Chapter 341: To Hope
They stayed in the vicinity for several days during which they scavenged supplies and organize themself. They lost a lot in this encounter. People, supplies, mounts, and carts.
Most porters either died or ran. How were they supposed to find their item boxes in this chaos?
At the start of the journey, they would have had the option to evade Hope, the city in the no mans land. Now, they needed to restock food and water if they wanted to make it to Delta, or at least Y-City.
Against the warnings of Pip and her people, they would have to stop by that place even if it had turned into hell on earth led by a bunch of psychotic bandits.
From the previous caravan of almost 2000 people, barely 400 were left. Less than a quarter, but these survivors were made up mostly of warriors, mages, and Chimeras. The previously most numerous, workers and servants, had taken the greatest hit. Less than 100 had survived the skirmish.
Surprisingly, the old man Seth had met at the worker camp had proven his tenacious talent to stay alive. He met him again because the old coot had managed to become the leader of what was left of the freed slaves.
But it also meant they still had over 300 people able to fight. It was a force to be reckoned with and the reason they felt confident in approaching Hope.
The travel with fewer people on the open plain also meant that they became faster. They made a fourth of the way in a single day. The terrain was mostly grassland and posed no problem to their makeshift carts.
It was starting to get dark when they decided to look for a place to rest. The scouts found a small lake in the distance. It was a good chance to restock their water supplies and set up camp for the night. But they were not alone there.
At the small lake, they met an older man with a long white beard of fine hair. He wore a set of exotic white robes that matched his hair. When they arrived, he was simply sitting on a rock at the bank of the lake and fishing.
“He asked to speak with the leader of the caravan,” Marcel said to Seth who was leisurely setting up his tent.
“What does that have to do with me?” the blacksmith asked.
“Wha-? I mean, you ARE our leader, right?” Marcel asked a little confused.
“Yeah, yeah. I was just joking. I will come by in a second.”
~Even if you are just the leader on paper and evade most responsibilities. There will still be stuff you have to do.~ The lich teased him.
“You start to sound like Mary.”
The man had not once stopped fishing and was still sitting on the rock when Seth approached him. He could feel a power similar to an appraisal skill scan him. The blacksmith was not polite and used
It came out without a result. The man was either not part of the system or so high level that Seth could get no info.
“Hmm, interesting. You have a perfect fire root and even something resembling a crude spiritual sense. Oh, I am sorry for my rudeness. This Taoist is called High Mountain, you may call me Master Mountain. “
A Taoist? Seth was sure he had read or heard about something like this at some point, but he couldnt quite remember.
“Oh, erm. Greetings, Master Mountain, this blacksmith is called Seth Smith. You may call me Seth.” he awkwardly mirrored the way the man spoke.
He had the suspicion that his
“It is not your ability that is malfunctioning. This one has just recently learned the language of this continent.”
“Did you just read my thoughts?”
“Nothing like that. This old man has merely read your face.”
“Hmm, interesting. Anyway, you wanted to talk to me.”
“Ah, yes. As you may have inferred, I have only recently come to this world. You are the first people that have not directly attacked me, so I hoped you could tell me more about your home.”
This reminded him of his interaction with Drosi but he didnt know whether the old man would give a remuneration for the information.
“I wont be to your disadvantage. I am willing to compensate for your time.”
“Oh, did it show on my face?” Seth asked embarrassedly.
“Do not worry. It is only appropriate.”
Seth didnt mind, they would stay here for the night anyway. He invited the old man to their fire. The elder thought for a moment before he stashed away the fishing rod and followed Seth.
The night was still young, and they talked and ate together until deep into the night. The elder also quickly warmed up to the group. Like with Drosi, they explained what had recently happened to their world. They also explained a little about the system and their classes.
“So, you are an artificer? It seems quite fitting considering your physique.”
“What is an artificer?” Seth asked
“Where I come from, an artificer, similar to an alchemist, uses fire to refine weapons and other magic treasures with fire.”
“Guess this fits the bill.”
“Are you maybe interested in becoming an alchemist, too? With your Fire Root, you could do both, easily.”
“Another crafting direction? Im still exploring this one and recently started another one to augment it. A third that goes in a completely different direction? No thanks.”
“Hmm, thats a shame. But just in case you ever change your mind take these two books and his piece of meteoric iron as remuneration for your information. “
The elder gifted Seth two books, one was labeled “Entry-level Pill Recipes” and the other was a catalog of magic tools with instructions on how to craft them.
Besides the books, he also gave a small piece of iron ore that comfortably fit into his fist.
It was small, but actually, a piece of epic-rated crafting material! The description made it seem even more interesting. The books were also interesting. He did not have the time right now and put them in his inventory, but wanted to take a better look at them later
“Thank you, Master Mountain,” he said genuinely happy.
“It is just a fair exchange. No need to thank this old Taoist.”
The rest of the evening they made mostly small talk and the Master told them a little about his own world. He was the Elder of a medium-sized sect in a place called the Great Ocean Continent. He himself had no talent for crafting instead he was good in something called cultivation.
It was an intriguing way to absorb mana from the world to strengthen the body and soul. This meant he was very strong, which was the reason why he was the one that went out to explore Urth, when the passage opened.
The next day they said their farewells. Master Mountain would not join the caravan, but he shared with them, that he would head west. Maybe they would meet again.
“Before we part, please take this. If you ever meet someone from the great Ocean Continent, it might come in handy to drop my name.”
The old man handed Seth a jade slip with exotic sigils carved into it.
“Oh, thank you. I wont lack behind then. Take this ring. If you ever meet someone from Minas Mar, you can ask them for help.”
Seth handed the old man a smaller silver sigil ring that identified him as a friend of Minas Mar.
With that, the blacksmith and the cultivator finally split paths and the caravan continued their journey to Hope.
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