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Chapter: 197


William thought that Dave's title was really cool as he stared at the young boy in front of him who seemed different from before.

Dave could feel a certain strength inside his body that he couldn't explain. However, this time around, he felt that he could ride the Gryphon without falling off its back.

The chubby boy raised his hand and the Gryphon unconsciously lowered its body to allow him to mount. Dave then confidently sat on its back as if he had done it countless times before. After seating securely in place, he then patted the back of his partner as if telling him to stand.

When the Gryphon rose to its feet, it felt that his rider was very different from the one who mounted him a few minutes ago. It was as if the one riding him right now was a completely different person.

William's jaw almost dropped when he saw another change on his status screen.

Name: Dave Cornwell

Race: Human

Health Points: 10,000 / 10,000

Mana: 3,000 / 3,000

Prestige Job Class: Crusader of the Sky (Lvl 1)

Skills:

Duel Ex

Union of Man and Beast

Tactician

Tornado Descent

Shield Boomerang

Grand Cross

Title: Storm Rider

-- During a storm all stats increase by 100%

-- Aerial Mobility increase by 200%

-- Can use Heaven's Fury once a day

"Fck! What kind of BS is this?!" William cursed out loud. He almost dropped Rhongomyniad from his hands as he read Dave's Status Page. "Why is he so OP?!"

Dave and the Gryphon were both startled by William's shout and looked at their Commander with anxious faces.

After his initial outburst, William immediately calmed down and returned the Legendary Spear inside his storage ring. He then looked at Dave with a dazzling smile that would put all scammers to shame.

"You're good," William said as he lightly patted Dave's leg. He then patted the Gryphon who trembled under his touch. "You're also good."

The newly appointed Crusader and his mount felt the hairs on the back of their necks stand on end. For some reason, they felt that they were about to be served on a silver platter and William was going to eat them.

"Dave, from now on, I expect good things from you," William said with a serious expression. "Do not tarnish the honor of the Angorian War Sovereign. Do I make myself clear?"

"Y-Yes! I swear that I will not let you down, Commander." Dave stuttered.

The Gryphon shrieked to support his partner's words. It was afraid that if it didn't say anything, William would find an excuse to torture it.

"Good, let's go," William ordered as he mounted Ella's back.

Dave and the Gryphon glanced at each other as they walked behind Ella's back. After walking for a while, the chubby boy and the magical beast both realized that Dave was no longer in danger of falling from the Gryphon's back.

It was as if they were joined together!

What he didn't know was that after acquiring the Prestige Class "Crusader of the Sky" he automatically acquired the skill Union of Man and Beast. This was a special skill of the Cavalier Job Class which allowed the rider and his mount to become a single unit when they were together.

Even if the Gryphon were to perform complicated aerial maneuvers, Dave wouldn't fall off its back even if he wasn't sitting on a specialized saddle.

When the two arrived at the camp, both of them were met with curious gazes. The other members of the Angorian War Sovereign felt that Dave had changed somehow, but they couldn't put their finger on it.

What impressed them the most was that the chubby boy was riding on top of the Gryphon as if he had done it for many years. There was also a sense of confidence that was oozing from Dave's body which made the others look at him in a different light.

"What happened to you?" Conrad asked the chubby boy after he dismounted from the Gryphon. "What did you do with the Commander?"

Dave gave Conrad a refreshing smile before answering his question. "Sorry, but the commander ordered me not to say anything. But..."

"But?" Conrad waited for Dave to continue his words.

"But, I hope the day will come when you will become part of Sir William's strength," Dave said with a serious expression. "I look forward to that day."

After saying those words, Dave walked past Conrad and headed towards William. He stood a few meters away from him like a trusted retainer.

Everyone was a little confused when they noticed this sudden change in Dave's mannerism. Usually, he would stick around Conrad. However, this time around, they could tell that he had switched his allegiance to William and seemed very satisfied with it.

William didn't say anything, and ordered everyone to rest while he checked on the conditions of the Hipogriffs. After close inspection, he realized that four of them had lost a limb or two and had to be supported by their comrades using ropes, tied to their bodies.

Those that had suffered serious injuries had been given High-Grade Potions that William had acquired from their Bandit Raids. He didn't bat an eye and used them on the injured creatures which made the new members of his herd very grateful.

The total number of mounts they gained from this expedition was sixteen.

William had six officers and thirty-six subordinates. He planned to have all of them get a mount of their own, which meant that he had to return to the Whimsical Forest and find a new herd of Hippogriffs.

