Chapter 4:

Blackwood Forest

Being A Mage Is Boring, So I Created A Class For Myself

Chaos Year 3, Day 109, 6:17 pm.

The rustling sounds resonated across the Blackwood Forest, as our every step crunched the withered orange leaves. The smell of animals and monsters hung in the still air. No flowers seemed to help the uneasy odor. In the dim light of twilight, shadows darted about, leaving us with a creepy sensation as if everything was watching us. This strange feeling combined with the long foreboding cries of various creatures trembled our hearts from time to time.

"Ugh, where does it end? Feels like I've been walking forever." Shinji complained, eyes glancing around to find anything other than tree trunks and damp mossy soil. "And why were we teleported into…"

"Shut up! Stop whining. It's been only an hour," Lynx scowled. He and Pika had been on the move way much longer after all.

Lynx usually stayed calm and collected. But whenever he snapped for real, it turned into a disaster. So we had to zip it before that. It was a rule among us. So, Shinji gulped down his next words immediately.

"Isn't the void gate nearest to our city, though?" I changed the topic, sensing the awkward silence. "I mean, the teleportation device couldn't even cover half the distance. It's even supposed to be the best device available."

"That's how far apart the cities are, Ryoki-kun. We don't usually feel that way, since we teleport through the celestial teleportation gates in the city halls." Hikari added.

Hikari and I walked side by side. Her long silky silver hair waved alongside her, covering half her side face, giving off a mysterious aura in the soft light.

She continued, "Also, Blackwood Forest is quite large. So it's not like the forest is closer to Cephia City. Rather, the void gate is the closest to the city. Technically though, it'd have been much easier to reach the place through..."

"Hikari, you are doing it again," Boss sighed. He took the lead to save us from Hikari's continuous info-dumping habit.

"Ah!" Hikari came back to her senses. "I am sorry."

"U-umm guys, I feel like something's watching us." Pinkpika's voice quivered, just behind me.

I turned around and caught her nervously glancing around. Cat ears tweaked atop her pink head, while her long fluffy tail stopped flailing around as she halted her steps.

"Ya, I felt that ever since I entered the forest." Shinji, shrugging his shoulders, smirked. "Women..."

"Not like that," said Pika, scowling at Shinji. "Something really is tailing us, something big."

She realized, probably, because of her race. Beastkins had much sharper 5 senses than other races in Chaos.

Pika's large purple eyes finally fixated on a single direction, as her frail index pointed at our left, "L-look!"

A pair of bloodshot eyes, three times larger than a human's, approached us from the shadow behind the thicket. When it came out from the shadow, moonlight glimmered on the creature, revealing its massive golden brown body.

Auoooo~ Under the bright full moon, it let out a spine-chilling howl.

"That's Lykos the Wolf King, right?" I recognized the majestic beast right away. "How deep in the forest are we?"

"You know that thing?" Pinkpika gaped at the savage four-legged monster.

"Yeah, We fought it once before," said Boss, as he moved forward, bringing out his large golden shield. "Get ready guys! This guy ain't alone. They move with the whole bunch."

"Eh, can't we just skip this?" I asked "It'll just be pointless killings anyway."

I attempted to convince the others to spam "Run" since we wouldn't get that many EXP points killing these monsters anyway. Their level was much lower than ours.

"And you know, I don't wanna murder Pika's relatives."

"Every animal you see isn't my relative, Senpai." Pinkpika pouted. "And how do you even mix wolves with a catgirl? Look how fluffy I am." She waved her furry tail up and down while jiggling her ears.

What the heck? That's cute.

"Someone's getting cold feet." Shinji chimed in to mock me. "Heh, who's useless now?"

Tch... This guy never fails to annoy me.

The real reason was my stupid pride, to be honest. My new playstyle was not that great against a horde of enemies. After spending all the squad money to buy necessary items and practicing a whole month, coming out as weaker than before wouldn't really look good for me.

Getting no answer, he again added, "No probs, comrade. Let this big bro handle it for ya, hehe." Shinji stepped forward, joining Boss at the front line.

Soon hundreds of regular brown wolves gathered responding to Lykos' howl. Under the leadership of their king, the wolves slowly closed in, trapping us in a small circle. We huddled together in the middle, unable to escape or use our full abilities.

Beneath the moonlight, their bloodthirsty eyes, and teeth resembling Karambit knives glistened. Their unified howls shuddered our hearts every time as if the blood-curdling cries of agony tearing apart everything inside.

As the wolves stepped forward, we gradually retreated until our backs found the others. We couldn't look away from those bloody eyes. They would jump at us any moment now.

Pinkpika, beside me, shivered, mumbling under her heavy breath, "We are gonna die just like that, not even reaching the gate?"

"What are you talking about?" Boss asked Pika from her other side. Then he shouted flashing a wide grin, "Guys, let the party begin."

Hikari aimed her bow upwards towards the sky and softly said, "Infuse Light element. Moonlit Fireworks."

After an immense amount of light gathered around her arrow, she shot it directly above our head.

Free from Hikari's grasp, the arrow soared high into the sky, shining brighter than the full moon. Soon after, true to the name, it exploded into hundreds of pieces of white light and showered down on the ground.

