Chapter 45: White Deacon (Part 2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Someone had come to the pool! This person had been able to kill a hill cyclops. Could it have been an oracle of the sacred Holy See? Saleen could continue pondering underwater, but Canghong and the others could not. They started to float above the water and Saleen had no choice but to follow. Because Canghong was also a smart person, upon seeing the dead body of the hill cyclops, he knew that the danger hadn’t lessened but increased.
Climbing ashore, Canghong went up to the head of the hill cyclops. Its head, which had been chopped off by a sharp blade, was taller than his body. What kind of weapon could it have been to have caused such horrifying damage?
Canghong’s heart trembled. To him, a swordmaster was even more terrifying than a grand mage. Grand mages were rare, but swordmasters had only grown in number. Under normal circumstances, unless a mercenary went near a magic tower to cause trouble, there was little chance that he would interact with a grand mage, much less a sorcerer. However, any Grade 7 mercenaries would definitely have a swordmaster.
A swordmaster’s sword aura could fend off magic abilities and could also attack from a distance like magic. What was most terrifying was that a bronze swordmaster possessed a sword aura that even allowed him to fly for a short while.
The person who had chopped off the hill cyclops’ head had to have been a swordmaster and not a holy master!
Saleen walked over and circled around the head. The back of the hill cyclops had a large hole where evidently the magic nucleus had been taken away. Nailisi discreetly spat out twenty magic nuclei larger than a finger and kept them at her waist. Since master’s pockets are already full, he couldn’t possibly care about these.
“Canghong, let’s part ways here. You shouldn’t go to your ruins either,” Saleen said
Saleen didn’t want to have anything more to do with Canghong. It had been a fruitful mission and if they split now, whoever was caught by the people of the sacred Holy See would be the unlucky one.
Canghong naturally understood this. He nodded his head and did not say a word. Saleen unwove the golden bottle on his waist and passed it to Canghong. The bottle was filled to the brim with restorative water, the rest of the magic medicine and the items bought in Didypus having been thrown away. This gold bottle was the only thing he had that would be of help to Canghong.
Time in the temple seemed to have passed differently from the time outside. It was evening, and the setting sun hung just over the horizon, giving an orange glow to the empty field and dissipating heat. This did not seem like an autumn scene that belonged to a place like the Chaotic Swamp.
Sika was laughing as she waved goodbye to Canghong and Sarah. This helped dull the emotions of parting.
“Mage Merlin, thank you for your hospitality all this while.” Sarah gave Saleen a bow, took Canghong, and left. Saleen watched their backs in the setting sun with an uncomfortable feeling in his heart.
The two of them had not spent much time together and would not even have considered each other as friends. However, despite going through many rounds of fights together, he hadn’t even told them his real name in the end. That feeling left Saleen feeling somehow dejected.
Would he need to spend the rest of his life in hiding? The threat of Earl Sufonso might not have been as big as that of the sacred Holy See, but so long as his hatred existed, he would not be able to return to his hometown. He wondered how his teacher was doing. Was he occupied with his own troubles?
“Alright, let’s go. Nailisi, you should really learn some mainland common language.” Saleen interrupted Nailisi and walked in the opposite direction. Canghong and Sarah were walking south, while Saleen was walking southeast. The southeast was where the Qin Empire was, and passing through the Chaotic Swamp, they would reach the Phoenix Duchy.
The Phoenix Duchy was attached to the Qin Empire. It was small and surrounded by the Chaotic Swamp. Once they reached Phoenix Duchy, they would be under the protection of the Qin Empire and the people from the sacred Holy See could not dare enter as they wished.
As Saleen and the others walked away, five shadows appeared at the other end of the pool. The first was a young man wearing a white robe, and he was a deacon of the Holy See, Picasso.
“That’s interesting. We actually saved those heretics.”
Picasso’s words left the other four shaking in fear. If word of this reached the ears of the others, even with the oracle’s protection, they would not have any pleasant days ahead of them. They would either be sent away to the Cloud Empire as spies or thrown to the tribunals and imprisoned.
“Are you all scared now? If you are all scared, do not mention a single word about today. You will all chase after the two mercenaries. I will deal with the mage,” Picasso said, not bothering to ask for the opinions of his subordinates. He took a step up and walked on air, quickly disappearing from the sight of the four Holy See warriors.
Picasso was enshrouded in a divine glow. As he rose higher into the sky, his speed increased too. His white robes fluttered in the wind, his clothes apparently not being protected by the divine glow.
As Saleen was advancing, he suddenly became alert. He stopped abruptly and turned around. There was nothing in the empty field behind him, not even the shadow of a magic beast.
“That is interesting. You can feel my presence!” Picasso was already directly above Saleen and the others. He stopped controlling his divine glow and the sky was instantly lit up. It was almost as though the sun had risen again.
Saleen immediately activated the Invisible Shield on his mage robe and generated the Ring of Fire. Now that he was wealthy, he didn’t care about running out of magic nuclei.
