The world appeared to be a living purgatory of blood and flames.
The distorted view of destroyed towers and devastated construction clouded the air with dust and smoke, a bloody pungent smell corrupting the senses as thousands of mangled corpses lay in a sea of blood that painted the dystopian city red.
Clouds of orange smoke ascended into the sky, the flames, and destruction reminiscent of the underworld with only the echo of death and terror accompanying me through the city.
As I slowly walked, I took in these rabid sensations, while ignoring the distracting pangs of despair that surrounded me, and instead pressed forward.
Cars that had long been forgotten lay around, pounded and severely battered by rain, debris, and the prowlers in this modern era.
From my distance, I could sense a battle nearby. Perhaps I should venture to watch them…
"No! It's none of my business anyway…" I thought, dissuading myself from making the wrong call.
I ventured further in the opposite direction from the unnecessary trouble which was escalating at a rapid rate.
"But wait, there might be loot, though"
I paused, stopping dead in my tracks as soon as I considered this. My weary legs, covered by my blue sneakers and black socks, slowly began to turn around, moving back to the place I had just avoided. I picked up the pace in order to reach a vantage point quickly before the battle ends.
My red jacket flowed behind me, covering the black shirt I wore to match my dark trousers. With hastened steps, I dashed from my location and jumped on the cars I had passed by, leaping even higher while using them as footholds.
My sneakers glowed as my body strengthened, propelling me high into the air. Immediately, wings appeared behind me, causing me to glide through the air and soar higher than my current reach. The mechanical construct which took me up whirred as its turbines spun, allowing me to control my momentum and direction. I kept ascending eventually reaching the top of a high-rise building in no time. I safely landed on top of the roof and the wings behind me vanished.
I took a few steps forward, raising my right hand slightly, expectantly waiting for something to fall in it.
Immediately, a pair of goggles dropped into my palm, appearing out of thin air. I placed the device on my face, drawing my eyes closer to the two holes, and gazed within the circular structure they had.
Using this, I could clearly see what was happening below me, as I observed the source of the conflict I had felt earlier.
What I saw, was an amusing sight, something I had experienced countless times. A group of Gifteds, against their enemies, the Demons.
I watched as the desperate group of five, fought against one fairly large Demon and how, despite being pushed back by the monstrous creature, they refused to give up nonetheless.
"Foolish… They just don't know when it's time to surrender…" I muttered as I observed how they coordinated themselves while using their respective Gifts to fight.
The Demon appeared to be a Grade 3. How disappointing, I expected something better. This specimen was practically useless for me. It seems I wasted my time.
I sighed and turned away, looking at my target location from the top of the building I stood on. It didn't seem too far for me to fly there with my wings, but it was better not to use them so often.
"I'm out of here," I said.
The members of that group were most likely going to die. However, only a fool would feel pity for them.
In this world, it's dog-eat-dog. I'm sure this isn't how it was intended to be from the start, but humans always found a way to ruin beautiful things.
Once again, my mechanical wings appeared and I took to the ground, returning to the abandoned road I was walking through previously.
Within several minutes, I had arrived at my destination.
Before me was a dark tunnel, with luminous stones glowing around the entrance, dimly lighting the place with its translucent glow.
Broken down buildings and destroyed vehicles all surrounded the tunnel, however, this very structure appeared to be intact.
"I'll be finding Treasures here for sure!"
After all, this was the rumored place, said to contain an item I need to complete my latest construct.
"Fortunately, I'm the first one here… It's mine…" I smiled slightly.
Suddenly, the watch on my wrist beeped, causing me to check it quickly.
The wristwatch displayed a blue window in front of me, informing me of hostile individuals within my vicinity who were approaching my current location.
"Tch, just what I was avoiding…" I let out in dissatisfaction.
I closed the window upon realizing they were close and turned around to greet my unwelcome guests.
A group of riff-raffs dressed up like dregs approached me with a menacing look in their eyes. Unlike me, their attires were dirty, worn out, and unkempt.
Upon seeing the way I was dressed, they eyed me suspiciously and greedily.
"Oi, Oi. What the hell do you think you're doing here?!" The one who seemed to be their leader said to me in his delinquent tone.
In the past, this might've fazed me, but now it was no better than the desperate bark of a powerless cur.
I blankly looked at the group, only 7 men, and 2 women. An entire caravan of 9 members… Not too bad, considering the nature of the world. Their joint interest in crime and negative values seemed to be holding them together, but sooner or later they would most likely turn against each other… Just as 'they' turned against me.
"What do you want?" I asked them pointlessly.
They must be here for the special item stored here. But now that they've seen me, they most likely also want all my valuables.
How laughable. If only they knew that what I had wasn't only restricted to what I currently had on.
"This is our turf! We've already claimed access to this land before you came here. You're encroaching on our territory!". The leader smiled smugly, generating a follow-up chuckle from his followers.
