"So, did you fake having trouble?" Icicle asked Adian, but his voice wasn't suspicious anymore. He didn't care, he wanted to know if they met with another group. Fighting with the wolves on his own and gaining experience was a way of Adian's to let him experience the world.
"Hehe, indeed, I made a few blunders on purpose. Who would have thought you would scheme so much, hehe. You're pretty good brother." Adian smiled brightly. He made sure he wasn't mistaken about this disciple of his. Icicle even spared his potions on him, that made him feel especially good. They were both frugal, trying to save the resources yet Icicle didn't hesitate and threw the potion to him. It wasn't something big, but the gesture counted.
"Thank you." Icicle said in a low voice. He raged just a few seconds ago, but now he realized he was led by the nose like a little sheep. That made him embarrassed.
"Haha, not a problem. Did you pick everything up? If so, then let's move! Those groups will only grow up in number. There are many more patrolling the area." Adian warned and picked up his backpack.
"There's this one thing..." Icicle stared at Adian with puppy eyes. "I need a sword." he pointed at the dead wolf's behind. The wolf didn't disintegrate into particiles like others, most likely because the sword was stuck up its ass.
"Buahahahaha! That's the funniest thing I've ever seen! You're really good!" Adian fell on his back and started rolling, only when the sound of glass breaking rang out from his backpack did he stop. "Man, that's so cruel yet so funny. Leave this wolf here, the other wolves will find him and scatter in search of the perpetrator. By thinning out the packs, we can move straight to the their leader's lair!"
"What about the new sword? Come on, help me out!" Icicle pleaded.
"I guess you've earned it." Adian scratched his head, put down his backpack and handed over one of his swords to Icicle.
When Adian bent a little to hand over the sword to Icicle, Icicle noticed that this youth's axe gave off a blue hue! Adian had a [Rare] grade weapon!
Realizing that fact, Icicle looked at Adian with more respect. He was worthy of powerleveling him.
"What are you smiling so impishly about? Are you contemplating robbing me? It won't be easy." Adian laughed joyfully as he brandished his axe.
"No, I just realized that you're worthy of powerleveling me. That's all. Oh, and thank you for the sword. It's really good." Icicle bowed his head and put the [Novice sword] into his inventory.
Adian looked at Icicle completely dumbfounded. He actually treated his master like a stepping stone! What a high ambition! However, he didn't feel offended. Adian knew that adventurers were destined to aim high. Maybe when Icicle reaches high level, as a show of gratitude to the one who helped him early on, he will help him rise high.
"Alright, we've idled long enough. Let's go." Adian commanded. He was in a good mood.
On their way, they met a lone [Grey Alpha Wolf]. Adian swiftly dispatched it. Only a few copper coins dropped which Adian swiftly swept away.
Icicle looked at him with furrowed brows.
"What? I'm poor too." Adian replied innocently, as if taking the money was the most common thing in the world.
"Whatever, it's fine." Icicle couldn't be bothered about a few copper coins. He simply didn't want this trend to continue, otherwise he won't have enough money to buy any equipment!
Icicle looked at his stats.
Icicle sighed. His experience bar progressed fast, but the required experience was more and more. If he only relied on Adian, he would need 40 [Grey Alpha Wolves] to level up. It's not that hard considering it's an event, but their resources aren't limitless either.
Icicle pulled out two loafs of bread and handed one to Adian.
"Thanks." Adian was curt as he munched on the bread. When he finished he threw something Icicle's way.
[Dried Boar's Meat] was a great item to replenish stamina. Icicle gobbled the meat up and looked at Adian, his saliva dripping on the ground. Adian was long finished with his piece, chewing on a second one. For someone like Icicle who didn't fight long, one piece of meat was enough, but he still looked at Adian with "I want more."gaze. That meat tasted delicious!
"We're not gourmets. You'll receive another portion when you deserve it." Adian smiled deviously. He enjoyed teasing Icicle back. He could vent his "extorted" state of mind this way.
Icicle gulped loudly and moved along. There was nothing he could do at the moment, he had to try harder.
