With a loud crack, the thunder wielding wolf stopped moving. The rest of the pack stood still, and Zack wondered whether or not they'd flee. The standstill lasted for a short time, but in the end the weaker looking wolves began fleeing.
Zack let them run away and focused on the last three wolves. The second thunder wielding wolf had sparks flying wildly off of it, and its fangs were bared.
Judging from the angry snarl it let out as it stared him down, Zack had just killed it's loved one.
Another pang of guilt hit Zack's heart, but he steeled his resolve and dashed towards the weakest wolf of the three. It yelped in agony as he kicked it in the nose, and they all quickly retaliated.
The wolf he had just kicked was too sluggish to properly attack, so he kicked it away again, and turned to the others.
One slashed through his pants and dealt fifteen points of damage, and the other quickly shot a thunderbolt.
With no shield and little time to react, Zack was forced to roll to the side towards the weakest wolf. Unfortunately, the roll exacerbated the amount of pain he felt in his right leg.
He gnashed his teeth as he struggled to take a poor fighting stance, and then threw another punch at the weak wolf's head. The punch landed with a loud thud, and the wolf fell to the ground.
Zack quickly checked on the wolf, finding it was only unconscious rather than dead. He didn't have time to finish the job though, as another loud boom resounded behind him.
He dodged to the side, and another thunderbolt flew by into the distance.
The other wolf leaped at Zack almost immediately afterwards, aiming for his neck. He grabbed the wolf and chucked it away before it could bite him, but it managed to claw into his face regardless.
The wolf landed gracefully despite the fierce throw, and stood by the one that was unconscious. It seemed that one took a defensive position, and the remaining thunder wielding wolf was the last one taking on the offensive, leaping at Zack with sparks flying off its claws.
Again, Zack instinctively reached out to grab it, but was shocked when the wolf's claws dug into his chest. He fell to the ground with small sparks emanating off of him, and he had lost control of his muscles as they lightly spasmed.
The wolf then followed up, and Zack watched as it boldly charged a thunderbolt right in front of him. There was nothing he could do, the annoying tingling sensation all throughout his body kept him still.
'Two can play at that game. . .'
He began focusing on a large area of Ardor and stared directly into the eyes of the wolf. The wolf snarled when it sensed the shift in Ardor around it, but didn't stop charging its attack, as if to provoke Zack into wasting his chance.
Zack wasn't one to fall for such provocation, mostly because he didn't understand the emotions conveyed by the wolf, and continued compressing the large area of Ardor.
His nose began bleeding as the ball of pure wind Ardor became visible, and the headache was beginning to make him question whether or not he should just give up and die.
'Just a bit more. . .'
His health began dropping rapidly as he continued pushing his limits. It was agonizing, and the seconds seemed to stretch into hours as he forced the Ardor to bend to his will.
Deciding that he had enough, Zack let the concentrated Ardor shoot towards the thunder wielding wolf. The pressure on his mind was alleviated, and the wolf's head was pierced by the large beam of Wind Elemental Ardor.
After hastily drinking a health potion, Zack struggled to stand up. He looked around as he stood up, and saw that the wolf had fallen, and that the other two began running away.
Considering the ape beast's corpse as well as the multitude of other wolf corpses already present, Zack decided to let them run away and reap the rewards.
Checking the many corpses that littered the area, Zack quickly realized he was ill-equipped to carry everything. He didn't bring along a makeshift bag, and he didn't have anyone to help him carry the excess either.
It didn't take him long to figure out a solution though. Zack gathered all the materials he couldn't carry in a pile. He then raised it off the ground, and had it float behind him as he casually strolled back to the sect.
The pressure he felt on his mind due to the weight of all the goods wasn't pleasant, but it was much more manageable than the pressure he had felt earlier.
It took quite a while now that he was going at a leisurely pace, but eventually he could see the large building in the distance.
He followed the road he had left on, and saw that the same man from before was still at the check in station, his posture just as informal as it was before he had passed by.
The man once again shifted back into a formal position when he heard Zack's sudden exclamation.
"Ah, welcome back Outer Sect Disciple Dilan. Did you find your hunt-" the man's jaw dropped when he saw the pile of raw materials floating behind Zack, and failed to notice the poor state he was in.
"My word, you really managed to get all that on your own?!"
"Yes, I did. What do I do with the raw materials I've gathered?."
The check-in attendant did a double take at Zack's words, and looked up and down at him, taking note of his tattered pants and bloody knuckles.
'His nose is unnaturally bloody, did he over-exert his cerebral crystal too?'
"Right, you must be new to the sect. The Outer Sect Treasury is down this road and to the left past the first house you see. It's not hard to miss, as the Elder that oversees the treasury has quite an imposing aura."
Zack nodded and began walking as the check-in attendant jotted something down on the open scroll.
He followed the directions the man had given him, and just as the man had said, the building was very hard to miss. Having made the first turn, he could already feel a disruption in the Ardor around him.
'Yeesh, this aura is giving me the willies. Hopefully this Elder isn't too difficult to interact with.'
He followed the disruption in the Ardor until he found a white walled building topped by a black tiled roof. The elderly woman lazily sitting within perked up when she noticed Zack in the distance.
"My, my. You've brought back quite the collection, Dilan. Come here so I can mark the hunting task as complete and award you for your efforts." She then waved her hand to beckon Zack to come closer, who felt intimidated by the aura she exuded.
Zack complied, pulling out the task list scroll from his utility belt and handing it over. She took out a brush from beneath the window, and marked the task with bright green ink. "Alright, bring the materials closer so I can evaluate the amount of Contribution Points you've earned."
With a tense expression, he moved the pile of raw materials in front of him and added everything else to the pile as well. With a nod from the elder, the materials vanished.
"What the- What happened?" Zack couldn't suppress his astonishment. Did all of his items just despawn right in front of him?!
"For a cultivator with such potential, you really don't seem to know left from right. You mean to tell me you don't know what a storage ring is?" The Sect Elder looked at him with a raised eyebrow, the lack of malice in her tone conveying that she was more confused than anything else.
"Never heard of them before in all honesty."
The elder seemed to peer through him, and sighed upon realizing Zack was being completely honest. "They are rings that have been enchanted, allowing one to carry a multitude of items without feeling their weight. They are pretty useful, and very hard to come by."
"Anyway, you've done quite a good job in standing out amongst your peers. These Great Ape materials are something only an Inner Court Disciple could manage, not to mention the two mature Attono Wolves. . ."
His fame gauge was completed instantly by her utterance. It seemed her standing within the Sect was quite influential. "Let's see, for all this, you'll be awarded two thousand five hundred contribution points."
With that, Zack only needed to learn five martial art abilities.
"Since you're already here, would you care to redeem any of those points?" She then waved her hand over the desk, and a scroll appeared out of thin air, though this time Zack noticed a brief distortion of space around her finger.
He hummed curiously, and the Elder unrolled the scroll, showing Zack a long list of items he could obtain.
The list contained a wide variety of things, from common consumables to ability scrolls. And Zack's eye's widened as he perused through the list of ability scrolls, seeing that they ranged from Postulant Tier parlor tricks to Master Tier monstrosities.