29 Will To Live

Raze's hand was pointed toward the back of Gren's head. Gren had gotten to his feet and was heading towards the temple exit, limping, much like Raze had seen Safa do earlier.

Seeing this, Raze's determination was confirmed.

"RAZE, DON'T!" A loud scream came from the temple doors.

Raze turned his head to see who it was and spotted Simyon running towards him.

"Stop, don't do something you'll regret!" Simyon shouted, and it looked like he was almost going to rugby tackle him. Raze glanced at where Gren had been, but he had completely disappeared.

'Damn it!' Raze thought, lowering his hand and dispelling his magic. 'If he managed to escape that quickly... Did he use some type of skill, or maybe Qi aided him? I can't believe it, especially with that injured leg. In my condition, I'll never catch up to him.'

With that thought in mind, he turned to look at Simyon, his eyebrows furrowed.

"Do you have any idea what you just did?" 

Simyon, out of breath from his sprint, stopped just short. 

"Look, I dislike the guy as much as anyone, but you can't go around hurting people. It seemed like you were going to kill him. Do you really want that burden on your shoulders?" Simyon asked.

"Killing people? Let me ask you, if a wild animal killed your family or attacked them, would you use everything you had to kill it?" Raze countered.

Unbeknownst to Raze, beasts from a portal had killed Simyon's family in the past. The scenario Raze described resonated deeply with Simyon.

"Of course I would. I'd do anything to protect myself and my family," Simyon replied.

"Exactly. What I'm doing is protecting me and my family right now. The problem you have is that you treat humans, beasts, and animals differently. In reality, it's all the same. If anything, humans are far crueler than any of those beasts. Beasts act on instinct, whereas people make the decision to act!" Raze exclaimed.

Raze continued to stare at the direction Gren had taken off to, but hope seemed fleeting. After what he had done, the chance of Gren returning was slim.

As for Simyon, he couldn't stop mulling over Raze's words.

"Remember this, Simyon, you're the one who let him get away. If he returns, he might do far worse than what he did to Safa today. That will be on you," Raze said, walking past Simyon and heading back inside the temple.

For Raze to speak like this, to see humans and beasts as the same thing, it was hard for Simyon to comprehend, and in fact, he didn't see them the same. It was clear that he thought humans were worse. 

'Just what type of life did you go through… is it because your family was killed by humans, unlike mine by monsters?' Simyon thought, but then the other words had hit Simyon as he realised what he had said.

"Wait! What happened to Safa? Is she okay? Raze, talk to me!" Simyon shouted, chasing after him.

It had been tough for Raze, he had used Dark pulse several times, having exerted a lot of his mana, he needed to rest, and he was wondering just how much did Simyon see?

Gren had entered the forest just outside the temple, his leg throbbing with pain from the hole Raze had inflicted. In the heat of the moment, seeing an opportunity while Raze was distracted, a surge of Qi erupted from the depths of his being. This Qi was more potent than any adrenaline rush.

It gave Gren the strength to run on his injured leg, but the power was fleeting. Unsure if Raze was pursuing him, Gren decided to seek refuge in the forest. With the sun now fully set, the surroundings were pitch black and it was frightening. At every turn of a tree, every sound of bushes moving, he thought he would see the white haired figure, but it was just his imagination. 

Eventually, Gren found a large rock to rest upon. He needed a moment to catch his breath as all of the Qi had been used up.

"What was that? What did he use on me? He tore right through my leg, and my hand… My damn hand's gone!" Gren's panic was evident. His situation was dire.

He couldn't return to the temple, fearing not only Mr. Kron but the white-haired boy's wrath as well. Moreover, with the crystals taken from him, no clan would accept him now.

Lifting his hand up again, he realized that the situation was a lot worse.

'With this injury... I'll be labeled as disabled by everyone. Can I even find a job to sustain myself?'

Examining his wounds, he noticed they had been cauterized, so at least he wasn't bleeding. That was one less concern. Dying in the middle of the woods and being eaten by the animals around, maybe it was the best choice for him.

Venturing further into the forest, Gren reflected on the events leading to his current predicament. Despite feeling hopeless, he had a strong will to survive, it propelled him to distance himself from the temple.

The sound of running water had entered Gren's ears. Up ahead, a stream trickled down from the mountain. Several stepping stones led to it. Overcome with thirst, Gren approached the stream with caution. He didn't want to risk falling in. But as he neared the water, an oddity in the air caught his attention.

'Are those... sparks?'

The sight resembled a fireworks display, illuminating and shimmering in the darkness. The sparks grew until they formed a vast glowing circle right before him. Though unfamiliar, a chilling realization dawned upon Gren.

'Is this... No, it can't be. A portal?'

Gren whirled around, intending to flee, but several thin tentacles emerged from the portal. They wrapped around his head, face, and legs, lifting him into the air before yanking him inside. As he was pulled in, the portal snapped shut, disappearing as abruptly as it had appeared.

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