- Realism Chapter 24: The Writing on the Wall -

Mendores walked through a dark cave. The cave was empty as far as his lantern would let him see. He paused for a moment to lean back against the wall of the cave then took a notebook and a pen out of his bag.

"Let's see…" Mendores murmured as he skimmed through the list. "Dragon scales, check. Golem cores, check. Mythril, check. That just leaves the shapeshifter blood. Good, this is my last stop for today." He pulled out a few diamonds that were about half an inch wide from his bag and inspected them. There were elemental spirits sealed inside of the diamonds, they were slamming their fists against the walls of their prison, screaming something that couldn't be heard to anyone outside of the diamond cell. "And they are all still alive, perfect."

Mendores put all of his stuff back in his bag and focused for a moment. A clone of himself appeared in front of him, this clone carried no weapons and did not have his armor. The clone ran ahead of him into the cave, while Mendores himself slowly trailed behind it. It took a few minutes of walking, but they found it. In the blink of an eye, a creature lunged off the wall and slashed the clone in half with its razor-sharp claws. The clone immediately burst into a cloud of poison and the creature started to cough and choke on the gas. It quickly ran out of the poison cloud to catch its breath.

The creature had a humanoid shape, it's hands had long claws growing out of where its fingers should have been. It's feet also had short but sharp claws. Its three foot long, spiny tail had a sharp, pointed tip. The tail was the only part of the creature's body to have an exoskeleton. It's back also had long bone spikes sticking out of the spine. It turned to Mendores, growling and revealing multiple rows of deadly fangs.

Mendores grabbed his shield and his spear, then with a wave of his spear three additional clones of himself appeared between him and the shapeshifter. These clones were heavily armored, they carried large shields and maces. Two of the clones moved around the monster's sides to flank it while the other stayed in front, and Mendores stayed behind the front clone.

The shapeshifter hesitated and looked around at the four attackers. It waited for them to make the first move. But as it waited a layer of bone began growing over it's skin, little by little covering the creature in bone armor.

"Now!" Mendores gave the order and the two flanking clones rushed in from the sides, trying to ram the creature with their shields to pin it between them. The shapeshifter growled at them but quickly lunged forwards at the clone in front of itself, dodging out of the way of the shield attacks. As it moved in it swept its claws at the clone in front of it, and as expected the clone blocked with its shield. While the clone blocked the claws, the shapeshifter's tail grew an extra two feet in length and lashed out at the clone. The tail reached around the shield and the sharp, pointed tip stabbed upwards, slipping underneath the clone's helmet and stabbing it in the head. This wasn't the monster's first encounter with an armored foe, it clearly knew how armor worked and knew how to pierce it.

The clone was dispelled and faded away. The moment it started to fade away Mendores thrust his spear through where the clone had been, catching the shapeshifter off guard and stabbing the shapeshifter in the head. The creature went limp and stopped moving, but Mendores did not move any closer, he cautiously kept his distance for a moment.

From the moment his spear made contact with the shapeshifter, many small blue sparks of electricity kept surging from the creature's body, up Mendores's spear and into Mendores's signet ring. His signet was slowly draining the creature's stamina and replenishing his own; but upon landing the killing blow, the energy didn't stop draining like it usually would. Mendores wasn't falling for that one.

Suddenly the shapeshifter's head detached from its body and the body lurched forward, taking a swipe with its razor sharp claws at Mendores. Mendores twisted his spear to block the monster's claws, striking the beast's hand with the metal handle and pushing it away from his body. Upon contact with the creature's hand Mendores stole a little more of its energy. The creature lashed out with its other arm, but it was blocked in the same way as the first attack.

The shapeshifter crouched down and went to stab Mendores with its tail, but before it could reach him one of the shield clones grabbed the tail and restrained it. As it turned to attack the clone, Mendores stabbed his spear into its back. Piercing through the creature's bone armor. Every time he made contact with the shapeshifter he stole some of its energy. But the beast didn't slow down, with incredible strength it threw the clone off itself, then pulled itself off the spear and stepped away from Mendores. The stab wound on its back immediately healed, as the creature used shapeshifting to rebuild that part of its body. It's head also immediately regrew.

