Kiriko's point of view:
It was supposed... to be a simple adventure.
but I didn't think that when he found that scene, he would be so cowardly.
The trip to the ice elf territory was supposed to be just a trip, Ren made it a training trip.
the first few days, ren was teaching me the theory to control invisible air.
a magic sleeve for Excalibur, an amazing sleeve that can be used flexibly for both offense and defense.
Training this scabbard was one of the biggest challenges I've received so far, aside from hiding the Excalibur, it takes a lot of my concentration trying to use it for something other than hiding the sword.
Coming to elven territory, gave me a new perspective on things, their customs, and their lifestyles, it was somewhat educational, to say the least, and along with their magic, I improved my control with Excalibur and invisible air thanks to that.
I met different people during my time here and had a great impression of elves.
when we started the path to the ice elf tribe, ren had me practice invisible air to increase the speed of the sled, along with reducing air punch.
although I learned new things in the elven territory, this was another level of difficulty.
I had to get quite a bit of magical theory from the books Kumiko had bought in elf territory about-air magic research to understand Ren's logic and his words.
- 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].
Ren said that as if he was just talking about writing something in a notebook, and even demonstrated it during storms by handling invisible air.
Seeing Ren avoiding both the damage of a snowstorm along with increasing the speed of the entire sled was an out-of-the-ordinary sight, although I'm a bit used to seeing Ren doing something out of the ordinary, seeing the trip like this at night, was another matter.
The ice princes could not enjoy this view because before the storm began, they went to sleep saying that it was better to save their energy and that the servants would use the artifact they brought to protect them from the trip, apparently said artifact had the effect to create a barrier that blocks us from the snow, but also decreases our vision along with slowing us down so we don't collide with something.
But I did stay up watching that magical control show, and Ren wanted me to do that.
It was a big challenge, but I kept going.
but that's not enough.
After passing the second checkpoint, we were told that there was a good chance that there are monsters in the surroundings of at least rank D hiding, usually, the higher-ranked monsters are asleep on these dates, and the young ones are the ones who they go out as it is considered their hunting season.
the first monsters we met on the way were a group of bears.
Before the servants who were going to take care of it come down from the sleigh, Ren spoke.
-this is perfect for training kiriko.
-but sir ren, those monsters are at least rank D
-They are D+, and the hero needs to train in different situations, especially extreme ones, or do they want to block the hero?
-... please go ahead.
after ren set the record straight, I, who was on the sled trying to pretend to be asleep so as not to be forced to fight, was pulled by ren.
Ren grabbed me by the neck and threw me into the snow, I fell losing all my blankets for the cold.
It didn't take long for me to start feeling the cold all over my body.
Ren looked at me calmly as he said.
-It will be good training for you to get used to fighting in extreme situations.
-Please Ren, you won't make me fight in these conditions, right?
I asked trying to get mercy.
Ren just looked at me with a smile in my opinion, sadistic.
- what do you think?
'ha... I guess I'll have to.
"Okay, although fighting in fleece clothing will be difficult, I'll do it.
I took out invisible air and got into position.
-what are you doing?
Ice tentacles appeared from under the approaching monsters and immobilized them.
-I said in extreme weather situations.
-I mean this.
Without me noticing, Ren took off the big coat I was wearing and left me in just my sports sweatshirt.
The cold that I felt from the thick snow increased and I began to tremble.
Ren looked at my trembling body and said.
-um...why don't you use flow and fire magic to take the chill off?
"Oh, what do you mean?
-use fire magic and instead of releasing it out of your body as a spell, use it to lightly cover your body like a cloak to warm you up.
"No, I don't know how to do it.
-oh really? Aiko told me that she could do it easily And that she doesn't need flow, she only uses her magic control to avoid burning herself, I thought you could with flow
'Wouldn't it be because her father trained her? the king of fire Abadon?
"I can not
-Well, anyway, the adrenaline will help you, you have 10 seconds before I release the first bear.
Since I knew there was no option, I had no choice but to grit my teeth and trust him.
Kumiko shouted from the sled.
-You already took off his coat, what else are you going to take off before he fights!?
ren raised his hand and invisible air went toward him.
Excalibur showed all his splendor, seeing the sword, at least he knew he could fight without suffering much, or so I thought for a moment.
my hopes of survival dwindled when I felt Excalibur slip from my hands and a different sword was in its place.
-let's see how you fight without a weapon outside the rules like this.
Seeing Ren with my sword in his hands, and seeing this common sword, I could only sigh, everything is to be stronger, no matter what makes me do Ren.
I turned a deaf ear to what Ren said to the sword of the goddess.
