Freya woke up groggy from the cold, but what she saw was not the endless sight of glaciers and canyons, nor did she hear the sound of icy wind whistling. She remembered that she was at the windward side of the glacier when she passed out, but now she was in a mountain with a quiet breeze. She did not know how long she had been unconscious, the cold had seemed to seep into her limbs. She clenched her jaws as she managed to get up from the snow. But Freya suddenly noticed something she had never seen before.
Not far from her shaky, blurry vision, stood a small thing that was a little like a small snowman. Its slender arms were not the usual dry branches, but ice crystals; the small thing had folded its arms at the waist and was half bent over looking at Freya from a distance, a little like the butler in the Lord's castle. On the other hand, it was not tall, and its beard and ice brows were covered with ice crystals. And there was pair of shiny eyes underneath.
Freya was startled as she had never seen such a thing in her life. When she came to her senses, she sat up from the snow as quick as a spring- though she did not expect her sudden movement to frighten the other party as well. The little thing was so frightened that it took two steps back and tripped over a tree root, then sat on its butt in the snow. It took a long time to get up, and then the two of them stared at each other with wide eyes.
The snowy space was filled with an awkward silence.
After a long time, Freya finally noticed that the other party did not seem to have hostile intentions. She deliberated for a while and asked tentatively, "Did you bring me here?"
The snowman was stunned, hurriedly patted the snow off the end of its body and stood up, respectfully bowing to Freya, "No, not me, it was the master who brought you here, respectful little master." It could also speak Kirrlutzian, but spoke with a slightly strange accent. It was a curious accent too, which sounded like a duck quacking.
Freya's mouth opened into an 'O' shape, shocked by the other party's address to her. "Wait, what did you call me, and who is your master?"
"The master is the master, little master." The snowman replied in a very matter-of-fact tone, as if that was the correct answer to the question.
“Hold up, I’m not anyone’s little master, have you mistaken me for someone else?”
"Wait, I'm not a little master, are you mistaken?"
"The master said you are the most honored guest here, and the master told us to treat you with the manners of a little master, that's what the master said, the master must be right."
Freya felt that her brain was running short of brain juice, she just felt that if only Brendel was here, he would be able to figure out what was happening very quickly. Even so, the young girl from the Bucce countryside was not stupid. So she first touched the side of her harness: the Lionheart Sword was still in good condition and in place; then she touched her belt pouch: The stone plate given by Brendel was also safe and sound, and even the ruby ring was still in her hand. She was slightly relieved because it showed that the other party at least did not mean any harm.
She calmed down a little, and after a while, she asked the snowman, "Hello, how should I address you?"
The snowman placed a branch-like hand on its chest, and saluted her with human etiquette, “We are Tolifen Goblins who have lived here for generations, Your Honour Little Master, we have no names, you may call us “hey” or “come here”, as we all look similar to each other in your eyes anyway. But actually, we do have differences from one another, you just need to observe our beards and brows, and you would notice that some have more while some have less. The shape of them is different too.”
Before the Tolifen Goblin could even finish his introduction, Freya burst out in laughter. This little thing learned the human etiquette so precisely, but whatever said did not make sense so she found it hilarious. She tried to contain her fits of laughter and asked, “Where is your master?”
“The master is in the house.”
“House? Can I meet him?”
“The master said that if the little master has awakened, I may bring you to meet him.”
“Bring me to meet him?” Freya felt suspicious, “Can you do that now?”
The Tolifen Goblin nodded.
Freya got up from the snow and patted the corner of her coat before she realized her wounds and injuries had healed. She remembered that she was severely injured before she passed out and the last blow that killed the silver monster, but she could not remember exactly what happened. All she could vaguely remember was the silver plate falling out from her bag that glittered in the snow, while she fell in suffering before she passed out. But now the silver plate was placed safely in her pouch. She squeezed it and found it to be the same cold object.
Freya did not know whether the healing of her injuries had something to do with the changes at that time, or with the mysterious master of the goblin. At this point, she saw that the snowman had reached the opening of the mountain, it was standing under a snow-white thorn bush and waving to her. She quickly got up and rushed towards the snowman.
Freya found herself in a somewhat secluded valley. She followed behind the Tolifen Goblin, and they passed through a dense forest made up of white thorns. The entire valley seemed to be covered in this plant, which grew extremely tall, just like the other trees outside. Its tips were curled, with shiny fruits hanging from it. They were like street lights, with its soft light lighting up the winding pathway.
There were many animals in the white woods, at least Freya saw a kind of squirrel with grayish white fur, looking for seeds of shrubs under the thorn bushes, occasionally crossing the path in groups, or watching out for her as an outsider with big dark eyes. On the thorns that crossed overhead were many birds that looked like speckled sparrows, only that this bird had silvery feathers and long tail feathers. They were not afraid of unfamiliar beings, allowing Freya and the goblins to walk underneath them, cocking their heads to survey her as an unexpected visitor.
After walking for a while, the white thorns suddenly parted left and right. Freya's eyes lit up slightly, and a look of surprise appeared on her face. The thorny bushes parted to reveal a mountain spring surrounded by jungle, and the spring hung down from the rock wall and fell into a pool, with steam rising from the water. It was apparently a geothermal hot spring. But these were not as surprising, as she saw on the land next to the hot spring that was full of emerald green vegetation and meadow, lay a dark blue stag.
The stag obviously noticed her too. Freya did not know whether she hallucinated, but she saw the other party showing her a kind look.
She immediately recognized the other party - the stag that led them all out of the predicament that night.
She immediately seemed to understand something. But at this time the Tolifen Goblin stopped and turned back to look at Freya. The young girl who was in surprise looked ahead and found that the white thorn bushes had come to an end. All she could see was a clearing in front of a mountain wall, and an artificial building was carved out of the mountain wall, forming an archway that was three or four people high. Freya looked at the arch, then at the Tolifen Goblin, and asked, "Is this the entrance for me to go in?"
The snowman nodded.
Freya had to gather the courage to take a few steps forward into the cave as the surrounding light dimmed down, but after adjusting to the dim environment, she gradually saw the interior of the cave. Behind the arch was a natural cave, as if the outside of the artificial axe marks were decorations at the entrance to the cave. Like most glacial caves in this area, the interior walls of the cave consisted of smooth ice but was not deep. It extended 20 to 30 feet inward before ending abruptly, cut off by a vertical wall of ice.
Freya could not help but stare. Where's the master the goblin talked about? The cave was clearly empty.
But just as she was amidst confusion, the ice wall in front of her suddenly melted away, forming a small door, and then a voice said, "Please come in, Miss Freya."