Read Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo Online

Authors: John Nest,You The Reader

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Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo (10 page)

BOOK: Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo
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+ Horrabelle's Notice on the Red Scamp
  As you may know, a red Werebear, the last one my sisters and I created together, has gone rogue.
  Her body contains information that is vital to improving the effectiveness of my Werebear Transmutation.
  If you find her, bring her to me.
  In the event that you are unable to capture her alive, bring back a piece of her flesh.
  A small enough piece shouldn’t disappear with the rest of her body.
  Your Creator, Horrabelle

A grim look appeared on Smoke’s face as his eyes dilated and his eyebrows met. He angrily crumpled up the parchment and stored it in his backpack window.
He stared at the cursed form of the red-haired girl he held dear. He feared for her safety.


Chapter Three:
To Heed a Warning


A bright sunny morning greeted Sherry's neighbors, who were preparing to go to work or drop off their kids to school. It was time for them to start a new day.
However, in her house, it was time to get some sleep. It was night time in Zectas, at least for the next three hours in the real world. A red game pod opened and she grabbed tight onto the ergonomically-designed armrests. She stepped out with her eyebrows raised and lip curled.
"Argh! Why does he do always do this to me? One minute he’s all sweet and charming, the next he’s flying off somewhere," she said, voicing out her frustration.
She had just logged out of Zectas as her character was safely riding on Gandiva's war carriage. Flustered, she unfurled her ponytail and let loose her curly red hair. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and tried to get a hold of her emotions.
Sherry knew that Nash's decision to immediately head to the three villages was the right one, but she was still upset about how little time they got to spend together.
'Is he doing this on purpose?' she thought to herself.
After another deep breath, she stopped trying to clear her mind and stormed out of her room. Her footsteps echoed loudly as she headed for the kitchen.
There, Sherry prepared the ingredients for her latest Zectas-inspired dish: her own version of the ancient bison stew. She stretched her hands out and cracked her knuckles.
She poured a cup of water and some cooking oil into a large pressure cooker. While waiting for the water to boil, she started chopping garlic, onions and tomatoes.
‘When he gets back, I’m definitely going to—ouch!’
Sherry stared at the blood flowing down her finger.
A year ago, she would have made a commotion over a cut like this, but after diving into the world of Zectas, she got used to seeing blood and gore. She rinsed her finger over running water and waited for the bleeding to stop, after which she continued cooking.
She sauteed the chopped ingredients in a pan and left them to cool down. She then added a whole ear of corn into the pressure cooker, along with salt, pepper and parsley. For the final ingredient, she added a whole beef shank.
Sherry excitedly sealed the pressure cooker and left it alone, as the stew needed an hour to cook. After putting a Band-Aid on her finger, she thought about doing some light yoga exercises, but opted to read posts on the Zectas forum instead.
A thread entitled "Sonstwelters and Zectians" had received a lot of attention lately. It was written by someone named ProfessorXectas and described how the NPCs in Zectas refer to themselves as ‘Zectians’, while calling the players ‘Sonstwelters’.
Sherry thought it was foolish to openly share such information. It must have required a high level of Intimacy for him to obtain it, and he just shared it with everyone else without a second thought.
Next, she clicked on Nash's latest video, which displayed a total of six million views. She took a look at the comment section to see what the viewers thought of it.

I used to like Smoke. Like, he used to fight tons of bandits by himself, but now he's just being rescued by his guild members. Has your guild weakened you, Smoke?
I don't know. I mean, have you ever faced a monster with that much HP? My level is in the high 80s, but I don't think I could last even a minute against that Witch.
Be that as it may, I think Smoke and his guild did okay in the battle against that monster. If he had managed to defeat it by himself at his level, I would have seriously sent a letter to the Moderators, asking them to inspect if he has a hack enabled or something.
I've got no problem with him. I like the two Lioumereans that are in his private army. Prrr!
I don't think we should judge him based on the ending of the video alone. Crucibelle's life was already significantly damaged before the rest of his guild arrived.
Can't say I'm all for this fight as well. Smoke, bring back your deep video tutorials. It's been awhile since you released one of those.
Meh. He has better videos than this one. Right now, I think Amahan's videos are the best. He’s only one piece away from completing his djinn. Though, I could honestly say that even this is better than Tristan's videos. That guy just delivers the finishing blows and does barely anything else.
I know, right? I even heard talk that the city of Tonaci is about to be taken away from him. He's been in Grand Malodorant Dragonis for so long that his own city is about to disown him. LOL!
Clearly, you two don't know what you're talking about. The only reason Smoke was able to fight that Witch was because he had a perlite weapon. Where in the world could he have gotten that?! If it wasn't for that weapon, I bet he would have been fried. And FYI, Tristan's city still belongs to him. Those are just rumors being spread by those who envy him.

