The Dragon’s Embodiment
”Envy and Jealousy. ”
What actually is the difference between these two? As time passed by, people began to associate and ignore the fact that envy and jealousy are two completely different things, which also come with some congruency to each other.
Envy (noun) is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone elses possessions, qualities, or luck.
Envy (verb) desires to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else).
While jealousy is feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages, feeling or showing suspicion of someones unfaithfulness in a relationship, fiercely protective or vigilant of ones rights or possessions.
However, these two prevalent words can corrupt whomever they strike. It can cause evil thoughts in people experiencing these two wicked feelings.
And that is what a guild of hunters is feeling as of right now when a major backlash to their fame occurred after the so-called ”gods scabbard ” took the spotlight and one-sidedly annihilated a B-rank threshold all to himself.
Esecleus reckless actions angered all of his guildmates, which led to utter hate and evil thoughts.
Inside their three-story headquarters, all of their employees and hunters had gathered except for Esecleus since he is somewhat of a pain to deal with. Moreover, Esecleus had been absent for most of the guild meetings, but he was clearing low-level thresholds other guilds had already set their sights on.
He may be tied to the guild by a contract, but his refractory behavior would not let himself be a pet or someone others could order around.
If so, then why join a guild? By joining a guild, Esecleus will now be able to participate in clearing mid-level thresholds and it also comes with benefits an independent hunter won get. So, joining a guild is a must for hunters aiming to hit it big.
Training and special programs to improve hunters also come with joining a guild.
But before we delve further into the story, lets understand what these thresholds are and how far human capabilities have reached after their appearances in the world.
Earth became a leeway to two otherworldly dimensional worlds unknown to humans. Along with the emergence of the thresholds came the appearance of terrifying creatures, and people began to bloom with overwhelming talents. Only those who opt to fight these monsters were given the ability to express themselves in front of the cries of people who suffered from the massive invasion. And those with the aptitude for power discovered their hidden talents later on.
50 years ago, human lives were at such peace at that time but then these thresholds popped up out of nowhere all over the world, which later on changed and greatly affected Earth.
Since then, Earth has not been the same peaceful place because thresholds can appear at any time, and humans can only predict some of them with the help of gifted hunters. However, the human race quickly adapted to the change, and powerful people sprang from all over the world.
[Guild Leader: Vylan]
One thing I forgot to mention is that most humans started to ignore the use of surnames, thus reducing their whole identities to only first names. However, there are still people that include their parents last names alongside their given names to commemorate or show signs of respect for their parents.
In Vylans case, he chose to have only his given name when he reached adulthood, although his parents decided to give their last name to him.
Inside his office, whilst reading the enraging recent achievements of Esecleus, his secretary who was bustling on her way arrived with a piece of important news.
”S-Sir Vylan! ”
She was out of breath after taking the stairs when their only elevator did not work due to malfunctioning. Before speaking, she tried catching her breath first as she was being calmed down by Vylan.
”Speak whenever you
e ready, Isha. ”
Vylan put the tablet down on his table and fixed the way he was casually sitting with his feet crossed on top of the table.
”The investigation team of Hunters Organization found an A-rank threshold near the church of Sodonia City. ”
Vylan tilted his head to the unsurprising news Isha had brought him.
”Hmm? Is that all? You could have just emailed me this, Isha. ”
”No, sir. I wanted to tell you this in person because they found out that the threshold was empty. No monsters were seen inside except for a sword stuck on the ground. ”
”This is new, ” Vylan chucked his chin, slowly submerging in his own thoughts. ”Maybe someone went there first then killed all the monsters then left? When did this threshold appear? ”
Isha finally decided to sit down on a chair in front of Vylans table, then let out a sneaky exasperated sigh.
”About an hour ago. ”
”Then, someone couldn possibly have cleared an A-rank threshold unless it is a group. Maybe this threshold is a trap, yeah? ”
”Exactly, sir Vylan! ”
Ishas face brightened at the word ”trap ” because she knows how they could utilize this empty threshold they were talking about. However, Vylan, on the other hand, has not caught on to what Isha wished to say yet.
