The woman furrowed her brows. She was at a loss on what to do.
The man received a punch to his lower jaw, causing him to stagger a few steps backwards.
"Get the hell out! You’re in the way!" One of the ruffian totem users had taken a blow at him, and was now resuming his scuffle with his opponent again.
"Why are you hitting people for no reason?!" Another voice echoed from the stairway. This time it came from a tall, strong, and honest-looking young man. "He only tried to stop the fight. Why did you have to hit him?"
"I already did, so why the heck do you care so much?!" One of the men in white robes rushed over to take a swing at him.
The young man was dumbfounded. He had suffered a blow to his face, and was now in a daze and unsure of what had happened.
"This dumbass!" He wasn’t sure of the culprit, but someone had kicked him sharply in the crotch.
A loud cry of agony pierced through the room.
The well-built young man held his crotch area and hopped away, looking like a fish that had been thrown out of water.
"You’re gonna be dead! All of you! Do you know who I am? How dare you kick me in the crotch!" The young man raised his head suddenly and let out another great shout, before rushing into the group and joining their scuffle.
Bang bang bang! Thump thump! Crash! Clank clank!
The fight escalated into a messy and chaotic affair, and the young man found himself in the middle of both groups. Even the two people who had tried to stop the fight earlier had now been dragged into it.
Garen sat on the sidelines and sipped his coffee slowly, furrowing his brow as he looked at this group of people.
The muscular young man who had unexpectedly rushed into the quarrel was fighting viciously amongst the two groups and although he didn’t have a specific fighting style, his large built and great strength ensured that every hit he landed would result in an opponent being pushed back. But the totem users were not here for fun and games. Being forced backwards meant nothing to them, and they remained fine enough to continue surging forward to deliver more hits.
As for the male and female mediators from before, they were currently backed up against the wall, barely able to protect themselves from the oncoming onslaught.
Garen fixed his gaze on the young man. "Is this the fight I was waiting for?" He had some doubts about this because it was common for fights to break out here in times like this. He tried to clear his head and put everything into perspective.
A ruffian that had been sent flying crashed into the foot of Garen’s table.
The metal coffee pot on the table fell to the floor. Garen’s coffee spilled everywhere.
"How dare you spill that all over my face?!" The man’s face was a sticky, coffee-coloured mess. He couldn’t see properly, but immediately shot his arm out towards Garen’s body.
The ruffian was given a hard kick that landed him quite a distance away. He collided with another table, causing yet another great mess.
Someone yelled loudly, and another two ruffians pushed their opponents aside, picked up some nearby objects and pounded towards Garen.
Garen tapped the back of his waist gently, and a blue light began to flash. His body began to emit a thin membrane of blue light that blinked continuously
He took a big step and rushed forward into the group in front of him.
A minute later…
The ground was littered with totem users who were exhausted to the point where they had to crawl.
"Just you wait!" Both the white robed and ruffian totem users responded with the same threat, enraged like a pair of fighting cockerels. They left soon after, limping along as they went.
Garen’s clothes were in a state of disarray. He stood with the three others, and noticed that the muscular young man was badly beaten up, with a badly bruised face and swollen head. The man and woman who had attempted to stop the fight were in slightly better condition. Unlike the other man, they were only bleeding from gashes in the corners of their mouths and their black eyes.
The four of them were innocent bystanders who had been swept up in the fight. They turned to look at each other.
The young man pointed at Garen’s dumbfounded face.
"What’s up with that stupid expression? Did you get raped?"
"Could say the same about you," Garen replied mean spiritedly.
Both of them burst into laughter after that.
After cleaning up, the owner walked towards the damaged cashier counter and pointed at the wreckage sadly. Fortunately, the two groups from earlier had the decency to leave two stacks of money on the floor nearby, as a form of compensation.
This made it easier for the four people who had helped to clean up turn the other cheek and forgive them for their transgressions slightly.
Once they had finally finished cleaning, Garen and the other three people went downstairs and stood in front of the Silver Line loft.
