1 A sunny surprise!

Chapter 1: A sunny surprise!

A land burnished with winter, uninhabited colourless white plains, a solitary land separate from the rest of civilization.

The vast white fiords stretched endlessly surrounding the northern borders of a cold and domineering empire. A border that was abandoned by all but one soul.

The tranquil lands of the boarder were currently under ambush of a season-long storm, that howled so fiercely that even those that settled in the major cities of the empire could hear the muffled ghostly howls of the distant raging tempest on its borders.

CRASH!

A black smog soiled the white snow ashen as a fire roared, crackling blue flames melting layers of permafrost. A colossal metallic wreck appeared within the epicentre of the raging fire.

The massive structure that covered an area greater than a kilometre was riddled with huge craters, gashes, and holes that were themselves sizable.

Not far from the chaotic image of the enormous wreck, a trail of red-sullied snow stretched for miles.

As the trail faded concealed under the cover of the snowy blizzard a woman in brown rags stained red wailed in agony desperately gasping, limping, bleeding her hair burned an awful mudded black her leg mangled beyond recognition trembling, she grasped soft white blankets and held them tightly to her chest.

Her face was partially burned, yet her tears still trailed down her scarred face as she hobbles over to a glaciated river.

"Augh!" wailed the woman.

As she knelt, she looked at her wounded leg tears soon weld in her eyes as she saw her deformed limb, but before she had any time to ponder on her dire situation, she heard the distant sound of muffled shouting.

Before she could process this newfound information, the voice of a man shouted.

"The trail leads this way!"The once muffled sounds of men yelling were now distinguishable as the chatter became more clear. The woman rushed her hands trembling she rips a large cut of her rags and wrapped the cut around the loose white blankets.

She then took a golden amulet from her pocket and twisted it around the rags franticly, covering them ever so slightly in snow and pushing the blankets onto one of the large glaciers in the river. The woman then chanted in an ancient language before.

BANG!

A red stream now flowed into the glaciated river as the white pure crystalline waters were clouded with the red dye of blood.

"We got her! "Shouted a short stout humanoid being that held an object that resembles a firearm.

the man smirked at his accomplishedment, staring down on the scalded corpse of the woman.

"Check her corpse, see if she had anything on her, "ordered a tall, lanky figure that appeared stern and domineering.

the stout humanoid bent down thoroughly, inspecting the lifeless body.

"There is nothing on her just rags and burnt cloth," replied the stout humanoid.

Emerging from the misted wall of snow, another man casted a large silhouette.

"Now I'm sure she had something on her when she left the airship." Stated a strong brute-like figure.

"Well, clearly someone needs to invest in some spectacles now, don't they? "refuted the stout humanoid in a very mocking tone.

To this, the burly figure sneered and, in a threatening tone, said, "Saying I'm a liar now! Are you shorty?"

And to which, the offended humanoid quickly refuted, stating that he was, in fact, not a shorty and was considerably tall for a dwarf.

Chuckling a sinister voice broke the stalemate of the two men as a deadly black aura filled the air.

"it appears that even mercenaries of the highest order have the time to quarrel when dealing with a failure such as this."

A man with long slick black hair, pointy ears neon green eyes, grey skin, and a rather eccentric gold and silver monocle,

wearing a suit made of white silk smiled eerily bearing his sharp teeth at the two men that had seemed to go mute in his presence.

The suffocating silence ended when the tall, lanky man finally decided to speak. "With all due respect, we haven't failed our mission, sir."

"Oh? So, what part of this is successful? when there are no signs of our target's deceased corpse! This is no political assassination.

This is a strike in the name of a mass WAR,

and you think maybe dead is enough! clearly, you are not aware of your position." The man adorned in silk showed a face of absolute fury.

"But …

Sir, the border of this empire is a wasteland entirely abandoned and is infested with feral monsters it is given that the target themselves would not be able to fend off such monsters nor any survivor.

Even a seasoned monster subjugator would not be able to live out here. Only a madman could make a home of these wastelands. "Suggested the lanky man nervously.

To this explanation, the silk-wearing elf pondered and then smiled.

"Well, if the monsters do not kill them, I am sure they would starve. "To this revelation, the monocle-wearing elf had appeased expression on his face when he realized that the target was sure to die a sorry death.

