Chapter 21 - Humans and Shaman (2)
Antuak’s house was cozy.
Firewood burned in the fireplace, emitting warmth. Ian and the three human users sat at the table as Antuak served them warm potato soup. The users hesitated at first, but started enthusiastically eating after trying the first spoonful. They ate the soup in silence for a while.
No one was able to open their mouths. Antuak just smiled.
“Is there something that you want to ask?”
Ian and the three human users looked at each other. At length, the female magician opened her mouth. It was the question that no one could utter.
"Over there... is she sick?”
Her eyes were looking behind Antuak.
A female orc was lying on the bed. She was staring into the air with a blanket covering her neck. Even though she blinked occasionally, all she did was lie down and stare blankly into the air. She didn’t respond at all when they had entered. Her eyes were grey as if the colours had faded away.
Antuak muttered with a wry smile.
Bul’tar. Ian’s eyes widened. It was the orc’s motto, but it gave off a different feeling from usual. It felt old. It was closer to the original pronunciation. Ian repeated it to himself. Bul’tar.
"She is my wife, Aruna.”
"Heol. You are married. So why is she bedridden?”
The conversation between the orc and the magician created a strange gap, like an old historical man talking to a young contemporary student.
"She has been possessed by a different dimension.”
"Aruna was a shaman like me. She was interested in other worlds. I warned her about the danger, but I couldn’t stop her curiosity. Eventually, she completed the magic to look at other dimensions and cast it. It is something that our spirits can’t afford to see. In the end, she lost consciousness in that other dimension.”
It was a story that was hard to believe. Everyone nodded.
"Now she is forever contemplating that world, forgetting who she is. It is an incomprehensible world where the laws that we know don’t exist. I can only wait for her to come back.”
Antuak rose and stood by Aruna. His rugged hand touched Aruna’s cheek. She was still looking somewhere else.
"It has been only me and Aruna in this house for a long time, so I am glad that guests like you have come.”
Antuak turned around and smiled.
“Yes. Travellers, why did you come to this place?”
The users looked at each other. Ian replied instead,
"They are heading for Basque Village to get some help from the orc shamans.”
"It is a great thing that humans need help from us orcs.”
Antak looked at the staff that he had leaned against the wall. A surge of unknown power was coming from it.
"Us orcs were originally close to humans, until the past wars separated everything. I also had numerous human friends. Yes, humans. What help do you need?”
The users exchanged glances. The magician replied,
"In fact, I don't know yet. I just know that I will find out once I arrive in Basque Village.”
"Is that so? Too bad. I hope that it works out.”
Antuak gave more soup to the archer who had finished his bowl. The archer bowed his head and drank the soup again.
"Then what brings you here, young warrior?” Antuak looked at Ian.
“I’m not a warrior yet.”
"You are the only one who can determine that.”
“I am going to meet Tashaquil.”
"Hoh, Tashaquil. Why?”
"I want to ask what a true warrior is.”
"You are searching for the path of a warrior.”
Antuak nodded. "I hope you find the answer. Bul’tar.”
“Thank you. Bul’tar.”
The magician, who was watching the conversation between the two orcs, got up.
"I’ve never been to an orc house before, so can I see it, Orc Shaman?”
“Of course. There isn’t much to see, though.”
All three users got up.
Antuak’s house was wider than it looked from the outside. There were tools for magic, as well as the animal skulls that decorated the forest outside. The burning candles revealed the weird magical tools. The female magician asked Antuak a variety of questions. Antuak was kind enough to explain. The archer and human warrior followed behind Antuak.
Ian was left alone with Aruna. She was still staring at an unknown place. Somehow, he felt sorry.
"Please wake up. Your husband is waiting for you,” Ian quietly whispered.
It was at that moment.
A long shadow quickly passed over the wall.
There was also a small moan. Ian hurriedly turned around.
Antuak was sitting down. The edge of a blade protruded from his chest. The users were standing behind him.
“What is this...!”
Ian immediately lifted his greatsword. The archer aimed at him. Ian hesitated. The female magician said in a youthful voice.
“Orc, thanks a lot! This was easily resolved because of you.”
“What are you doing?”
"What’s the big deal? I came to the orcs to get a skill.”
"You said you were seeking help from Basque Village...”
She murmured as fire appeared around her hands. "What help? The Orcs are helping me. If I obtain the heart of a shaman, then I can receive a skill. So don’t blame me too much, yes?”
She giggled. The men also started laughing.
"Well, his wife is sick, so I guess I’ll send her along with him. Is that okay?”
"If she is left alone, then she would just die of starvation.”
The archer kicked the sword stuck in Antuak’s back.
"A monster pretending to be something else, how funny.”
"His wife Aruna... Another dimension... Puhahat. I thought I was watching a historical drama.”