-stay still or I'll slap you back and forth
I ran towards the bear that got loose, but my body was too stiff to move as I wanted.
I saw the claw of the bear that was approaching me, I wanted to move my foot to dodge, but I was very slow due to the stiffness in my leg, I had no choice but to use magic.
"Earth Magic: Earthen Wall.
I felt the sound of sharp claws cutting through the air above me before colliding with my magic, I immediately stepped back and repositioned myself.
'My lungs burn.
I barely moved, but my lungs are burning from the cold.
It took a long time to kill the bear due to a lucky break in which the bear got stuck on the ground and I finished with it.
After coming back, Ren looked at me in silence for a few seconds.
-It's not bad for the first time fighting in extremely cold conditions, your reaction and judgment are better than in the academy, even so, we will have to train your body or use magic to resist the cold, I will have to practice the Aiko magic with ice and teach you later.
Ren said as she thought.
-Very well, get on the sleigh.
" and the others?
Ren looked behind and saw another 2 immobilized bears that were still alive, I thought I would have to keep fighting.
-ah, that's enough, for now, we'll continue later.
Ren said before raising his hand and pretending to squeeze something, at the same time the bears were squeezed by the tentacles to death.
Seeing that, Kumiko commented as he got off the sled and walked over to me.
-Since when do you pose for your magic?
-It was fun and I did it.
Kumiko automatically ignored Ren's words as he began to wrap my icy body.
the days passed peacefully, in the morning ren made me use invisible air to increase the speed of the sled, at first after a lot of magical theory, I was able to achieve it for 10 minutes, and now I can sustain it for 19 minutes continuously before losing concentration and let ren take my place and prevent the sleigh from derailing.
in the afternoon for lunch, ren makes me train against monsters, I still don't understand how he goes somewhere, and in a few minutes, he comes back with living monsters on his shoulders when they are supposed to be hidden in the middle of this place.
after fighting, I the rest of the time I spend training my magic while ren uses invisible air for the storm.
the journey was based on training most of the time, I admit that my skills must have increased thanks to that, which I am glad about.
until we reached the third checkpoint...
Entering with Kumiko behind me covering my back with his shield, my tension grew with each moment.
In the last 2 checkpoints, they gave us a good welcome and when they found out that I was the hero, they made a celebration, but this place seemed like it was abandoned since everything is dark and empty.
Rossweisse went ahead of me and Kumiko with a flashlight through the stone corridors while Cold spoke trying to appear nonchalant.
-guys? are you still sleeping? your scare prank didn't work, get out now
The more we advanced through the dark, silent, and cold corridors, the more we got confused, I couldn't help but ask.
"Wouldn't it be that they should have gone for supplies maybe?
At my words, Rossweisse spoke, but I felt the tension in his voice.
-It's not like that, hero, even if they go for supplies, they can't leave this place without anyone watching, there should always be at least 2 groups that stay here, but there's no one, this is too much, besides... my uncle would be here to receive us until next week.
-Sister, maybe we'll know things if we go to the cafeteria, the others may have told him, you know how the uncle is, right?
-... you're right.
Rossweisse forced a smile as he told us.
-don't worry hero, it must be a surprise from my uncle, once we get to the cafeteria, we will be greeted by a surprise.
I calmed down a bit with those words.
"This surprise is really big, isn't it Kumiko?
Kumiko was silent for a while, but then she spoke with a smile that I noticed was forced.
- That's right, let's go.
Despite the fact that there was no light, assuming that it must be because the place ran out of magic stones since it did not turn on even if we pressed the switches, the ice princes did not get lost, they walked at a safe step throughout the place while presenting us with the facilities.
-On that road to the right is the checkpoint where Dorris sleeps when he comes, is he funny or not sister?
-He's just a guy who doesn't like to do his job.
-Please sister, you're just jealous that he's the safest to the throne after us.
-shut up Cold.
I smiled at Rossweisse's words until Cold spoke.
-Very good hero, we will introduce you to our uncle, he is Dorris's father, don't worry about him, he is quite a joker, but you will like him.
"I want to meet him now.
We arrived at what seemed to be the entrance to a room, 2 doors were closed, Cold walked towards the entrance of the cafeteria of this place, turning his back on the door, he said.
-Get ready to delight your eyes hero, the girls under my uncle's command are perfect beauties, almost at the level of my sister.
Cold said before opening the door and looking at me.
-Welcome to your celebration, hero!
Cold opened the door, and the first thing he heard was not the screams of those he expected to see, the first thing he heard was Rossweisse's scream.
Cold looked at his sister who was looking inside the place, but Rossweisse didn't speak, he just pointed inside while he said.
-What's up, sister!?
