Chapter 28 The Beginning – Leaving (Part 4)
After telling them that he had a lot of important information and that it would take too long to discuss in the open, Daichi convinced them to go back to the cellar to talk about everything.
After reaching the cellar everyone was still tense, and Daichi could tell that Ava and Kaden were no less angry at him now than they were before.
He began to tell them about the fire and the enormous battle that he saw last night at the north side of town. He told them, that considering the massive scale of the battle it was still probably going on even as they spoke and the reason why they had never heard or seen anything was because the battle was basically going on down beneath them.
If anything the battle would definitely be drawing closer to the town and the smoke would be more than noticeable by today. Kaden and Ava looked skeptical, Daichi couldn’t tell if they really didn’t believe me or whether they just didn’t want to believe him. Hannah looked serious, probably considering what Daichi was telling them at face value.
Daichi was having such a hard time gauging her because she just never really met his eye line. He’d never realized but a lot of what he usually read from someone’s expression really did come from wha their eyes was saying.
Continuing with the rest of the information, he mentioned how the battle was going to reach the town and when it did the entire place was going to become a huge battlefield that they definitely won’t be able to survive there. The monsters he saw, he couldn’t even identify but none of them were anything he could take on at all.
Then he told them about how he had been to the south side of town, but hadn’t quite made it as far because of the many orcs blocking the way. He had to go a roundabout way and then he found shelter under the guard post. It was only until morning that he got a chance to explore the south side of the town, and how he happened to come across a few demons that were so far beyond his ability to handle, that the only reason he’d managed to survive and get back here was because something drew their attention. If it wasn’t for that there would have been no chance of him running away.
Daichi mentioned his opinion on how if they try to leave through the south side then they could run into those demons and if they did, they were likely to be killed on the spot. Worse even would be if they ran into whatever drew the attention of those demons in such a controlled way. Daichi mentioned how he suspected that whatever it was, it was enough that it was much stronger than even those demons which were already an unsurpassable mountain for them..
Finally after all of that Daichi finished his story He finally got a chance to take a breather and eat a snack and drink some water while trying to gauge their expressions and how they were taking all this information. All three of them seemed to having a tough time deciding whether they believed him or whether if they did, what to do about it.
So Daichi voiced his thoughts, “Honestly. I think the best decision we can make it to leave town. I don’t really think we have much of an option. Also you should have noticed that the monsters that are wandering around town now are stronger than before. Even if we’re getting stronger so are the monsters around here and if we wait too long, even if we leave before the huge battle reaches here the monsters around might be too strong to handle anyways.”
Watching their bitter expressions Daichi continued forth giving them a bitter pill to swallow but one he thought they needed to hear, “We need to leave soon, if you really don’t believe me, then later on you can go take a look yourself to the outskirts of the north side of town. You’ll be able to see exactly what I saw. When you see it, you’ll know we have no other option but to leave.”
Ava was the first one to speak up, “Look, even if you aren’t lying just to come off as if you’ve actually done something useful instead of having abandoned us last night. How is leaving a real option? If what you’re saying is true. Then the problems that are coming to town mean that it’s just as bad or worse out there!” fidgeting with her sleeve, Ava looked rattled.
Kaden didn’t waste a second in supporting her “I agree. So what if it’s true. We’re better off here. We at least have a safe zone. If we leave now we won’t even have that.”
Even without the words he’d spoken Daichi could tell from the expression on his face that Kaden definitely didn’t trust him at this point. What he was saying was ridiculous. “I wonder whether he really just doesn’t like me enough to agree with anyone who’d be disagreeing with me or whether he actually thinks it’s a good idea to stay here.” Daichi thought as he gazed at Kaden.
At this point Daichi knew that Kaden didn’t particularly like him. The fact that Daichi had dealt with everything that had come their way with relative easy, adjusted so easily and didn’t mind changing his mentality to suit his needs was something that made Kaden uncomfortable. Kaden may not have realized it, but he was morally rigid. He’d slowly formed his opinions on right and wrong earlier on in life and now he abided by them as the base for who he was.
