An attack method outside of what he knew, outside the areas he was familiar with, to Garen, this truly was a very troublesome matter.
Although he was not afraid of anything, and the Slaughtering Hand on both his hands had some effect, he still was not primed to deal with this.
"Just a split second's time is enough to pull me into this dream, this ability really is very troublesome." Garen sat up straight.
Nothing else happened on the way back, and although Garen was constantly on high alert, nothing else out of ordinary occurred all the way until he reached home.
Several hours later, the large bus slowly arrived in Grano, the surroundings turning to lush green forests. Some places were already yellowing, it was autumn now, and there was the faint fragrance of fruit in the air.
When he got off the bus, his older brother Jason was already waiting for him at the bus station, he stood in the crowd, tall and muscular, like a rugby player in a group of dwarves.
"Hey!!" As soon as he saw Garen, he started yelling loudly, waving his hand hard, attracting the gazes of everyone around him.
"Mom's waiting for us over there, in the car." Jason rushed over in a few steps, and took Garen's luggage.
"You've gotten so muscular." Garen hammered his chest, it felt a lot more solid.
"Twelve sets of mixed training every day!" Jason chortled.
Trish, who was sitting in the driver's seat, was wearing a white lady's shirt, and waved at them.
The two of them ducked into the car, Garen sitting in front, while Jason was pushed to the back.
"Let's go home!" Trish said with a laugh, and she hit the gas, sending the car rushing forward, then she turned around the bend and drove on home.
The town was barely different than before, but most of the wooden houses had a new layer of paint, all white and bright.
The car drove extremely slowly, some of the uncles and older sisters from houses by the roads nearby kept greeting Trish, and Trish replied happily each time.
Going past the suburbs, they entered many streets, there were a lot of accessory and crafts shops by the streets, and a great many more passersby. Most of them were unfamiliar, and quite a few carried cameras around their necks, they were evidently tourists.
A few pretty young girls on bicycles slowed down when passing by Trish's car.
One of them was actually Raffaele.
"You're back?" She tied up her long golden hair, and was wearing a white T-shirt and long black trousers, a smile in her eyes.
"Mm." Garen reached out his hand, outside the car window, the two of them gave each other a light high-five.
"Aunty, we'll be going on ahead." Raffaele smiled at Trish as she said that.
"Have fun." Trish was not very happy with Raffaele, that girl had actually turned down the opportunity to go to university, to Trish's family, that was something they could not quite understand.
Compared to Raffaele, she was more inclined to Isaros, that girl had a good education, and was more suited to their family's pace and ideals.
The row of girls in bikes formed a procession, going past the slow-moving saloon cars, and soon they disappeared down the road ahead in the midst of tinkling laughter.
Garen watched their backs and said nothing. He knew that Raffaele had come over to protect him, and that was no coincidental meeting.
"Let's go, we're going home straight away." Trish glanced at Garen, and sped up, driving home.
After they got back, Garen gathered with his family for a bit, discussing some of the things that had happened in school, and ate the so-called feast, even though the taste was barely bearable.
His little Vivien kept sending messages on her phone, and she did not dress as innocently as she used to, now she had a cooler and more fierce look, plus she was no longer as warm and uninhibited with her older brother, and instead treated him with an inexplicable shyness that he did not understand.
"Serin went to a school in the north, didn't she call you when she left?"
"No. It's been a long time since I had any contact with her." Garen dealt with his mother's questions.
"I hear she found a boyfriend, a real beefed-up fellow." Jason paid more attention to the other person's muscles. He never ever forgot for a second to show off his powerful muscles, "Not as beefed-up as me, though." He flexed his biceps.
"You must be tired after the journey, why don't you clean up and go to bed early." Trish noticed that Garen was distracted.
"Alright." Garen nodded.
He chatted a bit with his father Emmer, then he put down his cutlery and went straight to his bed, it was exactly the same, nothing in the room at all had changed since he left.
His blankets were new, pure white silk covers.
Garen collapsed onto the bed.
For some reason, he felt very sleepy, and very tired. This was extremely abnormal.
With his Vitality, forget a few hours on the road, he could go a few days and nights without getting tired.
But right now he did indeed feel extremely exhausted, he could barely keep his eyes open, and wanted so badly to just fall into bed and sleep it off.
He checked his body's condition, but could not find anything out of the ordinary.
Closing his eyes and lying on his bed, he allowed his breathing to slowly even out.
Suddenly, his bedroom door was flung open. Someone walked in.
"What's the matter? Are you that tired? Big Bro, you don't look so good."
