Chapter 15: Trouble with a Lesser Nobleman (Part 2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Baron Minghui clenched his fist and whispered something to the swordsman behind him. He was not furious, but was not content with letting a child insult him in this manner. Saleen’s age did not suit the term “mage” at all.
“The people of Sikeqinya always say that everything can be bought with gold coins. Mage Saleen, I would like to hire you to perform some magic for everyone here right now.”
“Sure, I can go to Metropolitan City tomorrow and register myself as a mercenary. You can send someone to go with me.”
“Why go to all that trouble? Mage Saleen, why don’t I decide? Let’s do it right now. Please name your price. Let us all gain some insight. Baron Minghui is a man of status, and he will not refuse you.” Lady Viscount settled the matter immediately. Baron Minghui’s mouth fell in some distress, but he could not refute a beautiful lady’s compliment. That would be shameful.
“Make it two thousand gold coins. It will not be easy for the baron, since he is away from home.” Saleen looked indifferent but was delighted in his heart.
“I offer three thousand gold coins. You duel with my swordsman, and it is yours if you win.” Baron Minghui was now angered.
The atmosphere at the table grew tense. Saleen’s pupils shrank; he had forgotten one thing. Mages induced fear in most people, except for one group – those from remote areas, who had not encountered much of the world. They would fear a mad dog but would certainly not fear a mage.
Fearing a mad dog was understandable, but not mages who had never appeared.
Saleen switched his gaze to the swordsman behind the baron, slowed down, and asked, “Do you intend for this to be a fight of life and death?”
There were neither emotions nor emphasis in what Saleen had said. The swordsman’s cold sweat had already soaked his back. He was cursing his baron in his heart. He was only a senior swordsman, and could probably kill this youth. But mage apprentices and swordsmen were different. If you killed an apprentice, their teacher could get angry and take even more lives.
He was a newcomer and did not know the mage grade of Saleen’s teacher. If he was further along than Grade 4, the emperor would not be too angered if he were to kill the baron.
He was still young. Could it be that his bright future was about to be ruined by the baron?
Saleen kept looking at the swordsman’s eyes, taking in the swordsman’s emotional turmoil in his mind. Saleen was slightly relieved. This swordsman would not dare to kill him.
Saleen’s heart settled down. He looked at Baron Minghui, and said with a smile, “Baron, I said it was two thousand gold coins for the performance of magic. To win the duel, it will cost extra. Forget about it if you cannot afford it. I do not care for these few thousand gold coins. This is on account of the viscount.”
Saleen’s speech was befitting of his feigned identity. Baron Minghui gnashed his teeth helplessly.
“How about this? You may not have that much money on you. Use your ring as the prize, and if I win…”
“Sure!” Baron Minghui removed the eye-catching ring and placed it on the table.
“This is yours if you win. But if you get hurt, it has nothing to do with me.”
“Let’s start.” Saleen waved his hand suddenly. The swordsman behind Baron Minghui reflexively drew his sword. The table stood between the both of them. He could not jump onto the table to attack Saleen, as that would be too ill-mannered.
Saleen did not think so. He waved his hand and the flame in the copper brazier at the center of the table soared instantaneously, nearly hitting the ceiling. The originally red flame turned blue in that moment, dancing devilishly.
At the same time, the swordsman felt pain in his eyes and nostrils. He could not see anything and immediately summoned the sword aura. The sword formed a field in order to protect him. He was filled with immense fear as he did not know what magic had come over him.
Saleen was not using magic. He had thrown “witch’s sight” straight into the fire and everyone aside from him had temporarily lost their vision. Saleen jumped onto the table silently and used the magic staff in his hand to forcefully whack Baron Minghui’s head.
Unlike Viscount Gugger, Baron Minghui had no martial arts background. He was already shouting in panic after having lost his sight. His head received a solid whack. Seeing stars, the baron still did not know what had happened. Saleen gave his head another whack.
“Stop, don’t hit me, don’t hit me. I concede defeat!” Baron Minghui finally realized what he had been hit by after a few whacks. His throat was sore and his voice hoarse. He was almost in tears. Was that demon not a mage? Why would he hit me?
Saleen stopped and bent over the table to pick up Baron Minghui’s ring. He put it away and then crossed the now-extinguished flame before returning to his seat.
Everyone gradually recovered their sight. The swordsman saw the swell on Baron Minghui’s head and glared at Saleen in anger.
Viscount Gugger did not know what to say. Saleen was, after all, his mage in name. He had beaten up his guest, and if word got out, Baron Minghui would be shamed.
Saleen shrugged, saying, “If your master is killed in battle, even if you kill all the enemies responsible, you will still not recover your honor, right?”
