Where The Ice Glitters

Suihakkei arc (水發勁 Liberation of Water arc)

Amidst the Frigid Path

Even so, after that little detour, the group seemed to ignore that and merely continued onto their journey to Isvan. For some completely strange reason, Iris didn't even change for the trip; she wore her usual revealing attire as always. This did nothing to actually throw off odd looks; Vivian questioned, "...Uh, Iris?"

Iris' ears perked up. "...Yus~?"

"Why in blue blazes are you still dressed like that!? I'm freezing my butt off here, and I have fire powers..."

Iris replied calmly, "Because my fur keeps me warm..."

Vivian sighed. "But not at this temperature..."

"You'd be surprised..." Jason told her, looking over his back. "You should be warm, we bought clothes specifically for this back at the store." Wendy had no problem keeping warm. In addition to the scarf she'd wrestled from Iris' grasp, she was literally curled up, sleeping inside Jason's kosode, which he was still wearing. What it was made of to support the weight of an 12 year old child was anyone's guess, she she seemed to fit in nicely, albeit made Jason look like some adult-child hybrid.

Iris was thinking of something rather, unusual when she noticed this sight. Of course, speaking her mind more often than not got her into trouble. "...You seem to be the only one experiencing the cold, Vivian~?"

Vivian snarled, "...S-Shut up! I'll stop complaining when we actually get there...I can't wait to get into a nice warm hot spring..."

"Vivian, you'll never stop complaining." Jason replied, knowing it might get to her. "But it's your charm point."

"Pff, charm." Yasaka scoffed.

Vivian gave Yasaka an evil stare. "Why, I have plenty of charm...!"

Iris gave her a look over. "And you're certainly very 'complex'."

"You're transparent." Yasaka looked at Iris with mild irritation.

Iris put on an expression that looked like ':3'. "Naturally~"

Vivian, actually didn't even know what Iris was getting at. "Ehh!? Whaddya mean..."

Iris grinned. "Nothing, nothing at all~"

"We're reading the land of Isvan." Jason decided to point it out, playing tour-guide. Like most of Iceberg, Isvan was frozen over, however, the settlements were a little more far and few between, most likely because this was higher up in a mountainious region and further from the main Iceberg country. However, this area seemed to be more beautiful than the rest of Iceberg, less housing showing off a beautiful frozen landscape, where the ice glittered like diamonds.

Iris' eyes actually sparkled like diamonds at this beautiful sight. She decided; she'd want to live here...of course, since she made decisions at the flip of a coin, this was bound to change in a few moments. "...Woooooooooooow! It's so pretty..."

Vivian muttered to herself, "I bet if I activated my magic here, everything would go to hell....literally..." She wasn't too confident.

"We'd be swimming." Yasaka replied, landing on Jason's shoulder. "So, where are we heading?" ?

Jason looked at the Exceed. "Fair question." He turned to Vivian. "Vivian, didn't I hand you the mission request letter earlier? Check it for us, and see if it tells us the location of our client."

Vivian began to read the mission request. "It's sent by the Draconis Tribe of Isvan..."

Iris remarked, "Duh." Vivian elbowed her slightly and continued.

"It says that they're willing to pay 1,000,000 Jewels for a certain task..."

Ulalia questioned, "...And that is...?"

Vivian growled, "Dammit, stop interrupting me! Alright, let me finish. What they want us to do- is to eliminate a frost demon born from Living Magic that's been terrorizing Isvan. They say that they themselves can't fight it because of the traditions of their tribe."

"Seems easy." Jason considered the details. "Where does the tribe live? We can go collect information from them."

Vivian squinted at the fine print. "Considering that the tribe lives to the north-west of here, we should reach them in no time."

And they wasted no time in making a move to get to the tribe. When they arrived, they were surprised. The tribe was less "modern" than the rest of Isvan, which was saying something. Huts were made of animal skin, and littered around the area, and it was populated by solely women wearing masks. Jason noted that Wendy was waking up now, and she looked down at the tribal lands from inside his kosode. "Are we here?"

"I'd say we are."

