Ethan spotted a cute squirrel munching on a nut and lowered his speed. A white horn on its head reflected light like a crystal.
I hope it's a female.
He shuffled toward the squirrel, trying to look as harmless as possible. His efforts were in vain as the squirrel's ears perked up. Its blue eyes lingered on him for quite a few moments. The white horn on its head let out a blinding light.
Ethan didn't blink from the flashbang-like attack, only seeing an afterimage of the squirrel as it vanished.
It ran away.
His shoulders dropped down. His plan to make an animal army failed.
The scrubs suddenly crinkled and the squirrel bolted out, holding a round pink fruit bigger than its own head. It scuttled closer and held out the fruit for him.
Ethan squatted and received the fruit with a smile.
A fruit that grows on the Fresia Trees. The sweetness of this fruit exceeds anything in existence. Many animals use this to propose to their mate.
Effect: The taste can intoxicate anyone with love if the Willpower is less than 200.
Ethan almost dropped the fruit. His second proposal came from… a horned squirrel.
She is cute though.
A squirrel mutated from accumulating an extreme amount of Prana. It can control the wind currents with its horn.
Her description startled Ethan. This little thing could control the wind to an extent, despite being a Level 4.
Ethan held out his finger, letting her nuzzle his finger.
The first soldier recruited.
If only every animal was a female his survival chances would shoot up.
"I will call you Mini."
The squirrel's ears perked up. She rushed up to his shoulder and pointed to the front.
Ethan wrinkled his brow. "Danger?"
She nodded, as though understanding him and repeatedly pointed behind and right.
Ethan turned to the only safe direction, or it wasn't as safe since it led to the magma lake.
"Fuck. I should try to outrun it."
He dashed toward the safest direction, somewhat confused at his trust in the little squirrel. His feet took bigger strides than usual, almost throwing him headfirst into a tree.
Is this Mini's magic?
She was affecting the air resistance to increase Ethan's mobility. Several moments later, he reached the magma lake.
Mini scratched his neck and pointed at the river, making a gesture similar to a kid flying a paper plane. "Squeak!"
"Wait, you want me to jump?"
Mini confirmed with a nod and rubbed her horn. "Squeal squeal!"
He glanced behind to discover over a dozen ferocious wolves charging at him. Their open jaws revealed gleaming fangs; their pitch-black eyes held anything but good intentions.
Ethan swallowed his dry saliva. These wolves meant business.
I can't fight them off. At least this magma will melt me in less time, way better than feeling them chewing on my bones.
He turned back to the river.
The distance between the two sides should be 30 to 40 meters. The longest jump record is 9 meters or something.
"Mini, I am counting on you. Just four times the speed and I will be on the other side."
"Squeal." Mini thumped her chest as if saying leave everything to me.
Making up his mind, Ethan took Mini in his hand. He retreated and sprinted forward, leaping above the river. His "Courage" Aspect wasn't just for showing off.
"I am flyiiiiiing!"
He flailed his hands to control his movements in the air. The heat of magma didn't bother him much.
In a second, his world revolved as he rolled on the jagged ground. He held Mini close to his chest and crashed into the cave.
"Argh..." he couldn't suppress the painful groan. His bones ached as if a car had run over him.
He let go of Mini being suffocated in his hands. Her horn had several cracks. She pushed her limits for this magic.
"Mini, your horn… are you okay?"
She crawled on top of his head and patted his head.
She is fine.
He pushed himself off the ground and leaned against the cave. He stifled the metallic taste rushing up his throat and let out a dry laugh.
"I would have died if not for my stats. I am still not exactly fine."
He whipped out the crushed fruit from his pocket and took a bite. The sweetness just melted his taste buds.
He plucked a piece for Mini, which she grabbed instantly. He devoured two fruits and resisted the temptation to eat the last one.
You gained a new Aspect for enhancing your Lifeforce: Robust (I)
You have reached the limit of Aspects for your current level.
So the Aspects are restricted by the level. Can't abuse it now...
He opened his stats to see the new Aspect's description.
You are harder to kill. Is that a good thing though?
Grants +1 Vitality.
He raised his middle finger at the castle.
"Fuck you, asshole bird."
He staggered over to the cave's mouth. A dim light illuminated the walls, coming from the silver moss growing everywhere in the cave.
"Mini, you hear anything here?"
Mini shook her head.
He stepped inside. His footsteps echoed in the desolate cave.
After walking for several minutes, he could see a table and a chair at the end.
He quickened his pace, almost tripping on a loose stone in the process.
From up close, he found something sitting on top of the table.
A water bottle and a diary…
It looked familiar.
A recollection diary narrated by Mio Emerson, a sister head over heels for Ethan Carter.
He grabbed the book and opened it.
Greetings Otherworlder Ethan,
I am Fiona, the sole Phoenix Spirit in the world. I hope you are not too offended by my prank.
Bear in mind that I have no hand in summoning you here, nor do I wish to offend the one who summoned you. Be assured, for they cannot harbor any malicious intent against you.
In compensation for any damage, I grant you water!
The note ended there. The next page was the start of Mio's diary.
Water can be found anywhere.
Effect: Reduce your thirst and rejuvenate your energy.
This bird… is so shameless for advertising water as it is some God-Tier Elixir.
She would have become a first-class salesman on Earth.
He gulped down the cold water.
"Maaan, it's delicious."
"Mini, want a si—"
Everything turned dark and his eyes blanked out.
He collapsed on the ground. His body dispersed into purple specks.
"Squeeeeal!" Mini's scream resounded in the cave.