Ethan: If the teams are sent further ahead a bit more…but there’s barely any time to rest…
Ethan: You guys have returned to work?.
Upon returning to the expedition base, Mo Chuan and I reported to Ethan as required by the regulations.
Compared to two days ago, the laborer camp had advanced significantly. Seems like the expedition was proceeding smoothly.
Ethan: Since you guys are back, I’ll hand you your work assignments.
Ethan: —–However, Officer Breman had specifically requested for the two of you, follow me.
Di Qi Ju: …?
The three of us hopped onto a wagon and left the laborer camp.
It wasn’t long before the wagon encountered a bumpy road. This familiar environment reminded me of the route we took while transporting those goods two days ago.
However, unlike those two days, this route had tighter security than before due to the problems caused by adventurers.
As we rode along, we were greeted with the frequent sight of patrolmen stopping to salute Ethan.
It wasn’t long before we reunited once more with the Grand Ravine. The beast pulling our wagon slowed down its pace as it began to cross the windless ravine.
As it did so, my gaze was subconsciously drawn to the spot where I had fought that giant bug. However, due to the dense canopy, I wasn’t able to see a thing.
Ethan: By the way, did visiting this place stir up any mental trauma?
Mo Chuan: ……it’s fine, so far we’ve had no issues.
Ethan: That’s good to hear.
After crossing that narrow bridge, we returned once more to the untamed wilderness.
This was the route we would’ve taken to the first campsite if not for that unexpected roadblock.
The first campsite took up an area roughly a hundred meter square large. It was protected by a wooden wall, the height of an average person. Outside of that wall was a row of spiked fences pointing outwards to keep out the animals.
The wooden stakes of the wall were reinforced with metal plates and wires giving it the look of a semi-metallic fortress.
As we rode through the campsite, the hustle and bustle of the laborers moving the goods filled the air. There wasn’t a single trace of idle talk to be found amidst this busy campsite. Evidently, all the lazy ones had been weeded out by now.
This efficiency created a certain tension in the air. It was as if we were new soldiers who were about to be sent to the battlefield.
No, it wasn’t “as if”. To us explorers, the unknown wilderness was our battlefield.
As we got off the wagon, Ethan led us to the largest military tent in the campsite. With a lift of the giant tent flaps, the brilliant blonde head of Breman greeted us. He was staring single-mindedly on the map placed in front of him.
Ethan: Sir, I’ve brought the two of them here.
As he turned towards us, his dazed look was lifted in an instant as he expression livened up once more.
Breman: You may leave.
Breman: Gentlemen, there’s no need to be so nervous. Please, come over here.
Di Qi Ju:…..
While you may say that, the tenseness of this campsite sure makes it difficult for us to relax…
Breman: You’ve returned earlier than expected. Did you guys get a good rest?
Mo Chuan: It’s no problem. A day’s rest is more than enough to dispel that bit of weakness we were feeling.
Breman: Di Qi Ju as well?
Di Qi Ju: Mhm…I’m fine as well.
Breman gave a casual nod before retrieving an object from his pocket.
Breman: While exploring, it’s only natural to encounter unexpected problems. These two days were no exception as well.
Breman: Before giving you guys your new jobs, there’s some preparations to be made.
Breman: —-Mo Chuan, please eat this.
He unfurled his fingers, revealing the identity of the object he took out. Objects, to be exact. In his hands, were a red pill and a white pill.
Mo Chuan: …?
Breman: Today is the 83th day of Spring. There’s less than 20 days to summer.
Breman: While I haven’t checked if it’s a period of frenzy or a period of birth, according to the additional terms in your contract, there are some precautions that must be taken.
Breman: These two pills originated from the seasonal wolves, according to their standards, they are perfectly legal. Have you seen these before?
Mo Chuan: …no.
Breman: The white pill is meant for seasonal wolves undergoing a period of frenzy. It has a significant calming effect on the psyche while at the same time, causing minimal side effects.
Breman: The red pill is for the period of birth. Turning into a female brings with it some inconveniences after all.
Breman: Oh, don’t worry. This won’t interfere too much with your physiology. It will only reduce your urges during this period.
Breman: I recently brushed up on my seasonal wolf knowledge. In a sense, the period of birth is a lot more worrying than the period of frenzy.
Breman: These two pills last for a hundred days each upon consumption. For someone trying acclimatize to human society, I’m sure they will come in handy.
Breman: I heard that you’ve already spent a year in human society. I’m sure it must’ve been fraught with hardships.
Breman: So, which of the two do you require? I wasn’t interested enough to investigate that deeply into your physiology.
Breman: Let me reiterate: This is a part of the contract you signed. You can’t refuse it.
Breman: This is for the safety of the expedition. No one wants to have a ticking time bomb at their side.
Di Qi Ju:……
This made me remember that conversation I had with Halfmoon Leak’age.
The seasonal wolves entered a new phase as the seasons changed.
No matter which phase it was, they brought with them a different set of challenges. It was pretty normal for Breman to be worried about this.
So, which pill will he take?
If he takes the red pill, does that mean that nearly twenty days later, he will…turn into a female?
This big lug is going to turn into a…girl? For some reason, I don’t dare to picture that scene.
If he chooses the white pill, does that mean that he will turn into a wolf?
Is his new form going to resemble a furry werewolf?
Unexpectedly, he reached out and grabbed both of them.
Mo Chuan: I got it. I’ll make sure to eat them.
