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Published at 21st of September 2018 07:37:26 AM
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Chapter 45

Dorian snuck his draconic head over a stone ledge, spying down upon a motley crew of Aethmen, humans, and vampires that were engaged in a battle with a trio of large creatures that appeared to be made of stone . He was far enough away that his slight movement, even with his big head, would be virtually undetectable, especially to a team in the middle of a battle .



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The three stone creatures resembled large bears, standing nearly 3 meters tall . There were four Wizards among the group, three of them sending out floating red spears to strike at the bears, while the fourth stood off to the side, not doing anything visible Dorian could tell . The Wizard did have his hands clasped together, though, a common gesture for a Wizard casting a spell .

'Brown Boulder Bears . Master Class ranking beasts that have no Abilities, but a tough exterior that resembles stone . ' Ausra sounded off in his head, informative as usual .

'Hmm . ' Dorian took a moment to think,

'Should I go help?' He took another moment to look over the data for the bloodline . The defensive strength of his Giant Myyr Dragon scales definitely needed a boost, considering those Master Class leopards had managed to injure him, albeit lightly .

WHOOSH

BOOM

A shockwave rang through the air as a female vampire wearing black leather armor swung a small, stone hammer forward, connecting with the side of one of the towering bears .

The bear was knocked backwards through the air, sailing over a few of the other fighters . Several large cracks were revealed on its rocky exterior as it stumbled up, charging back toward the fray .

He saw another male vampire pull out a long spear out of nowhere, thrashing another one of the bears with ease . Each time his spear collided with the bear, cracks appeared on its rocky exterior and the bear was knocked backwards .

'They seem like they have the situation under control . ' He shrugged . Master Class beasts were not exactly common, but he was sure he'd be able to find other Brown Boulder Bears if he truly wanted to .

'Not my business . '

He turned around and left .

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"Wrap it up, guys!" Rathven bellowed out, his chest heaving . He wiped a sheen of sweat off his forehead, looking down at the corpse of the Brown Boulder Bear .

He, a Grandmaster Class Hunter, only barely managed to break through the bear's tough exterior . For a Master Class beast they were ridiculously difficult to kill .



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"Dolen, gather up all the blood and store it . We'll have to leave the bodies, and it's not like they're worth much anyway . " The meat might be worth something, but with the state they'd left the bodies in, not even a Lord Class Wizard studying Necromantic Magic would be interested in them . The bones would be far too large to transport .

"Yes sir!" One of the four Wizards among his troop said, an eager Sky Class Wizard that specialized in Blood Magic, like most vampires . He was a bit on the younger side, a relatively new addition to his squad .

He sighed as he thought about it . His entire hunting troop had taken several losses in the past couple days . The death of the City Lord had shaken the city, and several battles had broken out between the Palace Lords .

The only reason they had intel on this Golden Apple at all was because of a few pieces of paper Palace Lord Gorth found when looting the remnants of the City Lord's mansion .

Serving a Palace Lord was a luxurious job that guaranteed your future, but it also came with danger .

He turned his focus back to his men, specifically on one Wizard in particular . The only Wizard in the troop that didn't study Blood Magic .

Harmen Gobbel, a human Fate Wizard . He wore a set of grey leather armor that blended him in with the other Hunters in the group, making him appear as if he was just a fighter . He wasn't exactly the bravest of Wizards, but he was the best Fate Wizard serving under Gorth .

"Alright, Harmen . " He nodded at the slightly overweight, blonde-haired man . He pulled out a small, glowing crystal from his Spatial Pouch . It was an artifact created to the specifications Palace Master Gorth had given them, called a Resonance Crystal . According to him, this would send out a wave of energy that would resonate with the Golden Apple .

It had a wide search radius of more than ten thousand meters . It was also extremely expensive, and could only be used once . In addition, anyone relatively near the Resonance Crystal would feel the location of the Golden Apple just as strongly as the person holding the crystal would . It was a flaw that couldn't be resolved . The crystal needed the range in order to successfully find the natural treasure .

Despite the downsides, this was the only realistic way they would find the Golden Apple . Natural treasures emitted practically no aura unless you stood right up next to them, and Gorth didn't know exactly where the fruit was, only that it existed in the deeper region of the Overbal Canyon .

"Do a check on the surroundings before we go . " He ordered . The resonance created by the crystal was obscure, and few beasts would even be able to comprehend it . Only those at the Master Class or above had a chance .

"Cast Fate for any Master Class wild beasts or stronger . Be specific, search for exactly what I said . Also, do a scan for any humanoids at the Master Class or stronger . " Fate was a difficult thing to scan, he was well aware .

"Ma-Master Class wild beasts or stronger, humanoids at the Master Class or stronger, got it . " Harmen nodded, his hands clasping together nervously . A layer of sweat covered the Wizard despite the fact that he did literally nothing in the last combat .

A few moments passed . White light began to shine from Harmen's eyes, magic energy swirling about .

The light gradually faded, and Harmen's eyes returned to normal .

