Hello, my fellow readers, my name is Deon, the greatest hero of our generation. I am the man who managed to defeat a mighty golem by himself with no help what so ever. My glorious, magnificent light blinded even the mighty Zero. Naturally, someone with light like mine needs a lot of rest, but that sadly was not the case on this particular morning. I wake up to the sound of a slap to the face. As I pull down my sleeping mask to gaze upon a truly disgusting sight. I saw the woman called Lunaire in her umbrage attire along with the other commoners.
"Good morning your majesty. I hope you've been enjoying your beauty sleep but you have 15 minutes to get ready were heading out, "she said cynically.
Unfortunately, not even the depths of slumber could help alleviate me from my situation. For you see my dear readers, I have unfortunately been paired up with a series of commoners. Mai, Aphele, Brandon and worst of all Lunaire: all people that couldn't hope to shine as brightly as me. For the past 3 days the government has given us our rooms at Terra's biggest hotel company Nirvana in the spirit province(basically magic Hilton). In a matter of days, we were to be shipped out to Beterano (a veteran in Filipino) in the spirit province. To help out injured specialist and give supplies after frequent attacks by goblins. It is not the grandest first escapade I have worked on, but every book deserves its first chapter (or fourth if I'm meta about it).
As soon as I take a quick bath my "teammates" had a plate of small fruit and bacon with my standard attire and my clothes were all packed. I was surprised that they had done that for me. For the past few days, they have been pretty open about their negative feelings toward me. They have said often that I was "prideful" and "stuck up" me! How could they say this to someone who shines above all! Who's light will brighten up the family name into the realm of legend! One cannot be prideful if you have the fabulous skills to back it up. Still, I thank my new comrades for the act of kindness. It was a noble gesture.
It doesn't take long for us to pile into a set of trucks as we head toward Beterano. While we were seated, I decided to take advantage of the time and do my classes. Usually, specialists are required to take at least two years of classes and training. Naturally, due to the state of the war, we didn't have that. Instead, our archives are programmed with numerous online courses and lessons that we have to complete in a couple of weeks or else we will be forced to take a make-up exam or punishment.
Follow that and our rank as rookies we are given menial tasks as such as this to support in the war.
Ever now and again I would catch a glimmer of what my teammates are doing. Brandon would be watching martial art movies, Lunaire reading a book, Aphele reading battle strategies and Mai merely playing on a game. When we finally managed to reach it, we finally see the town. It was a vast pile of salamandrian droppings. Vast multitudes of the building were in complete rubble. Men and women all over were working themselves in tattered clothing. Nurses and doctors were seemingly everywhere. It looked as if the place had gotten attacked numerous times. As we walked to the town square, a surprising person greeted us.
In Terra the relationship between monsters and humans are rocky the say the least. However, Elementals made many strives, and we are officially on relatively good terms though cohesion is very troublesome right now. The reason why I am saying all this now is because I'm staring down the face of a giant. Giants were often a secluded race, so it was always rare to find one. Especially monster specialists. He was 15 feet tall with the typical gray rocky skin and a mostly humanoid face with a bald head. He carried a massive hammer with himself and had a massive smile on his face. A couple of Officer specialist surrounded him.
"Hello, specialists my name is Specialist Officer Dwarf! I'm sorry if all of you can't hear me. I've been known to be very SOFT SPOKEN!"
His voice boomed with every word. I covered my ears as he continued.
"Anyway's welcome to the town of Beterano! If you're looking for hard work, then this is the place. As you must already know Beterano has been a haven for many traveling and injured specialists ever since the war started. However, the goblins and their king, Vicioso (vicious in Spanish) have attacked this place constantly. They've stolen resources, injured and caused collateral damage. The people here have been working hard day in and day out to keep things orderly. BUT EVERYTHING IS A-OKAY NOW! CAUSE YOU'RE HERE TO HELP!"
The next few hours I can only describe are pure hell. The very little manual labor I have done around the house I always found trivial. Throughout the day I had done seemingly meaningless tasks across town. I was delivering supplies, helping reconstruction and preparing food. All the while "it" finally happened once again. As the day went on my breathing turned ragged, my muscles weak, my vision blurred. One of my fellow workers told me to take a breather.
I fall on to my bed as I try almost with all my might to calm myself as every heartbeat felt like thunder in my ears. I then decide to use a trick I picked up ever since I was a little boy. My body sparked with lighting, and my heart soon slowed down to normalcy. In the back of my mind, I was damning myself for letting it happen again. You see dear readers for me to tell you of my story I must say to you of life in the Light province. You see since the beginning the light province has had a clear upper and lower class. That specific upper class is known for its obsession with purity. So much, that inbreeding was away to in their mind make stronger children.
