-That’s not important mister. Right now, we have been ambushed and things aren’t looking good to your supplies. So, let me ask you something: do you have an Essentia Adamant sealer as we have discussed earlier?
Kai was still in shock, so he didn’t answer. At the same time one of Angry Boar’s goons tried to attack him from behind, but Leo avoids it effortlessly. He continued to attack Leo, but he kept evading smoothly. Leo didn’t seem to care about it and carry on with his talk.
-Mister can you answer me. I really need your reply to know what my next step is.
-Yes, I do have something like that.
-Well, I think I can take care of this situation right here, but we have to review our deal.
-Yeah, so here’s the deal: I take care of this assault with the promise that none of you reveal anything about what happens here. We will continue escort you only to Swallow’s Nest, not for the entire trade expedition. In return we get that rune. I know we are not honoring our previous arrangement, but we could take away the rune without helping you. So, in the end we are good guys, I think -Leo grins – Do we have a deal?
-You think you can take all of these thugs? Alone?
-Yeah, leave it to me.
-If you can take care of this and make us arrive Swallow’s Nest safely, you got it boy. I even will treat you to some BBQ there. But do you even know about Grimm’s a…
-You said it mister, no take backs. Shake it. – said Leo interrupting, while stretching his hand to Kai. They seal the deal with a handshake. – Time to get this party started.
Leo’s feet start to glow under a blue light. Before the two Angry boar followers could do anything, Leo roundhouse kick both of them. Then he disappeared, leaving only blue traces; he suddenly appeared 4 meters in the air, right where he was surrounded before.
“Ice Burst: Chill Touch”
Leo touched every Angry Boar member with his hands at a frightening speed. Before anyone could even react, the body spaces where Leo touched started to freeze. In a few moments every Angry Boar was freeze, unable to move, and Leo rendered them unconscious with swiftness and precision. The only one left was Peter Grimm, who didn’t look beaten yet; instead he looked confident.
«Wait…I heard about some Ice Essentia guy that run havoc around this area and is wanted by the Nation. I can’t believe my luck, it’s payday! »
-An Ice Essentia User, huh? You wouldn’t know anything about someone who has an identical ability to yours that goes by the “Frozen Drifter”, would you? Hehehe. I try to score on jobs that don’t involve fighting guys like you, or if it does, I have that special chain to suck that Essentia up, like your big friend right there. These guys don’t know how to handle someone like you, but I can do something about this.
Grimm drinks some kind of potion, and starts convulsing. His body starts to mutate, where he gains fangs, and his body morphology resembles a wild boar.
-This form is not good for getting ladies but is the right one to take care of you. And I can see your arms trembling, that freeze area attack took its tool huh?
Leo’s arms were indeed shaking due to the use of his ability. Element Essentia skills are rare and powerful, but the drawback to control elements is much more severe than other abilities, even with all the train that Leo had.
-I’m cool thanks, no need to worry about me.
-I’m not worry about you – says Grimm while positioning himself to tackle – but who knows what will happen to that guy over there? – he looks at Jax, who seems unfazed- that kid will make a fine hostage. hehehe
-Jax, get out of there. I can take care of this, no reason to exert yourself. Give me a moment.
Grimm starts getting impetus as he runs towards Jax. Leo tries to freeze Grimm to the floor, but his arms start to get frostbite, making his attack more fragile and Grimm breaks out of his thin ice trap continues to target Jax.
-Leo, I’ll take over now. You can’t use more Essentia without getting seriously hurt, you have done more than enough. – says Jax while a purple light appears on his eyes.
-Yo kiddo, I will try not to kill you, but I will not promise hehehe. – says Grimm with a sadistic face.
“Dusk Force: Sorrow Fall”
As Grimm gets close enough, Jax fiercely gazes Grimm and points his left palm hand towards him and waves it down. Instantly, Grimm halts and crushes to the ground, like he was pound against the ground with a huge hammer. He seems to be squeezed by an invisible force. Grimm tries to get up, but he seems to be stuck to the floor.
