Chapter 105: Connection
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(A/N: Prepare some sad music in advance for when "that" happens, it might help to ambientate the reading.

What is "that" you might ask? 

Well, You will know what it is when it happens)

Chapter 105: Connection


...

Aspen looked amazed at the power the Scarab Bomb used by Delbere had, and how much damage it had actually dealt with the body of the Sand Elemental.

In a way, it certainly made sense, as Scarab bombs were made in the game to create small tunnels and excavate through every kind of terrain in the game, that this weapon could damage so severely the body of the Sand Elemental.

If used properly, then even the Sand Elemental could be gone for good in just a few minutes!

"At least this makes things less worrying..."

Aspen endured the pain in his stomach and stood up to look at the Sand Elemental that was glancing with fury at Delbere and prepared herself to finish him off rather rapidly.

However, right before she could do anything, Aspen had already moved right next to Delbere and took out some stone blocks from his inventory in order to protect him from any incoming attack.

The Sand Elemental created a vortex in her chest and fired another extremely fast spike in the direction of Delbere and Aspen, but even with the incredible momentum of the spike, it was unable to go through the small wall Aspen built in order to shield themselves from her attacks. Although it still did pierce it slightly.

"How many of those bombs do you have left pal?" Aspen grabbed his stomach in order to minimize the pain, as he tried speaking to Delbere rapidly before the Sand Elemental attacked once again.

Delbere, still in his strange over-exalted state, looked at Aspen with a grin, and grabbed one more Scarab Bomb from his bag.

"I have at least five more of these babies with me, why? Do you have a plan to end that strange monster?"

Aspen smiled somewhat wryly and nodded briefly before he took out some of his handmade gel bombs, and showed them to Delbere.

"What's with those lame things?" Delbere snorted slightly seeing such a weak bomb but looked with curiosity at Aspen regardless.

Right before Aspen could answer him, he took out his finch staff from his inventory, and summoned 11 small birds that started flying around him rapidly, and waited for his instructions, Neo included.

Aspen gave each of them a gel bomb and whispered something to them before the small birds jumped away from the ground and flew rapidly in the Sand Elemental's direction.

"What are those small birds gonna do against that giant monstrosity?" Delbere asked Aspen with a dumbfounded expression on his face as he watched the small pack of birds fly in direction of the Sand Elemental without any trace of fear.

Aspen smiled slightly at his question and drank another healing potion before he dashed away from the wall while muttering some words in a low voice.

"Distraction"

°

°

°

Back at Yuuki, when she saw that the Sand Elemental had attacked both Aspen and Delbere who were luckily hiding behind a wall, she decided to attract the Elemental's attention while Delbere and Aspen finished doing whatever they were doing, and attacked directly the head of the Sand Elemental with her resonance magic.

*Boom!!*

*Boom!!*

*Boom!!* 

Many small shockwaves started attacking the head of the Sand Elemental and made her look a bit confused before she turned to glance at Yuuki and sent some sand bullets in her direction before not looking at her anymore.

Yuuki dodged the bullets by just a few meters, and when she saw that the Elemental was already charging another attack against Delbere and Aspen, her eyes widened in surprise and she tried once again to attract the Elemental's attention.

Unfortunately for her, this time her mana had already depleted and she was no longer able to attack the Sand Elemental. At least for a while.

As the hand of the Sand Elemental this time took the shape of a sword and moved at an incredible speed towards the wall where Aspen and Delbere were hiding, suddenly 11 small birds appeared out of nowhere and launched small blue colored balls that crashed against her body and covered many parts of it with large amounts of gel.

The Elemental was confused by this, but seeing that it wasn't causing any danger to her she ignored it and continued her attack without hesitation.

However, right before she could react, suddenly someone threw a torch at her as if it was a spear, and hit one of the gel-covered parts.

*Fuoooooooooooosh!!!*

An enormous explosion of fire happened, and this scared slightly the Sand Elemental who had seen the power of the Scarab Bomb and feared that this was once again that weapon that had somehow damaged her body so much.

But as she looked at the damaged parts, she noticed that it was just simply fire that had engulfed these parts, and although they did indeed deal some damage, for her it was still negligible. However, soon many other torches started being shot towards her gel-covered parts and ignited rapidly the sand on her body.

When she finally located the culprit, she noticed that it had been Aspen all this time that had been attacking her non-stop.

((("When did you... Doesn't matter, this makes my job easier...!")))

However, once again, another gel bomb exploded and caused her to lose her concentration a little, which Aspen took as an opportunity to use all the mana he had recovered to control all the nearby plants, and tie the body of the Sand Elemental and immobilize it.

