A gentle breeze blew down the cliff face, causing Wilbert's hair to softly flutter. The sensation was a sharp contrast to when he had invoked [Wind Cleaver]. In the trees above, the chirping of birds could be heard, and through the heavy stench of wolf blood, he could smell the rainforest's vibrant flowers.
The setting was truly peaceful.
Yet, his blood was boiling.
The players who took what they want and killed when they wanted were monsters who deserved no compassion. They should be killed on sight, not given a chance to take from anyone else…
'No!' Wilbert shouted in his mind. 'As I've already decided, I should listen to what they have to say; they could be different. I cannot be like those monsters from before and slaughter mindlessly.'
As the players continued to walk closer, a little voice at the back of his mind had been urging him to attack the players. Although he had almost succumbed to it, in the end, Wilbert had managed to resist the nagging.
[Moderate Madness] resisted.
Your Madness has reduced to [Slight Madness].
With his hands full analysing the players' movement and dealing with the aftermath of the voice at the back of his head, Wilbert paid the notification no heed.
Warm beads of sweat were dripping down his brow, and the damp hair of his was cooled by the breeze.
When the players were within ten meters of him, the red-haired spearman raised his hand and waved at Wilbert.
"Greetings. We hoped to assist you in dealing with the forest vermin, but you dealt with them before we could do much."
While the spearman seemed friendly, his two companions were staring at Wilbert with cold, expressionless gazes.
Not expecting such a greeting, Wilbert was momentarily taken aback before he returned the greeting. "Hello, and thanks. I could have been in a difficult situation if not for your aid."
As he spoke, he narrowed his eyes, looking at the trio with suspicion.
However, under his scrutiny, the trio did not say anything; they did not even move. Wilbert became warier of them due to their strange non-reaction, and raised his shield a little higher.
Another gentle breeze blew past them, whistling in their ears.
But still, the silence between them remained unbroken.
Wilbert adjusted the grip on his sword, which had slipped slightly due to his sweaty palms.
Deep into the forest, the forlorn howl of a wolf, or possibly wolves, could be heard, as if somehow knowing of and grieving the loss of their kin.
But still, neither side spoke.
It was not until several minutes later, when the awkward silence between them became unbearable, that Wilbert coldly asked, "What do you want?"
The red-hair spearman immediately grinned, and it looked like he was about to talk when someone else beat him to it.
"We're looking for the treasure," the tall, skinny man perfunctorily replied, his gaze nonchalant.
"I'm sorry, but I can't help you. I don't know about any treasure." He eyed the trio for a minute longer, but they did not move. 'Are they braindead? If they're after treasure, why come to me?'
Coming to the conclusion that there was something wrong with their heads, in a different way to the other players, Wilbert slowly edged away from them, keeping his shield raised and his body faced towards them.
But still, the three players remained silent, in the exact same positions as before.
After putting roughly thirty metres between them, just as Wilbert was about to turn around, he heard a shout from the forest.
"Fuck, there he is! Get him, men!"
Five young men emerged from the forest and immediately charged towards Wilbert.
Seeing their instant aggression, he knew that they were the same as the players he had met before. 'Shit! More of these players, and so many of them at once!'
Shooting a venomous glance at the trio who had approached him, Wilbert immediately decided to run. 'That trio probably lured those others over here. They were merely buying time for their comrades!'
Briefly glancing over his shoulder, he saw a pack of players chasing him, but he did not have chance to count how many there were.
'It was the right decision to run. Who knows how many more of them were on their way?'
As Wilbert sprinted through the rainforest, he found that the players were constantly gaining on him, and the rate at which they were closing in was even faster than the wolves previously.
'How are they…'
With another glance, he saw why they were drawing ever closer, and he was completely shocked.
'How come the plants seem to move aside for them?'
Rather than the plants moving aside, it was more like the plants weighed nothing at all, so the players could just run through freely. However, when Wilbert was running through the vegetation, he had to angle himself or sweep the branches aside. Just what kind of being were these players?
'I think it's safe to assume that none of them are humans, if that was ever even a possibility.'
With the players drawing closer, Wilbert decided that he could only face them. Since he would have to fight them eventually, he might as well do so sooner while he had the energy.
"It's now or never," Wilbert muttered through gritted teeth.
After passing through a deep patch of bushes, through which the players almost certainly could not see him, Wilbert dodged to the side and readied himself to launch an ambush.
However, unlike how he had expected, the players ran through the bush and straight towards him.
"What in the…"
With his plan in tatters and no time to lose, Wilbert launched [Basic Shield Bash] on the player at the front, immediately following up with a [Basic Jab].
[You have killed GenericName1 - Human (Level 12).]
[You have gained 1,406 XP.]
'Huh? That was quicker than I expected.' The well-placed attack from Wilbert had instantly killed the player, but his four companions were still very much alive, and they had used the opening that their friend had brought with his life to surround Wilbert.