Written By – DemonKiller
Edited By – CurlyAdi
Proofread By – SmartyMouth
Chapter 0001 – A Strange Place
Licks, Licks, whine, Licks.
I opened my eyes, and immediately my head was filled with disbelief that I was actually able to survive a lightning strike. Not only that, other than the initial searing pain that I had felt before I blacked out, I did not feel any intense pain, well I did feel a slight pain in my head and a slight itch on my back but it was something easy to bear with. Other than that I felt my limbs slowly but steadily recovering from their numbness.
Looking around I found the hazy figure of Frank beside me lying down with his head below his paws and making whining like noises, so I really felt relieved, in this world, for I, who had been abandoned by my own family, Frank was everything to me, ever since I was young I never treated Frank as a dog, but as my own brother. After I was finally abandoned by my family, Frank and I became even more closer, he was not only my brother, but my best friend. People even sometimes described their relation to be something akin to love, behind my back, but I never cared for any of it. After all I grew up with Frank since childhood, as such Frank had become an integral part of my life, something that I could never live without. Unknowingly, this pair of human and dog could really understand each other, even without speaking anything they just somehow knew what went on each others head.
To me it did not matter whether I actually survived or not, as long as Frank was at my side, even if I had to go through hell, I would gladly go through it, and although I knew that Frank was a dog and could not speak the language of the humans, I knew that even he felt the same way about me.
I let myself rest on the ground that I was lying on, as I wanted let the final feelings of numbness in my body to dissipate, but it really was a painstakingly slow process. But during this time I thought about how I was able to survive the lightning strike. Frank seem to have finally noticed that I had revived, so after licking my face clean he immediately fell asleep, as he burrowed his head under my still numb hand, I knew that he was completely exhausted, as if he had been running for many days.
I had read many reports in the newspapers and also had seen many so called true videos on YouTube that there were a few people who had lived after getting hit by a lightning strike. After going through these facts in my head I finally let out a sigh of relief thinking that maybe this was just my good luck.
After a while I lifted my hand and Frank’s head immediately popped up as he immediately woke up worried. Rubbing his head, with my still weak hands, around the back of his ears a bit, I finally sat up, albeit painstakingly, the skin on my back was still itching, I thought that it must have been from where the lightning exited my body, I knew that just feeling a light itch after lightning struck my body was already a miracle, from the information that I knew, people who survived lightning strikes, would usually have their skin completely burnt off in the least, in some of the worse cases they might even lose the functioning of some internal organs, but the worst cases of all were where they would even lose their limbs and if they were really unlucky they might even turn into retards with severe mental disabilities. Of course, that was all if they actually survived a lightning strike, since 99 percent of the people would just end up dead.
However, what I did not know, was that there was a lightning shaped scar that was actually taking shape on my back just between my shoulder blades, this scar which was emitting a faint golden light, along with several other scars, would help me reach unimaginable heights, which I could not even fathom about at present. But that’s all for later.
Oh yeah, before we proceed, although Frank was introduced along with a few bits of my history, I forgot to mention my own name, well here it is, John Doe, now I know that many of the readers would be sceptic about this name, but well what can I say, although my parents had given me a different name, an Indian name, but when they decided to announce to the world that I died, I couldn’t take it anymore, and decided to change my name, although I could have picked any name, I picked John Doe as simply it was easier to remember. As for my original name, it’s buried somewhere in the deepest recesses of my mind where the things that I really don’t want to remember are locked up.
Also did I mention that I also have a fairly powerful memory? I know right, but when you constantly weave a web of lies, you end up with a fairly good memory, after all you also have to keep track of your lies so that they do not get exposed and as such end up in trouble.
Well getting back to the story, although I was able to survive the lightning strike, my body felt really tired as if it was completely devoid of any energy. It took a while for my sight to return to normal, and when it did, I was completely stunned and confused, I was actually in a crater about the size of a small house, and all around the crater were giant tree stumps that were burn black.
I knew that before I was struck by the lightning I was in the alleyway behind the theater in downtown New York bringing some food packets back to the theater to eat with Frank, I definitely wasn’t in some forest or something even remotely resembling a forest. Besides where would one even find such huge trees in New York, the tree stumps in front of me, although were completely charred, one could still make out how big they were, by estimation each tree was at least as wide as a small house, as for how tall they were, I could only imagine.
