Heat made his way down from Spike Mountain and back to the destroyed Grey Grass Village. From the village, Heat took one of the paths leading out of the village that looked somewhat like a road since it appeared to have been walked upon by many people.
After walking for half a day, Heat's stomach began rumbling again. "It's been a couple of days since I've last eaten anything, I must find some food now or I won't have the strength to keep moving"
With hunger in mind, Heat began searching around for anything that might be edible. All around there was nothing but grass and hills; the road he was walking on was not even a real road. It was just dirt that seemed to be paved by the trampling of human activity.
Luckily before Heat needed to search any further, he saw a wagon in the distance. The wagon appeared to be resting near some trees.
Approaching the wagon Heat noticed one man sitting near the tree relaxing in the shade, two ladies sitting near the edge of the wagon enjoying the fresh air as they conversed, and a horse tied to the wagon. As Heat walked towards them, one of the young ladies takes notice of Heat.
"Uncle, there's someone coming" The girl that looked around 16 years of age spoke to the man.
As the man sitting by the tree looked toward Heat, he exclaimed, "Hello there young man!"
The man had the impression of being in his mid-40s. He had a square face with a sharp jawline, thick eyebrows, and a heroic demeanor.
As Heat walked up to him he began to speak "I'm lost and looking for the nearest city. Do you perhaps know the way there?"
Smiling the man said "Of course, we were just on our way to Rock Edge city. My name is Jef Frey."
"Quanye Lest" Heat replied.
"That's my wife, Mien and my niece Mey. Rock Edge city is close by, only about 1-2 hours walk. You look a bit tired, would you like to ride with us to Rock Edge city on our wagon? We have more than enough space."
"Thank you, I do need a ride to Rock Edge city. I'm a bit tired from my journey and"
Before Heat could finish speaking, his stomach began rumbling loudly. With a face full of embarrassment, Heat continued speaking.
"I ran out of food. Is it possible for you to provide anything for me to eat too?" Upon saying that, Heat realized that he had nothing to compensate the Frey family for their help. "I'm sorry, I have nothing on me to compensate you right now" Heat saw the young girl called Mey giggling at his stomach outburst and felt even more embarrassed.
"Oh don't worry, a little bit of bread and helping you since it's on our way anyway isn't much difficulty," Jef Frey said as he smiled warmly at Heat.
"Take a seat and rest, we'll stop here for another half an hour before we resume our journey. Mien give our new friend Quanye some bread."
Mien Frey, a middle-aged average-looking lady, gracefully went into the wagon and shuffled some boxes around. A moment later she appeared and stepped down from the wagon to hand Heat two pieces of bread.
"Here you go Mr. Lest. I baked this bread myself a yesterday."
Smiling Heat took the bread and munched on it slowly. It was aromatic with a fresh taste that filled Heat with vigor immediately upon entering his stomach. "Thank you"
"So why are you heading to Rock Edge city Quanye?" Jef Frey spoke to open up a dialogue.
"I need to find a place live, my village was destroyed so I am heading to Rock Edge city to find a place to stay," Heat said solemnly.
"Your village was destroyed? It wasn't due to Marquess Bryant's order was it?" Jef Frey had a worried expression as he stared at Heat.
"Marquess Bryant? I don't know who that is. I returned to my village from hunting in the woods yesterday to find it decimated" Heat shook his head.
"Marquess Bryant controls Rock Edge city and reports only to the Duke that governs our Xin territory. A week ago he sent out his troops of Mortal Warriors to search for the Azure Lantern flower for his daughter. The Azure Lantern flower is said to have very dense water elemental energy that is able to greatly help a person with water elemental energy advance 2-3 Mortal Warrior levels" Jef Frey began looking into the distance as he narrated.
"Marquess Bryant's troops are becoming ruthless as they bully peasants for information on where the rumor of the Azure Lantern flower appearing originated from. No one is even sure that there is an Azure Lantern flower in the Xin territory, it was just a rumor that began spreading a few weeks ago"
Heat looked at Jef Frey and shook his head "I don't know if my village was destroyed for the Azure Lantern flower or not since there was no one alive to tell me what happened when I returned. I am simply heading to Rock Edge city to find a place to stay since I have nowhere else to go and there is no one else who is alive in this world that I am familiar with."
The young lady named Mey interjected, "Aww that is terrible, to lose your family abruptly must be very sad for you" Mey stared at Heat with wide eyes full of sympathy.
Standing up, Jef Frey gestured for Heat to board the wagon with the two ladies. "Let's start moving while the sun is still out"
Rather than sitting in the wagon with the two ladies, Heat chose to sit in the front compartment with Jef Frey as they departed. Heat figured it would be more comfortable for the two ladies to not have to entertain a stranger they just met on their journey to Rock Edge city.
As the horse pulled their wagon and Jef Frey steered, he asked Heat some questions to pass the time. "So what are you planning on doing once you get to Rock Edge city?"
"I'm not sure yet, there is nothing that I know how to do other than hunting wild hares. My body is pretty strong, perhaps I'll do some labor work if I can find some" Heat replied with thoughtful eyes.
"Labor work is not suited for you. I'm a retired mercenary, all I do now is travel around with my family looking to trade goods in different cities. Before I retired though, I was in the Mercenary Guild and was a D Rank mercenary. Even though I'm only a level 3 Mortal Warrior, I can sense the faint energy radiations from your body and I know you're definitely not a normal person. It would be a waste of your time to do labor work for just a couple of copper coins a day" Jef Frey said as he shook his head.
"You should join the Mercenary Guild if you want enough money to find a place to stay in Rock Edge city. If you don't know anyone there, the living expense would be too much for you if you were to just do manual labor work."
Heat stared at Jef Frey with a blank face as he spoke, "What is the Mercenary Guild?"
"You don't know?" Jef Frey was shocked as he stared back at Heat. Jef Frey couldn't understand how anyone wouldn't know about the Mercenary Guild since they were such a major organization in the Herya Empire.
"I've been living in Grey Grass Village my entire life, my grandpa never told me much about the rest of the world." Heat said in a serious tone.
"I see, well the Mercenary Guild has branches in every city of the Herya Empire. It's one of the most influential and strongest organizations in the empire. All members are provided access to their vast network of information and can easily gain money for accomplishing the jobs that are posted in the guild. Most jobs are dangerous which is why most mercenaries that join would be very strong" Jef Frey was reminiscing his time spent in the guild as he explained to Heat.
"Money? What is the currency system in Herya Empire? I've never had to use money in my village"
Jef Frey looked at Heat like he was an anomaly. Who doesn't know what copper coins are? Jef Frey began wondering if his mercenary skills have rusted over the years, how could such a country bumpkin be a Mortal Warrior without even knowing what the money of Zinnoth is.