Chapter 80: With a Step Further

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“Ouch?” → By

Tama bit her finger so she’ll let go of him. He then jumped and hid behind Tyson, looking with some indignation at By.

“Have I done something for him to hate me?” → By

By asked, a little bit hurt by Tama’s reaction.

“I don’t know, but please cover yourself up.” → Tyson

Tyson had a tired face and looked outside the window while Tama climbed on his leg toward his shoulder.

“Eh? Ah!” → By

By blushed then she turned around to cover herself up again. She glanced once at Tyson and examined his sturdy body and mean face, at the white and stained shirt, the leather boots and brown pants, also stained. His gray hair was short while his white long horns showed a few cracks here and there, perhaps because of the exploding engine. She then chuckled and said;

“Are you really a pirate? You wear the same clothes and look quite intimidating, but your character is the opposite if I could say.” → By

At this question Tyson glanced for a moment then he said in a plain voice.

“Well. My true profession was that of an engineer. I’m no good at fighting and I only like to work and create with my hands, not to destroy. The fact that now I’m playing the role of a pirate, it was just another twist of destiny.” → Tyson

Ho~ how wise. → By

By smiled for once then she finished settling her clothes.

“Please excuse my behavior just now. And I’m thankful for letting me sleep in your bed, sir Tyson.” → By
“Yes, no problem. Now that you’re alright. Mind answering me the first question? What is your name?” → Tyson
“Yes of course. When I was a slave, my name was By. Now that I’m free I think I can use my real name. Pleased to meet you, sir Tyson, my name is Aria and I’m a player, coming from another world.” → Aria

By, now Aria, introduced herself and stretched her hand for a handshake.

“My, how mature of you, miss Aria. Likewise, it’s nice to meet you.” → Tyson

Tyson slightly smiled then shook her hand.

“I might be little but I’m 30 years old already.” → Aria
“Oh indeed. I heard that players are not really what they look like. I even know of some that are actually males inside when their body is that of a female… Really weird, what can I say.” → Tyson

Tyson caressed his beard with a complicated look.

“Yes, I know of that kind. But please don’t doubt me, I’m 100% a woman.” → Aria

Aria said with a proud face. Her height was roughly one and a half meter and she had a body of a fully-grown wolf-woman. She looked normal, but the only difference was the body proportions which were smaller than that of a normal human.

Staying beside Tyson, which was already a giant among Dragoons, made her seem like a child beside her father, reaching only to his stomach.

And this little creature can actually beat ten like me. → Tyson

These thoughts made Tyson feel complicated.

Sigh~ now about my second question. Who was the one that you were interrogating? And why were you doing so?” → Tyson
“Ah! That’s right. Our captain, Red Demon Haidao made us steal or kidnap someone from the faraway ship. There, we found someone named Shen and I was put to interrogate him. While interrogating him I, uh…“ → Aria

Aria couldn’t bring herself say what happened but still explained just the last part.

“Let’s say that something happened which made me fall asleep on top of him. The rest of the story is already known to you.” → Aria

“…”

This… Might be even worse than I thought. → Aria

Tyson’s back turned cold and his forehead sweated bullets.

When the high elf Oliver came to report Shen’s kidnapping, Bururiba was so mad, he almost froze half the crew with only his aura alone. After that, there was the massacre of the 5 pirate-crews that tried to take Oliver as their slave. Tyson was able to see the others just as mad or anxious as Bururiba, rushing toward the Cruise Ship.

“Hooh…” → Tyson

Tyson felt like he aged another 10 years, not knowing what to do.

Should I report this? What if the captain will kill her from a fit of rage? I’m also mad at them for kidnapping sir Shen but I’m already 53 years old. I can think with a clear mind even in a moment of crisis, while they are still children of not even 24 years. Hm… The one who seems the most rational must be Tian. He would always think things through with a cool head.  → Tyson

“Alright. Miss Aria. I’ll ask for you to come with me.” → Tyson
“Is it for saving Shen?” → Aria

Aria asked with a serious look.

