Chapter 4:

Chapter 04 Beginning of a Journey

Content of the Magic Box

 Each wheeler seats two people and has trunk storage for supplies and items, which have already been taken care of by the guys who brought them here. Jacob inspects them one by one to see if there are any problems or anything missing. It's going to be a two-day trip at least, and he doesn't want to go short on magic items and supplies. One wheeler's trunk is empty, so they can carry unconscious Suzuka. Jacob picked her up and laid her down on the wheeler's trunk. 

Before leaving he tells his men an inspiring speech to boost morale.

 "My fellow adventurers, I know that we have been through many battles, and the road ahead is treacherous. But we cannot let fear overcome us. We cannot let the unknown hold us back. We have a goal, and we will achieve it.

I am not asking you to fight for me, I am asking you to fight for yourselves. Fight for the joy of victory, fight for the excitement of adventure, fight for the reward of gold and the pleasure of women.

In two weeks, we will have completed this mission. And we will be rewarded for our bravery, our strength, and our resilience. But in order to achieve that, we must hold the line, we must stand together, and we must be prepared for anything.

I have faith in each and every one of you. I know that you are capable of greatness, of achieving the impossible, and of overcoming any obstacle. Let us not be defeated by our doubts and fears, let us rise above them and become legends.

So, my fellow warriors, let us charge into battle with confidence, courage, and with determination. Let us show the world what we are made of. And when we return victorious, we will drink our beloved apple wine, spend our gold, and enjoy the company of women. But until then, let us fight!"

After Jacob stopped talking, his men let out a battle cry and started to pack their things to leave for the journey. Once everything was set, Jacob told them to head out while taking the lead. However, they will not leave the city's protected grounds until morning. Jacob has a good spot to spend the night without anyone seeing them. After thirty minutes on the road, they finally reached Jacob's hideout for the night, which is just a large cave in a small forest close to a mountain.

Derrick gets off of the wheeler and starts to walk around, checking the area and cave. Jacob tells his men to move everything inside the cave and build a camp there. In a few minutes, everything has been moved to the cave, and the only one remaining outside is Jacob. He crouched down, placed both hands on the ground, and started to use his earth magic to scan the area around him for any potential threats. 

After several minutes of scanning, he thinks to himself, "Good, there are no enemies nearby, and no one is following us. Only some small animals are lurking around, but as long as we stay in the cave, it's nothing serious."

Jacob turns around and goes to the cave entrance to check on the progress of setting up camp. After making sure everything is done, he starts to build up mana and use his earth magic. Slowly raising both arms, as if lifting something heavy, a huge structure made of hard dirt rises from the ground, completely covering the cave entrance and sealing them inside.

 After closing the entrance to the cave, Jacob goes to find a spot to rest until morning. Suzuka is left sleeping inside the trunk of the four-wheeler until morning comes. Derrick sets up his bedroll close to the four-wheeler where Suzuka is, to keep an eye on her because Jacob forgot to ask Antonio how long the medicine would last, and they are unsure how long the sleeping medicine will work. Derrick assumes it will last until morning, but he wants to be sure, so he keeps watch over her until then.

Other adventurers gathered around the campfire to get a drink and have some fun before a big job. Jacob sat down on the other side of the wheeler, where Derrick was, and pulled a bottle out of one of the wheeler's storage boxes. He had bought them from Antonio's apple ranch, where Jacob had met Antonio and offered him gold coins for the simple task of smuggling a random kid from around the city. Since Antonio's ranch was about to go under, he accepted the offer. 

Derrick heard Jacob was on the other side of the wheeler and decided to ask, "Say, Jacob, how did you convince Antonio to kidnap a kid? He didn't seem like the type to do something like that."

Jacob jumped at the sound of a voice, nearly dropping his beloved Melwyngold apple wine. After taking a few deep breaths to steady himself, he turned to Derrick and exclaimed, "For Melwyn's sweet wine! Man, I almost dropped my bottle. Only four left, you know." He collected himself and continued, "But hey, yeah! It wasn't that hard. So, it was like this: I went to his apple ranch to get my favorite wine. When Antonio brought me the bottle, I asked him why he had a long face. Then he explained to me the situation he was in. And oh boy! I was just thinking about how I would get you the sacrifice you needed, and bam! I told Antonio I'd give him gold coins if he got me a random kid."

Derrick cut in and interrupted Jacob, "So what? You just throw gold at his face and he was like, 'Hey, It's a deal?'. Somehow hard to believe, considering he's a city guard and they don't take just anybody."

