Chapter 9:

Soldier Chapter 2: Quest Complete

Worm


Warning: There are some grotesque scenes here.  They aren't that horrible, just a heads up.


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Soldier Chapter 2Bookmark here

Quest Complete
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We have reached the edge of the area where the manticore can detect.Bookmark here

We have no intentions of sneaking past through it. It would be suicide to do so. We won’t get passed it due to its detection capabilities.Bookmark here

We headed into formation…Bookmark here

Akasha and Mark in front at two different sides, Leia at the left flank, Kyle at the right flank, and Evans in the backline.Bookmark here

As for me, I’m in position with a little distance away. I’ll only be a hindrance to them in battle, all I can do is to try and detect the presence to notify them if other monsters are heading this way. My role is also to move on emergency situations.Bookmark here

The strategy is simple.Bookmark here

Have Akasha and Mark alternate between tanking. One will use the skill <Taunt> while the other recovers using potions. <Taunt> is a skill that forces monsters to attack the caster.Bookmark here

Evans will be using flame barriers to protect us from its fire breath and healing the one currently receiving the attacks. Of course, the tank won’t last long because it’s a very strong monster. That’s what the other tank is for. After recovering with a potion, their roles will switch.Bookmark here

Kyle’s role is to shoot arrows and hit the eyes of the manticore. It can still detect us, but it would have a harder time hitting us. There is also chance that the manticore would run away once it feels like it’s being pushed back.Bookmark here

Leia’s role is to use magic to slow it down as much as she can. Ice magic, earth magic, any kinds of magic that can bind it or at least slow it down.Bookmark here

I finished moving around and have confirmed that there are no nearby monsters.Bookmark here

I signaled to Evans and he nodded.Bookmark here

“<Light Ball>.”Bookmark here

Evans used a magic to make a ball of light. He made it brighter than usual and sent it upwards to the cave ceiling.Bookmark here

The hallway was now revealed.Bookmark here

The resting manticore noticed it. It wasted no time charging towards us.Bookmark here

“<Earth Wall>!”Bookmark here

Leia erected a wall of rock, making the manticore stop its charge.Bookmark here

“<Taunt>!”Bookmark here

Mark used <Taunt>. The manticore pounced towards him.Bookmark here

“<Fortress Armor>!”Bookmark here

His armor shone. The manticore swung its claws towards him, he used his arms to block the attack but it can be seen that he’s still damaged.Bookmark here

“<Heal>!”Bookmark here

Evans started healing Mark.Bookmark here

“<Water Rain>! <Ice Breath>!”Bookmark here

Leia used water magic to soak the manticore, then used ice magic to freeze the water. This chilled the manticore’s hair and made it heavier, slowing it down even just by a bit. After using the magic, she moved onto chanting her next magic.Bookmark here

The manticore made a bite attack towards Mark. Mark used both of his hands to stop the jaws from closing in on him. It can be noticed that he won’t last more than a few seconds.Bookmark here

“<Taunt>!”Bookmark here

Akasha used <Taunt> and the manticore switched to a different target.Bookmark here

“<Unbreakable Shield>!”Bookmark here

Akasha’s shield glowed. The manticore swung its claws, Akasha blocked it with her shield while jumping back. She jumped back to lessen the impact received.Bookmark here

“<Heal>!”Bookmark here

Akasha was healed by Evans. At this moment, Mark is drinking Health potions to recover.Bookmark here

“<Earth Pit>!”Bookmark here

Leia finished chanting and used her next magic. A hole was made under the left hind leg of the manticore, making losing balance and making it stagger.Bookmark here

Blood gushed.Bookmark here

An arrow had hit the manticore’s left eye.Bookmark here

“Grouaaar!” the manticore made a pained roar.Bookmark here

A success.Bookmark here

The manticore jumped backed after getting hit by the arrow.Bookmark here

Then it opened its mouth started charging up its breath attack.Bookmark here

“Evans!”Bookmark here

“Got it!”Bookmark here

Evans started chanting.Bookmark here

After charging up, the manticore blasted off a high temperature fire breath.Bookmark here

“<Elemental Shield: Fire Nullification>!”Bookmark here

A barrier was erected in front of the two tanks.Bookmark here

The fire breath was easily blocked.Bookmark here

After a short while, the fire breath had stopped…Bookmark here

We successfully blocked against it… now what will it do, will it run away?Bookmark here

