Chapter 9: Beyond the Pond Lands

The strange land with many ponds was an unusual place for Flay.

The dark of the night was thankfully not a hindrance to Flay, who now could see in the dark with his new strange powers.

It had been several minutes since he jumped out of the Pteranodon and sprinted as fast as he could. The creatures had gone into hiding at the appearance of the Pteranodon, and this meant that Flay could make his escape from the region without being detected. And so, Flay bravely traveled through the land, knowing that he could buy himself more time.

Using the stars as a guide, Flay began his quick run towards the location of the Camp Site.

“The Tamers should still be there! I just hope everyone is safe from the attacks of the Might Wolves!” Flay thought to himself.

“Master. We can use the Pteranodon a few more times.” Kairo advised.

“I think I know what you are planning, Kairo. You want to come out and lure the Pteranodon, and then you hide in the Taming Hand. This will scare all the monsters for a time, and I can stealthily escape. Is that what you planned to suggest?”

“Yes. Since Master has thought of this, what are you thinking?”

“I need to get out of this Pond Lands. I want to bring you out and make use of you. This Pond Land is wet and moist. We, Tamers, are taught about the rules of the ecosystem in the monster world. Such a place like this has to affect the nearby lands. This is all part of the three H.”

“The Three H?” Kairo was curious. He had never heard of such concepts.

“The Three H refers to the necessity to create balance in the monster world. We tamers have studied it in order to survive in these harsh lands. There is a system that causes stability in the world of monsters. This system applies the Habitat, Home-Field, and Homeostasis principles. Basically, monster herds and groups try to find these three to survive.”

“I am unfamiliar with this concept.”

“I’m not very good at it either. You’ll have to ask the elders and elite hunters to understand more of that. But what I do know is that this Pond Lands provide a good home to many creatures as they can sustain the waters here. And with water here, the nearby lands would definitely be full of plants and trees. I’m headed to these lands so that you can use another one of your System.”

“Neptune’s power?”

“Yes! I’ll create a large distance between the Pteranodon and me and run to the next land. There, I will use you to absorb the low-grade plant essence until the Pteranodon draws near. That way, I can level up!”

“Master, Neptune's power of absorbing low-grade life essence isn’t just something that can help you level up. While you can gather the essence and absorb it as we did with the Gator’s monster core, the power of Neptune and Gaia is much more powerful as of now because I’m a slime!”

Flay recalled the original form of the slime in the form of the strange pool that the Pteranodon was brewing.

“You said you’re an alchemist. You mean, you can use your slime power to mix all these things?”

“Yes. Is Master familiar with alchemy?”

“I only know of its existence in the Kingdom. Some of the Hunters who have shown potential as an apprentice is sent to the Kingdom to serve as knights. These are used to help us generate more income for the village. They tell of these pills and medicines that can help improve the body. They tell that alchemists use amazing furnaces and use magic heat for cooking these ingredients!”

“I can do the same. The power of Venus grants me some immunity to tamed fire. If I absorbed the heat of the tamed fire and have absorbed numerous plants and minerals, I can perform alchemy. I act as the furnace and the alchemist who mixes it.”

“What’s tamed fire?”

“There are two types of fires. When the Eos created fire, it created two forms, one that was used to destroy, and the other, born from the Light. The ones used to attack, be it directly or indirectly, is what we call Rage Fire. The other is Tamed Fire. It is a Fire that is not borne from Brute, Magic, or Ability with the intention of harming others. Basically, fire is not used to attack. I do have some resistance to fire, but at my current level, I won’t survive a basic fire spell from a mage.”

“So… if it’s a fire I make, you could absorb it? But if someone throws fire at me with the intent of harming me, you’d get hurt.”

“Yes. But if someone throws fire at you, and it misses, we can go back, and I can absorb the fire.”

“… You're weird..”

“Venus placed this restriction to help whoever will be my master grow. I am someone who was called to help lead a mighty warrior for the Eos.”

“Well, I’ll think about helping your masters once my village is safe. But through this power, you can create medicine?”

“Medicine, poisons, pills, and even alchemy weapons.”

“What can you create?”

“It depends on the plants. I used to be Saturn and Gaia’s acolytes in alchemy. So I am quite learned of that field. But I do not know of all the lowly plants of the field. Saturn and Gaia’s power allows me to sense what nearby plants and minerals, and what I can extract once I’m near it. But at my level, I only have enough power to mix things with up to three plants and create the lowliest of plant medicine. Basically, only some of the simpler Red-Tiered medicines, pills, poisons, and alchemy weapons can be created.”

“Red Tier? So it still follows the same color system. Red is the lowest of tiers?”

“Yes.”

“Alright. I guess we have to work with what we can make. I have to hurry to get out of this pond lands to see what we can create.”

Flay ran and ran. There were many monsters and creatures hiding in the ponds, but as expected, none of them dared to show up due to the Pteranodon. This allowed Flay to travel with ease.

Nearly an hour passed, and because of Flay's constant running, his Rookie-6 stamina was reaching his limits.

The end of the pond lands was in sight. As Flay predicted, the laws of the Three H in the ecosystem revealed a thick forest, even more, lush than the decaying forest near the Pteranodon’s hiding place. It was full of large shrubs that grew wildly around the area.

“I must note this down. The Pond Lands create great moisture that causes the nearby lands to be full of shrubs. I guess I’ll call this the Shrub Lands.”

“Interesting. Knowledge arises in the most challenging situations. You Tamers are weak, but your knowledge and understanding of these lands have allowed you to persevere…”

“I still have much to learn about the Three H. You’ll find more interesting things. Anyway, if you can do a mixture, I need something that will help me hide my scents. I think I’m getting closer to the lands I’m familiar with due to the location of the stars. But a strong group of wolves has been terrorizing our lands recently. It was due to these Might Wolves that I feel into the underground river that brought me to that Pteranodon’s lair.”

“I think that’s simple enough. You can just keep absorbing a lot of shrubs that have a scent to it. I could make a balm of some sort to hide your scent.”

“Good. We have to make a lot. I can’t afford to bring you out until that Death Mark is gone. Otherwise, I’d lead the Pteranodon to my village.”

“Understood. That shrub with the red berry. That can be a good ingredient.”

“Alright.” Flay nodded and ran towards the said shrub.

Kairo appeared once more and began to devour the plant and slowly absorb it.

Flay was carefully listening to the sounds deep in the forest.

“My hearing seemed to have increased. Now I can hear even the leaves sway from the wind! Is this because of the obstruction in my Taming Hand? Amazing!” Flay was amazed.

Kairo was silent. But he knew the sudden increase of Flay’s power was due to the fact that another seal was broken. It was this seal that showed Kairo that vision. Somehow, during their link, the powers of Pluton were slowly being leaked out.

“Kairo, make a few more. I need enough to get me back to my village. There are lots of creatures here. I can hear them. I need the Pteranodon to scare them, and then I’ll be running like crazy! So make that balm, and try to see if you can make a plant that will increase my stamina.”

“A Stamina Pill... That should be possible with the shrubs I sense nearby. Understood, Master!”

"Can I complete my level up with the plants here?"

"We don't have time for me to absorb several bushels of shrubs. If that gator can't increase your level, then the required energy that you need from these plants will be greater. The life essence of plants is not really effective in fueling Brute power. I'll see what energy we can take, Master."

"That's fine. But hurry. We don't know when the Pteranodon can come back here.

What Flay did not know, was that a beast was lingering in the darkness. It was a beast that even Flay could not hear, for this beast was the king of this forest and the keeper of the Homeostasis.

A dark panther watched in the darkness and continued to prowl. It was moving closer and closer to Flay’s location.

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