9 The Fight Against Pigeons

What greeted Cassius when he finally made it up to the roof were three pairs of eyes that belonged to three pigeons that were happily building a nest onto the roof before he appeared.

The moment he opened the door to the roof, all of them turned their heads around to glare at the new intruder.

Cassius, on the other hand, was feeling baffled. He had figured that the roof would be a safe spot since he hadn't seen any flying monsters until now, but he quickly realized how naïve he had been. Of course, birds would have changed into monsters as well.

Alarmed, he quickly dropped the pillow and mattress he was carrying and took up a fighting stance with his knife drawn out.

Seeing that the pigeons were yet to make a move, Cassius scrutinized them from head to toe.

While they still looked like pigeons, every one of them was over 50cm tall, with large talons and a sharp beak.

Their size truly terrified Cassius, since he was only a head taller than the largest pigeon that was around 70cm in height.

Deciding that it was better to take the initiative, Cassius dashed towards the closest pigeon, which was also the largest of the three birds.

This clearly took the birds by surprise, as the two birds further away flapped their wings and took flight, while the closest one, retreated a few steps before halting.

In its eyes, the young boy wasn't a threat; it had killed humans larger than him. So it arrogantly stood its ground while trying to peck at Cassius with its sharp beak.

Cassius easily sidestepped the attack while stabbing his dagger towards the pigeon's head.

Alarmed because its attack missed, the pigeon flapped its wings, trying to avoid the knife, but it was too late. The blade cut deeply into the pigeon's neck, making it let out a shrill screech as blood spurted from the wound, dyeing Cassius' face crimson.

Reeling from the wound, the bird fell on the roof and frantically flapped around with its wings. But Cassius wasn't about to let this chance go to waste, as he quickly stomped on the wings.

*Crack* *Crack*

The sounds of bones breaking could be heard, accompanied by another screech from the pigeon.

Stepping closer, Cassius bent over and brought his knife down towards the pigeon's head.

Cassius' knife penetrated the head, and with a final cooing sound, the pigeon stopped moving.

Meanwhile, Cassius received several notifications that flashed by in front of his eyes.

[You killed a Mutated Pigeon (level 13)]

[You gained 1200 Experience]

[You have leveled up.]

[You have leveled up.]

[You have leveled up.]

After confirming the kill, Cassius turned his attention towards the remaining two pigeons that were still flying in the air, eyeing him warily.

Cassius nervously licked his lips as he kept his eyes on the remaining two pigeons while slowly retreating towards the door. While he had taken one bird by surprise and managed to easily kill it, the remaining two were highly alert and he would be at their mercy as they could stay up in the air for as long as they wished, only swooping down when they saw it fit.

Of course, the birds weren't really that smart, but as Cassius had recently upgraded his intelligence, his mind was conjuring up all the worst-case scenarios he could come up with, making him act extremely cautiously.

Seeing that Cassius was retreating away from them, the two pigeons took it as a sign that he was afraid of them and acted more confidently.

One of them dove towards Cassius with its talons stretched out towards him.

Glancing at the bird, Cassius simply brought his knife forward, and let the feet of the bird hit the blade on the knife, before slashing off two of its talons making it screech in pain.

But Cassius had miscalculated. As the bird was passing over him, its remaining talons scratched his shoulder, drawing blood.

Luckily, the wound wasn't deep, just a shallow flesh wound.

Wincing from the pain, Cassius staggered and his grip on the knife loosened, which didn't escape the eyes of the second pigeon.

Following the example of the previous pigeon, it swooped towards Cassius with its talons stretched out towards him, aiming at his eyes.

Sadly, the two birds underestimated Cassius.

The moment he saw the second pigeon dive towards him, he gritted his teeth and swung the knife forwards, while taking a step sideways.

The knife cut through one of the pigeon's wings, while its talons barely managed to scratch Cassius' face as it passed by. It only broke the skin on Cassius' cheek.

Feeling the stinging sensation on his face, Cassius quickly rubbed his cheek and checked his hand, but there was no blood.

The pigeon fell onto the roof, desperately flapping its remaining wing in order to take flight again, but no matter how hard it tried, it didn't manage to take off from the ground.

Seeing the plight of its comrade, the pigeon that had first attacked dove towards Cassius again, aiming to take Cassius by surprise while his back was turned.

But Cassius had anticipated this move and ducked down, and the pigeon harmlessly flew over him.

Straightening back up, Cassius saw the bird circle back towards him in the air. The pigeon rushed towards him with its peak wide open and pointed towards his face.

Giving a slight snort, Cassius swung his knife in an upward trajectory while lowering his head and shoulders as much as he could. The knife pierced into the pigeon's body and carried forth by its previous momentum, the pigeon's body was cut by its entire length, almost cleaving the pigeon in half.

As its entrails spilled forth, the pigeon crashed onto the roof and after a few jerking movements; it lay there, unmoving.

[You have killed a Mutated Pigeon (level 10).]

[You gained 800 Experience.]

[You have leveled up.]

Seeing the notification, Cassius felt the tension within him disappear.

He glanced at the remaining pigeon that was till furiously flapping its sole wing while bleeding all over the roof.

Cassius made his way over, stepping on the pigeon's remaining wing, trapping it under his foot, before bringing down his dagger, stabbing it into the pigeon's neck, killing it.

[You have killed a Mutated Pigeon (level 11).]

[You gained 750 Experience.]

[You have leveled up.]

Wiping off the sweat dripping down his forehead, Cassius let out a satisfied smile. While he didn't expect to meet enemies on the roof, his first fight went pretty well. Although he did get two small wounds, it wasn't anything serious.