“…”

Tyson still didn’t know if Aria wished to help, so he could only try to lure her in coming with him. Once Tian was around he could report everything to him, making him neutralize her without killing.

“Miss Aria-” → Tyson
“If you wish to save Shen then I’m in. I have a feeling that this little squirrel has a connection with Shen. After falling asleep on his chest, I suddenly wake up in the room of one of Shen’s friends. There must be a connection.” → Aria
“Is it like that?” → Tyson

Tyson asked the squirrel.

“Qiu!”

Tama approved by jumping once.

“So are you Shen’s familiar? Or pet?” → Aria

“Qiu~…Qiu.”

Tama thought for a second then shrugged his shoulders.

“Better asking, is Shen your best ally?” → Aria

“QIU!”

The squirrel jumped again.

“So he was the one who told you to send me away?” → Aria

Aria asked again while looking surprised.

“Qiu~!”

Once again, Tama jumped in approbation.

“All makes sense now. It seems Shen wanted to save you and sent you toward the closest ally. Freeing you from your slave-crest and sending you to us, that means Shen already trusts you.” → Tyson

Tyson said while relaxing his tensed nerves. Sitting in the same room with a Grandmaster that might turn against you at any moment is no small matter.

“Trusts me… I see.” → Aria

Aria made a small smile, a little blush appearing on her face.

Ugh… Poor child. Shen is already married. How can I tell her this without hurting her feelings… Hm? If I’m not wrong, I’ve heard Shen calling out his age at one point… Ah, I thought of something. → Tyson

“Yes. Even though he trusts others, he’s more mature than those of his age so you better not think that he is fully believing in you. You better behave yourself even after winning his trust for now.” → Tyson
“Hm?” → Aria

Aria heard something unexpected.

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“And just how old is he to be more mature than his age? Isn’t he an old man by now?” → Aria

From Shen’s temper and from his mode of talking, Aria was sure that he is older than her or at least the same age.

“Hm? He’s 19 years old. I think he’ll be 20 the next year. Indeed, a quite weird child.” → Tyson

Tyson nodded, trying to look as oblivious as possible.

Please work, please work. → Tyson

He glanced at her for a moment, only to see a dumbfounded Aria.

“N-no way… not even 20? I was comforted and saved by someone 10 years younger than me…? Aah~… that’s so embarrassing…” → Aria

Aria felt her knees weakening.

Good! Now for the last touch. → Tyson

Indeed. What’s even more ridiculous was how he was able to get a woman to stay with him forever when I lived for more than 2 times his years and I’m still unmarried, hahaha~!” → Tyson

Even though the last comment hurt a little bit, he had to self-destruct so he could make Aria give up on Shen.

Ugh… The last remark… I think it was avoidable but I had to be sure. → Tyson

“Seriously…? I lived for 30 years and never had I a boyfriend while Shen is already married… The new generation rushes so fast.” → Aria

Aria felt hopeless.

Gotcha! → Tyson

Tyson made a victory post while staying with his back at Aria.

“Hm?” → Tyson

He observed how Aria stood there with a downed face, making him feel some guilt. It seems Shen had to touch her heart to save her, and now knowing she couldn’t be with him made her feel sour.

Better now than too late… → Tyson

Tyson sighed then asked her with a hardened heart.

“Please help us in finding Shen, Miss Aria.” → Tyson
“Yes… Alright.” → Aria
“Little guy, we’ll need your help. Think you can get sir Tian to us?” → Tyson
“Qiu.”

Tama shook his head in negation. He had done what Shen told him, now it was time to rest till he’ll meet him again.

“Qiu~…”

Tama then disappeared from Tyson’s shoulder, leaving the two shocked for a moment.

“…Even the animals around Shen must be of another nature.” → Tyson

Tyson shook his head, not knowing what else he could say.

After this, he had no other choice but to take a little boat and sail for one-kilometer offshore, bringing Aria together with him.

