The suns early morning weak rays of light broke through the thin clouds lighting up the land that was filled with fresh snow.
Akira was leaning against a fence just outside the city gates watching the local adventures gather nearby.
He had switched out of his new clothes and was now wearing his armor.
The group of adventures had all shied away from Akira due to Varbu standing right next to him.
When the last adventure arrived the Vussian army captain in charge of leading the mismatched group of fighters stepped forward drawing everyone’s attention.
“I am captain Larf I will be in charge of this group. You have all received half of your reward already. The other half will be paid after we are successful in clearing a large portion of the monsters in the Forest of fires.
There are a few rules to follow: 1) When an unexpected situation happens you are to follow my orders without question. 2) No infighting between anyone. Our enemy is the monsters in the forest not each other. If you are caught doing so you will be arrested and killed on the spot. Now let’s go before the day gets any older,” said Larf.
Akira and Varbu took up the position at the rear of the line as they began to head towards the forest of fire.
It was around noon when they took a break from walking to cook some warm food from the rations they had prepared for themselves. Along with the food, they drank some warm liquids to help fight back the cold wind that was blowing every once and awhile.
“We will be at the border of the Forest of fire In less than an hour. Now is the time to make sure you are fully prepared,” said the guard captain.
Both Akira and Varbu along with everyone else began to check their equipment before they stood up and continued the march to the forest of fire.
Akira had decided to use his old sword for now and save the new one he had just received, and use it when his old one broke and became useless.
As they walked closer Akira could see the volcano that was deep within the Fire forest growing larger.
It occasionally coughed out some ash and burning rocks. Which started small fires here and there. This was the reason the forest had gotten its name due to the small fires that the volcano created.
Although the volcano created many fires every month the forest was still surprisingly thriving and was now home to many dangerous monsters.
Larf stopped them outside of the forest to give them last minute instructions.
“Since the forest is big we’ll not be able to all go in as one big group. You should all be able to take care of these monsters alone but to be on the safe side everyone should be in a group of no less than two people. If something unexpected happens or you find something that needs a larger group to take it down this is the spot you are to come to and inform me on the details,” ordered Larf before he began setting up a command tent.
Akira watched as small groups of adventures in two’s and three’s walked into the forest.
“Well, let’s get this done so we can leave this city,” said Varbu.
“Shouldn’t be too hard from what I was told,” said Akira as the two of them picked a direction that they had not seen any adventures walking.
The ground of the forest was a mixture of slushy snow, burnt roots of old trees, and numerous small rocks that had been spit out of the volcano scattered all over the place.
It wasn’t the easiest of places to walk but it was still manageable since the snow lessened the deeper they walked into the forest.
While searching for the [Lava rockmen] they found many odd-looking monsters that might have been a regular animal before it mutated.
The monsters that tried to attack them were far weaker than Varbu and Akira, only causing them to be more annoyed and delayed a few seconds but not harmed.
“Damn weak monsters keep attacking, are they stupid or do they just think we’re weak?” grumbled Varbu.
What Varbu didn’t know was although the monsters seemed weak to him, the other adventures were having a hard time fighting the same type of monsters.
The monsters were used to invaders coming into the forest every month and were normally able to fight the normal adventures that came. Sometimes they were even able to kill them.
The attacks continued until they were nearing the center of the forest that was nearest to the volcano.
The monsters that had been popping up like crazy seemed to have disappeared causing Akira and Varbu to grow more cautious.
The whole time they spent searching they had not come across any other adventures due to how large the forest was.
They were still able to hear the muffled sounds of numerous battles of the adventures off in the far distance.
As Akira was stepping over a pile of rocks something grabbed onto his foot with a vice-like grasp.
It was a hand made out of dark lava rocks.
The pile of rocks he had been stepping over rose up into the air and took the shape of a human made out of lava rocks.
Without any time to think of what to do Akira activated the skill [Shield Bash] and aimed the skill at the arm that was trying to grab for his leg.
Bam! He was able to block it and push it away, giving him enough room to jump out of its reach.
