The caravan traveled eastward along the Tien Shan Mountains of Central Asia for 17 months. Looking eastward, the continuous, undulating black mountain ranges were no longer visible in the distance.
According to Leipas, once we cross over that mountain, our caravan will completely leave the sphere of influence of the dwarven kingdom and enter the Paigao Plateau. The trading permit that we obtained from Stan, one of the seven dwarven kings, will become useless and indistinguishable from an ordinary piece of parchment.
It is said that there are thousands of orc tribes of various sizes scattered around here. These ancient tribes inherit the powers of their ancestors. In recent days, there have been significantly fewer jokes among the caravan, and it is evident that everyone is worried about the orc tribes and the gray dwarf bandits that await us ahead.
Each Thunder Rhino has a massive body like a hill, dragging thousands of pounds of refined iron ingots. A rider sits on the soft seat at the back of the Thunder Rhino's head, while two assistants sit at the top of its spine, responsible for managing the huge cargo on the rhino's body and keeping a simple lookout for any danger.
These are properties under the management of Leyipas, comprising a massive caravan of seventy thundering rhinoceroses, stretching out for two kilometers. The dwarves in the tribe are naturally skilled blacksmiths, but their armor and weapons have a distinct style that differs greatly from human preferences. Due to their natural brute strength, the heavily-armored and exquisitely crafted shields, which are as large as doors, are not highly sought after among the human race as they are too heavy. Thus, high-quality metal materials are considered the preferred currency.
At the forefront of the caravan are more than twenty of the hardiest Borlaig horses, belonging to two groups of adventurers consisting of warriors, swordsmen, archers, and mysterious wizards, who follow us over the Chis mountain range in Asia. It is said that they hunt monsters in the monster forest at the edge of the mountains, obtaining some magical materials to sell in the human world. In any case, Kuz has secretly warned me that they are a dangerous group and should be avoided at all costs.
They enjoy the caravan's transportation capabilities, and Leyipas has agreed to transport some of their own goods to the imperial capital for free. These adventurers are responsible for safeguarding the entire caravan's safety. Following the Thunder Rhino caravan are thirteen enormous black iron wagons, each one resembling a small house. These finely crafted wagon axles bear intricate wind magic arrays, and even so, each wagon needs to be pulled by four wild oxen with a strong bison bloodline. Each of these wild oxen can easily pull five thousand pounds of cargo.
Do not assume that the wagons are carrying some great nobles; on the contrary, it is just a song and dance troupe from the human Greens Empire's capital city, invited by the dwarven king three years ago to participate in a commemorative celebration at the dwarven capital, returning from the celebration.
In a grand dance troupe of over 300 people, there are as many as 180 dancers alone, in addition to cooks, tailors, musicians, waiters, and magicians. It is said that such a dance troupe is not even the largest in the Green Emperor City. My goodness! I never imagined that someone would be willing to spend 5.6 years on a journey just to attend a celebration in another country.
Later, I learned from Leipas that there is another type of transportation called the magic airship. Leipas described it as resembling a zeppelin, but it is a huge beast capable of carrying several hundred people.
The air route from Stan City to Green Emperor City has already been opened, but this time the dance troupe traveled by land, along the New Asia Chishan Mountains to the east, to the Pai Plateau to gain inspiration and learn the ritual war dance of the orc tribe. Perhaps some tribes that are close to humans will communicate with them.
In September, the endless sea brought warm monsoon winds and brought a lot of rain, making the land of the dwarves on the west side of the Roland continent full of vitality, melting ice and snow, and promoting the growth of all things.
The warm wind was like a mother's hand gently brushing my cheeks, and I excitedly took off my sheepskin coat that had been worn all winter and had a smell of salted fish. Kuz, wearing only his bare arms, jumped off the back of the thunder rhino that was more than seven meters high, and tumbled a few somersaults on the tender green grass, just like a white crucian carp jumping into the lake.
The cool lake water enveloped my body. I used the power of the fish jump to swim several meters in the lake, and my hands propelled me further by stirring the water. My overheated body was soaked in the cold lake water, and every cell in my body greedily absorbed moisture. After I exhaled my last breath, I finally emerged from the water. There was a piece of floating ice about the size of a round table several meters away. Kuz was holding the edge of the floating ice and suddenly jumped up, sitting on the ice with a wet body, grinning and waving to me. He shouted in somewhat broken Imperial language, "Jijia, hurry up and climb up, this ice is so interesting!"
Seeing the floating ice in the lake, one can imagine how cold the early spring water is.
I cannot help but admire the physical strength of this young man who comes from the Orc tribe. Meanwhile, I dare to jump into this icy lake because of the fiery poison flowing in my blood, which burns my body relentlessly every day. I can even vividly feel the scorching heat carbonizing my flesh and blood, yet my blood possesses miraculous regenerative power that continuously restores my body. At first, I even doubted if I was human, but rather a piece of thoughtful fried meat.
Only by soaking in such cold lake water can I feel a hint of refreshing coolness in my body. I think I must have had too many barbecues in my past life, so now I have to suffer this punishment every day, every moment, making me endure such pain.
The fiery poison is constantly devouring every cell in my body, turning them into ashes and flowing out of my body through sweat. However, every time a cell in my body decays, it seems to instantly divide into new ones. Sometimes, I wonder if I have the bloodline of a beast tribe werewolf?
The only pharmacist in our team is an old Orc named Lao Kulu. He always boasts to me about how strong his body was when he was young, and how Kuz, that little guy, is not even one-tenth as strong as he was. Now, his shriveled body has little strength left, and sometimes, he is too lazy to even pick up the medicine jar, always calling me to do it for him.
