This content is taken from 𝐟𝗿𝐞𝐞𝘄𝐞𝗯𝐧𝗼𝘃𝐞𝗹.𝗰𝗼𝐦
Chapter 18: Truthful Rewards 3
"Seriously, where is that damn tree?" I muttered in annoyance; my frustration was quite visible.
Glancing up at the sky, I watched the sun rising once more, its golden rays casting a cruel reminder of the night's wasted efforts. An entire night had slipped away, slipping through my fingers like sand.
With a heavy sigh, I sank down onto the ground, my body screaming with exhaustion. While I do have huge amount of stamina, the relentless use of my authority had drained me completely.
I couldn't help but wonder if I was losing my mind. During that long, eerie night, I had witnessed a tree's silent moans. I couldn't hear them, but the information had been blasted directly into my brain, and the sight had sent shivers down my spine.
"Hahaha," I laughed in disbelief, the sound tinged with exhaustion. I was beyond tired. At this rate, it felt like it might take me an entire year to find that elusive tree.
The forest stretched out endlessly in every direction, a labyrinth of trees, foliage, and shadows. Searching for one specific tree, blessed by the moonlight, in this vast, tree-infested wilderness was akin to attempting to find a single ant in a bustling ant colony.
As I lay on the ground, my body gradually eased into a sense of comfort, the tension and stress of the night slowly melting away.
"I'll try again tonight," I murmured to myself, determined despite my weariness.
My eyes drooped, my body unable to withstand the exhaustion any longer, and my thoughts began to blur.
Before I knew it, sleep claimed me, granting me respite from the relentless search and the haunting visions of the night.
"Adrian's still not here huh," Tristan said, his brows furrowing with concern. "I also visited his room at Lucian Hall earlier in the morning, and it seems he hasn't returned yet."
Louise nodded in agreement. "Yeah, they did say it will take him a few days to resolve his family matters."
"But it's kinda weird, you know?" Alex chimed in, a hint of suspicion in his voice.
Louise and Tristan exchanged puzzled looks. "What do you mean?" Louise asked, her curiosity piqued.
"Well," Alex began, leaning in slightly, "I asked his little sister regarding the matters with Adrian, but she was just confused as to why Adrian went on leave. Do you think he didn't tell her?"
Louise was taken aback. "Wait, Adrian has a little sister? Is she attending Estelle Academy as well? Why didn't you tell us that?"
Alex hesitated for a moment. "I was going to tell you guys about her, but I was waiting for Adrian to bring up the topic and actually introduce her to you guys"
That was actually an excuse, unbeknownst to his friends, the real reason Alex had held back was the fear of introducing Tristan to Aria.
Alex trusted his own looks and considered himself quite handsome, but in front of Tristan, who seemed to embody the very essence of beauty, he couldn't help but feel inferior.
To Alex, Tristan was like a living work of art, and he feared he might come across as a muscular toad in comparison, he secretly hoped to delay their introduction, worried that Aria might take an interest in Tristan instead of him.
Louise's eyes sparkled with genuine curiosity as she leaned forward, her enthusiasm barely contained. "So which department is she enrolled in?" she asked with an eager smile.
Alex smiled back, pleased by Louise's enthusiasm. "She's in the magic department, so she should also be here at Estelle Hall," he replied, sensing her excitement.
Louise's excitement bubbled over as she suggested, "Then let's hurry up and meet her. She could join us at lunch, don't you think our friend group is a little too small? Hehe." Her enthusiasm got the best of her as she accidentally slammed the table in her excitement.
She had several reasons to be thrilled – meeting Adrian's little sister and the prospect of having another girl join their circle. While she did have some female friends in her class, they weren't as close-knit as her group with Tristan and Alex.
However, Tristan, always the voice of reason, held up his hand, trying to temper Louise's eagerness.
"Wait, Louise calm down for a bit. I know you're excited and all, but don't you think it would be weird if we just suddenly introduced ourselves to someone right now? I mean, I know we're friends with her brother and all," he reprimanded gently, "but we're still basically strangers"
"Oh, I guess you're right, hehe," Louise admitted with a sheepish grin, scratching the back of her head.
Tristan, still pondering the mystery, continued, "Back to the topic at hand, why do you think he didn't tell her?"
"Are they not close Alex?"
Alex considered the question for a moment, his brow furrowing. "No, I think they're very close. When we first met each other, Aria was sticking quite close to Adrian."
"Here are your orders"
Their conversation was abruptly interrupted when a golem suddenly appeared, delivering their orders with a mechanical precision. f reewebnovel.com
"Oh, thanks, bud," Alex exclaimed with a grin, taking his plate.
"You are most welcome," replied the golem in its usual monotone voice before turning away.
