Picking up the silver plate and fork on the ground, Garen was just about to return to the hall of the villa to continue practicing his tactics.
Suddenly he heard a loud explosion in the distance, together with the Unihorn Lizards’ strange cries and the dead babies’ wailing. He could even hear someone yelling and cursing.
With one leap Garen was on the roof of his own house, half-crouching in the giant hawk’s nest made of dead branches and dried leaves as he looked into the distance where the sounds were coming from.
In the area between the suburb and the produce market, a man and a woman were ordering around two brown bears and one black wolf, while they were surrounded by six or seven Unihorn Lizards. There was even a swarm of more than ten dead babies crawling towards them quickly.
These dead babies were evidently not really babies, otherwise there couldn’t possibly be so many of them.
Garen narrowed his eyes, wondering if he should go over to save them. Suddenly those two yelled out, and with a moment’s slip, a Unihorn Lizard bit through a brown bear’s neck, causing it to dissolve into a puddle of mercury. The two turned around and tried to run, but the dead babies soon caught up to them. The totems were finished off first, and then the two were also drowned in a flurry of dead babies’ chomping. Their limbs and heads were instantly torn into several pieces and shared around.
"So this is the fall of totem users, huh… If I didn’t have my Silver Totems, I would probably have ended up the same way. There’s no way I could have lasted that long outside." Garen sighed inwardly. As long as he was outside alone, he would bump into some monsters eventually. If he had released his primitive totems to fight, he would have soon attracted large groups of monsters. In the end, he would have been surrounded and killed.
The only way to guarantee his own safety would be to end the battle quickly, and then to pull himself out of it and leave.
Garen understood that the mistake just now was most likely because of the dead babies’ Dizziness Attack ability. He had encountered it before too, and even with his calibre he had been slightly dizzy before he could recover. These two stood no chance with their bodies.
Sliding down the roof quietly, he suddenly noticed that there were still letters in the letter box outside his villa.
He was rather surprised, but he didn’t go get them himself, sending a Blue Back Lizard to crawl over instead. It used its teeth to open the mailbox, and took the letters inside in its mouth as it ran back.
Standing in the hall on the first floor, Garen took the letters and then closed the door.
There were three letters. Two of them had stamps, and were notifications from the suburban’s community to pay management fees.
The third had no envelope, and was merely a folded piece of white paper.
Garen opened this one, and looked at it closely.
‘Garen, if you can see this message, please come find us at No. 128, Queen’s Side, in the inner city ASAP. I’m already here with Andy and Jessica. --Goth, 15 Aoril, night.’
"15 April? Wasn’t that just yesterday?" Garen was thoughtful.
That was the first line, there was still a second line after that.
‘Garen, if you’re still alive, then please inform us as soon as possible. It’s getting more and more dangerous here. The monsters are getting more concentrated. There seems to be some hidden danger in your house, so I don’t dare to go in carelessly. If anyone sees this message, if anyone knows anything about the owner of this house, please bring this letter to No. 128, Queen’s Side. Look for me, Goth, and we’ll give you a reward for your troubles.’ The ink of the words hadn’t dried yet. It had evidently just been added on.
Garen heaved a little sigh of relief. He didn’t think Goth would actually find his place stealthily. The past few days, he had been hiding in the house, and made the Deep Swamp Croc hide too while the Resonance Hawk lay in wait on the roof. The parasites were patrolling the area as well, no wonder Goth didn’t want to just come in.
But to think that under such circumstances, he was still thinking of Garen, and had come here twice continuously. Even Garen’s heart was slightly warmed by that.
Goth really was a decent friend. Once he recognized you, he would walk with you to the end.
Keeping the letter, Garen’s expression looked thoughtful.
"According to the original chain of events, now should be the time when Goth grows at an accelerated pace, and it was also in this period of time that he experienced some unbelievable things Should I or should I not go over and follow him…?"
"Following Goth would be the fastest way to improve myself, but without a certain strength in hand, opportunity can become danger. I can’t improve as quickly as Goth, but so I will definitely face more dangers than he will."
He felt for the Silver Totems around the villa. As long as he stayed quietly outside, and kept himself out of the issues in the inner city, he could also grow continuously and inconspicuously, it’s just that he would not improve as fast as he would if he went with Goth.
"The fragments in my memory only indicate that this is when Goth grows rapidly, but it didn’t mention the details. That way, if I go in there and it causes the butterfly effect, I might even make it so that Goth can’t survive this period in one piece."
"Should I hunt on my own, or follow Goth into the heart of the storm…?" Garen hesitated. "My original goal was to get my hands on a decent core totem by following Goth, but to think I found a different path instead. And now that I got the Crystal Derivator, I have the chips I need to improve. It’s not worth it to join any more quests."
He held the door with his hand, looking at the grey sky in the distance. Under the layer of grey clouds, a large swarm of black dots were flying towards Iron Tank City. One enormous Unihorn Lizard was especially eye-catching, with black bone thorns growing from its head to its tail down it back. The whole row were of different lengths, and it was three times the size of a normal Lizard, reaching seven or eight meters.
This monster had been circling the inner city for many days. Garen saw many totem users come out of the inner city one by one, but none could defeat it, and it killed a few people instead.
And them the whole inner city shrunk into itself. It no longer expanded, and no one came out anymore.
The BTL roared downwards, as though provoking them.