Well, it's true! I am the youngest odd job worker in the whole caravan. I can do anything: run errands, pass messages, clean up horse dung, polish leather shoes, boil water, dig wild vegetables, anything that I can do, and anything that those people can think of, I must do if I want to get my half loaf of black bread every night.
I remember Lao Kulu told me that he found me on the edge of the Burning Mountains far west of the Dwarven capital. He guessed that I must have eaten too many fruits from the burning trees, which is why even my blood has such a strong fire element. At that time, I had already been burnt unconscious, and he had no intention of saving me. Based on his experience, no human, orc, or dwarf had ever survived after eating the burning fruit.
This kind of fruit is also called the fruit of purification, which is meant for the dead to eat. When a dying person eats the burning fruit before dying, their entire body will be turned into ashes. It is said that a heart-cleansing fire, which can burn the soul and purify it, will grow in the core of the burning fruit, sending the soul up to the realm of the gods.
Regarding what Old Kulu said, I deeply believe it because I entered this body after the original host's soul was purified. However, I do not know if the soul of the original host has ascended to the divine realm. I think it's more likely that it disappeared without a trace.
Even now, I can still vividly remember before I fell into a coma, I used to be a chef in a big hotel, skilled in making cold dishes and carving radish flowers. On my way home from vacation, I was robbed and unfortunately stabbed in the chest by the bandit. I remember an invisible hand pulling my soul out of that body. I saw the unwillingness on my terrified, angry, and pale face. I even thought I was dead when I saw my original body gradually getting cold.
I never expected that after waking up, I found myself turned into a 5-year-old child with a body that was burning all over. Every inch of my skin, flesh, and bone was making a sizzling sound in the heat, just like a piece of fried beef. In that kind of pain that could make people pass out and wake up again, an old orc put his withered arm above my head. He used a small black curved knife to cut his wrist, and the dark purple blood flowed all over me. Most of it was poured into my mouth.
Later, miraculously, I survived. That old orc was Kulu. Old Kulu said that I might be a child of a traveler in a certain travel group who swallowed the burning fruit before dying in the traditional way, waiting for the body to turn into ashes and the soul to ascend to heaven. However, after eating the burning fruit, the power of the fire element stimulated the power of my family bloodline inside my body, and I unexpectedly awakened my bloodline and got a true name: Blue Flame.
If there were another awakening of my true name in the future, it would be added on top of the previous one. After my true name bloodline power awakened, it was still very weak and could not resist the flame power of the burning fruit. It was Old Kuru who saved me with his own Orc clan blood, which possessed powerful regeneration and healing abilities of the Orc Wolf tribe. Old Kuru only saved me to test the awakening of my bloodline power, he didn't care about me, and said that I was just lucky to be a child favored by the Beast God King, otherwise I would not have survived.
I also absorbed the self-healing ability from his blood regeneration. But the feeling of being burned alive every day was truly unbearable. During that time, if I had the ability to kill myself, I would have done so without hesitation because I thought that even hell would be no worse than that. I lay on the back of the Thunder Rhino for more than four months, and Old Kuru would bring all kinds of herbal juices to my body every day. It was during those days that my bloodline power gained another name, "self-healing," which almost made Old Kuru's jaw drop. It was a dream ability for most Orc Wolf warriors, and only the Wolf people who awakened the "self-healing" ability in their bloodline could be considered true Orc Wolf warriors.
After hundreds and thousands of regenerations, my weak body slowly became able to withstand the burning of those flames. This indicated that I was born with fire resistance. The burning pain gradually reduced, but I found that there was always a fire in my abdomen that flowed throughout my body, continually destroying my body. The vigorous flame power would dissipate from my limbs and bones.
I have been in this magical world for nearly two years, and Lepus takes the time every day to teach me some imperial language, but progress is not fast. Sometimes, Old Kuru even told Lepus that I should actually be a humanoid Orc child because my Orc language was more fluent. According to human age calculation in this world, I am only seven years old. I am gradually integrating into this caravan.
Leipas is considered the great leader of our caravan, and in fact, he is also the steward of this united trading guild. His motto is to never harbor idlers, and every person within the caravan must demonstrate their worth. I, too, abide by this principle, and I shall not receive any special treatment merely because I am a child.
By the lakeside, a group of Thunder Rhinos had gathered to drink water. The riders orderly herded each gentle Rhino to the grassy area by the lake, commanded them to lie down, unloaded their heavy cargo, and stacked them neatly on one side. The Rhinos were then allowed to drink water and were herded by the best shepherds to graze in the grassland.
To me, these plump-tailed Rhinos resemble the stegosaurs of my previous world. At this moment, Fred, the assistant rider on the Thunder Rhino, shouted at me, "Gigi, stop playing around. Be careful of Lord Leipas's whip. Quickly clean these leather saddles and let them dry while the weather is good."
I hastily waved my hand in the lake and poked my head out of the water, "Understood, Fred."
This was originally his job, but sometimes he would let me do it.
Kuz sat on the floating ice and gave Fred a fierce glare. He whispered to me in the language of the beast tribes, "Fred must be off to fool around with his little dancer. Gigi, don't help him."
"It's alright. It's not too much work, and as the beast people say, 'losing is winning,' right?" I replied in the beast language while swimming. In reality, scrubbing the leather saddles and bridles was not a completely useless task, and I should receive a portion of Fred's meat soup in the evening.
This icy lake was still too cold, and after soaking for a little while, I felt a chill in my body. It would be better to go ashore and start brushing the saddles.
I glanced at the giant beast that could crush me into a pancake with one step and took a deep breath, swimming with all my might towards the shore. My work had begun.