226 Chapter 172: Reunion between Old Friends and Tales of their Adventures
It had grown dark as Joshua's group set around a campfire while listening to the tales of Tank and his old friend's adventures during their over two hundred years spent traveling the world. Tank wasn't usually the type of person to open up in such a way, but with his old friend around to bring up old times the turtle seemed to be having a good time. He almost seemed as if he was enjoying it as much he enjoyed teasing Joshua whenever he got the chance.
Before setting up camp the group had put away the carcass of the dead praying mantis so they'd have more room and to keep it from spoiling at all. Its two front legs would be very useful for equipment, but the rest of exoskeleton had cracks all over it proving it wasn't nearly as tough as the front legs. The rest of its body wouldn't sell for much and none of the people in the group had any taste for insect at all so it would most likely be sold off to the system for some guild points.
They had actually been racking up a ton of guild points during their expedition since they had already cleared two territories because the system considered the praying mantis they had just killed the guardian of the area. So all of the guild points they had gained from the previous dungeon, for finding new areas to explore, and for taking down the guardian of the praying mantis territory was piling up and making it so that the guild was close to leveling up for the first time. In fact it would probably only take one more thing to push them over the edge and Joshua was certain that if the guild did level up he'd have to head back and start setting things in motion. It wouldn't put any of their plans in jeopardy, but it would speed them up a bit.
After a while of listening to Tank and his friend grumble back and forth on things the rest of the group finally thought it was about time that they'd get to ask a few questions. Joshua was the first one to ask something that had been bothering him about the situation of the territory since he found out the system classified the beast they had just taken down as the guardian of the territory. The short amount of quiet between Tank and his friend gave him the perfect opportunity to ask such a question.
"So I've been wondering since we first met about something odd that I noticed about this territory." Joshua spoke up getting everyone's attention. "The system pointed out that the stunted praying mantis that we killed earlier was the guardian of the place and that's why when we killed it we gained a sort of human control over the territory. It doesn't mean we own it or all of the life here will be forced away it just means we get certain benefits." Joshua explained so that the large and luckily friendly insect would stay on good terms with them instead of assuming they had taken control over the area. "I was just wondering how come the territory isn't considered under your control since you are clearly the stronger and more powerful entity around."
The praying mantis seemed to think about his question for a bit before figuring out the best way to respond and explain everything he knew about the situation. "It is true that I am far more powerful than anything in this territory, but that is also the reason why I am not this territory's guardian." He said with a chuckle at the confused looks he got in response. "Once you have surpassed the strength of your territory you are free to roam the world as you see fit as a beast. The down side in that is that you lose connection to the territory and any benefits you can gain from that."
"So in other words it is as if you've moved on and the system senses that?" Henry said with a questioning look.
"Exactly. I will also warn you that this will lead to you coming across some powerful creatures in territories that they're not usually a part of. Once a beast becomes free they can go anywhere, but there are still some rules in play. For one they can't effect the environment around them personally and cause issues. In other words you can't just go into an area and kill everything there beast or human. Otherwise the planet itself will come after you and that's not something that any of us want." The large praying mantis said with a shudder as it seemed like a chill had gone up his back.
"That's how a lot of powerful beast get trapped in dungeons in the first place." Tank said surprising everyone around. "They do something wrong like attacking the territory of beast far below their strength and the world takes that into account. They are then forced into a miserable existence of becoming the boss of a dungeon where they get killed over and over not being allowed to die until the planet fills the punishment has been fulfilled. Some creatures come out of that situation alright, but others break down and become mindless creatures that can no longer function in the outside world."
"That's why even if I am allowed to roam the world and explore I don't go around just doing anything I want. I challenge creatures around the same level as me and I only kill weaker enemies that are foolish enough to attack me in the first place. The only time that isn't necessarily true is when I'm in my home territory and the world allows me a little more freedom, but even then I try to avoid trouble." The praying mantis said with a deep rumbling chuckle.
"So then since you're to strong the planet gave the guardianship of the territory to another creature just to be fair. I'm guessing that the praying mantis we killed must have rushed its evolution just so that it could get the position." Henry said with a frown.
"How exactly can it do that though? I thought that beast evolved when they were ready and based off of their experiences." Lilly said with a small frown. As a tamer she hadn't had any trouble with any of her partners evolving properly so she was surprised that could be an issue.
