Thursday, July 30, 2015

Chapter 5- The Only One To Die

Fighting something as big as a small mountain is difficult, even more so if you are only using a longsword and a shield. After all could you demolish a mountain with a swing of a sword? People had limits that's what makes them people. Sun viewed Levaria as an Oni* because he felt that she just broke the limits people should have.

People can't destroy mountains with a swing of the sword but Levaria was damn well trying to. With her vibrating sword she slashed into the air and as before with the three snake incident a shockwave appeared. Only this time it wasn't a thin shockwave instead it grew to the size as tall as two people stacked together*. She sliced through the air producing shockwaves then retreating to a safe distance as if to avoid any attack aimed at her. Sun read about this type of tactic before, gorilla tactics or something similar if he remembered correctly.

Without being daunted Tiangou tanked the shockwaves with ease, the attacks dissipating as it came contact on it's fur.

"Is this it?" The Tiangou asked, disappointment tinging it's mighty deep voice, He swiped casually at Levaria with one of his paws causing three large shockwave only infinitely larger and faster similar to what Levaria was using to go towards her. "Parlor tricks does not amuse this Tiangou, Show me if you are worthy of being called Tiangou's Rival!"

Levaria having no time to dodge planted her feet as she materialized a large shieldlike thing with what looked liked a ton of compacted sand. The sand was ripped apart but it looks like it cushioned the attack as intended. Even if Levaria isn't a mage her talent was too advanced in the earth element that such types of manipulation was within her reach.

As a result of the collision sand scattered everywhere making it hard to see. As the dust settled Levaria was out of sight. "Oh? Do indeed make this interesting for this Tiangou." The big dog called out to the empty clearing as if talking to an invisible Levaria.

A few moments pass by as the Tiangou waited for Levaria to make a move. From below him, Levaria exploded out of the sand aiming at the Heavenly Dog's unprotected stomach with her sword.

"No you don't." Tiangou yells as he jumps up a small bit, just enough that Levaria's sword didn't pierce his body. It looked like he was going for a body slam!  

The soldiers and Sun quickly realize this and dove for cover.Not that there was a lot of cover in the desert aside from the natural rock formations.

Hiding behind his rock, Sun's heart pounded. He wasn't idle as this battle went on. Already he had taken out the precious vial that contained the 60 magic gems being purified by potion. The gems were smaller than they were originally but their purity looks to be around 65% that's even higher than whatever purity is highest at the market. With a heavy heart Sun resigned to the fact that it's not likely he would have a use for it, should his plan succeed it would be gone if it doesn't he'd be dead anyway.

The ring used to disrupt the magic gems need to be close to the gems to work. Somehow Sun didn't think he'd have a chance to get close to the Tiangou. He wished he could make use of Korua but she can't use the ring. There is however his Wind Vine, it was basically an extension of himself so it could use the ring. Carefully putting the ring into the vine and making it wrap onto the vial he willed it to fly above the heaven's. Now all he needed to do was wait and hope for the best.


[Gravity Well] Levaria incanted as she accelerated the falling Tiangou while simultaneously forming a massive spike of earth below it.

A massive crash resounded in the desert as sand obscured everything. Everyone waited with baited breath as the dust settled. A bark like laugh echoed throughout the desert, the Tiangou remained unharmed throughout Levaria's combo.

"Too bad little girl, This Tiangou's body is blessed by heaven. It is heaven's will that you lost today. Be grateful as this Tiangou will leave you alive. Grow strong and prosper, everyone else however will be Tiangou's food." It grinned showing incredibly sharp teeth as large as people. The Tiangou emitted such a violent aura that everyone was rooted to where they stood. Struggling was futile as fear and hopelessness filled their consciousness.

"You said if you were impressed you would let us pass!" Levaria angrily yelled as she struggled against the Tiangou's aura.

The Tiangou approached Levaria, his mouth only a few paces from devouring her. "You are not worthy to be my rival, I am not impressed. With your talent you should be a saint to entertain this Tiangou. As you are now, you are but a pebble against the raging river."

Levaria gritted her teeth as the Tiangou's breath spread to her messing up her hair and almost stumbling her.


