Trial by Ice

Chapter I: That One Time I Was Reincarnated as a Yuki-Onna

Snow fell at a constant pace around me as my now silver eyes looked around for anything other than the white ground. Even though I knew it didn't really matter, I wrapped my white cloak tighter around my otherwise naked body, which itself was such a shade of ivory I might've disappeared in the snow if anyone else was around to see me. My now white hair swished weakly in the breeze before a gust swept through and took the hood of my cloak off for the hundredth time. I decided to not even bother in putting it back on. The cold winds and snow I walked over barefoot should have been bothering me, but I felt nothing. How did I get in this situation again?

"You have been reincarnated following your death on earth. Approximately 6 hours ago, you suffocated from the fumes of a fire that consumed your office and the entire business you worked at. Following that, you awakened here and began walking southwest in an attempt to find civilization of any kind."

Right, that's how. Thank you, strange voice. I was working in my office on the fourteenth floor late at night to catch up on an important account when it started to become hot. I thought it was just the heater acting up again, but then I smelt that weird smell. When I got up to check, I realized that something had happened lower down in the building. It was a fire. I tried to find an exit, but I guess I had breathed in too much of the smoke before I got on all fours. Then I started hearing this voice answer my thoughts. I still don't entirely know what's going on. Perhaps this is one of those coma dreams?

"After analysis, I have determined that it is not. You have been reincarnated into this new body. Any other thought is a falsehood and should be disregarded in order to further your research into more important matters." The voice kept talking about research, but I have no idea what it means. Well, it also was talking about skills earlier, which is why I thought that this might just be a dream. Oh well, no matter which of us is right, I may as well keep walking, right?

Still, it looked like there was more and more empty land no matter which direction I walk. Hm… it's actually too bad I don't have a map of some kind. "Would you like to access the Immovable Library's current geographical mapping of our area?" Immovable Library… I don't know what that is. What should I say? "The [Immovable Library] is a record of everything you learn and can be accessed at any time. Would you like to access its current map of the area?" Hm… it couldn't hurt. Sure, let's access it.

In an instant, what looked to be a holographic, three-dimensional map appeared in front of me. It showed an area that looked like a satellite image of the place I was in, and there was even a marker on the very edge of it that I assumed was me. I took a step forward and watched as the blue marker moved along with me. How strange, was this like a world map from a game then? "The Immovable Library's map updates as you discover new locations and terrain. It is rather bare now, given you have no knowledge of this world, but will become more descript the more you explore and learn."

Hm… so, this Immovable Library thing records things I learn. I suppose I should learn a lot then, if that's the case. This strange voice is rather helpful, apparently. I'm glad I have someone to talk to so I don't go crazy out here. "That is impossible. [Mental Shield] is currently active in an attempt to keep you from lashing out in the new environment." Mental Shield? Who activated something like that? "You did. Or, rather, your skill [Great Scholar] activated it on its own to keep you from becoming too emotional." That makes sense, I think. It would be bad to have a breakdown out here. Still, there's all these skills I didn't know about. I wonder what skills I have?

"Upon reincarnation, [Voice of the World] imbued you with the skills [Immovable Library], [Great Scholar], [Survival of the Fittest], [Analyze], [Mental Shield], [Postcognition], [Fume Resistance], [Heat Resistance] and [Cold Resistance]." Huh, so I have those skills then? It doesn't seem like I have anything to protect myself with. "That is incorrect. You have been reincarnated as a Yuki-Onna, specifically a Yuki-Otoko. This grants you the ability to control ice, snow, cold and other aspects of winter. There are simply no skills that have been created yet."