As the shapeshifter's bone armor finished growing over its body, a second layer of bone armor began growing over the first. It was little by little making the armor stronger and stronger, intent on eventually strengthening the armor enough to be immune to Mendores's spear.

Mendores took a stab at the shapeshifter from behind, causing it to spin around and grab his spear by the handle, blocking the attack. But upon contact with the spear Mendores began sapping its energy again. While the shapeshifter was distracted the clone that was still standing rushed in from behind and went to slam its mace into the shapeshifter's back. But the attack didn't go unnoticed, the shapeshifter tail doubled in length and stabbed at the clone before it could get too close.

The clone quickly raised its shield to block, but the pointed end of the bone tail pierced through the shield and the clone's armor. The shapeshifter had been sharpening its tail, and it was finally sharp and dense enough to pierce through the metal armor. The clone immediately disappeared.

Mendores's last clone was starting to get back up, but was moving slow due to all the heavy armor. Before it could get back on its feet the shapeshifter's tail lashed out at it and stabbed through its chest, dispelling the last of his clones.

The shapeshifter tried pulling the spear out of Mendores's hands, and the two of them began to struggle over it. Mendores was holding his ground and keeping his grip on the spear, but with each passing second the shapeshifter was making the muscles in its arms grow stronger and stronger, it was slowly starting to overpower Mendores. Mendores remained calm and just continued sapping its energy through its contact with his spear.

The shapeshifter eventually overpowered him and ripped the spear out of his hands. It threw the spear into the cave wall as far from Mendores as it could throw, then it jumped at Mendores, attempting to tackle him.

Mendores stopped the beast's tackle by bashing it in the face with his shield and knocking it backwards. It landed on its feet, and while it was stunned from the blow Mendores stepped forwards and side-kicked the beast in the stomach. The kick knocked the shapeshifter a few feet backwards and knocked it off its feet. Before it could get up, Mendores grabbed his dagger and flung it into the beast's stomach, it pierced through the bone armor, but only just barely.

The shapeshifter screeched out in pain then removed the dagger and got back up. Using shapeshifting again to close the wound and repair its stomach. It growled in frustration and charged Mendores head-on. Lashing out at him with its right claw, followed immediately by its tail stabbing over its shoulder at Mendores, then a left claw.

Mendores blocked the first claw with his shield, and sidestepped the tail, then blocked the second claw with his shield again. Each time the monster touched his shield, each time he hit it, any time it had contact with him or any equipment he was touching, he stole a little more of its energy. The shapeshifter was starting to get worn out.

As Mendores blocked the second claw, he ducked to evade another stab by the shapeshifter's tail. As he ducked the shapeshifter leaned forwards and attempted to bite his neck, where his armor didn't fully cover. But he stopped the bite by punching the beast in the jaw and knocking it back. As the shapeshifter stumbled backwards Mendores drew his sword and stabbed the shapeshifter in the chest. However, the bone armor had become too strong, the sword could no longer pierce the shapeshifter's body.

The shapeshifter thrust its tail at Mendores again, and this time he didn't move fast enough, it stabbed through his armor. The attack narrowly missed a fatal blow to his heart, instead it stabbed into his left shoulder. Mendores shouted out in pain and immediately jumped backwards to pull the sharp tail out of his shoulder before it could cause any more damage. He looked up at the shapeshifter, expecting a follow-up attack, but it didn't attack again. It kept a little distance and waited. Why?

Within seconds Mendores figured out what it was waiting for. An intense burning sensation began shooting down his arm and through his chest. He realized immediately that the shapeshifter had developed a fast spreading, and lethal poison within its tail during the fight. His defensive strategy, the one that always brought him victory, was faltering. For the first time in two years, his defenses were useless. No matter how tough his armor, or how sturdy his defensive formation, the beast was just cutting through it. Defense alone was not going to work here.

The shapeshifter was slowly starting to grow a second and third tail. It was expecting a retaliation, and was preparing to tear the human's armor apart. But for the time being, it just watched and waited for the poison to do its job.

Mendores took a deep breath and formulated a new plan of attack. He had stolen a lot of the monster's energy, so he had plenty of extra stamina for his spells and clones. He focused and four unarmed clones of himself appeared behind him. The four unarmed clones each pressed their palms together, sat on the floor, and started to meditate. They each gained a green aura that stretched out to touch Mendores. When he was surrounded by their auras, his wound slowly started to heal. Mendores readied his sword, and charged at the beast head-on.

