"As you know, the Shosti family rules over us and since the rebels are in Balvan mansion's zone of influence they ordered us to take care of them."
Noah listened to the explanation but had a doubt in his mind.
"Master, can I fight a cultivator?"
His ability to fight with beasts of higher rank than him was mainly due to the fact that they were, in the end, just beasts.
A powerful body and some peculiar ability could be matched by powerful techniques and perfect execution of them.
But what would happen against someone who had a dantian and practiced techniques as powerful as his?
"Generally speaking, no. If he matches your abilities he will just overwhelm you by the sheer quantity of his "Breath". You might catch him by surprise using your rank 3 martial art but then you will be mostly drained. And if he has a rank 3 martial art too, well, just run."
Noah felt depressed listening to this.
He was hardworking and talented, mostly due to his powerful mind, but others were too. And if he had to clash with them the difference in time spent cultivating would be decisive.
"So why are you giving me this mission?"
If he really could not do anything about the situation there was no point in going toward danger, he liked to fight but he was no idiot.
"Your role would be only of support. You will take care of the non-cultivator and of those with a rank 1 martial art between them, leaving the real fight to the others of your group."
William was about to dismiss him when he thought of something.
"Ehm, you can trust them this time, I made sure of that."
He showed a complex expression while he said that, apparently the events with Balor were still lingering in his mind.
Noah smiled and reassured his Master.
"Don't worry Master!"
As he left the room his smile disappeared transforming in a cold expression.
'No way I'm gonna trust anyone except Lily and Master, I should hide my strength from the time being, the nails of the Kamaitachi must be my hidden ace in the sleeve.'
When Balor betrayed him it made him remember the cruelty of men, which he had forgotten living as a kid for so much time.
He went back to his room and practiced again in all of the forms of the rank 3 art, only then he calmed himself.
His weakness was making him feel restless.
The more he knew about this world, the more he understood how dangerous it was.
By clearing nests he got an idea of how populous were the magical beasts in this world and yet humans still were at the top of the food chain, that meant that their power was unimaginable.
'While I'm just 2 steps away from the bottom of human power, I can surpass only commoners and dumb soldiers.'
In his mind, a soldier with a rank 1 technique became a dumb soldier.
His irritation reflected itself on his night training in the rune as he almost collapsed after forcing himself to watch it for 7 hours straight!
After more than one year and a half of training non-stop, the faint shape of the rune was visible in his sea of consciousness, he was sure it would not take much before he became a rank 1 mage.
'I guess I should start creating excuses for my rapid progress in mental energy, I wonder what face will Master make if I reach the apprentice mage status before I turn 13.'
He smiled imagining at his Master's astonished face but then the wave of pain from his head arrived so he went to sleep to rest his mind.
The next morning, he found his Master in the courtyard with 3 men and a woman around him, they were waiting for him.
"Noah, they will be your companions for the mission."
"So it's him?"
It was a tall muscular man between them who talked, he had no beard and short dark hair with a greatsword almost as big as him on his back.
He stared at Noah with focus, applying pressure with his mind.
'Is he testing me?'
His mental energy was heavy and was pressuring Noah's sphere but was far from enough to make him stand back.
Noah took the chance to harden his sphere since it was the first time he felt a constant pressure from the outside of it and closed his eyes to concentrate on it.
The man mistook his behavior as his attempt to resist the pressure and felt challenged, so a stalemate was created.
Noah would focus on strengthening the walls of his mind while the guard would raise the mental pressure to win the imaginary contest he thought he was in.
After 10 minutes, blood came out of the guard nose and he was struggling to keep the pressure.
The woman, seeing the blood, gave a strong slap to the back of his head stopping his concentration and dispelling the pressure.
"Ethan, stop, the kid is using you."
The man named Ethan was about to complain when he got hit but then the words of the woman made him look carefully at Noah.
He still had his eyes closed and a slight smile was on his face.
When Noah opened his eyes he showed a disappointed expression but then he noticed that everyone was looking at him.
"I swear he almost did it, I bet that if you let him try for one more hour he will definitely do it!"
A punch arrived at the top of his head as William moved behind him placing his hands on his shoulders.
"This shameless kid is my disciple, Noah. Always pay attention when you deal with him because he will say and do anything to learn more about your powers."
Noah raised his head to look at the Master behind him and complained.
"Come on Master, it's not fair if you break my cover so soon. Don't listen to him I'm a pure and innocen-"
Another punch hit him.
Ethan was incredulous, the woman was surprised while the other two men were almost suffocating from holding back their laughter.
They never saw someone treat the vice-captain like this and from the look of it, William actually gave up on fixing his disciple behavior.
"Haha, kid you're the best. I am Sanford but you can call me Sandy."
"We won't get bored in this mission, right Sandy? Haha. My name is Mark. Young man, we will get along."
The two laughing men could not hold themselves anymore as they greeted Noah.
The woman massaged her temples while exhaling.
"Don't listen to those two idiots. I'm Susan the captain for this mission and their nanny. The other guy is called Ethan, he is stupidly competitive. Now let's get somewhere private to decide how to complete the mission."