Chapter 25: Relic from the Dynasty (Part 2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
There was a reason Saleen was not speaking. He had realized that his intonation stood out too much. Those from the north who had travelled by sea would be able to tell he was from Ceylon City just by hearing him. A person often lost out when they spoke too much. It was inevitable that discrepancies would be revealed after increased interaction with these people. In the event that they held an arrest warrant, his real identity would soon be discovered.
It was easier for the ever-carefree Sika to gather information. After a few days of interaction, Saleen already knew their ultimate target – that was, a relic from the Second Dynasty.
Before the fall of the Goddess of Nature, the Metatrin Mainland had been unified by mankind four times. It had been twenty thousand years since the Second Dynasty, which had been an unusually glorious era of magic. However, not many relics remained in existence. Each time the mainland had been unified, the wars had destroyed many cultural relics.
Every single magical tool produced during the Second Dynasty had been elaborate; none of them were worth less than a thousand gold coins. Even the smallest relic with the slightest association to any mages would be sufficient for the squad to become wealthy.
If their luck was good, everyone in the squad could receive more than a hundred thousand gold coins. They could then retire, return to their hometowns and have a castle restored, purchase the title of earl, and never again lead a life in the shadows of swords. As for Saleen, this money would be enough to sustain him until he became a Grade 4 mage and escaped to the Qin Empire to practice in safety. Sika could buy enough equipment and food to return to her village and help her tribe. Perhaps this money could be used to create a new powerful tribe, and the tribe could even come into some duchy’s favor.
In this world, possessing power alone was not enough, and thus having money was essential. The people of Sikeqinya had long understood this logic, and hence they owned the most businesses on the mainland, the biggest bank, and the most popular mercenary regiment.
The wealthiest person in the Qin Empire was His Majesty the Emperor. Even if he waived all of the farmers’ taxes, he would still be the wealthiest in the mainland.
Upon learning that this mission involved a relic from the Second Dynasty, Saleen understood why Canghong had not hired a holy master. The emperor of the Second Dynasty, who had unified the mainland, had favored magic and did not believe in divinities. His extremeness had exceeded that of the current Qin Empire. The Holy See would completely destroy everything here if they knew of this relic.
The Second Dynasty was also known as the Unholy Dynasty.
Saleen could care less about the beliefs of mages from twenty thousand years ago. He only knew that if he could get his hands on the magic props from the Second Dynasty, he would not need to be on the run for the next few years.
After walking for six days, it suddenly began to snow in the mountains. The snow was fine and dense, and the road became muddier. Everyone had to abandon their horses. The road here was narrow and dangerous. Many places were close to the cliff sides, making it impossible for horses to pass through.
Sika carried both her and Saleen’s sacks. The possessions of Canghong and the others were carried by Pino and Cook. Sarah, who donned a leather face mask, led the way while Lucas, the archer, crouched at the rear. The speed of the group did not slow down but instead sped up significantly. As evening neared, a mountain emerged before them. Sarah suddenly stopped and sent out two short twitters.
The whole squad swiftly went into hiding. Speedily, Sarah retreated back.
“We’ve met with Vulture.” Sarah’s expression could not be seen with her mask on, but the worry in her voice was obvious.
“Were you discovered?” Canghong grew cautious.
“What is a vulture?” Sika asked innocently.
Canghong hesitated. He thought to himself that since he would be able to break free from the regiment upon the completion of this mission and was indifferent about getting those five thousand gold coins, sharing a little information could express his sincerity to this mage of an unknown level.
At this thought, he replied, “Vulture is the code name of a mercenary regiment, but they rarely take on regular missions. This mercenary regiment are like vultures, preying on rotten food. They will track and pursue adventurers who are in danger until their deaths. This way, they can get the fortune of the adventurers without violating the rules of the union.”
Saleen gave it some thought. If that was the case, unless they were in times of war, there was no obligation for mutual assistance between mercenary regiments. People were not allowed to attack other registered mercenary regiments, but could also refrain from offering assistance when they faced danger.
“What is the ranking of the Vulture Regiment?” Saleen finally said.
“Grade 4. Sarah, please continue.” Canghong had been interrupted by Sika, and did not reveal the relationship between the Falcon Regiment and the Vulture Regiment. He did not fear the Vulture Regiment, but this mission absolutely could not be made known to the men of Vulture. It was already winter. Who was still running about here and being eyed upon by Vulture?
“There are three small Vulture squads, which should be all of them. In addition, there are two more groups of people. One of them is on the run, and the other batch is pursuing them. I am unable to deduce the number of people.”
“Are we able to route around them?”
“Impossible. The people on the run entered the tunnel and that is our only route.”
“Damn.” The five members of the Falcon Regiment looked grim. It would not work to keep waiting here, as the Chaotic Swamp was unusually dangerous in the winter and the starving senior magic beasts were even more frightful.
“Mage Merlin, do you have any good ideas?” Canghong turned to Saleen and asked.
“Map.” Saleen’s reply was extremely short.