Vivian couldn't help but feel slightly put off by all of this; the ice masks were uncanny an eerie. "...Damn, that's creepy..."

Even the normally cheerful Iris, was freaking out. "They all remind me of mummies..."

"I've seen worse." Jason told them, and he immediately skidded down the ice-covered hillside to the tribe, landing neatly on his feet. Wendy rolled out of his kosode, landing rather roughly, her legs splayed and skirt obviously able to be seen into. She didn't stay like that for long, scrambling to her feet and clinging to Jason's sleeve. Jason looked up at the girls on the icy ledge. "Whenever you're ready, don't mind me. Pool's open, water's fine." He called up to them. Sadly, his voice was going to attract attention since he was now no more than two feet away from the tribe. 

Vivian gave them all a sharp glare. "They honestly don't look too friendly..." Of course, she was right. Water was swelling up before him, before being moulded and shaped into a vicious looking water dragon. Vivian's eyes widened as she summoned flames on her palms. "Dammit, watch out...!"

Jason sliced the dragon apart with his hand, letting the water splash down to the ice. "Don't warn me of something so easy to deflect, Vivian." Jason told her. It almost seemed like a warning, but he'd never hurt her now. "Wendy, get back." Jason summoned Gehaburn as Wendy heeded his words. His eyes skimmed the masked crowd for his would be assailant. 

WHOOSH! From the ice, several stalagmites erupted at high speeds, all shooting towards Jason's heart for the sole purpose of trying impale him in an instant and end the battle as quick as it started.

Vivian glanced around and suddenly noticed...something. "Oi, you! They're over there!" Vivian eyed a woman who was running away from the crowd.

Jason shattered them with Gehaburn. "Vivian, get down here and protect Wendy! Yasaka, stay here in case she needs a flight out!"

"Of course!" Yasaka replied and Jason took off at surprising, breakneck speeds, trailing down the woman he saw fleeing. "You stand out like a sore thumb." Jason said as he ran alongside her. Like the others, she was masked, but her outfit differed drastically, wearing a more uniform than tribal outfit. "Don't run. Let's see what you look like." His hand reached quickly towards the girl's mask.

The girl released a burst of ice from her frame, knocking Jason back and giving her ample time to escape while spinning around on one foot, releasing a radiant wave of water towards Jason at incredible speeds and pressurized force, aiming to knock him out cold via a water drill to the gut. "Why don't you just dissapear, outsider...!" Her words were as cold as the ice she produced.

Jason used Gehaburn to neatly slice through the pressured water drill, the sword of a demon obviously being superior to this girls constructs of water. He dashed towards her, slamming his knee straight into her gut and sending her flying, hitting the ground hard. "It's difficult to disappear when we've come here for a reason." Jason explained landing next to fallen figure with his sword pointed at her neck, keeping her for making sudden movements. "You attack me out of nowhere, and then order me to leave. Normally, I'd kill someone like you, but I actually have something to do here. This clan sent out a mission request." He bent down, leaning towards her mask. "Who is the requestee?"

The woman displayed no emotion (of course, because of her mask) as she calmly responded, "My mother. Head of the tribe, La Sirene."

"And where can I find her?" The question was simple enough.

The woman pointed up to the center of the town, where a large hut was stationed. "Up there, if you must know." 

"Thank you." Jason removed the sword from her neck, and turned to walk off. He turned his head back. Clean yourself up." 

The woman stomped her foot on the ground- lucky she didn't break the ice. "Shut up, you stupid monkey." Her words really were cold; pardon the pun, she really was an ice queen, literally.

Jason waited as Iris, Vivian, Ulalia, Wendy, and Yasaka all made it over his way. "Alright. The woman who requested the mission lives in the largest hut. Shall we?"

Iris nodded. "Of course~"

Vivian's body began pratically moving on it's own. "Alright, hurry up." The moment that the group reached the doors of the hut, the doors creaked open cryptically.

Iris began to shiver- not just because it was cold; but because this was completely out of the ordinary. "...It just moved by itself!? Is this a plan to spook us...?"