"These were the last of them, Ser Rathven . " His voice was respectful despite them both technically holding the same rank under Gorth . At least the man was respectful, though his cravenness still made Rathven look down on the Fate Wizard .



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"There are no wi-wild beasts or humanoids at the Master Class or higher in the a-area . " He said with a semblance of confidence . His scan of Fate had turned up surprisingly clear results .

Rathven nodded, pleased . They'd been forced to clear out the Brown Boulder Bears they'd found, but so far those were the only challenging beasts they'd faced . They'd seen a single other potential Master Class beast, but it had fled once it saw the size of their party and felt a few Blood Spears sent out by the troop's Blood Wizards .

"Aina . " He called out to his trusted partner, waving her over . The female vampire jogged over . She'd been keeping watch while instructing some of the newer Hunters .

"We're doing it?" Aina's face scrunched up as she looked at the Resonance Crystal nervously, her stone hammers clutched in her hands .

Rathven nodded a second time .

"Everyone, look alive!" They needed to move quickly once they felt the resonance . There would be no time to lose, it would only last for a short while .

He took a deep breath and then crushed the crystal in his hand .

An instant after, an invisible wave of energy blasted out .

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Just as Dorian was getting into his groove, starting to rush away from the battle site, an oddly disorienting feeling swept over him .

He came to a halt, his scaled arms cutting into the stone floor of the canyon as he went on high alert . His eyes darted to the left and right as his giant form trembled, ready to react at a moment's notice .

Nothing happened .

He frowned, taking in his surroundings .

The deeper he traveled into the canyon, the larger and larger the stray or jutting boulders and stones appeared . The path he took was gradually transforming into a maze of large, ten to twenty meter stone blocks, dotting the ground all over . Pale green vegetation grew on many, if not all, of the stones, giving this place an aged, ancient feel .

For some odd reason, he felt a tingling sensation when he looked to the north, further into the recesses of the danger zone . A tugging sensation, as if something he was looking for was located there .



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"How odd…" He muttered, his eyes dilating slightly .

'Ausra? Any ideas on this?' He queried, staring in the direction of the feeling .

'Gathering information from your senses… It appears to be some type of resonance, created by magic . To either a Magic Herb of some sort, an artifact, or a beast . ' Ausra's reply took only a scant second to appear .

"Oh? Alright . " He smiled . All of those options sounded acceptable to him .

He craned his neck behind him, looking in the direction of the group he'd spotted .

There was no way something like this happened out of the blue . It was most likely because of that group behind him, casting some sort of spell .

Still, if they were going to be polite enough to lead him to some rare treasure or beast… who was he to turn them down? Maybe it was his soul twisting Fate that was responsible for this, but, well, he wasn't going to complain .

The worst that would happen was that he'd run into the Solar Rock Lizard, the deadliest creature in the area .

And since that was the whole reason he was here…

Dorian began to barrel forward in the direction of the feeling in his mind . His draconic form leapt from rock to rock, his movements surprisingly fast despite his massive form .

His Giant Myyr Form was definitely slower when it came to quick turns or abrupt movement changes . When it came to overall running speed, however, his huge form made it very easy to pick up a great deal of speed and cover a lot of ground quickly .

As the rocky pillars and boulders grew larger and larger, Dorian began to glide forward after each jump, his green wings shining with the light that managed to pierce the foggy mist way up above .

The feeling became more and more certain the closer he got . It grew to be a powerful sense of knowledge, that something valuable was right in front of him .

By the time he had reached the immediate vicinity where the sensation was coming from, the boulders and pillars of stone now towered forty or fifty meters high, but only half a dozen to a dozen meters thick . They were spread out in haphazard formation, anywhere from ten to forty meters apart, more than enough room for him to slip by .

He stopped in front of a random looking stone boulder, a smaller one that was only twenty five meters high . It stood well above him, but didn't look special compared to the other nearby rocks .

He eyed it curiously . The feeling he sensed had drawn him here .

Not to anything inside the rock formation . But to something underneath it .

He looked at it and then shrugged . There was no point in delaying .

With a grunted growl, Dorian slammed his nearly seven meter tall draconic body into the stone pillar .

CRASH

He had underestimated his own strength . A small explosion of stone shrapnel shot out as the large boulder disintegrated, destroyed by his Giant Myyr Dragon form's crushing strength . He winced as several particularly sharp rocks pinged off his wings, leaving white marks on his scales .

'At least they didn't manage to pierce through them . ' He thought . His defense wasn't entirely worthless .

He moved his claws out in a sweeping motion, knocking away the cluttered rocks and stray shards of stones hat remained . As he did so, the sensation grew just a little bit stronger .

He moved aside several more stones, and the sensation reached a crescendo .

Revealing a pair of softly glowing golden fruits . One glowing with a faint red color, while the other gave off a pale green light . Dorian's eyes lit up with excitement as he saw them . This was almost exactly what he'd hoped and imagined a fantasy treasure would look like .

'Ausra? What are those?'

.

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Author's edit:

POV change indicators will change from " . . " to " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " from now on .

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