before long Vhon’s officials showed up to Examine the Crystal Node. Apparently they found it satisfactory because they wanted to talk business.
Lord Vhon : " How much do you want for it?"
Elrick : " The Lady did say it should be worth over 7000 Gold"
Sir Vhon : " It is Elf made Crystal Node after all!"
Lord Vhon : " How About 7000 Gold then"
Sir Valding : " I’m using my right as an Officer of Vale Kingdom to purchase it for 7500 Gold to meet vale’s security needs!"
Elrick knew that Lord Vhon would not get into a bidding war with someone purchasing on behalf of the Vale Kingdom.
Elrick : " 7500 Gold Coins it is then!"
The money is transferred to Elrick’s private account because this isn’t Starlight business, but Elrick promptly puts it into the Starlight account as a loan.
Sir Vhon : " With everything that’s happening on Grandeur there’s bound to be a shortage of Crystal Nodes. Elrick; thanks for being reasonable with the price!"
Elrick : " Then perhaps your Lordship will hear my selfish requests?"
Elrick : " First I would like to know if Elves are interested in the Items being used by the Demons."
Lord Vhon : " Elves are very particular about the items they Use; most only use inherited items or those made for them."
Elrick : " So they are likely to discard the Items of the Demons they kill?"
Lord Vhon : " Continental Elves see positions of the Demons as filthy"
Upon hearing this almost all the Users rushed off the wall heading outside Vhon to pick up items being dropped by the dead Demons. And when members of Starlight tried to follow Elrick stopped them by shaking his head.
Elrick : " Lordship; I’m looking to employ a large number of townsmen for one day.”
There is some commotion as Elrick looks over to the Adventurers Guild Tower. Thousands of refugees are teleporting in from other places since the presence of Elf-Dragons makes Vhon safer than other places.
Lord Vhon : " Eh? To do what? I hope it’s nothing dangerous?"
Elrick : " To gather loot!"
Elrick points at the millions of Small Creatures over the wall.
Lord Vhon : " Hahahaha!"
Elrick : " At the moment the Ice is preserving them, but soon they will rot and rapidly depreciate in value!"
Lord Vhon : " Sharp as have ever aren’t you? How much are you paying?"
Elrick : " It’s simple work so 30 Silver Coins per person should be Fine."
Lord Vhon : " These people have been traumatized; a reasonable person would consider 50 Silver Coins to be fair."
Elrick knew that the negotiations had started, and the only reason Lord Vhon was considering his request was because Lord Vhon was aware that Elrick could pay the Salaries and would not disappear without paying.
Elrick : " I suppose considering that this is also a public service I could rise to 35 Silver Coins per person"
Lord Vhon : " Since this could be considered a clean-up contract I could accept 45 Silver Coins."
Elrick : " Considering the need for people to rebuild their lives 40 Silver Coins per person can be considered Good Faith."
Elrick : " Deal!"
Lord Vhon : " Good Man"
They shake hands to seal the deal.
Elrick had just Agreed to let Lord Vhon become the primary labour supplier at 40 Silver Coins per person. The 8000 Gold Coins will go to salaries, but by putting it upfront it guarantees that Starlight does not abscond without paying. The deal elevates the prestige of Lord Vhon amongst the people as it will look like he is providing employment with generous remuneration.
Furthermore since the people will likely spend that money in Vhon the Lord of Vhon will benefit through consumption taxes.
Everyone is all smiles after Elrick Transfers 8000 Gold Coins to Lord Vhon.
Elrick : " Thank you your Lordship!"
Lord Vhon : " I have almost 2000 Magic chests that used to Hold Runic Mines, Ammunition and other supplies; would you like me to lend them to you?"
Elrick : " That would be very helpful!"
Lord Vhon : " That will cost another 500 Gold Coins!"
Elrick : " Agreed!"
Elrick transfers over another 500 Gold Coins.
Lord Vhon : " It’s been educational doing business with you Chief Elrick!"
Elrick : " Likewise your Lordship!"
Lord Vhon : " I must see to the new arrivals."
Lord Vhon leaves accompanied by Sir Vhon.
Sir Valding : " Lord Vhon is an Honourable man; always putting the best interests of his people first!"
Elrick : " I see that he’s a man of integrity!"
Sir Valding : " We are indebted to you Chief Elrick! My men tell me you handled yourself well on the battlefield; they say you are a man worthy of knighthood. A pity I can’t recommend you since you refused recognition."
Elrick : " I’m honoured to have such high praise from a Noble Knight!"
Elrick bows in respect for Sir Valding. Then Sir Valding turns to Bowden and John Maud.
Sir Valding : " The same goes to you Bowden Starlight and John Maud; I’ve already written the letters recommending you for Knighthood and with Lord Vhon’s support all but assured any Knights Academy will readily accept you!"
