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For a few seconds, Edmond could only stand there agape while staring at Aaron as if he were a madman.

A Bewitching Fox!

There was a reason that the Tera dealer had used that name to try and cheat people of their money. A Bewitching Fox was one of the only Teras in the surrounding areas with Rare-grade potential. Even if it only had Ordinary-level power, it was known to be able to strike terror in the hearts of other Teras, even if they were more powerful than it on paper.

Edmond had had to spend all of the savings that his dad had accumulated by working as a Nature Whisperer, which was a non-combat sub-class among Energy Manipulators, for all his life. Now that he thought about it, he felt like hitting himself for getting fooled like that.

That cheater must have run a double con: when he displayed the powers of the Tera, they had been exactly those of a Bewitching Fox. Yet, right before the transfer and bonding, he must have switched it out with a Foxtail Rabbit, which had the special ability to mimic a Bewitching Fox to chase away predators.

His eyes shining with desire, Edmond shouted, "I'll do anything! B-but can you really help me catch one? They are supposed to be…"

Initially, he had been about to feel like he was over the moon, but slight doubt appeared in Edmond after he remembered everything he had learned about Bewitching Foxes in school.

These were some of the trickiest creatures to catch, so he wondered how someone who hadn't even integrated with a Core could be capable of such a feat.

Yet, his excitement returned when he heard Aaron's reply.

"Don't worry about that. Woof and I know all the tricks of those things. Are you sure about your choice? I have to warn you. If I see you being pathetic like before even once, I'll consider it to be you choosing the first option. Is that ok?"

In response, Edmond nodded hurriedly.

First of all, he was happy that he wasn't going to die. Although he had felt as if he had been ready to die, the resentment in him had also been so sizeable that it almost made him collapse to the ground due to the pain it caused.

Second, although he didn't fully believe Aaron yet, he felt as if this was an opportunity that he should use. No one could know a forest better than someone who had lived in one. 

Right now, Aaron looked like a savior who had come to help Edmond.

He had heard those tales about passionate youths having chance encounters in remote places, where they encounter entities of magnificent power that would help them on their quest for revenge.

Was that going to happen to him, too?

A voice interrupted his daydream.

"Oh, and, by the way, if you end up dying in the process, I won't be to blame. I'll try to save you, but if it means that I have to sacrifice myself, then you're on your own. I'll just be on my way. Is that ok?"

Yeah…With this sentence, that image of Edmond's was dashed. No magnificent entity would say stuff like this to the young hero whom it wanted to help.

Edmond was prone to wild fantasies, which was something his father used to scold him about. Coming back to reality, Edmond realised that this was definitely a partnership in which he should be careful. 

From the tone in which his 'saviour' had spoken, it had become clear that he really would be left on his own if he encountered a situation like that.

Aaron had added this as an afterthought as he was now dealing with a human with whom he could talk to. At the end of the day, this was still a past time, so there was no way that he would heroically risk his own life to save someone who didn't mean anything to him.

His main motive behind this offer was actually different.

'Oh, yes, it's better that I tell him about that, too.'

This thought came in Aaron's mind, and it never occurred to him that he had to keep his motives secret. He had nothing to hide.

But…at the last moment, Aaron decided to keep the reason under wraps, as it didn't concern the one in front of him.

"I'm only doing this for you on a whim, and because I need someone to help me with the ways of the world when I Ascend the Path to the Stars. I need to get to the top of it."

If it was a random Tera in the forest, Aaron would have just made an effort to help it before going on his way if it was too dangerous. 

But this was someone of his own species, who could think like him. So, Aaron felt a need to be straightforward if he was going to spend some time with this man.

Over the years, he had realized that he hated Teras which engaged in deceitful actions such as feigning weakness. Although such Teras were few, they did exist.

He valued a straightforward fight the most, where the loser could attempt to flee if there was no chance at victory.

He and Woof always adopted that thinking in their life, too. 

Although complex things intrigued him, he liked to keep stuff simple and direct.

Meanwhile, Edmond had completely wiped away his thoughts from before and was just now closing his jaw that had fallen again. Setting aside the tall claim about Ascending to the top which he chose not to comment about, he realized that this was just a partnership for mutual benefit.

Hell, he was even the one benefiting most.

This was definitely an excellent opportunity that he had no intention of missing.

Thinking like so, he stretched out his hand and said, "I'm fine with all of it. Let's start over, then. I'm Edmond."

Nodding, with a smile, Aaron walked over and shook his hand, which resulted in a scream that woke up the Hamlet dwellers in three houses around them. 

Understanding that the Chief hadn't been kidding when he said that he shouldn't shake Aaron's hand if he didn't want his to be bandaged for a week, Edmond left the room and went back to his own, massaging the swollen fingers and cursing due to the pain, all while looking forward to tomorrow and feeling very thankful that he had chosen to follow his gut and speak, instead of accepting death and feeling cheeky which would have led him to become that Tera's chewtoy.

...

The next morning, Aaron woke up refreshed.

The bed was softer than 99% of the places he usually slept in in the forest. Also, there was no leaking water, loud roars or crawling insects to disturb his sleep/

"Owoow woof."

Seeing him wake up, Woof stood up and made a sound.

That meant that it had to relieve itself.

Such moments were some of the most dangerous. Hence, one of them always watched the surroundings when the other went about their business.

Usually, they would try to find a nearby stream or river so that they could also wash themselves.

So, Aaron yawned and walked out of the door, but he was surprised when he saw Edmond waiting for him.

In his hand was some sort of branch.

Seeing Aaron, he smiled and said, "Good morning! Time for me to keep my end of our bargain. This…is a branch of the Sweetmint Tree, which you will be using a toothbrush. Time to get rid of those yellow teeth."

 
 
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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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