"Master, how was your first night? Did you sleep well?" Tiara asked, looking with concern at Michael.
Now that Michael was aware of Fenrir's true identity, the gazes lingering on him felt like searing hot needles piercing his skin. Tiara might be acting just like before, being excited and happy that Michael didn't depart to the outside worlds yet, but Fenrir was clearly sizing him up from head to toe.
Maybe that had happened already the day before and Michael didn't notice it. Either way, he was now fully aware of every movement made by Fenrir.
"I was too…excited to sleep. I must look like a big mess right now," Michael answered with a faint smile on his lips. He changed his answer midway upon realizing the piercing gaze with which Fenrir kept staring at him from the side.
Michael noticed this and it made him feel as if something was pressing against his throat. It was hard to breathe, and he broke into a sweat.
"You're sweating so much. Please don't be so stressed out about our predicament," Tiara voiced out in worry, "If you don't sleep enough, you will get sick. We need you full of energy…"
Tiara's fluffy ears hung down limply and her tail was also not swishing like usual. She looked down as well with a gloomy expression plastered on her face.
'What is wrong with this girl?' Michael wondered, but his forced smile was soon replaced by a genuine one. Seeing that someone cared about his well-being was quite nice, and the real reason why she was so worried didn't really matter.
He took a step closer to Tiara and flicked her forehead lightly, forcing the maid of the Silverfang Tigerfolk to look up. Upon seeing his smile, Tiara relaxed a little. She lightly patted her chest to calm down her heart and retrieved something from her War Rune.
"The Summoning Gate produced one scroll this morning," She said, holding out an ordinary summoning scroll.
Another perk of being a Lord was that they would get Summoning Scrolls just by staying idle and letting the days pass. The Summoning gate would produce one ordinary summoning scroll each day.
Most subjects summoned through ordinary summoning scrolls would be starless, or 1-Star summons, but that was still something. Slowly but steadily, a small workforce would come into existence!
"How about we use all summoning scrolls today? It's still early in the morning, so we will get lots of work done with a few more helping hands!" Tiara proposed, rubbing her hands in excitement.
It was only obvious to focus on increasing their numbers and use the additional working force to build a few residences, help Fenrir in hunting, and so on.
However, Michael didn't want to summon any subjects, right now. Why? There was a potential crazy serial killer in his territory. Was there really a need to come up with more excuses?
Michael was already feeling bad for dragging Tiara into the mess. However, it was not as if he could send her away. She would just die outside the territory since there were way too many powerful monsters outside the safety of his protection barrier.
"I will postpone summoning subjects until the afternoon, or tomorrow morning. There are a few things I must test out, and I don't want to rush things," Michael said as calmly as possible, trying to make it sound as if he had a strong plan and his schedule mapped out for the entire day.
He had a total of eight ordinary summoning scrolls. With that many additional helping hands, they would be able to build a few residences and create a more efficient hunting system.
"Slow and steady wins the race," Michael added while stealing glances at Fenrir every now and then, "...and I want to win by all means!"
He knew that he shouldn't look at Fenrir so much because Fenrir might notice that something was amiss, but Michael couldn't help it. He was also afraid that he would have a slip of tongue, but that didn't happen – fortunately.
"You look tired, Fenrir. Will you be fine going out hunting the entire day just like yesterday?" Michael asked, trying his best to act as if he was concerned.
But secretly Michael was glad that Fenrir's eyes were sunken and bloodshot. His hair was disheveled and there were bags under his eyes, making them look puffed.
Fenrir clearly hadn't gotten any sleep, which was something that could be made use of.
"I will be fine. I prefer hunting all day," Fenrir answered before excusing himself. He seemed eager to leave the wooden manor and go out hunting.
"Are you sure that you don't want to eat anything for breakfast, Fenrir? You will run out of energy until lunchtime…" Tiara asked in a loud voice, but Fenrir had already stepped outside the wooden manor.
"Did he ignore me, or did he not hear me?" Tiara mumbled upon seeing that Fenrir didn't turn around either. However, she didn't really mind it. Tiara was so happy that her Lord didn't leave her to go back to the outside world so nothing could dampen her spirits this morning!
"What do you want to test out that other subjects are not supposed to see, master?" She asked while turning to Michael with gleaming eyes.
Tiara figured that there had to be a secret nobody was supposed to know, otherwise, her Lord wouldn't postpone summoning more subjects. She could tell that her Lord was not dumb, which meant that there was something he was hiding. Due to this, her curiosity increased even more.