Iris and co. walked inside, where an elderly woman wearing rather ancient clothes rested. "Ah, so good to see you. It's surprisingly you arrived so early...." Her laugh was haunting.

"We're technically late." Jason replied, obviously referring to the Wyvern fiasco. "It's obvious you know we're the ones who took up your mission. So, what is it about this ice demon that makes it so none of you can fight it? The girl back there who tried to kill me wasn't exactly a weakling."

The elder seemed to cackle omniously. "Oh, no, you're just in time. See, we were having a raffle, and-"

Vivian cut her off. "...Get to the point."

The elder sighed. "My, my. Kids these days...So impatient. You see, we aren't allowed to lay even a single hand on it...because it's a sacred being in our lore- in other words, a god. To slay a god is explicitly forbidden..."

Iris muttered, "But it's just a demon! Where's the logic in that...?"

The elder became deadly silent. "Rules are rules. This is an ancient tradition we've kept up for centuries now, and no outsider is going to influence any bending of the rules, mark my words."

Ulalia just applied her palm to her forehead in exasperation. "So, you're willing to let that beastie out there just kill without any rhyme or reason just to keep your so called 'rules' intact?"

More silence. "What is written in the scripts is final. This is why we have hired you all to slay it, as we cannot perform the act ourselves."

"Senseless tradition, but beneficial to us nonetheless." Jason smirked. These tribeswomen were idiots, following their traditional laws at the expense of lives. "Tell us about this demon. It's history, it's powers, any weaknesses. It will be slain, flawlessly." 

Wendy looked up at Jason, curious. How could he be so confident dealing with a demonic creature the tribe regarded as a deity? It impressed her nonetheless, made her feel safe when he was confident.

The elder seemed rather nervous now. "For one, it's immortal deity, meaning that it cannot die of old ages; however, physical attacks and magic can kill it. Of course only beings of high power can harm it; as can flames and pure strength. That is where you all come in. Other than that, it has powerful cryokinesis, but our strongest warrior says that she could defeat it easily...But still, it's against our customs..."

Vivian snapped her fingers, conjuring a miniature flame on her pointer finger. "Then it should be walk in the park."

"Don't underestimate the enemy, Vivian." Jason reproached her. "I wouldn't be pleased if something happened to you because of overconfidence."

Vivian crossed her arms. "...You have a good point there."

Iris responded in a dissonantly cheerful tone, "Well, then! Let us prepare~"

"Um...where can we find it?" Wendy asked the elder, speaking for the first time. Jason looked down at the girl by his side. He assumed she wanted to be involved in the discussion and decided to let the elder answer her.

The elder slammed her staff on the ground. "It should be past the mountains from here. But at night, it does return here and try and ravage our homes. Thankfully, we erected a magical barrier to make sure that nobody is hurt- but it is wearing down as every minute passes."

Jason stood up. "Alright. We'll be off. This demon will be gone within a few hours."

Wendy turned to the elder. "We'll do our best!" She said, bowing as they exited.

Ulalia seemed to be somewhat put off by this whole ordeal. "...Still, something I don't know what, exactly, but isn't this a little bit omnious?"

Iris was definitely shivering. "I know...But Jason's here, so we shouldn't worry~"

Ulalia muttered, "Easy for you to say."

"I doubt Jason would let any of you get hurt." Yasaka replied, perched on his shoulder. Ever since the effort to save Wendy, she'd warmed to Jason a bit and he seemed to like the Exceed more as well. "He's hellbent on keeping you all safe."

"Jason can't lose to anyone." Wendy turned to look at Ulalia, clinging to Jason's sleeve. "He is our Master, and the strongest around!"

Jason didn't really react much to this praise, though hearing Iris and Wendy heap these words on him, even Yasaka, did give him a feeling he had begun to associate with comrades.

Ulalia brushed her hair back rather cooly. "....You do prove a valid point. He, with quite possibly the exception of Gaikou, is very much the most powerful member of the guild- befitting of the guild master. Of course, we're all useful on our own."

"I like that." Jason smiled down at Ulalia. Poor girl was short, but still taller than Wendy. "You all are confident. Now let's the mountain where ice glitters." 


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