Chapter 9: Departure

Rhode sighed as he looked at the girl in front.

“Leiya, the one you should most worry about is you. You haven’t had a good rest since last night.”

Listening to the words “last night,” Leiya’s body shuddered as she remembered the thought. Nevertheless, the girl still stubbornly bit her lips and then shook her head.

“No… I…”

“Slap!”

Before Leiya could finish her sentence, Rhode was already in front of her with his hand raised. The next moment, she felt a heavy slap touch her face.

What is he doing?!

Clutching her cheeks, Leiya glanced in surprise and shock. Meanwhile, the young man just looked at her solemnly.

“I can offer a solution to your troubled heart.”

What she heard was a calm voice and without almost any emotion. A wave of anger rose in her heart as she prepared to refute him. However, Rhode’s next sentence immediately stopped her actions.

“Just because you’re an angel doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about surviving.”

“!!”

These words brought a great shock to her mind. Her body subconsciously retreated a few steps until she backed up into a tree. But even so, Leiya didn’t pay it any attention. She could only stare at the young man in front of her. How could he know? No, this is impossible. I never told him and few in the mercenary groups knew either.

“How do you…”

“Your eyes.”

Rhode extended his finger.

“Your eyes will shine with a golden light when light touches it. This is the hallmark of an angel’s Protection of Light. However, unlike purebred angels, the light in your eyes is not very noticeable. That’s because it’s being covered up by your human ancestry, is it not?”

The girl did not respond.

Although she was still in shock and had not answered, Rhodes could confirm that his conclusion was correct. The girl standing in front of him was indeed an angelic hybrid. In fact, he had been suspicious for some time. As a top player, Rhode was very familiar with the common identifying characteristics of various races. After spending so much time in-game, all experienced players are bound to master such knowledge.

After Rhode found Leiya, he began to pay closer attention to her and soon found out her true identity. Although only a half-angel, the powerful healing powers and injury resistance of the angels have not diminished. The reason why Leiya was able to survive the fall.

Leiya must also have realized this and became depressed.

“That’s why I said that I understand your feelings.”

Rhode said with a shrug.

“You know why you survived. But it’s no use blaming your luck. It’s simply the result of the difference between you and the rest of them. But yet, you still cannot accept that… You even dare hope to be a normal human and to have died along with the rest of your companions. A truly idiotic way of facing death.”

“……”

Leiya nodded slightly. Her hands tightly clutching her skirt.

“But in the end, this is not something within your control.”

Rhode’s tone slowed as he looked at Leiya’s trembling shoulders.

“You cannot decide your own background, nor can you stop it. Never regret something that is not within your control. Otherwise, senseless regrets will push you down a path you don’t wish to take.”

“Then…”

Leiya finally spoke.

“…what should I do?”

“This is your own path. You should choose it for yourself.”

Listen to this sentence, Leiya pondered silently for a moment.

“I see. Thank you, Mr. Rhode.”

“It is nothing.”

“…. However, your slap really hurt….”

Although the process was a bit “violent,” it was enough to push her out of the shadows of losing her companions and that self-blame. By the next morning, her depression was completely replaced by her usual, gentle smile. It was a bit of a surprise for Metz who woke up and wasn’t sure what exactly happened. However, he looked curiously at Rhode and gave a slight chuckle. As for what that meant, nobody knows.

But the fat merchant never had time to satisfy his curiosity. Rhode’s next words immediately threw him into an abyss.

“I think it is time to set off.”

“Set off?”

These simple words made the fat merchant, who had just finished breakfast, shudder like a ghost. Finally, he was pitifully reminded that this was not his comfortable and safe room. But instead, the boundlessly dangerous forest. His heart fluttering at the thought of those damn wind-snakes. But he soon cast those thoughts to the side. The most important question was how to get out of this damn forest.

Metz hurriedly looked up at Rhode with expectation. Since this young man said that he has a solution, it must be worthwhile. However, this was still the middle of this mountain and getting lost was a good possibility. Not to mention the many beasts that lurk about. This was all indispensable knowledge to survive in the wilderness. If there is any negligence than it’s not difficult to have a tragic end.

Thinking deeply, Metz patted his face to remove the last traces of drowsiness. Then, he watched Rhode stand up and pat the dirt off his clothes.

“Let’s go.”

…………………………………

“Wait, wait, Mr. Rhode!”

The fat merchant sprung up as if he was sitting atop a chair of nails.

“Where are we going?”

“In the northeast, there is a small town. Once we get there, the next path is much easier.”

“Is there anything to be wary of?”

“Nothing in particular.”

