On the morning of the day of the exam, all adventurers taking part in the quest assembled at the great gates of Ora. The Merchant Caravan was already waiting outside the city. It was a long row of carts and covered wagons with traders and drivers already waiting. Seth wore his new jacket and the serpent bone armor on top. The others had explained to him, that as escorts they had to be ready at all times. There was no coming back if you got caught off-guard without wearing your armor.
He checked his Status one last time and distributed the nine attribute points from leveling up.
Name: Seth Smith
Mark of Ivicer Title: ”Faster than the Thought ”
Exp: 3% Race: Ori Huma
Sex: Male Age:23
Class: Spirit Blacksmith (Unique)
Affiliation: System Church
Luck:18 Free AP (Attribute points): 0
Free SP (Skill points): 1
Physical: 1500 (150+50+500+800) (ENDx3)
Magical: 864(80+25+125+145+124+365) (WILx2)
Poison Resistance (15%) +22%
He was now the same level as his age. It reminded him that his birthday would be coming up soon. The new armor and soul armor gave him a significant boost in his defense. The biggest change of the last few days had his skill window. He had fought a lot and his weapons mastery had grown to lv.9.
”Skill Window ”
Blacksmith (Adept) lv.5 (39%)
Enchantment (Beginner) lv7 (89%)
Goldsmith (Beginner) lv. 5
Blacksmith ’s Eyes lv.4
Blueprint (Adept) lv.2
Soul Infusion lv.3
Spirit Smithy lv.5
Spirit Capture lv.3
Spirit Forging (Adept) lv.1
Weapon Mastery (Adept) lv.9 (16%)
Calm Reaction (Passive) lv.7
Fear Resistance (Passive) lv.8
Poison Resistance (Passive)lv.2
Fire Affection (Passive) lv.3
Fire Manipulation (Ability)lv.9
Map lv.4 Observation lv.4
Energy Circulation lv.1
Universal Translation lv. MAX
After wearing all his items and checking his status, Seth felt confident to successfully complete this exam. When Mina and the rest of the party arrived, their eyes bulged at the sight of the new golden armor and they simply could not stop touching the hems of the jacket. Even Mike would find chances to casually touch it.
” a loud voice got their attention. It was the guild master with three groups of people behind him. He introduced the two B-Rank and the one A-Rank party as their proctors and examiners. The three parties were ogled with sparkling eyes. B-Ranks party´s equipment was comparable to Seth´s load-out, while each of the A-ranks was clad in a full set of rare or above items. He knew that above rare came epic, but he actually could not appraise it with
The guild master explained the quest to them once again and this time Seth got a system notification.
< Quest: Escort the Palace Caravan Difficulty: A Safely escort the merchant caravan all the way to its destination and return to Ora. Will you help the caravan reach its destination? Requirement: Help the caravan reach Tora 0/1, Survive Rewards: become a B-Rank adventurer, Experience >
He had already decided to take part, so he accepted. The part that confused him was that the quest had a difficulty rating of A. Before he had time to further think about Mina interrupted him.
”Come on, Seth. The caravan is leaving! ”
The wagons had already started moving with most of the adventurers have found a place in the open horse carts or riding on their mounts along with the caravan. Just Seth and the party were still standing around. They started moving and found their place on the second to last cart in the line.
Seth and ”Yulecat´s Fur ” had gotten their roles in the briefing and were part of the rear guard. Their task was to watch out for pursuers and react to attacks from behind.
What one would not expect from an escort mission in a fantasy world was how terribly boring and uncomfortable it was to sit on a cart and just watch the surroundings. The cart was not spring-loaded or even padded in any way. His increased stats only helped him
If it wasn´t for the party engaging in small talk, distracting him from his hurting butt and boredom, who whether he would not have just dropped the quest?
If Seth had to complain about something that really bothered him besides his bruised behind, then it was going to the toilette. He had gotten used to doing it in the wilderness, but what did one have to do to take a shit in peace? With more than 50 people in the caravan, it was hard to find a private place to take care of business. More than once he was interrupted and the only pleasant interruption was when Mina could not hold back anymore and found him in the bushes to take care of her needs.
Camping out actually felt quite nostalgic to Seth. Setting up a tent together with the others, sleeping in sleeping bags. Although they could take off their equipment during the night, when they were not on guard duty, it didn´t mean the environment was safe. To discourage Mina from doing any stunts, the guys and girls slept in two separate tents. Lixiss, the quarter-elven magician, could have an eye on her like this.
The first 3 days were quiet. There were some monsters here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary, as far as Seth could tell. Some Goblins, a pair of Orcs, and a group of psychic wolves, really nothing that was able to make trouble for them. Before Seth could even move, they were taken care of by other parties.
This was only because they were still traveling through the precursors of the mountain range. The terrain made a dramatic turnaround at the end of the third day. The forested hills they had been traveling through until now slowly vanished as the road became steeper and steeper. More and more big boulders and short shrubbery dominated the landscape.
At the end of the third day, the caravan camped on a barren plateau at the foot of the mountains. The foreboding silhouettes Seth had been seeing at the horizon for the most part of the journey, were now right before him.
Rough rocky walls, slopes, and cliffs; barren mountains with snow-covered peaks towered before his eyes, biting like teeth into the sky and swallowing a big part of his view. Standing there Seth could barely lift his head high enough to see the sky above the mountain range.
Seth was not a pure city child. His parents and he would go camping occasionally, but the lush mountains he knew, seemed small and insignificant compared to the geological might of the central mountain range.
The temperature had also noticeably dropped towards the end of the third day, making some of the adventurers tremble in their armors. Seth was slightly better off, as his pants and jacket were made by a highly skilled tailor, they had a natural resistance against ordinary cold.
But he also let out a sigh of relief, like most of the others when they set up camp. Except for the guards, everyone else could change into warm clothes and blankets to dispel the cold.
The Plateau they were on now was right outside the territory of the wyverns. Starting tomorrow they would travel under constant danger. As such everyone properly warmed up and had a hearty meal. It would be the last warm meal for the next three days.
Unfortunately for Seth, who had gotten used to good and warm meals during his journey, Campfires and smoke could pull the attention of the wyverns and other monsters in the region. This meant that the next three days were not just full of danger, but that he could only eat rations that did not need to be cooked. He had bought all kinds of jerky and bread, but nothing could rival a warm scrumptious meal.
He had not been part of the guard duty this night and was able to sleep, but the rushed and meager breakfast demotivated him almost as not getting enough sleep.
But he understood why they had to set off before the break of dawn. The caravan could not stay too long in one place. Even if it was just the edge of their territory, the longer they remained the higher the chance of being discovered.
Hoping to travel three days through the wyvern territory without any encounters was wishful thinking. In the afternoon of the fourth day, Seth heard a mix piercing hiss and a guttural roar from the sky.
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