Year 1, Summer, Third Month, Second Week.
“Few... This time the kids got a really good harvest. We have enough meat to do a feast and let every family take home two additional servings.” Grandma Marlen was surprised and very pleased with the teens’ work.
“Yes, they surpassed all my expectations. I think we should reconsider our previous plans.” Old Bill was also very happy, especially because his granddaughters were now part of the group.
Chief Omero gave a calculative smile and said looking at Karl’s hut direction:
“You underestimate the changes he will bring to this village!”
The three elders continue to talk while Karl and his party enjoyed their great prize: sleeping through the morning.
“So... do you want to take on any of these jobs?”
“Humm... The one passing through the Capital is a no go... Except for the Death Forest one, the others are too small. If I want enough money to buy my way into the Democracy, I don’t have another option.” Lew said with a complicated expression.
“Usually, I would never take this kind of job. It’s suicidal going to that Forest with anything short of an army... I know that most of the rumors about that place are exaggerated but the Tribes and beasts one must defeat to get there are very real... “
“It’s your call. I can only say that I verified the information and it’s true. They have a big party with six Mages, two being a life Invoker and an Enchanter... The customer asked to remain anonymous but you can guess who would have the kind of money and connections to employ this type of Mages.”
“Yes... Probably a big family from the Capital, if not one of the Powerhouses trying to stay discreet...”
“So, you know there’s a high chance of completing the job but...”
“There’s a low chance of arriving back safe... But... I’m willing to take the job if they pay upfront.”
Keller laughed in amusement.
“You sure are an interesting fella...”
“Place it here... Now we just have to test it! Who wants to try it?”
The villagers looked at Karl with complicated expressions. They were all excited but still afraid of trying magic. While Karl waited for a volunteer, Marlen and some helpers arrived with the meat.
“Karl, don’t give such honor to these old fools. Look at them, after living for so long they still lack courage... Come on, this grandma wants to try it... How do I?”
He gave a helpless smile and started instructing grandma Marlen.
To start the MAC (Magic air cooker), one just had to place the wind and energy crystals on top of the Arrays. As soon as Marlen did it, a faint glow appeared over the drawings and the wind flow increase inside the MAC.
The excited villagers started to clap and cheer. The tool wasn’t much different from the WET but to the village, it was another miracle.
The MAC was a crude tool used to stimulate wind properties while cooking the meat. To craft it, Karl drew the complex Direct Properties Array over a stone. But instead of using a water crystal, like the WET, the MAC would use the wind crystal. That way, the drawing would cause a wind flow increase when energized.
To save time and work, the villagers placed the MAC stone above the big stone used in the earth cooking.
***Image in the comments***
To properly stimulate the wind properties, the meat should be more exposed to the airflow and less exposed to heat. Also, due to conflicting properties between wind and earth elements, it was best to avoid direct contact with rocks and soil. So the meat was placed on top of a bamboo stick support, which was suspended above the heated stone. To increase exposure to the airflow, the bamboo stick support had gaps between the tied sticks.
After placing the meat over the support, they started the fire. Soon, the base stone was heated and the breeze that continuously assaulted the meat became hot.
As planned, a lot of heat was dissipated in the environment, hence it didn’t disturb the wind properties stimulation.
The smell of meat filled the air. The smell was very fragrant aromatic. Several villagers couldn’t deal with the mouthwatering smell and started drooling. Marlen had to control herself before losing face in front of the younger generation. The hypnotic scene continued until Marlen coughed awkwardly and urged the villagers to help her preparing the broth.
Instead of adding vegetables to the pots, the villagers only added the wolves’ bones and a lot of herbs. Karl explained early that the wind meat didn’t go well with vegetables. On the other hand, herbs and green leaves would work great, stimulating the wind properties. Wild berries and flowers would also synergize with the wind meat.
Unfortunately, the village didn’t have any fruits. As for the flowers, Marlen would add some Dandelions and an edible sour yellow flower that grew near the fields when the broth was finished.
The Dandelion was super nutritious and could also boost the magic effects on the body. Of course, Marlen didn’t forget to add some Burdock leaves to help in the digestion of magic energy.
“Drink it up... You can rest now.”
Elder Said moved to check the next villager with a sympathetic smile. She gently put her hand on the man’s forehead and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Mary, his fever is gone. What should we do?”
