Chapter 7 - The Forest of Fog
Once I stepped through the door I found myself in a forest. As the name suggests of the forest, it was foggy. The fog was dense and I could only see the trees near me and beyond that nothing.
I climbed on one of the trees to get a better view, but it was the same scene. I could only see trees and fog. I got down from the tree and thought about my options.
The objective of the test was to regroup, but how we’ll be evaluated is the question. They could evaluate us based on how fast we regrouped, the method we took to regroup, and how each person contributed.
If the test was strictly objective, then it would be best to stay where I am. Since Priscilla is a silencer, she is able to detect magic and so if I just stay here and conjure a sword, chances are that she’ll eventually find me. However, if there are other criteria that the team will be evaluated on, then it would be best that I search for them and leave marks on the trees so my teammates can find me.
Since this is a team evaluation, I’m willing to bet there are additional criteria for the test. But if that were the case, who is going to watch?
My question was then answered when I heard the ruffling of leaves. I quickly looked to find out what it was and saw a bird perched on a branch. The bird had an ethereal look to it and gazed at me.
Guess I’ll start searching for them now.
I started to walk past the trees. As I walked past them, I conjured a sword every once in a while and slashed a tree. The sword would then break and leave a slash mark on the tree. The things I conjure still break upon impact, but they can at least slice through some things.
After walking for a while, I still didn’t see anybody.
Now that I think about it, I don’t know how far the forest stretches.
I then heard a sound of twigs snapping.
“Priscilla? Aldis? Is that you?” I said.
There was no response.
Then out behind a tree an ethereal looking horned wolf pounced out, snarling.
I knew this test seemed a bit too simple and easy. Conjuring a sword, I waited for the wolf to pounce on me and when it did, I slashed it. The sword cut through its ethereal figure before breaking and the wolf disappeared in a small flash of light. It’s a good thing I preserved my energy by walking, but I think I should increase my pace now and find Aldis or Priscilla quickly. If there were more than one, I could be in some trouble.
I started to jog past through the forest, still marking the trees. As I ran, more wolves would appear and the rate at which they came was increasing. The wolves eventually started to come in pairs and that was when I decided to stop fighting the wolves and just run.
The wolves started to increase in number and there were now eight chasing me. I was running out of breath and I needed help quickly. It was then that I heard the sound of fire. I ran towards the sound and found Aldis sitting down beside a tree; a small campfire in front of him.
“Aldis,” I called out, ” I could use a little help.”
Aldis looked up from his campfire and saw the pack of horned wolves behind me. He got up and created a wall of fire behind me. Some of the wolves couldn’t stop and ended up running into the fire and disappeared. The wolves that went around the fire were then either sliced by me or hit by a ball of fire from Aldis. When there were no more wolves, I laid on a tree as I tried to catch my breath. My face was covered with sweat and my body felt hot.
“Thanks Aldis,” I said.
“No problem. Wanna rest by my fireplace?”
As I sat beside the fireplace, I looked at Aldis and noticed his clothes were wet.
“What happened to you?” I asked, pointing at his wet clothes.
“I came across a water spirit wolf and I ended up drenched. Not really a fun fight but, if I was tired before, I wasn’t anymore,” Aldis said. “Your swords, why do you decast them every strike?”
“Well you see, I’m good at creating weapons...weapons that break on hit though,” I replied.
“Oh...maybe you’ll get better in future?”
“Maybe,” I said. “Do you know how we’ll be evaluated?”
“If we regroup right?”
“Yes but, also on how we complete the objective?”
“I didn’t think about that. What are your ideas on it?”
I then explained what I thought about the evaluation and the possible criteria that we’ll be evaluated on. I also explained how the rate at which the wolves appeared increased. Aldis didn’t seem to distrust my words and accepted them.
“Uhh, we should probably get going then,” Aldis said and pointed towards the fog.
I looked and saw a pack of horned spirit wolves. I couldn’t make out their numbers, but it was at least above eight. One wolf opened their mouth and a shard of ice was shot. I quickly got up and barely dodged the shard. The wolves that chased me before didn’t use magic and, well, they are now.
“I agree,” I said.
Me and Aldis then started to run for it.
As we ran, it got harder for me to mark the trees and so I just started to throw the swords on the floor and they left a small crater where they struck. Aldis at times would create a wall of flames behind us, but the wolves would snuff the flames with water or ice and continue towards us. The wolves started to close the distance and I thought about using a ranged weapon, but gave up the thought. I could create a crossbow or a bow but there was no way I could aim while running.
Our breaths started to become more labored and it was becoming clear that we couldn’t keep up our pace for long. I looked behind us one more time and saw the wolves were considerably closer.
“Aldis,” I said.
“Do you wanna do a last stand with me?”
“I wouldn’t want to call it a last stand but, yeah, let’s do it.”
We both turned around and faced the wolves. I created an axe in both my hands and quickly started to try and cut down a tree. After a few strikes, the tree toppled over and I hid behind it and Aldis did the same.
“I hope they can’t use fire,” Aldis said.
The sound of projectiles hitting the trunk of the tree could be heard. There was the shattering of ice, blasts of wind, and the crumbling of rocks as well as the sound of the tree fracturing. One wolf jumped over the tree and Aldis quickly disposed of the wolf with a well placed fireball.
Then, the sounds stopped. The wolves stopped shooting the tree, and instead, they jumped over or went around. Me and Aldis tried to deal with the wolves, but there were too many to handle.
After stabbing a wolf, I saw another wolf preparing to shoot a shard of ice. I immediately leapt to my side and saw the shard travel past me. Except, the shard was now going to hit Aldis. I couldn’t call out to him in time and saw the shard strike his cloak and shatter.
“Aldis, the cloaks, they’re enchanted with silencing magic. We can use them as shields,” I shouted.
Aldis quickly grabbed his cloak and held part of it in front of him. I did the same and using the cloaks, we could overcome the pack of wolves. If a wolf pounced, the cloak would protect me against its claws and I could strike back. Not too long later, the wolves were all cleared.
Me and Aldis fell to our knees, panting heavily.
“See, it wasn’t a last stand.”
“It would’ve been. We’ve got to thank Priscilla even more for these cloaks. The chestplate is probably also enchanted,” I said.
“It is,” said a voice behind a tree. “And I appreciate your gratitude.”
The person behind the tree revealed themselves and it was Priscilla.
“Congrats, you guys just completed two tests,” Priscilla said and gave a small clap.
“Two?” Aldis asked.
“The first test was to find each other and regroup. The other was to fend off against the wolves.”
“Were the tests just for me and Aldis?” I asked.
“Yep. I wanted to see how well you guys would perform and, I want to say, not bad.”
“Did I leave those marks for nothing?” I said and sighed.
“No, it was actually helpful.” Priscilla said.
“To who?” I asked.
“The wolves,” Priscilla replied with a smug look.
“Thanks,” I said, sarcastically.
“But they were actually helpful. I got to know you a little bit better. It seems you have a good head on you.”
“I’m with her on that,” Aldis said.
“Thanks for the compliment but, I hope you don’t end up relying on me too much. I’m not sure I can keep up with expectations. By the way, how many tests are left?”
“There is only one more test for you guys to take. After that, we can come up with a team name and start doing requests,” Priscilla said.
“One more can’t be that bad,” Aldis said.
“Well, you’ll see,” Priscilla said.