The shadow of a mahogany circular table could be seen under the dim glow of the lantern.
The four legs were elongated in the projection and when projected on the walls, it looked like a beast with four limbs, making it seem ominous.
Leylin stood in front of the table, and his shadow, too, was elongated.
A bunch of black scrolls were placed on the mahogany wood table. On the surface of each of the scrolls was a picture of a crow. At this moment, the crow seemed to have come alive and cawed continuously, giving off a noise that would terrify people.
"No matter what, I have to look at the contents within!"
Leylin made up his mind, "Even if it was a trap, which contains some sort of tracing spell inside, I still have enough time to escape!"
Even if that was the case, Leylin still gripped the Trevor's Revolving Shield Potion - that he had just brewed - tightly in his hands.
After which, with a solemn voice, Leylin spoke in the Byron language, "Open in the name of Leylin Farlier!"
* Caw Caw Caw! * The black crow cried, and its figure twisted. Many black lines converged, forming the image of a black skull.
Leylin picked a red crystal from his robes and tossed it into the skull's mouth.
* Crunch! Crunch! * The black skull immediately flew out from the paper and devoured the red crystal.
* Puff! * After finishing its meal, the black skull exploded, and the scroll shuddered violently. It started to burn at the bottom, where a green-coloured flame was seen.
The greenish flame then formed many characters in mid-air.
Leylin's eyes shifted. These green characters were a kind of secret code, which outsiders would not understand. But he has learnt its corresponding encryption and decryption back at Abyssal Bone Forest Academy.
Under the green-coloured characters was a bright red stamp, with a distinguished name written below it in the Byron language. There even was an image of a black snake which crawled out from a skull.
"Even the chairman's seal has appeared -- it seems like this news is not a fake!"
Leylin's expression became volatile upon seeing the fluctuating characters.
Some time later, after the flame finished burning, the green characters disappeared into the air, leaving behind a pile of grey ashes.
Leylin sighed and furrowed his brows.
"They actually sent the highest order -- asking all acolytes, who are working on missions outside, to rush back to the academy immediately!"
"Furthermore, they have also set severe punishments. Those who do not make it back to the academy within 3 months, will immediately be labelled as a traitor, and be subjected to the academy's disciplinary team's execution!"
"I'm afraid that I have to go back this time!" Leylin muttered.
As to whether it was a trap set by an enemy, Leylin was not at all worried.
First of all, Leylin was only a lowly acolyte. The enemy would not go through such painstaking means for him. Also, the chairman of Abyssal Bone Forest Academy was a legendary figure. He was, at the least, a rank 2 Magus. Even if Abyssal Bone Forest Academy was defeated, his personal seal would never land in the hands of the enemy.
"Abyssal Bone Forest Academy ...." Leylin sighed and thought of Kroft, Bicky, Nyssa and the rest, wondering how they have been.
Previously when Leylin made a hasty decision to leave, it was indeed rather selfish of him. However, his strength was not even likened to that of an ant in front of the two academies, so he could not think of a better way.
"I'd never imagined that after 3 years, I will finally be returning!"
Leylin suddenly ordered, "A.I. Chip, bring forth my stats now!"
[Beep! Leylin Farlier, level 3 acolyte, Knight. Strength: 3.1, Agility: 3.3, Vitality: 3.7, Spiritual force: 13.1, Magic Power: 13 - (magic power is in synchronisation with spiritual force). Status: Healthy]
More than a year had passed, and the modified Azure Potion, even for a level 3 acolyte, had a very beneficial effect. It managed to bring Leylin's spiritual force up by another 3 points.
His body's resistance towards the medicine, however, had now reached its limits. Drinking more of the Azure Potion would no longer have any effect.
Raising his spiritual force for the next few years would be impossible for Leylin unless he were to concoct a new type of spiritual force medicine.
"After level 3 acolyte, it will be the realm of an official Magus!" Leylin muttered, "Advancing from level 3 acolyte to official Magus, there will be a huge bottleneck. The difficulty is much higher than that of advancing from a level 2 to level 3 acolyte."
It seemed like all of the factions in the Magus World deliberately controlled the information regarding of official Magus. Even if Leylin were to fork out huge amounts of magic crystals, he would not be able to retrieve much.
The previous, harrowing incident of advancing to a level 3 acolyte suddenly surfaced on Leylin's mind.
"The higher ups in the Magus World have strictly kept the information regarding Magus advancement highly confidential. No matter how genius a wandering magician may be, as long as they don't join a faction, they will never be able to obtain knowledge of advancing. This is to keep the lowest tier from resisting and creating a rebellion and to maintain the ruling.
Leylin, too, had experienced the evil consequences of advancing without prior knowledge. If not for the A.I. Chip, he would have died without even leaving behind a corpse.
"Abyssal Bone Forest Academy! I have to return once and obtain knowledge of advancing into an official Magus.
This was the only place where Leylin knew he could obtain information more easily. As for markets and whatnot, they were completely not worth considering.
