Cataclysm Ch 3
San Diego, Corono Oro
Xeriad, 202 AR
After two days of vigorous training, Leon finally ended Alexander's days of torment. "Old man, aren’t you too hard on me?" Alex asked while wiping the sweat on his forehead. His breathing was rather heavy and slow. The last training left Alex gasping for air.
"Don't call me an old man, I'm still 32 dammit! Even so, you passing was outside my expectations. In only two days, you've reached the skill of a rogue with 2 years of experience under his belt." He sat and looked intently at Alex.
"Well, it was due to your guidance," Alex respectfully answered.
"Enough with the nonsense! Flattery won't make your life easier.”
‘But it isn’t flattery…’ Cold sweats covered Alex’ head
“Take today as a time to relax, the calm before the storm of some sort. I'm gonna do something so I won't be able to accompany you." Leon gave Alex a noogie for a while. Alex then headed to the main part of the city.
Ever since his phone started functioning again, he always kept it close to him. He tried to take a picture of the plaque of the building for research, hoping to study it in his free time. But what he saw almost made his eyeballs pop out. The camera automatically translated the crazy-looking letters (if they're still called letters) to English. 'It's a tea house, I’ll see how good they are compared to us.' he thought.
He shyly walked in and sat there. The service was good and the waitress that was assigned to him was obviously inexperienced. For some unknown reason, the assumed-to-be manager was staring daggers at him. He ignore it and finished his pancake and coffee as soon as possible.
By the time he went out, the sky was still pretty bright; meaning he still has time to walk around the marketplace. He went through the armoury but found them all expensive. Thus, he went to the accessory shop to look for something cheap. He saw a myriad of items being sold there but a ring specially caught his attention. The name of the item was "Stellar Wind Ring". The shop owner told him that the ring was beneficial to all Harbingers. Alex hovered his phone secretly at the ring. The ring gave a 1% boost to all his stats.
His clothes and other equipment had the same enhancements. His gloves gave a 1-5% <STR> boost, random with every fight. His jacket boosts his <SPI> by 3%. Pants and shoes were 2% and 3% <AGI> boosts respectively. It wasn't said if it was upgradable but he'll still use it. The stat boost of the ring was already good, so he decided to buy it.
"No one bought this ring because it was useless. But maybe this will be useful to new Harbingers like you. I can sell this to you for 10 gold coins” the shop owner asked. " I only have 6 gold coins," Alex smiled uncomfortably. ‘It seems my salaray isn’t enough.' He had the guts to have these thoughts, what was his job anyway?
“It’s 10 coins and that’s final.”
"Are you really not willing to sell it to me for six gold coins? No one will buy this, ever! No one even seems to be interested in it. It will just lay there and collect dust. And plus, 6 cold coins is already a large profit considering this piece of junk." He continued.
“I’m sorry sir, but I have a family to raise.”
“Then I can’t do anything about that,” Alex shrugged. “Well, good luck on selling that piece of junk.” He said as he turned to leave. The merchant then called him out and helplessly sold the ring for 6 gold coins.
Swindling has always been part of Alex' skillset. And he never failed to scam people, especially people online. He bought the ring and went to the forest to relax. Oblivious to the man tailing him, he walked deeper into the forest. 'A very easy target. Entering an isolated area without a shred of vigilance, how careless. Tsk tsk,' the man shook his head.
The man moved in and went closer for an ambush. When the time was right, the man jumped in for the kill. With Alex' keen senses, improved by gaming, he was able to evade his death. His neck was cut a bit. This was his first confrontation with a life-and-death situation. He just stood there seemingly fearless, but his legs were shaking uncontrollably.
"Why are you doing this?" Alex asked with a frown. The man didn't answer and instead stood closer while releasing murderous intent. The man was wearing a hooded robe. "Though, I did not take it to heart, Leon said that if I'm his apprentice, I will be safe. Leon is a strong Harbinger so few people would mess with him."
"Your scepticism might save you in the future, but then this fight will be your last. Soooo, maybe not?"
Alex ran towards the opposite direction but the man caught up without breaking a sweat. He slashed his shortsword towards Alex. Panicked, Alex frantically summoned his Phantasmal Armament and defended himself- forming an "X" sign. But despite that, he was still hit. His side was now bleeding profusely.
Alex was under a relentless offense, he can only dodge and defend without a chance to fight back. Some attacks even went through and wounded Alex.
Alex managed to escape the offense by grabbing a hole in the man's attacks. He slashed twice simultaneously which made the man stop the offense for a while and defended himself. The man hid in the shadows and ambushed Alex from all sides.
Alex has wounds all over his body and blood was still dripping from his forearm. His breathing was heavy, exhausted enough to drop dead any second now.
But the man was merciless and didn't let Alex rest. He chased Alex, who was running towards east. Alex hid on top of a tree, keeping his breathing to a minimum. By the time the man caught up, Alex was nowhere to be found. He scanned the surroundings but saw no sign of Alex anywhere.
"I know you're here! Don't be shy and come out. I want to talk to you face-to-face." The man looked at Alex' direction.
'So I wouldn’t be able to meet dad, huh. I’m sorry for not keeping my promise, Mom.’
A moment from the past flashed before Alex’ mind.
“Mom, where did Dad go? Isn’t he coming back?” said the six-year old Alex, his head leaning on his mother, who was smiling.
“I’m sure you’ll meet him someday, Alex”
“When I grow up I’ll surely find Dad! Then we will be a complete family.” Alex clenched his little fist with resolve.
“Then I wouldn’t wait for long, right Alex?”
“Of course, trust me.”
‘Why am I having such flashbacks at moments like this? Am I some cliché dying character? Like hell I’d let myself die!’
Alex came out of hiding with bloodshot eyes. "Oh I know you'll come out eventually." The man smiled under his hood.
"Aaaah!" Alex shouted while charging towards the man recklessly.
"No can do, boy." The man evaded but didn't counterattack despite the opening Alex had. He seems to be mocking Alex.
"Let's end this, this is getting boring. I'll give you a painless death." The man used his fastest speed to aim for a kill- it was aiming for his head. Alex was filled with rage, with only destruction in mind.
Activate Skill: Limit Break
His eyes glowed, sky blue lights leaking out. He nimbly defended himself from the man's attacks and stabbed his heart.
It looked like it took all of the man's skills and strength just to escape Alex' wild retaliation but only he knows the answer. He succeeded but it left an opening. Alex was still filled with bloodlust. He counterattacked when the man attacked carelessly. The man's hood was cut, revealing his identity.
“L-leon?” Alex only managed to say those words before collapsing.