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357 A Random Monk

 Dave rode fast on Grumpy, he didn't want to lose his underling Dog but had a faint feeling that Dog wouldn't need that much help. The Dullahan was a crazy power-juiced-up God of War legacy holder. He wouldn't fall that easy.

The only problem was Dortha if he meets them there, or worse, if Dortha is already there, this would spell doom to Dave's party along with the boss, of course.

Dortha's crazed rampage made Drahma's riot in the prison where the Black Skull Order held the Ice Queen captive look like a kid throwing a tantrum. The Abyssal Knight was mad strong.

Dave went in between dozens of rising stone pillars and rock formations. He brushed by trees and bushes until he arrived to a clearing. There was Dog, smashing away with his Bone-Whip at a bald man in monk-robes. The man was holding a staff with a ring at the top of it and had some sort of metallic keys that hung from it. Whenever the monk swung his staff, the metallic keys made clanging sounds. There was a chain of red beads around his neck, they looked heavy, each as big as an orange.

The man had a gentle smile on his face as he fought Dog; he was quick on his bare feet. He moved away from Dog's weapon as it smashed into the ground, cratering it and picking up a wave of dust.

The monk struck back with the bottom of his staff at Dog. The dullahan pressed on the grip of his weapon, turning it to Club form and with one smooth motion parried the monk's staff. Before the priest could regain his baring, Dog had already pressed another time changing the club weapon back to whip form and lashed at the monk.

The monk received the attack head-on and was knocked several feet away.

Dog noticed Dave and Singund, he turned away from the Monk and ran toward Dave.

"Dog, what's going on?" Dave asked, but the dullahan didn't even answer as he ran past Dave and into the forest of stone and trees.

Dave felt that something was awry; he inspected the Monk from afar.

***

Name: Cha-Zhen

Race: Half-Divinity

Level: ???

Tier: Mythic

Base damage: 250,000-350,000

Danger Level: Absolut Death!

HP: 295,500,000/ 300,000,000

PD: 350,000

MD: 350,000

Skills: ???

Lore: Cha-Zhen was once a man, known to his people by a steadfast faith in peace and inner calmness. Cha-Zhen gained Divinity by becoming one with the world itself. He spent ages preaching the people and guiding humanity to the right path. However, to become what he is today meant that he had seen the worse of mankind, and most likely, he was a part of it also.

***

Dave stepped back away from the monk, the last time he met with one of these divinities, it was a guy that almost one-shoted him.

Dave spotted something by the corner of his eyes. It was a giant yellow spherical orb that slowly floated over the ground.

There was a surge of energy gathering around it, and looking from the destroyed ground around it, this thing was probably the Power-Node. And this monk, whoever it was, perhaps came for it.

Dave kept stepping back and retreating from the monk, the person in question had stood up, dusted himself and was still smiling. Dave spoke to Singund in a hushed tone, "Let's go. We can't fight."

The orc nodded at Dave and retreated at the same time.

Dave kept his eyes on the monk. The man walked until he was next to the floating orb and tapped on it with his staff. A second later, the orb fractured and crumbled to dust.

***

Node of Power has been destroyed.

You don't have the key to the Node of Power.

Without it, you cannot conquer the Drow Kingdom.

***

A wisp of yellow energy floated out of the orb to which the monk took a big whiff of it.

Golden light emanated from the monk's body, and soon the light faded. From afar, Dave saw the priest looking directly at him. His smile was never fading, like a gentle old man you see every day on the street. Then the monk disappeared.

Dave's brows furrowed, the monk didn't use any skill or spell. Nothing fancy like Nick's swirling smoke; or the glowing lights and aftereffects of teleportation skills. The man had literally just disappeared as if he never was part of the world.

"Let's go Singund," Dave was feeling cheated, what the hell were demi-gods doing around his quests.

Just as Dave turned, there was a man standing not more than two feet in front of him. Thankfully, Dave was too surprised to even think of yelping out, saving him a bit of self-respect.

"Undead, you cometh from afar, what is thine quest?" the monk asked, his smile never leaving his face.

"Uh, are you asking me what I'm doing here?" Dave asked. The big red name of the demi-god was pretty distracting. He didn't attack, but that didn't mean he won't attack soon.

"Indeed, it is as they had spoken," the monk replied.

"Yeah, I'm here for the Node of Power you just took," Dave said.

"Then, this is thine task," the monk said pointing at a new golden bead in between the red beads around his body.

"Yeah, guess so, but since you have it. I don't want it anymore, see you later," Dave said and was about to turn around. Yet the monk placed the staff on Dave's shoulder. Making him feel like the weight of the world was pinning him to his place.

"Shit,"

"Curse not, it is foul and serves no purpose," the monk said.

Dave groaned from the weight he couldn't even move his sword or shield. The monk could easily blast him to Limbo with one hit.

"If you so wish to obtain this, How about maketh a bet with me?" the monk said.

"Uh, sorry I'm not that much of a masochist. You can have the orb." Dave said, trying to wriggle his way out of under the staff to no effort.

"I insist, if they, is the victor, I shall give thee the orb. If it is thine loss, I shall part you off your godly power. It is foul and should not be allowed in this world." the monk said, his smile growing wider.

"As I said, I refuse," Dave replied and used [Immortal apparition] to disappear from under the staff.

"Singund! Run!" Dave called and ran in the opposing direction from the monk.

Singund adhered to Dave's order and ran the other way.

Dave, however, had a wide grin on his face as he ran. He used [Stampede] to increase his distance from the monk then slapped the ground summoning Grumpy.

"Grumps! Run like the wind!"

The basilisk darted through the rock formations away from the monk. His grin on his face never fading.

