The sight that greeted them was pure chaos. In the distance, rolling plains could be found. Strewn across them was a large in-encampment dotted with destroyed tents and open fires as monsters rampaged through them. Soldiers the size of ants racing around them to avoid being killed as they tried to counter-attack.
“What the-!” Everyone, but Avery yelled out.
. . . .
After a few moments of panic, the group moved through the forest, running through the trees with Avery at the helm in a light jog – Desmond at the back panting. Randol gritted his teeth seeing the slow pace they were taking as the battle took place nearly half a mile away from their current position. Out of all of them, the white-haired Ancient was taking this at a leisurely stride while Desmond was about to have a heart attack at the back.
He too was starting to be short of breathe. “Avery! Can you go ahead and help them out?!” He called out to the woman who was nearly double the distance away, weaving between the tightly growing trees. She only turned back for a moment before her pace picked up. Then she disappeared. He took it as her taking his order and slowed his pace to a steady jog to try and steady his breathing.
The only other one that wasn’t dying at the moment was Navara, her race naturally inclined towards running. Her face was twisted with worry as she fretted over the gasping Desmond.” Take a quick break… I sent Avery ahead…” He wasn’t sure how much good that would do, but he was hoping they’d be half the warriors they were in the stories at least.
Avery didn’t question her physical abilities. They were the same in the game and her body responded naturally to her will as if this body was her original one. She felt her heart race with excitement as the thick scent of blood filled her nostrils. Focusing too much on the current objective, she didn’t realize she was not behaving normally. She should have been scared! Felt fear! But none of those emotions came.
Only the sweet anticipation of battle.
Her eyes glowed brighter as she burst through the tree line, scattered bodies lining the camp’s northern perimeter. Small two headed bores, Kobolds, Goblins, and other monsters had gathered into a stampeding horde and rushed the waiting Expedition forces. She slowed down, but only enough to jog through the remains of them.
Once inside the camp, blood caked the floor and outer walls of tents, if they weren’t crushed already. Columns of smoke rose all around them as toppled braziers lit toppled tents and living alike. Pushing through a row of tents, she was met with her first challenger, a large Goblin Champion tearing at the flesh of a female Mage. Seeing such an exotic beauty present herself to him, He threw the corpse aside with a sickening grin that dripped with the organs of the dead mage. “Kill. Mate. Eat!” He roared as goblins began to pour out of the standing tents behind him.
Avery’s sword liberated the goblin’s head from its neck, leaving a spurting stub. The head tumbled off behind it’s body before landing in the mage’s pool of blood that dripped at the goblin’s feet. The body took a few seconds to register that it had been killed then it slumped over with a massive thud. Avery stood behind the large goblin. It’s body nearly a foot taller than her, but the carnage before her stirred only pleasure – the pleasure of war.
She grappled with the feeling of taking her first life in this world, a moral tug-of-war going on in her head. Not overtaking a monster’s life, but over how she didn’t feel a thing. Because of the Mithril sword, it felt like slicing off a small tab of butter to put on toast. She felt that taking a life should have been more climatic. More meaningful or something along that line.
Putting aside killing monsters, something she could come to terms with considering it was common to do so in video games; She felt she was supposed to feel something towards all the human corpses around her. What about the mage girl who had been played with before being eaten alive in the hands of the Goblin champion? Shouldn’t she feel disgusted? Mortified? Wasn’t there suppose to be something? There wasn’t. Only the excitement of battle. Was…
Was she a terrible person?
Her heart was racing at her first kill. Her eyes scanned not the humans around, but the dead goblin at her feet, a sense of satisfaction welling in her.
A fireball exploded at her feet, a gush of hot wind kissed her body as flames dances across the bodies around her. The smell of burning cloth, leather, and flesh filled the air along with her nostrils. The splash of fire pulled her from her thoughts, making her pull her arms up to cover her face, but she found herself unharmed. The fire instead made her feel more energized as another fireball soared through the air. It was as large as a watermelon. And on target this time.
