Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 146: Outpost

”The life lights of four followers have been extinguished. What should we do? ”

Asked one of the two figures in dark robes. They stood in a wide hall with a vaulted ceiling and no windows. The walls were covered in a moist red growth, like membrane and blood vessels. Here and there were lights glowing at the ends or crossings of these vessels. Some were bright, some became dim and just now 4 had been extinguished.

”What do you mean extinguished? Speak clearly, man! These lights can ’t be extinguished, if you see some of them dimming, send reinforcement to their location. You ’ve been here long enough to know that. Hah, man. These noobs taking years off my life with their jokes. ”

”Eh, b-but I mean it. Three of them just extinguished and one that had just started flickering also went out. What does that even mean? ”

What did it mean? The lights in this hall represented the condition and connection of all followers of this branch to their apostles. The light being extinguished meant that the follower lost their connection somehow. But how would that happen? They were immortal. Even if their enemy was overwhelmingly strong, even if their bodies were mangled, burned, and buried, they would still stand up again. Death was simply impossible.

”I will have to talk to the high priest. ” he sighed and left the room.

———————-

”So, you are saying a few months after the apocalypse Gods descended onto the world and started handing out blessings? ”

”Yes. ”

”And these Zarkist are the follower of some crazy flesh-god and his apostle? ”

”Exactly. ”

”That ’s crazy. ”

”Yeah, the whole apostle thing is crazy. I heard the gods are watching us for amusement, like some kind of game show. And if they see someone fun, they will lend them part of their powers. Despite creeps like the Zarkists appearing, I would call it a Net profit since many apostles are …ok, I guess. At least they fight on our side most of the time. ”

On their way to the outpost, the magician girl had collected all her confidence and started talking to Seth. He felt slightly bad for them, but he did not dare to take off his armor. He had a bit of uncanny luck when it came to meeting field bosses on Urth.

After some Smalltalk, she calmed down and they talked about what happened after the world went haywire. He didn ’t reveal much about himself and the girl didn ’t dare to ask.

He appreciated hearing news about what happened in Urth in general. He had been stuck in a flood for the most part and didn ’t really have a way to get news. The girl could also only really tell him about City Y, City B, and City D.

These districts were relatively close and were not instantly wiped out by a catastrophe like City A was. The situation afterward sounded quite chaotic at first, but people managed to adapt. This didn ’t mean that survival was easy. Beta and Ypsilon both bordered the sea and had to resist the invasion of a maritime empire on top of the randomly opening portals and dungeons.

Delta, the most central city of Urth and originally seat of the world government was located in the mountain range that split the continent into west and east. They had to deal with the volcanic activities and the constant invasion of demons.

While City Y and City B kept their autonomy, City D swore allegiance to the Chrona Empire to deal with the demon threat and the volcano. Many who did not agree evacuated to the other two districts close by. The Chrona empire made a non-aggression pact with the demons and used magic to calm and control the volcano. Delta was now split between the demons, humans, and the Chrona Empire.

This was not a bad situation if compared to what they were told by refugees from other districts. Allegedly City T, situated on a big sub-continent, was completely overrun by the maritime empire and City G, Gamma, had become a warzone between the followers of Zarkon and some empire of the undead.

Seth was more concerned about the gods at the moment than about the global situation. Was the ”Host of many ” maybe a god? What had Seth done to get that person ’s interest? The girls became slightly concerned when he suddenly fell silent, thinking about this matter.

Seth didn ’t mull long over it, nothing changed. He needed to find a safe place to craft his equipment and maybe he could find a system church in City Y to send his friends a letter and tell them that he was ok. At least he was convinced that he was ok for now.

The gear situation in Urth seemed abysmal. There were even idiots that counted on bone growths and skin-flaps like some animals. The drops were trash, too. The materials were not even uncommon and their inventories only had japtem. Their only worth was their souls.

Wow, he already sounded like a villain or something. He didn ’t really dislike that. Anyway, Seth felt that he had made the right decision to go to Ora to learn. Now he could build a monopoly with high-quality weapons and armor!

”How much further until we reach the outpost? ”

Seth asked because they had been walking for two hours already. This time it was the timid priest girl that finally found her courage to speak.

”N-not far. Just a little more, ” she said with a stutter. They had been leading the way so Seth didn ’t get a chance to see, but it seemed like she was about to cry. Maybe she and that armored guy were in a relationship? Had she been holding back ever since they started walking…?

”By the way, there are surprisingly few monsters on this road. Could there be something very dangerous that keep them away with its presence? ”

The mage girl looked at him confused.

”No? This road is regularly patrolled by adventurers from our cities. Since communications broke down it became important to keep the land routes safe for travel. ”

”Can ’t you send letters via the system church? ”

”Most people lack the money to use that service… And many people distrust that church. Who ensures they don ’t read our mail? ”

Seth nodded. It was already hard for people from the information age to regress to the medieval ages. How were they supposed to trust some foreign organization with their mail and money? They had no way to hold the system church liable IF something happened. Seth had more than enough time to get used to it.

”I understand the distrust, but what do you mean by expensive? Isn ’t it just a few silver coins? ”

The girls almost stumbled.

”Just? Just a few silver coins? ”

He looked at their equipment and remembered the young man. Maybe the people of Urth had a lot harder time making money and that ’s why their equipment was so poor?

”Oh, I ’m sorry. To talk about money in front of poor people… ” he said jokingly with a sardonic smile. It was a shame they could not see it because of the helmet. The two girls blushed and looked away refusing to talk with him. At least he managed to distract the healer girl for a bit.

An hour later they finally reached the outpost. It looked a lot different from what Seth had expected. He had spent over half a year in a fantasy world and had gotten used to stonewalls fortified with magic circles and sigils. Seeing an outpost build like a modern military base with trenches, barbwire and electric fences seemed really alien to him now. Especially when the soldiers wore knight outfits.

The two guards were clad in a mix of plate and mail armor and armed with long spears. All if it was common steel and looked like it was from a low-level apprentice. Seth was not a master yet, but he had become good enough to judge works like this.

The mage girl greeted the guard in a friendly manner, they seemed to know each other. The men flinched when their eyes fell on the almost two-meter-tall black knight that followed. They had expected the amicable young man, but instead, their heart fell seeing this intimidating figure.

The girls showed some kind of paper and explained what had happened and how they met Seth. They were friendly enough to omit what he had done to the Zarkists and their friend. It might be trouble if people knew that he knew how to kill those guys once and for all. It wasn ’t because he cautioned them not to talk about it. No. Though it might be a good advertisement, later on, he didn ’t want the attention until he finished his preparation.

”Can you identify yourself? Do you have any papers on your person that can prove your identity? ”

Papers? Really? Didn ’t they have a status checker or something? How come that a modern world like theirs suddenly felt so much like the boons…? He took off the helmet to show his face and looked into his inventory to find a ”proof of identity ”.

”Does this work? ” he asked and handed the man his adventurer card.

”You are with the adventurer guild? …B-Rank!? S-Seth Smith, is that you? And your class is… ” at first the man was astounded and then a dumb smile floated on his face.

”Yeah, yeah, I ’m Seth Smith. And I am a blacksmith. Haha funny. Now give me back my card, please. ”

What? What had he done this time? Another god or whatever was watching him? Did the ”Host of Many ” host a watch party of his live stream or something? Shouldn ’t god be rare, why did they gather on him… Maybe his aura that attracted field bosses leveled up and now attracted full-fledged gods?

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