Alchemist's Glory

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1) - Deathrot

Submitted: September 09, 2019

Reads: 9

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Submitted: September 09, 2019

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Chapter 5: Deathrot

 

After the briefing held by Queen Velenia, the guilds were kindly asked to attend a dinner held in their honor for all their past deeds. While Soundless Whisper vanished into thin air after the meeting was concluded, the other three guilds gladly partook in the feast. Since many of the freshly recruited members of the Rasenwald Alchemist Union were of Otherworld, some of them found old allies, acquaintances and enemies within the ranks of Sanctum of the Lost. Tiron once again crossed paths with one of his most trustworthy friends, a black-haired man named Beredil Rogstan. During his life on Otherworld, Beredil lost everything dear to him, his wife, homeland and finally, his humanity. Corrupted by demons, his mind luckily evaded their tainted magic, he escaped his captors and vowed to exterminate all demonkind in existence, becoming vengeance incarnate, wielding his tainted daggers to destroy them. He became leader of a group of outcasts: corrupted, demons, vampires and other dark races seeking redemption for the actions of their kin. After his death, he was reunited with his wife, Sen Yuesha on a strange new planet. The pair were scouted out by a fellow Otherworlder, Hestia the dragon lady and convinced to join the ranks of Sanctum of the Lost.

“Ah, another face I recognize! Beredil, I had nearly forgotten the appearance of your true, human form devoid of all corruption. I am glad to see Sen is doing well, have you two gotten married again now that you are finally back to being fully human once more?”

Pleasantly surprised by the tigerian’s presence, Beredil reminisced about the past they shared together as warriors fighting for the survival of their homelands. Tiron had been one of the few people the formerly corrupted man truly respected, he never saw him as a monster despite his menacing appearance and only saw the spark of light within.

“King Tiron, a fellow veteran from the battlefield! Fate brings us together once more, it seems demons lurk on this world as well, we must never lower our guard. Me and Sen have been remarried for some years now, I cherish every moment we spend together, she could be stripped away from me again at any time, I’m always prepared to lay down my life for her if such a dire situation arises. What concerns me the most at the moment is the presence of Neothanias, the Archangel of Sin, is your leader truly foolish enough to trust that monster?”

During the time when Beredil and Tiron were in the middle of their discussion, Neothanias approached a person who caught his eye, an anutali named Anubis. His race had the head of a jackal and a surprisingly humanlike body with black fur. Famous for being a mysterious traveler who appeared in many universes for matters unknown to anyone, Anubis earned himself many titles, the most commonly used being the God of Death and the Worldwalker. Wearing royal desertlike garments, he would scout out the universe he wanted to visit and integrate himself into any society he deemed fit, it was him who actually came forward to Hestia first and requested membership in her guild.

“The God of Death? Heh, even you couldn’t end my misery if you tried.”

The anutali quickly analyzed the fallen angel sitting beside him and failed to recognize him, many years had passed since he had last visited Otherworld and most of the individuals he knew before were quite possibly already long since dead. Travelling across universes also meant crossing through different timelines, he could have theoretically already paid a visit to Otherworld again somewhere in the near future as he did have plans to return after certain conditions had been met. Unknowingly to him, he had probably crossed paths with Neothanias in the far future since cross-universal travel is not bound to the passing of time at all and the actions of his future self had probably already taken effect in Otherworld, as evident by the angel’s familiarity with his presence.

“I do not know you, dark one, it seems I have not traveled to your world in millions of years, you have to excuse me for not recognizing you. However, I will return once I play my part on this world, I have not fully completed my task there after all. Time is a fickle and confusing thing, who knows how my future self had changed Otherworld or just between you and me, the planet of Arue.” 

In the background, a depressed Raas’Dor sat alone and without access to the otherwise plentiful stacks of alcohol, he would always drink himself to numbness in order to escape the harsh confines of reality, without his former powers he was no different than the lowest of life forms. He was approached by a female member of his race, Illa’Nas, an omoktai who was actually dragged to the new land from Otherworld instead of the Void. In her earlier lifetime, she served the Omoktai Hyperempire, but it suffered a heavy blow caused by the prime deity, Evil after the one-sided standoff with of Raas’Dor. Due to the shattering of the empire, her path led her to Otherworld, where she was immediately worshipped as a god by the native races due to her overwhelming power. Mockingly, she teased her fellow omoktai for being a sad, pathetic shell of his former self, nothing instilled hatred within members of the omoktai race more than the loss of position and power.

