Chapter 47: Escaping Phoenix (Part 2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
When Sika woke up, it was already morning. The surroundings were breathtaking and there were few magic beasts around. A forest appeared in front of them. Saleen recalled the map of the white deacon and said, “This forest is fifty kilometers wide. Cross this and we will reach the borders of Phoenix Duchy. Sika, can you do it?”
“Chief, I’m alright.” Sika energetically waved her fists and legs, filled with energy.
“Master, is she also a demon?” Nailisi looked at the speed of Sika’s recovery in disbelief. She had intentionally run faster yesterday to make Sika’s life harder.
“What?” Saleen didn’t understand Nailisi’s question.
Nailisi cleverly kept her mouth shut. She knew that if she continued to question it, her pettiness would show.
Saleen’s team continued on their way. With an imp on their side, even if Saleen had not had a map, they would not have gotten lost. This time the imp slowed down, using half a day to get through the forest.
In reality, this forest was also filled with danger. It had a rare magic beast known as the tree hornet. Tree hornets were naturally vicious and would attack humans for no reason at all. However, the imp easily went around the tree hornet territory, walking a large distance around but making their way out unharmed.
No matter how dangerous this forest was, it would not be as scary as the demon universe. Every living creature there was deadly. At least in this forest, the trees did not eat humans and the magic beasts were relatively friendly.
Passing through the forest, they came across a small town. The architecture here was very different from that in Sikeqinya. The people in Sikeqinya liked to use stone to build their houses, as they fancied elegance and grandness. The buildings here were mainly made out of brick, and were very meticulous and elegant.
Even though most of the people were dressed simply, they had a different energy from those in Ceylon City. The people here were clean and simple, and even though their clothes were old, they were washed clean. They had a look of bliss on their faces that Saleen couldn’t understand.
The town had a very high wall. Since this was the border and no war had taken place here before, the simple layout of the wall was meant to defend against the bigger magic beasts from the forest.
The foreign vibes soothed the pain that Saleen felt from leaving his city. For a long time, he had read about how the Qin Empire had a lot of people, especially wise sages. From what he saw now, even a small town from the Qin Empire was much more powerful than Ceylon City. The guards protecting the city didn’t accept the money that Saleen gave them and were oblivious to the mercenary badge he was wearing. Evidently, mages had special privileges here.
Saleen loved the atmosphere here. Walking along the streets in his mage robes, no one paid any extra attention to him. Although he found it a little strange, Saleen figured that there must have been too many mages in the Qin Empire and everyone had already grown used to it.
Saleen was right. The town was only a tenth of the size of Ceylon City with over ten streets and few stalls. Even so, walking into a bar, he rubbed shoulders with another mage.
He was a Grade 2 mage wearing a white magic robe, and at his chest were two lines of magic imprints. Seeing Saleen appear before him, the Grade 2 mage nodded his head in acknowledgement.
The bar in this town was also very different from the ones in Ceylon City. Many of the people drinking were mercenaries. This place was close to the Chaotic Swamp and there were many missions to capture magic beasts. However, the mercenaries here weren’t as uncouth as those in Sikeqinya, and they spoke politely. Saleen was even a little uncomfortable in this environment.
Many paintings were hung up on the walls of the bar, with many being sketches of everyday life. In a place this small, there were not any famous artists. These paintings had not been purchased by the bar but rather had been placed there to be sold by the artists themselves.
Calling the waiter, Saleen passed a gold coin to him since he did not have any silver coins. The waiter immediately refused. He couldn’t accept such a large tip.
“I want some smoked meat, takeaway. Ten large breads and any side dishes,” Saleen requested politely. At that, the waiter accepted the gold coin coyly.
He lowered his voice and asked Saleen, “Lord, is there anything else you need?”
“Do you have a professional union here?”
“Yes, it’s two streets ahead,” The waiter answered fluidly. He had gotten used to interacting with people looking for jobs.
Saleen was relieved. There was an professional union here and he could register himself as a mercenary. This would allow him to move around the Qin Empire freely. Nailisi’s appearance was also a little eye-catching, dressed in an outfit from tens of thousands of years ago and barefoot, and Saleen decided to buy a new outfit for her. Most importantly, he had to sell away some of the gemstones for gold, as he had run out of gold. In the temple, Saleen had emptied out almost all his space for the gemstones. Besides the few gold coins he had lying around, he only had Sikeqinya bank notes.
Nailisi seemed to understand Saleen’s thoughts and ate quietly, not drawing any attention. After the three had hurriedly filled their stomachs, they left for the professional union that the waiter had directed them to.
The professional union in Sikeqinya was not the same organization as the one in the Qin Empire. However, both had frequent contact and mercenaries from one could accept missions from the other.