The shapeshifter braced itself, and as Mendores closed in it stabbed its tail out at him. Mendores ducked under the tail, then summoned a clone of himself right next to she shapeshifter. This clone was different, this one was unarmored but carried a giant scythe. As soon as it appeared it slashed its scythe at the shapeshifter with incredible strength. The shapeshifter tried to evade the attack, but it couldn't move fast enough. The blade of the scythe pierced clean through the shapeshifter's bone armor and severed its arm.

The shapeshifter's tail panickedly snapped around to stab the scythe-clone, dispersing it immediately. But as it was dealing with the clone Mendores rushed in and threw a powerful front-kick at the beast's chest, knocking it backwards. The shapeshifter stumbled backwards, and suddenly one of Mendores's armored clones appeared behind it.

This clone crouched down and held its shield over its head. As the shapeshifter stumbled backwards it fell onto the massive shield and the clone immediately sprang off the ground then disappeared, throwing the beast into the air.

Mendores knew he had it now, it couldn't dodge in mid-air. Six more clones of himself appeared along the edges of the cave, these ones were also unarmored but they carried bows and arrows. As soon as they appeared they unleashed a hail of arrows at the shapeshifter. The shapeshifter was struck with twelve arrows, all over its body, before it suddenly grew wings and began avoiding the other arrows in mid-air.

The shapeshifter screeched out in pain and frustration. It reached behind itself and tore off two of the sharp spikes on its back, then threw those spikes down at the archers. Two of the archers were impaled and dispelled. The bone spikes regrew, and the wounds caused by the arrows also regrew and healed immediately, but the beast was slowing down. All the energy Mendores stole, all the energy waisted shape shifting over and over. As it went to break off two more spikes an arrow struck one of its wings and tore the wing apart. The shapeshifter screeched out in pain again and fell to the ground, only to be shot several more times by arrows.

The shapeshifter scrambled to its feet as soon as it hit the dirt and lunged at the archers. Its three tails each grew extra long and lashed out at a different archer, piercing and dispelling three more of them. As it turned on the last archer another armored clone appeared next to it and rammed into it with its shield, knocking the shapeshifter to the ground.

Once the beast hit the ground, the armored clone grabbed its mace and began wildly smashing the mace into any part of the shapeshifter's body it could reach. Cracking and weakening the bone armor in as many locations as possible. The shapeshifter quickly broke free and tackled the armored clone to the ground, then stabbed its tail down into the clone. But while it was distracted another berserker clone appeared behind it. The berserker clone slashed its scythe at the beast, cutting clean through the beast's body.

The shapeshifter was cleaved in half. The upper half of its body lifelessly fell to the ground, while the bottom half remained alive. It immediately regrew its entire upper half, while its tail stabbed through the berserker clone behind itself, dispelling that clone. It jumped backwards just in time to evade another kick from Mendores, then lashed out at him with all three of its tails. He sidestepped the first tail, and used his shield to block the second two. Both of the tails pierced through his shield, but he had been careful to make sure his body and arm were not in harm's way. With the two tails stuck piercing through the shield, Mendores threw the shield aside, throwing the tails with it. The shapeshifter tried to untangle its two tails from the holes in the shield they were now stuck in, while its third tail whipped around to attack from behind.

Mendores ducked underneath the third tail, and in that moment an arrow struck the shapeshifter in the back. The shapeshifter screeched in pain and stumbled forwards. While it stumbled Mendores sprang into action, stepping forward and stabbing his sword into the shapeshifter's lower stomach. The sword pierced through the beast's cracked bone armor and the shapeshifter shrieked out in pain.

The shapeshifter's body lifelessly collapsed to the ground. Mendores had finally found where the beast was hiding it's heart, and struck it. Mendores dropped to his knees and was panting heavily, gasping for air. By now his wound had fully healed, but the poison was only getting worse.

