Wild Hunt part 3

Book 2- Chapter 12- Wild Hunt part 3

Nu-Ru POV

“|Heal| |Repair Wounds|”

Activating the healing spells I quickly regained my missing health. Immediately trying to stand up I feel to my knees again. Even after damage were healed I still felt nauseous. I could barely see straight and everything was still spinning.

‘What? I should be fine…it’s just like before—‘ The first memory that came to mind was when I was stabbed through the neck. Although my wound was healed the residual pain remained.

My thoughts didn’t linger as I felt my body being lifted. Turns out it was Requa and Haus who were carrying me. Running towards the other. We were halted as the creature leaped towards us. Now I had a better look at the creature.

It was near identical to a regular Wumba but twice the size. Its fur was a crimson hue compared to the basic Wumba. The biggest and noticeable difference was its arm. The creature possessed four arms instead of two.

The two froze in their tracks, staring down as the behemoth. A whimper even escaped from Requa’s mouth as the creatures cornered us like rats.

“Out of the way!” Upon a sudden scream, Shae flew towards the Wumba. Reeling back her fist, the Wumba was pushed back. “What are you waiting for?! Move!!” Shae gave us an opening. Regaining their senses we sprinted towards the other.

The Wumba persisted and gave chase. Unless we do something, the Wumba would continue to chase after us.

“Everyone close your eyes! |Brilliance Shine|.” Giving a last minute warning I casted my spell. A ball of light shot from my hand and exploded like fireworks. A blinding light covered the area. Several cries rang from our group mixing in with the beast’s roar.

Luckily a few heeded my advice in time, including Shae, and linked arms with everyone. Leading them away, the beast roared in anger while we escaped. It’s fist smashing the surrounding in a frenzy. Running and running, we didn’t stop; not even when we were back in the dense forested area.

Only when their legs finally gave out did we all stop. After confirming with Shae that we lost it for now, the group finally relaxed. Requa and Haus laid me against a tree.

“Hey! Nu-Ru, are you alright?”

“Come on buddy, stay with us!”

Crowding around my body, the two were filled with fear and anxiety. I don’t blame them, they did watch me get thrown across the forest like a rag doll.

“Move it!” Amongst their panic, Shae interrupted us. “I’ll take care of him, you guys just relax.” Taking over, the two reluctantly heeded her advice. Moving away, I could finally relax. “Thanks…” Thanking her, it would be an issue if the two realized that I was fine despite being flung across the field. “Now I just need to get rid of this numbing feeling…”

Shae gave a quizative look before a look of familiarity came to her. “I had the same experience except I wasn’t thrown across the field, hitting a tree. What do you suppose is the cause?”

“Can’t say. In fact I once experience this before when rescuing the princess. My guess is that our mind haven’t fully registered the concept of magic.”

“Huh?” A confused sound escape from Shae’s mouth.

“Think of it similar to a placebo effect. Despite our new found power we are still mortal. We still retain our other senses such as taste or touch. We aren’t immortal or Gods, we are still fresh and blood. Say you receive an injury. The body takes a very long time to recover. Tissue, muscle and nerves require time to reform and replace the dead cells. With magic we skip the long and tedious process of waiting for our body to repair ourselves but our mind haven’t fully comprehend it and still remember the pain even though the body is completely healed.”

“So our body says one thing while the mind says another?” Summing up my explanation, I simply nodded.

“Your health meter is topped off, and there doesn’t seem to be any issue.” Performing a speedy check up, eveyrthing was in order. “What do we do now?” Shae asked.

“The answer should be obvious, we need to retreat. The group isn’t properly prepared to take on that monster.”

“Aye, but we are…”

“I know what you’re about to say and no.” It was obvious what Shae was going to ask so I ended it before she could continue.

“If we use our full power then that thing will be child’s play.”

“I know that, but that isn’t the issue here. The issue is them.” Turning my sights away from Shae, they lied on the others. Each one was exhausted from the constant running. They were in no shape to fight.

“How would you explain our sudden increase in power when just a couple of minutes ago. We were running for our lives?” Rebuking her, I tried to make her see the folly of such a reckless idea.

“I’m sure they will understand if we properly explain it to them. I used my support spells when taking down our Wumba, so…”

“You what?!” I couldn’t contain my surprise as I accidently screamed while instinctively trying to stand up. But I didn’t make that far before falling back down, clutching my side. The other were about to rush over but I told them that I’m fine before whispering back to Shae.

