Chapter 29: The One Who Should Not Have Been Killed (Part 2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“What shall we do?” Everyone looked at Canghong. This devilishly handsome man had lost his composure at the moment. He could not respond to Saleen’s question.
“From what I see, since the deed is already done, what we need to do now is think about how we will escape from being killed by Holy See,” said Saleen who was unsurprisingly calm. He had planned to go to the Qin Empire anyway, so he simply needed to bring up his plans. He had registered as a mercenary only to earn some money to pay for his expenses while practicing magic.
Canghong was speechless. He had family back home. If this matter were to leak out, the inquisitors would attack his family, regardless of whether they were involved in this. He would not be able to stay in the Sikeqinya Empire and if he ran away, he could only go to the Qin Empire where there were no unions. By doing so, the five thousand gold pieces would go down the drain along with his own savings, as they were all placed in the Sikeqinya Empire’s bank. While the bank would not confiscate his assets because of his crime, he would be too afraid to return.
All of his savings from the past few years and the deaths of five close-knit mercenaries in exchange for the status of a fugitive? The relics at the Chaotic Swamp would either be of some consolation, or he would end up with nothing.
“Let’s complete the mission at hand first. Regardless of what we find in the relics, after we have completed the expedition, Sika and I will go to the Qin Empire. All of you might as well take the boat to the Cloudflow Empire. If the Holy See cannot find any of you, it will not be impossible for them to conclude that it was done by you,” Saleen said eloquently, as though he had not been involved in the killing of the holy master.
“This is the way things have to be then,” said Canghong agonizingly. He could only hope that the relics from the Chaotic Swamp would not disappoint.
“Let me rest for twenty minutes. Once I have regained my magic chords, we can continue to advance,” Saleen said. He did not want to aggravate Canghong and the others but wanted to remind them that there could be unknown enemies up ahead. This was not the time to be upset and nervous.
“Everyone enter the fork road and get some rest. We will leave in twenty minutes.” Canghong gave a simple order, feeling a little dejected.
While Saleen appeared to be calm on the surface, he was, in fact, panicking inside. The consequences of offending Earl Sufonso were nothing compared to those of offending the Holy See. It was bound to end badly. Even if he were a Grade 6 mage with a magical tower, the lunatics from the tribunal would still attack him anyway.
Any contradictions involving religion only resulted in a situation without an end. The Holy See did not have any churches in the Qin Empire but the religious inquisition was everywhere, which would make it difficult for Saleen to practice in seclusion.
Saleen continued to maintain his outwardly calm composure and focused hard on absorbing the magic nuclei to recover his magic chords. The situation had reached the point of no return. There was no use being vexed over it, and the only way forward would be to improve his abilities. After killing the son of Earl Sufonso, Saleen finally understood the importance of a person’s capabilities.
If he were a mage master, Earl Sufonso’s son would have released Decca on his account. He would have not have needed to run away, would not have met Canghong, and of course, would not have killed the high priest from the Holy See.
This was destiny – an insignificant beginning had determined the outcome. Canghong was influenced by Saleen and had unconsciously calmed down. It was very clear to him that from now on, he would not be able to return to the Falcon Regiment. While they were a Grade 4 regiment, they would not offend the Holy See over a squad leader like him. The most important thing right now would be to kill his way through this tunnel and eliminate everyone ahead of them so that his squad was not exposed. Once he obtained the relics from the Chaotic Swamp, he would leave and never return to Sikeqinya.
The Cloudflow Empire had many islands and it would be impossible for the claws of the Holy See to reach any of them there, much less find him. However, there were four squads ahead of them, of which two were from the Vulture Regiment, one was a fugitive squad, and the last was a hunting squad. The combined strength of these squads was more than that of his squad. In addition, Cook was dead; Lucas had used up half of his eagle plumes; Pino was hurt and one of Sarah’s arms was injured. Would such a squad be able to reach the relics successfully?
Canghong looked at Saleen. More than half of Saleen’s magic chords had recovered and the fluorescent light had returned along with the Fog of Confusion, placing the entire team under the protection of his magic. Canghong could not feel any fluctuations in the emotions of this young mage. It was as though the person they had killed was only a normal person, and not a Grade 1 high priest under the seven oracles. Canghong was relieved that he at least had a Grade 1 mage who could allow the squad to display their extraordinary fighting capabilities.
This young mage knew a thing or two about assassins. Therefore, the remaining four would only need to deal with the archers and holy masters, which were comparatively easier opponents. Saleen raised his gaze and looked at Canghong with his blue eyes, smiling and saying, “Do not worry. If this were the wilderness, we would have no chance of winning. However, in this environment, unless there is a mage of a higher grade, we will not meet with any danger. Let us continue.”