“Dusk Force: Compact Punch”
Before Grimm could get up with extreme difficulty, Jax suddenly appears and smashes Grimm’s back with a left punch surrounded with purple Essentia, leaving him unconscious. Jax coughs up some blood and get on his knees, while his Essentia dissipates. Leo runs to him worried.
-Jax! I told you, you can’t use so much power!
-Leo, you worry too much about me. Stop being so bothersome and help me get up. – says Jax smiling – did you see that? I totally got him.
-Yeah, yeah. Change the subject, like I care about it.
-You are just bummed that you didn’t take out that guy. – replies Jax with a senseless face.
-You are turning into a cheeky brat. – Leo lightly punches Jax’s head.
-You wanna fight? I will leave you like that dude on the floor.
The two brothers started to kid fight, yelling at each other. Kai was speechless as he still couldn’t believe what he has witnessed. Not even in his wild dreams he thought that the two youngsters would be this strong and would even be capable of using Essentia. The only thing in his mind now was how he could convince the two brothers to travel with him. If he could get their protection until the end of his journey, the trip for his real goal would definitely be much safer.
-Boys, I have to thank you for all you did. If it weren’t for you, everything that I work so hard for would be in vain. – Kai bows to them – Let me reintroduce myself to you: I’m Kai Agnelli, an honorable and humble Merchant. I am known for having an eye for every good potential business. And as the time has…
-Let me stop you right there. We know who you are, and we know that you will try to trick us into follow you if we did reveal our powers– says Leo while pointing to Kai – however we made a deal, so we are going to honor it.
-I guess so, I honor every deal I made. -Kai goes to one of his wagons and takes a black rune of it. -Here, take it. Be careful to not activate it as it can swallow essentia of nearby users in an instant.
-Sorry mister, its activation is our purpose.
Jax catch it and activates it, to the surprise of Kai. As soon as he does, he feels his Essentia being drained. Purple Essentia starts to be released and the rune starts glowing, absorbing the energy. Jax seems astonished.
-It- it worked… it worked!
-Yeah baby, we did it!
Jax felt like 5 years ago, when Darkmore sealed away his Essentia points temporarily. He trained during this time to improve his abnormal Essentia center, but every time he would concentrate his Essentia control, the energy would take over and overflow, cracking a little bit further Darkmore’s seal. This rune was serving as duct tape to his Essentia vessel fissures, trying to contain it. But a few moments later, the rune would explode releasing all the accumulated Essentia; that rune could not tap the necessary essentia levels.
-What the hell. -Leo was stunned by the Essentia released, just like Jax and Kai. Jax restarted accumulating Essentia on his body, returning to his original state and dropping on his knees. Leo would turn angry to Kai -You bastard! You didn’t give what we agreed to.
-How is that possible? Even if that rune is only a forgery of the real deal, no one could gather so much Essentia to make it explode. – says Kai scared, getting some distance between them– Essentia Adamant Sealer is used for sealing through top rank forces, no one would use it on himself because it can mean death if your whole Essentia pool dried up, yet you purposely did it. Who the hell are you?
-Give us what you promised, you sly fox. I knew you couldn’t be trusted – says Leo with a petty face.
-I give you the best suppressing Essentia rune that I had and yet you destroyed it! That’s a rank B rune. This is something used to seal elemental ability people like you, I don’t understand how he could break it. This doesn’t make any sense.
Jax gets up after catching his breath.
-Leo, let’s go. If he can’t help, we are wasting time here. We already left Asmund without raising suspicions, so we have some freedom to travel for a while without the Nation breathing in our necks.
-Ok Jax, but you can’t continue to use so much Essentia. You have to be careful.
Just as Grimm noticed, Kai finally remembers that there was indeed a bounty for an Ice Essentia user, he is considered an enemy of the Nation. To earn such notability, he has to be someone much powerful than any other guy he could hire to protect him.
-Wait! You guys, wait. – pleads Kai – I need you to help me, please.
-You deceive us and try to fool us more than once. Why would we help you?