Naturally, such a process created a backlash amongst the family. "We" were no different. My sister and I might have been born minutes from each other, but our fates couldn't be more different. My sister Luma was born with MDD (mana deficiency disorder), and over time it was revealed that she couldn't walk while I showed the light element. My parents made it clear after this discovery that they viewed her as a failure and sent her to a house far from me while they groomed me to be their shining star. I only see her on certain holidays. Dozens of teachers trained me to my very limits to master the light element. They wanted me to bring money, fame, and glory beyond compare to them. However, their star sadly wasn't perfect. By the time I had turned 8, however, I had discovered that my notoriously weak body was born with a soft heart. I can't exert myself too much or else I could end up dying.
Year after year since that discovery was to make sure that I could cover up my grand weakness. I was thankful I managed to get the lighting element to further make up for my physical limitations. Not a day that goes by that I don't think about what would happen if they find out — the words they would say.
"Failure, mongrel, wastes of chromosomes, we should've left you like your pitiful sister."
Every time I thought about it, I would paralyze with fear. I knew the instant they found out they would discard me just like my sister. A weakling, failure and mistake and there are no mistakes in the light province. In a couple of minutes, my body becomes situated as I hear a knocking on my door.
"Hello? Deon? Are you okay? Lunaire said you had come in here and that you didn't feel so good," said Mai.
I could hear the concern in her voice, but I knew I couldn't reveal the secret to her either. If I show any weakness, I knew that I would be a lesser being in their eyes and I couldn't have that. I opened the door not finished with my treatment, and I put on a fake facade as I smile.
"Sorry just needed to re-fix my hair. You have no idea how hard it is to have hair this gorgeous. Thank you for asking though Mai. I appreciate it a lot."
Her face was still very concerned but thankfully the best interruption I could ask for soon came. A vast panic could be heard from outside of our room. We ran out to see that an army of goblins was invading our town. The streets were turning green as I saw the monsters terrorizing the innocent. Along with the running citizens, I saw an army of green humanoid creatures with yellow eyes and bald heads and were about 8 feet tall. Each of them was in standard cloths, and armor in various places. They all carried different weapons including rifles. I focus on the guns as I managed to summon a series of barriers to separate the goblins and humans.
They quickly realized I set up the shield. In seconds I feel a barrage of blaster fire that immediately leaves me on my knees. Damn it I wish I didn't have to do this after my "treatment"! I managed to open minute holes in the barrier in front of me to fire a couple of beams, some of them were effective, but others only briefly stunned them. The strain was starting to be too much on my body.
"Deon please let me fight you don't have to do this alone!"
"I've got this! Besides, people still need to escape!"
Thankfully that was when help arrived. In an instant Lunaire appeared as tendrils of shadow disarmed ten goblins. Brandon looked in seconds managed to deal blows that quickly make them crumble swiftly. Aphele rockets in with his left arm covered in a primitive vambrace made of metal. He manages to punch back three goblins on his entry point. I hear the clank of a sword passes by the brace as he takes it and hits him with his flame-covered right hand. With the help of Lunaire and Brandon, they proceeded to make a metaphorical buffer between the humans and goblins. Mai in haste managed to use a blast of water to set me on top a building with a couple of bystanders who managed to be saved by others.
"Stay here Deon; I'll be back as soon as this mess is over."
Mai soon jumped down to join the battle. Seeing the 4 of them stand there like that made them look radiant. They shined far brighter than I ever had in my life. Still, it was for every one of them they had ten as the goblins quickly grouped they all grew looks of fear on their faces. Suddenly I saw about ten goblins are thrown all over the place. I felt a particularly massive surge of mana as Dwarf and a group of specialist came in. Almost like it was routine, the other specialists let Dwarf have the floor.
"Listen up you thieving goblins! I've said this before, and I will repeat it. Even if we are weak, you will never take this town as long as there is breath in our bodies! And you can tell Vicioso that when I send you back to him in casts. Now specialists, charge!"
The next few minutes are something I've seen in news articles and videos but on a completely different scale. Numerous specialists managed to do impressive feats. Spear of darkness, large pieces of earth and huge vines completely overpowered the goblins. Dwarf was even more impressive. With a hammer that was nearly his size, Dwarf twisted it like a hurricane, and in a couple of seconds, he defeated large groups of goblins in an instant.
