Otherworld Adventure Book 8 Chapter 416
"Hey! Don't you turn your back on me!" Luke called indignantly.
Ren sighed grandly and continued to ignore him and walk away.
'Idiot hasn't changed even after so long...'
Ren shook his head and decided to filter out Luke's incessant yelling. To Ren, Luke had always been the difficult kid that he couldn't handle.
The kid was just so annoying and would always appear to pester him whenever he got a chance. Ren's only way of coping with it all was to just completely ignore him or run away.
He was doing the exact same thing here, but he forgot that they were no longer in the Empire but inside some unknown place. One of the people that was following Luke stepped forward to chase after him and just as he was about to forcefully grab onto him and turn him around, Ren reacted first and brushed off the hand that was about to grab him.
He tripped the guy and pulled out a gun from under his cloak and aimed it at the guy's face.
"...I almost forgot that this isn't the place where I should turn my back to anyone..." Ren silently scolded himself. He looked up at Luke and his entourage and said, "You better not do anything stupid. If you want to start a fight with me, you better think twice. The trial is still only at its first stage. You don't want to suddenly fail here now do you?"
"...Hmph, arrogant! You don't even know who you're speaking to!"
"I don't know and I don't care. Just leave me alone."
Ren backed up and quickly returned to his group who was already on their way over after seeing him suddenly get into a scuffle.
"It's alright, let's go back!" Ren immediately interrupted Robin from saying anything.
He knew that his friend was just about to call out his name and he wanted to prevent Luke from hearing it so that he wouldn't recognize him. It was better if his so-called rival remained unaware that he was here with him or else things would just get annoying.
Many in the Empire knew about the deal struck between the artificer guild's master and the enigmatic youngster who was traveling around the world. Ren didn't want anyone from the Empire to recognize him because he didn't want them to pull him away from his group using the excuse that he should originally be a part of their group and whatnot.
Of course, it wasn't like they could just forcefully take him away but it was better not to look for any source of trouble, especially in their current situation. From the point of view of the Empire, Ren was still a part of them and any magi-tech he held was of the Empire's possession.
The Empire naturally held no rights to the weapons that he had distributed but it was better to avoid the possibility that they'd act imperiously and try to forcibly take them away from his companions. It was just like how Luke was acting imperiously towards an unknown stranger and asking them to show him their weapon just because he wanted to take a look at it.
The Empire always acted in a high-handed manner and it was because of this that they had a falling out with his Master which led to the near destruction of one of their flying fortresses.
Once Ren led everyone back to their resting area near Cecilia and Karen's group, his friends naturally questioned him.
"Who was that Ren?" Xin asked.
"It was just some idiot who wanted to take a look at my weapon."
"It is rude but that's just how the people of the Machina Reggio Empire act like," Ren responded.
"Hmph, it's dumb and impolite!"
"Tell me about it. That's why I wanted to get away as soon as possible. Dealing with people of their nature is really exhausting and fruitless."
"Hahaha, by the way, how did you know they were from the Empire?" Robin laughed before immediately asking.
"Remember that I was traveling with my Master before settling down in the kingdom? We naturally traveled to the Empire before and we got a taste of what the place was like."
'And I was originally from the Empire.' Ren inwardly added.
"Is that so? Well, it's better to stay away from those kinds of people. Why did he approach you in the first place? Was it really only about the rifle?"
"They were probably intrigued by our unique magi-tech guns. The Empire is similar to our kingdom in which we rely on technological advances to make our lives more convenient."
"So it's only because our technology was new and interesting?"
"That's basically it. So make sure to inform everyone else about them and tell everyone to keep their distance. We don't want any trouble with those people since we already have our hands tied with just trying to survive in this place."
Robin agreed with this and nodded, "Alright, I'll go tell them. You should get some rest. You've been using your mana the most throughout our journey. We can't have you collapse in the next section!"
At the Machina Reggio Empire's side, Luke had just come back with his group. He angrily entered the tent that was prepared for him and sat down on the bed.
He remembered about the earlier exchange with the cloaked kid and he couldn't help but click his tongue in annoyance, "Tch, stupid kid. How dare he ignore me like that! He's probably just a commoner! What's so great about his weapon anyway? It's not like we don't have it!"
