[Bonus chapter for 1200... I admit defeat... it will be 300 ps a bonus chapter next week... *weeps*]
There were six of them. Every single one had fiery red hair and blazing red eyes. It was the kind of scene that was incredulous to Leonel, a normal youth who grew up on Earth.
Even Aina's bright, almost golden, amber eyes had a near fantastical element to them. But how could a person with red eyes really exist? For a moment, he thought they were wearing contact lenses before he directly tossed out such an idea. It can't be that all six of them had such a weird hobby, right?
The man who spoke had a high bridged nose, his arrogance flaring along with his nostrils. He had one hand clasped behind his back, but in the other, there was a very familiar red ax that made Aina's fury soar even higher.
Since they had just been in the jeep, Aina hadn't been able to keep her ax on her back. So, she placed it in the trunk. Normally, she would have taken it out with her in case a battle happened, but she had been absent minded after Leonel stepped out of the car. Due to her worry and her attempts to try to find something to say to console him, she had completely forgotten to bring along her weapon.
Leonel immediately realized this fact. He didn't know what significance the ax had to Aina, but all he needed to know was that it was important to her. And, hearing how this man so blatantly insulted her father in such a way, even he couldn't help but frown.
"Erase this weapon from your memory." The man sneered when he saw Aina's gaze. "This mighty Heirloom of the Brazinger family… since when was it the right of a bastard child to wield, let alone the fact this bastard is a woman."
Leonel's expression darkened.
Six middle-aged men came to bully a young girl of not even 20 years old. Even if Aina wasn't the woman he liked, he would be enraged.
Leonel palm flicked upward and his dented shield slid onto his left arm which held tightly onto the Metal Spirit. The grip his right hand had on the wooden spear tightened, his expressionless visage acting like a cover for brewing storm.
That day, when those three goons dared to insult Aina, he crossed over his own moral boundaries and slayed them without blinking an eye. Even he wasn't proud of this moment. He wanted to maintain his clarity when he killed. He didn't want to become a slave to his rage.
However, this man had truly touched his bottom line.
"That ax. Return it."
Leonel's voice was like a steady stream. Calm and controlled, he pointed his primitive wooden spear toward the man.
Looking at Leonel's spear, the six men found it difficult to hold back their laughter.
"What kind of monkey tool is this exactly?"
"Kid, if you know what's good for you, you'll take a step back and stay out of these matters."
The cold words of the first man who spoke cut through the jeers. His body seemed to brim with power, making him appear like a beast restrained by chains. However, even still, his words had barely fallen when Leonel had already shot forward.
Leonel knew why these people were here now, and he even caught a faint inkling of why Yuri would chase after Aina like that to stop her from leaving. Originally, he thought that she just didn't want the two of them to continue spending time together, but it seemed he had wronged her with his thoughts.
It was no coincidence that these people didn't appear during the days he, Aina, James and the others were traveling to Royal Blue Fort, yet appeared now.
He remembered Aina's words from that day quite well…
"The only reason I still carry their name is so that I can reject it myself when they most wish for me to keep it."
The moment they learned that she was a Variant, they came here to flaunt themselves and even took her prized possession. These people were scum.
The man's gaze narrowed as he swung Aina's ax.
However, what neither the man nor Leonel expected was that before they could even trade blows, a small fist would collide with the man's face.
With Leonel's senses having sharpened to the point of near enlightenment, he caught every detail. The break in the tall bridge of his nose, the crack that followed in his teeth, the way his skin and face deformed beneath the weight of the strike…
The man was sent flying, crashing through several fallen buildings without even the ability to stop himself.
In that moment, Aina had appeared in the midst of the five remaining men. Her bloodthirsty aura reached into the skies, her long hair wildly whipping about as a crimson energy coated them.
Though Leonel could only see her backview from his standpoint, he could feel her fury. If it wasn't for the fact she had already formed her Seventh Node and stabilized her Force, she would have most definitely already entered a berserk state. In fact, even then, it seemed like she might lose her mind again regardless.
Leonel's pupils constricted into pinholes.
It was only now he realized just how much he had underestimated Aina. Her unstable aura hadn't just affected her mental state, but it very clearly negatively influenced her stats.
She hadn't activated her Force just now, so logically, the influence of her Seventh Node shouldn't have been so obvious just yet. However…
[Strength: 1.49; Speed: 1.03 (1.22?); Agility: 1.08; Coordination: 1.10; Stamina: 1.31; Reactions: 1.12; Spirit: 0.06; Force: ???]
In that instant, her burst of speed was most definitely higher than her base stats. Leonel suspected she either used an item she received as a reward, or a technique of some sort that utilized a power outside of Force.
Her instability really had such a large effect on her.
'These six don't seem to have the same instability. Uncle Montez even said that Clans keep a very tight grip on their Lineage Factor techniques. Could Aina's instability be due to the fact she doesn't have their technique to practice?'
"Do you think I need your heirloom?" Aina's voice carried a biting cold. "If it wasn't because my father wished for me to keep it, I would have thrown it into the nearest scrapyard. Don't think of leaving here alive today!"
Leonel's gaze flickered as the man weakly stood from the pile of rubble. The men around Aina glared at her with trepidation and anger, but also caution. They didn't dare to move recklessly just yet.
The man's face was completely distorted. His face was savagely sunken, making it impossible to tell what expression he was trying to convey. But, the sudden roar he shot into the skies made it clear that it was rage.
His body began to morph, growing more than a foot and springing forward with dense patches of fur.
It wasn't just him, but the five men also underwent similar transformations.
Leonel's frown deepened.
The good news was that now they didn't need to be in the dark about their abilities any longer.
As for the bad news… Their stats all increased by more than 20%. Their strength stats especially… doubled.
Before, the strongest strength stat was a mere 0.80. But now, the man who now had the face of a wolf, howling into the skies like a madman towering at almost eight feet tall, had crossed 1.60.
"I'll tear you limb from limb and drag you back to the Clan as a cripple! I'll be sure you experience even worse dread than your whore mother!"