Chapter 59: The Fate of the Adventurers
The campsite of the Snow Wolf Mercenary Group was above standard. You could see that they were used to living in the wild.
The low level terrain effectively played the role of ‘windproofing’ them. The stiff slopes at the sides played the role of protection. If there was any accident, they only had to protect the gap in the middle, and then the safety of the campsite was guaranteed.
Duwei and Dardanelle followed Commander Bein Heinrich and entered the campsite. The mercenaries that greeted them looked at them weirdly.
Duwei estimated that there were almost hundred people in this campsite. They looked different from the private soldier of the noble or the local garrison of the Empire he saw before. They didn’t have a uniform of armour or weapons. Their outfits were very personalized. Some were wearing a leather coat, some were wearing a leather gown, some were even wearing leather armor.
But, since they had to hide in the snow, most of them chose white as the color.
Their weapons were even stranger. They had swords, machetes, axes, short spears…Duwei even saw one using a mace.
These people seemed very defensive and unruly without exception. When Duwei entered the site, there were some shining their weapons and looked at Duwei and Dardanelle coldly.
There was someone yelling, “Hey, mander! Why did you bring a kid! Ha ha ha, is he the one you want to recruit as a newer? He seems like he still has his milk bottle!”
Everybody was laughing at these words.
Bein Heinrich was angry and yelled, “Don’t bullshit! Do what you have to do! This is our VIP, behave well!”
It seemed the mander was very prestigious. After his words, everybody shut up although some of them had an objection.
“Sorry, Mr. Magician, these are rude men and don’t know about manners.” Heinrich invited Duwei to his tent, but Duwei rejected politely. Afterwards the mander had his men make some space for them to build a tent.
After a while, the mander had his men to bring two thick woollen blankets.
“These people seem to not like us.” Duwei looked at the mercenary who brought the tent to them and looked back at Dardanelle with a smile.
“It’s normal.” Dardanelle said, “In this kind of team, a newer is always hard to be accepted by others. They are more willing to trust an old person who has experienced life and death together before; even in a normal army, it’s the same.”
At night, the mercenaries lit the fires in the campsite and they would sit around the fire and wait for their dinner.
Heinrich invited Duwei to join their dinner in person, and squeezed near the fire together.
The mercenaries treated them much better than before. It seemed the mander had announced Duwei’s identity as a magician. But still some people looked at Duwei with suspicion…because Duwei seemed too young.
Not only the mercenaries, Heinrich was also suspicious about Duwei too.
Sitting next to the fire, taking off the hat that covered one-third of Duwei’s face, he looked even younger…Heinrich could not stop suspecting ‘Is this little kid really a magician?’
Perhaps…even if he was a magician, with his age…he was probably a beginner or Level-one magician?
Magicians were rare. But if he was just a beginner or a level one magician…it was pointless to recruit him.
The mercenaries were isolating all the other things and focused on doing their things. They used some pans and boiled the snow into water, then the two strong men brought something weird out of the tent. Those were the dead bodies of the animals…Duwei looked at those carefully but still could not distinguish if it was a cow or a sheep. But Dardanelle could recognize it, he whispered, “ Oh my god! That’s snow camel beast, that’s the drilling cow…Oh, there is one Snow wolf beast! God, these are the things you eat tonight?”
Heinrich laughed and said, “No, we! We, including the two of us! We, will eat these for dinner.”
“The corpse of a magic beast…” Dardanelle sighed.
“Yes, magic beast.” Dardanelle laughed, “In my point of view, these things are the same as a normal beast…at least the taste is similar. They just knew a bit magic before they died. After they die, they bee our food.”
Duwei didn’t say anything. He saw the two men using the sharp knife, easily dissecting the corpse into pieces, and then putting the pieces into a big pan to cook.
The leather of the magic beast had already disappeared, Duwei saw the two strong men went back into the tent and got more magic beasts out, he could not stop to whistle and he looked at Heinrich, “Mr. Commander, seems you had a great harvest.”
Bein replied plainly, “Living is not easy. We use our lives to fight. You are right, the harvest this time was great. We have been here for five days, and have gotten more than 20 magic beasts, but at the same time, I lost 7 to 8 men. Three died and three more were permanently disabled.” He sighed, “These magic beast’s meat could be sold at a high price in the south, and their magic core…the magicians are all willing to buy them at a high price.”
