Chapter 57: The Youngest Player Avatar
“I’m going to lose my job now. I received report that that Elder God Donar is coming here in this city.”
Jack was utterly surprised.
An Elder God amongst mortal players was one thing but to actually receive the news that that one particular being is actually coming on this city is actually another.
It might mean their doom, it might mean their salvation. But no matter what…
An irregular existence like that is bound to cause trouble for both the warring parties of The Union and The Legion.
But before Jack’s mind went into chaos, he then recalled something.
“Are we the only ones to know of this first?”
Billion raised his head and looked at Jack with a frown. After that, he thought for a moment then dialed a call.
“Newt, look, regarding that news you just sent me…”
“Yeah right? Hahaha! Oops, wait a minute. Billion check this out.” As the words were spoken, the video call was then focused on the tri-peak of the Tajik Peak and just as it was focused, BOOM! an explosion rattled the entire mountain range and even though Newt and the campsite were around 600m away, they still heard this explosive sound of hammer against a mountain as if it just happen next to their ears.
Thanks to Night Vision features, even though it was the darkest hour of the morning, they can still see clearly what happened in the peak.
“OH MY GOD!” Newt exclaimed in excitement. “I can’t believe I saw that happen! Look! LOOK! Oh my god…!! Tajik Peak had just been blown into pieces! Look! A hole was in the middle of the mountain range! The highest peak is gone and a deep ravine was made in the middle! Ooooh… my… gooooood! This is insane! Billion. Billion, my man, did you see that? Did you see that just now? This Elder God who just destroyed a tourist spot in Terroa is coming at you!”
Billion and Jack were rattled down to their core.
That golden humanoid figure was that famed vessel that Elder God Donar rode to Warjillis.
And now, just now, that same golden giant smashed an entire mountain like a dozer.
His God Hammer rendered that mountain wall like it was made up of styrofoam! Even though it was just a few minutes more before it was the dawn of the morning, the lights and night vision lenses recorded every moment of this event.
Not only that, they also clearly heard a roar coming from that giant golden humanoid figure. The islands it carried behind it were like a decoration as it smashed that mountain range.
“This… this…” Billion rattled and forgot that they were still in the middle of a desperate situation.
A loud booming sound shook his consciousness as the Barrier Mage that defended their temporary hideout staggered back along with the support mage that was tasked to back him up.
“Damn it.” Billion cursed from the bottom of his heart. “These guys just won’t drop it. They’ve been bombarding this entire area non-stop for almost two days now.”
“Billion, our circumstances right now aren’t favorable for even the slightest of inattention may lead to our demise. I… we have to get away from here first before we get to think about that being.”
“Right.” Billion gave Jack a nod as he also gritted his teeth before facing Newt, “I will talk to you later. We are in a desperate spot right now.”
“Just heed my words, Billion, rope this Elder God into our side. You are fully allowed to spend any resources under my name for this. Do what you must to get him to owe us a favor.”
As the son of an executive of The Union, should Billion take these words of advice lightly?
As soon as Billion heard this, it was akin to the sound of thunder in the skies or like a decree of the heavens next to his ears.
If Billion fails to comply with this, then not only he’d lose his job, he’d also lose all criterion to be able to apply in any other job in the future.
His name was registered under the registry of The Union. That’s how powerful a son of an executive’s words is.
He also understood what Newt meant by ‘all expense on his name’. It’s like a double-edged sword. He sacrifices for a greater gain. Newt will bear the expenses all in order to rope in this Elder God to their side with all credit going to him alone.
It may be meaningless outside of Terroa but in this virtual world, being a friend of an almighty entity such as an Elder God is a very big feat.
As such, Newt was willing to sacrifice his own name and resources in order to become friends with Donar.
His card on this game board was Billion.
Billion may not be very good at battles but he was a professional that played in the business game world all his life. It was the reason why he was the Development Manager of Alexandria.
“I understand.” Billion replied and the call ended.
Jack, in every moment he can, tried to get some sleep because of mental fatigue. He’s been online for two straight days now and he only logs out to eat, take a bath, or deposit some load.
As for sleeping, he did that inside the game, taking advantage of the deep sleep function of the NLD.
“You should take a nap for now. We’ll still hold out. We’ll take turns.” Billion said, reassuring his colleague.
Jack glanced at Jin. He was worried. It’s been more than 24hrs now but he still hasn’t gone back online.
His two remaining crewmates were both support mages and although they could help out when it comes to reinforcing and replenishing Mana for the Shield/Barrier Mages, they are still far too lacking to be able to help in the fight in the entire prospective of things.
Jack knew that since he was the last fighter on his crew, he had to at least be able to fend off for them if he wanted them all to survive.
“Okay.” Jack replied and then closed his eyes to rest but before he could even get to sleep, he subconsciously eyed the kid he had picked up in a whim. “What’s he doing?”
The kid… was like a zombie.
He keeps on staring upwards as if there was something on the ceiling or beyond it to the skies. His eyes were unfocused and seem to be in the middle of a dream. He kept on rocking his body back and forth and even bumping into the walls and then changing directions like a crash gear.
