Chapter 8: Magic Pharmaceutics (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The youth called out Saleen’s name as he withdrew his hand. Saleen had possessed no intention of hurting him; otherwise, the level-0 Flame Combustion spell used in such close proximity would have burned his skin and flesh.
Saleen recognized the youth in front of him and felt conflicted. Decca, also an orphan, was someone that Saleen had known when he was a beggar. Back then, they had been down and out, being equally skinny and filthy. By their chance meeting here today, Saleen’s demeanor had completely changed, and the same was true for Decca, who looked nothing like the street urchin from those days.
Decca smiled in embarrassment, as he had known about Saleen but had not recognized him earlier. He knew that Saleen had become the apprentice of a mage; he was unsure if he would be still be acknowledged as the friend he had made when they were both poor.
“Wait for me at the entrance,” Saleen said as he gave Decca a pat on his shoulder. Saleen appeared to have grown much taller than Decca in this one year.
Feeling his warmth, Decca turned to his side and exited from the door. He then waited in the shadows across the street.
There was no professional union in Ceylon City, thus the equipment store appeared to be deserted. The adventurers were all gathered at Xinjiang in the southern part of the Empire, though there were fewer pirates at the northern coast. Saleen approached the counter and shouted for the owner.
The counter was about one meter high. The owner was drowsy and had been dozing off on the counter. He heard the shout, but did not see anyone when he opened his eyes. He then stood up and saw Saleen, who was much shorter than the counter.
“Hey, Master Metatrin!” The owner saw Saleen and instantly perked up.
Saleen waved his hand, indicating for him not to be so noisy. He passed him the list that Jason had given him and asked, “How much deposit do I need to pay to order these?”
The owner gave a quick glance at the list and grinned. This was not a small deal and was worth at least a hundred gold coins. It probably would not have meant much in the bigger cities, but it was definitely a rare business deal in Ceylon City.
“Master Metatrin, please wait a moment.” The owner retrieved his abacus and started to calculate with some cracking sounds.
Saleen saw the owner calculating the price of the items and decided to walk around the inside of the store. The size of the equipment store was not small, but there were no shelves in the center. All of the goods were displayed in the cabinets against the walls. The most striking items were two suits of armor near the entrance.
These were two fully enclosed suits of knight armor which even had polished crystals set into the segments for the eyes. This type of armor was rarely worn nowadays because the knight rank class had died out during the Fourth Dynasty. Now, only the Holy See still maintained a pool of ten thousand knights; the other four empires had done away with their bodies of knights.
The two suits of armor had been made in an ancient style, and the sheets of metal looked as if they had been repolished. They looked to be antiques; the value of these cultural relics exceeded the value of their use. Admiring the armor, Saleen placed his hand onto them.
His mental strength could not penetrate them! They seemed to be truly authentic. It was virtually impossible for his level-0 magic to be able to break through the armor. This metal armor was better than ordinary leather armor, though Saleen was well aware that it was still not as good as magic armor. He knew that his level of battle power was still lacking against swordsmen in armor.
If he needed to deal with two soldiers, he would practically stand no chance.
Magic sometimes made him depressed, and other times it made him excited. With the momentary contact, he had been able to calculate the defensive capabilities of the armor and knew which levels of magic could be used to destroy it. Unfortunately, he did not have any hope of becoming a qualified mage anytime in the foreseeable future.
“Master Metatrin!” The owner replied with a smile, having completed the calculations. “The total is one hundred and eighty gold coins. See if you can pay a deposit of one hundred gold coins. As I am only running a small business here, I do not have a good cash flow.”
“Yes.” Saleen turned, threw two bags of gold coins onto the counter, and asked, “When can we get the items?”
“The same time next week will be fine. Will you need them delivered?”
“Not necessary. Teacher does not like to be disturbed by others.”
“Please wait while I issue you an invoice.” The owner put away the gold coins. Saleen asked casually, “Are we able to order anything and everything here?”
“Master Metatrin, I import my goods from Yaoyang City. Whatever Yaoyang City has can be ordered from here. If you need special items, you will have to order them from Holy Rock City. It will be slower, and I am afraid you will need to wait a month for these items.”
“Alright, noted.” Saleen took the invoice that the owner had issued him, turned, and left the equipment store.
“Decca,” Saleen called out to the other side of the street, waving as he stepped out through the door. Decca appeared from the shadows and faced Saleen, not knowing what to say.
“Let’s find a place to eat.” Saleen was feeling hungry. He would not go to The Whale of Ceylon this time. As the pair walked north along the pier, they found a small shop. It was still morning and there were not many diners. They sat next to the window, and Saleen ordered two bowls of fish noodles.
Using their forks to twirl the noodles, the pair ate in silence. When they had nearly finished their meal, Saleen put down his fork and asked, “Decca, why did you…”
“You mean why did I steal?” Decca also put down his fork, pondered for a moment, and replied in a low voice, “There was a bandit gang that came to the city around this time last year. They took in a batch of children and I was one of them. No one forced me to join. As you know, children like us could starve to death on the streets at any time.”