“We agreed that we wouldn’t do anything that would destroy our image!”

“I know, I know but I had no choice. But I’m sure we can trust them.”

“That’s naive thinking Shae. Who do you think they’re the most loyal to? When push comes to shove they’ll follow the Empire’s order till death. Who’s to say they will keep their promise?”

Although I didn’t mean it I could feel my anger rising with every word. We were knee deep into unknown enemy territory and Shae basically told them our secrets. One word and everything would be ruin.

“I understand that I messed up but I did what I thought was best. Besides I trust them, you on the other hand needs to have an open mind. It’s just like you and Drakus back then!” It was obvious that Shae was annoyed as well. Bringing up the matter with Drakus, I understood what she was going for. Taking in deep breaths I addressed her with a clearer mindset.

“You’re right I wasn’t there, so I have no right to criticize. But please remember why we are here. If they spill the beans I don’t want you to be in danger…”

It was sometime difficult to distinguish Shae’s expression on some occasions but this it was different. Her previous annoyed and mad expression was slowly toning down back into the stoic expression her always had.

“No; you’re right, it was my fault for taking the easy way out.” Apologizing to one another, we were getting off track. “I still say we should kill it. If what you say is true then the Empire will be in deep trouble.”

“And how do you suppose we go about this without dragging the others in or accidentally revealing our secret?” I retorted.

“Well…I was hoping you would figure that out. You always have a knack for making for contrives excuses.” Dumping the work onto me, I could help but sigh.

“Alright…” Taking a deep breath, the numbing sensation was finally gone. Back on my feet, I strode towards the others.

“Is everyone alright?” I asked, only to receive groans from everyone.

“We are fine, most of us are simply exhausted.” Giving a waning smile, Haus was trying to keep spirit up.

“I’m more interested in what the hell something like that is doing here? Wasn’t there was supposed to be F and E Rank monster?”

‘So am I…’ Sharing Requa’s thoughts, I couldn’t help but find everything strange. If we considered the basic Wumba to being mob like creatures, then the four handed Wumba would be the boss of the area. Recalling the information presented at the gathering with the prince. Never did he once mentioned or alluded to the possibility of such a creature existing.

It would be hard to miss a massive four handed Wumba in their reports. Was it because the creature was hidden deep within the forest. Or perhaps the prince purposely left out that detail. If so, then why? Why would he endanger Rumo and the others?

No matter which conclusion I chose, I couldn’t see it playing out beneficially for anyone. Including the prince himself. ‘Damn it…I don’t have time for this.’ Arguing back and forth was getting me nowhere. Our biggest concern at the moment is to deal with the Wumba.

“What do we do now?” Requa’s question was met with silence. Before I could get a word out, Rumo was the first to speak.

“The answer should be clear. We cannot let this creature run amok so close to the Capital. We must take it down!”

“Oh god, please no…’ I silently begged. “You cannot be serious Rumo.”

“Yes I am. Prince Alphonso gave us clear orders to eliminate the monsters dwelling within the forest.” Rumo angrily answered back.

“You are either completely arrogant or woefully ignorant Rumo. ‘We’ cannot beat it with our current strength. Better for all of ‘us’ to run away for now. ” (AN: Shae is only referring to only Rumo and the others. Not including her or Nu-Ru.)

“You cowards!” Hearing her words, Rumo shouted. “Are you saying we should run with our tails behind our legs? Where is your pride as a warrior of the Empire?”

“If the prince ordered you to jump off a cliff, would you?” Rebuking Rumo, he directed his piercing glare at Shae and myself. “They say that pride can kill any man and no one embodies those words other than you Rumo.”

Walking up to him, the two of us held one another gazes. “Allow me to paint for you this picture. If we were to fight that Wumba. Only a third of us would survive and that is the best case scenario. Let me assure you that out of the potential three survivor, it will be Shae and myself.”

A terrifying silence came to pass as my words reached the other ears. The plan was for us to retreat back to the Empire and receive reinforcement to take down the creature. If it came to it, Shae and I would deviate from the group and deal with the Wumba privately.

If Rumo’s stubbornness persisted it could drag down the entire group. “I will ask you again. What is more important? The lives of your friends, or the prince’s order?” Bring up an earlier topic, Rumo’s solemn expression flickered. It was certainly a delicate topic to him.

