That was an epic quest. Schuck commented with mixed feelings across from Roland in the Moonlight Stone Tavern as he looked at the mission Roland just shared with him.
"Both you and Betta are unbelievably lucky. You can get epic quests for yourselves everywhere you go." Roland: Huh???
It is well known that when I type a question mark, it doesnt mean that I have a question; it means that I feel something is wrong with you.
You are the only Saint Samurai among the players in the whole server. You have ultimate equipment offered by a goddess. You ride a beautiful dragoness as your mount. As a powerful Saint Samurai, you can even show disrespect to the pope.
Youve achieved so many things that the other players dont even dare to dream of with nothing but your pretty face. Yet, you are saying that Betta and I, who have been either working hard or doing magic experiments all the time without any rest, are lucky?
Can you be more shameless?
Looking at Rolands weird gaze and seeing the glimpse of mockery, Schuck realized that he was being too pretentious. He coughed and said, "Since this mission is shareable, should we ask Li Lin and the others to come here? Its not easy to run into an epic quest." "I talked to them in the guild system last night, but" Roland covered his forehead helplessly. "They said that their level was too low, and they were fooling around with the believers of the God of Love again after they recovered. Theyre exhausted again and are now resting in Hollevin. At the moment, they can protect themselves, but they cant really participate in anything important." Schuck clicked his tongue. "Those guys are completely addicted."
"That cant be helped. For them, this is a fast and enjoyable way of leveling up. They are open-minded people in the first place. You must know that very well."
Then, a waitress in revealing clothes came to serve the food. She brushed Schucks shoulder intentionally or unintentionally.
But Schuck was completely unmoved. A moment later, the waitress left again in disappointment.
Roland wasnt surprised at all.
After all, he had seen similar scenes a million times since childhood.
Schuck drank a mouthful of the wine and said, "Lets go back to the quest. I told you yesterday that the atmosphere in the capital didnt feel right. I didnt expect that the deputy chairman of the Association of Mages would be assassinated just like that. I paid special attention to the news and obtained secondhand files from my acquaintances from the Pagan Interrogation Bureau."
Pagan Interrogation Bureau. It sounded like a mighty and dangerous agency.
Every religious group had similar agencies.
"So you know what happened exactly?" Schuck shook his head. "I know a thing or two, but its still a mystery to me in general. The deputy chairman of the Association of Mages was a very unyielding woman. Its said that she was more inclined to Stephanie the First Princess, so Ive been considering if her death was a result of political contention."
"Anything else?" asked Roland.
Schuck thought for a moment before he continued. "She was very talented in magic. She was only 67, but she was already on her way to becoming a Legend, so the Association of Mages had high hopes for her. Its understandable why the Association of Mages burst into fury after she was assassinated."
"If she was already a half-Legend, whoever killed her couldnt have been much weaker than her, right?" Roland thought for a moment and asked, "Have any good Assassins come to the capital recently?"
Schuck spread his hands and said with a smile, "What do you think? The capital of Fareins is not a place that any organization can play around in. Its fine for groups such as the Association of Warriors, but the moment clandestine organizations such as the Guild of Assassins or the Guild of Rogues reach their hands into this place, the Church of Light will break their hands with a rod. This place is both the capital of Fareins and the Holy Realm of Light."
Schucks declaration was understandable.
For all of time, the Church of Light had been hostile to organizations such as the Guild of Rogues and the Guild of Assassins.
They considered themselves to be light and always despised the scoundrels who hid in the shadows.
Most people loathed the Rogues and the Assassins because they feared them and were wary of the dangers lurking in the dark. But the clerics of the Church of Light were different. They spurned the people who dared not walk in the sunlight from the bottom of their hearts, and believed that those people were maggots in the dark who reeked of bad smell all over their body.
In other cities, the Church of Light turned a blind eye to the maggots, but they would not allow any disgusting creatures to approach the Holy Realm of Light, the place that was closest to the Goddess of Light, in case the dignity of the goddess was tarnished.
However, every force had a counterforce. The shadow-walkers were naturally pissed when they were discriminated against, so they sought retaliation.
They often caused trouble to the Church of Lights temples in other cities, or ruined the Church of Lights operations when they had nothing better to do.
The two parties had a long history with each other.
In the eyes of the outsiders, they were somewhat like a quarrelsome and loving couple.
Because the Church of Light loathed Rogues and Assassins, few people of their organizations ever visited the capital. Even if some of them came occasionally, they would be unimportant and unknown. The Legendary killers wouldnt come to the capital of Fareins easily to be humiliated. Not only were there three skills in the theurgy of light to break stealth, but the Pope of Light, the Holy Lady, thirteen Saint Samurai, and a dozen Legendary archbishops always stayed in the Holy Realm too.
They were all capable fighters.
An Assassin would never come to the Holy Realm of Light to piss them off unless their head was full of seaweed.
