Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Lin Li held onto the crystal tightly on the way back to Alanna. His expression was like Sean’s in the daytime—he was in the same trance and absent-minded state. He even felt soft beneath his feet walking on the rugged mountain road; it was as if he was stepping on cotton.
The night’s experience was like a dream. A huge Eternal Adamantine vein, three astounding gemstones, and a piece of weird crystal that could devour even the Shapeshifter. Just thinking about it made him feel unreal.
So much so that when Lin Li left, he did not even notice that the golden-haired youth who should have fled was still standing in the camp with a pale face. Beads of perspiration fell from his forehead. Even the golden hair around his ears was dampened with perspiration. His body trembled as he looked at Lin Li as if he was looking at the most terrifying monster…
He could not help being afraid…
He had led a group of people, and they had fought the Shapeshifter for half a night. How could he not be clear about the strength of the level-18 magical beast? That was a creature comparable to that of a legendary level. If it weren’t for the sacred weapon they had in hand tonight, even an adventurer ten times stronger than them wouldn’t dare to challenge the majesty of the Shapeshifter.
However, such a magical beast had disappeared the moment it collided with the young mage. What kind of terrifying force was it?
If such a powerful figure mistakenly thought he was hostile, who could return to Alanna alive among the 30 adventurers present?
He would swear to God if he could that it was all a coincidence, and that he was not at all hostile!
Tossing the sacred weapons out at the last moment was part of the battle plan to attract the Shapeshifter’s attention, and to buy precious time for the whole mercenary team to escape. Under the cliff of the other side of the camp, the mercenary corps had already prepared 40 rope ladders. It would only take a breath’s time for the surviving adventurers to escape.
Little did the golden-haired youth expect that there was a young mage hiding in the forest.
When he discovered the young mage, the golden-haired youth knew things were bad. Once the Shapeshifter surged forth, no one could ward it off. The raging Shapeshifter would tear all living creatures to pieces. Not to mention such a young mage, even an Archmage wouldn’t necessarily be able to escape from death.
The golden-haired youth was more or less guilty, having killed a man for no reason.
But very soon, he realized that the Shapeshifter was gone!
It was neither killed, nor defeated—it suddenly disappeared…
A hallucination, this had to be a hallucination!
The golden-haired youth refused to believe it, and rubbed his eyes hard!
That was right, it really disappeared…
The sacred weapon was still quietly lying on the grass, and the young mage was still standing there, but the horrible Shapeshifter disappeared from the world in a flash.
“Shock” was not enough to describe his feelings. The golden-haired youth stared at the place where the Shapeshifter had disappeared for a full minute.
He realized a very serious problem.
What he had just done could be described as foolishness. No matter how one looked at it, perhaps it would be regarded as a deliberate provocation.
Although the golden-haired youth knew that this was in fact an accident, he knew better than ever that such an outrageously powerful person would not be in the mood to listen to his explanation. Anril was such a world—only the strong were respected and qualified to speak.
A level-12 warrior was like an ant in the eyes of such a powerhouse. The latter only needed one finger to crush him to death. In this world, who would listen to an ant explain anything?
At this moment, the golden-haired young man was so frightened that even his heart stopped beating. Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead, and his whole body was soaked in cold sweat; it looked as if he was just fished out of the water. His fair, handsome face was full of despair. He looked at the powerhouse amongst the forest with fear and horror, waiting for his final judgment. Everyone’s life and death were all between his thoughts…
It was only a short span of two minutes, but the golden-haired youth felt as if it had been a year. Fear and despair filled his heart. The feeling of waiting to die was like being nibbled away bit by bit by a monster, but he just couldn’t do anything about it.
After what seemed like an eternity, the last thing he had anticipated was for the other party to turn away and leave…
The golden-haired young man couldn’t believe his eyes. He’d never thought that the super powerhouse would let him go like this.
