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Ascenders Rift 63 Grinding in Danger, Everyone's Progress

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It has been over three days since the Great Hunt had begun in these ancient lands; the city though enormous, spanning a vast region of a few hundred square kilometers was now under the constant patrol of the goblin and crocodile armies. They separated into a variety of squads, each with a noteworthy leader at their core to ensure that each squad can by enough time to notify the others.

One such team was traveling within a core region, one that had succumbed to the overgrowth of nature's forests, with trees entrenched into its walls as they formed a peculiar sight. Though these plants and trees had a dry, grim color, few among them were still thriving with hints of life, as if they were newly grown and yet to be drained of their lifeforce.

The leader of this group was a reptile with a crocodile's head, he was dressed like Dreadtooth, but shouldered a chipped mace on his back. Suddenly, his group had arrived within an area of branches that cascaded above them, forming something akin to a network much like that of a spider web. He lifted his snout as his nose began to twitch, almost as if he had picked up an unusual scent that wafted in the air.

As this happened, the eyes of the crocodile man flashed in a threatening manner; he raised one of his arms motioning for the entire squad to stop. In moments his men had come to a halt, their faces filled with savageness as listened to him speak, "They're nearby, spread out and find them!"

"Yes, Squad Leader Balraz!" The crocodile men said as they began to inspect their surroundings thoroughly.

Balraz nodded at this as his eyes shifted across the hedges, carefully combing the forestry for any oddities. Yet, though he was cautious and quite skillful, his enemies were even better.

Not too far away from this group, a few meters distance above was a small group of silhouettes that were well hidden behind the tree branches. Their bodies gave off no aura as if they were born in these woods and were apart of nature.

Carefully looking, one would see that these silhouettes were humans, a party of six unique individuals, each with their distinctive traits. Yet, despite being different, at this moment, they each carried a similar kind of air, one that could only be seen by the most seasoned hunters.

"Fatty, what's your plan?" Evan said as he leisurely laid his back on one of the trees, his eyes didn't even look down to the crocodile men below them.

Fatty Joe's eyes were focused on the ground as he inspected them and spoke, "Evan, though they're a bit stronger than that group from yesterday, I think we'll be able to take them so long as I constrain that big guy, long enough for Emmy and Layla to finish the others."

Evan smiled as he heard this, he glanced at Layla and Emilia that were on two separate branches as he spoke, "I see, Emmy, Layla, how about you two? Do you think you'll be able to handle the others fast enough to help Joe?"

Layla and Emilia didn't even hesitate as they spoke with their eyes firmly locked on the targets below.

"Mm, I can take the two on the left," Layla said with an in-depth look on her face.

"I'll handle the remaining three," Emilia said with a look of confidence as she grasped her bow.

Evan looked at this with a smile as he thought, "Good, they seem ready, as they've leveled up they should be able to deal with this pretty quickly. Hmm, once they do, then I can do like Rick and Breya and leave them to train on their own before we face those bosses."

As Evan said this, his eyes shifted from them towards the surroundings wondering where Rick and Breya had gone off to level up.

Even though they didn't hear Evan's reply, Fatty Joe and the others had already understood that he agreed to their plan. They wasted no more time, as Fatty Joe was the first to act, "Now."

In an instant, Fatty Joe jumped from the branch as he fell from the heavens like an obese meteor. Below him, was one of the goblins sturdy wooden shields that he held in one hand, while his other wielded the mechanical ax.

As if he sensed the changes, Balraz looked up in shock as he exclaimed, "They're above us! Everyone prepare for battle!"

"Yes, squad leader!" The other crocodile men shouted in unison as they scattered about towards the various tree trunks.

Along with his shout, Balraz raised his two-armed mace and brandished it towards the descending human. Fatty Joe seeing this sneered, his body glowed in an indefinite amount of brownish energies as his muscles swelled up. He firmly grasped the shield below him, positioning it towards the mace as he shouted, "Can you bear this? Take my Smashing Shield Bash!"

As Balraz heard Fatty Joe's words, his face showed a sinister look when he shouted, "Human, don't get ahead of yourself!"

Following their words, the two soon collided, causing a loud boom to resound for this sector of the woods. A shockwave spread out for a few meters as Joe's shield hit with Balraz's battle mace.

The two looked at each other straight in the eye as they yelled, "Uwaaaa!"

As if his weight suddenly increased, the mace which tried to push back Fatty Joe along with his shield began to sink downwards. As this happened, a deep impression began to form below Balraz's feet.

Balraz was stunned as he thought, "How can a human have such force?"

Fatty Joe sneered at this as he spoke, "Haha, my weight isn't anything the likes of you can withstand! Now die!"

As Joe yelled, his body did the unthinkable; he pulled back his entire weight, gathering it around the core of his body. As he did this, the shield was finally repelled by Balraz battle mace, causing Fatty Joe to be pushed back in the air.

Yet, as if this was what he wanted, Fatty Joe used the momentum from this to spin his body swinging his other arm withheld the battle-ax towards Balraz's face.