Having read a lot of books in this world, Roland knew a thing or two about the matter. After Schuck finished, he thought for a moment and asked, "Therefore, the Church of Light has ruled out the possibility that a powerful Assassin or killer came here and murdered her?" "The possibility hasnt been completely ruled out yet, but its unlikely to be true." Schuck thought for a moment and said, "From what Ive learned from the Pagan Interrogation Bureau, the deputy chairman of the Association of Mages died from a backstabbing. Someone pierced into her heart from her back and killed her with one attack. The murder weapon should be a short dagger, but it cant be found. No items or clues have been left by the murderer either."
"Thats everything you know?" Roland scratched his head.
Schuck heaved a helpless sigh too. "Yes, thats all that I know. The Church of Light is barely involved in the political struggles of mortals. We only try to ensure balance."
"Well, this is really a mystery." Roland heaved a sigh. "It isnt easy to complete this epic quest with so little information."
Schuck thought for a moment and said, "Thats fine. Dont be hasty. Im a Saint Samurai anyway, and I have some power. Next, Ill apply to establish a squad to investigate this case."
"Tss, thats really powerful," said Roland admirably. He paused for a moment and said again, "But the leadership of the Church of Light would think less of you if you use your power for selfish reasons, wouldnt they?"
Schuck laughed for a moment and said, "Roland, youve made a common mistake. You think that a church is just a regular organization. However, all the churches are centered around the gods they believe in. Everything churches do is meant to disseminate the gods doctrines and increase the number of believers. For that purpose, many methods that you cant even imagine can be adopted, except that the churches that worship the kind gods have boundaries and arent so radical. Nothing that concerns faith is a small thing."
"Does this matter concern faith?" Roland was rather curious.
"Not for now, but it might after we investigate the case." Schuck finished the fruit wine in his cup and said, "Ive already understood the nature of Saint Samurai now. You may consider me a relative to the goddess. Not just establishing a squad and asking them to run errands with my power, I can even launch a crusade without asking for the popes permission as long as I have a good reason."
Roland looked around and found that nobody was eavesdropping.
He sighed a long breath of relief. "I know that youre very powerful, but dont get too cocky. After all, the pope is the second-in-command in your church, at least nominally. If he hears what you said just now, he may hold a grudge against you."
Roland spoke bluntly and warningly. Under normal circumstances, only ones family or those who were very close to him would say something like that. Schuck was briefly stunned. He touched the center of his eyebrow in a trance.
Then, his expression became very weird, as if he thought of something horrible. His face became rather pale.
Roland couldnt help but ask, "Whats wrong?"
"No, something is wrong with my mental status." Schuck frowned and said, "I shouldnt be so cocky. You know that Ive always kept a low profile."
Roland nodded. That was why he felt strange and warned Schuck a moment ago.
"Ill go back first and ask the Holy Lady to check if theres anything wrong with my soul." Schuck stood up and said, "Ive already set up an investigation squad. Thats not difficult at all. I think you can run the investigation within the Association of Mages with your identity as a Mage first. Well talk via the guild chat system if anything happens."
"Okay." Roland nodded.
Schuck paid for the meal and left quite hastily.
Roland stayed behind and enjoyed the fruit wine.
According to logic, the Golden Sons, or the players, were immune to mental influences, unless someone was powerful enough to break the systems protection.
Was it possible?
From the perspective of a game, it was not possible. After all, the rules of the system were above anything else. However, the problem was that anything could be possible if this game world was considered real.
All skills and specializations had their power.
If this was a real world, the protection of the system definitely had a power too.
Then, how strong must a person be in order to break the mental power influence on the systems level?
The person must be as strong as the natural laws.
The bikinis that the game authorities prepared for the female players in the game were exactly a piece of natural-law-level protection equipment.
To comprehend and make use of natural-law-level abilities, one had to be a demigod or above.
Schuck spent most of his time in the Holy Realm of Light, which had always been watched over by the Goddess of Light.
Who could possibly influence a Saint Samurais mind under the watch of a goddess?
Roland subconsciously looked at the sky, where the brilliant scorching sun was hanging behind the lonely clouds.
Roland finished the wine in his cup. He felt that he was overthinking.
Leaving the Moonlight Stone Tavern, Roland returned to the Association of Mages. The atmosphere here was a lot graver than it was on the previous day. Occasionally, teams of soldiers in black robes could be seen patrolling inside the building.
Roland came back to his room. He opened the door and saw three women having afternoon tea in the room.
They were Andonara, Stephanie, and Sharon.
All the three women were very beautiful. Even Sharon, the least gorgeous of them all, was still plumply attractive. They all stood up upon seeing Roland.
Roland found the First Princess quite idle, as she had come to his place for afternoon tea for two days in a row.
Andonara walked to Roland and helped Roland brush off the nonexistent dust on his clothes. She couldnt have looked more gentle and caring.
Roland nodded at the First Princess and said, "Sorry to interrupt your conversation. Excuse me. You carry on, dont mind me." Stephanie said with a smile, "Wait a moment, Mr. Roland. Were here mainly to talk to you."
Briefly stunned, Roland extended his hand and gestured for Stephanie to sit down. Then he sat down himself.
Andonara immediately brought a cup of fruit wine to him.