Duwei looked at those magic beast corpses again…
The mercenaries brought out a snow wolf. Duwei recognized it. Last time when he was teased by the demon in the Half-Angle City, he saw that in the illusion.
But the one the mercenaries moved out were much smaller than the one in the illusion.
The water in the pan was boiling with the tasty meat smell, and many mercenaries could not help but stop to inhale the fragrance.
The mander asked someone to bring some wine from his tent. The mercenaries were very happy; they passed the few bottles around and everyone was able to have a sip. In this freezing weather, it was enjoyable to have some wine for warming the body.
Heinrich didn’t forget to treat Duwei. He got a silver bottle from his belongings and said, “This is my private collection, the best wine in the north…Mr. Magician, do you want to try a bit?”
Duwei had a sip, and then he choked!
“Cough! What is this wine…” Duwi coughed terribly, and his voice was getting hoarse. He felt like there was fire burning in his mouth!
Duwei was quick to grab some snow and it into his mouth! He swallowed a mouthful of snow three times before his throat started getting better.
Bien laughed and said, “Dear Magician, this…is a really good wine! I use the magic nuclei from the Flaming rhino to make this wine! When you drink it, you will feel the fire in your throat! It’s so awesome! Especially under this weather, just have a sip, you will feel burnt throughout the whole body! You will be very warm during the night!”
Duwei squeezed his nose, “Thanks! But I cannot seem to stand it.”
Bein laughed and had a sip, then he seemed to feel painful but happy. Then he shook a bit and gasped, whilst at the same time, shouting, “Awesome!”
Then he gave the bottle to Dardanelle, “Friend, have some!”
Dardanelle hesitated a bit and then drank some. But since his affordability was stronger than Duwei, after he had a sip, he acted the same as Bein, shake a bit with enjoyment. He praised, “Good stuff! My body is getting warm now! Damn, it’s just like there is a fire in my stomach!”
Then, Duwi tried the cooked magic beast meat, the meat of the Snow wolf was a little bit stiff, with a sour flavour. Duwei was not used to eating these things. But in this freezing place, it was already a good thing to just have some warm meat.
Last night, when he was with the old magician, he only ate some dried food.
‘Hm…don’t know if that old man is watching me nearby…I am eating and drinking while that old man was in the windy place, it’s quite nice.’
After Duwei ate something, he was much more spiritual now. He then tried to drink some Bein’s special wine. Since this time, he got prepared, he felt more fortable for drinking that. Also, this wine was actually quite good. After drinking this, it seemed like there was a fire running over his body inside. The cold had been expelled pletely!
“Mr. Magician, you came to this forest probably because of finding some magic beast?” Heinrich said, “Most of the magicians e to this place because of this reason. If so, maybe we can help each other. Perhaps I’ve got the magic beast you want.”
Dardanelle and Duwei looked at each other, then Duwei nodded his head, Dardanelle replied, “Mr. Commander, have you heard of the Golden Eye Python?”
Heinrich was shocked and said, “Golden Eye Python? That’s a strong creature. When I was young, I saw some magicians had caught them. But we haven’t caught that thing before…and…”
He hesitated and said, “This is only the outer layer of the Frozen Forest. For such a high level magic beast like the Golden Eye Python, you have to go further in, to the inner part. The strong magic beasts are only active in the inner part, you cannot find this thing in the outer part. But if you go further to the inner part, it will be more dangerous.”
“Inner part?”Duwei laughed, “Please forgive my liberty. This is my first time to e to the Frozen Forest, you see, I am a young magician and I am not familiar with this place. You said the inner part…We have been here for two days already…Still within the outer part?”
“Of course.” Heinrich shook his head, “Frozen Forest is so large…we can even say that, no one knows how large the Frozen Forest really is. I heard that twenty years ago, there was a great magician bringing some knights from the temple along, who stayed in this forest for a month, and still could not arrive the other side of the forest. No one knows what the other side of the forest looks like. Perhaps, it may be the end of the world. Also, we only have that record. That time, a great magician of the Magician Party and a few Senior Holy Knights from the temple entered into the forest together. But people said that…only the magician could stay alive. In the inner part of the Frozen Forest, people said that there were many high-level magic beasts; even the great magician couldn’t handle the multiple attacks from the high-level magic beasts. The mercenaries, like us, the Snow Wolf Mercenary Group, are mainly active in the outer part. Our longest travel was only nine days…and that happened a few years ago.”
