Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 199: Back “home”

He was on his way home from work at the convenience store when he heard the shrill sound of the alarm sirens. He looked around and followed the signs to the next shelter. Soon he was in a crowd of people flowing towards the shelter.

He saw nothing but suddenly heard screams from the front. At the entrance to the shelter stood a celestial beauty. His gaze as pulled to her. Platinum blond long hair, eyebrows, and prominent eyelashes. Her pale skin was as fair as jade. The crowd was spellbound.

The vivid red splatters of blood on her soft skin and the cold gaze in her clear blue eyes broke his fascination. Only in a second glance did he take in the full scope of this morbid scene. His eyes followed the tight black leather armor drenched in blood down to two vicious-looking daggers in her hands.

She was surrounded by a pool of blood and severed body parts in the middle of the dense crowd, right before the entrance to the shelter. In one moment, there were people and in the next, there was a crop circle of harvested lives.

He had to run! It was his only thought but his body wouldn ’t move. He was only a lv. 9 Merchant, and his attribute points were concentrated on willpower and intelligence. There was no way he could fight that.

Only a few people around him seemed to have escaped the charm effect, but they were still bound and could only look around, not move. They were done for.

The woman mumbled something in a harmonious language and stabbed her dagger into the ground. The blood on the ground turned into a magic circle and then into a black abyss. A swarm of giant rats started jumping out of the portal onto the street.

The appearance of the beasts betrayed the sound of her chant. Disgusting mutants the size of a dog with tumorous growths, crimson glowing eyes, and rows of terrifying teeth started attacking the helpless citizens. Jumping with incredible speed they easily ripped at the throats of their unmoving victims and gorged themself on the soft flesh.

Only when they were ripped apart by their bestial fangs, did many people come to their senses. They screamed in pain and panic, but it was already too late for them. He could only stand there, watch and wait for his turn as the swarm grew and massacred its way towards him.

He had already given up on life when a bright light blinded him, and he felt the invisible restraints that had held him vanish. Released from the magic he fell on his butt and started crawling backward. He heard the sounds of fighting and then he saw dark figures slaughtering the rats and fighting the summoner.

They all wore the same surcoats with a big silver zero embroidered on the back. While he tried to gain distance to the battle, others in the crowd equipped their gear and drew their weapons. Not everyone was as helpless as the merchant. Without the binding spell, they could at least take care of the rat swarm that kept pouring out of the portal.

They had not survived the apocalypse and war without reason. Several hundred players of various occupations and levels swarmed against the vermin tide, overpowering the demonic creatures in an instant. Justified rage was burning in their eyes as they slaughtered them like animals.

Relieved from the burden of dealing with the rat infestation, the party of five could concentrate on raiding the mysterious beauty. Her magic was powerful and foreign to the players, but they had learned to deal with powerful and foreign skills in the past months.

They were fast and efficient. Cornering the female magician was not a problem with their full party. A troubled expression could be seen on the cold beauty ’s face as the players kept dodging her spells and attacking her openings.

After much back and forth and a lot of property damage they finally held the severed head of the attacker. With the caster ’s death, the portal finally closed, and the crowd took care of the remaining beasts. A lot had happened, and it felt like hours to him but only minutes had passed since the beauty appeared.

The figures stored away the head and body and hurried away leaving the dumbfounded but relieved crowd behind.

——————————–

”The first reports are in, Sir. ” a subordinate hurriedly entered the command center. Mark Baker stood at a table bend over a digital map of Y-City. His hair was tousled, and dark pit stains could be seen on his white button-up shirt.

”How is it? ” he asked tiredly.

”The Zero Squads have encountered their first targets and eliminated them. It is reported that they are tough opponents that need at least a full party to subdue without losses. The civilian casualties are still on the lower side. Not all the targets seem intent on indiscriminate slaughter, Sir. ”

Baker fell silent for a moment and looked at the map. Locations where they gathered and points of moving targets that were being tracked filled the screen. Most of them had scattered, giving the Zero squads a chance to take them down one by one. They would most likely not stand a chance if these things were intent on fighting them.

”They are looking for something. But what…or who? Do we have visuals on their point of entrance? ”

”Yes, sir. Here. Currently, it seems like only their leader stayed in place. ” someone answered.

A window opened on the table screen and showed a weathered but still handsome man in dark armor. He suddenly looked straight into the camera and smile. His lips moved slightly, and the camera picture shut down.

”We lost connection, Sir. ”

Baker nodded and pondered. ” How is the situation at the gathering points? ”

”Stable, Sir, ” he said and took a new report given by a messenger.

”And the scattered ones? ”

The subordinate looked at the paper he had just received.

”21 confirmed kills, minor losses. The Zero ’s report that the targets seem to possess the magic to tremendously weaken the opponent. The ones afflicted have pulled back from the fights. Some parties had to regroup. There are roughly 40 still scattered in the city, the rest have flocked to the gathering points. ”

”Good. I will go and meet the leader. Maybe he will tell me what they want. Get ready. ” Baker said determinedly and the people in the command center nodded grimly.

30 minutes later their preparations were finished. Baker had driven a modified ATV to the entrance point of the invaders where their leader stood with a straight back and a cold gaze.

Mark Baker ’s figure, now wearing a fresh suit and styled hair, walked toward the assumed to be the enemy leader.

”Hello, my name is Mark Baker. Are you the leader of the people currently killing our citizens? ”

”We are simply returning a ”present ” we received from one of your own. And yes, I am their leader. ”

”It was not a very happy present I fathom. But can ’t you tell your men to leave the innocent citizens alone? ”

”No. I will not hinder them to vent their feelings on you vermin until we have found the perpetrator, ” he said coldly.

”So you are not willing to negotiate, I understand, ” he said with a knowing smile.

”Let me tell you a funny story. Just now the last of your men ”venting his feeling on us vermin ” lost his life. You are completely alone. I may not know what ”present ” you received. But if this is the way you deal with it, then I ’m sure you deserved it. ”

”You! ” in anger the leader slashed out. Faster than the eyes could see, or anyone could react he had drawn the sword and slashed across the Baker ’s neck, cleanly severing off his head.

Or was it?

Baker ’s body twitched like going through a static, but nothing else happened. It was just an illusion. This was Baker ’s skill as a Great Illusionist, a rare class. He could make life-like illusions that could even deceive high-leveled bosses.

”You are a feisty one. Let me return your gift back to the sender. ” the illusion said and lifted its hand. At that moment the leader felt several auras of killing intent in the surrounding buildings. Did they have archers?

He saw the hand fall and wanted to evade it, but it was already too late. The sound of tens of shots echoed between the buildings and the leader was instantly turned into a sieve. The sniper barrels were still fuming with smoke when the dead body hit the floor.

Illusion-Baker looked down on the corpse for a moment, then he clapped his hands.

”Okay, since this is over, get the clean-up teams. And get the magicians to find out how they invaded without alarming the early warning systems. I don ’t want this to happen again. ”

He hoped they could find a countermeasure soon. Baker sighed at the thought, that he would have to explain this to the public.

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