108 Chapter 54: Joshua“s First Meeting with a Fan
Joshua sent out an aura pulse just to make sure the surroundings were safe before he let his tense body rest a bit as he put his scale blade back in its holster. When he turned and looked to make sure everyone was alright Joshua could already see Lilly helping the red robed girl take the stinger out of her shoulder. From the tear in her robes he could see the wound and the green tinge that was starting to spread around the area. Lilly had Tank out to guard the area which got looks of surprise from the others as they were tensed up at seeing such a large beast looking over them.
"Don't worry about Tank, he's my companion and is only here to help." Lilly explained getting slightly confused nods from the group. "Now let's heal you up before things get worse. Oh, slightly littler big guy come over here so I can heal you as well." She said with her normal blissful smile. The knight looked at her and pointed to himself as she nodded in response. He looked over towards Joshua who even towered over him by a good four inches and new why she had called him that.
The knight walked over and took off his helmet in the process. Joshua could tell he was already deeply affected by the poison since his face was already turning a shade of green even though it was uninjured. Even though Joshua's heroic shout could relieve the effects of poison, as long as the stinger was still in the body the poison would just be reapplied. With Lilly's antics the tension in the rest of the group seemed to settle down and the two melee fighters nearly collapsed where they stood, but instead headed over to get treated by Lilly and their healer who rushed over as well even though she was just as tired. "Thanks, for helping us out. I don't think we'd be able to survive for much longer. Especially after I lost my shield." The large knight said with a deep voice that matched his size.
"Well If Joshua hadn't been able to find you then we probably wouldn't have made it in time so he's the one you should thank." Lilly said before summoning her two rabbits. She also synced with one of them and her hair turned a pink color which surprised the others, but they understood once her and her rabbits started healing them.
"Interesting I take it you're a tamer of some sort then." The knight said. From what Joshua could tell he was clearly the leader of the group. "That's amazing. Oh I'm Jayce by the way and I'm the leader of our little rag tag group." The man said as he turned to Joshua and extended his hand for a handshake. He was a bear like man in a similar fashion to Joshua, but just a little shorter. You couldn't really see most of his body do to the heavy armor but he had a rather normal looking mop of brown hair on his head along with a bit of stubble do to not shaving for the past few days. He had deep brown eyes and seemed to have a perpetual smile on his face even after what he had just been through.
Joshua nodded before reciprocating. "I'm Joshua and this is Lilly, I'm glad we could make it in time." Joshua was able to observe the group a bit and could tell they were fairly decent. All of them were level thirty three at the moment, yet they weren't staying on the fringe of the forest like other larger groups.
For a moment Joshua could swear Jayce's eyes shined brightly before he started introducing the rest of his group to them. "Thanks for the help. Let me introduce the rest. The guy with a spear that looks like some sort of model with his overly luscious locks of golden hair is Allen. He's a spear master and acts like he has a stick up his butt half of the time." Jayce said getting chuckles from Lilly and the rest of his group. Allen on the other hand simply snorted at the remark. The man reminded him of an elf without the ears or towering height. He stood at about six feet and was built like a swimmer instead of a fighter in Joshua's opinion.
"Thanks for the help, I'm not sure this big idiot would have lasted much longer if you didn't show up." Allen simply said with a small smile as he shook Joshua's hand.
"The short shifty looking shrimp next to him is Marcus. He's our thief and trap detector. He's fairly decent in a fight as well." Jayce said getting the shorter guy to glare at him for having it pointed out. Marcus seemed to be Hispanic with a slightly darker skin tone. He took off a mask he had covering his mouth that allowed Joshua to see his goatee and mustache.
"Thanks, but don't call me short. I'm five foot five inches. That's average!" Marcus said glaring at Jayce who simply chuckled.
"These two lovelies are the sunshine of our group. The shorter one in the white robe is Monika. Our little sweet heart and the youngest one of the group. She's our healer and I'm sure she's panicking thinking of what exactly to say as we speak." Jayce pointed out with a small grin.
"Um… hi, nice to meet you." She said with a slight nervousness to her. She had wavy red hair that framed her face perfectly and stopped at her shoulders. She was on the slimmer side and had freckles across her face that gave her a distinct look. She stood about the same height as Lilly and Joshua got the feeling Lilly would be able to bring her out of her shell.
"The taller one that Lilly is busy healing is Julia. She and I have been friends for a while and she has a rather venomous mouth if you ask me." Jayce said, but turned pale as he dunked just before a small fireball soared past his head.
"Don't listen to this idiot. Thanks for saving me and this waste of space." She said while still glaring at Jayce. When she removed her hood Joshua got a better look at her. Her hair was surprisingly a purple color which most likely had something to do with her soul beast. She was definitely a cold and calculating beauty that wore a nice pair of glasses that framed her face. Her hair was on the straight side and flowed down well past her shoulders. She definitely had a full body figure and Joshua was sure that Adrian would jump at the chance to get to know her if they ever met.
"Well I'm glad we could help, but how come you guys were fighting that swarm in the first place?" Joshua asked. "You guys look like you know what you're doing, but taking on that swarm seemed to be a bit much for your current numbers and strength."
