Joe gently pulled the reigns and edged the horses into a complete stop, he put his big head through the carriage window and roared at Caesar, Edward, and Ahri, all of which were currently sleeping.
"We've arrived at the mountains, get your lazy arse's up" Joe spoke in an angry tone, however, the eagerness in his voice was fairly discernable.
Edward which had been sleeping through the bandit's attack awoke first, he yawned loudly and stepped out of the carriage to stretch his limbs.
Caesar and Ahri woke up a few seconds after, Ahri which was resting her body on top of Caesar got up and followed after Edward.
Caesar raised his upper body and put his hand over his right eye, 'the pain is practically gone, in fact, my eye feels stronger than before?' Caesar mused to himself as he leaped off the carriage.
Caesar was currently wearing a standard military outfit, black boots, cloth gloves, long black trench coat, and a slim shirt.
He widened his eyes at the sight in front of him, there were two large mountains that looked as though they pierced through the heavens. Snow was forming near the tops of the mountain furthermore there was a small road that passed through the tall peaks.
Caesar took a few steps forward and examined the mountains more thoroughly, "where are the mana gems normally located, Joe?" Caesar asked while observing the mountains.
"They're either towards the top or inside of the mountain" Joe answered back while his eyes were still glued on the two large masses.
Caesar nodded his head in understanding, "since I assume you have done this before, how do you suppose we enter the mountains?" Caesar stroked his chin and asked another question.
"Hehe, just follow me" Joe spoke with confidence and started walking towards the mountain.
"Let's drive the carriage closer, we also need someone to stay behind… Bandits could attack once more" Caesar suggested from behind Joe.
Joe halted his footsteps and nodded his head quickly, "yes, yes, you're right" Joe said with an apologetic smile and went back to the carriage.
Caesar smiled wryly and squinted his eyes, "he's awfully excited about exploring these mountains, however, I can sense a large amount of ominous mana inside" Caesar contemplated to himself and entered the carriage.
They moved into the small road in between the two mountains, once they made it a decent distance forward they finally decided to stop once more.
After entering the cavern, the winds were noticeably much stronger and the sun's rays couldn't reach the depths.
Joe brought the carriage to a full-stop once again, Once Caesar felt the carriage stop, him and Ahri jumped out.
The strong winds kicked up their hair and fluttered their clothes… '"it's similar to a vacuum" Caesar murmured.
Joe rushed towards the right side of the mountain and put his hand out, he trailed the sides of the mountain with his hand and slowly walked forward. Excitement was clearly visible on his face.
Caesar turned around and looked at Edward with an apologetic smile, "would you mind taking care of the carriage?" he asked.
Edward had already prepared for Caesar to ask him this question so he just smiled unbothered… "I don't mind, but make sure to be careful" Edward warned and sat down next to the carriage.
Caesar nodded his head solemnly and quickly caught up with Joe, Ahri followed behind him… They continued walking like this for around 10 minutes.
Suddenly Joe's expression lit up and he pushed on the wall harder, the place where his hand was suddenly indented.
The spot in the mountain slowly started to split in half and create a small passageway.
Caesar went wide-eyed and looked at Joe confused, "have you been here before?"
"I haven't just been here before, I lived here for years! the dwarves in this mountain are especially kind, they took care of me when I had nowhere to go" Joe said with a happy smile and strode forward.
Caesar squinted his eyes dangerously and followed after him, he glanced at the contraption the dwarves had created with interest.
"It would appear your dwarven technology is far ahead of the humans," Caesar said casually while following behind Joe.
"Hehe, we aren't advanced in many things besides our buildings and our swords… the humans and elves have much better bows than us" Joe replied humbly.
"I have yet to see the weapons you created back in Rahvin kingdom, there are some similar weapons that are powered by magicians, however" Joe paused for a second and continued his ramblings.
Caesar observed his surroundings, "how many dwarves live here?" he asked curiously.
"There should be thousands, this is stone peaks after all… but it's weird, by now, the guards should have already shown themselves" Joe said in an anxious tone and started walking faster.
Caesar could sense a large amount of mana inside the mountain, however, it was certainly not similar to Joe's mana.
Suddenly his eyes went wide, Caesar put his hand on Joe's shoulder and pulled him back, "I don't think dwarves inhabit this place anymore Joe." he explained calmly and looked through the dark passageway vigilantly.
"W-what do you mean? There were so many dwarves here before" Joe asked anxiously, but he himself already knew the answer.
Ahri from behind both of them suddenly ignited a flame on her palm and illuminated the passage, a huge creature with slightly furry legs and eight eyes appeared in front of them.
It was few meters ahead of them, it was currently staring at them while hanging upside down on the roof of the cave.
"An oversized spider?" Caesar tilted his head and uttered without thinking.
"That's an eight-eyed demon, they only appear in dark places where a lot of death has occurred" Ahri's tone was serious and she raised both of her hands.
"Thankfully, their weakness happens to be fire!" She practically shouted out and a stream of darkish blue flames streaked across the passageway lighting up everything in its path.
A strange sound exited the spider's mouth as it attempted to flee… The fires traveled quicker than the spider however and the spider soon became a raging inferno.
The spider made one more sound as it slowly turned to ashes, Caesar turned towards Ahri and gave her a thumbs up… to which Ahri just smiled.
