The wind blow slowly over the quiet meadow. The sky was showing signs of lightening. With a limp body, Elisia opened her eyes slowly. The sight of leaves adorned her blurry vision. Her hands moved, feeling like smooth grass. Because it felt like not at home, Elisia woke up in a hurry. Everyone saw it.
“Elisia, you are finally awake!” Upgrade said happily.
Everyone approached Elisia. They were a little worried about their little friend's condition. Elisia felt pain in her left arm, which had neatly bandaged. Then she looked through the pile of items and looked for something.
Rhino walked over and held out a book. “You're looking for this?”
Elisia immediately took the Hex Aegis book that the black-haired man had given her and immediately hugged it. “Thank you!”
“We thought something happened to you, but you're okay.” Risk gave a bottle of water to Elisia. “You're so great!”
Elisia took a sip of water from the bottle, then placed it on her right side. “What about Elektra?”
“You defeated him, but he left by teleportation. I'm sure he'll come back for sure,” Upgrade explained. “You don't have to worry about him anymore. We're safe now.”
Elisia looked at her surroundings, trees dotted with vast meadows. Some animals such as deer and birds seem to enjoy their beautiful home. Elisia actually became confused.
“Where are we now?” Elisia asked.
“We're already on our way to Grasswood village,” Risk replied.
“What about our house?” Elisia asked again.
“There was a misunderstanding between Risk and me, so he sold the house,” Upgrade said.
“I'm trying to make us able to live in another village. After all, we have some money from selling the house,” Risk said.
“Come on, stop your arguing! Help me cook the venison that Dao hunted earlier,” Rhino said, annoyed.
Elisia looked at the blazing bonfire and it attached a piece of meat tied to a large tree trunk. The smell of burnt meat made Elisia's stomach rumble. With her condition still not recovered, Elisia stood up and helped Rhino. They enjoyed a fairly sunny morning with a cold air that almost pierced the skin.
The meat smelled nice after Rhino turned it over the fire. Dao prepared broad leaves to served as a base. Rhino invited Elisia to spin the freshly greased venison. The girl turned it slowly.
“Rhino, how long do I have to spin this meat?” Elisia asked.
“Ten minutes or more,” Rhino replied. “If you feel hurt, Dao can take your place.”
“Yes, Dao will help Elisia,” Dao said, who was carrying a pile of leaves.
Elisia looked at the twisted meat. It felt like she had done it before. She didn't know where to do it, but twisting this meat was like it was in her faint memory. She tried to remember something, but nothing came up. Not wanting to be caught in a daydream, Elisia checked the stats.
Level 4 (350/900 exp)–Vanguard
Max HP : 698/698
Stamina : 550/550
Skill Point (SP) : 112/112
ATK : 350
DEF : 181
RES : 10,1%
Agility : 45
1. Molten Flame (level 1 (350/400 exp)
SP Requires : 45
ATK +30% and every attack gains 40% chance to ignore 10% Enemy Def
Duration : 26 second
1. Wool Jacket (equipped)
2. Fire Dublin Spear (saved)
3. Flame Pendulum (equipped)
She had advanced to level 4 and defeated the first boss. It felt fast, but the adventure would be more and more thrilling. She had to ready, no matter what. Maybe she could ask Risk to teach her again later, after the meal.
Elisia felt pain in her bandaged legs. She shouldn't have stood up while twisting the meat, but her strength wasn't enough. Dao grabbed Elisia's body suddenly and dragged her back.
“Dao can see Elisia having a hard time standing on her feet like that. Dao will replace Elisia,” Dao said.
Elisia nodded. “Okay.”
The girl walked again under the tree to straighten her legs. She checked the bandage on her leg. It didn't look like it was going to heal soon. Elisia won't able to train after this. Maybe she should take a short break from using her excess abilities and stamina.
Risk approached Elisia while carrying an apple. He gave one to the girl. Elisia accepted it and took a bite. The taste of the fruit was sweet and fresh, like picked freshly from the tree.
“You showed great ability in the fight against Elektra yesterday. Even though you had badly injured, you still continued the fight. I kinda feel worry about you for pushing yourself. Why don't you wait for us to come to you? You can buy some time then,” Risk said.
“I just… don't want to see my friends get hurt again. You are the only people I consider family to be until I remember who I really am. I…, I don't want you to sacrifice yourself for me,” Elisia said glumly.
Risk smiled. “You're a strong girl, but fighting alone won't strengthen you. Now you are part of us, so your breath is our breath, too. I'm actually more worried about you.”
