Elisia was still contemplating about this incident. She still felt guilty until her heart broken. She didn't know what to say, but she always had a bad feeling. Elisia didn't understand, and her anxiety had only increased ever since she injured Risk again.
While sitting with her arms wrapped around her legs, Elisia felt a touch on her left shoulder. She lifted her head and turned. Apparently, it was Risk.
“Elisia, what happened?” he asked.
Elisia was silent. Her head dropped again. The man could hear sobs from the girl. He didn't know what had happened, but it seemed like it had something to do with what had happened earlier.
Rhino approached Risk. “I've been trying to comfort her.”
Risk had no choice. He hugged Elisia's body tightly. The hug made Elisia's sobs stopped and lifted her head. The girl could feel the warmth of this person. Slowly, she sank into the comfort of that person's heart.
“Are you feeling better?” the man asked.
Elisia nodded. “Risk, I'm sorry I hurt you during training. I just… don't want to see you get hurt because of me.”
“Elisia, I understand your tender feelings. You don't like hurting others, and will use your abilities to protect others. But, remember that not everyone is really nice to you. I can be evil, Rhino can be evil, Upgrade and Dao can be evil, but that’s where your power to protect others increases.”
Risk wiped the tears that rolled down the blonde-haired girl's cheeks. “Remember, good practice is practice that feels like reality. The enemy will do anything to hurt you and others. So, you have to be prepared for all conditions. Understand?”
Elisia smiled with teary eyes and nodded slowly. Risk took a bottle of water to give to Elisia. The girl drank it until she choked. Risk laughed softly, followed by Rhino, who watched them from behind. Elisia annoyed at being laughed at, but she was also happy that Risk had taught her something new.
“New Achievement unlocked : Third Day Training”
“Reward : skill exp +100”
After a mutually reinforcing conversation, Upgrade asked everyone to pack up again. The journey would continue again. Dao looked at the scenery to check how far they would be to reach the Grasswood village. Elisia approached Dao and Upgrade.
"Are we still far away?" she asked.
Dao turned around. “Our journey are almost close. We only need to walk another 750 feet to arrive at the location.”
“Don't waste too much time. We have to get there before the sun goes down. I don't want to sleep on the ground anymore.” Risk going first like wanting to go home.
Everyone followed Risk away. The path back they passed with all the beautiful views of the forest. In Nusantara, the environment was still beautiful with various kinds of plant typical of the tropics. They could find a wide variety of foodstuffs here, including fruits. In fact, Rhino could pick apples to give to Elisia during their journey. The taste of the fruit was also amazingly delicious.
After crossing the forest, a fairly swift river greeted them. Dao watched the river closely, as if something was confusing him. Upgrade put down his luggage and took all the bottles brought with him. He dipped the bottle into the stream. Water filled the bottle completely. Everyone followed him. Elisia was actually curious about Dao's behavior, who just kept looking at the river.
“Dao, what are you looking at?” Elisia asked.
“Dao thinks we can't cross the river. The river is deep, and the flow is very dangerous,” Dao explained.
“Don't confused, Dao! We can follow the source of the river flow until we find a bridge. Grasswood Village must have road access through the river,” Risk argued.
“You are right. Dao didn't think of that just now.”
They continued their journey by walking against the current of the river. The flow was strong enough that they could hear the sound loudly. They also found forest animals drinking and soaking in river water. It was an exquisite sight. Elisia couldn't take her eyes off of the surroundings either.
Their long journey ended by finding a suspension bridge that crossed the river. Dao checked the bridge and raised his thumb. They crossed the bridge one by one until they came to the end. When it was Rhino's turn to do, the bridge wobbled a little because it couldn’t balance itself with Rhino's large body. Finally, they made it across the river and continued on to the path that cut through the trees again.
As they passed through the street, they could hear the crowds of people. They quickened their pace until they were out of the way. A village with buying and selling activities in the market welcomed their arrival. The distinctive building style made of wood, and built in a simple way, made the atmosphere felt more comfortable. In addition, the sign that they saw when they entered the village read ‘Grasswood’. They also determined that they had arrived at the village of Grasswood.
They noticed that it quite deserted the road compared to the village of Glomouth. They saw only a few people and a single horse-drawn cart passed. Even though it look deserted, some vendors were still swarmed by local people, they could see it from their simple appearance style, with ordinary T-shirts and pants.