“Who is it? Come out!” White light appeared between Saleen’s fingers. He was ready to cast a Grade 1 spell.
Picasso slowly made his way down from above and the divine glow dissipated. He looked seriously at Saleen, not saying a word. This young mage was even younger, more cautious, and more powerful than he had imagined. But that was only for someone his age, and with his stature, how could he have killed High Priest Kosian?
Nailisi had a natural hatred for any disciples of gods, but she was smart and knew that even she would be no match for this young man. Hence, she acted as though she were terrified and hid behind Saleen’s back. Sika put on a cold look as she removed her weapon from her back. Gripping it in her hands, she stood ready beside Saleen, waiting for his orders.
“Why are you chasing me?” Saleen was not rash. His opponent could walk on air and was definitely at least Grade 7. If he knew magic, he was definitely at least a Grade 6 mage. Both him and Sika combined would still be no match for him. Using Grade 1 magic had, in fact, only served to remind this person from the Holy See that he was no threat to him.
“I wasn’t chasing you. You were running,” Picasso said calmly, almost as if he were conveying something entirely justifiable. Along with warmth and humility, there was a certain charm etched on his youthful face. Whenever he spoke, he seemed like a friend who was sharing his deepest feelings.
Saleen was at a loss for words. If he had not killed someone from the Holy See, he would really have had no reason to be running away. The people from the Holy See were not ogres and were mostly easy to talk to. This man in white robes had stated what was happening here. He could stop chasing but Saleen could not stop escaping.
“Young mage, may I know your name?” Whenever Picasso talked to anyone foreign, he was always polite yet inescapable.
Saleen couldn’t believe he had said his real name.
“Well, Mage Saleen, I would like to ask for your help. I have a compatriot named Kosian and I have no idea who murdered him. Could you tell me who would do that?”
Saleen wanted very much to say he didn’t know, but he had already guessed that this man might be of the white deacon of the Holy See, and a Grade 7 guy like him definitely knew how to use a prophecy magic. This was even more powerful than simply detecting lies, for if he lied, the other person would easily see through it.
Was this the power of a deacon of the Holy See? Against him, one could not even lie!
“It seems you’re involved?” Picasso sighed in pity.
“Can I bribe you?” Hearing this from Saleen left Picasso in shock. Saleen had said the word bribe as if it was something honorable. His two eyes showed no emotion, not even a single ounce of remorse.
“I did not murder the high priest. I just happened to go by the same route.” Saleen chose his words carefully, not leaving any flaws. His mind was on overdrive as he continued, “I had been hired to explore a ruin and at the entrance of a cave, I personally witnessed High Priest Kosian being killed by a witcher spider. I merely took the things on his body, and if you will drop pursuing me, I will tell you where the ruin is.”
“In the religious text, bribery is a serious crime,” Picasso said nonchalantly. From the start, he had not displayed any killing intent, and yet Saleen was even more anxious than when he had met the hill cyclops.
“It is a Second Dynasty ruin, what you guys call the Profane Dynasty.”
“Oh? A Profane Dynasty ruin, that bribe I would accept. Mage Saleen, where is the general location of the ruins?” Picasso hid his joy, as the real reason that he had come to the Chaotic Swamp this time was to locate this ruin.
Lord Fycro had already sent out many others to locate this ruin before the other oracles found out about it. However, the terrain in the Chaotic Swamp was complicated, and even he could not guarantee that the whole place could be searched before winter arrived. Whether this mage was killed or not was not important. So long as he could be the first to find the ruins, Lord Fycro would lay out approbation and he would be up for a promotion in no time.
“Is that a deal?” Saleen’s heart was close to bursting. Even with him, Sika, and Nailisi, they would not be able to defend themselves against the white deacon.
“I suppose so, but how do I trust you?” Picasso said, all the while maintaining his smile.
“Do you have a map? I’ll point it out. To you, these ruins aren’t far. If I am lying, you will have enough time to chase after me and kill me. If the ruins are real, you won’t bother with a small mage like me, am I right?”
Saleen had wanted to act ignorant, but it seemed like nothing would escape the eyes of Picasso. He was forced to be frank and direct.
“Well said. But once I leave the Chaotic Swamp, I won’t admit to any of this. If I cross paths with you again, I’ll take you back for a trial. If you were to resist then, perhaps I might even kill you on the spot.”
As Picasso spoke, he took out a map from his sleeve. The thin map unfolded perfectly in the wind without a single crease in sight. Saleen smiled. Picasso had not really needed to show off his skills. He had only asked to leave in peace and would not point out any wrongs.
After searching out the memory of the map that Canghong had shown him, Saleen started drawing lines on Picasso’s map. Drops of acids appeared from his fingertips, corroding a clear path on the map.
“This is the path.” Saleen retracted his fingers and asked, “Can we leave now?”
Picasso rolled up his map and smiled “Of course. But let me remind you, Lord Fycro was not the only one who sent people into the Chaotic Swamp. You could meet men who are under the other oracles. Count your blessings then.”