GGCE 21 – Calamity [4]

Avery only rolled her eyes and looked at the Guild Leader. “Shall we continue?” She only nodded and shot the big man a warning glare before a smile returned to her face. The Guild Leader handed her a form and quill with ink to write in her information.

The large man steamed with rage before he was quickly reigned in by his team members and “Fucking nobles.” The man said while Avery ignored him for all it was worth. She wasn’t in the mood to fight with idiots today. She had already been drained by Lorren earlier, so she needed to get out of the city. When she learned that there was guild’s around, she set her sights on taking up quests again.

She finished with the registration, giving the minimum information required. In return, she was given a small wooden board the size of a credit card with her name quickly written on it and her age. The guild master had also prompted her for her skill set, but she was repeatedly rejected. Avery wasn’t of the mind to let people know what she could do. Corruption was common in large organizations the most since there were so many people keeping it running. She didn’t want people to know what she could do. Even if she had to relearn how to do everything.

Pocketing the card, Avery went over to the job board. Although it was called the Job Board, it encompassed the entire length of the wall with two human employees both posting requests on it. The board itself was divisioned off by guild rank with open requests left by the front door to where the board ended. The board ended at A which were posted next to the reception desk.

Avery strolled the board at her own leisure, keeping to the back of the small ever moving crowd of adventurers. “Ho? A dragon spotted near the border? No way in hell I’m going out there.” A woman dressed in plated armor said. “Me neither. Last time we went out for a quest at the border, that damned Noblemen kept trying to get in my pants and even tried threatening me!” A mage girl next to her said. “Did you hear? I heard there was a rebellion at the border. That was the news that came in a few days ago.” A man who didn’t appear to be a part of their group told them,

Avery heard it and noted it to ask Desmond. She walked down to the F section and looked for a simple quest that wouldn’t take her very far. She just needed to move her body without someone glaring at her, mainly that cultist Lorren.

“Ah.” She said as she spotted something with a boar painted it and made her way through the crowd of hunters. The request was on-going for hunting of Ruff-Back boars. “How nostalgic.” She muttered to herself. Ruff-back boars were also a new-player request. It used to give players a feel for the combat system. This quest was for hunting down the boars digging up the fields and didn’t have an end date. It also needed one kill at the minimum so it wasn’t going to be a grind. “DO NOT REMOVE, NOTIFY RECEPTION”.

“Did you find anything interesting?” Navara popped up beside Avery. “Yeah, I was just going to accept the boar request.” Ignoring the stares aimed at them, she shuffled out of the crowd. By the time she got to the reception desk, the line disappeared. “What was with the line earlier?” Avery asked the reception girl as Navara came with her. “Early morning rush.” She said politely. “I want to accept that boar quest on the outskirts, is there anything I need to do?” Navara jumped in. “I’m taking it too. I need to move my body too.”

“Please give me your cards so we can mark it down on your record.” The receptionist answered with a smile. “You going with me or on your own?” Avery turned to Navara. “I was hoping with you.”

. . . . .

“Go back to hell!” Ha’vie roared with frustration as her blade liberated the heads of six zombies who surrounded her. Beads of sweat trickled down her dark tender skin as her eyes burned with unadulterated rage. This would have been about the time her husband would have to remind her to calm herself, but in light of their missing friends, he could barely contain himself from jumping into the fray.

However, he kept up the rear while his wife cut down zombies row by row. Grannar had already figured out they were being summoned by someone – or something – as the number of dead bodies that had trailed them for fourteen blocks was astronomical. “There’s too many! We need to pull back!” He called out to his wife. “No!” She roared back as the progress they had made only ten minutes ago was swallowed up by a surging tide of fresh zombies that poured in behind the horde, pushing it forward.

While Ha’vie and Grannar were great adventurers and warriors in their own right, they were still mortal beings subjected to their bodily needs. Grannar was breathing heavily while Ha’vie was drenched in sweat that made the splattered black blood on her run like ink. “They’re close! I can feel the amulet!” The Amulet of Anti-Curse was made personally by her Mistress and each member of their group could sense its location. This also meant she knew that the amulet’s location was somewhere in the thick of the city where the undead was thickest.

Her heart was nearly in her stomach as the reality of the situation began to seat in with each new group of zombies shuffling in. Just when stubbornness was going to rear its head – she felt the hair on the back of her neck perk up like poles.

She jumped backward, ramming a shuffling zombie over, as a large black sword crashed into the ground where she had been standing. A skeleton suited in black plate armor stepped out. The monstrosity towered over them by a few heads. She could tell the Skeleton wasn’t as powerful as her, but it was definitely a raid-level undead. Fear set in as Ha’vie scooped up her husband, threw him over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and booked it the way they came. “Hey! I can-” He was interrupted as the skeleton knight screeched an unworldly noise and the city around them slowly began to age and twist.

