anaconda, which had been a bit more powerful than a normal Stalker.

The anaconda had shot ice projectiles at Alex, which he had been able to defend against with his new cloak, at least to some degree. The projectiles still shot through Alex ’s cloak, but he hadn ’t been injured that heavily.

The ice projectiles also explained why such a tropical animal as an anaconda lived in such a cold climate.

Ever since then, Alex hadn ’t felt challenged again.

This was also one of the reasons why Alex came out during the day instead of the night.

The God had told Alex that he should become more powerful by throwing himself into danger.

Right now, as long as Alex kept himself hidden during the day, he wouldn ’t be in any danger anymore.

This was enough to survive but not enough to reach true power.

Alex knew that he had to push himself.

And wasn ’t this a prime opportunity for him?

Such a powerful blizzard would make it harder for a big creature to move around. Additionally, the blizzard would interfere with the eyes, nose, and ears of the creature.

In comparison, Alex had a thin, nearly transparent piece of skin over his eyes. This protected his eyes from the blizzard.

Alex traveled through the snowy forest for nearly thirty minutes, leaving behind a crevice in the snow cover.

Alex had seen about two white rabbits up to now, but he wasn ’t interested in them.

He wanted bigger prey.

After a while, Alex arrived in front of a lake. This was the lake in the middle of the forest.

Alex wanted to come here since there were fewer trees in the way. If something traveled across the frozen lake, Alex would be able to spot it.

The lake was about a kilometer wide, making it neither small nor big.

However, the closer Alex got to the lake, the colder he felt.

’Is the temperature dropping? ’ Alex thought.

When Alex reached the edge of the lake, he felt like the temperature had dropped by another 20 degrees.

What was going on?

Why was it so much colder here?

As Alex looked at the lake, he got his answer.

Alex narrowed his eyes as he saw the two things in the middle of the lake.

One thing was something that was difficult to describe. It was some form of force. Some white air came out of the lake in the form of a spire, about two meters tall. It almost looked illusory. Several icicles and broken pieces of ice were seemingly levitating around the white, illusory spire.

’This is the thing that ’s causing all this coldness, and I ’m sure that this thing wasn ’t here before, ’ Alex thought.

pᴀɴdᴀ nᴏveʟ Then, Alex looked at the other thing. ’And that thing too. ’

What was the other thing?

An ice bear.

A big one.

A really big one.

The ice bear was probably nearly three meters tall, which was insane. That was the height of an elephant!

This thing probably weighed several tons!

By now, Alex had cultivated some sort of feeling of animals and creatures.

How powerful did this creature feel?

Far more powerful than a Stalker.

More powerful than the ice anaconda.

Probably a bit weaker than the gigantic lizard Alex had seen on the mountains on his first day.

Far weaker than the Hegemon.

The bear slept beside the spire.

’This spire probably releases something that makes it easier for creatures with the ice element to become more powerful. I don ’t know if there are types of Mana, but if there were, this would probably be concentrated Ice Mana. ’

Alex looked at his surroundings a bit more and found some bones strewn around the lake.

’I think nearly all animals with an Ice Affinity are drawn to this spire, but this bear has probably won the bloody battle. ’

Alex remembered the gigantic lizard he had seen on his first day.

’The lizard didn ’t dare to enter the basin, but this bear did. Yet, this bear only feels a bit weaker than that lizard. ’

’This probably means that this bear represents the highest power allowed by the Hegemon. Judging by the fear of the lizard, anything more powerful than this bear will probably be killed by the Hegemon. I don ’t know how the hedgehog does it, but that ’s the only explanation I can come up with. ’

Alex narrowed his eyes and gritted his teeth.

’It ’s a huge risk, but I ’m supposed to risk my life. It doesn ’t feel like I would be helpless in front of this bear, but it also doesn ’t feel like I can win. It ’s a gamble. ’

Alex ’s fist shook in conflict, but eventually, it relaxed.

’If I turn back now, I will turn back again later. I can ’t allow that! ’

Alex readied his sword and patted the side of his torso a bit to check for something.

Then, he walked towards the lake.

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