“Alright, we've arrived at Grasswood village. Our first goal is find a temporary shelter in this village. It would be better if we could stay at people's houses,” Upgrade command.
They continued their journey in the village of Grasswood to look for a house that could be a shelter while in the village whose name sounded like a meadow. Elisia looked at the wooden buildings, most of which were small shops. The girl's eyes caught the sight of food. Smoke came out from above it and started pulling Elisia's nose. Her stomach growled.
Elisia quickened her pace to approach Upgrade. “Upgrade, can we buy food here?”
Upgrade turned around. “Food? Are you hungry already?”
“Yes, I guess. My stomach felt empty earlier,” Elisia said.
“That trip must have worn you out.” Upgrade turned to all his friends. “We stopped for a while to buy some food!”
They turned into a small food shop selling a variety of foods. Elisia could see the colorful food that aroused her appetite.
“How much does this meal cost?” Upgrade asked.
“It costs 7 AD for one meal,” the seller replied. AD, or “Acromatic Dollar” was a global Currency in this world.
Upgrade turned to Elisia. “Now you can choose what you want to eat for lunch.”
The girl looked for food that she thought was filling. She picked up a red cake that was chewy to the touch, and a leaf-wrapped food. Elisia smelled the food, a fragrant aroma emanating from it. There was so much food available, and Elisia was at a loss which one she should take.
During the small meals, she saw a larger meal. The shape itself was also strange, like a triangle. The outer skin was crunchy to her touch. Elisia also took the food. A name tag appeared.
Elisia had never heard of the food's name, but it looked delicious. She took two [Buskas], then returned to Upgrade. She gave all the food that had taken for payment. So did all her friends. Upgrade gives all those foods to the seller to count.
“For Buska, we sold it for 30 AD.” The seller typed the price on a small black device. “The total is 340 AD.”
Upgrade turned to Risk, who was standing, while smiling. Risk sighed and walked over to the trading desk. He took out a small bag to take out 340 AD, then paid everything to the seller. The seller nodded his head.
“If we may ask, is there a house for rent around here for temporary residence?” Upgrade asked to the seller
“House? There is no house like that here. We can hardly accept newcomers into our house for their safety,” the seller said rather glumly.
“Why?” Risk asked suddenly.
The Seller turned to the person standing inside the shop. “Should I tell them?”
The man, who the Seller was talking to, nodded slowly as saying nothing. Elisia sensed that something was wrong in the village, as if there was something very dangerous in here.
“In one month ago, a large creature with the head of a dragon and the body of a giant had frequented the village of Grasswood. The creature destroyed our houses and fields, like it was looking for something. The creature also kidnapped the residents here, including women and children. We had searched everywhere around the village, but to no avail.” The Seller cried.
Upgrade hugged the man. Elisia could sense the man's sadness. She tugged at Risk's robe and made her friend turn around. Elisia wanted to speak to the man, and she coded to Risk by nodding her head. Risk dodged behind Elisia. The girl walked.
“Excuse me, if we may ask, when did the creature attack first?” Elisia asked.
The Seller wiped his tears and caught his breath. He started talking after his breathing returned to normal.
“We don't know. The creature appeared suddenly during our sugarcane and pumpkin harvest a month ago. It destroyed houses, agricultural products, and injured people who were trying to escape,” the seller explained.
“Okay, that's quite a heart-wrenching story,” Risk said. “but were the village warriors couldn’t defeat the creature?”
“If only they could. They had used their best abilities, but one warrior developed a strange illness after successfully injuring the creature. It covered his body with strange black scales that we didn't know about, and his body felt weak. Since that incident, none of the village warriors dared to fight the creature for fear of contracting a strange disease,” the seller said.
“Strange disease? Weird black scales?” Upgrade hold his chin.
“Did you know before?” Risk asked, who hear it.
“I've heard of symptoms like this before, but I can't remember what it's called.” Upgrade tapped the seller on the shoulder. “I must research the disease. Can we go to the house of the infected fighter?”
“Alright, wait a minute.” The man turned. “Truyen, guard the shop for a while! I have to go!”
The man showed the way to Upgrade and his friends. They walked through the main road decorated with agricultural crops on the right side. Elisia wondered how the creature's shape would be in more detail, though she was afraid of having to face it. Along the way, Elisia saw deep scratch marks, which she assumed was the work of the creature. If Elisia imagined, the creature's attack was very strong.