She didn’t bother to see who launched it. Time seemed to slow as she looked at that raging ball of fire. Like the fire back home, it called out to her. Like an excited child calling to its mother. She didn’t know why, but she rose her hands up to it. When it reached her, the fire was sucked into her palm before it swirled around- side to side.
The fire leaped around in her hand, greeting her like it had a mind of its own. Then before her eyes, the orange and yellow hues of the ball of fire turned brilliant gold. It was beautiful in her eyes. She caressed it lightly, feeling whole with it in her hand. “Mana…” She realized what she was feeling. It was mana that she didn’t understand, but now she knew what it was. It felt almost like the air around her, but thicker. She didn’t understand what it was at first but it was okay. She knew what it was now. She willed it for the fire to grow in her hands and it only flickered momentarily.
Then it exploded.
Brillant golden flames turned everything within twenty feet of her into cinders and ash. She could feel the flames welcoming. A certain thought came into her head. “I am the Goddess of Fire, the mother of flames…” That was right. She held that title. That now explained why she felt so tied to the flames and why it didn’t harm her. She willed the flames to return to her hand, feeling the mana course throughout her body. A wicked smile plastered her face.
It had only been a few seconds since the fireball “Hit” its target, but the mage who tossed it at her – a goblin and Kobold shaman pair – seemed confused to why neither of their attacks had worked on the “human” girl nearly thirty odd feet away. Now with that smile pointed at them, they felt fear like never before. The aura coming from her was that of a powerful being – A Queen of beings. No. – Of a Goddess.
A Goddess stood before them and they were the ones to have provoked her wrath.
. . . . . .
“Stick together! Hold that line! They’re just stinkin’ beasts!” A man suited in heavy grey plate armor and a single steel plate sword stood in the center of the camp as his men pooled around. Many men carried shields similar to Roman Scutum shields with a single dragon head painted on the front. They created a defensive half circle around the camp center was the largest clearing sat on top of the small hill. The rolling plains had other, slightly higher hills, but this one was the closest to the forest where the Third Prince’s expedition was heading through.
A boar, thrice the size of a human, collided with the linked shield wall. The shield wall slid only an inch before they came to a stalemate. Spearmen stood behind the wall and skewered the boar with tens of poles before a lucky one struck through its left eye and destroyed it’s brain as the solder channeled a current of electricity through it. “For the Empire!” They all cried out as the boar’s legs crumbled from under its dead body.
Goblins and Kobolds climbed up the rear of the boar and tried to jump over the shield line only to land on the end of spears and swords. Only a few managing to land before only wounding a few soldiers before they too were cut down. The men heaved, exhausted from fighting so long as another wave of goblins and Kobolds slammed into the shields. The sound of clashing metal rang through the air as fireballs flew. They exploded on the shields and just before them, killing their own forces.
The Knight’s who knew magic lobbed magic back. Ice spikes, fireballs, and some shot lightning at the monsters mantling the dead boar before a round of arrows came crashing down into the hordes. “Keep it up!” Sir Glen Greyscale cried out. His sword arm when he fought two Goblin Champions. At the current moment, both of those champions were dead, but he was still left out of the fight. His mood was rock bottom as all around him as he barked orders to the knights around him.
Columns of smoke rose before them as they defended the center of the camp. The monster horde had taken them by surprise this morning, but they managed to rouse themselves before they lost even more of the camp. Behind him, a few Academy healers tended to the wounded and dying with their all. There wasn’t enough to tend to all of them. There wasn’t anything they could do either.
He was torn, whether to be happy or pissed off that he bribed those teachers to stay. Them staying made Prince Randol go with his brother. That was the Emperor’s miscalculation, but it may have just cost them their lives! He was one fireball around from losing his cool facade!
As that thought crossed his mind, a column was golden flames raged in the camp’s perimeter, startling even the monsters. This was followed by an oppressive aura that Sir Glen had never felt in his life. Sweat beaded all over him as fear struck him. His knights were worst off though. Their bodies were brought down to their knees as they struggled to fight against it. The most exhausted of the knights were laid out flat, struggling to breathe under the weight.
The aura disappeared as quick as it appeared, but its impress had already left its mark. The shield line had crumbled and the remaining knights struggled to push back the now frenzied monsters. “What the-!” The monsters no longer fought with excitement, but fear. As if whatever released that aura, they wanted nothing more than to get far away from whatever it was.
The happy screams of the monsters turned into shrieks as bodies began to fly into the air around them as a golden ball of fire crashed into the heart of the horde. Their bodies were charred and mangled as a white-haired demon began to crash through the rear of the horde. Her melodies laughter filling the air. From their elevated position, The knights could see the woman and her frightening attacks that cut the monsters down like reaping wheat. They couldn’t make out anything other than that it was a figure in a white cloak with beautiful long white hair that danced behind her with each strike.
Thousands of monsters were attacking the camp, even more, had been felled by the knights, yet this lone figure was reaping tens at a time. Even Faster than Sir Glen could kill. The knights were momentarily stunned, but when another push from the mindless monsters clashed against them; They didn’t have the luxury to watch in wonder. They fought against the frenzied monsters with even more caution as they threw theirs to the wind to escape the sudden appearance of the Death.
In a matter of minutes, the air became nearly unbreathable. The stench of blood, urine, and feces hung heavily in the air; creating a smell that twisted the stomachs of the knights. The monsters had put up a desperate fight to escape from the white figure, now clad in thick crimson blood. They had charged the knights with everything and managed to break the shield wall. Their futile attempt was met with a line of spears and fireballs with the knights also taking heavy losses, but none the less, exterminating the monsters that attempted to flee over them.
The day-long skirmish had ended with the Knights losing nearly half their forces and the monster horde nearly being annihilated by the joint efforts of the new person and the knights. Whichever monsters were smart enough to flee to the sides instead of backways or forward, were rewarded with the sweet sight of the forest as they escaped. The human that had slid into their forces and cut them down like reaping wheat was forever imprinted in their minds.
Avery stood in a pool of blood and viscera, the smell not even registering in her head as her eyes tracked each monster that ran into the forest like a hunting feline. Her hair was matted with blood, dripping at the tip like a freshly dipped paintbrush. Goblins, Kobolds, a few centaurs, and other monsters laid dismembered and mangled around her as the Knights pulled themselves together- collecting their dead.
The grass around her was trampled and was no longer visible beneath the carnage she had unleashed, her golden eyes glowing brilliantly as they caught sight of her party coming up from the forest, slightly disheveled. When the group got closer, they gagged on the smell as Desmond unleashed a wind spell to ventilate the battlefield. It wasn’t until they stood on the edge of the camp’s center did they release Avery was standing, soaking in blood, that it was her. “Avery?” She only nodded in return, withholding something devilish inside of her.
Her nostrils flared with a heavy breath as she tried to calm her mind, but her body shook with the exhilaration of battle. Seeing the disheveled princes coming with only that disgusting beast-girl, Sir Glen’s nose crumpled with irritation. It soon cleared when he noticed the rest of the group was missing. “My lords, where is the rest of your group?” he called out to the group as he navigated with disgust through the dead till he stood a few feet from the group. Only to get ignored.
“Are you okay?!” Narava came up to her, the worry was written across her face as Avery forced a smile. “Yeah… But I need a shower. Badly.” She forced out a small giggle as Navara sighed. ” We ran into monsters running away from here. Guess it was you that scared them off?” She asked disappointed. She had secretly been hoping to fight. She didn’t want to feel as useless as she did at Fable’s End.
“Ye-” Navara and Avery’s chat was cut off by a curt yell from Sir Glen “Quiet! I need to speak with the princes. Especially you, you shouldn’t even bee running ahead of your damned master girl!” He fumed. Avery was about to punch the man in anger when a sudden roar broke the post-battle tension as a red figure zipped overhead. Gaint wings flapping with great might.
“D-Dragon!” Someone had called out.