Chapter 100 - Carry
Soran was also trapped in Autumnfall. The snow was so thick that the carriage could not move.
Soran had ordered a warm cotton jacket for Vivian because of the cold weather. It took three days to complete. Outside there were Half-Elves busily working, there were even some Druids. The snow had crushed some simple huts, and the guards of Autumnfall were scrambling to rescue the ordinary civilians.
Because Gloria was taking care of Vivian, Soran went out to the outside of the city. The snow outside was much thicker. The snow was now up to his heels.
The fields outside the city, which were once green, were covered in a white blanket of snow.
Men and women were busy in the field, shoving up the snow and harvesting the vegetables that could be harvested. If they didn't transport them as soon as possible, they would quickly rot, and people would lose their source of food. There was probably no point in planting winter wheat since the snow was too thick. In the past, winter wheat was usually planted in October. Many Half-Elf farmers seemed worried. They did not have many talents, they were merely more flexible than Humans.
A farmer woman was carrying lettuce with her pale and cold hands. Cabbage and lettuce were common vegetables in the south. A girl with a runny nose was helping also, but because her clothes were thin, she would breath warm air to her hands from time to time. A little boy in his teens was digging through the snow. Soon he became excited as he had dug out a frozen bird from within the snow. He raised the bird high and shouted, "Look, sister! We'll have meat in the evening!"
The snow had broken off some tree branches. Some even had bird's nests on them. Many tree branches were frozen like popsicles, and some even have long ice crystals forming under them.
This was how people lived.
A group of hunters entered the forest. Their experience told them that this winter would be a cruel one, and so they began to hunt in advance; they might be lucky to find some frozen animals.
Further out, people were busy repairing their houses. Ordinary poor families could only build thatched houses, therefore, the roof was not very strong and could be easily damaged from the heavy snow and wind. There were birds calling in the sky. These birds had to take their last chance to migrate, or they would all freeze to death here.
An early winter had disturbed the way of life of all creatures; animals were forced to hibernate, and farming was severely affected.
Continuous thuds could be heard in a distance.
Soran stopped in his tracks. He reached out with his hand, and small hailstones collected on his palm.
The thuds became louder and clearer. From a close distance, a farmer's wife shouted, and then her two children quickly ran towards her. The little boy even took a tumble in the snow. The falling hail was getting bigger and bigger and the woman couldn't even care about the vegetables she dug out. She protected her two children with her body and they all ran toward a house in the distance.
Soran felt a little bit of pain.
Soran looked up at the sky and saw that the hail was getting larger. From the size of soybeans to the size of small stones. There was a cry of pain in front of him. Soran's figure quickly flew out and covered the two children with his body. He then murmured, "Quickly look for a place to hide!"
The farmer's wife had no time to thank him. Her forehead was hit by a hailstone about the size of a pebble, and a bruise started to form on her head. The village was full of shouts of panic. Soran put the two children down and with a serious face, looked at the crackling hailstones falling to the ground. The roof was hit hard, some people had bruises all over their faces, and some were even bleeding from their foreheads.
The hail storm did not last long.
From the size of rice grains to the size of pebbles, the storm lasted only ten minutes or so. People came out slowly in trepidation, looked up at the sky, and then returned to the fields to gather the remaining crops. Soran left a bag of jerky for two young children and then left to walk along the road into the forest. There were no familiar roads because the snow had covered everything up. He saw the figure of Druids leaping across in the forest.
Even though the Druids were irritating, they weren't evil.
Many Druids stayed in desertified areas left behind by the Arcane Empire in hopes to turn them back into forests with lush green. This process has been going on for thousands of years.
But the efforts of generations weren't enough. Thousands of kilometers of the desert were still covered with yellow sand. The ancient cities that had sunk in quicksand were still emitting radiation energy. Only some plants with strong vitality could grow in such an environment. It's always easy to damage the environment, but it takes countless years to repair it. Soran's attitude towards Druids was very complicated: sometimes he wants to kill them, and sometimes he adored their greatness.
He especially the loved the Druids who were building an oasis in the bleak desert. The resilient green trying to survive in the harsh plains of gold sand was true greatness.
The Druids were well respected by the locals there!
Soran had even seen the desert people kissing the ground which the tree-loving Druids have walked on.
The cold winter was already eliminating the old and weak.
