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The way to the hideout

After Annoue woke up, she and Shingi took their breakfast more relaxed than usual; Shingi didn't have to hurry to get to the shop today. After that, they started their way towards the hideout.

They made their way through the gate, which wasn't as guarded as before, making their trip shorter. But before they reached the hideout, Shingi motioned for Annoue to stop and keep quiet as he focused his PERCEPTION and MANA SENSE entirely towards the hideout area and detected something.

There were three individuals, and he could get through his MANA SENSE they were Players. They seemed like they found the tree and the secret room in it, and they investigated for treasures or leads to a quest.

"Stay here and be quiet. I need to take care of something ahead. I will call you when all is clear." [Shingi]

Annoue's face turned to complete worry after hearing that.

"Are you sure you don't want me to help? I am strong." [Annoue]

Even if Shingi didn't know that the player's level was his knew that none of them were Mages since he detected no sign of mana by any of them. Also, their movements seemed somewhat sloppy and unprofessional. Since the most likely reason they would be here in the first place would be the Dungeon, since it wasn't a high-level one, they wouldn't be ones either.

No matter their level at the current classless, Shingi knew they would have him at a disadvantage, but he had a few tricks up his sleeves that would work better if he was alone.

"No worries. Remember that I am strong too, and this is something I need to do myself. Just wait patiently." [Shingi]

As he said that, Shingi cast his CAMOUFLAGE spell. He combined it with his STEALTH skill and made his way towards the players. Unlike his INVISIBILITY spell, the CAMOUFLAGE mimicked the surroundings instead of manipulating the light to make him like he wasn't there. Of course, the rate his CAMOUFLAGE changed to fit his surroundings while he moved wasn't that great because of the limits of the spell. Still, with his STEALTH skill, he was lowering this disadvantage.

Then he made it at a bush, and the players were now at his sight.

All of them seemed to be Warriors, and they had the same choice of weapon. They were all having a whip at their side and no other weapon.

Warriors could use almost any weapon without restrictions, pretty much. While the System restricted other classes to specific ones, unless they earned a skill or other ability that enabled them to use a weapon, it limited them to operate normally. So, for example, Mages could only use staves as physical weapons. Still, many learned Dagger or Crossbow Mastery were suitable for them and more accessible for the class to get.

The whip was one of the few melee weapons with a greater reach than others, but its damage was shallow, especially against armored enemies. Also, the attack techniques with these weapons were among the most complicated. People considered them the most useful for players who wanted to control the battle and help others instead of winning it by their power only.

But there was one more specific reason that some were interested to learn the use of the whip.

'Hm, three tamers at the same party? Could it be they are part of some Guild? That should be the case, but they shouldn't have earned the class yet. Maybe that is why they are here.' [Shingi]

The Tamer class was one class that allowed its user to take under his control some beasts, and as they go higher in level, they could control monsters too. Of course, the stronger the monster, the stronger the Tamer needed to control it. If the beast is high INT one, it could restrict getting tamed—also, some very high-END ones were nearly impossible to be Tamed.

Of course, some Players mostly wanted to tame a creature cause they wanted a pet, so they aimed for cute or cool-looking animals.

Shingi remembered that there were some Guilds back in the day who were using the Tamers' abilities to help explore the tower. Each floor had a limit on how many players could be in the party trying to clear the floor but didn't limit the other creatures that came with them like possible tamed ones.

He kept looking over at them to get as much information. Even if they didn't speak to each other but just kept investigating the surrounding space, he was now confident of one thing.

'These are completely beginner ones.' [Shingi]

Even if he didn't know their exact level, he could estimate from their aura, and they seemed to be 5-7 Level as they were a little less tense than Phoenix's. He always kept his MANA SENSE, especially at his encounter with Tycoon and the rest. He noticed that the tenser the aura was, the higher lever they were.

