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Getting Yolked

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Post by Yoruen Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:47 am

With a yawn, Shane walked down the stairs of the inn. He had stayed the night in Mackemm Village after completing his mission to drive away the Chompers in the forests. Some of the lumberjacks had dragged him out to have a drink and their drinking session had lasted past midnight. It resulted in Shane tottering back to bed in a half-drunk manner, collapsing the moment his head touched his pillows and sleeping until he woke up naturally at ten in the morning.

The inn provided breakfast to all their customers. It was nothing extravagant but the coffee and toast with bacon and sausages hit the sweet spot for the Draconyte. Shane burped appreciatively behind a piece of napkin after having his fill and finally walked over to the reception counter to check out. When he handed the key over to the clerk manning the check out counter, Shane began to pull examine how much gold he had but before he could be done, the clerk’s reply caught him in a daze.

“Thank you sir, your bill’s been paid for. Have a nice day.”

“What? I think you made a mistake. I haven’t made any payment yet,” Shane blurted out in confusion.

Before the clerk could reply any further, another person slid smoothly to Shane’s side and spoke at the same time.

“I have already handled it, Mr Ardere,” came the voice of the one beside Shane. Shane took a step back and sized up the older man before him, who was standing calmly in front of Shane with one hand tucked behind his back while his right was held out for a handshake. He was dressed in the standard outfit of a butler, similar to what the butler wore in his family home.

“Thank you, but I don’t know you. How much was it? I will pay you back,” Shane replied but he still took the man’s extended hand and shook it.

“No, Mr Ardere. Let me explain. My name is Jaques, a butler of the Fenique family in Lyndon Port. I’m here on behalf of my employer, Madam Bonanata Fenique. She has a distant relative in Mackemm Village, and after hearing about how you helped the village defeat the Chompers and save the trapped lumberjacks, she has sent me here to offer you a quest,” the butler said with the traces of a small smile. His features were amiable, but the same features also indicated he was a man well in his fifties.

“Lyndon Port is on the other side of the realms. Couldn’t your employer just send me a letter or something instead of sending you all the way over here?” Shane frowned at the thought of this elderly man having to travel so far just to pass a message. As far as he knew, the quest could be posted at any of the Adventurer Guild’s branches specifically asking for him.

“Sending me shows how much weight this quest means to the madam,” Jaques replied with a slightly wider smile. “May I explain the quest?”

“Go ahead.”

“The madam would like to employ Mr Ardere to obtain a wyvern egg. The young miss of the Fenique household is turning sixteen soon, and the madam wishes to give her the perfect gift of a wyvern egg so that the young miss could hatch and tame it as a familiar, to accompany her on a potentially perilous journey of self-discovery. The young miss like any other youngling wishes to explore the world you see and refuses bodyguards of any sorts, hence how we arrived at this point,” Jaques explained in a slow and patient voice, speaking in a refined manner that Shane, who was brought up at the eldest son of a well to do family, could never hope to achieve.

“A wyvern egg. Are wyverns tameable? Rumors are they are impossible to tame,” Shane added.

“Adult wyverns, yes, they are impossible. But the madam has hired a master beast tamer that has assured her that a wyvern can be tamed from birth. My presence is to escort the wyvern egg back to Lyndon Port, to make sure nothing happens to it,” Jaques replied, adding a last bit of information to Shane’s earlier question.

Shane looked at Jaques without any word for a few minutes, mulling it over silently. The act of wrenching a child away from a mother didn’t leave a good taste in his mouth, but the Draconyte also knew that wyverns were extremely territorial creatures. Having one near a village was bad news, as calamity could be invited upon the population by virtue of a wrong turn. And if a mother wyvern was to successfully hatch their youngling near a populated area, her already powerful territorial behavior coupled with extremely aggressive maternal instincts to protect her young might cause disaster at any given moment.

Jaques kept his silence as well. He had investigated the young Draconyte when the madam had assigned him to give Shane the quest. And from most accounts of Shane Ardere, he knew that the latter operated by a code of honor that put him on the lawful good side. Monster or not, what he was asking him to do was to separate a child from its mother.

