~ Side Story: Between sanity and insanity (Part 1) ~
[Dankyun’s point of view]
When I came through, I was in the middle of the forest, somewhere far away from the Fellyore Magic Academy, or at least what was left of it after my battle with the accursed Dungeon Lord.
My body was cold, and I felt pain everywhere. It was hard to even move my little finger, let alone an arm or a leg. My vision was blurry, and I could barely breath as well. To make things worse, I was dressed in nothing but the loincloth covering my shame.
Magic Energy was hard to gather as well, but little by little, I could do it. Unfortunately, I had no more crystals on me to help speed up my heal, so I had to rely on casting a spell instead. A very unfortunate situation, but as long as I still held a breath in my lungs, I still had a chance of survival.
Minutes, maybe hours came to pass, with only me staring at the clouded sky and thinking about nothing. My mind was empty, void of any and all thoughts. The battle left me drained of all of my power, and in the end, I came out on the losing end. It was frustrating, but I had no energy left to feel frustrated, angered, or even afraid of that terrible monster I ticked off…
I closed my eyes and another hour, maybe more, passed. When I opened my eyes again, it was nighttime. With a great deal of effort, I focused on an Intermediary Rank [Heal] and cast it on myself. A shining light covered my body, and I could feel my muscles and bones repairing themselves. It hurt so badly that I wanted to scream out loud in pain, but what sort of draconian was I to make such a cowardly gesture? I gritted my teeth and glared at the starry sky above me as if it could actually answer my anger and fight back, as if it was the one responsible for my pain.
What great draconian? I failed… I thought after my body healed.
With a groan, I stood up and looked around. I was in the middle of a small crater, and not that far away from me was a tree with a few broken branches. It must have been the one responsible for slowing down my fall a bit. Still, I had no idea where exactly I was.
Without a map, a guide, or even the smallest idea of where to go from there, I was lost.
I need to find a way out of this place… I thought as I started to move.
At the very least, there didn’t seem to be any sort of monsters around me. It was a fortunate situation, but then… I remembered.
“Dankyun, you pathetic little piece of garbage. Rejoice! I’m not going to kill you right now. Oh, no no no.” the monster shook his head, looking straight into my eyes, glaring at me, binding my soul and sealing my fate. “What I’m going to do is something far worse than you can even imagine. I’m going to let you go, and I’m going to hunt you down like the piece of garbage you are!” he told me with a grin.
Those words of his sent shivers down my spine, forced fear to take hold of me. And that darkness of his, that darkness that surrounded him was made out of pure killer intent. I never saw anything like that in any dungeon, it was almost like I was staring right into Death’s eyes. It was frightening and sickening.
My stomach lurched in a painful way. I felt like throwing up, and I did, but the only things that came out were the juices of my stomach. It smelled awful, forcing me to take a step back and stumble on the ground.
I’m pathetic… I thought and clenched my fists.
That Dungeon Lord managed to actually scare the living daylight out of me. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was scared, I was frightened of that monster, but as long as I was alive, I could fight back. I could get up and then hunt him down and kill him.
As I thought about this, I had another flashback.
Holding me by the throat, barely letting me breath, the monster said “What I’m going to do to you is something far worse than you can even imagine. I’m going to let you go, and I’m going to hunt you down like the piece of garbage that you are! You saw it yourself, I merely toyed with now! I can kill you any time and anywhere I desire! You are nothing but a weakling when compared to me. A weakling!”
Those words sent shivers down my spine. As he said, I witnessed first-hand what sort of frightening monster he was. Even after unleashing all of my power on him, I still wasn’t able to defeat him. Not with [Boost], not with my Godlike armor and sword, not even with my spell crystals was I able to defeat him.
No wonder I was still seen as a Lower Supreme… I had an incredible strength, but my skills were weak and barely trained when compared to others of my rank. I could defeat them, maybe, if I was lucky and carefully used my Spell Crystals, but when faced with a Godlike Dungeon Lord in humanoid form, those proved to be completely useless.
