Days and weeks passed leisurely to Zax in Green Snow village. He mostly kept being a bystander to his relatives and friends, but sometimes someone who was particularity close to him will initiate a conversation over a specific subject relevant to their new life.
As he did his best to answer to their requests, Zax maintained the cultivation arrangement he decided for himself. While outwardly he seemed doing nothing special – either than seeking the company of the people around him, even when nighttime came and they left to their huts for homes –his attention was astutely divided and internally his manifested self on his Inner Panorama dedicatedly deliberated over the dark maneuvers.
Presently. Behind the allocated area for the new arrivals from New Earth.
“Mister, what are you doing?” A bright eyes, nine years old boy in a fur coat stared questionably at Zax.
Together with him were two more boys of the same age in similar attire and a juvenile, reptilian beast on four, a Shenghuo Milky Scales Horned Lizard. The horned lizard was of equal size to the children and appeared to be a member of their group of four. It even wore a specially sewn fur coat that fit its shape. As Zax looked at the little one, whose innate potential was low and before reaching adulthood, rivaling a D level Earth’s Core Holder, will only be as intelligent as a third or four years old human child, he figure that his parents are probably beast villagers.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” Zax asked back idly.
“Building snowmen”. Another boy pointed out.
“But why so many?” The first boy spoke again.
“One will be insufficient?”
“For what?” All three boys inquired and the little horned lizard waved its tail, annoyingly for the lack of direct response.
“But of course”, Zax halted his hands midway working on the human size snowman’s head. “To take over the village!” An eerie smile stretched across his face as he meanly bent down to meet the frightened gaze of each of the four.
“You- You- are lying”. The boys retreated and the first to speak daringly accused while the seemingly youngest of the group, the horned lizard, got behind the other three and hissed. “This is just snow! You are just trying to scare us!”
“Really?” Zax feigned an unruffled mien. “Well, then let me ask you. Did you ever hear about the Cold Grove village in the Northern Icecaps?” The children did not respond and he continued. “A strange expert who came by this village during a snow storm was expelled by the inhospitable villagers. Though he was stronger than any warrior of in the village, he could not beat everyone and so had no choice but leave. However, the strange expert still wanted to take revenge on the villagers who sent him to the mercy of a snow storm and therefore he cast a curse which caused the snow of the very storm that nearly killed him, to awaken to life in the form of vengeful snowmen… the rest of what happened to the Cold Grove village, I believe you can imagine. I met the strange expert couple of years ago and after paying a hefty price he agreed to teach me he snowmen’s curse”.
Hearing the story, the four felt the coldness of the weather more chilling than usual.
“Our parents won’t let you!” The third of the three children shouted in protest. “I’ll tell Mister Huland, he will-”
“Banish me from the village? Hahahaha!” Zax almost maniacally laughed. “You can tell your parents and Mister Huland, but know this, once the snowmen come to life whichever adult that would be touched by them will instantly turn into ice sculpture. Only children will not be affected by the freezing touch of the snowmen, but what the bunch of you kids could do to stop my snowmen? Hahaha!”
Face the eerie amusement of this evildoer, the four felt like there was nothing more they could say, be it in human’s tongue or juvenile beast’s. They ran, pale with expressions of terror and unwillingness.
The commotion of shouts and arguing did not go unnoticed by the residents of the nearby huts. But since the majority of these people were still giving Zax’s the cold shoulder and even the children learned by now that for the sake of their free time and not being lectured they should not speak to him, no one came to ask what happened or inquired about the invasive snowmen.
About fifteen minutes later, as Zax completed the twenty seventh snowman, a smirk appeared on his face.
“It’s him, Lorance, he… he is the snowman witch!” A voice Zax instantly recognized informed in a still shaking voice. It was the first kids to ask him about the snowmen, and with him, apart from the other three, was a larger group of boys and girls, humans and several young beasts, about the same age with most being older.