As the elf walked back through the clouded mist of snow, fading into the distance the two other men looked at each other before staring at the tall lanky man with a look of disbelief. Their aghast expression was a mixture of shock and confusion.

Then the dwarf hesitantly asked, "What about the man that guards the border? What if he finds the target?"

The lanky man sighed, rubbing his temples with an exhausted expression.

"I'm surrounded by idiots!!!

would you like to tell him that? NO! Right because we would be dead, and regardless, the man that guards the border is a ruthless killer. How else would he survive here…

I doubt he would take on any unnecessary responsibilities."

To this, the men nodded in agreement before also vanishing into the mist.

A few kilometres away on top, a snowy cliff that looked upon the glaciated fiords, a small cottage-style home with no windows stands solus. Its walls off-white in colour, making it conspicuous from the sterling white snow.

Surrounding this miniature house was a barrage of sharpened spears, sticks, and spikes that made up its paling.

From inside this small cosy cottage home, a light red glow from a warm fire.

This cottage home was filled with rare ornaments and bizarre decorations. The house's interior was almost entirely oak except for the fireplace which was an unearthly material with an orange tinge.

The rugs, blankets and clothes were made from various monster hides and on the wall a singular scale of huge proportions belonging to what could only be imagined as having been a powerful being…

once…

Sitting in a chair next to a small wooden tea table in the heart of the abnormal room was the inhabitant of this absurdly decorated cottage.

A man with an extraordinarily strong built physique sculpted to perfection, symmetrical in every sense of the word. His muscles proportioned a kin to a Greek sculpture.

His shoulders were broad, and every muscle on his body was developed and defined his waist smoothly tapered, giving him an illusory small waist.

The man had skin of alabaster, of which there was no discolouration or blemish. He had long knee-length hair, the texture of which was silk with a colour comparable to freshly fallen snow, which was his more ethereal features.

His narrow eyes and sharp strait nose gave him a very prominent and memorable face. His full lips were a cool shade of amber, his eyes were a whiteish grey, almost colourless, giving them a cloudy appearance except for a slight marble of baby blue on his right eye. His jaw was sharp and defined, but his cheekbones weren't as prominent.

Contrasting his gifted beauty, his body was etched with deep discoloured unsightly scars.

Most noticeable were three deep claw marks that assumed the entire top right quarter of his face. He had numerous scars along his arms and a prominent large scar that wrapped around his neck.

These scars are signs of past torture and battles that made it apparent that this man had no fear of the consequences of injuring himself.

In short, he did not fear the most basic of fears.

Death.

The man in question was currently finishing his brew when he noticed an irregular disturbance. He sensed a large leek of mana coming from the fiord.

To this revelation, the man set down his half-empty cup of tea to quickly adorn himself in a set of black fur armour that was made of the same monster hide that made up a good portion of his uncanny decoration.

Before he left, he picked up a sheer lace fabric he used to cover his misty white eyes before exiting his house.

As soon as he set his eyes on the scene outside, he was left frozen in a state of utter confusion.

The sky outside, his humble abode, was not its usual cloudy whites and greys but rather an obsidian black toxic-looking smog. Originating from one singular crater within the fiord.

The man then grabbed a silver spear from one of the many spears surrounding his house as he leapt off the cliff edge which was at least a three-second drop.

But the alabaster man clad in black armour made light work of the sheer drop as he began sprinting at a pace most sports cars can not even reach.

Within 20 minutes, the man travelled many kilometres to eventually reach the source of the spewing mana, and on arrival, he was dumbfounded to see a gigantic airship riddled with various holes and gashes melting in blue flames. The alabaster man further inspected the blue flames to find that they were fueled by mana.

This ship didn't fall because of the storm it was attacked!

By magic at that!!!

These holes were larger than the alabaster man by at least ten or twenty. Considering he was six feet four inches tall, in no way shape or form a small man, but he felt dwarfed compared to the size of the destruction in front of him.

But why and who would do such a thing? And why in the desolate land of the borders...

There must be more than what meets the eye thought the alabaster man as he further inspected the surroundings.

The man walked around the stomach-churning scene of charred corpses before noticing that the design of the ship was impeccable. Every inch of the airship had intricate carvings, and even its source of mana was huge, clearly made for a long journey.

However, the airship was not equipped for combat. Not even one protective rune was carved among its intricate detailing, and there were no signs of any weaponry.

As he continued to walk around the ruined airship, he noticed something very unusual. Just a few meters away from the wreck was sludge.

