As the group followed Gandalf through the woods,Gandalf said. “The last time Sauron invaded Middle Earth, the half orcs, orcs and Uruk-hai burned down this land. The ents were forced to participate in the war. They have bodies over ten meters tall. Hundreds of ents buried ten thousand orcs under the land. They took root here to put life back to these woods.”
Aragorn said. “If we can get their help…”
“It isn’t possible.” Gandalf shook his head. “The ents favor serenity. They can stay in the earth for ten years at a time. They can converse for days at a time. As long as no one enrages them, they won’t leave the woods. They have strong power but they remained unknown in Middle Earth.”
The group came to the border of the woods. Gandalf whistled piercingly. It was a magic that spread his sound outward.
The rest of the group stopped next to Gandalf. Xuan brought out several fruits then he stared at Gandalf’s staff as he ate. The staff was changed to a one made of white jade. Symbols and strange pictures filled its exterior.
“Xuan…” Zheng leaned against a tree and asked. He was holding the rope of the horse the Rohan riders gave them. The Nightmare walked by him on its own.
Xuan responded but didn’t turn his head. Zheng continued. “Why are you always eating these things? I don’t see you eat that much when we eat together. But you always have fruits or something colorful in hand.”
Xuan, still not turning his head, said. “Thinking consumes more energy than exercise. Having something to eat maintains the brain’s ability at a flexible state. Neos is a representation of this except he’s too extreme. If you have the time to think about these unimportant questions, I would like to ask you a question.”
Zheng became curious. “Oh, you can always ask me. Not like I will hide anything from you.”
“Good. Are you restraining your own power?” He finally turned around to glanced at Zheng, then immediately went back to Gandalf’s staff. “I induced it from things YinKong said. When we went to Resident Evil for the prototype T-virus, she said you killed several hundreds of evolved Lickers. The heart of slayer is good but it isn’t the key point. Hundreds of evolved Lickers aren’t that easy to take down. YinKong said she can only kill one when fighting face to face. So I could induce your strength. It wasn’t possible for you to suffer so little injuries after killing all those evolved Lickers with Explosion and Destruction. I came to the conclusion that something must have happened at the time. Something that YinKong didn’t see. What is it? I am curious what technique or power you are not telling us. It doesn’t suit your personality.
Afterward in this world, your performance against the Ringwraiths and in the Mines of Moria was mediocre. It’s close to your strength previously shown. You may not believe it but you have more potential than Heng. After Resident Evil and even Starship Troopers you were still pretty much the same. Why? There’s only one explanation, you are intentionally controlling how strong you appear.”
Xuan finished the last fruit on hand then turned around to Zheng. “What are you afraid of? Or perhaps what is that power you are afraid of? I can’t give you suggestions on this. You can only rely on yourself to figure it out. However, I want you to know that there’s a limit to how much strategies can accomplish. The limit lies on the difference in strength. When this strength exceeds the amount the strategy tolerates, the strategy becomes a joke. If team Africa can destroy a starship with one punch back in Starship Troopers, not amount of strategy we have would save us.”
Zheng appeared to be hesitating. He tried to speak but held himself back. After struggling, he said in a low voice. “Give me some time. Believe me… I won’t harm my comrades.”
Xuan didn’t continue the topic. He waved his hand then went back to Gandalf’s staff. A bright neigh answered from afar. The seven horses around them looked unease.
“That is one of the Mearas, unless my eyes are cheated by some spell.” Legolas could see a white horse running over from the distance. Its speed was on part with the Nightmare.
When the white close came close, they realized it was huge. It was larger than regular war horses by a quarter, the same size as the Nightmare. The white horse was intelligent. It stopped in front of Gandalf and rubbed him with its head. Gandalf stroke the white hair. “Shadowfax. He’s the lord of all horses, and has been my friend through many dangers. Let us ride to Edoras!”
The group began their journey again to Rohan. The movie characters appeared much happier now. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli had been bearing the pain of the death of a friend and the pain of being defeated. The return of Gandalf gave them a glimpse of hope, especially since Gandalf gained stronger power. It gave them confidence.
The players were stark in contrast. Xuan remained indifferent to everything. Lan was still occasionally glancing at Zheng. ChengXiao was always optimistic as if there were nothing that would trouble him. He kept attempting to talk with Lan and YinKong and laughing all the time.
Heng was working harder than ever since he came to this realm. He kept asking Legolas for the tips on the three arrow Explosive Shot and practiced by shooting at rocks in the distance. He had the highest fighting spirit out of the team.
YinKong and Heng both seemed troubled. They didn’t pay any attention to what the others are talking about.
And so, this group of four movie characters and six players rode for several days through the plain and reached Edoras.
It was a basic city built on a hill. They could induce through the movie characters’ conversations that the people of Rohan used to lead nomadic lives. After they settled down, they retained the habits of a nomad. This was a nation with strong military power built on the back of horses. However, they were inferior to Gondor on construction and things concerning normal living.
The group approached the exterior of the city then followed the wooden walls to the gate. Gandalf and Aragorn gave their names then the small gate opened up. It was only big enough to fit two horses at the same time. The group rode into the city. That frozen statue on a Nightmare immediately received looks and cries from the civilians.
The city though had a low population. The population density seemed scattered when compared to the Shire or the two elven cities they passed by. Gimli couldn’t hold his mouth. “You’ll find more cheer in a graveyard.”
The rest of the movie characters sighed. They climbed the stairs to the hall. After notifying the guards of their arrival, a slightly chubby guard in position came out. “I cannot allow you before Théoden king so armed, Gandalf Grayhame. By order of… Gríma Wormtongue.”
Gandalf changed to a gray robe after they came out out the woods. He looked like the Gray Wizard that he was before. With a nod from Gandalf, the rest of the group gave their weapons to the guards. The players handed their elven weapons over. But when the guard asked for the staff, Gandalf responded. “Eh? Oh. No, you would not part an old man from his walking stick?”
He thought for a moment. Another guard pulled his sleeve a bit then he gave Gandalf a knowing look. He walked back into the hall. The group followed.