Jack shook his head, “Ah, NPCs… maybe his circuits are just fried of something. I’d better eat before I get to sleep.”
After saying that, he logged out and left his avatar in Billion’s care.
His house was a duplex-sized condo unit, a lavish style for a bachelor.
After cooking, he took a bath and did everything he had to do in the bathroom.
In the middle of his meal, he was thinking of the dire situation they were in. He thought of that one time in Eastern Continent where he was forced to trick ‘Siva’ who introduced himself as ‘The Destroyer’.
“Why did he choose that name? Is that his title?”
Every successful adventure after a high-ranking mission earns one a title. The main use of titles is triggering special circumstances, events, or even getting special privileges when facing NPCs with abilities and authorities.
One can get into places if one had the right title attached to their name. But, not all titles are useful. There are some useless ones like ‘King of the Grass’ or ‘Pizza Eater’ ones.
They may be useful for some low-key places and unimportant NPCs that have nothing to do with the main storyline of the game, but for higher ranked players pursuing high-risk high-gain campaigns, they are almost practically useless.
Also, one use of the titles are ‘fame’. When one has a very rare title like [Dragon Hunter], they will receive fame and recognition from NPCs that when these people see these title holders, they’d either revere them or even treat them fairly.
“The Destroyer… after that event in Dragona, we all realized his name was actually Siva. Siva ‘The Destroyer’… does he have a surname? Most players create their avatars with a surname and even if one does not have one, the system will always ensure that he at least have a family name so why is it that no one else knows of his last name?”
Jack chowed down and thought but before he gets to go deeper with his rumination, he also forcefully dismissed them and ate faster as he tidied up.
In the middle of washing his dishes, he suddenly thought of his win against Volga.
“He shouldn’t have been able to miss like that.”
That last moment, just as he was about to get a hole in his head, Volga’s light sword missed and he was given a chance to counter.
But at that moment, only Jack knew, he was looking at Volga’s eyes and he saw it clearly that Volga… wasn’t looking at him.
“Behind me… there was something behind me.”
He picked up his glass and poured water to rinse the foam off.
“What was behind me?”
Jack continued to ponder, rewinding the events, the people, and the place, his mind focusing on the things that happened right after he turned his head and began to flee.
He remembered being surrounded and then that was the time that Billion arrived.
“There shouldn’t be anything or anyone behind me at the time…”
Jack finished up his dishes and was drying his hand when he suddenly stopped.
“It was after escaping that encirclement that I saw the kid. Volga’s gaze was right behind me and as soon as we got out of the alley, there was him, so, could it be…?”
Jack was frowning and, unable to wait, he went to wash his hands before he went up his bed and logged back in.
“Oh, you’re back? That was fast…” Billion’s lively greeting rung on his ears but Jack ignored him and stood up, going towards the boy. “Hm? Hey, what’s wrong with you?”
Jack was checking the boy as if frisking him for narcotics or something. When this weird scene ended Billion walked over and asked, “Is there something wrong with this NPC?”
“I’m not actually sure.” Jack was sure but he was also not sure. He had a feeling that this kid had something weird on him that warranted enough for Volga to actually divert his gaze in a very important moment.
That moment, that something… it was enough to give Jack the chance to a moment of respite and issue a deadly counter attack.
In the end, he defeated Volga and took the two pairs of keys to complete The Providence.
“Something is weird about this kid.” Jack could only say this. He wasn’t sure what but he was sure that there was something. But no matter how much he searched, he couldn’t think of any kind of problem with the kid’s physique.
He was… too normal. Too ordinary and too innocent, in fact, that to warrant suspicion on the kid was quite a sin on itself.
Jack could only utter a defeated sigh.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Just as his thoughts had calmed, a series of loud explosions occurred from outside their building and their temporary underground hideout shook as the ceiling threatened to collapse.
“Get out! Get out of here, Jack Stone!”
The booming familiar voice of a woman echoed in the walls and ceiling. Hearing it, Jack felt the bitter taste of losing all his trusted allies to the cruelty of war. It may not be a real death but he still disliked losing them like this.
RPG: Terroa was just too real for him that even though he used a fake face, he still used his real name to live an alternate-reality’s life.
In the end, he was just like any other player in this world… trying to escape the reality that falls heavily upon their shoulders.
“My Lord,” an NPC called out and snatched the two’s thoughts at the moment.
The two turned their gaze and saw one of the NPCs that Billion brought with him.
“What is it?” Billion asked in his boss persona.
“My lord, the other citizens that we found that’s yet to escape to the shelter, what should we do with them?”
Billion’s brows curved into a deep frown. Indeed it was a problem. When they issued the order to evacuate all citizens, not everyone is expected to be able react in time.
When their team escaped into this place, they discovered a few families that are yet to actually be rescued towards the Shelter Zone.
He gritted his teeth as Jack watched the scared and frightened NPC families. Three families with children and an old one, they were hugging each other and were trembling as they prayed to their god.
Jack heard their prayers as he watched them do their thing.
The god they were praying to was called [Aglaia], the Goddess of Mercy. The three families were praying for the goddess to bestow them mercy and protect their lives.
Jack couldn’t help but to watch them with a dumbfounded expression.
