Reborn: Evolving From Nothing / Reborn: Evolving From Nothing Chapter 21: The Calm before the Storm
“Huff, huff-” Dorian wheezed as he continued loping forward, his long legs eating up the miles as he ran south. He constantly panted, his eyes filled with exhaustion. On the bright side, dragons apparently didn’t sweat, and gave off heat by panting, so at least he wasn’t covered in sweat.
Occasionally he’d leap up into the air, using his wings to glide forward and cover a couple dozen meters.
It was late evening, and he’d been moving for hours.
As a Master Class beast, Dorian’s body was incredibly robust. In addition, his large size meant his stride was huge, and he’d managed to cover a large amount of distance in a very short time.
The Thousand Oak Forest was very large, and teeming with life. Most of the beasts in there, however, had avoided Dorian once they heard him coming. Thanks to that, he hadn’t encountered any other beasts, and managed to make it through without trouble.
Below the Thousand Oak Forest was a large savanna, long, rustling grasslands that stretched for miles, dotted occasionally with a few trees.
This area was, according to William, inhabited by many other humans.
Indeed, as Dorian was running, he’d spotted a few of what looked like tribes of wandering nomads, setting up for the evening or night. They wore simple brown clothes, some with colorful details or additions. They all seemed to be rather short, even the tallest standing only five and a half feet tall.
The more south he went, the more civilized the land became around him.
He’d already been forced to deviate from his path, to avoid charging too close to what looked like a small village surrounded by a high wooden wall. He’d already crossed several earthen roads, and made sure to avoid them at all costs.
He had yet to run into any patrols, but he was sure they existed somewhere. Beasts no doubt came wondering into these converted lands, though they were far enough from the forests that he had yet to see any beast above Earth Class. In fact, of the few deer or other creatures he’d encountered, most of them had been Mortal Class.
Directly at the center of Dorian’s sight, in the fading evening light, was his goal, motivating him onward.
In the distance, an enormous pillar of land rose into the sky, where it disappeared inside a massive, blue portal. Even from the distance Dorian could make out faint distortions in space around the edges of this portal, the rippling spatial storms he had heard about.
The pillar of land rose dozens of miles into the air before vanishing inside the portal, obscured from his sight.
He’s first spotted it more than an hour back. The massive edifice was visible from a huge distance away, a gargantuan landmark that was easy to track.
He took another deep breath, feeling the exhaustion in his body almost overwhelm him.
Thought he could see the giant World Bridge, he was still very far away from it. He would collapse from exhaustion first if he tried to reach it in one go.
Mentally, he cursed at himself for not thinking to absorb some type of flying creature’s bloodline. If his current form was capable of true flight, he’d most likely be able to reach the Bridge with ease.
He shook his head. There was no use worrying over what he couldn’t change.
The widespread savanna had eventually been replaced by large treks of farmland, stretching over for miles.
It was becoming harder and harder to avoid contact with other people.
“How much time do I have…” He muttered quietly, his eyes narrowed.
His Soul was giving off very faint waves that trembled through Fate, apparently, according to that old Wizard. Those waves were slowly dying down, and once they finished it would be much, much harder to track him purely using Fate.
The old Wizard had put up some type of spell to protect him from being tracked, but that would only last a day or two.
He needed to make the most of this head start he’d been given.
Several more minutes passed. Gradually, Dorian’s breath grew more and more ragged. His lungs felt as if they were on fire, and each step as if weighed down by a thousand pounds.
Finally, he came to a stop, breathing heavily.
He was crouched down, next to the edge of a very large farming plot. It seemed the entire area around here had been localized and used for farmland. He’d just crossed another section of farmland, doing his best not to ruin any crops.
As he laid down, resting, he considered switching forms.
His Myyr Dragon form was 3 meters tall and had quite the imposing appearance. In his Red Salamander form, he’d still look dangerous, but he’d be less noticeable. He also might be able to throw off his pursuers since they were looking for a small dragon.
‘Ausra, can I switch to a brand new form while my bloodline growth isn’t complete yet?’ He asked a question he hadn’t considered. He’d only switched into his Myyr Dragon bloodline after he’d already finished growing as a Red Salamander. If he wanted to take on a new form, say one of those wolf bloodlines he’d absorbed, it would be before he finished growing his Myyr Dragon form.
‘Yes, but all the energy you’ve stored to increase its growth will be applied to whatever form you switch to.’ The energy stored in his Soul Spell Matrix remained stored until it was enough to advance a Growth Stage. He had over a thousand points of energy stored in his Soul right now, and if he used all of it on a form he wouldn’t use, it would be quite a waste.
He frowned. Exhaustion dampened his mind, however, making it hard to come up with a clear decision.
“Whatever.” He grumbled aloud, shaking and stretching his body, still catching his breath.
His Myyr Dragon form was his strongest one right now, and his fastest one. He would just stay in it till he got closer to the World Bridge, and then switch to hide from the people hunting him.
He slowly got to his feet, feeling his body shake. He looked down at his arms, and then shook his head.
He was powerful, but he was not invincible. He needed to rest and recover. After running hundreds of miles in only a few hours, he was bordering on fainting from exhaustion.
Dorian took a moment, scanning the nearby farmland.
Everything around him was flat. Brown dirt, some green grass, and lots of planted crops of what looked like golden wheat. Occasionally he’d pass a small outcropping of trees, but most of the land here had been cleared away.
This appeared to be a particularly large farm, so large that he could only barely spot a small building, several miles off to the south where the owners must live.
He was at the edge of this farm, between this one and the one behind him.
