Chapter 12: Viscount Gugger’s Invitation (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“I am Saleen. May I ask what is the matter?” Saleen paused and turned around. The two swordsmen were a head taller than him. He stared into their eyes without looking overbearing. He was not looking upwards, but they were looking at him with their heads lowered. He seemed to have an invisible cover from head to toe, blocking him from the rain and forming a layer of mist.
This was the eighth level-0 magic that Saleen had learned – Invisible Shield.
“It is not convenient to talk in the rain. This way please.” The blond-haired swordsman knew that Chris was drenched, and the viscount had repeatedly instructed them to be respectful to this lad.
Saleen nodded, indicating for them to lead the way.
One’s environment affects his temperament while one’s diet affects his health. Saleen was no longer the orphan from three years ago. His status had changed along with his temperament. As an apprentice, he might not have any fighting ability, but he had a grade-5 mage watching his back. No one, not even the most influential in Ceylon City, would dare to mistreat Saleen.
When Jason had rescued him from prison, the viscount had not even dared to say a single word in response.
Saleen’s reserved attitude made the blond-haired swordsman worry that things could be problematic. After all, the viscount had been rejected by mages before. This lad would probably be difficult to deal with too. Walking into a deserted bar, Chris shook off the water on his hair and called for the waiter.
“Two strong tequilas. Um, Mage Saleen…”
“Give me a glass of water.” Saleen and the blond-haired swordsman sat opposite each other. He did not put down the huge leather sack he was carrying, but merely tied the money pouch at his waist. Swordsmen were very sensitive to weight. The leather sack on Saleen’s back contained at least a hundred kilograms of items. Despite his not-yet-fully-developed body, he had been effortlessly carrying the leather sack.
This was a body that was standard for a swordsman, but not a mage.
An apprentice of magic with a strong physique? The blond-haired swordsman began to pay more attention to Saleen. Mages were indeed mysterious and powerful beings. Three years ago, this child was almost at the brink of starvation, and could not possibly have had any physique to speak of. The waiter delivered the alcohol and water, looking steadily forward. The moment Saleen entered, he had already noticed the long robe on this young man. When he heard Chris calling this youth “mage”, he did not dare to utter a word.
Chris passed him a silver coin, and said, “Close the door, then go to the back. Do not come out if no one calls for you.” Even if it were not raining, the patrons were typically sparse. Furthermore, as these two swordsmen were from the House of the Lord, no one would dare oppose them even if the boss were here. The waiter hurriedly closed the door, latched it, and obediently hid in the back.
Saleen lifted the cup of water, and released a level-0 Poison Detection spell.
The water was, of course, safe. Saleen was only casually practicing his magic. In any case, that pitiful level of magic could not be used in any battle. What’s more, he himself was selling the highly toxic magic medicine in Ceylon City. If he were to be poisoned by his own medicine, he would become the most tragic apprentice in the world.
“Mage Saleen, Viscount Gugger asked that we call upon you.” The blond-haired swordsman’s words did not make sense. It was obvious that he had stopped Saleen on the road. If it were a visit, they should have gone to the outskirts.
Saleen smiled, not minding what the blond-haired swordsman had said. Now, nobody would dare go near to his house. His teacher disapproved, so even the Lord had to stay away.
“I do not have much time, as I have to rush back before it gets dark. Please get straight to the point,” Saleen replied, taking a sip of the water and closing his eyes.
Viscount Gugger Freyne owned Ceylon City. While the Freyne clan had always been rooted here, it had also declined along with Ceylon City. Reduced from being a second class earl to becoming a first class viscount, Viscount Gugger had also lost a large amount of land through the years. The emperor no longer bothered himself with bulletins on Ceylon City. There were little earnings, and it had long been abandoned by adventurers and traders.
Saleen’s teacher, Jason Statham, was the first mage to stop by Ceylon City in the last two hundred years. In addition, being a grade-5 mage, he would be able to build a magical tower when he was promoted to the next grade.
The moment Jason appeared, Viscount Gugger had expressed interest in soliciting him. Jason had promptly chased him away, and Viscount Gugger never attempted it again. The first time, one was chased off; the next time, one could be killed.
After a span of three years, the viscount had contacted him. Could it not be a good thing? Saleen contemplated to himself, looking steadily ahead.
“Mage Saleen, Lord Viscount would like to invite you to attend the mid-autumn festival sea sacrifice ceremony.” The blond-haired swordsman took a sip of the strong tequila, warmth instantly filling his entire body. Chris was using a towel to dry his hair on the side. Both of them looked at Saleen, awaiting his reply.
“That is all?” Saleen was a little disappointed. Although this invitation was important, what he had hoped for was hundreds of gold coins. Saleen was in urgent need of money, as Decca’s capability to receive goods had reached its limit. Even if he were in dire need, Saleen simply could not squeeze water out of rocks.
The mid-autumn festival was a relatively important day in Northern Sikeqinya. The cities along the sea would hold sea sacrifice ceremonies to thank the sea for its blessings. This was the only memory left for the Myers Mainland since the fall of the Goddess of Nature. It was a day for the commoners, but nobility also used this day to show off to one another.
Viscount Gugger knew very well that he would not be able to invite Jason, thus he focused attention on himself. For a mage to accept the invitation, it would give him much face value. Although Saleen was still young, he was able to understand the viscount’s calculated move.
“Lord Viscount had requested your honor’s attire to be more formal, as a form of gratitude.” The blond-haired swordsman had unknowingly used an honorific. Saleen’s attitude was unpredictable for him. There was not a bit of response from this fifteen or sixteen year old young man. He had to take out a gift, put it on the table, and push it in front of Saleen.