Balraz's eyes shrunk as he saw this, he promptly reacted by pulling backward and swinging his battle mace to meet it in a head-on crash.

Bang! As both the ax and mace smashed into each other, Balraz retreated for a few feet distance while Fatty Joe fell back a few meters.

Balraz slid against the floor, coming to a halt between a few hedges, as Joe's back crashed into the trunk of a towering tree, his face covered in sweat due to the pain.
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"Che! This darn lizard is far stronger than I'd thought..." Joe murmured as he looked at Balraz, who was sneering at him from a distance.

The two-faced each other in a standoff as if they were the only opponents in the world. Evan, who was looking at this smiled as he muttered, "Well, he did come a long way, even at Level 1 he could somewhat tank this guy due to his stat booster talent. He only needs some good gear now,"

As Evan spoke to himself, his eyes flashed when he compared the details of their current.

[Joe Goldsmith]

[Race - Human | State -Awakened]

[Class - None

[Level - 1]

[Next Level - 1000EXP]

[Total EXP - 5]

[Health - 200]

[Battle Energy - 5]

[Strength - 12]

[Vitality - 9]

[Agility - 8]

[Defense -15 (12 + 3)]

[Talent:]

[Toughness (+4 Defense and +1 Strength per level)]

[Skills - None]

[Goblin Shield - Rank 1: Low Grade]

[Damage - 3]

[Durability - 2]

---

[Balraz – Reptile Squad Leader - Level 1]

[Race – Reptile (Superior) | State – Awakened]

[Class – Mace Figther]

[Health - 250]

[Strength - 21]

[Vitality - 14]

[Agility - 11]

[Defense -16]

[Skills:]

[Mace Smasher – A brutal smash using raw power to strike one's foe to their deaths.]

After Evan inspected at their details, his eyes shifted to a different scene. One where both Layla and Emilia were assaulting a different group of these crocodile men.

"There she is!" One of the crocodile men who held a bow and arrow said as he knocked the bow and started to fire a series of bolts towards Layla. His companion also took the chance to mount a tree and rapidly climbed it towards her position.

Layla narrowly dodged the fired arrows with a graceful series of movements; she flexibly moved around the cascading branches gripping the vines as she swung and jumped like an agile ape. The strands of her long purple air dancing with the rising winds caused by her rapid movements.

Suddenly, Layla had arrived directly above the climbing crocodile man. Her eyes flashed in a vague purple light as she viciously stabbed her knife towards his neck.

The crocodile man wanted to dodge, but his eyes only showed a look of panic due to his slow movements.

Puchi! Layla's knife smoothly went through his throat, ending his life in a flash. As this happened, she used it to balance and swing herself towards a different branch to avoid a few more flurry of arrows that bore into the corpse of the crocodile man.

"Damn! Human girl! You will fall to my blade!" The other crocodile man cursed as he dropped his bow and drew out a blade, he then made a jump pushing his figure towards the branch Layla had arrived.

Layla didn't panic; she pressed her feet against it and pushed her body towards him like a rocket. In moments, both beast and woman passed each other after a flash of light as a sharp cutting sound was heard only for an instant.

Not long after, they were both now standing a few feet away from each other. Layla was crouched over on the ground with one arm raised behind her. If one looked closely, they would notice that the edge of her upraised knife was dripping with blood.

Yet, though she was okay, her foe only stood silently, his eyes turning lifeless as his neck began to gush out a wave of blood.

Evan seeing this nodded as his eyes flashed when inspected her stats.

[Layla Valentine - Special Status - ????]

[Race - ???+Human | State - Awakened]

[Class - None]

[Level - 1]

[Next Level - 1000EXP]

[Total EXP - 2]

[Health - 150]

[??? Power - 8]

[Strength - 10]

[Vitality - 16]

[Agility - 10]

[Stat Comparison:]

[Talent:]

[??? Presence - A trait inherent to only those of a divine nature, its wielder will naturally inhibit the aura and properties of such beings.]

[Life Touch (+4 Vitality per level)]

[Inherent??? Power (+4 per level) ◆: Unawakened]

[Skills - None]

---

[Crocodile Man Level 1]

[Race – Reptile (Common) | State – Awakened]

[Health - 200]

[Strength - 15]

[Vitality - 14]

[Agility - 12]

[Defense - 10]

Evan spoke, "She's even stronger than I'd thought, that energy of hers is more than enough to make up the stat difference even without gear. Still, though, I had originally thought that both her and Fatty would be the quickest to grow and adapt. I suppose Emilia had proven me wrong..."

As Evan spoke to here, his eyes then turned towards a different direction. There he saw the cheerful Emilia standing around three crocodile men corpses as if her battle was even quicker than Layla's and Joe's.

Evan shook his head as his eyes flashed, showing the same color used to inspect stats when he muttered in a voice that only he could hear, "She truly is a monstrous talent... like no other before her..."

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