Chapter 171: NPC Mercenaries

The next day.

White Cherry and Blue Maple stuck around the miniature Elven Forest for a day and throughout the night, but they still hadn’t discovered any traces of the elves. They didn’t even meet more than few wild beasts, not to mention the elves.

There were the occasional normal and tiny animals which turned to run when they saw Blue Maple. They all appeared like they were afraid of humans. However, strangely, there was a time when Blue Maple went out to find something to eat, leaving White Cherry by herself, and quite a few little animals actually found their way next to her. They didn’t seem afraid, but every single one scattered in the blink of an eye once Blue Maple appeared.

That made White Cherry giggle. She claimed that that happened because Blue Maple always had a cold look on his face, and that scared the animals off.

Blue Maple picked wild berries and other items of the sort when he was looking for food to with the dried rations that he was carrying with him. Blue Maple always had drinks or beverages with him other than the time when he was outside for too long.

There were many reasons why Blue Maple didn’t kill little animals for food. Those tiny fellows didn’t attack him, so he didn’t want to attack them. Furthermore, it wasn’t quite appropriate to brutally murder those little animals in front of a kind girl like White Cherry.

There was another more important reason. Elves hated killing, so his quest would probably be over before it even began if elves found out that he had been killing these little animals.

It was midday, and they still hadn’t discovered any trace of the elves.

Blue Maple was leaning against a large tree to rest after having lunch, and he refused to get up even after a long time had passed.

“What’s wrong, Maple? Are we not searching for them anymore?” White Cherry was confused. She didn’t think that Blue Maple was the kind of person who was so lazy that he would just give up on his quest halfway through.

“There’s no need. Let’s just wait.” Blue Maple closed his eyes as he answered plainly.


White Cherry whispered in trusting acknowledgement. She started following Blue Maple and found another large tree to lean against and to rest.

That made Blue Maple open one eye as he stole a glance at her.

“Really…” Blue Maple shook his head slightly.

Blue Maple felt a little exasperated about White Cherry’s behavior. She had unconditional trust in him, and she would never probe relentlessly about his reasons unless Blue Maple took the initiative to tell her his reasons.

Blue Maple typically didn’t take the initiative to share his reasons under normal circumstances, and that was because of his personality.

Blue Maple chose to stay put and wait because he knew that they had already been around every corner of the miniature Elven Forest’s central region. He was very clear about that.

He deliberately left marks along the way. He placed sparks of Heavenly Fire into some rocks, but even those these sparks could only last for several hours and were intermittent and disconnected, they still allowed Blue Maple to map out the forest.

They had already been through the forest’s entire central area, but there was a centremost area where they couldn’t enter no matter where they went.

Evidently, there was an enormous illusion in place that was blocking their entry. The reason why he was so sure was because he could see it with his Eyes of Heavenly Fire. However, the illusion’s rank is too powerful to the point where his eyes couldn’t see through it, and there was nothing he could do about it.

Blue Maple could burn a path through the illusion with Heavenly Fire, but he could forget about his Water of Life if he did that…

Blue Maple decided to wait because he felt that they were early for this quest. There had to be some key components which hadn’t spawned or hadn’t been triggered yet. Perhaps, the residing elves were monitoring them to see if they harbored ay ill intentions.

Therefore, all he had to do was wait. Their current position was at the border of the elven illusion, so they would be lost again if they continued forward. They would unwittingly circle back through another path.

Nothing strange happened around them after a long time, except there were more little animals around.

These little animals wanted to come closer to White Cherry, but they were still afraid of Blue Maple, who wasn’t too far away from her. They could only poke their heads around tentatively and timidly, and they didn’t dare to come near.

Blue Maple realized that a long time ago, but he wasn’t bothered by that at all as he continued resting with his eyes closed.

The sound of rhythmic and steady breathing could be heard, but Blue Maple could only shake his head in exasperation when he figured the source.

That sound came from White Cherry. She was probably in a relatively more comfortable position, and perhaps she had been waiting around for too long and unwittingly fell asleep. Her elegant and gentle sleeping posture cut a beautiful scene.

White Cherry’s long eyelashes quivered gently as a strand of black hair fell across her beautiful cheeks, and her rosy lips were slightly ajar while she breathed rhythmically.

She was like Sleeping Beauty, but he could only heave a faint sigh in the end as he watched her. He retrieved a blanket from his backpack and covered her gently, and he even used Heavenly Fire to give her a little more warmth so that she wouldn’t catch a cold.

Blue Maple gently lifted the strand of hair over her cheeks and pushed it to one side.

White Cherry’s cheeks became a little rosier like she had felt the warmth that he had given him, and the corner of her mouth curved subconsciously into a faint smile.

Blue Maple whispered gently to himself, “She’s not worried about me at all. She doesn’t even have her anti-harassment safeguard turned on when she’s sleeping.”

Players could turn that safeguard on when they were sleeping. These safeguards were mainly used to prevent others from harassing them. Even though other players could still attack players with the safeguard turned on, other actions of sexual harassment were not permitted.

