Regarding the matter of wanting to sell his potions outside the academy, Leylin felt that there was nothing much to hide.
Other Potioneering acolytes were sure to have these thoughts too, but no one would expect Leylin to sell such a surprising amount.
He must conceal his identity when selling the potions, but everything will be fine as long as he is not recognised.
“The acolytes in the academy are indeed clever, keeping the prices down!” Bicky nodded her head. “Why don't you learn from our senior, Merlin. He signed a contract with a Magus family, where they provide potion ingredients to him for free and will buy all of the potions he makes!”
“I like my freedom!” Leylin shook his head. He knew a little about Merlin’s decision. Merlin had signed a contract with a Magus family. The family would provide huge amounts of ingredients for him to practice brewing and would also provide him with viable resources to aid him in breaking through to an official Magus. But after he becomes a level 3 acolyte, Merlin will have to provide a certain number of potions for the family every month. Furthermore, he would have to join the family after becoming an official Magus.
This was how Magus families roped in lowly acolytes.
Without the A.I. Chip, Leylin might have embarked on a similar path. Or worse, having no family wanting to take him in because his aptitude was too poor.
“Bicky, your family resides in the Poolfield Kingdom if I recall correctly, do you know if there are any markets or places for people to trade their goods?” Leylin asked.
“Of course! However, the situation there is extremely complicated. There are many wandering Magi and fugitives, so it is very chaotic and dangerous!”
“I know, but I don’t have to go there personally. For instance, I could always hire someone to do it for me.” Leylin began to spout nonsense.
“In the academy’s Mission Area, acolytes can also give out missions as long as they have enough magic crystals and are able to make a deposit.”
“That’s true! In that case, I will send a copy of the information to your room later!” Bicky nodded after giving it some thought.
“I will be really grateful for that! I’ll buy you a meal in the second level dining hall next time!” Leylin was elated.
“Alright!” Bicky smiled and her two eyes curved into a crescent moon shape.
As time passed, Leylin continued to analyse the two formulas with the A.I. Chip’s help. He also started to search for rank 0 spells that could conceal his aura or change his appearance.
Bicky had sent the information regarding the Magus bazaar long ago. However, Leylin did not dare go out until the strange happenings outside the academy were resolved.
In the third level cafeteria that handed out free food, Leylin was eating a meal with Bill. Today’s meal consisted of white bread with fish paste, as well as steak and fruit juice.
“What? Perry is dead? But he was a level 3 acolyte!” Leylin was a little startled. Perry was a fifth-grade acolyte and also had a good mentor. Four years ago, he had risen to a level 3 acolyte and could be said to be an influential figure in the academy.
“That’s right! He accepted the mission to investigate the happenings around the academy and even formed a party for it. There was another level 3 acolyte in the party too!” Bill’s face darkened.”
“With a formation like this, only an official Magus could have killed Perry.” Leylin surmised. Perry was sure to be carrying a magic artifact, and he was one of the strongest among the level 3 acolytes, not to mention any powerful, life-saving items his mentor could have given him. And yet he still died, making Leylin even more fearful of the danger surrounding the academy.
“Not necessarily, they might have been overwhelmed by numbers! I heard that when Perry was found, his lower body was missing and his innards were all eaten. At a glance, it’s clear that these are the doings of the Beastmen!”
“Beastmen?” Leylin recalled the contents of a book he had read. According to the book, there were two explanations of their origins. One described them as the failed experiments of a Magus, and the other called them a type of human subspecies.
However, a common point in both explanations was that these Beastmen were extremely savage and cunning.
“Weren't they always in the Desolate Lands of Despair? Why would they be roaming here? They’re even attacking acolytes; don’t they know that this is simply provocation?” Leylin was a little puzzled.
“The brains of Beastmen were always poorly developed, who knows what they could be thinking. But they have never dared to provoke Magi, otherwise, they would have been long extinct.” Bill added.
Whenever the academy’s official Magi go outside, their paths are not blocked, nor do any strange happenings occur. It seems as if these Beastmen concealed themselves in advance.
However, they would attack with all their might whenever they met with an acolyte. It was a standard case of bullying the weak while fearing the strong.
“They won't be this rampant for much longer! Perry is an apprentice of Professor Harosi. He’s known for worrying about losing face and shielding his shortcomings, so he’ll definitely take action!” Bill said confidently.
One reason why the Abyssal Bone Forest Academy did not take action against those Beastmen was because the Beastmen were too weak and posed no threat whatsoever to an official Magus. On the other hand, they give acolytes a chance to hone their battle skills and gain experience. However, the situation had changed now that an apprentice was dead.
However, Leylin still felt that it was absurd for these Beastmen to suddenly appear in the academy’s vicinity. As with the Spider-Faced Mushroom incident from before, he felt that it was all part of a larger conspiracy.
“However, I’m not the only smart one in this academy. If I can think of it, others are sure to as well. Why are there no rumours as of yet?”
Leylin thought deeply, “This situation is a little odd, I had better make some preparations in advance.”