“D-D-Dungeon!” He shuddered as he watched the city slowly turn into a dungeon around them, like a bad animated film, the buildings aged and blackened. The sky above them slowly darkened as thick ink-like maxima rose from the city’s center. Several more skeletons stepped into their path with the intent of killing them, but Ha’vie still had enough stamina to down with the agility of a nimble feline. “Don’t stop!” Grannar pleaded as the sword tip of the last knight nearly grazed his nose as he bobbed up and down.

The piles of zombies helped slow their pursuit as they stumbled here and there trying to grab at the couple. Using the bodies to their advantage along with the petrified townsfolk, they managed to avoid death. However, the transmutation of the desert city overtook them slowly as the city came into the view. “No! No!” Ha’vie screamed. Zombies began to rise from the grey sand and tried to grab at her only to get toppled over by the dark elf.

The gateway began to twist before turning into a Blackstone archway with the faces of the tormented sculpted for entirety over the gates, which began to close. The elf knew she didn’t have the strength to leap over the tall ramparts which towered over her at three stories. Nor was it possible to get over while protecting themselves from the Skeleton Knights. She poured her all into one final sprint as the gates were about to close.

The doors shut with a bang before twisting into iron gates with dead bodies tied to its bars as Ha’vie and Grannar heavied on the warm tan sand below. “Fuck! Too close! Too Close!” the dwarf gasped in freight. Not even they could take on a dungeon by themselves. There were just too many monsters and too many moving pieces in clearing the obstacles. Not even the Mistress could solo a Dungeon, she would at least need Mr. Gerald to be with her for her, or at least the ones she had seen her tackle.

Once Ha’vie was able to gather herself, she looked at the city that slowly became a graveyard for the undead. “We have to get to the guild…” She muttered, her eyes scanning for any clue that her friends were still alive…

. . . .

A gentle gust of wind scattered Avery’s loose snowy hair as she stepped through the main gate of the Capital, thin wisps of cloud trailed overhead like they were just floating leisurely across the blue lake they called the heavens. Navara walked in step with her as they chatted about trivial things about fox-girl’s home while carrying a backpack. The soles of their boots tapping against the ancient bridge that once the entrance to the dragon’s dungeon.

Once they reached that bridge’s end, glittering waves of golden wheat greeted them along with bountiful brown fields of grapes. “Ah, it’s harvest season.” Navara said. “I didn’t notice the other day, but the farmers should start picking soon.” She added. Avery only looked over the calming sight with a relaxed smile as their feet stepped off the bridge and onto the dirt. The main road was moderately busy as wagons full of goods as they headed towards their destination.

Mountains loomed over each side of them as the road began to slightly incline as they worked their way towards the outskirts. After a while of walking, the sun stood directly above them as they finally reached the fields that were currently being harvested. Tens of workers mulled above an apple orchard. “Beast-men?” Avery asked as she saw plenty of workers similar to Navara. “Mm. Beast-men only ever see discrimination in large human settlements. Then again, humans are pretty rude towards everyone, even themselves.” Navara laughed as a few workers saw them and waved.

The two girls returned the greeting with smiles as they walked the final stretch. “Ho? What are a couple of pretty ladies like you doing out here?” An older-beastmen, with grey ears and hair, who was resting on a wagon by the roadside called out just as they passed. “Just out hunting the boars.” Avery responded.” Seen any?” The pair stopped to chat with him. “Haha, must be good to be young.” The man said with a smile before turning on his seat and pointed off to the eastern edge of the fields.

Several small animals mulled about the field with their snouts shifting through the dirt. “It’s actually good you came when you did, the boars just started forging through the fields closest to the mountains. No one has shown up yet, so they’re ripe for picking.” The girls said their goodbyes as they set off down a branching side path as they followed the border of a freshly harvested field. The mountain loomed overhead with large trees dotting its side as a group of boars numbering more than forty-odd beasts with the adults nearly as tall as Avery herself.

“Let me show you how to hunt.” Navara said while glancing sideways at her snow-haired friend with a smirk “Aren’t you a mage?” Avery said with a huff as she unsheathed her sword. “No, I’m a warrior of the Fox Tribe of the Great Plains.” She turned with pride “Oh? How about we make it a bet then? The one that catches the least has to cook the meat of one of the hogs afterward.” Avery said. Navara nodded and the two dashed off.

The old man pulled out an age-worn smoking pipe as he pulled tobacco to pack in it. “Hey, Gramps. Fresh blood?” A younger human approached him with a hoe on his shoulder while gesturing with his head towards the leaving girls. “Yup. Want to bet they’ll get knocked around?” He lit the pipe with a small fire conjured on the tip of his index finger. But before he could take a drag, he looked over to the field where the two girls wandered off too and dropped his pipe. The two men looked on in sheer shock as the ability of the white-haired girl as she was like an angel dancing the ballet of death while the fire-haired struggled to keep up.

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