Kumiko had absorbed the flow skill correctly, and although her mastery was barely basic, it was enough to get her started and not fall too far behind kiriko.
Before Kumiko is thrown into the air, she was on the sleigh carried by Kiriko with invisible air while she was thinking.
'Well, the trip would be difficult without those 2.
Kumiko thought honestly.
the journey from Queen Arwen's realm to the frozen zone of the elven continent should be hell, according to the elf vendor who sold Kumiko the extra fleece clothing.
It is a frozen area where no common elves could live without being from the ice elf tribe.
the animals that live here are usually shown to be of minimum rank -C, luckily for the group, they hardly found beasts on the road and when they did, it was mostly the 2 elves who came to drive the sleigh who took care of it of the monsters, until ren decided that kiriko could train against these monsters.
Another notice that came to them was that it was impossible to set up tents in the middle of the road due to night storms, which is why 3 checkpoints are like bases for authorized travelers to mobilize.
Those checkpoints are large bases strategically placed to keep monsters under control throughout the territory to avoid accidents.
food is also scarce, fishing cannot be done because of the frozen rivers, and crops are quite rare due to this climate.
the ice elves have an underground orchard that does not produce much harvest every year, the ice elves got used to being carnivorous by force, similar to the dark elves, but the dark elves for being beings bound to darkness while the elves of ice did it for their survival in the climate.
The people of these areas were already somewhat accustomed to this climate, until there was an increase in monster attacks, which greatly limited the transport of crops, therefore more hunger in the different areas of the towns.
the ice princes wanted to organize a political marriage to receive full support from the elf queen, ren and kiriko did not know it, but the princes brought in their storage necklaces a large number of treasures for the queen to allow since it was said that the elven queen was a woman who liked treasures.
Although they did not receive the support of the elf queen, hearing that the high elf king would give them a way to grow their food regardless of the climate in their city, greatly relieved them, and along with the seeds they would receive the blessing of the hero of the Light, this moves them even more.
for this reason, they were excited about the return trip, the problem they thought would happen was the trip to their city.
Rossweisse said that they would have to travel for 3 days non-stop to reach the first checkpoint, he warned Ren's group that up to the first point, there would be a lot of storms, the good thing is that there was an artifact that could cover them on the trip, but they would need to slow down the journey a lot, so it would be 3 days.
most of the trip was smoothed out largely thanks to ren.
since they left the first day, ren began to train his magic in the morning, when the storm began, instead of using the artifact that would slow them down on the journey, ren used invisible air.
which was an incredible sight to be surrounded by a snow storm, but not affect anyone in the group, the 3-day trip to the first checkpoint was over in one thanks to invisible air.
Ren also began to train Kiriko in the continuous use of it, one of Kiriko's biggest weaknesses at the beginning is that invisible air he can't control it.
when kiriko had to order invisible air, it took all his concentration to keep it going for more than 10 seconds.
Kumiko still remembers the words Ren said to Kiriko.
"It's simple, you just have to ask it to do it and it will do it, it doesn't need much mana, you just need to ask it, theoretically you have to give it these 3 commands [acceleration], [wind speed change], [friction manipulation].
Kiriko then took advantage of the warm morning, I try to use invisible air after studying all the night before with Ren so that he understands each one of what is needed, Kiriko managed to understand it quickly, the problem was applying it.
Kiriko managed it for a few seconds until he made a mistake in keeping it by diverting the force of the air.
which almost caused a fall if it weren't for the servants that were ahead of the children with their wind magic ready in case of a mistake.
Ren trained Kiriko in the use of Invisible Air in clear weather, when there were storms. Ren controlled Invisible Air sitting on the sled.
Regarding the houses, Ren said that he would make igloos for the groups.
which caused an initial mockery of the 2 ice princes who did not believe that Ren's ice could withstand the weather until they could sleep in one.
Although Ren had ideas out of place like using invisible air on the sled or making igloos in this horrible climate, where they could also be attacked by monsters, they had to admit that it made the journey much easier for them, which must have been long and tiring.
The third checkpoint was almost there, that point was only a half day from the ice elf village.
Kumiko was inside the igloo awake, still training while Kiriko had already fallen asleep from the exhaustion of training invisible air most of the day.