As Adian and Icicle proceeded forward, a large group of wolves centered on them. Whelps moved swiftly, the two were already surrounded.
"Look at that, it's your time to shine, little guy!" Adian laughed loudly, as if seeing money right before him.
Although the group was large, it only had 4 [Grey Alpha Wolves]. The other 30 or so wolves were of level 5 to 8. Icicle could even see their stats!
There were only little discrepancies in health between level 5 and 6 [Grey Wolves] as well as lvl 7 and 8 [Brown Vicious Wolves]. There was one more type of wolf that emerged from the pack.
"One star monster, huh?" Icicle looked at the wolf as if it already turned into equipment. However, seeing that the majority of the wolves dashed towards Adian, he realized he has 5 [Grey Wolves] and one [Brown Vicious Wolf] to combat.
Icicle carefully observed the wolves. During his observation, the wolves encircled his position. The only way out was to break the encirclement!
Before he charged out, he heard a wild, joyous laughter. His gaze turned to Adian who was wildly sending the wolves flying left and right. Every swing of his axe was powerful and decisive. Some wolves ended up crippled from the brunt force of the blow, others from the awkward landing. They laid on the ground limply. However, Icicle was sure that Adian wasn't doing this on purpose. He was not helping him out with gaining experience. Instead, Adian was enjoying himself! It was his revenge for the ambush attack he talked about earlier!
Icicle was encouraged by the brute-like ways of Adian. He gripped his sword tightly and slammed the wolf who lunged at him down.
Although this was not a critical hit, with [Novice sword]'s increased damage, Icicle was able to target the head of the wolf. The most crucial part was that he was faster than the lvl 6 [Grey Wolf] in front of him!
Moving behind the wolf, Icicle stuck his sword in the wolf's behind.
The other five wolves weren't idle. They immediately came up before the wounded wolf, growled menacingly and circled around Icicle yet again.
Icicle looked at his sword carefully. His brows were furrowed. "What a pity." he said. If the wolves knew what he found so regrettable they would explode in rage.
What Icicle expected was some wolf dung stuck to the sword. He would then slash the other wolves' eyes with the dung covered sword, blinding them! Icicle's mentality was simple "When you're strong you can use all kind of graceful and elegant moves. Weaklings don't have such ability so they should use any underhanded means they can!"
Icicle knew he was not a match for the wolves if he fought them the normal way. He didn't have anything of use around. Even if he tried to hide behind the tree, he would only get himself cornered. That wasn't an option, he had to be able to freely move around. Thus, he stayed in place and repelled the attacks.
Icicle remembered how Adian dealt with the wolves. He was striking at the vitals! But that's not all. He struck their forepaws, sliced their throats and cleaved their skulls. The last move was impossible for Icicle, he was not a giant nor a body-builder. He arrived in this world 8 hours ago, so there wasn't much he could achieve.
Relying on mimicking Adian's way of fighting, Icicle struck the wolves decisively. However, even that proved to be of no use in the long run. As Icicle fought for a couple minutes, he realized that even while using potions, his health recovery cannot keep up! With each minute he lost more and more health. He had to dodge more, parry more, move faster!
His gaze fell on Adian who was walking among the pack of wolves as if he was their king. Adian's buckler slammed the wolves, his brown short hair dripped with sweat, glistening in the sun rays that made their way through the treetops. Icicle realized Adian used his whole body to attack, not just his footwork, axe and hands.
Remembering the sword lessons Icicle took in his childhood, he decisively stepped forward and struck with his weight behind him.
Just a normal hit to the side of a [Brown Vicious Wolf] yet it was so effective! Icicle felt like just this wasn't enough! His hunger for power increased, his mind buzzing with activity. He remembered watching boxing matches where the participants swayed to avoid the other's blows by a hair's breadth. Adian's way of dodging looked refined, he could somehow shift his ankles in a way inconceivable to Icicle. Just thinking about it made him imagine sprain his ankle.