“I will do it, depending on where the wyvern nest is. If the nest is nowhere near to being accidentally intruded upon, then I will decline this quest. But if the wyvern nest and the hatching of a youngling is too near for comfort, you can be sure I will do my best,” Shane finally opened up as he folded his arms across his chest. He had made his intentions clear. It was now Jaques’s part to convince him.

A wave of relief washed of Jaques as he heard Shane’s proclamation. His assessment of the youth before him had been quite accurate. Another piece of homework he had done was to investigate the location of the wyvern nest to infiltrate.

“That’s the reason I travelled to Mackemm instead of meeting you somewhere else, Mr Ardere. There’s been sightings of a Forest Wyvern in the forests of Mackemm. The lumberjacks’ activity circle has not yet encroached upon its territory, but it might expand it soon enough after it hatches its youngling,” Jaques answered smoothly and swiftly to Shane’s question, catching the Draconyte who had been putting on a frown off guard and making him crack a grin instead. “The wyvern nest is located north of the village, you shouldn’t have much difficulty finding it.”

“Alright then, you’re too well prepared for me to have any reason to reject your quest. Wait for me, I will be back as soon as possible,” Shane replied with a broad smile, releasing his left arm to fall to his side while his right arm stayed in front of his chest, his hand clenched to give the older man a thumbs up.

“Another day, another mission,” Shane said, humming as he went through the forests of Mackemm. Having been through here for a few times ever since he first arrived at Mackemm, he had gradually gotten used to travelling in the forest, relying on his own sense of direction to get where he needed to go.

Travelling north of the village, Shane walked in a comfortable pace as he ventured deeper and deeper into the forest. In the early leg of his trudge, he had seen a few lumberjacks working and exchanged some greetings before going on his way. As he went in deeper and deeper, the canopy began to thicken, limiting the amount of sunlight that touched the ground. Leaves and branches carpeted the forest ground, undisturbed by humans. Even when he fought the Chompers, Shane hadn’t moved in so deeply before.

However, the sounds of the forest increased along with the depth. The sounds of small creatures moving about in the trees and bushes, or occasionally boldly running across his path, the sounds of the birds and lizards that were hidden in the trees calling out were the most notable amongst others. Occasionally, there would be the sound of larger creatures moving through brushes, the rustling relatively louder. But even so, they would remain hidden from Shane.

Shane moved in the same direction for two hours. By then, the noises of the forest were already commonplace to him, and he no longer paid any attention to them.

And then came the roar. A thunderous roar that reverberated throughout the entire section of the forest. It shook the trees and leaves as well as silenced all the other creatures that were in the range of the roar. Shane himself immediately cupped his ears with his hands at the sudden boom, gritting his teeth from the magnitude of the roar.

“It’s near,” Shane whispered to himself when the roar finally ended, allowing him to remove his hands from his ears. The forest had fallen completely silent. But Shane wasn’t going to go quiet. Steeling himself up, the Draconyte ran forward in the direction of the roar’s origin. The terrain got rougher as he ran, but it went unnoticed as he maneuvered through it with an agility that didn’t look like it fitted his physique.

Another roar erupted out of nowhere, stopping him still in his tracks. Being hit with the roar at close range was like being hit with a shockwave, so much that the roar seemed like an attack. The sound of wings beating followed after and a huge shadow covered the entire area for quick moment. It was something flying overhead.

Knowing his target was near, Shane ran after the shadow, throwing caution to the wind for now. The weird thing was Shane knew he was nearing the cliffs, but the trees were not letting up at all. The forest was getting denser and the trees grew taller, and when Shane finally burst out of a brush, an ill-advised action, he was awestruck.

In front of him was an extremely large tree composed out of multiple trees that had intertwined with each other. There was a natural path that could be traversed to reach the top, with this natural path alone already the width of five men. But what really got his attention was the two monsters staring at each other.

The Forest Wyvern stood at the uppermost portion of the path, blocking any way of moving past it to get to the treetop, while a slightly smaller monster stood near the base opposite it. The creature looked like an oversized squirrel, with a large bushy tail with fur sticking out in all directions resembling spikes. Electricity crackled along the entire back of the creature, its tail flicking left and right in a dangerously tense pace. Its head was similar to that of a snake, a long tongue slithering out of its mouth.