Duwei was a bit shocked…
A magician and few holy knights travelled for a month but still could not reach the end?
This forest was so big?
Dardanelle felt troubled…if this was the truth, how could they find the Golden Eye Python?
“Let me give you some advice.” Heinich looked serious, “We, the Snow Wolf Mercenary Group have been hunting the magic beasts for many years already. I also met some magicians who were going to find that magic beast. But they don’t dare to go further than “Big Circle Lake”. That was the furthest they went, no one dared to go further. The two of you…I know you are a magician and I respect the talent of magician. But I really advise you, if not necessary, please give up your plan…”
Dardanelle felt bad, he thought a bit and suddenly said, “Mr. Commander. Thanks for your kindness. But I really need to find the Golden Eye Python. Hm…also…”He suddenly had a weird expression, “I know your group is doing the beast hunt business, if possible, I would like to hire you to help me to find…”
“Sorry, we can’t.” Heinrich rejected immediately, “Although we are doing this kind of business, we understand that the higher the risk is, the more the profit we can have. But if we know that we will die if we do that, that is not risk, that is lunacy. Our Snow Wolf Mercenary Group is not strong enough to enter to the inner part of the forest. So no matter how high you pay, I am afraid we cannot do that.”
Dardanelle sighed. He knew that Heinrich was telling the truth. He kept silent and sipped some wine.
Heinich came back to Duwei and thought for a while and said, “”Mr Magician, I am very curious about you. In my impression, there are only few people can get the magician qualification at your age. I lived for 40 years already and half of these years I was having my adventure. I met quite a lot magicians before, but didn’t meet any genius like you.”
Duwei forcedly laughed a bit…
Genius? That you never met.
Duwei was like a level-three magician now. Compared to the normal people, he could be regarded as genius…but if pared with the two girls he met, there was nothing for him to be proud of.
To get the level-eight magician qualification at 15 or 16! That was real genius! Duwei even met two at once.
Duwei kept silence and Heinrich too. Heinrich took out a paper roll.
“Dear Magician, I may have a deal for you, but I need to know if you have interest?”
Duwei was blinking, “What deal?”
“As I know, Magicians are very rich, so if I give you any jewelry, you won’t care about that…so…” Heinrich smiled, my men and I would head to the north for 4 to 5 days and we will go to the Big Circle Lake, then head back. I am thinking, if you and your pany also need to head to the North, in the following days, you can join us. My men and I can be your guide, bring you two to the Big Circle Lake. In this forest, it’s easy to get lost without a guide. What do you think?”
Heinrich then spread out the paper roll, “This is the map of the Frozen Forest! You cannot find this map in any market! Even if you want to pay much money to buy it, you still cannot buy it! It is because this is made by me based on my 20-years experience with more than 40 times to e to this place. I can guarantee you cannot find another map as detailed as this one within the whole empire.
Duwei was quite interested in it!
He took the map and expanded it…
On the map…there were many symbols. In the southern part was the entrance to the forest. On the map, there were the marks of the few towns near the south of the Frozen Forest, as well as the checkpoints set by the Northern Storm Troop Patrol team.
Duwei glanced a bit, and he found the route that he and the old magician came from.
On the map, you could not determine the area of the whole forest, but after the explanation of Heinrich, Duwei had some concept about it.
“Here, this place is our current location.” Heinrich pointed at the map with his finger.
On the map, this location was close to the entrance of the southern boundary. Duwei was a bit frustrated…he had struggled through what felt like hell in these two days, but just a little bit on the map.
Heinrich laughed and then pointed at another place on the map, “Here, this is the place we are going to, the Big Circle Lake.”
On the map, it just used a circle symbol to represent to lake.
Heinrich briefly introduced the lake, which was that it was in the forest, making it a forest lake. But the area was quite big.
“The width of the lake is about 5-6 miles…at least. I have been there several times, but I didn’t measure it. In fact, I didn’t even reach the opposite side of the lake. Big Circle lake, is probably the boundary for the adventurers in this Frozen Forest.”
“Why is this?” Duwei was curious about anything related to this Frozen Forest.
