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8 After the Shipwreck

 Matt sat awkwardly next to the bonfire. His face showed a helpless and depressed expression. He wanted to get angry but could not.

Meanwhile, Rhode was quietly leaning against a tree with his eyes closed. Lize was silently preparing for food; although her expression was calm, her swollen eyes revealed everything.

The fat merchant was lucky because he was the only other survivor besides Rhode and Lize. As a merchant, he traveled frequently, so he had some life-saving magic props. Before the ship fell, he had taken out his protective pendant, which then displayed its miraculous ability; that was why his injury was lighter than the other two.

Rhode's injury from before had not yet healed. Because of the battle before and after falling down from the ship, his injury had gotten a lot worse. Lize was also the same. As she was rather distressed earlier, she wasn't aware that her right arm had been dislocated, and her leg was also injured. She only found out about it after everything had ended. As for the fat merchant, other than a few scratches and dizziness, he was absolutely fine.

If Rhode was a 'normal' person, this kind of injury would be enough to keep him bedridden for several months. Luckily, Lize was a Cleric and healing was her primary job. With her healing spells, his injury had closed up, but Rhode still needed some time to rest to fully recover. The presence of a Cleric was quite a blessing as the previous battle could've left him disabled or dead. After the crash, Rhode somehow managed to keep all of his limbs intact, other than the fact that he could not move his damaged muscles, everything else was normal. Lize was surprised as she hadn't thought that his body would be this strong.

It wasn't only Lize who was shocked, Rhode himself was startled. Even though he knew that he had mixed blood, he didn't think that it would be that abnormal. He was injured before, then participated in an intense battle, and finally thrown out of the sky afterward. And he was still able to move...?

It can't be that my hidden race is a Barbarian... right?

But there was still one thing that bothered him. The reason he was aware of his own body condition was because he knew his own stats. Even though he was still unsure what his other bloodline was, but half of his blood was supposed to be human.

However, Lize was also very strange; she was just a delicate girl and even a non-combat Cleric. She was supposed to be dead already judging from the previous situation. If it was him, of course, he would have survived because his physical body wasn't of a human. But why was she able to survive? It can't be that she got lucky.

The question floated in Rhode's mind for a while, it was not until when he found a trace of gold hidden within Lize's beautiful blue eyes that he finally concluded that the reason she survived wasn't because of luck.

"Umm... Mr. Rhode?"

Matt rubbed his hands, with his chubby face revealing a fawning smile.

"What do you think we should do next?"

After rescuing Matt, the trio split up and searched the wreckage of the entire floating ship separately, but did not manage to find any other survivors. In order to avoid her comrades' bodies from being eaten by the wild beasts inside the forest, Lize had asked for them to be cremated. Even though Matt felt pained to see his valuable materials go to waste, looking at Lize's gloomy little face and Rhode's indifferent attitude, he had to change his mind, and with a distressed look on his face, he burnt the floating ship to ashes. That expression he had on his face was as though his family had died.

They rested in the forest for a day to recover. While they did not face any more trouble after the Wind Serpents' attack, the fat merchant still felt terrified. Before, he still believed that Wind Serpents were nothing to worry about, but now, he had totally changed his mind... those rumors were actually true!

Those people said that we might encounter the Wind Serpents on this route...and we really did! I also heard that in the Silver Moon forest, there were man-eating wolves and weird scary birds! We won't encounter those too, right?!

The fat merchant's forehead was full of sweat. Even though he was a long-time merchant, he did not have adventuring experiences. Looking at the forest that was surrounded by bushes and trees, the fat merchant's leg couldn't help but tremble. A while ago, he heard about the guard mentioning something about poisonous snakes, wolves and many other terrifying things. All of it suddenly flashed through his mind, making him even more frightened.

Moreover, his only life-saving treasure was already unusable. In this situation, he had no choice but to rely on others.

Lize was out of the question. Firstly, he had seen this girl when he hired her. In his opinion, she was very obedient but did not have her own judgment. Moreover, she was a non-combat type. If something were to happen, it would be too for her late to save him. So he decided to depend on Rhode. Even though he had no experience in fighting, Rhode's previous performance was quite eye-catching.

As for Lize, she was still wallowing in the grief of losing her comrades.

"Do not worry, Mr. Matt."

Looking at the fat merchant's nervous expression, Rhode nodded his head. Even though the other person was quite vulgar, Rhode did not really hate him since if it were not for the fat merchant ordering the ship to stop, he would not be able to survive. So he still somehow left a good impression on Rhode.

"I am very familiar with this Silver Moon forest. In this area, it is unlikely to encounter any dangerous existence. You can rest assured."

What Rhode had said just now was not groundless. Inside the game, the northern Paphield Plains was a place where newbies gathered, so he was definitely familiar with the monster distribution at this place. In the plain, the most threatening existence was the Wind Serpents. Their large numbers had become a nightmare for many melee professions and non-solo players.

In the Silver Moon forest, the most dangerous existence was the Silver Wolf, but unlike the Wind Serpents that relied on their overwhelming numbers, the Silver Wolf usually attacked alone and was, therefore, easier to deal with. Moreover, after killing the Wind Serpent Lord, Rhode had gained 3000 EXP and leveled up to eight. The newbie area highest level monster was supposedly at level 10. So as long as they did not encounter the rare Lord-class monster, they would be just fine.

"That's good, that's good..."

Hearing Rhode's reassurance, Matt subconsciously let out a sigh of relief He took out his handkerchief to wipe the sweat on his forehead. After that, he opened his mouth wide and let out a yawn. Because of his nervousness, he was not able to have a good sleep these past few days; even the sound of the wind blowing would be like a wolf's howl to him. It could be seen just how jittery he was. But now that he had decided to trust Rhode, he became more relaxed and decided not to worry about anything anymore. He curled up next to the bonfire and closed his eyes, falling into a deep sleep.

After ascertaining that the merchant had already fallen asleep, Rhode, who had been quietly sitting next to the bonfire, stood up and walked into the forest.