I could hear a few screeches and calls of different animals and insect but they were all faint, so I guessed that they were all far away. But what I didn’t know was that my guess was not wrong, the crater was created by a huge explosion created when lightning struck the ground, as a result the animals had already cleared out of the area as they were completely scared, and the surrounding area for about a hundred kilometers was completely devoid of any life other than me and Frank. Unknowingly my hearing had become a lot sharper, it was all due to the lighting shaped scar on my back, but I did not yet know anything about it.
I decided to rest for a while in the same area, not because I felt brave that I could rest without facing the wild animals, but for the simple reason that I had still yet to regain feeling from my legs. Although I was able to move them a bit, but it was not without a buzzing sensation shooting up, so I decided to rest up in the same spot till I was at least able to support myself on my feet. I would then walk out of this forest to find someone who would actually tell me what the hell was going on here. Or at least tell me what place was I in.
I had a vague feeling that the place I was in was not somewhere in New York, did someone dump me here thinking that I was already dead. Afterall I had heard of such things happening in the city where some people, usually rival gangs, would dump the people they killed out of the city. But I was definitely not killed by a gang or something, moreover I was definitely not dead. But then how could I explain the crater where I was smack dab in the middle of it. Even the indentations on the ground indicated that I was the only person here. I stretched out my head and scanned the entire area around me, but could not find any footprints in the loose soil in the crater, well other than the the paw prints of Frank.
The more I looked around, the more I became confused. Although I was not good at studies and did not go through many maps, but I was definitely familiar with all the different areas of New York, courtesy of me trying to find any kind of job to work at, as such I was even familiar the Central Park of New York and even the the most vile underground areas of the city, but I could still not confirm where I was. I was increasingly getting the feeling that I definitely was not in New York City or even the same state.
Well for the moment as I could not use my legs, I could only sit there and speculate, I also did not let Frank to go out too far and check the surroundings. I took out my cell phone from my pocket, but as usual it was completely fried, other than being used as a paper weight, there was no other use for it now. At least I still had the food packets on me, that I had just bought before, albeit now they were fried food packets, but least me and Frank would not have to starve even if we had to stay here for a few days to recover, moreover I wouldn’t need to cook it now.
But surprisingly my clothes were pretty much intact, apart from the small burn hole in front of my chest, the rest of my clothes were undamaged. It was a shame that my cell phone was fried, otherwise I could have used it to call someone for help.
A few moments before the gigantic golden lightning struck, in a village relatively near to the outskirts of the forest.
The villagers had a very worried look on their faces, although they were already accustomed to the strange weather sightings in and around the forest, sometimes it would be extremely warm, sometimes it would rain hail stones, in short the weather patterns were completely unpredictable in and around the forest. But the villagers had already grown accustomed to these strange weather sightings, and they even treated it as normal.
Although sometimes the weather in and around the forest would also become abnormally fierce, just like the fierce hurricane that raged in the forest a few years ago which had thrown numerous uprooted gigantic trees at them, but they had never seen such a fierce weather over the forest that they were seeing now, the sky above the forest was completely covered in black clouds moreover they were outlined by a dazzling golden light, the rumblings of thunder could also be heard along with the flashes of golden lightning. The wind was also very fierce, it prevented anyone from even approaching around 1 km ahead of the forest cover. It was basically like an invisible wall that would throw anything away that tried to near it.
The villagers were not particularly worried about the safety of the village, as the village was still a bit farther away from the forest and was not much affected by the ever changing weather in the forest, as a result they experienced an almost regular changes of the four seasons, moreover they also knew that the animals and ferocious beasts that resided in the forest would never come out of it, although they weren’t very clear on why or how, but they knew that it was because in the ancient times a very powerful person had put a very powerful restrictive formation all around the forest which only worked on non humans, meaning any other living being who was not human inside could not leave the forest, but it never prevented the humans to freely enter and exit the forest. As such none of the hunters used to take their respective hunting animals in the forest when they went foraging and hunting inside there.
