The next morning Joshua quickly packed up his tent and used the left over campfire to make a quick breakfast with some of the remaining rabbit meat. His thoughts were still stuck on the amazing encounter he had last night. He wasn't quite sure what the wolf like creature was, but he was sure it was far too powerful for it to be roaming around a beginner area like this. Luckily the gigantic being seemed to only have a mild interest in Joshua and didn't come over for a fight. While Joshua was waiting on his rabbit meat to warm up he swiped open a system information panel and took notice of a flashing icon at the top. He clicked on the flashing icon and a new information window appeared in front of him.
[You have been the first person to encounter a guardian species of your planet. For discovering something new and of interest you will be rewarded for your discovery on it after returning from your expedition. Information on guardians will now be posted throughout the system.]
Joshua read through the short message pretty quickly and was surprised. Now he had some idea of why the creature didn't attack him right away and instead gave off an aura that seemed to blend in with its surroundings. It was close to the planet itself in all likely hood sense it was considered a guardian. Joshua noticed the word guardian was in bold and decided to click on it to see if he could get any more information. Soon another panel appeared with some new descriptions and image of the giant wolf he had seen last night.
[Guardians are protectors of the planet that are free to roam the world and take care of growing trouble at any time. They are not aggressive against other beast or people, but will defend themselves if attacked. They are the first line of defense against any dangers to the planet from both the planet itself and outside influence. It is rare to encounter one and is considered extremely lucky if such an occurrence happens. More information on guardians can be found in the library of the learning center.]
Thinking over this information Joshua assumed that high luck value was taking effect in this case, but wasn't sure if this would be a good thing in the future or not. One thing he knew for certain was that if these guardians were supposed to be the defenders of the planet then in all likely hood they were probably even stronger than the haze monsters in the cities. He was glad he decided to go with the more friendly approach instead of going on the offense right away.
It didn't take long for Joshua to finish his meal sense he wanted to get back to grinding his level a bit more for the day. He had a feeling that he would soon reach the point where his training from before would no longer be enough to keep up with his level gains. Once he reached that point he would leave the marsh area and explore the beginner area's dungeon a bit before heading back for another session of training. After cleaning up the camp fire and making his way back to the cliff, he once again made his way down and into the marsh area below. This time around instead of spending all of his time on the fringe area of the marsh he decided he would go further in so he could encounter some stronger enemies or at the least more enemies at a time. Along the way he ran into a few more of the weaker lizards that he had met the first time around and easily put them down and stored their bodies into his inventory. He didn't run into anymore frogs throughout the morning, but he hadn't yet found one of the large ponds or waterholes that they would usually be at. One thing he was glad he hadn't encountered yet was a snake sense he was sure they would be far more threatening than anything he had seen yet after an evolution.
By the time he got closer to the middle of the marsh area he was starting to notice that the frequency of his encounters with the lizards was growing and on one occasion he actually ran into two at the same time. He used his aura pulse to check out his surroundings and was surprised by the amount of lizards that were in the range of his search. Of course his pulse alerted all of the lizards that something was in their vicinity, but since the pulse would bounce of the trees and other plants in the surroundings it was impossible for them to pinpoint Joshua's location. Towards the end of his search range he noticed a larger group of lizards alongside what looked like a slightly bigger one that raised its head as the pulse passed over it. The group of lizards seemed to grow a bit agitated and started to search their surroundings, so Joshua had to be careful as he made his way over.
When he got close enough to the place the group of lizards were searching Joshua made sure to stay out of sight and observe them for a little bit first. In total there were six lizards with one of them being about twice the size of the other ones. It had thicker scales covering its body and a darker green color with red shading around its eyes. When Joshua checked the level of the creatures in front of him all of the smaller lizards were either level twenty-one or level twenty-two with no stars next to their names. Their names were still highlighted in red since they were over five levels higher than Joshua, but the shading wasn't as dark as it was when he first spotted one of the lizards yesterday.
The larger lizard on the other hand was level twenty-four and had two stars next to its name showing that its potential was far greater than its subordinates. Instead of simply having the name marsh lizard like the others it actually had the title commander at the end which set it aside from the rest. After watching them search the area for a bit Joshua was sure that the larger lizard was ordering the other ones around and making them search the area in a far more coordinated manner than any of the enemies he had come up across so far. 'Seems like this one is a bit smarter than the others. Let's see how they handle a fight. They aren't too fast so if things go south I can just escape.' Joshua thought before taking a calming breath and watched as one of the smaller lizards approached where he was hiding.
When the lizard got close enough Joshua jumped out in surprise and sliced off its head with his scale blade before the creature could react. It didn't get to wail in pain before it died, but the noise of the blow grabbed the attention of the remaining five lizards. They all focused on Joshua who allowed his aura to flare to life in full effect. After reaching level fifteen his strength had grown to just about double the amount it had been when he started out in almost every stat. His will was even greater than that at this point and it showed sense the killing intent of the creatures in front of him had absolutely no effect on him. He was now strong enough to kill the smaller lizards without even using his aura, but he wasn't so sure about the bigger one.
