In the afternoon, the door to Breman’s makeshift command post was pushed open.
Breman put down his work and laid back against the chair with his eyes closed. It was time for the routine daily report.
Ethan: I have two things to report today.
These past few days, Ethan’s afternoon reports were only regarding the progress of the frontlines. If that second matter wasn’t at least of a similar level of importance, he wouldn’t have mentioned it.
Ethan: The first, Starfall’s frontier has been fully partitioned and the main force has taken up position there.
Ethan: As planned, every transit point, shelter, and medical stations will be completed by tonight.
Ethan: The scouting balloons are all ready and waiting. We can send out the first wave of aerial reconnaissance at any time.
Breman nodded his head in assent. All these matters didn’t require his input, the men were merely proceeding according to plan; so there was nothing praiseworthy about these accomplishments.
In fact, they had already greatly exceeded his original schedule, so he definitely wasn’t in the mood to praise anyone.
The original plan was to find the missing team from 10 years ago within the first 15 days. However, right on the first day, he received reports of “unusual sightings”.
After which, the scouts with the relevant wish abilities began picking up signs of the “target objects” and marking their locations. This wasn’t logical. While he had reached the desired destination of Starfall, the discrepancy was too large. It was as if…the place itself had moved towards Honor. Even so, the plan must move on.
Ethan: Second, during the afternoon, a team of laborers on transport duty was ambushed by adventurers.
Ah, again? There were already similar reports in the past two days, surely there’s no need to report it now…
It’s probably a report about the patrols catching the perpetrators.
Ethan: The adventurers hid below the bridge at the Grand Ravine and ambushed the laborers with poison when they tried to cross the bridge.
Ethan: During their robbery attempt, an adventurer and two laborers fell into the ravine.
Ethan: When we got to the scene, everyone was knocked out.
Ethan: The laborers were knocked out by cannabis tranquilizer, while the adventurers were knocked out by blunt force trauma.
Ethan: We still don’t know the identity of the person who knocked out the adventurers and saved the laborers. However, we were able to capture all the remaining adventurers. The laborers were all sent to the medical centers for treatment.
Ethan: The names of the two laborers who fell into the ravine are…Mo Chuan and Di Qi Ju.
Ethan: —–that’s all for now. Awaiting further instructions.
Having finished reading the report, Ethan finally raised his head and met the gaze of his superior.
A chill ran down his spine.
The Breman before him right now could only be described as “livid”.
The last time he had seen him so angry was at that time…that’s right…that time when that person’s blonde head fell to the ground…it was the exact same anger as that time.
Breman was angry, from the very bottom of heart, furious. Unquenchable and all-consuming flames of rage, consumed his heart.
However, he knew that Breman wasn’t one to lose himself so easily to anger. If not, he wouldn’t have gotten the position of commander.
Breman: Regarding Starfall, just follow the plan.
Despite that long pause, the expected follow up wasn’t forthcoming.
Ethan: Regarding the second matter, what are your instructions?
Breman: I WILL LEAVE IT UP TO YOU TO HANDLE.
Ethan wisely retreated out of the room. While they haven’t been acquainted for too long, he was well aware of his superior’s temperament.
At the same time, he knew what that last instruction meant.
There were some matters that the commanding officer couldn’t handle due to their status. This was where he, as an adjutant, came in.
Having received his orders, he set out to fulfill them with the precision of a machine. He immediately summoned his executive officer.
Executive Officer: What are your orders Sir?
Ethan: Prepare the execution tools. Send all the adventurers to Honor city for a public execution.
Executive Officer: Understood.
Ethan: Also prepare a search team of 10 men. Find those who are skilled in searching and handling unknown enemies.
Ethan: You will lead them in…finding the missing laborers.
Executive Officer: Understood. Is there anything else I should prepare?
Ethan: Mhm. Prepare…two body bags.
Executive: Understood, I’ll get to it immediately.
Ethan:—-also bring a medic with you. Make sure he brings along his medical instruments and the relevant first aid supplies.
Executive Officer: Understood Sir.
Di Qi Ju: …..
Di Qi Ju: Hey——!
Di Qi Ju: Save us——!
Di Qi Ju: He——–lp!
Di Qi Ju: Tasukete——!
Di Qi Ju:……
As my shouts reverberated within the ravine, they were promptly soaked up by the green sponge of a canopy above us. No response…I doubt it even made it past the canopy.
As I looked at the strange markings on the trees in front of us, I silently agreed with Mo Chuan…this was no place to tarry.
Di Qi Ju: Let’s head to the side of the ravine. Who knows, there might be a way up from there.
With that settled, we left behind a stone marking at our landing point in order to mark the direction we took.
Mo Chuan was still unable to move so I decided to put him in a sleeping bag and secured it to my back with some rope as I walked.
However, his large size meant that rather than walking, I ended up crawling instead. As for Mo Chuan, I was pretty much a moving inclined bed for him to rest on.
Mo Chuan: Sorry about all the trouble…
Di Qi Ju: It’s fine. My strength can manage it.
Mo Chuan: Are you sure you aren’t injured?
Di Qi Ju: It’s true! Should I strip naked and allow you to inspect my body?
Mo Chuan: Ju, is your wish ability luck?
Di Qi Ju: …huh?
Mo Chuan: Based on your performance in the tests, you’ve had to at least been born with unnaturally high luck.
Mo Chuan: On top of that, you also needed to wish for luck. Am I right?
Di Qi Ju: Ah haha…
Di Qi Ju:…just 10 days ago, I thought I was the unluckiest person ever.
Mo Chuan: Oh?