The path of a Magus would be covered with thorns. One misstep would result in an irreversible consequence.
Last time, Leylin took a risk and advanced to the level 3 acolyte, but because of the lack of guidance from the academy and his mentor, he could only rely on the A.I. Chip to simulate. In the end, he met with two unexpected situations. If not for the A.I. Chip's immense capabilities, coupled with a little luck, Leylin would never have been able to advance that easily, and that too without any side effects.
"Only that...I have to reconsider the arrangements for my subordinates!"
Leylin stroked his chin, "Maybe, arranging for a backup plan here won't be a bad idea after all ...."
"Give out the orders, I wish to join the subordinates for tonight's dinner!"
After exiting the secret lab, Leylin instructed Anna.
"Yes, Young Master!" Leylin was on the solitary side, and he usually left the daily chores and trifle things to Anna, Greem and the others, while he holed himself up in the experiment lab all day. He also rarely left the manor, so giving out an order suddenly did startle Anna. However, she was a quick-witted woman, so she did not ask much. After curtseying, she retreated while displaying her beautiful curves in front of Leylin.
In the manor, naturally there were halls large enough which could accommodate the master to have a meal with his subordinates.
The hall was constructed with large red rocks, the windowsill was rather small, and the sunlight could only dimly light up the place. However, at the centre, a silver rack with hundreds of candles lit solved that problem completely.
In the centre of the large hall, a long red table was placed. The attendants and kitchen staff were shifting the huge chairs with backrest, which caused squeaky noises. They also laid a thick, white cloth on the table, and arranged silver forks and spoons, plates and other cutleries.
When it was time to eat, the table was already filled with many delicacies. At the centre was a barbecued mutton. Around the golden yellow barbecue meat, there were many purple and red fruits. It complemented the combination of dishes and was a tantalising display.
Leylin immediately sat at the most respected position and looked at the group in front of him.
Immediately, to the left and right sides of Leylin, were Fraser and Greem respectively. As Knights and subordinates who had followed Leylin from the earliest, their positions were naturally of the highest. After them were housekeeper Old Welker and Roran Hawks mercenary group's leader, Fayern.
As for Anna, she awaited behind Leylin silently, like a dutiful serving maid. However, all the people present did not dare think that her status was just that of a maid.
Everyone knew that Anna was exceptionally favoured by this Young Master. Not only could she see Leylin regularly, but she even held the key to the gold vault! It incited a few, feeble grumbles from Old Welker, but Leylin did not care.
After Leylin had purchased the land here, Fayern had moved his whole family over, and turned into a truthfully loyal subordinate of Leylin.
After which it was Roran Hawks mercenary group. The contract with them matured not long ago. Half of the mercenaries continued to stay on under the generous conditions that Leylin had provided.
Many others sat on the long table, but Leylin was only familiar with these few. The others merely looked familiar to Leylin, but Leylin knew of their faces and names, which he could remember by relying on the A.I. Chip.
Leylin never bothered about the trifles of regular livelihood. The pathway to being a Magus already expended a huge amount of his concentration. He absolutely could not allocate any of his concentration on other matters.
Of course, Leylin's outward mannerisms were similar to that of many magicians. It also fit with how regular humans expected from magicians.
In the hearts of all the people on the south coast, magicians were a group of people who wielded mysterious powers, but they were extremely solitary. They often resided in dark woods or concealed marshes. Only when they needed ingredients and other items, would they leave their dwelling.
The masses around the long table stood up and bowed.
* Ding! * Leylin used the silver spoon and tapped on the glass in front of him, giving off a crisp noise.
"Everyone! By calling you all out here today, is because I have something to announce to everyone!" Leylin's eyes swept the crowd. As of now, his spiritual force had already reached 13.1, and the mysterious gaze of his eyes was awe-inspiring; it was as if his eyes had been chiseled from the highest grade jewels. Anyone who was looked at by him would experience a sharp pain in their eyes, and tears would involuntarily leak out.
Even if it was Greem or Fraser, they could only bow their heads low at this moment.
"Please give your orders, Young Master!"
"I will leave for a period of time, and there will be no set date on returning. When I am not around, the medicinal shop and daily matters of the manor would all be decided by Anna, Greem and Fraser."
Leylin looked at the masses below him and said slowly.
"What?" A bout of commotion sparked, and immediately the group whispered fervently to each other, as they used strange gazes to look at the trio of Anna, Greem and Fraser.
Greem and Fraser could tolerate being the focus of numerous eyes. However, as a woman, Anna was somewhat uneasy as she twisted and clutched at her dress.
"Silence!" Leylin knocked on the silver glass again, and the crowd turned silent.
"From today onwards, the words from those 3 would be the same as mine. Any decision of theirs must be completely obeyed and carried out by you."
"We obey!" Although Leylin did not usually bother himself with many matters, the imposing aura coming from him was extremely immense. There were also rumours flying around that he was part of the Mysterious Entity, which made his subordinates' reverence towards him even greater.
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