Then he also approached the stable and untied a black and white horse. It was lower and less robust than the others. Looking at his mane, Dag noticed that he was from another race.
"Why is your horse different?" asked Karl, who could not keep his mouth shut.
"It's a gift from my father. He gave it to me when I turned 18. His name is Ace" Reidar replied.
"Hello, Ace!" said Dag, stroking the horse, who appreciated the gesture, uttering a friendly groan.
Dag mounted his steed and whispered in his ears: "Forgive me, I hadn't thought of what name to give you, but now I know... you will be called Aslan".
The horse moved his head back as if he wanted to be caressed by Dag.
"Hahaha! Do you like it?" continued Dag.
"Captain! Yesterday I studied the best route to Tyven. I'm sure you already know the road, but I still brought a map, it could come in handy" Reidar said, riding his horse.
With a little difficulty, Karl also managed to get on his stallion, whose back was taller than him.
"You did well, Reidar. Better safe than sorry. My mother explained the road to me, but I never crossed the FossilWood Forest. With your map we won't get lost" Dag said, slightly hitting the horse's belly, which began to walk toward the exit.
The Sun had now risen and illuminated Mount Torden and the mountains adjacent to it, showing the three adventurers a breathtaking view.
All three of them headed north along a path that circled the mountain, crossing most of the perimeter of the Grey Mountains Chain.
"Once we get higher, we should see the forest's fossil trees. We will go down to it as soon as possible" said Dag, who was already getting used to issuing orders.
After riding for about 5 hours, until the Sun was high on their heads, they found themselves on a narrow path that skirted the mountain, similar to the walkway that led to Magni's farm.
"Let's get off your horse. Along this stretch, it is better to continue slowly. When we get to the other side, we will stop to rest" said Dag, who got off the horse and gripped the bridle tightly.
After making sure that the axe behind his back was securely tied, he walked down the slippery path. Karl was behind him and Reidar was closing the line.
"Captain... can I ask you a question?" asked Reidar, to spend time.
"Of course, tell me" Dag replied.
"During the onslaught of fangs Of Jormungandr... when you faced those reptilians... how... how did you manage to disintegrate one of them? I remember that with your powers, you smashed his bones. How is that possible?" continued Reidar.
Dag, continuing to look carefully where he put his feet, replied: "It's my power. Or rather, the power of the fluid I can condense. I can temporarily absorb the energy of living beings that trap within it".
"How cool! And what do you feel next? I mean... How do you feel when their powers come into you?" asked Karl, intruding into the conversation.
"It's hard to describe. It's a strange feeling like I'm swallowing my victim. It's not very pleasant at first, but after a few seconds, I can already feel the benefits of absorbed energy" Dag continued.
"Did you say 'temporarily'?" continued Karl.
"Yes. The effect fades after a while. It can be a minute, hours, even days".
"Is the amount of time to dispose of powers proportional to how powerful is the absorbed energy? If I understand correctly, the bigger and more powerful your victim, the long-lasting the effect... right?" said Karl, with a questioning expression.
"Yes. How do you know? I don't remember I ever told you about it" Dag said, turning a moment toward him to look him in the eye.
"Well, the thing you said made me think. It's like a hangover, or..." Karl stopped talking immediately, looking forward.
"Captain! In front of you! Watch out!" shouted Reidar from behind.
Dag turned quickly: a bird was flying at great speed towards him. It had a wingspan much larger than a crow, it looked like a hawk.
Dag pulled out the hammer, trying to aim, but during his dive, the bird took an irregular trajectory: hitting it while in flight would have been impossible.
"Dag! Get down!" shouted Reidar.
Dag obeyed and knelt, turning his head towards his companions.
If the hawk had hit him, he would surely have lost his balance and fallen off that very high cliff.
In less than 10 seconds, he heard the sound of an arrow, accompanied by a screech.
"Ouch!" shouted Karl.
Dag immediately got up from the ground, trying to figure out what had happened.
In front of him, the hawk was on the ground, impaled by an arrow.
He turned to Karl, who had a hand on his face.
"What happened!? Are you all right?" he asked.
Karl took off his hand, showing a cut on his cheek.
"Excuse me, Karl. I tried to be as precise as possible... I had to aim quickly, or the captain would..."
"Yes, I know. Don't worry, it's nothing I can't easily heal" Karl interrupted, as Reidar tried to apologize.
"It's amazing. He managed to hit a dip hawk from back there. His accuracy is truly staggering!" thought Dag, realizing that Reidar within seconds had pulled out the bow, loaded and fired an arrow that hit the target.
"Thank you, Reidar" he said, in disbelief at being saved.
"I just did my duty, Captain" he replied.
"Rather... why did a hawk attack you? They don't usually attack so big prey that is still alive. It's an abnormal behavior" Reidar continued, as he watched the raptor.
"The distance to get to the other side of this path is short. Move. When we'll get there, I'll explain everything" Dag said, putting the hammer in his place and calming Alsan, who had agitated after seeing Reidar's arrow whizzing next to his face.
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