Oh, is that so? Well, as I walk further into nothingness, shouldn't I try and figure out how that works? I don't really have anything else to do and I don't want to be caught by surprise. Moving my hand from under the cloak, I held it out horizontally, palm facing the ground as I thought about it. How does one actually control winter? I wonder… I tried visualizing the snow at my feet moving and became surprised as it did. An arrow of hard-packed snow rose up before smoothing out and looking more like ice. "Skill [Cryokinesis] Acquired. Skill [Snow Arrow] Acquired. Skill [Deep Freeze] Acquired. Skill [Ice Arrow] Acquired."

Should it really be that simple to gain skills? I almost feel like I cheated. "As a Yuki-Otoko, you have the natural ability to manipulate all aspects of winter. Creating skills is simply a case of figuring out how to mold that power. However, keep in mind that creating skills will only give you the ability to use it. You must also train at them to truly master them." Oh, that makes sense. If that's the case, then I'll just have to make sure to make a lot of skills and use them often. Still, all of this walking is really boring. Isn't there a faster way to do this?

Wait, I can control all aspects of winter. I wonder if that includes the wind. Let's see… how about if I do this? "Skill [Wind Levitation] Acquired." I couldn't help but feel a grin on my lips as the wind swirled around my feet and caused me to slowly rise. Focusing more on it, the wind's strength increased and I rose higher. "Skill [Wind Flight] Acquired.]" I could feel my cloak trying to get away, so I held it closely. Looking around, I found what I was looking for. It looked like a camp of some kind. It was quite some distance away, so I thought about changing the direction of the wind, but felt myself launched too quickly. Slow down, slow down! This is too much like a roller coaster!

"Skill [Burst of Wind] Acquired." The voice noted my achievement as I sent a burst of wind out of my hands to counteract the momentum. It only served to send me flying out of control and send me hurtling down to the ground. "Ow…" I muttered as I hit the snow. It cushioned the blow, but I still felt some pain. I don't think that there's anything to help me with this pain, but I'll just ignore it for now. I can see the campfire from here. It's not a far walk. On top of that, the camp is just outside a forest, so hopefully there's a village nearby. At the very least, I should be able to catch something to eat, right?

As I approached the camp, a thought circled through my head. It wasn't the Great Scholar, as I had decided to regard the voice as, but my own. A complete stranger who is naked except a cloak is approaching camp; how will they even react to something so bizarre? Did I rush into this? Well, I don't think it should be a problem. Hopefully it won't, anyways.

When I finally reached the camp, I saw that there were two people. One was a man with black hair, a full beard and blue eyes. His skin was pale, though not as much as mine. He wore what looked to be a thick shirt and pants, and a fur cloak to keep the cold out. Oddly, his legs were shaking in his thick, fur-lined boots. Was that a dagger in his hand? Why was it pointed at me?

The woman with him looked just as scared and wore similar clothing to him. She also had blue eyes and pale skin, though her hair was brown and was arranged in a ponytail just a few inches past her shoulders. She looked just as afraid as him, and had a crossbow in her hand. The way her arms shook as she pointed it at me made me uncertain whether I would be hit if she shot it. "Hello there, I don't mean to be a bother but I'm lost. You wouldn't happen to know where the nearest village is, do you?" I decided to be polite, maybe they would calm down.

"D-don't you dare attack our village, demon!" The woman exclaimed as she tried to steady her aim. It didn't seem to work though. The man beside her brandished his weapon, which I realized was a paring knife, not a dagger, but was just as unthreatening as her. "J-just turn away and go back where you came from!" No, I couldn't do that. I came from another place that isn't reachable, so I have to just move forward. They wouldn't understand that. For some reason, they could tell I wasn't human though. Why is that?

"All Demons release an aura of demonic energy. You are no different. They can likely feel it, even as weak as they are. You aren't repressing it at all, so it is obvious to anyone looking for it, and even those who aren't." Oh… a demonic aura, huh? What was that? I looked at the floor and saw that the woman had shot the bolt from the crossbow, but missed him. As she saw that, her eyes widened and she dropped the weapon. I stepped forward and reached down to pick up the bolt. As I approached, the man leapt forward with his makeshift weapon.