John Maud : " Thank you Sir Valding!"
Bowden : " My sincere gratitude Sir Valding!"
Sir Valding : " My thanks to you for showing my men true Valour!!"
Then Sir Valding nods and leaves to join Lord Vhon and Sir Vhon.
As Bowden and John Maud congratulate each other a messenger wearing insignia of the Asgard Continental Republic arrives in front of Elrick.
Messenger : " I am an Official Messenger of the Asgard Continental Republic; are you Elrick Starlight?"
Messenger : " I’m here to deliver Official notice of Criminal Judgement!"
Elrick : " Criminal Judgement?"
Messenger : " You have been found guilty of Crimes Against the Eastal kingdom; a member of the Asgard Continental Republic!"
The messenger hands Elrick the notice.
~ Ding! ~
By willingly and deliberately entering into a contract to sell your body to a member of the Red Dragon Royal Family You have Violated one of the Highest Laws of the Eastal Kingdom.
Rule 007C of the Eastal Constitution specifically forbids all Ljósálfar also known as High Elves of Light from selling their deceased corpses. Rule 007D of the Eastal Constitution specifically forbids all Ljósálfar also known as High Elves of Light from willingly allowing any creature to Consume their Corpses. Rule 007E of the Eastal Constitution specifically forbids all Ljósálfar also known as High Elves of Light from Consuming the deceased corpses of sentient beings.
If you wish to Appeal your sentence indicate to the Official Messenger of the Asgard Continental Republic.
Elrick : " The Fuck?"
~ Ding! ~
Elrick : " Appeal! Appeal! Appeal! Appeal! Appeal! I wish to Appeal!"
The messenger holds out another Rune stone and Elrick puts his blood on it.
Messenger : " Appeal logged!"
~ Ding! ~
Messenger : " I will take my leave!"
The messenger left the stunned Elrick.
Elrick : " She tricked me! I am so screwed!"
John Maud : " Didn’t you read the Race Laws?"
Bowden : " It’s beta! Why waist the time reading something if your just going to lose Attribute stat gain?"
Elrick : " Shit!"
Everyone was floored; completely stunned by the turn of events. Word of Elrick’s folly spread like wildfire.
- - -
Over a thousand users had died on the wall and just over 200 locals had also been killed by the time the swarms stopped.
Once the Elves and Elf-Dragons went outside Vhon’s Psionic Barrier the Demons hastily retreated. Not even Vampires would be foolish enough to take on Fire Elves without proper support. The hasty retreat of the Vampires made the whole thing anti-climatic as no big battle took place. The few inexperienced Vampires who stupidly tried to stand their ground met a swift death.
The Vampire Lord who was responsible for the blizzard was never encountered; apparently not willing to commit to a full scale war over as little a prize as Vhon. Had the Vampire Lord chosen to fight the situation might have turned into an Epic Battle but as it is the elves were a little disappointed. Even the Serpent-Men were nowhere to be found; vanishing as quickly as they had first arrived.
- - -
Those who followed the Elves and Elf-Dragons outside Vhon’s Psionic Barrier were able to recover valuable Items from Vampires that were killed by the Big Explosion of all the Runic Mines. There was a looting frenzy as users rummage around the ruined forest and plains for the high quality equipment used by the Vampire Mages and worriers.
A user found a Magic Wand Staff that was sold for 824 Gold Coins to local merchants who estimated that its actual value was 15% to 22% higher than they had paid for. Another user found an Ice Magic Sword that sold for 533 Gold Coins, a spear worth over 300 Gold Coins, a shield worth over 400 Gold Coins and various armours each worth over 300 Gold Coins.
Fortunate users and natives truck it rich by just picking up items off the ground and even Starlight Spark Executives grumbled at not being allowed to go outside and search for rare items. Elrick however wasn’t interested in the complaints of the Starlight Spark Executives who were thinking about their own personal gain because he had his own problems.
Elrick eventually shook off his angst and consternation; choosing to instead place all his hope on the Appeal to the King of the High Elves. Freeing his mind from the implications of him being found guilty of Crimes against Eastal allowed Elrick to focus is attention on the loot collection process. Elrick had spent a lot of money on this project and he couldn’t afford to go wrong.
Lord Vhon hired 27645 people by taking advantage of the incoming refugees. The salary offered was set at 39 Silver Coins with 1 Silver Coin going to the purchase of safety equipment such as gloves. Having Lord Vhon’s authority on the project allowed it to proceed far more smoothly than in would have been possible otherwise; all the doors opened for Starlight Spark.