Sipping the fruit wine, Roland asked, "I didnt expect you to come visit me, First Princess. Is there anything I can help you with?"
Though she was a princess of Fareins, Roland didnt think that he needed to feel humble. If worse came to worst, he could always leave Fareins.
After all, he had never been fond of this country, since he was discriminated against in Fareins before.
Stephanies eyebrow slightly twitched as she saw how calm and casual Roland was. She had never seen any peer who could face her with such a neutral attitude.
They were either awed by her power and identity, or fascinated by her gorgeous appearance.
Only the big shots who were too old to sleep with anyone could talk to her with a peaceful mind.
As expected of the man who Andonara has picked for herself. Stephanie secretly heaved a sigh of disappointment and said, "Im sure you already know that the deputy chairman of the Association of Mages has been assassinated, right?"
Roland nodded. Of course he knew that.
He and Andonara were almost considered the murderers last night. Had it not been for the support and endorsement of the mentors of the Red Magic Tower, it was possible that he wouldve fought his way out of the capital of Fareins to avoid being captured.
"Then Ill be honest with you. The deputy chairman of the Association of Mages was on my side. Her death might be an indirect attack aimed at me," said Stephanie in a low voice. "The deputy chairman was very, very strong, and she was protected by special magic equipment. But even so, she was still killed. Im feeling very unsafe at this moment, so Im hoping that I can hire someone I can trust to protect me for a while." After she said that, she looked at Andonara. Roland understood what the First Princess meant.
He had been considering how to complete the epic quest, or how to start working on it at all. The request that Stephanie submitted met his needs precisely.
It was related to the epic quest, and he could find something useful while Andonara worked for her.
There was just one thing Roland looked at Andonara.
Then he smiled and said, "Its up to Andonara. If she wants to protect you, she can go with you. If shes unwilling to, then Im afraid Ill have to pass."
Hearing that, Stephanie immediately looked at Andonara with shining eyes.
Andonara hesitated for a moment and said to Roland with an uncertain tone, "If so I can protect her in the next fortnight, cant I?"
After the two days of company, and especially after Stephanie was nice to her, Andonara found her to be a rather good friend.
Now that her friend was in trouble, she naturally had to help her if she could.
However In Andonaras eyes, she still needed to ask for Rolands permission.
"I already said its up to you." Roland walked over and hugged Andonara gently. "Dont worry, and try to have some fun. Ill be staying here to study magic. You can come back and find me when everything is over."
Andonara smiled and nodded quickly.
Ever since he knew Andonara, Roland found that she had never left home, her comfort zone, on her own initiative, which was a sign of a severe lack of security.
In Andonaras world, Roland was the most important and the only thing that mattered.
Now that she was willing to get out of her world and make new friends, Roland naturally had to support her.
Stephanie was greatly relieved hearing that Roland accepted her request.
She was worried that Roland would say no. After all, there was hardly a time when Andonara didnt talk about Roland while they had afternoon tea together during these days.
From Andonaras gentle gaze and happy face, Stephanie could see that the woman before her eyes had been living a great life. In comparison, she was a widow who had beaten her husband to death personally. She made a bold statement during Andonaras wedding, but she had been slapped in the face by reality only a couple of years later.
Andonara picked up her sword and was reluctant to leave. She wanted to protect the friend she newly made, but she wanted to stay with Roland too.
She was as hesitant as before.
At this moment, however, Stephanie thought of something and said, "Why dont you come to my manor too, Mr. Roland?"
"Thats unnecessary. Ill just stay here and study magic." Roland waved his hands.
"But theres a huge library in my manor. Its very large and contains a lot of books," said Stephanie with a smile. "My late husband was a Mage too. After we were married, he spent almost all his money on books and spell models. The library in my manor has never been opened since he died, but I think that some of the books in that library are definitely new to you."
If you put it that way, then I wont feel bored at all.
Rolands eyes suddenly glittered. "Okay. Then Ill talk to my mentors first. You wait here for a moment."
Andonara couldnt be happier hearing that Roland was willing to go to the princesss manor with her.
She hugged Roland first and then Stephanie.
The headquarters of the Association of Mages were so large that it took Roland a long time before he finally came to the place where the leadership of the Association of Mages lived even though he had asked for directions. He accidentally ran into a mentor from the Red Magic Tower, so he asked the mentor to tell Alfred that he would stay in Stephanies manor for a while.
This mentor was an informant. He knew perfectly well why Alfred had brought Roland to this place.
Upon hearing Rolands request, he immediately accepted it on behalf of Alfred.
After Roland turned around and walked away, the mentor said in admiration, "We havent even tried yet, but you have already made an acquaintance of Stephanie. Are you really so into mature ladies?"
Having no idea that the misconceptions about himself were still spreading, Roland returned to his room and left the headquarters with the three women. A carriage took them to a manor about three hundred meters away from the royal palace.
This manor was surrounded by a square wood which completely hid the manor.
Inside the manor, everything was arranged enjoyably.
There was a huge green lawn, a pavilion on the left side, and an orchard on the right side.
