Chapter 89 – The Mist Descends
In the deepest portion of the Bull-Wind Forest, the clouds over the entire region that spanned just shy of a thousand miles was turning darker. Indicating that a storm was coming.
While Damien and his group were getting slaughtered one by one, Crimson and Flow were keeping watch from a safe distance. Although he job was partially to keep them safe, it was also to weed out the weak. Crimson was a 3 clawed guard, he could do as he pleased with little to no ramifications and as he watched them get killed one by one a slight look of disappointment crossed his eyes
‘If they can’t even stay alive in a scenario like this, without even showing any promise… Then they are no better than a commoner. What good are they to the city if this is all they have to offer.’
Even as he was watching, he couldn’t help but look back up at the sky. Something wasn’t feeling right and it was beginning to unnerve him. After the many battles he’d fought over the years, living on the edge of life and death he’d come to trust his instincts without a single doubt. If something felt off, then something was off.
Crimson used a small explosion underneath his feet with heat as a catalyst to jump high into the sky all the way to the top of one of the trees. On top he noticed even from their distance a strange phenomenon. He was looking towards what few knew or would understand to be the deepest and middle portion of the forest.
That was the portion of the forest that had no life at all. Nothing survived there and nothing dared to enter there. It was strange that anything would be happening there at all.
They had continued to make their way through the forest to continue the training mission for the rookies. For some of them this was their first time out of the city, their first training mission for real experience against the monsters and beasts. It was Crimson’s responsibility to take care of these rookies and to stay alert in case any abnormalities were to occur. Regardless of the number of trained soldiers and mages that were on any given mission, their lives were at stake. On numerous occasions various squads had been utterly decimated and on some occasions there would be one or two survivors that lived to tell the tale of the mysterious young man.
Crimson was a veteran soldier and he knew better than to discount the smallest thing. The sky darkening over the deepest portion of the forest was certainly an abnormality, but without any information to know what it could possibly mean, he couldn’t tell the squad to retreat when their mission had barely begun.
He had continued forward up until now, following the participants without stopping because what he’d sensed still hadn’t amounted to anything. He was alone with Flow but he was waiting until the participants were in more danger before letting him take action. Once he allowed it, Flow would jump in and salvage the situation. It would also be a good opportunity to temper him as well.
The training that they did as students in the academy and the training that guardsmen received once they were out of the academy was very different. It was no longer about staying alive and getting stronger. It was about becoming brave enough to defeat beasts stronger than themselves. About being able to save the life of their comrades and being of use to the city as a whole.
The most important trait for a guardsmen to have, was the ability to survive long periods of time amongst beasts. Enough to travel far and wide and learn enough, learn anything of use for the people within their city to prosper.
Instead as Crimson gazed at the darkening sky and the mist which was behaving differently than it normally did. The entire situation was unnerving him even further…
Overhead the darkening sky seemed to have reached a peak as a distant rumbling could be heard. Thunder but no lightning. The sky itself was starting to form a huge swirl in the sky, and up above it almost seemed as if the heavens were shaking.
Crimson looked down at Flow and giving him a signal, Flow began to force Crimson even higher up, allowing him to slowly ascend into the sky.
Crimson was soon hovering half a mile above the ground and in the sky with the help of Flow. Flow was using his mana and understanding of the wind to gently lift Crimson high into the sky, but that was the extent of his ability. Flow himself was straining to maintain Crimson at such a height while keeping track of his own mana. One mistake and Crimson would come falling down from the sky and go *splat*.
Crimson felt something was a little off, and as he watched this sight his stomach was turning. “Gods please help us… I shouldn’t have let us wander even further in… This was a mistake.” Crimson thought as he stared at the clouds swirling together. Even a fifty miles away and at a higher elevation… There was a pervasive coldness that entered his bones and gave him a chill.
The clouds weren’t normal. Something abnormal was definitely occurring. The air around the clouds seemed to be dissipating mist into the surrounding areas.
The swirl of clouds seemed to be condensing into a giant tornado hundreds of miles wide. Instead of getting larger it seemed to be getting smaller and smaller as it was coming down, about to make contact with land.
The great tornado touched ground and the sky and earth were connected at this moment. Everything high enough in the sky or within a certain range of the ground felt a jolt as the pervasive cold of the mist touched upon them.
