4. A Monster’s Depression
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"Who would have thought being a world-ending monster would be this boring?" The twin-headed snake with black draconic scales that could rival the size of a bus let out a screech as Victor slowly sliced it into well-measured pieces, "Despite my cruel actions, I feel nothing."

"NOTHING!" Victor grabbed the snake's head in his meter-long claws, leaving long incisions. The monster's beady eyes shook with fear as if pleading for its life. "Days, weeks, maybe even months have passed. The beautiful green forest has withered away to a wasteland of bare trunks and frost-covered ground: the same scenery, all day, every day. Same monsters, over and over. I feel nothing, and nothing changes."

Victor shook the snake as it took its final breath, "Speak to me, anything, do something! Ah, I can't take this insanity any longer."

[Freezing Cone]

The snake was flash frozen as its blood dyed the ice red. Victor floated next to the twisted ice sculptor and sighed. "Status."

[Name: Victor]

[Race: Netherborne]

[Level: 281]

[STR: 259200, DEX: 259200, CON: 259200, INT: 259200, WIS: 259200]

 

"These numbers are pointless, just like everything else. Months of slaughter for three days of life..." After seeing the creatures that lurked in the void below, such measly numbers on the screen meant nothing. "My true form should still be below the surface somewhere. I feel this is merely an avatar, a pathetic mimic of the real thing."

"For fuck sake." Victor's ancient voice boomed through the empty forest; apart from the hundreds of ice statues containing various S-rank monsters surrounding him, there was nothing except dead trees and frost-covered rocks. "I don't know how Netherbornes usually act, but there's no way putting a human mind in an undead was a good idea! I should have taken a different option..." Something squirmed around in his mind, and the idea of making another choice seemed to vanish.

Victor used his claw and made an incision on a tree, "That marks the tenth time my thought process has been changed by something unknown. Goddess, what is your plan? Why am I here?"

Alas, there was no answer. 

Victor did not know where the nearest city was and did not intend to kill the entire continent to sate his endless hunger. However, he needed a long-term solution. Although the forest was enormous, easily the size of a country, Victor was slowly running out of high-value prey to hunt. The need to move was approaching, but where should he go?

"Clever bastards are avoiding me..." Victor had raised an undead army during his few months of wandering. His conquest of the entire forest was inevitable. "And then what?" This question had been plaguing Victor's mind. He had no purpose. Unlike in the other stories, he was likely already the strongest monster on this planet. If his one aim in life was destruction and death, his chosen body was perfect for the job.

"I reached the end game, the legendary place where no novel has gone. So many epic tales remain uncompleted, while others abruptly end with a confusing ending, yet here I am, on the final frontier. The apex predator, the king of the dead..."

Victor looked at his cursed creations and watched as an undead goblin carefully navigated around them towards his location. This sight gave the ancient creature an idea.

'I should not seek destruction but rather creation. Of course! What else can the strong do than rule the weak?' Victor looked to the left and right; he did not know the city's location or wish to find out. 

He could invade with his army, wipe the city off the map and claim its riches for himself and then what? Spend the endless gold on beautiful women, succulent food and rare booze? Construct grand palaces full of servants to tend to his every need?

"Useless," Victor muttered as he removed the thought. Of course, as an undead, he required nothing materialistic. Instead, companionship, entertainment and emotions were the most important to him right now. But how can a titanic ancient creature from the void acquire such things?

"Boss." 

"Hm?" Victor turned to the tiny goblin undead. The poor thing barely reached his knee area and had to look straight up to meet Victor's many glowing blue eyes.

"Humans have entered the forest."

Victor felt his non-existent heart skip a beat. At this point, a talking monkey would be a great find, so to hear that actual humans had stumbled into his domain was unbelievable!

"How many?"

"Err." The goblin counted on its skeletal fingers, "Five men and a woman."

"The situation?"

"Men chasing the woman."

Victor groaned, "Cliche escaped slave scene it seems... very well, lead me there."

"Cliche... slave scene, sir?"

"Never mind. Lead the way."

***

As Alice stumbled through the cursed forest, two massive moons cast the forest in its ethereal glow. The cold floor made her feet numb, helping hide the pain from the rocks and thorns tearing her soles apart. "Ah!" She yelped as a well-hidden log slammed into her shin, sending her tumbling face first into a frozen-over puddle.

"OVER THERE!" A gruff voice shouted behind her.

 

Alice glanced over her shoulder. A faint yellow glow from the merchants' candles illuminated the path towards her. "Shit." She cursed as she pushed her weary body up again.

 

With a stealth skill, the cover of the night, and a head start, Alice hoped her pursuers would have given up by now. But alas, the slave collar around her neck would direct her owner towards her so long as they were close enough.

 

Trying to escape from range, she has no choice but to struggle further into the forest.

 

Looking behind her, the yellow glow seemed to have suddenly vanished. She waited a minute to get her breathing under control. Minutes passed, yet the light never returned. Only total darkness greeted her and eerie silence.

 

She walked back to where she had last seen the yellow glow. Had they left? Or did a monster get them? These thoughts swirled around the scared girl's mind.

 

After ten minutes of slow and painful walking, she arrived. On the floor were five bodies with large holes through their hearts. Blood was pooling out their bodies, forming a puddle on the forest floor.

 

The glass box that had held the candle was smashed and lying on the floor, letting off a very faint glow as it was starved of oxygen under the glass pieces.

 

Alice was overcome with emotion. First, she was glad the men had died, but now her situation truly settled into her. The adrenaline and rush faded away, and only cold terror remained.

 

She was alone, without food, water, or weapons in the cursed forest. Alice slumped down with tears forming in her eyes. She was just a pampered merchant girl. She had no idea what to do.

 

"Are you lost, little human?"

 

An ancient-sounding voice came from high above her.

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