A wide area of melted snow that seemed to have been caused by a smaller airship landing here.

Given the size of the melted plains and how it tapered, the second airship that now seemed to have left was certainly made for combat.

As the alabaster man began to piece together the information, he noticed something about the snow leading away from behind the wreck.

A very faint faded trail of washed-out red, stained the untouched white snow leading away from the wreak.

After taking a closer look, the alabaster man identified the red stain to have been blood!

Could it be a survivor?

The alabaster man once again began to sprint at full force following the trail for miles. The further he went, the more he worried.

The person had lost a lot of blood. If they were alive, they would not have long to live.

Eventually, the alabaster man reached the end of the trail to be left once again stunned.

Not because she was dead.

No, he only wondered how she made it so far, given the state of the woman.

Half her face was burned raw her hair clumped into a revolting burnt mess in her abdomen was a large chunk of metal her body was covered with burns and gashes her left leg was in multiple pieces.

This unsightly corpse was beginning to decompose as rigour mortis had already set in.

It had been there a while,

The alabaster man went closer to the corpse and noticed a hole in her head. She had been shot with a very concentrated beam of mana.

The alabaster man couldn't find any signature to the mana. She was killed with an item, an item that even the alabaster man hadn't heard of.

Upon inspecting the mana signature of the wound, the man made an intriguing discovery that the woman in front of him was a magic user.

Though it was faint, barely noticeable. The woman's mana signature was also coming from the centre of the glaciated river.

The alabaster man followed the light signature of mana to what appeared to be a clump of blankets and rags that were slowly being swallowed by the snow.

The man leapt the distance in one swell jump, landing a meter away from the collected pile of fabric. He was once again surprised as the blankets began to move.

"What is that?!" The man was so stunned that he ended up voicing his thoughts aloud.

He knelt and carefully picked up the pile of blankets, removing the amulet from the rags.

When looking closer, the amulet was made entirely of gold and platinum. The amulet bared an emblem that the man seemed to have seen before but couldn't quite remember its origin.

Now that the amulet wrapped around the cloth was removed, whatever was inside the blankets and rags could now move freely. Little did the man know that the surprise under the blankets would leave him with his eyes wide open and mouth a gape.

Emerging from the rags was an infant, a literal baby!!!

The infant was a small baby boy with hair, the colour of the sun that it self-seemed to have its own subtle glow. The boy had captivating large blue sapphire eyes that illusively sparkled like an expensive jewel. The baby had soft, fair skin that appeared to have turned red from the cold.

Speechless…

The man was too stunned to speak.

He quickly regained his composure and checked the mana signature to make sure it was from the woman. It appears she tried to make a haphazard attempt at casting a magic barrier in her final moments to protect the boy from the cold climate of the north.

Though from the look of the boy's bright red cheeks, the barrier has been slowly fading.

To this information, the man spent no time wasting on what to do next as he held the infant close to his chest and went back to the corpse of the charred woman to cast her onto his left shoulder.

With not much time to spare, he quickly made it back to the wreck where he scavenged for any intact corpses or supplies.

Eventually, after raiding the wreck, finding a few item rings but no other intact corpses, he made his way back to his small house on the cliff edge.

Using his silver spear, the alabaster man made short work of the steep climb. A climb that no normal human could dream of making. When he reached the top, he returned its spear to its original place in his spiked defences before returning to his humble abode.

Sighing, the man of alabaster set down the corpse on his living room rug away from the fireplace to try to keep it from decomposing any faster before setting the blanketed baby on his wooden bed.

The baby in question had a blank stare as if it were bewildered by its current situation.

The man of alabaster wondered if all infants were this quiet and decided to take a closer look to see if the boy himself sustained any injury removing the sheer fabric that he used to cover his eyes so he could see more clearly.

As a result, he entered an involuntary staring competition with the small boy.

The boy's sapphire eyes stared widely with a look of fascination at the man of alabaster.

The man ignoring the awe truck gaze removed the boy from his layers of blankets and rags to reveal an elegantly tailored outfit.

The infant was wearing regal attire made of linen and detailed with silver.

The boy in question was wearing a white shirt with a soft blue pair of trousers.

The shirt was bombarded with ruffles and trims that appeared to drown the baby in fabric, having him resemble a puffed toad.