'Now... should I eat their hearts as well?' Cassius thought while glancing at the three bodies he had gathered before him.

'Is it even safe to eat them?' he pondered, as he remembered his mother saying he should never eat raw chicken. And within Cassius' young mind, the difference between eating raw chicken or any other kind of raw bird meat was nonexistent.

Also, he had no idea why one shouldn't do it. He just knew that it mustn't be done since his mother said so.

Deciding to just store the birds for now, Cassius glanced around the roof.

Except for an antenna, a fire escape, and the pile of twigs left by the pigeons, the roof was completely empty.

Walking to the edge of the roof, Cassius glanced down towards the streets of LA.

As far as his eyes could see, monsters filled the streets. It seemed that more and more of them were coming in this direction.

'Why are they all coming here?' Cassius deliberated with a frown.

Sadly, no matter how hard he thought about the matter, he couldn't figure out the reason.

'Whatever. As long as they don't come up to the roof, I will be safe.' he thought as he went back and lay down his mattress next to the door leading back inside the building. It was the only spot that provided him with some shade, since above the door on the wall was a small metal awning. It would also provide some cover in case of rain, albeit barely.

'What should I do now.' Cassius thought as he stared blankly at the empty roof stretching out before him.

Having nothing better to do, Cassius started to doodle onto the roof, using the blood that had spilled from the pigeons.

Luckily, no one else was there to see this, since surely they would have been scared senseless.

The sight of a five-year-old child with his face and clothes dyed crimson, using his small fingers to draw pictures with the blood that was pooled on the roof beside him, was truly eerie.

Soon, the night fell, and after eating the half a cucumber he took from the fridge, Cassius started to slowly drift to sleep, even though he did best to struggle to stay awake.

**

While Cassius was slowly drifting to sleep, Hypnos was once more lying on a sunbed, watching the waves of the ocean hit the sandy beach. A few meters from him, a woman was happily humming as she kept searching the beach for seashells. It was the same woman he had been watching previously.

Hearing her hum so happily, Hypnos couldn't help but turn to look at her.

Her beautiful platinum hair reached her lower back, and her emerald green eyes were sparkling in the sunlight. Upon her gorgeous face, which would leave any of the top models on earth green with envy, rested a pair of cherry red lips.

She was wearing an ordinary-looking white dress with a small purple sash tied around her waist, making the otherwise loose dress hug her figure.

Her lips were slightly tilted upwards as she kept happily humming.

The very sight of her entranced Hypnos. With slightly parted lips and glazed eyes, he couldn't help but stare at her as a deep, bottomless feeling of sorrow filled him.

"Thea.." he whispered as he almost reached out towards her, barely managing to stop himself.

Shaking his head, Hypnos closed his eyes as he lay back down on the sunbed.

But as he lay there, he had a feeling that he had forgotten something important.

'Hmm. What could I have forgotten? Take a dip in the ocean? Check. Get a relaxing massage by forest nymphs? Check. Kick my annoying prick of a brother in the balls? Nope, not in a million years unless I want to die in the most painful way imaginable.' Hypnos thought as he glanced at a notepad that he had conjured in front of him.

'Get mother's help in keeping the child safe during the night? Not checked. Oh crap. Hopefully, he hasn't kicked the bucket yet.' Cassius thought as he quickly rose up and on the top of his lungs shouted: "Mother! I need help!"

As soon as the words left his mouth, Hypnos' surroundings instantly dimmed as darkness descended all around him.

"My unfilial child, why do you only call for me or come visit me when you need something?" a woman's clear voice asked from within the darkness and a heavy pressure fell upon Hypnos. The pressure was so terrifying that any normal human would be instantly flattened by it.

"Nice to see you too, mother." Hypnos simply smiled, not bothered by the pressure in the slightest.

"What do you need, you unfilial child?" the voice asked as a pair of dark eyes became visible from within the darkness. Soon the silhouette of a woman could be seen walking towards Hypnos.

As the silhouette came closer and closer, it was revealed that it belonged to a beautiful but otherworldly woman who looked like she was in her mid-thirties.

She had long raven black hair that reached over her shoulders; she had dark eyes that seemed to suck in anyone who stared at them for too long, and her lips were ashen. She was clad in a black dress that was open in the back, revealing her silky smooth and flawless snow-white skin. Only a single strap of cloth was tying the dress up around her neck.

The woman was walking barefoot, enjoying the feeling of the soft sand below her feet.

Deciding to cut through the chase, Hypnos immediately replied to his mother's query; "I want you to keep a child safe during the night, just for a month."

This caused to woman to look up in surprise.

"Did you father a bastard child?" she blurted out.

"No!" Hypnos shouted, feeling exasperated.

"So, whose child is it? Your brothers? Did your brother finally find someone? No, that can't be it. No woman would ever find that blockhead attractive." the woman pondered while tilting her head.

"He is a human. I don't really know who his parents were. But that's not the point. Can you protect him? For me?" Cassius pleaded, while inwardly agreeing to the statement his mother made about his brother.

"Hmm. I don't know yet. I will keep him safe for tonight and take a look at him while at it. This has slightly piqued my interest. I'll tell you my final decision tomorrow." the woman replied.

"So where can I find this kid?"

"I left a mark on the child's consciousness, so just follow my mana signature, and you will find him." Hypnos explained.

His mother simply nodded, and with a flick of her wrist, disappeared.

"That went rather well. Mother's attention got diverted, and she forgot to nag at me." Hypnos said with a satisfied smile on his face.

"That's because I will nag at you tomorrow, dear child." the woman's voice whispered right next to Hypnos' ear, instantly wiping away his previous smile.

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