While Tyson was closing on the ship, Tian, Ashura, Freia, the two high elves, Theo and Melinda trained or meditated either on the decks or inside their rooms. Bururiba, Sofia, and Sylvia left to talk with the higher-ups of the city, trying to use Bururiba’s authority to search for Shen.

“Oy Tian, there is a boat coming this way. Someone, you know?” → Ashura

Ashura talked while looking from atop the deck. He and Tian were the only ones training on the deck when he spotted a little boat with 2 people inside.

“Ah. Yes, one of them is Tim- err, Tyson, but I don’t know the little girl…” → Tian

Is that even a little girl? Isn’t it more like a little woman? → Tian

Tian was confused, she had the heights of a 14 years old girl while having a body like that of a woman in her late teens, maybe early twenties.

The two of them waited till they got on board only to see Tyson with a serious face and the little wolf woman beside him looking downward.

“Sir Tian, we must talk.” → Tyson

Tyson blurted out without even greeting.

“… Understood.” → Tian

Tian felt the tension, so he agreed immediately.

“Sir Tian…” → Tyson

Tyson whispered to Tian in a low voice using mana so nobody could hear them, his forehead sweating while his voice stern.

“If it’s possible, I would wish to talk in private.” → Tyson
“Is there something you don’t trust Shen’s friends with?” → Tian

Tian asked with a frown.

“It’s not about trust, it’s about temper. Sir Tian always has a cool mind, you’re the only one that might listen properly without erupting or doing something inappropriate.” → Tyson

Tyson already said too much, Tian was bound to realize something.

“Huh? What’s with these terms for listening-…!” → Tian

Tian was shocked at first, he had a bad feeling and tried to understand what Tyson meant when he met eyes with Aria. He saw in her eyes guilt, sadness, a little fear but also a strong resolution.

“…You did well in coming to me.” → Tian

Tian felt his rage boiling but he remained calm. He needed to interrogate her thoroughly.

“Yes, sir…” → Tyson

Tyson was able to read the fury from his tone but there was nothing he could do now but to get in between if anything bad happened.

“Ashura. Please wait for me here while I talk with Tyson, it seems there is something personal that needs to be resolved.” → Tian

Tian lied to Ashura with a straight face then left without glancing back.

“Ah, sure. Go ahead.” → Ashura

Ashura suspected nothing, so he just resumed his training.

The three of them entered inside an empty room. Tian chanted a soundproofing spell around the room then sat down on a chair. Inside the room, there were two chairs, a table, one wardrobe, a bed, and a little chest. Tian sat on one chair while Aria sat on the other. Tyson sat on the bed, thinking that he’d rather not sit on the ground.

“I’ll be brief and please don’t try to waste my time. It’s already hard on me to stay in the same room with a kidnapper.” → Tian

Tian started with a reproach, looking sharply at Aria.

Aria stood calmly on her chair and simply nodded. She expected the cold treatment. She looked down and waited for the questions to come.

“For who are you working?” → Tian

Tian started to ask the most important question from the very beginning.

I don’t care how many were there, nor do I care who she is. I only need to know the roots of all of this. → Tian

“Captain Haidao, but I don’t work for him anymore.” → Aria

“!!”

Haidao?! That bastard tried to become Pirate King by fighting with Bururiba because he was flying around on the arena, Bururiba got annoyed and ripped off his wings, making him unable to fly from then on. After that, I heard he turned crazy, kidnapping both young men and women to have fun with then kill them off and throw them in the sea. Now he started to challenge Captain Bururiba on a Ship Battle.  → Tian

“Wait, you said you don’t work for him anymore? Do you think it’s so easy to leave a crew once you entered it?” → Tian
“The slave-crest was destroyed so I’m free to do whatever I wish.” → Aria
“Destroyed?!” → Tian

Tian was stunned after hearing her calm and composed words. Once you’re a part of a crew you need to make the pirate’s vow, swearing loyalty and submission in exchange of protection and all the necessary needs for a living, plus some pocket-money for them to have their fun. There are some that place slave-crests on their subordinates but those are scums between scums and are the most untrustworthy.

