Chapter 367: Arriving at River Bend, Acting Separately
“Teacher Rui, what are we going to be doing now?” Moss asked as he felt somewhat at a loss.
Moss and Rui were currently standing atop a street bustling with countless arcane teams and surrounded with shops displaying exquisite looking goods.
After traveling nonstop, they had finally arrived in Rapids City where River Bend Academy was located.
The moment the party of Holy Dawn Academy teachers and youths arrived in the city, they all immediately split up into different groups and went their separate ways.
Like the other cities located in the Golden Roses Plain, Rapids City was a bit more prosperous than an average city in the Kingdom of Eiche. Especially when compared with St. Laurens, the difference was like heaven and earth.
Accustomed to the calm of St. Laurens, Moss couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable after stepping into the bustling city.
Furthermore, Minlur, who had been teaching him all this time, had suddenly traded spots with Rui, making Moss feel even more out of place.
“Take this.” Rui didn’t respond to Moss’ question as he tossed Moss a clinking pouch of money.
“Teacher Rui, what is this?” Moss sputtered.
Just from the weight of the pouch alone, Moss was certain that the pouch in his hand contained many gold and silver coins.
Could it be that he was in charge of purchasing supplies for his entire team?
“If you follow this road, an antique shop called the Magic Snake Antique Shop should appear on your left hand side. According to our sources, the shop has supposedly been colluding with a team of ruthless bandit arcane masters known as “The Rippers,” who are extremely active around Maelstrom Island.” Rui turned and looked at Moss as he explained, “Our job is to lure them out and obtain information about House Baratheon’s Maelstrom Team from them.”
“So this is the case… we are already making preparations for our fight against the Maelstrom Team…” Moss mumbled.
“You have to understand that people of their level, including us, are completely different from you youths. We do not do things just for fun, and we absolutely do not take the matter of fighting lightly. Saying such words is the same as agreeing to put our lives on the line,” Rui replied in a low, but serious tone.
Sweat covered Moss’ back as he asked nervously, “So what should I do now?”
“First go and buy a pair of expensive looking clothes and make yourself look like a spoiled young master. Then, go into the Magic Snake Antique Shop and buy some things. It doesn’t matter if they are useful as long as they are flashy. But most importantly, make sure you are wearing this.” Rui took out a pendant which released strange arcane energy fluctuations and stuffed it into Moss’ hands, “Those Rippers cannot be moved by just anything.”
“What is this, Teacher Rui?” Moss asked as he observed the pendant in his hand, which consisted of a strange yellow amber encased around a diamond-like crystal.
“It’s an inheritance. Contained within the amber is the bloodline of an ice dragon. Although it is not extremely pure, it is still extremely attractive for arcane masters with ordinary bloodlines. It is something we found in Fallen Shadow Valley. Just wear it around your neck. The antique dealers should be able to sense it even if it is not visible.” Rui looked calmly at Moss, “After this, you will go by yourself towards the free trade market in the Eastern District. The hotel and black market areas there are the best places for them to make their move.”
“An ice dragon bloodline?!”
Just those words were enough to cause Moss to feel great shock. But Rui’s following words caused him to feel even more shocked. “Teacher Rui, is Rapids City an unruly place? How come these bandits dare to act freely here?”
Rui’s face remained calm as he replied, “The cities in the southern, northern, and central parts of the Golden Roses Plain were originally a gathering spot for craftsmen, painters, and artisans. But as more and more caravans began trading here, the number of people here exploded, as did the black market. As a result, this area grew increasingly chaotic. But this is not the main reason why it is so lawless here today. The main issue is that we lost approximately half of our arcane masters during the battle in Fallen Shadow Valley. These included various lords and members of the many Corps. This is why Rapids City, along with the vast majority of other cities within the Kingdom of Eiche, and even the Kingdom of Doa, have become several times more chaotic than before. For those with power, it has become a complete paradise.”
Without realizing it, such a massive shift in power had occurred?
Moss couldn’t believe it as he looked dazedly at the bustling people around him.
