Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 164: The taller they are the harder they fall

The sky started to darken and the bloodthirsty crew decided to carefully enter one of the buildings. As the city outside everything was empty. Empty hallways, empty rooms, empty doorways, everything lacked signs of human presence. The dark vines and growths that covered the walls were the only thing except for the cold stone walls. It just looked manmade, but might have been a natural structure.

It was important to stay vigilant in such a tight space. If something like the chameleon-thing attacked them, it might be hard to dodge an injury or even a casualty.

Night had fallen outside and everything had gone dark. Seth and the gourmet hunter didn ’t need light, but Alison cast a magic light for herself, Tekar and Puffles. This was the reason Seth had almost missed a dim light in one of the rooms down a corridor when they came upon a crossroad.

He signaled the party to follow him and they slowly went to the room with the dim light. The others could not see this light, but Seth knew exactly what it was.

The rest of the party was surprised to find the desiccated and overgrown skeletal remains of a human. His clothes were dirty and ripped apart but they were recognizable as modern streetwear. At one point this man had worn black jeans and a white button-up shirt.

”This looks really old. He might have died even before the apocalypse. ” Alison suggested.

~Judging by the state of the remains this corpse is at least one year old. ~

Asserted Al, speaking to everyone this time.

”Who said that? ”

”Was that Al ’Zalsa? ”

Al could talk to everyone? So, she just had fun making him look stupid, talking to himself. Seth just nodded at the party ’s questions; he was occupied.

Above the ribcage of the remain floated a dim blue soul.

It was his first time seeing a ”degraded ” soul. Seth had assumed that there might exist something like this, but… Well, it wasn ’t like he went around looking for souls a lot in the past. He was grinding for one and the other reason was, that it did not make sense in a world with dungeons.

Dungeons generate anywhere they got a chance to. An old ruin? Dungeon. A big tomb? Dungeon. A giant cave? Dungeon. The problem was that dungeons dissolved any and all corpses in them for sustenance. It made little sense for Seth to go around and look for the souls of fallen heroes or stuff like that.

The souls did not automatically come to him, the reason was:

< Quest: Wanderers Request Difficulty: C You have encountered the Lost souls of a wanderer. On the way back home from work, he was spirited away from his world. Desperately he fought to return. He was a normal person without power but managed to survive in this inhospitable dimension for several months trying to return home. Lastly, he lost not only his way but also his life before he could return home to his sister. Will you help the soul? Requirement: Find the sister and make sure of her wellbeing 0/1 Rewards: Restoration of the Lost Soul(small), Lost Soul(small) >

A short sob-story clip had shown him a short glimpse of the man ’s struggles. Had this happened after the apocalypse…this man could have been among the top few percent. The world was not fair and it became even scarier after finding this dimension…

He accepted the quest since it was not that hard with his connections. Like before the soul vanished. The party was still caught in their own thoughts and what it meant to have found this corpse in this weird place.

Seth had already gotten a bit numb to their own world ’s weirdness after his talk with Simon. Or maybe it was just . Anyway, he crouched down and started looting the corpse and looking for usable stuff.

Ripping away the small roots and plants that had grown on the bones he found a wallet and a moldy little notebook. Seth knew his and the sister ’s name and looks from the vision, but with the wallet, he had all his personal information.

The notebook was a diary that started sometime after he arrived in this world. The vision he had seen was more or less a summary of this book.

This person had actually managed to survive in this world, he hunted these creatures with traps to cripple them and then overcame his disgust to cut off and eat their flesh while they were still alive. This guy had survived like that and wandered around the city for months to find a way back.

Seth flipped through the pages and skimmed through the text and suddenly stopped at a specific entry. It was one of the last entries…

”… Today I saw people in the city. I almost couldn ’t believe what I saw. They were three people of unurthly beauty and they rode on giant white horses through the streets. All of them had a halo and seemed to emit light in this disgusting thick fog.

Two of them wore luxuriant medieval armor and weapons. The third wore a gorgeous dress and surpassed the other two in beauty. Her fair skin was like porcelain and her flaxen hair like golden threats. I was spellbound and could move as they passed me.

They spoke with each other in melodious language and their velvety voices healed my soul. Just thinking back at the encounter warms my heart. I followed them and found that they camp on one of the squares. Maybe they know a way back. I will observe for a bit longer and maybe approach them. ”

Seth had a bad feeling about this. The next few entries were about him observing them and describing them with a flowery vocabulary. The second to last entry mentioned that he planned to approach them. Looking at the corpse before him, this encounter probably did not go well…

”I feel so weak. I feel so hungry. My skin is… My blood is… I should not have approached them. I don ’t think I will survive this. I ’m sorry Eeva. Brother won ’t come home. ”

This was the last entry; written with chaotic handwriting on a page somewhere in-between the empty ones in the back of the notebook. He had a lump in his throat. When he let the others read Link had a similar reaction. Tekar had wet eyes and Alison outright cried a little.

They decided to camp in this room tonight. None of them felt awkward because of the skeleton, they all felt like lending this brave man some company, even so, he was already dead.

”We should look for his sister and tell her about his fate, ” Tekar said resolutely.

Link looked confused but Alison nodded approvingly. Without the Quest, Seth might not have agreed with them, but like this, he was happy about the chance of getting some free help.

”Sure, I planned to ask the Church to look into it. Maybe I could even ask the SDD about all this. ”

They made a fire and talked a little more while eating some of their rations. They decided to sleep in shifts and Alison went ahead and closed the doorway with a stone wall, an earth spell.

The night was uneventful. Except for some unsettling loud thumps in the distance that is.

They were more or less well-rested in the morning. There thumps in the distance had become louder.

”Seth! You should come and see this! ”

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