The battle ended without losses on their side. There were some injuries and one or two serious once among the guardians, but the two healers and some HP-potions
They stayed for a while to thoroughly harvest the ice troll corpses. Their blood and some of their organs were rare alchemy ingredients. Evee could also use some parts like the bones and fur.
The troll leather was a rare rated item with a high affinity to ice- The bones had the same affinity but were only uncommon. Evee ’s had more use for the latter than Seth. The biggest benefit for Seth were actually the roughly 20 souls dropped by them.
The soul of the boss troll was even a big one. Seth didn ’t know whether this counted as a ”genius ” soul but they were definitely powerful. Even the monster souls with their powerful effect did not have a denominator.
A more pressing question was, if there were ice souls then were there also fire souls? A big, rare fire soul or something similar might befit his gloves and armor made of
Fire trolls? No, he never heard of something like that. Fire Dragons? Too strong! Was there anything else with fire attributes? Magma Golems or something could be cool. Maybe he could find a fitting creature around Delta. It was a volcano after all.
The caravan started moving again after the field of corpses was cleared. They burned the leftover that could not be harvested, otherwise, they might have lured more monsters to the path.
As Seth sat on the carriage and looked into the distance, he had a thought. This was a rocky, desolate and cold landscape and it was currently raining. Shouldn ’t ice trolls be at a cooler place? Somewhere with snow and stuff like that?
He asked Drosi to the left. The experienced caravan leaser agreed with him. They had not faced ice trolls in the past, but he confirmed that Seth was right. The general consensus was that ice trolls would normally live in colder regions with permanent snow or frost.
Keeping that in mind they kept traveling along the road. Soon it started climbing higher and higher in wide serpentines. The higher they came the lower fell the temperature and snow soon started covering the surroundings.
There were a few weak monsters that ran away from the wards, nothing else. If these were the regular inhabitants it made sense that people around lv. 20 were able to walk this way normally. So why had the ice trolls moved?
~ Something must have displaced them! ~
”Well, thanks Cpt. Obvious. I was about to come to that conclusion. ”
~ Yeah, I ’m su~ure you were ~ the lich said sarcastically.
”Seth, is everything alright? ” Drosi asked him worriedly.
”Oh yeah, I ’m sorry. I was talking to someone with telepathy. ”
He explained and told Droi his thought. The old cat nodded and hmmed.
”That ’s a good explanation. But this means somewhere out there is something that made this kind of pack flee…. ”
”Yeah…Let ’s stop talking about it. We might set some flags otherwise. ”
”Flags? Why would we set those up? To find the way back? ”
”No. It metaphorical. It means to name a possible danger or calamity and technically summoning by mentioning it. ”
”Oh, like if I said ”At least it doesn ’t r- ” hmmphu! ”
Seth had reacted quickly and covered Drosi ’s mouth.
”Why are you immediately trying to set one right after I told you? ” he took away his hand.
”Haha, come on, young friend. Something like that is just superstition. ”
”Oh really. Okay. Go ahead then. Try guessing what the ice trills ran away from and follow up with ”but I ’m sure we won ’t come across it ” or something along those lines. Let ’s see if you are right. ”
”hmm, something that could displace a pack of ice trolls… Maybe an ice snake? A really big one. But I don ’t think something like that even exists so no worries. ”
”Well, done. Let ’s keep and wait for the snake… ”
An hour went by. Another one. Nothing happened.
”See, I told you it ’s just supersti- ”
A giant worm made up of boulders and rocks broke out of the mountain flank before them. It broke out from the face of the earth and dived back in on the other side of the road. It took a full 30 seconds for the whole body to pass by.
Seth looked over to Drosi with an ”I told you so! ” look.
”T-technically that is not an ice snake. That ’s a Stone Biter. It ’s much more like a worm than a snake. ”
”Nitpicking. That ’s close enough to what you flagged to prove my point. Don ’t set flags. ”
Soon the head that head, or better the front end, resurfaced. It was simply a giant circular mouth like a maelstrom made of rock to drill rocks and grind meat.
After the bickering, all fighting personal got in formation. Seth joined the vanguard from the beginning. Fire attacks were not very effective in this kind of climate and with that kind of opponent. The ”Wyvern Blade ” was also not a good choice.
The opponent had no blood and was especially resistant to bladed weapons as it was wholly made of rock. With this kind of level difference, the dragonmight was also not going to work. Who would have thought that big stick energy with the ”Staff of Seth ” would be his best option at one point?
Interestingly enough, like Seth, the Tijaahk also possessed a wide array of weapons for every situation. The guardian had pulled out all kinds of maces and war hammers. Tekar wielded one shield and the crow ’s beak Seth had given him.
The terrifying mouth ws the most dangerous part, the second dangerous situation was to be brushed by the body moving at high speeds as it tunneled in and out of the ground.
The only strategy the cat elder knew was brute force coupled with magic. The vanguard would smash the bigger rock and the caster would use water and ice magic to blow away and bind the smaller gravel. Bit by bit the giant stone worm shrunk.
It would have been a lot easier if the beast could not heal by replenishing the stones by feeding on the surroundings. On the other hand, the fight was a lot less intense than the battle with the trolls. Supported by the huge ration of potions they managed to grind the giant stone worm to dust.
It slowly became dark as they fought the beast for hours. When the rocks finally stopped moving and the kill notification rang in their ears, they heaved a sigh of relief. All tension fell off them and they fell down on their butts.
Unfortunately, it did not drop a soul or any really useful materials except a high-rank beast core. It was too late to keep going and decided to camp there. As they were eating at the campfire Drosi approached Seth.
”I ’m really sorry. You were right. Setting flags is a stupid thing and shouldn ’t be done on purpose just to play with fate. There are still things to learn, even at my age. Hehe. ”
The mountains were bitter cold with biting winds for the caravan, but no monsters attacked. Surrounded by the circle of carriages the wind couldn ’t harm. The big fire and thick blankets did the rest to make the night comfortable.
Drosi had learned his lesson and the night stayed quiet.
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