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Encounter: [ ]
After we took a short break, we departed to the Beau Plains located to the west near the ranch. We should return before the sun sets, as all of us needed to go home by that time.
As usual (due to Autzag), I led the way, along with Valerie who was next to me with her partner beast, Brioc. Meanwhile, Dmitria and Briar were riding on Dmitria’s peryton, Shula, as they were ‘guarding’ at the back.
“Autzag is so excited from going outside!” Valerie complimented Autzag who, indeed, looked very happy.
“Hah…hah…slow down a bit…,” I said as I gasped for more air.
“Autzag, slow down a bit, won’t you?” Valerie asked Autzag.
Autzag stopped and turned to look at Valerie then at me who was catching my breath.
He looked like he was laughing at me, but after that, he slowed down for real. I was quite happy for that. It seemed like we bonded quite a bit!
We arrived at the Beau Plains in no time and marvelled at the beauty of the plains. Aside from the green grasses, there were also shrubs and flowers all around. It was a totally beautiful place that could soothe one’s heart.
“Let’s stop here to let the Pegasi and Raphus enjoy the grasses here,” Valerie said.
Thus, the Pegasi and Raphus team got to experience the “outside feeding grounds”, which left the wyvern team alone.
The wyvern team consisted of me, Clavis, and Luca. We gathered as we exchanged looks at our wyverns.
“Tired, Lyra?” Clavis asked.
I nodded, “Autzag is too lively. It was a good exercise, though.”
“Then, let me handle Autzag for a while? I’m quite intrigued,” Clavis said.
Thus, Clavis ‘borrowed’ Autzag from me. He seemed to be excited to walking with Autzag.
While Luca and I were talking and looking at Luca and Clavis’ wyverns, I saw Clavis running around next to Autzag. He didn’t seem to be short of breath or tired. As expected of a beastman, no, werebeast?
It seemed to me that the lottery was a failure. Autzag should be partnered with Clavis, who possessed more energy than me.
Clavis’ wyvern, on the other hand, was docile like Luca’s wyvern.
Well, I was thankful to Clavis for wanting to take care of Autzag for me, at least during when we stopped at the Beau Plains. Thanks to him, I got to enjoy another rest from Autzag’s liveliness and I got to experience what it was like having a friendly and totally docile wyvern.
Afterward, Clavis actually offered me to switch our partners, but I declined. First, because I wanted to adhere to the decision by fate (lottery). Second, I felt bad for Clavis (although he didn’t seem to mind, since he offered it too). Third, I felt like I had bonded with Autzag quite well already. I quite liked him despite his naughtiness.
It was just a day—not a full day, too.
So, of course it was of no problem.
I promised I would tell everyone if I was exhausted.
As we walked further, we saw a beautiful lake nearby. As its name implied, the Still Water Lake’s water was still and very fresh that it accurately reflected the scenery around. As Valerie and Dmitria commented that the water was safe to drink, we tasted the Still Water Lake’s water.
“…!” I was surprised at the refreshing taste that the lake water gave to my throat.
“Rrrawr!” Autzag was vocal with his enjoyment of the lake water.
“Delicious!” Freyja commented.
Water should be tasteless, but I had to agree, this water was delicious!
We all expressed how nice the water of the Still Water Lake was.
Meanwhile, the other monsters also seemed to like drinking from the Still Water Lake, as their expressions turned delightful.
Just as we were chilling around the Still Water Lake, Autzag energetically moved about and went to the direction of the Silent Forest.
“Eeekh, Autzag! Hang on guys, I’ll chase after him and return quickly!” I said as I ran towards the Silent Forest.
“Aneki, just remember, don’t enter the area bordered by rope and bells, that’s the forbidden area!” Dmitria warned me again.
“Autzag and other monsters shouldn’t dare to go there due to the beast’s intimidating aura, so no worries,” Valerie also added.
“Gotcha, I’ll be quick! Autzag shouldn’t have gone too deep!” I said as I ran after Autzag.
However, inside the green forest, Autzag’s body color was hard to locate.
“Autzag, where are you? Come here and walk around with me!” I called out to him.
But what answered me was the tranquillity of the Silent Forest. There was no voice other than the insects and the birds’ singing voices. As I silently walked, I noticed how serene was the forest. It soothed my mind as I walked around slowly.
Whenever I saw a shadow moving, I immediately chased after the shadow. Some were my mistake as they were ordinary animals or monsters who were the original dwellers of the forest.
“Uhm, that one should go around here,” I said as I trusted my intuition and walked deeper.
An energetic shadow moved about—this liveliness should match Autzag’s—so I ran without thinking as I chased after it.
“Autzag–,” I called out as I brushed the bushes nearby and walked forward.
When I noticed, I was in a serene area with scarcer trees. At the end of my vision, there was a cave with a small river next to it.