Said’s voice was warm and comforting, but Mary didn’t forget that this was a test. She pushed all her doubts and uncertainties away and concentrated to form a clear and resolute answer.
“He had a fever for two days. It’s good that it stopped, but to prevent the fever from returning we should still give him willow bark tea. The food from the feast can help too...”
Mary stopped talking when she saw the change in elder Said’s expression. She didn’t understand why her teacher wasn’t excited about the feast. Eating meat was very good for the health, but something on it made the elder restless.
The elder healer and her disciple continue to take care of the villagers. Once a villager caught a serious disease and couldn’t work anymore, they would be moved to this hut. The hut was big but very shabby.
Once winter came, the cold wind would assault the sick villagers at will. The only thing keeping them alive was elder Said’s care. Compared to the Royal healers she could only perform some basic care, offering medicinal teas and giving advice. Most of her knowledge was taught by experience.
Mary remained apprehensive until they left the hut. Today she was been tested to check if she’s ready for attending to the sick alone. If Said deemed her capable, she would take care of the routine visits by herself. And Said would only come for the serious cases.
“Girl, stop your nonsense! Of course, you’re ready... After accompanying me for ten years, you should know better...”
“Really? I thought that...”
“Ok. I know what you’re thinking... I’m truly happy about the extra food and tools... But don’t be mistaken, there’s always a consequence...”
At night, the villagers gathered in the central square while Chief Omero gave another speech. The speech’s content was similar to the previous one. Karl wasn’t a fan of manipulation but he understood that the villagers needed something to believe in. He couldn’t oppose the Chief but he was paying attention very carefully.
The food was again as delicious as he could describe, but very different from the last feast. The earth meat felt heavy on his stomach and it had a salty and alkaline taste, which he guessed came from the earth element.
The wind meat, on the other hand, felt very light and fresh. Its taste and smell were very complex, like a mixture of all herbs used for cooking it. But he could still taste each of the herb’s flavor separately and stronger. Karl couldn’t imagine how good would high-quality meat taste.
In the previous feast, the villagers were in too much awe to talk to Karl but this time they all wanted to thank him. The parents were even encouraging their children to be friends with Karl, especially the girls. Karl was now recognized by all villagers. Karl’s only answer was to smile and look happy at his proud mother and embarrassed father.
The now was great, but the future was even more promising!
“Your Grace! We confirmed that the beast is in the village. It stopped after destroying it, probably to rest and recover energy”
A soldier using grey armor explained while kneeling. He kept his eyes down and didn’t dare to look at the mounted person in front of him.
The middle-aged, slander, and tall man answered with a sneer. His long gray robe made of fine silk and the white fur on his shoulders erased any doubt of his noble birth. However, what made his demeanor truly powerful and fearful was the combination of his white hair and almost grey eyes.
Windsor wouldn’t mind the guard kneeling, so the younger man at his left spared a few words letting the guard stand and go back. The younger man also wore a grey robe but of clear inferior quality. He was thin and had some signs of white on his hair.
“Master, why don’t we sent a messenger to Hurricane City ordering the City Lord to take care of the beast?”
The beautiful girl on his right couldn’t stay silent.
“That’s right! There’s no need for father to move personally. The City Lord should clean up his own mistakes.”
Windsor wasn’t surprised about the lack of intelligence of his disciple, he was too impulsive. But he was annoyed that his most favored child didn’t think before speaking.
Because of her affinity, Thundery was the pride of Windsor house, their chance to get a Royal title.
Windsor looked at his blond and fierce-looking daughter and said:
“Thundery, don’t be naive! That’s a MT beast! And a fire beast to make it more dangerous... You kids were too sheltered, but that’s why I brought you here. To expand your views...”
They didn’t dare to talk anymore.
Windsor controlled his mount to move towards the attacked village. The noble entourage was followed by a contingence of 20 guards. The Windsor House guards look much better than the Post guards. They wore high-quality armor and appeared to be stronger.
Soon, they arrived at the village’s outskirts and stopped to dismount. They could only face the beast on foot because even highly trained mounts would go rampant when faced with powerful beasts.
The current desolated view wasn’t like a village at all. The destroyed pieces of wood were burning everywhere. Red marks painted stones and straw covers telling a story of carnage.
