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Rise of the Nightmare Crestmaster

Chapter 76 Incident And Duty (4)

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Aldrich didn't know what to say. It was true, he and Gazeff didn't interfere for most of the battle and even when people started dying except for the last bit, they didn't lift a finger.

"We couldn't do anything," Aldrich tried to explain.

"I'm not talking to you, kid!" Hissed the woman at him, and then glared at Gazeff, "him, I don't care, but what about you?! Your a Crestmaster and you have a grade two wondrous item. Why didn't you do anything?"

"First don't point at me with your finger," Said Gazeff composedly, "second lower your voice."

"You impuden—"

Before the woman could resume her rant Gazeff cut her off, "just because I'm a Crestmaster you think I have to help you? I'm retired and I had to protect a helpless boy."

The woman looked like she had a lump stuck in her throat.

"Besides who was it that brought a grade one monster to where it doesn't belong and endangered ordinary people? Who was it that hesitated in killing an Oathbreaker?

Now, I can't blame you guys for all this but, if I'm not wrong I still saved your lives so at least show a little curtsy."

The man besides the pyromancer tapped on her shoulder and then he looked at Gazeff, "I'm sorry for the words she said. She didn't mean any of that, I also want to thank you for saving our lives back there."

"It was my fault that I hesitated and caused one more unnecessary death. It's entirely my responsibility. Although we can't repay you now, some day we will."

Gazeff nodded, "It's fine, you guys witnessed the deaths of three of your companions its natural for your emotions to be a mess, take care. But you must always remember to keep a good look on those among you in the party that took the Oath, that is the duty of all Crestmasters."

Aldrich has had just enough with the woman but then he recalled that these guys just went through a life changing event. Its only natural that they were a little rattled to say the least.

Duty? what does that mean? Their duty is to kill their companions? Aldrich didn't understand and he was in no state to ask at least not now when these guys were still in mourning.

After that they got into talking and Aldrich finally understood what happened. Their party was hunting in the second region of the Sunken valley, Hero's fall.

Hero's fall, what a bad name. Perhaps it also served as a grim reminder, this is where heroes fall and are forgotten just like that.

This was a regular hunting ground for them when they weren't on any quests. Today just when they hunted a Flutterflesh they were ambushed by a Boloti.

Both of these monsters were grade one, but they were victorious against the Boloti but before they could finish it off it escaped and they gave chase.

Only by that point the swordswoman had exhausted her Ether at that point. The monster led them to what they had initially believed to be it's nest. But it wasn't, it was the nest of the Necrotic-Claw Hawk.

So when they fought the Hawk they were already on their last legs. When they were about to pull out and retreat the monster grabbed Loyd and flew away forcing the rest of the party to give chase.

This was how a team of Crestmasters met their end. Aldrich dwelled on these events, the party was incredibly powerful and balanced with a Catoblepas in toe they could be considered a powerful party.

But ultimately they were just unlucky.


He had just finished his second day of training but ultimately he needed to hunt today and since there was still some time before sunset he thought that he might as well give it a shot. If he could get his hands on an Amphiptere...

Aldrich heard a distinct whooshing sound among the noises of the fleeing birds. It was close by, Aldrich ran it the direction and saw his prey.

Long, simian arms snake through the trees like furred serpents, dangling from a shaggy, striped ape in the leafy canopy above and trying to snare anything below. Aldrich, himself happened to be the thing below.

Aldrich had read about this monster, if he was not wrong then this should be a Grappler Arboreal. According to the information on the First ground map then these monsters inhabited the the northwestern tree tops in clans, their numbers are estimated to be around forty or so.

Aldrich smiled as a prey approached but he remained focused. He didn't know how to hunt this creature properly but he was willing to improvise.

He didn't have long to think because just as he marked the Grappler as his prey he was marked in return. The Grappler hurled something at him but he was a step faster as he rolled out of the way.

Aldrich took a quick look at it expecting a stone or some fruit but it was actually dung. Aldrich's pupils constricted in rage. But it was at this moment that the Grappler's tentacle-like arm descended an unexpected distance while the Grappler itself was still high up and coiled around Aldrich twice.

Aldrich found himself restricted and pulled up before he knew it. Not only was it fast it was also powerful, he could feel the grip around him tightening further that it actually produced cracking sounds from his body.

Aldrich couldn't allow himself to be pulled up to the treetop in such a defenseless manner. If that happened his chances of survival would not look good at all. Aldrich breathed deeply and instead of struggling he loosened himself and an opening appeared.

The previously tight grip of the Grappler loosened for a moment and that's when he freed his sword and got it out of the tentacle grip, giving himself enough respite to swing it with all his might at the tentacle-like arm.

The blow was so powerful it felled the arm completely. Aldrich found himself falling all of a sudden. Luckily he managed to grab on to a tree branch before he could fall too hard. Next, he propped himself up and looked at his enraged opponent.

The Grappler was raging madly, with its arm cut off it went into frenzy and slammed into the trees and branches around, the blood gushed out of its severed arm and dyed the canopies red.

Aldrich looked at this scene and decided to retreat. The biggest concern was the speed of the Grappler up in the trees, it moved like it was walking on the ground with perfect stability and uncaring speed. Fighting it up there was unwise.

Aldrich went down carefully and he looked around as he slowly went down the tree. He was splitting his focus on everything around him while still keeping an eye on the enraged Grappler above.

The Grappler will soon redirect its anger on him and that's why it was best to return to the ground before doing anything else. He was careful not to make any abrupt or sudden moves that might attract its attention.

Finally safe on the ground again he looked to the Grappler and sure enough it had regained its composure somewhat and it was looking at him menacingly. Aldrich gave it the finger just because.

The Grappler raged and hurled a variety of things at him from poop to fruits and stones. Aldrich dodged and hid behind the trees, he understood the purpose behind this attack, it was to provoke a reaction out of him. The Grappler then could take advantage of that opportunity to make a move.

Aldrich was almost done in by this tactic, it might look simple or even barbaric but it was undoubtedly effective. He also noticed something else, despite its anger and vengeful spirit, the Grappler clearly had not intention of coming down to face him.

This monster knew it's best advantage was the tree tops and the ground was disadvantageous to it so it was unwilling to come down at all.

Eventually the Grappler went silent for a minute before it gave him one last angry look and retreating away.

After he rested for a good while he noticed that the sun was going to set in an hour if he wasn't wrong. He decided that if he couldn't catch anything good in half an hour he was going to resolutely give up on catching anything.

He was confident in his ability but he wasn't suicidal, staying over night in the sunken valley was not wise to say the least. The danger level would rise severely in nighttime.

Aldrich wore his armor and walked around randomly, hoping to attract any stray monster in the vicinity. Far in the distance he heard several gunshots, man birds went flying in his direction from the south.

Many hunters used muskets to hunt in the First ground, after all despite its price and few disadvantages it was lethal beyond doubt against most grade zero monsters.

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