"Seems like the both of you are pretty good fighters. I’m sure that means your totems are not the usual kind, right? Why don’t you join us? We’ve accepted a good task, it’s quite a decent offer, not too taxing and a good way to earn some money. It’s just that we don’t have enough people," said the man who had tried to stop the fight earlier. "We forgot to introduce ourselves. My name is Andy, and this is my little sister Jessica."
This man looked like a young teacher, and he spoke in a gentle manner. He had an earnest expression, and one look could tell that he was an honest man.
His little sister Jessica was a woman of few words, and had an air of learned sophistication about her. The only downside was that she lacked beauty, and was somewhat plump.
Garen listened, and suddenly felt his a jolt in his mind.
‘Goth’s two lifelong companions, their names were Jessica and Andy. In this case…’ His gaze unconsciously found its way towards the muscular young man.
This man was wearing a pair of red overalls over a plaid shirt. He had a taut, well built body. His nose was bruised black and blue and his face was swollen…
He patted his chest.
"My name is Goth. All of you are good people, and if you ever need help in a fight, look for me! Call me and I will come!"
"My name is Garen, and I’m different from the rest of you. I’m not a hired totem user," Garen shook his head and said. "I work in the repair shop in the market nearby. If you ever need something to be repaired, you are welcomed to look for me."
"Fixing totems, eh? That’s wonderful!" Goth chuckled happily. "You don’t have a core totem yet you’re incredible in your own way. To think that you’re skilled enough to fix totems!"
"Without a unit factory, the only thing I can do is to work for others," Garen shrugged his shoulders in frustration.
"Unit factory… that would indeed be difficult to obtain… Too expensive," Goth said as he stroked his stroked his chin and nodded.
"Say, why don’t you guys join us then? We could form our own little squad, and then completing the task would be a piece of cake," Andy stood on the side and said cheerfully.
"You’re not worried that we would slow you down? This guy doesn’t even have a core totem, and I don’t have money to repair mine. It would be only too easy for it to break," Goth quipped honestly.
"Not to worry, whether or not we actually succeed is another matter. Anyway, I like you guys already! There were so many people sitting upstairs, but only both of you took the initiative to stop the fight with your own hands. You guys are definitely good people!" Andy replied instantly.
"My brother is right," said Jessica softly while she remained on the sidelines.
"As long as you’re not afraid that we’ll slow you down," Goth said as he rubbed his nose, still feeling like he was burdensome in some way.
Garen also felt that he was getting in the way slightly.
"Are you sure we’re not taking advantage of you?"
"It’s no big deal, no big deal!" Andy waved their worries aside. "That’s settled. Let’s go. We’ll help Garen get the silver seal for hired totem users, and then we’ll split the tasks, before finally beginning our journey together!"
The hired totem users association was built in a silver mansion-like building. After speaking to the receptionist, Andy produced his own totem license, and registered his squad. He listed down the number of members as well as their important members. Next, he had a license made for Garen, and spent a few hundred silver rumbs.
"Think of it as a loan," Andy noticed that Garen was about to open his mouth, but stopped him from speaking immediately.
Once the four of them had completed the necessary formalities, the found a small table and sat there. Andy took a goat’s skin map out of his bundle, opened it carefully, and spread it out on the table.
Then, he took out a little booklet in which he had noted the goals and requirements of the task.
"The task that we have accepted is: to investigate the disturbance caused by robbers nearby Gravel City," Andy said softly. "This task suits us perfectly, because my totem is extremely suitable for scouting activities. With the help of my sister, this could be completed without much hassle.
"Then what do we have to do?" Goth asked quietly.
"You need to ensure the safety of both of us. Speaking of which, what do your totems do?" asked Andy curiously.
Goth’s face flushed red. He extended his right arm and placed something on the table.
A little bird hung from his right arm. The bird resembled a woodpecker, with its beak hanging from the crook of Goth’s arm. Its beady eyes stared at the other three, as the bird continued to hang quietly from its spot.
