The knee high snow covered the mountain slope. The snow sipped into their shoes and pants as soon as they stepped on the slope. This didn’t stop despite tying up the bottom of their trousers like Aragorn did. To be honest, their armor and equipment weren’t suited for climbing a snowy mountain. It was fortunate that everyone here were much stronger than normal people. They could endure such cold for some time.
“I am envy of the Nightmare. It’s the best transportation tool in this environment of steep and icy slope.” Gungnir started joking Zheng after they formed an agreement.
Zheng seemed the most leisure among the group. The Nightmare prevented him from sinking into snow and no matter how steep the terrair was, nothing provided any obstacle to him. And so he leisurely patrolled around the group.
The others also looked at Zheng with envy which made him feel somewhat embarassed. So he had to keep himself running on the cliff.
“Hurry, guys! Come look at what I found!” Zheng suddenly yelled. Everyone looked at him nervously but they also gave him weird looks.
“Even though we want to go over but don’t you think that’s an impossible request?” Lan didn’t know whether she should laugh or feel mad.
Zheng was standing on another mountain. They would have to climb across several mountains to reach him. So the distance seemed close, no one else could go across.
Zheng realized this and yelled. “I found dead bodies here. Twelve of them. All frozen. Fortunately, the snow isn’t strong here and didn’t bury them.”
Gandalf replied. “They might be a group of herb gatherers. Snow lotuses grow on top of snowy mountains. Some wizards placed great bounties on this herb. However, due to the White Wolves, gatherers usually go in groups. These people probably died from a blizzard.”
Zheng’s face looked terrible. He had the Nightmare leap back to the group then said to the other players in a low voice. “They are wearing our clothes. The wounds are caused by blades!”
It took the veterans a few seconds to register what he just said. They all felt shocked. Similar clothes meant the identity of those people. Because the players either came from the real world or through God’s realm, they dressed differently than natives of this world. Their clothes alone could identify them.
“East America or team Celestial?” Gungnir frowned.
Neos shook his head. “It can’t be team Celestial. Even if all the leaders were to join team Celestial, they would only have ten or so people. There are twelve dead bodies here. If some of them are from team Celestial, then most are from team East America. However, it was almost impossible for two teams to randomly appear next to each other in such a large world. So I suspect that all twelve are members of team East America.”
“Why?” Most veterans asked.
“Why?” Neos had a sardonic smile. He brought out a piece of chocolate. “A lot of reasons. Like they didn’t like the newbies or they didn’t want other teams to get the points or an internal fight or the leader was a psychopath. There are too many reasons we can think of. But I’d rather it was due to an internal fight that caused them to kill each other.”
Xuan nodded. “That’s best for our interest. Examine the bodies again, Zheng. And bring four or five back. I need ones where the fatal wounds were different.”
Zheng nodded. In just a few minutes, he leaped back with four bodies. Gandalf and the other movie characters stopped after seeing Zheng brought back the dead bodies. Several of them also grouped up by the bodies.
“Cut. This is caused by a sharp rounded or exotic shaped blade. This wound is from a spear. The spear pierced through the chest. The four bodies are killed by two weapons.” Aragorn said after examining the bodies.
The veterans weren’t as knowledgeable with weapons as Aragorn who had undergone systematic training. Even Boromir came to a similar conclusion and confirmed the cause of deaths.
“Eight other bodies had the same wounds. There is only one exception. A girl’s head is gone and it’s no where to be found.” Zheng let out a deep breath.
Their expressions changed. Neos looked blue. He snapped a piece of chocolate and said. “This is unfortunate. We better hope we don’t get into battle against team East America. Or most of us will die. These deaths weren’t due to internal fight but the veterans killed all the newbies. They have many more newbies than every of our teams. I suspect that all twelve are newbies. Which means God rates a team with only three veterans stronger than any of our teams. So those three people are unfathomably strong.”
The three continued their path with unease. As they climbed up the mountain, the snow was getting thicker and thicker. They also encountered several herds of White Wolves. Maybe it was due to the number of people in the group or the White Wolves could sense their danger, they didn’t attack this group and avoided them from the distance.
The slope gradually increased and a blizzard was forming. Everyone kept themselves close to the cliff and advanced carefully. Zheng was the only one who wasn’t affected. However, the group had gotten slower and slower.
(Don’t know if we can climb over this mountain. I can actually carry two people against at a time. If we don’t go through Moria, will that change the plot and obtain large amount of points and rewards?)
Zheng looked at the blizzard then at the people below climbing ever so slowly. The snow had gotten to their waist by this point. The dwarves and Hobbits would be in danger if it got any higher.
Just then, a majestic and solemn voice sounded through the sky. It was the voice of an old man chanting a spell. The pronunciation was difficult to follow but it fellowed a certain melody.
“That’s Saruman!” Gandalf shouted. The chanting was getting clearer and clearer after the shout. It echoed through Caradhras like the voice of a god or giant.
The blizzard intensified as the chanting continued. The Nightmare hummed as though it feared the chanting. Gandalf immediately chanted a spell. Ten seconds later, he finished the spell first.
Gimli asked. “Did you win? That wizard isn’t a match for you right?”
“No. He’s the chief of wizards. He’s much more powerful than me. I hope my barrier can hold against his magic. I can only pray.” Gandalf said. He raised his staff and shouted. “Come to me, Zheng!”
Lightning struck less than a hundred meters near him and blasted the ground. Then the second, and third strikes of lightning came down like pouring rain. Zheng was scared and immediately jumped to Gandalf. When the lightnings struck the group, a translucent barrier blocked them off. Explosions happened on the barrier. It wavered but persisted.
Everyone gazed up. The lightnings had spanned over the whole mountain top. Each meter thick lightning was followed by thunderous explosions. They felt that their eyes were blinded in this shower of lightnings. Gandalf gave all he had to keep the barrier up. If the lightnings were concentrated on their area instead of spanning over the mountain top, they would all die here even with Gandalf protecting them.
With one last lightning strike, the hellous scenery came to an end. The people in the group finally dared to open their eyes. The road on the mountain had been buried by snow and rocks. The barrier only protected what was inside. There was no more road for them to climb up. The only path left was leading down the cliff.
The lightning cleansed an area with a diameter of several thousand meters.