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“So?”

Aaron answered nonchalantly, which made Edmond’s eyes pop out of his skill.

So? Did you just really say that? Aren’t you supposed to be some sort of primitive guy who would be awed by something like this?

Seeing him look so surprised, Aaron chose to explain.

“It’s a common scene in the forest. A female Tera leaves the side of a male one if something else shows that it is stronger. The first male Tera tries to grow stronger and get revenge, but it does that with its own power, as otherwise, it would have no meaning. If other means were used, the female Tera would scoff and start looking for another mate. Power is…I think ‘King’ is the word. It does not explain why you wanted to enslave my friend.”

The last sentence was uttered in an ice-cold tone, which made Edmond understand that that was something which really touched the bottom line of this guy.

As for the rest, Edmond wasn’t that surprised to hear it. ‘Common behaviors of Teras’ was a class he had had to sit through, but he had never paid that much attention. Now that he thought about it, he vaguely remembered something of the sort, but he couldn’t have expected that this guy would associate the actions of those wild evolved animals with his story.

At least, one thing had become clear; the one in front of him was definitely not as primitive and simple as he had thought. True, he might be unaware of social propriety or other complex social topics, but he wasn’t a fool either.

So, Edmond firmly decided not to treat him like one. Setting his face into an expression of determination, he decided to just tell the truth.

Aaron watched as the various emotions flashed through Edmond’s face. Seeing the determination at the end, he leaned forward, eager to solve this puzzle.

“Desperation. I was desperate. I was cheated out of all my money. I won’t be becoming an Ascender, which would qualify me for better materials and a little bit of money. I have barely enough time left to get back before my father will be hanged. So, I just chose the easy way out. I know that your Tera is powerful. All Teras of those who survive in the forest have high potential and battle ability. This was my last chance. Now that it has failed, I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Towards the end, Edmond sighed sadly and hung his head low. Hearing the reality of his situation, he truly felt lost.

Looking down and thinking for a bit, Aaron said, “Start from what happened to your parents.”

Nodding, Edmond took a moment to gather his thoughts before speaking.

He still kept the adage from before in his mind, so he made sure that he didn’t go into the details too much.

“You’re right, it’s a pretty cliched tale…it’s told in stories everywhere. Cases of women falling for men who are much more powerful than their husbands or boyfriends. But this…is different. My mother and father were happily married! They had been childhood friends for more than a decade before they chose to be wed…I know that my mother would never do something like that. But she saw him in a City Square, and it was as if a spell came over her. My father even tried to enlist the help of a friend who was an Energy Manipulator, but he just said that there was no spell there, but he looked afraid. No one came forward to help. My father tried to take matters into his own hands, but he was imprisoned and sentenced to death because that guy had connections with people in the top echelons of the City. The guard who arrested my father even said that there were no charges! But there, I got my only chance. The Chief Guard said that if I got a strong Tera and managed to beat an Ordinary Ascender that he chose, he would let us leave and tell that guy that we are dead. That is the only chance I have…I wanted to get far away so that my actions wouldn’t be known to them. I wanted to surprise them with a strong Tera. But all that was for naught. Everything…is over now.”

BAM!

Edmond had just been about to hang his head with a hopeless expression again, but he got up with a start when he heard a loud noise.

Looking to the side, he stepped back with fear when he saw something lodged in the thick wooden wall right beside him.

If that thing had flown just a little bit to the left…his face would have been smashed in by now.

Clutching his heart, he tried to calm it down before turning to notice that Aaron had stood up at some point.

However, looking into his eyes Edmond’s face started to burn.

There was such a strong aversion and disgust in Aaron’s eyes that…Edmond started to feel more shame than he ever had in his life.

He was about to look down as he couldn’t afford to look at those eyes anymore, but he was stopped by an angry shout.

“Stop being so pathetic. I hate to see anything of that sort. You have a father you want to save, but you’re sitting here, telling me your story instead of trying in every manner you can. That’s just disgusting.”

Aaron wasn’t kidding. His anger had started to rise the moment he had seen Edmond bury his head between his legs. He didn’t even know exactly why, but it had irritated him to no end.

This was the first time he was feeling something like this, and when he thought about it, Aaron vaguely understood why. He had been among creatures which fought to live and survive with every breath of their lives for too long. In the forest, there were no useless species which wallowed in despair all day instead of doing something worthwhile. Even if there had been such species, they must have been killed off long ago.

So, seeing something like this, where someone who still clearly had a chance to fight was giving up riled Aaron to no end. Right now, it was his opinion that such beings didn’t even deserve to live.

Edmond only stared on in shock, realizing that this ‘primitive’ guy was right. He still had methods left, but their low probability of success had made him feel hopeless. 

In his mind, that desperation slowly started to change into something else, something brighter, but he was interrupted by the Tera, which had just let out a sound.

“Woooof…”

Hearing it, Edmond felt like rubbing his ears to make sure that he heard right. Why did it sound as if the Tera was being…disapproving?

It was almost as if it was saying ‘Here we go again…’.

As Edmond was busy examining the Tera, he didn’t notice the cause of Woof’s reaction: it was the expression on Aaron’s face, which meant that he had decided to engage in his other past time.

Each time Aaron did so, Woof remembered that it never ended that well for them, but he would still go ahead and do it. So, Woof could only follow.

Smiling at Woof and knowing that it would follow him, Aaron said to Edmond, “You have two choices now. You can either become a midnight snack for Woof, or you can come with me into the jungle where I’ll help you find a real Bewitching Fox. After that, I’ll accompany you on your journey to help your father. On the way, if I need your help, you will have to help me. Choose.”

His second past time…was to help lost little Teras find their parents again, as he got a sense of accomplishment and joy on seeing them get something he wished for, for himself. 

 
 
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About the author

KillerHemboy

Bio: I'm an aspiring author who fell in love with writing the moment I wrote my first story.
Most Notable Work: World Domination System, an 800,000 word ongoing fantasy novel which can be found at https://www.webnovel.com/book/11413811606356705/World-Domination-System

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