They found themselves at the entrance of an eerie forest where Est and the twins were waiting for them. With just a glance, William could tell that the forest was bad news.
[ Ding! ]
[ You have accepted the Quest “Trial of Courage” ]
[ Quest: Trial of Courage ]
[ Quest Objective: Escort Est to the Altar of Courage located at the center of the forest. ]
[ Secondary Objective: Est must survive ]
[ Quest will automatically fail once Est or the Host dies. ]
[ Quest Reward: Host’s Second Transcendance Phase will be unlocked. ]
‘What an ominous sounding mission,’ William sighed as he finished reading the contents of the quest.
He then returned his attention to the forest and observed it more closely.
The air smelled of decay and rot, while the towering trees blocked out the sunlight. There was not a path to follow. Meaning, they would have to traverse the forest without any form of navigation.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to William because he had the system with him. Its mapping function sprang to life as it displayed William’s current location on the map. According to his estimate, the forest extends for at least three miles in all directions.
Fortunately, William saw a blinking gold dot at the center of the map. The red-head boy assumed that this was the place where they needed to go in order to clear the trial. There were also several ominous purple dots that were moving on the map which gave William a sense of mortal danger.
‘I guess these purple dots are off limits,’ William thought. ‘They are probably monsters belonging to the Centennial or Millennial Beast categories.’
Over thirty purple dots were scattered around the map and they were all encircling the gold dot which William labeled as their quest objective.
Est, Ian, and Isaac thought that William was still in a daze because he was looking at the space in front of him. Ian didn’t want to approach him because he felt like beating him up, while Isaac didn’t want to offend his brother, so he remained by his side.
As for Est, he was scanning the surroundings with a frown. He was quite sensitive to danger and he could feel the tell-tale signs that the eerie forest housed many strong entities that could potentially kill them.
“Est, come here for a moment,” William said as he motioned for the Young Master to come closer.
“Yes?” Est replied as he stopped a meter away from William.
“Did you get any information about this place from the High Priestess?’
“No. But, something is calling out to me from inside the forest. I believe that it is the place I have to go.”
“Can you tell me which direction that feeling is coming from?” William inquired.
Est closed his eyes and extended his senses outwards. He then pointed in the direction where the strong attraction was coming from.
William nodded his head because Est had just confirmed his suspicion. The direction he was pointing at was exactly the place where the blinking gold dot was located.
“Ok listen up, let’s set some rules first before we enter the forest,” William said with a serious expression. “I want to appoint myself as the leader of this expedition. Everyone must follow my order no matter how unreasonable it is.”
“And why should we follow you?” Ian snorted. “We only obey the Young Master.”
“T-That’s right,” Isaac supported his twin. “We only follow the Young Master’s order.”
William looked at Est and waited for his decision. He knew that Ian would definitely reject his proposal and he was also expecting that Isaac would support his brother. However, they were not the ones calling the shots on this mission.
As long as Est nodded his head then the twins had no choice but to follow his orders.
“William, since you accepted this commission that means that I am your employer,” Est raised his head to look at the shepherd who was mounted on top of the Angorian Goat. “The employer has the right to order their subordinates during a mission.”
Est was a proud person. He had gotten used to the fact that everyone obeyed his every word. He thought that since William had decided to become part of his group, the shepherd would follow his orders.
Who would have thought that the first thing that he would do was to take the role of the leader and ask them to follow his orders. This was something that Est wouldn’t accept so easily.
“Is that so?” William answered in a casual manner. “Sorry, I didn’t come here to play house with the three of you. If you want to do it your way then you can do it alone.”
“Y-You! Are you disobeying me?” For the first time in his life, Est felt that his authority was being challenged.
“Disobeying you?” William snorted. “Don’t treat me as one of your servants. I have only one master and it’s not you.”
Est gritted his teeth as he clenched his teeth in anger.
“So, you finally showed your true colors,” Ian spat on the ground. “I knew that you were a superficial person the moment I saw you. I guess I was right.”
William lazily laid down on Ella’s back and propped his head on the palm of his hand. He then gave Ian a sidelong glance before giving a retort. “The first time I saw you, I knew that you were a little goblin in disguise. I guess I was right. Even your breath smells bad.”
“Y-You!” Ian unsheathed his short sword and was about to charge at William when the Angorian Goats stepped forward and formed a battle formation. Their sharp and pointy horns were aimed outwards.
Clearly, they would not hesitate to attack Ian if he moved to hurt their Master, William. Even Ella changed her form into the Angorian War Ibex. Her intimidating aura pressed down on the young boy and made him stop in his tracks.
“Meeeeeeeh!” Ella bleated. The color of her horns and hooves changed to Mithril blue. Her gaze locked on Ian.
Est could easily tell that the War Ibex’s gaze was not friendly. He immediately made a gesture for Ian to hold his ground and not provoke the goats any further.
The three children had to admit that even if they joined forces, they would not be a match against Ella and the Angorian goats by her side. Not to mention, William was also a magician. Although they didn’t know why a magician, like him, was acting like a shepherd, they didn’t doubt his fighting ability.
“There’s no need to fight against each other,” Est said after regaining his composure. “We are not enemies.”
“My condition remains the same,” William commented in a lazy tone. “Either I lead this group or we part ways here. There’s no room for negotiations.”
Est knew that William had already made his stance and wouldn’t change his mind. Right now, he was in a dilemma. Either they carried out the trial with just the three of them or let William have his way.
If he chose to clear the trial with just the three of them, the difficulty would surely increase. Also, he didn’t know what kind of dangers he would be facing inside the forest. There was safety in numbers and the goats held an advantage because of their teamwork.
However, he was still struggling deep inside because he didn’t like someone forcefully taking over his authority. In the end, he made a decision as he made a gesture for Ian and Isaac to stand by his side.
“We will part our ways here.” Est stated in a firm manner. “I will not forget that you have saved my life from the Mountain Troll. This favor, I will definitely repay in the future.”
Without waiting for his reply, he turned around and walked into the forest. Isaac and Ian hurried to catch up behind him.
William watched the three go with a calm expression. However, deep within his heart, he was feeling anxious.
‘Fine, let’s see what the three of you can do,’ William mused. ‘I’d like to see how far the three of you can go without my help.’
William watched as the three green dots that represented Est and his lackeys entered the forest. He was very curious about what kind of abilities the three of them possessed. They weren’t able to show it earlier when he was fighting against the Mountain Troll.
The red-head boy deemed that it was best to know the extent of their battle capabilities, so that he could make the right decisions if he was to work together with them.
If you want to read more chapters, please visit AllNovelBook.com to experience faster update speed. You can also log in to your account there.