Max was shaken out of his meditative state by Domic. It was dark outside, but the reflecting moonlight caused the forest to be illuminated. Domic had a finger pressed to his mouth, signaling to be quiet. Max nodded while slowly standing up. Domic pointed past the cave entrance.
A few meters beyond the entrance stood a majestic white horse. The fur on its skin was so pure that it glowed softly. The horse shifted, allowing Max to view more of its upper torso and head. It had a horn; it was a Unicorn. It’s a unicorn! Woah! Max inspected the legendary beast.
Max had to do some quick calculations to figure out its level relative to tiers. Max concluded that if Unicorn had classes, it would be tier 4 level 7 Max wasn’t sure what level Vel or Domic was, but this Unicorn was the highest confirmed level Max had ever seen.
The Unicorn sniffed the air around the cave. As it got further to the entrance, it glanced at the group. The four of them were all silently watching the Unicorn. Deep in the back of Max’s head, he thought about how much experience a beast like this could give him, but he quickly pushed those thoughts away.
The Unicorn started to walk closer to the group, sniffing along the way. The Unicorn stopped a few meters away. It held a long stare with Emi, before bowing. Max, Vel, and Domic’s eyes bulged. Max sent frantic questions to Emi, asking her what the hell was going on. Emi walked forward, ignoring Max.
The Unicorn was bigger than Emi by several times. Emi was the size of a small cat, while the unicorn was a beefy horse. However, the Unicorn was showing Emi the utmost respect. Max couldn’t help but feel proud. Emi reached the Unicorn, and slightly bowed back, a silent understanding between the two formed. Emi turned and looked at Max.
Max got the feeling to go to her, so he did. Max stopped just behind Emi. She made herself float up to Max’s shoulder where she hitched a ride. The Unicorn bowed to Max, and he returned the gesture. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but he could tell this was an unbelievable moment.
Max suddenly got the feeling to offer something for trade. Max searched his inventory and found absolutely nothing that he felt would be a good enough gift for a Unicorn. Max had to settle on Goberries he found on his second day on the planet. He held out his hand with 7 small berries. The Unicorn sniffed his hand and accepted the berries by eating them.
A connection of mana appeared from the Unicorn to Max and Emi. The feeling reminded Max of the connection that appeared with the tree on his second day off in this world. A quiet but elegant voice calmly spoke through the connection.
I am Seetrin, Lord of forest. I take it you and your bond are the ones who destroyed the Eldritch ants and the ogres?
Max was about to respond, but Emi answered first. Max realized that the Seetrin was speaking to Emi, not Max. Emi sent emotions and images explaining that Max was the one to do both, but Domic helped in the end. The Unicorn looked from Emi to Max.
I see. I take it you are a newborn. Would you like for me to converse through your bond, if it would be easier for you?
Emi forwarded her thanks to Seetrin.
Listen well young Human. Your bond will forever be more important than you. Treat her well, and you two will prosper. Fail to do so, and I will hunt you and destroy you.
A nightmarish feeling began to flow from the Unicorn into Max. Max’s legs began to shake, his legs turning into jelly. Emi stepped between the two, glaring at the legendary beast. The glare made the Unicorn snort.
“I am actually a Lost One.” Max said, finding his footing, “And I would never intentionally harm Emi. She is more than a bond to me. She is the first member of my family in this world. It wouldn't matter if she was some common squirrel, Emi is family, and I will protect my family.”
Max speaking shocked the onlookers. Vel and Domic were already on edge when Emi and Max stepped forward, but now that Max was speaking? It only worried them more. The two escorts couldn't hear what the Unicorn was saying, but from Max speaking aloud, they could fill in some gaps.
Well-spoken Lost Lord. Emi, you will do well to hold the same regards.
Emi physically nodded and sent Max loving images of her in a full suit of armor, defending Max who was wearing a princess dress. Max couldn’t help but laugh, causing the Unicorn to look at him with uncertainty.
I take it that ogres and ants were not your reason to venture this far from any humanoid civilization.
“Correct, we went through a gate after foiling a terrorist plot to unleash a Book of Pestilence on Lesterwood.”
Book of Pestilence? Do you still have it!? Seetrin demanded.
“Domic over there destroyed it with a cleansing fire spell called Baptism of Flame.” Max said while gesturing behind him with his thumb.
Domic’s eyes widened at the mention of him, causing him to slowly move to a defensive posture.
A strong spell, give him my thanks. Those gods forsaken books have killed off many of my kin. The Unicorn thought for a moment, before asking. How did you know of the book's evil?
“I’m not sure. The terrorist in question, Nix a [Doppelganger], gave me the book while impersonating an important figure. I could feel the book was wrong, and showed it to the old woman behind me, and a trusted friend. They had previous knowledge of the book that made identifying it possible.”
You simply felt something was off about a Divine Spell Book? One meant to deceive the strongest of eyes. Seetrin’s eyes flicked from Max to Emi, who gave a small nod. Have you been in the presence of the Divine before?
