"Griff... Griff wake up!"
Griff was still knocked out cold, but he could faintly hear a couple of voices reaching out to him.
"Here, let me try brother."
Griff felt a slap on his cheek so hard that he woke up in cold sweat!
He shouted in shock as he was panting and trying to make sense of what happened.
"Great. Battle-Junkie 2 is awake."
Rin remarked as she was standing over Griff, grinning. Reiner was behind her, looking at Griff apologetically.
"I mean... i tried to stop her but you just wouldn't wake up."
He said, scratching his cheek awkwardly.
"I mean... it did hurt, but I'm not complaining right now."
Rin's grin faltered as she was confused on Griff's statement, but slowly she understood what he was going at... She was still on top of him.
A tick mark appeared on her forehead as she cracked her knuckles.
"Alright... I guess I didn't have to wake you up at all, did I? Mind taking a longer nap Griff?"
Reiner jumped on her, but Rin infused wind magic into her fists and blasted Reiner away. Just as she was about to smash Griff, teary eyed, who was pretty much trying to contain his laughter, a voice shouted.
"That's enough you two! We have a lot more pressing matters at hand rather than your bonding time right now."
It was master Leebus... Griff then realized where he was. He was in one of the beds in the Guild infirmary.
Rin jumped off the bed and ran out of the room, flustered and pretty much pissed off.
Reiner got up and stood next to Leebus.
"How long... was I knocked out?"
"Reiner carried you all the way back from that... god forsaken village. You've since been out for two days. Mana exhaustion, well that's what Alatar says."
"Master Alatar is here?!"
Griff's face lighted up hearing of the man who took care of him like a son for a year had returned.
"Yeah, but that's not what's important. Remember your quest? Do you remember exactly how everything went down?"
Griff slowly got up from his bed and sat on a chair next to it.
"Yeah, I remember that Titan made of corpses and the golem that was used as its core."
"That wasn't a one time thing kid. After you all departed, several of those Titans were reported to have marched on cities in that parameter..."
"Wait, does that mean..."
"Come and take a look outside for yourself."
Leebus nodded at Reiner who helped Griff stand and walk outside the Guild Hall. As he walked he saw the usual cheery atmosphere was non-existent.
He couldn't see a large crowd as well, the guild had a lot less people than normal.
As he got to the door, Leebus opened the door.
Right in front of them... where the gates of Alfrum once stood tall was a scorching land. The city wasn't heavily damaged, per se. However, it was obvious that something had definitely happened.
"Come on... we'll show it to you."
As they walked towards the once tall gates, they came across several injured who were being treated by the rest of the adventurers of the guild...
"Two of those Titans marched here in the night, and the golems inside them used mana-reversal items integrated into their system. This made it impossible for the mages of Alfrum to detect those monstrosities... only 5th Tier and higher magic can detect the presence of mana concealed by reversal items."
Leebus explained to Griff who was looking around in shock. Children... old men... women... they had all been injured, and it seemed ill as well. The makeshift tents around Alfrum were barely housing the sick and injured.
"But... what I... we fought... it wasn't this powerful? And the wall..."
"I'm afraid this wasn't what you fought Griff. The official term for these things is Undead Colossal. An Undead Colossal is born when the undead merge under the control of a golem that has been programmed with magic to act as a catalyst, and there aren't a lot of mages capable of this fear in Kulva. The one you fought was a premature Colossal. As they walk they mature by feasting on the flesh of any living thing they come across... that is what makes them fearsome. You did a great job at handling a potential danger, but..."
"Yeah I can see the but master. There were more than one."
"Several in fact. Not only Alfrum, but three more cities were hit with this disaster. All of which were determined to come from the epicenter of the outbreak, the town you investigated. The cities of Allophia, Sigma, and Claridge."
"Then... we can't rest! We need to-"
"You need to sit on your arse brat."
Alatar had been waiting for them near the ruins of the gates.
"Took you long enough brat."
"Master! With you here maybe we can-"
"I said put a sock in it kid. They're all already destroyed."
"You think you've got a duty or something? The rest of the adventurers in each of these cities took down these Colossals... I was one of the mages to kill a Colossal."
