In the woods.
Garen stopped advancing. He frowned and checked out the area.
"What is it?" Su Lin asked in puzzlement.
"I think someone’s spying on us." Perplexed himself, Garen answered with uncertainty, "Let’s go. We have to catch up with Duskdune Shura. Celine, can you lead the way, please?"
Celine nodded and started pacing.
All of them are able fighters, even if Su Lin, as the physically weakest person in the group, may not be able to beat Grandmasters of Combat, but he definitely can hold his own weight against normal combat experts. And with Celine, even Garen wasn’t completely sure what her trump card is, given her many many talents.
Within the group, Celine was leading the path, Garen was cross-referencing the map with the environment with Su Lin’s flashlight, adjusting their directions whenever needed so they won’t run into a dead end.
After leaving the manor, the trio followed the shortest path, heading straight to the redwood forest outside of Pinehill City.
Right after they have left the woods, a few brown wolves slowly emerged from the woods and smelled the grass patch.
"They’re out from the Demon Hunters’ area." A brown wolf growled in perfect Yalu language with a Pinehill accent.
"They certainly ran pretty fast. Continue after them. The High Elder gave his order, no matter who they are, if they ruined the hunting ritual, they must pay the price with their lives!" A larger wolf replied with ferocity.
The brown wolves disappeared into the wilderness, heading directly opposite from the one Garen picked.
A person with black cloak stepped out of the woods, his hand still holding an emptied small vial, he obviously helped Garen redirect the pursuing werewolves.
Garen was holding the sack with one hand and taking out the trinkets one by one.
A white necklace made of wolf teeth, a werewolf claw, a pair of wolfskin gloves, a wooden wolf sculpture, a nude sculpture of half beautiful woman, half wolf…
Garen speechlessly threw that away.
"Okay, gross." Su Lin is as speechless as Garen.
Garen pulled out a wolf penis next…
"Okay, why do I even bother hoping for good things anymore…" Su Lin covered his face with his palm. Some things are better not seen.
Again, Garen threw it away and started digging through the sack. At least this one is less inappropriate. It’s a stone slab drawing of a giant wolf. Garen perused it with the flashlight.
Every body part of the giant wolf was annotated by lines.
"Would be nicer steamed… Needs pepper…" Once Garen made out the words, he rolled his eyes and flung the stone slab as hard as he could. There wasn’t much left in the sack.
"No wonder they bagged it with a black sack instead of a translucent one, it’s so embarrassing!" Su Lin teased.
"I’m bored anyway, might as well go through it for fun." Garen shook his head as he suddenly touched something chilly. A strong gust of energy flowed in through his index finger.
Garen shuddered and went wide-eyed.
It’s an Antique of Tragedy! It’s full of Potential energy!
This Potential flow only sustained for a few seconds before dying down and disappearing.
His grabbed the item, it felt like a box, and fished it out of the sack. At the same time he glanced at his Potential Point at the bottom of his field of view.
"I got another stat point!" Garen felt a rush of euphoria. He had just earned a point not long ago, he wouldn’t have expected to earn another point so soon after. "No wonder they always said to go out more!" Without hesitation, he added it to his Agility.
With the extra 0.3 in Agility, Garen’s body felt so much lighter, he can feel the changes in his body. His brain produced a cool breeze toward every nook and corner of his body, lightening his movements.
d his arm, it felt much lighter than usual.
Right now his Agility stat is 1.82, Potential Point is down to 5%.
"My speed earlier was still slightly slower than Duskdune Shura, but now I’m confident to be as fast as he is!" Garen inspected the changes within his body with satisfaction. While the breeze from his brain stopped after a while, his body felt as if he’s floating, like he had dropped off a heavy load.
Keeping the box that gave him Potential in his pocket, Garen touched the two remaining items. No response. He lobbed them aside.
"What’s that?" Su Lin noticed the box Garen had kept.
"Not sure. I think it’s a jewelry box." Garen took the box out and examined it again. He shined the flashlight at it, revealing patterns that look like scribbles children made.
"The craftsmanship is bad, but it feels like treasure of some sort."
"Better than nothing."
"True." Garen smiled playfully and threw the box to Su Lin, "Take it, I think you’ll find it interesting."
