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To the Second Peak! Pt. 1 [Solo/Job Chain]

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Up the Mountain Pt. 1:
Job Name: Up the Mountain, Pt. 1
Job Rank: C
Job Location: Jade Dragon Mountains
Job Rewards: 100 exp, 7000 Huang
Job Prerequisites: Your Reward
Job Overview: Ban's Vassal revealed that Ban is a teacher of an ancient body manipulating technique, and has been looking for promising students to whom she could pass on her craft. To get to her, you must travel to the second peak of the Jade Dragon Mountain, where she lives. The journey is treacherous, and the first obstacle in your way is Tempest Pass, where ravenous manta make their homes.

Enemies:
Enemy Name: Ravenous Manta x2
Rank: C-Tier
Needed damage to take down: C-Tier
Abilities: Deals C-Tier damage with fangs or spiked tail and flies at 10 m/s.
Gust - Flaps its wings at 15 m/s to create a current of wind that deals C-Tier damage up to twenty meters away.
Gobbling - Swoops down at 15 m/s up to ten meters away to bite a target, dealing C-tier damage

The trek up the mountain would be a long one, most likely taking several days.  Unfortunately, Caelus was told he could not prepare.  Instead he had only his sword, Ripple, and the clothes on his back.  The mountain was full of life however, so hunting would not be a problem.  In addition the mountain was quite fertile.  Berries and fruit bearing trees could be found all around the base and some distance up.  Small streams also flowed from the peak to the base, carrying with them fresh and great tasting water.  From this, Caelus was able to sustain himself.

The problem however was that when Caelus started ascending, the fertile valleys became more and more sparse, and the rivers dried up.  Sheer cliffs blocked his path up, and his only choice was to follow a road of broken tiles around the walls.  Every two hundred or so steps he would see a signpost with a message that had since become unintelligible due to years of wind erosion.  The winds were indeed strong and only got stronger the higher up he went.  At points he found himself gripping the side of the mountain to avoid being thrown off by a rogue gale.  Eventually he reached a plateau and the winds died down a bit.  He took this brief reprise to rest and regain his stamina.  It had been almost two days to get to this point, and still the second peak was quite a ways away.

Caelus sat down on a flat stone to breathe.  The air was clear, free of the smoke from the war raging below.  It was a little harder to catch his breath, he noticed.  The altitude was having an effect on him.  His body was weakening a bit, and his recovery was slowed.  His muscles ached a little, but no more so than after a moderate workout.  Luckily his vision was clear and he was thinking clearly, else he might not have noticed the two pairs of eyes watching him from above.  Caelus looked to the sky above him and saw two figures, like large kites, flying through the air.  They circled him, flying directly in front of the sun and preventing him from getting a good look at them.  That behavior is predatory.  Are they scouting me out?  He thought.  One of the figures broke from the circle and came diving down towards Caelus.  He jumped and rolled to the side as it swooped through where he once sat, jaws snapping at the air.  Caelus recognized them then as Ravenous Mantas.

A pet project of King Lagi was domesticating beasts from different parts of the world and using them for societal development.  A popular use of these Mantas was as mounts in the yearly race, or as rather expensive ways to get around town.  They were known to be particularly difficult to control, and required training from the moment they hatched to be used effectively.  The wild versions of course had no such training.

Drawing Ripple from its sheath, Caelus watched as the flight pattern of the Manta's changed.  They now flew in opposite circles, one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, and would swing in together towards Caelus.  The first Manta seemed to learn that Caelus was rather nimble and did not attempt another swooping attack.  Instead, they both halted their flight for a moment to throw blasts of air at the plateau, sending debris flying in all directions.  Caelus jumped behind a large stone as the wind tore at the cliff side, the pressure of the air alone able to carve gashes into the rock.  The assault continued as each one circled back around to strike again, keeping him pinned.  "Dammit!  I'm a sitting duck out here!"  He yelled.  Looking around, he noticed that higher up was a limestone forest.  If he could just get to it, he would force them to either abandon their hunt or get in close.

When the pair ceased their gust attack again, Caelus bolted.  He ran full speed towards the tile steps leading higher up the mountain, and only just managed to pass into the uneven forest of pillars as the cutting wind sent shards flying behind him.  He had to be careful now, because although he had the advantage of the stones for cover, his footing would suffer.  If he missed a step in this terrain, he risked breaking bones, and by extension losing his life to these beasts and others.

The Mantas looked for a moment as though they would back off, but instead slowed their flight and sailed gently through the trees.  Caelus his behind a stone outcropping, watching the two search for him.  He waited for one to get too close before leaping from his hiding place and cleaving through its wing with Ripple.  He landed on the side of another tree and grasped the stone, watching as the Manta fell from the sky and onto the rough floor below.  Caelus swung around to the other side of the tree as the second Manta rushed over to check on the noise.  As it flew over the body of the first Manta, it paused for only a fraction of a second.  It was just long enough for Caelus to leap from behind the stones and land a falling stab into the beasts back.  He rode the Manta down during the fall, landing hard but not painfully so on top of the pair.

Although he had suffered no injuries during the fight, Caelus was still breathing very heavily.  The exertion, as well as the low volume of air forced him to sit a while to catch his breath.  His head started to throb, and the pain in his body increased.  He tried to calm himself down and drank a bit of the water he carried with him.  It was cool on his throat and soothed the pain.  When Caelus rose to continue his climb, he found that he had been sitting for over an hour.  To get to the top, he would either have to put up with the altitude sickness, or spend extra time acclimating to the surroundings.  But from what the Vassal had said to him just two days prior, he didn't think he had that luxury.

Magoi: 130/130
Stamina: 190/190

~WC: 1,052/1,000~


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