The bad part of the world was this:
<The nobles' characters made a hell of a difference.>
A place with a lot of commoners had no problems since the nobles who needed Akra suppliers settled down eventually. If a number of nobles gathered in a city, they had to be careful about how they treated the commoners as they might lose their suppliers to the other nobles. It was bad to have a stronger competitor within the city.
The small estates in the countryside were different. These places that had fewer people were left with only two options.
One was where they were left without any protection and decided to seek out other estates even with the danger of traveling.
The other was to wait for nobles who might be interested anyway.
Baron Raul's estate was the latter case, which Parhum came from. However, the nobles who sought such small estates were usually one of two kinds.
The good ones included those who did not care about Akras being provided and happily protected the commoners. The bad ones came to such estates to play King.
The bad one was more prominent in these cases and the place Parhum came from was no different.
Baron Raul did provide protection, but he took the maximum amount of Akra possible. Overall, this was fine since Akra was provided as payment for protection.
The problem was that Baron Raul was a terrible man. He came all the way to the remote lands as he could not bear the idea of having someone sitting on top of him. The land he came to had nothing important and Apental, the dangerous place, was nearby. Thus, the land had been abandoned.
Baron Raul began reigning terror over the commoners once he arrived. He protected them, but he called in all beautiful women of the estate to his bed and worked to fill his greed and lust.
As Parhum was faced with sending his daughter to the Baron's bed, he took his last option.
It was a right that was given to the commoners, but it was also very dangerous.
Parhum could not stand it anymore and decided to leave. Baron Raul scoffed.
"Even if it wasn't for my daughter… I would've chosen to do it anyway. People were fainting from Akra being taken away these days. We heard Viscount Locke's estate is a little better so that's where we were headed."
"I see. I guess it's similar everywhere."
Sian spoke as he thought about his homeland. At least the laws that Duke Lorvall set helped this world to at least maintain it.
"So, there's no village that's protected by the nobles?" Sian asked. They were weaker than superhumans, but they were still much stronger. It seemed like if someone like Parhum joined forces with him and strengthen their defenses, that would allow them to live in peace.
Parhum shook his head.
"There are two reasons. We can't last too long without noble protection because hostile races also group up to attack. The village… is a non-starter because of that issue. We have to be on the move constantly. There are some commoners who grouped up as you mentioned, but they too cannot settle down and make villages."
"Why is that?"
"It's because of the underground dragons."
Gigantic underground dragons spelled disaster to all. The dragons grew in size as they got older and they would burrow a huge hole under a village to force it to completely collapse. There were some instances where one would come up to the village and swallow everything whole. But it was very careful as it did not dare to come near the places were the nobles lived.
These dragons were doing a great favor to the nobles as it prevented commoners to live without providing Akra for protection.
That was why commoners who decided to live without protection had to move constantly.
"It's only confined to the lands in this region. Other places might be different in some ways."
They talked more afterwards. Sian asked about Lagaope but he got nothing out of it. Sian decided to head to the Viscount's estate to gather more information. After Parhum went out, Sian talked with Stiel about their future plans.
"I guess we have to meet with those nobles to collect more information."
It seemed Parhum did not know much because he was from a small estate, but he mentioned that an estate protected by a Marquis or a Count was huge and populated.
"Let's head to that Locke Estate first. But I'm curious what my power would get me to."
That was Stiel's main question after she heard Parhum's explanation.
She was on the stronger side of superhumans, not counting Sian. She was much more powerful than Lagaope or Liviath and she was about the same as Groyn.
But this place had a lot of superhumans and she was curious about where she ranked among them.
"We'll find out once we meet them."
"Hmm… you look relaxed. Aren't you curious how powerful you are here?"
It seemed like this continent had a lot of powerful beings and dangerous monsters. But Sian, who valued safety above all, seemed very relaxed.
'Did his character change after he fought inside?'
Stiel's expectation was destroyed.
"Haha, didn't Lagaope tell you that Apental was considered dangerous even to them?"
"Hmm, he did."
"I survived that place. I must be on the stronger side if that's so."
"Besides, I'm going to leave this place quietly after I find Lagaope. Nothing is going to happen. Hahaha!"
Traveling in the Muvakal was very peaceful. Stiel was really bored so she tried to lure Graans or Barkhans by hiding her powers. It did attract those Barkhans a few times at first, but after they were wiped out, they seemed to realize that it was no use and did not come for them after all.
Stiel then turned her interest to this <Akrata>. She was also interested in becoming stronger. Parhum agreed to teach Stiel <Akrata> without hesitation. It wasn't a secret anyway as all people knew it.
"It's not hard. This is more like magic than a skill. Do you mind if you give me your hand for a second?"
"Sian, is it okay?"
"…why are you asking me that?"
"Because you might get jealous if I touch some other man's hand."
"Yeah? Sure. Here."
Stiel reached out to Parhum with her beautiful smooth hands. Parhum then put his hand on hers and spoke.
"Something will be transferred to you. It's <Akra>. You should accept it."
Parhum then began concentrating on his hand and some energy was transferred over to Stiel. Stiel felt something refreshing entering her and accepted it.
"So this is <Akra>?"
"Yes, it is the basics of <Akrata>. It's done."
"Yes. The important thing is to receive <Akra>. It will be the seed and it will grow within you."
Needless to say, the Akra that was transferred over to her began spreading through her entire body and began to multiply as it fed on Stiel's powerful energies within.
Akra's true power came from the next step. As it grew in power by feeding off the energy, it absorbed energy from the surroundings to empower the user. It also strengthened the body of the user with its magic.
After Stiel examined of this, she was pleasantly surprised.
"This is amazing. So this is how you transfer <Akra> to others?"
"Yes. There's a limit to how much <Akra> can be sent over, but if it is collected from a lot of commoners, it turns into a huge amount."
"So, can you store this <Akra> infinitely?"
That would result in a huge power, but Parhum shook his head.
"It has its limits depending on the user. Also, the <Akra> sent over by others die out once it reaches its age, unlike the one that you have on your own. But its energy remains and it depends on the noble's ability to absorb the power."
"So, does training help absorb that power?" Stiel asked. If the training had some effect, it seemed it was worth it.
"No, like I said, it's more like magic. It's not like you can make <Akrata> work better. It only depends on the individual's own power. You can't train <Akrata> itself. It creates itself depending on the user's power."
Stiel nodded. This Akra was working like a buff she received from the priests a long time ago. It granted her more energy and power. It also circulated constantly throughout the entire body to help empower the person internally.
"This is really amazing. I wonder how it was created… so, the world here did change after Lagaope left. Sian, give me your hand."
"Hm, do you know how you do it?"
Stiel answered and Sian gave her his hand. Stiel then took his hand and sent her <Akra> to him.
Sian accepted the Akra coming over to him with anticipation.