The man of alabaster interpreted that this was no child of any sub-par family but must be linked to some form of noble lineage.

This allowed him to hypothesize that all the corpses he found were not blood-related to the child in front of him. Since no other person from the wreck was wearing noble clothing or had any features that resembled the baby.

Even the corpse of the woman was herself bearing brown hair and black eyes and wore the rags of a low-born servant.

The man of alabaster then looked to his left to find the item rings he looted from the fallen airship.

Item rings were rare and expensive magic artefacts that allowed for a person to store items in what was essentially a personal pocket dimension, to store anything from goods to riches.

But this useful item was also used for every black market and corrupt business under the sun.

The man picked up one of three shiny gold rings to find that they were filled to the brim with a mysterious luminescent liquid in multitudes of disposable baby bottles, countless diapers, blankets and numerous amount of books filled with nursery rhymes and bedtime stories.

Not only that, but one whole, entire pocket dimension was used only to house thousands of rattles and toys that were the epitome of impractical.

The toys were made of rare heavy metals covered in rubies and diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. Some were also magic artefacts that used high-quality mana cores.

This boy was using an entire airship's source of mana just to listen to twinkle twinkle little star!

The man was in disbelief. The kid was stacked,

He was so well off that he owned rattles that could pay for a guild's yearly expenditure and still have plenty to spare.

The boy is set for life!

Well, he WAS set for life.

How long was the journey they were planning? Thought the alabaster man as he acquired the third and final ring from his bed, half expecting it to be filled with more outlandish baby care items.

But the absurdity did not end there. The final ring was filled with countless monster mana cores of the highest quality belonging to what were legendary rank monsters! But why would they need so many? unless…

The alabaster man looked over to the boy that now appeared to have rolled on its belly making an unusual gurgling, amused by its ability to blow raspberries.

To this sight, the man squinted, making a bleak expression before dismissing his previous thoughts as preposterous.

He continued searching the pocket dimension to find a map, a couple of large atlas books, a few memoirs, paperwork, as well as some letters, ink, and brown parchment. Finally, a chest full of an unfamiliar foreign currency.

Now we were getting somewhere! thought the man as he spread the papers along his bed and began to organize the information accordingly.

After nicely organizing the papers, he looked to his left once again to see the boy that had now sat up!

Isn't he too young to be able to do that, thought the man? The boy in question looked no older than five months but could already sit by himself. The boy gave the man a big toothless smile.

In a bubbly voice, the infant mumbles words that sound like a faint "hebblo"

"Did he just say hello?... Do children usually start forming words at this age?" Thought the alabaster man as he now kept a closer look at the now drooling baby that was staring at the books that were laid out in front of him.

The alabaster man continues to look through the papers. Studying the various maps and atlases the man had found, showed that the state of the continent had vastly changed.

New kingdoms had appeared, and many were no longer present. The empire he guarded from monsters now known as the Krimean empire had extended its southern borders by huge margins.

Seemingly, a lot had changed since the man last ventured outside of the borders.

The man then looked at the charted maps that showed the airship planned to make a year-long journey to a different continent.

The man of alabaster had never been to.

Even more so, the continent was united under one kingdom. With no divisions an almost unseen phenomenon.

What kind of ruler must you have to be able to rule the whole continent even the elves are not able to unite their own individual species and the man thought they were the closest to that kind of unity.

The new information led to more questions but did give valuable answers.

Five main facts

One: The boy's parents are alive and have been contacting the airship via letters for the past three months.

The boy is, in fact, five months old and has shown major growth, faster than any human.

Any further knowledge of family and situation were not mentioned in the letters, only information on the sunny boy and how his days were.

Two: The boy was on his way back to his parents before they were attacked.

Why exactly he was going back now or why he was sent away in the first place is not mentioned.

Three: The nation the boy is from is currently a neutral faction in the ongoing war but is in a difficult position because of the mass incline in the severity of the war. Even the powerful nation the boy originates from does appear to be concerned.

Four: The boy is from a powerful family, this was further proved by the fact that the emblem on his necklace was seen on the foreign currency.

Five: The trip required to return this boy to his nation is extremely dangerous.

Since airships are currently not a favourable form of transportation in the ongoing war and were used only for the noble born, the ground journey was the only viable option. It would take an indefinite amount of time.

Such a journey was already perilous for the alabaster man.