”Do you have an idea in mind? ” Vylan, who was genuinely unaware of Ishas intentions, asked. ”You seem wicked. Only if you could look at yourself with that grotesque expression right now, youd be terrified. ”
”Now, now, sir Vylan. I am always as angelic as people see me. Anyway, what I have in mind is this threshold will be the perfect place to trap Esecleus. Weren you planning on getting rid of the nuisance in your guild like we always do? ”
Seductively, Isha climbed up on top of the table with her face gradually reaching for the smirking face of Vylan after hearing her great idea.
”Now thats interesting. We can set up a trap for Esecleus by threatening to revoke his contract if he does not intend on participating in the raid. ”
Their lips came in contact, sharing hot and sensual kisses after sharing a wicked plan. It continued on for a minute, going at it with their tongues swirling inside each others mouths, mixing all those salivae they have produced at the heat.
Isha pulled away a bit from Vylan and then spoke of the definitive plan she thought of: ”Ive received a message from Esecleus that he is gonna be free tomorrow. Also, Ive already constructed a solid plan we can use against Esecleus if you want things to progress tomorrow. Just say the word and I can work on it, then send the file to everyone you want to participate in. ”
Before answering Isha, Vylan pulled her closer again, giving her yet another long kiss, then a couple of pecks on her lips before letting her go.
Their relationship was nothing more than a leader and a secretary.
”The earlier, the better. If we can do this right now, then it will be best. I just wanna get rid of that **ing bastard who thinks highly of himself when he is nothing more than crap on the street. ”
”There, there, sir Vylan. You
e letting anger get the best of you again. Always stay calm and focused. ”
”I am. Its just that… after his recent achievements, Esecleus just kept getting on my nerves. ”
What comes after their conversation is something your playful imagination can guess. And they did it for half an hour at lunchtime when no one would dare go to Dylans office.
On the same day, Esecleus was currently wandering around a black market, looking for ingredients he will need later.
While whistling in the dark alleys of Sodonia City, he stumbled across a shop that sells the ingredients he was looking for, and at a low price at that.
The chimes clang soothingly on his ears upon gently pushing the door open. He was welcomed by the ominous aura coming from the counter.
e not from here. Hmm? Ive seen you on the daily news. ”
What a long ass white beard he got there, thought Esecleus, approaching the man of old age sitting behind the counter whilst peeling a green apple with a small dull knife.
”Im flattered that people are starting to recognize the fruit of my labor. ”
Esecleus pulled out a piece of paper; written down was the list of ingredients he needed.
”Quite the interesting list of things you want. Are you trying to summon an abomination? ”
”Kuku, that might be the case. Who knows. ”
He shrugged his shoulders while laughing and looked around at the items being sold inside.
”Sodonias mayor is one hell of a corrupt leader, huh? He is blatantly pocketing the money of his people and since he has power and connections, no one can really defy him. Or else death will come knocking on their doors. ”
Esecleus had been to Sodonia City several times already and he can really put his head on how poor the city is when most cities are blessed with valuable resources.
The mayors corruption led the city to become the third poorest city in the country.
”Criminals at large would run to this part of the country because law barely exists here. ”
”And people like you would get out of this hellhole scot-free. Only the foolish ones will dare to lay their hands on a B-rank hunter. ”
Anyone in their right mind knows who to mess with and who they should not. And because of the skyrocketing fame of Esecleus—with news all over the country about his recent feats where many people think it was an easy thing to do—he became more noticeable, yet hard to approach due to the unwelcoming vibe he possessed.
”Ive got all the ingredients you needed. What would you need all this monsters blood? ”
”Kuku, it is a secret! ”
Later that day, Esecleus received an email from Isha, Vylans secretary about a special raid requested by the guild leader himself.