It was time Sun thought as he watched the Tiangou mock Levaria. Taking out a pill from his storage bag to eat, he took a deep breath to calm himself. The pill he ate was a voice amplification pill usually used by auctioneers or generals. It wasn't common but Sun had bought one a few years ago on a whim.

Korua thrilled as she flew into the air. Drawing the eyes of both parties(Levaria, the soldiers and the Tiangou) to her. Vhiall birds shouldn't be here unless someone brought them and they are magi familiars so it stands to reason a mage was here.

The bird moved in such a way that the eyes were drawn to it. Gracefully swooping down the Korua landed on Sun's shoulders casually. "The strong shouldn't bully the weak, Tiangou is it? For you however I will make an exception." He said conversationally, his voice loud and clear and his bearing can be likened to that of a hero.

"Bold words, boy tell this Tiangou can you impress thee?" The Tiangou said releasing his hold on the soldiers and Levaria. He shooed them away as he turned towards Sun.

This was a crucial moment he needed quite a bit of time to properly activate the gems above the clouds. Sun needed to stall, thankfully that was one of his strong points. If the Tiangou attacked Sun, Sun wouldn't be able to put up a fight so he needed the Tiangou to stay at a single place and to do that he needed to pique it's interest.

"Levaria, if you want to be useful please get far from him I'd hate it if you died with him." Sun said as if it were normal to talk about killing [S Ranked] Monsters. It was the same tone she used when she ordered him to tend to the wounded back at the three snake incident.

"Y-You!" Levaria shouted unable to believe what her eyes and ears are telling her. Was the guy insane? What was he playing at? At the same time doubt lingered in her mind, could it be that Sun had the capability to back his words?
"Please?" Sun added as if to add insult to injury, all the while staring at the Tiangou. Even though the distance was far it seemed that their eyes met.

Levaria wanted to say something but she restrained herself. It was best she took the time Sun was giving her. She retreated further back so she can watch as she recuperated from being exposed to the Tiangou's incredible bloodlust.

Sun didn't take his eyes off the Tiangou who was waiting patiently for the humans to finish. The distance between them was more than 500 meters, this kind of distance didn't give Sun much confidence however. He knew if the Tiangou were to be serious it could probably cover the distance in a single leap.

"Why don't we play the same game you played with her? Or better yet, we play a new game it's called 'I show you some magic and you die.' " Sun said arrogantly, as if he considered the Tiangou to be a small pest. In truth Sun was focusing so intently on the ring above the sky continuously providing the will to produce the right frequency.

"Insolent fool, There is a fine line for stupidity and bravery. Show this Tiangou this magic you are so proud of, let it break itself upon this Tiangou's heavenly body. Impress me and I will spare them. Is this Tiangou not benevolent?" The Tiangou bragged, not to be outdone by a human. Truth be said he was enjoying himself, not one in many humans dared to banter with him such as this human did.

Sun pointed at the Tiangou with his index finger, consciously emulating one of Talia's poses. "Very well, you said that it is heaven's will that you are victorious. If that is so then today I will reject heaven and grasp victory with these hands." He then opened his palm towards the Tiangou. The magic gems should finally start destabilizing any second now!

"You talk too much for a huma- hmm?" Tiangou looked up, It was subtle at first, a single searing light came from the heavens. The Tiangou arrogantly stood his ground confident that he could take anything.

The light erupted into a large blinding explosion, effectively illuminating the whole sky with it's power. Then came a large flaming meteor covered in white flame, it was aimed towards the Tiangou! This was the culmination of the past week’s research, specifically experiment 5 wherein Sun discovered that you can combine multiple gems in one explosion.

The Tiangou had no time to curse or even move as the meteor slammed into its body. There was so much force that the ground caved in and made a crater. The ground trembled from the impact making all the humans fall down unable to stand because of the resulting earthquake.

In the end there was a crater of glass a fourth of a kilometer in radius, white flames danced around it and the unmoving broken body of the Tiangou sat at the center.

This, did he really succeed? Sun doubtfully thought. Could that blast have killed the beast?

The soldiers however were not as doubtful, there was loud cheering as they yelled in joy.

"Hrgrm!!!" The body in the crater stirred.

No! Despair filled everybody's heart as the Tiangou rose again. Wounds and burns mended before their eyes.

