During the night, Leguna made it back to the odd-job department. Soram was there as usual. After observing the place for a few days, he’d gotten to know that it was practically Soram’s home. Though Soram was usually the only one there, he had all his needs taken care of, from facilities to manpower. He could live there cooped up all his life if he wanted.
“I’m back, Uncle.” Leguna had gotten rather well-acquainted with the fat, happy-go-lucky magus over the last couple of days.
“Good. Nothing serious happened today, right?” asked Soram as he dropped what he was doing.
“Come on, what’s the worst that could happen?” Leguna didn’t really mind that he had been put in danger because of one of the missions.
Had it not been for Annelotte’s timely rescue, he might’ve lost his life already. When he’d he reported the incident, the fat man jumped in terror. Since then, he’d only given Leguna simple tasks well within his ability. Miscellaneous jobs like finding people weren’t all that dangerous to begin with.
“Sheesh, you really gave me a fright that day,” phewed Soram, shaking his head.
He didn’t know the kid’s background, but he came with Arikos’s recommendation, so he didn’t dare put him in harm’s way.
A little stunned, Leguna asked, “How are you going to deal with the mission? The deadline’s just around the corner, right?”
“What’s there to deal with? I’ve head Bjord somehow found out about his wife sending someone to tail him. They’ve been fighting non-stop ever since,” said Soram with a wave of his hand.
“So… we’re not going to do anything about it?” asked Leguna.
“Of course. They’ve already paid, so what reason do we have to get involved any further, especially if the requester is satisfied?” answered Soram, shrugging.
“But Uncle, I heard something about an orcish invasion. Don’t we have to do anything about that?” persisted Leguna, his angst increasing slightly.
“Oh, that’s what you’re worried about. I’ve reported it to my superiors. They’re the ones who told me not to make a fuss. Don’t worry, I’m sure they have their own plans. It’s not up to us to meddle in such a huge affair,” replied Soram.
“It’s war! Can’t we do anything more than just stand by and watch?”
Leguna still wasn’t satisfied. The true culprit behind Cyranos’s death was still on the loose. Soram stared at him.
“Ley, let Uncle share some of his wisdom. When the sky falls, those above us will bear it on our behalf. Small fellows like us don’t have to worry about things like this. We just have to carry out our orders. The guild won’t ignore this, so they must have their reasons for not taking action. There’s no sense in panicking.”
Leguna opened his mouth but couldn’t find the words with which to rebut the uncle. He understood what Soram was trying to say, but every time he thought Balor causing trouble unabated, rage welled up in his chest. He knew the guild wouldn’t bother with the personal vendetta of an insignificant cog like him.
It seems I’ll have to rely on myself this time, thought he.
“Uncle, what about the matter I asked you to look into?”
“Oh, I asked around,” Soram said with a nod, “Our guild does have something like that, but they’re very rare, we only have a few. You can only buy a little, and the price is ridiculous. Don’t even bother asking how much. I did manage to learn that you can get millennium snow lotus from Icepeak Mountain in the south. That marvel can also help with extending lifespan.”
Leguna tried to remember what he knew about it. Having spent some time in Starfall, he more or less knew something about Lance’s geography.
Icepeak Mountain was in the southmost part of the human realm. It was always covered in ice and snow, no matter the season. Though it was considered part of mankind’s territory, the hazardous weather made it so only small parties of adventurers would go there.
The only ‘natives’ on and around the mountain were beasts and fiends. Though it was said that millennium snow lotuses could be found there, Leguna knew it wasn’t easy to actually get any. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any left for him to find in the first place.
“It wouldn’t be easy to find it at a place like that, would it?” he enquired gingerly.
“Hehe,” Soram smirked, “Naturally, Uncle wouldn’t just leave you with a simple piece of information like that. I wouldn’t tell you about this if I didn’t have anything more to offer. Here, I even got you a map.”
As Soram spoke, he took out a goatskin from the bookshelf behind him and handed it to Leguna. It was the map of Icepeak Mountain. It seemed to have been made rather recently based.
“Look. It’s here, here, and here,” Soram said as he pointed to the red marks on the map with his short stubby finger, “You stand a better chance of finding them here.”
Map in hand, Leguna felt more assured about the information’s authenticity. He couldn’t help but let out a smile.
Seeing the orphan make such an earnest smile, Soram felt his heart soften.
The kid didn’t really tell me why he was looking for something like that though… Perhaps he’s tempted by the sky-high price of such things? I better give him some advice.
“Ley, I heard that giant snow fiends make their homes on the mountain. It’s better if you think this through.”
“Huh? What are those?” Leguna wondered.
Soram thought in silence, this kid was going to look for millennium lotus without knowing about the giant snowfiends?
He formulated an explanation and began, “Giant snowfiends are also known as snowmen. They are a type of fiend. They usually live alone, but at times a male and female pair can be spotted together. They’re considered a little higher than mid-order fiends and are incredibly powerful.”
Soram looked at Leguna’s blank expression and knew that his warning didn’t really hammer home.
So, he added a few details.
“Their strength allows them to fight on par with a high-order warrior.”
“Whoa!” exclaimed Leguna.
“And they’re also rather intelligent. Though they’re not as smart as humans, elves, or other sentient beings, they’re not your usual beast,” Soram said after some thought, “Ley, I know more or less about the strength of your party. While you’d have no problems killing off normal fiends, giant snow fiends are still beyond your abilities. That’s why I think you should reconsider your millennium snow lotus trip.”
“Is that so,” Leguna said with a nod, “I’ll discuss this with Boss and the others. Thanks, Uncle.”
“Oh come on, all I did was ask around for your sake,” Soram said with a wave of his hand, “Anyway, just think this over carefully. This is all Uncle can do for you.”
“That’s more than enough, Uncle. I will remember your favor,” replied Leguna with a smile.
These days, Vera seemed more frantic than ever. She had already been asking around Starfall for almost ten days, yet she still didn’t get any worthwhile information. Her efforts today were similarly fruitless, so she locked herself up in her room to wait out her bad mood.
“I’m not hungry, you guys eat by yourselves,” replied Vera with annoyance.
“Sis, it’s me. I found something that can help Boss!” said Leguna excitedly.
All Leguna heard was Vera’s cry of surprise, followed by the rampant pounding of footsteps.
He gladly told all he heard to the two over dinner. The two were just as excited to hear about the lead. While Kurdak had already mentally prepared for death, he wouldn’t give up on the chance to live a few more years. But, when they heard about the great snow fiends, both their mood dampened quite a bit.
“Great snow fiends, huh?” Kurdak said with a furrowed brow, “If that’s the case, I don’t think we should make this trip. It’s far too dangerous”
“But if we don’t, your life…” said Vera in a hurry.
“If we go, we might all die. The risk isn’t worth it,” said Kurdak, shaking his head.
“The three of us?” Leguna said with a pause, “What about Annie?”
“Kid, I don’t think I can convince that icy beauty to risk herself to join us on this excursion. It’s not like this is a mission,” Kurdak said with a shake of his head, “Also, even if Annelotte is with us, I doubt we’d have it easy. Great snow fiends are really fearsome.”
“Annie will go with us,” Leguna replied confidently, “And we’ll be much safer with her around.”
“I agree with Ley. This will be much safer if Annie’s with us,” Vera interjected.
Leguna added, “Boss, do you think we can just sit around doing nothing and watch your life fade away?”
Kurdak looked him in the eyes before he turned to Vera.
“Alright then,” he finally yielded, “If Annelotte is willing to go with us, I’ll agree to this excursion. We can discuss the details by then.”