Xiao Liang, who rested on Reilei's shoulder, shook its small head sideways as if answering her question.
At the moment, Reilei was in a heavily forested area. The surrounding trees and shrubbery were so densely packed in certain sections which made it easy for players to lose track of their location if they were not careful enough.
Fifteen minutes earlier...
Reilei was fighting against boar-type monsters and rapidly increasing her level. In fact, she had already managed to reach level 8 in such a short period of time! Of course, Xiao Liang made sure to offer her moral support as she swept through the monsters in her path.
While Reilei understood that her class was supposed to use summons to battle with, she could not find it in herself to put Xiao Liang in harm's way. She even tried to remind herself that it was just a video game, however, every time she looked over and saw its innocent face and adorable eyes, she caved in.
She also found that Xiao Liang was far from a mindless creature. It was fairly intelligent and seemed to understand and respond to her every time she spoke to it. But, the one thing that she could not wrap her mind around was the strange stares that everyone gave her.
This caused Reilei to become slightly embarrassed as she was not used to being the center of attention. In response to this, she ended up wandering deeper and deeper into the forest. After traveling for nearly twenty minutes in no particular direction, she found that the surrounding scenery had started to become completely unfamiliar to her.
When she tried to open her minimap, she found that it had vanished! Unknown to Reilei, she had traveled too far away from the nearby starting village for her minimap to function properly. So she had become lost!
Just as Reilei was growing uneasy inside, something immediately took her mind away from her current predicament.
It was at that moment Reilei came across a strange creature that resembled a deer. But, it was nothing like the deer Reilei knew of. Instead, it had snowy white fur that was completely unstained by the world around it.
Its eyes seemed to hold every color on the color spectrum and it was all perfectly fused together forming waves of everlasting beauty. However, the most eye-catching feature about that deer was its towering rainbow-colored antlers. At the tip of each antler was a small orb no bigger than one's fist. That orb rotated rapidly at a slightly tilted and appeared to have been created from pure energy.
As Reilei and Xiao Liang observed the deer, it was resting peacefully out in the open. Reilei was in awe of its beautiful appearance and wanted to move closer for a better look. However, Xiao Liang grew restless as Reilei approached the deer and woke it from its slumber.
The deer looked over in their direction which caused Reilei to freeze up. She thought that the deer would attack them for having disturbed its rest, after all, one could not judge based solely upon appearance in this place. While it looked gentle on the outside, it may be vicious on the inside.
This was something Reilei learned after she attempted to be friendly with one of the monster's she had run into inside the forest.
But, instead of attacking them, the creature's gaze landed directly on Xiao Liang. The moment that happened, Xiao Liang positioned itself behind Reilei's back and peeked over her shoulder in a nervous manner.
Once Xiao Liang was safely behind Reilei, a smug and haughty look appeared on its face as if it were saying to the deer, "What are you going to do to me now?".
However, the moment the deer switched its focus to Reilei, Xiao Liang jumped off of Reilei's back and landed in front of her. It positioned itself in between the deer and Reilei. One could tell that it was trying to look vicious and intimidating but with its small figure and far from frightening features, it looked like a joke when compared to the deer.
"Xiao Liang?!" Reilei was startled by Xiao Liang's sudden actions. Not once had it left her shoulder area after she formed a contract with it! But, ever since their run-in with this creature, Xiao Liang had been acting strange. Could it be that the two were natural enemies?
Reilei, however, found this difficult to believe considering that the deer had not yet attacked them and was only looking in their direction. Though the longer she stared into the eyes of the deer, the more she felt that her mind was slowly drifting away. It made one enter into a state of relaxation and feel that they were safe from all harm around them.
Just as Reilei completely closed her eyes, she was quickly snapped out of it after she heard Xiao Liang's call.
However, when she opened her eyes, she saw that the deer was standing face to face with her. Her heart nearly jumped out of its chest from the unexpected fright.
Xiao Liang launched its body towards the deer as it released a small roar. However, there was no depth to it and it sounded more like a squeak than an actual roar.
Right when Xiao Liang's tiny body was about to crash into the deer, something caught Reilei's attention out of the corner of her eye. When she caught sight of that, it was like a bell went off in her head.
"Xiao Liang! Stop!" Reilei said abruptly which caused Xiao Liang's movements to become awkward mid-attack. But, it twisted its small body at the last second and avoided crashing into the deer. It landed on its back and squirmed around a bit before eventually returning to its feet.
Xiao Liang looked over in Reilei's direction with a pitiful look on its face. It did not understand why Reilei had told it to stop! Nevertheless, it still reluctantly obeyed her command as it leaped up onto her shoulder and glared at the deer. If that deer tried to do anything to Reilei, it would not hesitate to launch a second attack! Xiao Liang kept a close eye on the deer's movements.
"You're hurt." Reilei frowned as she furrowed her brows. She lifted her hand up and was hesitant at first, however, the deer did not appear to be hostile so it made her feel a little more comfortable. She placed her hand on the side of the deer's face as the deer gently rubbed up against the palm of her hand.