When the other party’s figure disappeared completely in the forest, the sense of relief made the golden-haired youth lose all his strength—he could not even wipe the sweat on his forehead. He stood there, dumbfounded, staring at the dark forest with dull eyes…
And all of this, of course, was unknown to Lin Li.
It was late at night when he returned to Alanna, and he had a hard time getting into the gates of the Alanna Guild of Magic.
Before Lin Li could enter the gate, he was stopped by two mages on night guard.
There was no other way out. This was not Jarrosus, after all. No one knew Felic nor his identity. The two mages on vigil, who were yawning away for most of the night, only knew that this was the Alanna Guild of Magic—the heart of all magic in the Felan Kingdom. Anyone who wished to enter the guild had to be interrogated.
As for what kind of interrogation… It would be determined by the identity of the other party.
Unfortunately, Lin Li’s identity was the kind that should be questioned carefully.
A young trial mage, who was also from the countryside of Jarrosus. Everyone knew he was a magic genius, but with no background.
There were many marginal people in an awkward position in the Alanna Guild of Magic, They had gotten rid of their status as mage apprentices, but it was difficult to make any further progress. Perhaps they would only be stuck at level-five even at the end of their lives, so most of the time, they would be sent to do various chores, such as vigils.
No one liked to be on vigil; they had to stand outside at the gate every night in the cold wind. As long as they were human beings, they would harbor some resentment in they hearts, which naturally had to be vented. Therefore, making things difficult for mages who returned late had become their best entertainment, and such entertainment could usually bring some benefits. In order to return to sleep earlier, mages were usually not stingy—they might offer a few words of flattery, or even a little gift.
Of course, they naturally dared not find trouble with those higher-level Magic Shooters in the guild. Once they angered these pestilences, they would not have to be on vigil anymore—a magic spell that came down would banish them to the cemetery.
The subjects of their spite were generally low-level mages in the guild. These people were not high in status as well. As long as they adopted a business-like attitude, in addition to subtle hints, they would be able to reap some benefits in the end most of the time.
Apart from these low-level mages, the ones they liked to spite most were still the ones who came from other guilds for the trials. In particularly, the mages that had come this year were all young talents, and they had no background in Alanna.
This was a very complicated mentality—one of both jealousy and superiority. They were jealous of the other party’s talents, yet they despised their guilds. Except for the Alanna Guild of Magic, other guilds could only remain country guilds.
“What’s your name?” The man in charge of interrogating Lin Li was a middle-aged mage. He looked to be over 50 years of age, and was tall and lanky. He stood outside the guild hall in a black robe, looking like a black bamboo pole.
“Where are you from?”
“What are you here for?”
“To participate in the trial.”
“Why did you return so late?”
“I had something to deal with.”
Lin Li frowned slightly. He was already lacking sleep, and had been through some ordeal for the day; even if he was made of iron, he wouldn’t be able to hold out as well. He had finally returned to the guild and wanted to go back for a good sleep, but did not expect to be hounded by this fellow. He was asking some boring questions over and over and over again; anyone in Lin Li’s place would probably be infuriated as well.
However, the other party’s attitude was all business. Though Lin Li was fuming in his heart, he did not show it on his face. He continued to answer another few more boring questions patiently.
“Mmm…” The middle-aged mage turned over the guild records—there was indeed a trial mage named Felic, who was also from Jarrosus. Except… his leaving the guild tonight did not seem to be in the guild records.
This discovery lit up the mage’s eyes. The absence of a record meant that he had left the guild without the consent of their trial mentor. Plus, he had returned late. If he did not try to make things difficult for such a subject, then he had kept vigil for nothing for the past ten years.
The middle-aged mage’s face hardened as he tried to make his expression look more dignified. “Felic from the Jarrosus Guild, right? I’ve just read the guild records, but there’s no record of your going out. What’s your explanation for this?”