Di Qi Ju: Ah—it’s nothing. Look, we’re here.
The ravine was only several meters wide, so it only took a few minutes of walking(crawling) to exit the woodlands and reach the shiny rock surface.
As I placed Mo Chuan down onto the floor, I evaluated the giant rock wall in front of me. It was a nearly 90 degrees cliff face that seemed to stretched endlessly into the sky.
Along the walls were layers of rock outcroppings lining the cliff face that seemed more like they were chiseled on by men.
No, no one would bother to chisel these here…it should be handiwork of mother nature.
Despite this, there was still no road upwards to speak of.
While I had taken the liberal arts in high school, these rocks were clearly not within our geography syllabus.
Given my strength, I should be able to forcefully dig out a hand grip as I climbed up. But what if the rock face was too brittle? While it did not matter to me if they gave way, Mo Chuan would probably die once more from the fall.
Furthermore, how would he react to my sudden inhuman strength? The shock might cause him to overreact… losing a friend because of this was definitely a possibility.
I’ll have to think of another plan…
Mo Chuan: We should be able to climb up from here.
Di Qi Ju: Huh? We can scale the cliff face from here?
Mo Chuan: If I was fully healed, I should be able to…but…
Mo Chuan: …I can’t guarantee your safety as I carry you up the cliff face.
Di Qi Ju: Oh.
He was considering the exact same thing as me…even in this situation, he wanted to look after me.
Di Qi Ju: We should walk along the ravine walls. Who knows, there might be a gentler slope somewhere else.
Di Qi Ju: Hmm? What’s the matter?
Mo Chuan: I think I should make a wish to Westrealm.
Di Qi Ju: Err, why?
Mo Chuan: With no natural way out of here, this could be considered a life and death situation. Asking you to carry a burden like me would only lower our chances of survival.
Mo Chuan: Spending a wish point or two to recover my strength would greatly boost our survival chances.
Di Qi Ju:……
That wasn’t such a bad idea, but it required Mo Chuan to spend his precious points.
Di Qi Ju: How many points do you have left?
Mo Chuan: Don’t worry, even without wish points, seasonal wolves are still much stronger than humans.
Di Qi Ju:……
Come to think of it, I really didn’t have a way to carry Mo Chuan in his current state, out of the ravine. That would be extremely dangerous. Plus, Mo Chuan was a seasonal wolf and thus had more experience in the woods than me. He’s definitely a better navigator than me.
Having him regain his mobility was definitely the best choice available.
Di Qi Ju: Alright, since there’s no better option.
I silently stood by his side, watching as he closed his eyes and made the customary pose, my job, to guard him as he made his wish.
As I watched him pray, his brows suddenly jumped and his mouth slanted to the side, revealing a slightly comical expression.
Hmm? Was this always how he prayed?
A minute later, he finally opened his eyes.
Di Qi Ju: Ah, have you recovered?
Mo Chuan slowly crawled out of the sleeping bag like a butterfly breaking free of its cocoon. Yup, it’s the same old burly Mo Chuan. From the looks of it, he has completely recovered…thank god.
Mo Chuan: Di Qi Ju.
Di Qi Ju:…
Hearing him call out my full name startled me.
He turned towards me, his eyes grave with a hint of alarm in them.
Mo Chuan: You…who are you?
It was an interrogative tone, a weak one but an interrogative one nonetheless.
It was a simple request for clarification, but it was one that he seemed anxious to have fulfilled. Yet, it also seemed like he wasn’t looking forward to hearing my answer as well.
Di Qi Ju: Err…what’s going on?
Mo Chuan: That’s what I want to know as well…what’s going on…
Di Qi Ju: What happened…when you were making your wish…
He carefully evaluated my reaction before slowly saying.
Mo Chuan: The stars. They increased.
Di Qi Ju:……?
Mo Chuan: I’ve never seen such a vast sea of stars…never ever.
Mo Chuan: That blinding radiance in the middle of a sea of darkness…
Mo Chuan: There should at least be a thousand points…no, there might even be more…
Mo Chuan: That’s what happened to my wish points.
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju:……
Mo Chuan: Ju, what exactly happened between the time I landed and the time I woke up?
Mo Chuan: What did you do to me?
Mo Chuan: Who exactly…are you?
Di Qi Ju:…
I didn’t know as well.
Was it because I spent too many points while trying to revive him?
Did the extra points become a part of Mo Chuan…is that what happened?
How should I explain this? How am I going to explain the fact that I could casually toss out a 10,000 point wish?
Regarding this, even Miss Poppy wasn’t aware of it…
Can I be honest with the Mo Chuan who saw me as his friend?
Will he end our friendship if he knew of the truth?
After telling him, what would happen?
Will he hate me? Will he pander to me?
Either way, it will never be the simple friendship we had before…
I’m afraid…I’m afraid of telling him the truth.
I’m afraid of that unknown future.
Di Qi Ju: Maybe…it’s the miracle of the Grand Ravine?
A futile attempt at bluffing my way through.
The incident with the bestial wrath had taught me that I could only tell lies I had prepared beforehand. I was extremely bad at making them up on the spot.
Don’t tell me he…believes me?
I looked up at Mo Chuan and found that he wasn’t looking at me at all. His head was turned towards the direction of the woodlands.
*scratch scratch scratch*
His large hand grabbed my shoulders while his remaining hand made a hugging gesture. All this while, his gaze was still fixed in that particular direction.
Di Qi Ju:…huh?
Di Qi Ju: What is—–that?
Mo Chuan: Look’s like we have a visitor…
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Ichitsuzen, and LaRue Martin!!