*Creaaack...!!*

The ground opened apart as if a sword had split it apart, and from there hundreds, if not thousands of vines and other types of underground roots emerged from the fissure that was created in the ground and advanced towards the Sand Elemental with extreme speed.

Soon, the vines tied her arms and pulled her to the ground, before other ones then grabbed her waist and neck only to then also tie them directly to the ground. Unable to escape, the Sand Elemental created another vortex on her chest and fired an extremely rapid spike towards Aspen. Unfortunately for her, Aspen used his incredible reflexes to shield himself using a two-block thick wall made of stone blocks before the Spike reached him, and then continued controlling plants to bind her completely to the floor.

It wasn't long before she couldn't move anymore, and although she still tried attacking the wall created by Aspen with her attacks, it was still useless as the thickness and durability of Aspen's stone blocks surpassed the power behind the spike that she used.

And right as she was about to try once again, suddenly she felt five small objects land on her body without any warning.

((("What is-?")))

*BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!*

Before the Sand Elemental could even understand what had happened or who had attacked her, the five objects that landed on her body previously exploded simultaneously and created an enormous and extremely powerful explosion that incinerated her body and everything in the surroundings with extreme speed.

Aspen, who had been watching her status since the attack began, curled his lips upwards when he saw the remaining health of the Sand Elemental decrease by a third.

°Sand Elemental°

Name: ---

Race: ---

TitleThe personification of the desert's wrath.

-Status:

[Low stability: Due to the huge damage accumulated on the body, the desert is losing control of this materialization. Thus, this being will disperse into nothingness as long as its mana, Hp, or time remaining depletes] (Time left the desert loses control of this Elemental: 8 Hours, 39 minutes and...)

[Hp: 8,386/30,000]

The battle has now decreased to the level of the Eye of Cthulhu, which although would sound ironic, was a huge relief for Aspen. As this Elemental was far more fast and dangerous than what the Eye was. So powerful, that if not by his recent increases in power, tools, items, and reflexes, he would have been easily crushed under her palm when the fight began.

However, right as he was rejoicing, he noticed that the explosion also seemed to have burned the vines and other plants away, which freed the Elemental from his bindings and allowed her to attack.

In just one second, the Sand Elemental which now had the same size as the Goblin commander he had defeated a few months ago, appeared in front of him in the blink of an eye and created a giant scythe in her hand before she tried to slice Aspen in one go.

With his faster thinking and reaction state, Aspen was somehow able to dodge it by jumping backward. However, unlike what Aspen expected, he suddenly noticed a vortex in the chest of the Sand Elemental.

The expression of the Sand Elemental, which until now was either angry or expressionless, had now turned into a completely wide and vicious smile, as she knew that Aspen could not dodge the spike from this distance and in mid-air. Even with his mid-air jumping technique, dodging this technique was impossible.

Using the Shield of Cthulhu was also not an option, as the shield was only able to protect him from blunt or shockwave-based attacks, not piercing ones. Not to mention that even if he blocked the spike, his body could inevitably move towards the Sand Elemental, and be chopped by her scythe-like hand.

This was really... an unavoidable attack.

*Ptchk!!*

The sound of flesh being cut reached the ears of Aspen, and as he glanced down to see what had happened, he noticed that the spike had already pierced through his heart.

Blood spurted from his mouth and his chest. His eyes, which were clear and alive until now, were immediately filled with blood and his eyes turned dull.

His heart, which now was being completely pierced by a sand spike that extended from the Elemental's chest to Aspen's, pumped up blood one more time for the rest of his body to continue living, as if refusing to die completely just like a stubborn beast. And just as the Brain received its last speck of blood and oxygen, suddenly the time stopped.

...

°

°

°

Aspen soon woke up floating in the sky. However, unlike before, he now felt no pain, and his mind was no longer filled with worries and fears of dying instantly because he did not saw an attack coming, for once, he was finally able to feel like he felt once before. No fears or traumas attached to his mind, and no worries burdening his heart.

When he glanced down, he saw what seemed to be the moment of his death.

He was being pierced brutally by the monster he thought could defeat without dying, it was certainly not a beautiful image. However, right now he didn't care anymore.

He wanted to leave this place and take a nap, this time for quite a long time at that.

However, right as he was about to do so, he suddenly saw the despairing look of Neo, his first companion, and the one that granted him the power to fight against the monsters that inhabited this world.

He was flying in his direction with a desperate look in his eyes and trying to reach him with all his might.