Jacob took advantage of the interruption to take a swig from his bottle. After Derrick had finished asking his question, Jacob carried on talking about Antonio and the deal they had made. "What? Do you think I went up to him and said, 'Hey man, look, we need a kid so that we can use him as a food source for some beast? Here, take a couple of gold coins and go fetch me one.' No, I just told him we needed a volunteer kid for magic aptitude testing and we couldn't find one. Since the project is top secret, we can't go public to get volunteers, and after a week or so, we will return that kid back safe and sound."

While sitting with his eyes closed, Derrick asks Jacob. "Well, he didn't look stupid. He knew that kid is gone, so it means he was that desperate for gold, huh? Considering he went along with such a simple lie."

Jacob takes another sip out of the bottle and says to Derrick. "Derrick! Derrick, my boy! Woo hoo! A person who makes such godly wine is by no means an idiot enough to believe such a stupid lie. He's a man who knows what he needs to do for his family. According to him, his family borrowed money from some bad guys and his little brother got his finger cut off as a reminder when they were late to pay. But that's not all, the bad guys told Antonio that his little sister would get worse treatment than her brother if they were late for next week's pay. Oh, and guess what? He didn't have gold for them."

"So why didn't he just ask you to go and beat them up? You're a mage, it would have been an easy task for you."

"Come on Derrick, where's the fun in that... and besides, I can't just go and beat up people. Well, I could but that wouldn't have solved my problem, muahahaha!"

As he listened, Derrick let out a loud sigh and interrupted Jacob. "Ahhhaaa! So... desperate times call for desperate measures, huh? Well, not that I care! It's a good thing for me that there are people like that... it makes it easy to manipulate others. All I care about right now is that our experiment works out and this mission plays out safely. After I present all the research data obtained in this expedition, I'm going to finally get promoted and recognized for my work. How about you, Jacob?"

As Derrick continued to speak, Jacob casually finished off his bottle and then responded after a few moments. "Hey, my man Derrick! If we succeed, I'll be moving up from a rookie level five to an advanced level one in the hunters guild. But of course, that's a big if! Ha ha! Anyway, we should hit the hay and get some rest since we're starting our journey early tomorrow morning."

Derrick agreed with him and started to sleep, forgetting all about Suzuka who sleeps in a four-wheeler. Jacob puts down his empty bottle and lays down on the soft ground he made himself by using his power. One last time, before sleep, he scans the ground with his power to see if there are any new threats or pursuits but it seems like nothing much has changed since the last scan.

 Convinced it's safe, he decides to go to sleep, and not long after, he falls asleep. Six hours have passed since they entered the cave and because of the heat produced by the fireplace, the temperature started to rise inside the cave. Smoke that built up in the cave started to make it hard to breathe. Bugs from all over the corners started to move, making nasty sounds, and one spider landed on Jacob's face, waking him up. The moment Jacob felt a touch on his skin, he stabbed the spider with a throwing knife that was close to an empty bottle and started talking to himself.

"Oh wow! Now that's a big sucker! Good thing it's not poisonous. Hmm, I better do a scan since I'm awake to see if no problems showed up."

Jacob started scanning his surroundings, but there were no noticeable changes since the last scan. However, he did notice that bugs had started to move due to the increased heat inside the cave. He walked to where the cave entrance had once been and used his magic power to open a hole, letting in the fresh air. Through the hole, he saw that it was still dark outside. He then went to check on his men and ensure that everyone was okay. They were all asleep, so he went back to sleep himself. The next morning, the sun's light started to come into the cave through the holes that Jacob had made for fresh air. One by one, everyone started to wake up and pack their belongings for the journey, so they could leave at any moment. Derrick was the last to wake up and by that time, everyone else was ready to leave. 

Jacob walked over to Derrick and kicked his leg while saying. "Rise and shine! Everyone is waiting for you, let's go!"

Derrick opens his eyes without losing his cool and says, "I wasn't sleeping, I was just resting my eyes until your man finished packing."

After consulting with Derrick, Jacob approaches the sealed cave entrance and creates an opening for them to exit. He then returns to the four-wheeler where Suzuka is sleeping and checks on her before mounting the vehicle and following behind. Jacob directs his team to proceed in a straight line as the road ahead will be narrow. The first Magic-powered four-wheeler (MPFW), also known as an MPFW, is navigated by one adventurer using a map provided by Derrick. The second MPFW is manned by two adventurers, ready to provide support if any unexpected events occur. The third MPFW carries Jacob, Derrick, and Suzuka, who are still asleep, while the final MPFW is manned by two more adventurers who act as guards for the group.