Chapter 4:

The Abominable Snowmen in Training

Magic and the Black Cloaks

"You have to be kidding me? You hate me, don't you? You really have to hate my guts that much because I went slightly off-mission ONCE!"

Winter was currently in an office receiving a new assignment from the head of the school who was also a general in the army. They sat a little high in the food chain and were the prime candidate to dictate how to train the kids in this school, well no. They're young adults at some point or another.

Most of them are about to turn twenty or are even older than that. After all, this place practically came as a military institution first then a school second. It's just so happened they specialized in refining young talents but, Winter's first mission was such a smash success, that the general here decided to lend him a new mission.

"Listen, scouting the North isn't that hard, besides, we have predictions that the Breidalians are scouting in search for a relic, we don't want that thing ever being found again. It's the exact reason we stole it away in the cold regions on Ruina."

Mountains, valleys, snow, storms, and monsters. The region was super dangerous in every way possible, even in the summer months it was still a bitch to traverse and that's when it's at its lowest.

At the moment, it was about Autumn so it's not as bad as complete Winter but still, it's gonna be horrible for people like Winter.

His name was Ironic in that sense, he was born down South in the Rali continent, everyone that was native to the continent was born with brown skin to protect against the heat of the sun. The cold wasn't his strong suit but he was glad about what he was told next.

"Don't worry about the cold. We'll be equipping you with the basic magic resistant monster spider silk cloak, it'll be dyed white just for extra convenience, we've cast warming spells on them so that chill won't bother you as much. Your uniforms will still be a bit heavy to keep you warm. We're not asking you to destroy their force, we're asking you to become abominable snowmen, protectors of the Ruina relic."

That slimmed down what they had to do, now, he just needed to see what the enemy might be working with. Winter finally accepted the offer seeing as this wasn't going to be near as rattling as he thought.

The enemy would be coming with about a single platoon's worth of soldiers. It was reported they probably wouldn't be bringing anything massive as the North would freeze it before long. They would be moving with just soldiers, this was an expedition to find a relic, they weren't thinking of waging war up here but if push comes to shove, they would.

The North, as challenging as it is, can be mounted and led through in the Summer, that is if you're brave enough to try and lose thousands of soldiers. Trying to defend such a position was just as hard as trying to attack through so both sides had come to the silent agreement that it'd be best if they both left it alone.

But, when Winter returned to his class and shared the news with them, they obviously weren't happy with their newfound positions of fighting in the grueling North. Simply no one would be, except those crazy ice freaks that live up there.

There was a legend of people actually living and surviving up there, they've been there so long that they've bridged the gap between human and monster even more so that the so-called demons.

But that was just a story... probably.

"Why is our first mission something as weird as a Night Raid now we're heading to the North? What type of special operations team do they think we are?" The Earth Magic Specialist in their class, Ash Lovelock, hung her head as she was a mix of Rali and Imperial blood but mostly raised in Rali.

So, you could say she wasn't one for the cold either.

"I have no problems with it, actually, this could be fun in a way?" Chisai had come in with a positive outlook on the matter, "Think about it people, this is the one time we can actually have some fun and just scare the hell out of some Breidalian idiots!"

"She's right, if we wanted to, we could solve this entirely by just making them want to call off their expedition. We just have to scare the daylights out of them." Winter looked up to Erwin who wasn't as smug looking as normal, "Aw? Does something have you down, Erwin?"

Winter already knew what it was.

Because of how far the North was and the magic produced by the storms, he'd have to be a lot closer than he'd normally have to be. He'd just be staying at a base within the Northern region but that meant he still had to face the consequences of the whether.

You could say the class got a good laugh out of this seeing as how much he was silently gloating about not having to actually fight with the rest of them in their Night Raid.

"When do we leave for this?" There was Akari throwing in her question.

She didn't seem concerned with the prospect of going to the North at all, it was probably because of her powers. She can completely control fire so warming herself up was children's play for her, it was almost unfair in a way.

"We should be leaving by this weekend. We'll make our way to the North by train, the base we'll temporarily be staying at as set up a location in a cave using Earth Magic, we'll bring our things there and live out of there for a while. This mission will probably be around a week or so, we'll be out there for some time."

It almost seemed he was implying they wouldn't be taking showers. But, when it's that cold out, there's not much room for sweat on your body anyway but if someone was feeling dirty, they could always use some Water Magic.