There was a bright golden building in the middle. Behind the building was farmland that was being tilted. There was no telling what would be planted there.
She hugged Roland first and then Stephanie.
The headquarters of the Association of Mages were so large that it took Roland a long time
Put in such a way, it sounded like everything in the manor was very simple.
However, if a man was informed that the grasses on the lawn were Starlight Flowers, the bright green pavilion was made of Green Moss Stone from the elves, and the bright golden building was built on the Yellow Eucalypt from the elves, he would know how astoundingly costly the manor was as long as he knew the prices of those materials.
In the square wood around the manor were hidden a dozen cottages where more than a hundred elite soldiers were hiding.
After they entered the manor, Stephanie personally led Roland and Andonara to the second floor and gave them the best and biggest guest room.
After that, she showed Roland the way to the basement.
The basement of the building was already half empty. There was a passage here that led to a very large library.
Stephanie gave a slightly rusty bronze key to Roland and pointed at the green door before her. "The library is right ahead of us. Ive not set foot in this place since my late husband died. The maids told me that they heard my late husband crying from the library. It couldve been his ghost. However, my late husband was far weaker than you. He died soon after he became an official Mage. Hes not nearly as good as you, so I dont think you should be scared even if his ghost is still haunting this place."
He had seen too many ghosts. He killed one on his way out of Red Mountain Town. Then, in paradise, he saw countless residents who were all essentially ghosts.
Smiling, Stephanie dragged Andonara away and said, "Lets go and have some afternoon tea. Ive got some elven honey. Its very precious. I wonder if youve ever heard of it. Its as valuable as gold coins of the same weight."
After the two women left, Roland opened the door to the library with the bronze key.
Nasty creaks echoed in the passage as the door opened. After it opened, there was nothing but darkness before his eyes.
Roland snapped his fingers and threw a light ball into the library.
When he saw what was before his eyes, Roland couldnt help but exclaim in shock.
Rows of bookshelves extended before him. Each of those bookshelves was laden with books.
Smelling the intense scent of paper, Roland walked in and touched the bookshelves gently.
All the bookshelves were exquisitely manufactured. Although they were of the same size, the engravings on the bookshelves were completely different.
But they were all very beautiful. On every bookshelf, the category that the books on it belonged to was written in special ink. "Biography," "Customs," "Spell Catalog" Almost all the categories of books could be found here. Roland came to the Spell Catalog section first. At first, he found a lot of books containing tips for spellcasting that were written by different Mages.
There were more than four hundred of such books. Roland picked up a few random books and skimmed through them. He found that the previous owner of these books had left detailed notes as well as his personal understandings.
Then, Roland found the bookshelf of spell models.
It had almost all of the level-one and level-two spells, a lot of level-three spells, and a couple of level-four spells. Roland even found the model of a level-five spell named Fiery Meteor Fall.
This is truly an unexpected discovery!
Roland was so thrilled that he hurriedly activated the system camera and scanned all the spell models that he had never seen before. This Fiery Meteor Fall was not particularly powerful for a level-five spell. But still, it was a level-five spell!
The model of any level-five spell cost at least fifty gold coins.
In fact, money was only a secondary motive. In the Red Magic Tower, in order to learn magic, one had to make contributions apart from paying the money. Contributions could hardly be measured. When the leadership of the Red Magic Tower believed that a man could learn a spell, the man would have made enough contributions.
After scanning all of the spell models, Roland went to the other bookshelves to see if there were any books that deserved his attention.
Then, Roland realized that Stephanies late husband had a variety of interests.
Apart from the books in different categories that had been examined by Roland, the man had also collected many books on daily life, such as books that taught fishing and cooking. Of course, these books paper was of awful quality, and it felt like papyrus as Roland touched it.
He estimated that these books would crumble into pieces very soon even though they were very well-preserved.
Apart from the books on life, the man also had a collection of porn, such as "Aarons Scorching Spear and Baked Bread," "Fall of the Innocent Girl," and "The Daily Life of Me and My Sister-In-Law."
Roland even found a few princess-themed books, including "The Crying Princess at Night," "Princess and Slave," etc.
Huh? Wait, isnt your wife a princess? Why do you like these novels?
Roland took a deep breath. He was quite amazed by the princesss husbands interests. Browsing through a few random porn novels, Roland shook his head in boredom.
This world was a cultural desert anyway, with few written communications.
These novels all had cliche plots that were elaborated on very boringly.
Most of the porn on the Internet in modern days was much more attractive than such stories.
After all, whoever wrote the porn on the Internet had likely received more than twelve years of systematic education. If they were to compile all the essays they wrote, they couldve published a lot of books.
Besides, they could also learn from each others strengths and support each other.
Their works were much more enticing than the porn writers in this age.
Putting those boring books back on the bookshelf, Roland couldnt help but wonder whether or not the First Princess killed her husband because she saw those princess novels too.
After all, all the princesses had pitiful fates in those novels.
Roland returned to the bookshelves on magic and read the records left by a random Mage.
Paper was very expensive in this world, so whoever recorded their understanding in a book must know what they were doing.