Icicle was quite athletic in real life, but here, in Loiterous, his body didn't differ much from an ordinary adult. The body you spawn in was in a raw state and needed large amount of training. Could that matter to him when he was fighting though? Of course not!
He started swaying, shifting weight, dodging to the sides and using the wolves' momentum to slam them against each other. Every step he made, he tried to get either on the side or behind his attacker, keeping track of other wolves' positions in his head.
This blissful feeling of enjoyable fighting continued, Icicle felt like the game was prompting him to persevere. He wanted to gain a new skill, whichever it was!
During the next five minutes, Icicle's original stack of 9 [Basic Healing Potions] dwindled to none. He was left with only 14 [Turbid Medium Healing Potions]. He didn't mind that. That was the price of him learning.
Adian was almost finished with his group and looked at Icicle with interest. His mouth was curled into a smile.
Currently Icicle was in a battle mode state. His entire being was focused on surviving. Each wolf he fought with was heavily wounded, but they all covered each other's faults and weren't easy to kill. Icicle didn't want to kill them either, he considered them great practice partners.
All his eyes could see were the wolves, all his ears could hear were the low growls the six wolves made. Icicle enjoyed this state and he concentrated to the fullest extent. He tried any move he could think of, tumbling, rolling, sidestepping, deflecting. Every style he read of or practiced even a tiny little he tried to employ. Aikido, karate, kickboxing.
His body dripping with sweat, Icicle made his move. His sword moved downwards, cutting straight at the [Grey Wolf]'s head. The wolf dodged sideways, but Icicle followed with a kick to its side. Powerful force behind the kick made the wolf tumble and hit a tree, falling on its side. Icicle followed like an agile monkey and stabbed the wolf's abdomen with all his weight behind it.
As one of the wolves turned into particles, three hits landed on Icicle's back as retribution.
Adian was done. He leaned against a tree and observed the changes in Icicle, smiling wryly. "This kid..." he shook his head. "He's making so much progress in merely one day. It has taken me a month to get in this battle mode state. He even started to develop an aura. No wonder those wolves sometimes dodge to the side without him attacking. It's a shame he can't control his aura, it would make his fight a lot easier."
What Adian didn't realize was that Icicle was looking for his style. Every experienced warrior had one. It was a set of moves they were the most comfortable with. Warriors didn't exhaust as much energy as they normally would because they enjoyed moving in a specified way. Their mental fatigue was decreased by a lot too.
Icicle was encircled yet again. He was about to break through one of the sides when in his mind appeared the image of a wolf behind him. He turned around and swung his sword down.
Suddenly all of the struggling turned into an advantageous fight! Icicle couldn't pinpoint exactly where would the wolves attack, but based on their presences, he knew which side of his was targeted.
He moved swiftly and started finishing off the wolves one by one. Even their [Frenzied] state didn't matter. So what if their attacks were more powerful if they didn't hit?
One by one [Grey Wolves] met their maker. The only one alive was [Brown Vicious Wolf], however its health was mostly depleted too. Icicle ran towards it and the brown wolf turned tail and ran!
"Like hell I'll let you escape!" Icicle jumped off a stump and hurled his sword at the wolf.
As he looked at his sword missing, plunging into the ground, Icicle's expression dimmed. However, Adian's axe embedded itself into a wolf's skull. He walked towards Icicle clapping "Well done, little brother. I didn't think you would manage so well." Adian patted Icicle's shoulder.
Icicle didn't mind Adian. He was furrowing his brows unhappily. "Let's find some more wolves to fight." he said, picking up the sword.
Adian looked at Icicle with shock. "That little bastard still has energy to fight! What a freak!" he picked up the loot and stuffed it into his bag.
The next group they encountered had five [Grey Alpha Wolves] with 50 followers. Icicle shouted "Give me one of the [Grey Alpha Wolves] and a few others. Take care of the rest." Adian heard it and looked at Icicle with a frown. "Who told you you can order me around, eh?" he thought. As he looked closer, he noticed Icicle was still in a battle mode state.