“How did you destroy a slave-crest?” → Tian
“Shen’s pet destroyed it for me. He also was the one that helped me escape and get inside Tyson’s room undetected.” → Aria
“…Is that true?” → Tian

Tian glanced at Tyson with a questioning look

“As she said. There was a little black squirrel that guided me toward my room where I found Miss Aria sleeping. It seems he was the one that destroyed the seal on her heart.” → Tyson


“Squirrel?!” → Tian

Tian was baffled. He remembered a black squirrel on Shen’s shoulder when he snapped from the tiredness at their second meeting. It had red eyes and dark energy was emanated from it, it looked like a demonic beast from legends.

“If it’s the same squirrel I know, then it’s indeed from Shen…” → Tian

Tian then looked at Aria with complicated feelings.

“I don’t know why sir Shen trusts you so much as to save his own kidnapper, but I might as well do the same. Even so, that doesn’t mean I trust you completely.” → Tian


“I understand.” → Aria

Aria answered with a calm tone.

“Now, can you guide us to where Shen is held? Maybe we can save him before anything of a bigger scale could happen.” → Tian
“Yes. I will do so immediately.” → Aria

The three of them rushed on the decks only to be greeted by the others 3 that left to meet the others from the top list of sea-dogs.

All three of them had complicated faces and the worse was Bururiba who was completely infuriated, forgetting about his cover in front of Sofia.

“Bastards! I’ll be sure to make them remember who’s the top dog in this damn s***-hole!” → Bururiba

Bururiba couldn’t control his feelings and started cursing.

“Captain Bururiba, please calm down. That’s not how a proper captain should behave, right?” → Sofia

Sofia said with a calm tone.

“Argh, but, but… Sigh, …you’re right.” → Bururiba

After seeing her calm eyes he couldn’t stay angry anymore and simply sighed out the pent-up rage that remained inside.

“…”

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Sylvia, on the other hand, had a dark face on. The air around her was vibrating and nobody was able to tell what she was thinking.

“…Any news?” → Tian

Tian asked while going beside Ashura who looked at the three with expectation.

“…”

The three quieted down and in the end, Sofia was the one who started to talk.

“They already talked with the bastard behind the kidnapping, captain Haidao, and said if we wish to get Shen back then Bururiba has to win a Ship-Battle against Haidao or Shen will become a slave or a corpse, depending on how he’s behaving.”

“…”

Tyson, Aria, and Tian had anxious faces on after hearing the news. They already knew the culprit but never thought of him having such a plan.

“You lot don’t seem to be surprised. Did you find any news before us?” → Sofia

Sofia asked, her eyes sharp while looking at them. But before they could say anything, Sylvia locked her eyes on Aria.

“You… why does Shen’s smell come from you?” → Sylvia

Sylvia asked while looking at Aria with big eyes.

“!!!”

The three were surprised, they never expected for Sylvia to find out so fast.

After Shen repaired her lost senses, Sylvia was able to smell, see and taste better than any other living being, having her senses repaired to a level comparable to those of a newborn.

“… Do you have something to tell us, Tian?” → Bururiba

Bururiba looked with suspicion at Tian.

“Yes. There is something I need to report, but first I need everyone to calm down and come with me. Any wrong move may lead to even more problems.” → Tian
“First, can you tell us who she is?” → Ashura

Ashura asked again, this time not as easy going.

“What I can tell you now is that she’s someone Shen trusts.” → Tian

Tian said then turned around and walked toward the captain’s room.

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Title: World of Expertsd | Tags: Cultivation, Second Chance
Synopsis: The online game <> entered the whole world. It's a game about territorial construction and war to reconstruct alternate history. Although it's virtual, it'll change the world. Shi Hao, an ordinary freshman, decided to bravely enter <> in order to gain the approval of his beloved goddess's elder brother. He, however, accidentally got a super skill at the beginning because of a strange game-helmet.

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