The night passed by peacefully with no signs of any impending attacks. When morning rolled around everyone gathered together for the final meal on the trip. As they finished off the last of the orc meat they discussed the trip so far. The general consensus was that the orc group had been the biggest threat in the area and drove off any other large threats. All that was left were smaller groups that would be committing suicide if they attacked the caravan. No one was expecting there to be any issues for the remainder of the journey. They should arrive safely in Bilri around noon-time.
Once everyone finished breakfast they got into their assigned wagons and the whole caravan got moving for the final leg in the trip. There was an air of excitement at being able to stop in a city again to get some rest as well as some pay. As always, Lexiana was riding in the back of the wagon with Thomas and trying to find a way to talk to him. He may have been a little more lenient with her after getting to know her a bit better but he had no intention of sticking with her once they hit the city. In his opinion, she was a little too young and immature. From their interactions, he understood her a bit better and knew why she'd behaved the way she did the first time they met. It was still a terrible thing though.
It took Lexiana a few hours to finally speak up, "Is there any way I could convince you to come with me to my hometown?"
Thomas looked up from his work and chuckled, "None. I've got plans and a destination that I need to get to." He leaned back a bit and looked up at the covering over the wagon, "But I might visit it sometime in the future. What's the place called?"
Lexiana was first disappointed by his refusal but at his offer to visit in the future she perked up and smiled excitedly, "My tribe is in charge of the country of Snuba in the north. If you go to the capital city Sunden then Snowlily will be perfectly safe."
Thomas noted the lack of details that she failed to give in her excitement. He didn't ask for them either. He may visit the area in the future but at the moment she'd just told him the area he needed to avoid the most for the time being. He also had no interest in looking her up again once he ditched her in Bilri, let alone any possible members of her family. He made a note of the information for the future. Once Snowlily was strong enough to protect herself from most dangers they might visit that place to see if they could look up any more information about the fate of the Garou.
On that subject, his friend Tamara would begin a search in the future too. It just depended on when she got his message and found time to do the searching. She would probably even thank him for pushing is work off onto her. She lived for digging up hidden pieces of lore in games and compiling it into compendiums. She loved lore as much as he loved to work as a blacksmith. She was also an excellent source of information for lost techniques and constantly brought him great tidbits once she got her research far enough.
Thomas refocused on the present and smiled at Lexiana, "Someday in the future I'll go there with Snowlily. Until that day I've got things to do."
He reached down and stroked the dozing Snowlily's head. If they weren't doing anything specific she could almost always be found dozing next to him or watching him do his work. She was an excellent companion and he was going to make sure that she grew stronger. He turned back to his plans and grinned broadly. The battle with the orcs had given him a terrible idea and he was so looking forward to trying to put it into practice. His plans for his weapons and gear were growing more complex and powerful as his understanding of the rules of the world continued to grow and expand. Soon he would be in Bilri and capable of performing some experiments.
Seeing the smile on Thomas's face sent a shiver down Lexiana's spine. If she was forced to describe it at that very moment the only word she would be able to come up with was 'scary'. She didn't know what he was doing but she had an instinctive feeling that it was something dangerous or even deadly. It put her off from wanting to try and talk to him any further. She also revised her plans a bit for the future. She needed to follow him for as long as she could and make sure nothing happened to Snowlily.
The caravan arrived at the gates of Bilri a little after noon. Thomas climbed out of the wagon and took his first look at the walls of the city. It reminded him a lot of Ulvstad. Looking through the open gates he could see a moderately busy area filled with people going about their business. As far as he could see the population in this area was once again mostly humans. The guards at the gate spoke with Volcrag and it didn't take long before the caravan was rolling through the gates to a designated inspection area. With this, the guards had all completed their jobs.
While the city guards did their inspection, Volcrag pulled the caravan guards off to the side and handed each of them a letter to let the Adventurer's Guild know the job had been completed successfully. Thomas was given two letters. Volcrag had kept his word and written a letter of introduction to his blacksmith friend here in the city. With their work done and letters of completion in hand, the majority of the guards all went directly to the guild to get their pay. Thomas decided to spend a little time exploring the city to get a feel for it and find the location of Volcrags friend.
It didn't take too long to explore most of the small city. By his estimation, Bilri was about half the size of Ulvstad and had a much smaller population. There wasn't even a dungeon in the city. Not having a dungeon irked him as it would make it harder for him to test the effectiveness of the weapons he wanted to make. The more he explored the small city the less he liked the place. It was a small out of the way hole with nothing in it and only some farmlands outside of it. No wonder they needed Volcrag to deliver supplies to them.