Finally, they arrived at the warrior's house in question. The front door of his house was tightly closed and there was a sign saying 'No entry! The house have infected!’. Upgrade took a face mask and a pair of medical gloves. He turned the doorknob, his feet walking in.
He could see a lifeless corpse that had rotted away. The black scales described by the seller were clearly visible on the body, as if growing from his body. Upgrade approached the body to take a sample of scales and blood that was still on the victim's body.
Outside the house, Elisia saw the door was still closed. There was no sign of Upgrade coming out. Anxiety entered her tender heart. She was worried if Upgrade was in trouble there. Risk looked at Elisia, who folded her arms over her chest. The man embraced the girl.
“Upgrade is medical volunteer. He knows what to do there. Don’t worry!” Risk said casually.
Risk's words didn’t dispel the anxiety in Elisia's heart at all. The girl didn't understand about illness or infection, but someone could catch it and fall limp. To get rid of her anxiety, Elisia turned around to saw the view of the vast expanse of rice fields. She breathed in the fresh air from the fields, mixed with the smell of mud.
Upgrade came out of the fighter's house with something in a small plastic bag. Everyone approached him, including Elisia. But, Upgrade prevented them from approaching.
“Don’t come closer! I have a virus in my body!” Upgrade turned to the seller. “Is there a stream of water far from your spring?”
“We have, come with me!” The seller walked towards the forest.
“You guys stay here! I will be right back.” Upgrade followed the seller.
Risk and Rhino put their luggage on the edge of the rice field, where Elisia was standing earlier. Everyone sat and enjoyed the food they bought earlier. The [Buska] taste was quite crunchy with the filling as small pieces of carrots and potatoes. Elisia like the various flavors; there was savory, salty, and a little spicy. The food was enough to fill her empty stomach.
The dishes had finished. Now they were sitting on the edge of the rice fields while enjoying a fairly hot day with a cold wind blowing. They talked about what diseases which Upgrade had treated.
“Dao, do you know the disease which Upgrade was thinking about?” Risk asked.
“Yeah, what disease was that? Was it very dangerous?” Rhino overrided.
“Dao doesn't know either. As long as Dao with Upgrade, Upgrade has never dealt with such a disease. Dao also curious about what disease it is.” Dao replied.
“I heard that the disease causes the sufferer to grow black scales. It's a very dangerous disease,” Elisia interrupted.
“I think we should wait for Upgrade. He can definitely answer our questions,” Risk said.
Elisia took out [Hex Aegis] and opened the sheet that had not read earlier. This time, she read about how to deal with large creatures. There was really nothing special about this ability, but it could come in handy in situations like this. Here it said that when fighting a large being, don’t make sudden moves. Any large creature would consider that to move as a threat.
Elisia turned to the next page, about recognizing the battle environment. Elisia thought she should study this more deeply. In its explanation, it deliberated the surface structure in the battle arena. When dealing with large creatures, looked for narrow places such as forests, ravines, and tunnels. Meanwhile, if the opponent was a small enemy and moved quickly, Elisia must limit the movement by luring that to places that reduced (Agility) such as mud, water, and sand.
“These two abilities might help me fight that monster,” Elisia muttered.
“What did you say?” Risk heard Elisia's words.
Elisia surprised. “Hah, no! I'm reading Hex Aegis, not talking to you!”
“Really? What are you reading this time?” Risk snatched the book from Elisia's hands.
This man looked at the contents of the book, but his expression turned blank. He returned the book.
“How about that? Did you see anything interesting?”
Risk sighed. “I don't understand what is wrong with you so far, but I think you're hallucinating thinking the book has written on it.”
“Eh, but it has writing on it. You see it, right?” Elisia handed a page of the book to Risk.
Risk's expression didn't change. “Elisia, my eyes are still functioning properly. That's enough!”
Elisia looked at the page that was shown to Risk. There was a long writing attached to it. Elisia remembered something about the possession of this book.
“Risk, I think I know why you can't read the writing in this book,” Elisia said.
“Because there really isn't anything written there!” Risk replied a bit harsh.
“No, that's not it. The reason is-“
“Guys, I'm back!” A voice from behind interrupted Elisia's words.
