Although the two didn’t exactly trust each other, there wasn’t any conflict of interest, and they were both the same type of person. Garen had his pride as a member of the strong, and wouldn’t allow himself to find a weakling as a companion. He needed someone who could stand independently, a strong fighter who would not give up easily regardless of the dangers faced. He needed someone who could help him when needed, and not a weakling who would constantly need his help for every little thing.
Garen didn’t have much of an advantage here on this world. Compared to those prodigies, he only had his potential points to possibly bring him to the peak. But he had his pride, and the strong would remain strong however much their environments changed. It was just a matter of time accumulation.
Similarly, Angel had the same opinion, someone of the same level who could defeat her in direct confrontation, and the same type of person as she was. That made her acknowledge Garen all the more.
"I thought you died." She learned her back on the chair, wiping away the sweat on her forehead.
"I won’t die before you do." Garen smiled. "What’s wrong with you? Your shoulder."
"I was ambushed, someone tried to take my stuff. I got two of them, hehe." Angel licked her lips, smiling cruelly.
"I bought the War Chain, add yourself in for now." Garen stretched out his left arm, revealing that silver-white V-shaped arrow.
Angel wasn’t surprised either, as she reached out her hand and pressed down on the arrow.
Garen instantly saw Angel’s icon appear in the pane for the War Chain at the bottom of his vision. He seemed to be able to chase her out whenever he wanted to.
Bringing his gaze back, he said calmly,
"Right now there isn’t any effect at all. Do you have anything to contribute?"
"Do you think that’s possible? I may be good, but even if I’m good, I still haven’t reached Prodigy-level yet." Angel rolled her eyes at him.
"Oh yeah, you’ve met Prodigy-level totem users, right? Tell me what’s so different about them," Garen asked quietly.
"Prodigy-level? The difference between prodigies and the other people is very simple. The biggest difference is, it’s very hard for you to beat them," Angel said, reminiscing. "If you say our talent is at a human level, then they’re all inhuman. I know a few of their talents, it’s extremely over-powered."
"For example?" Garen was instantly interested.
"Ability sharing, that’s the one everyone knows about. If someone can have a Form 3 totem, or even the very peak, a Form 4 Aberration. When that happens, the totem user is the strongest, while the totem is just a tool to provide power. Totem users at the level are humanoid monsters." Angel sighed. "We can forget about that."
Garen can imagine how terrifying a totem user like that would be. Their defense would be impenetrable, even stronger than totems. And they had the power of totems too, which would basically make them moving fortresses.
"In truth, ability sharing can be divided into types. Some are suitable for wolves, others suitable for leopard, and yet others bears. If they used another type, it wouldn’t have that effect. Besides that, the other talent I heard of would be totem fusion. A few types of totems fused together have a certain chance of becoming a new totem, this is yet another ridiculously over-powered ability. Many of the new mutated totems were created when these guys messed around like that, such as the White Dragonhawk. And then there are those strengthening types, strengthening speed, power, defense, vitality - four in total. These are the most basic Prodigy talents. They’re slightly weaker than the previous two."
"In other words, there are three types, ability sharing, ability strengthening, and totem fusion, right?" Garen concluded.
"That’s right. Why are you suddenly asking." Angel was slightly curious.
"I just wanted to really know what level these Prodigies are at." Garen sighed.
"Don’t compare yourself to them, a lot of these Prodigy totem users evolve extremely quickly. They have different factions supporting them, it would be hard for them not to evolve quickly. Their rate of growth is far beyond normal people," Angel said helplessly. She glanced at Resta, Aska and the others nearby. "See Aska over there? He only took five months from the moment he lit and activated a totem to evolving his second Form 2 totem. His talent is ability sharing with the leopard totem, so I’ve been paying attention to him these past few days, because I use a leopard too."
"Five months…" Garen was rather speechless, only then did he understand how terrifying these Prodigies were. If he hadn’t gotten the Derivator, he would still barely be a Form One totem user now. Meanwhile the other guy had gotten his second Form Two totem step by step, and Garen still didn’t know what other trump cards he might have in addition to his ability to share a totem’s power.
"I need to hurry up and upgrade my core totem…" Garen decided to hurry up and hunt the Unihorn Lizard, and upgrade the Black-Striped White Tiger as soon as possible.
His gaze fell on the totem pane.
‘Black-Striped White Tiger: First Form Totem, upgradable. Probability of successful evolution: 11%. Potential point cost: 700%.
Abilities: Tail Whip, Puncturing Crunch.’
"I’ll just go with it!" He clenched his teeth, chatting idly with Angel on one hand, while his gaze fell on the Black-Striped White Tiger’s icon.
After three seconds, his potential points gave a jolt, and seven points disappeared in an instant, becoming 816%.
The Black-Striped White Tiger’s icon shook a little, and blurred for a moment, then became clear again, before growing still.
Garen waited for half a beat, but nothing else happened. Finally, he understood with painful regret, that the evolution had failed.
"11% chance… it’s too low…" He wiped his face, that was all his accumulated savings over all this time. "Even if I try again, the result will probably be the same. With chances like that, two tries are too few. Looks like I’ll still need to focus on upgrading one totem, and then hunt for potential points en masse."
He decided, his gaze falling onto the other totems.
Primitive totems: Neon Butterfly, Black-Striped White Tiger.