The union in this small town was small and from the outside, looked like a museum. The main door’s wall had a red phoenix drawn on it, and this was the symbol of the Phoenix Duke.
Entering from the main door, no one seemed to notice their presence. At the front was the counter and some staff were sitting behind, talking boredly in hushed tones. Staircases lined the two sides, leading to the upper floor. Saleen walked to the counter and tapped his fingers.
Behind the counter was a young man with an honest face. The staff in this union did not have the swordsman get-up of those in Sikeqinya. Seeing Saleen come to the counter, the young man gave a smile and asked, “Lord, may I ask how I can be of service?”
“I’m from Sikeqinya. I want to register as a mercenary in the Qin Empire. Can I do it here?”
“Sure. Give me your name and your mercenary badge.”
Saleen gave his fake name and handed over his badge. The young man helped him fill out the form earnestly and it was done within a minute. All he needed was for Saleen to sign it.
“That will be three gold coins.” The young man hadn’t even asked for the names and occupations of the other members in Saleen’s team. The efficiency was amazing!
“Um, if I may ask, are there any escort missions here?” Saleen had no money after handing over the gold coins. He was afraid looking up missions here might cost an extra fee. Luckily, the young man happily gave Saleen an answer.
“If you’re doing a mission on your way to somewhere, you may go to that board to search. If you’re looking for something specific, we will take a commission of five percent. We will provide a comprehensive contract, ensuring no errors.”
“That won’t be necessary. Give me a map of the mainland.”
“That will be one gold coin, my lord.”
Saleen suddenly felt disgusted by the young man’s smile. No matter how good the service was here, it was only a means for him to earn money for survival. Seeing no other option, Saleen took out a gold coin and put it on the counter.
Saleen wanted to find a mission not because he lacked money, but rather because he wanted to integrate into a group while travelling as to not attract attention. It was hard to say if the fanatics of the Holy See would enter Phoenix Duchy.
Taking back his badge, it now had an extra gold stamp on it. With this, he could move around freely as a mercenary under the jurisdiction of the Qin Empire. Keeping a copy of the mercenary registration form, Saleen left the counter and went to the board. There were lots of paper notes stuck onto it, and many were last minute missions. Most of them were notices for buying magic nuclei, hides, herbs, and minerals.
There were hundreds of notes but none of them were for an escort mission. Saleen did not have many gold coins left and had no choice but to leave the union.
After getting some directions from people along the way, Saleen brought Sika and Nailisi to an equipment store. Like any border city, even a small city like this would have a decent equipment store.
This equipment store’s architecture was ancient, its signage bearing scars of time. The boss seemed to have been too lazy to repaint it and let the wood show its age. The vines growing on the wall along the street had turned yellow as autumn approached.
The words on the sign were in the Qin Language: Deep Wood Equipment Store
Saleen walked in only to find the store empty. At the front was a glass cabinet, and there were shelves on the two sides. The shelves were made out of fine wood and had intricate flower designs carved into them. One look was enough to make people feel as though anything placed on the shelf must have been exquisite.
Saleen called but no one answered. He shouted louder.
Coughing sounds came from the door to the east of the shop and a weak voice replied, “Sir, please keep quiet. Give me a minute.”
The way he did business was indeed rare. Saleen remembered that back in Sikeqinya, whenever a customer walked in, somebody would be ready to serve them. He sat in front of the counter. The chairs provided were comfortable unlike those of the stores in Sikeqinya which were mostly benches.
The items in the glass cabinet were very exquisite indeed. Saleen even saw a rubidium inlaid dagger. This was a magic weapon as rubidium could store magic, and it did not require a mage to activate it. This particular gemstone did not fetch a high price and was mostly used as a replacement for rutile.
Following a soft cough, the east door opened and a sickly youth came out. He took a glance at Saleen and the others and said, “Lord, sorry to have kept you waiting. What can I get for you?”
“You’re the boss?” Saleen was shocked. This youth was probably the same age as him and he already owned a shop. This was pretty impressive.
“Can’t say so. It’s a family business.” The youth smiled modestly, his sickly face lighting up.
“I want to sell a few items.” Saleen was direct, seeing as he no longer had any gold coins on hand.
“I’m sorry, my lord, we don’t accept equipment. We only sell weapons produced by our family here,” The youth rejected politely.
“Oh, let me see!” The youth was energetic again, almost as if he were a dying person that had received a revival spell.
Saleen retrieved a finger sized gemstone fragment from his bag. This was a fragment of fluorite and even though it had been a leftover material, it was still crystal clear. Anyone who could not tell would mistake it for calcite.
“Fluorite!” The youth’s face regained even more color. The quality of this fragment was even better than those from some of the trade stores in big cities. From the quality, it seemed like this fragment had been cut off directly from pure fluorite. Even though it wasn’t pure, it could still be used to make high-grade magic props.