Chapter 20: The Battle with the Girl from Caucasus (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It was a lovely voice, crisp and clean. It was just that Saleen did not understand its meaning in saying “wild pig”. He only saw a delicate fist growing bigger in his view, before he felt a pain in his eye and then passed out.
Before passing out, Saleen had felt no fear. On his mind, instead, was the bright red mark leaping above that bosom, as though it held control over his heart. He did not have time to react to it, and had then been struck by the fist.
“Wake up. Quickly, wake up.” The lovely voice was heard again. With effort, Saleen opened one eye. It felt as though his left eye could not be opened. He managed to open it slightly but everything seen through it was a blur. A small soft hand was slapping his face, intent on waking him.
“Alright, I’m awake!” Saleen struggled to move backwards. The girl who was hitting him had put on her clothes, and was glaring at Saleen ferociously. Saleen was relieved. The girl did not seem like she was going to kill him. He had killed before and could sense when killing intent was present.
Saleen sat up, indicating that he meant no harm. He sized up the girl while she did the same to him.
Both of them were about the same age. She looked to be about seventeen or eighteen years old. Her choice of clothing shocked Saleen. She was wearing animal skins that were hardly sewn together with the fur facing out. Many parts were already worn out. The animal skins looked very rugged. Dried purplish-black blood was all over her body.
The main thing was that the animal skins were in two parts, revealing her midriff. Her pale translucent skin glowed, enough to cause a person’s eyes to ache. Saleen had wanted to open his injured eyes wider but the pain caused him to grit his teeth.
The boots on her feet were obviously not of Sikeqinya style. To think that the soles of her boots were made from the paw pads of demonic beasts! Even more shocking was the weapon she was carrying on her back. It was a long cudgel, thick on one end and thin on the other. It was as tall as her.
The stick had a metallic sheen but Saleen recognized that it was made from the bone of a senior demonic beast. It was frightfully heavy. He was lucky that she had used her fists on him instead, Saleen thought to himself.
The girl was very pretty, with a set of dark eyebrows, snow white skin, and a pair of pale blue eyes. She was similar in height to Saleen. Her body was well proportioned, and her look was natural. She seemed to have forgotten that Saleen had seen her naked, and showed no hint of embarrassment.
“My name is Saleen Metatrin. What about you?” Saleen did not know what to say, since he could not possibly keep staring at her with one big eye and one small eye.
“I am Sika. Tell me honestly, why were you hiding here to peep?” Sika pointed at Saleen’s head with a slender finger, seemingly having recalled the earlier incident.
Not knowing whether to cry or laugh, he said, “This place is not a bathhouse. Such a cold, wintry day, and I am hiding here to peep?”
“Very logical!” Sika was easily convinced. She thought Saleen’s point made sense and began to calm down. Feeling sympathetic after seeing that Saleen’s face was twitching, Sika took out a bottle and handed it to him.
“What is this?”
“Holy water from the Holy See, for you to treat your eye. I am sorry if I used too much force,” Sika said apologetically.
“It is fine. You were only reacting according to your instincts,” Saleen said, showing understanding towards Sika.
“I’m so sorry. I wanted to take a shower but I was worried you would wake up, so I punched you again…” Sika looked at Saleen innocently. Saleen felt his anger rising. No wonder he could not open his eye.
But… forget it. He could not peek at people for free. There was a price to be paid for everything. Such was the case for obtaining his magic chords, and the same for looking at beautiful women. Saleen consoled himself as he opened the bottle and poured the holy water on his wound.
“Ah!” Saleen jumped up in pain. He had never used holy water before but had read that when used to treat wounds, it was warm and soothing, not painful as though being burned.
He threw the bottle on the floor and said angrily, “What is this that you have here?!”
Sika was stunned. She picked up the bottle, looked at the image on it, and muttered to herself, “It looks correct. Hang on and let me take a look.”
If there was a wall nearby, Saleen definitely would have bashed his head against it. This girl’s brain must have been short-circuited. The contents of the bottle, however, were indeed meant for healing. He had secretly tested it before use, and so could not blame this on Sika.
Sika removed the leather bag from her waist and looked inside it. Then she said with certainty, “This was indeed the water from the Holy See. I spent five silver coins on it.”
Saleen had his doubts, as his eyes now hurt even more. Although five silver coins could only buy inferior products, there should still have been healing properties, and should not have caused additional pain.
He could not figure out the reason behind it. Saleen suddenly realized how stupid he had been. He removed the metal water flask from his waist, raised his head, and poured the liquid onto his wound. His eyes immediately felt much better. This was the restorative water he had produced himself.
Restorative water was a healing liquid produced using Grade 1 magic. It could effectively repair wounds. While it took longer to take effect compared to similar spells, it did not have any side effects.
Saleen had hundreds of spells in his head but could only learn a dozen or so at the moment. The practicality of restorative water was immense, especially for use within a team. The restorative water made by senior mages could even heal old wounds.
“This is the wilderness. Why would you come here for a bath?” Saleen said as he raised his head to let the restorative water enter his eyes and immerse his eyeballs. He was afraid that the blood vessels in his eyeballs would tear. That would affect his vision in the long term.
“I also do not know. I was intending to go Holzer City. As I walked, I somehow entered this mountain.”
