Chapter 45 – Reconnaissance
Glancing outside, Leylin’s brows furrowed. His two horses seemed to have stirred up some trouble.
His lips curled into a sneer as he turned around and quickly left the pub.
Several local hoodlums were surrounding his black horses and sizing them up. Their gazes were marred with greed as they gazed at the spirited horses and the chests on them. One of them was actually in the act of impatiently untying the reins.
“Are you trying to take my belongings?” Leylin strode over.
He looked rather intimidating in his leather armour with his menacing cross blade hanging from his belt. But apparently it was still not enough.
One of them, a cross-eyed hoodlum, shouted at him, “This is undoubtedly the horse that I lost! How come you have it? You stole it from my family, didn’t you! You damned thief!”
This gang of crooks thought that even though Leylin was an armed soldier, he wouldn’t be able to take on their whole gang.
“That’s right! Capture him and bring him to see public security!” The others raucously interjected.
The surrounding inhabitants surreptitiously loathed what was happening. But nobody had the guts to step forward.
“Let’s go! He’s alone!” Cross-Eyed drew a dagger from within his robes and led the attack.
Leylin sneered, “Looks like I get to loosen these creaky joints.” He dodged, avoiding Cross-Eyed’s piercing dagger attack. He immediately grabbed hold of Cross-Eyed’s right wrist and shook it slightly. Cross-Eyed screamed in agony as the dagger fell to the floor.
“Argh! That hurts! What are you doing? Let go of me! My brother-in-law is a public security officer. He won’t let you get away with this!” Cross-Eyed wailed in pain.
“Oh really? Public security officer? I’m so scared!” Leylin cried exaggeratedly, and then he twisted viciously.
* Crack! * The piercing sound of breaking bones was heard. Cross-Eyed fainted right away from the excruciating pain.
At this moment, Leylin’s physical power had already reached the Knight stage. Against these hoodlums, he naturally did not have to exert much effort.
“Boss! Boss!” The rest of the hoodlums shouted, but none of them dared approach.
Leylin smiled. He turned into a black shadow and dove right in their midst.
* Bang! Crack! Argh! *
The pitiful cries of the hoodlums and the gut wrenching sound of bones being crushed could be heard continuously. Leylin was like a black gust of wind. In a few moves, he knocked them all onto the ground, each one sporting a broken arm or a broken leg.
Leylin smiled amiably at them and walked towards the spot that Cross-Eyed had fainted at. He raised his foot and stomped viciously on the boss’s right leg.
“Argh!” Very soon, the pain jolted him awake. Both his eyes rolled around, and then he fainted once again.
“Take your boss away! You can call me anytime if you want revenge. But if you ever do, it won’t be as simple as getting a broken arm or a broken leg!”
Leylin said to the hoodlums. In their eyes, his smile was like that of a devil’s.
After seeing these hoodlums scampering away, Leylin returned to the bar.
“At the least, he has the physical power of a Preparatory Knight!” The bartender groaned inwardly as he put on an even gentler and humbler expression.
“My most respected sir! Is there anything I can do for you?”
Seeing the deathly quiet that loomed over the pub, Leylin couldn’t help but inwardly smile with bitterness.
He did not want to be seen as a monster. However, he had brought many goods along with him, so what could he do if someone were to steal them when he was in the room? Although he left a Tracing Spell on his belongings, if the spell were to disappear, Leylin wouldn’t even have a place to cry.
However, after Leylin displayed the strength of a Preparatory Knight, many of those who had some malicious intent towards him quietly retreated.
“Help me bring these chests to my room, put my horses in the stable and give them the best fodder you have!” Leylin said as he tossed another silver coin at the bartender.
“That hoodlum from earlier, what kind of background does he has?”
The bartender lowered his head, “Sir, you completely don’t have to worry about it. He may have some shady dealings with a public security officer but nothing too serious, though.”
Having the strength of a Preparatory Knight means having access to a Knight’s training technique.
Such people are either nobility or have some huge power backing them. A small city’s public security officer will not dare to do anything at all.
“Take me to my room!” Leylin asked casually
The bartender intentionally took him to a room at the very back of the building, furthest from the pub. He took out a key and opened the room.
A ray of golden sunlight shone through the window into the room
The bed was in the middle of the room, and the bed sheets on it seemed to be very clean. There was a blue vase on the bedside table with some unknown wildflowers in them.
“It seems very clean. This place will be fine!” Leylin nodded.
“Here is your key, please keep it safe!” The bartender respectfully handed over a brass key.
Leylin took the key and sent the bartender away to take care of his horses. He unpacked the contents of the chests and ordered a steak to be sent to his room. After he telling the bartender not to disturb him, he closed the door.
As he closed the wooden door, he found the room’s noise cancellation effects to be rather good. The noises from outside were greatly reduced.
