Chapter 42 Cheating Death – Beasts of all Sorts (Part 2)
The shorter mare opened her eyes and let out a soft moan, as she noticed Daichi’s eyes glance at her. She immediately looked away without realizing what she had done. A blush spreading on her cheeks as she bit her lower lip.
Daichi had been waiting. Waiting for a few hours before he felt something change in the air. Sensing the mana in the cave suddenly lowing from one direction to the other. Daichi sprang awake and to his knees reaching for his sword with his right hand almost as if out of instinct.
Looking around, everything seemed normal. Except Kaden was getting progressively more pale even in the dim light. His breathing was ragged.
He continued to look at Kaden. Considering the possibilities. If Kaden died… His life would be a lot simpler. Even if it were the mare doing this, they seemed to have more value than he did.
On the other hand Hannah would be furious, it might even break her. In which case, did Hannah have more value than the mare? Weighing the options…
Daichi decided that Hannah had far more value than the mare. So did Kaden. They had their issues with him, but in the end he still got what he wanted. They didn’t want to hunt, they stilled hunted. They didn’t want to leave the town, they still left. They didn’t want to use the mare to hunt, they still would. This group would do as he told them, even if it took prodding.
These mare were not in the same scenario as him, he knew little to nothing about them. More over, if they could an would kill one of his companions there was no reason why they wouldn’t turn on him in the future.
No longer hesitating, Daichi pulled his sword out slowly and walked over to the mare, equally slowly.
Worst case scenario was still only Kaden dying. Lifting his sword and placing the end of it against the taller mare’s neck. He pressed slightly before she opened her eyes in a heartbeat.
Staring at her, Daichi suddenly wanted to kill her.
It would be so easy, and his sword was already on her neck. Daichi clenched he jaws and forced himself with all his willpower to not simply slide the blade in even further. Taking a few seconds, Daichi stayed motionless.
The shorter mare woke up next to him. Glancing in her direction, he saw something that surprised him enough to forget about killing her sister. She was blushing.
He had not seen the mare make a single expression this entire time. Confused by the turn of events, he pressed the sword against the taller mare’s skin just a tad bit further letting a single drop of blood bubble on top of the blade.
“What did you do. I want an actual answer. If I am even the slightest bit dissatisfied with how through you answer. I will kill you.” Daichi spoke in his natural monotone voice.
Staring at him and showing actual confusion in her expression, the taller mare wasn’t sure whether to respond or not with the blade pressing against her skin.
The shorter mare realized what was going on, and trying to forget what had just happened. Spoke up for her sister “We life off mana. That is our sustenance. Normally we take in the mana in nature, but certain beings that possess large amounts of mana or even just more than the average are a particular delicacy for us. We were inside of your companion’s dream, and eating his mana.”
Gazing at the shorter mare, “Why him?” Daichi asked, curious as to why she didn’t choose any of the others there.
As far as Daichi knew, he had the least amount of mana in the group.
Biting her lip and taking a second, the shorter mare responded “We thought he was the strongest one here after this afternoon. So we wanted to enter his mind and understand his plans.”
“We didn’t realize he was just a perverted idiot.” the taller mare spoke up as the blade had lessened it’s pressure on her neck.
Glancing at her sister, the taller mare spoke “It took me a second to realize, but in his dream we had lost our normal control. That only occurs when…” Clenching her teeth, she gazed into Daichi’s eyes one more time, before speaking up “It only occurs when we are already the subject of the dream, if we are the subject then we are trapped in that created body. It has never happened to me before.”
Daichi glanced at the shorter still blushing girl, and then her sister before taking a second to realize what had happened.
A thought popped into Daichi’s mind as understanding filled him.
Kaden was being Kaden, his dreams were likely no less perverse than him.
Without so much as a twitch in his expression, he glanced at the shorter mare and then asked “Why is she blushing, why are you both showing emotion.”
The shorter mare answered “When we eat the mana of another being who has higher intelligence, we unseal our emotions which are normally completely dampened. It doesn’t lasts in proportion to our meal.” she said while coyly glancing away from Daichi and then looking back.
