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Actions and reactions

Shingi kept feeding his Mana Tree and Seed and restoring his while keeping his MANA SENSE on the unique mana of their hideout tree roots.

If one brought that info to the right NPC, it would unlock a type of Chain Quest. Maybe it is the remains of an old entity that was slowly growing back or a new kind of mana created by events that had happened around here through time or a million other things.

Of course, he could use that mana as usual to strengthen his Mana Tree or his seeds. It probably would have a unique effect on them, but it could have undesired results since it had all the elements in one.

He kept restoring his mana, and as he had more than half recovered, he started using it to destroy the Spatial Ring's lock.

With his current MANA SENSE, he could 'see' the weak point of this lock and attack them with his mana. Mostly with his Earth, which was more suitable for damage, and as there seemed to be some 'cracks' on it, he used his Light Mana to move it faster to get in and deal damage from the inside.

He kept doing that, and after close to half an hour, he was finally successful.

It took him a while cause his mana was too low, and he had to be careful and keep how much he recovered lower than the amount he used.

He then brought out everything that the ring had in it, and it didn't seem to have much—just three items.

One of them was a pouch pretty similar to the one that Varic gave him, and it was another money pouch but was close to a third of Varic's pouch in size. So he checked, and it had coins in there, so he just put them in the special storage of his Dlog Blessing, which let him know if he focused on how many coins were in there, so he didn't need to count them.

The second item was a scroll with a wax seal on it, and the seal had on it a symbol of the head of a wolf looking at the left.

The last item was a whip, or, more specifically, just the handle of a whip. There was a tiny gem of white color at the end of the handle, where the rest should be.

'Oh, an energy weapon. They seem to have funds.' [Shingi]

Energy weapons were weapons made of Energy. They had a Mana Stone on them that had an Enchantment to use the environment's mana and turn it into a vicious weapon. Even if it used mana, they did not purely make the weapon out of mana, as the mana stone seemed to change its nature to be easier to control, even by a no-Arcane user.

This one made the rest of the whip when its user enabled it.

But energy weapons were tricky to use as a command needed to be given to them to enable them, and only its creator knew what this command was. It could be a particular move or a specific word. Sometimes, it could even be just a thought, but since the gem used was white, which was a sign of low quality, it couldn't be the case.

But even if the gem was of low quality, it was still worth close to a hundred gold coins. Furthermore, because of the weapon's nature, its damage could pass the defenses of many monsters. This would make the fight relatively more straightforward, especially if you don't have an Arcane user with you.

Shingi considered himself lucky that he didn't give them a chance to fight him or if the Player used the whip to be in serious trouble.

But even with their standard weapons, the fight wouldn't be easy as they had a class and the System's help at using their skills, which is why he had to make sure that they couldn't fight. As letting them go without killing them, he would never think about it. These people would return if he didn't teach them their lesson that this was his place.

It was his sister's hideout, but he considered it his own, especially considering the multi Element's mana mystery.

He brought out of his bag a string, and he tied the ring with it and put it around his neck like a necklace. He didn't need to wear it on his finger to use it, he just had to touch it to pull out or store any items, and since he wanted to hide it, he kept it under his clothes.

He stored in it his Mithril dagger and the two pieces of the hourglass. Then, he went back to his meditation and making his Mana Tree and Seeds stronger, but his PERCEPTION noticed something.

Some birds appeared flying up from the trees from a place not too far from them. It seemed like something scared them, and they flew away.

He used his PERCEPTION and MANA SENSE at their full power towards that direction, and there seemed to be some movement not too far from them.

Almost a dozen Players seem to head in their direction, and they seem to be primarily low-level. Still, two at the front had more tense auras than the rest, meaning they were Higher-Level.

He stood up right away, moved at Annoue, and drew her attention as she seemed to focus entirely on her training in AIR SLASH.

"Annoue, we need to go. Dangerous people get near us, and we need to get back in town." [Shingi]

Annoue was confused by what he was talking about, but he trusted him more than anything, so she got ready to move on.

But it seemed to be too late as Shingi had to enable his ACCELERATION skill and stepped back just in time as an arrow passed through the place he was, and it seemed to be aimed near his heart.

Then a wolf and a bear appeared out of the woods and behind them the Players he felt of them getting near them. Of course, among them were the three that he had dealt with less than an hour ago.

The one he was talking with seemed to recognize him since even if he had his face covered, his clothing was the same, and his haircut and the rest of his looks.

Shingi could tell now that there were ten players. Eight of them, including the three he had dealt with already, seemed to be less than Level 10, while the other two, who seemed to have tamed the wolf and the bear, were around level 20.

The two of them were wearing a cloak covering their left arm, and it had on it the same symbol that the wax seal of the scroll in the ring had—the wolf's head.

"So this is the boy who killed you? He doesn't look like the monster you described it to be." [High-Level Tamer #1]

"Well, you know newbies, they always think of someone that looks different from they expect a monster." [High-Level Tamer #2]

The first one that spoken nodded at what the second said, and they seemed pretty relaxed, almost like they were ignoring Shingi. Still, he could tell they kept their eyes on him, meaning they appeared to have high PERCEPTION.

Shingi knew he was at a disadvantage as there was no escape, as even if he were faster than the Players, he wouldn't be able to outpace the tamed wolf. But even then, he wouldn't leave without a fight.

He turned his head towards Annoue and spoke to her.

"Return to town by yourself. I will join you soon. I have to talk with them." [Shingi]

Annoue seemed worried and wasn't willing to let her brother alone with those strangers cause she could tell that they didn't mean to do anything nice.

But as she was ready to say something, Shingi stopped her as he looked at her with a look she had never seen him have before.