The goblins started to retreat, but one cocky one carried a larger canon. It charged up until it fired a ball of pure energy that speeds right towards Dwarf while defeating a goblin. On instinct, he swings the hammer and manages to redirect the blast, but it's now on a one-way course towards the bystanders near me. A little boy was standing in fear, and in a moment my body moved on its own. I summoned the most substantial barrier I could while guarding the boy with my back. However, the tax was too much on my body as the beam exploded and everything turned to black.
In the hazy ether, I'm only bombarded with the sounds of my parents. A recent memory was revealed from the recesses of my mind. Day in and day out I remember that my parents would make me repeat this mantra with my family.
"Tell me, Deon, what is the element that you wield," said my mother.
"Light the element of purity," I said back.
"And the purpose of this element?"
"To purify a world of sin."
"What is the duty of those who carry this element?"
"To shine above all and become a paragon in a land beneath them," my father said coldly.
"And what cannot be accepted amongst our creed? "
"No weakness, no failure ever."
There was no teary goodbye or good luck after that. I only left with a weight on my shoulders. I wake up in a cold sweat only to find myself on a hospital bed amongst many others. All were men and women of all ages in cast and bandages. I see that my left arm in a sling and cast while a tired woman sat in a chair as the moonlight peered on her sweat browed face. She had dark green hair that followed her green eyes. She looked towards me and quickly relief took her face.
"Thank, Terra I did not want to lose another person."
She then motioned out of the room and in a minute Aphele and Mai come in to see me. They both looked tired but relieved.
"We thought you wouldn't make it it's been two days since the attack. I'm glad you're all right," Aphele said.
My mind finally collected essential thoughts, and I asked a question.
"How many people survived the attack?"
Aphele's expression darkened and soon silence more deafening then thunder took place.
"The attack was a two-pronged attack. The goblins managed to steal all the supplies that we came here in trucks and all. They also injured and killed several people. Twenty-five cadet specialists are dead along with 100 civilians," he said shaking with emotion.
The news made my skin crawl and my nostrils flare. I was angry at the goblins but mostly myself. In my youth, I remember that certain people weren't born with as much wealth as me but only now do I realize how blind I was to the plight of others. How can I be so selfish when others are dying all around me? Later on, I couldn't get the thoughts out of my head. It dragged on until a day then I thought of the stupid idea but one that could work to turn this tragedy into triumph.
In the dead of night, I decided to leave my bed towards the "Forest of the trial." As I said at the beginning of this tale monster human relationships have been rocky for decades. The nature province had no doubt friendliest relations, but the spirit province quickly had the worst. The most aggressive animalistic and humanoid monsters live here. The forest was originally a place where specialists would train their minds and bodies. However, when the war happened the goblins took over like a plague and the forces were put under lockdown as a warning to all specialists. Higher tier specialists and elementals have been too busy to help out what the goblins lack in overall power they more than make up for pure numbers.
So why would I be willing to go to the territory of such scoundrels, scavengers and thieves? Because maybe in this situation there needs someone brave and foolish enough to find chinks in this unstoppable force. Or instead, shine some light on them. As I make my way deeper into the forest, I envelop myself in light to turn myself invisible with the intent of spying on the goblins and seeing the full strength of their resources available to them. Carefully I venture on into the wilderness. The deeper I went, the more amazing I saw on patrol. Even with my invisibility on I still tried my best not to be noticed (and you can only imagine how hard that must've been for me). I tried to hide amongst the flora to mask my smell.
Then I saw a sight that terrified me. I saw an enormous camp filled with hundreds of goblins living in tents. They were enjoying themselves in the spoils of their victory. They showed off clothes and food they stole and prided themselves on their pillaging like it's some conquest. I sadly had to take pictures of this disgusting spectacle. Still, I didn't see any of the trucks. Then I saw that the settlement had a cave not far off that was well lit. I carefully move into the cave where I do see the trucks. I took pictures and sent them to my team as I moved on ever further to see if they're more impressive weaponry. Then I saw "it."
About 80 years ago Terra was under an age of blood called the Grand war. It shook Terra to its very core, and the Mystic province with its advanced technology made a weapon that haunts us to this day. The legends called it the Ravagers. From the books, I know that Ravagers are long-range mobile canons that run off of the trademark energy source etherium but put into unstable, uncontrolled levels Resulting in a blast that utterly vaporizes everything in an 8km radius. The books say that only seven were ever made, but all were supposedly destroyed when the elementals took to power.