"This is inhuman. How can he keep it up for so long? His aura isn't decreasing but increasing instead! Only those who killed a lot of creatures or are simply mad can keep it up for this long! Could it be adventurers receive some additional help from the gods?" Adian wondered for a while, but then directed the [Grey Alpha Wolf] to Icicle. To test his theory, he made sure to damage the wolf's butt, enraging it, before it was blasted over to Icicle.
Icicle faced two [Brown Vicious Wolves], two [Grey Wolves] and a [Grey Alpha Wolf]. He considered getting rid of the followers of [Grey Alpha Wolf] first, but that would decrease the difficulty of the training.
[Grey Alpha Wolf] commanded his little pack as they lunged towards Icicle in unison. Icicle considered closing his eyes to feel their presences better. He did as he thought.
Two of his slashes hit the air. He wasn't at the level where he could comprehend [Sense presence] to this extent. Seeing things in a movie isn't the same as knowing them through and through.
Pack of wolves capitalized on Icicle's mistake and clawed him repeatedly.
Backing off immediately, Icicle drank [Turbid Medium Healing Potion]. The potion recovered 200HP so some of its health recovery was wasted. Wiping his mouth, Icicle steadied himself. He looked around carefully to examine the nearby terrain. He looked for large boulders and trees that could block the line of sight, as well as elevated or sunken soil.
Encouraged by their previous success, the pack of wolves rushed at Icicle with renewed vigor and ferocity. Icicle dodged, swaying to the sides and deflecting the razor sharp claws.
As he sidestepped to the right, one of the midair wolves slammed right into the tree. Icicle followed with a curved arc, starting from the ground and curving upwards, making it look like an uppercut.
[Grey Wolf]'s abdominal area was lacerated, bleeding profusely. Enraged by the sight of a wounded comrade, the attacks of the pack were even more savage and fierce. However, with powerful, unbridled swings of claws came many flaws. Utilizing these openings, Icicle struck the wolves' forepaws, trying to cripple them.
The fight continued, Icicle killed all of the level 5 and 8 wolves, as they were of no use, earning 340 experience. Only [Grey Alpha Wolf] was left. Icicle closed his eyes and tried to predict where would the attack come from. At first it was with his eyes opened, but his reaction speed was always too slow.
Wrong, it was that [Grey Alpha Wolf] was too fast for him! He had to improve if he wanted to parry its blows perfectly. Every blow [Grey Alpha Wolf] dealt, Icicle countered by smashing his [Novice sword] against its claws.
Icicle took damage from the impact every time. It was a problem of insufficient strength and technique. If he could clash against [Grey Alpha Wolf]'s claws perfectly, then the damage would range from 0-3. However, only around 25% of his counters managed to get close to that. The other times it was the wolf's fault for missing.
Icicle continued to fight in such a deadlock for the next 10 minutes. His health bar was dangerously low, his stockof potions dwindled to 3 [Turbid Medium Healing Potions].
[Grey Alpha Wolf] was tired and so was Icicle. The resulting impact damage couldn't be healed by the wolf, it had no potions to drink. Icicle had an edge over it in this regard.
Both of them looked at each other and mustered the remaining strength for the final strike.
Two figures moved as fast as lightning, aiming to eliminate the other!
Icicle's sword flashed with an overhead swing, but it stopped midway! [Grey Alpha Wolf] was startled, it bounced off the ground with more ferociousness and speed, closing in on Icicle.
Icicle's figure sidestepped to the left, swinging the sword horizontally, cleaving the Grey Alpha Wolf's maw in half.
Icicle picked up the loot, struggling to even walk, before he fell on the ground motionless. He heaved like the bellow of a blacksmith, releasing his exhaustion and gobbling up oxygen to restore his energy.
Adian walked towards Icicle and said with a tinge of surprise "You were having so much trouble with this [Grey Alpha Wolf], yet you emerged victorious. Not bad, kiddo."
Icicle who was still catching his breath answered weakly "Who said I was having trouble." he coughed then added "I merely practiced my moves on it."
