Apocalypse: Reborn As A Monster [Litrpg Evolution Kingdom Building]
Amidst the grandeur of his sprawling tent, where once Lord Thorian strategized his battles and barked orders to his soldiers, now lay his broken and impaled body. A vicious spear had mercilessly pierced through his stomach, rendering him incapable of even making the most basic movements. The deadly weapon had destroyed his dantian, the vital energy-center of his body, leaving him writhing in excruciating pain.
As he glared at the two culprits, his eyes brimmed with a mixture of fury and disgust. He was about to unleash his wrath upon them when an old man with a long white beard entered through the torn and scorched entrance of the tent, interrupting his thoughts.
"Even you, great uncle?" Thorian's eyes filled with a sense of profound betrayal. Unable to bear the weight of this terrible reality, he cast his gaze upwards. The roof of the tent was adorned with the blue flags of their army, bearing the sigil of a sword and a lion that symbolized their family. However, most of them were now burned due to his own fire.
“I’m sorry my lord, but you have grown too ambitious,” The old man's voice, deep and wise, reverberated through the tent as he spoke remorsefully. He walked toward his two accomplices amidst the ashes of the luxurious rugs that once adorned the floor. “Daring to bare your fangs at the royal family was truly a foolish thing to do.”
Hearing his great uncle’s voice and words filled Thorian with rage. His eyes stared swords and spears at the man he once considered his mentor.
“The capital was in our sight!” He coughed up blood, but his rage remained unquenched. “Our names—the great Steelblade name—would have been etched into the history books; to be remembered for a thousand years!”
A man with a half-burned black beard, whose stature towered over the rest, cast a pitying gaze at Thorian and remarked, "Your speeches are great even on your deathbed, my Lord." The man was adorned in black and gold plated armor—perhaps it was that darkness that hid the ashes from Thorian’s previous attacks. "It is a shame that it is your tongue that spelled your eventual doom," he added solemnly.
“Let’s end this farce,” the other man with the clean-shaved face raised his spear. His wounds were no less than those of the black-bearded man, with his left shoulder’s skin burned and his flesh darkened. He was poised to deliver the final blow, but the old man intervened.
“Don’t be hasty, general. Let us enjoy our final moments with our Lord,” he said gently, smiling at Thorian. “My lord, in your quest to achieve history and honor, you have forgotten about your own men. You waged a brutal war against the capital with no sympathy for the soldiers that lost their friends, for the men that lost their families, for the wives that lost their husbands-”
"Aldrich!" Thorian growled, interrupting his great uncle's monologue. He turned his attention to the stoic faces of his betrayers, and to his own surprise, his rage gave way to uncontrollable laughter.
"What did they promise you?" he asked with a low voice, eyeing them with suspicion. "Was it money? Land? Power? Or was it perhaps... the county?"
Aldrich’s slight smirk told Thorian everything he needed to know, “I see, so that’s what it was.”
The men stood silent as they looked at each other; their eyes told the full story. After a few seconds, Aldrich finally opened his mouth, “Any last words, my lord?”
“Yes… please come closer,” he said, his words slow and labored. Thorian’s eyes threatened to close, while the bags under them grew dark and hollow.
The black-bearded man let out a mocking laugh, his voice tinged with disbelief. "To think the day would come when I would see the lion of the lowlands grow so weak," he sneered.
The old man joined in the laughter, his tone more gentle but no less amused. "Our lord is weary and tired," he chuckled. "Let us listen to his will."
As Aldrich approached Thorian, a sense of pride evident on his face, the two men followed closely behind. But seeing as Thorian's lips twisted into a knowing grin, Aldrich's expression suddenly turned to one of frozen shock.
Instinctively, he channeled mana into his eyes and scanned Thorian’s body. There was massive turbulence of orange and white mana that was concentrating on his mana heart, threatening to break it into a thousand shards.
“Run!” Aldrich’s face contorted in horror while the two men stood dazed and confused. However, none of their thoughts, emotions, or realizations mattered as a ball of fire expanded with Thorian as its center. The three men were burned into nothingness before any thought could cross their minds.
The ball of fire did not cease its growth even after the betrayers were reduced to ashes. It expanded with fervor, consuming the entire Steelblade army camp. Its flames blazed with such intensity and radiance that the people of the capital were convinced a third sun had risen.
* * *
As Thorian gradually regained consciousness, he became aware of muffled noises that pulled him out of the darkness of the void. His mind was a blank slate, devoid of any thoughts or memories. It was like waking up from a long night's sleep after dreaming an entire lifetime.
After a few seconds, his eyes adjusted to the new environment, and he could see the damp, rocky ceiling above him. He was momentarily confused before the memories of the past flooded back into his mind.
Wait, how am I alive?
He could clearly remember the faces of the three men that betrayed him; his marshall, his grand general, and even his great uncle. They and who-knows-who-else conspired with the dogs of the royal family and betrayed him when the crown was within their reach. One final battle was all they needed to take control of the capital and the rest of the regions would fall right after.
Good thing I have kept Sun Sacrifice a secret.
Thorian chuckled as he remembered the look of pure horror on Aldrich’s face. Sun Sacrifice, his self-destruction skill, had unleashed a power several times stronger than anything he had ever wielded before. By breaking his mana heart and releasing all the mana in his body, Thorian knew that none of his former allies could have survived the attack.
“But to think I would live too,” Thorian cackled at the thought of his betrayers’ plans all crumbling to ruins. “I, Thorian Steelblade, stand victorious!”
However, something felt wrong. As Thorian looked at the rocky ceiling, he soon understood that he was in a dark cave. He stood up and looked around to understand what was happening only to find himself surrounded by white-furred wolf-like monsters.
“White Kobloids?” Thorian frowned. “What am I doing amidst such weak and disgusting creatures?”
No matter how much he strained his brain, he could not come up with a reason for his stay in this cave. To make matters even more confusing, the white kobolds and their pre-evolution, kobloids, were monsters that mostly appeared in the Fens and the forests of Sherwood, not the midlands where the capital was located.
“Tch, no matter, let us get rid of these weaklings before we proceed any further.” Acting on instinct, he reached for the mana heart in his chest and squeezed it, hoping to activate a spell. However, nothing happened.
He did not understand what was happening, and neither did the small white kobloids. They looked at him with clear confusion before they continued doing what they were doing; mainly sleeping and playing around.
Is it because I destroyed my mana heart?
Such thoughts swirled in his mind before he looked down at his hand. To be more precise, he looked down to what he thought to be his hand but was now closer to a paw, with fur covering his palm and claws sticking out of the tip of his fingers.
Thorian inspected his body with ever-growing terror. There was fur everywhere—white fur. It was on his arms, his legs, his stomach, and his chest. With the thought solidifying itself in his mind and his heart beating louder than war drums, Thorian turned to the one thing he trusted even more than his own eyes.
Race: White Kobloid
Lifespan: 40 years
Level: 1/15 (exp: 0/10)
Minor Moon Boost (Passive)