For a man of such pride, would he stand by and let his friend die in order to fulfill his mission. Or perhaps he value his honor to serve than his personal attachment. After several decisive seconds, Rumo quietly backed away.

“Fine…We shall retreat for now.” Admitting his lose, I breathed a sigh of relief. That’s one problem taken care of.

“Thank you. We should hurry up, or else the Wumba might find us.”

“We are in the dense area of the forest as we not? We are safe so long as we move around in here.

“That is foolish thinking Requa.” I answered, popping his bubble. “The creature size and strength is far greater than those of its kin. I doubt a couple of trees will get in its way. Especially after we killed a bunch of its kin and spouse.”

Correcting Requa’s misunderstanding, the other grew silent once again.

“If we are to run away, we’ll have to do it discretely or else…”

“…The creature might locate us before we reach the end of the forest.”

“Then all is in favor of running correct?” Confirming everyone’s motive, everyone was on the same page. “Good. Forewarning. If the Wumba does miraculously find us, everyone is to run. Shae and I will stay behind to distract it.”

Hearing my response, everyone but Shae turned to me with stupefaction plastered over their faces. For as much as I went on about sticking together and running. It was a counter intuitive statement to make.

“This is only ‘if’ we or it were to encounter one another.” Raising my hand, I needed to quell any possible objections.

“You’re awfully confident if you believe you can take it on by yourself.”

“I said we would distract it, there are other methods of surviving such as running and hiding.” Rebuking Rumo, the tension in the air only rose.

“Alright quit you boys.” Cutting in-between us, Shae broke the two of us up. “We are following Nu’s plan. If you have disagreement with it, you can argue about it later. We need to leave now.”

Shae was right. The more we argue, the less time we have to reach the end of the forest. Dropping the argument we refocused our effort. Some required a bit more time to rest so we spent a minute at most resting. After the final respite, everyone was back up on their feet.

The idea was to traverse the dense forest as quietly and quickly as possible. The prospect of the creature finding us was unlikely, it was not improbable. If we are too slow then the odds of the Wumba finding us increase.

The creature clearly possess heightened senses and physical capabilities. Within seconds of getting in range of my radar, the Wumba closed such distances in seconds. Then there was the matter of tracking us down. Perhaps by smell or some other means.

In conclusion as long as we were in a large group as this, we need to be mindful of our movement and action. The prospect of staying behind with Shae and letting the rest leave did cross my mind. Unfortunately, that would be all too suspicious.

If we had insisted that the two of us were to stay behind, then the others might suspect us of being capable of withstanding or capable of dealing with the Wumba. That was why I suggested the decoy opinion.

When presented with a life threatening situation, the cliché scenario was for the main hero to stay behind. Distracting the monster long enough for his allies to escape.

The lives of the many over the lives of the few.

As such, the action of remaining behind to stall for time wouldn’t as suspicious as to downright declaring the act of staying behind. Or at least, that is how I see. It was entirely possible that we might not run into Wumba.

Unfortunately I do not have the power of foresight so anything is possible.

Traversing in silence through the forest, it was hard to tell if we made any headway towards the end of the forest. As time passed, the unease gripping my heart loosened. ‘Perhaps we will get out here without any problem.’ I wishfully thought.

*Beep*

Hearing the familiar noise I hastily brought up my radar. “Everyone scatter!” Giving the order, everyone sprang into action. In mere seconds, a rumbling noise shook the ground. Crashing down from above, the trees broke under the Wumba’s massive frame.

Scattering, we each hide behind a tree to conceal ourselves. ‘Damn it…How the heck did that thing find us? Was it through smell or perhaps…’ My thoughts were interrupted by the Wumba’s blood curling roar. Swinging its boulder size arm, it destroyed all of the trees in its way.

The sound of ripping bark and splinter covered the air in devastation. It didn’t bother trying to locate us, the Wumba acted on instinct and simply attacked.

“|Lightening Scattershot|” Jumping into action, I fried a barrage of electricity at the Wumba to grab its attention.

“HI YA!” Attacking from behind, the creature noticed Shae at the last second. Their fists clashed as the two of them were pushed back. Joining me at my side, the two of us stared menacing at us.

“Hey! What are you doing?” Keeping an eye on the Wumba, the others remained hidden by the trees. They were panicking.