He was terrified, so it wasn't difficult to dodge his attack. He tripped over his own feet and I widened my eyes when the snow became red. Did he accidentally stab himself when he fell? I heard snow crunching and turned, watching as the woman ran away into the forest. I had to ignore her for the moment. Turning the man over, I noticed that the knife was indeed inside of him. Grabbing the handle, I pulled it out of his shoulder. Wasn't there something that the Scholar told me about that would be useful here? Right. "Analyze." I spoke softly while focusing on the wound. The man didn't put up a fight. I don't think he could if he wanted to.

As I spoke the command, suddenly I knew things I didn't know before. I understood where the injury had affected, how much blood he had lost and how severe the injury was. While I didn't know too much about the intricacies of anatomy, I did have an idea. Holding my hands over the wound, I focused on lowering the temperature of the wound and watched as the blood flow slowed down. "Skill: [Lower Temperature] Acquired."

The man regarded me with surprise after he realized what I did. Taking the knife in my hand, I cut a piece of the man's sleeve off and tied it around the wound, stemming the flow further. It wasn't a solution, but it would give him time to return to his village. "Why… why would you try and help me?" He wondered.

"I don't dislike humans. In fact, I like them. I didn't want you to get hurt and I feel like it's my fault for scaring you. Unfortunately, I don't know how to hide my aura." Was that believable? I hope it was. "I don't know any healing though, so I could only slow down the blood for now. Is there someone in the village that can help you?" The man paused but nodded.

"We have a midwife that know healing magic." After a moment, the man bowed his head. "I have to apologize for the behavior of my daughter and myself. I know that some demons aren't evil, but we've been raided recently by a group of trolls and were on edge." I helped the man to stand. "Ana, you can come out." At his beckoning, the other person peeked out of the forest before returning. As I got a better look at them, I noticed that the man was probably in his forties. Ana, the girl, seemed to be about 14 or 15. "I'm Gustavus Ivanov and this is my daughter, Anastasia."

"Has someone already named you?" Anastasia asked me. What did that mean?

"In this world, demons don't have names. All demons are capable of understanding who is talking to whom, so names are unnecessary. They are given names by individuals with strong magical essence as a sign of respect and it is understood the named demon will be loyal to the namer given it shares an amount of power of the stronger with the weaker." That was interesting actually. Hm… its probably best to blend in, if that's the case.

"No, I don't have a name." I replied. This seemed to make Gustavus ponder something, but he didn't speak. "That said, we should get you to the village. Which direction is it?" Gustavus held up a hand. "You need to do something first."

"Aye, I can hold out a little longer. For now, it wouldn't do for you to go around naked." Only then did I realize that I was, in fact, still nude. Gustavus motioned me towards one of the tents he had set up before pointing to some clothes hanging over the top of it. "Go ahead and use those. They should do until you can get your hands on something nicer." I nodded, thanking him before quickly putting them on. "Now, I'm not sure how well I'll be able to move. I already needed a staff just to walk before this, but the village is quite a ways off. Would you please accompany Ana to the village and back? I don't want her to get attacked and it would be quicker to bring the healer here than to bring me there, I fear."

"Are you sure?" I wondered. He didn't seem capable of defending himself. Shouldn't I stay with him in the case of defending the weaker of the two humans? Well, he asked me to go with Ana and I don't see a reason to upset him after he was already injured, so I agreed after he insisted. "Okay, we'll be back as soon as we can."

Anastasia led me into the forest and was quiet for a time until we were several minutes away from her father. "You're really not going to attack our village?" She wondered. I shook my head. "I'm sorry for shooting at you. I didn't want to, because you looked human. You just have this aura that feels… it makes the trolls that have been attacking us seem weak."

"Can you still feel my aura then?" Ana nodded. I wonder, how do I turn it off?

