11 Encounters

During the following days, Lith made several discoveries about the changes he had undergone. His body felt lighter than ever and all of his physical abilities were enhanced. Even his five senses had become sharper.

There had also been cosmetic changes in his appearance. The moles on his body had visibly shrunk, his skin was smoother than after a Spa treatment back on Earth, and most of the freckles around his nose and eyes had disappeared.

Lith took note of all the changes, trying to understand what had happened, but he couldn't care less about the beautifying effects. Even without any moles or freckles, he would still look like a crude hillbilly.

If his mother had passed anything down to him, he wasn't able to see it. Unlike his sisters, Lith had none of her beauty or grace. Elina moved like a ballerina, while he was rough and clumsy enough to feel like a caveman.

Lith had deep-set eyes like his father, a high forehead and a nose a little too big to fit his looks.

He wasn't ugly but not even a little bit cute. The best he could give himself was a solid six out of ten. Lith's only hope for improvement was the teenage growth spurt would get rid of his thin and scrawny build.

Figuring out the changes in his mana core required even more time. Lith found that his mana had undergone a qualitative change, becoming purer and denser.

It allowed him to cast stronger spells and reduced the time he needed to manipulate elemental and spirit magic. It made it possible for him to achieve a faster casting speed.

Through Invigoration, he could now spot the presence of the tar-like material scattered throughout his body. He found it in his organs, his blood vessels, and even in his neural pathways.

Whenever he used the Accumulation technique, he could feel the smaller tar-like particles being pulled toward the mana core, whereas the bigger ones would fragment over time and shrink in size before actually moving.

Confident in his new strength, Lith started going deeper into the woods and hunting for bigger prey. He was no longer afraid of predators. Instead of avoiding them, he started looking for them.

Lith wanted his family to have enough fur to make a set of warm clothes for everyone. He was sick of being forced to wear so many layers of clothes during winter that he was unable to walk properly.

Every time he went out of his house, he was forced to waddle along like a penguin.

The problem was that Lith still moved through the forest making a lot of noise, exuding enough killing intent to scare away anything that wasn't stupid or desperate enough to stand in his way.

It was only thanks to the Life Vision spell combined with spirit magic that he was still able to hunt. His range with spirit magic had expanded to over 30 meters (32.8 yards), so he could easily kill any animal that tried to escape by climbing trees or taking flight.

When Lith wasn't able to catch anything, he would snag any bird that made the mistake of flying within his reach.

One day, Lith was exploring a new area of the Trawn woods, hoping to find a fur-wearing meal and kill two birds with one stone.

While looking at a small mound, his Life vision spotted three life forces hiding a few meters underground. They were not strong enough to be predators, but they were big enough to be a perfect meal.

"If those are rodents or other smart animals, there could be more than one exit. I have no time to waste, I'll force them out!"

After getting on the highest spot of the mound, he used earth magic while always keeping both eyes on the prize.

"Magna!" The ground around him started to shake, making the burrow and the small tunnels collapse. The creatures started to panic and took the most direct route to escape from their burrow.

Lith ran, following their movements from above and remaining as close so they would not escape the range of his spirit magic.

Three big fat rabbits came out from a well-hidden hole near a bush. Two of them were still wearing snow-white fur.

"Lucky!" Lith screamed while snapping his fingers, snapping the rabbits' necks with a 180° twist.

"I'll keep the brown-furred one for myself and trade the other two pelts with Selia for a greater amount of low quality furs. Today is really my lucky day."

Lith was so used to being alone in the woods that he would always think out loud to break his feeling of isolation. He hung the rabbits on his belt by the ears and walked toward Selia's house.

After a few steps, Lith heard an odd sound closing in. He had never heard it before, so he started looking around for its source. Soon he could see two horses in the distance, galloping in his direction.

'It seems I have been too loud. Fight or flight?' To answer his own question, he activated Life Vision again. The horses were just horses, while the men were far from impressive.

The one taking point was barely as strong as Selia, while the one behind him was even weaker than Raaz, Lith's father.

Lith forced himself to hide a cruel smile.

'Well, well. My first encounter with complete strangers in this new world! Are they good people? I bet that humans are humans everywhere. This would mean that they are a**holes! I can't wait to find out!'

Lith stood there, waiting for them to arrive.

