The bell rang nine times. The sound of the echoing metal spread out from the center of Moldavia. A few men came down from the bell tower that was erected at the center of a grand church. It was a scheduled call, to inform all that lived in Moldavia to know that night had arrived.
Fire in the lamps that hung on most corners of the streets was put out by patrolling officers. Right then, only faint candlelight could be seen emitting from the closed windows of all residents.
The darkness in the streets was abnormalIt began with a strict order that was decreed half a month ago. All citizens must obey the law. It was a rare sight that the usual busy street of the shopping district was empty. Shops that were well-known for nightlife had ceased their businesses, there was only darkness. The only light source could be seen on the street were those coming from the torches of the patrolling officers. The only place that was brightly illuminated then were countable with one's fingers. Among them, the building that shone the brightest was the central command center. The headquarters of Moldavia and also home of the count, who was owner and master of the city.
The building was grand as it had close to no differences to that of a castle. It was surrounded by a thick and high stone wall which was erected to prevent anyone from seeing the happenings inside.
A loud roar could be heard from within.
Inside a rather small hall that gave off an ancient vibe, a healthy and rather large man was sitting in an enormous chair in the front of a huge desk. The obese man looked furious as he screamed at a soldier that was kneeling. "How can that be?! Reports say that he had recklessly charged into the enemies' camp! He could not possibly survive that!"
If he was still alive, there's no way he could escape from stirring up trouble when he was trying to get his hands on the count's title.
"My lord, according to the secret report, the man is not only alive but also made a huge contribution to the army. He was awarded the Blade of Glory. Even though he was stripped of his ranks, he was sent back here. In this case, this is a bad situation for us to be in."
The soldier's entire face was masked by his helmet. However, even an idiot could guess that the man was not happy.
"Hmph! So, he is alive. Well, that's nothing to be afraid of. He is just another common Silver-tier warrior." The man, Danlya Radcliffe scoffed condescendingly. The flickering candlelight made his glare a little menacing. "Those knights that were loyal to his father are all stationed at Fort Dark Forest. Those knights were the ones that we are supposed to be wary of. Hmph. They cannot come back to the city before the Dark Tide ends. When that happens, I will be the next Winter Count!"
Even though the manner he spoke was confident, the man was still frowning. He had annoyed look and a glare that could kill a bird just by focusing his sight on them. "Urgh The fact that he is alive This could change my plans. Those knights That man"
"Sir Danlya, it looks like you have some trouble." A shadowy figure appeared from nowhere and into the hall. The voice he heard was as if someone was standing next to him. The owner of the voice came out of the shadows and revealed himself to be a warrior clad in heavy armor.
Logically speaking, a suit of armor made from heavy metal would have made a metal clanking sound if one were to walk. However, the man that had just appeared seemed to have defied the law of physics. He was obviously walking; even though it was slow, no sound was generated. When Danlya noticed his presence, a voice rang in his mind, "If there something troubling you, I can lend you an ear."
"Swordsman no. Silencer. Why are you here?"
Danlya returned to his regular state of mind and leaned back into his chair. He frowned and rested his hand on his chin. "You're supposed to be patrolling I did not pay you good money to have you running around as you wish!" His voice gradually grew louder.
The silencer's helmet twitched a little as he played with his fingers around as to express his annoyance. He then used Spirit Sense to respond, "Technically, I am under your employment. However, need I remind you that without 'their' support, you would not be able to hire me? The rest of us share the same thoughts."
Danlya raised his eyebrows and when he wanted to open his mouth to retort, the silencer continued to talk, "I'm here not to discuss something as trivial as that. There's something important that I think that you'll need to know." The silencer's voice turned stern and deep. "Trust me. I have no reason to lie."
Immediately, Danlya knew that something was wrong and the news was as important as the silencer said it was. "What is it?" asked Danlya despite not being able to see the man's face in the suit of armor. He had chosen to speak in a neutral manner to avoid the risk of offending him.