"You cannot turn it off. There are ways to suppress is though. One way is to draw your magical essence into your stomach and condense it into a smaller, though denser, area. Normal humans will be less likely to sense you, though sensory magic will pick you up easier." The Scholar was really helpful. I tried what it told me, pulling the energy I used to control the snow and winds inside of me. With some trouble, I got what I thought was all of it inside my stomach and forced it to curl into a ball.

Given Anastasia looked at me with wide eyes, I imagine that it worked. "You can't feel me anymore?" She shook her head. "I'm glad that worked then. I don't want to scare the other villagers, after all. What were you two out here doing, anyways?" Anastasia perked up, smiling.

"I was helping Father hunt. One day, I want to leave this village and see the world, so he was teaching me to protect myself." Clenching her fists, she sighed. "Today, I saw that I'm not nearly strong enough to do that. I can't even protect Father. I ran away when he was hurt. How can I protect myself if I was in a situation like that alone?" Hm… what should I say in this sort of situation?

"Why do you want to leave?" I asked. It was a fair question that deserved an answer. At least, I imagine that it did when coming from a stranger. Ana was silent for a moment before she answered.

"The trolls aren't the first ones to raid our village. We just don't have any strong heroes in our village left after Zakariah left to join the Freedom Association. I want to be strong enough that I can learn magic and then set up a barrier around the village so it will be protected even if I'm no longer around. I want to see the world too. I know there has to be more than just snow and trees." She grinned at that point. "I'll go on a bunch of adventures and make a name for myself as a great hero and then come back to Volga. Then I can turn it from a small village into a proper city with everything I've learned."

"That's quite the ambition, you know." I remarked. "Are you sure you can do so much? Wouldn't it be simpler to have just one of those dreams? You want to become a renowned hero and create a city-state within your lifetime?" Ana shook her head.

"I'll do it. There's no need to worry about time or resources. I'll make sure I do it no matter what." She spoke with such surety that I had no choice but to nod my head. This girl knew what she wanted in life and nothing was going to stop her. I think she would definitely be interesting, at the very least. We had been so caught up in conversation that I didn't notice when we arrived.

There was no wall as we entered. There wasn't even a palisade. It really bothered me for some reason. The buildings were made from wood, but there weren't many of them. I counted fourteen in total. Some of them had smoke rising from chimneys, others didn't. Ana led me to one of the buildings, knocking on it with some urgency. It was opened by a woman who was older than Ana, but not by much. "Aria, father was hurt while we were out on a hunt. Can you come with us?"

The woman, Aria, appeared to be in her mid-twenties and had blonde hair that fell over her shoulders, with a pair of piercing blue eyes. She wore a fur-lined cloak over a thick, blue dress with long sleeves and a pair of matching shoes of a material that I didn't recognize. Around her neck was a silver necklace adorned with a cross, a small red gemstone set in the center. I think it was a ruby. Hanging from the belt around her waist were several pouches as well as a long dagger of some type that measured eight or fourteen inches if I had to take a guess. Was that a seax? Strange.

"Of course, Ana. Who is this though?" She wondered as we began our trek back. Aria didn't waste a moment, but was still curious enough to wonder. Ana paused a moment, trying to think of a way to answer. It probably didn't help that I had no name to give.

"I am a Yuki-Onna." I explained as we traversed the forest once again. "It was my fault that Gustavus was hurt, so I patched him up the best I could. I don't know anything about healing though. That's why we came to get you." Aria took the information in stride, nodding.

"So, you're a demon but didn't kill out hunters upon meeting them. I'm happy that there are benevolent demons in this part of the world. What are you doing in this area, though?" Ana seemed interested as well, so I answered.

"I was traveling around. I wanted to see what there was in the area, and that's it. There's nothing in my part of the continent except for snow as far as the eye can see. I don't really have a reason why I came this way in particular except that it was the first settlement that I came across." Aria and Ana seemed surprised that it was something as trivial as me taking a walk that made things end up like this. It was more complicated than that, truthfully, but they didn't need to know.