Max’s eyes widened and sweat started to form around his hairline. Max had never told anyone that he stood before Ofes. He remembered her last words to him. A warning to remain hidden for as long as possible, that until he was powerful enough the other gods might seek to harm him. Seetrin saw the level of distress its question was giving him, and subtly cast a calming spell. Only Vel noticed.
I apologize. I can see that line of question will bring more harm than wellbeing for you. Your reaction is enough of an answer for what follows.
“What do you mea-”
Seetrin, one of the legendary 6 beasts has offered you a quest.
In the Elven City of Esmel a darkness has begun to surface. Seetrin asks you to investigate and report any finding to the local authorities.
Esmel recently has been plagued by a mysterious invading faction. There is not much known, but similar Divine items have been used, much like the Book of Pestilence. If you can do as you say, and can sense the evil of such items, you may be able to help.
Max and Emi were stunned.
If it helps, I can give you part of your reward now. Max was still processing the quest, and Seetrin took that as a go ahead.
You have been marked by Seetrin, one of the legendary 6 beasts.
This mark has the power of authority between my followers. Misusing it will alert me of your doing, and I will seek punishment. It will also allow you to gain entry into certain places your quests may take you.
“I-I thank you. I will accept as long as my team accompanies us.” Max said, nodding to Emi, who nodded in agreement.
Does your team include those behind you?
“Not normally, but I wouldn’t say no to their help.”
I see. Very well Lady Emi, and Lost Lord Max. I await your success, and I wish you a prosperous journey.
Seetrin gave one final bow, before turning and entering the forest. All four of them watched the Unicorn, until she was out of sight. Max looked to Emi, sending a memory of Vel yelling at him. Emi laughed at his prediction.
“Boy. You have some explaining to do!” Vel said with her teeth gritted, which only caused Emi to laugh harder.
“Right umm. That was Seetrin, one of the six legendary beasts?” Max stopped, seeing the reaction between the two.
Domic eyes widened more than Max thought possible. He looked to where Seetrin disappeared into the forest and back to Max. Vel opened and closed her mouth, quietly muttering. “Not this again.” Max made sure to ask about that later.
“Domic, she actually said that your Baptism of Flame was a strong spell.” Max had to stop again. This time Domic was walking towards Max, he held a grim expression. Placing both hands on Max’s shoulders, he looked him directly in the eyes and spoke:
“Don’t lie to me, Max. Did she actually say that?”
“Yes.” Max said plainly. Emi nodded also.
Domic slowly backed away. A small grin slowly transformed into a jubilant wicked smile.
“Max! That might be the single greatest compliment I have ever received! You must tell Heomel from the Guild! He will be so jealous!”
“No, you will not.” Vel said, interrupting Domic’s happiness. “How are you going to explain Max speaking with Seetrin? Huh? Do you want to oust him faster?”
“No...” Domic muttered. “Now that you mention it. How did you talk to her, Max?”
“She opened a mana connection with me and Emi. She originally only wanted to talk to Emi, but I think she figured it would be rude to exclude her bond.”
All eyes moved to Emi, who became embarrassed and hid behind Max’s leg.
“I see.” Domic said. “Continue.”
“After confirming that Emi couldn’t speak easily, the job fell to me. She asked about the ogres and the ants, and why we were out here to begin with. I told her about the plague book, and Domic destroying it.” Max stopped for a moment to allow Domic another moment of pride.
“She asked how we found it in the first place. I told her about Nix, and it gave me a book that felt wrong. After a few questions she declared that I could sense Divine objects and asked for help. She gave me a quest to assist Esmel in finding an invading faction using Divine items. Sound familiar?”
“She gave you a quest?” Vel asked, disbelieving.
Max showed her and Domic the quest.
“Great. Now you have to go.” Vel scoffed.
“What? Did you expect me to say no?”
“Any quest that comes from a being that powerful is never good. Trust me.”
“Trust you? Just like how there were supposed to be six ogres in the cave?”
Vel rolled her eyes. “Back when Lester and I were adventurers, he accepted a quest of Leovar, another legendary beast. Many, many people died on that quest. Most of whom were innocent.”
“And you think that allowing the Vast Empire to do whatever they are planning won’t kill innocents?”
“No. I am not. All I am saying is that this is a little over the paygrade of the Humble Titans.”
“Yeah, I agree with that. But I guarantee that it will be a unanimous vote from the others to help Esmel.”
Vel sighed. “I would have to agree with that.” She stared at Max, and Max stared back. “Guess I’m coming along.”
“Fine.” Max said with a smile.
“Oh, you little shit. You wanted me to come.”
“Of course, I do. I would be a fool not to! And I think you would be a fool not to also.” Max said, taking a breath. “I don’t know your history, but I can tell that you want Vast Empire destroyed more than anyone else. You would have still gone even if I declined the quest.”
“Getting lectured by a kid...” Vel muttered. “Fine.”
“Yes, fine. You are allowed to go on this ridiculous quest.” Max could only smile, but deep down he had a thought.
Sure, was lucky to run into a legendary beast… Hopefully just a coincidence.
Seetrin was a few kilometers away from Max and his group when she stopped. She looked into the night sky and spoke aloud.
“I see why you wanted me to investigate a simple ant hill and ogre cave…”
A faint chuckle could be heard.