“In this world, there are as many gods as there are stars in the skies.” He said and then turned to Billion. “Billion, we can’t leave them here. They will only become collateral damage.”
Billion sighed and shook his head, “Taking them with you on your escape or leaving them here to be buried in the rubbles of any fight that will break out, they are already collateral damages. I do think that the best option of the two will be to take them on your escape.”
“Right.” Jack nodded and walked over to the NPC kids and patted one to the head. He then turned to the parents, “My name is Jack Stone, commander of the Helium Guild. I’ll be escaping this place towards the eastern continent of Espada. If it’s alright with you, instead of leaving you here and become trapped in the battle, I would like to propose of taking you guys with me towards that place. It may be a bit warmer there but it’s a lot safer than being here.”
The parents exchanged glances and then looked at Jack to give him a nod. Jack smiled back and then turned to the children, brushing their heads and assuring them of their safety.
He was enjoying looking at them when one of the children, a little girl with bright blue eyes, looked behind Jack to that boy.
“Mister… why is that kid different?”
“Different?” Jack turned his head and looked at the kid he had picked up. He turned to the girl and asked, “How is he different?”
“His clothes.” Said the boy beside her. “He looks like an adventurer.”
Jack’s eyes widened, and he snapped back to look at the kid. All his hair stood on ends as he rushed back to check the clothes of the NPC kids and then compared the zombie kid’s clothes.
“Shit.” Jack couldn’t help but exclaim and hearing this loud yell, the other people around them all looked at him.
Billion walked over and asked, “What’s the problem?”
Jack rushed over to the zombie kid and gently pulled him towards the other NPC kids and, true enough, his breaths shortened and he began to gasp for air in shock.
“Oh my god… Billion, this is serious.”
Billion frowned and from Jack’s voice, he could almost taste the urgency that seemed to be beyond the emergency of their situation. The City Lord looked at the kid and then to the NPC kids just like how Jack did but couldn’t find anything that should put him into shock.
Jack knelt down and checked the condition of the kid as if he was a parent, checking if his son was alright.
When he had checked him enough, Jack then turned to his side and pulled out a red potion.
He first made the kid drink the potion and the kid’s somewhat pale face became a bit pinker.
“Jack, I’m confused. What’s so different with this kid than the rest?”
“Billion, can’t you notice their clothes?” Jack said and Billion looked over the kid and took note of their different clothes. But he still frowned at Jack, unable to think of anything.
“I can’t seem to notice what is special about it.”
Jack stood up and then turned to Billion, swiping the air as he did. He was manipulating his player panel and when he was done… FLASH!
Jack’s armors disappeared and what replaced it were his beginner clothes –the clothes that any adventurer (player) wears the first time they enter the game.
“Eh?” Billion was dumbstruck. He then turned to the kid and his voice trailed a little more surprised.”Eeeeeehhh?”
“You see it now?” Jack wasn’t wearing any smiles when he succeeded in telling him everything in a short and simple action.
“Oh my god!” Billion knelt to the kid and checked his being, his face pale in fear and disbelief. “I can’t believe it… who in their right minds would do this sort of thing to a poor child? What if he got hurt during this invasion? What if he got killed by a stray magic spell or got crushed by randomly falling debris…?”
“Right.” Jack also had a look of worry.
Their voices were soft and their touches were also kind. They were people, after all. And as soon as they realized what made this kid unique out of everyone else, they both made it one of their own priorities to protect him at all costs.
In fact, right at this moment, they made the kid’s safety more important than theirs.
“Just what kind of monster would put a three-four year old child in that forbidden taboo? He’s a sick bastard!”
Jack knelt down and brought the kid to his crewmates, saying, “Guys, heed my order. This kid’s life… no matter what happens, you have to protect him at all costs. Not a single wound must be inflicted on him.”
“Captain? What are you talking about?” asked the support mage.
“This kid… he’s not part of this world. He’s a real kid from Earth.”
Jack was very careful when addressing the fact that they are real people and the rest are NPCs.
It was one of the most sacred taboo of this world that could warrant an entire collapse of everything they are seeing.
The Helium Guild members were shocked to realize the reality of what Jack just said. They took the kid and examined him.
Only a few people know of that taboo since it was a subject of controversy some time back.
But to all the people who had seen the news of it, they all knew the implications of such a case.
Jack was frowning as he thought, “Just who in their damned minds would put their kid in the box and put them in this place?”
As soon as he asked himself that question, he also understood something else.
“No. Wait. The North doesn’t have a starting city so it only meant that someone deliberately brought him here… those bastards!”
Jack then decided, until he knows who this kid is, he will protect him at all costs.
European Space Agency
The ESA president, Mr. Daniel Cornish, greeted a party of five in the airport. He was rubbing his palms as if a merchant, with a fawning face and a humble attitude towards the man wearing a white tux and a white mask leading the four men in black ties.
“Mister White. It is a pleasure to have you here with us today.”
Baron and Jack now tied by a chance meeting…
Siva rushes in without rest and sleep!!
Next chapter: Augustus meets the devil.
Please follow me @www.facebook.com/chadmusika
and at my as well @jereddcliffe.wordpress.com