“Oh right, Spirit, you should have at least one physical skill, right?”
Aeron was currently riding Spirit on the area between the forest and his base. Spirit seemed to have glanced at him, Aeron could’ve sworn that he saw Spirit roll its eyes.
“Come on, just once, please.”
Aeron said, he had always conversed with Spirit every day like another person, unlike his Arthur and Ursa, Spirit didn’t really act like a subservient pet, if he had to compare, then Spirit was more like an intelligent cat. It would entertain you when it wanted something from you but ignore you when it became boring.
Spirit started to gallop, Aeron was already accustomed to this speed but he suddenly felt Spirit’s speed quickly increase every second, and when Spirit reached almost twice its normal speed Aeron was already hugging Spirits neck shouting for it to stop.
Spirit started to slow down; Aeron didn’t know Spirit could go that fast considering it wasn’t even a Mid-Grade Beast yet. Aeron missed Spirit’s reaction as it glanced at Aeron like looking at an idiot.
“I really underestimated you bud.”
Aeron said as he dismounted Spirit then sat at the ground. Meanwhile, Spirit started to graze on the grass. Aeron felt his arms going cold, he had never gone that fast, if he fell down then he would most probably be severely injured, worst he could die, that was how fast Spirit was going.
After a while, Aeron started to laugh, he had never had this kind of experience but somehow, he felt some kind of feeling well inside of him.
‘Maybe this was what those thrill-seekers were feeling’ Aeron thought as he laid down and gazed at the sky, the clouds were sparse and the blue sky looked refreshing. Suddenly a small grey shadow appeared in the sky.
“No! Spirit go to the forest quick.”
Aeron quick mounted Spirit, before spurring it to go faster, he looked up and saw the silhouette getting bigger by the second.
“Go straight to the forest Spirit, use your skill quickly.”
Aeron said as Spirit started to go faster and faster, still, the grey shadow was gaining on them.
Aeron urged Spirit as Spirit galloped at almost thrice its normal speed, Aeron hugged Spirit’s neck then looked forward, they were very near the forest but as he looked behind him the grey shadow already near them poising its talons to strike.
The grey shadow was actually a huge eagle, its wingspan was about 20 meters as it seemed to envelop Aeron and Spirit with its shadow, in fact, the shadow Aeron saw was the Eagles aura, the beast chasing them was in fact, a High-Grade Beast.
“No, if this continues it’ll catch us before we reach the forest.”
Aeron spoke as he realized that with the speed that they were going, it wouldn’t take the Eagle a minute to catch them, he had already forgotten how fast they were going as his thoughts were occupied with how to survive.
‘Please work!’ Aeron thought as he took one mana stone, before throwing it at the eagle whilst activating [Accelerated Strike].
The grey eagle screeched as it saw Aeron’s actions, its talons started to glow dark as it swiped the air forming three shining gray air blades slicing through Aeron’s direction. But after Aeron threw the mana stone, Spirit and his figure suddenly vanished.
The wind blades struck the ground blowing dust into the air. The Eagle saw Aeron and Spirit escaped as it brandished its wings forming a huge gust of wind, the wind carried smaller wind blades as the trees in a 100-meter radius got shredded into a sorry state, some even started to fall down.
The grey eagle started to screech in anger as it flew away vanishing into the horizon. After a while, the whole place became quiet again. Aeron breathed a sigh of relief while he held Spirit’s head, Spirit was kneeling down to hide but there was a visible gash on the side of its body, the wound bled but not so much, if it had gotten deeper then it could’ve become a fatal wound.
“Are you okay bud?”
Aeron asked, he looked at the wound and saw it closing little by little, this had reminded him that Spirit was also a Level 5 Beast, if it was only shallow wounds then it could regenerate it slowly by itself by spending some of its mana. The silver wolves were another matter because they had broken bones when the monkeys immobilized them, Arthur had to do so because its skill could cause some backlash and the wolves might pounce on Aeron if it didn’t incapacitate the wolves first.
Aeron had quickly summoned Arthur, Ursa, and all the other monkeys for security, he had seen the grey eagle vanish on the horizon. They camped inside the forest because it had already started to turn dark, there wasn’t any other threat as the whole southern part of the forest had already been cleared by them.