Looking at Hannah, Daichi curiously waited for her to voice her opinion. Somehow he felt like she’d be more likely to agree with him as long as she believed what he’d said. Even more so, Daichi felt if she did agree it would be exactly for the reasons he would have countered Kaden’s argument with.
Speaking up as if on cue, Hannah said one succinct sentence “I think we need to leave.”
Looking at her like she’d lost her mind both Kaden and Ava are gave her incredulous looks.
“Why the hell would we leave? Hannah what is going on with you???” Kaden blurted out.
“Do you have any reason in particular? We can’t even this with two people voicing one decision and two people dissenting. That won’t get us anywhere” Ava points out once again twirling her hair in her hands.
Something about Ava resorting to her old mannerism was giving Daichi the feeling that she had something in mind, regardless of how Hannah would answer.
Looking up and staring at Kaden, and giving him a calming look, Hannah finally voiced her thoughts “I think Daichi is thinking what I am. If we stay, we may have some safety for now and if somehow these monsters aren’t strong enough to penetrate the cellar we’d still be stuck down here, the food would run out eventually and in the meantime we’d be stuck unable to get any stronger for when it was time to finally try and leave. On the other hand if we do leave, we don’t know what’s out there. Even if we don’t know whether it’s safe going east or west. Actually I’m guessing that based on what Daichi saw, it probably isn’t safe anywhere to begin with. If we leave we’ll at least have a chance at making it. If we get stronger on the way, we can even increase our opportunities as well. Right?” She finally gave Daichi a glance and and he nodded back at her.
She was basically on the same page as him. In fact that was almost spot on what he was thinking.
Daichi actually didn’t care too much about staying in this zone with them. “If we do some of them will die at some point but while they don’t I’ll have plenty of chances to get stronger with them as distractions. Once I get strong enough I might actually be able to kill some of the monsters I saw yesterday too. On the other hand, I am being considerate. They’re weak, even weaker then me.” Daichi figured.
“Kaden can’t kill, both his resolve and methods are too weak as they are, Hannah has excellent offense but her defense is so weak that just a monster on her own level or weaker could kill her if she isn’t careful, and Ava is in the same boat as Hannah except she’s even worse off. If we don’t leave, they’ll definitely die. Staring at them, I wonder what they’ll decide to do. Kaden looks a little less angry now. It seems he’s calmed down quite a bit. I guess he really is an idiot and hadn’t thought of those things.” Daichi thought as he analyzed their situation and made his peace with the decisions the others were going to make.
In his mind he was going to survive no matter what, it was just a matter of how he would use the others and whether they would survive as well.
Ava looked pensive but pleased, and finally spoke up “You definitely bring up some good points. I think the cellar would hold but, of course if there is a cave in or something or too much weight is placed on the door, we likely would be dead in here just like that… Still, I think this situation brings up a perfect point. I think because there are four of us, we need to designate someone as the leader. Someone we trust, and who will make unilateral decisions when we reach an impasse as a group.” Finally folding her arms over her chest she finished speaking and gave everybody a calm look.
“So that’s where she was going with this. What value is being placed in a position of leadership in such a small group? Is she just doing this so she can increase her odds of surviving or does she actually care? She’s either that arrogant or that sly. I’m hoping for sly, because that arrogance is just going to get her killed which would be such a waste.” Daichi thought as he realized Ava was angling for get some form of social order started within their group of four.
Digesting her words Kaden and Hannah shared a look. Hannah replied quite calmly “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but who would be the leader of our group?”
Looking smugly “I believe that should be based on who wants to lead and has the capability to lead. I’m the most qualified, after all it’s thanks to me that we’ve had shelter, food, weapons and the opportunity to get this far right?” Ava replied to Hannah with sound rationale as her tone was slightly grating on the ears.
Kaden looked torn about how to continue and before he got the chance, Daichi spoke up “I think you’ve provided a lot of help to all of us. I also agree that the many things you’ve provided thus far have been of immense value, but.. I think if our group is to have a leader, it should be one we all trust. One who will make the best decisions for all of us, and one who isn’t afraid of making tough choices… I think it should be Hannah”
The room went deathly quiet. Daichi could almost hear crickets in the background after he’d spoken those words. In fact he could, but there probably were actual crickets.