Roland was fascinated after reading it for only three minutes.
He read the book carefully without skipping over a single word. Sometimes, he would read a sentence again and again and then cross-check it with his own experience.
Time went by bit by bit as he turned all the pages.
When the light ball dimmed, Roland would release another one subconsciously.
When he was hungry, Andonara would always show up at his side in time with delicious food. All he needed to do was open his mouth, and then Andonara would deliver the food into his mouth gently. Roland was fully concentrated on the books left by the other Mages.
In the books he read in the first couple of days, there were the princesss husbands notes. But as the books got harder and more intricate, the princesss husband could hardly understand them anymore. He merely read them and left nothing behind.
However, Roland could understand these books.
Some of the Mages books were very whimsical. Some were based on their personal experience, and some were purely presumptions.
But all in all, they were all brand-new ideas.
Innovation was always advocated in modern society, as if one could get new technologies with nothing but creative thinking.
However, they ignored that a solid foundation of knowledge was the prerequisite for any innovation.
Ideas that were proposed with unrestrained imagination would be pure nonsense if they couldnt ever be put into practice. Some of those whimsical ideas were indeed very interesting, but none of these Mages could put the ideas into practice, so they had to leave their ideas behind in books.
At this moment, all their ideas became knowledge and experience for Roland.
That was exactly the importance of a solid foundation. Otherwise, your ideas would only become fertilizers for other people.
The Golden Sons did not need any sleep. They wouldnt feel exhausted either as long as they didnt exercise too much.
Therefore, Roland had no idea how long it had been, but he had only finished half a bookshelf, and there were still three more bookshelves that carried the Mages journals.
He wouldnt feel bored for a long time.
Roland sat down on a stone chair that he made with Mud to Rock.
On the ground floor, Andonara, Stephanie, and a few noble ladies were drinking fruit wine, having cake, and gossiping in the manors pavilion.
Seizing an opportunity, Stephanie asked Andonara in a low voice, "Mr. Roland has spent four days in the basement. Does he never get sleepy?"
"This is just what he does when he studies magic. Its not unusual that hes not seen for days. His longest record is two months in the magic lab without leaving it at all." Andonara smiled.
Stephanie was rather surprised. "Is he so diligent?"
"Then he is a boring man, isnt he?" A noble lady interjected. "Andonara, youre too beautiful to be stuck with such a boring man. Youre pretty enough to be a royal princess." Stephanie chuckled, as she believed so, too.
Andonara, however, said, "Im afraid you dont understand things very clearly. Even if a man is incapable of sweet talk, youll feel reassured as long as you know where he is, and that hes not fooling around with other women. As long as I can be with him, Ill feel happy even if he doesnt talk to me and just focuses on his business. However, if a man is loose, and you dont know which woman hes sleeping with when you miss him, will his sweet talk still be a good thing?" After she said that, all the noble ladies around her seemed embarrassed.
Their men were exactly like that. They didnt know which women their husbands were sleeping with at all.
After a brief shock, Stephanie chuckled. "So, you prefer a peaceful life even though youre very strong. What a shame."
Andonara smiled and said, "I can only protect him if Im strong!"
Looking at the happiness on Andonaras face, a noble lady was pissed and said, "Thats because hes never been tempted. Why dont we send someone beautiful down there? Chances are that hell become loose too after he has a taste of other women"
The atmosphere immediately became chilly.
At some point, Andonara had left her seat and placed a short dagger to the neck of the noble lady who just spoke. "Bitch, why dont you try that?"
Andonara, who had always been gentle and friendly, was intimidating now that she became indifferent.
While the Phoenixes had a Hero bloodline, Phoenix had been one of the great devils in the Realm of Devils according to Diablo, the Devil King, until he betrayed the Realm of Devils.
Therefore, it was not wrong to say that Andonara was the descendant of a devil.
"I I was I was just playing"
The noble lady had never been threatened in such a way. She felt that the cold iron blade on her neck was so sharp, it would cut her tender skin apart if she moved.
She was so frightened that her face became pale and the stink of urine could almost be smelled.
Stephanie didnt stop her. She had been treated by Andonara the same way years back, but Andonara used a longsword back then, and she wasnt nearly as daunting as now. "You must pay close attention to what youre saying. Dont ever forget that." Andonara waved her hand, and the short dagger was gone. She looked around at the other noble ladies. "Do any of you have similar thoughts?"
All the nobles shook their heads hard.
Andonara sat back in her chair and unhurriedly drank her fruit wine.
However, the atmosphere had been completely ruined.
After she finally calmed down, the noble lady who was just threatened felt that her crotches were cold. Realizing that she had just wet herself, she covered her face and ran away from the manor in tears.
The other noble ladies also rose and bowed at Stephanie the First Princess courteously, before they left the manor.
Heaving a sigh, Andonara said, "Sorry for ruining your afternoon tea. I got too excited." "Thats fine." Stephanie refilled her cup and continued, "Theyre only acquaintances to me anyway, not really close friends. You can have fun in afternoon tea whether youre with a large crowd or with only one friend, right?"