"It is not usually a problem, but the mental state of a creature or outside influences could cause this issue. The fact that you haven't encountered anything like that with your partner's so far is a sign of how good of a beast master you are young one." The praying mantis said with an uplifting voice. "Keep that up and I'm sure you'll make it far, but with Tank and Cinder around I don't think that was ever truly a question after all."
The group went silent once again as they thought over some of the revelations they had just found out. They now knew how a lot of the boss monsters ended up in dungeons in the first place and a little bit more about the rules of the world. It was a good thing those were set in place since if a creature as powerful as Tank's friend could just fly over to any low level territory and kill all the explorers there then there would be nothing the explorers could do to fight back at the moment with the huge difference in power. Plus Lilly had learned about some of the possible things to avoid while training her partners. It would be horrible if any of her pets ended up having their potential crippled because of something she did in the end.
It was during the short lull in conversation that Cinder's excited voice pepped up as she looked over towards the giant praying mantis. "Since you've been all over the world exploring and have met all sorts of beast I was wondering if you may have met my mother." Cinder asked with a surprisingly toned down note to her usually hyper attitude.
"If it is who I think it is then I have most definitely met your mother. I think Tank has probably met her before too, but that was a long time ago. Now your mother has risen up and become one of the four guardian beast of the planet. She has eclipsed the strength of several other beast. For now she is considered the weakest of the four guardian beast, but she is also the youngest and newest member so that's not too much of a surprise." The praying mantis said with a serious expression. "She is one fearsome creature to face. I fought her in the past when we were all younger and I was a bit…"
"A bit of a muscle head." Tank jumped in and cut his friend off. "I was there and I remember. In the end she sent both of us running and the only reason we got away was because of the fact that there was a source of water nearby that I could use to hold her off as you flew us both away."
"Well yeah, that's about how I remember it. Your mother is a fearsome creature Cinder and is rather vicious in the end. She has no problem killing anyone that threatens her territory and that's not an understatement."
"Well then why does she leave her children all on their own all around the world? I'd love to meet her at some point." Cinder said with a sad note at first, but then her excitement came back at the idea of meeting her in the future.
"If I had to guess it was probably to allow them to grow strong on their own at first. It was how she was raised after all and is one of the main reasons she was able to become so powerful. Then you add in the fact that she had well over a thousand children in the end and you could see why she followed such principles. It did work out for you after all Cinder." The praying mantis replied making sure to end on a slightly happier note.
"I'm sure you'll get to meet her eventually, but don't be surprised if she's a bit more on the cold side in the end, because that just seemed to be her personality after all, She's not evil though, especially since the planet decided to choose her as one of its guardians." Tank said getting a nod from Cinder in return.
"Well if Cinder's mother is so powerful and is considered the weakest of the four guardians then how powerful are the rest of them?" Adrian asked with an excited smile. "They must be something really special if they've even got you two running away from them.
"Well Joshua here has actually met the strongest of the four guardians before if I remember correctly." Tank said with a smirk as he looked over to Joshua. "The guardian wolf who was the first one to become empowered by the world's energy's a being said to be the partner of Mother Nature herself. Though I highly doubt that you met her in a situation where she could show off any of her power."
"True, when I met her she wasn't all that big and I couldn't sense her presence all that well. Though now I know that's simply because she was far too powerful and if I did actually sense her aura then I probably would have died at such a low level. So I can't really give you an idea of how strong she is." Joshua said with a thoughtful look as he remembered the meeting.
"It's a good thing that you couldn't tell." Tank's friend said getting Joshua's attention. "If you could then you'd be dead. The guardian wolf appears docile most of the time, it's only when she is angered or something important to the planet is threatened that she becomes overbearing and unleashes her aura. So just be happy that she wasn't in an angered state when you met her."
The group settled into small conversations for the rest of the night as they talked about some other adventures that Tank and his friend had gone through when they were younger. Cinder was enthralled with most of the stories as they heard tales of different powerful beast that the two friends had come across during their travels. Eventually it got rather late and it was time for them all to get some rest so that they could go explore the entrance of the canyon in the morning. It would depend on what they found there for them to decide whether to continue on the exploration or head back.