Inhaling fiercely, Icicle looked at Adian seriously and said "It's true I have no chance going one versus one against it. First thing is, I do have no equipment, meaning no defense. If not for all these potions, I would be clawed to death ten times already." Icicle shook his head resignedly and gulped down oxygen again.
"The second thing is obviously difference of levels. When I was still level 1, a [Grey Alpha Wolf] could kill me in two to three moves. However, now that I can utilise my dexterity and know how to parry attacks, it's not so easy to kill me anymore." Icicle declared.
"If I had the entire set of [Basic] grade level 5 equipment, I'm sure I could handle [Grey Alpha Wolf] without any potions. Hell, I'm certain I could handle two of them." Adian looked at his disciple with some pride. Even so, he couldn't help rebuking him "Learning how to use an aura isn't so simple boy. You only comprehended the glimpse of it, that's why you were so focused. Don't think it's easy to enter this state again."
Icicle looked at Adian with his brows raised, not knowing what Adian was talking about. "I have no idea what this aura thing is, but I learned the [Sense presence] skill and utilised it to my utmost. That's why I'm certain I can deal with two [Grey Alpha Wolves] at once, if I had the equipment, that is. Without equipment I still do need to rely on potions. Speaking of which, I only have 3 left." Icicle sighed and then continued stabilising his breathing.
Adian looked at him in shock. Sensing presence this early? It took him months! This child is a freak! A monster even!
"Don't look at me with this soft gaze, hand me some of that boar meat instead." Adian's illusion broke as he realized that he's in front of someone comparable to himself. A scheming miser who's good at extorting things!
However, he was proud of having such a disciple. Before, he thought it would be good if Icicle helps him in the future, but now he knew he's going to become someone known throughout the world. He can't die after all! Adventurers respawn, so this Icicle kid will definitely get far.
Since it was a joyous occasion, Adian took out three pieces of meat and handed it to Icicle. Then he took out two metal cups and filled them with wine. "Here, drink brother. We're going to be rich when we return!" Adian passed the cup to Icicle with a smile.
Icicle's pupils narrowed, thinking of various drugs that could be in the cup. However, Adian drank all of his wine so he followed suit.
Devouring three pieces of meat Icicle felt full. The feeling of sleepiness overcame him. He lied down on the side and fell asleep.
"These herbs work wonders, eh? I'm sure this little brat wouldn't want to sleep even for a minute. If he doesn't rest, he'll strain himself." Adian took out a blanket and covered Icicle. Then he stood watch, guarding his vulnerable disciple.
Two hours passed and Icicle woke up. Rubbing the sleepiness out of his eyes, he yawned loudly. As he looked around, he realized he's still in the [Humming Forest]. Next to him was a large pile of furs, at least a couple hundred. Grey, brown and some white colored pelts were ready for the taking.
Icicle stood up and looked for Adian. Not seeing him anywhere he stuffed the furs into his inventory.
"Oh, you've woken up? How was the rest?" Adian asked as he cheerfully walked towards Icicle. In his hands he was carrying a stack of furs.
"Pretty good, thanks. That wine's effect was pretty strong." Icicle commented.
Adian smiled wryly. He didn't know what to say. He was seen through by his disciple.
"Give me the rest of the furs and I won't mind it." Icicle's eyes flashed with greed.
"Hahaha, I can't stuff them in my bag anymore, there's almost no more space left. Here take 10 of those too, I cooked some while you were sleeping."
Icicle thanked Adian and stuffed all of the furs and meat into his inventory.
"Tell me, how do you really feel? If you're tired we can make a camp." Adian was pretty straightforward. He wanted to rush to the Vilen Town to make money, but now that he has seen Icicle grow he's not in a rush anymore. He knows he'll be able to earn tons of money later on without moving a finger.
"I'm weak, but it would be weird if I felt strong after such an intensive training. Let's go, I need to forge my body more before it moves how I want it to. As for the camp, we'll pitch a tent later." Adian nodded and took his stuff.
The duo went futher into the territory of the wolves.