The villagers were mainly worried about their people who had gone to the forest to hunt for some animals and beasts, since the winter was approaching, it was time for the villagers to gather and store food as they would not be able to grow much in their small farm patches during the winter. So every year around this time, the young and strong villagers would often form a large hunting party with the other strong villagers from the other villages in the vicinity to go into the forest to hunt for the beasts and other wild animals, if they were lucky then they may even be able to find one or two Elixirs. Although they would not be able to use those Elixirs, as only two of their people were Rank 1 Strong Men, that too only low ranked ones, but they would at least be able to sell those Elixirs in the the bi-annual town hall that happened during the winter and summer solstice at the nearby town, called the Sunspot Town. They would then be able to purchase the necessities that were very much required in the village with the money.
The village was not especially large, just consisted of about 28 families with a total population of about 130 people, such kind of small villages could be easily found around the outskirts of the forest, and were used to trading with each other. All in all, the relations between the scattered villages were quite friendly, as they would even sometimes get together to help the other villages if their situation was bad, all in all the scattered villages always looked out for each other, after all each of the villages had their own speciality, so they would always trade their specialities with each other and as a result lived in a relative harmony with each other.
This particular village was called the Rocky Fist village, named after rock that was in the center of the village which was in the shape of a fist. The hunting party along with the hunting parties from the various other villages had gathered in this village this year and were currently inside the forest, so when those villagers saw the ominous weather above the forest they were somewhat worried about the safety of their family members inside the forest. After all, of all the people who had gone inside the forest only two of them were actual Rank 1 Strong Mens, one of them was an Intermediate Stage Rank 1 Strong Men while the other one was an Early Stage Rank 1 Strong Men, as for the others, they were only ordinary strong people from the villages.
Although they were all strong and brave people but from the weather conditions that they were observing, the villagers had some doubts if they would be able to withstand the terrible weather. The villagers hoped that they were all safe inside. This kind of weather was not like those abnormal weathers that had appeared in the previous instances, but it was sudden, one moment the sky was blue and sunny and the next moment, the entire sky above the forest was filled with dark and thick black clouds with golden lining which were constantly rumbling with thunder and golden lightning.
It was then that they saw a huge bolt of golden lightning strike the forest, the lightning bolt was as thick as a tree trunk when observed from the village, and was extremely bright golden in color, it was then followed by a thunderous boom that reverberated throughout the forest and could even be heard for hundreds of kilometers all around the forest, many of the villagers covered their ears with their hands as they were not able to keep calm, as for some of the younger kids and the old and frail elders, they directly fainted when the shockwave hit, while a few of the not so older generation coughed up blood while trying to get a hold of their dizzying heads. Only one thought was in their minds: what a terrifying lightning bolt.
By now they were completely afraid of what might have happened to the hunting party, if they, who were still far away from the forest had such a huge impact just because of the shock wave, then what about the people who were actually inside the forest, what would have happened to them? Are they alright in there?
They could only just pray in their hearts, pray to the gods and hope that they were OK?
A few moments before the lightning struck, the hunting party in the forest.
The hunt was pretty much going smoothly, with the help of the only two Rank 1 Strong Men from the nearby villages, they were able to hunt many animals, though they still not dared to fight a ferocious beast, as from what the two Rank 1 Strong Men seniors said, even if the two of them combined their forces, they would not be able to hold their ground against even a single low leveled ferocious beast, let alone defeat it.
The villagers were very open and friendly with each other and even had family like relations with each other, so they all were used to sharing their life experiences amongst themselves. So although those two Rank 1 Strong Men looked strong in the eyes of the villagers, they all knew that this strength as just not enough. At most they would only be able to hunt the stronger wild animals, concerning hunting ferocious beasts, even a Rank 2 Strong Men might face difficulties against them, let alone two Rank 1 Strong Men.
Although in their hearts they all wanted to fight at least once against a ferocious beast, but they were very clear on the extent of their strengths, if the two Rank 1 Strong Men seniors had not accompanied them on their hunt, then they would not even be able to hunt even a tenth of what they obtained now. Moreover, they would also have suffered serious injuries, and if they were even the slightest bit careless, without the help of these two Strong Men, they might have even ended up as food for some of the stronger wild animals.