"E-eight-eyed demon… t-that means, this place is...." Joe grumbled incoherently and his expression was filled with anguish.
"How did this happen; everything was fine around 20 years ago" Joe punched the ground angrily.
Caesar just stood behind the crying Joe in silence, he didn't know how to comfort him… perhaps that was one of Caesar's biggest flaws.
After a few seconds of silence, Caesar put his hand on Joe's shoulder, "let's investigate, I know you are hurting… But there is no way thousands of dwarves just disappeared overnight"
Joe sniffled loudly and wiped the streams tears off his face, "you're right, maybe they moved somewhere else" Joe comforted himself and they continued down the path.
Caesar opened his eyes wide and concentrated, the markings on the wall suggested a battle took place here…
"This is the secret passage of stone peaks, once we reach the end of the hallway we should enter into the main hall… where most of the dwarves lived" Joe explained, a hint of hope was still in his voice.
Another spider appeared in their line of sight, Ahri raised her hands once again and quickly disintegrated it.
"They don't seem very strong, why do you two fear them" Caesar couldn't help but ask as they moved forward.
"They themselves aren't strong or scary, but what they represent is" Ahri explained calmly.
Judging by Ahri's dark undertone Caesar already had an assumption of what lied in the main halls, they soon approached a thick steel door. Joe moved his hands around the door in a strange pattern.
The door lifted and all three of them took a step forward.
Ahri took a breath of cold air and covered her mouth with her hand, she turned her head away in disgust.
Dwarven bodies and skeletons were layered on the floor, men, woman, and even children were all present… their remains were being feasted upon by insects or eight-eyed demons, thousands of bodies were present.
The hall was dark and cold, the previous brilliance this mountain had shown was nowhere to be seen...
Joe fell to his knees and he looked as though his soul was taken out of his body…
"WHY? DWARVES ARE A PEACEFUL RACE, WE JUST STAY IN OUR MOUNTAINS WITH OUR FAMILIES… WHY DO WE DESERVE TO BE KILLED LIKE THIS?" Joe roared out in anger.
He kneeled on the ground and cried his eyes out, his sobs resounded throughout the hall. This continued for a few seconds before Joe's crying suddenly stopped.
His sorrow slowly turned into rage… Veins appeared on his forehead and his skin turned red.
Steam started to rise from his forehead and his breath became hot and heavy… his bones creaked loudly and his fists popped.
"AHHHHH, I WILL KILL YOU ALL" Joe roared angrily, his eyes were clouded with rage as he leaped down and charged at the many eight-eyed demons that were currently feasting upon the remains of his brethren.
"A berserker?" Ahri spoke with an astonished tone.
Caesar squinted his eyes, "this was no war, this was a massacre" Caesar said sharply.
"There are no other bodies besides dwarves" Caesar continued in a cold tone.
Although Caesar was cold and by no means could be considered a good person, he still detested pointless killing; especially when the ones being killed happen to be the family of his friend.
"Are you not going to stop him?" Ahri asked Caesar anxiously and broke him out of thoughts.
Caesar shook his head, "he needs to vent his rage, revenge is the best medicine" Caesar explained calmly.
Ahri bit her lip and looked at Joe worriedly…
"You referred to him as a berserker earlier, what is that?" Caesar asked Ahri while still keeping his attention on Joe.
"A berserker is a rare trait that only dwarves possess, only one in every thousand or so dwarves have it… when they feel immense rage their skin turns red and their strength sky-rockets" Ahri explained.
"How strong?" Caesar asked
"They should be equal to an A rank monster, however, there have been some ancient dwarves that have been said to be equal to an S- rank monster"
Caesar nodded his head in understanding and continued looking down towards Joe, he was currently punching dozens of spiders to bits with his sheer physical strength.
"M-most berserker's are banished from the dwarven kingdom though…" Ahri spoke up after a few seconds of hesitation.
"Why is that?" Caesar had a premonition.
"Their rage cannot be contained until they are defeated, the angrier they get the stronger they become" Ahri explained in a slightly fearful tone as she exchanged glances between Caesar and the currently rampaging Joe.
"I see, so if I wanted Joe to go back to normal I would need to defeat him in this form?" Caesar asked curiously with a hint of sharpness in his voice.
"I'm not entirely sure, I just heard this from my grandfather telling me stories... my grandfather also said that if the dwarves rampage is not stopped the body will destroy itself" Ahri shook her head in hesitation.
While both Ahri and Caesar were conversing, Joe made quick work of nearly all of the eight-eyed demons, the raging Joe slowly turned around and looked at Caesar with killing intent.
Caesar unbuttoned his trench coat and threw it on the ground, he cracked his neck and unsheathed both of his swords.
Caesar jumped down towards the ground and slowly approached Joe, his footsteps were steady and carried an immense amount of resolve.
"W-what are you doing!" Ahri shouted from behind Caesar.
Caesar turned around and flashed a smile at her, "I'm going to bring Joe back, of course"
Wow, this chapter took a dark turn!!! I wonder what will happen.
(advancement chapter for patrons coming soon...)
clue: "hey, you think we can get out of here?" Ronny asked the fox-kin to his side. They were in a steel jail cell and were fed only once a day. The fox-kin glanced at Ronny, "I don't even know why they are wasting food on you, I would've killed you already" the fox-kin replied laughed wildly.
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