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Andy shook his head and walked over, standing alongside Garen.
"Poor thing… There would be no reason to provoke anyone else, much less Goth. You okay, Garen?"
"I’m fine." Garen had already realised the oncoming presence of the two other people much earlier. Thus, he allowed the Hurricane squad members to do as they pleased. He never expected that it would turn out so well.
As for the three remaining Hurricane squad members, the moment they saw their leader collapse, a terrified look appeared on their faces at once, and they didn’t know whether to advance or to escape.
"Go! We’re leaving!" Casey yelled loudly, looking at Goth as if he were a monster, with his face all twisted like that.
"You dare think of leaving?!" Goth spat as he rubbed his hands together, rushing forward in a fit of rage.
"They stole the reward for the task we completed!" Garen quickly reminded him at this crucial moment. "They impersonated us!"
His words enraged Goth even more. Every one of his slaps that landed on Casey’s face brought on rays of black light that caused a prickly sensation, making it seem as if countless sharp thorns had grown on his body.
These sharp thorns pierced through Casey’s totem light easily. Furthermore, Goth’s speed and strength had grown to the point where it was now terrifying to others.
Garen watched Goth’s movements. The speed at which Goth rotated his arm and pushed it downwards always made Garen’s heart jump slightly.
It seemed like this guy had already achieved the strength and speed he was only supposed to possess after his successfully using his Godlike Accomplishment skill.
Although he had known from the beginning that certain appraisal geniuses could get an increase in strength from their core totems, he never expected Goth’s improvements to be of such great magnitude.
Moreover, Goth had only recently awakened his potential, and had not fully released it yet. Before his full release, there was no telling how more powerful he would be in his final stage.
"No wonder he was able to reach the level of single-handedly winning a fight." Garen was still in shock. He had practiced his Secret Technique just to achieve the Godlike Accomplishment skill, and had gone through many difficulties and hard times such as having to kill others in order to reach his goal.
Apart from his fighting skills, Goth’s physical body and fitness levels were also vastly different from before as well.
In Garen’s mind, everything seemed somewhat unbalanced.
Casey and the other three members of the Hurricane squad were beaten up and forced to the ground by Goth. He had easily thrown them against the wall as if they were merely objects. The scene frightened off the passersby on the street and they ran away quickly, worried that they might become casualties in this fight.
As Casey looked over at Goth, his own expression changed from embarrassment and fury into fear and dread. He was certain that his opponent’s strength surpassed that of a regular Form 2 totem user. Ultimately, he had no choice but to release his own totem and fight to the death. But the moment he released it, his
plan was foiled instantly. Goth would eventually destroy his totem, completely ruining his many years of hard work in the process. Without a Form 2 totem, he wouldn’t be able to defend the Hurricane squad for long.
If his opponent possessed the ability to break through a totem user’s totem light, judging from the current state of his totem’s defenses, wrecking his totem would be a piece of cake.
In the end, Casey could only endure Goth’s vicious attacks silently. He wrapped his arms around his head and crouched into a ball as he was too afraid to retaliate.
In the corner of the street, the both of them looked like a couple of gangsters. Goth single-handedly beat the three of them up without having to put up much of a fight, then forced Casey to return both of the White Dragonhawk rewards. He also made him pay compensation in the form of a mental loss fee, safety threat fee, loss of reputation fee as well as a series of other payments totalling to 820,000 silver rumbs.
Both parties signed a contract and stamped their fingerprints with a blood seal. Casey finally understood that this man, Goth, had truly possessed a strength that would be able to defeat Form 2 totem users. If someone provoked him again with the outskirts of the city currently in a state of chaos, so long as he found a desolate place to intercept them, his enemies could call on the whole world for help, but no one would be able to save them.
Once Casey and his group had left, Goth wiped his hands and hid the contract in his clothes carefully, and patted his pocket.
"Let’s go. We’ll find somewhere we can sit."
"Yes," nodded Andy. "According to what I’ve heard, we should leave this place quickly since we’ve already completed the task. We should also follow the rules while we’re at it."