I thought it would be that simple…Bookmark here

Just as soon as the fire breath was over and smoke blocked our view, a silhouette quickly passed through the two tanks.Bookmark here

“!?!? <Taun—”Bookmark here

Blood gushed.Bookmark here

Before either of the tanks were able to react, it was too late.Bookmark here

Everyone’s face paled in despair.Bookmark here

Evans took a full blow from the manticore.Bookmark here

“NOOO!” Leia shouted in terror.Bookmark here

Evan’s body was gone from the hip up…Bookmark here

Damn it… Evans!Bookmark here

The manticore quickly charged another fire breath.Bookmark here

What!? Was it this fast in responding before!? Reports said that manticores don’t use fire breath twice in a battle due to the fatigue it causes! Is it giving it it’s all? But we’re low level soldiers! It should not consider us as a threat!Bookmark here

“Evans! Damn it… Everyone, run! <Taunt>!”Bookmark here

After mourning for Evans for a moment, Mark gritted his teeth and steeled his resolved. He used taunt and jumped away so we won’t get caught by the breath attack.Bookmark here

The manticore used fire breath.Bookmark here

“<Elemental Armor>!”Bookmark here

Mark’s armor changed color and he took the full damage of the fire breath.Bookmark here

We thought he will be safe… but…Bookmark here

After the fire breath, all that remains is an armor and a charred body. His body fell down with a thud…Bookmark here

Spending no time, the manticore pounced towards Akasha.Bookmark here

Akasha’s <Unbreakable Shied> was still active. Akasha was able to take the blow while jumping back to lessen the impact.Bookmark here

This should’ve worked against monsters… but this manticore’s doing everything to eliminate us.Bookmark here

The manticore made a bite attack towards Akasha who is still airborne.Bookmark here

An arrow was released. The manticore saw it coming and moved to dodge it.Bookmark here

Unbelievable… it dodged while airborne. Did it use its wings?Bookmark here

The manticore flew to the airborne Akasha. Half of Akasha’s body was bitten off. Half of her body fell to the ground, with half of its face having a face of despair.Bookmark here

No, Akasha!Bookmark here

Damn it, I need to do something!Bookmark here

While I tried to think of a strategy, the team morale fell down as the manticore did a gruesome thing to Akasha’s body.Bookmark here

The manticore quickly dove down to her body and put it inside its mouth. It chewed, spilled a lot of blood, and made crunching sound then swallowed.Bookmark here

The manticore quickly flew towards a different direction. That direction is where the arrow came from.Bookmark here

“Arrrgghh!”Bookmark here

I could not see it, but I heard Kyle’s voice followed by a gush of liquid… Bookmark here

Damn it!Bookmark here

That all happened within the span of 15 seconds. I was not able to react…Bookmark here

Everyone except me and Leia are dead now…

How… why, why is this happening?Bookmark here

Did I make the wrong choice?Bookmark here

There was the choice of staying in the safe area and waiting for the manticore to move.Bookmark here

There was the choice of negotiating with that humanoid level 10 monster.Bookmark here

I thought the best course of action was to report immediately to save this country from that level 10 enemy. But were there even signs of that enemy attacking immediately? We could’ve delayed the attack for a few hours later.Bookmark here

This is all my fault.Bookmark here

“Soldier!”Bookmark here

I heard a voice shouting… it was Leia’s voice.Bookmark here

“S-S-Soldier, I’m going to delay it for a bit! Please sneak out to the exit!”Bookmark here

“What are you saying… this is all my fault! No, I don’t want you to die!”Bookmark here

“Please! Do you want the lives of others to be in vain? Please report this! The country will perish!”Bookmark here

“But!”Bookmark here

“There’s no time in convincing you! You know this is the optimal result, please… just go!”Bookmark here

Leia said as she ran towards the opposite direction from the exit.Bookmark here

Should I… should I really run away?Bookmark here

I don’t want to leave her… She’s very important to me, more so than my life. I don’t care about the country and such, she’s the only one I live for! She took me in and took care of me even when her own living conditions weren’t good!Bookmark here

The manticore landed in front of Leia.Bookmark here

No, this should not be happening! Leia!Bookmark here

Leia went into stance…Bookmark here

“…Soldier, I was really happy to be with you… They said I was a genius, but I was only able to reach this level because of you… I was able to live because of you… please live.”Bookmark here

