Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 17: Old Faithfull

”Wasteland of death here i come? Go f*ck yourself past me! ”

Seth was crouching behind a mount of rubble, hiding from a horde of zombies.

What happened? It was all great when he had just arrived early in the morning! The sun was just peaking over the horizon, shining onto the streets of Deltan, which had become a complete wasteland.

With the sun came an unexpected heat.

The plains had slowly turned into a shallow dried up field of sand the closer he came to the city. There was no presence of humans…or any live to speak of.

The city looked as you would expect it to look after being hit by an earthquake. Seth consumed news only sparsely, so he couldn ’t remember when exactly Deltan was destroyed. Seth was sure, that the city had not been abandoned, at least not before the apocalypse. He could even make out signs of reconstruction.

But now he couldn ’t see a living soul, it looked like a ghost town. Many buildings had crumbled and dry wind blew sand and dust through the ruins of the city.

The streets were covered in broken cars, rubble and debris. Then he heard something. In the shadows away from the sun, in the rubble of a broken building, he could see a silhouette.

There he was! His first undead encounter. It was quite gruesome. The corpse looked like the typical ones you would expect from a movie, just very uncensored. One of it´s eyes had been gauged out and it´s scalp was ripped off the skull. It was dragging it´s intestines along the ground behind it.

What most movies missed were the heaving and squirming of the zombies skin. It oozed fluids and pulsated from the overwhelming amount of maggots.

At least it wasn ’t leaving the shadow he thought. Until it dove at him from the shadow! The moment sun fell on it´s rotting skin, white smoke started rising from the undead.

It wasn ’t a problem. Seth had readied his billhook the moment he saw it and kept observing it the whole time. With a swipe of his weapon he split it´s skull along the empty eye socket.

The experience was ok, maybe he could level up after killing one or two hundred. They were not strong, the bigger problem was how disgusting the spray of zombie juices all around were. He instinctively dodged the splatter, but it still stuck to the billhooks blade.

It wasn ’t him killing a zombie, but him dodging the juices that made it level up!? Sometimes the system was just weird.

Seth had used the morning to explore the desolate city and look for a place to stay. The fatigue was really catching up now !

While searching a good base camp he could finally test the whole reason he had come here to begin with. All over the place were broken ruins made of reinforced concrete. The rebars were poking out from the ruins and rubble, like the bones of an open fracture!

This was what he was after! Grabbing a reinforcement bar he confirmed his theory! With a thought it vanished and appeared in his inventory. Rebar steel was abundant in a modern city! With this he could harvest an unimaginable amount of iron and steel by mining the city!

This was enough steel to easily grind his skills to a high level!

If it had not worked, he would have had to make a pickaxe to harvest the steel. But now he could just pick off all the exposed rebar first!

Dodging and killing zombies on his way he searched for a good place to settle down. All while picking up more rebar.

Finally around noon he chose an intact apartment building he had found. The windows on the first two floor had bars and the entrance doors were thick and sturdy wood. However, it didn´t help the previous residents. These hallways WERE blood splattered and horrible like in a horror movie. Doors were broken left and right. Some from outside and some…from the inside.

Seth also came across some intact doors, were these the safe rooms in this city? Then where were the people? Evenso he was tired, Seth went ahead and checked the building for zombies, after finding none he barricaded the front doors and chose a place that looked still okay.

There were others that looked very…rundown. Most of the places looked rundown and dirty, a lot worse than they should for just a few days. Seth was probably right, the city had not been completely abandoned after the earthquake, but it didn ’t look like the people who stayed had a good time here.

Seth put down his backpack and laid down on a bed you could describe as clean..mostly. Despite his worries he could only give in to the fatigue. He instantly fell asleep.

That ’s where the problem started. Seth actually slept through the whole day and deep into the night, until he was woken up by the wails of the fucking damned!

Shrill cries and deep moans broke the silence of the night and made him jump off the floor. Looking outside he saw a parade of undead filling the streets. The worst sight were the hoards of zombies in all kinds of state of decay. But there were not just zombies.

Above them floated ghosts and specters glowing in a pale blue light and skeletons with eerie bluish green pale flames in their eyes were mixed among them like shepherd dogs. It became more fantastical when he spotted armored undead in dark rusty plate armor and floating skeletonized torsos without hips or leg, wearing dilapidated robes.

Seth did not dare to use observe on any of them, so he could only guess, that those were skeleton wizards and death knights!

”Fuck me… ”, Seth lamented about the fantasy elements. Then a terrifying thought struck him. Could they see the aura of living beings? Couldn ’t undead normally see stuff like that?! Would they see him up here, if they looked in his direction?

The young man had jinxed it. Just in this moment a skeleton soldier turned the head around and it´s pale flaming eyes met with Seth´s.

”Aww, shit! ”

Seth fell back from the window and snatched his backpack in a hurry. He charged out of the apartment and up the stairs. The streets below were filled with undead, there was no way he would go down there. There was still a small chance the skeleton had not seen him, right?

The roof was his best chance. Worst case scenario and they send something after him, maybe he could jump to the neighboring rooftops to keep running.

Heavily panting he finally reached the rooftop. Or what was left of it. Part of the roof had collapsed and he had to switched from stairs to debris while climbing up. Close to the rooftop Seth sat down and kept observing the junction where they stairs transitioned into debris. He took care not to be easily spotted from that junction and have a way up to the rooftop for his escape.

The building had about five stories. Even with the barricaded front door, it would not take too long for a group of undead to catch up. In the meantime he tried to hide himself as much as possible.

The waiting started to gnaw at him.

He nervously tried to think of a way to improve his situation. If only he had a skill to- suddenly he thought of the way the priest had told him to obtain . Seth started trying to manipulate his magic power. When he tried to pull in the flow of magic power –

Seth´s eyes lit up! This was perfect timing, it had actually worked! Looking at the skill in the Skill Window, Seth found out that it could faintly conceal his presence. It would use up mana over time and he could toggle it on and off. of course he activated it immediately.

Not a moment too late! the undead had actually noticed him and had send a group of zombies.

And that is how we got here.

The stairs were filled with stumbling and staggering corpses in all kinds of terrifying states. Discharging all kinds of growls and moans the climbed the stairs. These Zombies were a little different from the ones he saw during the day. They had the same flames as the skeleton burning in their eyes.

Seth didn ’t know whether the had worked. What he had not seen was that the Zombies hat actually rushed up the stairs a lot faster and came to a confused hold close to the rooftop. How ever they knew that he was up there, it was disabled by the skill.

As the Zombies started spreading to the debris, Seth decided that he had to leave now. He climbed up to the roof. It was a flat roof and had some holes like the one behind him, where it had caved in.

It might be possible to hide up here until the Zombies left, but Seth wasn ’t sure about that. Looking over the edge he could the wriggling bodies of the undead hordes in the light of the shining stars.

Jumping onto another roof might be seen, so Seth actually dove into one of the other holes where the roof had caved in.

It was a big slap of the roof that reached into a room two stories below. Following it he arrived in the ruins of a small apartment.

Suddenly the relative silence of the night was broken by loud roars and grunts from the roof top. The Zombies were going crazy after they suddenly discovered their pray again.

Seth ’s mana had run out!

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