“Up you go.”
Before Edmond could voice any complaints about the many problems with this plan, this sentence from Aaron made Woof come near him with its fangs visible.
Its growl was filled with the same ferocious might that he had seen when it had been about to rip into his throat yesterday night.
By instinct, Edmond moved back and felt a tree, which he promptly started to climb using the low-lying branches that he could use to hoist himself up.
Wait…did this mean they were really going with that plan?
He didn’t even know where to start! For example, weren’t they going to think about what they would do if some aspect fails? For example, what should they do if Woof failed to garner enough interest from the Father Fox, resulting in a Rare level creature that could rip them to shreds coming to this scene when he was stuck on top of a tree? In that situation, if Aaron left, wouldn’t he be a sitting duck?
And what was that about a f*cking Giant Eagle?
That was another Rare-grade beast which really would swallow him whole!
Just as he was about to open his mouth, Aaron spoke again, cutting him off and making him shut up.
“We don’t have time. Get up there fast. Woof says it smells food, which means they are eating. It’s when they’re most relaxed.”
Gulping, Edmond realized that there was nothing more to say.
All he could do was pray that nothing would go wrong.
Well, just the day before, he had been ready to die, so, when he thought about that, this wasn’t too much of a challenge.
His teacher at school, who was a powerful Tera Master always used to say that in this age, only those who were ready to take risks would succeed.
So, with a determined expression on his face, Edmond climbed higher and higher while taking care not to disturb the nests that were on certain branches.
It was only when he was 10 feet up in the air did he stop.
Nodding, Aaron shouted, “Stay put. When I have the Fox, I’ll throw it to you!”
What? This high? Are you sure about that?
Edmond felt like asking that, but he just nodded.
Watching as the man and the dog both left, he found himself alone, with the sounds of nature all around him.
He listened to this melody while trying to stay alert.
10 minutes later, a loud howl that was coming from somewhere nearby made him snap his head up.
That was a Bewitching Fox!
These Foxes had been given this name due to the hypnotic pheromones that they released whenever they wanted, which had the effect of making those affected feel drowsy and tired.
A dulling of senses also accompanied these effects, and the intensity varied according to the level difference between the Fox and its target.
However, even on a target of the same level, this attack of the Bewitching Fox was highly effective, giving it a way to gain an edge over any battle.
Just as he was going to remember the type, combat role, and other information about the Bewitching Fox, he saw Aaron frantically running toward the tree he was on with a small Fox in his hands.
This Fox looked like it had been knocked out cold by a rock, as blood was oozing from a wound on its head. It filled his hands, looking like it was at least a half a meter long and a 10th of a meter wide.
It had glossy, red fur, and this lent it a cute look that made it so that it was sought after by all the high-profile ladies in the City who could afford to buy one.
Right as Aaron was about to reach the tree, he stepped on a boulder and vaulted himself into the air smoothly before throwing the Fox in Edmond’s direction.
Edmond was sitting on a thick branch with his legs coiled around it, and he was prepared. Using his legs as support, he bent forward and expertly caught the Fox.
He hadn’t been named his Street’s most prominent Catcher in the game of softball for nothing.
Even though it looked like the Fox was unconscious, Edmond decided to use the ‘Trance-Infuser’ anyway just to be safe. After all, there were numerous stories about how a Tera Master had his hand bitten off because he thought a Tera was unconscious and ready to be Bound when it was actually not.
The three-pronged needle of the syringe with yellowish liquid easily punctured the Fox’s skin after giving a little resistance. After the entire solution entered the Fox, Edmond made his Core appear.
In anticipation of this Binding, he had already broken the link with the Foxtail Rabbit and allowed it to run away into the forest, as it was practically a worthless Tera which he didn’t have any reason to keep.
Touching the Core to the forehead of the Fox, Edmond followed the process that he had been taught in school.
First, he had to close his eyes and focus on the feeling that was being transmitted to his brain via the Core.
Cores which were integrated into one’s body were practically a part of that body, like an extra appendage. Hence, just like the skin, one could feel tactile sensations from a Core.
The fur on the Fox’s forehead was soft, and Edmond focused on it while blocking out all other sounds and sensations.
Then, he had to focus on the Core, which resulted in him getting the feeling that it was some sort of closed container that had a swirling, white mist inside it.
This was the Energy naturally absorbed by the Core.
Lastly, he had to direct that Energy into the fur.
That was all he needed to do. He had to keep up this flow of Energy for 10 minutes, after which he would know if the Binding was successful.
However, 3 minutes in, sharp pain raced up his left leg, which made him snap his eyes open and stop the process.
Looking down, he realized with horror that a large chunk of his left leg, which had been dangling down from the branch, had been bitten off.
As that state of concentration was gone, the full brunt of the pain hit him, making him scream out in pain.
Yet, he knew that he wasn’t supposed to attract attention, so Edmond quickly forced his hand into his mouth, biting down hard on it and tasting blood but succeeding in the mission of not making any noise.
Looking down, he witnessed a sight he would never forget.
Aaron was surrounded by 6 Bewitching Foxes which were all circling him warily. He was shirtless, exposing his lean, powerful muscles that were definitely capable of very explosive strength.
His shirt was being used a rucksack, inside which there were numerous sharp stones neatly piled together.
One of those stones was in his hand, and as a Fox on the right side lunged at him, he threw it as expertly and naturally as if he was a Flame Tongued Viper which was accurately shooting its Flaming Poison.
In other words, this almost seemed like an ability of his which would have been recorded in the TeraTome, if he were a Tera.
The rock squarely impacted with the soft forehead of the Fox, making it fall to the ground unconscious.
This was when Edmond noticed that there were 10 Foxes lying unconscious around him, which made him take in a sharp breath.
“I can’t hold them off for long! They know you’re up there! Make it faster!”
As Aaron shouted this, Edmond saw a specific Fox with bloody teeth which was chewing on something look up at him.
The damn thing was chewing on his flesh!
Gritting his teeth, Edmond took care to raise his legs while wincing before placing them on the branch so that they wouldn’t hang down like before.
Getting back to the Fox in his hands, he started the process again.
Ignoring the pain, he managed to complete it this time, as there were no further interruptions.
In his mind, the dodecahedron-shaped Core that he had visualized now had a white, slightly glowing ball which pulsed along with the heartbeat of the Fox that he could feel through its skin.
Yes! The Binding was a success!
Resisting the urge to whoop with delight, Edmond shouted, “I’m done!” before focusing on that glowing ball and the feeling of the fur together.
He felt the weight of the Fox disappear from his arms, and, the next second, a faint image of the sleeping Fox was visible in his mind, inside the glowing ball.
The Tera had been successfully absorbed into the Core.
“Good! Stay up there! No matter what you do, don’t come down! We’ll come to get you!”
Giving his reply, Edmond took off his vest and wrapped it around his leg to stop the blood from flowing. Ideally, he would use the paste from a specific plant to completely stop the blood flow, but it wasn’t available right now.
So, he made do with the vest.
“Hey, you pathetic rats! Come chase me if you think you can catch up!”
Taunting the foxes like so, Aaron bolted away on all fours in a direction, while the foxes surprisingly growled with anger and followed as if they had understood the insult.
Time passed slowly, but even though Edmond tried hard to stay awake, the blood loss was making him feel very weary.
Finally, a few minutes later, he laid his back on the trunk of the tree behind him before closing his eyes and losing consciousness.
Right before the darkness took him, he wondered if he would ever see the light again.
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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