The average price for the carcases of Small Creatures started 4.75135 Copper Coins. At its peak 27645 people were each collecting 1.7137 Small Creatures per second. The loot collection reached a million Small Creatures in just 5 minutes, and they got going they collected a million Small Creatures every 22 seconds. Once the First 10 million Small Creatures were collected Elrick started to believe that getting the money from the Red Dragon Princess that allowed him to get the business cooperation of Lord Vhon was worth the 2 years on Chaos Island.
The Starlight Spark Executives were ecstatic when the loot collection figures started coming in; Starlight Spark essentially had a monopoly on all the Small Creatures Carcases within 4km of Vhon. The number of dead Small Creatures was estimated at over 250 million.
- - -
While most of the Elves moved on to the next Town three Elf-Dragons remained to complete some ghastly business.
Elrick : " Is it that time already?"
Princess : " You’re taking this better than I expected?"
Elrick : " I was freaking out a while ago, but this body restricts my ability to feel."
Elrick : " It’s not your fault that I was negligent in learning the rules of my race! Besides I’m a willing participant."
Princess : " Just so you understand why I did this; when I present your corpse to my father it will elevate my status in the Royal Family to the rank of 3rd Princess and that will allow me to choose my own mate; even someone outside the Red Elf-Dragons."
She looks over at the Green Dragon.
Elrick : " So that’s what this is all about!"
Prince : " I’m the 4th Prince of the Forest Elves; you have my sincere gratitude!"
Attendant : " I’ve never seen such a conciliatory attitude towards Red-Elves from a Light Elf! Normally Light Elves tend to regard Red Elves as lesser Elves. There’s been a lot of enmity between Light Elves and Red Elves. Our king will use this situation as a jab against Lord Elron."
Prince : " My people also believe that there’s too much Demon Dragon in the blood of Red Elves; they’re obviously wrong."
Elrick : " If there is such angst with High Elves why not take it up directly with the Eastal Government?"
Elrick : " non-Lethal Duel?"
Princess : " My father could challenge Lord Elron to a duel but Lord Elron’s protégé Alvron would undoubtedly interfere; they always interfere!"
Elrick : " Alvron?"
Attendant : " Lord Alvron Alron is head of the house of Alron; king of the Day Elves!"
Elrick : " Oh!"
Princess : " Every head of the house of Elron has a protégé from the house of Alron. That means that if the protégé is also a king there is no way to challenge the High Elf King without defeating the King that is their protégé. The last time the Red Elf King challenged the High Elf King it lead to the second great humiliation of the Red Elves."
Attendant : " That’s when everyone understood the difference in power!"
Prince : " The upper echelon of the Day Elves are twice as Powerful as the other Elves. We don’t know where the Light Elves rank but it is likely that they are within 20% of the Day Elves."
Attendant : " To gain that kind of power you would have to constantly conduct lethal training; dying and being revived a ridiculous amount of times. Something only possible with access to limitless amounts of Light Magic; putting the relationship between the Day Elves and the Light Elves into a proper context!"
Princess : " The Alvs who have access to a Light Subspecies have emulated some of the Extreme training methods of the Day Elves and that improved their power by 70%. In a lot of ways such methods were incorporated into the Atlantian Adventurer system. Immortality makes you fearless!"
Elrick : "I understand! It’s time for me to fulfil my obligations!"
A small group of onlookers had gathered around Elrick and the Elf-Dragons.
Elrick had cleaned-up and was now wearing white robes, and when he spoke of fulfilling his obligations people he had hired for what he dubbed the Death Ceremony knew that it was time to proceed.
A Golden Carpet was laid out and Elrick set on his knees. And he began to speak out-loud for all to hear.
Elrick : " Three Times now I have allowed my Naivety to lead me into Disastrous Situations. I can no longer allow my weakness to prevail! I can no longer allow my ineptitude to prevail! I can no longer allow my deficiencies to prevail! I can no longer allow my Inexperienced Heart to Lead me Astray!"
Elrick then pulls out a Golden Knife and places it in front of Him.
Elrick : " In a quest for Redemption and Honour I must now Emulate the character of Zatōichi!"
Elrick picks up the Knife.
Elrick : " This is all that Remains of my Warrior Dreams! "
Elrick grips the Knife with both hands and stabs himself in the chest by thrusting underneath the ribcage and then pulling downwards to the right which results in him cutting open his stomach.
The small crowd looks on in silence as Elrick quickly dies from the initial thrust he had carefully aimed at his heart.
Princess : " Thank you!"
The Dragon Princess picks up Elrick’s body an all three Elf-Dragons fly off; eventually disappearing near the teleport platforms.
- - -
End of the Open Beta Arc
- - -
I’ll put out a short Epilogue and begin the next Arc which will be the Academy Arc.
- - -
- - -