The next morning, Chen Rui, who was deeply asleep woken up by Slee’s door-knocks.
“Master, little princess and Athena are here!”
Chen Rui quickly got dressed. He was taken aback when he saw Athena and Alice outside of his room.
Athena was in full-body leather armor; wearing a space bracelet; carrying the usual greatsword; looking as if she’s going somewhere far away, whereas Alice’s big eyes looked red and swollen; she clearly cried before.
“Come in. What’s wrong with both of you?” Chen Rui asked with surprise.
Athena stepped forward and handed him a leather paper and said, “This is your appointment letter as the mine officer. Princess Royal has already agreed to my request, so I’m going to Mountain Xilang with you.”
“Sister is so annoying!” Alice said depressedly, “I had a big fight with her, but she still doesn’t allow me to go with both of you!”
“Both of you know about the mine officer incident?” Chen Rui scratched his head. His main purpose was aura, so having Athena around would definitely be inconvenient. As for the Cloak Gang, he already made arrangements. The members only knew that the leader was going out for secret training to face Arux. Any affairs would be handled by Jesse and Didi.
“It was spread throughout the city yesterday’s afternoon.” Alice nodded, “I got to know about it from my sister. This is clearly the doing of Joseph. He must be wanting to avenge the event at the Sky Battle.”
Chen Rui shook his head: The revenge that Joseph wants isn’t just the Sky Battle. However, even Royce isn’t very clear about the mine’s situation. Royce only tentatively figured out that the bandits and Red Spirit Estate must be related.
“That asshole Joseph!” Athena clenched her fist furiously, “Alan too. They want to kill Chen Rui!”
Chen Rui comforted, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. A friend will secretly protect me. Athena, you don’t have to come with me. Stay in the Dark Moon City to accompany Alice.”
“No, it’s too dangerous there. I have to accompany you!” Athena was very determined. “I’ve decided. Whoever tries to stop me have to step over my dead body! This is exactly what I said to Princess Royal.”
Chen Rui’s heart was shocked. Looking at the determination in the ruby-like eyes, he felt that a certain string in his heart was moved.
Alice also said, “Mountain Xilang is unlike other places. It has been plagued by underground demonic beasts for hundreds of years and mining cannot be done smoothly. There are even bandits rampaging around, so it’s one of the most dangerous areas in the Dark Moon. A few years ago, the previous mine officer, Tim personally led a team to explore the mines. In the end, more than a dozen people went missing. Even their bodies haven’t been found till now! So, you must let Athena be with you, otherwise, I’ll be more worried.”
Alice’s red eyes and serious expression made Chen Rui’s heart warm. He gently patted her head. That move was completely natural. Alice was stunned, and her face blushed. However, she didn’t struggle and she seemed to like it. After Chen Rui made that action, he was also stunned. Slee who was at the side had his heart filled with shocks, then a series of strong admiration came after that.
Athena didn’t have any special reaction. She just had a serious look, staring into his eyes and making Chen Rui felt a strong pressure unrelated to strength.
What is this? Burden? Worry?
Perhaps, the word “fate” is more accurate.
Chen Rui suddenly thought of the name of an old song, “Having You throughout the Journey” and took a deep breath.
“Athena, when can you leave?”
That sentence made Athena’s serious eyes melted into joyful enthusiasm, “Anytime!”
Chen Rui nodded, “That’s good. We’ll leave in a while. I’ll get you some antidote as we’ll ride wyverns there.”
Alice requested to ride wyverns the previously, so her eyes lit up when she heard that, “Antidote is successfully researched?”
Chen Rui was afraid to cause additional trouble, so he quickly explained, “The antidote is just a temporary mean; it must be used by Higher Demon. After the new antidote is developed, I will bring you to ride the wyverns. If not you can work harder and become a Higher Demon soon. ”
“Forget about it. I’ll wait for your new antidote.” Alice said with disappointment. In terms of training, little loli had always been proud of being lazy. The awakened of <Dark Flame> was solely by talent, and it had nothing to do with hard work.
Soon, Athena and Chen Rui came to the wyvern nest that was temporarily built at the outside of the lab. Mengda and Kegu were already equipped with a simple flying saddle. Slee tearfully brought the wyverns to his master and one of his future master’s wife (at least that was what the imp thought).
Aldas, who had been staying in the hidden room to study black potion suddenly rushed out and gave a bunch of potions to Chen Rui without saying a word.
When Chen Rui looked at the labels, he knew that they were the strongest buff potions and poison potions in the lab.
The dark elf looked at Chen Rui sentimentally, “Don’t forget that you haven’t fulfilled your promise.”
Chen Rui knew that Aldas was talking about his sister. However, the dark elf said that now wasn’t because of his sister, but it was a promise for him to come back alive.
Chen Rui nodded. Aldas only said that sentence, then he hurried back to the lab without looking back.
Even Alice could tell, “Smelly ass master, why did you run away so quickly? Are you afraid to let others see your tears, sentimental man?”
“Both of you must be safe!” The little loli waved at Chen Rui and Athena with her eyes red, “Chen Rui, if you can come back alive, I can consider eloping with you and Athena…”
Chen Rui was petrified: That’s clearly a curse for me to not return!
The wyverns flapped their wings and rose higher.
Looking down at Alice’s and Slee’s figures that were getting smaller and smaller, Chen Rui waved his hand gently. His eyes stared at the council hall of the palace for a moment. Then, he urged Mengda to fly forward. Finally, they disappeared from Alice’s sight.
Athena always had the wish to become a dragon knight. Now that she could even go with Chen Rui, her wish was fulfilled, and she was in a good mood. As Chen Rui had completely recovered from the loss of spirit from <Deep Analysis>, he communicated with the wyverns via <Analytical Eyes>. Along with Athena’s rich beast taming experience, the first test drive was very successful.