“NOOO!”Bookmark here

The manticore…Bookmark here

Didn’t do anything.Bookmark here

“…Huh?”Bookmark here

The manticore suddenly turned tail and ran from Leia. It even ignored me who should’ve been on its path.Bookmark here

“…What? Are we safe?”Bookmark here

All my despair slowly disappeared.Bookmark here

I looked at Leia and all of my despair returned.Bookmark here

“Sol…dier…”Bookmark here

A stinger was pierced into Leia’s neck.Bookmark here

No!Bookmark here

It was the evolution level: 4 monster, stinger ant. An ant with the size of a human.Bookmark here

The tip of its stinger is able to paralyze or poison anything.Bookmark here

I need to save her!Bookmark here

I was about to jump… but I stopped.Bookmark here

I should save her, but I shouldn’t let my emotions affect me… I should calm down and find a way to save her.Bookmark here

…Why did the manticore run away from a stinger ant? Why didn’t I feel its presence?Bookmark here

When I asked that question in my head, I saw that there wasn’t only one stinger ant…Bookmark here

There are so many of them… on the ceilings and walls.Bookmark here

I can’t even count them.Bookmark here

The stinger ant put Leia on its back then started going deep into the cave.Bookmark here

Not only that, they also carried the corpses of my comrades.Bookmark here

No! I shouldn’t let them take her, I need to go save her!Bookmark here

But I don’t think I can! No matter how much motivation, spirit, or devotion I make, I can’t change the fact that I’m weak!Bookmark here

What is the best choice to save her!?Bookmark here

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There was that option.Bookmark here

I need to have others save her.Bookmark here

After the ants left, I ran as fast as I could to reach the surface level.Bookmark here

Leia, I’m coming back with help…Bookmark here

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I was able to reach the entrance of Abyth dungeon.Bookmark here

After giving the guards a summary of reports, they escorted me to the dungeon’s office.Bookmark here

The head of the office sat in front of me. It’s an old man.Bookmark here

I reported to him every detail that I found.Bookmark here

“Unbelievable… for things like that to happen inside the dungeon…”Bookmark here

“Yes… we need to make a unit and save Leia.”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry…”Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

“What? Why are you apologizing? What are you implying?”Bookmark here

“Hearing your report, we can’t just send soldiers and adventurers down there. We need a very strong unit to be able to deal with all those. We don’t even know how to deal with the Class Level 10. Reinforcements will come in a few days… not to mention our report will only reach them after three days.”Bookmark here

He closed his eyes.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, but we cannot save her…”Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

“You’ve got to be kidding me! We we’re sent down there just to get information. You sent us knowing that our levels are insufficient!”Bookmark here

“No, your skill and achievements as a party was enough. There were no other people more fit for the job. This was only very unusual… Don’t worry, we’ll record your party’s achievement and brand them as heroes…"
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“Heroes? Don’t give me that crap! I don’t care about being heroes! Leia is still alive down there!”Bookmark here

"..."


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He just closed his eyes as if the conversation is already over.Bookmark here

“DAMN IT!”Bookmark here

I slammed the table with my fist as I walked out.Bookmark here

Going here was a mistake.Bookmark here

After we complete the quest they don't care what happens to us anymore?
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I shouldn’t have reported that crap and just let you all die!Bookmark here

I made the wrong choice, I should’ve had saved Leia myself all along!Bookmark here

Leia, I’m coming for you! I won’t let you die!Bookmark here

After that, let’s quit doing this… and live by ourselves. I don’t want anything to do with this shitty country.Bookmark here

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I reached the lowest levels and headed towards the direction of the Stinger Ants.Bookmark here

I was able to dodge the monsters and the manticores.Bookmark here

On the way, I noticed some monsters pierced by a lance. The guardian must’ve passed through here.Bookmark here

I also notice that there is some kind of weird mist surrounding the cave. I didn’t see this a while ago.Bookmark here

I don’t care…Bookmark here

After walking for hours, I’ve finally found some Stinger Ants who are moving around.Bookmark here

I can’t feel their presence, but I can see them.Bookmark here

I followed the ants making sure I don’t lose them.Bookmark here

I followed them until we reached a small entrance. A hole. The ants went down the small entrance.Bookmark here

I entered it after them, then slid down.Bookmark here

After I reached the bottom, what I saw was unbelievable.Bookmark here

There are a lot of glowing blue crystals around.Bookmark here

There were thousands of stinger ants and thousands of monster corpses around. The monsters are also segregated into different species.Bookmark here