“Bandit gang?” Saleen frowned. The reputation of “bandit gangs” were not good. Once caught, the majority of nobles would kill the bandits without even interrogating them.
Decca saw Saleen’s worried look and consoled him, “It is nothing. This bandit gang does not do red cases.” Seeing that Saleen did not understand, Decca explained, “We merely take things; we do not kill. Generally, we do not rob, and we mainly cheat. If the matter is brought to light, then we walk away. It is rare that anyone pursues us.”
“It is not suitable for the longterm,” Saleen could not help saying. Because they were bandits, very few of them would die natural deaths. For senior bandits who made money, it was hard for them to withdraw during their prime.
“I have no choice; it is too late for me to withdraw now,” Decca said in a low voice as his gaze swept across the door.
“How do I find you in the future?”
“It is easy to find me. How about we go back to the hideaway and meet with my gang leader?”
“Huh,” Saleen’s face turned stony. His two distinct eyebrows raised almost at the same time. He looked intently at Decca and said, “This was your gang leader’s idea? You need not say anything more. Go back and tell him not to make me his target if he still wants to live.”
Decca felt a shiver run through his body. Saleen’s glare was as sharp as a sword, making him subconsciously want to reach for the dagger in his boots. But as his wrist shifted slightly, he felt a pain in his hand. The scald on his hand had reminded him of Saleen’s identity.
“Saleen, I cannot help it. Actually, during winter, the gang leader will have me look for you.”
“I have no interest in the bandit gang. If my teacher learns about this matter, I may not able to protect you. Decca, you had better take good care of yourself,” Saleen finished what he wanted to say, retrieved a gold coin and placed it on the table, and left without turning back.
Decca sat there stunned and out of sorts. Saleen was no longer the innocent child he had been before. He had simply made a vague suggestion, and was immediately seen through. Could this be the power of magic?
Saleen walked out the door, feeling the breeze blow past him. The pent-up emotions in his heart were finally released. To think that a bandit actually wished to connect with a mage! His teacher had not even wanted to be bothered with the lord.
This person did not know what was good for him. The best solution was to kill him and prevent him from being a burden to Decca. He was the only friend he had left in Ceylon City.
Saleen had not realized that he had become more decisive after the incident half a year ago. He had also become more alert to danger. Jason had not done any additional coaching with him; he had merely read books, cooked for Jason, and eaten with him. Gradually and subtly, Saleen’s demeanor had completely changed.
He found the grain shop, placed the order, and made the payments. Saleen had purchased enough food to last them half a year. He then left Ceylon City dispirited. More than once, he had fantasized about living wealthily in the city, wearing the best clothes and indulging in wine and music. Now that he finally had money, he realized that his thoughts had been naïve. As dark clouds gathered across the horizon, Saleen quickened his pace, knowing that the summer rain in Ceylon City was unpredictable.
Upon returning to the ancestral house, Saleen went to see Jason and told him about the collection date of the goods.
Jason suddenly asked, “Saleen, how long have I been here?”
“A year and six days.”
“Alright. Bring this along when you collect the goods next week,” Jason gave Saleen a huge leather sack. Then he added, “Starting next week, on the first day of every week, you will join me as I conduct experiments.”
“From today on, you are officially my student.”
Saleen was thrilled. Jason had never allowed him to watch his experiments before. He had never thought that he would receive his teacher’s personal guidance, nor had he ever thought that this day would come so quickly. He was not aware that Jason had followed him from a distance during his trip to the city. In fact, Jason had even heard his conversation with Decca.
Saleen had passed this test. If there had been something amiss in his conversation with Decca, Jason would have needed to give him up as an apprentice. To groom a student required energy as well as emotion. As for Saleen’s lack of affinity with the elements, he would have to think of a solution in the time to come. Jason smiled and looked at his student. He took out a bottle and passed it to Saleen, saying, “There is medicine in here. Take one pill daily to improve your body’s structure. Get more from me after you run out.”
Saleen touched the palm-sized porcelain bottle, not knowing how to express his feelings.
“Go read your books. I hope that you will continue to be this diligent in the future.”
“Yes, Teacher!” Saleen answered, joy and cheer in his heart. He returned to his room, removed his boots, and took off his robe. He then threw the remaining gold coins on the table and took a breather.
After being accepted by Jason, Saleen was even more diligent. On the first day of each week, he was with Jason in the laboratory as he conducted magic experiments. Jason would explain the principles of magic relating to the experiments. On the fifth day of each week, he would enter the city to place orders and collect the materials he had ordered the previous week.
He had placed Decca at the back of his mind. There was an underground bandit group in Ceylon City which had become a headache for the lord. Saleen had accepted the teachings from the books. Mages were detached from the outside world, and aside from when they were hired, they were not to interfere with the lives of ordinary people.
In another half a year, Saleen had mastered the sixth level-0 magic, Magic Alarm. This was an enchantment magic, and lasted for two hours with each release. Depending on the method of release, the resulting magic alarm could be either audible or inaudible.
An audible alarm was beneficial for team protection as everyone could hear it. An inaudible alarm could only be detected by the mage themselves, and even the person who had triggered the spell would remain unaware.