Book 1, Chapter 46

Mountainsea

There was a huge uproar in the hall as everyone broke into discussion, no longer needing to hide their curiosity.

Flames burned in the depths of Steelrock’s eyes, a clear sign that he was a saint. Against a level 19, possibly level 20 warrior, nobody here was confident of their chances in a battle. The two warriors Duke Solam had sent to guard Steven didn’t even dare make eye contact with the man; in a real battle, both of them would likely fall to a few punches from him.

However, Steelrock wasn’t the hot topic of the conversation. It was no news that Sharon had auctioned off a spot for a paying student to the Millennial Empire, but the elites of the continent knew that Empress Gelan’s granddaughter was the one who got it in the end.

The Millennial Empire’s heritage could actually be traced back to the elves. The imperial family had elven blood in it, so the empire too was known for its arts, magic, and excellent martial techniques that allowed them to gain fame worldwide. Nobody expected Empress Gelan’s granddaughter to actually be a barbarian girl, with barbarian bodyguards by her side. This was far too large a difference. They only realised that she was the girl in strange attire once Steelrock made the announcement. That meant the troop following her was made up of elite guards of the Millennial Empire!

Once the young lady’s identity was known, people started to change their perspective of her. Despite the dissatisfaction some elites had displayed earlier on, as of this moment, all of them appeared dignified. They remained humble, with a tinge of pride that was not too overpowering. They totally exemplified the behaviour of aristocrats. The title of being the Millennial Empress’s granddaughter had already overwhelmed everyone that was present.

Steven’s mouth moved again, wanting to say he was a paying student as well, but he wasn’t stupid enough to actually do such a thing. The term self-supporting was tagged with different connotations based on the one that used it— it gave the young lady an imposing stature, but it made him sound like a joke.

Steelrock clearly hadn’t finished expressing himself, wanting to say more. His eyes scanned around the room as he made grabbing gestures with his hands, evidently showing that he wanted to pick a fight and loosen his muscles up a bit. However, the young lady raised her hands all of a sudden, having him go quiet immediately. The gesture quietened the entire hall down in the blink of an eye.

The young lady shut her eyes and raised her head, her small but bridged nose twitching continuously as though she smell something in the air. The elder behind her awoke from a slumber, scanning the hall before resuming his repose.

The young lady slapped Steelrock’s arm with great strength, saying, “That smell! Did you smell that?”

Steelrock took a deep breath, the air howling into his chest, but his expressionless face implied that he didn’t smell anything. The young lady closed her eyes once again, starting to follow the intangible smell in the air. Around ten other barbarian soldiers followed after her, not making any noise as they moved. These soldiers’ movements followed the rhythm of a tribal dance, but with a few humans marching alongside them the sheer difference in stature made the whole thing comical.

Yet, nobody in the hall laughed. Teasing these few level 18 guards of the Millennial Empire is not a wise thing to do.

The young lady acted as though there was nobody around, walking past the elites and ignoring their looks of curiosity, disappointment, and expectation. Yet everyone before her scrambled to make way for her. Those who were slower or are not quick to adapt would be sent off like Steven was just now. The young lady would hit the obstacles blocking her away without hesitation, whether they were there on purpose or no.

The small body of the girl contained an absurd amount of power. She was practically a primordial behemoth, easily throwing a couple of level 12 warriors a few metres away in one slap. Nobody dared to block her path to the source of the smell.

In a nondescript corner of the hall, Richard was standing before a piece of monitor lizard hide, pen and paper in hand as he calculated something. This piece of hide was worth 120,000 coins, and was of relatively good quality that could be used as a medium for an elementary rune.

However, the hide was so large that a complete rune would take up less than 10% of it. A hundred and twenty thousand was far too expensive for someone who didn’t want to take a single coin from Gaton, and Richard would not be able to afford the loss. He was thus calculating a way to maximise his usage of the skin, such as using it to make other goods that he could sell to earn back some of the cost.

The lizard’s skin was irregularly shaped, indicating that the person who’d skinned it wasn’t very professional at the time. Parts of the edge had grown uneven even if the skin itself was whole, and some of the steps of processing the hide would be extremely quirky, making the final shape even stranger. However, Richard needed a uniform piece of skin to make the rune. Hence, the separation process was also a relatively profound problem. On one hand he had to make sure that the best part of the skin was used for the rune, while on the other he had to ensure that the remaining products wouldn’t be too shabby. As he continued calculating the best course of action, the magic paper was already filling up and cramping with numbers.

To be honest, this hide didn’t qualify for the auction. Nobody knew how it had made its way into the legendary mage’s hands, either. In fact, Blackgold had wanted to get rid of it once, but he gave up on that thought on the principle of even mosquitoes being meat. He wanted to see if auctioning it off could increase its value.

The description of this hide wasn’t as detailed as those of high-grade products, except for its dimensions and material. Its origin could only be marked unknown.

The grey dwarf suspected that this creature ran into Her Excellency when she was hunting. It wasn’t her target in the first place, but coincidentally it could be used. However it was not worthy of investigation, so he used a useless term like ‘unknown’ for its origin.

Despite all this, to Richard who had limited money and materials, this skin was like a gift of coal in the snow. Absorbed in his numbers, he turned oblivious to his surroundings. In any case, this area of the exhibition hall was near the stores, and not many people would be interested in something that wasn’t special. He could finish his calculations peacefully.

However, Richard did not realise that he became the centre of attraction all of a sudden. Being watched by so thousands of people was like being stared down by a huge dragon, however. He broke out in a cold sweat and regained his awareness of the surroundings, instinctively raising his head to look across the hall.

A uniquely dressed young lady was rushing towards him! Her raised head revealed that both her eyes were closed, and she only used her nose to sniff the air continuously. Following behind her were about ten other guards that seemed to be barbarians, with a few soldiers in fancy armour alongside them. From Richard’s perspective, their light footsteps made them look like they were preparing to steal something, but his instincts warned him of danger. There were motives behind those comical movements, because even with a whole suit of armour, they were able to move quietly without making a sound.

On one hand was the attention from everyone in the hall and on the other hand was the group of strange people marching towards him. Richard became nervous suddenly. He looked to his left, no one. To his right, nobody there either. However, he was clearly in the young lady’s way. Since no one was beside him, then the young lady’s target might be behind him, But behind him…

Richard came to a sudden realisation, turning to look at the lizard skin hung behind him. He then looked at the barbarians behind the young lady who were glaring at him, as if he had insulted their goddess, or as if they had a great hatred against him.

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