Mendores shakily detached his lantern from his belt and placed it on the ground beside himself, then he grabbed his backpack and quickly began rifling through its contents. He pulled out a vial filled with a white liquid and drank it as quickly as he could. It was an antidote, it wasn't strong enough to cure poison this strong, but it could slow the poison down long enough for him to seek out the aid he needed. With that out of the way, Mendores quickly grabbed six empty vials. He uncapped the vials and began to fill them with the shapeshifter's blood.

With the vials filled he put everything back in his bag. He picked up his dagger, his sword, his spear, and his broken shield. He made the rest of his clones disappear, and walked back out of the cave. Standing right outside the cave was Kadin.

"I told you, defense alone doesn't work. You can't save anyone with that." Kadin stated as he gestured to Mendores's shield.

"You were here this entire time and didn't help?" Mendores questioned.

"No, I was tipped off that you were here and needed help. I was here for the last half of the fight and I didn't help." Kadin replied. "You were learning an important lesson about the weakness of betting everything on defense. I didn't want to interrupt."

Mendores shook his head. "Betting everything on offence alone is even worse Kadin." He stated. "And I didn't bet everything on defense. I won, through offence, did I not?"

"Barely." Kadin pointed out.

"What does it matter to you? It's not like you cared enough to help, so why do you care how I handled it?" Mendores countered.

"I'm here, am I not?" Kadin argued.

Mendores sighed, then paused for a moment. "Wait, who told you I was here? Zanath?" He asked.

"No, Zanath and Estellese didn't know you were here." Kadin answered.

"Then who told you?" Mendores asked.

"I have eyes everywhere." Kadin answered.

"Real cryptic." Mendores sighed and rolled his eyes. "If you're going to be here can you at least open a portal for me to get back to the dwarves, I need their healer to cure this poison."

Kadin nodded and with a brief wave of his hand a portal appeared beside himself. Kadin walked through the portal, but it remained open for Mendores to follow.

Mendores started to walk through the portal, but stopped. It dawned on him that he didn't know where this portal actually lead to. Would Kadin bring him to the Dwarven settlement? Or would Kadin make the portal lead somewhere far away? He thought about it for a moment, then decided to take Zanath's advice and trust Kadin for once. So he walked through the portal.

As he walked out of the other end of the portal the portals closed, and he was left standing in the middle of the dwarven settlement. It was a large, underground metropolis with guards patrolling the streets. The houses were made from stone, but were expertly crafted with intricate designs, encrusted gems, and seemed to be running off steam-powered machinery. There were lights all over the city made from enchanted gemstones. There was a large palace in the back of the city where the king and queen resided, along with several tunnels leading off to nearby mines.

Mendores let out a sigh of relief and turned to Kadin, who was standing just a little off to the side. "Thank you, Kadin." He then turned and started walking to the dwarven medical facility.

"All differences aside, we are still friends, don't forget that." Kadin answered simply and began walking alongside Mendores. "You may not like my way of handling things, but everything I do is for a reason. I'm picking up your slack, I'm filling in for the areas where you and Estellese are failing. And, in all fairness, you two pick up my slack and fill in for my failings."

Mendores was silent for a moment, before saying "Well thank you. But you aren't very good at getting your point across. You tend to piss people off more than you persuade them into believing you."

"Making friends isn't my job, that's yours. You're the charismatic politician, Estellese is the hammer of justice, Zanath is our paragon of science, and I am the vigilante. It's my job to be the bad guy that fixes all the shortcomings in your laws and plans." Kadin answered.

"Or, you could be one of my leading officers and fix the laws and other 'shortcomings' from within." Mendores replied.

Kadin shook his head. "It wouldn't work that way. Take the villages for example, you sold them all on the idea of being safe in the village. They need to be told that that isn't true, that the only way they will truly be safe is if they all learn to fight and if they all learn to face the hardships out in this world instead of hiding from them. I can't fix that from within."

"So that's what this is about? Kadin they are fine, we have it covered." Mendores answered.

"No, this was about reminding you that we are friends. That we are on the same side. You seem to be forgetting that, and I am afraid it won't be long before you've completely forgotten it. No matter what, we are friends, we are on the same side, even if we disagree with the way each other is handling things." Kadin answered. "Anyways, good luck with making your new weapon." He turned and started to walk away.

"How did you know?" Mendores asked.

"I have eyes everywhere." Kadin shrugged.

