Epilogue

We’re on the way back, and even though I feel like there should be an epic conclusion to the adventure we had, it’s how reality works. Maybe playing games makes you believe, that every story needs to end with a big climax, instead of a simple walk.

But the feeling of still having open ends is unsettling me. Muaotef, his Voice, the whole Ss’rak city, these storylines are all still in progress. Maybe telling the king will put me in ease. And afterwards? Don’t know yet.

There is no reason to stick to Esse or Feuerberg at all, seeing things through. We just need to remove the curse and then I can go wherever I want, except back home. That door remains closed.

Most likely, I will grind my level to at least 50, before I focus on collecting money again. I really need to upgrade my equipment. Maybe the red bear fur will make a nice suit of armor.

Kyou-san and I are a bit more talkative around each other now. Even though I still feel a bit of a grudge because of letting the Voice and his minions go, I decided to forgive her. She saved me back then, after all.

What we are talking about? Mostly, we complain to and about each others. The other times it’s a random topic we caught up in the spur of the moment.

Something like “To see, that Kyou-san is actually killing a rockinger on her own. Should I be proud?” When we first encountered a monster, Kyou-san decided to do it alone. She waited for the rockinger to use its spinning attack and then flipped the turtle-creature over and then stabbed it with her new knife. Fast and effective.

“Seems like you kept your promise, Ken.” She answered my question with a soft smile.

Yes, I promised her to show her how to get stronger, but to be honest, we surpassed my wildest expectations. We’re still at the basics, but Kyou-san is now level 20 and rockingers aren’t much of a threat now, as long as she attacks their undersides.

“I could have killed it for you, you know? We still get each 50% of the XP, regardless who gets the kill.”

“I simply wanted to see, if I can do it on my own now.” Somehow her smile wasn’t disturbing or cunning, it just expressed pure happiness. This excites me in another way than the sensual sounds of her bathing.

‘I want to see if I can do it’ are the words of someone, who emerges herself into gaming and experimenting with several strategies to achieve victory in the end. Maybe I rubbed some of my gamer personality off.

Both of us bathed in the Heißquellen and changed into spare clothes which were in our backpacks. We are still far from being clean, but at least we’re not filthy anymore. But the shrine was attacked, even without the duel and the payback afterwards, war between Ss’rak and the kingdom is surely about to come.

“I still can’t believe, that the patriarch was a hero. And a hero of Muaotef, no less.” I can’t make much sense out of it, but maybe this information is simply false. I still know too less of heroes to limit the possibilities.

Is Muaotef able to appoint heroes because he’s special or maybe he’s not only worshiped as a god, but a real one? Are all gods dragons? Did he decide to kill his own hero out of wrath or is this a scheme? Maybe to motivate the Ss’rak that there is no other way than war with the human race?

I know too less. And I’m probably better off not knowing it.

“Phew… Honestly, if I never see Muaotef again, it’s still too early for me.”

“I agree.”

But even though Kyou-san agrees to me, I fear that we might not be as lucky. What will happen, when we report the existence of a dragon in the Vulkan-mountains? A dragon hunt? Who would do something?

Heroes, of course.

I will warn the king, but if he wants me to exterminate the dragon, I’ll decline. I’m too much of a coward. The fact that I can’t let the whole thing with the Ss’rak rest is the proof, how insecure I feel about it. And only thinking about Muaotef is giving me the creeps.

Yes, I’m a coward and I’m OK with it. And I think Kyou-san is the same.

“Is something wrong?”

Kyou-san is looking at my eyes. She looks directly into them and there is only a slight a hint of disgust left. And I no longer have the lingering feeling of sickness when looking at her.

To be honest, I just wanted to lift my curse in Esse and return south on the same day, but maybe I stick around a day or two to rest and see, what Kyou-san will do.

―○●○―

We, Muaotef, the Great One, the Flame of the Earth and Bringer of Decay, are looking through the ‘Eye of Muaotef’, a simple Ss’rak formed to let Us see what he sees. He follows the human heroes, while being perfectly unnoticeable.

The male human was vigilant, but Our ‘Eyes’ can’t be detected by him, since We personally reformed that Ss’rak to Our needs. Our ‘Eyes’ followed both of them since they left Our hoard, at every step.

The reasons for the challenge of killing the patriarch were manifold. To see how human heroes behave, to see if they differ from Ss’rak heroes and of course to punish the patriarch, who had too much influence on the Ss’rak. Only We shall command them in the end.

But the most important reason was to check, which one of Our enemy gods summoned those human heroes. Whenever one hero kills another, their owners get a message. We lost a hero and a bit of influence, but since We know who got this influence, We can prepare to take it back with interest.

We hadn’t thought that that one will make its move. We have to prepare a new strategy, since We never competed with that one before.

But now, We know of you and will be ready. Maybe you actually want to take Us on, try it!

The other matter is the curse of the two human heroes. It’s less of a problem, since it isn’t that powerful, but it doesn’t follow the rules. We want to research it and make it Our own, but We can’t without showing any weaknesses.

The game becomes interesting again. We will enjoy ripping Our enemies apart, old and new ones.

But for now We shall return to Our real base of operation. Since there are human heroes in Feuerberg now, We can’t simply take it over in a Blitzkrieg, We have to plan it out and use more resources on this.

Finally, new events and turns in this old, deadlocked game.

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