Ren had offered to be a guard tonight, tomorrow when everyone is rested they will leave for the third checkpoint while Ren will be sleeping all morning.
But Kumiko didn't know how to thank Ren for the skill book, she never had a family apart from Kiriko who has a master-servant relationship, and Naomi who is her teacher.
'How can I thank the bastard?...treasures, he has, food, he is a better cook than me, money, his vault is more full than I would be able to fill even if he worked for 100 years...
“ha… this is hard.
Kumiko got a little idea remembering what ren said.
"sweet coffee and a starry night is a perfect night"
'the thing is, I don't have coffee... could chocolate help?
Kumiko got up from the ground and began to prepare some hot chocolate for Ren who was on night watch.
while Kumiko prepared the chocolate, her mind kept on thinking.
How to say thank you without insulting him?...
It was a challenge for her not to insult Ren...
'Whatever, I'll do it my way.
Kumiko put on her fleece clothes because of the weather and left the igloo and spoke to Ren before seeing a scene that left her horrified.
- I brought you some hot chocolate, ren, huh?
there were many people with emaciated appearances being trapped by ren and ren's ice magic.
Kumiko's heart sank at such a sight and she spoke in shock.
-what are you doing?
Ren had his back to Kumiko and spoke in a calm tone as he looked at Kumiko out of the corner of her eye.
"They wanted to get to their destination, I'm just getting them there faster.
The elf tried to speak to no avail because of the ice in his mouth.
Ren looked back at the elf and the elf froze at Ren's gaze.
Kumiko woke up in surprise and walked towards Ren while she was talking about the condition of the elves.
-they are hurt, put them down ren!
- Did you not hear me? I told you to put them down now!
Ren silently stared at the angry Kumiko for a moment before closing his eyes for an instant, sighing heavily, and releasing his magic suddenly causing the elves to fall.
The elf who fell held his shoulder that hit the ground in pain.
Kumiko supported the elf man.
-they are fine?
The elf man looked up and looked at the girl who had a worried look towards the whole group and then looked at the man behind her who was looking at him in silence.
Ren's look was one that the elf man understood perfectly.
"Do the wrong thing and I'll kill you"
The elf held back what he wanted to say and rephrased his words.
- We just want some food, nothing more.
"food? of course, have.
Kumiko took from his ring a large number of reserves of fruit and vegetables accumulated for emergencies, leaving the elf man surprised, along with the others.
Seeing a large amount of fruit, the elf man spoke crying.
-Thank you very much, seriously thank you very much.
the elf man began to eat the apples that were there and the whole group crawled to the fruit like ants to honey.
Kumiko smiled happily at the sight of those she helped while Ren stood behind her with folded arms looking at the group.
they all devoured a large amount of fruit and canteens of water quickly.
the elf man stopped eating to approach Kumiko.
Ren stepped forward at that moment, but Kumiko put her hand in front of Ren stopping his advance.
The man after seeing Ren immobile, wanted to look for something in his pocket, but before he could even reach his pocket, he had to stop.
in an instant… his entire body was surrounded by a large number of sharp tentacles that were inches away from pricking his entire body like tofu.
-ren, leave him alone now.
Kumiko stopped Ren with her hand and moved him away from his position, Ren's right foot separated from the ground when he stepped back, therefore the tentacles that held the elf captive lost their magic and destroyed themselves.
the elf man was trembling in fear as he looked at ren and Kumiko.
In Kumiko's eyes, he was only slightly pushing Ren who wanted to harm this group of strangers because of the group he guarded.
In the man's eyes, that girl was holding the greatest danger in his life right now, the man's instincts were screaming throughout his body to flee right now about the coming danger, Ren was letting out a black aura of cold anger, the only thing what was keeping said river from overflowing at bay was Kumiko's hand.
The man, as slowly as he could manage, took out of his pocket a wooden totem that had the shape of a leaf in the center.
-Please... we don't have anything, just this, the symbol of our group.
Kumiko received the symbol from the man's hands, a moment for the man who felt the most fear because of Ren's murderous intentions, then he knelt on the ground.
-thank you so much.
the entire group began to kneel before Kumiko.
-Do not worry, rather, have this.
Kumiko took out fleece clothes and medicine for the whole group from her ring.