"Well, I'm turning the power on for Oline city tomorrow. As you know, we recaptured it and cleaned it up. Since it was a replica of a modern city, it didn't need much work to fix the power and plumbing. It's almost a fully functional city now with a lot of people living in it. We are working on getting the electricity on tomorrow. You want to come watch the lights turn on?" Mendores offered.

"I would, but I'm really busy. I have some things to attend to. Thanks though. You should bring Estell, she'd probably like it." Kadin answered before he opened a portal and walked through. The portal closed behind him.

"Alright." Mendores murmured to himself, then he started coughing. He coughed up a little blood, but by this point he wasn't afraid of the poison anymore. He was standing outside the medical center. "Well, let's go get that treated before it gets worse." He murmured and walked into the medical center. He paid the dwarven medics to remove the poison, and to heal the damage it had done.

Once he was fully healed, he walked over to the blacksmith. He handed over the Mythril ores he had gathered, the golem cores, the dragon scales, and the vials of shapeshifter blood, along with a large sum of money. As per their previous agreement, the dwarven blacksmith built him his new weapon.

After five hours, his new weapon was made. A pair of three pronged katars that were attached to each other by a chain. Mendores thanked the blacksmith and took his weapons, then promptly left the dwarven settlement. It was getting dark, but he began walking across the mountains to get back to Bele village to meet up with Estellese. He wouldn't make it to the village until early the next morning, and he immediately went to his temporary home to rest for the night.

The next morning Mendores woke up and wandered out to find Estellese. He found her in the hospital, she looked exhausted and was trying to tend to several people who looked very sick. "Hey Estell, is everything alright?" Mendores asked.

"I don't know." Estellese replied. "Everyone is suddenly getting really sick. I'm not a healer, or a doctor, I don't know what is wrong. I switched my magic to Aether so i can heal them but I have no idea what's going on, it isn't helping."

"Everyone?" Mendores asked.

"Well, no, not everyone. But a lot of people. Our healers are working overtime, but they don't know what is wrong either. I sent someone to get Crystal from the elven village, she has medical experience so I'm hoping she can figure it out." Estellese sighed.

"Estellese." Another young woman spoke up. "You really should rest. Whatever this is, it isn't a natural disease. At least not one from our world. There's nothing that can be done until we figure out what's going on." The woman stood at around average height, she was 5' 4", wearing a dark pink tunic top with black leggings. Her long brown hair was tied back with a blue ribbon, matching the blue scarf around her neck. She had brown eyes and tan knee-high boots, and she looked thin and weak, but seemed determined to help.

"No time for rest Cathrine, if I'm here helping maybe we can figure it out sooner." Estellese protested, but she along with the other medics in the area looked exhausted.

"We just need to wait for this Crystal lady." Cathrine replied, then she turned to Mendores. Her expression clearly conveyed that she wanted him to help get Estellese out of here. Estellese was not in good shape, she was pushing herself too far.

"Estell," Mendores started. "Come on, let's go to Oline city for a little. I want to show you the progress we made. I'm about to turn the power on for the whole city. Zanath got all the wires up and running, I just need to flip the switch."

"I need to help everyone here." Estellese insisted.

"No Estellese, you need to rest and wait for Crystal." Cathrine insisted.

"But they need help!" Estellese argued.

"Estellese!" Cathrine raised her voice slightly, but cringed at her own tone. "They are going to be okay, relax. Go rest, so you can be there for them when they need you. I will message you as soon as Crystal gets here."

"Yes Estell, and we'll just be in the next city over. We can get back here pretty quick on horseback." Mendores replied.

Estellese sighed and stepped away from the sick patients. "Okay, you're right. I'll go rest. Let's go see the lights." She relented and stepped away from the patients.

"Alright, follow me." Mendores replied as he lead the way out of the medical center and walked over to the stables, where he had left his horse. He hadn't wanted to bring it with him for his trip through the mountains. He climbed onto his horse and Estellese climbed on behind him, and the two of them set off for Oline city.

Within an hour they reached Oline city. Mendores left his horse inside of a spare garage where he kept some food for it, it was his makeshift barn until he could build the horse a better one. He lead Estellese out to the center of town, a big circular area with numerous streetlights waiting to be turned on.

