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75 Mystery of The Forest of Towering Rocks Part 2

    Jerigh had never been a merciless killer. He had fought and killed before, but those kills had been forced upon him by his old master. So, whenever he did not receive a specific order, or was not convinced that his enemy wanted to kill him, he would usually spare their lives.

    Daniel was the one who had interacted with him the most, so he was aware of his nature. What Daniel was afraid of, was that Jerigh would misunderstand an enemy's intention due to the language barrier.

    That was the reason why he had made sure to teach two specific words to each member of his party. These two words were 'sid' and 'stahri', and they meant 'No Killing'.

    His intention was to let others judge the type of situation, and either tell him nothing and let him go all out, or tell him not to kill anyone.

    His plan had clearly worked, as after only a minute after Heimart's warning, seven people lied unconscious on the ground. None of them was dead.

    *shiiitun*

    Without a single drop of sweat on his body, Jerigh sheathed his clean single-edged sword once again, and walked back towards Heimart.

    Heimart had tried to spar with Jerigh more than once, so he expected such a result. Jerigh's strong points were reflexes, time of reaction, and his excellent swordsmanship. In fact, he was so talented that he had shattered every single one of the legion's records regarding martial cultivation.

    On a side note in his evaluation paper, the examiner had written 'Exceptional talent and devotion in both cultivation and swordsmanship. One of the rare kind of people of which one could say the cultivation rank is holding the potential back. It is advisable to dedicate as much attention as possible to him.'

    In front of the shocked eyes of the party from the Magical Covenant, Jerigh joined back with his group, and together they left.

    -----

    "Thank you ma'am , this was very useful information. We'll stop bothering you now, have a safe travel." Said Daniel to a middle aged woman through the opened door of a carriage.

    The carriage resumed their travel after a courteous nod from the woman.

    "It's always the same story.. Bodies crashed against walls, head bashed in with large stones, walls splattered with blood and bodies at their bases. It's either a high-ranking beast, or a martial cultivator.. But why would a martial cultivator of that level fight using no weapons or skills?" Asked Alis with a confused tone.

    She and Daniel had asked to more than five different carriages and caravans. The answers they obtained were always the same. Same type of victim, same type of deaths, and same period of time.

    "It might not be a matter of how and when.. But why." Muttered Daniel in a pensive tone.

    Alis furrowed her straight brows and asked "What do you mean?"

    Daniel turned to look at her, and said "Think about it for a moment. People hired as guards are supposed to be the strongest within the group. And yet they were the only ones who got attacked. If an intelligent beast wanted to warn people not to enter his territory, why not kill the merchants?"

    "That's true.." Said Alis with a pensive tone. She then continued "They would certainly be smart enough to distinguish them from the rest of the group.. Or even remember the one who passed here more often."

    After nodding in agreement with Alis's remark, Daniel continued to present his doubts "A beast also wouldn't know if the person they are attacking belongs to a powerful group or not. Was it also a case that they exclusively attacked solitary cultivators hired as guards?.. I don't think so.. We need to know more about the vict-" Suddenly, Daniel turned his head and faced north-west.

    "What is it?" asked Alis.

    Daniel closed his eyes, allowing his spiritual essence to leave his body and spread in the surrounding under the form of an invisible mist. After less than a minute, his eyes opened and he said "There is a fight nearby."

    Before Alis could have any sort of reaction, she felt Daniel's hand grab her wrist tightly. The very next moment she found herself inside the pocket dimension.

    Once alone, Daniel teleported as close as possible to the place where the fight was taking place. He appeared near a large and tall rock, behind which the two parties were fighting ferociously.

    Daniel took Alis out of the pocket dimension, and the moment she appeared, she said said with an angry tone "You could have warned me!"

    "Now is not the time to-" Before Daniel could finish talking, the large boulder behind which they were hiding suddenly shook.

    The fight had ended.

    Daniel ran around the boulder, and once on the other side, the results of the battle made his face fill with disappointment.

    On the ground, a man lied dead. He had been sent crashing against the large boulder, and he had broken his neck upon impact.

    The first thing Daniel did, was to sense the surrounding. The fight had just ended, and the killer could not have possibly gone too far.

    After five full minutes of sensing, Daniel felt nothing but Alis's ki, the dead man's dissipating ki, and earth essence all around. He turned to look at Alis and said "Three seconds.. It took only three seconds from when the battle ended to when I've started sensing the surrounding. And yet I've found no traces around."

    "It's just like we've heard. No magic, no weapons.. Just death caused by impact with rocks.. What about wind? Now that you were closer, did you feel it?" Asked Alis after a minute spent investigating the scene.

    "No. I sensed the entire area during the fight.. And no air currents were created or deviated.. In fact, I haven't even felt a second person or monster.. All i could feel was the ki released by that man, and the earth essence all around." Responded Daniel with a more confused tone than ever.