If I launched another Supreme Attack inside his last floor, maybe I could have gotten rid of some of those pesky traps, but… I would have ended up too weakened to defend myself against those monstrous attacks of his. I thought as frustration and anger could be read on my face.
I hate my situation. I hated how weak I was compared to him. What I hated the most, however, was how a Dungeon made a fool out of me by stripping me of my armor and weapon! ME! The Supreme Draconian on his way to become the ruler of ALL draconians!
I hated it! I hated that Dungeon Lord! I hated that pathetic Princess! I hated Nanya! It was only their fault!
“Ugh… I’m going to kill them… I’m going to kill them all!” I growled as I stood up and looked ahead.
In the forest, I saw a shadow. It was humanoid in shape, but the fear it invoked inside my heart sent me crumbling down on my feet. In there, hidden among the trees, I saw the Dungeon Lord. I saw that monster who defeated me so easily.
“N-No.” I said with a trembling tone of voice.
He smirked, and I swear I heard him say those words again “You saw it yourself, I merely toyed with now! I can kill you any time and anywhere I desire! You are nothing but a weakling when compared to me. A weakling!” he squinted his eyes at me and then laughed.
“NO!” I shouted and picking up the nearest rock, I threw it at him.
The shadow dispersed in the night, and I remained there, breathing hard and trembling.
What has that monster done to me? I asked myself as I looked at my hands.
Never in my life was I faced with such a situation before. I was afraid for my life, of the shadows around me, of that monster jumping out at me and finishing me off. That was what he said after all, what he whispered to me in that last moment before he tossed me into the air.
“That’s why I’m going to let you go. But don’t think you are free. I’m going to hunt you down like a pathetic little vermin that you are just because I can and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop me or hide from me.”
Just remembering those words made me grit my teeth and clench my fists. I was defeated and hunted down like an animal, a beast or a monster no less. The shame and anger boiling inside of me made me want to scream, and so I did…
“CURSE YOU DUNGEON LORD!!!”
I shouted and shouted again and again until I collapsed on the ground from exhaustion.
There was no way to come to terms with my current situation. I was the hunted animal, and he was the monster who was trying to hunt me down, but I wasn’t going to let him. No, I was going to stay out of his sight, hide among the people and not even let one single spec of my power be felt. I was going to train in secret. Train like I never did before, and not in just any usual way, I was going to push myself to the limits, so I could learn the things which, until now, I saw as useless… I was going to retrain all of my skills. That was my plan, that was my resolve, but until I put it into action, I had to get out of that forest. I had to find a way back to safety, to civilization and return to Teslov or Paramanium.
No… going back there would only make me a bigger target. I even failed to bring back Ayuseya and lost of my soldiers in the process… If they send someone to the Fellyore Magic Academy to find out what happened, they are going to find the dungeon, they are going to find out what I did and make it public… Curses! I gritted my teeth and pushed myself off the ground.
With a wobbling walk, I moved deeper into the forest. My only chance was to leave these two continents: Allasn and Thorya. I had to go to Sorone, the third continent. There, I could be safe. My only worry would be meeting some of my former enemies or my sister… If that wretched woman was still alive, she would come after me in the blink of an eye. Nonetheless, she would be a hundred years by now… an old hag. I had nothing to worry about even from her.
Yes… Sorone. He won’t find me there… He can’t… I thought as I wobbled my way through the dark forest.
“So know, little draconian, that from now on, wherever you will look, wherever you will turn your head, I will be there, watching you!” I heard his voice again.
“SHUT UP!!!” I shouted and punched a tree that for a moment turned into his shadow.
What’s happening to me? I asked myself as I looked at my bleeding hand.