"The man among 'them' has started to move."
"When will they arrive?"
Danlya face turned black as he sulked menacingly. "I haven't managed to get my hands on this city If that 'person' arrives now"
"There's nothing we can do now," said the silencer through Spirit Sense. "It is best for you to prepare a welcome party."
The man kept quiet. The only sound that could be heard was the howl of the winter's wind through the opened window in the ceiling.
At that moment, someone came rushing into the hall. His breathing was so ragged that he could run out of air at any time.
"My Lord! ChrYoung Master Chris is missing!"
In a small forest outside of the city, a small bonfire was lit and the flames were flickering wildly as it was blown by the strong wind. Joshua was sitting too close to the fire. Burnt amber burst out occasionally and was immediately blown away. Joshua was sitting in a corner of the forest, to seek shelter from the strong and unforgiving cold wind. It was snowing heavily. The snowstorm was merciless as it froze anything that existed. Those that could not adapt to the cold would experience death by ice. Joshua had almost gotten used to the cold. Although, he would place his hands closer to the fire from time to time. He was only tens of kilometers away from the city.
He reached his hands into a bag of dried food and fed it to the warhorse. "You had it rough there, old buddy."
The horse neighed nonchalantly.
The fire was flickering violently as the wood was almost completely burnt away. Joshua turned to his side and pick out a large block of chopped wood and tossed it into the bonfire. The bonfire welcomed the fried cold wood with fire that brightened the area and provided warmth for Joshua and his horse.
Winter's night in the land of the north came faster than other lands. Rather than chasing the light in the far horizon to reach his destination, it would be best to rest for the night to preserve strength for the next day. Joshua found a small forest and set camp at the edge where the trees were smaller and wildlife was scarce. He took his bags off the horse's saddle and started preparing a meal.
As he gnawed on the stale bread and jerky, he thought of his plan for tomorrow. The gates of the city will close every night at 10 p.m. Right now, even if I tried to rush there, I wouldn't make it in time. Might as well rest here. Who knows what danger I might encounter in the night. Tomorrow, there will be a fight.
When that time comes, the entire city would be filled with his uncle's men. Joshua anticipated an unavoidable fight when he sets foot on the city grounds.
A frigid wind blew by, causing the leaves of the trees to break off and flutter along with the gust.
"The snow is getting thicker" Joshua muttered to himself and tossed another thick firewood.
Moldavia was only one of the four human settlements around the northern Ias Volcano. From a bird's-eye view, Moldavia was only neighbor to the Ias Volcano and the infamous Dark Forest. Even though there would be half a year of winter, there would be warmth provided by the volcano ashes and the molten lava that flowed out of the peak from time to time. Hence, along the foot of the volcano, the extreme temperature of the lava was cooled down to normal temperature, allowing flora and fauna alike to live. Before human colonization, this place was paradise for living beings. When the humans moved to the land, the trees of that forest were chopped down. Thankfully, through generations of humans clearing the Dark Forest, the land was made habitable. It was only a few hundreds of years ago when the industrial age introduced a faster method of destroying the Dark Forest, allowing the human population to grow at an alarming rate. It was not known to what extent humanity had sacrificed to achieve their goal. At the very least, there was a triangular void that separated the originally semi-circular Dark Forest into two parts. As for the the newly built city, there were more gravestones that had been erected.
The territorial owner of the city of Moldavia was the Radcliffe family, which Joshua belonged to. The older family generation had close ties with the dwarves. They had contributed to the extractions of precious minerals, allowing the Radcliffe family, with the help of the dwarves, to produce stronger weapons and armor. That was the industry which the Radcliffe family excelled in.
However, due to the extreme temperature of the North, regular trades could only last for half a year before merchants were brought in to support the industry.
The meat and bread in his hands were so stale and cold that Joshua had to burn them a little in the bonfire to get them to an edible temperature. After forcing himself to consume the food, Joshua could feel his Happiness gauge drop by 50%.