Rossweisse couldn't speak properly, he just stared inside in shock.
Cold saw the inside of the place, but everything was absolutely dark, he didn't have his sister's night vision ability, so he grabbed one of the lanterns that the servant was holding behind the group and approached the entrance.
Cold only took one step, but something clicked in his shoe which made him step back and fall on his buttocks to the ground.
I ran towards him who also went into shock.
The flashlight that was on the ground went off, I couldn't see what scared Cold
looking inside, he could not see anything, everything was dark, and the only light disappeared with the flashlight that went off due to colliding with a liquid.
I raised my hand and said.
"light magic: sphere of light.
the heat passed through my arm and reached my palm to form a sphere that illuminated a little more of this dark room.
What I saw will never be erased from my mind.
In front of the lantern that went out... a bloody and dead body of an ice elf, its entire abdomen was open from its navel to its neck showing its insides, its open eyes no longer had life in them, my mind could not understand what he was seeing at this moment.
I groaned before feeling someone tug on my arm.
they led me out of the dark room.
I looked to my side and it was Kumiko who had entered for me.
-are you OK?
Kumiko asked me, but I could feel her hand trembling in contact with my arm.
I didn't know what to answer, I could only look at Kumiko who kept talking to me.
- Come on, he takes a deep breath with me.
I started to take as deep breaths as I could, while I was recovering, I saw the servants entering the room, although their faces were pale, they were still inside.
'why is he dead? what happened? did a villain come here?
many questions were on my mind as I started to hold my nose from the smell inside.
Seeing the ice princes scared by what was inside, I knew that it was my responsibility as the hero to know what happened here, protect the weak and help others... that's why I knew I had to go in there... but although my heart told me to go in and find out the truth, my mind refused in every possible way to set foot in there, my mind told me that this was too much for my current self, my feet did not want to see what was in there.
Moments later, I heard footsteps approaching us, my mind was too unfocused to understand who it was until someone tapped my shoulder.
- my King?
I was startled by the sudden call and I could see to my right Ren who was standing calmly.
I couldn't formulate words to describe what I saw, I could only point my finger toward the inside of the door.
"ren, look, look there.
Although my mouth was stuttering, Ren understood me and looked at the big room.
Ren went to the side of Rossweisse who was still kneeling on the ground, Ren took off his coat and put it on Rossweisse's shoulders, then moved Rossweisse who seemed as if she had lost her threads, next to Cold who couldn't understand anything either.
Seeing Ren try to enter that place, I instinctively grabbed his arm.
I grabbed his arm and asked.
" where are you going?
I asked hoping he would tell some joke and not do what it was obvious he was trying to do.
Ren looked at my hand, then looked at me before letting go and saying quietly.
- I'll see what happens here.
Ren entered the room, despite my cowardly self, Ren entered calmly... He picked up the lantern from the floor that was already stained with blood and lit it again with a lighter.
now with that little lighting, you could see that ren was stepping on blood, each step he took inside the shock of stepping on blood was heard.
The inside of the room was dark, I could see that Ren shined a lump in the dark, the ice elves were on the side of the room so they couldn't see it, I was looking from the door at Ren who was still inside.
the light reached a new body... I saw a corpse of an elf on the ground, her neck was open and there was a crack on her face.
Before I could further engrave that sight in my mind, Kumiko pulled my arm to the side of the ice princes.
I looked at Cold, who was shaking and he asked me.
I didn't know what to answer, but Kumiko who seemed slightly saner than me answered.
-We do not know
we spent endless minutes waiting for ren who was still inside the scene of the massacre.
after 10 long minutes... ren walked out in front of 2 pale servants who looked like they came back from hell.
Ren looked at all of us before his gaze landed on me.
Unlike the other 2 servants, Ren had a calm look at what was inside and that look was directed at me as if evaluating me.
He didn't say it, I think he didn't even think about it... but I really believed that Ren was looking at me as if he was disappointed in my cowardice.
Ren looked away from the princes and showed them the coat that he had in his arms, the coat had a lot of blood on it.
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, sad voice as if he was breaking down.
-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
Cold hugged the coat after hearing Ren's words.
Rossweisse tried to enter the room, Ren hugged her avoiding her advance.
-Let go! it just can't be! he can't be dead!
- Excuse me, princess.
Ren said before punching her on the back of the head and putting her to sleep.
he holds Rossweisse in a princess hug before speaking to the servants.
-Do you have a way to communicate for emergencies with your town?
-...that's how it is
-Well, do it and send a group to collect the corpses, I will also give a report, but just in case, send a group of investigators here as well.
the servants nodded before running to the sleigh.
Ren said before walking outside, Kumiko holding onto my arm and following him.