I even forgot to activate my Magic Armor. Whatever that Dungeon Lord did to me, he was right… He was hunting me down, and I saw him in every shadow and at every turn I took. For the next couple of hours, I merely punched all the trees in my sight, attacking the shadows that were laughing at me, but after a while, I learned to keep myself from jumping on them.
My current situation angered me. They riled up the fear that was currently stretching its pesky tendrils through my heart, ripping it out and letting me know constantly that I was nothing but a weakling when compared to him.
Was there any way for me to fight back against this? To recover my strength and ability to fight against a haunting shadow?
“I will be everywhere… a peasant walking by you, or the very noble you will speak with, I will be him or her, disguised or hiding right there in plain sight or in the cover of the shadows behind shadows! Sometimes, I will let you see me, sense me and know that I am still there watching you, following you, and hunting you! There’s no escape from me now, Dankyun, you just HAD to piss me off!”
Those words of his kept haunting me. Whenever I closed my eyes, I felt like he was there. When a leaf fell on my shoulder, I actually believed it was him and ran away screaming in fear. Such a pathetic sight I was, but how could I fight against something like this?
He was there, in the shadows…
When I closed my eyes, he was right in front of me. I could feel his breath, I could feel him staring and grinning at me like a monster, but when I opened my eyes again, he was gone.
How can I escape him? I asked myself, but I was starting to believe that even stepping into a village was a bad idea.
What if he was there? What if he paid a guard or some other villager to spy on me? I was a draconian with brown scales, not that uncommon, but certainly a big sight to remember.
I have to stay away from people… I have to stay here until I recover my strength… I thought.
At one point, the idea of traveling to a city or meeting anyone was met with a shiver down my spine. The thought of him appearing under the guise of someone else frightened me beyond belief.
That day, I couldn’t bare the thought of eating anything. I was starting to consider if not by any chance, he was somehow poisoning the beasts around me. As luck would have it, I did manage to find a small cave where I could fall asleep, but my dreams were soon turned to nightmares. I experienced that fight, my defeat, my pain, my anguish. I saw my soldiers laughing at me, and I couldn’t even kill the weakest one of them. Even Ayuseya was laughing at me, saying that even with her curse, she could put me down like a rabid animal.
My pride was shattered to pieces. The once dominant and mighty Supreme draconian was reduced to nothing but a laughing stock, a pathetic man unable to slap even a woman. I cursed myself and those who laughed at me in that nightmare.
The night ended with me shivering and sweating. I slept in sequences of a couple of hours only. Even closing my eyes was hard, and I felt like he would suddenly attack me the moment I did so.
The next day, I decided to hunt. My stomach was hurting too badly, and if I didn’t eat anything, I would end up dead from starvation. The little bit of pride I had left could not permit me to fall in such a disgraceful way.
If I died killed by a Godlike Dungeon and word spread about my battle, then I would at least have an excuse for being defeated like that. Besides, I would count as the first ever Draconian Supreme who fought one in who knows how many hundreds or thousands of years now. Some may even view my death as an honorable one, but like this… I was just a loser. The pathetic draconian who ran away or was left alive by this Dungeon because he was too weak.
“Now here’s the best part. I’m not going to be the one to kill you. No. No. No.” I remembered him saying these words, shaking his head slowly while keeping his claws tight around my neck “I’m going to offer that pleasure to Nanya, Ayuseya, and Shanteya. Next time you will see them, THEY will be the ones to kill you.” that was his most hateful threat.
To think that those shikaks had even a drop of power to fight against me was blasphemous, but he seemed to be certain of this. Well, Ayuseya’s punch was surprising and certainly not something a woman without any training or experience could have pulled off. Not to mention the strength behind the punch was actually enough to crack my Magic Armor and allowed her to scratch me. It was ridiculous!
He wasn’t lying… she really does have that power. He gave it to them somehow… I thought as I prepared myself to attack a rabbit.
The furry critter stood no chance against me, and I ate it on the spot. I didn’t even bother cooking it, I was that hungry…
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