After reading the comments, she made a mental note to talk to Nash about the type of videos he makes. Looking at the clock in the corner of the screen, she found that she still had forty-five minutes to kill.
Sherry snuggled into her bed and set the alarm clock for forty-five minutes. Her being constantly in Zectas has altered her sleeping pattern. Unlike Nash, who had done research on sleeping patterns, she discovered on her own to take as many naps as she can and to sleep whenever there was nothing to do in the virtual reality world.
Her hand searched for the source of the annoying sound and finally pressed the clock's button.
Groggily, Sherry went to the kitchen to check her experimental dish. She took a teaspoon out of a drawer and tasted the stew. She cringed at its bitter taste.
'What the...did I put too much garlic?' she wondered to herself. She slumped down on a chair and contemplated on a way to save the dish.
Sherry breathed out a heavy sigh and laid her head on the kitchen table. She was hoping to add another dish to her menu and take a step forward towards her dream of a Zectas-themed restaurant, but now it felt like had taken two steps back instead.
In Zectas, she was the Lady of Verbrannt, a respected owner of an entire village who could command dozens of Werewolves with a snap of her finger. However, in the real world, she was a college dropout whose dream was far from becoming a reality. That was her life at the moment.
She stared hopefully at her phone. Nash rarely called or texted. The only time they talked was inside Zectas. Her uncle was out of town again, looking into a supposed business opportunity, but she knew that he had only away with his girlfriend.
Suddenly, her phone glowed and vibrated, as it was in silent mode.
Swiping the screen, she excitedly read the digits of an unfamiliar phone number from which she received a message. "Argh! Not another scammercial!" she said out loud and lightly threw her phone across the kitchen table.
She shook her head and proceeded to add more spices to her experimental dish. While doing so, she thought about how her life was going.
'Should I go back to college?' she asked herself. Unlike Nash, she wasn't earning anything from playing Zectas. Even though she could live off the money her mother left her, Sherry still felt the need to earn her own.
Then, she remembered something her mother used to say to her.
"Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes hard work, tenacity and courage. The path to your goal will never be easy, but that’s exactly what makes the things hardest to obtain the most precious."
She looked out the window and gazed at the fluffy white clouds drifting across the blue sky. She put her hair in a ponytail again and took out more ingredients from the pantry. After adding the new spices, she took a teaspoon and tasted the stew. Her lips curled into a smile.
"Thanks, Mom," said Sherry and took another sip.
Happily, she tidied things up in the kitchen and headed back to her room. She had time to get another power nap before logging back into her realm of inspiration.