And then the battle of the monsters began. The Forest Wyvern roared briefly, its throat suddenly burning red and let loose a flaming breath at the squirrel-like monster. The latter was agile and leapt up into the air towards one of the many thick trees in the area, easily latching to them before pushing off in the wyvern and glided through the air as it opened its legs to the side to reveal a membrane between its front and back limbs.

At the same time that Shane was forced to roll away to escape the ball of flames that had been spewed in his direction, which the squirrel-like monster had so easily avoided, the very same monster had launched itself at the Forest Wyvern and somersaulted in mid-air, slapping the wyvern’s head with its tail. A blast of electricity was released with the tail whip, shocking and stunning the wyvern as its eyes widened from the attack. The squirrel-like monster kept up its attack against wyvern despite only being half as large as the wyvern. After the tail slap, it landed directly on the wyvern’s back and bit down directly on the back of the wyvern’s heavily armored neck.

The bite launched the wyvern out of its stupor and it began to thrash around with its wings wide open. The squirrel-like monster sunk its claws into the gaps between the armored scales, digging in for the ride as it kept biting into the neck, relentless.

The thrashing of the two monsters caused them to move around haphazardly everywhere. The forest wyvern’s wings were sweeping randomly in every direction as it tried to twist and turn to throw off the monster on its back.

On the ground, still invisible to the two fighting monsters, Shane was frantically rolling and jumping around as he moved from hiding spot to hiding spot to avoid being hit. The forest wyvern stomped around and slashed wildly with its wings, the razor sharp spikes on its wings gouging trees and ground alike.

Sucking in a deep breath, Shane put on a burst of speed and ran up the gigantic tree as quickly as he could while the mother was still distracted by the other monster. Moss covered the trunks that formed the path to the tree top and Shane almost tripped a few times in his haste. The absolute behemoth of a tree took Shane some time to scale, and there were times when he had to climb up tendrils of ivy to reach another part of the tree. The branches of the trees were equally strong, stretching outwards and tangling up with the branches of other trees to create platforms.

When he was almost out of breath from the running and climbing, Shane finally reached the top of the tree. The wyvern nest was laid out right in front of him. It resembled a bird’s nest, but the sheer size of it was eye-opening. Shane barely even hesitated as he sprinted forward to reach the center of the nest. There were only two eggs in the nest, with one still intact while the other was already in two pieces. Clearly not going to think too much, Shane hurriedly pulled out the sack that Jaques had provided and packed the intact egg into the sack. It was heavy, reaching up to half of his height. The man had explained that the sack was specially made for the quest, with protective padding inside and outside to ease the pressure during the transportation for fear of the egg breaking.

Shane could tell that the ferocious fight between the two monsters were still ongoing beneath the giant tree. But it seemed like the roars were either getting louder or nearer. With a frown, the Draconyte stood still in thought for a moment but he wasn’t given the chance. Bursting in through the entrance to the nest was the squirrel-like monster, fur standing up on end with electricity coursing through its entire body as it snarled at Shane. There were various parts on its body with bite and scratch marks and even a part of its tail was singed.

The squirrel-like monster was pissed. Eating wyvern’s eggs was a delicacy to it, and its usual method had always been stealing. However, confident in its own ability despite the smaller size, it had decided to challenge the mother wyvern this time in a direct confrontation for its grand prize. It had never expected that of all the times, this time where it had put everything on the line, there would be another person coveting the wyvern egg and trying to steal it.

Shane had already fastened the egg to his back and warily backed away from the squirrel-like monster as it repeatedly growl and moved forward. Flames leapt into existence on Shane arms as he circled around the nest in tandem with the squirrel-like monster, which also resembled a wolf. At closer glance, it was like a chimera of sorts, with the body of a wolf, tail and membrane of a squirrel and the head of a snake. Electricity travelled up and down its entire body, concentrated heavily around its tail.

Shane pushed his right hand forward at the monster, firing off a blast of red-hot flames. The monster leapt up into the air with a powerful spring and opened up its limbs to glide through the air. A shrill cry came from the monster as it angled itself in the air and dived towards Shane.

With the egg behind him, Shane’s mobility was hampered that he wasn’t able to fight the monster on even terms. He needed to defeat this monster if he wanted to run, and this was probably his best chance. Flames raged around his arms as he let out a slow breath, waiting in anticipation. He was going to meet the monster’s dive with a punch head-on.