    Alis kept looking around the area for a few more minutes, but was unable to find anything unusual. It was only after kicking a rock in frustration that she noticed something.

    From underneath the rock, a meter long snake slithered out, and dashed in a rectilinear motion into a small crevice between two big boulders.

    This snake's scales didn't look like the usual scales one would see in a normal snake. They were ruvid and of a grey color, and looked very similar to normal rock.

    "Dan, come here!" Shouted Alis out of the blue. She then said "I've seen something.. It looks like the snake the kid talked about."

    "That's quite the coincidence.." Responded Daniel before closing his eyes, and trying to sense the surrounding once more. After a few seconds, he opened his eyes and said "I can't sense anything.. Are you sure you've seen a snake?"

    "Yes! It was just like the kid said. About one meter long and seemingly made out of rock." Said Alis animatedly, slightly offended by Daniel's dubious tone.

    Daniel quietly lifted his arms, and pointed them at the two large boulders which vibrated in response. It was only after a full minute that the two boulder separated, and slowly rose in the air.

    Once again, the snake dashed out of its hiding spot and slithered towards another. But before it could find one, Daniel teleported next to it and grabbed it by the end of its tail.

    The snake wasn't strong by any means, and even once picked up by Daniel it barely put up a fight. Instead, it dangled from Daniel's hand without moving.

    The passive behaviour of the snake allowed Daniel and Alis to have a better look at it.

    After a few seconds of careful observation, they both reached the same conclusion. A conclusion that left them with eyes opened in surprise.

    Not only were the snake's scales made out of rock, but also the rest of its body. There was no living mana within its body, and the only thing Daniel could sense from it, was a slightly more concentrated earth essence.

    "This isn't a beast.." Said Alis with a stupefied tone. She then asked "Do you know what it is?"

    "Yes.. It's a true elemental." Responded Daniel with a voice filled of amazement.

    Alis looked back at Daniel in confusion and asked "A true elemental?"

    "Have you ever wondered where a portion of the essence treasures come from?" Asked Daniel while taking a small stone out of his spatial ring. He then showed it to Alis and continued "True Elementals are entities born from pure essence. They can shape into whichever form they want, and can even cultivate through the consumption of essence."

    "They can turn into beasts as well?" Asked Alis after listening to Daniel's explanation.

    "Not exactly. They only resemble beasts, like this little one here." Responded Daniel while touching the stone surface of the snake.

    "Then what about the other treasures?.. Like the feather and coral you've used to make the wind and water spheres.. Or the stone you've used to make the lightning sphere?.." She asked with a confused tone.

    "Not all treasures are born from pure and dense essence. Animals like corals and birds can be exposed to enough essence in their lives, that at the point of their death, they become essence treasures themselves." He paused for a moment, letting the new information sink in, then continued. "About the lightning treasure.. Most lightning treasures are items that have nothing to do with lightning. A thunder strike is basically a pure and concentrated amount of lightning essence that gets released all at once. Once hit by a thunder bolt, a portion of the lightning essence is bound to stay within the stricken objects. Most commonly exposed minerals, trees, or stones found in the ground.. There is a book about this in the spiritual library."

    Suddenly, a large shade approached Daniel and Alis from behind and covered them completely. Before they could turn around, they heard a thundering voice that reverberated through their entire bodies and left them shaking.

    "I am impressed human. Not many at your age would take interest into my kind." Said the powerful voice.

    Daniel and Alis turned around slowly, and what they saw made a shiver run down their spine.

    In front of them, was an impressively big golem. Its height reached at least thirty meters, and like the little snake, he was completely made out of stone.

    Before they could even speak, the golem said something that made them realize how mild the previous comment had been. "I suggest you release my son. NOW!"

    Daniel couldn't help but swallow his saliva.

    Alis said with a trembling voice "Is that a t-t-true elemental t-too?"

    "Big one." Responded Daniel through gritted teeth. He then looked at where the golem's two eyes seemed to be, and said "We have reason to believe that your son is going around killing innocent humans."

    Suddenly the enormous golem started to scale down, and once reached the height of a common adult human, it stopped and said "First of all, it was me. Secondly.. Innocent!? That's hilarious."

    "What's hilarious about murder?" Said Daniel, slightly irritated by the human-like golem's tone.

    Daniel didn't know the stages of cultivation of True Elementals, but from the purity of the ki that was still dissipating from the body of the last victim, and the time it took for the golem to defeat him, Daniel could guess that his overall power was at the late sixth rank of cultivation.

    "Nothing is hilarious about murder. What's hilarious is that you humans would find any excuse to come and kill us. Even saving your lives." Said the golem with a serious tone.

    It was at this moment that Daniel noticed the number above the golem's head. It was 15,623 and was of a dark green color.

    After taking a deep breath, Daniel said "We won't accuse anyone without a reason.. Let's talk."
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