”So, I have no choice but to participate, or else they will revoke my hunters permit card. Hmm, I won improve anymore if that happens. Sometimes, I have to give in to their wishes, even if Im being coerced and I don like it one bit. ”
Monster outbreaks have been rampant lately. The cause of such a problematic event is still unknown to the Hunters Organization with plenty of peoples lives lost at a recent outbreak, and total structural damage of 13,985 Plata. Plata is the currency in Esecleus country.
[Another monster outbreak had occurred again, but this time it was on the small island of Pinlodge, which is populated for about almost 10,000 individuals peacefully living on the island. Reporters said that rescue still hasn arrived because of the aerial monsters hovering around the island. Hunters Organization saw this monster outbreak as an A-rank threat, and needed to immediately be dealt with.]
”Monsters from the other worlds are becoming more and more fierce. Its like they are evolving into a much more adaptive and stronger version of themselves. They are improving in such a terrifying state. ”
And this news did not give any sort of ill feelings to Esecleus. In fact, nothing can beat the excitement and elation he was feeling at the moment. Just thinking about these monsters evolving and further evolving into the best version of themselves sends him thrilling bolts of exhilaration.
”Vylan said there will be a surprise he wants to show me tomorrow. Kuku, I can wait! ”
Men and women in their battle armor had formed a raid party. Vylan and most of the people that have ill feelings towards Esecleus gathered together in front of the A-rank threshold. They were not there to clear the threshold of the threat supposedly lurking inside but to put an end to Esecleus rising career and fame.
When peoples pride and image get stomped by someone they know—a person who they always thought to be just a nobody—they tend to either have a positive treatment towards the said individual, or they are most likely to show despise.
”Is this really necessary? I mean, almost every member of Lions Mane is here except for those two siblings. ”
Zaul fixed his eyeglasses. It was sort of a mannerism every time he finished an entire sentence. Something he picked up from a friend of his.
All of them were waiting outside of the threshold. A threshold became the name of the wooden gates surrounded with magic particles and etched with characters unknown to mankind. Only a few can decipher the language used on the thresholds and most of the time it takes days to fully understand everything written on it.
The first one to arrive in Sodonia City was Vylan and his secretary, Isha. They went there early in the morning to further investigate the sword stuck in the middle of the dungeon.
”Have you forgotten the recent feats Esecleus had accomplished? The bastard surprisingly got stronger all of a sudden when he was just a rug two months ago. ”
Every guild member received the email with the same content about the ploy to get rid of Esecleus, except for the man himself. He received an entirely different email, containing fake information garnered by Isha.
”But weren there rumors from other hunters that Esecleus is just cunning? He waited for his party members to wear themselves, and then finished off the thresholds boss, thus raking all the glory. ”
Vylan hushed Zaul down. ”Lower your voice. Esecleus must have arrived already and is just listening to our conversation. ”
They only heard about his feats and achievements, but no one really has seen Esecleus fight after his sudden change.
At first, when Esecleus decided to join their guild, he accompanied himself with a small golem. It was about the size of Vylans hand. Yes, Esecleus is a geomancer, so Vylan and the rest of the guild thought he would be a great asset for them. However, for five years, barely surviving each threshold raid, Esecleus was the black sheep.
Even though he was such an inauspicious person, Vylan just could not get rid of him because Esecleus still has some use for him. But then two months ago, Esecleus just snapped out and started doing whatever he wanted. It was like he flipped a switch, which changed his entire personality.
”Sir Vylan, hes here. ”
Isha whispered softly into Vylans ears, giving him the seductive look and a wink.
”How many are we again? ” He asked, feeling gay after receiving small gestures from Isha.
”About twenty-five, Vylan, ” Zaul replied, then looked in Esecleus direction who had just arrived with that condescending look on his face. ”Smile all you want, sucker. Youll be dying by my hands tonight. ”
Twenty-five hunters, Esecleus and the two of them included are about to enter the threshold with Hunters Organization personnel that will be waiting for them.
