The water elementals moved the entire surface of the lake to the middle of the air and threw it at Brendel and Maynild, who was still on the shore. The translucent wall of water poured down from mid-air and turned into a waterfall. When the body of water slammed against the ground, it fractured into white gaseous clouds and countless sharp arrows shot out from the cloud.
Brendel leaped onto the shores of the lake with a single step and turned around to flee alongside Maynild. A wave, taller than a human, dogged their footsteps and then flooded the cedar forest. With crashing sounds, the ice trees were uprooted and swirled into the whirlpool.
The white tidal wave rapidly pushed forward along with the driftwood, but it was always just a step behind Brendel and Maynild. Instead, many of the frost demons who couldn’t escape were pulled into it. The wall of water pushed forward several hundreds of meters before calming down. It started to retreat but was instead absorbed into the ground.
Brendel and Maynild ran until they reached a small hill. They breathed a sigh of relief and turned around to see that the landscape of the forest had completely changed. There was a pool of receding muddy water, upon which floated countless shards of ice. They were gobsmacked at the sight. These ice fairies really were merciless towards their own brethren.
“Just how many ice fairies were there in the forest?” Maynild looked at the lake, which had turned shallow again. Gloating water elementals hovered over the surface of the lake.
Brendel was a tad bit speechless. Summoning water elementals is a six ring spell and every summoned water elemental was a level 37 top-rank platinum elemental being. Its powers would be roughly on par with Maynild’s and because it was an elemental being, its fighting ability might even be stronger than Maynild’s.
As mid-level platinum beings, ice fairies should not be able to use this spell by themselves. The only way they accomplished this would have been to use a ring formation to finish the spell. Summoning a water elemental would take the powers of about ten ice fairies. Add in the mirror image spell and the number of ice fairies in the Foggy Ice Bloom Forest would probably be in the hundreds, if not the thousands.
“Should we force our way through?” Maynild turned around to look at him.
“No need.” They could force their way across, but at a great cost. They were facing hundreds of ice fairies. Between him and Maynild, they had someone who needed to undergo elemental activation and another person who had just stepped foot inside the golden realm; more importantly, they were both swordmasters. They didn’t have a teammate capable of casting spells.
Brendel was starting to regret not bringing Ciel or Pahimila with him.
At the same time as he answered Maynild, he took out a little pot from his Dimension Space.
“Honey?” Maynild asked when she spotted the clay jar. She immediately recognized it as the honey that Brendel had asked the innkeeper to buy before.
“Fairies especially love pollen and honey. This has been recorded in many works.” Brendel answered as he pulled out the stopper of the jar and placed the jar onto the ground.
Maynild looked at him dubiously, “You think doing this will solve the problem?”
“Of course not,” Brendel answered, “we’re still here. They’re not that stupid.”
“And yet you’re still doing this meaningless task…”
“I said it won’t work if we’re here. We just have to go hide behind a tree.” Brendel smiled at her.
Maynild turned around and gave him a silent stare. “Mr. Brendel, now is not the time for jokes.”
“You really forgot all about this?” Brendel stopped and asked with a slight surprise.
“Follow me --” Brendel turned around and found a cedar tree not far behind them. He gestured at Maynild and ducked behind the cedar.
The female knight watched this all happening with some confusion, but still followed him after a moment's hesitation.
The two stared out from behind the cedar tree. Maynild frowned and refused to believe that Brendel’s crude trick would work -- anything with a bit of intelligence could tell that it was a trap. But they didn’t have to wait too long before a small dot of light appeared on the surface of the lake. It was a bit like the light sprites she’d seen in Trenthem, but smaller and with two thinly translucent fairy wings on its back.
She slowly flew over and landed next to the jar of honey. With both hands on the rim of the jar, she lifted her head and sniffed with her tiny nose. Her face quickly showed her surprise.
Next, Maynild watched as a light ball floated up from her palm. The fairy spread out her palm and moved forward so she could toss the ball of light into the jar.
“What is she doing?” Maynild asked with a frown.
“That’s fairy magic. She’s testing for poison,” Brendel answered quietly. Then he turned around to look at Maynild. “You really did forget a lot of things.”
“... My dreams were already fractured. I can only remember the main points and sometimes I can’t even tell the sequence of events. Some of the details get lost before I even wake up,” The female knight answered calmly. “Sometimes I have to use my waking moments to read up on things in order to fill in the gaps from my dreams --”
She continued after a moment of silence, “But really, I don’t like it when you ask me questions like this… because this is not what I want to do. They make me feel like a puppet controlled by unseen forces, someone that can only live according to my dreams.”