“Oh ho, look who’s sober for a change! Got an alcohol prohibition again eh?”

Full of seething rage, Raas snapped at her, threatening her with empty words that held absolutely no meaning or power in the new world.

“Be silent weakling, you should show respect to the highest authority within the Omoktai Hyperempire! By the Void, I’d have you shattered throughout time itself for your insolence were I still the emperor!”

Illa scoffed at the visibly angered omoktai, he held no authority over her anymore, his threats were as empty as the Void from whence they came. In the past, she truly was his subordinate, but that was long before the collapse of the formerly powerful Omoktai Hyperempire. Now they are equals, both in strength and position.

“If only you had the power, right? True, I’d show respect if you still had it, but you don’t, you’re a fallen god just as I am. The position you had before is no more, therefore I have no obligation to treat you as my superior. Now hand me a cup of wine already, lowly peasant!”

The banquet continued for about an hour before the guilds decided in unison that it was time to focus their attention on combating the threat of deathrot and eradicating it once and for all. Before they could take off, Velenia ordered her head scientist, Naxon, a member of the aliviri, a race of green-skinned reptilians with tentacle-like hairs and incredible intellect which dwarfs that of any other race. He would accompany the guilds on their journey in order to study the disease firsthand and potentially further his research. Now gathering by the city gates, all including the mysterious Soundless Whisper finally set out on a path to Harge village.

Upon arriving within the nearby vicinity of the village, they were immediately bombarded by a foul stench of pure decay, causing some of the guildmembers to retch or even vomit, only the battle-hardened veterans were seemingly unfazed due to their familiarity with the horrors of death and war. The closer they got to Harge, the more intense the stench became and when they finally arrived to their destination, they couldn't believe the horrid sight before their eyes. Liquefied corpses and green slime polluted the brick roads, the barely living civilians were literally being eaten alive by the disease with some bearing close resemblance to a shambling undead due to their heavily decayed bodies. Without hesitation, all of the guilds except Soundless Whisper for reasons unknown rushed to aid the suffering villagers, distributing the cure and healing their wounds with angel and life magic. While Lytiana was treating an elderly man with half of his face rotten away to the bone, he remained smiling throughout the entire treatment, even while in so much pain, he seemed to be in a very jolly mood, going so far as to compliment her kindness and praising the guilds for their aid.

"Such a generous young lady you are, going out of your way to treat an old fool like me. Your people are the hope of this world; this village is in your debt. My dear elven lady, I do have one request for you, if I may ask."

She kneeled down to his level while continuing to heal his wounds, looked him directly in the eyes and smiled; it would be very rude of her not to listen to a dying old man.

"Of course, what can I do for you sir?"

The man let out a hearty laugh, satisfied with the blonde's generous answer, he was not expecting her to comply with his wishes. Thanking her for taking her time, he looked her right in the eyes and propositioned the request.

"Oh, thank you so very much! Well then... will you please die?"

The moment he finished his sentence, the old man's body decayed into a shriveled corpse and collapsed on the ground, shocking Lytiana and alerting the rest of the trap they've just walked into. Panic and fear grasped the rest of the living civilians as they ran out of the village and headed for the woods, forcing the entirety of the guilds to follow and protect them from possible incoming threats. Manik quickly rallied them into an organized group, commanding them to follow his lead as to prevent unnecessary causalities.

"Villagers of Harge, stay behind me and stick together, I will not let any harm befall you!"

As they made their way to the forest entrance, several cloaked figures donning black garments appeared from inside the village, standing completely still in a straight line. From their mass of followers, a raven-haired man wielding a malevolent scythe made his way to the front, announcing his presence.

"We knew you would come, guilds of Yunei, we were expecting a larger force. This is a perfect opportunity for us to test a new weapon. Now, without further ado, please welcome our newest creation, the deathrot giant!""

The mysterious man raised his scythe high into the air, calling forth necrotic energy from his body and focusing it into the blade of his weapon. It spread out and latched itself onto the corpses liquefied by deathrot, pulling them together into a grotesque mass of tissue, green sludge and bones, taking the shape of an enormous, bulky humanoid being. Freshly formed, the deathrot giants let out a mighty, gurgling roar while the cult disappeared into the shadows, completely fading away from sight. The monster began to advance towards the guildmembers, running with unnatural speed, giving little time for preparation. Blake, Deston, Hestia, Manik and Tiron rushed to the front and braced for impact, creating a shield with their combined magic. It crashed right into the barricade, mindlessly marching forward and pounding at the shield, pushing the defenders back. Elleane, Illa'Nas, Lytiana and Samuel bombarded the giant from afar, however did seemingly no damage; they couldn't even slow it down. Before it could break through the defenders' guard, Beredil, Daris, Elytia, Reyesi, Sen and Zach jumped through the magic barricade, pushing the abomination back with a combined attack, making it stumble and nearly fall over. While the fight was going on, Naxon began unveiling a strange contraption he had brought along using a pulley; however, he required absolute protection during the preparation, so he implored some of the members to shield him from the giant while he worked with his machine.