“Whatever happens, you must make sure that they do not realize that you are a student of Holy Dawn Academy. The reason I alone am with you is because I am the least recognizable of the six members of the Holy Dawn Evil Six. But do not worry. If they make a move on you, we will all appear to protect you,” Rui comforted as he patted Moss on the shoulder.
“I will complete the mission.” Moss began walking forward into the crowd, but then stopped and came back. In a puzzled manner, he asked, “Teacher Rui, why was I chosen for this task, and not the others?”
“It is because you look the most like a spoiled house disciple who doesn’t take learning seriously,” Rui replied in a serious manner.
“……” Moss didn’t reply as he almost tripped over his own feet.
Stingham’s eyes flit back and forth as he observed River Bend Academy before him.
Unlike Holy Dawn Academy, River Bend Academy was composed of numerous massive castle-like structures.
Furthermore, the academy was not surrounded by any walls and contained several large markets from which carriages were constantly coming and going.
Likely due to the openness of the campus, there were many small groups of students from other academies strolling around the grounds alongside the students of River Bend Academy itself.
The aura of burning youth contrasted starkly with the forbidding moss covered buildings.
Although River Bend Academy’s most famous figure was without a doubt the “Fire Witch” Donna, the academy was mainly based in skills which manipulated water. As a result, the air was filled with water vapor and the buildings were covered with dew like a forest in the early morning.
Meadows covered with mushrooms surrounded the road in and out of the academy.
The old building Stingham stood before was also covered with a variety of mushrooms.
At the moment, Stingham was contemplating how so many mushrooms had managed to grow atop the stone surface of the building before him.
Meanwhile, Liszt and Ciaran were standing nearby at the building’s entrance and talking to a gray robe wearing old man in hushed tones. They seemed to be bargaining.
The old man had a long and narrow face reminiscent of a mountain goat. His hair was rather dry and greasy, giving off the impression of a slob, yet his robes were sparkling with cleanliness.
Likely due to some disagreement, the voices of the three people abruptly increased slightly, allowing Stingham to faintly hear some of what they were saying.
“Stop joking you two. Although Professor Plum is my good friend, even I am not willing to…”
“Professor Kennedy let me say one more thing. As long as you hear this, you will definitely change your mind.”
“What?! He is silver…”
The conversation came to an abrupt stop.
The eyes of the old man seemed to be on the verge of falling out as they fixated upon Stingham, whom he had originally ignored.
“What is it?” Stingham shouted as he felt his hairs stand up on end.
He suddenly felt as if Liszt and Ciaran had sold him off without him knowing.
“No! Not possible!”
The old man’s expression abruptly sank as he violently shook his head and said, “It’s not possible, even if he is the inheritor of that kind of bloodline. Just by looking at him, I can tell that he is a complete idiot. It would be an absolute waste!”
Stingham’s eyes widened as he shouted frustratedly, “How could you tell that I am an idiot?!”
“Wait! That’s not what I mean! How do I look like an idiot?!” Tears gathered at the corners of Stingham’s eyes. After being called an idiot by Rinloran on a daily basis, he himself had become confused.
“See!” The old man’s face darkened as he looked triumphantly at Liszt and Ciaran.
“Ah, I see. Professor Kennedy, you thought he was the one. But he is Stingham. He is not Ayrin. He was supposed to go with Rui, but Rui had other matters, so we just let him follow us.” Liszt and Ciaran both chuckled as they waved at Stingham, “Stingham, move out of the way. Stop covering Ayrin.”
“……” Stingham was so infuriated that he almost fainted.
He moved, revealing Ayrin, who was quite a bit shorter, behind him.
Beside Ayrin stood Merlin, still carrying its massive metal case of parts.
The look in the old man’s eyes immediately changed.
For a long time, his gaze remained fixated upon Ayrin and the clockwork puppet standing beside him, as if he was seeing through him and their abilities.
“This is more like it. A true battlemaster.”
The old man sighed softly as he turned around and said, “Come with me.”
Smiles appeared on the face of Liszt and Ciaran.
“Hey! Just who are you? I’m so handsome, how could you mistake me for an idiot?!” Stingham shouted grumpily.
“Ignore it… it is only another proof of the laws of the world… every strong person will always have a couple idiot friends,” the old man muttered in a voice which was not soft as he walked forward.