I eventually managed to get a full view of the Ravager. It looked like a silver tank but more significant with a laser that was about 16-meter long cannon that was the size of over two buses in a line. As I gazed upon this large weapon, I saw a couple of goblins that were arguing about the mechanisms of the machine with a couple of armed guards. They both were talking in shrill tones.
"I'm telling you the etherium generator should run on my ion theory!"
Listen here club for brains, and I'm telling you that if the generator runs on my flux theory, this will be up and running in 48 hours! If you still think I'm wrong, then we can both take it up with Vicioso the better. "
It was then I realize that Terra was smiling on my face. If these two were working on the machine, I wasn't too late to sabotage it and prevent further disaster. I was about to go off there, but then I hear the cocking of a gun. I barely was able to put up a barrier with my right hand to block the blast.
"I knew I smelled a little human lurking about."
Before he could say any more I shower him with light blasts and decide to throw strategy out the proverbial window. I barely managed to use my light beam to steady myself as I make my way toward the Ravager. I landed right next to the two scientists.
"I'm so sorry filthy ne'er-do-wells but it looks likes all your hard work is about to go to waste," I said with yellow electricity buzzing off me.
I fire a blast of lighting at the machine and try using the same technique I used on myself. I can hear the Ravager hum and buzzed but soon hear it spark and sputter. I got excited and hoped I could destroy the machine, but sadly I'm hit with a ball that quickly wraps around me like thick cement. I hate anti specialist tech. I saw that the goblins were about to gain up on me, but then a high pitched whistle instantly posed them to stand in position.
Suddenly a surge of mana started to approach me. The voice then boomed across the cave and motioned
"Bring this pest to my throne room," the voice said.
The towering figure dragged me out of the cave and into the forest and then go into a large tent. He rolled me straight onto my side so I can see him in all of his glory, for this was Vicioso, The Goblin King. To add to his already menacing aura, he was 11ft tall with a golden crown, which was followed by dark green, gold-oriented armor, and emerald cape. He managed to make it all work with a determined grin. He stomped his boot over my chest.
"We aren't kind to little spies invading our territory. Speak now little bug before I steal the only thing you have left. Your life," he said with slimy greed and terror.
Then again though I've dealt with fear and anxiety. So I did what I've always done when I have doubts, talk myself up. A prideful smile took over my face as I quickly strung a narrative for myself while remembering there is one rule that all goblins must follow.
"I've come here by myself Vicioso. The people of Beterano have asked me to get rid of you, and I will carry out that order. For I challenge you to a trial by combat."
Most monsters have a trial by combat to determine the leader of a race and goblins are no different. Most are duty bound to accept, but goblins are not usually bound by honor. Plus inter-species trials are rarely unheard of. Still, it was my best move. Vicioso looked at me and laughed while picking me up.
"You are either very brave or very foolish, but then again I am always happy to reassert my authority over my subordinates."
He carried me to an open field of grass surrounded by trees. He threw me a couple of feet. A couple of goblins stood over me and released me from my bindings. In that time a group of goblins completely enclosed me. I also measured were about 6 meters away from one another. All were waiting in silence with guns raised. I've always wanted to perform for once it was at my determinant. It was night, and I was down an arm. My only hope for survival was if I landed him with my joy buzzer and kept on wailing him. But even that would require me to get close so that could be out of reach as well. The goblins erupted in complete ecstasy as their leader motioned on.
His mana started to flare up into something fierce like a controlled storm. His composure turned completely rigged and imposing like a king surveying his kingdom. And that angered me all the more that I thought that. Vicioso is only a king of thieves sitting on a thrown of the riches of others. He didn't deserve that title. The only thing he deserves is justice for his actions. My hand tightened.
"Tell me a little rat, what is your name? I would like to know the name of my future corpse," he said calmly.
Again I put on my facade so that I may answer in kind.
"The name is Deon thief. I am the man who sparkles with every movement and shines above all, and your reign ends here."
"No, it will not little rat. You've only stopped the inevitable and when the town of Beterano turns into a clump of ash. I will forever have a place amongst the Forbidden One's army!"
"We'll see about that."
"Yes, we shall, Deon."
He pulled out a light brown branch that was about 61 centimeters long.
"Make the first move Deon. I like to put my people on a show."
"Same here Vicioso and this show will be plenty special."