“Eh, you're worried about me?” Elisia hesitated at those words.
“When it happened in the village, when you followed Fraaman and Fred, I followed you too. Back then, I had also seen Fraaman take the bread, but I let him. However, seeing you chasing him made me have to follow you. I was right, you almost got attacked. That's where I came out and saved you,” Risk explained.
“So... you've been following me since the beginning in Glomouth village?” Elisia confirmed.
“In my past life, I only cared about the people I considered as family. I never want to meddle in other people's business, even if they ask me to. However, since my encounter with Upgrade and Dao, my life has changed. If I was still indifferent to other people, maybe I wouldn't saved you,” Risk replied.
“I never thought that you were like that. The encounter with Upgrade and Dao has a special meaning for you,” Elisia commented.
“You are right. They saved me from death. I am indebted to them.”
“Then, how was your meeting with Rhino?”
“Rhino?” Risk chuckled. “He was a blacksmith who good at forging weapons. I'm looking for him to refined Dao’s sword. He was a friendly person and a good listener. Finally, he would make his home as a shelter for us. However, something happened to us, so we had to leave Rhino's house. Unexpectedly, Rhino also came with us. So we went on a long journey.”
“Wow, you guys have an interesting story!” Elisia praised.
“Then, how about you? Do you really not remember your past life?” Risk asked back.
“I think so,” answered Elisia, “but hearing that I am a Dublin intrigues me. Do you know that too?”
“No, lil’ girl. I want to know too.” Risk stood up and started walking.
“Where do you want to go?”
“Strolling.” Risk continued to walk without looking back.
Elisia tried to stand up and chased Risk, but the pain came back again. She limped until fell. Risk looked back and silently watched Elisia, who was lying on the ground.
“You're still on medication. Just stay there!” Risk said.
“But I also want to come with you. There's something I want to ask you again,” Elisia replied.
“I'll be back before mealtime.” Risk continued to step into the meadow.
Elisia sighed. She stood up slowly and crawled back to the tree. Then, she took Hex Aegis to read some information. Elisia read about the damage-resisting ability, where it allowed the user to withstand various attacks without getting hurt at all. That ability intrigued Elisia. However, she read the next explanation. Apparently, that ability cannot be owned by any fighter.
“Maybe if I study it, I can have it,” Elisia muttered.
Then Elisia turned to the next sheet, and they wrote it [Sixth Sense]. This ability allowed the user to see a thing that other forms cannot see, such as movement estimates, invisible attacks, to the abilities and weaknesses of the opponent. Elisia read it again. It turned out that this ability had different effects depending on the user.
“What kind of effect will I get if I learn this ability?” Elisia asked herself.
When she wanted to open the next sheet, her nose inhaled the fragrant aroma of the cooked venison. Elisia closed her book and walked over to her friends on all fours. In her eyes, they served venison on a broad leaf. The glossy dark red color and the smoke evaporated from each piece made her stomach churn even more.
Risk returned from the meadow. Everyone sat around the meat. Rhino took the first cut to ensure its doneness. He took the first bite. His facial expression looked like he was enjoying the food. He swallowed slowly and his eyes widened. Then his head nodded.
Dao took his sword and cut the meat according to everyone's portions. Dao gave Elisia a not-so-big piece of meat. The girl touched the flesh, but her hand ached. She kept trying until her hand couldn't hold it. Upgrade saw his little friend struggling, then put down the piece of meat. He cut the meat smaller, then gave it to Elisia.
Elisia smiled. “Thank you, Upgrade.”
“If you need my help, just say it,” Upgrade replied.
They ate grilled venison cooked by Rhino. The distinctive taste of the meat completed with the coals that blend with the meat made the taste stronger. Although, they could still enjoy the meat in the morning.
After breakfast, they started packing their things to prepare for the trip again. Elisia put the [Hex Aegis] in the small bag she brought yesterday and checked the wound. Looked like it was getting better. She approached Upgrade for removed the bandage.
Upgrade turned and walked over to her. “What's the matter, Elisia? Is anyone hurt?”
“No, but can you check if this wound has healed or not? I'm bothered by this bandage,” Elisia replied while showing the bandage on her left arm.
Upgrade fingered Elisia's left arm. He saw the bandage that was dirty from the blood sticking out of the bandage. He opened the bandage a little. Apparently Elisia's wound had not closed properly. He bandaged her again.
“I'm sorry, but your wound hasn't fully healed yet. Use this bandage a little longer,” Upgrade said.
“Fine, but are my legs getting better?”