The swordsman looked at where Saleen was pointing with a chill in his heart. A hole, the size of a face basin, had somehow appeared at the center of the table. The position of the hole was directly in front of Baron Minghui.
He was aware of the Acid Sputtering spell and was not afraid of it. But if the baron was sputtered upon and did not die from it, he would still be ruined for life. The earlier spell had already made him lose his sight for thirty seconds. All it took was for the other party to release a Grade 1 spell, and he would perhaps be unable to survive it.
He felt gratitude towards Saleen. He did not know that Saleen was incapable of any Grade 1 magic, or else he would have hurled a fireball at his head. Only dead enemies were safest. Anyone could understand this.
“I concede defeat.” The swordsman hung his head and put away his sword.
“The baron will not go back on his word, right? Two thousand gold coins.” Saleen held out his hand shamelessly.
Baron Minghui, simmering with the loss of face, took out two Qin Empire bank notes and handed them to the maidservant behind him. Having received the bank notes, Saleen’s look softened. He took out a small bottle and poured its contents onto the fiery coals. A light scent immediately permeated the house.
“Lord Viscount, I’m sorry for damaging your table,” Saleen apologized to Viscount Gugger while dispelling the aftereffects caused by the “witch’s sight”.
Viscount Gugger felt a chill in his heart. He knew that his martial arts skills were inferior to that of Baron Minghui’s swordsman. If Saleen had wanted to kill him, it would have been a piece of cake. Mages were indeed evil creatures. Was his own plan too risky?
He had originally thought that it would be harmless to make use of Saleen, who was a mere apprentice. But now it seemed that even a mage apprentice could bring death without rhyme or reason.
“Saleen, to have seen such exciting magic, the loss of one table is nothing. Let us go elsewhere.” Gugger beckoned everyone to rise. He knew that it would be unbearable for Baron Minghui to stay in this house for a minute longer.
Baron Minghui was filled with a belly of anger and wanted to make offensive remarks. Viscount Gugger whispered, “Even I, a viscount, would have no control over a mage.”
Baron Minghui deflated. He might have been wealthy but he was three titles below that of Gugger. If even the First Viscount said so, it appeared that he would have no way of seeking vengeance on Saleen.
Saleen passed through the city gates, feeling pleased with himself as he leisurely walked home. These days, when Saleen entered the city, there was no need to pay any taxes. It was the same for all cities on the mainland; mages had special privileges.
Saleen’s mood improved significantly after thrashing Baron Minghui. He enjoyed the feeling of overturning the situation and emerging triumphant. From that point on, he was not the old Saleen. The name Metatrin no longer represented decline and poverty. He had beaten up the nobleman who led a city. Why wouldn’t he be pleased with himself?
Of course, the requirement was that he needed to become a qualified mage. If Baron Minghui were to learn that he was an apprentice, he might seek revenge on Saleen once he was not in Ceylon City.
Now that he had ten thousand gold coins, he had better expedite his production of magic chord medicine. Once it was winter, Viscount Gugger would need his help eliminating the pirates.
Saleen was not enthusiastic about the elimination of the pirates. His ancestors had never been fishing folk, and had started out as noblemen. Later on, when they had lost their titles, they were successful traders travelling to and from the North on the mainland. There was no animosity between Saleen and the pirates, but what Viscount Gugger had said about saving sailors and soldiers had changed his mind.
Jason was engrossed with his magic experiments and did not question Saleen about anything. Saleen spent six thousand gold coins on six sets of materials in preparation for the magic chord medicine.
He was unable to deploy the Magic Flame on his own, and had to rely on alchemy equipment such as the crucible. The procedure of the magic chord medicine did not go well. Saleen failed four times in succession. Nothing was produced, except for dregs in the crucible.
Four thousand gold coins were gone just like that. Saleen’s heart ached. The more he invested, the harder it was for him to let go. The date for the mid-autumn sea ceremony was approaching. Saleen hoped to attend the ceremony as a qualified mage.
It was another morning. Jason had taken his breakfast early and gone into his laboratory, keeping the door tightly shut. Saleen was in his own room. He was holding his crucible, into which he had added Magic Flame Medicine. He did not light it up. Instead, he took out his badge, held it in his hand, and released a Grade 0 spell, allowing the badge to exhaust his magical power.
Each time he did this, Saleen’s mental power would increase after he had recovered. If not for his poor affinity to the elements, he would have long since become a qualified mage. There would not have been any need for magic chord medicine.
The mysterious badge exhausted all of the power within Saleen’s body. Saleen lay on the floor, quietly waiting to recover. A tinge of blue appeared in the lightning-shaped mark at the center of the badge, bringing about all sorts of negative effects. Saleen did not feel anything, and was instead rehearsing the procedures for producing magic chord medicine.