There were now three travellers crossing the barren plains.
One of them was a young man in tattered hunting gear. He had a black ironwood lance on his back, from the tip of which hung two coarse-furred mice.
Leylin and Bodach were following him at the side. After that 'friendly and enthusiastic' interaction, they'd successfully gotten the youth to bring them to his tribe. They had found out his name as well. He was called Cabadole, and was a descendant of a large tribe nearby.
While he had yet to reach adulthood, he'd already had to take on some responsibilities. Having obtained his prey the youth was obviously elated, and he even began humming a strange tune. While Leylin suspected that these two mice could only provide for a few meals, but based on what the young man had said, this was already plentiful.
"The animals in the wilderness are extremely sly. Even the best hunters in the village can't be confident that they will get harvests every time..." Cabadole stared at Leylin and Bodach with worship in his eyes, "Are you the legendary emissaries of the Master?"
"No!" Bodach answered resolutely. He had no idea why Leylin was so interested in these ants, but since he was the one asking for a favour, he did not dare go against Leylin's wishes. However, Cabadole would never get any goodwill from him.
Unfortunately, the young man was now full of curiosity which even overshadowed his fear. "Then... did Mister Bodach come from the city? Is it Maxi City? I've been there before..."
Along the way, Bodach almost broke down from all of Cabadole's antics. When they saw the low walls in the distance, the dragon was the most excited of the group, finally able to escape.
The tribe Cabadole lived in didn't just own some land. They'd built a wall at the outer regions of the village. While the defensive abilities of the wall were questionable, the strength this implied comforted Leylin.
*Clang!* At this moment, the entrance to the village opened. A group of villagers dressed in coarse black clothing walked out, a few elders at their center. There seemed to be some sorrow in the air, and many women were weeping while covering their mouths.
"Looks like they aren't here to welcome you, kid!" Bodach chuckled, but Cabadole did not retort at all. His eyes were fixed at the few native elder at the centre, fists clenched so tight that he was almost bleeding.
"Are they expelling the elders?" Leylin had a feeling that when productivity was lowest, many tribes would choose to chase the elderly with no ability to work away.
"No... they're doing this voluntarily." Cabadole's voice was low, "For the better survival of our race..."
"This is what's so heavy about life. Even though I've passed through so many worlds, I can't help but sigh at this..."
Bodach gave Leylin a long look, "Could you allow me to create a historical poem to record this?"
"No!" Leylin rejected him without hesitation. This one-eyed dragon's talkativeness was also worthy of being recorded into a poem. His writing skills, in particular, were more than enough for those bards to cough up blood. He was also rather shameless, which left Leylin speechless.
At this moment, Cabadole put the lance down and picked up his prey, looking perplexed.
"What is it? If you're going to hand it over, do it quick. A mouse like that won't be able to last for long anyway..." Bodach mumbled to himself, but was then shut up by Leylin. "Fine... Fine, I won't speak. I won't say anything!"
From the very beginning, even after taking out the prey, Cabadole had not hastened forward. On the contrary, his eyes were filled with hot tears as he watched the few elderly walking straight into the dark wilderness with their backs straight.
"The children in the tribe need this more. My lords, please!" With what had happened, Cabadole seemed to have mature a great deal. He stood up again and led the way.
"Mm, not bad. This kid has the potential to become a leader!" Bodach nodded, and then covered his mouth.
After entering the village, Leylin could tell that there was a distinct difference. This did not come from the natives who, on average, had the strength of rank 2 Magi, but something at the heart of the village.
"That... that has the aura that I'm familiar with! And..." Ignoring the natives that had surrounded them, Leylin headed into the deeper parts of the village.
The further in he went, the more secure the place became. At the end, there was even a glint in Leylin's eyes.
At the innermost region of the village was a square built next to a large black mountain. Natives with metal armour and sharp weapons formed the last line of defence here. A deep hole had been excavated into the mountain, powerful radiation emerging from within.
'These energy undulations are already comparable to rank 5 or 6 Magi. So you're the real guardian of this place?'