There was a dark, corrupted, and putrid energy lingering near the neck area of the deer. That energy was cold and invasive as it seemed to penetrate into the very core of the deer. A wounded was located at that spot and whatever caused it was extremely brutal in its methods.
Xiao Liang seemed to become dejected as it watched how friendly Reilei was being with the deer.
Originally, Reilei thought the deer was a male due to its towering antlers, however, it actually turned out to be a female deer! How did Reilei come to this conclusion? Well, it was more of an instinct than anything. There was a certain look in the deer's eyes that she had experienced once before in her life.
There was also one other glaring clue. It was well hidden, but once they deer moved closer, it was the first thing that grabbed her attention and caused her to relax her guard. After all, if the deer meant her harm, it would have immediately attacked instead of waiting around.
Perched on the back of the deer was a small figure no bigger than the size of Xiao Liang. At the moment, the little creature was fast asleep. It was actually a young deer! Of course, it was many times smaller than a normal-sized young deer, but its appearance resembled that of the female deer.
The only major difference, other than its size, was that its antlers were not nearly as towering and there were no spheres of energy rotating at the tip of its antlers.
It looked peaceful and without a care in a world. There was a faint glow around its body as the little creature seemed to be full of newly formed life energy.
When Reilei first saw the deer she thought that it was simply resting, but she was mistaken. Once she hand made contact with the female deer, a small stream of information popped up on her interface. It confirmed her original suspicions once she saw its name.
Name: Weakened Ayanelle, Doe of Nine Creations(???)
HP: ??? (???%)
Reilei was positive that "doe" was a term used when referring to a female deer. But, what surprised her the most was that the deer actually had a name, Ayanelle. It was the first time that she saw a wild creature who possessed an actual name. What confused her, however, was the questions marks next to everything and what they meant.
Ayanelle closed her eyes for a brief moment as she rested her head on Reilei's palm. One could tell that she was tired... So very tired. It looked as if all the life had been sapped out of her and the spheres of energy that were spinning above the points on her antlers were slowly becoming smaller and slowing down with each second that passed.
Reilei quietly observed Ayanelle and could not help but feel saddened. She could feel the life of the creature slipping away from it and it seemed that all it wanted was a brief moment of tranquillity.
However, Ayanelle lifted its head up straight as one of the spheres of energy on its antlers drifted down towards the young deer on its back and encompassed it. The process was incredibly gentle and delicate, as though she were afraid of waking the young deer from its slumber.
The young deer hovered into the air inside of the sphere as it made its way towards Reilei. It stopped directly in front of her as a startled look found its way onto her face. What was she supposed to do in a situation like this?
Ayanelle released a faint and weak bleat that almost sounded like a whistle of sorts. It then made a small gesture with its head as if urging Reilei on. The color spectrum in its eyes began to dim and many of the colors faded after the sphere appeared around the young deer. The spheres of energy at the tip of Ayanelle's antlers were now down to the size of a marble.
Reilei felt herself becoming teary-eyed, but she held those tears back. Why was something so sad in a place that was supposed to be about having fun? This was not something she expected to experience within RML.
Reilei gently took the sphere with the young deer within it into the palm of her hands so as to not disturb it. The moment she did, a relieved and yet worried look appeared within Ayanelle's eyes. It was obvious that she was worried about the young deer.
"You can leave it to me, I promise that I'll take good care of this little one." Reilei said in reassuringly. Though she almost choked up on her words as she spoke.
That last hint of worry disappeared from Ayanelle's eyes as she heard Reilei's words. Her eyes began to slowly close.
Just as Ayanelle's eyes were about to close, the sound of an arrow soaring through the air could be heard. The arrow pierced into the wound on Ayanelle's neck and caused the deer to cry in pain.
"I got it!"
"Nice shot! Heh, looks like it's our lucky day!"
"Something like that has got to drop a rare item. We're going to be rich!"
A group of six players was on their way to one of the main cities when they had caught sight of that deer by chance.
They immediately knew that it had to be some kind of rare creature. After all, it was something they had never seen before and it looked much more incredible than the other creatures around this area! Not to mention, there was only one person next to it and it looked half-dead already. This was their lucky day!
The arrow that was shot had come from one of the players that were a part of that party.
Reilei was shocked by the sudden arrow. At first, her mind went blank as she still had a difficult time processing it. However, as soon as she overheard them talking, she was brought back to reality and her shock was replaced with anger!
"What do you think you're doing?!" Reilei yelled out. She was always soft-spoken, calm, and polite to everyone she met, but for some reason, it was like another side of her that even she herself was unaware of had emerged at that moment.
Reilei's sudden outburst startled the six players, but they quickly shook it off after they saw her pathetic summon. She could not harm a fly with that thing! She had to be a complete noob to pick something so weak and small.
"Heh, get lost noob before our good mood is spoiled!" One of the players who seemed to be the leader of the group said mockingly.