Michael grew stronger in a noticeably short time. Not even two weeks passed outside the Origin Expanse, yet Michael advanced one rank. Only people like Alice and Kaleb who were Descendants with high-ranked Soultraits, could fathom how much energy Michael must have obtained and refined in such a short time.
Kaleb knew that his progress would slow down after a while. In fact, it had already slowed down a little. Refining his War Rune up to the 2nd Tier had been simple thanks to the power of Frozen Nova in combat, and the generosity of his family. The Zenovia family provided him with mountains of potions and pills to accelerate his progress with the Inheritance technique, and thus also with the energy absorption technique integrated into the Inheritance technique. But now that he reached the 2nd Tier, Kaleb realized how difficult it was to continue progressing quickly.
The resources provided by his family helped a lot, but he consumed more resources with every day that passed as his War Rune's refinement progressed. That meant his family had to distribute more resources to him if they desired Kaleb to progress as fast as possible. In the future, he would consume resources worth billions of dollars to progress a tiny bit. That was not worth it, and it was certainly not something the Zenovia family would pay for. They merely focused on the early progress and gave their younger generation a headstart to prepare them for the dangers of the Origin Expanse before challenging them by saying that they were on their own now.
They would still support their Descendants if necessary, but they wouldn't do so for free. The Elders would ask for favors, favors nobody would want to pay back if possible. Alice always told Kaleb that he shouldn't ask the Elders for favors. Why? It was simple; The Elders would use the favors to their advantage and turn Kaleb into their marionette. If Kaleb was lucky, they would marry him off to a beautiful woman, someone he might learn to love in the future. If unlucky…well, nobody wanted to think about the worst case.
"So you fought this Kitsun Lord…A Lord at the Peak of the 3rd Tier, who had close to 50,000 Combat-trained Summons, and close to 1000 Awakened working for him all by yourself?" Kaleb asked, raising one eyebrow while staring at his friend.
"He said almost alone. He has…Forest Elves working for him…That seems weird as well, just saying," Alice noted, also staring at Michael. She was pretty sure that she had heard something about the Kitsun race before, but all she could recall was that they were one of the races with Inferior Combat Prowess that prevailed against Elite Races over the course of thousands of years – or so her rusty memories recalled.
"There is not much to hide. I requested aid from the three Lords who had been fighting the Kitsun Lord for years. After creating openings for them, they finally mustered their courage and came over. Once their forces arrived it was quite easy. But, of course, before that, I struggled quite a bit. That is also why I could increase my War Rune's rank so quickly."
Now that Michael thought about his fight against the Kitsun Lord and how stupid he had been, he couldn't help but laugh aloud. It was quite funny.
Alice and Kaleb continued to eye him, but they didn't comment anymore. It was quite obvious that Michael was a weirdo. But that was not breaking news.
"I should research the strength of the Token Holders for now," Michael said suddenly. He turned to the Colosseum and stepped in its direction, just to switch to a different topic, "Will it be possible to hire a healer for Frederik? Someone who can ensure that Frederik will recuperate fully? Even if he struggles mentally, I want to make sure that he has no physical restrictions. That would only burden him more."
Michael felt bad for Frederik. He lost everything, so suddenly at that.
"Hire a healer? It will be expensive, and I doubt the Zenovia family would allow us to use the family's connections to ask for a favor. If I use my personal funds it's possible, but people will still notice it. They will wonder what the Zenovia family has to do with Frederik Kolbenheim. It might cause more trouble for Frederik, and that is something he doesn't need right now."
"Can you still ask someone? I will pay. The price doesn't really matter too much," Michael insisted, ignoring the fact that his bank account was already empty and that he had way more expenses to pay for in the next few months than he wanted to acknowledge.
"I can do that. But it will be really expensive. Most don't even accept dollars as payment. They will probably ask you for Mythic Summoning Scrolls, rare resources, or other stuff."
"I will pay in Mythic Summoning Scrolls then," Michael said with a shrug, 'That will be the cheapest option. I should test out extracting Summoning Scroll Fragments from purchased Ordinary Summoning Scrolls soon then.'