"We didn't plan on it, some assholes brought them along and interrupted our fight with a few beetles. In the end we had to flee, but several of them followed us." Marcus said in an angry tone. His fist were clenched the whole time he was talking, but after looking at his friends and seeing they were safe he calmed down a bit. "Based off of the screams we heard while running I don't think the other group made it."
"Figures, they were dumb enough to get the attention of a swarm and lure them all over the forest. I doubt they'd know how to get away." Allen said getting a nod from the rest.
"Well in the end things worked out, but we're still stuck in the same situation. We need to face stronger opponents to continue leveling at a decent pace. We didn't have too much trouble with the higher level beetles deeper in the forest, but giant swarms of bees could wipe us out if we're not careful." Jayce said with a sigh.
"Well I'm not too sure about that. Joshua and Lilly here seem to be able to handle swarms if what we saw earlier is a common thing for you guys." Julia said as she fixed her glasses. Whenever she did that Joshua couldn't get the image of a librarian out of his head.
"True, but I'm guessing you two were just passing through to go further into the forest right? I mean you guys must be higher level than us if you can handle something like that so easily." He said with a chuckle.
Joshua looked at him for a moment then glanced towards Lilly who simply smiled back at him with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "I wouldn't say that." Joshua said with a bit of a teasing smile before he put his information to public so that when they observed him they would be able to see his level. He didn't mind since they seemed decent enough and they already knew that he was far stronger than his level made it look like.
All of Jayce's group looked at him in shock when they were able to see his level. They then turned to look at Lilly and notice they were both only level twenty seven. "Damn, you guys must have some crazy stats for your level then." Allen said being the first one to recover.
"Sort of, but it's just because we train to peak potential whenever given the chance." Joshua said getting nods of understanding from the others. "Plus having unique jobs goes a long ways."
"That's an understatement if I've ever heard one before. That stuff that surrounded you while fighting was better than any shield or armor. Those bees just bounced off of you. Not to mention how easy you could tear them apart with that massive blade of yours." Jayce said with a starry eyed smile. "Then Lilly over here can actually tame beast. That's amazing."
Joshua simply smiled a bit at his remarks before he brought up something that he noticed. "You guys seem decently strong, but I l noticed you all aren't in a guild. Any reason for that? It could make training easier." He asked getting Jayce to go from his excited expression to a depressed one in a blink of an eye.
"All the good guilds only want people that are at least level thirty-five to join at this point. Well except the World Government Guild, but they just treat most of their members like little underlings." Jayce responded.
"We started are exploration a bit later than others since we wanted to get more out of our training before heading out." Julia said getting Joshua's attention. "It was a good idea considering how many people have died because they tried to take on more than they could handle, but it did put us behind quite a bit. We've been able to get this far in a year and soon we'll try to join a good guild, but for now we'll just have to keep training on our own until we reach the requirement."
"Well it seems you guys were just unlucky this time around, but sometimes that's all it takes." Joshua responded but he turned when he noticed Jayce staring at him with an odd look. "What is it?"
"Well I've been wondering this for a while, but are you the same Joshua that got first place in the first phase?" He asked seriously causing the rest of his group to look on a bit expectantly.
"What made you think of that?" Joshua asked curiously while Lilly giggled a bit at the situation.
"Well, he suddenly disappeared at the start of things even though people like Laura and Madalyn have become predominate explorers in the second phase. To be honest if I had to imagine him I'd think of someone like you. Helping out complete strangers, stronger than expected, with a unique job and probably soul beast as well…" Jayce stopped as he noticed Joshua looking a little embarrassed at his praising while Lilly started laughing out loud. Even Tank started to let out a rumbling laughter in response to the situation.
"Well you're in luck then, he is the one and only person you've been talking about." Lilly said getting looks of surprise from most of the group and a clear look of worship from Jayce.
"Really, man you're my idol! The whole reason I started exploring was because of you. I'm the only one in my group that was old enough to be a part of the first phase and it was hell. For someone without powers to be the one to save everyone was just amazing. Ever since then I've wanted to become like you." Jayce said with a big grin.
"Well you're on the right track, but I'd still recommend you to join a guild if you want to get far." Joshua replied not quite sure what to say in the situation.
"Well then why don't we join your guild…oh you don't have one, but if you make one then I'll be the first to show up." Jayce said with a big grin. All of his friends just shook their heads at the way he was acting, but realized this was a big deal to him.
"Well I might not be starting a guild any time soon, but for now I can get you guys into the Phoenix Guild, or the Serpent Guild if you want. I'm good friends with both of the guild masters." Joshua explained.
"That would be nice, but we'd rather get in fair. Besides I'd rather join any guild you make." Jayce said while looking at Joshua a little pleadingly.
"Well how about this then, for now you guys stay with us, that way you can fight the beetles in this area while Joshua and I try to hunt down any swarms. Then when we're done here you guys can go to one of Laura's training areas until Joshua makes his own guild." Lilly said getting the others to brighten up at the idea except Joshua who was looking at her questioningly. "Oh don't look at me like that. I'm sure you and your friends were going to make a guild eventually. Now you've got your first members."
Joshua let out a sigh and realized Lilly was probably right. Especially since the boost of experience would only be helpful in the end. "Well then, I guess welcome to the group. Let's see how good you guys really are." Joshua said with an excited grin.
"Got it Boss!" Jayce shouted in reply getting everyone to look at him weirdly.