Chapter 110 Polite Conversations (Part 1)
Excitement and disappointment muddled together as Daichi felt both excited to truly ‘feel’ again and disappointment he’d had to kill the first humans he’d seen in years. At that moment Daichi sat down and began to ease his mind into a meditative state without focusing on anything as he resolved himself to both recuperate and to try a different approach with the next humans he met.
After recuperating to the point of no longer feeling exhausted, Daichi got up and began searching for people. After a while he came across two people that flashed by at an amazing speed and Daichi was instantly intrigued.
‘So fast! This is ridiculous. Is everyone these days so amazing?’ he thought to himself. Without so much as a moment of hesitation he instantly triggered his <Flash> technique and appeared above the trees and began moving in their direction. He would trigger his <Mana Sense> every so often until they finally came to a halt for a minute and he realized that they were being chased by something. A small dark creature who was somehow even faster than them, he could barely keep track of it at all even with his mana sense!
Daichi followed and stayed close enough to keep track of the situation with his mana sense alone and watched as they ran, and then tricked the creature by luring it into a trap and instantly killed it. He felt some true admiration for their teamwork.
He could tell based on the short but shocking fight that these two people were clearly levels and levels above the people he’d just previously encountered. Had Daichi not been starved for some conversation perhaps he would have sought out some other people who could perhaps be considered less of a threat, but with his new flash technique, he felt confident in his ability to retreat.
Therefore, after giving it some thought he decided to follow along. Regardless of who they were, he felt confident in his ability to survive. He waited until after they started moving at a slower speed, and Daichi followed behind them at a distance. He watched them regroup with a large group of younger people around his age as another battle ensued. Even Daichi was boggled as he felt a strange attack and felt that it was some form of vibration that was specifically targeting a type of beast. The attack was odd enough to confuse and awe Daichi once again. He’d already been impressed by the two he’d followed, but this attack he couldn’t even sense with his mana sense, the only reason he could even figure out as much as he had was due to a feeling he had and the hairs on his skin being raised as the attack was triggered.
After deciding it was now or never, he approached the group trying his best to come across as far more friendly than he had with the other group.
Now standing in front of Crimson who’d just attacked him, Daichi was left to wonder whether he’d have to kill these people too. The thought triggered a questioning response in his mind as he wondered whether it would be so easy even if he had too.
‘There’s someone who can use a strange attack to disable multiple opponents. This guy is strong and his speed could be similar to mine… The other guy who was with him was as strong as him if not more… Lots of obstacles…’
Daichi’s mind was unsettled as he looked at the situation objectively and decided it was best to let it go, getting into fight after fight was not his intention. He wanted to find some company for a while, and he wanted answers. “Can I ask what that was about? I would rather not fight you if I don’t have too.”
Daichi’s calm response triggered a shock wave among all the people in the area. Most of them thought it was impressive he could dodge Crimson but virtually none of them thought it was even conceivable that he could actually fight him for more than a few seconds. Lydia’s eyes squinted as she thought about the stranger’s words while she looked around.
She could already tell by the ease with which the stranger had dodged Crimson’s probing attack that he was certainly not ordinary. She had no idea how strong he actually was as Crimson was only probing and hadn’t use any of his real skills, but the fact that he wasn’t in the least bit flustered nor intimidated by being in a situation where he was surrounded by a group of possible enemies said enough about him to her.
What she was really curious about was who in the area had picked up on the possibility that this stranger wasn’t simple, this was still an exam after all. Glancing around she wasn’t surprised to see that Haeru and Leo were the only ones with serious expressions and hands on their weapons. She expected nothing less from them but was happy to find that Damien was taking the situation seriously. ‘It seems that arrogant little prick has learned a thing or two in the last few days’ she thought with a glimmer of happiness. Even more surprising was another girl who looked the wariest out of everyone here.
Lydia gave her a deep glance before acknowledging that there were more talents in this group than she’d originally anticipated. ‘This exam hasn’t gone quite as planned, but there are going to be some good harvests!’
Finally, she made eye-contact with Crimson who had almost instinctively turned to glance at her at the same time. There was only a slight nod from Lydia but Crimson understood her meaning.
Crimson didn’t feel at ease with the stranger in front of him, but he knew that he wasn’t just anybody and had he meant any ill intensions he likely wouldn’t have walked into the open as easily as he did. Taking a breath and pulling back for a moment Crimson knew that Lydia wanted information and not a fight so he chose diplomacy.