It was Vivien, her golden hair was falling over her shoulders, and she wore a feisty black T-shirt and white hot pants, revealing her long, rounded, and fair legs. She was sixteen, the purest and prettiest age.
She pounced down on Garen's left, sprawling onto the bed.
"Bro, did something go wrong between you and Raffaele?"
"Kids shouldn't be so nosy." Garen was too lazy to even open his eyes, closing his eyes and lying on his back as he replied. "Do you have a boyfriend now?"
"No! That sort of thing is too boring, I don't care either way." Vivien curled a lock of hair around her finger, "Elder Brother found one, though, from out of town."
"Out of town?"
"Yeah. A real decent-looking girl." Vivien described frankly.
"Hey, be polite."
"Yeah, yeah. Forget it, you go ahead and sleep, I'll go back to my room now." There was the sound of Vivien getting up, and then he heard the door closing, her footsteps moving further away slowly.
Garen lay on the bed, unwilling to move.
"Oh yeah, Bro!" Suddenly Vivien's voice rang out again, and his room door was opened then closed, the footsteps rapidly approaching.
"What now?" Garen's head hurt slightly, all he wanted now was a little time to himself so he could consider his condition.
"Do you think I look good today?"
"Yes, yes.." Garen replied half-heartedly, "Little Vivien is always the prettiest and cutest."
"You said that without even opening your eyes."
Exasperated, Garen was about to open his eyes when he suddenly sensed something amiss, he could not open his eyes at all, as though he could not exert any force with his eyelids, his body was stiff and immobile, all he could do was lie frozen on the bed.
His thoughts had grown slower, as though he evidently knew how to get out of this situation, but he just could not remember what to do.
"Here it is again…"
His heart gave a jolt.
He could not defend at all against this attack on his consciousness, there was no rhyme or reason to it, just a split second was enough to put him under.
"Bro, you don't look so good." Vivien's voice reached his ears, "You sick?"
"Maybe, I don't know either." Garen replied.
"Forget it, I'm going to go bathe." Vivien seemed to have gotten angry, and then he heard her footsteps going away.
The room suddenly fell silent.
Garen lay in bed alone, his entire body as though cramped, he could not move at all, neither could he open his eyes.
In the silence, he suddenly heard faint footsteps, calmly approaching his bedside.
That person seemed to be walking towards him, closer, closer and closer, closer and closer.
The footsteps only stopped beside his bed, the other person seemed to be staring at him.
There was the sound of a faint exhalation.
Garen felt that person seem to reach out their hands, lightly grabbing for his face.
In an instant, a power like a cloud of flames erupted from Garen's arms, this power burned like an intense invisible fire, slowly spreading all over Garen's body.
In that moment, Garen felt as though all the skin on the surface of his body erupted with a burning hot flame, and that flame reached that person's hands directly.
He seemed to hear a sharp scream, like the cry of a mouse. And then he opened his eyes.
With a whoosh, everything from before vanished in an instant, as though it was all just an illusion.
Garen felt his whole body was soaking wet, as though he had sweated profusely. He sniffled a little, and vaguely smelled a faint fragrance coming from his left. Turning his head over, he saw little Vivien lying on the bed to his left, she had fallen asleep just sprawled there, and goodness knows when she had come in.
Lifting his upper body slightly, Garen felt the sweat flowing down his hairline and forehead, tickling him.
He did not like this feeling, rather than face-to-face brawls to the death, this feeling that he could be ambushed at any time was much worse.
He sensed the life force left in his arms, he had already used up a third of it.
It was that explosion just now that managed to critically injure his opponent.
But Garen sensed that it would not be that simple.
Leaving his bedroom, he saw that the light in the study was still on, but he did not know who was inside.
He walked to the washroom, taking the towel and wiping the sweat from his body.
All of a sudden, he saw that in the crevice of his right collarbone, there was a tiny line of black words.
He instantly froze his wiping movement, those were words he recognized.
"Ancient Endor words?" Garen touched the line of letters on his right shoulder.
It was as though they had somehow been tattooed on, he could not erase them no matter what.
"The one that defeated us, was the unknown Void…" In a soft voice, he translated the meaning behind this sentence. "What does that mean?"
The Ancient Endor civilization was closely related to the Warlocks' legacy, they were powerful and mysterious, pursuing the path of Death into the Underworld, for a moment they were incomparably powerful, but as though overnight, they disappeared without a trace.
If he recalled correctly, these words were not there when he bathed last night, in other words, they just appeared today.
Garen watched the ink and material in these words carefully, the black words had a hint of black-red, like dried blood.