As they moved closer, Thundery connected the pieces and almost threw up. She wasn’t unused to seeing blood, but the gory scene was too shocking.
“Thundery, I want you to strike the beast... And you should prepare a barrier... Since you underestimated the situation, you better learn to estimate from experience.”
The Wind Lord gave a calculative smile. A shiver passed through everyone present. Which made him further enjoy the situation.
One of the guards went forward and passed old looking staff to Windsor. The staff was made from ancient-looking white wood and on its top rested a big shining grey crystal.
Johann took a glance at his Master, his eyes lend on the big crystal. For others, it looked like he was admiring his Master, but in truth, he was mocking the Wind Lord for putting such a treasure on something so archaic.
Thundery stepped forward and started gathering energy on her right hand. The sparks of energy appeared above her palm. Her gaze was fixated on it. She could feel the small particles and could use her spiritual energy to displace them, forming sparks. Once there were enough displaced particles, she would direct them towards the target.
Johann didn’t lag behind her. He stretched his hands and wind currents started to circle it. The ring on his hand shone and the currents increased becoming visible to all.
The salamander seemed to notice something amiss. It raised its head to look around and soon identify a group not far from it. It felt the energy gathering on them and identified them as threats. However, before it could react, a ray of sparkling energy stroke it.
Thundery didn’t spare energy attacking the beast. As soon as she could she directed her Thunder at the beast.
A multicolorish line traveled faster than the eye could see and connected the attacker to the beast. When it touched the beast, it discharged the lightning energy on it.
The beast let out a long screech of pain. The show of light and the beast reaction made the group, aside from Windsor, think it was badly hurt. Unfortunately, when the dust settled they saw that the beast had only a minor wound.
In response, the Salamander released a fireball in their direction. Johann was excitedly waiting for this. He stepped forward and pushed the wind energy to block the fireball. The wind circling on his hands spiraled forward forming a Wind Shield.
The fireball collided with the Wind Shield less than ten meters from the group. The wind spiral slowed the fireball and reduced some of its size. However, it didn’t stop it. The two young Mages lived a moment of despair watching the fireball moving closer.
Windsor smiled and waved his staff left to right. Through his arms flowed a dense layer of greyish spiritual energy, stirring the wind to sent forward a folding layer in the air.
The fireball was close enough to make them feel the heat. But it dissipated when it collided with the Wind Wave. On collision, the air fold distorted forming visible layers in the air. Not even a small flame was left.
The Wind Lord started to walk forward towards the fire beast.
“Look carefully! It’ll be a long time before you see the power of an Evoker again...”
Windsor coated his left hand with spiritual energy and passed above the wind crystal. A small amount of pure and dense wind energy left the shining crystal to circled his hand.
The young Mages paid close attention to his technic. To others, it might appear that Windsor was caressing the crystal but they knew he was extracting high quality wind energy.
On his left hand, the energy started to attract more wind and form a small hurricane. The hurricane rotated like a dancing figure on Windsor’s hand.
The salamander wasn’t idle. Another fireball traveled towards the group.
Without losing control of the hurricane on his left hand, Windsor used the hand holding the staff to send another Wind Wave. The air fold unsurprisingly blocked the fireball midway. Before the beast could attack again, he let the small hurricane loose, guiding it forward.
The Hurricane went towards the beast increasing in size and power for each spin it took. The beast felt the danger and tried to shoot at it.
When the fireball met the hurricane, it was bigger than a hut. The fireball managed to decrease the size of the hurricane before being absorbed by it. But it went forward nonetheless.
The Salamander tried to run from the hurricane but it was dragged and tossed upwards. The beast fell and screamed in pain. Its tail whipped around furiously. As soon as it located the offender, it shot more fireballs towards him. Windsor calmly blocked it with Wind Waves.
Soon, the Hurricane died down. The beast was defenseless against it but it wasn’t enough to finish it.
Windsor decided that this demonstration was enough. He would finish it before it turned dangerous. He brought the crystal near his nose and breathed some energy from it. The crystal shone and a good amount of energy flowed into his nose.
He locked into the beast position and started to whistle. The whistle took a greyish and dense form and traveled through the air like a bird diving. Soon, hundreds of whistle ‘birds’ dived towards the beast.
They went towards its head and severed it in an instant.
“Thundery, its crystal core should make a great gift to your aunt... I wonder what she’ll give back for it...”