More formal? Saleen looked at his own robe, but did not feel anything was amiss.
The blond-haired swordsman pushed over a small box. Saleen opened it to see a dazzling sight. Ten magic nuclei lay neatly in the box, each the size of a thumb, gleaming under the dim lighting of the bar. Under the magic nuclei were several Qin Empire bank notes. From the color, he could see they were in denominations of a thousand gold coins each.
Despite himself, Saleen’s heart raced. The magic nuclei were probably grade-3. Each would cost more than one hundred and fifty gold coins. The bank notes were estimated to be four to five thousand. This was indeed a large sum of money.
To hire an apprentice of magic to attend a ceremony obviously did not require so much money. Even if Saleen did not have much experience being out and about, given that there were so many soldiers in Sikeqinya, with such a large sum of money, one could definitely hire a mage successfully. And that would be a qualified mage and not an apprentice. These principles came to Saleen when he thought about it.
The viscount’s motive was to win over his teacher. If he kept the money and his teacher got wind of it… Seeing that Saleen had closed the cover gently without even blinking, the blond-haired swordsman felt uneasy. He said in a low voice, “Mage Saleen, what Lord Viscount meant was to request that you temporarily dress as a mage. This has nothing to do with your teacher. Our Lord also has another favor to ask of you.”
“What is your name?” Saleen asked the blond-haired swordsman suddenly.
“Ulysses, Ulysses Coya.” The blond-haired swordsman did not know why Saleen had asked for his name.
“Ulysses, you go back and tell Viscount Gugger that I will pay him a visit at his house next week. Now, I need to head back. My teacher does not like to wait.” Saleen smiled, stood up, opened the door, and walked into the rain.
He did not touch the wooden box, which lay quietly on the table. Ulysses did not dare to stop or chase after him. Saleen’s last statement was to remind him that with a grade-5 mage backing him, all means of convincing him were useless.
In the Ceylon City Lord’s house, the perspiring Viscount Gugger was waiting on his lady. The scars among the long hairs on his muscular chest were a testament of his hard work in his youth.
“Faster, faster!” Lady Viscount was young and enchanting, desperately writhing her luscious body. Gugger was helpless as he had, during noon, enjoyed a stolen moment with his personal maid. At this moment, his spirit was willing but his flesh was weak.
“Narsha…” The viscount slumped down, pressing on top of his lady’s body.
Lady Viscount pushed Gugger away and caught her breath. She certainly knew that Gugger was cheating on her. However, to the noblemen, this was nothing unusual. Gugger still had his good points. At least he did not come into contact with those dangerous women. The problem was insatiability; she needed to find something to vent about.
“Gugger, I heard that you took out five thousand gold coins to give that young lad?”
“Is an apprentice worth this much?” Lady Viscount was not an unworldly person. Her father was a chief trader, and she had travelled extensively, encountering many strange people and things.
“His teacher will be worth it,” Gugger perked up at the mention of this. He said to his lady, “I am financially strapped now. Get your father to pass me ten thousand gold coins.”
“What do you regard my father as?” Lady Viscount gave Gugger a gentle kick.
Master Gugger appeared unperturbed, laid his face down, and began to use his mouth to suck on his lady. Lady Viscount moaned twice, slapped Gugger’s head and said, “Get up. I want to ask you, what do you plan to do with this money?”
Gugger hugged his lady, and said in a low voice, “These few years, your father has spent tens of thousands of gold coins on the matter of my viscount title. There are no major issues over at the Presbyterian Council. But as I do not have many political achievements here, to restore the family viscount title and win back the lands, I need to do something the emperor will take notice of.”
“What has this got to do with the apprentice?” His lady was still unable to figure it out.
“There is not much I can do if that mage is unwilling to come here. But his student is different. I heard that that lad Saleen is trying his darndest to earn money. As long as I give him money, he will naturally be willing to work for me.”
“An apprentice does not have any ability.” Lady Viscount was not an amateur. A senior apprentice of magic would be, at most, of the standard of an intermediate swordsman. There were no senior professionals in the house, but it would not be an issue gathering a group of eighty to one hundred intermediate swordsmen. Ulysses was, in fact, the youngest elementary swordsman in the area, and already possessed the sword aura.
“He is a lump of sh*t, and also represents that grade-5 mage’s sh*t. When winter comes, I will get him to go with me to eliminate the pirates. When we report to the emperor, I will say that the elimination was successful with the help of the grade-5 mage. By then, the whole empire will know I have a powerful mage supporting me. No one would then oppose my attaining the baron title.”
“But it is so impoverished here. Where are the so-called pirates?”
“I have put away many offenders all these years. In fact, they are still alive. When it is time, I will throw them on board the ship. Who will know if they are pirates or offenders? The key is to get that Saleen to follow me. Get me that ship I lent to your father. I must do it personally this time around.”
“What happens if that mage comes to know about it?” The Lady was a little worried. If a mage were to be antagonized, even a viscount would have to be prepared to give up his life.
“I have spent much money just to make sure that lad keeps it a secret. If he does not reveal it, the mage will naturally not know. Even if he knew, he would attribute it to his student’s greed. Why would it be linked to us?”
“Gugger, you are such a genius. Come, again!” Lady Viscount pressed on her husband’s head and pushed him towards her crotch desperately. Her father’s investment was truly spot on. This Gugger was indeed a clever and ambitious man. Such kind and ambitious noblemen were rare. If it were someone else, they would have just killed some fishermen to make up the numbers. Gugger was still conscientious enough to set aside some offenders as substitutes.