What’s up with this place? Why are the ants suddenly moving like normal ants? Ants are very smart, and they save food.Bookmark here

But seeing this made me a little relieved. Ants save their food as much as they can. There is a large possibility that she’s still alive.Bookmark here

I’m coming, Leia!Bookmark here

Was what I thought… but I felt something pierce the back of my neck.Bookmark here

I looked back before losing consciousness. The stinger ants I was following was there.Bookmark here

…I was led to a trap?Bookmark here

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…I slowly regained consciousness after I woke up.Bookmark here

It was hard to open my eyes.Bookmark here

I can’t move my body. The poison is still in effect.Bookmark here

I tried my best to move my neck to move around and find Leia.Bookmark here

I found her laying down.Bookmark here

I crawled my way towards her.Bookmark here

Before I reached her…Bookmark here

“KYAAAAGGHH!!” Leia screamed in pain.Bookmark here

Two giant scythes pierced her arms.Bookmark here

…What?Bookmark here

They were not scythes… they were arms.Bookmark here

Arms of a giant ant… this description…Bookmark here

It’s a Stinger King Ant.Bookmark here

So that was why the ants became smart…Bookmark here

That monster acted as a leader…Bookmark here

Leia’s body was lifted up to the king ant’s head.Bookmark here

No… this can’t be…Bookmark here

“AAArrghh! Ugh! Kyaa! Agghhh!”Bookmark here

Leia!Bookmark here

I can’t shout, I can’t do anything… my heart aches, to see the person I live for experience this…Bookmark here

While the scythes are pierced inside her arms, its releasing some kind of liquid.Bookmark here

Leia’s body turned fluid, as if there’s no bones.Bookmark here

No… please, stop… I beg of you…Bookmark here

The king ant put Leia next its mouth then bit her head.Bookmark here

It slurped her like noodles.Bookmark here

No… Leia! LEIA!Bookmark here

What… why is this happening?Bookmark here

All we did was receive a mission…Bookmark here

Yes, we are soldiers… it’s our duty to die for the country…Bookmark here

But why were we put into an impossible mission?Bookmark here

…No, it wasn’t impossible.Bookmark here

They overestimated us…Bookmark here

This is because of me.Bookmark here

We always won against stronger monsters, but that was only because I did dirty tricks.Bookmark here

I was confident deep inside… that I’ll think of something again this time.Bookmark here

But no, I wasn’t able to do so…Bookmark here

I made the wrong decisions again and again…Bookmark here

The king ant pierced my arms. I feel like my bones are melting.Bookmark here

I don’t know if it’s because I’m still paralyzed or because I already lost all hope, but I didn’t scream even with this agonizing pain.Bookmark here

This was… all my fault.Bookmark here

If I didn’t accept that mission, this wouldn’t have happened. If I properly prepared, we could’ve lived. If only I decided to wait for the manticore to leave, this wouldn’t happen. If only I decided to chase Leia instead of going back to ask for help, there should’ve been a chance to save her…Bookmark here

I can see the mouth of the king ant closing in…Bookmark here

Yes, this is the end…Bookmark here

I don’t want to live anymore…Bookmark here

I lost my reason for living. And it’s all because of me.Bookmark here

Revenge? No, I shouldn’t blame the country… I know deep inside that saving them would be impossible and will only result in deaths.Bookmark here

If I was in their position, I would’ve done the same thing.Bookmark here

Leia and the others died as soldiers, wanting me to do things for the country.Bookmark here

Even though I can’t accept it, I can understand it…Bookmark here

Damn it…Bookmark here

I only lived for Leia.Bookmark here

Can you blame me? I don’t want to be a soldier. I just want to be with Leia and protect her.Bookmark here

My name is “Soldier” but I do not care about the country. Who was it that gave me this name anyway?Bookmark here

I closed my eyes and I lost consciousness.Bookmark here

Leia… I’m going to meet you in a few seconds…Bookmark here

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I don’t feel my body anymore.Bookmark here

But I know… I’m still alive.Bookmark here

I don’t have that much more to live.Bookmark here

My eyes opened. I didn’t force it open.Bookmark here

I think my body fell on the ground and my eyelids who had no strength opened because of impact.Bookmark here

Something entered my sight…Bookmark here

I can see a silhouette.Bookmark here

A silhouette of a black limbless monster.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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