Last High Human 2: Pain, Despair
Maybe it was the slight drizzle of rain falling down on my skin or the wind softly blowing through the leaves. Maybe it was the noise made by the animals all running side by side towards a similar direction or just the eerie silence. Or maybe it was the stench of a thick smoke invading the forest. I woke up just in time to avoid the fire.
I was sleeping against a tree, not far from the assassin's remains. I don't remember what happened after I took off my cuirass, as I threw it away after I saw how damaged it was. I may have fallen asleep while trying to walk forward..
Because of this, I no longer possessed either a cuirass or a shield. I walked towards the assassin's body in order retrieve my helmet, but I only found her half-eaten corpse.
I quickly took a look around, hoping to see my helmet lying somewhere. This was all in vain.
However, I saw a glimmering object a few feet away. Unexpectedly, this object was a knife, and was the one used by the woman trying to stab me. It was reflecting the raging fire of the surroundings. I took it in my hands, careful not to touch the blade. There was no time to study it at the moment. Even though the fire is not close enough to put me under direct danger, but staying in the area for too long would do me no good. I went back towards the corpse, this time in order to check it thoroughly. .
The robe was already in pieces. So were the boots and clothes beneath the robe. Beneath the body, I found some sort of rectangular, leather bag, built to be attached to the belt behind the back. Feeling the bag, it definitely contained a few things which I can't check at the moment. I put the King's ring inside and attached the bag to the belt behind my back.
I also took the knife sheath which I fastened to the right side of my belt. There was nothing lootable left on the body. The fire behind raged even more furiously, boosted by the strong winds.
With sword in hand, I ran in the same direction as the animals, a strange sensation seemed to be building inside me. It was like a hundred punches landed on my stomach. I really might have been poisoned. But nothing seemed to be like an antidote in the bag.
Then I felt like I am being pressured. Like something or someone was watching me. Felt aversion to things close to me. Is the poison paranoia inducing ? Plausible. Is this fear? I somehow remembered this feeling before the king branded me.
After a few minutes weaving between trees and stumps, I reached a small river and crossed across. The forest got thicker on this side. I slowed down a bit and took a better look around.
The river has a grayish color, it's "water" has a consistency closer to mud than I previously thought.
The slight drizzle stopped and the sun started to either rise or set.
I didn’t have any knowledge of time whatsoever.
The fire just reached the other side of the river. Burned leaves are being carried by the wind, dropping them down by the shore.
The trees around me are now beginning to blacken, scorched by the smoke. The fire is coming from almost all around my position. I tried to run faster.
I sprinted through thick bushes, jumped above another grey river, and ultimately stopped. In front was a wall.
This "wall" was pretty high. It was at least sixty meters high. Three-fourths of its surface was black, seemingly singed. Could it be that the current fire is not the first? Maybe this forest often fell victim to fire?
I looked around. I was surrounded by intense flames, consuming everything on their path. Smoke accumulated against the wall.
I will either be burned alive or suffocate to death unless I find a way to survive this. Mmh…
The King freed me. I should be able to use magic, although it’s highly regulated. I won't resort to this unless there is no other solution.
The wall is high, I can't climb it even with Physical Enhancement.
I could try to ward off both the fire and the smoke with Sword Art. But I can't possibly hold the fire until it dies before I get exhausted.
What I need is Magic.
The smoke is now knee high around me, and the heat is quickly increasing. I need to act. It's now or never.
I gathered all the energy inside of me, and slowly released it, surrounding me in a half-spherical shape, without severing contact with it. Should I lose contact with my energy, I would lose it. Once done, I activated the only shield class spell I knew: Energy Dome.
The external surface of the Energy Dome visibly blurred and began to harden. It also shows repeated hexagonal pattern, like glass panels. The Dome covered a ten meter diameter with me at the center.
As fire hits the Energy Dome, I made sure that the shield magic would be able to keep up. Sitting on the ground, hands on my thighs, I closed my eyes and concentrated on maintaining the stability in my Energy Field.
This is now a race of whoever will run out of first. The fire's combustible energy or my own energy reserves.
Around 70 Hours later.
The muddy ground was now cracked dry inside the Energy Dome, which now shrank to just one meter large. The heat is high and sweat was pouring from all over my body. My shirt leaked sweat that would be evaporated into smoke shortly. My energy is rapidly running out. I thenceforth released the Energy Dome.
The little of energy that didn't get consumed by the Energy Dome got back to me.
My whole body was suddenly blown by fresh wind. I take one long and difficult inhalation. Oxygen filled my lungs. Irritation in my throat, tears in my eyes. trembling hands. I escaped the fire. I narrowly escaped from death.
But all around me, except for some dying smokes here and there, the trees and bushes were all surprisingly intact, carrying their small green leaves. Butterflies flew around. Birds sang somewhere. What kind of forest have I lost myself in?
I somehow get up on my numb feet, and started walking away. Each step was a challenge, but I can keep going. I must find a place to rest. While thinking, I reached the grey river. It's water changed: it is now like real water, instead of the mud-like thing there was before. The water was somehow appetizing. I fell on my knees and drank with all my might.
It hasn't been long since I was so thirsty. Maybe five years at most. I feel better now. Way better...
I got time to think. I must escape this forest somehow. What if another fire starts? What if another danger awaits me? I am in no shape to fight with either my sword, fists or whatever.
I was able to use it without a problem before. Which means I really am freed from the King's contract.
Knowing this gave me a strange feeling. A familiar feeling.
I felt like I am alone. It never bothered me before. Is it what it's like to have no constraints on your feelings? I'd rather have them kept locked. Do I already missed the effects of the King’s contract that -
I heard something from the other side of the wall.
Right. I have to get beyond. Restoring my energy would be a good idea. But I never used magic much. I don't even know if I would be able to regenerate it.
I started walking to the right, along the wall in search of an occasion to get past this obstacle.
I was too focused on this idea that I did not notice the scent of blood coming from my body.
Written by Lionsennel Senpai
Edited by Panda