Locke gasped as he saw the red army coming closer.
"I can't believe it. How did they get strong that fast?"
Based on what the Graans were like, they couldn't have become strong like that. After the disaster, nobles eradicated any races that had dangerous traits like the Murakans or Swarms even if they were Narija, or a non-hostile race.
But these Graans had become so much more powerful than what he knew them as. He was even confused that these were really Graans as the color of their skin had changed.
This wasn't the important issue at hand however. Locke looked out. He needed to concentrate on the fight.
Sian and Stiel also watched as they sat on a branch around the middle of the Ciculus Tree.
"Sian, do you see that red army?"
"They're the small things that we saw last time, right?"
"I think they changed."
"Yeah, I see some change."
"Hmm… yeah. They changed colors and grew bigger. Growing a few levels stronger doesn't mean much to you I guess."
"And don't you think the energy is familiar?"
"It's just a feeling."
"I think they did eat something really good for them. The entire race."
"Sian, you didn't close that Apental up, right?"
"I didn't open it. …is this my doing?"
"You know that yourself."
Sian couldn't say anything. He initially had no intention to join the fight as these Graans did nothing bad to him and Locke seemed to be certain that he had ways to defend them.
Yet this would change everything. It seemed these Graans had eaten the dead monsters that Sian left at Apental.
"Ha… I'll go and close the door."
"Sure. It's good that we know now. It could've been worse if it was kept open."
Stiel smiled at Sian who was waking up. He then disappeared.
The Graan's chieftain, Groran, could not pull himself together with the voices echoing from within. It was bearable until now, but the echo grew larger and began pushing his will to the side.
He glanced around to see what was going on, and found the man passing through them. Then all the Graans began turning to the being passing through at the sky.
Weaker-minded ones began walking toward the direction that the being went past. They then began to quicken their steps and began to run. Some even hopped on their Antaines to follow.
As these numbers began to grow, the entire army began running in the same direction.
Groran tried to stop his army from going in the wrong direction, but it was futile. He himself was now being controlled.
Groran blanked and began chasing the being.
Sian was worried that he might not find the lake, but he found it fairly quickly. There were countless green small ones going in while red ones were coming out. These red ones were now much larger in size.
"Hah, I'll close it and finish it."
Sian quietly landed on the ground. Unlike the past where he made loud bang each time he jumped down, he could do it silently now without any of that.
'Hehe… I can land like Chrona now.'
Sian envied Chrona's landing without any physical disruption but he could do it too now.
He then began to let loose his energy so these ones would run away.
'Hehe, this will make things easier.'
But Sian was wrong. The green ones fled but the red ones did not.
Sian pondered on what to do about this unexpected turn of events.
"Hey, friends. I have a job to do if you'll excuse me."
The red ones came out of the lake slowly. No, after they felt Sian's power, they were charging out.
"What is going on?"
Locke became dumbfounded as he saw red Graans going back to the forest while running fiercely. It didn't seem like they were afraid Locke or the others as they were just about to come charging in.
There probably was some other reason, but Locke let out a sigh of relief. Whatever it was, it was a good thing that they didn't come. It was time to chase after them and destroy them.
They now knew that the Graans were a potential threat so they were to be eradicated.
"Scout the area. Kagera, go after them and find out where they live. Be careful."
Kagera ran out and Locke returned to the Ciculus. There, he met someone unexpected.
"Count Karim. When did you arrive? How did you come all the way…"
"I just got here. Am I in the wrong place? I came to help you know."
Locke moaned. This man wasn't someone that was very hospitable.
Nobody liked Count Karim who had become strong in a very short amount of time. His motto was this:
<Power and rule. Why can't we nobles take both? I will enjoy both for myself.>
He then began pressuring the commoners at his estate. Most of the Count estates had many nobles under them to better provide the protection to compete with other estates, but Karim did not have any. There were two reasons for that. One was that he did not want to share Akra with anyone else. Another was that he had a bad temper. He was merciless and treated anyone weaker than him, including nobles, like they were slaves.
This kind of thing was usually not possible as other nobles would join forces to fight against it. But it didn't affect Karim, as he was the son of the one of the two that were the most famous these days.
Marquis Karltonheim, the ruler of the west. No, he was now a Duke.
Duke Conrad of the East and Duke Karltonheim of the West. These two were the most famous figures in the world.
Karim was the son.
Even when Kartonheim was a Marquis, nobody dared to do anything to Karim as the Marquis' Estate was very powerful and Karltonheim himself was as powerful also.
Karim got worse as his father became a Duke. The Duke wasn't interested in power but it didn't mean they did not care about their family.
Karim never came to hunt down Rotans. That was why Locke wasn't expecting him to appear.
"Huh? Then why are you not chasing after them?"
"We are waiting reinforcements… we want to avoid any casualties."
"What? You can't do that. What if those precious commoners get hurt?"
Locke gritted his teeth. He did value the commoners as they were like livestock. But it was not possible to disobey a Count, so Locke nodded. At least having a Count would lessen the damage.
"Understood. Then shall we go?"
"Huh? I'm not going. Why would I go for those trash?"
"Oh, and I heard a female Count arrived here? Where is she? I heard she's beautiful."
Locke realized why he had come all the way here.