The ride on the Nightmare Horse was…not as bad as Michael expected it to be. The Nightmare Horse was fast, but it ran through the Savannah region with a natural rhythm and gracefulness, which made it much easier for Michael to stay on its back.

Of course, the Greater Eagles were faster since they could fly in a straight line to the destination and didn't have to adjust their speed to the terrain. Nonetheless, Nightmare Horses could turn into great mounts for his Cavalry.

'If my territory was in the Savannah and not in the Untamed Jungle I would most-definitely get one of those!'

Riding back to the Untamed Jungle on the Nightmare Horse's back didn't take long. Michael would have to spend much longer traveling through the Untamed Jungle until he finally got back to his territory by ordinary means. But that was not much of an issue either.

He swung his left leg across the Nightmare Horse's back and jumped down to the ground.

"Thanks for the ride back. If you ever want to come over to my territory, just send me a message and it will be fine," Michael said to Zira.

At first, he didn't really mean what he said and thought of his words as pleasantries, but then he recalled her interesting combat style. If Zira were to come over to his territory she would be able to teach Michael's people quite a lot. Even Michael could learn a lot from Zira.

"I'll think about it. Thanks for the invitation. It was nice meeting you," Zira responded, tugging at the Nightmare Horse's reins to steer her companion.

"By the way…I know that it's a taboo to ask this but…" Zira hesitated. She stared back at Michael, unsure whether she should ask what had been on her mind for quite a while. However, upon seeing the vibrant glimmer in Michael's eyes Zira couldn't hold back, "How did you obtain so many powerful Soultraits? I really didn't want to count them, but I noticed that your last attack against the Kitsun Lord used at least 5…if not 6 Soultraits…and they were all powerful. The weakest Soultraits must have been a 4-Star Soultrait…"

Michael returned Zira's gaze and stared into her eyes without a change in his expression. He tried to recall his last attack against the Kitsun Lord and nodded slowly. He used Glacicle, Reinforced Sword Qi, Enhancement, Extraction, Eagle Eyes and Spirit Gaze in his final attack. Glacicle was almost a 5-Star Soultrait, but that didn't change the fact that Zira's analysis was correct.

He had used six powerful Soultraits against the Kitsun Lord.

In fact, considering his fusion with the Elemental Empress, Michael had exposed a total of seven Soultraits.

"I obtained some of them in a Lord Rift. But I wouldn't suggest you to enter a Lord Rift. I am not sure if I would enter the Lord Rift again if I had the chance to go back in time and change my decision…" Michael responded, his expression turning sour.

He sighed heavily and continued, "Either way, everyone has their secrets, right? Just know that I won't tell anyone about my secrets to anyone if they're not my subordinates and in a highly secure Soul Pact."

Michael felt that he had revealed too much already. Thus, he waved at Zira before he disappeared inside the Untamed Jungle, leaving the Valyr alone at the border.

The Elemental Empress was still clinging onto his shoulder, but she hadn't said anything until now. Only now that Michael and the Empress were alone did she finally regain her talkative spirit.

"Are we going home now? Will we finally be away from the Kitsun? Will I get my very own cave? Do you want to establish Links of Loyalty with every Elemental I create, or will it be fine if I control them? How about you make the Links with stronger Elementals and we leave the Lesser Elementals up to them?" The Elemental Empress bombarded Michael with questions; questions that Michael hadn't thought about until now.

With the Empress' questions ringing in his ears, Michael traveled through the Untamed Jungle. They didn't encounter any Kitsun Summons or Awakened on their way back, but they didn't actively search for them either. The Kitsun Hunt could start a little later.

Michael spent a few hours traveling back to his territory. On his way back, he focused on his chat with the Empress. That way, he learned a lot about his second tamed monster, such as the way she hoped to live.

The Empress hoped to obtain her own cave to create a society for Elementals underground. As she was the Elemental Empress, her core would create a surplus of elements. These elements had to be released in the outside atmosphere, or compressed to form Elementals Cores. Thus, the existence of the Elemental Empress alone was already enough to change the surrounding environment.

Michael had to make many mental notes about the intel provided by the Empress. However, he was not dissatisfied. On the contrary, Michael was quite happy about the numerous notes he had to make in his mind. Each mental note would help to improve the economy and develop his territory even faster.