Upgrade checked for the bandages on both of Elisia's thighs. The touch of Upgrade's hand made her uncomfortable. The cold and smooth hand gripped the bandage. Elisia's face turned red because of position of the bandage against her thigh. Her eyes were closed so as not to feel the touch.
“The wound on your thigh has healed. I will untie this bandage.” Upgrade removed the thick bandage from Elisia's thigh.
After that, Elisia could feel the freedom in her legs to move. Although still hurt, Elisia tried to stand up with the help of Upgrade. Finally, she could walk and approach Risk, who was standing on a rock.
Elisia asked Upgrade to take it off. The pale white man hesitated for a moment, but finally removed his hand from Elisia's body. The girl limped toward her mentor. Risk turned his head after noticing Elisia's presence. He came down from the rock.
“Elisia, are you feeling better?” Risk asked.
“Not very good yet,” Elisia replied. “What are you doing up there?”
“Nothing. We will start our journey before the sun is in the middle.” Risk walked towards all the items that were piled up.
“Hey, I have something to ask of you!” Elisia said.
Risk's steps stopped without even looking back. “What do you want to ask me?”
“Why do you want to help me train?” Elisia asked.
Risk was silent with the wind blowing slowly from the forest. The wind blew Elisia's blonde hair like a leaf blown by the wind. The girl waited for an answer from her mentor. However, Risk didn't respond for a few minutes. Elisia's legs hurt from standing for too long, so she sat on the ground. Risk remained standing without moving an inch.
“You will understand one day. I will not answer that now.” Risk turned and walked over to Elisia. His hand reached out, Elisia clasped the delicate hand. Elisia tried to strengthen her leg muscles to stand like before.
“Your condition should be as good as before. When it's safe, we'll practice again.” Risk carried Elisia on his back.
The man walked over to Dao and Upgrade, who were preparing things. Upgrade that saw them immediately approached. He checked Elisia's legs. Risk lowered it so that he could straighten her legs. Upgrade started intensive check. All parts of Elisia's feet touched and held.
The few times he pressed on a certain spot, Elisia screamed. Finally, Upgrade massaged the points that were the center of pain. Despite being massaged with a gentle touch, Elisia couldn't hold back a scream from her mouth.
After a few minutes of massage, Upgrade finished the job with a heavy caress from the lower thighs to the ankles. The pain that had spread throughout Elisia's body instantly disappeared. The girl tried to move her legs, then tried to stand up. Now her leg was better.
“You healed my leg!” Elisia hugged Upgrade. “Thanks, Upgrade! Thank you!”
Upgrade's face slightly reddened, followed by the smiles of his other friends. Elisia was happy to have recovered, as usual. She turned to Risk. The man replied with a thumbs up and a faint smile. Elisia smiled, then picked up a small bag containing Hex Aegis.
“Looks like we can start today's journey. Is that right, Risk?” Elisia turned to Risk again.
“You are right. Time for us to move before the sun burns us.” Risk brought his equipment.
Everyone started carrying their luggage using backpacks. They took their first steps towards the village of Grasswood. Their journey may be long, but Elisia believes that they can do it if they are together.
They crossed the paths full of gravel, through rivers, through meadows, over short cliffs. Their journey was quite long because of the distance from the village of Glomouth to the village of Grasswood. They have been through the scorching heat of the sun and the cold wind that blows.
Elisia felt tired and wanted to stop. However, her friends continued their journey even though they had sweated quite a lot. She checked the stats.
Level 4 (350/900 exp)–Vanguard
Max HP : 698/698
Stamina : 356/550
Skill Point (SP) : 112/112
ATK : 350
DEF : 181
RES : 10,1%
Agility : 45
She had consumed a lot of stamina since their journey began, but there was no sign of arriving at the scene yet. Elisia couldn't hold it in anymore. She looked for a tree that was shady enough for her to leaned on while stretching her legs. Seeing Elisia's behavior made her friends stop and put down their things. This confused Elisia, as if they did it on purpose.
“You guys… purposely kept me going until I stopped and you guys came too?!” Elisia's emotions rise.
“Actually, we wanted to stop too, but seeing you still walking made us continue our journey,” Upgrade explained. “But I think this place is quite good. We'll rest here for a bit.”
They sat under a big tree that was quite shaded by the sun. They took bottles containing water out to be drunk. Elisia tried not to drink a lot of water. She may not know how far the journey was, but conserving water during the trip was important. [Hex Aegis] wrote it.
After drinking, Elisia lied down on a hard grass with gravel under it. The small stones pierced Elisia's skin as her body position changed. The girl got up and leaned against the tree trunk. She also couldn't lie down comfortably because the tree trunk was hard and bumpy. As a result, Elisia stood up to take a walk.