We finally reached the camp once more to find Gustavus gripping his shoulder, but otherwise okay. Quickly, we made our way to the place where he sat. Aria instructed him to move his hand before removing the cloth that was bound around his shoulder. Taking a look at the wound, she nodded to herself before placing her hands over the wound. "[Heal]." She commanded as some sort of light-green energy surrounded her palms. It seeped into his wound and I could only watch as it patched itself up. That looked really useful.

"I don't really know the specifics of what happened, but try to be more careful, Gustavus." The man nodded as he rubbed his shoulder. "As for you, what do you intend to do?" She asked me. What did I intend to do? What did I intend to do, actually? I thought a moment about everything I had heard up until that point before making a decision.

"I don't really have anything else to do, so I think I'll help Volga get rid of their troll problems. I'm not sure what I'll do after that, but I should be able to do at least that." All three of the humans looked at me with some measure of shock. "Did I say something weird?" I couldn't help but wonder.

"Why would you help us like that?" Aria asked the question I think the other two wanted to. Were my kind really so bad that me deciding to help was so odd? At this point, I was mostly doing it because there was nothing else to do and it would help me get some experience with my powers. Wasn't this like a tutorial quest? Protect the small village from some low-level monsters before you can get farther into the world.

"I suppose… it's because I feel like it." I state after some time. "I like humans and I don't think that the trolls should be allowed to take what isn't theirs. This is the least I can do for hurting Gustavus and receiving these clothes." The man shook his head.

"No, that's too much to ask of you. We surely can't do something like that without giving you something in return. There's absolutely no way!" Oh, so was it a matter of pride then? Hm…. Oh, I know. Why don't I just do that?

"Then why don't we make a trade?" I ask. The others look at me. "I'll take care of the trolls, and in exchange I want Aria to teach me some healing magic. All I have is winter magic, but being able to heal myself and others would be really helpful." Aria nodded her head.

"I can do that much. If it would help the village, I will gladly teach you some of my magic. Thank you… hm… did you have a name?" She wondered. I shook my head and she chuckled, but didn't say anything regarding it. "I don't have nearly enough magic to give you one either. Still, I appreciate what you are doing." I couldn't help but smile.

"Aria, how far away can your healing work?" I wondered. If I was going to do this quest, it wasn't going to be half-cocked. Even if it was a dream, why should I be lazy about it? "It is not a dream. I already checked for that, I told you." The Scholar explained in exasperation.

"It is dramatically less effective the further from me I use it. However, I'd say that it is still effective at about 15 feet or so." Hm… I'd have to see what the layout I'm working with is before I do anything involving her. "Why do you ask, Yuki?"

"Yuki?" I wondered before realizing something. "Oh, since I don't have a name, calling me by a shortened version of my species is a way to refer to me. That works fine by me." She nodded at my assessment, showing I was correct. "Well, first I need to know where it is the trolls are located when they aren't raiding you. If I can get an idea of what their base looks like and where the good spots are, I'd like you to accompany me for support. I'll do all of the fighting, but having a healer around for the battle would be beneficial. I hope you aren't even necessary though."

"I suppose that makes sense. I know the rough area that they reside in thanks to my [Magic Sense], but I haven't actually tried to find their exact location. I don't think it should be a problem though. As long as you hide your presence then it should be fine for us to scout it out. It's about a three hour walk from the village though, so it's getting a little late to do it now." I looked up at the sky and saw that it was already past noon, if I was reading the sun's location correctly.