He was not sure how much time passed while traveling, but it was already late evening when he returned to his small settlement. Initially, he wanted to gather his people and tell them about the incidents that had occurred in the Elementals Cave the moment he returned. But it was late, Michael was still tired, and the headache from the last battle hadn't subsided yet.

He wanted to go to sleep and tell everyone about the incident first thing in the morning.

However, before he could fall asleep and rest a little bit longer, Michael had to check on Tiara, the EmeraldLeaf Adventurer team, and the Greater Eagles.

Thus after entering his territory, he first moved to the Greater Eagles' nest. Icarus and his lovely mate had already fallen asleep. Their wounds had been tended to by the Priest and all they needed was rest and highly nutritious food. They wouldn't have any long-lasting injuries which was a relief.

Michael went to Tiara and the others next. He saw the Golden Stinger Wasp on his way and thanked it for its hard work by channeling bits of his purified origin energy into its monster core. Stinger hummed loudly, pleased to hear the praise, and disappeared in the next moment.

Then Michael entered the wooden manor where Tiara and the Forest Elven Adventurers were resting. They were still awake and impatiently tapping the wooden plank floor with their feet. The six Awakened had been waiting for his return.

Upon seeing Michael, their expressions lit up, and they rushed over to greet him.

"Michael, you're back!"

"It was about time that you returned. We've been waiting for ages!"

"I'm so tired. Let's get this done and jump straight into bed."

The cacophony of voices reaching Michael's ears caused him to frown deeply.

"If you guys are so tired, why didn't you go to sleep already?" He asked, which earned him an earful from the Forest Elves.

"Of course, we couldn't leave Tiara and Lilica. They would take away our joy and keep it for themselves!" Mika complained, pointing at the two women with trembling fingers.

Mika was still exhausted from using an heirloom arrow with several uses of Energy Imprint from Opars. His energy veins and muscles were sore and had sustained minor injuries. Yet, he didn't dare close his eyes and fall asleep. There was something he and the others had to do first.


"Here. Take a look at those!" Tiara exclaimed, pushing Mika to the side to arrive right in front of Michael.

She held two large orbs in her hand and smiled brightly. Lilica arrived next to Tiara with two more orbs that looked the same as Tiara's. Opars and Pheli followed suit holding the exact same objects.

"Those are…Summoning Cores. Eight of them at that…" Michael blurted out seeing the eight Summoning Cores resting in the arms of the Forest Elves and Tiara, "By any chance…did you ask for Stinger because you wanted to invade the Kitsun Lord's main settlement?"

The only way to procure eight Summoning Cores was through Summoning Gates. However, there weren't any active Summoning Gates nearby – other than the Summoning Gate of the Kitsun Lord.

"Bingo!" Mika exclaimed while Tiara nodded her head vigorously, feeling proud of herself.

"We noticed that the Kitsun went crazy and thought that the Kitsun Lord died. Sun Demos confirmed our guess – though it was quite difficult to communicate with him. Once we made Sun Demos communicate with the Elemental Empress to bring Stinger over to the Untamed Jungle, we were refreshed enough to kill the remaining Awakened in the main settlement, to loot the wooden manor and empty the Summoning Gate," She revealed, only for Lilica to add,

"We took all Summoning Cores, stored all valuable goods, and brought the Awakened corpses back for you to extract as well!"

"So…instead of returning to the base and resting as ordered, you guys decided to invade the main settlement and fight in your current state, injured and exhausted… I am not sure if I should praise you guys for that, especially since the three neighboring Lords promised me that they wouldn't enter the Untamed Jungle," Michael said, the frown on his face deepening.

They had no reason to rush, yet the bunch of Forest Elves and Tiara ignored their wounds and exhaustion to invade their enemy's territory and steal the valuables that they would obtain one way or another.

'You guys could have died,' Michael wanted to say, but he couldn't get himself to speak the words aloud. Tiara and Lilica stared at him with puppy eyes that demanded treats and caresses, while the others looked at him with the hope to receive praise.

"But someone else could have stolen the valuables and Summoning Cores if not for you taking them first. So, you guys did the right thing. I'm proud of all of you!"

'Just don't jump into any more danger when you're already dead-tired…'