“It’s a good thing these trees were durable enough to endure that Grey Eagle’s Magic Skill.”
Aeron said as he laid down on Ursa. Ursa was like a natural bed, it was huge and furry, it had recovered its original figure. This time Aeron looked into the sky as his mind started to wonder.
“I miss home.”
Aeron said, it was unknown whether what he meant was his past or his new family’s home. So far this had been the most dangerous situation he had experienced, he hadn’t really seen the Grey Eagle’s attack, but he saw the aftermath of it. The trees here were much smaller compared to the Endless forest but most trees could probably measure up to 30 meters and some were even taller, but the Grey Eagle’s attack shredded a large swathe of these trees to the point where some trees fell down. This had been the first time he had experienced a High-Grade Beast’s attack, and it had made him realize more, how weak truly he was.
Aeron’s eyes started to turn heavy as he fell in deep slumber.
“Aeron” someone gently called.
“Aeron” Aeron heard the voice again as he sleepily opened his eyes.
“Ma!” Aeron said as he saw a lady smiling beside his bed, his tears started to fall as he hugged the lady tightly. He still couldn’t remember his past family’s face but he was sure beneath his heart that the lady was his family.
“Hahaha naunsa ka? (What happened to you?)”
The lady asked as she laughed at Aeron’s reaction.
“Wala man Ma (It’s nothing mother)”
Aeron replied while wiping his tears.
“Bangon na dira kay mangaon na ta (Hurry and rise, we’re going to eat)”
The lady reminded as she went out of his door. Aeron looked around, this had been his room when he was younger, he looked at his arms but nothing had changed. He rose from his bed and opened the door.
The door creaked as he opened it, what greeted him as he opened the door was a run-down house, the furniture’s were falling apart, the floor had cracks and holes as the surrounding became eerily dark. He looked back, and instead of seeing his bed what he saw was a cliff.
Creak creak creak creak
The floor creaked as it threatened to collapse, he felt his surroundings move around as he continued walking, he walked and walked but it was all the same.
Something suddenly fell behind him but there was nothing but a wall and a door instead.
Aeron said to himself as he attempted to open the door. Black fog suddenly flowed below the door as the door completely opened by itself, there was a tall black figure who had his back facing Aeron.
“Who are you?”
Aeron asked the black figure; his hairs were raised as he felt a cold chill run through his spine. The dark figure slowly turned around.
Thudud thudud thudud
Some sort of noise suddenly sounded from behind Aeron, the dark figure vanished as it felt something approaching.
Something crashed on the door behind Aeron as his surrounding cracked like glass turning into shards.
Aeron woke up, he looked around but everything was peaceful. He slapped his cheeks as he stood up checking his surroundings.
Ursa and Arthur also woke up.
“It’s nothing, I just had a nightmare, Arthur asked the monkeys guarding us if they saw anything around me or this area.”
Aeron said, he had to check as this might not be a normal nightmare. He had felt that the dark figure was sentient instead of a figment of his imagination.
Aeron jumped in surprise as Spirit huffed behind him, the hot air woke him up further. Spirit stared at him, Aeron looked at Spirit’s eyes and felt like he felt something swirl inside them before disappearing.
“I’m okay bud.”
Aeron said, as he shook his head and thought it was probably nothing, Spirit was only an intelligent Level 5 Beast, Ursa couldn’t even display half of Spirit’s thoughts and action, but Spirit had been a gift from his parents. If Spirit wasn’t a normal Low-Grade Beast then the Governor wouldn’t have given it to his parents.
Spirit huffed again as it rubbed its head on Aeron’s hand.
“I don’t have any fruit left bud, we already ate it earlier, I promise later in the morning you’ll have two fruits instead of one.”
Spirit huffed again but started trotting away from Aeron, before laying down and sleeping.
“Hahahha you little..”
Aeron laughed, the fear inside him had vanished as he returned to his spot but still didn’t fall asleep. He tried to sleep but was kept awake, so he meditated instead. This time he felt the mana around him in a more vivid manner. The mana swirl around him as it slowly went inside him, he felt more clarity as time went by, this was something he never felt before.
An aura of promotion started to emanate around Aeron as he felt power swell inside his body, the feeling of strength made his anxieties go away.
