Chapter 38 Cheating Death – Choices (Part 2)

Chapter 38 Cheating Death – Choices? (Part 2)

With the group as fractured as it was, Daichi didn’t give it very good odds for making it out of this forest alive.

Staring at all of them, the answer was as obvious as day.

They could either all decide to avoid danger, or to face it head on. Since he refused to do nothing and let himself become a target, he would just have to change their minds. He would have to convince Kaden about how wrong he was. If Kaden was convinced then Hannah would likely also have no problems.

“So are we in a majority agreement?” Daichi asked

All of them nodded except for the mare who stared at him blankly.

Staring and waiting for Kaden to respond, he finally grunted in acknowledgement.

Swell – Daichi thought.

“Then let’s go kill some trolls!”

Looking at the mare, “How are your combat abilities?” Daichi took the opportunity to ask.

Sharing a sideways glance, “Our combat abilities are not well suited for battle against trolls. We will stand back during any encounters with them, you may get their essence.”

Daichi gave them a questioning glance while thinking about the word “essence”.

Daichi thought about how the mare are more attuned to nature and mana. Their word choices are particularly interesting. Perhaps it would help him change his view of mana later on.

Putting the thought aside. “Okay, I’ll go first and Ava and Hannah you two follow from behind.”

Daichi changed his plans almost immediately. The mare had chosen not to fight. He could force them but clearly he’d already pushed the group this much already.

That’s fine he thought, no big deal. Instead i’ll just have to put on a show. I’ll make it so that they won’t even consider trying to harm us.

Pushing past the branches and trying not to cut himself anymore on the thorns than he already had throughout the day, Daichi slowly moved forward until he was past the shrubbery.

Standing in front of the only cover around. Completely exposed Daichi eyed the trolls that were just laying down near one another, feet in the water. They were seemingly at complete ease.

These trolls looked no different from the previous trolls he’d encountered. Noticing nothing particularly unique about them, Daichi noticed the one difference. These trolls didn’t have clubs on them or next to them. Finding it a bit strange, Daichi became a little weary but decided to proceed as always.

Not sensing any kind of weariness from the trolls Daichi considered the perfect opportunity before him.

Hearing Ava and Hannah move up behind him. Daichi turned around and gave them a nod “follow right behind me”.

Daichi pulled out his sword from his right holster with his left and and began running towards the trolls.

Finally within 20 meters, Daichi triggered his Analyze skill.

Lazy Troll Level: 26
Description: This breed of troll is less likely to get into a territory dispute over a larger body of water.
Lazy Troll Level: 26
Description: This breed of troll is less likely to get into a territory dispute over a larger body of water.
Lazy Troll Level: 25
Description: This breed of troll is less likely to get into a territory dispute over a larger body of water.
Lazy Troll Level: 26
Description: This breed of troll is less likely to get into a territory dispute over a larger body of water.

Only noticing their names and levels. Daichi pressed forward barely slowing down.

Getting within range, his footsteps slowed down because of the mud near the stream. His footsteps becoming more noticeable the trolls began to lazily open their eyes and let out a warning shriek.

Feeling a little unprepared for the mud, Daichi braced himself to prevent from slipping while slowly putting less and less weight behind his footsteps.

Triggering his <Chaotic Eruption> skill with his right hand towards two of the trolls. “Hannah take those!”

Then skidding into a stop, he triggered his skill once again towards the other set “Ava those are yours, I’ll follow with.”

Hannah passed him and immediately reached the two trolls Daichi had pointed too, touching both of the trolls once and ending their lives with absolutely no effort.

In fact her skill was so flawless, that even if she were to use it in a crowd full of people. Not a single person would notice that she had used a skill.

Hannah’s skill enshrouds a persons mana. Therefore the only one feeling the effect would be that person. The mana enshrouded is not in a physical space, but rather the metaphysical space created inside of people. With no one to see, no length, width or time in that metaphysical space. Enshrouding an opponents mana happens in the blink of an eye for a triggered skill.

Slowing his steps and moving in tandem with Ava, he let her jump towards and first troll and watched as she triggered her melt skill causing her hands to glow. The glow had changed from before and now had a golden tinge to it. Going right for the throat, Ava used both hands to strange the troll until both hands reached one another and the trolls head fell clean off.

Using the <melt> skill there was not a single drop of blood. The throat had been unevenly cauterized and melted into itself.

The second troll regaining it’s movement and shifting his gaze momentarily to it’s other two comrades back away in fear realizing the monumental threat to its life.

Daichi pointed at the last troll. Trigging another <Chaotic Eruption> skill, “Last one Ava.”

Daichi watched as she finished the last troll just as easily if not easier than the first.

Daichi looking around at his surroundings felt a warm feeling of peace settle over him.

Daichi looked around thinking “That was a wonderful hunt. Not a single thing went wrong, it was clean and effective.”

