Book 1, Chapter 111

Soulguard

Schiller spoke bluntly, “No, we are here to choose. Tonight, one lucky fellow will be chosen to be a soulguard. You get to show off your killing prowess in another plane!”

The big fellow’s eyes flashed like lightning, his gaze sweeping past Lina as his pupils constricted. He then looked over Richard, immediately picking up a poorly-crafted two-handed axe and waving it several times in the air. “Hey!” he roared, “Young master, pick me! Look, my axe can’t handle the hunger anymore!”

In the face of such a fervent request, Richard could only smile wryly. Schiller pointed at the man, “This is Gangdor, 21 years old. He’s a level 10 warrior with the bloodline of giants, having awakened Gaia’s Force. When it’s activated, it greatly increases his strength and defense. He’s one of the best candidates.”

Several people emerged from the caves of the mountain. Schiller pointed to another skinny youth, saying, “This is Kerfe, a level 10 assassin at 19 years of age. He has a mixed bloodline of humans and dark elves, his ability being Stealth. He’s also a good one.”

Finally, Schiller fingers pointed towards a woman with a cold and detached expression. “Dify of the Kamires, descendant of the highland wizards with powerful innate talent for magic. She is a natural-born warlock, possessing great firepower at any moment. Her bloodline ability is a magic boost as well. She’s the last candidate I want to introduce.”

The Archeron death camp only trained its participants upto level 10. Their talents and abilities would have awakened by then, so their future growth would depend on battle results.

All three of the candidates Schiller had picked were obviously much stronger than the other participants. They were extremely suitable for Richard’s requirements. The plane he was travelling to didn’t have a permanent portal yet, so level 10 was the limit of the portal. Anyone above that boundary would likely affect the spacetime tunnel with their overwhelming power, being tossed into the currents of spacetime. Even a legendary being would not want to be caught in such a chaotic current.

Richard raised his hands and began a chant, but Lina was one step faster. She cast a group detection spell, avoiding having to cast one on every individual.

Richard vividly detected the magic response from each of them, confirming their rune capacity. With the standard requirement of an elementary rune at 10 points, Kerfe had a total 43 points of capacity, Dify 41, and Gangdor a tremendous 72! This fellow with his thirsty axe could actually withstand a total of four runes, and one of them could even be grade 3 as long as it was on the weaker end. If they were willing to spend several millions on him, he would immediately turn into a rune knight!

Gangdor sensed Richard’s gaze on him changing, so he bellowed even more loudly before. But this time, it was towards the other candidates, “Hey, you useless maggots. Did you see that? The young master wants me! Me, Gangdor! Whoever is not happy can come forward, and we can battle! Let me show you how to use wits in a fight! Come, anyone? My axe can’t handle the hunger anymore!”

Nobody moved, not even Kerfe or Dify. Gangdor’s roar seemed to intimidate everyone else, and their behaviour indicated that he’d regularly beaten them in fights before. Richard was rather satisfied with this brute: He was already level 10 at 21 years of age, so it wouldn’t be a problem for him to reach level 14 or 15 in the future. Even if he didn’t improve from there, his high carry capacity would allow him to become a high-ranking rune knight. He would hold an important position in Richard’s team in the future.

However Richard continued to think deeply, unable to make up his mind. Gangdor was an exemplary candidate, but it seemed unfitting to use a soul contract on him. A good warrior was different from a good bodyguard, and Gangdor’s talent didn’t awe Richard all that much. Having lived in the Deepblue for a long time, Richard’s appetite had already grown.

Noticing that several huts were still empty, Richard asked Schiller about it. That was when he learnt that some of the participants were still out in the forest, hunting. They hadn’t been able to make it back in time because of the distance, but the man said it wasn’t a problem since the promising candidates were already before Richard. There was no need to wait for any other people.

Just then, an ear-piercing scream split the skies above the forest, followed by the sounds of twigs and branches snapping. A bloodied man dashed out into the open in a flash, jumping into the stream and flailing in the water as he tried to swim away as fast as possible. The stream was rather deep, with fast-flowing currents and jagged reefs at the bottom. In his panic to run away, the man seemed to be severely injured. In a few moments, the fresh blood had already dyed the stream a faint pink.

“Level 11 warrior, no special abilities. This fellow is just prey for the death camp’s participants,” Lina whispered lightly into Richard’s ears.

There were magic beasts amongst the prey for the death camp, but there were many humans as well. Many warriors of different race and class were placed in the forest, and the participants were tasked with hunting down and killing them before they escaped. They ‘prey’ was normally higher-levelled than the participants, with those awarding the most marks being level 14 or 15. The hunt was thus a perilous one, with plenty of cases where the predator became the prey.

Richard gazed at the edges of the forest, having the unknown feeling that the hunter would give him a surprise.

A rather scrawny white figure emerged silently from the forest. It was a young girl in a tattered white dress, her clothes torn so badly that they could only be called rags. She had no defences to speak of, and the clothes didn’t even cover her entire body. If not for cloths wrapped around her chest and waist, she would be essentially naked.

She was standing on top of a branch, her long fair legs contrasting the gloomy backdrop of the forest. The sight of her bare feet gripping the branch was somewhat eye-catching— every single one of her digits could be seen clearly. She had wild, shaggy hair that she seemed to have cut short herself. The silhouette of her face seemed rather beautiful, but the deep green eyes flashed like a hunter looking at their prey.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translation/TLC By: OMA

Edited By: Theo