Everyone approached Upgrade, who had changed clothes. His hand was still holding a sample of the disease. Elisia also came up to him after putting the book into the bag.
“Upgrade, what did you find from that sample?” Risk asked.
“This sample? I haven't checked it yet. I was washing my body earlier,” Upgrade said. “Tivet, do you really have no place to stay for us? Like I said earlier, we might help you.”
The seller, who called Tivet, held his chin. A memory flashed in his head.
“I have a small house left by my sister. You can stay there,” Tivet replied.
“Of course we want.” Rhino advanced suddenly.
“Alright, follow me!” Tivet walked first back onto the road that led to his shop.
Everyone took their luggage to take to their stop. Elisia was curious about what Upgrade said to that person. She wanted to approach Upgrade, but Risk was standing in front of her. The girl felt Risk was also curious.
Risk brought his mouth to Upgrade's ear. “What did you say to him earlier?”
“I feel that this disease I have seen before. I need to do some checking, and say that maybe we can help them,” Upgrade replied in a whisper.
“What are you talking about? Are we going to face the monster?” Risk asked rather loudly.
“This isn't your first time fighting monsters, is it?” Upgrade satired.
Risk sighed. “You're right, and it looks like I should tied to your dumb game.”
“Come on, Risk. We just need to kill the monster. After that, we will go away. I told Tivet that earlier,” Upgrade replied.
From the conversation between the two of them, Elisia caught that they would stay in this village to kill the mysterious monster told by the seller earlier. However, there were a few sentences that made Elisia curious.
First, if what Upgrade said was true about fighting monsters, what was Risk's past like? Second, she was still curious about the disease transmitted by the monster. Dangerous or not, Elisia didn't understand. She might find the answer after arriving at the halfway house.
After walking for twenty minutes, they arrived at a house with woven wooden walls, and it made the entire frame of wood. Tivet opened the door and ushered them in. The condition of the house was quite dirty with dust everywhere. The small particles flew after Risk rubbed a table on display in the guest house, made Elisia sneeze.
“I have abandoned this house for a long time, and never visited this house again,” Tivet said.
“Then where is your sister?” Risk asked.
Tivet lowered his head. His face looked sad. Risk immediately felt guilty. Elisia walked over to Tivet and took hold of the young man's right arm. The touch made Tivet smile behind his gloomy face.
“She was the victim of that monster's abduction a month ago. She saved me when I was about to be attacked, and instead, the monster took her. I don’t know how she's doing, but I always pray that she will okay,” Tivet said.
Risk walked over to Tivet and grabbed his left shoulder. “Sorry for asking like that. I've also heard about it from Upgrade. We will help this village be free from that monster.”
Tivet wiped her tears. “I don't really expect anyone to kill that monster, because many warriors have sacrificed their lives for the safety of this village. We don't want anyone to sacrifice again.”
“It's okay, Tibet. We will help to kill the monster, in return for your delicious cake,” Rhino said excitedly.
“Yes, we will help everyone here so that they can live freely like they used to,” Elisia continued.
“Thank you for your help. I hope you're doing well,” Tivet said, "and my name is Tivet.”
“Alright, time for us to clean up this house. We don't know how long we will stay here. At least this place should be clean to live in.” Upgrade went into the deepest room.
“I'm going back to the shop. If you need anything, come to me.” Tivet walked away from the house.
Everyone put their things in one place, then approached Upgrade, who was unpacking some stuff. He found a rag, a broom, a duster, and some cloth. Each took a cleaning tool they could use; Risk took a rag, Rhino took a broom, Dao took a hammer because some walls were peeling off, and Elisia took a duster. Upgrade also gave them face masks.
Cleaning work started. They cleaned every corner of the house, which was full of dust. Elisia cleaned up a room she thought belonged to Tivet’s sister. She dusted the shelves with the slightly damaged duster. Unknowingly, a box fell from the table. Elisia surprised and turned her head. The contents of the box came out. Elisia immediately took care of it, but she found something suspicious.
She picked up a strange-looking book with the words 'Monstra' written on it. She opened the book. There were many pictures of monsters and explanations. Elisia also found a partition that marked a page. Elisia jumped onto the page and surprised to see it. She closed the book immediately.
“New Item received: ‘Monstra’ Book of Creatures”