Chapter 1: Expedition
Three soldiers escorted a group of people, as rays of mellow sunlight filtered through the verdurous canopy, penetrating through the leaves and casting an unearthly green–gold luminescence over the ground. They were in varying shades of green: some were still budding, emerging a fresh, limey color into the summer, whilst the grown, flatly panned leaves were brushed a lush emerald under the overhead sun.
Unlike the soldiers who were heavily armoured, the group of people were dressed in common clothing, and armed with low tier weapons.
The seemingly calm atmosphere was instantly ruined by the noisy chirping of birds as they scattered in all directions, rustling the leaves of tall trees, this caused the expression of the group treading through the damp forest to ashen.
"What's up with you trashes why so slow? we need to get to the deep cavern before nightfall, anyone who holds us back by the slightest bit shouldn't blame me for being ruthless" said one of the soldiers turning back with a look of disdain as he stared at the group being led.
"Tsk tsk, that damn division captain must think too lowly of us sending us some bunch of wastes..." said the second soldier giving a similar look of disdain back at the group.
"Ugh! Just take a look at them, no military experience or training I can't even select a handful of competent individuals among them, they're better off feeding the pigs. I doubt they'll be able to buy us some time in any case we're besieged by a pack of second-order vicious beasts"
In this vast world, there existed different types of vicious beasts, being graded by their combat power. vicious beasts had unique characteristics of being better than humans of the same level when comparing physical strength but were relatively weaker compared to humans in magic power and skills except for some higher-level existence among them.
As the soldiers spoke among themselves, they felt their senses tingle and thwarted their conversation...
What's that? you feel it right?"
"Yeah, there seems to be a vicious beast nearby. From the aura, I think it should be second-order"
"Oh? that's nothing much, but we have to be very sure, it should be time for these trashes to prove their worth already" said one of the soldiers as he lazily beckoned on two people at the forefront of the crowd.
"Hey, you lots hurry up and observe the situation in front!"
"What, you're scared? Do you think you can gain any benefits from this expenditure without giving your assistance?"
Those two stepped upfronts, they were slow and steady with a hint of panic in their squinted eyes. They walked to a distance of about a hundred meters from the group while keeping their senses on high alert. They suddenly felt a chill which was a result of killing intent emanating from an unknown but close location in the bush. Suddenly realizing that they were to be victims of an attack at any moment, they couldn't help but shiver while looking back at the soldiers.
"S-sir..." The tallest one was the first to speak up. "I think there's something over here"
"Hey shut up and don't move," said the archer among the soldiers while adjusting his bow-set to an inclined position ready, ready to shoot at any moment.
A rattling sound was heard deep in the bush followed by a horrendous roar, then appeared a six-foot-tall vicious beast with looks of a giant leopard with fiery eyes and long protruded fangs. Its speed was comparable to the wind as it covered a distance of thirty meters in two breaths worth of time. Having its eyes fixed on the two preys who had been frightened to the bone by now almost at the point of convulsing, it reached out its claws but was struck suddenly on the neck by a well-timed arrow coming from the archer.
Followed by a loud whimper, the beast was sent tumbling and then giving a desperate struggle. Guided by collective instincts and experience, the two swordsmen rushed at the wounded beast sending series of bombardments leaving no room for escape. The whole scene lasted for about twenty breaths of time before the beast's head was chopped off by one of the soldiers.
"Hahaha, not bad. Starting off with a low-rank second-order vicious beast, it's commendable right?" He said to his other companion while holding on to the head of the beast.
"Yeah, that's right. hopefully, we won't run into any sort of trouble like third-order vicious beast or so"
"Ha, what do you think you're saying? how can there be a third-order vicious beast around this area? besides the teran wolves are the only third-order vicious beast in this entire forest area but their territory is located deep within the edge so we shouldn't expect to run into any of them if we remain in the safe zone"
After speaking he turned to the petrified individuals who had just been used as bait "Have the body processed and bring me the collected materials"
"Y-yes" they both replied with expressions like they've just been brought back from the dead.
The body of vicious beasts was highly valued because it contains materials that were important just like the skin, bones, and also the core which could be used to forge equipment or for alchemy processes.
After a while, the group arrived at the entrance of a massive cave that seemed like a tunnel.
"Hmm, seems to be this one right?" One of the soldiers said thoughtfully as he glanced through a map.
"Sure, it should be" replied the second. Turning a look over to the crowd and said...
"Listen up you all, this is where it truly begins. I'll be taking ten of you with us across the entrance while the rest will remain here to keep guard. Of course, you should be well aware of the dangers and benefits that lie within the cavern, so I will let only those of you who are competent enough. Don't worry you'll be able to keep your dog lives under our watchful protection"
After speaking, he went through the crowd and selected ten people who readily accepted with some showing faint signs of panic.
Alright, this should be enough"
The soldier turned and narrowed a cold glare on the figure of a young boy.
"What is it?"
"let me come along, I believe ill be useful"
"What makes you think that? because you have a fairly good weapon?"
"N-no not that "
"Leave him be, he seems to be brave spirited. I like his positive attitude, it won't be a bad idea to let him come along" Said a soldier walking to the position where the young boy stood. "Such confidence...what's your name?" he said giving a slight grin.
The Soldiers had odd looks on their faces as the glanced at each another with Unearthly expressions, that one could infer what they were thinking. A moment later, the lead soldier broke the silence :
"What a strange name, I guess the world is truly vast. At least I'll remember it, you can have that as a honor" He beckoned on the group as they entered.