The northeast of the Dark Moon estate was the Red Spirit Estate; southeast was Blue Lava estate; the west’s terrain was the most dangerous. It was filled with towering mountains and precipitous ridges. Passing the Xilang mountain range, the further west would be the Town Leia which was at the border with Dark Shadow Empire.
The Town Leia was originally two fortresses facing each other with a long history. They belonged to the Fallen Angel Empire and the Dark Shadow Empire respectively. About 2000 years ago, the Emperor of Fallen Angel, Sakya. Lucifer was reigning, and he had a mutual beneficial relationship with the Dark Shadow Empire. The two empires then signed a friendly agreement to live in harmony for 10,000 years. As a symbol of friendship, the fortresses of the two empires were thus demolished and merged into the Town Leia, which was shared by the two countries.
Shea once sent caravans to the west and wanted to go through the Town Leia to enter the Dark Shadow Empire. However, bandits also appeared in the west. She lost everything for several times. Together with Alan’s “unsuccessful elimination”, Dark Moon could only trade with Red Spirit or trade with the outer world via Red Spirit as the only channel. Thus, the economy lifeline had always been controlled by the Red Spirit estate.
“At this speed, we can reach Mountain Xilang in about 2 ½ days.” The wind was strong in the air, so Athena said loudly.
“Where do we camp at night?” There was clearly no inns in such wild march, so they could only camp out.
Athena had rich experience in beast taming and camping out, “The distance ahead is still a long way. We’ll try not to exhaust the wyverns. We’ll take a break on the way to feed the wyverns. Then, we’ll rush to the black rainforest before dark.”
“Alright!” Chen Rui was self-aware. Having Athena along indeed saved a lot of trouble. If he was alone, he’d probably waste a lot of time even if he had the magic map.
At sunset, the two arrived at the black rainforest as scheduled. Chen Rui remembered that when he first met Alice, the poisonous grass and flowers that he was fed with were from this place.
The black rainforest was a standard Demon Realm forest area that was large in size and rich in herbs. The quality of the herbs was much higher than in other places, but it was also full of dangerous floras and faunas.
Athena took Chen Rui to a leeward hillside familiarly. The two wyverns were resting at the side of a tree above the hillside. It also played a certain warning role. There was a stream not far below from the hillside, so it was convenient to get water.
“Let’s rest at this hillside tonight. Alice and I rested here the last time too because it’s safer.” Athena removed the greatsword at her back and sat down on a stone.
“Thank you.” Chen Rui said sincerely. Mountain Xilang was equally dangerous for Athena, but she didn’t hesitate and took the initiative to accompany him.
“We’re friends, so you don’t have to say these.” Athena shook her head and turned her face to the other side.
It’s not the first time for them to go out together, but Athena suddenly felt an inexplicable nervousness. When she thought that she might be spending a long time with Chen Rui alone, her heartbeat somewhat accelerated. This situation was unprecedented.
“I know.” Chen Rui scratched his head, “Yet, I still want to thank you.”
As he just finished the sentence, and “Whoosh“, the greatsword was unsheathed without notice. It was right in front of Chen Rui. He was startled – I’m just trying to say thank you. When did I trigger you to unsheath your sword?
Athena stood up suddenly, carried her greatsword and walked to the stream without looking back. She said before she left, “It’s fine! You’re such a big man. Why are you so garrulous! I’m going to hunt some prey!”
Someone didn’t know that, actually, she just didn’t want him to see her blushed.
Athena returned to normal. After she returned to the hillside with two preys, she saw the tent set by Chen Rui and she looked surprised.
“What is this tent? It’s my first time seeing this.”
Chen Rui smiled and said, “This is called an alpine tent. It was done with Slee’s help a few days ago. I was just making it for fun initially, but I never thought it could be of use so soon.”
Actually, these were some of the equipment that Chen Rui prepared for Silent Night Wetland in advance. It just happened to come in handy coincidentally.
“This tent is not bad, and it’s quite convenient to keep.” Athena had a rich experience in surviving in the wild, so she immediately noticed the benefits of the tent in a glance. She placed the cleaned preys beside the campfire, “Is this a grand master’s work in your memory too?”
“It’s just a counterfeit. It’s a lot worse than the actual thing.” Chen Rui said vaguely. He took the prey and took out some barbecue tools, “By the way, where’s your tent?”
“I don’t need that. I’m used to it.” Athena shook her head, “It’s already dark. I’ll guard the night later. You should rest early after finishing the barbecue. We will leave early tomorrow.”
Chen Rui was stunned. What is this? Letting a woman to guard the night while the man hides in the tent to rest?
“This tent is very big; it can fit two people.” Chen Rui realized there was something wrong after he said that and quickly changed, “I meant, we can take turns to guard. Half a night each, so both of us get to rest.”
Athena’s face was slightly red. Fortunately, it wasn’t obvious under the campfire. She shook her head and said, “It’s okay. I did the same when I came with Alice previously. I am now a Higher Demon. It’s not safe here; there might be a danger at any time. You’re lack of strength, so just let me do it.”
“Does a Higher Demon not need to rest?”
Chen Rui would never let Athena suffer alone. Besides, his current strength wasn’t inferior to her, it was just that he was lack of experience. However, he was more than capable of alerting and protecting himself. Chen Rui shook his head hard, “I am not Alice. Did you forget I have the beast taming ability? I can make Mengda and Kegu take turns and aid me in guarding. They’re more acute than I am. If you insist on guarding all night alone, then I wouldn’t sleep too; I’ll accompany you like this.”
Seeing his determined attitude, Athena had an indescribable comfort filled in her heart. She stopped insisting, considering that the jungle was more dangerous in the latter half of the night, she chose to rest in the first half of the night.