After the introductions were done, Nex started asking on the more serious matters. "Iris, how did you get here?"
Iris turned her head around and shook it, "I don't know, Daddy." She then furrowed her brows and tried hard to recall the events. "I went out for a walk with my friend when all of a sudden, I felt dizzy then everything turned black. Then daddy woke me up." She then looked up at Nex and grinned with pride for her accomplishment in her recollection.
"What about your friend?" Nex asked with a brow raised.
The grin on the girl's mouth vanished and her brows crumpled again. "She's supposed to be here." She reached into one of her pockets only to find it empty. She started rummaging through her other pockets, panic starting to show on her face. "Where could she be..." She kept on mumbling.
After all of her pockets had been scoured, she closed her eyes and made a focused face, which quickly turned even more hysterical, "Oh no!"
Seeing her like that, Nex asked her, "What happened?"
Iris threw herself into Nex's arms for comfort while sobbing, "Something happened to her!"
"Something happened to your friend?" Nex asked in a grave manner. "Can you tell me more?"
Tears were continually flowing out of her eyes when she nodded and between hiccups started telling Nex, "She is my contracted spirit. We are linked by the soul but when I tried to check where she is, I could only feel that she's in trouble and that something happened to her. I can't sense her location though."
[Help Iris find her friend!]
[Difficulty : ???]
[Reward : ???]
"Linked by soul, you say?" Nex pondered for a moment before smiling, "I think I can help you find her."
The melancholy swiftly faded away from the little girl's face as if it had been wiped away and was replaced by hope and joy. "For real, Daddy? You can help me?"
Nex nodded and then said to her seriously, "But I need you to listen to me, okay?"
All her cute little teeth were on display as she happily replied, "Okay, Iris promises Daddy!" She even placed her hand upon her heart to show her sincerity.
"Good!" He patted her head. "I need you to close your eyes and when I tell you to, concentrate on your connection with her, okay?"
"Mhm!" She replied with a nod of her cute head.
"Now close your eyes." Nex saw her obediently follow his command. He then placed a couple of his fingers on her forehead, "Now focus on your link."
In an unknown language he said mentally, '[Enhance]'.
Iris, who was trying her hardest to concentrate, felt her senses become sharper. She felt more and more when suddenly she opened her eyes and exclaimed, "I found her! I found her!"
She threw herself once again in Nex's arms and rubbed her cute head on him. Her hug turning tighter as she declared, "Daddy is the greatest!"
Nex patted her head once more then created a distance between them before asking with a smile, "Then where do you sense her?"
She lifted and arm and her index finger pointed at a certain location. Nex's gaze followed the direction and his smile froze.
"Iris, by any chance, it can't be that you're sensing your friend from a cave-like place, right?"
Not noticing the solemnness if his voice, the little girl nodded with excitement, "That's right! Can daddy sense her too?"
Slumping his shoulder, Nex sighed with resignation, "No, I just guessed."
"Remember; make sure to tell me if anything comes towards you. Always keep a meter of distance away from me unless I fight. When I fight, you should immediately go and hide so that the monsters won't find you. Do you understand?" Nex reiterated his instructions with a stern face.
As if not understanding the gravity of their situation, Iris beamed, "Okay!" Even her eyes were twinkling.
"Good girl," Nex helplessly sighed.
In the beginning, he tried to convince her to hide somewhere or even take her back to the village but she just started crying and throwing tantrums. "Daddy, don't leave Iris alone!" She kept on wailing.
Knowing that telling her the truth of him being not her actual father would only bring worst results, Nex could only agree to take her with him. Despite the fact that the cave probably holds the highest ranked monster of the area, he could only resign to his fate of being a babysitter.
Standing in front of the cave, he made sure his preparations were complete.
MP full, Check.
Iris beside him, Check.
He then proceeded to enter the cave with a torch that he bought in the hunter's shop in his hand and his sword on the other.
After several minutes of walking, Nex noticed some light and when they got closer, he found out that the cave is partly lit on some areas. Although partly relieved that he no longer needed the torch that could probably expose them to the monsters, he got worried of the sources of the light which were the special magic stones on the wall.
