Blake ignored all the looks he was getting from the people on the streets as he walked into a small second hand shop. He came to this place because they would be less likely to kick him out with the blood splattered on his clothes. And he also did not have much money. He walked over and grabbed a t-shirt and a new pair of jeans. He ripped the tags off and took his clothes off right there in the store before putting on the new ones. He walked over to the counter under the stupefied gaze of the clerk and placed the tags on the counter. ”I will take these. Also, can you toss these away for me? ”

Blake placed his old clothes on the counter. The clerk could only nod his head absentmindedly. He seemed very confused as to what was going on. After paying, Blake headed out of the store and made his way to the convenience store. He was not buying anything fancy, just snacks to sate his hunger for a few days. He had been used to not eating, at least he thought anyway. While he did wish to have a nice big meal, he knew right now he did not have the money or the time.

Currently, he just wanted to find that cave and hope he can find something that will allow him to survive easier when shit hits the fan. He had spent so much time wandering around and doing things that broke him inside that he hoped for an easier ride this time around. Why or how he came back, he did not know, but he also did not care. And if a week passes and it turns out he was just crazy, he would figure out what to do at that time.

But no matter what, the years of experiences that he went through were still vivid in his mind. It was all way too real, and he did not wish to write them all off as fake or him being crazy right away. He wanted to first see if things would play out as they did in his memories.

With a plastic bag full of cheap snacks, Blake made his way out of the city. He had no bike, so he would have to walk. The passersby walked the streets without a care in the world, none of them knowing that their lives would soon be destroyed and that they would need to fight for survival. He could not call them stupid or ignorant. He knew he would be the same as them at this time as well. He would still be bullied and looked down on and forced to give up all his money, living a life without much meaning.

A life of finishing college to go work at some company somewhere. Making money to spend on whatever caught his interest. Growing old and dying just like every other human on the planet. But now, if things did go as it did before, that easy life would be no more. He would be thrown into the battle between humankind and the monsters that invaded.

Dragons were no joke. One dragon could easily kill millions without much effort. But the scaly bastards were not exactly the things that frightened him. It was the humanoid dragons. Those who had the same appearance as humans. They were the ones who were the most dangerous. They stood at the top of the food chain and could destroy whole countries with a single wave of their hand.

For now, his only goal was to try to live a better life during the start of the apocalypse and hold out until the Magic Age came to be. That was what the coming of mana was called the Magic Age. What was once thought to be nothing more than fantasy became true. Casting spells such as fireballs and creating spears of ice out of thin air, it all became a reality. It was a reality that actually allowed humanity to fight back and begin gaining some ground.

Blake wondered what would happen in the years to come if he actually stayed alive. But for now, he just wanted to find this cave….

Two and a half hours later, Blake was walking through the forest in which the cave in his past life was found. He did not know the exact location, but he did know it was deep in the forest near a stream. He had bought enough snacks to last a week at most if he rationed them carefully. Something he was quite used to doing.

Food had been so scarce that a candy bar could last a person three days if they were careful. Blake, himself had even made a bag of stale chips last an entire month. Eating only a few a day and careful not to lose himself in his hunger.

”Maybe I should have bought a flashlight…. ” Blake frowned as he let out a sigh. The sky was now dark, and the visibility in the forest had dropped by a lot. The bugs were out and trying to eat him alive, but this was easily ignored. He had dealt with worse. The only thing that worried him was bears or coyotes. Bears because he was nowhere near strong enough to deal with them and coyotes as they sometimes hunt in pairs which would make it hard to defend against.

Deciding it would be dumb to continue trying to search at night, Blake found a tree that looked like its limbs were strong and climbed up it. A survival tactic he had learned during the apocalypse. Only a few monsters dare fly through the skies. The dragons owned the skies, so they did not like seeing other beings taking up their domain. Anything that was caught flying was quickly destroyed. If it was something edible, the dragons would just eat them.

Blake always wondered why the dragons actually appeared in his world. No one was able to actually find out the reason. Whether it was a fluke or they invaded due to their world being destroyed, no one actually knew. They appeared and then began destroying everything as they laid waste to all in their path.

The only good thing was that the introduction of mana allowed the world to recover almost instantly back to a state of lush green fields and forest that swayed in the wind. It was as if the dragons first destroyed the world to rebuild it to be a habitable place for them. Whether this was the case or not was another story since no one knew for sure.

The next morning Blake woke up and stretched. He looked at the green leaves in front of him and ripped off a bunch, wiped them on his clothes, before stuffing them in his mouth. His brow furrowed slightly as he complained: ”Damn, these are bitter…. ”

Bitter or not, he still ate a few more. It was better to eat this than nothing at all. He wanted to save as much of his snacks as possible. He climbed down from his tree and made his way deeper into the forest. He continued like this for almost three days when he finally found a small stream. He filled up his water bottle that he had bought and chugged a few mouthfuls before looking back and forth down the stream. ”Lets see… was it upstream or downstream…. ”

He couldn exactly remember which direction everything was found, so he could only take a stick and stuff it lightly in the ground. It swayed a few times before dropping down and pointing upstream. ”I guess upstream it is. ”

While this kind of guessing was stupid, it suited Blake just fine. It was either that or flipping a coin, and he did not wish to accidentally lose the coin. Right now, he still needed money to survive. After he finished here, he planned to empty his bank account and store up on food and water. If there really was a cave in this place, he planned to move it all there and camp out until the day before things happened. He would then take care of that bastard Dylan before returning to his cave. Even if he were to be arrested in the process, it wouldn matter because all hell would break out not long after.

He walked upstream for another few hours when he came to a small rocky section that had many vines hanging down over the raised edge of the stream that was a bit taller than himself. While it was still considered a stream, it was at least deep enough to reach halfway up his shin. He walked in the water and looked around. The wind blew, causing the vines to sway, and that was when he noticed something. His lips curled up as he waded through the water and climbed onto a rock near the edge of the stream. The earth here was raised almost ten feet high, and a large tree with many vines growing off of it rested on the edge. Some of the roots even poked through the earth. It seemed that at some point in the future, the tree would fall over and block the stream.

It was not the tree that caught his attention but what lay beyond the roots and vines. He pushed everything out of the way, making a small gap for him to climb up into a small opening he had only spotted thanks to the wind.

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