“The boundary of strength.” Heinrich laughed, “basically, in the south of the lake, it is not too dangerous. People like us can move around here. But…in the northern part of the lake; not many people dare to go there. Of the people who are brave enough to pass this lake, according to what I know, all are among the most famous and strongest in the continent…At least myself, Bein Heinrich, is not this type of person. I’ve brought my men here many times, but we never go further to the north.”
After a while, he had a creepy smile, “By the way, in the summertime, I won’t bring my men to the Big Circle Lake. As you know, any place with water can attract many dangerous beasts…same for the magic beasts. Magic beasts also need to drink water and bath. In the summer time, although it is still very cold, it’s not as cold as now. Now is the beginning of the spring, and the water in the lake has not yet melted. The lake surface is still icy. Magic beasts won’t go to the lakeside. But it’s a different situation in the summer time. In the summer, that’s a gathering place for the magic beasts! What the hell…I heard that there were some mercenary groups with hundreds and hundreds of people there being attacked by the magic beasts! All of them died there! So, because of the season now, I dare to go there. If it is in summer, I will stay far, far away from the lake.”
Heinrich finished his words and then looked at Duwei, “How is it, Mr. Magician? My deal is very simple: My men and I will bring you to the lake and I will give you this map…although I didn’t go to the northern part before, but I did my research in these years. This is all the information from the strong people who have gone to the north before. I spent lots of money to gather this information! The icons on the map are enough to describe the landscape for 2-3 days after you pass the Big Circle Lake.”
Duwei looked at Heinrich and asked, “Dear Mr. Commander…I am curious. As long as you don’t plan to go to the north, why do you gather information about the north?
Heinrich seemed a bit regret but he looked sincere and said seriously, “Mr. Magician, please remember, I am an adventurer!
When he said that, his expression was really sincere.
“I am an adventurer! Although…I am doing this mercenary thing, I get the benefit from adventuring in the Frozen Forest! I am not a greedy merchant! Inside my body is the blood of an adventurer!” Heinrich spoke quietly, “I have been in this place for half of my life. When I was young, I always wanted to go to the northern part of the lake in the Frozen Forest because of those rumors. I was always thinking that despite how it looks…but I know that my strength is not as strong as those at the peak. Also…now I have many people following me and I am responsible for taking care of them! But I have my dream too! My dream is…in the future, when I am getting old and at my retirement without any responsibility, I will pass through this lake and go to the North and have a look! My whole life is here! In the future, if I cannot see how the northern part looks like before I die, I will be so regretful! I collected this information for preparing my future! I believe that after I finish my preparation, I will go there alone. I even believe that I will die in the north of the lake! Even if I die, at least I can have a look at the legendary north shore…To die in that place, it is like a pletion of my adventurer fate!”
PR/N: -Manly Tears Shine- GENERAL ARMSTRONG SALUTES YOU!
At that moment, Heinrich suddenly said something that got a lot of respect from Duwei:
“As an adventurer, to die in bed, it’s a huge shame! Being a real adventurer, we should choose to die in the most excited journey!”
Duwei took a deep breath, he respected him immensely, and said, “Dear Commander, you agreed to be our guide and give us the map…so what do you want me to do for you?”
“Simple.” Heinrich laughed, “I only want two things. The first one is during our journey, if we have any trouble, like being attacked by someone else or the magic beasts, you, Mr. Magician, please stand on our side and at the right moment, we may need your help.”
“No problem.” Duwei replied immediately, “As long as we are on the way together, we are allies, that’s reasonable.”
“Thanks. My second thing is…if you finish the adventure and still can go back…touchwood. But I would have you heed my final warning, the north is very dangerous!” saying this, the mander knew that Duwei would not take his advice, so he sighed, “So…if you can go back, I think, you will be the strongest magician I have ever met…yet you are so young! Talented is the only word I can think about. I believe in the future, you will be a well-known strong person in the continent. If there is a day, I hope that you can remember our name Snow Wolf Mercenary Group…I hope that you can remember we did help you when you were in the Frozen Forest. For this favor, at the right moment, and if you are fortable with it, please help us and that’s enough.”
This was a smart mander!
Duwei began to respect this mander very much!
If only referring to the speech of “The fate of adventurer”, he looked like a ideologist…But after knowing the trading condition, it’s obvious that this mander had a long term vision!
