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Light versus Fire

Shingi had recognized what Fire Whip used. It was a Fire Gem, which wasn't hard to find as it was available at shops in big cities. Still, not everyone could get it as it was available only for people with some reputation in those cities. Moreover, it would cost a lot of coins for at least the average Player.

Raising someone's reputation in those towns wasn't too hard by few points. But to get access to these special offers, you had to get either too lucky or spend too much time finding enough special missions to increase your reputation high enough. Of course, this didn't mean that Fire Whip himself was the one who had done all this as it could just be a gift from his Guild or bought it from someone else as the items weren't bond to the Players after acquiring them.

The Fire Gem didn't just make the whip able to deal Fire Damage. It also changed it to be lighter by eating part of it, making the attacks faster, which caused some damage to the weapon. This was a side effect of the Elemental Gems that may damage the weapon they used it at. However, their temporary benefits were still worth it, and side effects could get ignored if the weapon was of high enough quality.

This situation wasn't good for Shingi as he had the advantage of dodging speed cause of his Skill, but barely and now his timing became even hard to make. But the reason for Annoue breaking Fire's bone was that he was a little faster than her, so he could move before she made the attack. Still, the opponent was an experienced Player. So he could change the trajectory of her attack, making some of them be a pretty close call.

Shingi used whatever ways he could, like trying to blind him with LIGHT spells or his mana-created dust. Still, Fire was aware of this trick from Shingi's last battle with Shadow and avoided them. He had to get away from Shingi to avoid them most of the time, so it helped Shingi. But he couldn't continue like that as his mana was getting low, as the enchantment took much mana to keep active. So even casting Low-Grade spells or using any mana for anything else increased the time he needed for the blade to be ready.

Then he thought of an idea that could work.

He stopped moving and raised his arms, making a surrender-like pose. He even let his dagger and light hammer fall to the ground.

"You know this won't lead to anything. Even if you get me to your headquarters, you aren't seeing who the true enemy is. You are avoiding facing the truth." [Shingi]

Fire Whip was ready to continue his attacks, but after hearing what Shingi said, he reconsidered it. How he just spoke, and his moves made little sense to be that sudden unless of a particular thing.

He had to have triggered a Quest.

Most of the time, NPCs were actively looking for adventurers to give them some quests. A few times, these quests appeared if you had passed some specific requirements. But the best quests were the one that was given by an NPC who was looking for someone's help in secret or triggered out of exceptional or strange circumstances. For example, after seeing him fight, the boy in front of him wasn't a typical NPC, so the possibility of him giving a Special Quest was very high.

Shingi knew he would think like that since he was a Player himself in not that far past. He was aware of this logic and counted on it.

"What is this enemy and the truth you are talking about?" [Fire Whip]

He was still on guard against Shingi, but at least he wasn't attacking him anymore.

Shingi acted like he was unwilling to answer but had changed his mind under this situation.

"The Great General Demon Lucy got free recently after she got sealed by the great heroes some years ago. The Demons will return, and this time they won't just send one person." [Shingi]

Shingi knew that the battle with Demon Lucy was a big highlight of the game as it was the biggest fight and one of the rare cases that many players worked together on a quest, no matter their background. The game creators had uploaded some parts of the battle on the game's official site and used it to draw more people to the game.

The event had happened close to 6 years ago. However, there were still some players back when Ameanum was still a Player who joined the game after coming across that event's footage. So he didn't consider it impossible for the story to be known by even newer players.

And it seemed like Fire Whip was aware of it, especially since he liked to research past events and known Quests as they could have future clues.

"Also, the Dungeons appearance isn't just a random event but the sign of a great Evil that awaits to be awakened." [Shingi]

Shingi remembered that the Player in front of him seemed to have high Insight, but even if he appeared not to tell that he was telling lies last time, he tried not to make things too hard and mixed some truth in it.

Fire Whip seemed intrigued by what he said. Many Players wanted to know why the dungeons appeared story-wise other than replacing the Tower that most players didn't have access to anymore.

Shingi, still having his arms raised, started slowly approaching Fire Whip, who had his whip at the ready at the sign of any strange movement. Shingi stopped moving at the point as he was just within reach of Fire's whip.

"We may have met under strange circumstances, but you seem to be a man of skill and character. The lands could use this kind." [Shingi]

After hearing that, Fire was waiting for the notification of a quest to appear.

But none appeared, but then felt the back of his neck getting a little warmer. But it was too late for him to do anything.

When Shingi left his dagger, he made a Light Element MANA HAND, which he could combine with his CAMOUFLAGE spell and make it hard to be noticed. He kept feeding mana to the enchantment through the MANA HAND and covered the blade, for Fire Whip couldn't see its light becoming brighter and not dimmer.

This way needed more time for the blade to be ready, but with his MANA MANIPULATION being at Master Rank and the distraction of talking with him over triggering the 'Special Quest,' he had just enough time. At the same time, he moved the dagger closer to Fire after making sure that he wasn't looking low; that is why he raised his hands as Fire knew he was good at throwing stuff with them to focus on them.

When the blade was ready and in place, he raised it with his mana hand and stabbed him through the neck with it.

This led to a rare event in this kind of fight.

One hit kill.