"What the fuck? it's coming down on us." Shinji yelled out, ready to jump into the horde of wolves, rather than take Hikari's skill head-on.

"Relax, I got this. You guys just keep the wolves at bay." Assuring Shinji, Boss held his shield up over his head and roared, "Shield of Dawn, awaken! Golden Ray of Hope!"

Golden light enveloped the shield and gradually it reshaped into a large light barrier covering all seven of us.

Shortly, Hikari's skill hit the ground with a huge Area of Effect. The light particles rained down upon the earth, creating an enormous bloodbath.

Wolves screeched left and right with nowhere to escape. In an instant, the whole horde vanished, leaving only Lykos the wolf lord writhing in pain.

It stood alone in the blood pool of its subjects. Intently gazing at the moon, Lykos howled longer and louder. Maybe this time, it truly was the cry of agony.

Boss then turned back to Pinkpika, and beamed, "We ain't half bad, eh?"

Pika could not utter a single word. Her eyes gleamed, beholding the incredible battle scene.

Shinji and Lynx rushed toward Lykos. It only took them a few more blows to subdue the already wounded wolf lord.

After a while, we returned to our old route and moved forward. The night grew darker as we stepped deeper into the forest. Gradually, the surroundings quieted down and the air around became heavier. Soon we found ourselves shrouded in thick fog.

Hikari wrapped her hands around her arms, attempting to protect herself from the chilly wind.

why doesn't just use her light element for warmth? Should I tell her? Or maybe I should just offer her my long jacket?

"Everyone, stay close to each other. It'll be warmer that way, and no one will get lost in the fog." Boss blurted out before I could approach Hikari. "Hold on a bit more. We're almost there."

Well... I guess that also works.

I strode past Annette-san and caught up to Hikari. She glanced at me, as I got closer.

"Hey. It suddenly got a bit chilly, eh?" I asked. "How are you holding up?"

"I'm fine." She replied, straightening up quickly. "Anyway, why do you think it suddenly got so cold? It shouldn't be winter around this part yet."

"Hmm…Maybe we are close to the void gate and on the other side, it's winter?"

"Oh! That might actually be true. I didn't know you were so perceptive, Ryoki-kun."

"Are you making fun of me?" I frowned.

"No, I'm serious."

I honestly couldn't tell if she was serious or not. So I tried to catch her impression.

Noticing my stare, she asked, "What is it? Is there something on my face?"

"Ya, a pimple, on your nose."

"Right. My in-game character has a pimple on the nose." She scoffed at me but touched her nose anyway, which nearly made me chuckle.

Watching me trying to hold back my laugh, she glowered at me, "Ryoki-kun, don't make me punch you."

"Sorry, I'm sorry." I held up my arms, surrendering immediately.

"We have reached the place." Lynx suddenly turned back at us from the front. He added, "The void gate should be somewhere around here."

"Eh, we don't know the exact location? How are we supposed to find the gate in this thick fog?" Pinkpika asked Lynx.

Boss replied instead, "We don't have any choice."

Getting detailed information about unannounced in-game contents was very unlikely. The best the information brokers could manage was a dot on the map where the entrance should be.

He continued, "Everyone, listen carefully. Look for any kind of abnormalities inside the ten-meter radius. But no matter what never lose sight of the others."

The search continued for quite a while. We literally didn't leave any stone unturned, yet failed to find the void gate.

Succumbing to frustration, I finally asked, "Hey Lynx, how sure are we about this info?"

"The guy is a cheeky bastard but he wouldn't dare lie to me. And you know, I can't give you the name," He answered.

"Geez, alright then, let's continue."

About 10 minutes later, Hikari suddenly called us, "Guys, Come over here."

As we gathered around her, she took her stance to shoot with her longbow and said, "Keep your eyes on the arrow."

The light-infused arrow traveled through the heavy fog and suddenly vanished in mid-air.

"The arrow must have gone to the other side," She said. "So I think this is it."

"Sweet! No more tree climbing, finally!" Shinji exclaimed. "How did you find it though?"

"Well, earlier Ryoki-kun and I were talking." Hikari glanced at me for a second before explaining, "He said that it got so cold because we might be close to the void gate and the cold weather spread here from the other side. So I was shooting wherever I thought the fog was thicker than usual and found it eventually."

"Good job, you two!"

Boss praised both of us, even though I contributed very little. That back then was nothing more than a random guess. A nervous smile unwittingly appeared on my face.

He then added, "Guys, my gut says we are gonna be stuck in the void for a long time. So everyone, log out and stuff yourselves with food before that. You have 30 minutes."

"By the way, Pika." Just when I was about to call Riri to log me out, Shinji called out to Pinkpika. "If you didn't know already, we can't log out from the inside once we enter the voids and dungeons."

"I at least know that, Arataki Senpai." Pika rolled her eyes. "I'm not a newbie. I'm over 200 levels already."

"Well, you didn't know how to mute system messages." I tagged in. Annoying cute little cats was kind of my thing. "Remember the time when you started complaining about the pop-up system messages in mid-battle and died? Haha~"

"Not you too, Senpai." Pika's eyes teared up, with her ears and tail drooping down.


Somehow controlling the overwhelming urge to pet her, I logged out.