But the shadow I was chasing was no longer there.
Did I take the wrong turn?
Since I didn’t see the shadow entering to the cave, I concluded that I indeed made the wrong turn.
Therefore, I walked backward as I tried to gaze around one last time when I noticed my feet stomped on something…
I started sweating as I could hear the sound of a bell.
I slowly moved my face to look down at my feet in horror and lo and behold!
I stepped on the said rope and bell!
Apparently, I didn’t see them being there as I was too preoccupied with chasing after the shadow, so I didn’t really take a good look at the surroundings?
Just as I realized the current predicament I was in, an intimidating aura was unleashed from the cave’s direction, so I turned my attention to the cave.
A pair of strong claws emerged from the cave’s entrance, before the figure of their owner could be seen.
“Hoo…A little human, dared to disturb my territory?” A low voice mixed with a growl could be heard.
Then, the figure that emerged from the cave—it was a figure of a big wolf. However, it was by no means a normal wolf. Its body size was even larger than normal wolves, its fur was dark grey with bluish tint. Its mane that was decorating its neck made it look majestic, and a pair of horns were protruding near its ears.
…Based on the voice that I heard, it was supposed to be a ‘he’.
His red eyes were locked onto mine, and I even shuddered when I looked at him.
“I am Fenrir, the wolf beast. Young human, have you come here to challenge me?” He—Fenrir—majestically said.
“N-no, that’s a misunderstanding, haha…,” I tried to brush it off as I was about to walk slowly behind me and run when possible, but for some reason, I couldn’t move as my eyes were locked to his.
“Those who dare enter my territory should be prepared to face me,” He intimidatingly said.
At this point, I knew what I ought to do. And that was—to run away.
Without waiting for Fenrir to speak another world, I turned around and dashed.
“You can’t get away,” Fenrir said as suddenly, there seemed to be an invisible wall in front of me, blocking my way of exit.
Looking at the rope and the bells that were barely in front of the invisible wall, I came to understand that the people who put these things here might be those who had experienced this encounter with Fenrir.
And so, they put the rope and the bells to warn the others not to come inside.
Since it was easy to come inside, but it would be hard for you to come out all safe and sound.
With no other choice, I turned around and faced Fenrir again.
His mane was kind of standing out as his red eyes were looking at me menacingly. At the same time, a familiar aura was exuding out from his body.
Though I had no foundation of it, I instinctively put on my dark magic defense.
“Hoo…A dark magic user?” Fenrir said, seemingly a bit amused.
At this point, the threatening aura that he exuded was no longer there.
I shuddered a bit. My quick analysis of the threatening aura that I felt earlier was that perhaps he was trying to intimidate me so I couldn’t escape or move. It felt familiar. Because I was the holder of dark magic, and there was a similar move.
I could actually put on a light magic defense instead of dark magic, but I was too accustomed with using my dark magic for training that I reflexively used dark magic instead. Also, I believed more in my dark magic now as my dark magic power exceeded my light magic power.
Thus, Fenrir discovered that I had dark magic.
As for me…I never really studied a lot about various beasts, so I couldn’t really make sure what lineage of a beast this Fenrir before my eyes was.
At any rate, I started to run around as I put on a fight. No matter what, I had to go from this place. My mind was telling me that.
“Form a sword,” I said as I used my ice magic to form an ice sword that I wielded in my right hand.
“Interesting,” Fenrir said amusingly as he was looking at my running around in a relaxed manner.
“Take this!” I jumped when I saw an opening and slashed my sword towards Fenrir.
Fenrir opened his jaws and bit my ice sword as a counter.
“Gah, you can have it!” I said as I let my ice sword go and jumped back, forming another ice sword.
Fenrir spitted out the sword, clearly refusing my treat of an ice sword.
I ran towards him again and unleashed another slash.
Again, Fenrir did the same move and held my ice sword with his teeth.
It was at this time.
I agilely jumped backward and revealed the icicles that I summoned in the air. With the wave of my hand, I let the icicles run down on Fenrir.
“Just let me out of here. I don’t mean to disturb you,” I said as the icicles descended rapidly.
However, Fenrir actually put on a barrier around himself, thus protecting him from the icicles. My icicles managed to break the barrier and some of them were about to hit Fenrir when he dodged the attack by jumping.
“Cooled down yet? Can we talk it out—”
But before I could finish my words, a blinding light came from Fenrir’s horns and I reflexively closed my eyes. This caught me totally off guard, as I wasn’t expecting any ‘attack’ like this.
…Was it an attack, though?
…Anyhow, that marked the end of my consciousness, as my head was drawing blank right after it.
Yes, it was pitch black.
✰Chapter full title unlocked! Encounter: [Fenrir]! ✰