It required the man to pass through the lands of countless enemy nations, many monster-infested planes, hostile woodlands, treacherous biomes, and past uncrossable seas.

The man of alabaster was contracting a headache just thinking of it.

Even worse, the neutral factions of the war were currently being demonized throughout the different nations.

Supposedly, even the empire has boycotted them, making this trip with this little blob of shits and giggles almost made the man giggle himself due to its absurdity.

He then looked over once again to the little blob of shits and giggles to witness the boy chewing on a book.

The man slowly reached over lightly, grabbing the book from the sunny boy's hand…

The boy didn't refute but rather just sat there.

Then tears began to form in the boy's eyes as he pouted and began to sniffle.

The man swiftly returned the book, and the boy quickly returned to chewing its cover.

It's okay as long as he doesn't swallow anything, right?...

right?

The man noticed one other small detail all the books and papers even the ink was embedded with mana whichever nation this boy was from was rich in mana users and artefacts.

But despite all the information, he still didn't know the boy's name.

Even in the letters, he was addressed as son or young lord.

This was not the day he was expecting at all. Thinking he would have a break from killing monsters because of the storm, just to be met with this conundrum.

Undoubtedly, his season off just became a whole lot busier within the last seven hours.

Looking back upon his rug, the man looked upon the corpse that had been lying there for the past hour.

I better move it before the room starts smelling, thought the alabaster man as he stood grunting, but before he was about to leave, he remembered his newfound responsibility.

The baby...

He made a wrap from his quilt made with the very monster hide he uses in his armour to keep him warm before strapping the baby to his belly like a reverse backpack.

Once again, he swung the body of the deceased woman over his shoulder. Before grabbing a bright red sword that was mounted on his wall.

The man then went further up the mountains instead of going down the cliff to the fiord.

It appears that the snow had already begun to cover the wreck under layers of fleet.

The wind whistled a high-pitched scream that startled the boy that lay strapped to the man.

As the storm seemed to have gotten worse in the past hour, the man took this as a sign to hurry up and bury the woman before the storm could get any worse.

Leaping over gorges ascending higher and higher on the mountains peek, an area of flat level lands surrounded by spikes similar to the man's own home defence.

After jumping the defences, the man ventured further till, eventually, he stopped in a silent area above the clouds.

So still, giving a sense of tranquillity. It felt separate from the storm-raided land below the clouds.

There, in the convergence of the plain, were three stones that marked the place of three faded graves that themselves appeared to be ancient.

Even the igneous rock that made the tombstones showed signs of age and cracks from freeze-thaw mechanical erosion.

The man placed the corpse of the woman just a bit further away from the three graves.

He then returned to the pikes grabbing one flat pike and pulling it from its snowy prison to reveal it to be a shovel.

The man then returned and began digging lifting layers of snow and permafrost before hitting a solid frozen layer of terra firmer that was a kin to rock, with how solid and compact it had become.

But the man made it look like mud with how much ease he dug through it.

When he got six feet deep into this rock-like soil, he jumped vertically at least fifteen feet to make it out of the deep hole before removing his black cloak and wrapping it around the woman's body.

He then closed her disfigured eyelids, turning her tortured expression to one of peace.

He jumped back into the hole to lay her onto her place of eternal rest.

After covering the grave in its layers of sediment and snow, he went to the edge of the mountain, grabbing it tightly, pulling off a large chunk of black jagged stone, an immeasurable feat of strength.

He then placed it on the freshly dug grave.

He sat down peering upon the stone and then at the baby that was currently strapped to him, who innocently gazed at the grave with clueless eyes drooling in an ignorant bliss.

The man began to contemplate his choices.

What was he to do?

"Only a madman would attempt such a journey...

never mind with this added bag of responsibilities.

But then again, I live in a place like this…

I guess my peace ends here …

haaa…"

The man grasped the sword tightly, looking away from the now four gravestones that stood situated on an otherwise barren plane.

Watching the sun at the horizon from above the clouds. The man's long white hair swayed in the breeze, mirroring the fiery amber of the sunset.

He unstrapped the burrito boy from his stomach, smiling the man said.

"I'll call you sunny boy for now since we'll be together for a while."

The sunny boy gave an edentulous smile back at the man giggling as he was being raised to the height of the horizon.

His short, sunny blonde hair glowed in the warm, bright colours of the dusk.

And that's how it all began with a sunny surprise.

Chapter one fin.

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