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20 minutes later, Woof was yawning while Aaron had his arms folded, viewing the scene in front of them.

A bird that looked like a woodpecker but had a beak which glinted in the sun was chasing around Edmond, who had just stretched his hand up and dislodged the nest that the bird had made, resulting in it becoming very angry.

His feet kept getting stuck in the gnarly roots dotting the surface of the forest, and he kept bumping into the trees on his way as he was busy covering his head with his hands.

These Swordbeak Woodcutters, which was the name that had appeared in Aaron’s mind when he looked at them. It was accurate as their sharp, blade-like beaks looked like swords which were sharp on both the tip and the edges where the two parts of the beak separated.

These creatures were known to target the skulls of those they attacked, so it was vital for one to cover their head when tussling with one.

Aaron had actually been surprised that Edmond knew this, but after seeing him be chased around for 3 minutes, he realized that was all he knew.

Clearly, he had no idea how to appease a Swordbeak Woodcutter so that it would go about its life and not fixate on digging its beak into it's opponent’s skull. 

These were pesky creatures which kept a grudge, and they were even hard to kill as they would just fly up into the air if they detected danger.

“Ow! Get off me, you damn bird! It was a mistake! I’m sorry! What do you want me to do! Dammit, why are there so many roots here! Ow, that bark is sharp!”

Laments like these kept spewing from Edmond’s mouth, resulting in Aaron finally deciding to step in as he didn’t want to attract more predators due to the din.

This had been a small test to see how able Edmond was, and the man had failed with flying colors.

“Pick up the nest and put it back,” he said with exasperation, resisting the urge to add an additional word to his sentence.

“I know that’s what I’m supposed to do! But if I stop and bend, it’ll kill me!”

Indeed, in his classes in school, Edmond had learned about the most simple way to resolve a grudge between a Tera and a human. If a mistake was made by the latter which could be resolved, then it was better to set that right, as all Teras had at least the basic intelligence not to pursue someone at the risk of their lives if there was no reason to do so.

It was common sense, in a way, but it had to be taught to deter the human population who were still stuck with the superiority complex that had existed before the apocalypse.

He had been trying to reach the nest, but each time he did, he was scared that he would remove one hand from his head only to get a hole in his skull.

Occasionally, he would look at Aaron and the very judging Woof by his side, whose eyes seemed to express what it thought of him.

It was looking at him as if he was a fool.

How the heck could a dog have such expressive eyes?

Of course, Edmond had no time to think on philosophical questions such as these, as the Woodpecker seemed to be losing its patience.

Jus like Aaron had said before, this was just a mutual agreement where he would do his part and not care about Edmond much.

Initially, he had decided that he wouldn’t take help unless it was necessary, as this was supposed to be a give-and-take.

Yet, now, he either had to kill his pride and ask for help, or accept that he would die in the most unfortunate way possible.

Thankfully, Aaron spoke up at that moment.

“How did you pass through the forest if you don’t even know simple stuff like this? A Swordbeak Woodpecker values its nest a lot as it spends months building it. If you are close to it, it won’t attack.”

“Really? But it was still attacking when I went close before!”

“Dumbass, get closer!”

Aaron hadn’t been able to control himself any longer. So, he just used the curse word which came to him naturally, and it had felt as if this fit the situation the most.

It made Edmond grit his teeth, but he chose to trust the jungle boy.

Running in the direction of the nest that was still intact as it seemed to be made from some material which looked like thin reeds but was actually very resilient, Edmond braced himself and bent.

His finger touched the nest, but his eyes were closed as he was expecting to feel his skull being pecked into at any moment now.

Yet, nothing happened.

Turning his head around, he noticed the Woodpecker which was the size of his palm hovering in the air with its eyes displaying its fury.

Using the opportunity, Edmond immediately picked up the nest and put it back on the branches from where it had been knocked off by his hand.

He tensed as the Woodpecker glared at him for a few more seconds, but after that, it made a sound that made Edmond feel as if it was saying “Watch yourself if you don’t want to get pecked” before flying back to its nest and ignoring him.

It was a mistake! But this damn bird was showing so much attitude!

Remembering a recipe for bird soup, Edmond smacked his lips, vowing to return here when he was more powerful.

He was someone who held grudges, which was known by all the bullies in the City of Dion who had been beaten up when he became stronger even though the act of them bullying him had happened years ago.

 “If you don’t want our agreement to end prematurely because I would have to leave if you do more stupid stuff and attract something that is really dangerous, then keep your arms and legs close to you. And look at the ground while walking. You don’t look up in a forest.”

Hearing this, Edmond was at a loss for words. He had traversed through multiple forests on his way to Skystead Hamlet, but he had always been on the path placed down by the World Government for Ascenders to get between settlements. 

He had thought that doing that would make it so that going into the forest would be a piece of cake, but he was so, very wrong.

The path was smooth, and only a few weak Teras had come in his way, which ran away as soon as his ‘Bewitching Fox’ appeared on the scene, which had further bolstered his confidence.

Grumbling under his breath, he said, “Fine,” and followed Aaron.

Aaron knew that this wasn’t the end of this clumsy human’s blunders, but thankfully, except for a few stumbles and falls, nothing like the incident before happened.

Finally, after 2 hours, Aaron raised a hand to stop Edmond, who looked as if he was dying.

His clothes were completely torn due to the multiple thorny bushes on the way that he hadn’t known he was supposed to avoid. Aaron always avoided them naturally, so there were no clues to pick up there.

The clay waterbottle he had borrowed in the Hamlet had been broken long ago when he had been chased, so he had had no water and was parched.

On the way, he seemed to have also touched a nasty Venom Ivy, as his whole body had become red and had become very itchy.

All in all, he was close to giving up and asking whether they could come back later.

How the heck was he supposed to know that the actual forest would be so terrifying?

Besides, this whole experience was that much more irritating when he remembered that the entire journey had been filled with the husky laughing at him whenever he stumbled or fell.

Wait…at one moment, it had laughed very loudly! Was that when he touched the Venom Ivy?

Damn this sadistic dog!

He was just about to curse out loud, but when he heard Aaron speak, all of that flew out of his mind.

“There’s a family of Bewitching Foxes ahead. Get ready. How much time do you need to Bind one?”

That was the official term used in the booklet to refer to the act of a Tera Master bonding his Core with a Tera.

“10 minutes. I don’t need help defeating one, I have a special object that I used a lot of money to buy that will put any Ordinary level Tera in a trance long enough for my Core to Bind it. It was what I was going to use on your…never mind.”

Of course, Aaron understood.

Yet, this wasn’t the time to squabble.

So, he stated his plan, which made Edmond look at him as if he were mad.

“Get it ready. I’ll grab a Fox and get it to you, while Woof distracts its father. That Fox has a vendetta against Woof, so it’ll definitely chase for at least 10 minutes. I’ll hold off the other, weaker Fox brothers and sisters while you finish. Oh, and, before that, you should climb that tree to the top so that you won’t be a target. Just don’t disturb more nests. And, I think there’s a Giant Eagle nearby that can swallow you whole, so be careful. Got it?”

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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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