Pained, Canghong cleared a large surface area, took out the map, and opened it. This was a detailed map of the Chaotic Swamp. Canghong pointed to the bottom left corner, and said, “This is the tunnel that we will need to go through, that was discovered by me.”
Saleen gave a slight smile. He cast a memory spell which was a Grade 0 spell with no special properties. As long as he had sufficient mental power, it could be used. After memorizing the map, Saleen then calculated the length of the tunnel.
It was roughly twelve miles long. Saleen said hesitantly, “If we meet with these people, how confident are you in obtaining victory?”
“I am only unconfident about wiping them all out.” Canghong noticed that Saleen understood what he meant, and did not hide his intention to kill. Although Saleen and Sika would not publicize this mission, it could not be made known no matter what.
“What is the configuration of the Vulture Regiment squad?” Saleen carefully recalled the mercenary manual using his memory magic, finding the key to the question in his mind.
“Five-two configuration. Heavily armored swordsmen, archers, assassins, gun swordsmen, and a holy master.”
Canghong smiled bitterly and did not reply to the question. He thought to himself: mages are not potatoes that can be dug up from the soil at anytime. Within the Falcon Regiment that was a thousand people strong, there were only three mages and the highest grade was of Grade 3.
“I can cast the Fog of Confusion which has a thirty mile wide radius and can last two hours. We will pass through with normal speed. In the tunnel, I will add a Fluorescence spell so everyone can have a visionary range of around ten miles without alerting the enemies. Of course, it will be different matter if the other party has a mage.”
“Fluorescence spell?” Canghong had never heard of this spell, but illumination magic was often mentioned.
“It is a Grade 0 Water Series magic. The light created is very dim so it is suitable for hiding in unlit environments such as caves and underwater places. However, I cannot guarantee us absolute cover. If we are discovered, all of you will deal with the opponents’ archers. I am confident in eliminating the assassins.” Saleen said this calmly, but was uncertain in his heart. After all, he possessed little combat experience, and the only thing he could count on was the other party not having a mage.
As long as they did not meet with a mage, it would be easy to kill two assassins with a covert attack.
Canghong was thrilled. He was worried about the other party’s assassins fleeing during the conflict. In a dark cave, it was most troublesome to have to deal with assassins who were apt at hiding. He felt lucky to have hired a mage. Otherwise, he would have been stranded.
“Then, let’s go in. Mage Merlin, please prepare the magic. Lucas, you will go to the front with me. Sika, I will trouble you and Sarah to stay in the back. Cook, you will protect Merlin. We have to depend on him to get us through. You will kill anyone who attempts to get near him without hesitation.”
Canghong gave Cook a special reminder, since it was possible they would meet with their acquaintances. Any hesitation would result in the mage meeting with danger. In the Falcon Regiment, the mages were allowed to only deal with important missions. In other times, they simply spent money to support the mages. Everyone was already used to protecting mages, and regarded them as the cores of battles.
Saleen did not oppose it. His Invisible Shield was a constant magic on his mage robe. It could be deployed in as fast as a second, but was never instantaneous.
Instantaneous meant that a spell was prepared, cast, and completed within the shortest amount of time. This speed was generally one thirtieth of a second, and was many times faster than the release of sword aura.
Only at Grade 4 would a mage have their second instantaneous defense magic – Ice Plate Armor. Before then, there was the Invisible Shield under Wind Magic which was the start of defense magic, followed by the slightly slower Skin Fossilization and the unstable Ring of Flames. Saleen had not finished studying that obscure Water Shield spell, which was even slower than constant magic when it came to deployment.
The sky darkened, and Saleen began to prepare his magic. The Fog of Confusion was a Grade 0 Water Magic spell. He had hardly practiced it but took only three seconds to deploy it. With him in the center, the greyish fog diffused in all directions, and swiftly extended to cover fifty miles in diameter.
While awaiting the completion and stabilization of the spell, Saleen began to prepare the second spell – Grade 0 Fluorescence spell. He had been compelled to practice this magic because he was unable to learn the illumination magic of the Light Series and the flame magic in the Fire Series. Night Vision was a major Grade 6 magic, and was unattainable for him. Thus, he was forced to work with such obscure magic.
The Fluorescence spell had advantages comparable to those of the Illumination spell. Although it was dim, it would not create any magical waves that could arouse the attention of others.
While the fog was spreading, the members of the Falcon Regiment had their hearts in their mouths. This was because they had suddenly lost their vision. They could neither see nor hear Saleen or Sika’s breathing.
Only when their sword auras revolved could they subtly detect the existences of the two. However, Canghong and the others were experienced mercenaries, and had dealt with mages before. Therefore, they knew that what they felt might not be real. If the young mage launched an attack at this time, only a ranged attack would be of any significance in this fog.
Saleen himself was not disturbed by the fog. He could see the expressions of the five in the Falcon Regiment, and smiled to himself. I had wanted to give you a warning, in case you turned the tables after accomplishing the mission.