"Wait here." Mendores instructed as he ran inside a nearby building and ran into the basement.

In the basement Zanath was working on adding the finishing touches to a generator, that was hooked up to the city's power grid. When he noticed Mendores walk in he looked up. "You said you had a large source of magical energy? The generator should be all set up, just need to insert it here." He said as he gestured to a small chamber on the machine.

Mendores nodded and pulled out the six diamonds from his bag. The elemental spirits trapped inside them were still enraged, and were still bashing on the edges of the diamonds in a desperate attempt to break free. Mendores dropped the six diamonds into the small chamber and closed it.

"Really?" Zanath took one look at the diamonds and shot Mendores a questioning look.

"It's temporary, just temporary. Once we find another reliable power source I will set them free." Mendores explained. "Just don't tell Estellese."

"Yeah, she'd kick your ass into next week if she found out you were using the creatures of this world as a power source. Can't say I approve either." Zanath stated. "But it's not my problem though, I held up my end of the bargain. What you do with it is your business." He shrugged and started to leave.

"Thanks. Once you find a more stable and reliable power source, please let me know. I will buy it off you. I'll even pay more than I paid for this." Mendores replied.

"Sure. Just don't get me involved when Estellese eventually finds out about this and gets pissed off at you." Zanath answered as he left the room.

"I know." Mendores sighed. Once Zanath was gone he flipped on the power switch and the lights in the room suddenly turned on, then he walked back upstairs and stepped outside. Half of the lights were on, the other half were still not working.

Estellese stood outside and briefly applauded him. "It worked, you got the power up and running. Well, mostly."

"Well Zanath helped, but yeah." Mendores shrugged.

"Yeah I saw him leave a moment ago." Estellese said. "But still, congrats. I'm sure the people living here are really happy." However, as she spoke something caught her attention. She walked past Mendores and looked up at the sky behind him, over the emory forest. There was a massive black cloud of smoke coming out of somewhere to the north east.

"What are you looking at?" Mendores asked as he turned around, as soon as he spotted the smoke he froze, like Estellese, and stared in shock for a moment.

"Is that… Coming from Bele village?" Estellese worriedly asked.

"I hope not." Mendores answered. "I'll get the horse." He added as he ran over to the garage to grab his horse.

While Mendores ran off Estellese got a message. She quickly opened her virtual keyboard and screen to read it.

[Message] "Estellese! The village is under attack! We need help, the fighters are too sick to hold them off! - Cathrine."

[Message] "Cathrine, what's going on?! What is attacking us? Last we checked there was no monsters nearby. -Estellese"

[Message] "Not monsters. People. -Cathrine."

[Message] "Raiders? Why? We give everything away nearly for free. -Estellese"

[Message] "Not raiders. They are too organized, they have a uniform, it's an enemy army. -Cathrine"

[Message] "Who the HELL would attack us? What enemies do we have? -Estellese"

[Message] "I don't know! Just please get here quickly! They are destroying everything! -Cathrine"

As Mendores rushed over with his horse Estellese was getting message after message from people within the city, all reporting attacks from some human faction.

"Get on, quick!" Mendores shouted as he stopped his horse right beside Estellese. She started to climb on, however, before they could take off Zanath came riding in on a motorcycle and came skidding to a stop beside them.

"Bele village is under attack, I can bring one of you there quickly." Zanath offered.

Estellese immediately jumped off the horse and got onto the back of Zanath's motorcycle. "Where the hell did you get a bike?"

"I repaired a broken one from the city of course. Ages ago." Zanath answered as he took off his helmet and handed it to Estellese.

Estellese refused the helmet. "I have my magic barriers, don't need it. Just go!"

"Alright." Zanath answered as he put the helmet back on.

"Estellese." Mendores spoke up. "Try to contact Kadin and get him to come help. He doesn't listen to me, and Zanath's driving. He might listen to you."

"Got it." Estellese replied as she opened her virtual keyboard and screen again, she immediately began messaging Kadin. When Zanath didn't immediately take off she added a quick "Lets go! I need to protect my village."

"Got it. See you there Mendores." Zanath said before he and Estellese sped off on the motorcycle.