Garen nodded as well.
The three of them turned the street corner and came across a coffee shop where they found a table against the wall and sat there, before ordering a cup of milk coffee each.
The atmosphere inside the coffee shop was calm, as there were only five or six other customers, sitting around in different spots. Everyone spoke in hushed voices when they conversed.
There was a white piano in front, where a man dressed in white played the soothing melody of an unknown song.
On the left corner of the wall where the three men were seated, the latest edition of the calendar had been hung up, and all the dates which had passed were ticked off with a little red check mark. The last unmarked date was the 24th of the second month.
"We’re entering spring already," said Garen before he lifted his coffee cup and drank from it. "This year’s winter hardly seemed as cold as the years before."
"I kind of agree. It still felt like autumn to me, I hardly felt any difference," nodded Andy. "The situation at the guild has been worsening recently. One of my acquaintances came to see me recently and I asked him about it. Two of the largest employment squads in the Luminarist guild, Black Light
Light and Blue Leaf, encountered great difficulties in completed their most recent task, and the Black Light squad even lost two of their members. They were Iron Tank City’s strongest totem user employment squad! Both the captain and vice captain are Form 3 final stage totem users, yet they still lost 2 members. The current situation is really dire."
"When I went to the guild, I noticed that there were less people inside as well," said Garen quietly.
"My friend is in charge of preparing the statistic reports, and according to him, there are about eighty to a hundred lower rank squads like ours in the guild. But in the most recent month, a lot of the smaller squads left and never returned. Some of them were even middle range squads with one or two Form 2 totem users, and even they suffered serious injuries. Currently five guild points have become significantly quieter."
"Don’t worry. You guys still have me, remember? I’ll protect you," said Goth lazily, as he drank the remainder of his coffee in a few gulps.
Both of them shook their heads and flat-out ignored him.
Andy continued, saying: "The casualties sustained by the guild in the previous year is still higher, but the ratio would never be more than ten to one, meaning one death would occur in ten tasks on average. Meanwhile this year, the ratio had already risen to five to one. I assume that the higher ups in the guild would have taken the necessary measures already. Right now, I’d suggest that we nurse of our wounds for the time being. Once our bodies have healed properly, we can absorb this task’s reward, and by then, the situation would be pretty much clearer. Whether or not we continue accept tasks after that will depend on how we feel in the future. How about that?"
Garen nodded quietly. He understood what Andy was thinking. They were only trying to earn a quick buck, and train themselves while they were at it. They weren’t trying to place their lives on the line, so there was no need for them to accept tasks that were unnecessarily dangerous. Even if a totem user merely decided to join a security organization, their livelihoods would still be at least three times better than that of an average person. They would be able to lead a good and simple life. Those who undertook tasks from the guild were mostly thrill seekers that wanted to improve themselves at the same time.
"These are important national matters. As long as the higher ups are worried about it, it’s none of our business," said Andy as he sighed in relief. He smiled and continued, saying: "No matter what, Goth, this time both Jessica and I owe you our lives. If you ever need any help in the future, just feel free to say it without holding back!" He patted Goth’s shoulder as he said.
It was rare for Goth to be quiet, and now a look of concentration had appeared on his face. "Actually, I just want a simple life. As long as I have good food and drink, and a gentle girlfriend, all I’d have to do is to work hard so that
so that all the other bastards will not look down on me anymore. Then we could leave our homes just like we’re doing now, and I could still lead a happy life. After that I’d want to have two sons, and name one of them Andy, and the other one Garen."
"Why you little!" Andy could not stop himself from punching him. "But my old man has already ordered me to never return to the guild again because of the scars on Jessica’s face, which made my mother cry for two whole days. After this… After this, I don’t think it’s likely that I’d be able to accept tasks anymore," he said as his voice grew softer. "I’ve gained almost enough experience, and since I’ve gotten the proof of my mission from the guild, once I’ve applied for a position in the national institution, my well being will increase significantly. Who knows, I might even get a job as a junior officer."
His words were tinged with a sense of parting.