He also noticed that they looked left and right, just using their eyes to investigate their surroundings. It was a clear sign of not knowing how to use their PERCEPTION fully. They should pick up things and feel the changes in their surroundings with all their senses, not just their sight.

And so he put the cloth he had used yesterday to hide his face during his discussion with Tycoon and Phoenix, and he made his way out of the bush. He also dispelled his CAMOUFLAGE and stopped using his STEALTH skill.

The moment he came out, the players noticed him and drew their whip, but after seeing that it seemed to be just a child, they seemed less hostile but still cautious.

"Who are you? What do you do here?" [Whip Guy 1]

Shingi continued walking, and he stopped just a step outside the reach of the whip of the one who spoke, who was also the one closest to him. He seemed to be the leader among the three of them as the other two moved behind him.

"I am the one who is supposed to do the questions and not to get questioned. Intruders aren't welcome in the forest, especially ones they have ill intentions." [Shingi]

The players seemed surprised by the response, and even if the voice sounded like a child, its tone seemed very serious. They even got some goosebumps for a second, but they ignored them.

"Ill intentions? What do you mean? We just found this place, and we were curious about it, nothing more."

After hearing that, Shingi left out a brief chuckle. He made it sound as he didn't believe what he heard.

"You may have come across this place by chance, but you didn't come here for no reason. The Gods may have blessed you, but I can see the evil in your hearts and how you are here to damage and enslave the innocent citizens of this sacred place. Or you deny of this being the reason you came here?"

Of course, by the sacred place of innocent and citizens, Shingi wasn't referring to the town and its people. He talked of the forest itself and the beasts living in it. He was aware of what they needed to do to become a Tamer. One requirement was to capture ten beasts alive by using only a whip to damage it if required.

Beasts weren't monsters and were the usual animal you could find in the real world. Most players who wanted to be Tamers were visiting any forests near low-level areas, which were the most significant sources of beasts.

The player leader seemed surprised by Shingi's response, especially since he seemed to know why they were here. However, they still hadn't captured or even tried to capture a single beast yet.

He was ready to say something, but got stopped by the boy in front of him.

"Before you say anything, I must warn you I pay much attention to the words that leave someone's mouth, especially someone who had ill intentions against me and has lied to me." [Shingi]

He used the usual phrase that he used to use in this case. Still, this time, things were different. Instead of intimidating them and showing the difference in their power by using his Skills and beat around some of them, this time, he used a fresh approach.

Shingi threw a dagger towards the man and cast a MANA HAND, which caught the blade and held it at the man's neck, having the saw blade toward his neck. He also used his MANA MANIPULATION as his shadow to expand around him but not cover him. He also repelled any Light from coming toward him, giving him his Darker Look. Then, he cast MINOR ILLUSIONS, giving himself tattoos all over his face of a greenish color, and they looked like vines painted on his face and even made his eyes emitting some green colored light.

All this happened in less than a second, and it affected the players just as Shingi wanted to. They got terrified of the boy.

"Now speak in the name of the Nature Goddess, or you will face the punishment I choose for you." [Shingi]

The player snapped out of his fear after hearing that just enough to reply.

"We don't mean to bring any harm to you or anyone in this sacred place. We were just here to fulfill a mission given to us by our higher ones of our Guild. We didn't mean to disrespect you, the Goddess, or anyone in here, and we understand the wrongs of our actions that we have done and wanted to do."

He was in a hurry to say everything, as he was afraid of Shingi losing his patient.

"Hmm, I see. Well then, since you understand your wrongs, your punishment will be lighter." [Shingi]

Shingi had used more of his focus and used almost all of his mana for one and one only thing. He took control of his shadow and the Players' shadows and some of the surrounding shadows to make a dome of pure darkness to surround both the Players and him.

And after that, there was silence.

And then, after almost a minute, the dome started disappearing, and there was Shingi, who was surrounded by some bright particles which slowly disappeared but no sign of the players.

'That was a pleasant exercise.' [Shingi]

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6 Νοε 2021

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