Only the strongest creatures could survive the harsh winter. Soran frowned as he walked deeper into the forest because the road to the Elfenlands was completely covered with ice and snow. The carriage was basically useless, and they would have to walk all the way to get through it. It's was impossible to wait for the snow to melt since that would mean waiting until the next year. Soran couldn't afford to wait that long, so they had to face the snowstorm.
Vivian was still a small child and wouldn't be able to walk in the snow. She didn't have the stamina and Soran wouldn't allow it either.
Carrying her on his back was the only way.
The journey was around a hundred kilometers, so they would probably have to spend quite some time traveling.
"I wonder if Gloria would have issues...probably not since she's a high-grade Witch. She probably has plenty of spells to deal with it."
By the time Soran had returned, it was already afternoon. Aladdin stood on the bar table bragging to the guests who had gathered around him. From time to time, people laughed at his jokes and even wanted to invite him for another drink. When he saw Soran, Alladin's face was already red with drunkenness.
He must have been a big talker before. It's a pity that he didn't become a bard. Otherwise, he would have earned a lot of tips along the way.
Many halflings like to brag, and they wouldn't get angry when if they were called out. At most, they would just refute a bit.
They weren't great storytellers, but they were definitely a good source of entertainment when things got boring. Even the innkeeper was hooked to the stories.
Aladdin wasn't exactly boasting either. He had more experience adventuring in the wild compared to the others. At least he could accurately describe the height, characteristics, and habits of the Hill Giants. He was even able to describe in detail the habitual movements during their attacks. Of course, the main purpose of this story was to prove how dexterous he was: how he was able to evade the attack from the Hill Giant, playing and tricking the Hill Giant. Killing the Hill Giant, though, was another matter, as his two daggers were probably ineffective against them.
With the encouragement of the guests, the short-statured Aladdin danced on the long table. It was a dance which had a lot of clapping and tapping. They believed that if one was good enough in dancing, one could attract cute Halfling ladies. The surrounding crowd could not help clapping their hands and following the rhythm. The already very vibrant atmosphere suddenly reached a peak; the hotel owner even had intentions of hiring him.
Three days had passed.
Soran was trying to memorize spells; Gloria seemed to know that he was learning magic and gave some tips here and there. However, the mysterious Northern Witch didn't know that Soran was already a level 5 Wizard. Soran didn't want to cause any surprises and unnecessary trouble. After all, a level 5 wizard coming out of nowhere in just half a month, was more frightening than Vivian's amazing talents.
It's probably best to tell her when it was appropriate.
Soran successfully memorized a level 2 spell [Bull's Strength]
This spell could temporarily increase his strength by 4, adding to that the effects of the Ogre Strength Gauntlet, his strength would add up to 18. Even though the spell only lasted for about 10 minutes, a typical battle was also around ten minutes. So if he had to go up against an ogre head on, it wouldn't be much of a problem. Low-ranking wizards had very few Spell Slots, thus he had an invisibility spell which was used to save lives, and a strength buff when fighting.
Grade three and above Wizards would have a dramatically increased number of Spell Slots.
On the day of their departure, the little Halfling also tagged along. He had a good time at the hotel. Every day, he was invited to have a drink. Soran thought he would stay in the city of Autumnfall.
"I'm a gourmet"
Aladdin walked in the snow with a grumpy face. Then he said, "How could a gourmet stay in one place? I've tasted all the delicious food here, so I'm going to see the Elves have."
Gloria was obviously not used to the journey.
The noble Witches seldom traveled by themselves, let alone walking in the icy and snowy environment. Soran wanted to help but had no way to do so. Behind him, like a backpack, he carried a cloth bag with Vivian inside. The little girl put her little white arms around his neck and rested her head on Soran's shoulder. Her small breathing was a bit ticklish and she would kick her little feet out from time to time. She opened her hands to catch the falling snow at first when she was in good spirits; However, she became a little lazy after a while because there was white snow everywhere.
After walking for a bit, the Northern Witch already became tired.
She bit her lips and looked at the others with an unyielding look. Then, she proceeded to cast Lighten Object on herself.
The mages were definitely more delicate and sophisticated. After Gloria cast the spell, her steps only left shallow traces on the snow. The spell seemed to be better then QingGong. Fly did not last very long, thus it was not suitable for long-distance travel. The cold wind in the sky was also a problem, as such one must also use protection spells, otherwise, a Witch's body wouldn't be able to tolerate the elements.
Strong cold gusts blew at the travelers.
There were rows of footprints on the snow, and the group gradually entered the forest. However, the wind and snow would quickly erase the traces they left behind.