"My totem is still under repair as it was broken by the creatures a few days ago. I didn’t expect you to notice it, since my totem light has weakened drastically."
"It’s a good thing, since you can share some load of your father’s load." Maxilan patted on Garen’s shoulder.
"Yeah." Garen nodded his head as he looked at Beckstone once again.
After a festive dinner, Viscount gifted Angel and her team a myriad of gifts, even the resources that they needed were provided to them. He had even written them a letter of recommendation to allow them to enrol in the Kovitan’s Royal Totem Academy. It was the most technologically advanced academy in the East Continent.
Future development would be endless if they could learn under some powerful Luminarist, and this made Angel and her team ecstatic. However, they immediately felt a twinge of guilt for Garen, as they teamed up to trick Vanderman after all. In addition, to be called Garen’s savior? It should be the other way round.
Garen didn’t mind it in the very least. He didn’t give much thought about how Angel and her team felt towards this situation, thought what he cared about were two main things. The first one was whether Beckstone had found out the truth, and the second was whether the incredibly strong creature outside would come in this direction.
Both of which could bring problems, no matter what.
In the two days that they stayed in the manor, Garen could feel that Beckstone and his team were investigating in the shadows, and this made him very cautious.
The Deep Swarm Croc totem that he had left outside of the manor was starting to feel more and more threatened, as the giant creature crept closer and closer.
Inside the guest building.
Garen tucked his legs in as he sat on the red wooden chair, smiling at Angel who was sitting opposite of him.
In these two days, Angel had been well fed, even obtained a few good items from Viscount Vanderman. She suddenly felt ashamed, and shied away from Garen’s gaze whenever she noticed Garen’s attention.
"Why are you looking at me?! If you have something to say then spit it out!" She couldn’t resist anymore, and started shouting.
The morning sunlight came in through the window and landed on the floor between the duo, and a faint red light bounced around the room. Dust would occasionally float into the pillar of light, which resembled little worms dancing within.
Garen placed his hands together and said. "Have you been living well for these past two days?"
"I get to eat, drink and obtain free things! I would be lying if I said I’m not living well!" Angel started to show her true nature. "Do you want the things I have taken? Impossible! I don’t have any money, and the only thing I can compensate you with is my body!" She opened her hands wide and closed her eyes. "Whether you want it or not, I’m right here!"
"Alright, stop joking around." Garen shook his head and put his serious face on. "I wanted to talk to you about something serious.
Angel stopped joking around. "Something serious? Aren’t we very safe now? How is there another serious issue?"
Garen shook his head. "Do you remember traces of a black substance before we arrived here?’
"Do you mean to say that… that creature is coming here?" Angel’s eyes widened. "Impossible… Such a coincidence? We have just arrived at a safe zone and something is about to happen?"
It’s troublesome because it’s not a coincidence." Garen said calmly.
"You mean to say… someone is controlling it?" Angel inhaled.
"Keep an eye on Beckstone and his team. I need to go out and examine the surroundings myself." Garen said.
"Can’t you use Sight Sharing? It would be easier to find if you told your father and his subordinates, right?" Angel couldn’t understand his train of thoughts.
"I have my own arrangements." Garen held his calm tone. "Just prepare yourself mentally. Our stable life would be over before you know it."
As angel looked at his serious, grim face, and couldn’t help but turn serious about it as well.
"Whatever. I have managed to survive all the attacks along the way here. This is nothing."
Garen nodded. He stood up and in doing so agitated a lot of dust, which rose into the pillar of light, and he walked passed through it with his grey robe. In a blink of an eye, he walked out of the room, and only his footsteps could be heard as he walked further away.
Angel shook her head as he started to feel that she could never understand him. He had gotten more and more mysterious as trouble escalated.
Inside Vanderman’s study room.
Garen and Vanderman were sitting opposite each other.
The maidservant quietly backed out of the room and closed the door behind her, after pouring a cup of red tea for each of the housemasters, leaving both of them alone.
The steam of the red tea rose slowly into the air, dispersing and finally disappearing as the cups were placed on the table between son and father.
A faint fragrance were mixed within the air.
"Your favourite sugar cube has been added into it." Vanderman pointed at the red tea. "Have a drink. The taste made from home can’t be compared to the ones you drink outside." Vanderman revealed his rare gentle smile.
Garen picked up the cup and had a few sips.
"I have become a totem user." He whispered.
"I know, The Black-Striped White Tiger." Vanderman wasn’t surprised. "I’m not surprised that you’ve chosen the path of the totem. With your talent, you had almost no chance of evolving at all, so it’s the best that you choose to become the strongest among the form one totem user. It’s given by the totem user who had saved you last time right? It ain’t bad."
