It has been half a day since I’ve separated with Celes.
Currently, I’ve changed into the leather armor that I’ve started with. Apparently, Celes kept it and mended the damaged parts after the fight with the assassins.
It’s great that it’s as good as it is when I started the proving, I thought thankful. Father would probably give me a scolding if ever I returned with it badly damaged…
Moving towards the north, I continued my travel through the forest, keeping a fair distance from the river connected to the unnamed lake.
Now that I think of it, it’s been three weeks since I started. Worried that Mother and everyone else are feeling the unease of my long absence, I increased my pace.
And the bow… How should I make it up to him? Recalling that the bow broke when I received a direct attack from the Snapmaw during the first night of the proving.
The further I travel north, the more frequent I encounter beasts, more so the variety.
Cautiously, I hid behind the trees and bushes trying to avoid any unnecessary encounter.
Making a large commotion in this area would only lead to an unnecessary death, I thought as I went deeper and deeper into their habitat.
Along the way, I found a large fruit-bearing tree. Its fruit was aromatic, tempting and looked more than just ordinary. It was yellow, and had figure similar to that of a jar.
Holding my senses, I thought. I think this is one of those, as I skirted around from a distance wary of the large tree.
Dubious of the said tree, I looked for nearby beasts from the surroundings and eventually found seven goblins, covered in various types of raw leather, wandering around with sharpened stone weapons in hand.
They will do, I thought as I scouted from atop a tree branch.
As I hid my presence with Hide magic, I waited for them to approach after dropping a rock to attract their attention. Fortunately, one was curious enough to approach. Then as soon as he came close enough, I jumped and planted my feet onto the goblin’s head, then jabbed my dagger to its chest.
““Guwa! Guwa!”” The goblins cried as one of their own was slain.
“Guwa! Guwa! Gruoah!” [One! Return! Quick!] Another one cried.
That’s new, a goblin captain leading a small group of scouts, I concluded. And to think that he’d camouflage himself by wearing a similar clothing.
Immediately, I chased the fleeing goblin.
[Away!] The captain bellowed as he and the remaining four blocked my path.
Without responding, I threw my dagger towards the goblin at the front. Subsequently, I activated Reinforcement to close the distance. As the dagger buried itself into the goblin's chest, I twisted my body and decapitated another with a slash.
Surprised by the sudden increase in my speed, the goblins were not able to respond immediately.
“Gu-” Before the third goblin was able to cry, his body was pierced by an earthen spike from beneath his feet.
Similarly, the fourth goblin met the same fate.
[R-run!] The goblin captain cowardly shouted as he turned his back to run but immediately stopped as he faced a wall of earthen spikes. As he stood there blankly, my rapier effortlessly pierced his helpless back.
After taking a quick sweep of the goblins, I re-activated Body Reinforcement and chased the fleeing goblin. As I closed in on its back, I poured mana into the shard on my left and produced a spike towards the path he’s advancing.
Surprised by the sudden appearance of the spike, the goblin panicked and halted. Soon, he met the same fate as his captain, falling into the hands of my rapier.
Sitting on top of a branch, I muttered. “For some reason,” Waiting for my experiment to work its wonders. “The backlash of reinforcement is not as painful as before.” Observing the difference from how things worked before and as of now.
“Hmm… I guess this will take a while,” I muttered.
While waiting, I took out six berries that I chanced upon my travel and ate it. “Raw berries sure are sweet,” I commented as I satiate my hunger.
“Now then…” I muttered as I leaned on the trunk the tree. “End of Alabaster huh.”
One end of Alabaster leads to Academia so I think she’s referring to the other side, I thought as I playfully swing my legs. In that case, to the northeast?
If that is the case, then I’ll just have to wait till the pioneering is finished, and set the new town in that area as a base. The problem is, how long would it take or how many towns or villages are needed to be built before we reach the northeast end…
Hmm… Using the ships from the harbor for an advanced exploration would be a good option, but the number of supplies needed for the voyage is unknown. Plus the encounters they could meet along the way, I pondered. If by chance they met another race, then I’ll have to intervene, or at least post someone that I could trust to handle the issue…
“I guess I’ll have to consult Father about this,” I muttered.
Regarding chanting and magic shards and crystals, I think Celes is hinting something…
“Celes had been talking about stuff that I can’t easily believe to the point that even if I question it, it won’t lead me to an answer that I’d need,” I contemplated on the topics regarding this world and other things that humans would easily find as ridiculous. “But I don’t think she’s lying.”
“Wait,” I halted as an idea surfaced in my mind. “If this world was the first world created, then, why are the heroes summoned with an advanced knowledge? Could that be included in the blessing?”
“Haah… maybe I shouldn’t dwell too much on it?” I said slightly exhausted from thinking how is that possible.