Lorance, apparently the leader of the fourteen kids, a twelve years old with a hint of Peak D level Earth’s Core Holder’s aura, swept with a scrutinizing gaze the small unit of large snowmen, lingered a bit when his glare met the turning back of Zax and his supercilious face, before returning to the cluster of children beside and behind him.
“This person is a fraud, Nisim. He fooled you four”. Lorance determined with a demeanor that declared he did not fall for this charlatan.
“You think I’m a liar?” Zax rubbed the snow off the sleeves of his fur coat.
“Yes you are a liar! There are no such things as ‘witches’, only cultivators who play tricks with mist energy. And I don’t sense any fluctuations of mist energy from these snowmen!” Lorance countered.
‘Clever boy’. Zax withheld his smile. ‘They truly teach them well here and their cultivation, at such a young age, exceeds what promised in the best of Martial schools in Kingdom Earth, on equal standing as the top three…’ He made the appraisal early when he arrived to Green Snow and surveyed the population, but it was a first for him to hold a conversation with the village’s kids.
“You sure are observant, but wrong nonetheless. Have you ever witnessed a ceremony involving God or Gods? When their manifestation occurs odd things that don’t involve mist energy are known to happen”.
Though he was not whole log conversant in the subject, Zax still remembered his first experience in Virgil’s Pasture and the greater part of Green Snow’s population originated from Ercas Mir, so they were all knowledgeable, to a degree, on the matter, even the children.
“You… you are not a God!” Lorance exclaimed in a feat of contained outrage. A small portion of Green Snow’s population had a sort of “faith” in one God or many, entities embedded in their belief since their previous homelands. Although Lorance was born in Green Snow village, his parents and grandparents indigenous to a village at the northwest marshes of the Western Continent and had educated him in their beliefs.
“No, I’m not”. Zax remained poised, yet said hurriedly to avoid the shifting the subject to an undesired direction. “I only used them as an example. Never mind. If you don’t understand now, soon you will, as well as everybody else in this place”. He finished with the twenty seventh snowman and moved to build the twenty eight.
Having the same sense of frustration as Nisim and the other three previously had, Lorance puffed his chest as his breathing turned slightly heavy, proof of doubts germinating in his heart. He was not the only kid feeling like that. Eight others were influenced by Zax’s provocation, so much that their immature rational began to waver. They have not expressed themselves yet, since they were waiting for the group leader’s reaction.
Clenching his fists and bearing his teeth, Lorance swiftly turned to his awaiting friends. Seeing their anticipation, the young ones pending for a more solid confirmation that the whole story about living snowmen is falsified, he feared that whatever he will say would be refuted by Zax and will make him more embarrassed.
In a moment of lack of thinking he picked up a stone and threw it at one of the snowmen.
The snowman’s head exploded and snow splashed in every direction. This throw contained all the power of a Peak Earth’s Core Holder.
“Destroy the snowmen and even if he is saying the truth it won’t matter!” He yelled at his friends.
The thirteen human kids and juvenile beasts responded and follow suit without hesitation. They all heard from Nisim and the other three about the abilities of the snowmen and if in fact Zax did not lie, then it can only be they to stop the snowmen, for the adults will turn to ice.
Thus, be it stones, sticks or snowballs, a war ensued between the small group of kids and Zax’s inanimate snowmen.
“You all, stop picking on my big brother!” A fuming voice shouted and small girl with long ponytail jumped at one of the kids as he was about to throw his snowball.
Liz, as well as many of the other kids who recently arrived from Kingdom Earth, could not help but not notice the group of local kids entering their turf.
Up till this very moment they only watched from afar, minding in their own games. When Nisim and his three friends came they only earned a few glimpse from Liz as the rest, as they approached “The One Thou Shall Not Speak To”. The New Earth’s kids could not gather much from the remote conversation and so they got closer when suddenly a larger group of kids arrived, but still could at best get a better view to the arising conflict.
It was hard to tell the context of their words but was obvious that the related subject were the intriguing snowmen.