Garen didn’t say a word. He had deactivated all of his totem lights except for the Core Totem and Butterfly Totem’s Totem Light. This was to prevent from his father from discovering them, so that his future plans would not be affected.
"Why did you not let me become a totem user in the past? If I couldn’t become a Luminarist, at least I can control a portion of my fate when I’m a totem user, right?" Garen had wanted to ask this question for a long time.
"Why? I don’t know how you became a totem user. With your skills back then, you must have put in a tremendous amount of effort." Vanderman shrugged his shoulder. "I have originally planned out another path for you. However that doesn’t matter anymore now that you have become a totem user."
"Another path? Is it the same as Maxilan and the others?" Garen recalled the armor that Maxilan wore.
"Yes. It was a new technology that I had developed. I can weaken the totem light so that the requirement to use it is reduced as well, thus allowing a commoner to use it during battles." Vanderman said proudly.
"I have spent a lot of effort in this, and I finally I have solid results. I have been preparing my strongest work just for you; it was specifically tailored to your body’s characteristics. If not for your sudden leave and disappearance, I would have tailored one for you already!"
Garen didn’t say another word, as he didn’t think that this would have happened at all. Based on the original history, this item was destroyed before it could see the light of day, and this was the reason why it had no opportunity to be known to the world.
"You can go to the treasury and get any resources you need for your totem. You can take a rest, as we have a few guests coming." Vanderman patted onto Garen’s shoulder.
Garen stood up, bowed with respect and opened the door.
Master Baphje and Beckstone were already standing outside of the door. Master Baphje had a goatee and a bald shiny head.
"Master Baphje and Sir Beckstone." Garen lowered his head as he greeted them. Currently, his position was the lowest as Baphje and and Beckstone were on equal footing with his father in terms of strength. Regardless of his age, he was a form one totem user; nothing worth noting in the eyes of the two.
"Oh it’s you Cia. I brought Master Stone along. We have some things to discuss with your father." Baphje smiled as he said so.
"Master Stone?" Garen noticed how Baphje addressed Beckstone, suggesting that Baphje respected Beckstone a lot.
Beckstone greeted him with a nod and ignored him afterwards. The door was soon shut as both of them entered the room.
The reason Beckstone came over today was to find out more about Leanna’s details. Coincidentally, he witnessed the return of the Viscount’s son, his impression towards him was typical and vague. If Garen weren’t the Viscount’s son, he would not even bother taking notice of a form one totem user.
He believed that the relationship between father and son was rather good.
However, the most important thing to him was to take note of the Viscount’s reaction. He started to predict the scenarios that could possibly play out, and came up with the best course of action.
Garen stood outside of the door and tried to eavesdrop but he couldn’t hear a thing. He then realized that there was a Tactical Formation set up here to isolate sound, so he left the place immediately. With Baphje around, Beckstone was most likely suspicious of it and hadn’t confirmed the truth yet.
"Good day Master Cia."
"Do you want to go for a drink, Master!"
As he walked, the totem users Vanderman hired treated Garen as the same rank.
His position was overlooked in this precarious front line.
As Garen had no plans on making any arrangements, he greeted these totem users with a smile as he left the building. He was fairly similar to how Beckstone treated everyone else.
A few beautiful female totem users were attracted by his handsome figure. Sexual relationships were not looked down upon during such a chaotic period. As long as both of them were attracted to each other, they could get a room and have a one night stand. Perhaps they would still remain as strangers after having a go at each other.
However, Garen had yet gotten used to such a casual lifestyle.
After circling the manor once, he realized that Beckstone’s team members had gotten suspicious of Vanderman. Berlina, the girl in red armor, and Darian, the muscular guy, were asking for information all over the place clumsily.
Garen couldn’t look any further at such a clumsy way of collecting intel, and was sure that his father Vanderman had already realized it. It was just that he had yet to expose them.
Together with Leila, Garen gave an excuse to go to the Black Swan Lake. As he was a form one totem user and a Black-Striped White Tiger Totem user, which was much stronger than the typical form one user, Vanderman’s restriction towards him were very little. Furthermore, there were experimental beings that had yet revealed to the public patrolling the area so it was very safe.
Both of them got out of the manor with ease, and were on their way to the Black Swan Lake. Strangely, the weird fish in the lake stopped attacking Garen. It was very obvious that they were related to Vanderman’s experiment.
Leila didn’t ask Garen of his true intentions and was surprise that Garen was walking leisurely around the manor.