Pushing a little more, “Kaden what do you think? You trust Hannah’s judgement right?” and not giving him a chance to answer he followed up looking at Ava “You don’t want me as leader right? Would you trust Kaden as leader? Let’s just say this, if it’s not you who would you rather it be?” Finally looking at Hannah I ask her point blank “What do you think Hannah? I think everyone including myself trusts you enough to make the right decisions. It might be a lot to ask of you, but I think you’re the most suitable for the position. I also believe that out of everyone here, you’re the only one everyone would be okay with unilaterally allowing to make those tough calls.”
Looking less rattled than Daichi thought she’d be, Hannah looked down at her hands while thinking. It took her a few seconds but she looked at Ava and asked her “Would you be okay with me as the leader?”
Ava was frozen stiff by Hannah’s response. Ever since Daichi began voicing his opinion she didn’t even so much as twitch. “I think even she knows how this is going to play out.” Daichi thought as he pushed he heard the final nail end the conversation, with a small but forced smile Ava answered “Yes.”
Not a single complaint from anyone, Kaden was looking a little indecisive about how he felt but he was certainly not going to object. He’d probably have looked indecisive no matter who took up that mantle of responsibility. Daichi figured this was the best possible outcome for now though. Based on what had happened so far, aside from himself Hannah was the only one looking at their options with a clear and open mind. Moreover… She might be the only in the group who would thus far… Be able to make the tough and calculated decisions necessary to survive.
With that out of the way, the others decided at Ava’s insistence to go to the north side of town later to do some recon and verify what Daichi had said. They still couldn’t imagine what he’d said to be true, but he didn’t blame them. He merely warned them to be very careful and to avoid monsters as much as possible.
It seemed that both Kaden and Ava wouldn’t leave until they themselves saw and verified what Daichi had said. Although he didn’t think that they would actually go for themselves see what he’d seen and not come back with some excuses about their reservations about leaving the town. Which made Daichi wonder whether they were just scared of the unknown or simply being sentimental of their home town.
Finally with everyone breaking up, they all got some food and began to relax (well at least Daichi). After finishing his meal he decided to ask Hannah for some advice for something that’d been bothering him since last night.
He finally got the chance and asked her about her form of mana recuperation, “So what I don’t get, is if you don’t have a skill how do you regain your mana?”
Looking at me like him like an idiot or as if he’d said something silly, Hannah took a second before deciding whether he was being serious and answered “Anyone can slowly recuperate their mana with time and focus. The first thing mana users learn is how to sense mana. Once you can sense mana you will automatically recover mana while sensing it if you’ve used it up. Everyone has a different form of meditation as well, it’s not really something that’s taught. Just the idea behind it. Of course no one gets a meditation skill until they’ve gained a deep understanding and affinity to mana. As far as I’ve heard, only mages, people who’ve gained a deep (but to them) basic understanding of mana, have a meditation skill.”
After her explanation Daichi stopped to think about what she’d said. It mades sense, after all he was in a state where he was sensing mana before he got a skill involving meditation and he didn’t think the two states were very different. Perhaps due to all that insight he gained into mana and because of his perception skill he happened to develop a Meditation skill really quickly.
Although from what he could tell the only benefit of triggering the skill instead of trying to sense mana on his own would be that he entered a meditative state quicker. Using the skill allows me to enter the state quicker and regain his mana quicker when necessary but by not triggering the skill and using my own affinity then he’d likely gain more insight since he would be starting the process from scratch.
Intrigued by that idea, Daichi also realized that based on last night he no longer needed to sleep. He could just meditate every night and gain insight into mana in the time he would have previously spent just sleeping!
In the afternoon, the three of them decided to go take a look together before it got too dark. After a long discussion they decided that although at night they wouldn’t be seen as easily by monsters they would not be able to notice monsters as easily as well. Not wanting to take that risk, they decided to go while the sun was still up.
After they left Daichi immediately went to my usual corner and sat down crossed legged and began to try to enter a meditative state without using his skill. He began to sense the mana in his surroundings and after a while the usual feeling of being enveloped by a warm rush of everything started to spread all around him.
