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Chapter 118: Don’t waste energy, please!

Instructor Risa did her best to make sense of this quest, but no matter how much effort she put into it, it all added up to nothing. She was respected as one of the strongest adventurers in Celarent, but thinking has never been her strong suit.

She’s always been a straightforward fighter, which is why she mostly took monster subjugation quests. But rookies needed to start slow and quests that required investigation were usually less dangerous.

People would usually post this sort of quests not only because it was cheaper, but also because more often than not the situation didn’t need violence at all. A lost cow could mean lots of things after all, besides adventurers were great at solving mysteries thanks to their advanced skills. Even if the situation did require to fight beasts, adventurers were good at assessing the risk and if they were unable to kill the creatures they would rescue people or, at least, evacuate them.

But thinking has never been Risa’s strong suit. If it was, she would have asked if there was a trail of blood indicating that the cow had been killed on the spot or if it had been taken unhurt. This may not seem like a big deal for a farmer, but an adventurer would have known who was the culprit on the spot.

Without trails of blood or footprints, most people would say there’s nothing to go by, but that’s a clue on its own.


The little girl screamed as she headed to the barn where the adventurers were taking refuge.


“Are you sure missy?”

“Yes! they are huge and they’re all over!”

Risa unsheathed her sword and both Sera and Ryu followed her example.

“Do you guys know something about ants?”

“No ma’am”

Ryu was quick to reply, they didn’t have time to waste.

“They’re slow as fuck, similar to scythe cicadas, there are many kinds of ants, they vary in size from tiny to bigger than a person. They’re not much trouble unless you’re surrounded, but that tends to happen only in dungeons. They are dumb as individuals, but in group they’re incredibly cunning. In any case, don’t fight anything with wings, understood?”


The loud reply gave way to a crackling sound in the distance and Risa’s face turned pale.

“There’s something wrong”

She said as she peeked out of the barn, noticing there were countless ants circling the place, making a perimeter of about a hundred meters.

“Oh shit! we’re screwed! Alright, no need for panic”

“I’m not panicking miss Risa”

“I’m talking to myself”

“Stop messing around miss Risa, it can’t be so bad”

Sera said with a stiffened expression.

“It actually is. If only we had noticed them sooner... what the hell were those two doing!? How could they miss something that big!? I’ll skin them alive! The only good thing is they’re not attacking yet which means they know we’re here but they think we haven’t noticed them yet, but if we give them too much time the stronger ones will arrive. Sera, you will be acting as support, I didn’t bring any spare weapon but anything you hand me will do. If someone falls to the ground you need to get them to safety. I almost forgot! if you’re forced to fight, do so defensively, don’t attempt to hit them, just dodge or parry, ok?”


“I’ll try to make way for us to escape. Ryu, as soon as the way is clear I want you to take the girl with you, It would be best if you deactivate all your passive skills to regenerate stamina faster”

“Deactivate my skills? how do I do that?”

“Wait a second, you survived the curse without deactivating your skills!?”

“Uh, I don’t know, maybe I did it without knowing. It’s been a long time since my night vision skill stopped working”

“Depends on your soulbound card, I can do it with my voice but whatever, just check your soulbound card, tap each skill and deactivate them manually”

Ryu put his sword back on its scabbard and took the soulbound card on his hands and a list of skills presented in front of him, he tapped the card and the list shifted to a different set of skills. There were many skills related to his different trades, such as transmutation or cooking, and since he had been living on his own in the woods his skills were varied, but then he noticed something strange.

Some of the skills were highlighted in yellow and others were grayed out, he could barely read them so he simply skipped them. But something caught his attention, night vision was highlighted in red.

He tapped the skill and it went back to normal, after a few seconds without noticing any difference he did the same with the rest of the skills that were highlighted in red.

Parry, light armor, sprint, strength boost, agility boost, regeneration, mana regeneration, spear, sword, dagger, knife, club, staff, one handed, two handed... with every skill he deactivated some of the skills that were previously highlighted in yellow went back to their usual white color and then he started noticing a change.

He was becoming less tired, more than feeling rested it was as if he was unburdened.

Curious as he was, he decided to activate some of the skills and he tinkered with his card a little. He attempted to turn night vision on and it seemed to work, but he couldn’t be sure because the sun was still high up in the sky. He tried with another one, and he left some of them on to see how did they work.

He was having fun checking his skills, until a loud shriek shook him out of his reverie. As soon as the shriek ended, the mild crackling in the distance became louder and closer.

“Brace yourselves!”

A swarm of ants entered the barn before Ryu had time to prepare and he barely had enough time to pick up the little girl before Risa launched herself forward swinging her huge sword.

With each strike an ant dropped dead, sometimes even two at a time, it seemed as if the ants were retreating when in fact they were simply dying too fast to replenish their first line.

Only when they managed to get outside the barn did Ryu realize how bad was the situation. The whole place was surrounded by so many ants it looked like a black sea, but he didn’t have the time to analyze the situation.

Instructor Risa stopped swinging her sword for a split second, allowing some of the ants to get closer and then yelled.


A blue colored light appeared in the tip of her sword and drew a straight line in front of her that extended through the ground and cut many ants in half.

Sera was busy trying to keep the ants from surrounding Risa, who only tried to advance as fast as possible. A loud creak was heard and both the house and the barn crumbled down like sand castles. Now they didn’t even have a clue where they were headed and all they could see in the distance were ants and the only noise that could be heard besides the loud crackling was the little girl’s cries.

“Damn! this things are annoying as fuck, they’re weak but I can’t get past them. I thought a slash would be enough to make way, but they’re too many”

“I could try to make a run for it”

“Don’t bother trying, I know you’re exhausted... shit, if only I didn’t ask you to save your holy water for later! I never thought we would be in this situation”

After a few minutes of struggling they had finally managed to get the hang of it, Sera was efficiently delaying the ants that went after Risa, while the instructor circled around to keep Ryu and the girl safe.

“This is what I was talking about, when things get to a standstill with ants it means you lost. They’ll tire us out and then the stronger ants will show up and I don’t think the other kids can help us.”

“Miss Risa, I think I can make it, please let me try”

“Are you sure? you’re carrying the little girl, if they catch you...”

Ryu’s expression shifted and he looked at Risa with a determined look.

“I can do it”

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