Soon after, he heard the ground tremble. A loud roar that spoke the word, "THIEF!" sounded from behind Dave.

"Guess he just noticed," Dave said. In his hand was a glowing orb. It was the node of power.

"So much for being a god, didn't even realize he got robbed."

Dave steered Grumpy lefts and rights away from where he thought the monk was.

He then pulled out a teleportation scroll to the Dead Realm and tore it. He wanted to leave the area for now and come back for the Node of Life when he was stronger.

***

You cannot teleport away from the Drow Kingdom. You must first leave the area's perimeters.

***

"Shit, more land to cover, Grumps keep goin-" yet Dave's words were abruptly stopped as a powerful attack slammed into him, sending him toppling off Grumpy and smashing into a rock formation cratering the entire thing above him.

-1,541,999

***

Passive [Unyielding] activated!

You are immune from Death for 5 seconds.

Your Doom Knight Helmet is fractured! You will only receive 50% of its bonuses.

Your Doom Knight Cape is torn! You will only receive 50% of its bonuses.

Your Doom Knight Greaves is fractured! You will only receive 50% of its bonuses.

Your Doom Knight Chest Armor is fractured! You will only receive 50% of its bonuses.

Your Doom Knight gauntlets are fractured! You will only receive 50% of its bonuses.

***

Dave didn't even have the time to let out a curse. Whoever had just struck him was strong enough to break his entire equipment with one hit.

The only question that was going inside Dave's mind was, how did the monk find him this fast? He didn't even see him coming. The thing could teleport? This made Dave almost regret taking the item.

"Doesn't matter, even if I die, now the node of power is in my inventory, I'll be sent with it to limbo. So, fuck him," Dave said and groaned as he stood up.

He removed the rocks and boulder from over him with relative ease. His armor was full of dust, cracks and was bent oddly in different places.

"Shit, Andre will never let me hear the end of this." Dave looked ahead expecting the monk to come and finish his job. Yet there was nothing, it was as if Dave was hit by an invisible ghost, and he was left all alone.

Grumpy was standing a few dozen feet away from Dave. He was...shaking, badly.

Grumpy was afraid?

Dave looked at his chest. There were five small protrusions on his chest plate. They looked like claw marks. Then at that moment, Dave's head had calmed enough to hear the sound of steady and low breathing behind him.

Slowly turning, Dave saw Dortha sitting perched up on the boulders Dave had just smashed into. His fur was no longer melted from the Worm Emperor's acid, and his drooling jaws promised bad things for boney Dave.

"Shit, c'mon, man Dortha, wake the fuck up!" Dave shouted. He had given up. His Hp was too low, his armor broken, and Dortha was too fast to try and outrun him. Hell, this might just make him attack right now. So far, Dortha was calmly staring at Dave, calculating, perhaps ways to make Dave suffer as much as possible. Singund was a prime example of how graphic Dortha can get.

Dortha's eyes glazed off Dave for a second, he stared at something a bit away from the Doom Knight.

Dave stopped himself from turning to see what was so interesting to Dortha to look away from his prey.

"Thief!" the sound of the monk echoed behind Dave, "Dare thou deceive and steal from me where I gave, they a chance?" the monk said.

"Fuck, when it rains it does pour," Dave said in a rueful smile. "Dortha, why don't you eat me up, hell I won't even resist better for you to finish me off than some fucking god wannabe. At least I'd die by the legion's hands." Dave said. He had given up and was in a bad spot. He feared that if he died to the monk, he might somehow take back the orb.

The monk's expressions changed; this, of course, Dave couldn't see as he was not looking at him. The monk didn't like being ignored; it proved a bit contradictive to his 'patient' self of righteousness.

"I shall release thee of thine mortal coil, perhaps you might find release after parting with life!" the monk moved like a ghost toward Dave and swung down with his staff.

Dave felt the monk moving and immediately activated [Bastion] blocking the attack. The staff came down on Dave like a meteor, caving the ground under him.

This mere action caused the motionless were-wolf to growl, Dortha probably didn't like someone else taking his prey.

"Quiet you fiend!" the monk sand and threw one of the beads on his neck at the were-wolf.

The bead hit Dortha like a runaway train sending him sprawling to the ground.

"Bad idea," Dave commented in a grin. That attack didn't kill Dortha, that was reason enough for Dave to smile. You don't cross the strongest Abyssal Knight under the Undead King and not expect retaliation.

Dortha scrambled to his feet, no growling, no howling, and no scramming of upcoming doom. Dortha dashed on all four toward the monk and jumped at him.

The monk had to staff away the beast, giving Dave a moment where he ran away from the two.

Dave looked back, the Monk and the Were-wolf began a slug-feast. The attacks from Dortha were pure physical strength, like sledgehammers swinging at the Monk while the monk retaliated with precision and comparable might.

Dortha was by far the stronger of the two, but behind the Monk's moves was finesse and well-practiced moves.

A hand gripped at Dave's shoulder. Dave gasped for a silent breath and turned, a headless undead was next to him. Dog had appeared next to Dave. He pointed away, looking Dave saw a few Drows chasing Bud. The Drows were low on HP, yet they still pursued the ghoul, Death Knight. Was as if Dog was pointing to Dave free EXP.

"Huh? You're power-leveling me now?" Dave blurted out.

Dog nodded, or he shook the head under his armpit in what seemed to Dave as a nod. He then realized the reason behind Dog's action. Dave was only one level away from level 450. The Death Knight must have realized that Dave needed to wield the sword and shield to help Dortha regain his sanity and then came up with this plan.

What surprised Dave more was how did Dog he come to this conclusion?