“Remember what we said? Hurry up and scam!! We don’t have time to babysit you guys.” Shae raised her voice that managed to even surprise me. The other held guilty looks as they ran away. Catching sight of the others running away, we prevented it from pursuing.

Attacking wildly, broken bits of tree flung into the air as we dodge its careless flurry of attacks. As we continued to dodge, I took note of some of its behaviors. Much like the rest of the Wumbas, it relies solely on raw strength. Its attack were sporadic and uncoordinated. Making it easy to predict and dodge.

Before long, the numerous tree that surrounded us were cut down by the Wumba’s impulsive rampage. In truth, it was doing us a big favor. Making room, we had some room to properly fight back.

“Say, are they finally far enough away?”

“Yep. Time to get serious.” The question that Shae referred to was in regards to the other. Only once when they are far enough away would be take it seriously. Giving Shae the go ahead, she made a mad dash for the Wumba.

Jumping straight in, Shae fired her fist straight towards the Wumba whom returned fire with its own fist. Smashing into one another, an explosive boom shook the air. Again the force of their attack, pushed one another back.

“|Vinewood Bine|” Lone elastic erupted from the ground, grabbing hold of the Wumba. Restricting the Wumba’s movement it allowed Shae to strike again. Using the force of the knockback, Shae landed against a collapsed tree.

Kick with tremendous force as she landed, the momentum carried her back at the Wumba. Shae shot at the Wumba like a cannonball! Shifting her body, Shae rammed into the Wumba using her shoulder. Unable to move, it received the full force of such an attack, and collapsed.

Landing safety next to me, the two of us waited for any sign of movement. “Did we get it?” Before the answer could be answered a mighty roar reverberated across the field. “Well that answer my question…”

“Pure strength and blunt force are ineffective against such an opponent. Attacks that does piercing damage will fare much better.”

“That’s true, but when it comes to raw strength it can still be used to keep the Wumba at bay.”

With the short exchange of words, our strategy changed. Our roles shifted, Shae was now the distraction and I was the assaulter. Jumping into the air, Shae attacked from above. With the Wumba pre-occupied, I circled around him looking for an opening.

“|Explosive darts|” A bombardment of tiny flame rushed towards the Wumba. Sticking to the fur of the Wumba, they coated the Wumba in odd light. Sensing that the attack was of no immediate harm. It promptly ignored my attacks and focused Shae. As I had hoped.

|Explosive darts| falls into the category of self-activation spell. Its true power lies in what comes after the initial casting of the spell. Ignoring me, hundreds of tiny flames cloaked the Wumba. “Detonate” With a single command, the Wumba busted into a flames. On their own, a single spark could only produce a modest explosion.

But combine with the spontaneous detonation of hundreds of spark. A powder keg was lit.

The Wumba released a blood curdling roar as the fire suffocated the creature. Unfortunately for the Wumba, I wasn’t finished.

|Ignis Linear|

A single beam of fire fired through the barren chest of the Wumba. Piercing it’s flesh, the Wumba scream intensified. Clutching the wound, the Wumba rolled on the ground in agony. I had hoped that I had destroyed its heart with my latest attack. But who’s to say that the monster possess a singular heart. Musing to myself, the heat from the flaming Wumba brought me back to reality.

|Aqua Burst|

Casting another spell, a down pour of water rained down on the area. With the creature rolling around, a wild fire was bound to spread. Putting out the fire, consequently, the Wumba fiery cloak was also extinguish. Smoke steamed from the burnt carcass, un-moving.

“Is it finally dead?” With a wishful prayer, the two of us waited in silence.

For five seconds, nothing.

For ten seconds, nothing.

For thirty seconds, nothing.

As luck was finally smiling upon us, I noticed a sight twitch. “It is still alive!” Confirming its state, the two of us jumped back. As I had confirmed, the beast rose from the ground.

Is this thing a damn zombie or something?” Raising her voice, I shared Shae’s sentimentality. Just how durable was that monster?

If we were to use our full strength, the battle would last but mere seconds. However, the Wumba death would be a hinderance than a benefit. Once news reaches the ear of the Empire. They would have to send a force of considerable size to put down the monster. If they were discover it dead, they would first look to us as witnesses and immediate suspects.

It would be doing us a huge favor if the Wumba were to turn tail and run.