Moreover, paramedics and healers from the organization are on standby, if hunters came out injured after the raid. As a precautionary measure to such a disaster, the Hunters Organization implemented a rule that all hunters must abide by.
”Why are you always late? ”
Vylan did not hide his animosity towards Esecleus because he knew that Esecleus was already used to how they were treating him.
”Hmm, why, you asked? Its simple, guild leader. Because thats what the main character always does. ”
”As if you
e the main character here. And can you **ing erase that annoying condescending look on your face?! ”
”No can do. Kukuku. ”
Zaul had to suppress his anger, containing all that aggression he was feeling inside him.
He saw Vylan shaking his head, reading his lips, and understanding what his leader was saying.
” Exclaimed Vylan, catching all of the present guild members attention.
e good to go! ”
”Yes, finally! ”
Esecleus heard the uproar of his fellow guild members, which was filled with malice and despise. He just smiled it off and followed everyones lead inside the threshold.
Upon setting foot inside the threshold that serves as a pathway for other worlds to reach Earth, all of them were greeted by a chilling breeze coming from the furthest point of the dungeon.
”A dungeon, huh? ”
”Its not unusual. But I was kind of hoping well be on a tropical island where there are lots of edible fruits we can bring home. ”
Scribbles on the walls lit up, and so were the torches with blue flames blazing wilder as they got near to the spacious area where the sword was stuck.
A slightly narrow passage leading inside had strange characters carved on the pathway, which glowed on their way.
”Ehhh… I wonder why there are no monsters nearby. ”
”This is certainly strange. ”
”Stay on guard, everyone! We don know when they will attack. ”
Casually, Esecleus, with both of his hands on the back of his head while whistling, noticed that they were near the supposedly boss area.
”Its empty. ”
As if they were in shock, the Lions Mane guild looked around all over the boss area, and when they found nothing, even though they already knew the dungeon was empty, they took turns trying to pull out the sword. But they just could not succeed in doing so.
”Fuck this sword! Someone must have glued it, and does not want others to pull it out! ”
Both Vylan and Zaul were signaling each other, giving signs that they should initiate the plan.
As they were starting to plot something behind Esecleus back, the latter also made his move, bringing out the monsters blood he bought from Sodonia City. He began to pour the blood on the carvings on the ground, tainting each character red.
”Had he gone crazy? Does he think pouring blood all over the ground will spare his life? ”
”Let him be, Zaul. See this as his last wish before he dies. ”
All eyes turned malicious. Their bloodlust arises, directed altogether to Esecleus alone who was busy smilingly pouring the blood.
”But what if hes trying to pull something behind our backs? You know how cunning he can be! ”
Zaul was so eager to punish and torture Esecleus. He was about to explode with anger, and so were his fellow members who harbored the same resentment towards Esecleus.
”It looks like he is done. ”
All of a sudden, the scribbles carved on the ground gleamed red, lines connected to the sword shone and before they knew it, they were inside a large magic circle.
”The sword just slightly moved just now! ”
Esecleus looked at Vylan who was near the sword, then turned his head to the sword sticking on the ground.
”Is he aiming to pull this out? ”
Vylan quickly held the handle of the sword, then compellingly tried to pull it out, which became a success.
On the other hand, Esecleus kicked off the ground and battled it out with Vylan but he was shoved into the ground.
”I guess youve seen the words floating in the air. It says ”sacrifices are made solely for success, ” which is kind of true, yeah? ”
The guild leader scanned the one-handed long sword. It was plain, yet sharp and had no strains on its blade.
Without hesitation, whilst looking down on Esecleus whose smile still hasn faded, Vylan stabbed Esecleus in the chest, causing the latter to spat blood out of his mouth.
”Sacrifices are indeed needed! ”
As if nothing happened, as if he was not stabbed by a sword in his chest, Esecleus grabbed the blade and gradually pushed it out of his body.
”Thank you, Vylan. Youve been a great help to me. Now, I can achieve much greater feats. I will be invincible. ”
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