Chapter 57 Cheating Death – Consequences (Part 1)
Staring at these humans as his stomach began to growl the troll connects the dots.
“Humans, I’m hungry. Food?” The troll thought simplistically as he decides to make these humans his next meal.
Jumping off the tree and landing safely on the ground he’s stunned to see that these humans have already begun running away from.
Staring at them in confusion, the troll begins to wonder why it is that they think they can run away from him.
Suddenly sprinting after them, his large muscular legs propel him forward on the ground as his larger strides nears them in seconds. Getting ready to grab the two for one special, his hand takes a swipe at Kaden while carrying the mare.
Immediately after seeing the troll and it’s skin color the others realized that this troll would definitely be a step above everything they’d faced so far… As it jumped down to the ground, Kaden didn’t even have to tell the others to run.
He turned around and dashed off with the others next to him having the same idea. Hannah looked over her shoulder and could tell her was about to give chase, running next to to the others she thought of the only idea that could maybe work for them… Thinking about the danger they were in she realized she couldn’t play it safe…
“Run a little slowly Kaden! If you do he’ll likely try to attack you instead of us and when he does Ava and I will both go after it!” Hannah says while running her fastest and getting her skill ready
Ava gets the gist of the plan immediately, Kaden’ll be bait for them to make a move.
Taking a glance back Ava realizes the troll is almost on them and as her eyes widen, her skill starts to trigger as she notices Kaden slowing down just a bit more than them as they run.
Getting ready, “NOW!” she hears Hannah scream as she stops running and jumps back at the troll at the same time as Hannah.
The troll’s swipe barely misses the mare’s back as Kaden threw himself forward onto the ground as Hannah and Ava attacks from both sides.
Surprised by their actions the troll instinctively moves his arms to guard himself onto find Ava try to grab his arms as his skin begins to sizzle and corrode. The pain in his arms is almost ignored as he senses danger from Hannah before she even does anything.
The troll propels himself backwards with the strength of his legs before Ava’s skill can melt past the skin into bone.
Taking a glance down at his arm and then making eye contact with Hannah for a second before they turn around and begin to run away the troll changes his mind.
That moment before Hannah’s attack made him realize she was dangerous. Instead of pursuing them he sats back on the ground no longer interested in bothering with them.
As they run for their lives Kaden is already back on his feet catching up to Ava and Hannah as they run together surprised but delighted the troll didn’t continue to give chase.
Once they find their way back deep into the forest again they finally take a rest to calm themselves and their hearts are about to pop right out of their chests.
Ava stops her shaking hands as she realizes her skill was much slowly this time around… Thinking about the trolls purple skin she begins to wonder how tough it must be to be able to slow down the corrosive property of her melt skill.
Hannah is thinking along the same lines as she realizes that in order for her to have landed her skill with a touch on that troll. He would have had enough time to take a full swing at her…
Shuddering involuntarily she realizes she may have been able to kill it, but not without paying a serious price…
Realizing the serious limitations of her abilities without her target being stopped or distracted, Hannah begins to regret not working on becoming faster.
Hannah begins to realize the range of her limitations without Daichi around to stop her targets. She’d been gaining her strength up to this point based on the premise of having someone who could do what he did.
Even if she wanted to land a hit on that troll, it would have probably been impossible for her without recreating another moment of perfect distraction and forcing it to block instead of dodging.
Kaden unaware of why the girls are so shaken tries to console them but doesn’t quite understand exactly what’s going through their minds.
As both Ava and Hannah think back to their most heinous battle with the trolls before while realizing just how much of an effect Daichi had on that battle.
Not spending too much time resting as they want to get as far as possible before nightfall, they continued onwards.
Meanwhile the shorter mare who was unshaken by what only she knew to be a Troll Lord began to feel a sense of danger… The bulls have disappeared from her senses.
Thinking it could be the distance she began to grow wide eyed as she hears their bellows in the distance again realizing they are far too close for her not to sense them. A feeling of dread begins to come over her as she realizes she is in danger. Everyone in this area is in grave danger.
Feeling overwhelming pressure, the shorter mare immediately spoke in a louder voice than she’d ever used with the group “You all need to run. You need to start running. Now!” She spoke as she got off Kaden’s back and pushed him forward.
They began running together with the mare leading them.
In fact, she wasn’t leading. The shorter mare was running as that growing pressure was filling her senses. The only thing she’d ever felt even similar to this was her mother’s pressure years ago as she’d gone into a rage.