Rhode plainly said. As a novice area, every inch of Parfield was already scoured. Probably because of fantasy web-novels, players would intentionally explore the beginner maps in an attempt to obtain some legendary artifact to dominate the game. Then, with that magical weapon, they could vanquish the countless enemies and unify the continent… But alas, reality is cruel. Although players did find some very rare and powerful weapons, there was never anything powerful enough to “conquer the world”.

After all, this standard is too high.

Perhaps this place is setting off all kinds of alarms in Metz’s head. However, to Rhode, this place was akin to his backyard. Here, he was familiar with where the monster density was the greatest, where to find equipment, the optimal locations for grinding and so on. Even if he was thrown somewhere, he could probably find his way out with his eyes closed. As for Metz, Rhode had taken the task of escort hundreds of times. There was nothing particularly challenging or hard.

Hearing Rhode’s unreassuring answer, Metz could only inwardly grumble. In his mind, Rhode was too unfriendly and silent. The fat merchant soon began to question his initial decision of following him. If Rhode was perfectly healthy then there would be no concerned. But Metz was more or less aware of his guardian’s injuries. In such a dangerous environment, isn’t it just looking for death?

Although his heart was vaguely regrettable, he was already riding the tiger and it was already too late to get off. Forced with this situation, he could only clench his teeth and follow the two into the depths of the forest.

With the bright sun overhead, the Forest of Night was still very quiet. From time to time, the crisps of songbirds will ring among the trees. In the grass will occasionally be traces of rabbits. The scene had a serene beauty, taking away some of Metz’s anxiety.

Rhode walked in the front, making a path through the vegetation. Although there was not a path, the vines and barbed stems did not impede him in the slightest. Just looking at his performance, it’s hard to imagine that he was severely wounded recently.

Leiya followed behind, her speed was quick as well. It’s clear that she was accustomed to the wilderness and this terrain. Even though her clothes were not suitable for this rough trekking, she still easily kept pace with Rhode. However, the two had to occasionally slow down or remind Metz to watch his footing. Who also required frequent breaks to rest and catch his breath.

As they walked deeper into the forest, the more surprised Leiya became.

Rhode’s path seemed rather arbitrary, occasionally he could veer left then right and sometimes just go in a big circle. On the surface it may seem like his sense of direction was flawed. But to those perceptive enough, they would notice that the obstacle-riddled forest soon became smooth and even. As if it had existed all along and was simply waiting for someone to find it.

Leiya had heard the Head talk about this before. It was a very high-end skill and required those with high affinity with nature or the elements. This included Mages or Druids. Those with sharp perception like Rangers were also ideal. She had experienced this once before. One time, her team was lost on a forest path. They were aided by an elf who pointed them in the complete opposite direction. Leiya was very skeptical but in the end, the path went quite smoothly out of the woods. It was then that she learned of this technique from the Head, but…

Leiya’s head tilted as she looked at Rhode’s back. According to the Head, that skill can only be used by experienced and skilled elves and Rangers. Even more so, although ordinary elves have the ability to communicate with nature, it does not automatically qualify them for the skill. But on the contrary, Rhode seems so relaxed as he just leisurely walks forward. So far, he has not even crouched down once to communicate with the plants around him. This means he’s not of elven lineage, but… looking at him, he doesn’t seem like a Ranger, right? Granted, Leiya did not have many dealings with Rangers. However, she knew that a Ranger’s primary weapon was the bow. But Rhode has never used a bow in combat…

Just who is he?

At the moment, Leiya’s heart became more and more puzzled.

Rhode stopped in steps.

Through the shrubs, he can clearly see the clear lake just a short distance away. It was the Moonlight Lake and it’s situated in the center of the Forest of Night. In the game, it was regarded as a half-way marker and a location for a field camp.

“Ha, terrific!”

Looking at the sparkling lake in front of him, Metz subconsciously licked his chapped lips. Even though it hasn’t been long nor far, he’s always been a pampered merchant and hiking was not his forte. Since they departed it’s been difficult to find a good resting spot. The fat merchant reflexively strode forward with an expectant expression. However, just as his body moved, he felt Rhode’s hand pressing down on his shoulder.

Looking confused at Rhode for his action. Yet, before he could utter a word of complaint, he looked in the direction of Rhode’s outstretched finger. Then, his face became as pale as paper.

Because in the shadows the lakeside trees was a giant white wolf, lying quietly with its eyes closed in slumber.

 


MD: Sorry for the late release, I’ve been busy with a lot of things.

7 thoughts on “Chapter 9: Departure

  1. “From time to time, the CRISP SOUNDS of songbirds will ring among the trees.” you made me imagine birds holding crisps in their mouth, hitting them together as they ring like bells. ha ha

    Like

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