Chapter 32: The Red Line Bandits (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“There are still three squads. We will not be able to fend them all off.” Canghong spoke to Saleen only after Sarah had woken up.
“I know, but there is no turning back. If we return, we will probably bump into people from the Holy See. It is not safe at Didypus. We want to leave Sikeqinya, and the only way out is ahead of us.”
“Sarah cannot engage in anymore combat,” Canghong’s eyed were a little red. Coupled with his devilish appearance, he looked like a beautiful girl even more stunning than Sarah.
“Give me half an hour. We will charge through.” Saleen held a Grade 3 magic nucleus in his hand, without the slightest trace of innocence on his face. His words had the ability to reassure others.
The four people sat in the field of the Fog of Confusion, a small amount of fluorescence light shining onto everyone’s faces and giving them a pale green sheen. When Saleen realized more than half of his magic chords had recovered, he then worriedly checked on the injury at his waist. The spear that the ascetic had used in combination with his holy prose had burst through three layers of his Water Shield, leaving Saleen with lingering fear.
In reality, Water Shield was a Grade 1 spell. After Saleen’s improvisation, its defensive capabilities were close to that of a Grade 2 spell at its peak. It possibly could have been passed off as a Grade 3 spell, but it had a flaw in not being instantaneous.
The Water Shield formed a spherical shape, such that any form of attack would not be received directly. The short, gold-colored spear had glided off after breaking three layers of the Water Shield. If Saleen’s response had been delayed by just half a minute, he would have been dead by now. It was not only the mutated magic that had saved his life. Saleen checked his waist. His belt was damaged, but one item inside had blocked the short, gold-colored spear.
Saleen dug into the hole in the belt with his fingers, hooking out an item. It was the ring that Earl Minghui had lost to him. He had sold the diopside stone on the ring for a hundred gold coins, and was left with a bare yellow-gold ring. Saleen had originally decided to keep this ring as it was plated with raw gold – the kind that had not been refined – and he could use it for magic medicine.
There was now a faint scratch on the ring. The short, gold-colored spear had cut through the gold-plated layer of the ring but had been stopped by the material within. That was why it had not pierced through Saleen’s waist.
Saleen began to worry, as this item was made of a sturdy material that was much stronger than his magic shield. A person had to understand that a shield made from Grade 2 magic was much tougher than steel. The short, gold-colored spear had pierced through three consecutive layers of magic shields before gliding off, but had only scratched off a trace of gold from the surface of this ring.
It was a strange ring!
Saleen did not know alchemy nor Fire Magic, but he still had ways to go about this. He retrieved his crucible from his leather sack and threw the gold-plated ring straight into it. Then, he added in the black Magic Flame Medicine.
The burning point of the gold was very low and the Magic Flame Medicine gave off an orange-red flame. The gold slowly liquified, revealing the true colors of the ring.
The ring had turned green; it was made of a metallic material, and had some spots on it. An inscription in ancient Myers language had appeared on the inside of the ring. Saleen was able to recognize every word, but was unable to understand the meaning. Based on simple deduction, it must have been an ancient natural magic mantra.
Long ago, the majority of mages had worshipped the Goddess of Nature. After the fall of the Temple of Nature, this line of mages had also disappeared. Even if they existed now, they would not openly admit their convictions.
This magic ring must have belonged to a mage who had been a believer of the Goddess of Nature. After being disguised, it had somehow landed in the hands of Baron Minghui. Saleen had originally thought he had been cheated. He could not have imagined that after the gold had been smelted, he would be left with this magic prop with a history spanning at least twenty thousand years.
Natural magic was no longer used by anyone. Even if that were not the case, Saleen would not be able to learn it. However, he felt far from discouraged and thought, How much would this item be worth?
Without no potential for disappointment, Saleen casually recited the inscription on the inside of the ring.
There were a total of twenty-four characters, and Saleen finished reciting it in four seconds. A green flash hardly visible to the naked eye illuminated from the inside of the ring and seeped into Saleen’s palm. Saleen felt a hum in his brain, and was dizzied for a moment.
Sika noticed that Saleen had suddenly entered a daze while holding the rubbish ring. His eyes were losing the aura they usually had. She instantly became worried and used her finger to poke at Saleen’s rib, asking, “Chief, what’s up with you?”
“Ah!” Saleen let out a scream that made both Canghong and Sarah turn and look over. Saleen blushed, shaking his head and saying, “Nothing. I am checking on my injury.”
“Why don’t you drink a little of this?” Sika took out her precious holy water, which she had spent all her silver coins on after she had left her village. Saleen pushed Sika’s hand away. He could vividly remember his previous experience of trying to use the holy water to cure his injuries. Holy water was supposed to be very soothing, but when applied on him, it was stronger than alcohol and more dangerous than poison.
Seeing Sika pout, Saleen laughed. He felt happy from the bottom of his heart. In reality, this ring was spatial equipment. What made Saleen happy was that he could actually make use of this spatial equipment. He was merely a Grade 1 mage and could not even make use of normal magical tools. He could only evoke a scroll or the constant magic on the mage’s robe.