"Foreigner, this is a forbidden area. Halt your footsteps!" A man who stood taller than the rest blocked Leylin's way. Tens of elite hunters with armour and lances stood by him, including Cabadole. However, he looked rather anxious.
Bodach could take this no longer and stood out, a ruthless look flashing in his eyes. "Keke... When have mice become so gutsy as to block my way?"
"Wait!" At the crucial moment, Leylin stretched out and stopped him. These were the descendants of someone he knew, and it wasn't good to do things so forcefully. He could feel the unique aura of knights and Magi from the Magus World from these guards. Evidently they'd passed through rigorous training as knights and Magi, likely sourced from Leylin himself.
'Seems like after the huge change to Dreamscape and the strength system I passed down, they've managed to study and achieve something...'
"I do not have malicious intent..." Leylin said, though he did not hesitate in the least in his movements.
Along the way, all who wanted to obstruct him collapsed silently to the ground.
"Tsk! I could just swallow them all!" Bodach muttered in disdain at the sight, but he still followed closely behind Leylin. It would take but a thought for existences of laws like them to destroy the entire village. However, for old time's sake, Leylin did not want to go too far.
The cave was not deep, and they reached the end after walking a few steps in. Minerals similar to quartz crystals filled the ceiling of the cave, reflecting fine rays of light. The ground was slightly damp and had watermarks on it. There was also a sort of black moss that had grown everywhere.
"We meet again, Gillian..." Leylin gazed at the depths of the cave where a huge pit was curved in. The skeletons of many animals, mixed with green vines, formed a thick layer here.
A white marble pillar in the shape of a cross stood tall here, on it a strange statue seemingly merged within.
The top of the statue was that of a young girl with strange purple patterns on her face. The face was somewhat similar to Gillian had been in her memories, though she seemed to have matured quite a bit.
Waist-down, everything had dissolved into a chrysalis, looking like the combined body of a human and a pupa. The young girl looked serene, as if only in a deep sleep. Leylin closed his eyes and felt as if the girl who had called him uncle was right by his side.
Badoch widened his eyes and made a big fuss, "Could this human-pupa be the ancestor of the natives outside? Isn't the gap too large?"
"Mm! She should be in the fission stage of her soul, so we shouldn't disturb her..." While Gillian looked like a statue right now, Leylin could still sense the powerful vitality in the human-pupa.
The special energy radiation that she emitted was like how a ferocious beast marked its territory, chasing away all other terrifying life forms and protecting its clansmen. Leylin closed his eyes, somewhat guessing at what had happened.
'Gillian at that point must have been the same as her other clansmen, where their strength mutated. Out of desire for survival, the entire tribe moved to the north...
'There's no pattern for dreamforce entering the body, and mutations are extremely common... With this power, Gillian and her tribe could finally settle in safety... After that, some things must have happened that I don't know about, which left Gillian alone and reaching the limit as a rank 6 Magus. She fell into a deep sleep here to evolve, and has been protecting her clansmen for so long?'
After walking out of the cave, Bodach suddenly spoke. "I smell the scent of the dream demon on the sleeping native just now..."
The one-eyed dragon had exceptional talent in smelling out souls, able to find traces of Leylin from thousands of years ago.
"But of course. With how powerful Gillian is now, how could the dream demon let go of her dreams?" Leylin shook his head and answered, but then he suddenly froze.
'Dreams, absorption, powering up, replenishing... yet another cycle? If that's how it is on a small scale, it could be a pattern used in an entire world...' A trace of understanding flashed in Leylin's eyes.
'But... there's no point just knowing this. Without any strength, there's nothing I can do!' Leylin shook his head, and then watched the frenetic and anxious natives surrounding them.
"What are we going to do now?" Bodach asked at the side.
"I'm just here to see someone I knew long ago. Now that my goal has been achieved, we could take a look around or attempt to remove your curse..." Leylin didn't mind at all. As long as he stayed in Dreamscape, it would be easy to research this world. Hence, there was really nothing he had to do.