"For your actions of trespassing … You must pay a fine. However, I am a merciful person, so instead of asking for the original cost, I'll let you off on the condition that you relinquish everything you have on you" He smirked.
I nearly burst out laughing but I managed to keep my emotions to myself while maintaining a poker face.
"What's the original cost then?" I asked.
"DEATH! Now choose!" The leader said with a slight glare.
He brought out a sharp sword that he had kept sheathed by his hip. His followers also brought out their respective weapons. They had whips, daggers, spears, and swords
One also had a club and an extra dagger as his secondary weapon.
Upon analyzing the weapons they possessed, I groaned to myself in disappointment. They were all low-grade weapons. Except for the leader's item, they were all Grade 1. The item of the leader was also merely a Grade 2.
"I have to stop raising my hopes. What did I expect from riff raffs like these?" I said to myself.
Though there had been cases where I had found rare items amongst poor and unskilled players who did not know how to utilize the items to their full potential, those situations had now become rare.
These fools were certainly not worth anything, and because of that, they did not deserve any more of my time.
"You're in my way… Leave." I said to them in a calm and low tone, waving them off.
"Uh?! What the hell is this bitch telling us?" The leader asked in anger, upset by my disrespect.
He stepped forward to challenge me with his sword, however, as he did so, a blade was sent flying to his head, piercing his skull and ripping it into two pieces.
His cleanly sliced head fell on the floor, and his body followed, making a heavy thud as it landed lifelessly on the ground.
The remaining group looked at me fearfully as they watched their leader meet instant death.
Their eyes bulged as they discovered that I was not the ordinary person they pictured me to be.
Quickly turning away, they took to their heels, running for their lives. A normal person would have spared them, but not me.
If I leave them, they'll end up becoming a pain in the ass in the future. I personally do not like having any loose ends in my quest. Besides, if they called the attention of others to this item and it got traced to me, things would become bothersome.
Considering the fact that, they attacked me first, this was only self-defense. They should have been prepared to die the moment they pointed their weapons at me.
Unlike others, I'm not stupid!
Several blades of varying sizes and proportions suddenly appeared by my sides and were launched towards them, impaling the fleeing members and instantly killing them off one after the other.
Due to the homing function on them, my blades would instantly strike the vital part of the targets, ensuring they were killed with the first blow. My swords pierced their hearts, head, necks, and spine, and even went through the mouth of one of them, who was screaming, as it came out of the end of her skull.
Blood splattered all around, not reaching me due to their distance. As the red liquid oozed, I could not help but laugh. The same idiots who were so full of themselves just earlier had now died in a bloodbath.
"Life can be pretty twisted sometimes" I mused.
Turning away from the pile of impaled corpses, I returned to my business, observing the tunnel I was about to venture into. I took a deep breath to suppress my excitement. Obtaining new Treasure is always so exhilarating.
As I took a step forward, nearly entering the tunnel, I heard a massive crash behind me.
"Urgh, what now?"
Everything keeps interrupting me.
Immediately, my watch also began to beep rapidly, indicating a red alert this time.
I didn't need the red window to open up this time for me to realize who had just entered the vicinity.
"Demons… Looks like it's only one…"
I turned back and looked at the creature from a small distance. It growled as it displayed its massive teeth, flexing its huge physique. Its slightly enormous body had spikes protruding from it and the skin of the beast was dark brown, with red stripes on the body.
However, the most distinguishing feature I discovered about it, causing me to laugh, even more, was that I had met this Demon before.
"You're the one from earlier… You must have killed those ones already, that was quick…"
It seems those Gifted were even more useless than I thought.
The Grade 3 Demon advanced and stared at me, focusing its eyes on my frame, as a predator does with its prey.
"… I don't have time to play with you," I whispered.
I slightly raised my hand and snapped my fingers swiftly. Immediately, a giant lump of mineral appeared above the head of the Demon. The Demon looked up in surprise to find such a mass of solid matter above it.
It shrieked and tried to back away, but before it could remove itself from the inevitable crash of the massive object, the lump of precious stone crushed the head of the Beast, causing it to die an instant death.
Its purple blood splattered everywhere, due to my boulder's force.
"You should not have come here, to begin with," I muttered, turning away and staring at my goal.
Without any further delay, I was ready to get my next upgrade. How thrilling!
"Return" I mumbled.
Immediately, the boulder and swords vanished and became light particles.
A blue window appeared in front of me and the particles of what I summoned ventured Into my Status Window's inventory portion, taking their place within their assigned icons.
I entered the tunnel and grinned.
A few years ago, who'd have thought that this would be how I'd turn out to be?
I was so miserable when I was younger, but all of that had changed.
The event which marked the beginning of my evolution and ultimate quest for power was one I had hated the most at the time.
However, it was thanks to it that I have become a Hoarder, one who plunders and keeps everything in this world.
They are all mine, obtained exclusively for my use and disposal.
"How funny… The world truly is twisted"