The first man was clearly a servant. He was dressed in a hunter suit made of leather of low quality, with a crest on both his chest and shoulders. He was an unshaven middle-aged man, with pitch-black short hair, mean and angry eyes sitting on a face that only a mother could love.

The other one was dressed in a suit of much better quality, probably brand new. He wore the same crest on his chest, but it seemed to be made of silk and gold embroidered.

He was a kid, maybe sixteen years old, with a handsome face and the build of a swimsuit model. The tight-fitting leather emphasized his muscular body moving in tune with his horse.

Lith felt really pissed off, and he knew exactly why.

'I really hope he is as much of a jerk as he is handsome. Otherwise not only will I be forced to start believing in prince charming, but I will also die of envy.' He thought.

"Hey, kid!" The servant had a rude tone of voice. "What was that noise from before?"

Lith put on his best innocent expression, playing wolf in sheep's clothes.

"Good day, sir. It was just me hunting. I'm sorry if I scared you." Lith's voice sounded genuinely apologetic. He wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.

"Where did you get those?" He said, ignoring Lith's apologies and pointing at the rabbits.

"From a rabbit hole. They are my game." Lith smiled, keeping watch on both of them.

"Give them to us, now. They will make a perfect muff for my mother." The handsome youth also had a beautiful voice.

"If you really are sorry, you should offer us proper compensation. Even a commoner like you should know the basics of decency." He said with a mocking smile.

Lith dropped the act like a live grenade.

"Seriously? Robbing a kid in broad daylight? Don't you have any shame?"

"Kid!" The servant rebuked. "Do you know who you are talking to? He is the son of Baron Rath, lord of these lands."

Lith laughed out loud.

"Please! Trawn woods has no owner, except maybe Count Lark. Stop spewing nonsense just to cover your sorry a*s. And besides, do you know who you are talking to? I am the supreme mage!"

"See what happens when you waste your breath on commoners, Korth?" The young noble took up the short bow he carried on his back, nocking an arrow. "They are just too stupid, it's in their nature."

He shot the arrow with perfect aim towards Lith's heart.

However Lith had kept many spells at the ready on his fingertips and had plenty of distance. With a wave of his hand, a strong gust of wind hit the arrow on the side, making it spin out of control before harmlessly hitting the ground meters away from its intended target.

Despite being flabbergasted, the young noble was able to keep his cool, nocking another arrow while ordering Korth to kill the kid.

Lith raised his left hand, freezing Korth in place with spirit magic, while with his right he took control of the arrow. It slipped away from the youth's fingers and then stabbed him in the eye.

The youth fell from his horse, screaming in pain

"To think that I even bothered giving you guys a chance to get out of here alive." Lith sighed, shaking his head.

"Wait! If you kill the young lord, you and whoever you love will die! Think about it." Korth said

Lith laughed again.

"Really? And how could they ever find out what happened here?" Lith moved his left thumb, and Korth noticed with horror that his right hand was moving against his will, unsheathing the hunting knife he carried at his belt.

"Wait, please! Have mercy! Don't do this, you are just a kid!" He begged.

"So, when you want to kill, you kill. But when you lose, I am supposed to show mercy?" The spite in his voice was palpable. Lith lowered his ring finger, bringing the knife at Korth's throat.

"Since you are just a servant, I'll give you a clean death." With a flick of his little finger, Lith forced Korth to cut his own throat from ear to ear.

Then he approached the young noble that was still writhing in pain, uncaring of what had just happened to his loyal servant.

"As for you, you are the kind of guy I hate the most!" With one hand Lith kept him frozen at mid-air, while he used the other to punch him nonstop.

"Life gave you everything! Money, beauty, a bright future, and all you can do with such treasures is to screw those who are already struggling to survive?"

Lith hated humans more than anything, even back on Earth the only thing keeping his rage in check was his responsibilities towards his family.

In the new world, there were no cameras, no GPS, nothing. There was only power, and for once he was the one wielding it.

"You know, I have a very ill sister." Lith said after venting his rage.

"I could never practice darkness magic on living beings because using it on animals is just plain cruel. You, on the other hand, are just a monster with the face of a man. You will make a perfect specimen for my research."

The Trawn woods resounded with screams for hours before death could come to claim her prize.

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