Right underneath it, a tall white tower with screw-like ridges was holding up a semicircular shield. The shield only appeared when it was being attacked, rippling with white light.
Garen looked at the screw-ridge tower from afar.
"Iron Tank City’s strongest combination of tactics for defense, impressive as expected. I just don’t know how long it will last."
He closed the door, and returned to the second floor study, continuing to study the Sight Sharing tactic.
After two more days staying in the villa, the Deep Swamp Croc ended up with a total of 7 parasites, distributed to patrol the villa surroundings separately. The potential points he had gotten at the same time were just enough to successfully evolve the last Grey-feathered Hawk.
All three Grey-feathered Hawks had evolved into Resonance Hawk. These giant birds with wingspans of more than four meters were unbelievably strong, like the most ferocious predators. With Garen’s villa as the center, they hunted non-stop in all directions. Any monsters or Lizards that entered their sight of vision were killed with their talons and brought back to the nest. Otherwise, they were used to make parasites for the Deep Swamp Croc, or to be eaten.
With such a strong force, Garen decided to return to the War Guild’s underground hall again. He should give an answer to the Guild on whether or not he was going to join. If he could get some evolution knowledge on how to rear a totem, it would be a decent help for the nurture of his little group.
Before he left, Garen ordered the totems he had to hunt on their own outside, it was okay as long as they didn’t hurt humans.
Many Unihorn Lizards and dead babies kept flooding into the outskirts of the city. Resonance Hawk no. 1, the Deep Swamp Croc and the others had more prey than they could hope for. They didn’t dare to touch those moving in droves, and could only work together to kill small groups of monsters.If there were more than ten, they wouldn’t attack.
The hunting proceeded uninhibited, and the Blue Back Lizard kept digging in the kitchen to look for a water source.
Everything seemed to be progressing in a good direction.
"The world would eventually sink into darkness and shadow anyway. All of us need to unite, and worship the will of the God of Deject. The apocalypse is coming, and all believers as well as non-believers will face the judgment of the apocalypse! No one can escape! None! What we need to do is beg…"
Garen had just walked into the underground War Guild when he heard a man’s voice chanting something loudly, his emotions high and passionate.
In the dim hall, there were only two candlesticks lit on the counter, the pale yellow light making the atmosphere dark and heavy.
There was the smell of blood and disinfectant in the air, thick enough to make one nauseated.
Garen walked into the hall, glanced around it and saw five or six people scattered around and sitting on the chairs. It seemed unusually cold, most of the seats were empty.
On the blackboard hanging above the counter, there was a condensed name list of the dead.
Garen looked around on the list for a while, and couldn’t find neither Angel’s nor Thomas’ names. Only then did he walk up to the counter and knocked on it.
"Do you need a transfer map? Most of the people have transferred, to the underground guild in the north." The young lady at the counter said, looking exhausted.
"The north guild? What happened, I was outside these past two days." Garen frowned.
"You actually don’t know?" The girl said in surprise, "There are too many underground scavengers, we had no choice but to focus our energy to protect a limited area. We can’t defend this place for long. The only ones left here are loons with a death wish. I’m leaving tomorrow too."
"Underground scavengers…" Garen had never heard that monster’s name. "Forget it, how many underground spots do we still have in the outskirts."
"About four, I guess. Taking away this one, there are three in the other directions. I bet they’re all starting to shrink now. They’re all about the same scale as ours, you can forget about transferring to those spots, it’s useless," the girl said dejectedly. "See that fatty yelling on and one over there? That guy’s a devotee of the Church of the Apocalypse. Last time there was still someone to throw him out, but no one cares about him now. It doesn’t matter how much of a fuss he kicks up, no one has the energy anymore."
Garen looked at the fatty, who was still preaching loudly.
"Once chaos descends, people like this would always appear, it’s very normal. Does that mean that Mr Caddy and the rest have transferred too?"
"They left a few days ago. Look at the people in this hall, they’re mostly suicidals here to brave the danger, while two are waiting for someone else," the girl at the counter said mildly.
"Is there a way to contact people in the inner city?" Gare asked with a frown.
"Unfortunately." The girl shrugged.
Garen left the counter and walked to a place beside the wall where he sat down, quietly observing the few remaining people.
Other than the cult fatty, the ones remaining in the hall were all injured to some extent. Garen’s burnt eyebrows hadn’t grown back yet, so he still kind of fit in here amongst the deadbeats. The only odd part was that his clothes were too clean.
After sitting for some time there, he heard footsteps coming from the tunnel to the right of the hall. Soon enough a fair-skinned man walked out, looking at everyone in the hall with an expression of unease and panic.
"Can someone protect me during transfer? Ten million in fees! Ten million rumbs!!" he yelled loudly. "Is anyone willing?"
"Scram! Idiot!" A man with a long, untrimmed beard was evidently unhappy, as he stood up and smashed a beer mug at him.
The metal mug hit the wall, making a crisp sound, and spilling the beer inside everywhere.
The fair-skinned man shirked a little, and returned to the tunnel, standing at the entrance and now too afraid to come back in again.
Garen looked at them coldly, sitting motionlessly at the side.
Sitting quietly in the guild, he occasionally looked at the potential points in his attribute pane increase slowly, while his pet subordinates hurried to continuously kill more of the surrounding monsters. He had just finished up his potential value, but now there were 4 points again, which made him more and more relaxed inside.
The number of parasites had also stabled at about seven. Some would die occasionally, and others would become successfully one at times.