So she was a fool with no sense of direction. Saleen grew even more frustrated. The blows he had received were too uncalled for. To think that he could even bump into a lost wanderer.
“Why are you going to Holzer City?” Saleen wondered about how bold she could be to enter the water in such cold weather. It was possible that she was a swordsman who had already attained the sword aura, although what she was carrying was a cudgel. Hence, he had better not make her angry.
“It has not been easy to survive in the mountains recently. I am thinking of becoming a mercenary,” Sika said, lowering her head.
“You are not from Sikeqinya?” Saleen had just then realized that there was something off about Sika’s accent. Although she was also speaking the common mainland language, her articulation was quicker and she ended her sentences in a terser manner.
“I am from Caucasus.” Sika unpretentiously sat on the floor, revealing to Saleen the portion of her legs uncovered by her boots.
“What is your grade?” Saleen thought that Sika was fairly amicable, and that people from Caucasus were simpler. He decided to befriend her. As a junior mage, he needed the partnership of powerful swordsmen.
“Don’t know. In any case, whenever the demonic beasts near the village saw me, they would run off,” Sika said, looking confused. Saleen was discouraged. It was common for Caucasus swordsmen not to know their own grade. He felt silly for asking.
The Caucasus Region was neither affiliated with Sikeqinya nor any duchy. It remained a primitive mountainous region which produced high quality swordsmen.
The regiment liked swordsmen from Caucasus, who were strong in both near and far ranging battles and were team players. The male Caucasus swordsmen were at minimum skilled in the use of the axe, and could attack from a radius of a hundred meters away. The injuries they caused could be far worse than an archer’s attack.
The Caucasus Region was the only place which had maintained the primitive profession of a priest. A priest’s offensive capabilities were inferior to that of a mage’s but their healing prowess was similar to a holy master’s.
“You did not know the way and yet you still ventured out?” Saleen’s eyes were better, although still swollen. To think that Sika’s fingers looked slender, yet were harder than a hammer.
“What was there to be afraid of? Getting lost doesn’t mean you will starve. There are more wild beasts around here than where I was from. I have been in the mountains for more than a month and nothing has happened so far.”
Saleen finally understood that looks and intelligence were not mutually exclusive. Sika, being such a muddled Caucasus girl, had a high chance of being deceived. Perhaps he had better approach her first. If he had been too late, the unimaginable could have happened…
“Why don’t you go with me to Dean? There are more work opportunities there.” Saleen tried to entice Sika. Actually, he also only knew this from books. There had not even been a professional union in Ceylon City.
“Ok, but I haven’t got any money. If we were to enter the city…”
Saleen was exasperated. No money and yet still out and about. It also cost money to join the regiment. But this was fine as well. If Sika were unable to register as a mercenary because she had no money, she would have to follow him.
“Meals in the city are expensive. And you have this rule against ‘eating humans’. So troublesome.”
“Eating humans!” Saleen was frightened. Although the Caucasus Region was primitive, he had not heard they were cannibals.
“I do not mean we eat humans when we see them. Um, in Caucasus language, it means to eat everything your enemy has.” Sika made an attacking gesture with her hands. Saleen understood. She was referring to robbery. There had been records of tribes robbing one another. Saleen hardly came across such incidents and only knew vague details regarding them.
“Why don’t you be a lone adventurer first? It would cost less.” Saleen explained the difference between an adventurer and a mercenary to Sika. A mercenary would have to pay a deposit after they registered at the professional union. Should they fail at their mission, the loss would be deducted from their deposit.
An adventurer, however, would only need to pay the registration fee. But they would not be allowed to undertake missions such as escorting the delivery of gifts, as they were the most frequent and most lucrative.
This rule did not apply to mages. Even for Grade 1 mages, they did not need to pay any deposit to join the regiment.
“Saleen, what do you do?” Sika asked curiously, as she thought Saleen seemed very learned.
“I am a mage.”
“Oops, then I have been rude.” Sika bowed in a manner that baffled Saleen. Then she explained, “When I left home, the elders reminded me that out here, mages are highly revered, just like priests.”
She looked at Saleen’s eyes still swollen eyes as she said this. Sika began to feel anxious. She had actually assaulted someone similar to a priest.
Both of them had begun to feel guilty and so the conversation flowed more easily. Saleen encouraged Sika to go to Dean City, which was away from the sea. It was close to the border and at any point in time, one could cross the Saxon Principality to enter the Qin Empire.
Saleen’s calculations were very good. He would first take some professional missions at the border, to increase his grade and ability to battle, so as to avoid the type of trouble he had encountered in Ceylon City. If he could progress to Grade 3, then he would not be afraid of Earl Sufonso coming after his life. He could not possibly get a swordmaster to appear, could he?
Even if a small probability of this existed, he could flee to the Qin Empire. Earl Sufonso’s influence would not work there. In the Qin Empire, swordmasters counted for naught, as there were mages everywhere.
It was said that every city in the Qin Empire had a magical tower. Judging from this, there were at least hundreds of Grade 6 mages. Although the number was small in comparison to the billions of Qin Empire people, it meant that only one great mage emerged from tens of thousands of people. However, the Qin Empire was infallible with the help of these mages. Even the three powerful empires and the Holy See could do nothing about this.