"Shashashasha! Splendid." The tiangou laughed with his bark like laugh even as large gouges of flesh reknit itself. "To really have killed this Tiangou with one blow, truly splendid. Tell me your name mage. What is your title oh saint?" Tiangou asked already acknowledging that the boy in front of him was an [S rank] or as the common people call them battle saints.

"Tsk, My is Sun. I have no title." Sun said, beads of sweat running down his back as he thought of a way to salvage the situation.

"Shashashasha! This Tiangou is really blessed by heaven. Destiny itself has provided me with a rival named Sun!" It shouted to the heavens. Tiangou was actually the name of his race, a race named after the legendary creature said to devour the sun when there is an eclipse. "This Tiangou's name is Vicious Fang(Zankokuna Kiba), let our battle commence! Shashashasha! It will be glorious!"

"Calm down!"


"Did you not say that if I impress you, you will spare all of them? If we battle today they will die as a result. I would not have a dishonorable rival." Sun said all the while crossing his fingers hoping against common sense that the Kiba doesn't attack suddenly.

"Fumu, That is indeed sensible. Gah!Curse this Tiangou's tongue, Let us postpone this battle honored Rival." The Tiangou said, it leaped from the crater to Sun's position.

Face to face with the beast Sun was rooted at the spot.

"This Tiangou can feel your excitement as well, if not only this Tiangou carelessly promised such things. Bah." Kiba said almost conspiratorially.

"This Tiangou sees you have no staff, yet you have cast magic that felled even this heavenly body. I bestow you the title White Flame Saint let all call you with respect the Tiangou's rival deserve." He then broke the tip of his horn and laid it on Sun's feet. It was around a meter and a half and as thick as Sun himself.

"Craft a staff out of this, Tiangou hopes to see this in our future battles. We will rend the sky, boil the oceans and crack the earth... no man or beast will forget our battles.This Tiangou bids farewell, this Tiangou cannot contain this feeling anymore if  this Tiangou were to remain he would break his word." Kiba said disappointment heavy in his words.

With that the Tiangou flew out to the sky leaving a gaping Sun behind. To see something the size of a mountain fly isn't a daily occurrence after all.

------------------------------->Next Chapter- Interlude: Levaria

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chapter 4: Tiangou, Heavenly Dog

The day after the three snake incident, as Sun internally called it, Sun was a bit subdued partly because he couldn't sleep last night as he helped tend to the wounded and he just couldn't help but replay the battle in his mind. If it were him alone he would have surely died, Sun resolved to get something to at least allow him to escape if in a situation like that.

Sun was so caught up in thought that he didn't even notice that the caravan had already stopped for the day.

A hand waving in front of his face startled him back to reality. "Onii-san are you okay? You were just staring into the distance the whole day!" Came Domu's worried question.

"It's nothing to worry about Domu-kun.I was just thinking some things." Sun said as he tried to stamp out his blush for being taken care of a kid.

"If you say so, are we going herb gathering again?" Domu said, he once again was getting excited.

"No, we're not. Today we're doing something else." Sun said as ideas floated in his head.

"Ano, what are we doing Sun-sama?" This time it was Talia who asked.

"Something hopefully fun." Was Sun's mysterious reply.


Upon getting to a sufficiently shaded clearing Sun took out two [Wind Vines] these vines were collected on an earlier herb gathering quest. The vines looked like regular vines if not for it's unusual color and the fact that the leaves were wide and slightly fluttering.

Devon's book had a few musings about them, more importantly was the note saying it was a decent substitute for a budding wind mage training tool. Sun the merchant that he is immediately thought of the profit however the herb itself was rare so it would be hard to sell for the price he was thinking of.

This vines could be willed to fly, carrying things like books with ease for a small duration of time depending on the will power of the user. Apparently if wind magi used it they could get a more intimate feel of their element. Willing it simply takes concentration, so like [Fire wand++] even Sun could use it.

A single vine could last indefinitely if taken care of so it was fairly long lasting resource. Sun figured that with all the help these kids have been giving him he should at least reward them.

"This is the plant [Wind Vine] since Domu-kun is a wind element mage this should help him the most but it should also help Talia-chan since Talia-chan is also a wind element warrior." Sun said.

