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A Dragon’s Curiosity (Web Novel) - Chapter 144: Woodstalkers

Chapter 144: Woodstalkers

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translated by Chunwa

The black weapon sailed through the air just as the hooves of the dying monster aimed for the shield bearer on the ground, intent on causing as much damage as it could before perishing.

Unico clamored in surprise as his teammate was about to be injured and sprang forward to intervene; yet, he was still a step behind.

Relying on her accuracy cultivated through blind archery as a young elf devoid of mana and aura, the flying weapon was Lisa’s last chance to escape the rampaging monster.

The girl on the ground barely shielded over half of her body, hoping to, at least, mitigate some of the damage since there was not enough time to completely protect herself.

Unico exclaimed in surprise and attempted to aid her, rushing in with an even stronger azure glow extending from his dagger and twisting around his wrist.

He was still too slow, and just about when the hooves came crashing down on Lisa, Nisha’s spear truck like a thunderbolt, carrying a tremendous force and frenzied aura.

Like a mirage, the [Stone Wooled Sheep] loomed over the blonde girl at one moment, and in the next, it was torn away and nailed to a nearby tree while the wooden shaft penetrating its neck was swallowed by gore.

The surreal scene shocked each of them in equal measure; only Accalia did not mind the display of supreme strength, as expected of her master! Wagging her tail, the wolf sat next to the mutilated carcass and waited for the dragon’s command, allowing her to tear into the spoils of the fight.

“What … was that?”

A breeze flitted through the clearing, rustling the leaves and carrying a few dead ones away. Golden light fell through the autumn dress of leaves covering the trees. Only a low hum disrupted the quiet scene, as the force still lingered in the elf’s weapon, trembling from the barely contained aura.

Lisa had clearly felt the extreme danger she was in, only to be stupefied by the prowess of her teammate and friend.

Unico similarly fell into a daze and only retrieved the advanced blue glow around his weapon when Nisha advanced and pulled up the blonde girl, patting her down to ensure she had not suffered any wounds.

“How powerful! Nisha, where did that spear come from? I did not see it coming at all.”

Despite having come close to suffering serious injuries, the excited young lady ignored her own shivers and tightly grasped the hands of her savior, admiring the intense blow easily killing their target. Unico and Lisa struggled for a long time to wear down the monster, yet the elf struck it down with a single throw of her spear and after finishing her prey first.

At this moment, a strong desire to elevate her strength bloomed in the blonde student. To wield a weapon like a god of death and take charge of her destiny, Lisa swore to train even harder to get a chance to catch up with her friend.

The purple skinned youth, on the other hand, knelt near the carcass and checked if the monster was really dead. With an increased aura, the life force correspondingly rose for all kinds of creatures. Therefore, it was wise to double check the condition of their target, lest they fell for it playing dead and suffered, in turn, when the monster executed its last struggle.

Nonetheless, with a hole of about two fists diameter in its neck, the sheep had already passed away and slowly lost blood, dying the grass beneath it red.

Nisha patted her contracted beast as a signal, and the wolf drooled in anticipation. Flashing by the young man in a burst of wind, Little Lia tore off a whole hind leg and began chewing on the raw meat.

“I’m surprised as well. When you were in danger, Lisa, I just reacted and threw my weapon. Thankfully it struck in time, and you did not get hurt.”

Rubbing her friend’s shoulder to ease the trembling, the dragon relaxed her tense muscles. While the [Stone Wooled Sheep], or even the higher ranked monsters, posed close to no threat to her, their team did not completely consist of freaks like herself.

Unico proved to have excellent resilience as well; he overcame the stupor and prodded the weapon embedded in the monster.

“Whew, you really did a number on it. If it were closer to the head, the throw might have obliterated our proof of subjugation too. We would not get any points that way.”

Although his words seemed fairly uncaring, his chuckle and carefree attitude chased away the last remnants of their tension.

Lisa thanked the elf a last time and bent down, inspecting the monster that threatened her from a close distance.

“Such a slender weapon made such a large wound. Did you use a skill there, Nisha?”

She cocked her head and pondered over the past events. Due to being struck by terror at that time, the girl paid no attention to how she was saved and could only wonder now.

Inspecting the remains as well, Unico nodded along and stood.

“That’s true; I have not seen you use that skill before. Have you advanced recently?”

Shaking her hands, the dragon had no change in expression and thought of an explanation on the spot.

“No way; it is a skill but not a new one. I have trained for a while now and obtained a book from the library for advancing to the second rank; you saw the results. It’s just that I can’t use the skill without preparation time, and it’s somewhat easy to dodge if you see it coming; it’s not suitable for combat yet.

But when I saw how the sheep threatened Lisa, I instinctively threw my weapon and managed to execute it on the spot. Thankfully, I succeeded, and nothing happened to her.”

Her two teammates accepted this explanation; the high power convinced them that only a skill had the prowess to kill a monster at the same rank instantly. Additionally, the sheep had already fought for several tens of rounds with them, sustaining injuries and losing a lot of defense. To succumb to the power of a fully charged skill was no shame, even for a monster.

“We’re fortunate you managed to pull it off. Lisa did not have to return to the healers this way.”