Instead of just focusing on the mana, he began to focus his mana in the forms of my skills. Gaining further insight in this state everything came a little easier without distraction. Thinking about his Chaotic Eruption skill he began to think about the flaw he noticed yesterday. When he ran into the demons in the forest he had a weird feeling as he was looking at the wings on their backs. He thought about how stronger demons might actually be able to fly. In fact stronger there are a lot of monstrous and divine beasts that can fly. They had yet to run into any sort of beast but if all sorts of monsters were now wandering the area, even the ones who were supposedly extinct or gone, than they should be as well.
When that realization hit him, he thought about how he wouldn’t be able to counter any aerial attacks. His most useful skill wouldn’t be able to do anything until his opponent got close enough. If he could focus the mana to be emitted from only one area he could focus the wave to only go in one direction instead. Instinctively he thought about my hands and feet. The most useful places to release mana in a specific direction from. Considering he would have to account for a just a general direction and not a target, he thought about feeling he have when he releases a Chaotic Eruption and the flow of mana.
Skill Changed: Chaotic Eruption
Altered through mana manipulation into a skill that emits a wave in a specific direction from either hands or feet that changes mana caught it the wake of the wave into Chaotic Mana.
Skill Created: Chaotic Erupted Sphere
Created through releasing mana from the entire body in the form of a sphere that changes all mana caught within the sphere into Chaotic Mana.
Feeling pleased with the knowledge as he realized he’d definitely just reshaped and created another similar skill all with minimal effort. Feeling at ease with the mana, he tried out the Chaotic Erupted Sphere and feel the mana releasing from every pore in my body and almost immediately felt those pores receive mana. He hadn’t felt it before but the very feeling of mana entering is normally not noticeable. Suddenly gaining an insight he willed his entire being to be open to the mana around him, to allow it’s entry and absorb it all.
Within an instant he felt as his body was overwhelmed but instead of stopping he continued further. Wanting to understand what was happening to his body and how the mana was interacting with him. Feeling the mana enter but not willing it to change into his attribute it started to coalesce on his body.
Wallowing in the new sensation Daichi further continued allowing mana to enter him and feeling himself surrounded by a thicker mana than usual. Just as he began to try to control the mana surrounding him to take shape he heard the cellar door begin to open and his concentration was broken. The second his eyes opened the mana surrounding him dispersed in an instant and he felt open and exposed for a moment before feeling like himself again.
Staring up he saw the others walking down. Their faces dripping with sweat and fear in their eyes. They seemed to be physically fine, Daichi could only attribute the looks of fear to seeing what he’d seen at the edge of town the night before.
Momentarily thinking about his earlier mana experience he realized he must have lost track of time while in that meditative state. It must have definitely been a few hours. “I’m going to have to find a way to keep track of time somehow while meditating or only meditate when in a completely safe location.” he thought as they were all finally downstairs as the girls sat on the couch except for Kaden who immediate got back up and started pacing around the room.
Clearly he was nervous, and as Daichi gazed at them he knew he didn’t want to be the one to break the silence. He just sat with them in waiting, for someone to say something.
After a while Kaden finally broke the silence “That was fucking ridiculous. The number of monsters out there. Their sizes alone…”
“Sizes? Their speed and strength were far more monstrous. Who cares how big they were, you could tell based on some of their battles how high their levels must be. We wouldn’t last an instant against any of them!” Ava blurts out looking pale.
Hannah finally speaks up “Kaden, Ava… Daichi was right. We need to leave. We need to leave tomorrow.”
Kaden and Ava stared at her, then glanced at Daichi. Kaden looked at him in dismay while ava looked him with a hard to explain expression before it returned to one of indifference as they nodded in agreement.
At least they’ve been convinced. Daichi actually thought he would somehow still have to argue to get them to change their minds despite having the proof in front of their eyes.
“We leave tomorrow then!” Daichi said out loud and receiving no complaints.
“Tomorrow I will leave my home. I will leave this town for the first time in my life. My entire life I’ve wanted to see the world, now I’ll finally get that opportunity.” Daichi was reeling with excitement and instead of feeling fear or apprehension for what was yet to come, he was just bubbling with exuberance of a child wanting to see something new.