Glaring at us with feral eyes, the Wumba held some semblance of intelligence. It knew better than continue a losing fight. Slowly the creature backed away and retreated. Finally we were making some headway.

As the creature stomped away, it stopped and took one last glance at us. It may have been my imagination but the sudden look was off putting. ‘Don’t think that this is over.’ it said before turning tail and running. Only when the beast was out of sight did we finally relax.

“About time.” Bending down, Shae lied on the ground stretching her arms and legs. “I was wondering when it was going leave. Goes to show just how stupid that pile of muscle really is.” Despite the respite, I couldn’t relax just yet. The look the Wumba gave us before running away weighed on my mind.

The Wumba clearly possess higher intelligence compared to its kind. Not to mention the tenacity it exhibited as it chased us down. It certainly can be keep a grudge. Combining all those facts, why couldn’t I simply let it go? “I wonder how the others ar…”

Before I could finish my sentence, my mind and body halted. What if…

“Shae…In which direction is the Wumba running off to?”

“Huh?” Hearing my sudden question, Shae simply lazed around. “I don’t know. Why does it matter?”

“Just check.” Hearing my words in a more aggressive voice, Shae got serious. Jumping straight up, Shae worked in silence. “I think I found it. Currently it is traveling just north east of us. Satisfied?”

“Expand your radar’s search radius. Find out where Rumo and the others are presently.”

“What does that have to do with…” As the words formed within her mouth, her lips quickly sealed shut. It finally dawned on her as did I. “I found them! They’re just north of us, if we hurry then we might reach it before the Wumba does.”

Follow Shae’s lead, the forest blurred as we raced towards Rumo and the others. With the wind behind our backs, we rushed forward. “Damn it. You don’t think that the Wumba is actually after them are you?” Shae asked for reconfirmation.

“That’s the only reason I can think of. If not, then it’s a huge coincidence that it escaped towards the others in the same direction. My only guess is that it will go for Rumo and the other in one last desperate attempt.”

“But why them? That thing is bruised and hurt, it should be running away to heal and recuperate. So why is it seeking danger instead of running away from it?”

‘I would like to know that as well.’ No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t see any logic in the Wumba’s decision. Did it believe it could take on Rumo and the rest in its already weakened state? Or perhaps it didn’t care for its life anymore and simply wish to reap vengeance upon those that killed its kin?

Well it’s not like we could sit it down and have the Wumba explain its thought process. All I can do now is reach the other before it does. Covering hundreds of meters within a minute or two, we grew closer and closer.

“Shae! How much longer until we reach them?”

“I say in a couple of seconds!” Speeding up, the distant sound of battle grew louder and louder. We were a few seconds too late and the Wumba has already engaged Rumo’s group. It must have taken them by surprises as within one of its hand was Haus. Captured.

“We have to help them!”

“Wait!!” Reaching out my arm, I stopped Shae from running over to the Wumba. “What the heck are you doing?” Shae shouted. “We need to help them!”

“Shae, think about this. Within such a tight area, we won’t be able to finish it off effectively unless we use our full strength. However we’ll be discovered if we do so.”

“Y-you…Chicken shit coward!!” Faster than I could perceive, Shae’s fist slammed into the side of my face. She didn’t hold back one bit as my head collided with a nearby tree. The force alone causes a hole to form.

A throbbing sensation racked my brain as my sights osculated turmoil. A marching band of chaos played inside as I struggled to focus my senses. A progress that was halted by Shae again. Grabbing my body, she slammed me back against the tree.

The act alone racked my brain as my sights osculated in turmoil. A marching band of chaos played inside as I struggled to focus my senses. A progress that was halted by Shae again. Grabbing my body, she slammed me back against the tree.

“You…paranoid piece of…are you telling me we should let them get hurt or die just because we need to keep a secret?” Faced with a question, I couldn’t find the right answer to tell her. Tightening her grip, she pulled me in close so the two of us stood eye to eye.

“I’ve always respected you Nu. Not just as the Guild’s tactician but also as a person. You were always too kind for your own good. Always meddling in other people’s businesses…just like how you helped me back in [Eternia].” Shae paused.

“I want that Nu back, not the coward I see in front of me. Even if I have to beat it into you.” Forming a fist, Shae was waiting for my answer.

“Is that what you think?” Tightening my hand, I formed a fist of my own. “Here’s my answer.” Watching my action, Shae readied her fist to give one more punch. However, it wasn’t as she had predicted.