'Although those monsters are considered strong in this area, they aren't smart enough to use these kinds of things. Things here got more complicated.'
They continued their journey into the cave and was about to make a turn on the right when they heard a set of heavy footsteps. Immediately giving Iris a signal to hide, Nex grasped his weapon and pointed it towards the direction of the footsteps.
Soon enough, an Elite Rank Orc came through the corner. Upon seeing Nex, it started charging with a roar.
The Orc courageously brandished its weapon at the opponent in front of him. With the momentum from his charge and his Orc-ish super strength, surely this intruder would be dealt with just one strike. A strange unexpected phenomenon happened that made it stop running. The man vanished! The Orc turned his head around in bewilderment.
A flash at its throat and its senses began to dim.
The nameless insignificant Elite Ranked Orc died with question marks still hanging up his head. 'Where did the intruder go?' were his last final thoughts.
Nex sighed as he wiped the blood off of his sword while ignoring the sore feeling in his leg. In order for him to finish this fight as quickly and as quietly as possible; he had to use [Intermediate Enchantment] on his body. There is no one else who could use this skill better than him but his body as of now is still too weak to handle the strain from the technique.
After picking up the loots and taking out the magic stone, he called out for the little girl, "You can come out now." He stood before the Orc's corpse so as to block her from seeing the gory scene as much as possible.
An adorable face came out of the huge rock. Seeing Nex standing there alone, she abandoned her hiding spot and ran as fast as her little legs could carry her towards Nex. She clutched at Nex's arms.
"Daddy, I was sooooooo scared!"
Nex squeezed her gently to comfort her, "This is why I wanted you to wait for me in a safe place. This cave is dangerous for you."
"It's not that," She shook her head. "I was scared that something happened to you."
Hearing those words, he was torn between fondness and defeat. His heart is warmed by the concern she showed for him and at the same time it grew more confused, 'Just how much does this kid think that I am her father?'
They resumed their path inwards the cave for a few more minutes when Nex heard something.
He turned around to see Iris blushing hard while holding her stomach. Understanding what just happened, Nex gave her a teasing look and said, "Hungry, aren't we?"
Filled with embarrassment, Iris hid her head further down her chest like an ostrich does and murmured in an aggrieved little voice, "Daddy is a big bully."
Seeing her like that, Nex couldn't make himself tease her further. He announced, "Let's take a break."
He then took out two sandwiches he had bought beforehand from Dorothy. Before he took a seat at a corner with flat stones, he handed one to Iris, "Here."
The girl stared at the offered food for a few more seconds before taking it. Still a little hesitant, she took a tiny bite. It took only a couple of chew and the doubt written on her face vanished and was then replaced with delight. Her chewing went faster and her cheeks began bulging like a squirrel on a nut feast. The sandwich was wolfed down in just a minute.
Amusement filled Nex as he watched her eat with gusto. He couldn't stop the teasing in his voice, "Eat slowly. I still have some if you want more."
Realizing how much of a rogue she had been acting, Iris' face turned red once again. She lowered her head and her voice was as quiet as a mouse, "Iris is sorry."
Nex regretted teasing her a bit when he saw how she apologized like she had done something real bad. He smiled encouragingly, "I don't really mind. You can be yourself as much as you want around me. I am not here to teach you how to be a proper lady after all."
Hearing his words, the girl's eyes went round as marbles and emitted brightness at once, "Really, Daddy?"
Nex nodded, "Of course."
The hug addict girl once more threw herself at Nex with a wide smile, "I knew it! Daddy loves Iris! Daddy is the bestest!"
When the whole fluffy moment between the supposed father and daughter panned down, they resumed their meal. Nex remembered something and asked, "Iris, where do you live?"
"Oh? Really?" Nex replied in surprise. Inwardly he began to ponder, 'The capital? That will be quite troublesome. A player needs to be at least Level50 to enter..."
Iris didn't notice anything and just continued with enthusiasm, "Yes! We have a very large house there with lots and lots of pretty things!" Her voice grew a little somber, "We also have lots and lots of servants but aside from them, it's just me and Mommy. Mommy is also not feeling well..."
