Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 105: What they did not say (2)

The floor started vibrating and Seth woke up. The hall was dark and the only light came from the burned-down campfires. What happened to the magic lanterns? He saw two glinting eyes beside him. Mina was also awake. A cat-type beastman assassin had an impressive perception. Mike was also awake.

”What´s going on? ” Seth whispered to Mina.

”I have no idea. I woke up when the lights suddenly went off. Then the ground started vibrating and you woke up. ”

They woke the rest of the party and equipped their items. Something was going on. Slowly the rest of the caravan got into motion as the vibration got stronger. But before people could cast light or ignite a torch a massive rumbling filled the cave and painfilled screams echoed in the darkness.

In a panic, priests started casting light spells illuminating hideous beasts that had broken through the walls and floors of the hall. Elongated reptilian heads with terrible teeth strutting from their jaws and 2 empty pairs of eye-sockets. The scaley skin was pale and desiccated.

”Drakes!? ” some adventurer exclaimed hysterically.

A drake was a relative of dragons like the wyverns. They had no wings but were terrible enemies on the ground. The things that had emerged looked similar but-

”No! No Drakes, but what- kyaa! ” before anyone could react appropriately the creatures started a massacre. The long terrible claws kept ripping into the closest adventurers. Visible in the light, were more places where the walls and floor started to crumble away.

”We have to get out! ” Mike said and they sprinted out of the exit. They were not the only ones who thought of getting out. They passed the entrance just in time before it was blocked by the mass of people trying to get out all at once. All thoughts of formations or fighting had vanished as they tried to flee. Behind them, in the cave, the A-and B-Rank parties were fighting the drake like monsters.

Before the people could all leave the cave one of the creatures dived in the crowd, reaping blood and lives causing even more chaos. Some who got out formed a formation outside the cave but it broke down when the panic-stricken crowd rushed out! The examiners did their best, but there were simply too many monsters to stop them from chasing the fleeing people. The narrows space was filled with the screams of people, sounds of fighting, and the reptilian roars and screams of the beasts.

Seth and his party stopped at the edge of the gorge and felt conflicted. They watched others just run past them, out into the night without looking back. It was not that easy for them. The blacksmith with night vision did not see any of the wyverns at the edges of the gorge, but it didn´t mean that they were not there. Others might be able to just run out of the gorge but they had killed one of the wyverns. The lizards might be waiting for them to come out and kill them the moment they left safety. There was no way they could fight that old wyvern.

The screams behind them made them look back. Several of the monsters had finally squeezed through the entrance and out into the narrow gorge. Instead of chasing anyone, they started to voraciously devour the dead and incapacitated adventurers around them. More tried to squeeze past their preoccupied comrades from inside and gave chase after getting out…

They waited close to the exit of the chasm, so they had some distance and time to evaluate their situation. Seth now finally found the chance to use on the creature, while they were occupied with feeding on the corpses of their victims and squeezing out from inside the cave.

” Bloodslave!? Like those things in the dungeon? ” Seth thought when he read the name. How was this possible? And more importantly, if these were like the creature in the crypt, then they were far stronger than their displayed level suggested. As if it was not bad enough, that high-level drakes attacked. They were also some kind of buffed unholy creatures!

”Let´s run. ” Seth suddenly suggested.

”Run? Why? We are easy prey for the wyverns out there, we might have a chance against- ”

”Try checking the stats of these things. ” Seth interrupted Mike.

None of them had a more reliable appraisal skill than to check enemies, but since other members were at a higher level than Seth, they were able to see more than just the name. They were just used to jug by level and had not bothered to read much further before.

When they took the time to check the stats of the drakes their faces paled. A Drake was already a beast that needed a C-Rank party working together to kill it. These bloodslaves had the status condition ”Bloodslave ” which increased all their basic attributes by 50% and ”Enraged ”, which increased their attack by another 25%.

With upset hissing and snarling the mass of drake beasts pressed past their brethren occupied with the easy prey and started sprinting along the gorge towards both exits to give chase.

”Yeah, we should run. Hurry! ” everyone agreed and slipped out of the gorge into the night. It had been a long time since Seth got to use to hide his presence. Unlike the people before them, they were not in a total panic, so everyone activated some kind of skill to hide their presence and sneaked out into the night. Mina excelled as an assassin and completely vanished in the dark of the night. Seth could not even see her with night vision.

As fast and as stealthy as they could they gained distance to the gorge where now a steady stream of transformed drakes was flooding out from. Only Seth saw this and he refrained from telling the others. The party was tense hearing the herd of beasts running, trampling, and searching for more prey. They were better off not knowing how many beasts inhabited the darkness of the night.

That was until the beasts also started to break out from the steep cliff they had been following until now, very close behind them at that.

”Fuck! Hurry guys! They are closing in! ” he called out. There was no more time for stealth as the fell into a sprint to get away. What did it matter whether the wyvern noticed them, if they died to those weird drakes anyways?

”I found a place to hide. It ’s not far! ” a sudden voice made their hearts jump. It was Mina who had appeared among them. She had been scouting the area in front. She led them, following the foot of the cliff.

”Here! We have to climb. There is a crevice up there where we can hide! ” she said after stopping.

This was better than nothing. Even if those creatures could tunnel through rock, maybe they would not find them up there. Outrunning them was not an option anyways. They hurriedly climbed up the steep rock wall. Just like Mina had said, there was a tiny ledge and a crevice where they could squeeze through.

The tight entrance led to a short natural cave where they would be able to hide for now. Outside the sound of the drakes galloping through the rocky valley changed. Instead of the thumping of the herd and the occasional screams, there were sounds of fighting. As if the drakes were fighting someone. Had the examiners finally managed to leave the cave and take control of the situation?

Seth wanted to look outside, but Mina was a little faster. But she promptly jumped back into the cave when they heard a massive roar. One of the drakes had seen her and actually jumped the whole way up to the ledge! With its claws digging into the stone of the cave ’s floor it was clinging to the ledge. Despite looking pale and gaunt from afar, the sinewy muscles and broad shoulders were still too wide to enter their little hidey-hole.

It snarled and hissed at them as it tried to squeeze it. Its hot humid breath reeking of decay filled cave and made Lixiss feel nauseous. The two pairs of empty eyes sockets still seemed to greedily look at the prey. After the initial surprise, Seth was the first to regain his composure. He swiftly used this chance and smacked the drake with Charon´s Obol. The mighty swing crushed the snout with a disgusting crunch and a splatter of coagulated blood and dark goo. It almost made Seth puke, but it had the desired effect. The creature was stunned for a moment, lost its hold, and fell off the ledge.

This must have been how Fin had felt, covered in kraken mush. Seth already really missed his spear; with more range, he would not have been hit by a wave of icky stuff. No kill notification meant the thing was still alive.

The party was still occupied with processing what Seth had just done when he added an unknown shield on top of the unknown weapon he had never used before. The shield was nothing special. Fitting to his armor, it was a medium-sized kite shield made of a wooden base covered with plates forged from several snake ribs. It was on the heavier side but had a good defense.

Equipped with hammer and shield Seth drew nearer to the entrance. He heard chaotic fighting noises from the outside, lots of reptilian roars and screams, but before he could get a glimpse, he had to block a smashed snout coming for his torso. It crushed into his shield and pushed him back.

Seth swung his hammer again aiming to crush the skull this time! And the drake vanished. No with a puff of smoke but with a yank. Screaming, with its claws digging into the floor it was suddenly pulled back, away from the cave and up in the air.

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