“Ehhhh.” An audible gasp was heard coming from Shae. The reason behind this was I hit myself in the face rather than Shae. “Ow. My cheeks are going to get swollen at this point.”

“I’m suppose to knock some sense into you, not yourself.” Realizing my action, I could only smile wry at Shae. “I know, but I’m pretty sure you’ll break my cheek if I let you go at it.”

“You are right Shae. If I let them die, then I’ll be the worse kind of hypocrite. So thanks.”

“…Well it’s about time.” I could crack a small smile before getting serious. Already we wasted time squabbling with one another. Luckily, the others were still holding out. They won’t be able to hold it back for much longer.

“So what’s the plan?” Shae asked.

“Go in hard and go in fast.” In truth I didn’t have any concrete idea or alternative plans to use. “I’ll take care of the others. You deal with the Wumba.” Assigning the roles, it was time to take action.

“Un-equip [Binding Ring]” Utter the command at the same time, the ring along our index finger disappeared. Jumping right into the action, we spontaneously appeared in-between the others and the Wumba. Going our separate ways, Shae launched herself at the Wumba. With no more restriction, Shae knocked the Wumba clean back.

Faced with her colossal strength, the Wumba released Haus. Using my magic, I soften his descendant. Facing the two of us, the others could simply watch with their mouth a gape.

“Nu-Ru…what is going…”

“Sorry about this. |Miasma of Sleep|” Cutting in, neither anyone had the time to speak. Fog dispersed around the area. Within seconds of inhaling the gas, they all drop to sleep. With no more distraction, it was time to deal with the Wumba.

“|Chaos Chevalier|” Joining in the fray, darkness gathered in my hand. Slashing towards the Wumba, my attack ripped through it’s flesh and some of the surrounding trees. Catching on only at the last second, I only took its arm.

The Wumba roared in mad agony, clutching the bloody stumps. In one last desperate attempt of resistance, it rushed towards me. “Where do you think you are going?!” Appearing from the side, Shae planted a firm fist against the unsuspecting Wumba. The creature rag dolled, smashing into the trees.

“|Transcendent Nova|” Two sphere of energy formed within the palms of my hand. Expanding by the second, I hurled it towards the Wumba. Hitting the target, the two sphere’s combined to form a gigantic explosion. The sound of the Wumba distant screamed accompanied the explosion. The faint silhouette of the Wumba could be seen, engulfed by the explosion.

The explosion subsided, leaving behind the charred corpse of the Wumba. Everything within the vicinity was blown to oblivion. Leaving behind only ashes and the burnt remain. The battle was finally over.

“We won…but now what?”

“Now we get to work.” The fight was not yet over. “Shae, hurry and pick up the swords from Rumo and the others. I want you to use slash at the carcass with the sword and make clear slash marks. We shall fabricate the death of the Wumba to make it seem that all of us worked together to kill it.”

“I think you are jumping the gun on this Nu. They will clearly remember what happened to them. Won’t they just…”

“Please. Trust me on this.” Interrupting her, I pleaded with her one last time.

“…Alright. Do what you need to do.” Acceding to my words, Shae went off to complete her task. With her gone, it was my time to get to work. The others lied on the floor asleep from my |Misma of Sleep|. Watching their peaceful, sleeping faces, anxiety and agitation swelled within me.

‘Come on…Now’s not the the time to have butterfly in your stomach.’ Taking in a deep breathe, I got to work. The death of the Wumba will cause some of the higher ups within the Empire to raise their eyebrows. It was during the fight where I cleaved it’s arm off did the idea come to me.

Of this time, there should be no form of magic that can function as autopsy. The only evidence that anyone will be able to go off from will be the corpses. So who’s to say whether or not the wounds the Wumba received were before or after its death?

The only issue that remains is the memory of the others. |Alter Memory| is the key to success. In [Eternia], the spell could be used on NPC’s for quests. It alters certain codes, allowing the player to bypass certain restriction. Since all the spells function in this new world as it did in [Eternia]. In theory, |Alter Memory| should retain its effect.

“Only one way to find out.” Choosing one at random, I started. I felt a bit guilty, invading their minds and privacy, and altering them. But it was necessary if we wanted to stay hidden. But more than that, I was simply happy that everything was finally over.

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