Spatial equipment was equipment that only mages of Grade 5 and above could make use of. However, the space within this ring had already, by this point, been expanded by him.
There was an annulus space within the ring. Although it was not big, discovering it caused Saleen to quiver. This was because there were three items within the space of the ring. These three items were, without a doubt, ancient magic props.
Saleen suppressed the excitement in his heart and slipped the ring onto his finger. He did not immediately retrieve the items inside to examine them. Canghong was still looking over, and Saleen was still a little afraid of him.
During the Third Dynasty, mankind had been gradually losing its faith with the decline of the Goddess of Myers. The worth of this ring would probably far exceed that of plain spatial equipment. Saleen was well-read, and he had an authentic teacher. By now, he had understood just how formidable Jason was. A regular mage would not be as wealthy as Jason to have owned so many books and memos.
It would be very difficult for a mage without lineage to get his hands on even one book. Saleen had read continuously for a few years and had not even finished all of them. One also needed to understand that he had not used the normal method of reading, but had relied on memory magic to memorize them.
The three items in the ring, were, namely – a jade-green gourd which was smaller than one’s palm and a necklace which appeared to have been made of obsidian. Saleen was unsure of its material as he had not taken it out to examine it. Steel rocks, black crystals, some smokey quartzs, and some tremolites could also be black.
The third item was a piece of leaf. This piece of leaf was a little yellow and wilted. Saleen was also unable to see its connotation. To be frank, the majority of Saleen’s knowledge had come from his memorization. He had neither digested the knowledge nor achieved the ability to use it in the spur of the moment. Having discovered the secret within the ring, Saleen even considered abandoning the mission to search for the relic. The sale of any of these three items would be able to fund his practice for a few years.
However, Saleen quickly dismissed the thought. If he had only offended Earl Sufonso, it would be understandable why he had done so. The problem now was that he was in deep trouble, having killed the Grade 1 holy master under the oracle as well as the ascetic. Saleen already knew that had no other alternatives aside from desperately improving his power.
If he could find a suitable magic prop among the relics of the Second Dynasty, his survival would be a little more assured. Saleen no longer felt secure depending solely on money. The items in the ring were better left unsold. Since he could use the ring itself, it was probable that he could use the items in it.
When Saleen had first begun practicing magic, he had only hoped to be able to eat his fill everyday and not suffer through anymore days of harassment.
Now, this wish was growing more and more far fetched. His first priority would be to survive and not be caught by the people of the sacred Holy See.
His magic chords were recovering quickly. With the Grade 3 magic nucleus in his hand plus the white crystal ring that Jason had given him, the recovery speed of Saleen’s magic chords far exceeded that of a regular Grade 1 mage.
Sarah also sat up. The restorative water was unable to cure her injury completely, but it at least allowed her to move freely. However, she could not be counted upon to do any fighting.
“Canghong, how far are we from the relic?” Saleen could feel his internal injury improving significantly, so he stood up and went to Canghong’s side. The Invisible Shield on his mage robe was activated, defending him in secret. In the event that Canghong turned on him, he would kill this devilish-looking man without hesitation.
“There are five hundred miles to go, at the very least,” Canghong was pale even though his injury was not serious. The deaths of his compatriots were the cause of his poor condition, and they had made him depressed.
“How long does Sarah need to recuperate?” Saleen was unconsciously beginning to take control. Despite the fact that Saleen had been hired by Canghong, Canghong was no longer able to overrule him and had to heed Saleen’s advice in everything they did. Otherwise, if Saleen walked out on them, they would not be able to leave the cave.
“We do not have to pay attention to the squad ahead of us. By now, the people of the Vulture Regiment will probably have noticed that something is amiss. If we were to attack again, it would be difficult to win. Let Sika carry Sarah on her back. We will go through the Red Forest as quickly as possible. There are dinodemons as well as soul killers in the Red Forest, so our opponents will not choose to battle with us in that area.”
Canghong drew in a breath of cold air, marking out a designated plot of the Red Forest on the map. Half of it was submerged in water. Since it was an extremely dangerous area, it was best for a person to trek along its perimeter. With a glance, Saleen had seen that it was a shortcut which they needed to risk taking to avoid direct confrontation with the squad ahead of them. This young mage had such a strong temperament.
Even Canghong himself considered giving up the search for the relic. However, he was worried that if he gave up, Saleen would give up on Sarah as well.
Seeing that Canghong remained silent, Saleen smiled and said to Canghong, “The people whom we have offended this time cannot be defeated through strength alone. If we do not benefit from finding the relic, even if we escape from Sikeqinya, we will be like homeless dogs in the future with no futures at all. Do you want to be a farmer in some village or be a nobleman’s hired henchman?”
Canghong bit his lip, and replied angrily, “Sure, let’s go.”
The life Saleen described was not one he could accept. That was the sorrow of being a mercenary or adventurer. Once they had grown accustomed to their current lives, they would not be willing to lead dull lives. When the majority of mercenaries or adventurers registered, they thought they would save their money and eventually return to their hometowns to lead their lives just as they had before. However, once their adventurous journey began, none of them were able to turn back.