If only the pine trees here were not poisonous, I would have taken a bite out of the tree barks At least they are fresh.
Joshua knew many things; from the Green Bear Beast of the Beginner's Village where greenhorns could easily kill with a swing of a twig, to the Sky Crushing Dragons on the Eternal Arctic Circle that took twenty-four veteran adventurers to try and defeat it, the Great God Giants in the Multiverse Sacrificial Ground, and even the Green Frost Titans of the Zenith of the Corroding Winds. All said monsters and legendary beasts' weaknesses and fighting strategies were known to Joshua. In fact, there was no boss in Continental War that he had not fought before.
In the aspect of combat, Joshua could consider himself an expert. None could defy his words for none could challenge him. However, besides combat and knowledge of monsters, he had nothing else that he excelled in.
As the strongest player in the strongest battle team that had fought the most powerful boss in the game, Joshua always found himself rushing to the end and killing the strongest target. As for the rest, such as socializing, coordinating battle strategies, expanding the team, fighting random monsters and NPC, Joshua had no such experience. Not to mention other professions such as cooking.
In other words, in that world, Joshua was the son of a count, a middle-ranked military officer, hence, he would not need to go to the kitchen. He would only need to ring the bell and food would be delivered to him. In the previous world, Joshua was just a small martial arts training center owner. Even though he had no apprentices (due to several reasons), he would not need to cook for there were robots and machines to do that for him. That was the reason why he and 'he' had no reason to learn how to cook!
Clip clop clip clop
Not far from where Joshua had set up a fire, he could hear the sound of horses' hooves on the solid pavement. It was the same stone pavement that he had left.
Joshua bit down the last piece of jerky and experienced what it was like to swallow something as rough as sawdust. He immediately got up to his feet and gazed at the source of the sound. A man was riding a horse and was galloping with haste away from the city in the middle of the snowstorm.
Hmm. Must be in a rush. Why would he want to travel at night, in the middle of a snowstorm?
Joshua shrugged and tidied the surroundings of the bonfire. He could literally feel the energy in him being hastily replenished as he sat down after dinner. He stretched his hands and feet, made sure that his clothes were covering his entire body, checked if there was enough firewood in place, and slept by the tree root.
The seventeen days of riding was brutal for even a man like Joshua. He, a mortal that had ascended to Silver tier. A tier where a man could run for days without rest, yet there he was, tired, exhausted, sleepy. He emptied his mind from all thoughts and allowed his spirit to rest.
Hours later, the snow finally came to a stop.
Joshua was woken up by the bristling sound of the trees. He gazed up into the night sky and was surprised to see that the clouds had already dispersed.
It was still night, yet Joshua could see dual shadows cast by the twin moons in the night sky. One was as blue as a sapphire and the other was as white as a pearl. The halo of the white moon was wide and bright that it had split the night sky into two. Countless stars could be seen, sparkling like diamonds.
"What a beautiful moonlight."
Joshua yawned and realized something.
When the third expansion is released, the abyss will be unsealed and the twin moons will be devoured. The Eye of Fear will replace the moon in the night sky. This would probably be one of the few times I can probably enjoy the night scene.
The days after the war would only be filled with sorrow. War and battle would rage on for as long as it needed to be. However, the Mycroft Continent was beautiful when the world knew peace. During the early stages of Continental War, many players signed up for the game, only to enjoy the beautiful scenery. They even grind their level just to reach dangerous high-level maps to catch the sights there.These players were famous and were known as the Tourist Party. In the end stage of the game, these players had chosen to change their class into druids in order to participate in a movement called the [World Restorators] with the sole purpose of recreating the beautiful world that they once enjoyed.
Joshua stretched and made preparations for the journey back home. As he did, the sun came up and the moons bid farewell. Joshua sighed at the golden hue of the early dawn of day. He knew that these peaceful days would soon end.