Chapter 13: Viscount Gugger’s Invitation (Part 2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Saleen had no idea he was being described as the sh*t of a powerful mage. He was prepared to accept the invitation from Lord Viscount, but was worried about his outfit. Where could he get a mage’s robe?
He lay on his bed, tossing around. A token of five to six thousand gold coins in appreciation. Five to six thousand gold coins!
Three years ago, when Jason appeared in front of Saleen, Saleen was about to starve to death. Besides the huge stone house itself, he had exchanged all the furniture and furnishings for food. However, no one would buy the house. The interested buyers understood the principle that the house would be even cheaper if Saleen starved to death.
After joining Jason, Saleen used all his time to improve his strength. When he discovered that the badge could increase his power, he even suppressed the fear of pain within his heart to torture his senses each and every day, only for the slight increase in strength it offered. His suffering was in hope of the success of the magic chord medicine.
Saleen had no idea why it had to be so tough. He only knew that once he became a qualified mage, he would no longer need to live the life he’d had before. No one understood the fear an orphan had. When Saleen had accumulated his first gold coin, he immediately bought fifty pieces of bread weighing five hundred grams each and hid them under his bed.
That night, Saleen slept soundly for the first time, feeling blessed.
The bread had turned moldy later. Saleen began to understand that bread could not be amassed, and even gold coins could potentially be grabbed by others. Only when he became a mage would he not need to seek approval from anyone. Even the Lord would equally need to show him due respect.
Saleen could not reject this offer of five thousand gold coins. Five thousand gold coins represented five sets of materials for the magic chord medicine. Based on his current method, it would take him at least two years to earn these five thousand gold coins. Decca had tried his best, and Saleen really had no better way. Taking the money to start a business? That required time. Saleen did not have time for such secular matters; he had placed all his energy into magic and acquiring knowledge.
The problem was, what did Viscount Gugger have in mind for him to do? Saleen was not confident. No matter how clever he was, he was ultimately a youth who did not know the power games of the nobility. Surely, Saleen could not let his teacher know about this, so he felt apprehensive.
He forced himself to stop pondering, dragged the box out from under the bed, and retrieved his family badge.
The magic elements in his body were instantly exhausted, the debuffs flooding in. Saleen was already used to it, and treated his body as though it were not his own. He recalled the magic books and magic notes that he had read previously, steadily enriching his own knowledge on magic. Initially, he had lost control of his body for as long as twenty-four hours, but now he only needed six hours to recover.
Saleen used these six hours to conduct his learning. Reading magic was like “forced memorization”, but did not include the understanding of the words’ meanings. As though ruminating, Saleen searched through what he had been forced to commit to memory and pondered them continuously. He did not notice that a tinge of blue had flashed across the lightning-shaped mark on the badge in his hand. This tinge of blue was remarkably dark, and was completely different from what he had seen the first time.
“He left the money behind, and left?” Viscount Gugger and Ulysses were having an in-depth conversation in the Lord’s house.
“Yes, he did not bat his eyes even once, and had only one expression from start to finish.”
Viscount Gugger paused to think, and then said, “You did quite well. Wait for him at the city gate next week, and do not alarm the mage.”
“Yes. But, what time should I go?” Ulysses asked this question specifically, not wanting to make any mistakes.
“Idiot, go and wait at dawn.” Viscount Gugger was obviously in good spirits, smiling as he lamented without anger.
Ulysses retreated unwillingly. To wait for the apprentice early in the morning, when he had always entered the city in the afternoon? He, an elementary swordmaster, having to wait for a mere mage’s apprentice!
Feeling satisfied, Viscount Gugger stretched his body. Although it was unexpected that Saleen had not taken the money, because he was willing to come over for a discussion, there was hope. Now he felt that his marriage to Narsha had been a very wise decision. If not for his father-in-law’s support, where would he have found the money to make this possible?
Without money, there would be no way to feed those good-for-nothings at the Presbyterian Council, not to mention to entice this little apprentice. As long as he restored the nobility ranking of his family, this sum of money would be returned..
One week passed quickly. Ulysses, along with Chris, had gone to the city gate early in the morning to wait for Saleen patiently. The weather was getting colder. The two of them put on the leather robes that Viscount Gugger had supplied, and stood at the entrance of the city gate, feeling a little silly. The soldiers on guard at the city gate collecting taxes had offered them the resting house as a bid to please them, but ended up being reprimanded by Chris.
If they missed Saleen, they would definitely be reprimanded when they returned. They would rather stand there in the cold as a form of practice. The Ceylon City walls were very high, being almost ten meters. The city gate was wide enough to allow four horse carriages to move through side by side. Despite the decline of the city, there were still remnants of its former buzz.