Aspen's face, which was until now a slight smile of relief and happiness, turned a grim, and his eyes averted immediately to look elsewhere.

He saw the hundreds of Archers looking at the Scene with shock and obvious fear in their eyes.

He saw Jeffrey, who until now he thought had stayed at the castle to protect the King, dashing towards the Sand Elemental with a look of fury and anger in his eyes.

He saw Delbere no longer smiling like a madman, but this time looking in shock at the scene with a few grenades on his hands.

He saw Yuuki dashing towards his location to help, even with no mana left to use her magic.

Aspen averted his eyes from all of them, trying to stop watching what seemed to be the regrets of his own life resurfacing once again, even in his now finally calm and peaceful state.

Aspen flew away from the battlefield, trying to find somewhere else where he could rest.

He saw the Kingdom in the distance. Kids hugging their parents with tears on their eyes, people with the same look of despair that he once had, looking in fear at the giant Sandstorm where the battle, and even the King, who was on the streets watching the scenery while patting the head of a crying kid who seemed to be lost.

"Shut the fuck up"

Aspen now ethereal voice cursed while he gritted his teeth in anger and avoided his eyes to look somewhere else.

He flew away, far from the despair and the death that seemed to follow him wherever he went and looked for a place where the voices that seemed to ask for help stopped talking.

He traveled for so long, that at some point he arrived back at the Human territory.

He avoided the city of Balroc, he didn't want to see how were the people doing now, nor what was happening in the city now that he was no longer in this place.

He passed by his home where Evvie, Jack, and Claire lived, but he did not even look at it. 

The voices in his head continued screaming for help all the time, begging him to save them, but he just shut his eyes and gritted his teeth in anger, as he continued flying away without a clear destination.

...

"What?"

It was then, the voices finally stopped.

He saw his old village, where he lived for so many years, and the place where he thought foolishly that he could do something of importance in this dangerous world.

The village where he was allowed to live a happy life, even if only for thirteen years.

Although it was already destroyed, it seemed that some soldiers passed by here buried the corpses of the villagers, and made small graves for everyone in the village, marking each of their names on the tombstones.

*Clack*

As Aspen arrived at the ground, he started looking for the grave of his parents, and it wasn't long before he found them lying below a tree, that for some reason resembled two people embracing each other with care and love.

-[Here lies: Maynard]

-[Here lies: Aurora]

Under the Gravestone, dozens of flowers that seemed to have been left by several people that passed by this village and saw their names could be seen.

Aspen just stared blankly at their graves for minutes, thinking about something, and soon, he turned to look at another grave which seemed to be a bit more adorned than the others, and saw that it also was from someone he knew as well.

-[Here lies: Harry Magnus]

...

Aspen walked towards the grave, and sat down next to it in silence, seemingly thinking about something in particular. Soon, Aspen looked at the sword that had been embedded into the grave in honor of his time at the militia, and started laughing with a bright smile on his face.

"Seems like, at some point, we both ended up dying, Hahaha..."

Aspen chuckled as if imagining that Harry was in front of him, looking at his current state with a speechless expression at him.

"Looks like I'm the only one here that left unfinished business before dying though..."

Aspen, for the first time in many hours, looked at his hands in contemplation to think about everything he had done until now.

It was then that he noticed it... His hands were shattered.

No, not only his hands, his whole body was shattered and cracked apart, with only some golden strings keeping the parts of his body together.

It was as if only a small part of who he was before all this happened remained, and the rest had disappeared progressively as time passed.

"So I'm broken... Well, it was to be expected..." Aspen smiled slightly as he sat down on the ground and exhaled in exhaustion.

*Sigh...*

His face, which was happy until now, turned slightly grim, as he remembered everything that he had left behind on the battlefield and all the people that could die.

He looked towards the grave of Harry and tried to touch it with his shattered finger.

"What should I do... No, what would you do in this situation?"

As if by coincidence, or destiny even, at that moment a small breeze passed by his side and pointed back at where he had come from. As if telling him to go back, and finish his job.

"Shitty old man, can't you let me rest for a bit?" Aspen laughed heartily seeing what had happened and lied his body on the grass before looking at the seemingly infinite sky with a contemplating gaze.

At that moment, the sound of grass being stepped on reached his ears, and a sweet and enchanting voice echoed all around the area.

"It has certainly quite a while since we met, young soul"

...


Almost 3000 words... I remember those days when chapters were only 1200-1600 words each... Now they are above 2000...

That matter aside, how will Aspen survive a probably instant death? Will he even survive in the first place?

Discover it in the... Alright, enough references.

Bye bye

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