They had to travel for around thirty minutes to get to the grazing area of the yaks. There were several encounters with yetis and other monsters along the way however with the three of them combined it was pretty easy to deal with them. Elunial could seal opponent movements with her ice magic even though the monsters resisted the ice damage. Then she was able to use martial arts to fight.
Once they arrived they could look at the field of scant grass which poked through through the thin snow in this area. There were quite a few yaks grazing in the area. Gardenia hadn’t expected the yaks to quite be so big.
“Can we really fight those?” Asked Gardenia.
“It is no problem. Fighting one on one can be rather tricky but with three of us there is no problem as long as we don’t right too many of them at the same time. Try to limit us to fighting one or two at a time. Any more and we might lose.”
“Then pull them with long range magic?” Asked Gardenia.
“Are you sure that is safe? There are like ten of them in pretty close proximity.” Said Oblivion Shadow. “If we mess up then we will be trampled to death.”
Elunial pointed to one side of the group of yaks. There were a few yaks a bit away from the others. “Those are the ones we want to aim for. I can pull them. Ice magic does not do much damage to them so they don’t worry as much about it. That way less yaks will be pulled. Although if you are afraid we can go elsewhere. There is another location about an hour away that had less yaks and is safer if you want to go there.”
Oblivion Shadow shook his head, “No, we can do this. Just don’t blame me when you mess up.”
They moved around the herd of yaks until they reached the back of the region. Then Elunial had Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow hid behind a nearby rock. With less noticeable threats less yaks would be aggroed.
Then Elunial cast a long range ice spell against one of the yaks. It hit one of the yaks which turned and looked at her. It then began to run at her. She pulled back a little, getting farther away from the other yaks. When the yak was about to attack her, Gardenia ran out from behind the rock and blocked the attack. It was strong but not as dangerous as the Boar King had been.
After that it was just a routine fight. Three against one was unfair against any normal enemy. The second pull managed to get two yaks which moved it. While it was a bit more difficult it was nothing that the three of them could not handled.
Their strategy was not the most efficient however. Against the yaks Elunial’s magic did not do much damage so the team didn’t have and good dps but with two control characters and a tank they were able do well enough. It made it easy for them to lockdown one of the yaks while killing the other one.
The plan almost worked flawlessly. However at the end the herd had three yaks. While they tried to only pull one or two of them the last three all noticed. The three of them all rushed in and Gardenia did her best to guard against all three of them. However the problem was that she couldn’t generate enough aggro against all three of them so Elunial had to solo one of them while Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow fought against two of them.
It was the most that Gardenia could do to protect against the two giant yaks. Luckily they didn’t seem too interested in the whole strategy thing so they were both in front of her rather than attempting to flank her. That made it a lot easier to defend against.
One issue that she hadn’t realized was that activating Inner Focus to cast her spells was a lot more difficult in tense situations then she thought it would be. If she couldn’t activate it correctly her healing spells ended up much weaker than normal. It was all she could do to keep her hp full, especially because she was trying to also keep an eye out on Elunial and provide her with healing it she needed.
Luckily Elunial was quite skilled at avoiding the attacks of the yak and Gardenia was mostly capable of just paying attention to her fight. Gardenia was occasionally able to use one of her sword arts but mostly she was just blocking. Eventually Oblivion Shadow managed to deal enough damage to kill them. While his burst dps was not the highest both of the yaks died at about the same time from the different degen spells he had cast on them.
About when Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow finished defeating their two yaks, Elunial was also almost down fighting her yak. There was a moment of rest and then Elunial said, “Good job. I’m going to finish gathering. You keep an eye out for anything while I finish. Then were can see if there are any other nearby yaks.
Oblivion Shadow had sat down and seemed to meditating so it was left to just Gardenia to keep watch. Mostly she just stared off into white snowy fields and deep ravines. There didn’t seem to be anything dangerous around which was probably why the yaks were grazing here.
Then she heard the roar. Louder and more threatening then anything she had heard before. She shivered and not because of the chill. There off, away from here was a dragon, it held onto one of the mountain ridges. Then it dove off and flew down, at the lowest point of its movement it grabbed a yak from off the ground and then flapped its wings again pulling itself back into the air. It then flew off toward on of the larger mountains near the edge of the zone.
Gardenia could only stare at it in amazement.