He used his inspection skill to see the name and level of the attacking monster. Akira had a hunch that this was the monster they had been looking for and he was right. [Lava rockman: Lvl 22].
“So, this is what we’re supposed to be fighting?” asked Akira looking at the [Lava rockman] in front of him.
“Isn’t it a little to short?” asked Varbu who was nearly 2.5 times taller than the small child like [Lava rockman].
The small [Lava Rockman] tilted its head back and opened its mouth to let out a silent roar of anger as if it knew and understood it had just been insulted. After its mouth closed it launching an attack aimed at Varbu.
Akira who had been ready for any attack stepped forward to intercept it and block the fist that was flying towards Varbu.
Akira was surprised by the amount of force the [Lava rockman] had even with such a small body.
With Akira successfully blocking the attack Varbu was given an opening to counter-attack. Using his quarterstaff he swung it full force into the side of the lava Rockman destroying its left arm that had been in the way and creating a large crack on its side.
“This little thing has some Damn impressive defense,” shouted Varbu as he stepped back to allow Akira to block another attack launched by the now enraged Midget.
“Good thing you’re here otherwise I don’t know how long it would take me to crack it open,” said Akira.
Both he and the rockman had high defense while their attack was far less someone of Varbu’s caliber. He was by no means weak as his strength had helped him stay alive through many dangerous events. But a 1 on 1 fight between the midget and Akira might be decided on who tired the fastest.
With Akira and Varbu working together they were able to kill the [Lava rockman] rather easily with Varbu smashing it to pieces.
Akira saw a shining red rock that was mixed in with the ruble from the dead rockman. He bent over and dug it out to inspect it.
Firestone (uncommon): This is the core of the Rockman.
“I think this is supposed to be what my friend asked us to get,” Akira standing back up.
“Already? Wasn’t it supposed to be a rare item that was hard to get?” asked Varbu.
“Dunno, maybe we were lucky. From what I was told most of the ones that were gathered before were either destroyed or damaged.”
Akira and Varbu continued to search the ground for piles of rocks as they walked around killing the [Lava rockmen] whenever they found one. They had recovered multiple firestones that were undamaged.
It was just past dinner after a full afternoon of exterminating the [Lava rockmen]. There seemed to be less and less of them as the time went on and it was now getting harder to find any.
“Did we kill them all? Because we haven’t seen one in over an hour,” asked Varbu.
“No, I feel like there are still some out here we need to keep searching,” said Akira as he looked at the quest window that had not updated notifying him of its completion.
“Speaking of the little devils, look over there!” said Varbu pointing to Akira’s right.
“It seems they have begun to team up,” said Akira looking at four piles of rocks on the ground all next to each other.
“You think you can hold of all of them while I take them out one at a time,” asked Varbu.
“Shouldn’t be too much of a problem,” said Akira walking towards the [Lava rockmen].
As soon as he came within ten paces away, the rocks flew up into the air creating four separate small bodies.
The rockmen each gave silent roars directed at Akira, but instead of attacking they all ran towards each other.
Bam! the four small bodies slammed into each other becoming a massive heap of rocks that fell to the ground creating a large pile of rocks.
Seconds later the rocks began to twitch and fly upwards creating a rockman that was three times as big and at least double its stone armor.
It was now far taller than Varbu with an even thicker body.
Quest Update! Rockman golem field boss:
All other rockmen in the forest of fire have been exterminated. Kill the Rockman golem to complete the quest!
Akira heard Varbu swear after seeing what had just happened.
He inspected the new field boss to see how strong it had become, [💀 Rockman golem field boss lvl 24].
“Umm Varbu…I think we should try and meet back up with the main group to take care of this big guy,” said Akira quickly backing away.
“Yeah good idea,” said Varbu following Akira.
The large rock head of the [Rockman golem] tilted back to let out a silent roar, but this time the roar was actually heard.
It was so loud that it hurt both Akira and Varbu’s ears causing them to be deaf for a few minutes after while they ran towards the meeting spot. The roar echoed throughout the whole forest.
Larf was happy to see all but two of the adventures return alive for dinner.