The shorter mare was running with the sole purpose of survival. If the others could keep up with her than they would have a slightly better chance of living. If not, then there was nothing she could do for them.
Without the extra weight of the mare, Kaden’s speed increased several fold. Unfortunately he still had to slow down because of Ava and Hannah’s slow speeds. As they ran, he could tell the shorter mare was slowly gaining distance from them, she wasn’t waiting she was just running.
The feeling of being abandoned was slowly creeping into his mind, as he realized he didn’t understand why she’d been so spooked but he knew he didn’t want to find out.
Grabbing Ava and Hannah’s arms, he tried to pull them along as he wanted to speed up but the shorter mare’s speed was on a whole different level even if he had been running at his top speed.
In just a few minutes she was completely gone from their sights as they began to panic.
Stopping to look around, each of them tried to find a trace of where the mare had gone only to find nothing as their frustration started to mount.
Not understanding what had just happened but feeling a growing concern, Hannah and Ava came to the realization that what the mare had just done was out of character.
The realization that something had spooked her bad enough to turn tail and run so quickly made Ava and Hannah think about how unconcerned the mare had been in front of the bulls. Feeling uncomfortable, Kaden spoke quietly “Doesn’t matter. We’ll be fine, but let’s keep moving. No more stops, we just move forward.”
Even as he finished speaking he was already moving forward, they began jogging at a pace the girls could keep up with.
They jogged through the brush and vines. The cuts and scrapes that the thorns and branches provided becoming something they had already grown accustomed too.
They jogged for over two hours before Hannah collapsed in exhaustion as they reached a small clearing that led to a cliff.
Kaden was barely standing up as he rested his hands on his knees gasping for air just as hard as Ava.
Whatever the mare had done had drained him of his mana and it had been taking a clear toll on his stamina. Kaden felt utterly exhausted.
“Do you think we’re far enough?” Ava says in between catching her breath
Hannah doesn’t respond as she catches her breath on the ground and grabs some water from he storage ring.
They’d dropped both of the packs Daichi and Kaden had been carrying when they’d come across the bulls, but Ava and Hannah still had the two “special” rings that Ava had provided.
Taking huge gulps of water from her jug, Hannah drank as much as she could before she started coughing. This was the fastest she’d ever moved for such a prolonged period of time that her legs and lungs were burning.
Grabbing the jug from Hannah and drinking some himself, Kaden braced his legs and walked through the clearing over to the cliff as he peered outwards. His surprise ever evident as he gasped out loud.
Ava walked over and grabbed the same jug drinking the last of it in an effort to conserve the supplies they still had as she gazed in the same direction as Kaden understanding his awe.
Below them, yet again lie an ever expanding forest as far as they could see. This was yet another level, even lower filled with trees, lakes, meadows and it just kept going.
Strangely though… There was a small section of the forest. If you could call it small.
That seemed to be surrounded by mist. The whole section seemed to be covered in mist and while the general area seemed to be clear from up above where they were. They couldn’t see through the mist and they were sure that if they were on the ground down there, they wouldn’t be able to see a foot in front of them in that mist.
Taking a breather and deciding that they might as well rest where they were, Hannah finally getting some of her energy back was about to call out to the others as they were peering over the cliff as she noticed someone walking out of the forest from where they had come.
Walking out of the forest with a nonchalant expression, was a tall young man.
Wearing an all red robe, his features seemed well defined and straight. A straight nose, a straight square jaw, walking with a ramrod straightened back.
His pale skin and hazel eyes were a stark contrast to his jet black long straight hair that framed his head and shoulders.
Before Hannah could even speak up her eyes made contact with this stranger.
Despite his young looking face, something about his hazel eyes seemed to contain a wisdom far beyond the years his body seemed to show. His eyes exuded a mysterious pressure that seemed to stun Hannah, unable to open her mouth and say a single thing in warning to the others.
Gazing at Hannah with a nonchalant expression, this stranger looked past them at Kaden and Ava and immediately they felt as if daggers had pierced through their necks as they turned around to find this young man staring at them with a nonchalant expression that seemed both natural and yet fake.
His expression seemed so natural yet everything about him when pieced together gave the clear expression that this was a very serious man, his looks betrayed the very core of his personality.
Slowly opening his mouth as he gazed at them as if he were staring at stale bread, “Which one of you tried to bully my cute little pets eh?”