Andonara nodded in agreement. Then, she looked around to see if there was any enemy nearby, before she said, "You asked me to protect you, but I didnt see anyone suspicious in the past few days. Did you trick me?"
"I dont know if someone would come and kill me either." Stephanie seemed to be at a loss. "But it was common knowledge that the deputy chairman was on my side. The enemy probably didnt attack me because I had always stay in my manor."
At this moment, Stephanies old butler barged in. Holding his knees with his back lowered, he breathed heavily and said, "First Princess, not good! Something happened! General Louis is dead! Hes hanged on a crooked tree behind his manor!"
"What?!" Stephanie rose abruptly with fury all over her face.
General Louis was her subordinate, and a talent that she had always counted on.
She even planned to let General Louis take charge of the royal guards after she became the queen.
It was not hard to imagine how much she trusted General Louis.
However, at this moment, the man she had trusted and thought highly of was hanged right behind his home.
With this, she would never believe that nobody was conspiring against her.
"Bring the guards and check it out with me." The First Princess slapped the desk so hard that the cups and pots on it suddenly bounced and fell, splashing water everywhere.
"Ill go with you." Andonara approached the First Princess.
Stephanie managed a smile and nodded.
At this moment, Andonara suddenly clapped her hands and said, "Why dont we bring Roland with us? Hes very smart. He might be able to see something." "Can he?" Stephanie was slightly doubtful. She already considered Roland to be a nerd as he had spent days reading books without coming out.
Those men were knowledgeable but generally werent good at applying their knowledge to real-life scenarios.
"I want him to come out and take a walk," said Andonara with a smile.
"Fine, whatever you say." Stephanie smiled. For her, Andonara was her only friend and a unique person.
Andonara ran to the underground tunnel happily and soon dragged Roland out although he failed to realize what was going on yet.
At this moment, Rolands mind was still concentrated on the tips and writings on magic, and he hadnt come back to himself yet.
It was not until Andonara dragged him into the carriage and he saw a naked man who was hanging from a tree and drifting along with the wind after arriving at the crime scene, crawling with more than a hundred soldiers, that he was finally completely woken up.
The atmosphere in this world was relatively open. Neither Andonara nor Stephanie was embarrassed at all to see a naked man.
They even seemed rather grave, mostly because the victim had died too miserably.
There were a dozen long cuts caused by sharp weapons on his body. Each of those cuts had nicked his bones.
On the other hand, the naked mans abdomen had been cut open. His pink intestines and other internal organs of different colors had all been revealed. The intestines were almost drooping to the ground. The air was filled with the intense stink of blood. On the ground right below the hanging body was a pool of black blood that hadnt been entirely frozen yet. The surroundings had been cleared. Nobody was around except Roland, Stephanie, and her hundred soldiers.
However, the air was rather dull, and an odd, creepy wind was blowing under the scorching sun.
The victims eyes were wide open, and his tongue was stuck out of his mouth. The tongue was long and disgusting. "Put him down." Stephanie waved her hands coldly.
Immediately, several soldiers stepped forward and untied the noose on the victims neck, before they laid him down on the ground.
They even kindly put the victims intestines back in his body.
Roland circled the victim and looked around. Then he asked weirdly, "First Princess, someone told me before I came here that this place is right behind the victims home, right? Judging from the color of the blood, although the victim hasnt been dead for too long, its been at least more than an hour. His home is right ahead of us, yet none of his family came out and took a look?"
"I find it odd too." Stephanie nodded. "Ive already sent someone to the manor to see what happened." It seemed that the First Princess was not an idiot. At least, her reactions were normal and rational.
Roland finally thought a little more highly of the First Princess. Then, he squatted before the victim and gazed at his face. After that, he stood up, deep in thought.
"Did you find anything?" Andonara walked to Roland.
She was already holding her longsword in her hand.
Roland raised his eyes and asked, "First Princess, was this dead general capable of using magic?"
"No." Stephanie shook her head. "General Louis was a pure Warrior. Look at his bulging muscles. How could he possibly have been a Mage?"
"I thought so too, but I was afraid he had been both a Mage and a Warrior," Roland stood up and said, "There are certain vague magic elements in his body that are dispersing slowly. Ordinary people cant sense it at all. Your mental power has to be high enough for you to perceive it. Thats why I asked you this question."
Stephanie frowned. "How is it possible? General Louis never learned magic. Why are there magic elements in his body?"
"If the magic elements do not belong to him, someone else might have blown them into him." Roland stood up and circled the dead body again. "I think the sharp cuts on the surface of his body might be a disguise for the real cause of his death."
Stephanie was smart enough to understand Rolands meaning immediately. "Are you saying that he was killed with magic? Can you tell what kind of magic it was exactly?" Roland shook his head. "We came too late. The magic has been restored to the most fundamental elements. However, considering that there are sharp cuts all over his body but no scars caused by the evoking magic, he mustve been killed either by a curse or a mental spell. Is there anyone in the Association of Mages who is adept at those two kinds of spells?"