-the Saint! A saint!
the entire group praised Kumiko as the saint before leaving in fear.
ren in all the time I only watch the actions of the group.
on the other hand, Elpis was really surprised inside ren's body.
-ren Artega stopped before a decision already made by him!??? what kind of being is that girl?... this needs to be investigated.
Elpis thought, not even when she tried to use her power she could calm Ren down, but that girl Kumiko could do it with just her arm.
-love?... no, she is different from that girl Akane... that girl is not normal, she should be investigated in the future.
meanwhile outside, Kumiko had already dismissed the group and given them directions to the last checkpoint.
Kumiko turned around and looked at Ren who had already returned to the side of the extinguished fire.
Kumiko knew that she couldn't be mad at Ren for this, she knew that they were strangers, but Kumiko couldn't bear to kill innocent people who only wanted food.
-... next time, at least let us know so we can make these kinds of decisions
Ren was silent for a long time before answering.
"... I'll think about it.
Kumiko said before entering the igloo.
ren meanwhile, he thought.
'Where did I see that totem before?
on the other hand, the group of hooded elves now in better condition advanced through the storm until they reached a tree house.
The trees in these areas exclude the cold due to their bark to resist temperatures and only stay with the heat of the day.
the wood of this type of tree is better for making cabins.
When the group arrived at the small house, they all entered together and left all the fruit they could store in their pockets.
then they made a circle around the campfire.
the look of these elves is nothing like the look they showed to ren or Kumiko, their looks were calm and cold.
one of them spoke.
-only this gave us that human?
another elf answered him.
- You shouldn't talk like that, it was lucky to get out of there alive.
-tch, if I hadn't put that on, I would have killed that human.
The elf who said that showed his foot and on the foot, there was a stone around it that had writings in the elven language.
-Having this thing and pretending that I have no strength disgusts me, especially showing a pathetic view of that humble human.
The man removed the stone from his foot easily, when the stone left his foot, the man felt the magic power from his body.
all the surrounding elves agreed as the stones were removed from his feet.
each of these men had C+ rank strength.
once the stones were removed from their feet, they spoke to the elf who had his ear cut off.
-Boss, why did we have to do that? couldn't we attack them just like that?
The man looked at each of these men before releasing a sigh.
"Ha...didn't I tell you before to just do what I say and shut your fucking mouths!?
The man released his pressure, the pressure of a true B-rank.
all the elves trembled before the man.
-Excuse me sir... we only have doubts, why couldn't we attack those children?
"... we would have died
everyone was confused by what the head elf said.
-Why does he say it?
" Do you remember why our group is called [the blade of destiny]?
- Why can you have dreams of the future?
"That's right, you'll see...
all of his subordinates thought at the same time.
-Here goes again.
"It was when I was a young elf, I was very adventurous and I always wanted to go to the area of the ice elves, I had fallen in love with the previous princess of the clan at a festival that she attended, so I decided to go face that storm and marry her, but on the way, I got lost in the storm.
"I spent days, maybe months wandering through the freezing weather, I even had to resort to sleeping inside the bodies of freshly hunted monsters to stay warm and survive, but finally... I couldn't make it, but I had a meeting with fate, I found an old man who saved me from that cold, and gave me the ability to see the future, unfortunately... my life force was too little to be able to see beyond myself, I wanted to go with this power to the queen of the ice elves, but they rejected me, and since I also escaped from my village, they didn't let me come back, alone here and without a home, I came up with the idea of creating this group of mercenaries, and over time we were able to get to where we are. now.
- to be wandering hungry?
"It's not like that! We just had a mishap with monsters.
-Boss, if your power can read the future, how did you not teach us about that attack?
-...why did they attack when I was hunting outside, you idiots!
nobody said anything in opposition, since it was true, they were all at a party night after leaving a satisfied client with a good job, even when the boss told them no, they did it and in the middle of the dream they were attacked by a stampede of monsters, the entire group from before died, only these 25 men remain along with their elf chief, all men are stragglers excluded from their tribes for crimes, but this man picked them up and gave them a group to belong to.
"and as I said, I had a nightmare for days, already in our misery about to die, I had a nightmare after I was supposed to have run out of visions.
-in that way?
