Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“Brother Andre has such a delicate craftsmanship!” Lin Li wasn’t trying to be polite. He genuinely felt that those two axes were rare quality goods in terms of forging method and magical treatment. To him, Andre’s skill in forging was close to the Master-level.
They chatted from the Fire Plume Ridge to the campsite, and Lin Li got to see the interesting side of him.
Being at least level-15, Andre was considered one of the best in Felan Kingdom. However, when interacting with Lin Li, he was not arrogant at all. Even though he thought that Lin Li was a low-level warrior, he’d still pat his shoulder while addressing him as “Brother Felic”.
That was no hypocrisy. Lin Li could tell that Andre was treating them sincerely, and not like someone he could make use of. He reminded Lin Li of how Mason patted his shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Felic! As long as you are with me, I’ll ensure you excel in the trial!” when he’d reached Alanna for the first time.
Sometimes, social interaction could just be so simple.
“Brother Felic, there’s something I’m not sure if I should say…” Andre spoke hesitantly when they reached the base of the Fire Plume Ridge.
“Brother Andre, speak your mind. You are not the type to hesitate.”
“If you want to earn money, there are many other effortless but high-paying missions I can refer to you after I get back to Alanna. So, you might want to withdraw from the Fire Plume Ridge mission because I’m scared you’d…”
To ensure he would not embarrass Lin Li, Andre was subtle in his words. Yet, the underlying intention was clear. A level-5 warrior like Lin Li would be seeking death if he stayed at Fire Plume Ridge!
“If you are scared that little Serena wouldn’t allow it, I can help you convince her. Due to my relationship with her father, she even needs to address me as ‘Uncle Andre’ when she sees me…”
“…” Lin Li rolled his eyes. What crap is he blabbering about? Then shouldn’t Serena address me as uncle too? Do I have to bring her to look at goldfish then?
Of course, Lin Li knew Andre had good intentions. He smiled at Andre gratefully, but said nothing.
Andre was not a fool. He knew his warning was futile when he looked at Lin Li’s expression. Andre sighed, and changed the topic to forging.
He would never have thought that this conversation would be such a great help to him…
Although it was Andre doing most of the talking, Lin Li gave some critical suggestions too. When Lin Li asked “Why not do that?”, Andre would pause and sink into deep thoughts for a very long time.
Throughout the journey, Andre could not help but admire Lin Li’s innovative ideas, and he was much younger than himself…
Lin Li was more subtle in his suggestions. At times, he would deliberately make some mistakes in his general knowledge. Despite that, Andre benefited a lot from talking with him. Yet, he did not realize that this man who was much younger than him was that proficient in the art of forging.
But it was these subtle suggestions that benefited Andre greatly.
Regardless of how subtle the suggestions were, the fact that they were given by a forging master made them very comprehensive. Lin Li was like a man standing on the peak of a tall mountain, overseeing the entire situation happening below him.
Andre, on the other hand, was like a confused and lost traveller at the foot of the mountains. Without any pointers, he would never have walked out of the forest.
If the man at the top of the mountain was willing to reach out to him and show him a way, he would only need a few minutes to walk out of the maze-like forest…
Sometimes, realms were just so simple.
Andre was filled with awe when the two men reached the foot of the Fire Plume Ridge. He was too excited from the knowledge he gained from Lin Li. By talking to him, Andre learnt more things than in the past ten years. Now, he had the confidence that he could reach the Master-Level if he put in enough effort.
And all these achievements were thanks to this brother before him.
“Brother Felic, you are a true genius!” Andre said as he looked Lin Li in the eye.
Apart from his hesitation when he reminded him not to meddle in the Fire Plume Ridge mission, Lin Li knew that Andre never talked in a roundabout manner. If he were to praise Lin Li as such, he had to be really sincere about it.
At that moment, Lin Li felt embarrassed. “Brother Andre, you speak too highly of me…”
“No, I’m not complimenting you.” Andre shook his head, and continued gravely, “I’ve thought about your suggestions thoroughly. You are really a genius! Sometimes I wonder where you get this creativity from.”
“Perhaps it’s because I’m usually too free, so I use all my time to think about these meaningless things…” Lin Li replied while touching his nose unnaturally.
What else could he say? Tell Andre that it actually wasn’t any genius thinking but the conclusions he’d learned from much time spent on metalwork that got him from a beginner to a master blacksmith?
“My teacher had told me a long time ago about how some people are natural geniuses; they do not need to study intensively or put in any effort to achieve successes that seem unachievable to many. Now I’m convinced…” Andre shook his head, and pointed to a tent not far away. “Brother Felic, the camp of the Silver Hand is in front. I’ll not accompany you there, as I still need to rush back to my teacher.”