“And another one,” I continued. “The church kept claiming that they receive oracles or messages from the human God through the Angels, but Celes mentioned that the human God already abandoned this world.”
I raised a finger and placed it on my lips.
“If that is the case, then what are Angels? Where do those Angels get their messages and oracles from?”
“No, I don’t think I can find an answer right now,” I shook my head to dismiss the thought out of lack of information. “Anyway, I trailed too far…” I muttered after realizing that I diverted from the topic.
If I’d consider it, Celes has a point. What is the difference between chant magic and magic produced by shards? I pondered as I got back on track.
First, chant magic requires the chant of a specific magic to be recited. The chant’s structure usually starts by calling out the element of the magic, followed by the nature of the magic, and lastly calling for the manifestation of the magic’s name.
Then for magic produced by shards or crystals, the only requirement is that the magic circle is present inside, and then all you need to do is to pour mana and activate the magic.
In a way, the end result is the same, but the approach is different. Then considering that point, both are ways to ‘activate’ the magic, but ‘maintaining’ the magic is a different case.
“Haah… to think that I’ve been using it for years but never questioned anything about it…” I muttered as I brought my palm to my forehead. “Considering illusion, if I poured mana to the crystal, then illusions based from what I imagined it to be would continuously be produced.”
“But maintaining the illusions requires a direct supply of mana to the illusion itself and not to the crystal or shard, which is practically the same to chant magic,” I continued. “Then that means the difference lies in the activation part.”
Contemplating, the sun started to set followed by a loud cry.
“Awoooo!” Howled the wolves.
“Well, I guess narrowing it down is a good start,” I muttered as I started preparing. “Finally,” I mumbled as I heard more wolves approaching from the distance. “Go on, follow the trail.”
O’ Ruler of Darkness I beseech you,
In shadows, the darkness creeps,
In darkness, my presence seeks,
Near the large tree, where four bodies of dead goblins lie, a trail of blood led to another goblin corpse and another trail of blood leading further into the forest.
Come on, please work, I’ve dedicated an hour or two just to set that up!
Soon, a number of wolves followed the trail until they reached the remaining goblins. The first wolf barked in order to call more of its pack into the location. After the others arrived, they started feeding on the corpses.
As they fed on the corpses of the goblins, I took out a shard and produced an earthen spike near the wolves. Surprised by the sudden appearance of the spike, the wolves jerked and moved backward away from the spike, but towards the large tree. It did not take long before an abnormality struck the wolves.
One by one, a red vine shot out from the ground and entangled itself to the wolves’ feet and dragged it towards the large tree.
Success! Happy with the result, I jumped down from the tree, activated reinforcement, and poured mana into my horn. I then produced spikes facing the tree and used them as platforms to avoid stepping on the ground.
Little by little, I neared the Tree Mimic while it was busy devouring the wolves on the opposite side. Soon, I reached the trunk of the mimic and hurriedly climbed on top of the trunk before it was finished feeding on the wolves.
A safe camp for the night, get! In delight, I thought.
“I never would’ve thought that I’ll meet a Tree Mimic,” I muttered as I looked down. “I guess, the animals or beasts attracted to its fruit are its usual prey,” I muttered as I moved my sight towards the yellow fruits hanging from its branches. “According to Mon, its fruits are delicious.”
Looking around, I reached for the nearest fruit I can get my hands on and tasted it. “Wow! It really is!” I complimented as I took one bite after another.
After filling myself, I sat on the large trunk and leaned on the branch and relaxed my body.
“Sometimes, I guess I am lucky,” I muttered as I closed my eyes. “Yawn!”
“I don’t have to mind watching through the night thanks to this mimic,” I said patting the trunk. “It’s a saving grace that it can’t reach above its own camouflage despite using it as bait,” I laughed. “Well, goodnight Mimic.”
The morning after the peaceful night, I climbed atop the branches and ascertained my path.
“There’s the forest barrier…” I muttered facing the north. “If that is the case,” I moved my sight towards the west and found the foot of the mountain not too far away. “F-finally!” I shouted in joy
“Finally, I can go back!” I repeated, raising my arms into the air.
In a hurry, I descended from the branches to the trunk and grabbed the leather sack.
“West, then northwest,” I muttered smiling.
With a shard in hand, I carefully trod the branches until it began to bend downwards. Without panicking, I produced slanted earthen spikes and used them to slide down away from the reach of the Tree Mimic and hastily jumped before reaching the ground.
As I ran through the forest, I activated reinforcement and manifested my horn out of excitement.
A day after traversing the mountain while locating the landmarks that I carved into memory; I finally reached the crest overlooking the Tribe’s residence. There I stood wearing a smile accompanied with a sense of fulfillment.
I can finally take a bath! Was the first thing that came to mind.