"This is my totem, the black bird. But it’s still in its heavily injured stage. Except for its eyes, the other parts of it are unable to move…" Goth shook his head regretfully.
Andy and his sister remained speechless, as their gaze turned to Garen instead.
Garen hadn’t expected Goth to be so badly beaten up.
He took out a short silver stick in his right hand, and tapped the table lightly.
The tip of the stick began secreting some blue-coloured liquid mercury, and the tabletop immediately solidified into a big blue butterfly.
The butterfly flapped its wings and flew upwards gently, flying circles around the four of them. It was an unusually beautiful sight.
Garen tapped the stick again, and the butterfly turned into a ray of blue light, which entered the stick and disappeared from sight.
"This is my support totem, the neon butterfly."
"Hmm… This would be sufficient as a core totem actually. Even though it’s just a support totem, it’s core is big enough!" Andy nodded approvingly. "Most totem users only have one main totem. You, on the other hand, already have plans for a second one. Do you really have that much money? One totem is already requires plenty of care to raise."
"That was my plan from the beginning. Even if I regret my decision now there’s nothing I can do about it…" answered Garen impatiently.
"What’s its ability?"
"This is useful!" The siblings let out a sigh of relief. Finally there was something they could use.
"What use is poison powder? A gust of wind would easily blow it away," said Goth with a look of pity present on his face.
"Fool, that’s only a problem when people know about it. What if they don’t?" Jessica replied. It was one of the rare moments where she spoke.
"How did you know I was a fool?" Goth turned to Jessica with a shocked look.
The three of them stopped speaking immediately.
"My totem is the black panther, while Jessica’s is the snow wolf. Their main focus is direct confrontation. Garen, your totem can be used for pre-planned ambushes, and when it flies it can be used for reconnaissance. Goth, you’ll be in charge of protecting Jessica. She tends to get distracted when controlling her totem, so make sure to keep an eye on her."
Andy began to arrange tasks for everyone.
"Below is the arrangement of our tasks."
After some careful planning, the four of them began to keep their belongings. They also made sure that they understood the plan properly. Garen and Goth had officially joined the sibling’s squad, which they now found out was named the Black Panther squad.
Garen separated from the other three, and once he had confirmed their meeting location, he finally let out a sigh of relief.
He was now one hundred percent sure that Goth was the future Grand Duke Goth. Although his current demeanor was still somewhat shocking to Garen, there was no doubt that he was the one of the future Three Great Heroes.
The creation of his core totem rested on this young man’s shoulders now. Not long after, Goth would awaken his true hidden talents. His perseverance and trust in his black bird totem would also give him unimaginable returns in the near future. This was the story of a man who had pressed on and continued on the same road for ten over years, whose hard work and determination finally bore the fruits of his labour in the end.
Goth’s innate gift was an invisible kind of gift. After a certain period of time, it was gone without a trace. Only someone as simple-minded as himself had the patience to persevere for more than ten long years without giving up on the first totem that he had ever chosen.
This kind of perseverance, coupled with the realisation of his inborn talents and the hardships faced during the war, allowed him to fully maximise his strength levels and unleash them fully in order to become one of the Three Great Heroes.
Garen knew that if everything went according to plan, Goth would soon arrive at the point where his strength would be heightened greatly. According to history, his two friends Andy and Jessica would be the ones who gave him the strength and motivation to grow, and were also a huge source of support.
It was somewhat unfair for him to use this opportunity as a stepping stone, but Garen was certain that this was the best time to get close to Goth.
He was different from Xianfulan, anytime there was an opportunity, Garen would never let it go to waste.
His goal wasn’t Goth’s black bird, neither was it the Grand Duke family’s White Dragon Hawk. He wanted to wait for the moment Goth was busy with a task, so he could wipe out the abundant resources owned by the rebel robbers.
It was important to note that this period of turmoil was not a simple, straightforward kind of turmoil…
As Garen picked up his suitcase and walked out of the inn, he looked upwards at the clear blue sky, and felt his emotions fade into a peaceful serenity.