He was always severe and rarely saw him smiling, but she was used to having no response from him since all the years she had known him since he was asleep. But now, his serious look was at a different level, and it wasn't like she was looking at her little brother but a Hero, a powerful Hero.

"I will wait for you at home... so be careful." [Annoue]

She didn't know why she said that, but something in her told her he would be ok and had to do what he said. It worked until now, so why it wouldn't work again?

She started making her way, and one of the Low-Level Players who had equipped a longbow aimed at her and was ready to shoot her.

He stopped as a rock hit him in the face but dealt minor damage.

Of course, Shingi was the one who threw the rock.

"She has nothing to do with you. If you have a problem, I will hear it." [Shingi]

While standing, Shingi focused on restoring as much mana as possible since he knew he would soon need it.

"Hmm, it seems you have some skills, as mentioned." [High-Level Tamer #1]

He saw him throwing the rock, and he could barely keep up, and he wasn't sure if he could avoid it if he was the target. But even if the boy's speed was impressive and its aim, the attack seemed to lack power. If it were that weak against a lower-level Player than him, it would be utterly useless against him.

"Well, things are simple. My men here had a meeting with you, and it didn't go that well. One of them seems to miss something that was given to him by our Guild. I am pretty sure you know where it is, so why don't you hand it over, and then we can discuss further on how to solve the accident that happened between you and my men." [High-Level Tamer #1]

It did not surprise Shingi that they were here for the ring cause it wasn't something cheap, but he could tell they were most likely here for what was in the ring.

'The Energy weapon is something rare, but they probably could get more, especially since it was a low quality that a base rank Enchanter could make. Most of the time, Guilds have hired Players with those kinds of skills or at least some NPCs. So they most likely are here for the scroll.' [Shingi]

"Oh, I am sorry for your assumptions, but I am not sure what exactly you are talking about. Something about looking for a specific thing and me having a meeting with some of your men? Nothing like that comes to my mind." [Shingi]

As he said that, he noticed that the second one had whispered something to the other one. Even if someone usually wouldn't hear what he said, but with his PERCEPTION, it was a piece of cake.

"He seems to tell the truth." [High-Level Tamer #2]

Shingi was curious about that phrase, but then he understood why he said it.

'His INSIGHT skill should be pretty high.' [Shingi]

The INSIGHT skill allowed one to read someone's body language, and its most famous use was to tell if someone was lying.

From their expression, he could tell that his INSIGHT should be relatively high for him to consider that it couldn't be wrong. Still, he wasn't aware that the boy in front of him was a Player who had High-Level Player knowledge. He had even had arguments with Gods themselves, so hiding the truth from a Player wasn't that impossible for him.

Of course, it wasn't like he had the perfect poker face, as every fort had its weaknesses.

"Hm..... then why are you here? And what were you and the girl doing outside the town?" [High-Level Tamer #1]

"We were playing around. This is our hideout, and we are used to playing around here as it is quiet. We are more comfortable in the forest than in town as the kids of the town are just annoying." [Shingi]

"I see. So you are an outcast? You don't seem to like the people of the town that much." [High-Level Tamer #1]

'Is he trying to trigger a quest through me? '[Shingi]

It wasn't strange to talk with an NPC who had a stranger than normal behavior to lead on a Quest, and this was a popular way many people were using to trigger ones.

"I am not an outcast; they are just bullies who think they are better because my family is poor. Like they are princes of the town or something." [Shingi]

The two High-Level Players seemed to keep all their focus on him. The one who appeared to have the high INSIGHT was whispering on the other one, telling him mostly that he didn't get any lies from Shingi, but he thought that maybe there was something more. And by something more, Shingi was sure he meant a Quest.

"I noticed that the two of you have the wolf's head on your cloaks, but one of you seems to control a bear instead. How so?"

"Oh, you seem to be a wise one. This is the symbol of our Guild, and it is a Wolf cause that was the first tamed creature our founder had, and he is very fond of it." [High-Level Tamer #2]

After saying that, the players seemed confused for a split second, but after that his face returned to normal.

At that point, one of the other players stepped next to them. It was the one who seemed to be the leader of the three he had dealt with before.

"Boss. Why are we keep talking with him? He is hiding something, and the scroll should be with him. Let's take him down." [low-level Tamer]

The two High-Level Players looked towards him, and one could almost see daggers leaving their eyes and piercing him.

"We consider you of one with a grand future at our Guild, but I can end your future at any point, so you shouldn't talk when you aren't allowed, little puppy." [High-Level Tamer #1]

Hearing how he referred to him seemed to piss him off, but he kept his anger down.

"Boss, you know my name is Cerberus and not little puppy." [Cerberus]

He chuckled a little at what the Player, who seemed to be known as Cerberus, said but kept a serious face.

"Until you become stronger to deserve a name like that, you are just a little puppy." [High-Level Tamer #1]

He then ignored Cerberus and turned his attention once more towards Shingi, and he seemed to scan his body to make sure he wasn't hiding something.

Of course, Shingi knew what he looked for. He was sure only if he had a PERCEPTION at Master Rank or close to it could see the ring under his clothes mainly because he used some of his mana to cover it with a small CAMOUFLAGE spell. Since there was no Mage among them, he wasn't afraid of noticing using mana as long as he wasn't too noticeable.

"Well, there was a misunderstanding, but it isn't like something bad happened. I am sure the young girl awaits you so you can be on your way." [High-Level Tamer #1]

Shingi turned around to make his way, but right away, he turned toward the players, threw a rock that he had made with his mana while they talked, and hit the arrow heading towards him.

"Oh.... you seem to be an interesting one. I wonder how much time it will take to train you?"

At that point, he summoned through his Spatial Ring a whip, which had three connected to a handle, and each one had a different color. There was a white one, a black one and a gray one.

'Is that a Slave Whip?!?' [Shingi]

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6 Νοε 2021

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