* * * * * * 

Dazzling rays of the rising sun greeted another day in Zectas. The returning Vigilantez were sleeping under the cool cover of trees.
Sierra opened her eyes and saw the back of Gandiva's carriage. She was joined by half of the rescued children, among which was one of the eldest—a Lioumerean girl.
Out of curiosity, Sierra observed her and found her to be very brave. She guessed she was probably still in her mid-teens, even though she acted mature for her age. While the other children still quivered in fear, the pantheress Lioumerean covered them with blankets.
Sierra wanted to stay with the children and show them that she was friendly. She had some success in talking to the older ones, but the really young children were clearly still terrified by her cursed form. The red werebear grabbed the other blankets on the side and followed the girl's lead.
"It's very sweet of you to take care of them," said an inspired Sierra to the young pantheress.
The girl did not answer and only stared back at her. Five seconds passed and the girl just kept staring. Sierra felt uneasy and tried to change the subject.
"Have you eaten yet? I'm sure you're famished," said Sierra with a smile and tapped on a sleeping Gandiva's shoulder.
The tigress Lioumerean strained her neck to look behind her carriage. "Hey...welcome back, Sierra, good morning," replied Gandiva groggily.
"Morning. Has someone prepared breakfast yet? I think the kids could use some pick-me-up," said Sierra with a smile. "And how's Tulin doing?"
"He's getting better. If taken care of, the antlers should grow back in about two months," Gandiva said in a troubled voice.
"Don't worry about it," said Sierra. "You two are the best at taking care of a stag moose. I bet their antlers will grow back in no time."
Gandiva nodded and replied, "You don't have to worry about breakfast. I think Adder and his team took care of it. At least, they said they would before I switched lookout with Laernea."
"That's great," replied Sierra energetically. "I'll let the men know that it's time to eat. Can you tell the children that the food is ready?"
"Sure, will do," answered Gandiva.
As Sierra was about to leave carriage, she drew closer to Gandiva and whispered in her ear, "By the way, who's the pantheress Lioumerean?"
"Oh, that's Vrai," Gandiva responded all knowingly. "She reminds me of myself when I was younger. Apparently, she's like the their mother, and the children also have a father-like figure as well," she said as she pointed to a young cheetah Lioumerean over on Laernea's carriage.
"Thanks, I think I'll talk to those two during breakfast," replied Sierra as she left to investigate their encampment.
Werewolves were scouting the area, while the Tikbalangs scattered to specific positions around the central camp. The Vigilantez made a circular formation and kept the rescued children and goblins inside the inner circle.
Together with Adder, Laernea and Gandiva; Sierra only had ninety-six Tikbalangs, sixty-two Werewolves, thirty Centaur Rangers and fifteen Condortlian Warriors with her. They were tasked to protect two-hundred-twelve Gobble Goblins and twenty rescued children of different races back to Verbrannt.
Although there were many goblins, Sierra did not count on them to fight. Aside from the fact that she didn't have any Intimacy with them, she also felt uneasy around them.
All in all she only depended on the Vigilantez members alone. With these numbers, Sierra felt confident that they could fight off a werewolf pack or two. If escape wasn't a viable option. 
As Sierra walked around the encampment, two large werewolves, almost three meters tall, appeared before her. "Phen, Rear, how's everything?" she asked.
Phen, the gray werewolf only grunted and bowed. Whereas Rear, the black werewolf, was the only who spoke to their alpha. "The area's secure...but I have some troubling news," she reported flatly.
Sierra raised an eyebrow. "What is it?"
"Even though their HP is almost on par with our weakest clansman, it seems that the new werewolves who joined our pack are significantly weaker when compared to our original pack members," replied Rear respectfully.
"Maybe that's because they haven't undergone our training methods?" answered Sierra dismissively.
"Perhaps, but my instinct tells me something else is wrong with them," replied Rear.
Sierra nodded and acknowledged her black werewolf. "Thank you. I'll keep that in mind, but for now just continue to observe them. As long as they don't pose any danger, then I'm okay even if they are weaker."
Phen and Rear bowed down before their alpha and left towards the outer area of their encampment.
She then proceeded to where Adder and his team were. They were busy finishing their meal preparations.
"Good morning, Adder," she said with a warm smile.
"Morning, Sierra," replied Adder and stopped what he was doing as he walked over to her and pulled her away from the rest of his team.
"Sierra, one of the children asked me if we're gonna take them home," stated Adder flatly. "Of course, I told her the truth, that they're going to live with us now," he paused and looked uncomfortable.
"And? What seems to be the problem?" asked Sierra as she sensed Adder's unease.
"Well, I promised them that they'd have a house especially for themselves. I thought that it might be awkward for them to join with anybody else," explained Adder.
It took a few seconds for Sierra to realize what Adder was actually saying. "I see. You promised them a house, but you don't know which house to put them in once we're in Verbrannt?"
A wordless Adder silently nodded.
"Don't worry about it. I'll have Thyrsus prepare a beautiful, relaxing house for them." said Sierra as she patted Adder's shoulder. "Also, I think Smoke has already contacted someone to take care of them, and should be arriving in Verbrannt the same time as us."
"Really? Who's that?" asked Adder curiously.
"Don't know. He just said that it's a person who has a lot of experience in dealing with troubled children," retorted Sierra.
After their conversation, everyone was gathered and ate the meal Adder and his men prepared. For the goblins, who liked raw food, they gave them slightly grilled ancient bison meat. As for the children, they skewered onions, potatoes, bell peppers and tomatoes into a kebab. Adder thought that the children shouldn't have any meat, as one of them explained that they had a gag reflex towards it.
While they were eating, Sierra resumed her observation on the two Lioumereans the children looked up to. She watched them feed the young ones and made sure that the rest who could feed themselves were eating properly.
Inasmuch as she didn't have any luck with the pantheress before, Sierra tried talking with the cheetah Lioumerean instead. She walked over to him while he was filling up his plate to feed the children.
"Excuse me. My name is Sierra, and I'd just like to tell you that you're doing a really good job," she said sincerely.
The boy faced her and bowed respectfully. "Thank you for rescuing us from that wretched place."
"Don't mention it. No one should undergo..." Sierra stopped talking as the boy immediately left her hanging and went back to feeding the youngsters.
The red werebear crossed her arms and shook her head in disapproval.
'Looks like I have to teach these kids some manners,' she thought to herself.
Before she could walk over to the young cheetah Lioumerean, a pantheress stepped in front of her.
"Please forgive our rude behavior," said Vrai humbly and lowered her head until it almost touched the ground.
"No, you don't have to do that," said Sierra hurriedly and helped her up. "I just wanted to get to know you guys better."
"I understand, but I don't think anyone of us is ready for that just yet," retorted Vrai. "I'd also like to apologize in Ardu's behalf as well."
"Ardu? Oh, the boy earlier. It's fine." said Sierra pleasantly and waved her claws in dismissal. "Thank you for telling me. I'll stay out of your hair from now on."
Vrai bowed again and went back to the children. 
Sierra shrugged her shoulders and decided to respect Vrai's request. She let the children be and ordered for everyone to break camp and resume their journey back to Verbrannt.

BOOK: Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo
4.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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