Chapter 3:

2. where am I?

Lost souls: Road to Godhood

'Promise me that you won't use this spell until you are a master magician,' went through Luz's head as he fell from a height of 50m from the sky.

His body was full of pain before he crashed down on a treetop, breaking his fall. "Arg, that hurt." cried Luz in pain as he fell from one treetop to the next branch, till his fall came to a stop.

Lying there as his body arched with pain Luz looked up. He wasn't alone on this tree. But to his fortune, his neighbors sitting on a different branch were smaller animals.

Seeing them, Luz sighed: "At least we survived it. Didn't we, Gab?" as he positioned his injured body in a more comfortable position.

But no one answered his question.

"No, don't tell me… That cannot be," Luz stammered in shock as he looked at the other treetops in hopes of seeing his siblings there.

With a trembling voice, Luz shouted: "Gab? Raph? Michael? Az? Are any of you here?"

But the only response he got were echoes from the animals living inside the forest.

"Shit, Shit, Shit!" Luz muttered to himself before pleading: "Why… Why aren't they here with me???"

He cried out loud in rage before hitting the tree trunks of his branch a few times. As the pain from hitting such a big trunk calmed his enraged mind, he realized how stupid his actions were.

Not only has he just alerted every animal living in the forest about his coordinates, but he also fucked up his own hand in the process. He neither knew where he ended up nor did he know how dangerous this area was.

Seeing his bloody hand filled with splinters, Luz felt angry at himself for his stupidity and sighed: "Yeah, that was a dumb idea. I better rest before taking any action."

And so Luz laid against the tree trunk, which he hit bloody, trying to recuperate as much mana and stamina he could. But something felt off. Whenever he stopped focussing on capturing mana from the environment, it seemed to slowly leave his body. The fact that he still felt a stinging pain in his chest, where his mana core was located, didn't reassure him either.

'I can probably forget of ever becoming a mage. Not only have I lost my village today, but I also lost my sibling and probably am now a cripple. Yeah. I might as well die here in this godforsaken place.'

Even after a few hours and recapturing fully, his mood was still in the gutter. By now, he had no desire to leave the tree until he remembered something he overlooked at.

"The spell I've used is an area spell, teleporting everything in its range away. Since I've survived the spell and ended up in god knows where doesn't it mean the spell was successful and my siblings also ended up in a similar situation as I?" he questioned himself.

With laughter, he muttered: "As the oldest one, I shouldn't lose hope in my siblings. These four are probably expecting me to save them, so let's better go to work."

'Time to climb down the tree and continue our journey.'

Filled with new motivation and pain, of course, Luz didn't notice how many cracks his mana core truly got from using such a straining spell.

Gritting his teeth, Luz whispered to himself as he clambered down the tree with upper body pain, "I need food, something to drink, and a place where I won't freeze to death at night." Reaching the bottom, he heard only the screeching of animals in the forest.

Luz made his way, with a simple big stick in one hand and an empty bottle in the other. Around him were tall trees that barely provided cover from the sun, and around the trees grew bushes so dense that they could hide a corpse. And then he heard a rustling from them. Soon the rustling was coming from all directions. Unsure what was happening, Luz threw the bottle aside to hold the stick with both hands.

The next moment he heard a roar, and before he knew it, a cheetah-like monster jumped on him and pinned him to the ground. Fighting for his life on the ground, Luz pressed the stick with both hands against the cheetah's throat area. The beast roared and tried to maul Luz with its huge jaws, as his claws buried into the leather armor Luz was wearing for his planned hunting trip. He said, gnashing his teeth, pressing his right hand against the jaw of the cheetah-like monster, the spell [spatial disorder].

Although Luz couldn't maintain the spell for even a second, the time was enough to shatter the whole jaw due to the creation of spatial disorder. Blood and pieces of flesh fell on Luz while the jaguar cried out loudly.

As he used the spell, Luz felt unbearable pain in his mana core, thinking that it would break at any given second.

With bloody red eyes from an almost broken mana core, Luz grabbed his knife attached to his leg before stabbing multiple times into the opening of the missing lower jaw.