“Okay okay. That was rude of me, but I got a little curious. I apologize for the rude behavior, it was beneath me.” Crimson spoke in his best apologetic tone and cupped his hands together as a sign of peace.
Daichi watched him with interest and shrugged. ‘So… This didn’t go the same way… Hmm… Who is she?’
Daichi was watching Crimson very carefully and noticed that he only seemed to pull back after making eye contact with a beautiful woman in the back. ‘Either way this works out though. Maybe I can get some answers now.’
“I hope you understanding, we’re undergoing an exam and things are a bit chaotic. I can tell that you aren’t one of the participants. Do you mind explaining who you are, and how exactly you came to be here?”
“Exam? How and why you would you be conducting an exam in the middle of this crazy forest?”
Crimson paid Daichi no mind despite him answering his question with yet another question “We generally have things under control. It’s only natural that we conduct our exams here. Will you answer my previous questions?”
“I’ve lived here for a while. My village was destroyed a long time ago. I had a few friends who’d survived with me, but we met a very dangerous person. I doubt any of them are alive now.” Daichi decided it was best to tell the truth, something about the look in the woman behind Crimson gave him a feeling that she’d know if he was lying. The truth, but not the whole truth. Nothing he’d said was a lie, but he’d omitted quite a few facts.
“Village…? Is it near here…?” Crimson’s eyes seemed to turn very mysterious in front of Daichi, how could he possibly know that at this moment Crimson was trying to figure out whether Daichi was lying.
‘Village around here? Bullshit. The only villages are at the borders of Lumea. Unless… No… Maybe… It’s not impossible that there are other villages and people elsewhere, except we haven’t made contact with anyone from anywhere else…’ Crimson thought to himself.
Lydia watched with interested eyes, she could indeed tell more than Crimson could. She was using her mana to enhance her hearing and would split her attention from hearing Daichi’s responses and then verifying any differences in his heartbeat. She could tell Daichi wasn’t lying thus far, but found it even stranger how calm Daichi was considering their current circumstances.
“No. My village is very far from where we currently are. Although in truth, I would have no idea as to where it would be at this point. We got lost in the forest very soon after we entered, even if I wanted to go back there would be no way for me to get there.” Daichi spoke with a calm indifference that he couldn’t seem to shake.
Even though he was excited to be having a conversation with someone other than himself, he just could seem to shake his old habits and the time he’d spent on his own in the mist didn’t help.
“Hmm.” Crimson thought about his words as he glanced at Lydia whose expression hadn’t changed.
Just as Crimson was about to continue his conversation he felt the claw marks on his chest begin to burn. Looking down and then making eye contact with Lydia he could tell she was having a similar reaction from her own contact items. Although his claw-marks were a symbol of his position and accomplishments in Lumea City, they were also a rudimentary form of communication. They held certain features that would tell everyone else who had the same marks specific messages by means of what they did. The burning sensation was a message to all clawed-marksmen that Lumea was demanding his return.
The professors of Lumea Academy had their own items which did the same thing which were their inter-dimensional rings (a.k.a storage rings) except their rings were specially created by people from the academy. These rings didn’t just have a set amount of storage space, but also had other features aside from also contacting other professors with similar rings.
Crimson and Lydia were both getting the message, meaning that all the other professors are clawed-marksmen were also going to have to return. The exam would have to be cut short, but of course that didn’t mean much to them. Lydia had already decided she’d found the only people she had any interest in within her group of participants and Crimson had never specifically chosen anyone or recommended anyone from the few exams he’d helped with. They were both simultaneously grateful that the exam was cut short and that they could return immediately.
Crimson came to the same conclusion as Lydia but then hesitated about what to do about the person in front of them. ‘What should I do…? Give him some items and have him be on his way? Tell him where to go? Invite him back? He’s a stranger, but he seems strong. Especially for his age, he could become an asset if he’s friendly…’
While Crimson was thinking Lydia stepped forward and bluntly asked “Are you human?”
Daichi’s eyes widened as he was faced with such a question. Although he knew his clothes were tattered and worn, and his appearance probably looked haggard, how could he not look human?
“What else would I be?”
Crimson put his hand on his sword as some tension flared up within the group at Daichi’s haphazard response…