But the moment never came. The Forest Wyvern announced its arrival with another thunderous roar and burst through the entrance of the nest, sending pieces of wood and leaves flying everywhere, and snapped up the squirrel-wolf-snake monster mid-dive with a huge chomp and tossed it into one of the trees around the nest. A pitiful yelp came from the monster as it slid down.

The Forest Wyvern then stomped into its nest but as its head swiveled left and right, all it saw was the missing egg and the last of Shane’s silhouette. A burst of flames followed behind him, the Forest Wyvern not shying away from bathing her egg in flames if it could kill the thief. The egg was impervious to her flames anyway.

Shane had taken a literal leap of faith, a crazy maneuver out of an impossible situation. With the exit blocked by the Forest Wyvern, being trapped in the nest with the two monsters was the last thing on his mind. Diving out of the nest, with a height of a hundred feet to plummet to his death, Shane barely avoided the burst of flames that exploded out the side of the nest closely behind him and activated his flying magic.

Rings of fiery clouds appeared around his ankles, and with a burst of flames from his feet, Shane flew crazily among the branches. Another loud roar thundered from above, followed by the sound of wood cracking and breaking.

A stream of flames burst down from the canopy above. Shane banked left just in time to avoid getting scorched. The mother wyvern was too huge to fly through the canopy and had resorted to following Shane from above the treeline.

Another roar erupted but it came from the ground this time. Looking down, Shane sighed as he saw the wolf-squirrel-snake monster chasing below. Not only did it have the ability to glide, its stamina was also commendable as it tried to keep up with Shane, giving him a run for his money. It was now a race between the three of them, with the Forest Wyvern above and nothing to slow it down, Shane weaving in and out of the branches and doing his best to not crash and the chimaera bounding below.

The three of them were caught in a deadlock, trying their best to knock down each other. Every now and then, Shane had to make neck-breaking turns to avoid being burn by the wyvern’s flame breath while he would occasionally fire off his Jetfire Fist at the monster below. He was luckier, hitting the monster twice out of three times. The second time he hit the monster was the third time he had fired off his spell, and after getting hit by Shane’s flames, it finally decided that it was no longer worth it for the wyvern egg. The monster let out a shriek as it stared hatefully at the Shane’s flying figure when it stopped, before slinking off into the shadows.

With one down, Shane now had more time to think of a way to lose the wyvern. Taking the time to get a guesstimate of where he was, the Draconyte made the decision to fly into the thickest part of the forest instead of heading for the edges where the forest wyvern could just swoop him out of the air.

But the risk of him being knocked out of the air increased as well. He kept his arms and legs as tight as possible, hoping that a stray branch wouldn’t just snag him out of the air. The beating wings of the wyvern could still be heard from above, and the burst of flames still persisted but it was no longer accurate. There were being randomly fired off now. The layer of leaves between the two of them were so thick now that sunlight could only touch the ground in narrow rays, giving Shane the cover he so sorely needed.

A few minutes later, the Draconyte finally landed on the ground. It wasn’t by choice. The Cloud Treader magic that allowed him to fly without wings consumed his stamina endlessly and he was finally unable to sustain it anymore. Overhead, he could still hear the wings of the wyvern. Shane sat down by an extremely large tree with a ton of branches, resting in the cover while keeping an eye for any other troublemakers.

Shane waited, not knowing how long he had spent under the tree, until finally a loud roar from the Forest Wyvern announced the end of the chase. He could hear the beating of her wings grow faint until there was absolutely nothing left.

“I was an idiot to think I could take down the Forest Wyvern myself,” Shane chided himself as he recounted back the whole ordeal. He had been lucky another monster had distracted the wyvern, giving him the chance to sneak into the nest and make a run for it.

“I wouldn’t even have been able to sneak in.”

Letting out one last sigh, Shane stood up from the ground and began to make his way back towards Mackemm Village. All he needed to do was to give the wyvern egg to Jaques and he could return to Rivengate with the quest completed.

Total WC: 3663 words
-- 1000 words for Rank Up Quest (Apprentice to Initiate)
-- 2663 words to be submitted as Initiate quest (after rank up to Initiate)

Rank : Initiate
VylderGold : 34624
Posts : 82
Join date : 2021-08-22

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