All of the lizards looked at him wearily as they saw how easy one of their own was put down. Some of the smaller ones even started to back away a bit as Joshua's aura shroud came into form and started to give off a strong pressure into the surroundings. When it seemed like they would flee the larger lizard let out a loud hiss and had its dewlap on its neck flare up into an angry red as it enlarged at its actions. This seemed to calm the other lizards down as they spread out to surround Joshua and started to hiss at him angrily. Joshua simply smiled as he looked at the big guy that seemed to be staying back and just watching. "Seems like you're the smart guy here, but I don't see why you would just throw away your subordinates like this." Joshua said only to receive another angry hiss in return.
Right after the large lizard let out another hiss the smaller ones started to charge towards Joshua. He immediately reacted by knocking one aside, but he wasn't able to slice them easily since they seemed to be smart enough to turn out of the way of the edge of his blade before impact. The hits were still hard enough to injure them greatly and send them flying harshly into the trees in the surroundings. Before Joshua could rush over to put the downed lizards out of their misery another would lunge at him and make him turn his focus on them. By the time he was done defending himself the downed lizard would be back up and circling him once again with the others. This situation put them in a bit of a deadlock and the larger lizard seemed to be happy with the situation.
After a few exchanges Joshua knew that he could easily kill the lizards the second he started using his aura in a more offensive way. If he coated his blade with aura then those scales would be easily sliced through no matter how these lizards twisted in the air to defend themselves, but he didn't want to scare away the big guy. So Joshua decided to take care of the smaller lizards in a way that wouldn't show off his full abilities to the smarter commanding lizard. This time when two lizards started to make their way in for another charge instead of trying to kill one with is sword he easily blocked the first ones charge with the front of his blade and then smashed it into the ground on its back.
The second lizard hurried to attack him to try to free its companion, but Joshua was prepared and slightly dodged its bite as it sailed by. He grabbed it by the tail and smashed it into its companion that was still laid out in a small crater in front of Joshua. The impact forced the first lizard deeper into the ground and before either could respond he smashed his scale blade ferociously into the mid-section of the both of them. The blow cleaved the two lizards in half before any of the others could stop it. Joshua looked toward the commander lizard with a smile as it hissed angrily. The two surviving smaller lizards backed up anxiously, but the commanders hissing kept them from outright running away.
After getting back into a defensive position the two remaining smaller lizards along with the commander all charged Joshua. The two smaller ones were in front with the commander following behind preparing to take Joshua out while he was dealing with its remaining subordinates. Joshua used the flat of his blade as a shield to bash the first lizard up into the air and into the path of the second smaller lizards lunge. Before either could fall Joshua twisted and kicked into the exposed belly of the first lizard while directing it towards the other one. With both lizards now stuck in the air on the edge of his boot Joshua channeled aura through his body and used it to send an aura blast through the area of the shroud around his foot. The attack blasted through the first ones stomach and into the stunned second lizard sending them both smashing through a couple of tress out of sight.
The entire time Joshua swung his weapon towards the commander lizard forcing it to twist and allow the blow to hit its scales. The commander was sent rolling to the side, but not very far away. It hissed angrily as it turned back towards Joshua, but looked in confusion when it noticed its two allies were nowhere to be seen. Joshua grinned when he noticed the commander slowly backing away from him. In a split second it turned around and tried to flee, but Joshua used a burst of strength alongside an aura blast from his feet to flash in front of its path and take another swing at it. The beast panicked and barely dodged the blow as it turned and swung its tail at Joshua to distract him. Joshua simply used his body and aura to take the blow while hanging on to the tail for good measure.
The pull on its tail alerted the frightened lizard and when it felt itself being lifted into the air it hissed angrily before detaching its tail and trying to run away again. Tired of the creatures antics Joshua decided to put it out of its misery. He once again used an aura blast from his feet to send himself soaring through the air towards the overgrown lizard from above. This time around he smashed towards the lizards head with all his strength at a far faster speed than before. The creature wasn't able to get out of the way in time and died on impact. The blow sent cracks all throughout the ground. The weight of the blade along with Joshua's strength had created a crater about the size of the large lizard on impact.
Joshua looked at his kill for a bit and decided to put its remains in his inventory. He felt a sudden surge of strength after killing it which signaled that he had reached level sixteen. This time around the strength he gained didn't feel to be as great as before, so Joshua opened his stats to check it out. He quickly noticed that he had only gained about half of the full potential of stats from the level this time around which was a sign that he would have to get back to training soon. Joshua made sure to collect the bodies of the other lizards in the area before deciding what to do next.