Though getting wet in the North is basically a death wish even if they were staying in a cave...

They would just have to see their arrangements once they got out there.

Their weekends began much sooner than most people would've liked. The day-long train ride was fun to some and horribly boring to others, but if one thing was certain, after a certain point, things got cold.

When they got to their base, Winter went off to talk to the Major running the joint. It wasn't a long conversation but it was confirmed they'd be leaving at the crack of dawn and reports of medium snowfall would work out in their favor.

A good night of rest, and the 102nd Special Student Magic Company was waving through snow with their puffier snow uniforms on.

They were given thick white masks and snow goggles, puffy coats, and gloves that were a bit thicker than the usual ones. They were wearing two pairs of pants with the ones underneath having heating spells cast on them, the pants above were classic winter pants with their belts being the basic magic utility belts. Attached to those belts were two ice picks just in case climbing had to be done.

Snow boots were given and they even had backpacks on at the moment under their special snow cloaks.

"You know, this isn't as bad as I thought it would be?" Akari whispered to herself but she was walking next to Winter so he was bound to say something.

"Yeah, you're the Fire Queen, there's no way this cold was gonna bother you." Winter tossed a thumb to the people behind them and yeah, they looked pretty cold still.

"She's right though, it isn't that bad!"

The Empire was a pretty cold nation so pure Imperials we're going to have it better than the demons, Ralians, and the single Demonican.

Sakura was a prime example of this as she was still shivering even with all this warmth around her.

"Sp- speak for yourselves...!" Sakura spoke with a deep sigh right after, she really wasn't rocking with any of this.

It didn't help that they were currently walking through the mountain regions, hence why they were also given ice picks.

"I hope you remember that mountain climbing training you took, you're about to need it."

They are forced to take more treacherous paths as walking through the main clearing not only warranted monster attacks but also might give them away.

They kept going farther and farther, directions from the Receptionist were spotty sometimes but communication wasn't all too bad yet. During a storm, it might be gone completely.

"Up this... and... should be a... just to the Northwest on the bac-"

"Got it." Winter understood, for the most part, he turned to his students, "Once up this, we'll only be walking a bit further behind the mountain, that's where we find our hideout! We won't be climbing with ropes, if you fall and you don't feel wind catching you, you better save yourself!"

Winter pulled off his ice picks and did a pretty high jump upward and stabbed into the half-rock half-ice cliff face. He had used the wind to propel up and could honestly just shoot himself to the top but that would be too unfair since everyone else had to climb.

His students were even skilled enough to make it up the cliff without incident, nothing was lost and no one was hurt. Not even Amiya, who seemed weak at first, had trouble keeping up with her classmates.

But, when they got to the top, they stopped to take in the beautifully deadly snowscape.

"I almost wanna curse at how good this looks but then it might just throw an avalanche at us." Sakura was the first to start walking after ushering Winter to start moving.

"I almost wish I was there."

Erwin said with a little bit of envy, his holographic screens didn't convey as good as human eyes so he was jealous he couldn't get a good feel of how it looked.

"Trust me, you don't wish you were here, your little Receptionist bones would freeze from the inside out," Ash said getting a chuckle out of everyone except Erwin.

"This is why I hope you freeze first."

Erwin was bitter about the comment.

"Alright, settle down," Winter said as they came into view of where they would be staying, before he could say anything else, a Rabbit Demon bolted off into the cave which was certainly going to be warmer than the outside.

"Okay, everyone just follow her." Akari couldn't help but facepalm at how impulsive Sakura just was.

But, with everyone in the cave, it was big enough to fit all 21 of them but no rooms.

"Hm, it seems fine. Everyone rest for now! In ten minutes, me and Akari will go scouting, none of you are to leave this place until we get back, if we aren't back by nightfall, Chisai and Ash will be first and second."

Winter, just like everyone else, started to unpack their stuff. Most of what their backpacks were filled with was food.

A sleeping bag, and a few other basic necessities. Nothing personal or big was taken or else they would be yelled at and forced to ditch it.

Sleeping arrangements were however the students saw fit. As long as no funny business happened, Winter didn't care. Although Winter, as the Major, and Akari as his second hand, they slept just barely away from everyone else together.

With their ten minutes up, both of them put their gear back on and felt way lighter thanks to not having those obnoxiously heavy backpacks on. They went to the entrance meaning it was time to brave the wilderness and find their enemy before they could get what they want.

This was surely going to be a tough ride...