[Message] "Kadin! Bele village is under attack. We need help, where are you? -Estellese"

However, she received no answer. After a moment, she sent another message.

[Message] "Kadin, this is important. Please answer, where are you? We need help. -Estellese"

Still no answer.

"Any luck?" Zanath asked.

"No he won't answer me." Estellese replied.

"Want me to pull over and try? He usually answers me." Zanath offered.

"Hell no! I need to get to the village!" Estellese shouted. "I'll keep trying." She immediately began sending more messages.

[Message] "Kadin! This isn't a joke, we need your help. Can you help us? -Estellese"

Still, there was no answer.

[Message] "Kadin! Please! People are dying, the village is in danger, where are you? Can you help us? -Estellese"

"Still no answer?" Zanath asked. "I can try messaging him."

"No we need to get to the village asap! Just keep going!" Estellese argued. She decided to try one more time.

[Message] "KADIN! Where the HELL are you! We need your help. -Estellese"

And this time, she finally got a response.

[Message] "I'm in ur base. Killin ur dudes. -Kadin"

[Message] "You're WHAT?"

[Message] "I am in your base. Killing your dudes. -Kadin :) "

[Message] "This isn't a game asshole! You're killing people!"

[Message] "Yes. I am pretty sure I just said I was doing that. :P -Kadin"

Estellese was fuming. She had turned a bright shade of red and was breathing heavily as her mind raced through the conversation. But the more she thought about it the angrier she got.

"You okay?" Zanath asked.

"No. I am not." Estellese growled back, then she got another message.

Zanath considered asking her if she needed to stop, but quickly decided that that would be a bad idea.

[Message] "Uh, before you get mad or anything. I just wanna clarify something so we don't have a misunderstanding. -Kadin" After a moment a second message popped up, from Kadin of course. "Just to be sure there's no misunderstanding. I'm killing both your dudes and dudettes, I promise I am stabbing everyone equally. Well, everyone in your city, not my own soldiers. Anyways just wanted to make sure that was clear."

[Message] "Kadin I am seriously going to kill you if you don't knock this shit off!" Estellese wrote back.

[Message] "Kay! See you soon :D -Kadin."

"I'm gonna kill that little asshole!" Estellese roared out in frustration.

"Who? Kadin?" Zanath asked.

"He's the one attacking the village!" Estellese shouted out.

"Ooh." Zanath replied in mild shock.

Estellese started reading through her messages from other people, all of them were calling for help but one stood out more than the others.

[Message] "I think I found the leader! There's a black knight standing up on the mountains. Sarah tried to engage him in combat and he took both Sarah and Charley down. I can't go after him, I'm locked down over here. -Fate."

"I know where he is." Estellese stated. As the motorcycle pulled into the village they could see the devastation in front of them. The village had been set ablaze, people were fighting everywhere in the streets, bodies were lying all over the ground. The city guards were trying to fight off the attackers, but the attackers were just on a completely different level. It was easy to tell the attackers apart from the villagers, all of the attackers had the same insignia on their clothes. A black phoenix flying off to the left, leaving behind a trail of black flames in the shape of the letter M.

There was a man in the distance fighting with forty swords, wielding them all telekinetically. A blue haired man wearing a heavy suit of clunky armor was smashing homes apart with his massive hammer. Another woman was sprinting through the streets at blinding, inhuman speeds gunning everyone down with magically reloading crossbows. Sure, the guards defending the place had equally diverse magic and skills, but they were completely outmatched, and the sickness that had shot through everyone in the village in the city left them all weak.

"Drop me off here, I'm going after Kadin." Estellese growled.

"No, we need to stick together and protect the townspeople. Kadin could be setting a trap for you." Zanath stated.

"I don't care! I'm going after him anyways!" Estellese shouted.

"We can't do that, it is probably a trap." Zanath repeated and didn't stop the motorcycle.

"Fine then! I'll get off myself." Estellese shouted back as she clapped her hands together and disappeared in a blinding flash of light.

Zanath was briefly blinded, his motorcycle skidded to a stop just outside the village. "Or, run off like an idiot and trigger the obvious trap. That works too." He sighed as he hid his bike in the trees and grabbed his pistols. Then he started walking into the burning city.

- Next chapter: The Moderators