He gave them one each and then took out another. Looking at their attentive faces Sun couldn't help but smile. "First we are going to bind it to our soul, take your vine's and stretch it gently like so." He said as he demonstrated with his own vine. "Look for the small reddish gem somewhere in the middle. When you find it press with your finger and it should cave in, don't panic it might be an unusual feeling." Sun did so, dipping his finger in. His vine shaked violently for a second or two surprising Sun and the two kids. Sun didn't expect that as it wasn't written in his book but looking at his vine he could feel it's presence like how one would feel the presence of his finger.

The vine is a symbiotic plant, it fed on the energy emitted by the soul. That may sound bad but since that energy can't be used anyway it's an acceptable trade.The thing can be used to carry your things and find water in the desert.

The kid's promptly followed, their vines only quivered unlike Sun's.

"Do you feel your vines?" Sun asked and both the kid's nod yes. "Will it to fly, It should work just by thinking of it flying I guess."  He tried to think 'Fly, Fly,Fly.' but that didn't work so he tried focusing on the vine's presence and as if it were a part of his body he willed it to move.

The leaves fluttered for less than a second then started flapping furiously taking off as a result. Zipping in around the clearing like a bird. Korua thrilled as he followed it around as if it were prey, Sun already told Korua about the vines so she won't mistake it for a monster. Only the kids knew about Korua, since the adults would be suspicious of why he a self proclaimed low rank magi have a familiar like Korua he kept her hidden. The kids found out though and ever since they did he swore them to secrecy.

The kids haven't gotten to willing the vine yet though so Sun stayed with them till they got it all the while trying to explain how he got it to move. Maybe they are too young so they have a hard time having a feel for the vine, Sun thought.


It took Talia a week to get her vine to fly, Domu soon followed and now they were playing with it more expertly than Sun himself.

It seemed that the frequency of monster attacks have increased for whatever reason they been coming the caravan's way. Even Levaria seemed to be more haggard lately as the monsters piled up. The soldiers kept harvesting the bodies so once they sell them they would get a sizable cut but if this continues they probably won't be able to sell them at all.

So far the dangerous monsters were a pair of [Venom dancer] and 5 packs of [Poun]. That makes it an average of one attack per day.

Sun asked Rayu week ago if this was normal and even the experienced caravan master was baffled by the attacks. It seems usually only two or three attacks happen per trip. That means there's something wrong. Really wrong.

Driven by this ominous feeling Sun took his studies of Devon's book further than ever. He began experimenting on various things he had access to. The most prominent of these experiments were his experiments on magic gems.

Magic gems were crystallized elemental mana. Magi break these gems using a special method, for those who can't namely the apprentices they are given a specially made ring made of Machalite which allows someone without magic to break them.

This ring sends out waves of a certain type of frequency that breaks the gem's structure. You need stabilizers else they explode violently.

Sun practiced at night where there was no one to bother him, when guards asked he tells them it's magic and they then just ignore him and the noise he makes.

Sun held a low yield gem of around 20% purity in his hands and activated the ring. The gem showed cracks but didn't explode. Sun threw it at a large rock nearby and once it collided a small explosion occurred slightly cracking the surface of the rock.

Taking note of the reaction in a small parchment with a quill, Sun began to mutter "Cracks appeared and the gem exploded at contact. Unlike experiment 16 this one didn't explode in mid air. The frequency hereafter will be called frequency 17."

It seemed the ring's frequency can be altered with careful control. Having a lot of incredible effects that was worth the 30 low yield gems he wasted on the experiments. Each of the gems were around only a few coppers anyway. The results he was getting though if it were to be sold may get him more than enough compensation, besides that thought Sun consoled himself that this information may save his life just yet.

"Moving on we're going to try erratic waves." He said chewing a bit on his quill as he thought about how the gem would react. A mental nudge from Korua warned him that someone was approaching so he quickly hid the evidence of his experiments.

"You're slacking less lately." Levaria said. "You even noticed me arrive." She mused.

"Please go away I am in the middle of training." Sun said still giving of his indifferent voice.

Levaria walked to the rock he was targeting earlier.

"Impressive for a beginner." She observed the thin cracks in the stone. It was made by a small explosion. She could do as well with just a punch but then again she was [Rank A]. Sun, she figured would be around [Rank C].

"The soldiers asked me to tell you that they are requesting you to help when the monsters attack. I told them no." Levaria said conversationally.

