Arad stood in the forest beside Aella beneath a tree as the students surrounded Lucia and Aella's class teacher, a tall half-elf with a long mustache and a longbow on his back.

"A joined class… I can't believe they brought you here." Aella smiled as she looked at Arad.

"We're here to catch demon spiders. Did he say what you were going to do?"

"Said we'll help your class find and capture the demon spiders by looking for the spider lily, a black flower that the spiders love to eat."

^I'm worried… I can feel the spiders from here, every one of them, but something is off. They are too strong. I can beat them, and so is Aella and everyone else, but I don't feel that Mira would be safe here.^ He looked toward Lucia, "Teacher, you sure those spiders aren't too strong for us?"

Aella's teacher laughed. "Don't tell me you're scared of spiders, big guy."

Lucia stared at Arad with a serious face, then looked back at Aella's teacher. His name was Sylvany. "We should check the spiders… I don't feel right if Aron is concerned." She had started to feel that Arad's words weren't something to be ignored.

Sylvany shook his head with a smile. "I checked them yesterday. They are a bit bigger as they ate a lot in the past weak, but that should make them a bit slower in exchange for them having a bit more durability."

"So…" Lucia stared at him. "The students can dodge them better. But will also need some extra strikes to capture or take them down."

"Exactly, there is nothing to be afraid of, Aron." Sylvany stared at Arad with a smile.

Lucia turned toward the student, "Make teams out of four, three from our class and one from teacher Sylvany's class, and get ready."

There were more than double the students in Arad's class than in Aella's class, almost triple. And that is for one reason. Potion-making is a lucrative business if you can secure supplies, and it only requires a bit of mana and knowledge, which is accessible to anyone through effort.

Aella grouped with Arad, Matilda, and Selina. The four of them started walking through the forest, searching for the demon spiders.

"Aron…" Aella looked at Arad with a smile, "Did you know? Demon spiders were normal spiders until they ate the black spider lily and mutated into demonic beings. We saw one of their eggs hatch, and it was a normal black spider."

"You learned that?"

"We're a herbalist class." She smiled. "The flowers have a natural magic in them that slowly decays into demonic magic. It's too weak to affect humanoids, but enough for spiders."

"A poor choice of diet." Arad looked around. "Would the flowers transform a human if ingested in large quantities?"

"No one tried." Aella replied.

"People did." Selina said as she poked her head from behind Matilda. "But it was toxic, most subjects died. So the research stopped."

"Really?" Matilda slowly turned her head and looked at Selina. "I thought monsters came from animals transformed by the presence of dense mana in the air."

"No one really knows how monsters came to exist." Aella looked at her. "We know of some species, but not their origin."

"Their origin doesn't matter." Arad stopped walking, lifting his hand to stop the rest. "A spider. Get ready."

"Spider?" Matilda turned around. "Where? I can't…" As those words escaped her mouth, the scent of poison and damp webbing entered her nose. Her claws immediately extended out as her ears bent backward, "Aron is right!"

Aella pulled her bow out. "Can you at least let me find the black spider lily? We're getting scored based on that." With a deep breath, she pulled the string back, conjuring a thin and invisible arrow of wind. Her eyes glow with a faint green light as she focuses on the forest. Her ears wiggled a bit, she could hear the faint tip-tap of the spider running around them.

"Two large ones. One to the northeast, and one to the southwest, they are trying to flank us." Aella warned them.

"Monsters aren't that smart." Matilda added, her eyes looking everywhere. The moment she spots one, she's pouncing like her life depends on it.

Selina took a few cautionary steps back away from Selina, ground her teeth, and took a long deep breath. She pulled a small wand from her wrist and waved it around. "I'll… support."

"Aron, don't fight. Leave it to us." Aella stared back at him. She knew well that if he joined, the spiders wouldn't stand a chance. He might even pin them down with gravity magic without taking as much as a step.