In an instant, my adrenaline let loose. I make two light decoys and enact Plan 11 out of 102. I shine a bright light on Vicioso to distract him. One of my decoys ran at full speed towards Vicioso with every volt of lighting being condensed in his free hand. My other clone summoned a set of force fields to lift him further into the sky. Then finally with yellow lighting concentrated in his hand and uses to invoke a variant of my joy buzzer. Volt Shredder! The lightning forms a short burst that makes slashes across the plains and burns the ground. However, that was merely half of my grand plan. The decoy that set up the shields created another set specifically to my project. I let loose my desperation in a humongous blast of light. The blast gets condensed into the shield again and again until it gets released into a thin, sharp beam of light.
A bright light gets shown across the battlefield followed by a wave of force. My body lay down on the ground tired and heaving. That combo that I used plus the mana I used up to this point I guess I was about 40% left in me. Still, I could hear my heart started to race, but it was nothing that I couldn't maintain. However, my victory was short lived for only a second as a voice boomed.
"15 years. That was how long it took for me to get this branch of the Grand tree Yggdrasil of the nature province! It took me a further five years to master this small branch so that I may ascend above the ranks and gain additional power. There hasn't been a day in my life where I haven't had to take and work from the very bottom to survive. You call me a thief Deon, but I still had the will to make this power mine and mine alone. Now gaze upon the results of someone who had to rise above the shackles that were placed upon him since birth. Gaze upon the ultimate defense! Yggdrasil inventory Forest Garb!
As my face rose up, I saw a terrifying sight. Vicioso had his entire body in a wooden armor with small almost minuscule scratches and nicks from my attacks. All of it was rounded off in a multiple oak leaf symbol on his waist, shoulders and knee pads. I knew it was all over as I realized that now with his body covered I couldn't hit him with the joy buzzer. This was the end. Vicioso still moved on.
"Do not despair, Deon, if it weren't for my automatic, absolute armor, I would not have survived. So I will grant you at least one honor. You will have a grander death than most of my other opponents."
He then shot a tendril down into the ground as he soon latched on to mean pulled me through the field and raised me 30 feet in the air! Before the tendril grabbed me, I had summoned my total defense. My lighting fence covered me in an electric aura that helps resist the damage I would have taken. However int the air I knew what was coming as I dropped the fence as I summon a multitude of shields beneath me. Vicioso slammed me through all of those barriers into the ground below! My vision gets blurred, my ears were ringing, and my brain did a little jig inside my skull, blood streamed from my wounds. I couldn't move as I saw the faint footsteps of Vicioso as he approached closer. In silence, he turned his armor into a blade. He raised it to me, as he was about to stand up. The paralyzing chill of death gripped my body. Still the, ough the fear I accepted it with only one regret. That I failed without even getting to shine once and abandoned everything. My weak light was gone before it also started.
Before Vicioso could finish me off a giant ball of wind out of nowhere greeted him. His sword was barely able to turn it into a shield before the explosion of wind blew him back. Immediately after that, I hear the sound of a hammer hit the soft flesh of goblins. Mai's face appeared over mine as she carried me to Dwarf.
"I got him!"
"Okay, let's go," he said.
We jumped on top of his hammer as Dwarf lifted it with all of his might. I could feel that after the last possible second Mai with a wild surge of mana lets out a ridiculous gust of wind that sends us up 40 feet up. We soared across the sky at a breakneck pace soaring through the night sky with the faint sound of a massive explosion. In minutes we land in a heap as I realized we managed to make to the outskirts of Beterano. She was amazing. I've never seen someone pull that off before at our rank. I struggled slowly to get up as I started to apologize.
"Thank you, M-"
I couldn't even finish as she slapped me.
"What the hell is wrong with you Deon? What is the actual hell happened in your tiny minuscule brain to think you could do what you did? Do you have a death wish or something?"
"I'm sorry but I -"
"No, don't. I'm too mad and stressed for you right now let's hope that you found what you were looking for."
I guess the shock of the event finally got to me. I realized the true scope of my failure. I failed to save and protect others. I was unable to see past my pride and selfishness. And I even messed up the one thing that I didn't even realize until it slapped me in the face — friends who truly cared about me more than my families pride. And they even bothered more about me than even myself. As I lay down on my hospital bed, I decided to ask a question. In my effort to shine above all will I only fade out into nothingness as I continue the path I'm taking? And if that's true what route do I have to decide if everything I've ever known is wrong? What indeed is the way that one takes to achieve the future they seek?