"Excuse me, Raas'Dor, Svenn, would you mind covering me for just a few minutes, this machine could change the outcome of the battle."

Nodding in agreement, Raas'Dor and Svenn each took to guarding one side of the scientist's invention, vigilantly standing next to it. As the abomination recovered from the blow and got up, it became enraged, striking the ground in anger and nearly squashing Zach, who dodged just at the last moment. Noticing a blind spot, Neothanias spread his dark angel wings and swiftly lunged himself at the giant's neck, plunging his tainted kukri blades deep into its flesh, infesting it with otherworldly corruption which slowly began to wither the monster's organic composition. In response, Byakuren weaved divine threads and impaled them into the wound caused by Neothanias, causing the opposing magic to collide and conflict inside the being's body, creating a smaller explosion which tore a sizeable chunk of its flesh. This instead proved to be a colossal mistake as the corrosive bodily liquids from the explosion were sprayed onto some of the guildmembers, infesting them with deathrot. Blake, Daris Deston, Reyesi and Rosette were the unlucky ones caught by the splash, now suffering from the deadly disease's rapidly developing symptoms. The sudden sharp pain caused by the infection drove Rosette into a vampiric rage, numbing her sense of self and turning her into an emotionless killing machine. With no regard for her own safety, she let out a mighty warcry and leapt at the monster, draining the blood out of the mass of corpses at the cost of furthering her own stance of infection. With its blood drained to near completion, the monster could barely stand and nearly tipped over, however, Rosette was the one who suffered most damage; she fell from the giant as her life slowly began fading away, but was luckily caught by Elytia.

"Stay with me Rosette, don't you dare die on me now!"

The vampire was nearing toxic shock from the massive amounts of bacteria and toxins present within her body, she could die at any second. Elytia rushed towards her sister with the injured girl in her hands, begging her to save her life at any cost.

"Lytiana, please, you have to heal her, she's seconds away from dying!"

Meanwhile, the abomination was still struggling to stand and in this moment of weakness, Soundless Whisper struck. They conjured a mass of dark, shadowy tendrils which latched onto the giant and pulled on its knees, entrapping it within their grasp. Naxon had already finished setting up his machine, a prototype gamma ray cannon he had managed to engineer using the limited resources he was supplied with. Carefully aiming the shot, he yelled for his allies to move out of the way.

"Don't stand in front of the cannon; you'll be fried by the radiation!"

Fully charged, the weapon unleashed a violent burst of pure gamma radiation concentrated at a single point, decimating the giant's body at a cellular level, literally melting away most of the flesh. This was not enough, the monster still continued to trash around, albeit barely even able to move its crippled limbs. Skilled in the arts of necromancy, Anubis approached the struggling abomination and with a single movement of his staff, deanimated the monster by nullifying the active necrotic energy within its body; the deathrot giant was finally defeated.

"Couldn't you do that at like, the beginning?!"

Though he was a well-versed necromancer, Anubis couldn't just defeat the abomination before the battle ensued, his solution could only work when the monster was weakened, not while it was at full strength.

"I am afraid not, it had to be decently worn out in order for my magic to work."

With the giant now reduced to only a mass of fried, rotting flesh and bacteria-infested sludge, the healthy guildmembers quickly took to offering first aid to those most in need. Lytiana managed to fully purge all signs of deathrot from Rosette's system, barely saving her life. Once she was done with the most crucial healthcare, she left the basic tasks to Lia in order for her to learn medicine via practice since she was not yet ready for combat, she would act as the guild's support until she finished her training. Deston, Hestia and Samuel cooked a warm soup for the guildmembers and villagers while their injuries were still being treated; they figured it would be better to journey back to Yunei fully sated. Taking her share of the food, Elytia sat down next to a now healed Reyesi and wrapped her hand around her back, the raiju gently resting her head on the elf's shoulder.

"Hey, are you all right; is your body still in pain?

Although the brief infection with deathrot was gone from her body, she could still feel some side effects, especially on her sore muscles. Even though she herself suffered quite a sum of damage, she still couldn't help but to think about Rosette's close brush with death.