"Sure," Su Lin caught it. He opened the box, it didn’t make any sound, "It doesn’t look like a jewelry box," Su Lin pondered, "There was nothing in there."
"The treasure is the box itself, so it doesn’t matter what’s inside." Garen shrugged nonchalantly.
The pair didn’t say anything more, and chased after Celine.
Celine paced speedily while sniffing, occasionally she would make a turn. The trees got progressively shorter and more concentrated.
The three shuttled through the woods, noticing the gradual reddening of the woods. The leaves on the ground were either yellow or pale red.
Moving a little further, even the leaves on the branches turned red. At this point, only rarely would they see some dark yellow among a layer of red leaf litter. The rising sun slowly scorched the eastern clouds, burning through it, and blessed the woods with beams of morning ray.
The spot where Garen cast aside the black sack.
Several brown-furred werewolves leapt out of the trees, landing beside the discarded sack.
A werewolf grabbed the bag and sniffed.
"They got away again! Humans are so cunning."
"I refuse to believe that I can’t catch up to them! Those damned foodbastard, how dare they stop the hunting ritual of the Thukk Tribe!" Another werewolf grunted. "According to where teams One and Two, they seemed to be heading toward the Dahl Falls!"
"Very likely. If these outsiders dared to even step foot in High Elder’s hunting ground, there’s only a certain death for them. What good is being strong alone, we can mob them to death! Gather all the hunters nearby! We’re swarming them at Dahl Falls! They will not be spared!"
In the Redleaf Woods.
Garen was speeding away from Dahl Falls.
"Celine, are you sure this is the way to the Falls?" Garen raised his suspicion.
"Trust me, it is!" Celine replied calmly.
"But why do something feels wrong?"
"Well my nose was filled with too many smells and I can smell very well now, but my direction is definitely correct!" Celine announced proudly.
"Okay." Garen decided to trust Celine, she lead them straight to Duskdune Shura after all. Compared to the map, he trusted Celine’s olfactory sense better.
Su Lin only shrugged, expressing his indifference.
The trio disappeared into the woods.
Two hours later…
In the woods surrounding Dahl Falls.
"How are they not here yet?"
"No idea, but patience is key. According to their paths earlier, they are no doubt heading this way." Two brown-furred werewolves conversed softly in the bush.
"Tell the others to be patient too, they will appear sooner or later, this is after all their destination."
Two hours later…
Garen and the other two stared at the muddy marsh in front of them, speechless.
"What is this place?"
"I think… we are lost…"
Su Lin’s eyes twitched.
"It’s not my fault! It’s Duskdune Shura! It has to be him, he was worried the werewolves might catch up to him, so he used some sort of powder to lure them away! I got duped!" Celine protested. As soon as she realized they were lost, she had a possible explanation.
"So what do we do now?" Garen asked Su Lin, defeated.
"We look at the map, find ourselves." Su Lin shrugged.
Three hours later…
"Leader, how are they not here yet?"
The leading brown-furred werewolf thought really hard. He froze as realization washed over him. Slapping his knee, he groaned, "Fuck"
"What is it, leader?" The werewolf beside him asked, worried.
"It’s a trap! They must have tricked us, leading us here to Dahl Falls while they escaped the other direction!"
"So what do we do n-"
"Everyone go after them, now! We have to catch those cunning bastards!" The lead werewolf sprung up.
In just a minute, a huge swarm of werewolves dashed out of their hiding place, surging toward the opposite direction of the path to the Dahl Falls.
Not long after they were gone, in the hidden path of the woods near the Falls, three people appeared.
"Finally… I can hear the Falls…" Celine exhaled feebly, "That sly fox Duskdune Shura, he anticipated our every move…"
"Not only us," Garen examined the pawprints left by the werewolves, "It’s too much of a coincidence, these werewolves only left a moment ago."
"This is not a coincidence." Su Lin frowned, "He figured out how Celine tracked him. This is a setup, he lured the werewolves away so we would go in alone. He doesn’t want to expose the secret in here!"
"How do you know?" Garen asked, baffled.
"Precisely because there’s too much of a coincidence, Duskdune Shura used something to lure those wolves away." Su Lin explained with a serious look on his face.