"You…will have to prepare 20ish Mythic Scrolls…probably…" Alice said, but Michael just shrugged, "As long as it's not 100, I'll be fine, somehow. Don't worry too much about the expenses. There are more than enough Superior Existences in my surroundings. A few hunting trips might be enough to procure some Mythic Scrolls."
Michael felt a little bit guilty because he lied to Alice, but he couldn't tell her 'Well, I can produce my own Mythic Scrolls by using Summoning Scroll Fragments. You are asking what Summoning Scroll Fragments are? That is simple. I can use my Soultrait to extract a lot more stuff from my prey than others. Summoning Scroll Fragments and increased loot are just the appetizer. You ask what the main dish is? Well, how about Memory Orbs, Soultrait Symbols from Awakened, and some SoulStar Fragments as a dessert?'
Yeah, Michael could definitely not say that. He trusted Alice and Kaleb, but not their family. If anything, Michael felt more and more reluctant to tell any of his friends about the secret of his power as he learned more about the politics of the wealthy and influential. Michael might have met good people such as Alice, Kaleb, Lincoln, and Zeke, but that didn't mean their families were the same.
If he would tell his friends, they would have to sign a Soul Pact…probably. Maybe that didn't apply to Frederik anymore, but Michael was not too sure about that. Frederik could be desperate. He might be doing anything – literally – if that meant he could keep Jacqueline by his side.
One way or another, Frederik's situation was messed up and Michael wanted to help. He couldn't do much except hire a proper healer for Frederik, but that should be enough – to start with.
"If you say so, I will hire someone. I know someone from the Holy Sun guild. Well, she is the Guild leader. But whatever. I can ask her to send out a request to the healers of her Guild. It might take a few days but with a mission reward of 20 Mythic Scrolls, some healers should be interested in traveling to the Saphirelake Military Academy to tend to Frederik. They should have Soultraits more suitable to Frederik's wounds than the healers hired by the Saphirelake Military Academy. I guess." Alice said, giving in to Michael's request.
Actually, Alice wasn't quite sure why the Saphirelake Military Academy wasn't using its resources to heal Frederik. Well…that was not the entire truth. Alice knew why they didn't do it, but she was a little bit disappointed in the reasoning they applied. Frederik's family collapsed before they could rise properly. Therefore, Frederik was nothing more than an ordinary Awakened right now. He lost his territory and given his wounds it was unlikely that his enemy would allow him to step into the Origin Expanse ever again.
As long as Frederik didn't submit to someone else by becoming another Lord's subordinate, Frederik's chances of ever being able to return to the Origin Expanse were slim. As for the number of Lords who would hire Frederik, a youngling with a 3-Star Soultrait…there were many, but the number dwindled a lot if Frederik wanted a secure place to grow stronger, a Lord who paid well, and a Lord who would treat him well.
Frederik was likely to be consumed by anger and frustration, and no Lord needed an Awakened with anger management issues in their territory. They were more dangerous than useful. Frederik was well known for his anger management issues even before he lost his territory. Only some desperate Lords in dire need of strength would hire him, but Frederik wouldn't want to submit to them.
It was an endless cycle of despair and frustration, and likely the biggest reason why the Saphirelake Military Academy was unwilling to spend a fortune to tend to Frederik's wounds. If he could get back on his feet on his own that was fine, but they wouldn't invest additional resources. Frederik had already received quite a lot from the basic set of resources provided by the Saphirelake Military Academy, after all!
"Thanks a bunch. You are the best!" Michael said, giving Alice a thumbs up. Alice looked at Michael for a while before turning her head away.
She coughed once before walking past him to enter the Colosseum.
Kaleb chuckled before following suit, leaving Michael alone.
He was not sure what happened but gave it a shrug. With hurried steps, he followed his friends inside the Colosseum.
Michael rushed past the group of 20ish people that surrounded the young woman and stepped into the Colosseum.
Meanwhile, the group finally began to move.
They stepped into the Colosseum as well.