Silver totems: Howling Wererabbit (Form 2), Blue back Lizard, Grey-feathered Hawk, Deep Swamp Croc (Form 2).
Garen’s gaze fell on the Deep Swamp Croc.
‘Deep Swamp Croc: Short-Tailed Croc Form 2, Second Form Creature Totem. Upgradable, Probability of successful evolution: 24%. Potential point cost: 500%.
Abilities: Explosive Strike, Iron Hide, Parasitism.’
"Probability 24… it’s too low… I’ll give it a shot." His gaze fell on the Deep Swamp Croc, three seconds later.
The Croc’s icon gave a sudden shudder, and then became clear again. It didn’t move after that.
Garen couldn’t help but smack his palm onto the table.
Now he understood why there were so few Form Three totems. This was basically burning money and resources. He was still okay because he had his potential points, but if he was taking the conventional route, to raise enough resources just once would require several tens of millions. After burning that kind of money a few times, many people went bankrupt. A few more times, and you could lose up to a billion.
"What’s wrong with you?"
"N-nothing, I just suddenly thought of something unpleasant." Garen resisted the rage burning within, and replied softly.
"I was talking about someone who wanted to take my things, I’m guessing her identity might be a bit troublesome. It should be…" Her question satisfied, Angel continued talking. She was completely unaware that Garen was currently distracted.
Garen finally looked at the potential points, 316%.
"I have only 3 points left, looks like I must look at the others." He hesitated, and his gaze instantly fell on the other Form Two, the Howling Wererabbit.
‘Howling Wererabbit: Iron Rabbit Form 2, Second Form Creature Totem. Upgradable, Probability of successful evolution: 54%. Potential point cost: 300%.
Abilities: Explosive Stomp, Plant Exterminator (Voracious Eater).’
"This one has a probability of 54, that’s considered very high. But this rabbit hasn’t reacted much up till now, I don’t know what its overall condition is like." Garen felt for the Howling Wererabbit’s movements. From the other end of his spiritual connection, he felt a sense of weakness, as though it was hurt.
"Forget it, it’s too far away, I don’t dare to go out and look for it. Even if I did evolve it, it would still be outside and surrounded." Garen’s gaze finally fell on the Blue back Lizard he had bought earlier. The Blue back Lizard’s poison and the Neon Butterfly had helped him a ton. Back then he bought three of them experimentally, but perhaps he could see how this type of lizard would change when evolved to Form Two.
He looked at the last three potential points, and felt for the condition over at the Blue back Lizard. It was still normal.
He had hidden the three Blue back Lizard at his residence outside the city. There were few people there, and it seemed that the Silver Totems didn’t attract Unihorn Lizards to attack either, instead making them treat the totems as part of their own.
"After a bit, I’ll go back and start attempting the evolution." Garen decided, and brought his gaze back to Angel opposite him. She was just reaching the important part.
"...In the end one managed to escape. I can guarantee that she’s hiding in some corner right now, observing me. She must have seen that we were talking. You be careful now, don’t get seduced and lose your life." Angel asked for a cup of black tea, and sipped at it carefully."
"When I kill someone, I don’t care whether they’re pretty or not," Garen smiled. "What level are you at now? Any news about the Legacy?"
"If a Legacy was so simple, would I still be a fugitive for so long?" Angel shook her head. "The only opportunity would be to join a guild or a party. I don’t have that qualification, but you do. I’m waiting for your promise, you know."
"This is what I have to contribute, when the time comes it’ll be part of the the War Guild’s shared resources." Garen thought it over, "Actually, I’m not very clear about the Guild’s structure."
He paused, and dipped his finger into the black tea, writing on the table,
"The Guild is controlled by the War Parliament, which consists of nobles and officials. As members of parliament, they can elect a president to oversee the guild’s affairs, as well directly appoint a Defense Minister.
The Vice President and the other ministers below are all appointed by the president. We’re now in a crisis, so it’ll probably be under the full control of the president and the other main ministers." Garen drew three dots, from top to bottom, to represent the three main powers.
Angel nodded, "I asked around before. The branch president, the defense minister, and the incumbent captain of the Headquarters’ Cleansing Division. These are the three factions in the Guild now, all three of them have complete knowledge of the legacy. That Aska for one is from the Cleansing Division."
"How powerful…" Garen nodded. "It’s too bad Jason, who was quite close to me, died. Otherwise, he was coincidentally part of the defense minister’s faction, and we could have went to him. They need manpower right now, so they would surely all be looking for the scattered firepower. But whether I join or not, right now I need a reason." He looked at Angel.
Angel knew what he was talking about. "Didn’t you swear to start a meritocratic organization? Are you giving up now?"
"To be precise, I’m not trying to up. I’m trying to get something, so I need to contribute something in return. It’s the same for both of us. If I contribute but you earn, that’s not fair to me," Garen replied simply.
"Simply put, we need a fixed long-term alliance. Is that what you’re trying to say?" Angel understood, leaning on the back of the chair as she heaved a sigh of relief. "You want the War Chain’s cover for core totems, right? I’ll give it to you."
"As long as you agree."
Only he could see the condition of members in the War Chain, but before Angel hadn’t given him the right to cover her core totem, which meant she didn’t add her core totem into the War Chain.
And now, after Angel agreed, an icon of a black panther slowly appeared behind Angel’s icon at the bottom of Garen’s field of vision.
‘Large Black Panther (brink of evolution): Angel’s core totem, sharing state: 0.’