Chapter 65 Cheating Death – Decisions (Part 1)
Just as the time limit was about to come to its conclusion Tael opened his eyes as a smile covered his lips. The unseen barrier surrounding him dissipated as he took a single step forward.
Tael seemingly disappeared into the air with that one step, appearing hundreds of meters away inside another wooded area. Tael put his arms behind his back and folded them as he awaited his guest with wry amusement.
He’d sensed a particular presence moving in his direction. Considering he was in the area, his natural aura would make most animals and monsters instinctively stay away. Only humans would be oblivious to the natural presence he exuded.
Staring forward into the distance, Tael patiently awaited his guest.
Minutes later Daichi was jogging and hoping he was getting close. He’d been jogging for nearly 10 hours with just a few rests in-between. His clothes were soaked through with sweat and he was beginning to take heavy breaths.
He’d been pacing himself to conserve energy, but even he had never jogged this long through a forest. Moving through the woods and bushes with reckless abandon, he’d been cut and scrapped everywhere. His clothes ripped apart in most places as his own blood adorned his clothes in most places.
He could tell his time limit was almost up and even though he didn’t much care what happened to the others, he would be deeply frustrated if he’d come this far only to find out the others had all been killed before he even arrived.
In fact, he’d been struggling to keep himself thinking that part of the purpose of this journey was to save their lives. Daichi’s rationale constantly went back to his focus on himself and what this would mean to him. He had to remind himself numerous times as he ran that saving the others was supposedly just as important.
Noticing a particularly thick brush up ahead, Daichi ran forward a bit fast and jumped into the air letting his momentum push him through the brush with his arms covering his head and face and knees tucked just a bit higher to cover part of his stomach.
Pushing through the brush and pain from the cuts he received on his already raw skin from that jump alone, Daichi noticed someone up ahead before he even landed onto the ground.
Rolling forward and back up to his feet, Daichi was ready to defend himself.
All of Daichi’s muscles tensed as he began to anticipate an attack from an opponent. Staring at his opponent and seeing no moment, Daichi triggered his analyze skill on the mysterious young man, only to realize nothing occurred.
The skill either wouldn’t trigger or just didn’t work on him.
The young man in front of him just stared at him, hands behind his back with an impassive smile on his face.
“Can I assume you are Daichi, little one?” the young man asked in a nonchalant tone that Daichi recalled with a trace of confusion.
“I am. You must be Tael.” Daichi stated instead of asking.
Staring at this young man as his skill refused to trigger, Daichi felt naked in front of him. This was the first opponent he’d come across that he didn’t know a single thing about.
“Who are you?” Daichi asked, trying to get to the point while still preparing himself in case Tael attacked.
“You aren’t even worthy of my name, and yet you ask for more?” Tael answered with his left eyebrow almost imperceptibly twitching.
“Who wouldn’t in my shoes?” Daichi replied almost as nonchalantly.
“Most. Most humans would be too terrified to say anything in your shoes.” Tael responded with his smile never wavering.
“In fact, most humans wouldn’t have come even after being given the generous offer you received. Not unless they were like that other boy you seem to be friends with.” Tael continued, finally causing Daichi’s attention to be drawn to his surroundings.
Finally realizing that the man before him was not going to tell him anything, Daichi began to realize that he seemed to be blocking the way.
The others were no where to be found…
“He’s stalling.” Daichi finally realized.
“I am here. You said if I arrived you would give me a chance to save the others.” Daichi spoke, his calm words were making Tael wonder were Daichi got the confidence to reply so casually in his presence.
“How is he even able to stand in my presence without being overwhelmed by my aura? It almost seems like he’s completely unaffected…” Tael pondered while staring at Daichi and taking his time.
“Hmm. Yes. Once I’ve given my word I am tied to fate and must follow what I’ve said, as such I meant what I said. If you arrived while they were still alive you would be given a chance to save them. Now I present you with that opportunity, if you can save even one of them… I’ll let them go and let you live.” Tael spoke, but his wording made Daichi stiffen.
“Although… Keep in mind what I told you about the boy. Unless you can find a solution to save him. Leaving with him and him alone is not an option.” Tael’s words were directly transferred inside of Daichi’s head as Daichi saw him only smile wider.
Looking past Tael and then back at his unwavering expression, Daichi started walking past towards him while watching his every muscle. Daichi didn’t want to let down his guard, and continued being vigilant but as he approached Tael he saw his eyes close.
The small action making Daichi even more weary, as he heard a loud deep scream echo from in front of him.
“The voice sounded like Kaden” Daichi realized.
Wanting to move forward but refusing to take his eyes of Tael… Daichi kept walking forward as his every instinct was screaming at him that the young man before him was dangerous.
Every instinct was screaming danger inside of Daichi’s bones and mind was telling him at the top of their lungs that if the young man before him wanted him dead, he wouldn’t even need to break a sweat to do it.
The more his instincts told him that the more he naturally wanted to turn tail and leave but instead, his mind made him push forward with even less hesitation.
If his life and death were at this being’s hands. Then there was no point in hesitating more than he needed too. Even as he was telling himself that in his head, over and over. His feet were only moving at a snail’s pace.
Each step Daichi took felt like a huge effort, the sweat pooling at his forehead wasn’t because of the running but rather from the very effort it was taking him to move past Tael.
Tael kept his eyes closed as he sensed Daichi moving forward. It was only as Daichi finally reached his side that his mind reeled with surprise.
Tael was exerting his full aura into this area. Anything else would have fainted in fear or been utterly overwhelmed by aura he was releasing. Daichi hadn’t even stopped walking, almost unfazed to Tael.
In his mind, he was suddenly very intrigued by this boy. He’d seen him once when Daichi had killed the Troll Lord as he’d been out on a stroll and had been surprised such a frail looking child had been capable of such a feat but hadn’t paid any more attention. After all, killing that troll would have taken but a flick of a finger for him.
This feat on the other hand utterly impressed Tael.
There must be something special about him I didn’t notice. Something I can’t notice. Maybe it’ll be worth keeping an eye on this one for a while.
After Daichi passed Tael, his body suddenly felt as light as feather. Feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted off his chest and shoulders, Daichi wanted to spring forward through the trees, but held himself back as he continued walking at the same pace. Refusing to let Tael see him flustered.
Each step he took, further fueled his anticipation as the closer he got the more noise he could make out and the clearer the sound of crying became. As he reached the end of the trees, Daichi could make out a clearing.
Looking ahead as he passed the last tree Daichi’s eyes widened.