Chapter 99:

To The Mountains

A Terrible Evil Villain And Their Destiny

“Children, your father has a very important job for you all.” Duchess Coldwater announced.

The entire Coldwater family, or at least those still residing in the manor were all gathered together inside of Duke Coldwater’s main office. The parents had gathered their children to report some sort of undertaking.

Duke Coldwater from his desk began to speak in his usual low commanding voice, “I have a few tasks for you all to complete.”

“What is it father?” Gilles asked excitedly, “Is it dangerous?”

“Potentially.” Duke Coldwater said with a nod.

“Awesome. It’s been so long since I’ve had a good fight.” Gilles said practically shaking.

“Settle down.” Duke Coldwater said sternly and immediately Gilles shrank back.

Bryson understood why Gilles was acting like this however, Gilles was soon to turn fifteen and very soon afterwards he was planning to leave and enlist as an adventurer. But all he had shown recently of his capabilities was losing in that tournament a couple of months ago. He was itching to make a statement.

“Out west we have a yeti situation. It woke up from hibernation. Whoever takes this job is to hunt it down and make yourself a new winter coat.” Duke Coldwater said reading a piece of paper that the head butler Phillip handed him.

Bryson was taken by surprise; yetis were rare powerful beasts that likely originated from the contaminated zones. They lived in the cold and those who lived in areas where it went above freezing temperatures during certain seasons often went into a type of hibernation.

That winter coat statement wasn’t actually just for effect. Yeti fur was very tough and had amazing resistance to cold. Both magic and non-magic and was coveted for its high quality.

“Father I would like to take that job.” Gilles said far more conserved.

“I’m not finished, there are two other tasks I need completed.” Duke Coldwater said giving Gilles one last warning look. Immediately Gilles quieted down.

“The next job is simply recruiting.” Duke Coldwater continued after a moment, “The King has requested to start another recruitment drive for potential Royal Guard members. One of you will be responsible for finding potential candidates in Wrabuth to apply.”

I suppose it is that time of the year. Bryson thought. Every year around the first month of summer recruitment drives in Wrabuth occur to join the Royal Guard. The recruits train and past the requirements and then travel to the capital of the kingdom, Ustrin to complete their training.

“This will be a multiple month-long task for whoever to accept.” Duke Coldwater warned.

Gilles looked immediately far less interested at the prospect of a multi-month project. Sable on the other hand perked up a bit.

“Finally the last job is to go to the mountains northwest from here to help the local villages.” Duke Coldwater said.

Gilles somehow seemed even more bored at that proposal. Sure it was boring to find recruits, but at least they're meant to be trained into elite fighters. Saving a village in the frigid cold mountain during summer? Now that was unappealing.

“It should be noted that the village has recently been under attack by what they report to be an ice dragon.” Duke Coldwater added, which caught all their attention.

“An ice dragon?” Bryson cautiously asked.

“That is what they claim.” Duke Coldwater said with a small nod.

“I’ll go! I volunteer.” Gilles said enthusiastically, “I’mma fight that dragon!”

“Now the task is not to necessarily fight the dragon dear.” Duchess Coldwater said as she sat on the side, “Just simply to help the villagers.”

“I’ll solve their issues by taking out the dragon.” Gilles said boastfully.

“Dragons are not to be taken lightly.” Duke Coldwater warned, “Even if it turns out to be an adolescent one.”

“Of course father, I would complete the quest with my utmost attention.” Gilles said with a bow.

“I repeat. That is not necessarily the requirement. We do not know if it is a dragon or some other creature. As long as you aid the villagers that is fine.” Duke Coldwater said before adding, “But if you are able to deal with the root of the cause, I will be impressed.”

“I accept the quest father.” Gilles said stepping forward.

“Wait until I mention the caveats for all tasks.”

“Yes father.” Gilles said getting angsty to start his dragon hunt.

“For the recruitment drive, you will have as much aid as required from both your mother and I as needed. It will be part of your responsibility to discern who is deserving to be sent to the capital.” Duke Coldwater explained.

Watching his children’s expressions he continued, “The yeti hunt will be mainly individual. I will be sending someone to watch over you in case things do go awry. But you are to kill the yeti.”

Honestly I’m not the biggest fan of either of those. Actually, I’m not a fan of the dragon either. In fact the dragon is the worst. I do not want to take the dragon job. Bryson already decided as he waited to hear about the dragon quest.

“With the final task being the most dangerous and located the furthest away, you will have a team to support you. The volunteers have already been picked. You will have to work and listen to them.” Duke Coldwater warned.

“I can’t pick my own?” Gilles asked.

“No. The selected team is final.” Duke Coldwater said as he placed a sheet of paper atop the desk, “These are the members of the group.”

Gilles barely bothered to look at the sheet while both Sable and Bryson took a cursory glance at it. Bryson blinked once as he read a name on the sheet.

Bryson immediately stepped forward in front of the desk and grabbed the piece of paper. Blinking once he read the name again. Glancing upwards from the paper he looked at his father. Florence Marsh.

Bryson was left with a sour taste in his mouth. He did not like the thought of Gilles of all people leading the charge to try and kill a dragon. Nor was he a fan of the idea of how Florence would behave in that situation. In fact, he had no clue how she would even.

Damn it. Bryson cursed internally, “I volunteer.” Bryson said immediately. Catching everyone by surprise.

“What? No way! I called it first.” Gilles argued.

“You want a fight, go take the yeti. This is simply an aid mission.” Bryson said gazing cooly at Gilles.

“Fighting the dragon is an option.” Gilles said glaring back.

“You think the team that father chose would allow us to fight a dragon?”

“You think father wouldn’t at least allow an attempt? You think we don’t have methods?”

“What would that achieve?” Bryson snapped as the two stared each other down.

“Enough.” Duke Coldwater’s deep voice boomed. Bryson and Gilles both cautiously looked over to him. Each of them took a reluctant step away from each other.

“Bryson is correct. I do not expect you to fight the dragon. Nor do I recommend it. Though the team is equipped to deal with the dragon in case one does.” Duke Coldwater said slowly, “This is still however an important task to complete with whatever method you choose to resolve it with.”

Duke Coldwater paused and looked at his two sons for a moment. Pondering he then looked to his wife, “Lilith, what is your opinion?”

Duchess Coldwater who had been silently watching on the sidelines with her daughter had a thoughtful look on her face. She slowly walked over to the desk and picked up the sheet of paper with names.

Her eyes focused on one name. Florence Marsh, the insanely strong and clever girl that Bryson brought over a year ago. A mischievous smile appeared on her face as she made a connection to Bryson’s want to volunteer.

“I think give it to Bryson.” Duchess Coldwater decided.

“What? But mother!” Gilles complained. “Now Gilles, I know you are interested in testing your blade. But don’t forget it will not be you doing most of the work. It will be the specially created team doing most of the work.” Duchess Coldwater said, “It would be a far more accurate test if you defeat the yeti.”

“But-” Gilles began but was immediately silenced with one look from his mother, “Yes mother.” He grumbled.

“I’ll take the recruitment job.” Sable said quietly.

“Very well. Gilles you will hunt this yeti down. Bryson, I leave the mountain villagers to you, protect yourself.” Duke Coldwater declared.

“Yes father.” All of them said in unison.

Ice dragon. Great. What did I get myself into? Bryson lamented.