Oblivion Shadow had been knocked out of his meditation by the roar and was now standing by Gardenia. “That was a dragon wasn’t it.” He gulped, “That thing looks terrifying.”
“It looks like you saw it.” Said Elunial who was now there with them, “That dragon has recently made these peaks its home. One of the reason hunting yaks has been hard is because that creature is eating many of the yaks.”
Something tickled in Gardenia’s mind. She could hold back so she said, “I want to follow it.”
“It will kill you.There is no way we are strong enough to fight it.” Said Oblivion Shadow. Elunial nodded in agreement.
“I know that. I just…” She looked over at the mountain that the dragon headed toward. “I feel like I need to see it up close. I know this could well be me killed but I feel like I need to do it. Both of you should head back with the meat, I won’t ask you to go with me.”
Elunial shook her head in exasperation, “You wanderers are certainly weird. Wanting to go see a dragon. Very well, I will take the meat back to Spokog alone. If you get yourself killed then I will just see you there when you respawn. What about you Oblivion Shadow? Are you going to go see a dragon as well.”
“Death comes to us all in our time. No use avoiding it.” Was his response.
Gardenia could only say, “Thanks.”
“You two are really fools. However…” Elunial paused, like she was holding her breath. “Maybe that is the real difference. I see, very well, I will come with you. The master told me to learn from you and this might be the best way to do that. Just know that I am not planning on actually fighting a dragon but I will help you get there.”
With that decision the three of them headed out toward the mountain peak that the dragon had headed toward. It was a fairly long journey, pass through various different peaks of the zone. Elunial insisted on fighting the yaks along the way claiming that, “If we are going to take this long we might as well grab more meat along the way.”
The trek felt exhausting, although Gardenia could only feel that mildly it was still surprising how realistic it felt. Eventually the made it to one of the largest peaks in the zone. They could all feel the menacing aura of the mountain.
“That is strange.” Said Elunial as she knelt down looking at the ground. “It looks like somebody has been here very recently. I looks like you are not the only idiot planning on meeting a dragon.”
Gardenia moved up the Elunial and asked, “How can you tell, do you have some kind of tracking skill?”
“Nothing so special. But if you look at the snow you can tell if somebody had been through the area recently.” She pointed toward a path of depressed snow. “A group of people came through here and it was recently enough that the snow indents are very visible. After a few hours the trail vanishes so it was at most that long ago.”
“I never knew you could do that. Where did they come from, they didn’t came through the monastery did they?”
“No, there was no group that arrived before yours so if they took that route then they couldn’t have come from Spokog. They must have used a different route through the mountains, there are a bunch of those so that is definitely possible. Or there might be another entrance into the tunnels between nearby that they used. I haven’t heard of another entrance but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
“I’ve heard that some tunnel explorers are among the Wanderers.” Said Oblivion Shadow, “They travel through the tunnels in search of hidden areas. Some people claim that have found them and are just keeping the zones secret. Although more often you hear about them getting lost and then having to die to get back to a city. It is extremely dangerous to explore the tunnels.”
Gardenia could only nod in acceptance, she hadn’t really been interesting in wondering through the mysterious tunnels that connected zones. Whenever she had traveled through the tunnels it had always been on predefined paths that were clearly marked. While going off the path sounded exciting, with a payoff it sounded like it would mostly just end in disappointment.
“Should we follow them then? They might know the way to the dragon.” Said Gardenia. Now that is had been pointed out to her should be distinguish the depressed snow that meant somebody had traveled that way.
Elunial said, “Yes, that is probably for the best. If they aren’t already dead they can distract the dragon.” She looked over at Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow, “Remember to be careful, a dragon is not just a normal enemy, it is powerful beyond belief. Normally they are challenges that should never be attempted even with expert skills. If you do insist of fighting the thing try to pay attention to everything, even if you die make sure you learn everything that you can otherwise you will have wasted your time.”
Gardenia nodded, although she knew that she would probably be ignoring this good advice.
They follow the path until it arrived at a extremely large cave entrance, certainly big enough for a dragon to fit into. The snow was mostly gone from the entrance and it was mostly dark inside although occasionally there was a mostly smashed glowing crystal in the wall.
“This is certainly the place. It reeks of death.” Said Oblivion Shadow.
Then they heard it again. The roar of the dragon. This time is was much neared and it reverberated through the caves in front of them. However it was not terror that appeared in Gardenia’s heard, it was excitement.