With the help of the two Strong Men, they were able to rake up a huge haul, there was enough food for the all the villages to go through at least two winters, of course they wouldn’t keep all the food with them, they would equally distribute the haul between all the rest of villages who could not participate due to the lack of strong men.
They weren’t able to see the sky from the forest floor as the trees in the forest not only were very huge but they were even very lush and full of leaves. The only light source was the sunlight that trickled down from the top of the forest along with the luminous bugs and plants that were quite abundant in this forest, for extra precaution, the two Strong Men carried one or two light lacrimas with them in case the lighting was too poor to see. Other than those they also carried a lot of fire torches in hands, though they primarily used the torches for light. They would only use the light lacrimas when in emergency, as although these light lacrimas were not rare, but rather because they were quite expensive for the villagers, moreover they could only buy them from the Sunspot Town that was about a week’s journey from the scattered villages.
Although the weather was a bit fierce today, but most of them did not pay any mind to it as they were all seasoned hunters, only the new additions were somewhat fidgeting as they were still adjusting to the sudden weather changes in the forest. All of them could hear the thunder rumbling in the skies above, so when they observed that the intensities of the rumblings were increasing, the hunting party decided to stop their hunt and get back to the village, after all they had already gathered a lot of carcases and were unable to carry anymore.
Tiding up everything, after taking the inventory, the members of the hunting party were very satisfied. At least they wouldn’t have to go asking for rations from the other villages. Although the other villages would gladly help and share their food with the other villages, but it would cost them their pride to try and ask for food, it would mean that there were not many capable people in that village.
Just as they were preparing to head back, there was a loud boom and immediately their entire world turned upside down, as they were thrown around by the intense shock wave that shortly followed the boom sound. The shockwave was so intense that it flung the hunting party with a huge force, forcing them to crash into the nearby trees. It was fortunate that most of them were resting while leaning on the tree trunks before they decided to head back, otherwise with the force of the shockwave, it would have been a miracle for many of them to even keep their lives intact. Although many of them were lucky, some of them who were busy packing the spoils from the hunt, weren’t that lucky, they were directly thrown and crashed into the tree trunks, some of the more unlucky ones were pierced by the flying debris, instantly killing them.
The two Rank 1 Strong Men were also in a pretty bad shape, both of them were helping to pack the carcases, when the were stuck by the shockwave. One of them, the Early Stage Rank 1 Practioner, by the name of Brady, crashed into a tree with such a force that it broke a few ribs in his chest, he sprayed out a mouthful of blood before fainting, while the other one by the name of Gary who was an Intermediate Stage Rank 1 Strong Men was pierced by a flying branch in his leg and was pinned to another tree, hanging upside down. But at least he was still conscious. The other few people, although they were able to survive, they were definitely not in good shape, some had crushed limbs, while some had their chests caved in, but at least they were alive. As for those unlucky few who lost their lives, they could only mourn for them in their heart.
No one expected for such a thing to happen on the outskirts of the forest, all the joy they had a moment ago instantly vanished as if it never existed, and was replaced with grief for their dead companions. They had grown up together, played together, even played pranks on each other, how would they not feel grief for their dead companions. For some amongst the dead, it was the first time for them to enter the forest, how would they even be able to explain it to their families back in the village?
They did not dare to remain there any longer, they immediately gave some emergency treatment to the injured, and gathering the dead bodies of their companions, and then immediately headed towards the exit of the forest. They did not even go back to pick up their packed up haul from the hunt, they were very scared that they would be hit by another powerful shock wave. Just as they arrived near the edges of the forest, the entire forest erupted with the roars and screeches of the beasts and wild animals, immediately their scalps went numb, and they increased their speeds to the utmost limits to get out of the forest, they knew that if they were caught by those hordes of beasts, then the only thing that they could do was to just wait for their deaths. Once those hordes of beast were finished with them, they doubted that if their bones would even be left behind.
Just as they got out of the forest, they heaved a sigh of relief but did not stop even for a bit and continued to run, behind them the beast horde had already reached the edges of the forest, but were completely stopped from coming out. Seeing that sight, they all offered a silent prayer of thanks to the ancestor who had set up the restriction formation around the forest. Other wise, they knew with the formidable strength of the beasts, they could easily decimate them and their villages as if it was a child’s play.