"As I said... I didn't have any more visions, which meant that my life was about to come to an end, but there was a grace not long ago, a vision, it was the vision of a group that would come here, and if We were going to see them, we could finish in 2 ways.
- what shapes?
"Either we could receive food, or we would die in the most horrible way without being able to do anything.
all the place was in deathly silence... nobody said anything.
"I'm sorry, it was a risky bet for everyone, but there was no other way than to pretend that we are pitiful without being able to do anything instead of attacking that group, if it wasn't for that girl, it would have been the end of us...
all the elves were silent until one spoke.
- and now? what do we do
"Now... we will go to complete our revenge, the vision told me why we were attacked on purpose, it was not a coincidence of fate.
"It was the ice elves, and I will make sure for our fallen comrades that we will take revenge, are you with me?
all the elves in the hut shouted in unison.
the next morning, everything was very quiet on the sled, ren, and Kumiko decided not to say what happened last night, ren didn't care if they found out or not, but Kumiko didn't want there to be a dispute between ren and kiriko over this.
The trip was pretty smooth, Ren sleeping on the sled, Kiriko practicing with Invisible Air, Kumiko studying her academy books... and finally, the group reached the third checkpoint at noon.
there were 2 gates that led to an underground area, this place was also used to store food for the other checkpoints, along with the other part of the farm.
-I'm going to show my identity.
Rossweisse said as he got off the sled and headed over to touch the reinforced wood gates.
They spent a few minutes waiting in vain.
Ren decided not to get up inside the sleigh and continue sleeping.
- how odd?
- What's up sister?
Cold got off the sleigh and walked next to Rossweisse.
-It doesn't look like they're going to open us up.
-ah, don't worry, the boys must have gotten drunk again and stayed inside.
-Aren't they supposed to wait for us?
- our return would still be in a week.
Rossweisse nodded without much trouble.
Rossweisse called to the 2 servants who were taking care of the wolves.
- Can you find a way in?
-Miss... you can only break that gate if we want to enter.
one of the 2 elves said embarrassingly.
-When the boys fall asleep, we usually break that door with our magic.
-... do it, as punishment they are going to rebuild that door later.
the 2 elves faced the door and said in unison.
- ice magic: ice arrow.
2 arrows bigger than Rossweisse's arrows headed for the wooden door at full power.
upon contact with the door, the 2 spells exploded but did not do any damage to the door.
-umm? That's weird, that's supposed to be enough to break the door.
- ice magic: ice arrow.
the 2 elves chanted their spell again and cast their magic, to no avail.
Rossweisse approached the door and watched her for a while.
Kumiko also got down from the sleigh and looked at the door.
-Do they have such a strong barrier?
-That's right, this has an anti-magic barrier that doesn't allow entry.
-No... not supposed to.
Rossweisse frowned, no one at home had developed anti-magic or researched it.
Can you break the barrier? I think a great force could break it.
Kiriko nodded as she made the invisible air stop covering the sword.
the ice elves were almost beginning to revere the Excalibur sword.
-Please, get away from here.
the others nodded and backed away.
Kiriko pointed her sword at the door and a torrent of magic hit the door hard.
-ugh, the sleigh!
Rossweisse became concerned when she saw the collateral damage left by the sword.
turning around and looking, he saw the wolves sitting on the ground calmly.
there was a wall of ice that covered the entire sled and an annoying voice.
"Damn it, Kiriko! You haven't learned how to use that magic well yet! You almost made me fly off you bastard!"
Kiriko could only scream.
the ice elves ignored the strangeness as they heard something break.
Kiriko stopped using magic and although he felt tired from using so much power, he wasn't incapacitated like last time.
Kiriko looked at her hand and clenched her fist.
-I did it, and I still can.
- go slowly kiriko.
Kumiko appeared next to Kiriko and hugged her arm lovingly.
-I'm getting stronger.
Kiriko nodded with a smile before turning her attention back to the door.
there was a dark hallway in front of them.
the first to speak was Cold.
- There are supposed to be lights in the background... I'm not liking this sister.
- me neither
Rossweisse drew his bow and Cold his longsword, while the 2 servants also drew their weapons.
Kiriko also became serious along with Kumiko who took out her shield.
Ren got up from the sleigh upon sensing a familiar smell.
