Successfully defending against the invading army not only brought relief into Ashton's entire being, but it also provided him rich rewards.
From the System, he received the ff:
[Jester the Courageous]
Type: Companion Beast
: A loyal friend and protector. Takes the form of a dog but could instantly transform into a large predator, standing about 15 meters in height. Has the body of a lion, the head of a dragon, two pairs of wings, and could breathe hellfire.
: No upgrades or enhancements available. Jester grows stronger alongside its owner.
[Heavenly Spring Chalice]
Type: Heavenly Treasure
: A tool that gathers energy from its surroundings, condensing them into something called a Heavenly Dew. Based on current parameters, this tool can condense a drop of Heavenly Dew once a week. Improvements are available.
: Heavenly Dew -- a liquid condensed from the concentration of energies. It's a consumable Aether that could rid of physical impurities and remove mental demons. It also washes one's mana, thereby increasing its purity.
Type: World Class Treasure
: Seed of the lost El Tree of the Fey Race. It is rumored that this tree can grow astoundingly in height, piercing the very heavens itself. According to the Fey Race, this tree allows them to connect to other worlds, but so far, that's nothing but a rumor.
On top of these three, Ashton also received 3 ARC Cores, 1000 Skill Points and Spell Points, a resource ticket, and Spirit Stone Mines.
Overall, he had hit the jackpot. There are a ton of things that he could do with these rewards.
Ashton decided to bind Jester the Courageous to Aria. He already has West Two so he doesn't need a companion beast. Since Aria is a Spirit, Jester would prove to be a good choice for an additional layer of protection for her.
As for the Heavenly Spring Chalice, he left it in one of the restricted rooms of the guild. He installed an Energy Gathering Array in there and planted several herbs that could improve the density of energy inside of it.
This way, the chalice can condense Heavenly Dews faster. He plans on giving out Heavenly Dews as an additional reward for missions to strengthen his men.
And finally, there's the El-Seed.
He hasn't planted it yet. That's because there's a requirement before he could do that.
To plant the El-Seed, one must first have the bloodline of a Noble Fey or above. Well, Ashton's Bloodline is of the Fey Emperor so this wasn't a problem for him.
What stopped him was the fact that this seed also needs the assistance of Fey Laws. More specifically, he needed to use the El-Realm Fragment he received way back then so that the seed germinates. Without it, the seed is no less than an ordinary stone.
There's also this one reward he hasn't checked out yet since he has been occupied. It's the one he received when he successfully helped the Twisted Heavenly Tree to evolve.
[Horace the Golem]
Type: Guardian Golem
: Horace is an Ancient Golem created for the sole purpose of defending one's home. He had once become the beacon of safety for many people even though he was in slumber on most days. Horace only awakened twice throughout his entire life. Once to push an invading army back, and once during a great war that destroyed the world of his creator.
: Duty Bound -- Horace will never wake up unless the territory he's protecting encounters something that could seriously threaten it. Horace will also never fall into slumber unless the threat he sensed was completely neutralized. His strength and durability will always be set a realm higher than the threat that awakened him.
: Golem Alpha -- Horace, as an astounding golem himself, has authority over other Golems. Should he need any assistance, he could call on all nearby Golems to eliminate the threat he's facing.
: No upgrades or enhancements available.
An impressive one, isn't he? Ashton didn't expect to receive something like this.
Horace looked like a statue in his slumbering state. He's built like the depictions of Spartans back in his old world. Wearing full body armor with a spear and a shield, he also has a sword on its sheath dangling on his belt.
An imprint was made the moment he touched Horace. Ashton immediately knew that Horace was already bound to Fantasia and Last Bastion as a whole. Now, it doesn't matter where he placed him, for Horace will awaken from his slumber once he sensed a threat to his new home.
That's another trump card for this land, giving Ashton more hope and confidence to keep going.
With the new arrangements in place, Humanity should encounter a brief period of peace. Something he could certainly use to improve their living conditions even more.
He could also become bolder and send more men out for exploration. After all, he did leave some gifts to the Qlipoth and Laguna before the attempted invasion began.
Both the Qliphoth and Laguna should be suffering still from the White Meteors he called down. They should be in a weakened state for a good while and he may capitalize on that.
But that's a matter for later...
Right now, he's tending to the family of the deceased.
He paid a visit to the family of his fallen men, bowing his head in apology and extending his sincerest condolences for their loss. Of course, he also handed out compensation for their deaths. This is included in the contract they signed and Ashton honored it.
Some families thanked him despite feeling heartbroken for their loss. Some tried to neutralize the grief they were feeling by saying that at least they didn't die in vain. 𝒊𝐧𝑛r𝑒𝗮𝐝. 𝐜𝑜𝑚
Of course, some people hated him. One even chased him out, cursing the hell out of him and saying all kinds of nasty remarks.
Ashton didn't mind. He accepted their anger and hate. He was prepared for this kind of burden. Of course, he's still disheartened but in all honesty, this is to be expected.
For the sake of the many, he must continue. The casualties will not end here, but that doesn't mean that their sacrifices will be in vain. Ashton swore that the fallen will be remembered and honored.
After he paid a visit to the families of the deceased. Ashton went back home.
The Mystic Guild was in a celebratory mood. Of course, they've already sent off their fallen comrades too.
Ashton joined the festivities just for a bit before going back home. He allowed everyone to get drunk and celebrate this victory for now. Tomorrow, things should go back to normal.
Once he's home, he met Aria who's already playing with Jester. He smiled as the cute husky yipped at him, wagging its tail in excitement. Jester's duty might be to protect Aria but it recognizes both of them as its parents.
Ashton picked Jester up and kissed Aria on the cheeks.
The two of them had an intimate date night because they hadn't done so in a while.
It's peaceful, quiet, and serene. Just the way Ashton likes it.
How nice would it be if he could spend the rest of his days just like this? Not worrying about any invaders, not planning out anything big, not feeling any pressure to do well or to do something.
Just relaxed, and peaceful...
Sadly, those days are too far-fetched for their current situation. What he's experiencing now is just a temporary thing, and that's not what he wants.
Ashton was greedy. He doesn't want temporary peace, he wants it permanent. And he swore that he was going to do his best to achieve that not only for himself but also for the people close to him.
It'd require a lot of effort for him to do just that. Hell, he might even trip and fall, causing everything to go tumbling down, wasting all of his efforts.
That being said, staying afraid of everything wouldn't get him anywhere. Everything has risks and he understands that completely. He's aware of what he put himself onto from the very beginning.
Also, he needs help. More than what he already has. He couldn't do this alone and he's aware of that.
Don't get him wrong, Ashton won't hesitate to finish the battle he started alone if he must. It will be hard of course but he's the one who rose to the challenge and thus, he must be responsible and see it to the end.
But he won't deny that he needs help. In fact, that's why he's raising people to help him, no?
And the people he chose, understand him. He never hid his intentions from them, they are aware of what he's trying to achieve. He had given them a choice to walk out and stay on the sidelines to watch but the majority of them chose to accompany him.
These people are the ones he could share his burdens with, therefore he will nurture them to the best of his abilities.
Is just the beginning. There will be tougher storms heading their way. The only thing Ashton could promise is that he will do his best to prepare them for everything.
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