Brendel’s gaze paused on her. The female knight was conflicted and so was he. On one hand, he hoped the person in front of him was Bai Jia, but on the other hand, he knew that this assumption caused Maynild pain.
If she couldn’t accept Bai Jia’s existence in her dreams, she would always feel like she’s being trapped by another soul.
But he suddenly thought of a question, “Do you hate Madara?”
This question caused Maynild to shake lightly. She raised her head and Brendel saw the pupils of those beautiful eyes shrinking in terror. She looked at him in fear and peeled back her lips to reveal white teeth that looked like they wanted to bite this topic in half.
“Don’t you dare ask me that question!”
Brendel paused in confusion because he saw Maynild’s hand start to shake.
What was going on?
He frowned, but what he saw next in his field of vision interrupted his thoughts. When the little fairy threw the ball of light into the jar of honey, a golden light immediately shone out from the jar. The little fairy looked pleasantly surprised and she stood on tiptoes so she could stick her hand into the jar and scoop out a thread of sticky honey. Then she licked at it with her tongue before sticking her entire hand into her mouth. A silver thread of saliva trailed out when she drew out her hand.
The little fairy smacked her lips and she squinted her eyes into a line. Then she settled herself down against the jar and sucked at her fingers, one by one.
Maynild looked on dumbfounded. “She… don’t they have any sense of danger?”
“Probably a little bit, otherwise she wouldn’t have used a spell to test for poison. But that’s about it. Fairies love to eat and to play and they’re very curious…” Brendel didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the sight. In the game, fairies were known for being cute but he hadn’t thought it would be the same in this world.
“Lady Tania acts nothing like this.”
“That’s because Aunt Tania has gone through a strict education and possesses a lot of human knowledge. But she does still have a hard time resisting her own curiosity. A race’s instinct is just one part of them. Besides, there are even differences between different fairies.”
“Which branch of fairies does Lady Tania come from?”
“She’s descended from the Clan of Light. She’s from the light fairies, which are relatives to light sprites. The relationship to the Holy Saints is the equivalent of being servants to a Buga Mage, but their current status is higher than it was before.” Brendel added on, “But ice fairies are the most foolish of all the fairy races --”
Following Brendel’s announcement, countless balls of light of varying sizes rose in the Frost Forest on top of the lake. There were at least several hundreds of them. When Maynild caught a glimpse of this sight, she couldn’t help but remark that it was miraculous that this race has not died out yet.
Though the truth of the matter was that fairies had their own way of survival. For example, the fairy from before was the scout they sent out. As a scout, it had the benefit of eating the honey first. But the fairies, big and small, would swarm out as soon as they sensed the coast was clear..
“Let’s hurry, this will turn into a battlefield soon.” Brendel suggested.
“Battlefield?” The female knight questioned.
As if to prove Brendel right, the hundreds of fairies very quickly devolved in an all-out brawl over the honey. But their battles with each other looked a lot like children fooling around. The female knight even saw some fairies grab mud from the ground and toss it at their companions’ faces.
What an unbelievable sight.
Since the fairies were busy fighting with each other, nobody spared Brendel and Maynild, still hidden behind the tree, any attention. The two quickly walked around the little guys fighting over the honey and toward the lake. Since the fairies have all swarmed out, the water elementals on the lake have all dissipated. The two waded across the lake without any trouble and quickly arrived at the other side of the lake shore where the Foggy Ice Bloom Forest was.
This entire process went so smoothly that Maynuld had a hard time believing it.
After they waded out from the water with splashing sounds, Maynild frowned and wrung her pant legs dry. Then she looked up and asked, “If you knew honey had this effect, why didn’t you use it sooner?”
“Honey is a rare treat here. If I don’t use it, I can make honey candy. Traveling through the Stained Frost Forest Labyrinth is a tedious and boring experience. Sweets will cheer the ladies up and Scarlet likes honey.” Brendel let out a breath of air.
She glanced at him, “I didn’t know you were this considerate.”
“I just have experience when it comes to going on adventures.”
On the topic of experiences from past lives, Maynild fell into silence. But after a while, Brendel heard her calmly say, “I like honey too --”
He turned around. The female knight had already sheathed her blade and moved past him towards the forest.