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Post by Yoruen Fri Sep 03, 2021 7:41 am

The lumberjacks of Mackemm Village had been on edge for the past two days. Even now, all of them were busy standing around outside the village head’s house, impatiently waiting for something or someone. A few of them huddled together to discuss whatever they could think of to stave off the boredom, while some were sitting around a round table outside the village head’s house, with the village head present as well, discussing what they should do in the future to prevent such an incident from happening again. However, as serious as their discussion was, all of them were still antsy.\

The tense atmosphere finally erupted when one of the older lumberjacks sitting at the table slammed his fist on the table and stood up in rage.

“When’s that blasted adventurer coming!”

The others at the table said nothing at the breakout. The son of the venting lumberjack was one of the few that had been trapped in the trees by the Chompers, at risk of being eaten by the little monsters at anytime with each passing moment. The other lumberjacks kept their silence and instead, turned their attention to the village head. What they saw was the village head ignoring the bellowing lumberjack and jumping out of his seat to quickly rush towards an approaching young man.

The approaching young man was Shane, but instead of entering the village in his human guise, he had opted to dispel his transformation magic and reverted to his Draconyte appearance. Red scales that ran down the side of his cheeks grew upwards and connected to the same red horns that extended out from his forehead. The horn on the left side, which resembled a tree with multiple spikes extending out of the horn’s main trunk, was significantly longer than the other which was a short spike. A long red tail trailed behind him, the end flicking left and right slightly.

“Are you the adventurer that responded to the quest we put up?” the village chief asked when the two of them were within speaking range. The rest of the lumberjacks had followed along quickly, forming a sizeable group behind the village head.

“Is he the adventurer?”

“Is he Eldritch?” came a hostile and loud voice amidst the murmurs of the other lumberjacks.

“Yes, I’m the adventurer. I’m Shane Ardere,” Shane replied with a confident smile before turning to the loud one that had doubts about his species. “I’m a Draconyte, from the Ardere Clan.”

Despite their tough and backbreaking jobs, Shane’s height and build was still taller and bulkier than most of them. No matter how civilized, size was still a key factor in intimidation. And after clearing the doubts of the adventurer’s identity, the loud man gingerly nodded and shrunk back into the crowd.

“Your quest information already gave me the details I need to know. But what’s the current situation at the moment?”

“We have no idea. We couldn’t get close due to the Chompers,” the village head replied with an anxious look on his face. His thoughts were echoed by the group of lumberjacks behind him, repeating the same call to action to Shane. The same lumberjack that had exploded in rage earlier before Shane’s arrival stood out from the group and approached Shane, grabbing Shane’s left hand in both of his own with a pleading expression.

“Please, young man! I beg you to hurry up! Please save my son!” the old lumberjack begged, almost tearfully. Shane pursed his lips slightly, smiling sympathetically and put his right hand over one of the man’s hands gripping his left and squeezed it lightly but firmly and gave him a reassuring smile.

“Don’t worry, elder. I will do my best to bring back your son,” Shane spoke to the man in a resolute tone and then looked to the village head and the rest of the lumberjacks. “I will do my best to bring back your fellow lumberjacks!”

The entire group, with the village head included, volunteered to be Shane’s guide as they moved towards the forests where the Chompers had appeared. Shane’s eyes widened when he looked at the trees that had been in the Chompers’ path. True to their name, the tree trunks bore the marks of the Chompers’ passing.

“This is as far as we bring you, Shane. Follow the bite marks and you will find the Chompers. We will wait here for you,” the village head declared.

“Hurry, adventurer!” the elder lumberjack with a son amongst the trapped lumberjacks added in. Shane nodded his head in response to the two of them and began moving in a cautious yet brisk pace into the forest. He had never encountered Chompers before so he had no idea how to go about defeating them.

After about an hour of walking, following the bite marks on the trees, Shane finally heard the snapping jaws of the creatures. Shane quickened his speed, almost sprinting and as he made a detour around a particularly huge bush, the Draconyte saw his targets. And their targets, who were sitting in the higher branches of the trees, legs dangling from above. Their faces were haggard from the lack of food and sleep over the past three days. Shane quickly counted and identified four of them. One of them looked particularly weak and looked like he was about to faint.

With no time to wait, Shane opened out his mouth and shouted loudly, instantly pulling the attention of all five Chompers on to him. Their instincts told them that this newcomer was trouble, and immediately, all five of them began to greatly increase in size, inflating themselves. Shane looked on in amazement.

“That’s… cute,” Shane let out a weak laugh before going back into battle mode. Three of them began to bounce up and down on the ground with their inflated bodies, almost making Shane laugh out loud but he had to maintain his composure. However, the ones that attacked him first were the other two Chompers.

