In fact, it was not only the Hippogriffs that were allied with the centaurs. All the creatures that were grazing in the meadow were part of their alliance as well. This was why the Centaurs appeared when William's group arrived in the meadow.
The Wild Bison, Moose, and Deer had already trapped William's group in an encirclement and were only waiting for Bastian's order to attack.
The only reason why they were still being civil was because of the fact that William was radiating a presence that made them not want to have a conflict with him if possible.
"Leave!" Bastian ordered. "This is your last warning. The next time you return, we will treat you as enemies!"
William sighed internally because they were left with no other option but to leave the meadow.
"Okay, we will leave." William nodded his head. He then turned to his group and made a hand gesture. "Let's go."
Cid and Aerith were frowning, but they still followed William's orders.
William's group retreated a mile away from the meadow and formed a temporary camp. It was only lunch time, so there was plenty of time to think of their next course of action.
William was currently resting on top of a branch with his back leaning against the tree. He didn't want to engage in a full blown confrontation with the Centaurs and their allies because the latter treated them in a civil manner, despite the fact that they went there to "capture some Hippogriffs".
'There must be a way, but how?' William pondered as he gazed at the Northeast.
While he was mulling over his options, the Wren that chatted with him earlier perched on his shoulder and began chirping.
William crossed his arms over his chest as he digested the information that was given to him by the little bird.
"Say… do you want to travel together with me?"
"Yes. Our meeting must be Fate," William said with a smile. "Although you're very small, you're quite capable of gathering news. How about you work for me as my news informer?"
"If you come with me, you'll never go hungry again. I promise you."
The Wren thought for a while before chirping in affirmation. William grinned and added the small bird to his herd.
-- Common Bird
-- The wren is a tiny brown bird, although it is heavier and not as slim as the even smaller goldcrest. It is dumpy, almost rounded, with a fine bill, quite long legs and toes, very short round wings and a short, narrow, tail which is sometimes cocked up vertically. For such a small bird it has a remarkably loud voice.
"Let me think of a good name for you," William said as he rubbed the little bird's head.
The little bird looked at William in anticipation as it waited for its name.
After giving it much thought, the red-headed boy finally thought of a good name for the little guy who stumbled upon them in the forest.
"Aethon," William smiled. "From now on, your name will be Aethon."
The King Chess Piece in William's Sea of Consciousness glowed thrice and a small change appeared on the Wren's body. A golden crest appeared on Aethon's chest.
It was like a small marking that allowed William to identify him from birds of the same species.
After adding Aethon to his ever growing herd, William climbed down from the tree and shared the news he just received.
"We need to leave the forest," William announced. "A tribal war among the beast groups is about to take place. We don't want to get caught in the crossfire, so we'd better leave as soon as possible."
The young noble that had offered the spear to William a day ago raised his hand. "Commander, what about the mounts?"
"Worry not, my dear comrade," William said with a mischievous smile. "I'm sure that we will be able to snatch a few creatures during their internal conflict. For now, let's go back to the camp and wait for the aftermath."
Aethon had told him that the fight would be breaking out any moment and the sooner they left, the better.
If William was alone, he was confident that he would be able to maneuver freely in the forest. However, since his subordinates were with him, he didn't dare to act boldly. It was best to return to their encampment first then sneak back inside the forest to play the fishing game.
Ella, Dia, Ragnar, and Aethon looked at William with a knowing glance. Since they were part of his herd, they could understand his thoughts to a certain extent.
He was already looking forward to the Grand Haul that was about to take place.
"No good. The Young Master is really similar to the commander," Damian whispered to Gideon who was seated behind him. "Look at that smug expression on his face. That is what Commander looks like when he is just about to raid a Bandit Camp and steal their treasures!"
"You're right," Gideon whispered back. "I have a feeling that he will drag the two of us along as well. If he really is the Commander's grandson, he will throw away his dignity and become shameless."
As if feeling their gazes, William glanced at the two men and gave them a refreshing smile. That smile alone confirmed the two men's suspicions that the brat was up to no good!
Kenneth sat beside William and tapped his shoulder. "Whatever you are planning on doing, take me along."
"Um?" William looked at his roommate with a curious gaze. "What do you mean?"
"I can tell that you are scheming something."
"Nonsense! Just look at this handsome and innocent face of mine. Does it look like the face of a schemer?"
Kenneth nodded his head. "Not only the face of a schemer, but the face of a scammer as well."
"How rude. Looks like my Secretary is going through a rebellious phase." William grinned. "Very well, I will agree to take you with me on one condition."
"On one condition?"
Kenneth thought for a while before nodding his head. "Let me hear the condition."
William motioned for him to come closer as he whispered something in the delicate-boy's ears.
Kenneth frowned, but still nodded his head in agreement. "Very well. I accept this condition."
"Good." William patted his roommate's shoulder. "We are going to move tonight. Make sure not to alarm the others when we sneak out of the encampment."
Later that night, William, Ella, Kenneth, Damian, and Gideon headed deeper inside the Whimsical Forest. They had just traveled a mile into the forest when they heard the distant roars of beasts.
"Looks like we just arrived in time," William said as he made a hand gesture for everyone to stop.
Ragnar was currently seated on top of Ella's back with his tongue lolling outside of his mouth. Dia, on the other hand, was resting on William's head, while Aethon was perched on his shoulder.
William raised his hand and a portal appeared beside him. Psoglav, the Demonic Dog, arrived with a smirk plastered on his face.
"Are we going to start our hunt?" Psoglav asked as its single eye glowed eerily in the darkness.
William nodded in acknowledgement. "Tonight is a bit special. If we get lucky, we will strike it big time."
"Oh?" Psoglav rubbed its chin with its clawed hand. "I like the sound of that."
It then raised its head and listened to the roars of the beasts in the forest.
"A Faction War." Psoglav chuckled. "I looooooove Faction Wars. It is the best time to snag some easy prey."
William and the Demonic dog shared a knowing glance before running towards the North. It was the place where the strongest conflict was currently taking place. Ella, Kenneth, Damian, and Gideon followed behind them.
Since William was a Half-Elf, his Dark Vision allowed him to see perfectly in the night. For some reason, this ability of his was shared with the entire herd, and allowed Ella and the others to see clearly in the dark as well.
As for Kenneth, Damian, and Gideon, they had their own ways to see in the dark and kept up with William's and Psoglav's advance towards their destination.
When they arrived, they were just in time to see a fierce battle being fought between the Centaurs and a group of Wyverns. After observing the Pseudo-Dragon's rampage, William noticed a unique individual among the group.
The Wyvern's body was red in color, and there was a crimson crystal embedded in its forehead.
William used his appraisal skill on the creature and his face suddenly became serious. It had been a while since he faced off against a creature of such rank, and he knew that it was a steel plate that he didn't dare to kick.
-- Centennial Beast
-- Threat Level: S (High)
-- Cannot be added to the Herd
-- The Blood Wyvern is one of the evolutions of a Wyvern.
-- It has the ability to continuously grow stronger by drinking the blood of magical creatures.
-- This Wyvern has the ability "Bloodthirst", which allows it to identify the location of any warm-blooded creature within two square miles with it as its center. Even those with the Stealth or Invisibility skills will not escape its sight.
-- It also has the ability "Skill Absorption" that allows it to acquire the skills of the creatures it has consumed.
-- The Blood Wyvern can evolve into a Crimson Wyvern once it has stepped into the ranks of Millennial Beasts. A Wyvern known for its brutality and strength that can even overpower pure blooded dragons of the same rank.