Chapter 48: Encounter in the forest
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Merging with the shadows, Erin tried to control them. The shadows slowly started moving, but about ten seconds later, Erin was sweating and breathing hard. Finally, some fifteen seconds later, the skill failed to be completed and she got out of the shadows, exhausted.


"Not bad, keep going. Now you need to rest. That skill is quite taxing for the body and mind. We'll try again in a few hours time." Richard said as he observed Erin.


Erin nodded, thinking how to improve it. She started remembering her game experience in her previous life. Thinking about it, she was quite surprised that those memories could actually help her with her new life here. But as she was thinking about the past, the memories of her parents and sister surfaced again. Struggling to suppress them, she sighed. Maybe she wouldn't ever be able to return to them. After all, she had seen the warning that the site gave her at the end. That's why she was trying so hard to adapt herself in this new world and with this new body.


After 6 days of training, finally, on the seventh day, Erin could control the shadows to surround her. That was the first step, the next step was to actually summon them around her and enlarge them.


The skill itself was engulfing all the light around her, with darkness descending. It was really a helpful skill. Moreover, after she learned it she could use it with other skills for defense and attack at the same time. She was a bit excited about its prospects.


Richard had a smile on his lips as he looked at the excited Erin. It seemed to him as if she had fully forgotten about ignoring him. He felt happy about that. After all, he wanted to be close to her. If she forgave him this time, that would be for the better. He wouldn't be so rash in the future.


Anna, on the other hand, was still helping Erin with her everyday life. She finally managed to accept Erin as a friend too, not only as her master. After all, Erin was a kind soul, and Anna could clearly see what Erin wanted. She didn't want a servant, but a friend. That made her a bit happy in accepting such a master. Though they hadn't known each other for a long time, their connection was really close.


Anna really adored the new princess. Yes, that was her title in the castle. Everyone was hoping to see her growing strong and staying by the side of their leader. After all, she was the hope of the vampire race. That's why even Richard was trying hard to teach her everything and was traveling with her. After all, she had to be safe, too.


"Let's prepare to move out, we'll be at the first big human city in two weeks. As we walk, we'll be taking short breaks so that you can train your domain." Saying so, Richard started clearing the camp. The two girls helped him out with that and they started moving through the forest in the eastern direction.


Three days later, as they were slowly walking, Richard sensed that there was a person in front of them. But he didn't say anything. The person wasn't strong enough to bring them trouble, so there wasn't anything to worry about. A few minutes later, they were close to them. As Richard was looking for them, the bushes in about thirty meters away from them moved.


*Thud* "Ouch!"


From the bushes, a small girl stumbled out and fell face first on the ground. The group of three stiffened as they saw her. The girl slowly stood up, rubbing her red nose, which had been injured from the fall. Looking forward, she saw the three of them and stiffened as well. A few seconds later, she tried to move back into the bushes, but in her panic, she stumbled again and was one more time on the ground.


"Pfft!" Anna almost laughed out loud. That scene was just too funny.

Erin started walking to the girl. Richard wondered if he should stop her, but he let her be. That girl wasn't dangerous enough anyway. He could feel it. As Erin was walking to the girl, she checked her appearance. The girl had pointy ears, long blond hair, and blue eyes. She was as tall as Erin, abut 1.60m. She had scars all over her body, and her clothes were rugged, making her look like a beggar. That gave Erin a feeling of pity for the girl.


The panic-stricken girl looked at Erin with wide eyes. She saw Erin extend her hand, trying to help her up. She struggled in her mind for a bit, but finally, chose to take Erin's help.


"A half-elf!" Anna exclaimed as she saw the girl slowly standing up. Richard's eyes become red for a second. The two races he hated the most were the humans and elves. But thinking about the half-elf and their life, he relaxed again. She wasn't a target he should kill on the spot. The half-elf was exiled from both of the humans and elves. No one wanted to have anything to do with them, so their life wasn't really good.


The girl stiffened as she heard half-elf. She looked warily at Erin but didn't see any change in her expression. After seeing that, she relaxed a bit. It seemed like those people in front of her wouldn't harm her, but why? Because if they had anything against her, they would already do it. Instead, one of them actually helped her. She was pretty good at detecting malicious intentions in other's expressions and detected the same from Richard for a moment, but the two girls had no evil intention towards her.


"Hello, are you alright? Do you need some help?" Erin asked, a bit concerned for the girl.


"N-No, thanks. I-I'm fine. "The girl stuttered a bit as she answered.

Erin's heart melted. She really found the girl in front of her cute. With her stuttering and panicking and her stumbling, it was like watching a child. Smiling, she said. "I am Erin, those two are Richard and Anna. Don't worry, we don't want to hurt you. If you want, you can go your own way. We won't stop you. But I can give you some food and clothes first. What do you think?"


The girl widened her eyes for a second. Was this true? She could leave at any time? They really had no malicious intentions towards her? Her stomach rumbled, betraying her feelings to leave the group immediately. Her face reddened from embarrassment, but Erin had just mentioned food. She was starving for the last week, so her reaction was pretty normal. And still, she felt frustrated with herself.


Finally, she succumbed to her hunger and answered, "A-Alright, I'll s-stay for a while."


Erin grinned. She looked back at Anna, and Anna understood what she meant. Looking through her bag, she started searching for some clothes for the girl.


"Can you tell me what your name is?" Erin asked.


"My name is Lyse, n-nice to meet you." The half-elf girl answered.