The old man wasn’t disappointed by the answer, his interest instead piqued further. “Like?” he asked.
“I need a large amount of magic materials of all varieties, for one. I would also like to ask, is the Marquess a worshipper of the gods?” Richard’s eyes widened as he made the query, carefully watching the old man as he awaited a reply. He was just like any studious young noble, humble and well-mannered and brimming with a desire for knowledge. This seemed to be a quality the old man appreciated the most.
“My Lord is of royal blood, and they’ve produced legendary heroes in the past. His family has worshipped their ancestors for generations.”
Ancestral worship wouldn’t be a problem. Richard realised he was growing more and more fond of ancestral worship.
“If the Marquess has no objections, I can sell you a batch of magic scrolls that mainly contains healing spells.” Richard’s voice was so low this time that only the old man could hear him.
A bright glint suddenly swept past the old man’s eyes, his expression growing much more serious as he said solemnly, “Which god? One needs the appropriate cleric to use a scroll.”
“The God of Valour. The beauty of this batch is that they can be activated by anybody. However, the drawback is that there’s a great price to pay to use them. They take a few years off a person’s life.”
The old man fell silent for a long while before saying, “Any intelligent being knows what to choose between a short life and immediate death. That won’t be a problem, but… It’s truly astounding that you have such tainted scrolls on you. Rest assured, neither I nor the Marquess will dig deeper into the reason why you have them, that is a rule. You also have my word that nobody wants to get you in any trouble with the gods. If you could pass these tainted scrolls to my shop for business, the trouble with Schitich can be solved for gold.”
“Good, I’ll bring some along when I visit tonight,” Richard decided swiftly.
When he left, Richard noticed that those sitting at the shops were looking at him differently. They seemed more normal now, with less greed and murderous intent.
Most of them were agents for powerful men, with no need to pay attention to a living Schitich, much less a dead one. Those who’d pointed Richard out were all lesser agents who worked for the weaker people.
Even after Richard had come back to the city, these people had still been evaluating him. They were mainly looking at his wealth, determining whether his abilities matched up to his worth. If Richard was too rich for his power, they wouldn’t mind teaming up in the dark to ‘reclaim’ the excess that they felt didn’t belong to him. However, his agreement with Marquess Anrick meant that, at least to a certain extent, he was off limits.
Richard visited the old man’s grocery store once more after nightfall, bringing along three magical scrolls. There was one for each of the first three grades of spells.
The only one in the shop was the old man, and after accepting the three scrolls he gave Richard a hundred coins as deposit. He could only determine the real worth of the scrolls after a detailed evaluation, so Richard took the deposit. He was rather shocked to find that these were church-minted coins, not from the God of Valour but from the Highland Wargod.
Richard didn’t return to his camp outside of the city, instead going back to the luxurious inn he’d booked the first night.
The inn was luxurious and comfortable, but that was not the sole reason for its expense. The place also had a certain amount of security to it. It belonged to the Golden Warflag group, one of the three most powerful groups in the Bloodstained Lands. They were far stronger than Red Cossack, and scum like Schitich wouldn’t dare to mess around near one of their inns.
Once Richard left, the old man closed the shop’s door and took out an alchemist’s magnifying glass to closely study the composition of the three scrolls. He looked them over for a few hours, eventually letting out a long sigh. He then smacked his own lower back before taking out a small bottle and pulling the cork off. A few shadows flew out, swiftly disappearing everywhere without being obstructed by the walls.
Half an hour later, three hooded men arrived at the grocery shop. They were all very familiar with the place, heading straight for the back room.
When they took off the cloaks, it was revealed that all three were rather old. They didn’t bother to greet each other, instead going straight for the scrolls and beginning to research them in detail. After the three scrolls passed through each man’s hands, an hour had gone by.
“Where did you get this, Armin?” one of them asked the old man.
“A kid named Richard sold them to me. He’s the one who slaughtered Schitich and half his men, putting their bodies on display outside his camp.”
Another one of them snorted coldly, “What an arrogant fellow!”
“He’s a young man after all,” another brokered a compromise, “And he looks like he has a strong family backing. It would be hard for him not to be arrogant. Kellac, you were a priest of the Highland Wargod, have a look and see if they’re real.”
The old man named Kellac was reticent. Ever since he entered the shop, he’d constantly flipped through the scrolls, studying each line under a magnifying glass and tracing each pattern carefully.
He spoke with a hoarse, unpleasant voice, “These are real scrolls, not fakes produced by magic. They should have been smuggled out from one of the Churches of Valour. The spells look alright and completely usable, but they differ slightly from the real scrolls of the church. The mechanism is slightly different, but I can’t tell where exactly.
“Look at this.” Kellac pointed at the side of a grade 3 healing scroll, “I haven’t ever seen this part in any spell of the God of Valour. Nine of the seventeen inscriptions are ones I don’t recognise, and their structure is unprecedented. I can’t understand the meaning behind these things at all.”
The four men grew dignified, looking at each other before Amon spoke up, “It seems like these really are genuine tainted scrolls. And we don’t know which force tainted them.”
“I only need to perform a small experiment to make sure,” Kellac offered.
He fished out a golden plate, placing the scrolls from Richard atop it. He then took out a small sceptre, reciting an incantation. The crystal atop the sceptre shot out a beam of red-hot light.
The grade 3 healing scroll immediately caught on fire, but most of the flames didn’t escape the plate. Only a thread of orange-red with a faint column of gold slowly wisped out to a metre’s height, making for an extremely eye-catching sight.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA