GGCE 10 – Return of a Fallen Goddess (3)

“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 should not even be 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. Giant wings flapped with great might.

“D-Dragon!” Someone had called out.

The Dragon, clad in majestic red scales, strafed across the southern end of the camp. Flames poured out of its massive maw like lava spewing from a volcano as it engulfed everything it touched. The dragon had attacked the area that housed the wounded. The Knights at the edge of the area all felt their flesh burning as they screamed, trying to pull off their armor as the metal began to heat up. A wave of intense heat pushed against them all. The knights furthest away could only stare in utter horror of the power of an S-Class monster that narrowly missed their ranks.

The unadulterated power had sent the weakest of the knights into utter despair – some even fainting. However, all of them felt the Death’s scythe pressed against their throats. Except for Avery, whose golden eyes tracked the dragon as it slowly banked around out in the distance to come back towards the camp for another attack. “No, no! That’s an S-Class monster! Why the hell is that here?!” Desmond yelled out. Avery looked at him with interest then turned to Sir Glen who saw shaking on the floor. A few knights tried to pull him up, but he was a literal pig in armor. It took four men to get him to his feet and herd him away.

Avery back to Desmond. “You know any long-range spells?” She had fought plenty of dragons in the game, but she was erring on the side of caution right now. She wasn’t delusional to think a dragon would compare to lowly Goblins and Kobolds. They were simple mobs. Dragons were often low-level raid bosses and this red one looked to be around the same rank of the first raid boss in Eos.

Desmond looked at her calm demeanor and felt a sense of comfort. Not that being covered in blood was a comforting sight, but that at least one of them was calm. He took a second to calm himself down, enough to think that is. “Yeah! I have a fire spell called Streaking Burst. It’s a fire spell though it-” Avery cut him off. “Doesn’t matter, shoot it at the dragon. I just need to see it.” Feeling the fireballs earlier gave her a clear picture of mana, but the problem was that it was such an abstract thing that she wasn’t sure how she could control it other than just spewing out flames out like a flamethrower.

Desmond wanted to protest, but at the current moment, there wasn’t anything he could do other than go along with her demand. He gripped his wand and summoned most of his mana, chanting. He fought to keep himself under control as the dragon was beginning to get closer and closer. A ball that resembled a glowing ball of magma formed at the tip of his wand. A few more moments, the dragon would be directly above them. He felt something beginning to collect next to him just as he was almost done.

Then he felt it stabilize into a projectile and released it. It was a ball the size of a tennis ball arching in a nearly straight line towards where the dragon would be and it exploded on its neck, but it did not damage the beast. Before he could curse at the pointless attack. He felt a concussive wave nearly push him over. Catching himself, he managed to look up in time to see a thick golden ball the size of a human torso leap from Avery’s hand with a deep boom and screech across the sky and strike the Dragon’s right side- Exploding into a large ball of golden fire and black smoke. Desmond’s eyes shot wide open; scared to miss a single second, he waited for the dragon to emerge from the smoke.

And it did.

The dragon arched downward out of the cloud of smoke and fire in a swirling motion, smoking. Droplets of blood and one of its limbs also fell from the cloud. Its monolithic body crashed into the forest, cutting a sizable trench within while sending a massive dust cloud up. From where they stood, they felt a slight tremor when it impacted the forest floor. Desmond’s eyes were almost bulging in shock as he watched that massive spell hit the dragon and send it down. He couldn’t believe it. It resembled his spell, but it definitely was not it. That was something more… terrifying.

“What… did you just do?” Desmond asked, scared of the answer. “I.. just.. copied you.” Avery panted, trying to answer his question. He looked at her and noticed she was sweating profusely now. “Woah! Hey, hey, hey!” He quickly wrapped her arm around his neck to support her as she before she fell over. It took a moment for him to figure out the cause. “You’re mana exhausted! Just relax, let’s get you somewhere to sit down. Navara, help me!” Poor Navara had witnessed such a frightening display of power, and it had also stunned her during the whole ordeal.

She snapped out of her trance and slid her arm under Avery’s to support her. “We got you.” Remembering her first time experiencing mana exhaustion, she spoke sympathetically, not minding the blood getting on her.

. . . . .

Night had fallen and the remains of the Expedition camp had been abandoned as the survivors scavenged any supplies and good tents they could, loading them onto whatever wagons they could find along with any horses. Sadly they were only able to find four horses to pull four out of five wagons. They prioritized food and wounded over non-necessities like weapons. It worked in their favor that nearly three-fourths of their company. At least, this was how Randol chose to look at it. Any other way… He didn’t bother.

They worked their way south down the path they traveled north. As if the gods had took pity on them, they didn’t run into any monsters this time before setting up camp seven miles south after crossing the Hickler River, or Avery called it. None of the landmarks here had names. It was simply deemed “wild lands”. Wildlands were areas lost to the demons and monsters long ago. It encompassed most of the known continent. In fact, they didn’t know how large the continent was. While it seemed peaceful, in the wild lands, they could suffer attacks like earlier.

It only became known a few hundred years ago that the wild lands had been divided up by S-Class monsters, like that red dragon from before, and would attack any human or demon settlements that would crop up. That was the only reason humans had not been wiped from the face of Eos. Large armies couldn’t pass unless they had a mind-boggling force behind them to either hold off those monsters or kill them. This meant that both sides had to resort to small companies or battalions to send at each other if they wished to pass through the Wildlands. The amount sent only meant they could harass each other.

The only area where armies could march through was Death Valley, a thirty-mile mountain range that had once been wild lands until the monster that resided over it had died of old age. Or so Desmond had explained during their depressing trip.

“At the moment, the Wildlands are slowly disappearing as we, as well as demons, are gaining stronger people. Right now, we have the summoned heroes-” Avery cut in. “What do you mean summoned Heroes?” Desmond took a minute to regather his thoughts.” We learned how to summon Heroes from other worlds. This…” He closed his eyes and tapped his forehead, trying to remember when exactly this happened. “Maybe more than two hundred years ago? It’s an inhumane ritual that requires human sacrifice. For thirty lives of healthy humans, you can summon a hero. To date, only forty heroes have been summoned by different countries. Although they’ve been called Heroes, most were failures.”

Desmond said it without blinking. Avery couldn’t believe her ears. “Do you guys also do this?” Desmond felt the chill in her voice. He coughed awkwardly, understanding where her issue laid. “No. First of all, the complete ritual is only known to the Theocracy and Heart Kingdom which managed to steal it from the Theocracy. Each have summoned eight heroes each. They sacrificed willing people.” He looked at Avery from the corner of his eye, trying to read her mood as she looked over the river bend as they sat on a wagon while the knights set up their pitiful camp.

She was still caked in dried blood, not willing to stop to bathe and hold everyone back. He saw her expression lighten a little and continued. “Smaller countries have tried to recreate this ritual, but none have managed to do so successfully. They can summon heroes, but they often don’t live longer than a year and often possess no power. Our empire is only a medium country. We’re also on bad terms with the Theocracy so they won’t give us any heroes.”

With that, Avery nodded with approval. “Good. You shouldn’t rip people from their world.” Desmond looked at her with a new perspective. He hadn’t thought about that. The ritual was only a something those two countries did, leaving all the others to either beg for heroes or try and summon their own. The Empire didn’t believe in summoning heroes, only trying to find one among their own citizens. It was a nationalist outlook. Thus Desmond hadn’t bothered to think of the ethical or moral implications of a Hero Summoning.

“Were they being ripped from their worlds or were they given a choice?” Desmond thought as the conversation fell silent. Navara came up to the group, whispered something into Avery’s ear and then left with her. Desmond pondered the thought as the moon climbed higher into the star-filled sky.

. . . .

The forest buzzed to life as insects called out and a few owls hooted. A few fireflies danced over the river as Desmond jumped from knight to knight, asking where Avery had gone. He had been thinking about what she said. He felt she had a fresh perspective on their world so he wanted to talk with her more. Searching, one of the look-outs had finally pointed him in the direction Avery had headed with Navara, out of camp and along the river’s bend.

The riverbank was a nearly twenty-foot buffer of river rocks and sand separating the river from the forest’s treeline. With the full moon illuminating the way, he kept to the edge of the forest where the least amount of rocks were as the river bent northward. After a few minutes of walking, the camp had faded from sight behind him. The river’s swished by on his left side as the tall pine trees towered over his right. It was a twisted peaceful night after these few days, but he didn’t mind it too much.

It was another minute before he heard Navara and Avery’s voices coming from up ahead. He came upon a small drop where the river turned into three small waterfalls, each nearly four-foot-tall drops. The three falls weren’t quiet, but not enough to drown out the forest ambiance. Navara also was known for being quite loud, as were the rest of her tribe. He was about to call out to them when he came to the edge of the first drop… Only to find the sight of Avery and Navara bare as the day they were born under the stars.

(PF: Why are you so obsessed with nekked Avery ashes T-T)

(Ashes: Because I’m following the original events loosely. >;])

Desmond was like a rabbit with a dragon staring it down. The two beautiful girls stood in the river water that came up to their hips. They had dug out a small little channel that ran into a large pit, turning it into a small pool. The water flow was more of a small flow, but the odd part was it the pool was steaming.

Avery’s flawless rosy skin, her ample rear, and bust was contrasting to Navara’s well tanned and toned body with smaller breasts and not as ample rear. However, putting the two side by side was as if two angels had graced the mortal world with their presence. Their melodious laughter as they talked tickled his ears and for a few moments, he felt his heart stop. It wasn’t until he felt he should look away, that he drew their attention.

He tried to back up, only to knock another rock and both their eyes turned towards him. One pair of glowing irises of molten gold, while the other was more humanlike. Yet each of them was wide, filled with shock and surprise. Then the anger set in. “Desmond!” Last he remembered was the bare figure over Navara flying at him with her claws out and fangs bared.

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