Patting the girl’s back once, Unico moved and removed the ears of each carcass, netting them ten contribution points each. For a group of three, this was a decent harvest, given that none of them sustained any injuries; they only needed to rest up their stamina, and they could continue their hunt.

Since there was no reason to hold back anymore, Nisha signaled Little Lia through their bond, and the wolf finished tearing into the meat. To the beast, this was the perfect reward after a kill.

The blonde girl flinched at first when the bone-crunching sounds started, yet she steeled herself after the close shave against the monster earlier and found determination and resolve to become a great warrior.

Even Unico placing the bloodied ears into his pouch hardly fazed her now.

“Let’s see; can you repeat that skill, Nisha? Maybe we can improve our hunting speed that way. Since we do not have as many members as the other teams, we might be able to catch up with them.”

Pondering about a possible application for that scary throw skill, the youth attempted to pull out the spear lodged in the tree. Sadly, he failed, as his strength was too low, even after he applied his aura to strengthen his body.

Nisha felt awkward about interfering but walked up and easily retrieved her weapon. The remnant energy had dispersed by now, and it returned to a regular second rank equipment. Due to having been filled to the limit with dark-attributed aura, it survived running through the trunk; it did not even have any small cracks in its body.

“Hm, maybe I can repeat it if you give me some time to aim and prepare. In other words, I can ambush one target and have to retrieve my weapon afterward before I can join the fight again. Ideally, we should find either a lone [Stone Wooled Sheep], or you need to stall other opponents until I have my spear back. As for groups of three and more, we will have to see if we can split the group up like we did this time.”

The dragon was unable to acknowledge that she was capable of throwing her spear with the same amount of strength at any time and at-will unless she wanted to reveal her freakish nature. Compromising, she proposed a workaround to allow the other two students to gain some fighting experience as well.

Neither of her friends rejected the arrangement, and the elf prompted Accalia to take the lead and search for more enemies.

Since the clearing they just left had plenty of blood around, none of the other monsters of the same group would easily approach it now, unless they formed a big group and swarmed the warrior students to death.

With pointers from Unico and Nisha, Lisa also improved in her mobility; the treacherous forest still troubled her from time to time, but their speed doubled compared to the first time they stepped in the plains.

When they passed a narrow forest stream, Little Lia sent a signal back through their bond. It did not feel like an enemy, so the elf stopped her group.

“My monster found something; let me check out what it is. It’s not a monster, though.”

Downstream, the beast clad in golden fur scraped at the ground and pawed at something, intriguing her owner.

The team inched close, and the wolf stepped back to let them see what she found.

Inspecting the undergrowth, the dragon wondered what got the beast so excited; in her [Spirit Sight], none of the plants stood out or had a higher rank, only some first and second aura rank herbs garnished the water source.

“This is a [Gentle Bloodroot]!”

The first to figure out what had attracted consideration was the most unlikely member. Lisa squatted next to a series of unremarkable roots and carefully dug them up, holding them to the light from the sun and inspecting them.

“[Gentle Bloodroot]? Is it something good?”

Apparently, Unico had not heard of this herb either; together with the elf, he waited for the other girl to explain.

“Oh yes, you might not know, but my parents own an alchemy store; so I have picked up some basics. This herb is an excellent source for second-tier health potions, especially since only a small amount is needed to make a large stock. With a root of this size, I estimate three to four dozens potions are possible.”

In the process of appraising a familiar item, the young lady oozed confidence and carefully placed the herb into her pack, using a cloth to wrap the plant up delicately and preserve it.

“I think we can either turn it over to the alchemy shops in the crafting area at the academy or sell it to the [Adventurer’s Guild], which should be worth at least a gold for each of us. We are quite lucky to find a [Gentle Bloodroot] here; most of the time, monsters tend to eat them before they are ripe.”

With her energetic speech and confidence, Lisa hardly resembled the shy student that only followed her friends around as the trip commenced in the morning. Now, none of the trio towered over the talents of the other too much, and each person had their own forte. Naturally, Nisha had a talent for leadership from her time at the [Dragon’s Den], and due to her contracted beast, the other two left the role to her.

Unico employed an agile fighting style and strategic prudence, while the blonde girl showed initial success as a shield fighter and alchemist, giving the group a rather basic formation, similar to an adventurer party.

After trekking deeper into the forest, a loud boom traveled through the air, unsettling the group.

Unico and Lisa spun and readied their weapons; only the elf ascertained that there was no predator around them.

Curious, the three discussed whether they should turn around and investigate the source of the sound, but decided against it in the end.

Whatever made such a ruckus was dangerous, at least.

Unbeknownst to them, the source of the commotion was a direct result of their actions.

In the clearing, where two dead [Stone Wooled Sheep] lay, the tree Nisha had hit with her spear had collapsed.

On one side, there was not even a hint of damage, aside from the small hole made by the spear, but on the other, the tree gave off a foul odor. Black ooze ran down the withered wood, staining the ground and killing the smaller plants nearby.

Dark mana rampaged through the life forms around, although it grew weaker every time it devoured a lifeforce. The area of the clearing increased by half, the greenery eaten away by a void.

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