"Alright, we should head out first thing tomorrow then." I noted. Now… what do I do about a place to sleep tonight? The snow doesn't really affect me, so I could probably do something with it to make a shelter. It would be interesting to sleep in an igloo, if nothing else. "Are you alright to walk back to the village, Gustavus?" The man nodded. "Then I'll see all of you tomorrow. I'm not sure I can hide my aura like this while I sleep, so its best if I don't scare everyone the moment I close my eyes and drift off." While it looked like they might argue, they didn't. That's good, I don't know if I could have resisted the temptation of an actual bed. Still, I had made up my mind. As they left, I waved goodbye and started walking away. Now to find somewhere far away that I could sleep without alerting the rest of the villagers to my presence.

In the end, I had just flown what seemed to be several miles away, according to my map. It was far away from Volga and allowed me to release my aura. I used the rest of the day to build a house made of snow and then used [Deep Freeze] to turn it into ice, solidifying the structure. It wasn't anything big or fancy, just a shack with enough space for a bed. That bed was made of ice and filled with snow, then topped with snow so I had something soft to lay down on. Even then, it hadn't even taken twenty minutes to do all of that. What else was I supposed to do?

The only answer for that that I could find was to practice my newfound powers. If I knew I was going to be having my first fight in this world tomorrow, I needed to create some skills. With that mind, I spent a lot of time manipulating the snow and winds in every way I could think of, freezing both of them to use ice skills and then thinking of ways to make them even better. At one point I even created a target out of snow and began to use my [Cryokinesis] skill to throw arrows, knives and other projectiles at it. By the time the sun went down, I was more than ready to sleep. Hopefully it would be enough for tomorrow.

By the time Aria arrived at the campgrounds the next morning, I had already been waiting for around twenty minutes. To occupy myself, I had a frozen a ball of snow and manipulated the ice into different shapes. As she greeted me, I held a set of Newton balls made entirely out of ice. Dropping it and forcing it to return to its original form of powdered snow, I stood and greeted the girl. "I hope you slept well." I remarked to the blonde.

"I did, thank you. I'm more worried about you though. Where did you sleep? I didn't even feel your aura when I got back home. If you had slept here, I should have at least felt a but of it."

"Oh, I flew a few miles out so that no one would be bothered by my aura. I built a shack out in the snow and trained a bit so that I would be a better help today. That's not important though. Rather, where is there home located so that we can do our scouting?" Aria didn't seem to hear him as she looked at him, then at the sky. "Hello?"

"I'm sorry, but did you say fly? I don't see any wings on you." Was that really the most important part of what I said? Well, it wouldn't hurt to show her, I guess. Drawing in the winds around my feet, I used [Wind Levitation] to hover a few inches off the ground. "So you can use wind magic like that? Where did you learn that?"

"I created it myself." I explained. "As a Yuki-Otoko, I can control winter. Snow, ice, wind, hail; it's all the same to me." Aria's look of surprise slowly changed into a grin. "Did I say something odd?" I wondered.

"I don't think those brutes will see what's coming. Do you think it's possible we could just fly over there? It would be quicker and give us a better idea of where everything is." That actually was a pretty good idea. "If it's alright, I can just hop on your back, right?" I turned around and knelt down a bit so she could wrap her arms around my neck and stood, holding her legs on level with my waist. Slowly, I increased the strength of the wind until levitation became flight. It was a little odd flying with the extra weight, but it wasn't too much more work. That said, there was more than a little… distraction. I hadn't realized it when she suggested it, but I could easily feel all the softer parts of Aria press into my back as we moved. [Mental Shield], luckily, allowed me to keep my focus though.

After some time of following her directions, Aria pointed out an area of the taiga below us. I couldn't see anything past the trees, but trusted her judgement. Angling down, I slowly passed the canopies, several dozen leaves leaving their branches and circling around us. "Skill: [Leaf Cloak] Acquired." Thank you Scholar. I don't think that will ever be useful though. "That was not me. That was the [Voice of the World]." Huh? What's that? "The [Voice of the World] is something that everyone hears. It grants them knowledge of new skills and when they have reached certain milestones. I am the embodiment of your pursuit of knowledge. We are entirely separate and different." Oh, well that's certainly interesting. Hm… why does [Voice of the World] seem so familiar? Oh well, it's probably just my imagination.