From a distance, Elisia saw Risk, who was standing alone in the middle of the grass field. The girl ran to him. Risk looked up with a smiling face. Elisia felt that her friend was happy. However, Risk swiftly drew his sword and hit Elisia's head with the tip of the sword.
Elisia fell to the gravel ground. She held her aching head and hips while looking at Risk.
“What are you doing? Why did you attack me?!”
“Next training, anticipate an unexpected attacks!” Risk put the sword back in. “A Vanguard must be a front-line attacker capable of dealing with all kinds of attacks, including unexpected attacks.”
Elisia stood up and held her pendulum. Her spear had appeared in her hand. Her expression was a little annoyed that Risk hadn't told her beforehand, but this turned out to be a good opportunity.
“Alright, I'm ready for this practice!” Elisia mounted a stance with her spear pointed forward.
“The enemy will not give you a chance, so be aware of every possibility that will happen,” Risk said as he raised his left hand forward, “Hold this!”
An attack launched Risk from his hand. Elisia could see sparks of magic escaping from the man's hand, but nothing came out. Suddenly, an attack hit her left shoulder, followed by another strike that hit her chest and head. Elisia fell to the ground again. Risk smiled at her.
“Get up!” Risk launched another attack.
Elisia rolled her body onto the ground. Attack didn't hit Elisia. The girl got up quickly and narrowed her eyes. The man launched another attack. This time, his attacks were stronger than before.
Elisia closed her eyes and tried to listen to every movement that came. Her ears caught a small movement from the left side. Elisia turned her body to the right. She felt another attack from in front of Elisia. The blonde-haired girl pushed her body back until her hair fluttered slightly to the ground.
Elisia regained her composure and tightened her grip on the spear. “I'm ready for the next attack!”
“Nice ability, Elisia! Now, take this!” Another attack launched by Risk, as an invisible knife.
Elisia sharpened her eyes. She could see a flash of light reflected from this attack. Elisia lowered her spear to waist height. Then, she parried all the attacks with her spear.
Risk widened his eyes, then smiled again. The man moved so fast that black smoke appeared. He appeared behind Elisia. The girl glanced to the right and twisted her body. Risk swung his sword until it collided with Elisia's spear. As a result, it pushed Elisia far enough to fall on the ground.
Elisia coughed with the stone in her mouth. Her body was little dirty. The girl got up again while taking her spear. This time, she could not be careless.
Risk smiled and moved invisibly. He appeared on Elisia's right with a sword swung from the right. Elisia swung the spear swiftly from the left. Their weapons clashed again and sparked fire. They pushed each other.
Risk didn't stop attacking Elisia with his invisible attacks. The girl had to dodge and withstand every attack that could even penetrate her body if she was careless. Elisia thought that this training was quite tough for her, but she had to make it through. Risk unleashed a powerful final attack, with the shape of a large arrow.
Elisia saw the reflection from the tip of the invisible arrow. She started holding the spear with the tip of the blade on the left. Flames burned her spear and spread heat. Even Dao and Rhino were feeling stifled.
The arrow was almost close, inches away from her. Elisia swung her spear strongly. The arrow also hit the spear and struck very hard. The arrow instead returned to Risk, an explosion occurred.
Elisia caught her breath after using her spear ability. Her eyes looked at the former explosion that produced black smoke. Realizing that the explosion was close to Risk, Elisia approached him. Just a few steps, Risk came out of a puff of smoke. It covered his clothes in black ash and his face was dirty.
“Risk, are you okay?” Elisia said, who approached her mentor.
Risk coughed, then smiled at Elisia. “I am fine. You don't have to worry about me.” The man limped along.
“I'll help you walk.” Risk's right hand wrapped around Elisia. They walked together towards Upgrade.
Dao and Rhino, who saw them, immediately ran over. Dao embraced Risk's hand and took him to Upgrade, while Rhino carried Elisia to the tree. The girl's face cleaned of dust and dirt using a small towel.
“Elisia, are you okay?” Rhino asked.
“I’m fine. You should have asked Risk that question,” Elisia replied, “He got injured after training with me.”
"It’s okay. Risk is a strong person. In an instant, the wound will heal on its own,” Rhino comforted.
Elisia still felt guilty about Risk for hurting the man so often. She knew that Risk was a strong person, but if he injured continuously it wouldn't be good either. He could suffer a serious injury that would actually make him unable to move anymore. Elisia sat languidly, holding her pendulum.