Lin Li opened his mouth to explain, but the middle-aged mage spoke again in a disgusting, old-fashioned tone, “As a trial mage, you have seriously violated the rules of the trial by going out in private, and you had come back so late. It seems that Alanna’s night life has lost you… The country guild is a country guild after all, only capable of producing an unruly kid such as you.”
“I tell you, if there’s no reasonable explanation, I think I’ll inform your mentor about it.” When the middle-aged mage said this, he specially emphasized on the enunciation of the word “explanation”…
“Orh…” Lin Li nodded his head, and understood at once. He thought it was business, but the mage was actually asking for bribes. On hearing this, Lin Li’s face turned cold. “There’s nothing to explain. If you have a problem, you can ask my mentor. His name is Macklin.”
“You…” The middle-aged mage never expected that this kid from the country guild would have such an outrageous attitude. He had seen many trial mages before; even if he picked one from them casually, their background would be much deeper than that of Jarrosus. What kind of place was that? It was Felan’s most remote, most down-and-out Guild of Magic. It was said that several mage families had been riding on their heads in the past few years; a country kid who came from there actually had the guts to flare his temper on him?
The two sides had dispensed with all civilities, and the middle-aged mage no longer wanted any bribes. He had decided to fix the kid’s wagon. He shot a menacing glare at Lin Li, and said between clenched teeth, “Alright, I will ask!”
As it happened…
Before he could ask, Macklin came out on his own.
“Why hasn’t he returned…” Lin Li had been out for most of the night, and it nearly gave Macklin a heart attack from the panic. He was utterly regretful at present; if he had known earlier, he wouldn’t have handed the kid over to Andoine and have his nerves kept on tenterhooks for the whole night. He was afraid something might happen to the kid—he was the Guild of Magic’s only hope. If something wrong happened to him, was he going to make another intermediate blacksmith to deal with the bet?
After the two of them had left, Macklin’s fear grew with his thoughts. He had already come out for a dozen times in just a few hours just to see if Lin Li had returned. In just a night’s time, he could feel that he had grown a few more strands of white hair.
“Damn, Andoine, that old bastard…” Macklin walked down the steps and was about to look around the corner when he suddenly saw a young mage smiling at himself. The old mage robe, which was torn and worn, looked very cordial at the moment. The curse that he had uttered halfway was stuck at his throat…
This kid is finally back…
“Mr Macklin…” “Lin Li and the mage on vigil greeted almost concurrently.
However, the Macklin at present had no time to care about a mage on vigil. He breathed out a sigh of relief, and began to reprove incessantly, “You kid, you know how to come back? Another half an hour, and I’d be going up to the Nightmare Mountains in search for you…”
“I didn’t want to, but I had a small accident on the way…” Lin Li’s expression was listless, and he yawned after speaking. He was utterly sleepy. “I’ll explain to you tomorrow. I have to go back to sleep now. Otherwise, I’m afraid tomorrow’s trial mission will be done for…”
“Forget about the crap trial!” Macklin rolled his eyes as he scolded him with exasperation. “In your present state, I could throw you into a heap of magical beasts, and you’d still fall asleep. Hurry back and sleep, we’ll talk about the trial mission tomorrow afternoon when you wake up. I will personally wake you up then.”
Lin Li nodded, and continued no more. He led Sean—who was also yawning unceasingly—past the middle-aged mage, who was standing with his eyes and mouth open wide, and went down the steps into the guild hall.
Macklin heaved out a long sigh of relief watching the two figures recede… The night’s sufferings had caused him a few more strands of white hair.
The middle-aged mage was regretting his guts out having witnessed this bizarre scene.
A country mage with no background in his eyes turned out to be someone that even Mr Macklin had to personally receive…
He had been in the Alanna Guild of Magic for more than ten years; how could he not know Mr Macklin’s character? He was someone who dared to confront even President Aldwin. In these ten years, he had never seen Mr Macklin as gentle as he was today. Just listen to the conversation between them earlier on—in order to let the young mage have a good sleep, Mr Macklin had spared no effort to delay the trial time!