-I know that you are the Frost Drifter and …
Leo coldly stares to Kai, condensing essentia on his right arm once again.
– And you are trying to blackmail us now? Forget it, I don’t think I can spare you.
-No, no. It’s not what I mean.
-Leo, let’s go. When we reach Swallow’s Nest, I’ll buy you some porkchops. Goodbye Mr. Kai.
-Guys wait, I really need you goddamn it.
-Swallow’s Nest is close, it’s 2 days tops like you said before. Good luck.
Kai could not take a no from them, not from someone who could help him reach his true goal. He would have to trust them with the whole truth, or at least with more truth than he told.
“Third Partition: Open”
As he pronounces these words, his body start glowing in his torso area, and a drawer open up from his chest. The two brothers were surprised, Kai also was an essentia user.
-This is why I need you. -declares Kai, holding a manuscript and a strange shape object - I have to deliver this at Hollow Bay city.
-That is in Muir, it’s not even on this Country. And that’s not in the direction that we need to go.
-I know is too much to ask, so I’ll give you everything I can in return.
“Second Partition: Open”
A new drawer is open from his abdomen this time, and from there Kai takes a silver egg with slashing dark red stripes, no bigger than a fist.
– This is my most valuable possession, and I would like to sell it to some wealthy collector or even to a noble, but I will invest this on you. This egg contains a spirit companion, at least of A grade rank. Its size can be deceitful, as hellfire dragons can grow from them if you’re lucky. You can keep it or sell it.
-Wow Jax, that’s so cool! – Leo takes over the egg, hugging him – I always wanted one!
-If that’s it, it doesn’t amount to the troubles that we would get for traveling with you. I’m sure for you to be trying to recruit us whatever the cost that the Nation have an eye on you already, and you’ll be persecuted, am I right?
Kai swallowed hard, Jax read him perfectly.
-That’s why I will offer you two more things. -he throws two little emblems to them – this is the proof that you are traveling by the Nation merchant status, this pin grants you passage to any city on this continent without the need to be identified. It’s really a good deal for you as wanted men, huh? How can you say no?
Jax throwed back his pin to Kai
– No thank you. With more or less work, we can get in and out from Nation’s cities, even without that. If you don’t have nothing more to offer, we wish you a good travel. Leo, handover the egg to him.
-But Jax, I would like to have a companion and for the looks of it, I think it will be stroooong – replies Leo, looking like a little kid.
-Leo, can you mature some more? It seems that I’m the older one, all the time!
As the two brothers were fighting about what to do, Kai did his last effort to convince them.
-If you help me out with this, I can get you an Essentia Adamant Sealer.
Jax and Leo stopped fighting and looked back to Kai.
-You’re lying again to us, aren’t you?
-No, I’m telling the truth.
Leo looks at the egg and returns it to Kai.
-You should be ashamed of being such a liar.
-I’m really telling the truth; I can get a rune like that.
-Goodbye Kai, Jax was right. You are not worth to help.
-I know someone who can do it in Clay Town, trust me…
-You would say anything to convince us.
-I don’t care whatever name you say, our answer will not chan—
-We accept. - declares Jax, without letting Leo even finishing his response.
-What the hell Jax, you said it wasn’t worth the trouble and now you’re taking back?
Jax gives Darkmore’s log to Leo.
-Page 25, it’s the one about the rune. Read the left corner.
«This type of rune is hard to find and even more hard to forge. The only people who can do such a finesse work (and are a real pain in the ass to deal with) are Zeke Kilt, John Longsoul and …»
-“Garen Fullbring” … no way.
-Yes, if we can meet Garen and make him do the rune, I can control my power.
Kai understands that the boys were convinced with that, and sighs of relief.
– Thank you boys, I promise to take you to blacksmith Garen, I will honor my promises no matter what.
-We choose to believe you for now, so let’s gather up everyone then. We have a big journey ahead of us.
-Yes, and who knows the danger that we will have to face…
-No worries, no matter what we have to face, we’ll take whatever comes to us.