“Oh, yes…” Andre returned not long after he left. He looked at Lin Li earnestly, and said, “Brother Felic, although this does not sound nice, I would like to tell you that the mission this time is extremely dangerous…”
“Don’t worry, I might not participate in it…”
This time, Lin Li was saying the truth.
“That’s good,” said Andre as a smile finally appeared on his face. Then, he pointed to a tent in the distance.
“I’m living there these two days. If Brother Felic has time, you can come over for a chat! Oh, yes. My teacher is a real Master of Forging, he will be very happy if he sees you.”
“If there’s time, I’d definitely go over.” Since the two camps were not very far from each other, Lin Li did not hesitate in his reply.
While replying, Lin Li could not help but feel curious about Andre’s teacher.
Throughout the journey, Andre had mentioned his mentor a couple of times. From his expression of admiration, this mentor had to be someone maleficent—someone who was able to nurture a warrior of at least level-15 and knew people close to the master level.
After parting with Andre, Lin Li slowly walked back to the Silver Hand.
Time was really wasted when they were trapped in that horrible cave. When Lin Li returned to the camp, it was near midnight. Apart from the crackling campfire, and the soft footsteps of the patrolling warriors, the surroundings were completely quiet.
Not long after Lin Li enter the campsite, he saw a familiar figure walking towards him.
“Mr. Felic, you are finally back…” Aragon greeted him.
As Aragon walked closer to him, Lin Li could clearly see that he was filled with fatigue as though he had not been sleeping for a few days.
“Aragon, what happened to you? You don’t look good…”
Aragon yawned as he replied, “Nah, I just feel sleepy…” He would never tell Lin Li about how Serena sent him to his sentry duty since afternoon when the reason was to wait for those two men in front of him…
“Oh, then you should go and sleep soon. It’s not good to burn the midnight oil…” Lin Li just wanted to return to his tent to rest quickly.
Although he was able to take a quick nap on the coach for two hours after his encounter the in Blackhills Town Inn, what was the use of it? He became so exhausted from the maze-like cave earlier that day. Now that he was back, the only thing he hoped to do was naturally to sleep.
“Mr. Felic, Mr. Felic, please hold on…” Aragon caught up with Lin Li not long after he turned his back.
“What’s the matter?”
“Mr Felic, it’s like that… Captain Serena wanted to ask how you want to punish the people from the Bloody Horns who had offended you.”
“How to deal with them?” Lin Li glanced at Aragon suspiciously. “Didn’t you send them back to the Silver Hand? Furthermore, I don’t intend to do anything to them. If you can’t think of anything for them, you can return them to the Bloody Horns. It’s nothing much anyway.”
“We’ll do as you say and return them to the Bloody Horns tomorrow, then,” Aragon said as he nodded his head. Next, he asked Lin Li about his day again. “Mr. Felic, how was it on the Fire Plume Ridge today? Did you face any trouble? If you need, you can tell us anytime. The members of the Silver Hand are at your service.”
“Apart from the useless map, there wasn’t any problem…” While replying, Lin Li could not help but feel uneasy at Aragon’s sudden friendliness.
The two people conversed randomly until Lin Li reached his tent. While walking with him, Lin Li was weirded out by Aragon’s attitude. The friendliness Aragon showed him was overt, and underlying it was ingratiation. Yet, Lin Li could not find a reasonable excuse for that.
Never would he have thought that he became the target of the Silver Hand just because his Explosive Mining technique at the Fire Plume Ridge…
He could not help it, either. No matter how clever he was, he would not have expected that such a low-grade technique would cause the Silver Hand to feel such amazement…
While he was standing outside the tent, he pointed to the few tents in the distance, and asked, “Aragon, do you know who lives there?”
Aragon looked along the direction of his finger. That was the border of the six big mercenary corps. He could not help but feel suspicious towards the few tents scattered near the foot of the mountains. Aragon replied, “I’m not really sure, either. But it seems like the other mercenary corps…”
“I see…” Lin Li nodded, and said no further. He wasn’t hoping for an answer from Aragon.
Just when Lin Li was about to enter the tent, Aragon suddenly exclaimed, “I know!”
“It’s Al’Akir! The tent of President Al’Akir!’ Aragon said in a definite tone with an expression filled with awe and wonder. He was certain that it was not a wild guess. During the day, Captain Serena had mentioned that the Storm Sword Sage was here for the mission too. He was at least 80-percent sure that the President was residing in one of those tents.
“Al’Akir?” Lin Li asked in shock. “Are you sure?”
“No wonder…” Lin Li suddenly understood everything. That masculine fella he met in the cave was actually the disciple of the Storm Sword Sage.
Lin Li stood outside the tent, and finally got curious about the Silver Hand mission.
It was really a big deal for the Storm Sword Sage to come out personally. He was the President of the Adventurers Guild, and had a lot of duties at hand. What could possibly be the reason that had attracted him here? He remembered that Andre once said that that mission was really really dangerous…