"Stay here puppies.
ren said to the wolves, to which the wolves sat quietly.
'um... I started to like lions better.
-Since when do you like lions?
Ren shrugged before walking behind the group.
the group was in front and ren was walking behind, but the closer he got, the stronger the smell.
'yep, this smell is blood.
Can you smell it from here?
'Well, it's too obvious, let's see how Kiriko handles it.
Ren thought until he heard a scream.
ren heard Rossweisse's scream, and began to jog, it seems they found the source of the smell.
Ren reached Kiriko's side after walking through the dark corridors for a while following the crying voice and touched Kiriko's shoulder who was holding the lantern which they used to get here.
Ren saw Kiriko with her hand on her nose as he trembled slightly.
Kiriko jumped at the call and Ren saw Kiriko who had a nervous look.
-ren, look, look there
ren turned his gaze to the front.
In front of a large room, at the entrance was Rossweisse kneeling with her hands trembling, next to her was Cold, inside the place were the 2 older elves with sweat on their foreheads and Kumiko was outside next to Kiriko hugging Kiriko tightly.
'um... let's see what happens.
Ren approached Rossweisse's side and handed her a coat, the air outside was already affecting the interior.
Through the coat, Ren moved the shocked Rossweisse, then moved Cold and entered the door.
a trembling arm stopped Ren.
-where are you going?
Ren looked at the trembling hand, then at Kiriko's frightened look before letting go.
"I'll see what happens here.
Ren entered the room, lit the lamp with his lighter, and walked around the 2 servants.
The whole room was spacious, apparently, a cafeteria, the scare of these guys is the large amount of blood and dead people that are all over the place.
Ren looked at all of this nonchalantly, then walked over to the nearest corpse and examined it.
'um... this happened a few hours ago, around 9 or 10 in the morning, because of the neck wound it was a sudden and precise attack.
Ren touched the elf's body and verified his mana core with an electrical pulse of magic.
'This boy had a rank of D+, but he seems to have died quickly and without noticing since there is no trace of active mana in his magic circuits.
Ren approached a corpse closer to the center of the place and touched the corpse.
'um... this guy has a knife to his throat, there was a slight struggle before he died, his mana core indicates that he was about to reach -C, his magic circuits indicate that he did not use mana, no... it seems not could use mana, maybe a mana blocker? the elves developed that technology? Or does it have to do with the person who made that anti-magic lock on the door?
Ren analyzed the corpses from all over the place, everything indicated something.
'those responsible must have entered here, it was a group obviously, once they entered, they began their massacre in the cafeteria when everyone is here, the ones that were not killed by surprise, they could not use mana, which confirms that there was a mana blocker Due to the number of surprise attacks there were at least more than 20 people, the worst is this...
Ren approached the center of the place, where the largest circular table is, on top of the table there was an elf man, who was the one that attracted the most attention since the elf man had his 4 limbs tied with a rope.
'um... this elf was the one who died the most horrible death, his eyelashes were cut off, his eyes were gouged out, his nails were also taken out, but before that, they had to poke him with some kind of needle, his legs were cut into soft shreds By the clothes still on, it shows that he had the highest position here, they must have wanted to get information from him...
and on top of the man was something that made him frown.
'damn, this will cause Kumiko to give him some kind of attack.
Ren saw next to the man's head a totem.
it was the same shape as the one Kumiko received yesterday.
Ren kept the totem in his ring.
'I need more information.
Ren pulled the coat from the man who was hanging next to him with a super misplaced coat rack.
Ren came out of the cafeteria and saw everyone's appearance.
The point is that Kiriko was also nervous and had sweat on his forehead.
'ha... this will be a problem if kiriko participates in a war.
-what are you talking about?
'he is scared at such a scene, will he be able to fight on the battlefield? where you will only see death and enemies all the time?
-Trust him, he will be able to when the time comes.
'...hopefully, I don't think he can train Kiriko in this, he will have to figure it out on his own.
Ren brought the coat made of fur to Prince Cold and showed him.
Cold grabbed the coat before shakily hugging it, Rossweisse also started to tear up at the sight of the coat.
Cold said in a breathy voice.
-This... this was from our uncle, he was supposed to come here just to leave a message.
Ren put a hand on Cold's shoulder.
" I'm sorry...