Louise couldn't help but playfully scold Alex. "Alex, don't you think ordering blazing steak all the time is bad for your health?"
Alex chuckled heartily, flexing his biceps. "Hahaha, you don't get it, Louise. Every man needs their meat for these babies to grow," he said with a wink, while flexing his biceps.
Louise giggled. "Haha, I don't think that's how you're supposed to describe it, though."
"I guess we'll just have to wait for Adrian's explanation when he returns," Tristan said calmly, while expertly mixing his pasta.
"Slash, slash," each swing of my hand cut down three bodies, leaving the Razor wolves in pain and chaos.
"Rouaahhg!" screamed the wounded razor wolf, its agony echoing through the forest.
I couldn't help but wonder where these creatures had come from. I had only recently woken up and resumed my search for the elusive moonlit tree when dozens of Razor wolves had suddenly attacked me.
While they might not be as powerful as the Venom leopard I encountered yesterday, their sheer numbers and systematic hunting style made them a formidable threat to the average hunter or adventurer.
One by one, I dispatched them – one, two, five, eight, eleven. There weren't many left, but the imposing figure at the back of the pack, cold eyes fixed on me, was likely the Alpha. It patiently waited for an opportunity to strike.
Then, suddenly, a wolf growled to my left, while the one to my right lunged straight at me. These creatures knew how to exploit blind spots and were growing increasingly annoying.
I had had enough. I allowed my aura to surge through my body, enhancing my senses and increasing my blood flow. An aura sword materialized in my right hand as I swiftly spun, beheading the wolf to my right. With a burst of speed, I launched myself at the wolf to my left before closing in on the Alpha.
The wolves surrounding me were slow to react, taken aback by my sudden movements. As if biding its time, the Alpha opened its mouth wide, gathering a powerful gust of wind into an orb of pure plasma.
"Shit, it was a Tempest Wolf," I cursed, realizing the danger. But before I could react, the plasma ball expanded and hurtled toward me like a bullet, causing a thunderous explosion and sparking lightning. An enormous mushroom cloud billowed where I had been standing just moments ago.
The Alpha seemed satisfied, even though it had sacrificed its own pack members to eliminate me, just as it was about to turn back a voice called out.
"Wow, you really killed your own lackeys just to get me, huh?" I taunted. A white veil manifested, protecting me from the blast as my authority shielded me from the damage.
"But I have to admit, that hurt like hell."
Before the Alpha could react, a sonic boom resounded, and I appeared right in front of it. I reached out to pierce its brain, but a green translucent barrier suddenly materialized, forming a shield that blocked my attack.
"Tsk," I instinctively jumped back, my senses alert to an imminent attack. Hundreds of vines lashed out where I had stood just moments before.
"That's enough, evil foreigner," a woman with striking green hair and green eyes appeared beside the wolf.
She seemed to float a few inches above the ground, dressed in a white gown reminiscent of ancient Greek attire. She cast a disapproving glance at the wolf.
"I told you, Zekel, you couldn't take him on your own," the green-haired woman reprimanded her beastly companion.
The wolf responded with a snort, clearly trying to deny the woman's words.
I couldn't help but interject, my irritation mounting.
"Excuse me for interrupting your wonderful conversation, but were you the reason these guys attacked me?" I demanded an answer.
The green-haired woman turned her gaze towards me, her piercing green eyes locked onto mine.
"Yes, tell me, evil foreigner, why did you come to this forest?"
I was taken aback.
"You're seriously asking me that after trying to kill me? I wonder what would have happened if I wasn't strong enough. And what do you mean by 'evil foreigner'? I've come here with pure intentions, you know," I retorted, my frustration with this unreasonable woman growing.
"Pure? Haha, you make the lamest of lies, foreigner,"
she scoffed, her green eyes glowing ominously.
"Although you may try to hide it, my eyes see right through you, foreigner. The number of dark blessings you possess is abnormal."
I was dumbfounded, unable to comprehend how she could discern such a thing.
"The longer you stay in this forest, the more dangerous it becomes"
"That beast is reacting to your energy," she warned ominously.
With a swift motion, she raised her arm, green energy gathering in her hands. Vines erupted from the ground, binding me in a near-chokehold.
The energy in her hands compressed into a tiny pebble-sized sphere, but I could sense the immense power she held.
The once-vibrant and lush trees surrounding her withered as she drained their vitality.
"This woman is really crazy," I thought to myself.
"So, do me a favor and disappear," she said menacingly. Bathed in the moonlight, her face exuded an even greater ferocity as she released the condensed energy toward me.
A deafening explosion shook the forest, leaving me to wonder what kind of perilous journey I had just stumbled into.