As we moved lower, a certain odor reached my nose. Wrinkling my nose in disgust, I couldn't help but recall a time when I had to visit the city dump when I smelt it. This was far, far worse than that time though. It smelt like damp rot, manure and… something I think I could only describe as death. Where was some bleach when you needed it? "The chemical composition known as Bleach on your world does not currently exist in the Immovable Library. Further research is necessary before you have access to such a compound." Thank you, Scholar. I think I actually sighed in my thoughts just now. I didn't know that was possible.

Still, following the direction of the smell, I could see my targets. Three monsters, each standing above eight feet tall. They had grey faces with long snouts and large fangs in their mouths. Horns rose skyward on their foreheads and beady, black eyes were focused on what appeared to be a human corpse in front of them. Each of them was also covered in white fur on every inch of their body aside from their long faces and their sharp claws on both hands and feet. Their hands had opposable thumbs and each of them had a large branch beside them which they likely used as clubs. All in all, without a proper magician to defend them, I could see why the villagers of Volga gave in to their demands.

"Analyze." I spoke the command without emotion as I allowed [Mental Shield] to take over. Immediately, all sorts of information appeared in front of my eyes as if I was looking at a computer screen. Apparently, these were a type of frost troll known as Yeti and their favorite meal was meat, especially that of magically potent individuals. They were very strong, but lacked intelligence and speed, unless compared to that of an average human's ability to move. They were highly resistant to the cold and blades did little against their thick fur, but blunt damage would get through it. Fire magic was also an option. On top of that, they had the ability to rapidly heal themselves by diverting magic into health. It could even regenerate lost body parts. What to do, then? "Aria, you only have healing magic?"

She seemed surprised at the question, but shook her head. "I know [Heal], [Revitalize], [Purify], [Spark], [Fear] and [Magic Sense]. You've seen [Heal] already. [Revitalize] removes fatigue from others, [Purify] cures poisons and disease, [Spark] is a low-level electrical spell and [Fear] increases the feeling of fear in whoever I use it on, but they have to feel some fear already. Lastly is [Magic Sense], which lets me see the magic in an area. It's how I was able to track them down." Hm… those could be useful.

"Alright, I'll just need to think for a moment." I say as we sit on one of the higher branches and look down at the Yeti. "How powerful are they?" I ask. "Rather, how strong is their demonic aura?" Aria though about it a bit.

"[Magic Sense]." She whispered and looked at the Yeti, then back to me. "It's hard to compare, since all of your aura is condensed inside of yourself, but I think that they're pretty weak. The biggest problem with them is that they're physically strong and hard to kill unless you have fire magic. We don't have any of that. Actually, I should say that I don't. I'm the only one in Volga that can use magic since my brother left. He taught me what I know, but I was more interested in healing so I didn't learn much offensive magic. I thought he would always be there to protect me."

"If it wasn't for their fur, they'd be easier to kill, right?" I wondered. Aria nodded her head in the affirmative. There was a few ways to act from here, but the ultimate question was what I wanted to do. Looking over the information from my [Analysis], I tried to figure out what I could do. With a [Cold Resistance: 80%], there was little I could do in terms of what I had practiced last night. The fur would probably nullify any [Ice Arrow] or [Ice Blade] I tried to use as well.

Standing atop the branch, I looked down at the trio once more. "Do you sense any other Yeti in the area?" Aria shook her head. Good, I just had to make sure there wouldn't be any surprises after this started. Looking at the distance between us and them, I figured it was about ten feet. [Heal] should still be effective at this range then. "Okay, I think I know what I'm going to do. Just use [Heal] on me whenever it looks like I need it, okay?" She nodded.