Breman: Alright, just make sure not to lose them. We don’t have any spares.
How cautious of him, he actually took both of them.
Breman: Alright, next is Di Qi Ju.
Di Qi Ju: Ah huh.
Breman: This is stipulated in the additional terms as well so you have no right to refuse.
Di Qi Ju:……
I’ve been had.
I have this strange feeling that I’ve just signed myself into a pit.
I should’ve just said that I was illiterate…even if it means being stuck with that embarrassing title, I should’ve asked what those additional terms were!
Breman: So, Di Qi Ju…
Di Qi Ju:……
Breman: From now on, you’re a member of the scouting team.
Breman: You’re now an enlisted member of our army.
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju:……
Di Qi Ju: Huh??
Breman: According to our previous investigation into the previous incident along with numerous testimonies, we feel that you have the abilities sorely needed on the frontlines.
Breman: Powerful limbs and an ability to recover from any injury, no matter how serious they were. You possess these, do you not?
Di Qi Ju:…uh.
Should I confirm or deny this? While it may look like this to outsiders, in reality…
I turned around and glanced at Mo Chuan, he didn’t seem fazed by this.
Looks like you’ve accepted these as my abilities as well…
Breman: We have a lot of dangerous missions to accomplish and yet we wish minimize our casualties as well.
Breman: I’m confident that handing over these missions to you, will prevent more needless loss of life.
Di Qi Ju: Uh, this…
Breman: Do you still remember that conversation we had?
Breman: I hope you that will bring about the “opposite” outcome instead of a “dangerous trap”.
Di Qi Ju:……
Di Qi Ju: Mhm, I remember that.
Breman: Very good, that’s the way it should be…
Breman: By the way, Mo Chuan.
Breman: If I decide to bring you into the scouting team as well, would you reject it?
Mo Chuan:…if the pay is high enough, I won’t reject it.
Breman: —-so that’s a yes then. Good.
He gave another casual laugh as he said so, as if to say “it’s just money”.
Wait, with a status like his, lacking money would be stranger. So there’s absolutely nothing to be envious about, you got that Di Qi Ju?!
Breman: Then, please head over to the campsite ahead to report for duty.
Breman: Once you reach there, you’ll no longer be laborers under the logistics department but instead be official soldiers.
Breman: Furthermore, there’s a little surprise waiting for you there.
Di Qi Ju:…?
After leaving the campsite where we met Breman, we continued along the transport route before finally coming upon a fork in the road. The road we had to take was the one nearer to the Grand Ravine.
This side road didn’t stretch on for too long before the next campsite came into view.
It looked similar to the first one except for the fact that it was much smaller.
??: Ah? There’s more newcomers?
Before we had even stepped into the campsite, we were greeted by a familiar voice from behind the gates.
Mo Chuan: Hmm?
As the heavy gates creaked open loudly, I immediately recognized Lee Sole’shot’s striking buzzcut that nearly revealed his scalp.
Lee Sole’shot: Ah!!
Lee Sole’shot: It’s Little Ju and Mo Chuan!!
A distance away, another pair of familiar voices rang out in response to Lee Sole’shot’s shout.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Oh wow, this is such a…
One’day High: Praise be to Westrealm, our reunion is truly a sign of God’s will!
Di Qi Ju: What are you guys doing—
Lee Sole’shot: Haha, you didn’t expect this did cha? We are official members of the expeditionary force as well!
Mo Chuan: Eh—–
One’day High: Putting on that disbelieving face won’t do you any good. This is reality.
Halfmoon Leak’age: We were admitted just yesterday.
Di Qi Ju: Don’t tell me…a bribe?
Lee Sole’shot: That ain’t right, Little Ju. Don’t put us in the same boat as you.
Di Qi Ju:…the first thing you say to me after a two day absence is this…I bet you’re itching for a beating…and I already said that I didn’t get in through the back door!
One’day High: Actually, Ethan visited the laborer camp yesterday and announced that he was recruiting people with special abilities, we so happen to be those people.
One’day High: You guys were chosen as well, huh.
Di Qi Ju: Eh…I guess you could say that.
Halfmoon Leak’age: However, we’ve only been assigned to patrol duty and guarding the gate. We haven’t had any special missions yet.
Mo Chuan: …Ju, there seems to have been a lot of changes this couple of days.
Di Qi Ju: Mhm…
One’day High: What matters is—Team 748 is back together again!!
Di Qi Ju: …what’s with that crappy number? (TL : 748 sounds like “Go and die” in Chinese)
Lee Sole’shot: Truth be told, that’s just our previous table number.
Di Qi Ju: You better forget that number right away!
Halfmoon Leak’age: Back to serious matters, while this is a “promotion”, this place has a number of inconveniences as well.
One’day High: Definitely…
Lee Sole’shot: So true.
Di Qi Ju: Well, that’s to be expected. There’s no need to be so despondent.
In this untamed wilderness, especially after crossing that Grand Ravine, having some unwelcome changes in our lifestyle and work was to be expected.
One’day High: —Ahh!! There’s no exploration merchants nearby for me to shoot my load!!
Lee Sole’shot:— Ahh!! There’s no exploration merchants nearby for me to shoot my load!! (arrows)
Di Qi Ju:…
Di Qi Ju:……
Mo Chuan: Ignore them.
Di Qi Ju: Yup!
If this is the little surprise Breman talked about, I rather not have it!
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Ichitsuzen, and LaRue Martin!!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.