He points to the still flaming gate ruins.
"Take a good look."
As Griff concentrated he saw hundreds of rock spikes had been protruded from the ground. The charred flesh of the undead was scattered around.
"Listen, kid. I asked Leebus to bring you here because even if I made you realize your potential and get out of that thick shell o' yours... you have to learn that you are nothing in the face of absolute power. There are people much more stronger than me... this is an example. It is by now obvious that it was a mage who set these Colossals on us, but could you even imagine how powerful of an individual he must be to do this? Are you that powerful?"
Griff was looking at shock at the scene in front of him. After his training... and his recent fears he had started to develop a very big ego. He had thought he could take anyone on with enough willpower.
"Your training isn't over. It will never be over. And you will not rest till you are personally satisfied kid!"
Griff clenched his fists.
"Aye, master. I see what you're trying to tell me. I got it, leave it to me."
Alatar grinned and slapped Griff on the back.
"Now kid, I got a wall to fix."
Alatar stepped forward and stomped on the ground.
"Earth Magic: Mold the Earth!"
The stone spikes suddenly crumbled to dust as they were pulled towards the remnants of the outer walls of Alfrum... and solidified, fixing the walls.
"That was 5th Tier Magic. I believe you can cast things of this magnitude in the future, brat..."
'Well... considering my mana is suitable for up to 2nd tier magic for now... I got a long road. But... I feel like I'm forgetting something... how did I light up that Colossal again?'
Leebus was standing next to him as he continued to look in daze at the adventurers who were helping Alatar fix the wall and putting out the flames.
"I want you to know something about Kulva. You're weak here right now, as Alatar said. But you have room to grow. The rankings, I want to explain to you how we know who is strong."
"In a way, yes. In Alfrum, the top 20 adventurers are ranked depending on their adventurer rank, and accomplishments. You must have heard Reiner and Rin share the 7th spot."
"Yeah I did... but aren't they two people?"
"They count as one in the rankings, a special exception considering each of their moves centers on each other."
Leebus cleared his throat.
"The top 5 are not people you can mess with. Number 6, that would be Heinz, but he's basically retired. From here on out is the national adventurer rankings and continental ones... I'm telling you that the ones on these rankings are monsters. You and I... even Alatar, we have no chance, and these are only the adventurers... then there is the Royal Army and their elites. That... is the extent of my knowledge."
"Look master... I don't know what you're aiming at by telling me this, but I know that I can't stay in one place. I love Alfrum, but... I don't feel a belonging here. So, I'll tell you this. I don't care if you say they are monsters. Just as Alatar said... I'll train. I'll train till I understand what it is that makes me determined and what I want to do. I'm lost..."
He clenches his fists and teeth.
"But I am not hopeless. I only know how to fight, and so, I shall fight!"
As Griff said his last sentence, he turned around and started walking back to the guild.
"I'm heading back to the infirmary... and later I promise you master, I'm heading for the top of the rankings."
"Kid... you dare climb this ladder?"
Griff looked at Leebus and shouted from the top of his lungs with his newly found guts.
"Hell yes I do! I don't only dare to climb this ladder... I'll conquer it with all of my being!"
Leebus, folding his arms, looked on as Griff slowly and surely walked back to the guild with clenched fists, and grinned.
"Damn Alatar, he reminds me our adventuring days."
Leebus sighed as Griff was now out of sight. He looked back over his shoulder to where Alatar was walking back towards him.
Good job you old fuck."
"Hey hey hey, you're as old as me. And for your information it wasn't easy. That kid has almost no self esteem... well used to at least. And now he was about to burst with pride."
"I guess our plan worked."
"Yeah. This is... all we can do for Humbert's last will."
"I don't know what he saw in that kid... yes, his flames are interesting, but it seems that that's it... but a black tear as an awakening?"
"Yeah, that's what worries me."
The two looked at each other and grinned.
"Let's talk this after we're done with fixing up this damn city."
"You said it Leebus..."
As the two walked off towards the ill that were being treated, the majestic wall of Alfrum could be see once more... as if it was resurrected. Not a single scratch on it. Nor... a single piece of undead flesh or patch of flame left.