Chapter 25:

Hunting Under the Crescent Moon

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Nekra found his legs moving on their own. He was dashing through the tunnel that was very spacious for him, holding his staff up to keep it from tapping. Rath had entrusted Nekra with this task; he had to sneak through that blockade without revealing the entrance to the tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, he peeked out, not seeing anyone nearby.

Kobold's eyes were much better for the dark, he would see better than any human out there. He took out a coin and threw it back into the tunnel. This was a signal for Fenrin, saying that there was no patrol when he left. The coin had been cushioned so it didn't make a sound, he just hoped the bull would see it.

Edging out slowly, Nekra shot glances around wildly. He began to move slowly, watching every step to avoid sticks or leaves. It would only be while he was near the tunnel that he needed to be this cautious, he needed to avoid any chance to hamper the escapees.

It took several minutes, and night was now upon him. Running, Nekra ducked under branches and jumped over roots. He stayed quiet as much as he could, but he would slip from time to time. The run was going smoothly, he knew he would have to rest at some point but he needed to cover as much ground as he could.

Nekra paused for just a moment, he had felt like something didnt feel right. He was glad he did so, as an arrow dug deep into the dirt where he would have been standing. Nekra turned sharply towards the attack, seeing a man atop a cliff side. The cliff ran a long way north, Nekra having passed it on the way here. The man held a bow and a grim expression.

“Now now little lizard, where do you think you're going?” The man said, looking towards where Nekra had come from. “Those snakes will be coming from that direction I assume?”

Nekra grinded his pointed teeth, he had been found, what did he do now. The man knocked an arrow and pointed it at Nekra. He realized now who this man was, it was the one that had hit Rath at the execution, he called him Griv. This wasn't good, he needed to buy any time, Fenrin would be on all fours through the tunnel, he wouldn't be fighting ready when he emerged. If those hunters found the entrance they could just shoot down the tunnel and pin them in.

Resolving his decision, Nekra drew Fraz Prokteir and held his staff confidently. Griv smiled, and let loose an arrow, Nekra just dodging before it hit. His arrow was strong enough to send Rath flying, that power would kill Nekra on impact. Toral’s power flowed through Nekra, his scales hardening, he could hold this up for several minutes but would need a few moments to reset it after that. Another problem remained, the height.

The cliff stood well above Nekra’s head, and his fire breath could only reach a few feet. He shot a glance towards the north, looking for a way up the cliff. He did not see a path, only climbing the cliff surface. A thought occurred to Nekra then. How did he see him?

“Come on, lizard.” Griv said. Nekra noticed the slight glow to his irises. “Run, make this fun. Ill give you a ten second head start.”

Nekra did not hesitate, he took the opportunity, darting forward. He ducked and weaved behind any cover he could manage. The first arrow was shot, tearing through a branch and landing just before Nekra.

“Hm wind changed for a second.” Griv said, pulling another arrow. “Guess luck is in your favor, though it won't matter. Come on, run away, not towards me.”

Nekra suddenly changed his run, charging north away from Griv.

“That is the spirit!” Griv said, lowering his bow to follow.

Nekra suddenly darted back towards the cliff, hiding behind a tree. Griv stopped, tensing his bow to shoot. “You know I can just shoot through the tree.” He said aloud. He shot, the arrow pierced through the base of the tree, leaving a clean hole in its base. Nekra wasn't there though.

Griv was confused, he had not seen him come out from behind the tree. Suddenly he noticed the movement in the tree, towards the top. Nekra had climbed the tree, now running across the branch towards the cliff, at eye level with Griv. WIth a jump, Nekra was airborne, sword raised to strike at Griv.

It was quick, a sudden punch to his stomach. Nekra flew back, tumbling across the branch and falling from the tree. The scales had not absorbed the brunt of the damage, his insides hurt terribly. Griv swore from atop the cliff, holding his hand. The scales had bit down into his flesh, Nekra had to take advantage of the opportunity.

As his body hit the ground, he felt a sharp pain course through him. He forced himself to continue on, ducking closer to the cliff, just out of Griv’s sight. Nekra had realized that Griv must be using a spell to enhance his vision, but it didnt see through things, maybe he could see Nekra’s heat?