Its howls and struggle against Luz grew weaker and weaker until it toppled lifelessly on top of Luz.

"I don't even have time to think here," Luz sighed, tossing the animal corpse aside before cleaning his face from all the pieces of flesh and blood that fell on it.

Seeing his body having run out of mana, Luz decided to climb up tree to recuperate his stamina and mana. And so, he carried a corpse that was in his weight class up the tree while breathing erratic.

Not 30 minutes later, Luz could be seen in front of a fire trying to cut the jaguar corpse into pieces with his dagger.

'Thinking about it, it would have been better if I had taken spices with me. Well, learning how to cut meat properly would have been a wiser decision. Hopefully, the meat will still taste good.'

After eating, Luz wandered aimlessly to the north, hoping to reach any signs of civilization. But less than an hour later, he was running through the forest with a bunch of dog-like monsters that had a gemstone between their eyes chasing after him.

He tried taking sudden turns and switching the direction he was headed in, but it was of no use, as the trees were spaced very apart from each other in this part of the forest, and he was always within their line of sight.

His breath started coming in shorter gasps, and his back was drenched with sweat, yet Luz forced his aching legs to keep running.

'Why am I so unlucky?' went through Luz's head before a large river came to his eyes.

Luz was losing more and more stamina, and he didn't even dare to look behind. The screams and gasps of the dogs alone were enough to keep him from glancing behind.

'Either I jump in there and try to get to the other side of the river, or I'm going to get mauled by those creatures.'

He threw himself into the river. Most of the dogs refused to throw themselves into the stream, but two dogs of the pack refused to give up and jumped after him. Unfortunately for Luz, the current was far too strong for him to make it to the other end of the bank. Instead, he got pulled along.

'Human civilizations are usually located near large rivers to exploit them for shipping. Hopefully, I'll get lucky, and the river will lead me to one.'

But before he could continue to remain engrossed in his thoughts, he was jolted out of his thoughts by a bite on his calf. A sharp pain shot through his body.

'I swear, I will exterminate every animal of your race yet! Every female and every newborn...,' Luz cursed as he placed his hand firmly against the dog's skull and muttered the same spell he had used earlier.

The animal's skull shattered, but the animal did not let go of his calf, even though it was dead. "Why do I have so much bad luck?" Luz questioned himself as he grew slightly tired.

With great difficulty, Luz was able to move to the other end of the stream.

'Hopefully, soon, there will be a branch I can hold on to.'

God seemed to hear his prayer, and 10 minutes later, he crashed into a rock in the stream. With all his strength Luz held onto it and climbed on while smiling and waving to the dog, who continued to follow the stream.

Only on the rock could Luz take care of the corpse, which did not want to let go of his leg.

"You, my dear, will be my dinner tonight. I hope you're edible. Otherwise, I have another problem besides my damn injury on my calf," Luz muttered as he followed the stream.

Blood began to flow from the bite site, and his clothes were soaked with water.

By now, the evening sun was shining, and Luz was seen naked by a campfire, hoping his clothes would dry quickly. The fire may have kept him warm, but without clothes, one would still feel vulnerable. Hoping the wound on his calf wouldn't get infected, he briefly pressed fire against it.

"I hope this is enough before I get among humans," Luz sighed.

However, he ignored one problem because a campfire is metaphorical, like a lighthouse that reveals its location to everyone nearby. Perhaps he was aware of this, or perhaps Luz hoped that others would find him.

The sun was slowly setting, and Luz was sitting by the campfire with his clothes on, which were only slightly wet, and he heard another rustling from the bushes.

Alerted, Luz pulled out his knife, preparing for an attack. A stranger answered out of the bushes in a foreign language, "I come in peace."

"Speak Raneian, you weirdo," Luz replied while shifting himself into a position where he could escape at any time.

"I come in peace," repeated the person in a language Luz understood.

"That's better," Luz answered with a smile, hoping to have found light in this dangerous forest.

But he did not foresee how much he was wrong about his assumption.

Seriko Lee