He sighed, and then looked down to the dirt ground beneath him.
“Fine.” He stabbed down with his claws, and quickly ripped out a large section of dirt, making a large hole.
As long as his hulking form wasn’t visible from a distance, he should be fine. He grabbed ahold of a large chunk of the dirt as he clambered into the hole, dragging it over his scales to hide himself.
It was a poor job, and would probably fool no one, especially considering his head and neck were still above ground. However, it would work for now, and he was just far enough under that his head wasn’t visible above the various stalks of wheat.
He drew his scaly arms over his head, and nuzzled in, falling asleep almost instantly, the fatigue he’d been combatting finally overwhelming him.
He’d climb the Bridge tomorrow.
“I can’t get a direct trace.” Larah’s voice was filled with frustration as she gestured angrily, glaring at the damaged valley.
They had directly flown into the valley between the shattered peaks, wasting no time at all. As they were lowering down, a large, Grandmaster Class Black Fanged Panther had launched at them, antagonized.
William had watched in awe as the man known as Lord Hadrion destroyed it with a casual wave of his hand, not even a full spell.
A deadly ray of black lightning had flung off his body, striking and incinerating the beast in an instant.
He had gulped when he saw this, his body tingling. He got the sense that the man before him was a deadly predator.
“Is there no change in the dragon’s block on Fate?” Lord Hadrion responded as he squatted down, looking at a collection of ash and half burnt sticks. He picked up a piece, studying it closely.
The Grandmaster Fate Wizard paused, and then concentrated, her eyes gaining a white glow. After a few seconds, she stopped, sighing.
“No, there isn’t, apart from it weakening slightly. It won’t hold out much longer, but I’ll only be able to get a general zone of where it is, around twenty or thirty miles wide. The waves in Fate have died down too much.” Larah replied, shaking her head. She turned, then, to look at William, her eyes inquisitive.
“Are you absolutely sure there is nothing you can remember?” Her voice was cold and stern, tinged with annoyance.
William shook his head, not a single emotion betraying him,
“No, ma’am. It’s like I said happened, Commander Larah.” After learning she was a Grandmaster Class Wizard, especially one that studied Fate Magic, he had become extremely nervous. Despite that, he had stuck to his decision,
“I was hit by that Blood Magic attack and knocked unconscious. I was barely able to get a healing spell off. I don’t remember anything after that, I barely survived as it is.” His voice was calm, and he ended it with a shudder, touching his body gingerly.
He wasn’t going to say anything about the dragon.
He owed these people nothing. What good would come of pleasing them? It’s not like they would ask him to officially join a team. Why would they even want a Wood Magic Wizard, after all?
As for the inheritance he gained: That was his secret, and he had no intentions of letting anyone know about it until he was ready.
That dragon had saved his life. These people were part of the group that had abandoned him.
As for currying favor with his family… his eyes hardened at the thought.
None of the Robel Family Wizards or warriors were even here with them now. The leader of this group, Lord Hadrion, hadn’t allowed it.
William wasn’t sure what he would do in the future… But he was certain of one thing.
He was done living at the beck and call of a family that didn’t want him. He would live his own life, for now, following his own decisions.
This simple thought had proven incredibly freeing for him, lightening a load he hadn’t even known was present on his mind.
“Ugh.” Larah grunted, tugging at her red hair in frustration.
“It will take at least half a day, maybe more, before I’ll be able to point us in its direction.” She turned and looked at Lord Hadrion apologetically.
The man looked up at her from the burnt out fire, and then up at the sky, taking a deep breath and releasing it.
“If I was an intelligent beast running away from hunters… where would I go?” He said aloud, rubbing his chin.
He stood up, and then slowly turned to the south, his eyes gleaming. He paused and then turned to the northeast, a frown appearing on his face.
“If it can block you from scrying Fate, even only temporarily, then it is a creature that is at least at the Lord Class and quite intelligent too. With that in mind, there is really only one possibility. It is fleeing for one of the World Bridges, where that type of tracking is near impossible. It must be aware that stronger forces are hunting for it.” He broke down the situation, his gruff voice continuing,
“There are two World Bridges within two thousand miles of here. The third World Bridge is on the other side of the world, nearly 12,000 miles away.” He clapped his hands together, nodding sharply.
“It is either heading for the Bridge to Mesor, or the Bridge to Taprisha. If it goes to Mesor, hunting it down will prove easy enough with the support the Black Lightning Department Headquarters can provide, just a single world away. If it goes to Taprisha, however…” He frowned, shaking his head.
Larah nodded, responding,
“Yes, my worries too. The Aurelius Family won’t just sit by, especially after two of their own were killed. This could get messy if the Nobles get involved.” Even the Wizard King Telmon wouldn’t willingly contend against the Vampire Families, not when he was already clashing with the Draconic Tribes and the reformed Graal Alliance.
“It is what it is. We’ll fly through the night and cut it off at the World Bridge, informing the Tandor Empire to be on the watch for a small, green-scaled drake.” He nodded as he continued,
“Larah, send a message to one of your Fate Wizards in the Obsidia River Empire capital. Have one of your Fate Wizards join a caravan towards the Black Lightning Headquarters, informing them in case it takes that route. Even if they’re only Master Class, they should still be able to send a message while a single planet away.” The dark energy that flowed around his body seemed to quiver, becoming more concentrated,
“We will know for sure which way it went once its protection from Fate wears off. No one can block Fate forever, not even a Lord Class beast.” He muttered,
“Also, ready yourself to meet the teams from the Darkness and Sundering Departments. It seems we won’t beat them out after all.”