He could test the theory by using his fire breath, but he needed to save any uses of it that he could. For now, Nekra needed to get back up there. Be climbed the tree he hid behind, planning a similar move. Griv was looking north for Nekra, not realizing he had gone slightly south, now behind him.

Nekra jumped from the tree, landing on the top of the cliff, drawing Griv’s attention. Moving quickly, Nekra charged Griv, preparing a fire breath. He couldn't shoot it upwards, the light may draw the blockade this way. A sudden idea popped in his head, but he would need to wait to execute it. For now, he pointed his snout down. Griv prepared another shot, he had to shoot low. When he shot, Nekra let his fire breath out, flinging himself up in the air, he spun towards Griv with his sword drawn and Staff raised high. The two slammed into Griv’s shield, the extra force that Nekra put on the attack being enough to force him back.

Nekra quickened a flame breath, shooting it in his face. His shield shattered under the heat and he tumbled back. Nekra had flown back from the breath, a disadvantage to the breath being used in the air. The two stared down for a moment.

“Such a little pest!” Griv yelled out, Nekra noticing his hand bleeding. “You should just give up! What do you hope to do! You're trying to help a doomed people! Just die you worthless trash!”

“They aren't doomed!” Nekra yelled out. “Because we will save them!” Nekra’s eyes were wide, he stepped forward a step, Griv backing one. “And I'm not worthless! I'm the leader of my people! I'm a part of something bigger! You are the small one! Picking on the small and weak because you're strong! Does that make you brave! Do you think you're a hero for slaughtering innocent people!”

“I kill monsters.” Griv said strongly, pulling an arrow from his quiver. “Ill kill all those Nagas, ill kill all of your Kobold people. I'm a hero for protecting people from your evil! Now die you little shit!”

The arrow fired, but in the moment the wind shifted slightly. The arrow flew just above Nekra’s shoulder, the Kobold unfazed. “I'm not little.” Nekra said, taking a step forward. “I'm more than just a Kobold. So much more. One day, I will be a great Dragon! One strong enough to defend people from false heroes like you!”

Nekra charged, but Griv did a spin kick, launching Nekra off the side.

“Big words, little monster.” Griv said as Nekra began to fall, pulling another arrow.

Nekra cursed, he had to do something, he had to stop him. Fenrin may be able to kill Griv, but he would have enough to deal with. He had to slow down this blockade in any way he could. He had to reach the top of that cliff, he had to reach!

“I understand.” A gentle voice spoke in his ear. “Valiklis.”

The power rushed through Nekra, and suddenly he was above the cliff, above Griv, whose mouth was agape. Nekra did not need to look to see, he could feel the wings that had emerged from his back, he did not know how to control them fully. He willed the wings forward, begging to reach Griv.

Griv shot an arrow at the kobold that was now swooping down like a hawk. Nekra titled his body slightly to dodge, but messed up. He hadn't accounted for the wings. He felt the arrow tear through the rubbery flesh, pain shooting up through him. Pain still filled him as he raised his sword, Griv was too slow to draw his arrow, as Nekra’s sword plunged itself deep into his eye, escaping the back of his skull.

Griv’s body dropped instantly, Nekra falling forward from the momentum. He panted in pain, he looked at the wings, they were bat-like, with one of them having a large hole inside it. Nekra released the power of Valiklis and the wings faded from existence. His master had mentioned this about the wings, they didn't stay and needed to be summoned.

Nekra cringed at himself. “A dragon? Really? Good thing Fenrin didn't hear, he would never stop making fun of me.” Nekra laughed for a moment, grabbing Grivs bow and throwing it over his shoulder. He stood for a moment. “I will be a dragon.” He said quietly. “Ill become strong enough, to stand up to any threat, I'll protect my family.” He knew he was talking to himself, but he just wanted to cement his resolve.

The bow was far too large for him, but he could carry it without issue, Rath would appreciate the weapon. He lifted the nearly empty quiver and threw it over his back as well then headed off. He didnt head north right away, instead he headed east. The plan he had come up with involved him shooting fire breathes up in the air, drawing away some of the blockade from the tunnel. Nekra figured he could off load a bit of pressure from Fenrin, and he could sneak away cleanly after. Bolting into the woods, Nekra set out to become the greatest dragon he could be. 

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