“Do you have to eat?” Daichi asked
Understanding his meaning, the shorter mare looked down without making eye contact before replying “Yes… Eating natural mana sustains us… But it’s basically like starving ourselves to the point of madness. Only when we ‘eat’ do we feel like ourselves. Can be ourselves.”
“Do you have to enter someone’s dream like you did Kaden’s when you eat?” Daichi asked
Sitting up from his slumber “So that’s how it was.” Kaden softly said, his eyes red and fists clenched.
Kaden had just experienced a nightmare. Left past the tipping point with no return and no girls or hands.
Glancing his way, the shorter mare spoke with a little indignation in her voice “We may have been eating your mana without permission, but… but what you did!”
Clenching her teeth and looking away, even the taller mare blushed while recalling what he had done.
Experiencing both shame and lust at the same time, Kaden only shook his head…
“Why not gather normally and eat it that way?” Daichi asked
“We cannot meditate or tune ourselves to mana. It is our fault as a race. We are a-tuned to mana, and life off mana. Yet we cannot actively engage it ourselves.” the shorter mare spoke sounding genuinely wistful about their circumstances.
Getting up off the ground and walking to stand before the three of them, he got on his knees and bowed at them. “I’m very sorry. I was definitely out of line. I would normally say, that my thoughts are my own, but I should not have thought so little of you as to include you into my own fantasies without your permission.”
Waiting a second he looked up and faced the mare “An apology is insufficient. You need to eat, and as long as the mana you take isn’t permanent, then you can continue to eat mine as we travel.”
Blushing and looking at Kaden, the shorter mare felt like crushing his face into the ground for even bringing it up.
Thinking about his proposal though, she steadied herself. “No, we take what you have but never more. Your mana would regenerate as it normally would. Although even if we do that, we do not need to consciously enter your dreams. That will NOT happen again.”
Looking up at Daichi, Kaden gave him a meaningful look before speaking to the mare “That’s fine. I owe you an apology anyways. I also owe you an apology in advance. I cannot promise it won’t happen again, so I deeply suggest you avoid entering my dreams in the future.”
Pausing a second and letting his words sink in, Kaden continued “Now with that being said. I am all but basically providing you with food. If you promise there is no adverse affects, I am willing to provide that food for services rendered.”
“Services rendered??” The shorter mare asked with clenched teeth ready to rip Kaden’s throat.
“You provide us with guidance and safe passage. You actively engage in battle when we ask you too, and I provide you with ‘food’” Kaden met their gazes as he spoke looking more serious than he had all day.
A gaze the shorter mare had only seen in his dreams.
Feeling uncomfortable, the shorter mare looked at her sister for confirmation.
Daichi looked at Kaden in surprise. Kaden was being useful for once.
Daichi did not trust the mare, even more so after what they had just tried to pull, but it would be hard to ignore how useful they could be. More over if they had a mutually beneficial relationship, he could put some trust in that. Some anyways.
“We agree.” the shorter mare responded briskly.
“Great! So, don’t tell Ava and Hannah for now. Let’s keep tonight between ourselves.” Kaden said.
Taking a long look at both of them, Daichi finally pulled his sword back and sheathed it.
Standing up and looking at the three of them slightly wistfully, Daichi realized he really wanted to kill all three of them. Just a bit.
Thinking about it as he moved back to his position, Daichi tried to figure out the cause for that. Normally he wouldn’t care about killing or not killing, he didn’t feel much of anything one way or another. He’d rarely had the urge to kill. Now he suddenly found himself near lust at the thought.
He’d been feeling a little bit off since he killed the demon in the town. Thinking back to that he realized he’d acquired his bloodlust ability that night.
Considering his symptoms, Daichi began to wonder if the bloodlust skill was passively effecting his judgment. Thinking to that point, he considered how inconvenient it would become if he actively felt the need to kill constantly. That would affect his plans once they reached a town.