"Got it." Arad sat down, and Matilda stared at him. "Get up! You're letting us fight alone?" She cried, but Arad pulled Aisha out and started talking with it. "This is not the time to play with dolls!"

"Matilda, scare them out." Aella turned around in a flash and Matilda immediately rushed into the forest, running on all four.

PEW! PEW! PEW! Aella fired three arrows at a tree top, and one of the spiders dropped down. It squeaked at them, rushing straight toward Arad.

Selina pointed her wand into an empty spot in the forest, [Mold Earth] strands of magic flew from her wand hitting the dirt. In the blink of an eye, a hole one meter wide and two meters deep formed.

Matilda rushed out of the bushes, scaring the spider toward the hole, and when it fell, Aella fired several arrows at the trees, cutting branches to seal off the hole.

"Got it!" Matilda smiled, turning around. "Where is the second one."

Thud! The second spider fell from a tree, latching onto Matilda's back. The tigress started sweating as the spider was about to bite her neck.

Aella pulled her bowstring, about to blast the spider away and Selina did the same, about to cast a spell, but they were too late.


The spider fell off Matilda's back, bleeding from its neck as its head had disappeared. A few meters away, Arad stood with the spider's head in his palm. He threw the head on the ground, "Sorry, thought you all needed help."

Matilda was panting with sweat dripping from her forehead, "That was close. Thanks, Aron." She gave him a thumbs up.

Arad turned toward Aella, "You could've sniped it off."

She stared at him. "What are you talking about? I can't fire that fast." It was then that Arad finally realized. Aella didn't intend to save Matilda, she had the speed but was playing into her role well. ^We've decided not to use our powers here for a reason…^ He was the only one still using bits of his power when he needed it.

^[The teachers should have an antidote for the spider's poison. She wouldn't die.]^

^It's not about dying.^ Arad turned around and walked toward Matilda. "Make sure to watch your back."

"I'll remember that." Matilda replied and Aella stared at her with a suspicious glare. Tiger beastmen are supposed to be solitary hunters, watching their back should be natural, but from what she saw from Matilda now, she's pretty bad.

"Matilda, can you really hunt?" Aella approached her.

"I can! Don't mock me!" Matilda growled, hearing those words triggered her badly. It was clear to Aella in a second. Matilda can't hunt, and that's probably the reason she left her tribe, and came to an alchemist class of all things.

Selina stared between the two of them, sensing the tension as it rose. Aella didn't want someone to pretend to be strong around Arad while not being able to fight, false claims can lead to a nasty death.

"I'm not mocking you." Aella puts her bow away, signaling to Matilda that she doesn't want to start a fight. Seeing that, Matilda pulled her claws back into her hand, took a deep breath, and glared at Aella. "What do you mean then?"

"We're hunting as a team. If I don't know what you're capable of, I can't support you. If I knew you can't watch your own back, I would've watched it for you." Aella turned toward Selina, and the girl rushed to hide behind Matilda.

"Matilda, you are our tank and damage dealer. I'm the rear support and the sniper. Selina here is our spell support and blaster. We are a team, keep that in mind." She crossed her arms.

"And what is he?" Matilda turned toward Arad.

"He can play any role." Aella replied, "I'm his wife and I can tell you one thing I'm confident in. He's our safe net, and you saw it." She pointed at the dead spider.

Matilda's eyes sparkled, "I see! He's the lion!"

"The what?" Aella stared at her, confused.

"I'm a tiger, so I don't know much. But I heard that the male lion beastmen are far stronger than females and they usually form a large pride. The females hunt while he sleeps all day, but he'll always take down the biggest prey that they can't face." She turned toward Arad, "That's why he has a lot of wives, he's a lion. You're a part of his pride."

"How did you come to that conclusion?" Aella sighed deeply.

Matilda stared at Selina, "Now we're a part of his pride. So listen to him,"

"HEEEEEEEEEE!" Selina cried.

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