"[Wind Blade]." Slashing two fingers through the air, I watched as the air was cut by an arc of wind. It slammed into the back of one of the Yeti even as I hit the ground and rolled. Looking at the injury, [Analyze] showed me that it was losing quite a bit of blood. Given the absurdness of the entire situation, the fact that [Analyze] also showed a health and magic value for the Yeti I just injured wasn't even that surreal. The health bar decreased a sizeable amount, but slowly began to increase as the magic bar decreased.

All three stood and looked at their miniscule attacker. "Who do you think you are, invading our territory?" One of the uninjured Yeti bellowed in a too human voice. That said, it was much louder than any person I'd ever heard before. All of them had their clubs in hand and stared down at me. "Oh, it looks like he might be a human from that village! So, you learned some magic and thought to fight us? It seems you picked up the wrong element!" Hm… so given I was restraining my aura so much did they think I'm just a normal human?

"I won't sit by as you attack the Volga time and time again." I responded. I should at least play along. If they fight as if I'm a human instead of another monster, perhaps they'll underestimate me? As one of them slammed his club at the ground in front of me, I used a [Wind Burst] to launch myself backwards. Snow flew everywhere and obscured all of our vision. Reaching out with my magic, I took control of it. "[Snow Arrow]. [Flash Freeze]. [Ice Arrow Barrage]." The snow formed arrows and quickly froze until I had around twenty ice arrows and launched them at the same Yeti I attacked before. Keeping one eye on his bars, I noted that his health hadn't fully recovered and the added damage forced his magic to decrease even more. It wasn't nearly enough though. That said, with twenty arrows lodged inside of his body, he was losing blood faster than it could regenerate. So, that's the trick.

A few more uses of [Wind Burst] kept me out of harm's way as I used [Wind Blade] and [Ice Arrow Barrage] to continue to damage the first Yeti. The other two didn't seem to care that their friend or brother or whatever he was seemed to actually be injured. Unfortunately, I found myself backed into a tree as the other two were both aiming strikes at me. "[Ice Wall]!" I shouted out in surprise. My fear actually broke through [Mental Shield] on that one… but I think it's understandable why. As the clubs hit the thick wall of crystalline ice, the Yeti were surprised when it didn't give way.

"[Ice Explosion]." I stated, my calm returning. The wall seemed to crack before it exploded towards the two Yeti. Several hundred shards of ice fired away from me and the bars associated with the other two both began to quickly drop as they were coated with more injuries than I could count. Given then projectiles were still inside of their body, the wounds couldn't completely close up. It seemed they were trying to heal themselves, but they were unable to realize why it wouldn't work.

The third Yeti tried to take this opportunity for a sneak attack, but I used a [Wind Burst] to move out of the way and behind the other two. They were still busy trying to claw at the shards stuck in their face. Seeing that those two were busy, my focus went to the third one once again. "[Ice Spear]." Three spears of snow rose and then flash froze. I sent them right at the one littered in arrows and pinned him to one of the trees by his right shoulder, left wrist and abdomen. The sound he released wasn't even something I could describe properly. Was it a guttural snarl of rage, a scream of pain or the air in his lungs escaping in his death throes? Either way, both his health and magic had been depleted.

The other two seemed to have recovered to a degree, though their faces were bleeding from several places and neither one seemed able to open their eyes beyond a squint. "You're going to die for that!" One of them exclaimed in the opposite direction that I stood. Glancing at the information on Yeti, I saw that their sense of smell wasn't actually that great. It was hardly more sensitive than that of a human, despite their snouts. I wonder why that was? Hm… regardless of that, I decided to end it.

"[Great Wind Blade]." Slashing the air, a blade of wind that was easily thrice the size of the other ones was generated and hit both of the Yeti. They shouted in pain as their backs were opened up in addition to the dozens of shards inside of their faces, torso and arms. Still, it wasn't quite enough if his [Analyze] was anything to go off of. Using the skill one last time, the snow was coated a deep red as they were bisected across the waist.

"Quest complete." I remarked numbly before sighing.