Just as Kaden was about to move, a thought occurred to him…
“Uhh… At the end of that dream…” Kaden’s gaze wandered to the mare for a second as he looked both sad and embarrassed.
Noticing his look, the taller mare felt a grim satisfaction.
The shorter mare responded in understanding “Regardless of what we do, when we enter a dream it turns rather… Unpleasant for the dreamer in the end. It is a consequence of our siphoning the dreamer’s mana in the process.”
Feeling his throat tighten up a little, Kaden moved back to his position.
He was going to give the mare a wink before laying back down to sleep, but as he recalled the horror he felt at losing his hands in his dreams. He thought better of it.
Kaden was lost in his own mind wondering what he should take from today. So much had happened. Feeling uncomfortable, he couldn’t decide if he was right about any of it. He’d gotten the group into a risky situation when he approached the mare and invited them… But the mare had already seen them. Approaching them with good intentions seemed like the best way to avoid an unnecessary fight at the time.
Now he’d entered into an agreement with them for the sake of the group. If all it took was his mana, then it was a small price to pay to keep the mare as teammates.
Even Daichi had not acted to kill them, and in Kaden’s mind Daichi always wanted to kill first and talk later. Kaden knew that wasn’t actually the case but he couldn’t help but feel that way. Knowing that Daichi didn’t act against him, made him feel that he had been right, their assistance would be monumental to getting out of this place alive.
Feeling happy about that conclusion, Kaden sunk back into a feeling on insecurity. He would have to kill from now on. He’d been avoiding this fact for a while now. Today had made things clear though. He would have to put his ideals aside and kill for Hannah and for himself.
Feeling a sadness overwhelm him, he knew what he had to do. He just had to come to terms with it now that he had acknowledged it.
The mare ignored Kaden and sat against the wall lost in thought.
They now understood the situation a bit better. Kaden was not the leader, he was clearly a perverted idiot. Definitely a perverted idiot.
The human Daichi was dangerous. It was clear to the taller mare that he wanted to kill her earlier. In fact he actively looked like he was trying not to do it.
Feeling for the first time in years, the mare were stuck feeling uncomfortable.
The mare fell asleep feeling that discomfort mounting them.
Waking up in the morning, the girls slept wonderfully. They had been so exhausted that they fell asleep without anxiously worrying over their new ‘companions’. Hannah on the other hand had simply assumed that Daichi would in his suspicion of them, keep an eye out.
Daichi woke up, from a sitting up position feeling stiff but good. He’d figured out how to manage a lighter less useful but more practical form of meditation even though it was the same skill used differently.
Wanting to utilize his analyze skill as much as possible, Daichi triggered it on all 5 of them.
Human Named: Hannah Guresu Level: 18
Description: Death hovers around her.
Human Named: Ava Kajiya Level: 14
Description: The last of the Kajiya bloodline.
Human Named: Kaden Guresu Level: 13
Description: Mana weakened state. Lucky.
Fledgling Mare Level: 25
Description: A young mare who has lived only a few centuries.
Fledgling Mare Level: 25
Description: A young mare who has lived only a few centuries.
Daichi noticed the girls didn’t level up from yesterday’s activities. That must mean they are both ready for another level up. He would help them reach level 20 and then he would get back to getting his own strength to grow.
Kaden woke up looking tired, with red eyes and slightly pale making Daichi wonder whether that was from the mare last night. Perhaps they had wanted an extra snack afterwards, but he didn’t notice any changes so he brushed that thought aside.
Daichi then thought about his description from his skill. Perhaps he hadn’t regenerated enough mana naturally because he still couldn’t meditate.
Daichi had assumed that Kaden had a meditation method considering that both girls had one. He’d slip this piece of information to Hannah so she could give him some pointers later on.
After all, he needed his food wagon to keep the group together.
Daichi grinned at the thought of Kaden being food. It fit him pretty well.
The mare awoke thinking about these humans. The mare shared a single thought at this moment. These humans seemed like despite being good food… They were going to be more trouble than they had bargained for.