“My actions today were a little too eye-catching! I didn’t have a choice, though. Grey Stone City is too small, the activities of any stranger will definitely arouse unwanted attention. However, it is still much safer to be behind city walls. People will, at least, think twice before casting large area-of-effect spells!”
“Furthermore, there is a 50-50 chance of the faction which sent people to block the path sending someone after me. It’ll be best if they haven’t. If not, I must definitely kill the next wave of pursuers so I can get away cleanly.”
Leylin was deep in thought, “The spiritual force energy waves and the spirit sent to follow the trail look like the doings of an official Magus. But this seems like a waste of resources. Afterall, who would send an official Magus to track down and kill a level 2 acolyte?”
“The greatest possibility is a level 3 acolyte with a magic artifact or some pet reared by a Magus!”
“I should recuperate and remain observant of any activities that are happening while preparing to get rid of the enemy! I also need to cast the transfiguration spell daily!”
Leylin thought as he brought a piece of the piping hot steak that he ordered to his mouth.
The steak’s flavour was not bad and Leylin, who was famished, ate it all up in the blink of an eye. When he was done, he asked the bartender to clean up the mess. After the bartender left, Leylin hung a wooden ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign outside his door and set up a layer of energy particles to act as an early warning alarm system before falling into a deep meditative state.
Meditation is something a Magus has to do regularly. Although the increase in spiritual force from this is rather small, Leylin still persevered each and every day.
After toiling for over an hour, Leylin’s head slumped and he entered into slumberland.
Outside Grey Stone City, in the air above the scorched woods.
* Pss Pss! * A green coloured winged creature suddenly swooped down.
“Doris has finally caught a whiff of the enemy’s scent!” The green tree sprite Doris retracted its wings and stepped onto the burnt wood with its bare skin with a puzzled expression.
“This is where the scent ends.” At this moment, the green tree sprite no longer had the same appearance as before.
Previously, It had merely been the size of a human head. However, Doris was now as big as a 7 or 8-year-old child.
Moreover, the originally pretty face now had layer upon layer of warts marring it. It looked extremely repulsive.
Its mouth was filled with fangs, and its tongue constantly flickered like a snake’s.
Its body now had many creases, as well as some strange looking scales.
Originally, green tree sprites were a kind of living creature that represented extreme beauty. Now, no one would link Doris with the green tree sprites.
Doris let out a yell filled with hatred, “Human, you won’t be able to escape!” Its tongue flickered. It suddenly spread its wings and flew towards the additional horse that Leylin had released.
In the next two days, Leylin stayed inside, finally recovering his strength and spiritual force back to its peak.
“It has been two days already, and they still have not caught up! It seems like it’s not an acolyte chasing me or they would have used magic to sniff me out by now! It’s probably some slave or creature reared by the Magus!”
Leylin surmised. His movements had been extremely quiet these two days. The only noteworthy event was when the public security officer brought gifts as he paid Leylin a visit. The officer said that he was there to plead for his wife’s younger brother. He then tried to ask about Leylin’s past, but Leylin only deceived him and did not reveal any information at all.
Later, Leylin changed into black robes and pulled up the hood to cover his face as he jumped out of the window.
In a gloomy and dark alley.
“Sir!” “Sir, you’re here!” A few hoodlums, upon seeing Leylin’s black robes, immediately came forward to receive him.
“How is it? Have there been any strange happenings around Grey Stone City these past few days?” said a hoarse voice from under the black robes.
“I’ll speak first, I’ll speak first! In the nearby village, Auntie Sofia’s cow gave birth to a two-headed calf. The others all said that it was cursed!”
This was what the hoodlum, who pushed the others away, hurriedly said.
[The target’s blood flow has increased by 12.4%. His brain waves appear to be stable. Judgement: It’s not a lie!] The A.I. Chip intoned inside his head.
Leylin nodded his head and tossed a silver coin to the hoodlum.
“It’s my turn now, Uncle Hugo and his son disappeared in the nearby woods while travelling! And traces of a wolf pack have been discovered at the scene!”
These were the hoodlums that Leylin had subdued over the past two days. They were extremely convenient for gathering news.
At first, they tried to give false information to get the reward, but how could Leylin be fooled by an average human like them with the A.I. Chip to help him? He immediately broke the arms of the liar on the spot, shocking everyone present at the time.
Under the coercion of both money and the threat of violence, these hoodlums were very soon, faithfully reporting all the news happening in and around Grey Stone City.
“What did you say, human corpses were discovered? There were also traces of thick green fluids?” Leylin was obviously interested, “Speak clearly and this gold coin is yours!”
A skinny red-haired youth gulped down his saliva, “This is news I just heard. In the mill beside Messi Village, a few corpses were discovered. All the blood had been sucked dry. Everyone suspects this to be the work of a vampire. The city lord even sent several Knights to investigate!”
“En! Very good!” Leylin asked for the location again and realised that the area was very close to where he had last erased his tracks. He nodded his head and gave the gold coin to the youth. After listening to the rest of the news, he left the alley.