Shingi knew that this attack would be powerful but didn't expect that much. He counted the benefits of breaking his INT to pass 15, using his Mithril dagger, which would boost Mana-based attacks, using Light-Based attack, one Element of his Mana Tree. Also, hitting a defenseless vital area seemed to result in this unexpected, rare event.

Then, he turned his attention towards Annoue and the other Player, who wasn't stunned anymore and tried to fight the young girl. Annoue seemed to be hurt a little, but the Player was in a worse state as it appeared like Annoue did quite some damage during his stun state, but not as much as Shingi had done to him.

But Annoue was smart and didn't just deal damage on him, but even broke some of his leg and arms' bones, making his movements slower and his attack easier to predict. However, he still was more than she could handle.

Shingi cast a ROCK THROW at him, which hit him right in the face. Unfortunately, Shingi had made it weak to turn in the dust on impact and make the dust getting into his eyes, making it harder to see, and he needed to spend a few seconds to take it out.

But few seconds was more than enough as he charged with his still active Light Blade and slashed at the weak Player and turning him into particles. But the light blade got dispelled at that point, as it couldn't last anymore as he was out of mana. So he held it for 5 seconds after completing it and it creating it and keeping it active used little over 90% of his mana.

Annoue was ready to say something, but she heard some noise from the direction of the back of the shop. Then she heard sounds of a fight and some growls followed by sounds of humans in pain and an animal.

Then silence.

After a few seconds, four figures came from the back of the shop, and of course, they were the four students of Shingi.

It surprised Shingi not because they came and fought the other Players since he was the one who told them to do it but because one of them dragged what seemed to be the unconscious body of the wolf of the Slaver Player. And the one who was dragging it was unexpectedly Little Phoenix, who appeared capable of carrying that much weight but barely.

The Players noticed Shingi and headed towards his way, and the first one to speak was Hineko as he made a slight bow towards him.

"I came rescue Master as fast as I could after I heard of these bastards trying to harm you." [Hineko]

He seemed to be less scared of Shingi than before, and that feeling got replaced by little respect as the tips he gave him had helped a lot in his development these past days.

Mizuneko followed his brother by doing a slight bow himself, letting Tycoon and Phoenix somewhat confused, but not too much. They had seen what this little boy was capable of and knew the Player behind him and what he was capable of as well. Of course, it didn't take them long to put together that the boy was the same one they had met, or at least that was the case for Tycoon.

"Hey, you are that young brother and sister I met the other day. So you are the ones this strange message was talking about? What a coincidence." [Little Phoenix]

Shingi seemed to notice something strange as he turned towards Tycoon to ask a question.

"You seem to be a little distant from Phoenix, and she seems a little different from normal. Is there a reason for this?" [Shingi]

Wild Tycoon's eyes got widened, not expecting Shingi to tell something like that, and it seemed like she was thinking something. Shingi could know that she was looking for something over one of the System's menu, but he couldn't see it. He could only see her status window through his PROFESSION's Skill and nothing else.

"Em..... she is just a rare case of a Double Soul Blessed one... so her personality changes now and then." [Wild Tycoon]

What Tycoon used was a term that the developers have made for a specific rare case. They developed the capsule and the game to use the brainwaves of someone. Each individual's brainwaves had a unique signature that was impossible for another to have. But as with every rule, there were some exceptions, as with identical twins. Although rare, their brainwaves were similar, even if their personalities could be slight to very different, making it impossible for the System to know the difference between them. Since every person could have only one active account, these people had to share one. In this type of situation, if they took turns in the case, one got to meet someone the one currently playing didn't know. Still, the other one knew he could explain it by using this term.

'So this is the reason that she acts differently. I wonder though why Tycoon doesn't like this one but is fond of the other one.' [Shingi]

He knew he couldn't ask as it would be weird for an NPC to make a question like that, so he let it for the future possible to ask when he was at Player body.

"Well, it is good that you guys got here, and even if it was earlier than the time I planned it to be, I guess it is time for everyone to meet each other." [Shingi]

Shingi introduced himself and his sister as also everyone to each other. He explained the plan of the team's existence and how the unknown Player broke his curse and was the one behind everything. He mentioned his mother but didn't say of her being a Player or a Blessed One as NPCs adventurers existed.

Hineko and Mizuneko seemed after that a little. They were even more respectful after hearing the tragic story of Shingi's past.

"So what now? Are we going to have a party over the first successful rescue mission of our team?" [Little Phoenix]

Everyone got excited about the mention of a party, but things changed as Shingi spoke.

"It is too late for a party as we have to head back, and you should hide for some time as the people we just fought seemed to have some power and could keep the guards away, so we shouldn't consider them dealt with. For now, keep a low profile and be on guard. Also, be ready at the end of the week. I should have finished the preparations for the first official Dungeon exploration of the team. So you better be ready for it and try to finish all your training tasks." [Shingi]

The Players nodded on this, and everyone headed their way. Shingi kept his PERCEPTION and MANA SENSE fully active to ensure no one followed them and that no enemy was nearby. But everything seemed clear all the way.

And so this day ended as they got their dinner and headed to bed.

But as Shingi was ready to enter his TRANCE ROOM to train, he first opened his Status window and checked Annoue's, seeing if anything changed after the battle.

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6 Νοε 2021

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