Chapter 37: Change in perspective
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*Crumble* *Crumble*

A blocked tunnel was opened in the dungeon, and a few stones fell, creating a crumbling sound.

‘It seems no one is here yet.’

Adam was looking carefully to see if Noelani and her team had come yet.

‘*Breathe* God, I was starting to suffocate in there.’

‘I hope I have more time before Noelani and the others get here. Otherwise, this purification dome will give me away.’

Adam thought, referring to the innate orb he was carrying.

He started walking forward, keeping his senses tensed in case he noticed another dome’s light.

But the more he walked, the more confident he became.

He realized that the camp’s members had not yet reached here, and he had time to carry out his plans.

“In that case, I have to rush.”

Adam started running.

This is the moment to either run away or prep for an upcoming confrontation against the camp’s members.

But he has already decided to defend this location.

Adam swiftly ran around, commanding shadows to follow him.

He eventually rounded up six shadows.

“It looks like the dark miasma is still in the rebound state; there are barely any corruption shadows.”

Adam noticed.

Next, he gave each of the shadows a copy of the earth clump skill orb.

Even though he waisted two while experimenting, he duplicated a lot of skill orbs because of the mana restoration effect.

However, after finding out that he could only control six shadows, Adam was stuck with extra skill orbs, unsure what to do with them.

He started experimenting on them and didn’t care if they were destroyed or not.

But Adam has accomplished what he came out to do and gathered the corruption shadows. Next, he took his new comrades and moved back to the island core’s room.

He passed a few intersections but stopped before the core’s room at the last intersection.

Adam entered the tunnel leading to the core and commanded the shadows to close the tunnel behind them.

“Now, I want to fill up this tunnel. I need to buy as much time as I could, until Noelani and the others break through and reach the core. Thankfully, however, I have free labor that is tireless.”

Adam cheerfully said while looking at the six shadows.

He does not have to use any mana at all. He will leave all the skill activation to the corruption shadows; after all, they won’t run out of mana nor get tired, thanks to the dark miasma.

“To start, you guys dig me another exit to the surface! The extra stones from that project can be used, here, to fill this tunnel up.”

***

Noelani was checking out the web of clouds she had been working on in the orb space.

Her previously gigantic cloud has become a net stretching through several orbs from different islands. This means she could trade with many people from dozens of islands.

Her trading network’s radius nearly reaches halfway back to the original position she started from.

It still would not be possible to do this when she first got here, even with that gigantic cloud she had, but the more her network grew, the more illusory clouds she gained and worked with.

Noelani’s figure in the orb space turned her face in another direction.

There was an illusory cloud traveling on the net she set up.

This figure quickly reached Noelani and morphed into the shape of a person.

“Noelani, I have thought about it, and I agree to sell you my talent skill, but I want five skill orbs for one of mine.”

“As I said, if you want a skill orb, then you must pay a skill orb or the corresponding volume of illusory clouds.” She responded.

The man’s figure frowned.

“Do you want my architecture talent skill or not?”

“I do, but my prices don’t change,” Noelani answered firmly.

“How about two for one then?” he continued bargaining.

“Fine, how about three for two? I’ll give you three skill orbs, and I get two of your talent skills.”

Noelani flipped 180 and compromised.

The man hesitated but finally agreed.

After she ended the deal, Noelani saw other cloud figures coming.

All these people have either a talent skill or are proficient hunters.

It’s to be expected. After all, not many people have excess resources to trade with. Those who are capable are the exception.

However, before the next person came, Noelani's face changed.

“I’m sorry, everyone, but I will have to leave. I’ll send my compatriot, Simone, to take over negotiations.”

She said her voice was heard by all connected to the trading network. Unfortunately, Noelani’s figure vanished from the space right after she said this.

***

Noelani's awareness came back to the real world.

“Noelani, are you awake?” It was Sarah who nudged Noelani and woke her up.

Noelani nodded.