“Leylin!” A voice called from behind him, and it seemed to be wavering a little. Leylin turned around and saw Guricha, one of the acolytes who had come to the academy with him and possessed the aptitude of a second-grade acolyte. The energy waves radiating from his body showed that he was still a level 1 acolyte.
“This is a friend of mine, I'll take my leave first!” Leylin said to Bill.
“Go do your thing!” Bill smiled.
“Is there a problem?” Leylin walked over to Guricha and asked softly. Guricha was usually a rather reserved person and was always being berated by Kaliweir and the rest, so he seldom hung out with them. There had to be a problem if he sought out Leylin this time.
“This… We do indeed have a problem! Could you come with me for a while?” Guricha asked.
“Alright!” Leylin agreed since he wasn’t doing anything.
“Let’s return to my dorm!” Guricha brought Leylin to his dorm.
Leylin looked at the room number, ‘1913’. It was quite a distance from his dorm, no wonder they did not see each other much.
“Let’s go in! Don't be too shocked!” Guricha said preemptively.
Leylin inhaled deeply and placed his left hand into his waist pouch before pushing the door open and stepping inside.
Once he entered, a disgusting stench infiltrated his nose. It was rather similar to a mix of sewerage and the smell of a rotten corpse, and it almost made Leylin puke.
Enduring the sickening stench, Leylin examined Guricha’s room. Its layout was similar to his but there was a girl sitting on the bed now, and beside her was a figure wrapped in a black cloak. The stench was coming out from the cloaked figure’s body.
“Hello, Dodoria!” Leylin recognised her. She was also someone who came to the academy with him. Her aptitude was even worse than Guricha’s, only a first-grade acolyte, and barely qualified as a level 1 acolyte even now.
As for the black-robed figure, according to the A.I. Chip’s scan, their energy waves were a little strange. Sometimes the readings showed that they were not even a level 1 acolyte, at times it showed that they were at the peak of a level 1 acolyte and could almost advance to a level 2 acolyte. Furthermore, the radiation on their body was exceptionally strong.
“Hello, Leylin!” Dodoria forced a smile, but both her eyes were red and puffy as if she had just cried.
“What exactly is happening?” Leylin felt that the problem lay with this black-robed figure.
As expected, Guricha checked that the door was closed and then, forcing out a smile, he said to Leylin, “You have said hello to Dodoria already, but there is one more person, Nyssa. Do you still remember her?”
“Nyssa?” Naturally, Leylin remembered the little girl who had the aptitude of a first-grade acolyte and got along with Dodoria rather well. She had also come from the same place he did.
“This…” The black-robed figure was huge and swollen, like an extremely fat person, and even gave off a disgusting odor. It was very difficult for Leylin to link this figure with the petite and pleasant little girl from the past.
“Nyssa, take off your cloak! Leylin is not an outsider! Besides, you still need his help!” Guricha said.
“That’s right!” Dodoria encouraged, sitting by her side.
After listening to the exchange, the black-robed Nyssa hesitated for a while and then slowly took off her cloak.
“Ugh!” Leylin covered his mouth, his eyes wide, looking extremely shocked.
Just how on earth was this a “Person”!”
Scars littered her face, and there were even signs of stitches. She had the snout of a pig, her head was bald, she was missing an ear, and had coarsely spaced teeth. A thick, repulsive, yellow fluid continuously flowed out of her mouth. Her facial features looked like they had been messed up by someone and then put back together.
Looking at her appearance, two words surfaced in Leylin’s mind: “Suture Freak”. Right now, Nyssa’s appearance was like someone casually taking parts of a creature's corpse and sewing them together.
With such a horrendous outer appearance, and compared to Leylin’s image of how girls normally look like, Leylin finally understood why Nyssa chose to cloak herself in a black robe.
“This…...What is going on exactly?” Leylin’s face darkened.
“Do you still remember the additional conditions that we there when we were choosing our mentors?” Guricha reminded.
“You mean to say…...Aiding in the experiments!” Leylin got a shock. He had originally thought that the conditions offered by the professor were too good, and now it turned out to be a trap!
“That's right! We didn't have any magic crystals, so the choosing of our mentors was at random. Nyssa was allocated to a professor who specialises in Transfiguration!”
“He treated Nyssa well, not only did he impart her with a lot of knowledge, he even promised her 1 magic crystal a month if she participated in his experiments!” Dodoria said, while wiping off the tears in her eyes with a handkerchief from time to time.
“Three days ago, Nyssa was poisoned by the radiation of a spell, and she has been like this ever since then,” Guricha explained gloomily.
“Human experiments?” Leylin’s heart sank. He knew that there were many Magi in the academy who did human body experiments in secret. However, they seldom operated on their acolytes directly.
“Although there are many Knights and peasants he could have experimented on, acolytes are of good calibre because they have the highest resistance to spells!” Nyssa finally opened her mouth. Her voice was hoarse with old age and even carried a metallic ring to it.
“That's right!” Guricha continued, “Cough cough… I, too, have been aiding my professor in many of his experiments. Although there are no irreversible changes yet, a few residual effects are beginning to appear…”
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