Stephanie chuckled coldly. "There are a lot. However, now that you put it that way, I have a few suspects in mind." Then, she waved her hands and said, "Give General Louis a proper funeral first, and make sure he puts on some decent clothes."
Several soldiers immediately stepped up and covered the dead body with a straw mat, ready to take him to the manor ahead.
At this moment, a few soldiers ran over from afar. Their captain rushed to Stephanie and fell on one of his knees, before he said in panic, "First Princess, not good. Everybody in General Louiss home is dead. There are no survivors at all."
Stephanies face darkened. Then she burst into fury and gnashed her teeth. "Everybody, surround General Louiss home first. Make sure that even a fly cant escape that place."
Then, the hundred people ran to the manor and broke in.
The yard was rather clean and peaceful. The captain who just appeared led the way while he said, "Everybody in General Louiss home has been left in the storage room on the third floor. They died in exactly the same way General Louis did."
Half of the soldiers stayed downstairs and defended the door in case an enemy barged in.
The other half of the soldiers entered the house and searched every closet and cabinet. Ensuring that nobody was hiding inside the house, they finally invited Stephanie upstairs.
Stephanie, Roland, and Andonara smelled the intense stink of blood the moment they reached the third door.
Because the building was airless, the stench here was a million times more unpleasant than outdoors.
When they came to the storage room, the stench got even stronger.
They looked into the room from the door, only to see at least three bodies heaped in the tiny storage room without any clothes. Black blood was everywhere on the floor.
The victims were of different genders and ages. All of them had sharp cuts all over their body, and their abdomens had all been cut open.
Stephanies face was extremely pale. She could stand one body, but a pile of so many bodies was too much a challenge for her.
She covered her mouth and stepped aside, almost throwing up.
Roland stood at the door for a moment. Then he walked back and said, "Their situation is the same as General Louiss. They all have feeble magic elements in their bodies that are dispersing slowly." "I understand."
Unwilling to stay here any longer, she quickly went downstairs and took a few deep breaths on the lawn. Then she said to the people around her, "Burn this building. I remember Louis has a blood brother whos an honorary knight serving another noble. Inform him that General Louis has died for this country, and that he will inherit his brothers title. If hes willing to, I can perform an investiture for him."
The captain next to her nodded quickly.
Then Stephanie returned to her carriage. Roland and Andonara entered the carriage too. The carriage moved unsteadily on the road.
Stephanie looked at Roland. "Is it really impossible for you to figure out the original nature of those magic elements?" "No." Roland shook his head. "But that may be because Im not skilled enough. You can ask the Masters of the Association of Mages to examine them."
"That will be unnecessary."
Stephanie turned around, lifted the curtain, and looked out of the window. Even though they were very far away, the three main buildings of the capital of Fareins-namely the Temple of Light, the square hall of the Association of Mages, and the royal palacecould still be seen clearly.
Those three buildings formed a marvelous equilateral triangle, which indicated the balance of the three forces.
However, at this moment, Stephanie suddenly had the feeling that, while the royal palace was big enough, it shouldve been higher.
She put the curtain down again and looked at Roland, before she said, "Since they were all killed by magic, the Association of Mages is definitely very suspicious. If I go ask them to examine the bodies, wont I be indirectly telling them that I already know something? Am I that stupid? Are you testing me?"
"No." Roland shook his head.
"Hmph." Stephanie snorted and said, "You Mages all have infinite tricks up your sleeves. Who can possibly know whats on your mind?"
Andonara grabbed Stephanies hand and explained to her, "I know that Roland is not that kind of person. He only said that because he didnt think that you trusted him. It was not a test whatsoever."
Stephanie looked at Andonara and then Roland who was apparently unconcerned. Then, she suddenly put on a smile and said, "Sorry for my lack of manners. I was in a bad mood. Please forgive me."
"Thats fine." Roland waved his hand.
After the carriage returned to the manor, Stephanie said, "Mr. Roland, I have to go to the royal palace to meet my father. I need Andonaras protection, so youll have to stay in the manor on your own. After all, the Golden Sons are undying. I dont think you need protection, do you?"
All that Roland wanted was to continue reading the books. He couldnt have been happier to be left alone again. He immediately went to the secret tunnel and opened the library.
Then, he sat down and continued from where he left off earlier.
After reading this book, he picked up the next one which had the words "Elsas Aspirations" on its cover page. He thought that it was a book on light magic or mental magic, but after he opened the book, he found that the cover of the page was just a disguise, and that the book was actually a journal.
August 14, Year XX
Ive finally got Lady Ivanka. It seems that Inferior Human Charming does work as long as you give it enough time
September 22, Year XX
Stephanie is very beautiful. Her body feels great too. But shes too cold. She isnt willing at all when we have sex. Also, she is a domineering woman. I wonder if its really a good thing to become her husband After reading to this part, Roland realized that the journal belonged to the First Princesss husband.
Other people might have seized the opportunity to finish the journal, but Roland was never interested in someone elses private affairs. He simply closed the journal and put it back on the bookshelf. Then, he picked up another book on magic.