They spat on Antuak’s head.
Ian’s fists shook. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Antuak was just an orc who loved his wife. An orc who was friendly to the guests and made good soup, Antuak. An orc who knew how to pronounce Bul’tar in the traditional war, that was Antuak. It was a short meeting, but Ian already knew three things about Antuak. He still had some secrets of the world, and some philosophies that Ian wasn’t familiar with.
All of that was now collapsing, due to that sword. It was an insulting sight.
The users mocked, “Are you mad? Play this game more moderately. It’s like you are a real orc, instead of role-playing.”
“You could’ve been a human or elf. Why did you choose an orc?”
Ian rushed forward angrily. The arrow flew towards him.
The archer’s arrow was fast, and pierced Ian’s thigh. Ian failed to win against the force and fell. Then the man kicked Ian in the face.
“Resisting is in vain. I don’t want to kill you, but it can’t be helped. I’ll just kill you.”
“Even a user?” The female magician asked.
“What is an orc user? They are just mobs.”
"Big Brother, is it okay to kill a user? Isn’t there a PK penalty?”
"Elder Lord doesn’t have anything like that.”
"Is that so? Good.”
The woman giggled. Ian tried to stand up only to be kicked again. The woman chanted a spell. Something invisible restrained Ian. His strength fell. He couldn’t move a single muscle. All he could do was collapse.
He would manage somehow if it was a hand-to-hand fight, but he couldn’t resist magic. Ian was still too weak.
Antuak’s body was completely breaking down. The male archer and female magician searched until they found his heart.
Then the warrior approached Aruna. He stared at her as she gazed towards a distant place and stabbed a dagger in her chest. Aruna kept staring at the distant place as blood poured from her mouth.
Ian pushed strength to his entire body.
He gritted his teeth and twisted. However, his body wouldn’t budge. The arrow stuck in his thigh pressed painfully against him.
"Don’t fight. It’s over.”
The male archer smiled and pulled back his bowstring. The arrowhead pointed towards Ian’s head. Ian gave a last hurrah.
His body moved slightly.
He stretched out his hand with all his strength. His body moved. Just a little, just a little more.
"What, does he have high magic resistance?”
"An orc? Finish it quickly.”
The archer let go of the bowstring. The arrow pierced Ian’s skull. His eyes dimmed as everything in front of him became blurry. Darker than black. He felt like he would sink forever.
The darkness blurred.
He opened his eyes. An orc stood in front of him. The orc was standing at the door of a house.
The orc looked towards Ian and said, "You are alive, young warrior.”
Ian was standing… He was standing in front of Antuak’s house. He could see the familiar scenery inside the house due to the slightly open door. A stove, the table, and Aruna. Ian couldn’t understand.
The orc, Antuak, was smiling in front of him.
"Why are you just standing there?”
Voices were heard from behind him. "Orc, why are you staring blankly?”
Ian turned his head. The three human users were waiting behind Ian. The female magician’s eyes were as round as a ball.
Antuak asked, “Young warrior, what did you see?”
"See, what is he talking about?”
Ian couldn’t say anything as he looked between Antuak and the users. Antuak had definitely fed them soup inside his house, and then the users had certainly murdered Antuak, his wife, and Ian.
Ian looked at Antuak. He was smiling as if he knew what Ian was thinking.
“What will you do?”
Ian finally realized it. It was the truth revealed by the shaman Antuak.
The three users had used Ian to approach the shaman and to kill him for the shaman’s heart.
Ian opened his mouth, “Magician.”
"The thing that you have to acquire...”
"Is it a shaman’s heart?”
They were stunned. The quick-witted warrior picked up a knife while the archer grabbed an arrow. However, Ian’s greatsword was already swinging towards his goal. The magician’s head flew into the air.
They stepped back as Ian moved forward, swinging his greatsword. The warrior blocked with his shield. Ian used a downward blow.
The warrior held up the shield, but collapsed as he was unable to overcome the shock. An arrow flew towards Ian. He leaned back to evade it. He stepped on the enemy’s shield and jumped, the face of the archer approaching his blade. Ian’s greatsword sliced through his head vertically.
His upper body was split apart from top to bottom. The archer fell down like a doll split from the middle.
The warrior abandoned his weapons and shield and fled. Ian threw his greatsword, which flew through the air and stabbed the warrior in the back.
The warrior fell forward. Ian walked over and pulled out his greatsword, his body twitching before falling still. Ian lifted his bloody greatsword.
The man’s body turned to white particles and collapsed. The other bodies of the users scattered as well. After the death process, only their equipment remained on the floor.
Antuak just watched all of this.
Ian stood in front of Antuak. Antuak said with a soft smile, “I am the shaman Antuak.”
He opened the door wide. It was as if he knew they were coming.
“Guests are always welcome.”
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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