The three of them became quiet for a moment.
"Since you already have the qualifications from the last two tasks, what department are you thinking of joining? Just choose one, and I’ll submit the application for you. Any department will do. There’s a Mercenary’s Guild in every part of the East Continent, and with your qualifications, you’d get a good position even if you were sent to the imperial family," said Andy with a smile. "Or if you’d prefer, you could go to a college or somewhere like that and work as a security officer, or even a specialized speaker. There are tons of beautiful girls in the school, you know."
Goth lowered his head, and stopped speaking for a short while.
"I’ll do it at my own pace…" he replied quietly. "What about you, Garen? Any plans?"
"I don’t even have a home to return to, what plans could someone like me have?" said Garen as he shrugged. "I’m planning to wait and see. I don’t even have any plans or arrangements on my mind at the moment."
"You’re 21 years old already, right? You aren’t young anymore, you should be making plans for your future by now. Why don’t I introduce you to a girl, but definitely not someone who lives a promiscuous life on her own," said Andy earnestly. "Start your own household earlier, then you’ll finally have someone to depend on in your heart. You’ll also have a goal to fight for."
"We’ll see," Garen shook his head. "I’m not thinking of that at the moment." He was certain that not long from now, the city would be filled with danger and trouble. Goth and the others would have no choice but to contribute by joining the movement to get rid of the surrounding dangerous creatures.
Almost all of the totem users would not be able to rest during that time.
Obscuro Society’s major course of action was about to begin soon. This peaceful period of life would only last for a few more days.
He was unlike the two others because he wasn’t a local in this world, he was merely a passerby. His goal was actually to find the secret that he had brought he had brought over with him. This whole time he had been trying to control his fate.
Life was hard and short, and after about a hundred and ten short years, in order to continue living, one would need to have something of value to pursue.
A vague idea began pounding at the back of Garen’s mind. He no longer wanted to just go with the flow. In his personal experience, he had too many doubts that he wanted to understand.
In this universe, what could truly be considered eternal…
"Don’t think too much about that," said Andy as he patted his shoulder.
Before Garen, Andy, and Goth went their separate ways, they made sure to exchange contact information and addresses.
Garen left the coffee shop on his own, and walked down the lane for a distance, before stretching his arm out and hailing a passing horse carriage.
"To the trade area," he said as he got onto the carriage.
The coachman was a middle-aged man with a short beard.
"The trade area huh… That’s quite a distance from here. We’ll have to exit this area, sir. And distances further than ten kilometers require additional charges as well. Which part of the trade area are you heading towards?"
Garen nodded, showing the man that he knew the price. "To Wellington Street. Do you know where that is?"
"I need to go deeper into the area if it’s Wellington. Are you perhaps going to the pet market, sir?" asked the coachman in an experienced voice.
"That’s the place."
"How’s eight silver rumbs?"
"That’s fine," answered Garen at once.
Once he had seated himself inside, he leaned against the right side of the carriage and felt as if the front of the carriage had fallen off. Moments later, it hobbled forward and off they went.
Outside the window, the roads rolled past continuously, and out of the rows of white living quarters, shops could occasionally be seen.
As the carriage galloped towards the trade area, the roads outside the carriage gradually became dirtier. They began to pass by an increasing number of horse carriages, including a beautifully built one at one point. Ox carts that sold fruits also passed them by on the lane, but were quickly overtaken by the carriage.
Calming his emotions, Garen began to look forward to the types of wild animals he would be able to purchase soon.
As long as there were no accidents, Goth would not need the White Dragonhawk. He was currently undergoing his power explosion stage, and would definitely be faced with an abundance of stronger totems in the future. However, the same did not apply to himself. He had already waited until the eleventh hour. He needed to decide on his core totem as soon as possible, and then evolve it quickly. If he failed in doing so, he would not be able to fight in the upcoming Great War.
Garen finally had a plan in his heart. His next step was to decide on which creature to evolve as his second totem. He also needed to increase his strength to the best of his abilities, so that he could hunt more totem users in the Great War, and attain more potential points.