For a moment, the middle-aged mage felt his scalp tingle.
I’m done for, I might really end up guarding the cemetery…
Fortunately, Macklin was unaware of the whole situation. He had come out at a later time, and had not seen the mage on vigil badgering Lin Li, nor did he know that the person he had been waiting for the whole night was held up by this fellow at the gate and was not able to enter the guild hall. Otherwise… with Macklin’s character, the consequences were hard to imagine.
Because he was in a good mood, before Macklin went back to the guild hall, he had even encouraged the middle-aged mage.
Hearing the words of encouragement, the middle-aged mage felt his legs go weak. Cold sweat broke out continuously on his back, and even his voice seemed to tremble as he spoke…
When Macklin left at last, the middle-aged mage was finally unable to hold out, and fell limply on the ground like a pool of mud.
Lin Li brought Sean to his dormitory. Then, his head began to pound.
Sean’s snoring was something that he had got to know well. He was fine with it personally—he was deadbeat from the day’s ordeal, and figured that he probably wouldn’t wake up even when thunder struck. However, his two roommates were innocent. As soon as Sean’s snoring sounded, they probably wouldn’t sleep tonight…
He stood outside the door and hesitated for a moment, but he could not think of a good way out of it. He could only ask Sean to restrain himself and get through the night first, then he’d help him think of other ways the next day.
After making up his mind, Lin Li pulled out his key and opened the room’s door gently.
“Felic, you rascal, you’re finally back!” Who knew that he had just entered the living room when Mason’s voice rang out from the bedroom.
“I’m very sorry for disturbing your sleep, Big Brother Mason.” Lin Li felt rather sorry. He had opened the door gently so as to avoid disturbing both of them when resting. He didn’t expect Mason to wake up despite it.
“I wasn’t even sleeping…” Indeed, when Mason came out of the room, it turned out he did not even take off his mage robe. He still looked very energetic. He pointed to the next door, and grinned lewdly. “I’m guessing that fellow’s not asleep as well; you can take a look if you don’t believe…”
“Felic’s back?” Mason’s voice had just fallen when Orrin’s bedroom door opened.
“Mhm, I’m back.” Lin Li nodded, but his expression was full of confusion. What are these two fellows doing in their room in the middle of the night instead of sleeping?
“Felic, I heard you’ve beaten up Archmage Darian’s nephew?” Mason gathered to Lin Li’s side without even looking at Orrin. The smile showed that he was totally up for some juicy gossip.
“How do you know?”
“Heh… I heard from others. So, did you really beat him up?”
“Mhm.” There was nothing to hide about such a thing. Lin Li nodded his head, and admitted it generously. “I practiced magic with him for a while.”
“…” Mason rolled his eyes. He thought inwardly, It’s not like I haven’t seen that fellow Madrick before. He’s only level-seven, and is worlds apart in strength with me. You monster, you went to to practice with him? Aren’t you sending yourself to death…?
“Be careful these few days.” Orrin’s words were few, but his concern could be heard by anyone.
“Mhm, I will.” Lin Li also knew that the middle-aged mage named Darian had always harbored a strange hostility for him. Perhaps what Madrick did to Sean was also ordered by him. Now that he had crippled Madrick, it would be strange if he did not come to find trouble with Lin Li himself.
“Forget it, let’s not talk about it anymore.” If it was in the past, Mason would probably have advised him once more. But after seeing Andoine the day before, he finally knew how strong the kid’s backing was. With the legendary mage standing behind him, who’d dare to lay a hand on him? It was just a casual mention anyway. Then, Mason’s face revealed the lewd smile again, and he asked in a mysterious tone, “Did you all hear about the change in the trial mission tomorrow?”
“What change?” Lin Li couldn’t help but be startled. Why hadn’t he heard Macklin mention about a change in the trial mission when they were outside a while ago?