The tornado of mist looked like it was spinning at a fast velocity enough to create winds that would destroy everything around it, and from a distance that may have been what it looked like. If anyone could have been able to stand anywhere near the giant tornado of mist they would have been shocked at the sight. The mist tornado had no air around it, not a single flutter of wind could be felt anywhere near. If anything there seemed to be a lack of wind, a lack of air surrounding the mist. If the mist deterred life from being near it, it seemed as if it was now actively drawing in the oxygen depriving anything living from being near.
The tornado spun faster and the mist swirled getting smaller and smaller, steam dissipating into the air as thunder rung through the sky. The thunder so massive it could burst ear drums. Yet strangely enough nothing outside of the range of the mist would be able to hear this thunder, this thunder that seemed to be coming from a different realm.
The thunder rang out as the first bolt of lightning stuck the ground.
The lightning was black, and the lightning emanated from the swirling tornado of mist. The lightning so strong that instead of hitting the ground and stopping it continued along the ground destroying everything in it’s path as it burrowed deep into the ground and made its way back up to the surface refusing to be put out. The trees, the rocks, the ground, every thing in its path torn asunder.
The lightning seemed to have a mind of its own as it circled back and surrounded the tornado of mist. Compressing the air and mist into a smaller form. Slowly becoming and smaller and smaller as the lightning danced around it until the lightning became erratic and dissipated.
The tornado of mist suddenly stopped. Frozen.
It began to contract as if it was a beating heart. Thump. Thump. Thump.
The frozen mist contracting and stopping… Then expanding and stopping…
Before the mist tornado itself seemed to begin spinning in the opposite direction from before. The mist rising the from the ground and spinning in back into the sky, in the clouds as a giant pillar of mist condensed in the sky and came crashing down onto the ground… It made no impact, it made no sound, it made no disturbance.
Then out of the mist a young man walked out, a large smile on his face as he walked out and took a long look at the sky for the first time in over a hundred years. The look of joy on his face clear as day as the mist behind him dissipated into the air…
‘I’m finally free…’
Staring up into the sky and feeling a light breeze on his face. Daichi’s entire body felt reinvigorated after being in a state of catatonia. Daichi himself didn’t understand how his body was exactly, the same… It felt slightly stiff but he felt fine, everything felt exactly as it had the day he’d first entered the mist sans the large gaping wounds.
‘Amazing… I don’t know how long I was trapped inside… But I know it must have been years… How is my body exactly the same…?’ he wondered as he stared at his hands, unable to stop smiling.
The joy of finally escaping that hole that lacked any sort of light, staring at nothing but clouds and unable to feel a thing. Time seemed to stop and there was no form of telling night from day, time just endlessly moved forward or stayed still for all he knew. While he was trapped all he’d had was time…
Now that he was free, a small part of him wondered what had happened to Hannah, but that thought was instantly removed.
‘Doesn’t matter. Even if she is still alive, my ties to her were cut the moment she tried to kill me. If I never see her again then fine, and if I do… Well, I’ll just have to repay the kindness she showed me’ that same smile turned sinister at that thought but just as quickly turned back to a truly joyous smile as he he looked around himself and saw something different.
Stretching all of his limbs Daichi smiled at being able to move his body and actually being able to feel it. The feel of having a real corporeal body after so long…
Finally heaving a large breath, he stilled himself and calmed himself.
‘I should probably rest or something… but after being stuck for so long. It’s time to finally time to test some of my theories. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll run into *him* again… heh…’
Closing his eyes, Daichi condensed all of his mana into a gelatinous blob as he condensed it as much as possible… Then he released it like a spring into the thinnest layer, thinner than a piece of paper into his surroundings as a wave.
The mana exploded outwards all around him for miles and within that space, Daichi could see and hear every single thing. It felt like he was in hundreds of places all at once, all the information rushed into his mind. Rocks, trees, and nothing else. He’d forgotten that this entire area where he’d been, there hadn’t been a single sliver of life due to the mist.
He retracted his mana at once back into that same gelatinous blob of condensing it even further than before, except this time he aimed everything, that same thin sliver of mana into one direction, making it go tens of times further than before. Further and further as if he was moving at the speed of light until his mind became aware of something that peaked his interest.
He sifted through all of the information and caught sight of the first person he’d seen other than Hannah, Kaden or Ava since the world had changed.