Thomas found the location of Volcrags blacksmith friend, a shop near the western side of the city called 'Gruff and Tough'. Thomas couldn't help smirking at the name chosen for the store, it definitely fit a place run by a dwarf. He decided to wait until tomorrow to introduce himself to the shop's owner. Looking down at the letter of introduction he had he knew the owner was a dwarf named Rockbeard. Tomorrow he would introduce himself and try and get a forge all to himself so he could get some work done. If he went in now he'd be in there all night long.
After checking the place out he made his way to the guild with Snowlily beside him. He didn't need to carry her anymore. Now that her agility attribute was so high she could keep up with him even if he jogged. He'd still completely lose her if he ran full out though, her agility was still fifty-two points below his after all. At the guild, he turned in the letter from Volcrag to complete his quest and receive his payment.
|System Notice: Quest Complete!|
|Guard the caravan led by Volcrag from Stok to Bilri.
Rewards: 5,000 experience, 1,000 gold
Failure: 10,000 gold
Before the battle with the orcs 5,000 experience would have been a rather large sum for him. Now, however, it wasn't even enough to raise all of his attributes a single point. He contemplated turning in some of the orc mana crystals he'd harvested, he had a little over two hundred of them after all. For the time being, he decided to keep them instead. He didn't know how many he would need to use during his experimentation and wanted to make sure he had no chance of running out at all. He could just turn in the remainder when he was finished with his work.
He made his way over to the request board and took a look at it to see what kinds of requests were posted. Most of them were pretty mundane. Herb collection, pest removal, even a request to help someone move. He shook his head and left the guild. He'd just do his experiments and work then leave this place and head to his next destination. He pulled out his map and examined it. If he went directly east from Bilri he would arrive at his destination, Utstad. Unfortunately, there were no roads at all for a direct route. He would need to take a roundabout route that would take him very close to the border of the southernmost country on the continent, Lotenia.
Just cutting across the plains would lead him directly to his destination, however it would be hard to know if he was going in the proper direction. He wasn't familiar with the terrain or indigenous creatures. Taking the road would take longer but would make it a lot easier for him to find his destination. Thomas checked the route and saw that a small river could be taken from Bilri to town called Djudavik allowing him to skip one stop on the road. He rubbed his chin and grinned as he formed a plan to save himself a fair amount of time.
With his travel plans decided, he picked a random midclass inn to stay in for the night. The food, luckily, was comprised of delicious monster meat that he thoroughly enjoyed. The room was simple with basic amenities and a bed that was almost comfortable. He couldn't wait to get his hands on his own U.L.T.R.A. and put a really comfortable room inside of it to sleep in. He wasn't sure how much longer the journey would take, but he decided it would be faster to move on his own rather than in a caravan.
He stripped down and climbed into the bed to relax with Snowlily. She had definitely grown a fair bit bigger. It seemed like the higher her Endurance grew the bigger she grew. When he first rescued her she was small enough to carry with just one arm and weighed less than five kilograms. Now he would need to use both of his arms and she weighed at least fifteen kilograms. She still needed his protection though. She might be a lot stronger than she used to be, but she was still young and inexperienced. He stroked her head while he closed his eyes and slipped into the state fo Serenity to fall asleep.
The next day dawned and Thomas awoke excited to begin his work. He opened his blueprint system and looked over the plans for the things he wanted to make. He wasn't sure which of his ideas would work or not, but he was determined to find out over the next few days. After that, it was onward with his journey.
Breakfast was simple and tasty. Snowlily's appetite had increased with her size. She could now eat more than him at every meal. He smiled as he watched her sitting prim and proper on the chair while plucking pieces of food off of her plate. If she'd been in a human form he was certain she would have looked like a proper princess even eating at a middle-class place like they were in. Once she finished her meal the two of them left the inn and made their way toward 'Gruff and Tough'. Thomas was excited to get back to work as soon as possible.
'Gruff and Tough' was a moderately sized building with two floors and smoke pouring out from a fenced-off back area. Thomas opened the door and walked inside. It wasn't surprising that the interior was lined with weapons and armor made in various shapes and sizes waiting to be sold. Standing behind the sales counter was a rather attractive looking young human woman. She reminded Thomas a lot of Rock's wife working his counter. She didn't look older than her earlier twenties. She wore simple work clothing but it did nothing to hide a chest of ridiculous proportions. Instead of being attracted to her massive breasts, the first thought Thomas had was that she must have terrible back problems.
He stepped up to the counter with a bright smile and pulled out the letter from Volcrag, "Hi there. I'm Thomas and I'm looking for Rockbeard. Volcrag gave me a letter of introduction."
The woman looked at the letter then turned her head to the side to call out loudly, "DAD! There's a pervert here looking for you!"