In this event, they actually didn’t have any cost…they originally planned to go to the Big Circle Lake, as with a team of hundred people, just two members more, didn’t cost much. Now, they had a magician pany.
Apart from that, for the map…since the mander made it, although he gave it to Duwei, he could easily draw another one. He didn’t have anything lost.
But, he could get a favor from the magician!
In Roland Continent, Magicians were more precious than gold! Especially a strong magician. This mander was very smart. Duwei was so young to be a magician, he might have a bright future…as long as he could stay alive. That meant the Snow Wolf Mercenary Group should establish a friendship with this great magician at any cost!
Someday in the future, they could get the help of a great magician!…An ideologist but with a realistic greed.
This was the ment from Duwei about Commander Heinrich.
They didn’t talk at the night then.
In the second morning, when Duwei got out of the tent, Snow Wolf Mercenary Group was ready to go. The warriors weren’t scared of the cold; they used the snow to wash themselves, and some were using their dagger to shave their beard. These guys were used to having an adventure. They were very strong and muscular, they even yelled and called their panies to get ready.
Dardanelle was a little bit down.
Last night, after the Commander introduced the situation about the Frozen forest, Dardanelle understood well that the possibility of catching the golden eye python was very low, almost zero. Even with the Magician Harry Potter, it was still not enough.
Duwei forted this loyal warrior from the Lister Family and then followed the Snow Wolf Mercenary Group to continue the journey.
There were many people in the Snow Wolf Mercenary Group; and they were divided into two teams and searched around. In the afternoon, Duwei learned how they caught the magic beast.
The searching team found a cave of the magic beast. A towering tree had been removed, and there was a giant white bear hibernating inside.
This was a “Roaring snow bear”, which was much larger than the normal bear. It looked like a polar bear in Duwei’s previous life, but this roaring snow bear could use magic to attack others. Its roar could make a mini tornado.
The Snow Wolf Mercenary Group seemed to have an idea of how to handle this magic beast. Ten of them tied together a rope, then threw a burning pine branch into the bear cave in order to force the bear to e out. Then they used bow and arrow to attack it.
The roar of the giant bear made a mini tornado, and blew two guys into the sky! Luckily they were tied with their panies, and though it was a great pain to fall down, since the snow was thick, they didn’t get serious injury.
The mercenaries used a giant web to catch the bear, and divided into four directions. Each had more than 10 guys pulling.
Finally, the mander carried a giant axe and moved near the bear, around 15 steps distance, then threw the axes towards the bear quickly!
The bear head was cut into two after the attack!
Duwei was shocked.
The martial art of the mander was really impressive! With the title of one of the three heroes among the north mercenaries, his skill was just as was said!
Duwei was paring him with the greatest martial artists he had ever met, including Knight Robert and Swordsmen Alpha; Heinrich was much stronger than them.
If there was anyone who was parable, that would be Joanna.
Among the cheer of the mercenaries, they collected the corpse of the giant bear. A leader skillfully cut the bear’s tummy by his dagger. They first got the bear bile, then cut the magic nuclei from its head and stored it.
The remaining, three soldiers cut the bear leather off. The meat was cut into several pieces and carried by several people, and afterwards they continued their journey.
That day, Duwei saw this kind of scene several times. The Snow Wolf Mercenary Group hunted two Snow Magic Wolves again. But it was so sorry that when they were catching the second magic wolf, one of the mercenaries killed horribly…he was scratched by the claws of the wolves and even his intestines spilled out!
“This is the life style of an adventurer. Adventure every day, sometimes, someone may sacrifice their life.” Dardanelle whispered, “I was living like that before, but I chose to leave.”
Those mercenaries expressed their mourn about the dead pany, then buried the corpse and continued their journey…
At dinner, when they were eating the magic wolf meat and drinking wine, Duwei thought of some details.
There were some mercenaries sitting around the fire who never touched the wine bag.
“Those are the people who are responsible for the safety tonight.” Commander noticed the suspicion of Duwei, and said, “The night watchmen should stay awake with 100% alertness at night! Because if there is any error, the whole team will die! So, the night watchmen should not drink any wine! But as a reward, for those night watchmen, after they shifted duty the other night, they were allowed to get a double shot of wine as a reward. Also, they get double the spoils.”
Commander also said slightly, “Of course, in case they are still alive when they return.”
After hearing this, Duwei began to look at those night watchmen with a bit more respect.