Next to Hannah two of the trolls were crumbled on the ground. Their faces on in the dirt. If he didn’t know better, he’d think they were taking an uncomfortable nap.

Embracing that sense of peace, he turned around and watched Kaden and the mare walking over.

Looking at the mare with an even but less suspicious gaze. Daichi decided to trust them. Even if they betrayed them, he would likely be able to kill them. Worst case scenario the others died, but considering it was a group decision… He could live with those consequences.

Instead, now as he gazed at the mare, he could only see two beautiful girls who represented a treasure troves of monsters waiting to be slaughtered.

Nothing Daichi smiling at the mare, Kaden felt utterly uncomfortable.

Looking down at the corpses of the two trolls she killed with a single touch. Hannah felt saddened that these two lives were going to weigh Kaden down.

Ava simply walked back over to Daichi’s side. With her melt skill on and the mana covering her hands, she didn’t have to dirty herself whenever she killed something.

Despite it’s general impracticality for battle, there were some definite upsides for Ava.

Noticing the previous glow, “Did your skill level up? It looked more… Pure?” Daichi asked.

Giving him a grin “Yeah, it leveled up during out last fight. It’s overall effectiveness increased.” Ava replied pleased with herself.

Finally asking what had been on her mind for a while now she turned her back to the mare and whispered “What is up with that skill you use? How come I ever see anything and suddenly our opponents can’t move?” Ava asked with up turned eyebrow and curious gaze.

Carefully considering her question, Daichi turned around and motioned Hannah over.

“Ava just asked about my skill, you can’t see anything either when I use it?” Daichi asked her

“No.” Hannah replied

“I release a burst of mana aiming to trigger a specific effect. I can’t see anything either but I know how it works because of my logic when creating the skill, and also because I can feel it as it happens.” Daichi explained

“Eh??? You created it?” Ava looked stupefied by Daichi’s words

“You mean you received it?” Even Hannah’s thoughts of Kaden were interrupted by Daichi’s wording.

Taking a deep breath, “No I mean I created it. I was in a meditative state and I was pondering mana and its applications and I came up with a way to use this skill and before even getting a chance to use it. It was acknowledged and a window appeared before me saying basically what I had just come up with” Daichi explained

Baffled by what they were hearing. They were both in awe of Daichi but Ava was the only one who truly understood the significance of what Daichi was saying.

In Ava’s mind if what Daichi was saying was true… No. She couldn’t bring herself to think it.

“I will explain some of my insights in the future, but it’ll be up to you to really understand what I’ll be telling you. If you can’t then it won’t lead anywhere. Keep all of this secret from the mare. I don’t know them and I don’t trust them. I don’t want them knowing any more about me then they need too, if you want to share your own information then that’s up to you but I suggest against it.” Daichi said solemnly

“Eh? They’ve been pretty honest so far. I think Kaden may have been right about them.” Hannah said defensively

“Maybe. Maybe not. I think trust should be earned not freely given.” Daichi responded and with one last glance, walked back to the mare and Kaden.

Ava glanced at Hannah and just shrugged her shoulders and started walking back as well leaving Hannah alone to think about what to do.

Feeling irritated at Daichi, Hannah wanted to argue with him or say something in Kaden’s defense.

Even if Daichi was likely right, Kaden was right too. In fact, she felt bad for wanting to agree with Daichi and thinking he was right in the first place.

Kaden was her family, she should give him the benefit of the doubt. He was doing that for strangers, and he wasn’t a complete idiot. She should trust in his judgment more.

Following behind the others they huddled close together an began discussing their next move.

“We’ve decided to hunt but a good chunk of the day is gone, is it safe to hunt at night?” Daichi asked the mare.

“I would advise against it. There are a slew of creatures better equipped to do battle in the dark” the shorter mare responded.

Nodding in response, “So if you don’t mind me asking, you just caught a glimpse at one of our many fighting strategies. Would you mind sharing how you fight?” Daichi asked innocently still with an inadvertent smile plastered on his face.

Glancing at one another again. The mare took a few seconds before, the shorter one turned back and responded “Why not have a spar with my sister?”

The smile on Daichi’s face grew wider. “I would love too.” Daichi didn’t manage to take a step forward before Kaden stepped in.

“If you don’t mind, why don’t you let me? Everyone else already got a chance to fight the trolls. Even if you’re not tired… It’s only fair I get to show off some of my good points right? Hehe..” Kaden suddenly spoke up smiling and acting perfectly fine.

Daichi’s smile lessened into what could barely pass as a smirk as he eyed Kaden.

Daichi was used to putting on an act for others. He never had the energy to really try, so it was never as good as this, but he could tell an obvious lie like this one from a mile away.

Considering the previous events, was Kaden trying to be helpful? Or… Was Kaden just afraid he would actually hurt the mare?

Daichi couldn’t figure it out, but he was happy to sit back and enjoy the show.

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