"I can tell you later – probably," Michael responded before he had a light breakfast, which consisted of meat and more meat.
They had yet to harvest fruits and other ingredients from the forest. Thus, their meals would have only meat for a while, but that was no problem.
'Fenrir's Link of Loyalty didn't change, at all,' Michael noticed while he had breakfast. Tiara's Link of Loyalty was a little different compared to the day before, but Fenrir's was the same. He tried to keep calm and not act too weird, but he was not sure how he was supposed to do that.
'Calm down and get your plan working!'
Michael wanted to find out whether Fenrir was using the wicked Spear Arts to kill his prey, but he didn't rush after him right away. Fenrir didn't seem to have slept, and he had skipped breakfast as well.
Thus, it was better to wait a little longer to make sure that Fenrir would be a little bit more tired. Exhaustion and lack of sleep would make him lower his guard and that way it would be easy for Michael to enact his plan.
"I will extract sturdy wood and stones from the trees and ground. You can either store them in your War Rune or put them in one of the empty rooms inside the wooden manor," Michael proposed before he got to work.
lightsΝοvεl ƈοmIn the next few hours, nothing seemed different from the day before. Fenrir used the protection barrier to hunt Monsters before he collected their corpses to carry it inside the clearing, where Michael would use his Soultrait to dissect the body near-perfectly.
Nothing seemed amiss until it was about time to have lunch. Fenrir had killed a total of 10 Low Tier-1 Monsters, which rewarded one completed summoning scroll and 59 summoning scroll fragments.
Meanwhile, Tiara and Michael focused on collecting resources from their surroundings. Tiara was not sure what, or why Michael was running around inside his territory, collecting resources with his Soultrait when he could also summon subjects to harvest, however, she remained silent. It was not her task to teach her master but to follow his commands.
When she finished preparing lunch and was about to serve it, Michael suddenly announced that he would go and call Fenrir. He left the clearing in the direction Fenrir had gone toward a while ago, leaving Tiara by herself.
"Is that really fine? Isn't Master too bubbly and kind to be a Lord?" She mumbled to herself while observing the retreating figure of her master. Tiara liked people like Michael because they were true to themselves and others. Unfortunately, some would think of Michael as a pushover. It was highly likely that others would try to make use of her master for their personal gains.
Tiara understood this very well. Shaking her head, she tried to ignore the memories of the past that resurfaced in her mind, and a glint manifested in her eyes.
"In that case, I will make sure that master will be fine…only then he might be able to…" She trailed off and went back to work.
Meanwhile, Michael paved his way through the densely grown rainforest. Only a small part of the rainforest was inside the protection barrier, but it still took a while before he reached the barrier. As he neared it, he could hear the faint and distant sound of fighting.
By the time he made his way through the thicket, Michael was only able to witness the end of the battle. Fenrir had used the protection barrier to fight two Low Tier-1 Monsters, a pair of Gem Jaguars.
One of them was already lying on the ground, taking its last breath, while the other one was severely injured. The Gem Jaguar tried to break through the protection barrier to reach Fenrir, whose silver spear was shrouded in a dark-purple hue. His lips curled up in a smirk as he dashed ahead.
Fenrir thrust the silver spear forward, aiming straight at the beast. It was a simple attack without any unnecessary grace or elegance. However, that was not needed, in the first place. The blade pierced through the Gem Jaguar's throat, ending the monster's life in seconds.
'Wow…' Michael could only think in awe. His heart skipped a beat upon seeing the display of Fenrir's Spear art, and a vibrant smile appeared on his face as he cleared his throat.
Fenrir turned around in shock, ready to face his next opponent, only to see that Michael was waving at him with a vibrant smile plastered on his face.
"Nice kill, Fenrir! Lunch is ready!"
When Fenrir realized that the territory's lord had approached him and not some monster, he relaxed visibly. Michael was just a bubbly kid, who became Lord because everyone in the Origin Expanse started out as a Lord. He was not dangerous. He didn't even have a weapon to begin with!
Thus, Fenrir put the spear aside and pulled the two corpses inside the protection barrier. He saw Michael approaching but didn't pay any attention.
"Let me carry one of them!" Michael offered, still smiling as brightly as before.
His acting skill was top-notch, not even he himself would be able to tell that his mind was in chaos if he were to observe himself as an outsider.
'The Spear Arts…it's the Calamity's…'