Seeing her downcast expression, Nex comforted her, "Don't worry. In the future, I will come and visit you there. Who knows? Maybe I can help your mother."
"Of course you will!" Iris agreed surprisingly not in excitement but in solemnness. Her cute face was also showing a grave expression as though they were discussing management and logistics of a big corporation. She continued her business plan, "After all, you still have to get together with Mommy and we will be a family. You and Mommy will have to make tons and tons of little brothers and sisters for me to play with!"
"Pu!" Nex almost choked on his food.
He placed his hand on his chest and started massaging, trying to relieve the tension from almost choking, "Where did you get this idea?"
"Hmm? I heard it from the old maids back at home."
Nex was at a loss as to how to begin extracting himself out of the unexpected predicament he got into. He was still trying to formulate his alibi when he suddenly heard familiar heavy footsteps. Unlike before, more sets could be perceived.
Nex's face turned grim. He immediately pulled out his sword while turning to Iris and whispered, "Quickly, go hide. Don't make any noise."
Understanding the severity of the situation, Iris hastily ran and found a hiding place behind a bunch of rocks. She did her best to be as quiet as possible.
Nex does not want to alert the enemy of Iris' presence. Instead of waiting for their arrival, he ran straight to where the footsteps came from while consuming mana to expand his perception.
He mentally chanted in an unknown language, 'Sense.'
Four Elite ranked Orcs.
Easy as eating pie.
Then he saw the towering figure in the middle. Tension gripped him as insecurity filled his heart. This Orc has an imposing aura and its body is larger than the other five.
[BloodTooth (Elite Boss) Lv10]
Its presence shook Nex's confidence a bit as it was not just another average monster. That's the boss! The pinnacle existence of the area! The ugliest one too! Despite this, Nex psyched himself up for the battle. Anyway, he wouldn't be able to successfully outrun the Orc boss while holding Iris. Might as well take a gamble and grab victory in a fight.
Nex had already mapped out the exact location of the enemies. When he arrived there, he didn't bother on waiting for them to react. He immediately activated [Partial Enchantment] on his feet and used [Intermediate Enchantment] on the sword in his left hand. His right hand took another weapon out of his inventory which was a short spear while he targeted the Orc closest to him. He slashed through half of its chest, almost instantly killing it. He then used the inertia from the slash to throw the spear into the eye of the next closest Orc.
As he only used [Partial Enchantment], the spear didn't break and managed to embed itself through the Orc's skull. Even after all these moves, he wasn't able to take a breather. He felt a sense of imminent danger.
He used [Intermediate Enchantment] on both of his arms as he held on to his sword and swung it on instinct.
At the last moment, Nex barely managed to deflect a gigantic sword that came swooshing for his head. Even if this unbelievable show of strength is successful, the shockwave created from the sword hitting the ground was more than enough to blast him over 8 meters to the side. The whole cave even shook.
Nex rolled on the ground then quickly stood up after the vibrations stopped. He saw two Orcs running towards him with their weapons out; killing intent practically oozing out of them.
Impatient, Nex clicked his tongue and calculated the distance between the two while drawing out another blade from his inventory. With a weapon in both of his hands, he met their charge.
He activated [Intermediate Enchantment] on each weapon while evading the attacks from both Orcs. He then jumped and slashed a weapon for each Orc. As soon as his feet touched the ground, the bodies of the Orcs froze then trembled a little before splitting apart at the middle. The pieces then fell down on the cave's floors.
As if finding a respite, Nex leisurely dropped the crumbling blade and stretched. His actions were so casual for someone who was right in front the Boss of the enemy. In truth though, his attention never left the Orc Boss.
"So you're the combat-idiot type, huh? I should have expected it."
Ignoring Nex's ridicule, he took a battle stance with his giant sword in his hand. He smiled roughly and said in his own language, "Strong opponent."
"Yeah. Yeah. That's what they all say." Nex tensed up and also entered a battle stance. "Come at me, you oversized son a b*tch!"
Sorry for the wait.
Author: matanman. Proofreader: bet2z.
open to any review and will be open to questions on my di*cord channel: https://discord.gg/TXFKER6.
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