Nunully’s knowledge of even magic blood orbs impressed everyone. They hadn’t told her about the fact that they had absorbed them but she had surmised from their abilities. Otherwise, it would be extremely abnormal for people to arrive in this world and suddenly have the strength and speed of several men combined.
After a short break, Kazuki and the rest traveled along the edge of the tree line, following along across from the cliff. Traveling a few miles, Kazuki and the others arrived near the bottom of the next ledge. Once Sam climbed this one, he would only have one more left before the most likely hiding places were investigated.
With his magic now fully recovered, Sam once more slung the heavy earth rope over his shoulder and cast earth armor over his hands and toes. With a large leap, Sam jumped nearly 10 feet before he grabbed the jagged rocks poking out. Sam examined the armor upon his hands and rose a brow. Seeing only scrapes instead of cuts, Sam thought.
(So my armor really has become tougher.)
Kicking off of the jagged rocks, Sam ascended the cliff in less than 10 minutes. Climbing onto the ledge, Sam released a heavy breath.
(I was completely exhausted climbing the cliff the first time but now that I’m half a step into the Elemental stage, my earth armor uses a hell of a lot less energy to maintain. I was sweating bullets my first climb but now, I’m hardly even breathing heavy.)
Sam’s eyes scanned his surroundings but noticed nothing in particular. The ledge he stood on was fairly flat but it was not very spacious. All in all, it was no more than 20 by 20. 2 or 3 small boulders were here and there but besides that, there seemed to be nothing. Sam was ready to call it and began to look for a way back down when he noticed something on the ground.
Kneeling down, Sam wiped at a spot near him. An orangish-brown coated the tips of his fingers. Eyeing it curiously, Sam then gave it a light sniff.
(A hint of iron, this is…blood.)
Maybe before he wouldn’t have detected the faint smell of iron but now that he had entered half a step into the Elemental stage his perception of earth elements had been boosted, causing the smell of iron to stand out far more than it usually would have.
Finding signs of blood, Sam’s eyes became sharp as he examined the ground around him with more focus. The spot where he had found the blood, had traces of a few hairline cracks in the ground.
(There was a heavy impact on this spot. With blood drying over top of it, someone must have been injured right here by a powerful strike.)
Sam’s eyes darted around until they locked in on the wall of the cliff. Once again, Sam spotted hairline cracks in the rock wall. Sam touched the wall carefully but could find no more blood. He couldn’t tell if the little bit of damage to the wall was caused naturally or by someone or something crashing into it.
Running his hand across the surface, he felt nothing out of the ordinary until he touched a particular spot.
The rock sunk in unnaturally and he heard a small sound emanating from behind the wall of stone grinding against stone. A door opened inwardly and revealed the opening of a cave.
(This is it. This has to be it.)
Before Sam did anything else, he turned around and quickly tied the rope off on a small nearby boulder. Sam then stood at the ledge and waved his hands frantically in the air. This was supposed to be his signal if he found it.
Shin stood at the top of a tree and watched Sam tie off the rope and throw it over the cliff before giving the signal. Shin jumped down the tree in no time and in an almost frenzy like state he gave everyone the news.
“Ryuta! Sam’s found something. He just gave me the signal and he threw down the rope.”
Kazuki jumped to his feet in a hurry.
“Shin, Asuna you’re on me. Nunully, you take to the top of the tree, if we need it give us some cover fire. Try your best to land some ice on their wings, that won’t injure them but it might lead to them crashing down.”
Nunully was slightly worried.
“Are you really going to fight Mei?”
“Don’t worry, I said I would do my best to try and capture her first, so that’s what I’ll do.”
Nunully shook her head.
“You misunderstand me. Before I and anyone else had a chance to do anything, Mei had already taken us all out. I don’t care about your promise to capture her. If she fights back, tell me you won’t hesitate and you’ll use your entire strength to take her down.”
Kazuki was a little taken aback by Nunully. She didn’t seem to care about Mei at all and was even telling Kazuki to go full force if he needed to. She was telling him to use all of his power, aka his secrets.
(Does she care about me that much or does she care that little for Mei. Not that I don’t agree. Had I not promised to try and capture Mei first, killing was an option. However, I still do have a promise with Tsura but should that even be kept. After all, circumstances have changed.)
Kazuki wasn’t quite sure but if he thought his life was truly on the line, why would he hesitate. With a nod, he agreed with Nunully but whether he stuck with it or not was left up to his own discretion.
“Alright, Nunully, take to the top of the tree, Shin, Asua, let’s go.”
Kazuki and the others went through the minefield of Jagged rocks to get to the base of the cliff.
As Sam had just finished giving the signal, Tsura stepped out of the cave. Following behind her was little Mei. In her hands, she dragged Kimi and Danny out whilst gripping the back of their necks. With a bit of force, she pushed them onto their stomachs.
Kimi called out to him. She was extremely happy that Sam had come for her but also she was terribly afraid of what would happen if things went wrong between the Mangshi and her friends.
She had seen how strong Mei was and how her attitude could suddenly flip like a switch. Thinking on it now, with Mei’s little mood swings, Kimi wondered if the only reason she hadn’t transformed that night she and her mother were attacked, was because Kimi and her friends had simply arrived too soon. If they had all waited a few more moments and observed from up on the hill that night, Kimi had little doubt in her mind that Mei would have transformed had she had a bit more time.
Sam saw Kimi and his eyes filled with joy but his mood was quickly dampened by Mei forcing the two onto the ground. Taking a single step forward, he immediately stopped when he saw Mei’s grip tightening around Kimi and Danny’s neck.
Tsura stood in front and waged her finger back and forth.
“Ah ah ah, don’t take another step forward. If you do…”
Tsura gave a signal to Mei and Mei tightened her grip a bit more, causing Kimi and Danny’s face to flush with pain before she loosened it a second later.
“I might just have Mei squeeze even harder.”
Sam grit his teeth for a moment in frustration.
“What is it you want?”
Tsura sighed heavily.
“Why ask when you already know? I’ve already made a promise with that boy, your leader Ryuta. I simply want him to keep it. If he takes me and my daughter out of here safely, then that’s it. I and my daughter will not harm your friends in any way, shape, or form, and once we are out of this place then we will head our own separate ways. Sound’s quite simple doesn’t it?”
Sam eyed Danny’s arm that was wrapped in a bandage.
“It seems like you’ve already harmed one of my friends already.”
Tsura felt slightly embarrassed.
“That…That was merely an accident. You see Mei and Danny played a bit rough is all.”
Sam’s brow rose.
“A bit rough, huh.”
“Yes, only a bit rough, as you can see they are both still alive and well.”
“If you really do want to discuss things then let them up first.”
Tsura didn’t particularly mind and got Mei to at least let them sit up on their knees.
“Kimi, are you hurt?”
A few tears began to fall from Kimi’s face as she smiled. Shaking her head, she was overwhelmed with emotion.
“I’m not hurt, just a little scared.”
Sam smiled gently at Kimi.
“It’s ok, very soon you will be back at my side. Just wait a little bit more ok?”
Kimi wiped her tears away and nodded repeatedly.
“Ok, I believe you.”
Sam then directed his attention to Danny.
“How’s it hanging?”
Danny smiled listlessly.
“Like an old man’s dick but at least my arm is still attached. How is all this going to be solved I wonder? Is Ryuta coming?”
Just as Danny said that an arm reached over the ledge and Kazuki pulled himself up.
“Of course I’m coming. Do you think I’d miss out on such an interesting event?”