Seeing the situation escalate and the snowmen her brother worked on for hours being smashed, Liz disregarded her parents orders – for at least outside, until everyone will get inured to their forced relocation, to limit her interactions with Zax – and hurled herself on the nearest kid who intended to throw something at the snowmen.
“Hey! Stupid girl, what are you doing?!” The kid pushed Liz off of him. Their little squabble caught the attention of either group of friends and they all gathered up.
“You are destroying my big brother’s snowmen! You better stop, now!” Liz blamed and warned.
“He is your big brother? Do you know what he is doing?” A kid from the opposing group shouted back.
“This is our area! Cousin Zax can do whatever he wants in our area!” A short fatty, the son of one of Marco’s brothers, supported Liz.
“This is Green Snow village, it belonged to everyone! You just got here so don’t act like you know and own the place”. A girl, standing next to a hoofed red and orange furred beast, said while tightening her grip on the rock in her hands.
“Don’t fight. This man is always by himself. My papa told me they don’t speak with him”. A kid living nor far from the Kingdom Earth’s residence, whose father was also Kingdom Earth’s citizen, tacked Lorance’s sleeve and informed everyone.
“Really, Po?” Lorance asked the black, curly hurried boy.
“In that case…” Lorance turned to Liz. “Your brother said that he will use these snowmen to take over the village, even turn our parents to ice!”
“This is stupid!” Liz retorted and the boys and girls beside her nodded and made their own remarks about how gullible the other party. “Even if he could, big brother Zax won’t do something so terrible!”
“But he said he will and we won’t take the risk. If you don’t believe us, ask him!”
“Big bro…” Liz turned to Zax, starting to feel confused by the adamant behavior Lorance and his friends.
“Liz, my precious little sister Liz…” Zax sighed and shook his head. “I’m afraid that what they’re saying is the truth”.
“What?!” Liz stared at her big brother in disbelief and the boys and girls from Kingdom Earth shared the same reaction.
“You only have yourself to blame. For a long time you ignored me when I try so hard and being so nice. I know everyone said that I did something wrong, but I apologized. How much can I say it for everyone to forgive me?” He seemed tired, but slowly dissatisfaction anger filled his voice. “I had enough! I took you from home but in return I brought to this safe place beneath the blue sky. Since you don’t feel happy, I might as well bring these snowmen to life and wreck everything”.
“You are crazy!”
“My mom is right, Zax is a bad person!”
“Cousin Zax, don’t make fun of us…”
“Hahahaha! Don’t look at me like you don’t know!” Zax burst in laughter. “You think my snowmen are ruined? Ha! Unless you break the ice Core at the center of their stomach, they are totally fine! Look as they rebuild themselves and come to life!” His voice echoed. “Nukram Mardur Gravatz Ujik!” He chanted loudly.
Not understanding the meaning of his words, the overall group of twenty five kids blocked their ears as booming resounded in them.
“He did not lie!”
One by one they saw it, what began as minuscule motions and became vibrant movements, the awakening of the snowmen!
“Hurry! Pick whatever you can, we must stop them and protect our village!”
“There are not mist energy fluctuations!”
“Save our parents!”
“No… Evil snowmen!”
Confronted with the realization that Zax said the truth and the sight of actually moving snowmen, the twenty five kids and young beasts shivered in fear. Nevertheless, the calls for arms and for the parents aroused their courage a long with the thought that even if they do not want to, Green Snow village now depends on them.
“Help us. This is your home, too!” The boy Liz pushed said while holding two snowballs.
Shaken, Liz looked down at the snowball handed to her. “Big brother Zax…” Her voice was weak, yet quickly flared and became feisty. “Big brother Zax, don’t pick on us!” She grabbed the snowball and threw it with all her might.
It was about to hit Zax when a snowman moved his stick for an arm to shield him and it was detached from its place.
“Hahahaha! Go, my snowmen, go and teach them that no one ignore me, hahahaha!”