"I've been better; you're looking fine as ever though. I'm more worried about Rosette, that girl really lost her cool, she could've died. It can't go on like this, we need to teach her self-control before she runs out of luck and loses her life."

Elytia knew that Rosette was not to blame for her actions, it was her vampire blood which drove her to such extreme lengths, she just couldn't control her impulses at certain times. In order for her to change and gain control, she would have to receive as much support as possible from the more experienced guildmates.

"She's not the one at fault though; I'd already be giving her a mouthful if that were the case. We should talk to her when she wakes up, it's our responsibility as senior members to help her in any way we can."

Meanwhile, Byakuren was teaching Lia how to close wounds, having natural talent with anything related to strings. He explained the process step by step while demonstrating his teachings on a live subject with a large, open wound on their arm.

"Watch my movements closely, normally such procedures would be finished within a few seconds using either angel or life magic, however this patient has agreed to be used for practice of ordinary medicine. When access to such magic or healing potions is unavailable, you will have to rely on basic first aid instead. To prevent infection, I will apply a dash of my magic after I am finished with stitching the wound; it is sadly nearly the only way to prevent serious side effects."

From afar, Zach had noticed Lia talking to another man and grew a little jealous, so he decided to approach her and try to get her to focus on him instead.

"So, medicine huh? You getting a hang of it?"

Without losing her attention on Byakuren's medical example, she quickly replied to Zach and continued to listen to her teacher's explanation.

"Yes, it feels great to help other people!"

Byakuren was not amused by Zach’s interruptions; Lia was currently in the middle of a precise operation and could not afford to make mistakes.

"Excuse me fellow guildmate Zach, but Lia is currently required to study under my tutelage. You may speak with her once the training is over."

With a silent, concealed sigh, Zach gave up on trying to pester his maid and instead left to grab a bowl of soup for himself, sitting down on a nearby rock and quietly observing her from a distance. By the cooking station, Blake, Deston, Hestia and Samuel had finished preparing the last batch of hot beef soup; they could finally take a breather and eat a meal themselves. Reminiscing on past times, Deston stared at his son and Hestia, Blake's childhood friend; he missed their carefree days when the two would constantly stir trouble together with Velenia and Zach.

"I can't believe how much you two brats have grown up, if you told me where the lot of you would end up in the future, I'd pat your heads and laugh. It won't be long until I become an old, grumpy fart with grey hair and erectile dysfunction, ahahaha."

Ever since they were children, Hestia and the others loved to be entertained by Blake's father; he was easy to make a connection with and had a distinct way with people, being the warm-hearted individual he is. She in particular had fond memories of him, no matter the trouble she caused; he was never disrespectful to her and treated her on equal terms, even though she was considered a lesser race by other members of nobility.

"Hah, you never cease to amuse, if only Zach grew up with a father like you, I think he'd be more of an open person. Maybe Lia can change him though, I can see the way the two look at each other, my guess is it won't be long before they end up sharing the bed. I bet fifty coins on one week, let me hear your predictions."

Being a wealthy nobleman, Deston bet a thousand coins on two weeks, while Blake went out cheaper with thirty coins on three days. To everyone's surprise though, Samuel, who had been listening in on their conversation threw a big bag of coins on the table as well, willing to enter the betting game.

"Five days, one hundred and fifty coins."

After all of the injured were sufficiently taken care of, the guilds prepared to take off back to the city of Yunei, taking the now homeless and penniless villagers along with them.  Urgently, Elytia and Lytiana headed to the citadel in order to report what had transpired in Harge village, there was no knowing when and where the mysterious necromancers would strike next. Velenia welcomed them with open arms and invited them to sit in a private room for a confidential report.

"Welcome back, Rasenwald sisters, I assume your mission was a resounding success. Now, what have you found?

With a serious look on her face, Elytia quickly changed the mood in the entire room, it was apparent that things didn't go as planned beforehand.

"I'm afraid the news are not that good, while we did manage to save at least a third of the village, we uncovered a sinister ploy behind the spreading of deathrot. While administering the cure to the infected, we were ambushed by a group of necromancers who planted the disease in order to lure us out and test their foul experiments on us. They had summoned a giant from merging the corpses scattered around the village and while we didn't have to go all out to defeat it, the monster still managed to exert us to a certain degree and damage some of our members, nearly taking the life of one. If you allow it, we will focus all of our attention on the prevention of future incidents, the necromancers will pay for the crimes they had committed."


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