For instance, Blue Maple gently lifting her strand of hair was not allowed if her anti-harassment safeguard was turned on.

Blue Maple eventually returned to his original spot where he had been resting, and he closed his eyes while he continued to wait.

However, his eyes immediately opened again as he lay down diagonally against the tree trunk.

A cute and white rabbit entered his field of vision. It ran before Blue Maple, and it was staring at him with a tilted head. The wariness in its eyes were all but gone, and there was more curiousness instead.

Blue Maple quickly realized what had happened when he saw this tiny creature’s lively little eyes.

Even though he didn’t know why they were so intimate with White Cherry, he knew that they didn’t dare to come close when he was around. Blue Maple’s intimate interaction with her from before must have given them a better impression. These little creatures weren’t very intelligent, so their wariness from before had disappeared, but they were still curious.

He didn’t reveal any emotions to this cute little creature in front of him. Instead, he revealed a tiny fruit that he had picked from some bushes and handed it over.

The little rabbit hesitated for a few moments when it saw Blue Maple’s actions, but it still pranced forward in lively fashion as it grabbed the berry with its two front paws and started nibbling on it.

The rabbit’s behavior immediately made the other little creatures poking their heads around lower their guards. Several other creatures skittered in front of him and postured like they were waiting for food.

They were very quiet and obedient, and they didn’t disturb White Cherry as she slept.

Blue Maple retrieved several berries from his backpack emotionlessly as he witnessed all this, and he divided the food for them. The squirrels were most timid amongst them, and they skittered away immediately after getting their food. Some of the sika deer even nudged Blue Maple a little.

Most of the animals arrived gently next to White Cherry after eating as they quietly lay prostrate next to her and watched her.

Blue Maple was also a little confused. He didn’t know why these little creatures felt so close to White Cherry.

The little creatures were savouring their food in front of Blue Maple when a black shadow emerged from Blue Maple’s body as perched itself on a small glyph platform beside his shoulder.

The tiny creatures were all startled abruptly!

Every single one of them quivered silently. They were terrified, but they didn’t dare to run. They were very fearful of Feather’s sudden appearance, and this fear was very primal.

“Don’t scare them, Feather.” Blue Maple chided him quietly.

Blue Maple knew that Feather was about to come out, but he didn’t expect him to feel mischievous. Feather deliberately released his aura once he emerged to give the little creatures a playful scare. Every single one of them went pale with fright.

Feather was obedient as he withdrew his aura.

“You don’t have to care about me. I’m not here to eat you. You can do what you want to do.” Feather was still in his black eagle form as he spoke in human language.

The little fellows around them understood his words and calmed down. They were fearful of Feather, but they knew that an entity such as Feather didn’t have to lie to them. Even so, they were still quite skittish.

Only the relatively more courageous rabbit and several other creatures remained as the others ran carefully to White Cherry.

Blue Maple and Feather didn’t react to them. Instead, they started chatting quietly to each other.

“Should I draw them away?” Feather asked, out of the blue.

“There’s no need. Even if we went over earlier, we would probably have caused some disturbance. Let’s just wait,” answered Blue Maple plainly.

The reason why he opened his eyes wasn’t just because of the rabbit. Blue Maple realized that some people were here, and they didn’t seem friendly. He was very sensitive to such things. Furthermore, the approaching party wasn’t hiding its presence at all. Feather had also detected this presence.

If the approaching party hadn’t come a little closer when they discovered him, Blue Maple would have asked Feather to draw them away because he didn’t want to disturb White Cherry, who was still sleeping.

There was nothing they could do since the strangers were already here.

“Yes.” Feather responded coldly and said nothing more as he waited quietly with Blue Maple.

Blue Maple took another fruit out and started teasing the courageous and cute rabbit.

Not before long, rustling sounds could be heard from the bushes opposite from Blue Maple and Feather as a group of people appeared one after another in front of them.

Every single creature except for the rabbit that Blue Maple was teasing turned to stare at them warily. They would probably have skittered away if Feather hadn’t bene here.

These people were a group of NPCs, but they had very high levels. They were all at least Level 70, and their leader was a Level 80 Warrior. He had a sinister and evil look, and there was even a hideous scar across his face.

They were a group of mercenaries, and they weren’t friendly.

However, Blue Maple ignored them as he continued teasing the rabbit in front of him.

These NPCs then frowned as they looked at Blue Maple. Some of them began starting lustfully at White Cherry, who was still sleeping, which caused the little fellows around her to glare in return.

Their leader stared at Blue Maple with a deep frown.

Blue Maple seemed like he wasn’t guarding himself against him at all as he continued teasing the white rabbit before him. He would hold a berry in front of the rabbit from time to time, but he would immediately pull his hand away when the rabbit was about to grab it. This made the little rabbit pout and grimace.

The NPCs’ leader then turned his eyes towards Feather, who was still perched on a glyph platform next to Blue Maple’s shoulder. The wary look on his face became even stronger than before.

Blue Maple’s expression was too calm to the point where it became unsettling.

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