After Roland finished another book, Andonara came back. She shook Rolands arm and woke him up from the ocean of books. Then she said, "Roland, the First Princess needs your advice. Something has changed."
Well How troublesome.
Roland was rather unwilling to go, but then he thought that he should return the favor now that he had read so many books for free, so he followed Andonara out of the library.
In the pavilion, Stephanie said to Roland after they greeted each other, "Sorry to interrupt your pursuit of knowledge again, Mr. Roland. I have a question. Whats mens favorite thing to
"Every man likes different things, but if I have to name one thing that all men like, its probably the process during which kids are created."
Andonara covered her mouth and chuckled while she blushed slightly.
Stephanie smiled and said, "You are too frank. I cant even find a chance to mock you. I just met my father, hoping that I could borrow on or two Royal Guardians from him, but he turned me down." "Huh? Why?"
Stephanie sneered and said, "He said that, although he didnt know who assassinated the deputy chairman and annihilated Louiss family, he believed that it was a test for me, and that only if I passed the test could I retain the qualification to be the future queen of the country. But if I fail, I will be married into another country three months from now. I will be the third princess in Fareins whos married into another country in the past two hundred years."
Rolands eyebrow twitched. He didnt say anything.
This was somebody elses family business. He didnt want to get involved at all.
Seeing that Roland was absolutely uninterested, Stephanie was supposed to be mad. But for some reason, she smiled and said, "I know that Ive become a joke now. Im clearly the strongest in the royal family except for my father, but I cant find out who my enemy is even though they have launched multiple attacks against me. Its so hilarious. Even I feel like laughing at myself."
After that, Stephanie lowered her eyes as if she were devastated.
Roland still didnt want to talk to her.
At this moment, Andonara walked over, grabbed Stephanies hand, and said, "Ill help you. If your father marries you to a foreign man, Ill ask Roland to take you to Delpon and hide you there."
Roland smiled after he heard that.
He had thought that Andonara would say something like "Youre my friend and Ill be there for you no matter what."
However, she turned out to have little faith in Stephanie. She didnt want to part with Roland or her friend, so she wanted Stephanie to fail, so that Stephanie would come with her and be by her side as her friend for the rest of her life.
Roland had to say that Andonara was rather manipulative.
Stephanie was slightly smarter than Andonara. She certainly realized Andonaras plan very well.
She was both angry and amused.
The feelings were so mixed that even her stomach was cramping.
She couldnt help but hold her abdomen. She said reluctantly, "Are you trying to help me, or are you hoping that I wont be lucky?"
Andonara smiled but didnt say anything.
Stephanie heaved a long sigh.
At this moment, Roland interjected, "Dont be frustrated yet. Actually, your father and the Church of Light are just as ignorant of whats going on as you are. The Association of Mages might know a thing or two, but youre too proud to ask them."
"How do you know that the Church of Light is ignorant of the situation too? Do you know any big shots in the Holy Realm of Light?"
"I know a Saint Samurai."
"Just keep bragging." Naturally, Stephanie was unconvinced. "How long have you been in the capital? And youve already made friends with a Saint Samurai?"
"One of the Saint Samurai is actually a Golden Son"
Stephanie waved her hand. "Ive already looked into it. Actually, not all the Golden Sons know each other. Sometimes you can be in conflict too. That Golden Son Schuck is the most appreciated talent in the Church of Light in the past years. How can you possibly know him?"
"I really know him. We were friends to begin with," said Roland casually.
Stephanie asked suspiciously, "You really do?".
"Forget it if you dont believe me." Roland didnt try to convince her, because it was none of his business whether or not she believed him.
"No, I believe you." Stephanie suddenly jumped from her chair and hopped to Roland. "If you are good friends, can you do me a favor?"
"Do you want me to ask him out for you?" Seeing her glittering eyes, Roland thought that Stephanie was one of the women who were charmed by Stephanies handsomeness.
Stephanie, however, said, "It doesnt matter whether I can meet him or not, but can you ask for five red dragon scales from him for me?"
Roland was slightly surprised. "Why do you want that?"
"To make an alchemical potion," said Stephanie with glowing eyes. "Im a Warrior too, but my gifts are limited. However, the case will be different if I have the red dragon bloodline, which can significantly improve my upper limits. Even if I cannot become a demigod, there will be hope for me to become a Legend before I die.""Its very precious, isnt it?"
Stephanie nodded quickly.
"I cant help you."
Roland shook his head. Since the dragon scales were precious, it meant that losing them might be harmful for the dragoness.
Roland wasnt very close to the dragoness, but she was his brothers woman, or mount, anyway. He couldnt do such a terrible thing as to beg his brother to harm his mount, just for a princess that he hadnt known for even tens yet.
"It seems that youre only bragging." Stephanie heaved a sigh of disappointment.
Roland knew that she was only trying to goad him into action with mockery. He wasnt fooled at all.
Seeing that Roland wasnt moved, Stephanie was slightly bummed. But she soon pulled herself together and said, "Roland, I can see that youre very smart. I want to hire you to find the murderer behind the curtain for me. Are you willing to accept the job? Ill give you a decent pay."