While he was deep in his thoughts, he heard two sets of footsteps approaching from behind his back. He didn't turn his head and simply waited for his two guests to speak their mind.

"Can we talk in private?" Cid asked.

"Okay," William replied. He turned his head to look at the disciples of the Sword Saint with a calm expression. "Follow me."

Cid and Aerith nodded as they followed William. The three people walked towards a small brook that was a hundred meters away from their encampment. William didn't know why the two wanted to talk to him, but he was willing to hear them out for the sake of the Sword Saint's Generosity.

After arriving at their destination, Cid cleared his throat and spoke his mind.

"What you did earlier was admirable. However, you shouldn't mingle with Demonic Beasts who specialize in Dark Magic," Cid said with a serious expression. "I don't know why that Demonic Dog is helping you, but if others find out that you are collaborating with such a creature, your reputation will get a black stain."

William nodded his head. He already expected this situation after forming a contract with Psoglav. If it was only the members of his Knight Order, he could probably force them to keep their mouths shut. Unfortunately, there were outsiders present in the area, so this outcome was understandable.

"Also, you should hide that slave collar on your neck," Cid stated. "You are a noble and a noble wearing a slave collar is taboo. Although slavery runs rampant in the Hellan Kingdom, the King himself dislike such practices."

William snorted. "The king might feel that way, but the nobles don't. Almost all of the nobles own slaves of their own. The collar on my neck is my way of telling them that even nobles can be enslaved. If it can happen to me, what makes them think that it couldn't happen to them?"

The red-headed boy also wanted to point out that their honorable master was keeping slaves inside his residence. He just didn't mention it to prevent conflicts between him and the Sword Saint's disciples.

"Even so, you mustn't openly show it to the public like it's a priceless accessory," Aerith insisted. "Looking at you makes me feel uncomfortable."

William grinned evilly as he looked at Aerith from head to toe. "Indeed. You should feel uncomfortable. A beauty like you would sell for a high price if you ever fell into the hands of slave traders."

A resounding slap echoed in the air as Aerith looked at her hand in surprise.

"I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to," Aerith stuttered.

"Don't worry, I've suffered worse," William replied.

A red handprint slowly materialized on the Half-Elf's handsome cheek. It was the mark left by Aerith's unconscious action after hearing William's words.

"Is there anything else that the two of you need to say to me?" William inquired. "If not then I will return to the camp. There are still a few things that I need to do as the leader of this expedition."

Cid stared hard at William for a quarter of a minute before shaking his head. Aerith looked apologetic and lowered her head in guilt.

William nodded his head in understanding and walked past the two teenagers who were older than him. But as he was passing Aerith, the shepherd lightly patted her shoulder before leaving her with some parting words.

"I am, also, not a fan of slavery and one of my goals is to fully eradicate it from the Southern Continent."

The two disciples of the Sword Saint watched William's retreating back as he returned to the encampment.

"What a peculiar boy," Cid said as his gaze sharpened like swords. "What do you think, Big Sister?"

Deep down, Cid was reluctant to admit that William had won their duel. But facts showed that even if he was the stronger between the two, the boy's tenacity and unwavering determination overpowered his skill with the sword.

"I think he needs to be re-educated in the proper etiquette of noble families," Aerith replied. Her expression was dyed red due to embarrassment from her earlier outburst. "He is indeed weaker than you, but for some reason, I feel that even if you two had a rematch, the outcome would still be the same."

Cid sighed as a bitter smile appeared on his face when he heard his sister's words. He didn't agree nor disagree with her opinion, but his silence was enough to tell her that he also felt the same way.

This was the first time that the two of them had met someone as mysterious as William. On the surface, he acted in a carefree manner. Just like a sword during peacetime.

However, during times of emergencies, his attitude changed completely. Like a fully drawn blade with exquisite sharpness, he was able to cut down the obstacles blocking his way.

The two finally understood the real reason why their Master had sent them to observe William. He wanted them to learn that not all battles were honorable. In a fight of life and death, honor and dignity were merely beautiful decorations.

"Someday, I will win against him," Cid muttered softly.

Aerith who was by her brother's side nodded her head. She, too, wanted her brother to be hailed as the strongest in the Southern Continent, just like their Master. However, as she looked at the small retreating back in the distance, she felt that the hurdle that her brother was about to face was a mountain that towered above the mortal realm. A mountain whose peak could never be conquered.

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