Arthur, Ursa and the other monkeys were alarmed, but when they saw Aeron was leveling up, they calmed down.
“Kiiii ki ki Kiii!”
Arthur started to order the monkeys to guard the surroundings and not allow any beast to approach, while Ursa guarded behind Aeron, like a huge defense wall, Ursa looked around vigilantly. Unnoticed by the others, Spirit opened its eyes for a bit then fell asleep immediately.
After an hour, Aeron’s skill [Level Up] worked its magic and sped up the consolidation into a minute, Aeron felt a bit of pain as power suddenly gathered in his body. Afterwards, he felt a sort of relief and refreshed.
“I’m level 3 now.”
Aeron said as he smiled, it was but a small step to truly being powerful but it was a step nonetheless. Aeron looked at Spirit, he now had a free pet slot, this time he would tame Spirit. But seeing Spirit sleeping soundly.
‘Tomorrow it is then.’
Aeron thought, unlike Ursa who was a wild beast, Spirit was obedient and had been with him for as long an Arthur did minus about 2 days. Surely Spirit would allow him to tame it.
“Arthur help me get two fruits.”
Aeron asked Arthur to order some monkeys to get two fruits, the forest was still full of them, in fact most trees bear fruit all year round. He placed the two fruits beside Spirit, Aeron fell asleep afterwards, it was only midnight and after leveling up he felt a bit sleepy. But plans don’t always go as you want them to.
Aeron woke up early in the morning and called for Spirit. He had thought that Spirit only went away for a bit to graze around the area. But it had already been an hour and Spirit had yet to return.
“Arthur! Tell the monkeys to search the forest, Ursa lets look outside the forest.”
Aeron ordered, he leaped unto Ursa’s arms as it carried him with quick steps, if he observed carefully then he would’ve found that Ursa was using [Accelerated Strike] each step. But Aeron’s mind was occupied by how Spirit was missing.
Aeron said as he stood up in Ursa’s shoulder, he looked around the plains and Spirit was nowhere to be found, except for the forest, the three hills, his base, and the Endless Forest, there was nothing else on sight.
‘Spirit must be inside the forest’ Arthur thought.
“Let’s go back Ursa.”
Aeron said as Ursa carried him back into the forest.
“Kii” “Ki ki ki” “Kiii ki”
The trees were full of shadowy figures leaping quickly from tree to tree, some coming towards Arthur, and some leaping back in to the forest.
After 6 hours of searching, Arthur had only relayed that there was no trace of Spirit inside the forest, and that the monkeys only found some Hyenas lurking around the southern forest. There was also no blood found anywhere in the southern part of the forest, and Arthur had asked if they should search deeper into the forest.
“No, stop the search, Spirit is a smart horse, I don’t know for what reason it ran away, but if Spirit wants to be free then just let it be.”
Aeron looked at the area where Spirit slept, the fruits were gone.
‘Ungrateful little thing’ Aeron thought but sadness welled inside him. He had never thought that Spirit would run away, he had always let it be except the time he needed Spirit as a mount, maybe it had gotten scared by what happened yesterday or maybe it didn’t want to be tamed by him so it ran away instead.
“I hope Spirit is safe, wherever it is.”
Aeron said, he had remembered why he named Spirit, Spirit. It was based on a movie about a wild horse being captured by humans, but after a lot of twist and turns it was still able to get the freedom that it wanted. He shook his head then looked up and only saw the forest canopy above, rays of sunlight passed through some areas, but what was even more beautiful were the leaves that fell from the trees. The leaves would fall but halfway down they would start to disappear into green dusts of light.
“What’s the view above?”
Aeron asked, but there was only Arthur and Ursa beside him.
Arthur jumped up, climbed a bit before beckoning Aeron to follow it. Aeron was confused at first, but he realized what Arthur meant. If he wanted to know then he should see it for himself.
Curiosity got the better of Aeron as he jumped up and found a foothold.
Arthur and the other monkeys started to climb up while Ursa was left below.
If it had a complete set of limbs then it would be able to climb up too, but unfortunately it still had to be a Mid-Grade Beast with a base core to regenerate lost limbs.
“We’ll come down immediately Ursa.”
Aeron said, he just wanted to do something else, losing Spirit had become a huge blow to him, of course in time he should be fine.