If he could complete the mission without anyone dying or at least only one or two, he might be able to be considered for a promotion.
He was currently sitting in the warm command tent drinking some steaming spiced wine that had been heated over the fire to wash down the food he had just finished eating.
He could hear the adventures happily talking and joking outside as they ate their own dinner.
The fierce roar caused Larf to choke and start coughing due to the wine going down the wrong windpipe.
The sound had come from deep within the forest of fire and he had a hunch that whatever had made the sound was not an average monster.
“Captain what do we do that thing is coming our way!” shouted an adventure who had run into the tent.
“Quick (cough!) inform everyone to get into the planned formation!” said Larf between coughs.
He rushed out of the tent with his armor on and weapon at the ready joining the adventures who were staring into the forest.
The sound of the roars and the thumps of heavy footsteps could be heard coming towards the camp.
After ten more minutes of waiting, the bushes ahead of them began to shake and two people jumped out of them startling the group of adventures.
“It’s right behind us,” shouted Akira, running forward to join the group with Varbu next to him.
“What is it?” asked Larf.
“Why’d you bring it towards us!?” asked a frantic adventure which Akira ignored.
“A large [Rockman golem]. We killed all but four of the regular rockmen. Before we could kill them they fused together creating the thing chasing us,” said Akira.
The group of adventures were shocked upon hearing that they had nearly single-handedly wiped out one of the strongest monsters in the forest. Among adventures, respect was given to those that showed great power it matters who or what you were.
Larf regained his composure only after a few seconds before wiping the adventures back into formation.
“Don’t lose focus! Remember the formation to use for a large target!” shouted Larf.
A minute after they had all calmed back down the [Rockman golem] appeared after knocking down the trees that were blocking its path. It looked to have grown even taller.
Akira along with the other adventures that had shields and better armor ran forward to block it from moving forward.
Varbu and the remaining adventures moved into positions at the sides and rear of the [Rockman golem] to attack while Akira and the others keep its attention on them.
With a swipe of its large hand, the [Rockman golem] sent a few of the adventures with shields flying backward. Although Akira was pushed back a few feet he was still able to keep standing.
The [Rockman golem] reached out its other arm and grabbed a nearby adventure with a shield and brought its other hand to fully encompass the adventures body.
In mere seconds the adventure became nothing but mush after the [Rockman golem] opened its hands. Blood guts and metal armor parts falling to the ground.
Akira along with the remaining adventures kept the attention of the [Rockman golem] on them allowing. Everyone else to launch multiple waves of attacks.
Most of the attacks didn’t do much damage.
Every few minutes the [Rockman golem] would turn its attention to the annoying gnats attacking it from behind forcing them to retreat or risk getting pulverized or squished into pulp.
Akira and other adventures use this chance to attack its back to enrage it and turn its attention back onto them.
They had been fighting for over 15 minutes and had only lost four other people.
With a shout, Varbu jumped forward and landed an attack on the left leg of the [Rockman golem] which he had been attacking repeatedly. With a loud crack! The leg broke at the knee causing it to hop around killing two of the lightly armored adventures before falling to its knees.
Everyone stepped back and watched it in order to make sure they did not get caught up in any wild attack.
The [Rockman golem] tried to stand back up but was unable to.
“Don’t let your guard down! Target its arms!” shouted Larf.
With the help of Akira blocking the attacks, Varbu was able to destroy the left arm while Larf destroyed the right.
After it lost its arms it was defenseless and could only let out continuous roars of anger before both Varbu and Larf dealt the finishing blow to its chest killing it.
Varbu bent over and picked up a large Firestone as big as a melon, and tossed it to Akira.
When the other adventures saw this they were envious and had a look in their eyes that wasn’t friendly.
“This is for the queen. So don’t do anything stupid,” said Akira.
At the mention of the queen, everyone became quiet and looked away all thoughts from before disappeared.
“We should have spent at least another day here, but we have already lost a large number of people,” said Larf with a sigh. His hopes of promotion had been destroyed, “we’ll head back first thing tomorrow morning.”