Luke pulled out something from his spatial ring and gazed at it in admiration. It was a gun just like the one the cloaked kid had pulled out earlier when he tripped up one of his followers but the model and shape was different.
"Hmph, they also have guns but I've never heard about a kingdom or hidden faction that's technologically advanced like ours so how could they have it? Also, the kid pulled out a bigger and probably much more powerful weapon a few days back. I wanna take a look at it, but that bastard didn't even wanna show it to me!"
Luke was a little frustrated. He didn't like knowing that there was someone out there who was better than him in artificing. He could exclude his mentors and seniors but if it was someone who was similar in age to him, he just couldn't stand it.
"Tsk, I have to get my hands on that weapon! The only way is to either steal it from him... or take it off of his corpse..."
Luke had a dangerous thought but he quickly put a stop to it since he had other things to worry about. The leadership of his group hadn't been fully established and he really wanted the position because he didn't want to be ordered around and treated as cannon fodder for the likes of the incompetent prince and princess that had joined him in this trial.
"They're just holding me back. What could those talentless and inexperienced fellows do in this place other than cower behind their knights and mages? They're not fit for leadership!"
This was naturally only his bias but the crown prince of the Empire wasn't at all incompetent. He was just a bit lacking compared to Luke. The princess however was a different story. She was smart and intellectually superior to him but he didn't want to admit it.
The only flaw that she had was that her cultivation level was a tad bit lower than the group's average level.
He didn't want to be led by someone who was less talented and less powerful than him. The princess and prince were sharing command of the group, but Luke felt that they were acting a bit too cautious and underestimating their group's strength and letting the other groups get ahead of them.
"We're the Empire for heaven's sake. We're the strongest on the continent and we should always be ahead of everyone! The ancient records stated that there was a reward selection privilege and I bet it was given to the person or group who had arrived at the end of the plains section first, but we just had to lag behind because of them and pass that privilege onto someone else! Tch!"
While Luke was deep in thought, someone called out to him from outside.
"Young Master, the Crown Prince and Royal Princess are looking for you!"
"...I'll be right there!"
'Tsk, what now...'
Three days later, everyone from Ren's group had all recovered and rested up so they immediately began their trek into the forest.
Ren already saw that the Empire's group had gone ahead of them 2 days earlier while most of the stronger groups had departed at a similar time. Only their group and some larger groups of smaller powers were left at the entrance of the forest section.
Some groups decided to rest there a bit longer while others even decided to just stop going any further since it seemed impossible to them. Because their group was doing rather well, some other groups had tried joining them.
While Cecilia and Karen accepted a few of them, a majority of the groups were rejected. The two and even Ren saw that the weaker ones were only there to hitch a ride with them. Their group naturally didn't need any leeches so they only accepted the ones that they all agreed would be of help to their group in the later stages.
The Omnifaust Republic and two hidden factions under the names of the Azure Falcon Sect and Kanhui Family joined. There were now 6 powers in their group and their numbers swelled to over 200 people.
Naturally, they needed to appoint a leader and the Omnifaust Republic suggested that instead of a solitary leader, it was better to have a council that had the leaders of each group come together to discuss their plans and course of action in the future areas of the trial.
Karen and Cecilia naturally represented their group while Ren and Robin represented the Silvaria Kingdon's group. Ren felt that he wasn't in any position to be representing the group since he felt like he wasn't a part of them so he had Robin come with him and act as a vice-representative.
Naturally, this was just him being paranoid because the rest of his friends and people from the Silvaria Kingdom had unanimously accepted him as their leader. He had distributed to each of them their weapons and had given them commands to follow since the first day they participated in the trials. There had been no faults in any of his commands and because if it, everyone in their group, including the non-combatants, were able to survive until now.
As for the other factions in their now larger group, a girl named Gina Omnae represented the Omnifaust Republic as she was the second young lady while the Azure Falcon Sect's Young Master, Han Cre, represented his sect and the Kanhui Ancient Family was represented by their young lady, Kanna Kanhui.
Once all of the representatives were decided, they all gathered together and quickly discussed their plans and once everything was agreed upon and set, they immediately departed and proceeded with the next section of the trial.