It had been many years since the Myers Mainland had been at war with the four big empires. Ceylon City had been peaceful for such a long time that the trees outside the city had not been cleared. Both sides of the wide official road were full of tall and low scattered trees and shrubs. Over the years, the ruts on the slate had become messier over time, having not been repaired or polished by anyone.
Saleen appeared on this old official road. He was still carrying the huge leather sack on his back, with nary a change to his outfit.
Ulysses heaved a sigh of relief. It would have been boring and torturous to have to wait until the afternoon. At the same time, he felt relieved that he had heeded Lord Viscount’s instructions to wait here in the morning.
“Mage Saleen!” Ulysses went up to him quickly.
“So it is Swordmaster Ulysses,” Saleen smiled and cracked a neither serious nor light-hearted joke.
Ulysses’ face turned red but he was not too embarrassed. Saleen was warmer than the last time around. His expression was no longer cold and emotionless.
“Lord Viscount had asked that I welcome you.”
“I shall go and collect my goods first, you see…”
“Let Chris take care of it.” Ulysses called out to Chris, and the red-haired swordsman meekly took over Saleen’s leather sack, along with the store tickets.
“They have been paid for. You just have to inspect the packages. You know the place, right?” Saleen reminded Chris.
The economy in Ceylon City had declined, and there were limited shops. Gugger had actually specially studied Saleen’s movements. Of course he knew which store Saleen had placed his orders at. Chris controlled his urge to beat Saleen up, and left quickly like a meteor.
“Swordmaster, let’s go.”
Ulysses gave a wry smile, and replied to Saleen, “I will call you Saleen from now on. Please do not call me swordmaster. It is embarrassing.”
“I am glad that you realize it.” Saleen had won the first round. He adjusted his robe and followed Ulysses onto the carriage. The exterior of the carriage was already old, but the fittings within were luxurious.
The interior of the spacious carriage was covered with carpet from the Caucasus Region. The seats were wrapped in velvet from the Tangulasi Empire, and the cushions were made simply with precious silk from the Qin Empire. In fact, the carriage body had been made in the Cloudflow Empire. There was almost no jolt when the carriage was in motion, in essence not affecting skilled shooters in battle.
Although Ceylon City had declined, the Sikeqinya Empire was still flourishing. The largest trading and mercenary groups in the entire mainland were based in Sikeqinya, where one could buy anything they could think of.
Saleen could not appreciate Lord Viscount’s hospitality. He only thought that the fragrance inside the carriage was a little strange. He deployed a cleaning spell. With the cleansing of the fresh water vapor, the fragrance in the carriage quickly dissipated. Within six hours, he could release six level-0 spells. Could that Viscount Gugger have invited him to perform?
Saleen leaned against the soft cushions, an indescribable feeling in his heart. Three years ago, he was hungry and freezing. Who would have thought that this day would come when he would be received by the Lord in his very carriage? He felt gratified; all of this was magic, brought to him by Jason Statham. When would he have true glory?
The more Saleen thought about it, the more eager he felt about the payment of those few thousand gold coins from the viscount. He did not speak to Ulysses, but began to meditate in his seat.
Viscount Gugger did not come out to greet him. Ulysses brought Saleen to a small sitting room to wait. This was not considered disrespect, as the small sitting room was used by nobility for extending hospitality to the people close to them. Common visitors would not have such a privilege.
As Viscount Gugger had financial aid from his father-in-law, even though tax revenues had not been profitable, his life was still very comfortable. Saleen was now sipping tea imported from the Qin Empire, and eating dried nuts from Baidi City. The maidservant who had served him was young and pretty, and was looking at him flirtatiously.
Mages were rare. The maids did not care about Saleen’s current grade. In any case, once they managed to seduce him, they would have very different statuses.
Although Saleen was not reserved, he felt it was silly. It was fortunate that Ulysses was accompanying him; the two maidservants did not dare to do anything.
“Mage Saleen, I heard that mages can fly in the sky, is that true?”
“Even a grade-5 mage would need the use of an aviation prop. I am just an apprentice. Only mages above grade-6 could own the sky.” Saleen straightened his clothes while sitting, and answered according to the standard answer from the magic books.
“You must have read a lot of books. You speak just like a nobleman.”
“This is not a compliment, even to an apprentice.” Saleen did not want Ulysses to treat this like a joke. He put on a stern look, with no intention of engaging the two maidservants any further.
The maidservants covered their mouths and giggled, “Do you intend to punish us?”
Saleen did not reply; he was not angry. If Viscount Gugger were to punish the two maidservants, he would certainly agree with it. These two maids were obviously not worth a few thousand gold coins. But Saleen remembered how he had been in the past, and felt that such punishments were meaningless.
The people at the lowest level would desperately climb their way upwards, regardless of what was at the top. They would be unwilling to turn back.