Each of them came from either side of Shane, bouncing once before suddenly using their legs to propel themselves forward, sliding on their inflated stomachs with their mouth wide open to receive the Draconyte. Shane wasn’t sure if they had the intelligence to coordinate with each other or if it was pure coincidence, as the other three Chompers charged forward in the same bounce-and-slide method towards from the front.

“Ah dammit,” Shane cursed as he looked at the options available to him. His front and sides were already blocked off, while moving back would probably be useless as well since he didn’t know how fast and far the three in front would slide. “The right then.”

With only a few seconds to spare, flames roared into existence around Shane’s right hand, covering his scaled fist entirely and he charged at the Chomper. As he lunged at the incoming monster, which still had its mouth open unwaveringly, Shane turned sharply to the side, letting the sliding monster barrel pass him. Shane thrust his flaming fist into the exposed side of the Chomper, his fist pushing into the flexible skin of the creature before the strike registered and blasted the Chomper away with an explosion.

The Chomper let out a pained bellow before beginning to deflate, the knockback from the explosive punch causing it to knock into the sidemost Chomper of the trio that tried to attack Shane from the front. Like a bowling ball smashing into pins, all of them were knocked over into disarray.

Shane quickly leapt out of the way against as the Chomper that slid from his left earlier altered its direction slightly, mouth open to receive Shane. Shane could feel the jaws snap shut just as he hurriedly got out of the way, literally escaping the jaws of death and quickly spun around to attack the Chomper as it attempted to slow its slide and turn around.

“Blaze Breath!” Shane roared as orange and red flames was spewed out from his mouth in a destructive blast, engulfing the Chomper in flames and burning it. Another painful squeal travelled through the air as the Chomper lie defeated on the ground, its body size slowly reducing while a shrill squeak of air being released was emitted.

“Two down, three more to go then!” Shane declared in high spirits when he turned around on his remaining targets. Being knocked over on their backs with their bodies inflated caused the Chompers to lose their agility and flexibility. It was easy pickings for Shane as the creatures flailed their limbs pathetically in the air to right themselves while Shane just approached them quickly, both hands glowering with flames and knocked them out one by one with explosive punches to their heads. Like the other two defeated Chompers, the freshly defeated ones also began to deflate with the same whistling sound like air being pressed out of a balloon much to Shane’s delight.

Sounds of cheers and hurrays could be heard from above as the trapped lumberjacks speedily let themselves down to the ground. The three of them quickly went over to the fourth one, the one who was on the verge of fainting and assisted him to the ground, with two of them holding him between them by the shoulders.

“Thank you! Thank you so much!” the one that wasn’t holding up the fainted guy ran over, grabbing Shane’s clawed hand without hesitation and rapidly shook it up and down. Shane capped his left hand over his hand that was being shook up and down, settling the man down and then smiled.

“Don’t worry about it. Your village head put out a request for help and I accepted it,” Shane said as he clapped the man on the shoulder and then walked to the other two carrying the fourth one. “Let me help.”

The journey back to the other lumberjacks that had guided Shane to the forest took an hour and a half. It was the fastest the weakened lumberjacks could move while Shane had to carry the fourth lumberjack who had really fainted out of relief on his back the whole way. When the five of them were in plain view of the village head and other men that had waited for them patiently, the waiting group quickly surged forward to take care of their unfortunate friends. It turned out that the unconscious one was the son of the elder lumberjack that had been most anxious.

“Thank you so much, adventurer! Here, please take this as a token of my thanks!” the older man said as he pushed a pouch of coins into Shane’s hands.

“No no, sir. I can’t take this. I will only take what’s already been promised! Please, keep it,” Shane quickly replied as he pushed the pouch back into the older man’s hands with a grin before turning to the village head for help.

“Don’t worry about it Garrian. I will make sure I compensate Shane adequately,” the village head chimed in as he reassured the older man with a clap to the back. Turning to Shane and giving him another pouch, “Thank you very much for replying to our request so promptly and rescuing them.”

“You don’t have to worry about it,” Shane replied, a sense of satisfaction welling up from within him as he received the appreciation from the village head and watching the gleeful faces of the ones he had helped. “I was just doing my job.”

After saying his goodbyes, Shane left Mackemm Village and as he travelled back towards Engloria, the young Draconyte used his transformation magic once again, hiding his Draconyte features. A furrowed brow indicated the man seemed to be deep in thoughts.

“I think it’s about time I get a weapon,” Shane wondered out loud to himself as he looked at his fists. He released the transformation magic on his hands for a brief moment, looking at his clawed fingers. The Chompers he fought this time weren’t too big and his fists were able to damage them, but he wasn’t too sure about the bigger monsters he would be fighting in the future. “Yea.. I should really get a weapon.”

Total WC: 2030 words
-- Rank up thread: 500 words
-- Apprentice rank quest: 1000 words
-- Novice rank quest: 500 words


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