“I am one of you.”
“T-That’s impossible! You are clearly in the Vajra stage, so you should not be able to take on a human form yet!”
Chief roared as his mind fought against the idea that Calron was actually a beast.
With his last drop of strength depleted, Calron came gliding down to the ground and retook his human form.
“You are blinded by rage. Carefully sense my presence, and you will see that I truly am a beast.”
Calron wheezed out his words.
Shape-shifting once again put too much strain on Calron’s body, but he knew that he had to convince the bear, otherwise with his current exhausted state, it would be uncertain as to who would survive their next encounter.
There was also a chance that the bear could sense his human genes, but Calron gambled on the fact that after his first shape-shift, his beast aura would have become more prominent than his human counterpart.
He’s telling the truth, but something is off… as far as I know, only the Emperor of the Desolate Mountains is able to change into a human form. This kid, on the other hand, is only at the Vajra stage!
Chief pondered while he continued to glare at Calron.
“I can sense your beast aura, and the mere fact that you can understand my words and communicate with me indicates that you are truly a beast. Kid, where is your tribe?”
Chief said calmly as he extinguished the flames on his fangs, and gingerly licked his burnt shoulder.
“I never had a tribe… most beasts thought that I was a human, so they would simply attack me or ignore me.”
Calron replied in a relieved tone.
It seemed as if his gamble had paid off, and the bear was no longer trying to attack him.
“Hmm, but why were you defending the humans earlier? You even said that they killed your father.”
Chief inquired in a curious tone.
“Oh, it’s just that I have pretended to be a human for a very long time, that I began thinking like one as well.”
Calron evenly responded while glancing at his bleeding arm, urging the Blood Legacy to begin its regenerative ability.
“True… By the way, you have to tell me about that beast transformation you just did. I have never seen anyone in the Vajra stage do that before!”
The red bear asked eagerly with an excited glint in his eyes.
“I’m not sure, I think it’s my bloodline’s inherent ability.”
Calron replied, as he tried to hide the nervousness within his voice.
Dammit, this brute keeps on asking me questions! Why did he have to find me right after I learned to shape-shift?
Calron inwardly thought while keeping his expression neutral on the outside.
“You must be a variant from your beast tribe then. Haha, I am also like you, but obviously from the bear race. You should join my tribe! Our territory is not as powerful as some of the other factions from the inner range, but within these surroundings, we are definitely one of the strongest.”
Chief laughed out, as he slowly seated himself on the ground.
“What are these territories, and these factions that you’re talking about? You also mentioned something like a territory battle earlier.”
Calron curiously asked as he treaded towards the massive red bear, and sat down next to him.
“You must have spent your whole life on the outer ranges of the Desolate Mountains if you have never heard of the territory battles.”
Chief chuckled, as his giant paw patted Calron on the back.
“Each small territory within the Desolate Mountains has a Beast Ruler. For example, this territory that we are in right now is under my rule. Next, we have the Beast Kings. You won’t find them this far out from the center of the Desolate Mountains, but they each control several smaller territories. However, the most important fact about them is that every single Beast King has the cultivation of a Saint stage!”
Chief exclaimed as his green eyes glowed with a bright intensity.
Meanwhile, Calron just absorbed all the new information about the inner workings of these mountains. It seemed that things were a lot more intricate than he had thought earlier.
“The Beast Kings all have their own cities and fortresses, unlike us Beast Rulers, who have to live in a meager village along with a lack of resources and food. The outer range of the mountains is the most dangerous as the humans often come here to hunt, but none of them would dare to step into the territories of the Beast Kings.”
“Is that why you were so adamant on killing me?”
Calron asked in a quiet voice.
“Sigh… Humans haven’t come this far in a very long time, and I was just afraid that they might have suddenly gotten a lot stronger if they actually ventured this deep into the mountains. I thought you were a scout and preparing for their arrival… several of my tribe members were already injured from our last fight with the Rock-Skinned Jackals, so we couldn’t endure another battle so soon.”
Chief stated while sadly shaking his large head.
“These battles… how often do they happen?”
Calron inquired, with a slight sigh of relief when he saw his wound visibly healing.
“It depends. These battles can occur anytime without warning, so we have to constantly remain on alert. However, these battles are nothing compared to the ones that take place between two rival Beast Kings! That is a full blown-out war involving thousands of beasts.”
Chief exclaimed in an excited voice. It appeared as if the red bear was a big fanatic of the large-scale battles.
“I did not know that the Desolate Mountains were this vast. I think I would like to see these beast cities for myself…”
Calron mused, as he made plans for the future. He had grown weary of travelling in the wild for the past few years, and finally having the comforts of a city would be a heavenly blessing.
“If you are planning on going to a Beast King’s city, then this might help you on your journey. It’s not much, but it will give you some leeway if you encounter a hostile beast.”
Chief added, while handing out Calron a small disk made of beast bone.
The disk had a diamond shape with the head of a fanged bear in the middle. The image was slightly crude, as if imprinted with a blunt knife, but it did seem to have faint traces of a bestial aura surrounding.
“I can’t guarantee that this will get you out of trouble every time, as we are frankly not that strong of a tribe in the inner ranges, but it will give you an identity in the city.”
The red bear said gently while slowly getting up.
Calron replied with gratitude as he tightly clutched the bone disk.
It had only been a few minutes since Calron started talking with this bear, and already he liked this gentle beast. Maybe gentle was not the correct word, as the red bear could easily rip off his arm in a second, but the bear gave off the impression of an intelligent leader, one not blinded by pure animalistic instincts.
“You sure you don’t want to join my tribe? You are a little bit on the scrawny side, but I’m sure you’ll fill up nicely once we get some meat into that tiny stomach of yours. Hahaha!”
Chief howled with laughter as he glanced at Calron’s body.
His sense of humor could use some work…
Calron inwardly thought, while letting out a polite laugh.
“I wish I could, but I have a place where I need to go back soon… ”
Calron replied with a slight smile as he thought about the baby beasts.
“Hmm, understood. Well, if you need to find me again, just inject a bit of your own aura into the bone, and it should then guide you to my location. Also, you might want to cover up that part… it’s unsightly.”
Chief wrinkled his snout as he glanced at Calron’s lower part, and then turned around and began treading back to his village.
“But you’re naked as well.”
Calron muttered, but gave up in resignation when he saw that the red bear had already left.
This day could not possibly get any weirder.
Calron contemplated when he recalled all the events that had happened to him in the past few hours, along with having a full-blown conversation with a bear who had tried to kill him just minutes before.
“I wonder what Fatty and Master would think about all of this.”
Calron chuckled as he glanced up at the sky, and saw the thunderclouds gradually dispersing away, leaving behind a gentle blue sky.
“Sh*t! I forgot to ask which direction the closest beast city was…”
Calron cursed, as he realized that he was dead center in an unknown location surrounded by an empty land that stretched for countless miles.
“I am one of you.”