Sun frowned, he was thankful that she declined but what was her reason?

"I just don't want you to die uselessly is all, don't think anymore of it." As per her usual actions she left abruptly.

Sun shook his head. What a weird person he thought.

°=° °=° °=° °=° °=° °=° °=°

"Onii-chan I found a rare one!" Domu said handing him a grass like plant.

"Ho! This is [Everspring] are there more?" It was a strong healing reagent for potions so naturally Sun got excited.

Sadly Domu shook his head no. Sun shrugged as he took the herb and stored it.

Suddenly the ground shook. was it an earthquake?

Sun's blood ran cold when a soldier called out "ENEMY!" Was it an earth monster or was Levaria doing something reckless?

"Go to the caravan both of you!" Sun ushered the two kids towards the caravan.

"Go kickass onii-san!" Domu said with a thumbs up while Talia just said, "Be careful Sun-sama.", before going.

Sun shook his head at the kids as he whistled for his [Poun] who was likely startled  by that earthquake as well.

The ground shook again was there already a battle going on? Levaria would be going all out based on these earthquakes.

He mounted his [Poun] and sped towards the signal.

" Hrk!!?" Sun forgot to breathe at the sight of the monstrosity before him.

A kilometer away and it was still visible. This thing, this monster was the size of a small mountain.

It was a large brown dog-like creature, with two horns protruding from it's head. It's fur was long and wavy but as if defying gravity it didn't fall down instead it floated as if being held up by a continuous wave of air. Limbs as big as trunks of trees and a head as large as a house the terrifying creature was something that could probably kill someone just by breathing too near.

It wasn't attacking anything though or moving at all it looked to be waiting for something.

Sun beckoned his [Poun] to go, it didn't seem to want to but since Sun insisted firmly it yielded to it's masters orders.

When he was about an eighth of the way, it seemed that Levaria had arrived as well. She stood before the thing but her stance wasn't hostile.

She said something but Sun was still far enough not to hear her.

What really got Sun to almost have a heart attack was the fact that the monster replied!

"Foolish girl, This Tiangou will humour you. Fight me and if you impress me enough then this Tiangou will let your caravan pass! Disappoint me, and Tiangou will smite all humans in this desert." Came the deep voice from the beast. The mere sound of the monster's speech shattered the soldier's confidence and some even fell down as if reality slapped them. Sun wouldn't fault them.

Even Sun's heart fell into despair.[Rank S], the monster was ranked at the topmost tier.Towering over everything above the earth and below the heavens.Only Monsters that grew to [Rank S] were capable of speech.

[Tiangou] had the power to wipe the entire desert into a crater on a whim.  Even Sun imagined that even an absurd existence like Levaria still is decades,if not centuries too early to challenge this godlike monster. Sun realized now why all the monsters were in a frenzy if Tiangou was near all the weaker monsters would naturally panic.

Sun shook his head; no if it's Levaria she'll definitely impress Tiangou he thought desperately.
Sun took a moment to think what he could do to avert this disaster? Can he just hope helplessly that Levaria could impress Tiangou. Levaria certainly is skilled but what standards did the Tiangou expect?

A plan came to mind after a bit of thinking, it was risky, it was reckless. There's less than 10% chance it could work, his mind whispered. The number 4% was more accurate.
He made the [Poun] hide behind a large rock formation to prepare. He'll take 4% chance of winning over giving up.
He thought of the faces of Rayu, Talia-san, Domu-kun, the hopeful children and their families, even Levaria. Thinking about it even Devon will get caught up in this mess.
He resolved himself, if the Tiangou can talk then he can be made to understand and if he could be made to understand then he can be manipulated. If he can be manipulated then Sun had confidence in his ability to do it, if there was anything Sun was proud of it was his negotiation skills. He had never failed before, then again he never had stakes quite this big.

Sun watched from his hidden place to determine the Tiangou's personality,hopefully he could analyze the target before it was too late.

°=° °=° °=° °=° °=° °=° °=°

"Very well noble Tiangou, a deal has struck. I will battle you to your heart's content." Levaria's voice echoed throughout the desert. The other soldiers wisely backed up to a safe distance, knowing that their presence would only be detrimental to the coming battle.

Levaria drew her sword and prepared shield. With a deep breath she charged.

-------------------------------------> Next Chapter