The remaining four people from the Falcon Regiment gathered in silence. This time, Sarah was in front, Lucas was at the back, and Pino and Canghong followed Saleen. Sika carried her large cudgel and followed closely behind Saleen. Any sounds within the cave could be heard from afar, and Sarah did not dare go too far beyond the Fog of Confusion. The squad maintained a steady but slow pace as they moved forward.
After about twenty minutes, Sarah stopped and waited for Saleen and the others to catch up before making some hand gestures. Canghong sighed silently. It seemed that luck was back on their side. There was only a small squad ahead of them. The Vulture Regiment did not seem to know that their compatriots behind them had met with mishap, and were instead focused on the squads ahead.
He knew that Saleen was only a Grade 1 mage and would not know the Mute Enchantment spell. He wrote on the ground with his fingers, “Same spell as before, but at half the speed.”
Saleen nodded his head, indicating that he had understood.
In the fog, the entire squad reduced their speed to half of what it had been before and continued to edge forward. Saleen began to use his instincts to search for the opponent’s assassins. For a junior mage, assassins were most troublesome. Without a high level magic shield, a mage would find it hard to anticipate the sudden attacks of assassins. If the assassin had mastered the sword aura, an attack out of nowhere would easily pierce the defenses of an invisible shield.
Before a mage attained Grade 4, assassins were a mage’s natural enemies, putting them at unease. Saleen did not have much combat experience and most of his knowledge was from books. However, he had committed to memory the one experience shared by mages, which was that in a battle, the assassins should be killed as soon as possible. Regardless of how strong a swordsman was, his skills were balanced at best. As long as the mage did not commit any major errors, it would be easy to win the battle if their opponent was of the same skill level. Although assassins also practiced the sword aura, they were better at hiding. Their sudden bursts of power made them more lethal than swordsmen. The best way to deal with an assassin was to kill them before they could react.
Fortunately for Saleen, while the Fog of Confusion was only a Grade 1 spell, it could not be countered by means other than magic. It was also difficult to determine if the fog was caused by magic or was a natural phenomenon. It was the autumn season, and there was a great deal of fog surrounding the Chaotic Swamp. Saleen found the locations of the two assassins in no time. They were in a crevice in between the rocks at the top of the cave. If Saleen’s manufactured fog had not covered such a large area, it would have been difficult to spot the two assassins.
While Saleen was initially happy, he suddenly wondered why the two assassins were at the back instead of in front of the squad as they typically would be. They could not have discovered his existence, because if they had known that the fog was created by a mage, they would have known that they had been exposed. If that were so, they would not still be hiding at that spot waiting for his magic to take effect.
Saleen grabbed hold of Canghong’s hand and held on to him. He steered his eyes towards the top of the cave, not knowing how to express his thoughts. He regretted not having learned more about mercenaries. Their hand gestures were complicated and were good enough to replace sign language. In desperation, Saleen controlled the Fluorescence spell and beamed a green fluorescent ray into the air to create a sentence: “Assassins at the back, situation not good.”
Canghong had more experience than Saleen and immediately understood what he meant. At the same time, he was full of admiration for this young mage. Canghong could tell that Saleen and Sika were rookie mercenaries and did not have much experience. However, throughout the journey, they had not created any trouble for him and had instead been the main forces during combat. Without the young mage, the squad would have died at the last encounter. Even if they had killed the holy master, they would have been killed by the witcher spiders after.
Canghong gestured his hand against his throat, indicating for Saleen to kill both of the assassins. Saleen nodded and a white light began to appear in his hands. Despite it being an old fashioned method, a large ice ball flew up towards the top of the cave, aiming for the area in between the two assassins.
The two assassins were more powerful than the previous two. With this sudden attack, not caring whether the ice ball was aimed at them, both leaped out from the crevice.
These were competent assassins, the natural enemies of mages, given their acute sensitivity to dangers. In terms of mental power, a strong assassin was not weaker than a mage, and some assassins even used magical tools.
Saleen sneered to himself: If you could escape this, I would not be a mage. He pursed his lips into a line and focused his mental power, bringing the flying ice ball to a stop right in between both assassins.
To most people, a mage’s magic and a bow and arrow worked the same way. Once a bow was released, there was no way for the arrow to be retracted. However, magic could be manipulated. Such techniques that could pause a spell after it had been released were quite rare. However, not many mages were willing to spend that much mental power to control their spells this way. Given the current scenario, a senior mage would only need to release a magic spell for both assassins to be killed. A mage’s usual consecutive attacks used a Grade 2 release coupled with an instantaneous release, creating the effect of a thunderstorm.