“Yeah thanks, we need to start moving before the dark miasma recovers and the dark-elementals start spawning again.” She thanked Sara and looked to the side; Simone was there.

“Simone, take my place in the orb space.”

“Ok, but what do I have to do?” Simone responded to Noelani. Both Simone and Sara knew the general situation inside the orb space.

“There are many people you have to trade with, and you only have to negotiate and agree on prices. I’ll conduct the actual trade when I get back. Remember to keep the prices the same as I told you, and don’t let anyone haggle you down more than the lowest acceptable price.”

Simone nodded and left to her orb.

“By the way, Noelani, do the orbs return to their original position?”

Sara wondered and asked.

Noelani shook her head.

“Thankfully, no. After all, we need a constant supply of cultivation skills right now, and Jacob is the closest person with such a talent. There is also the trading net; not only will it benefit us, but we can influence other islands to join up their orbs and increase their survival rate.”

Noelani smiled while thinking of her accomplishments.

“I see, so what are the plans now?” Sara asked.

“Tell everyone that we will set off for the dungeon; we need to take it over soon. Otherwise, it will be difficult if the dark miasma recovers.”

“Also, get me, Phan, here.”

Noelani remembered something and gave out her instructions.

“Ok.”

Sara leaves to carry out Noelani’s orders.

It did not take long for Phan to come.

“Phan, here take this earth clump skill. We will need you to do some digging in the dungeon.”

“Oh nice, I already have an earth-type skill, so I’ll be able to use this new one without an issue.”

He said happily.

“Not really, there are minor differences between the various earth-type skills, and the same could be said about all the other elements.”

“The mana produced from one skill will have a 10-20% reduction in efficacy for other skills, but it should be fine for now.”

Phan nodded his head but looked at Noelani with a severe look.

“Noelani, I know you disagree with Gideon, but can you please take him out of confinement? I am worried about his health.”

Noelani nodded.

“You reminded me; I was planning on freeing him now anyway.”

***

Soon, Gideon was out of his shed and talking with Phan.

“Thanks for the help, Phan.”

“No problem, I barely did anything.”

Gideon smiled and patted Phan’s shoulder but left in the next moment.

“Wait, old man, where are you going?”

Phan was confused at first, but once he noticed that Gideon was walking towards Noelani, he quickly followed.

He still felt guilty from last time and wanted to be a mediator between the two, if possible.

However, Gideon’s following words dashed his hopes of reconciliation between the two.

“Noelani, I will not let you and the others leave to go hunt, Adam.”

Gideon stated.

‘Darn it, old man, why are you so stubborn?!’ Phan scolded Gideon in his mind.

Noelani looked at Gideon with a stern look.

“Are you going to go so far for Adam? Why?”

“Because he is a person like you and me! Just because we have been put through challenging conditions, it does not mean we should betray all our morals!”

“Morals?” Noelani looked at him in a ridiculing manner.

“Do you know what I have been doing in the orb space, Gideon?” Noelani asked.

Noelani continued without letting Gideon answer.

“I was able to go from one island to another and communicate with the people on those islands. Do you know what I found the survival rate to be?”

“You were able to move in the orb space? Well … I imagine it’s not good.”

Gideon was a little surprised to hear about the changes in the orb space but responded to her question.

“Wrong! ‘Not good’ is an understatement; it’s horrific. On average, only 1 in 10 people have survived so far.”

There was a short silence; Noelani wanted that to sink in.

“You understand what it means? 90% of humanity was wiped out in the first month of being here! First Month!”

Noelani emphasized her last two words.

“How many do you think will still be here after a few more months? Years? Decades?”

Everyone’s faces were gloomy after hearing about such a dire situation.

“See, Gideon; you fight for your morals, which is admirable. But in my eyes, you’re selfish. You’re fighting to keep the rules and values of the old world intact, but who said we had such luxury?”

Noelani turned towards everyone.

“I want you all to shift your perspectives if you had not already! We are not fighting for our own existence, our survival as individuals. But for our species! Humanity’s Survival!”

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