Of course, on the surface, Leylin continued to pretend that he was naive as he began to converse in a friendly and amicable manner with this group of acolytes.
After the ball ended, the various horse carriages from different families set off. In a secret chamber within the city lord's castle, the Viscount Jackson that Leylin saw today was talking to his subordinate.
"Is it confirmed?"
"I have detected the smell of a Mysterious Entity on his body. It has also been confirmed that he is extremely young!" The person who replied was draped in black robes; tufts of yellow fur could be glimpsed growing on his face.
"He is different from those befuddled acolytes. I do not think he will be retiring at such a young age. No matter if he is hiding from enemies or is concealing some other motive, his appearance is not good news for us!" A worried expression flickered through Jackson's steely face.
"Please pardon my forthrightness! Although we are able to deal with a Mysterious Entity right now, if we draw the ire of the rest of them, then whatever gains we achieve would not make up for the losses we may incur!"
The Half-Beast Man said slowly.
"Indeed!" Jackson became quiet for some time before giving out an order, "Do not incur the wrath of the other party, but never let him out of your sight!"
"I understand!" The Half-Beast Man disappeared into the darkness....
Ever since the ball, Leylin's agenda progressed extremely quickly. First, he borrowed 4500 gold coins from Murphy to buy the villa.
Afterward, through the search done by Old Welker, Leylin chose a medicine shop that was about to close down but had a good geographic position. He took over it and obtained the shop permit.
With the unexpected enthusiastic help from the city lord's castle, many procedures were actually settled in a matter of days.
Of course, Leylin discovered a few spies loitering around the medicine shop and the villa. However, these secretive parties exercised restraint against Leylin, and only made basic surveillance measures, not insinuating their influence onto Leylin's people. So, Leylin was not too bothered by their presence either.
Through Murphy, he hired a few pharmacists. Once the minimum standards for managing the medicine shop were met, he then completely handed over the reins to his core personnel and buried himself in his magic experiments.
After some renovation, the Knight's villa looked even newer than when it was brand new.
Previously, the Knight stayed in a three storey high, white-brick loft. Now, Leylin chose the few really big rooms for his private use.
The largest of these was used as his bedroom while the rooms on both sides served as a study room and an experiment lab. After putting in place a few detection spells he had learned at Abyssal Bone Forest Academy as an early warning grid, he passed down strict orders to his subordinates that without his order, no one was access to these rooms.
As for Greem and Fraser, they were posted near the master bedroom, as guards.
Fayern and other mercenaries were all given guard duty that rotated between the villa and the medicine shop. Leylin also gave out notices that serious and hardworking people may purchase small tracts of land on his property in 3 years later, permanent residence being a possibility for qualified persons or families. This was a very strong motivation for normal mercenaries and farmers.
Occasionally, Leylin looked through the windows and saw the serious hardworking serious mercenaries and farmers at work.
Because he always stayed at the villa, apart from the occasional visit to Murphy's place, he rarely even went to the medicine shop. The rumors that were slowly spreading outside gained Leylin the reputation of a benevolent yet lazy villa owner.
"Young Master! The people from the medicine shop are here!" Anna's voice travelled through the door.
"Let them drop off the items in the living room and get Greem to move them to the experiment lab!" Leylin used his fingers to tap on the window pane, letting off a dull thudding noise.
"Your wish is my command!" The voice very soon was replaced with noises of things being moved about.
A dozen minutes later, Leylin came to the experiment lab.
Right now, the originally spacious experiment was littered with crates and a few wooden long tables. There were no windows in the room, and only a chandelier hung from the ceiling emitting a dim glow.
"Young Master! According to your orders, the medicine shop has acquired for you every type of herb that can be found in the market."
Anna lifted her dress and curtseyed. She turned around and opened a red wooden crate revealing stacks of tied roots and stems, as well as many other herbs of indeterminate quantity and type. On the side of each stack or bundle was stuck a yellow paper note indicating the names of these herbs.
"Also, these are all the formulas that normal pharmacists own. They are only to normal humans.
Anna handed over yet another stack of dark yellow parchment notes.
Leylin's eyes skimmed over these and placed the list on one of the long tables.
"All of you may leave! Anna, stay behind!" Leylin waved towards Greem and his assistants.
Greem bowed and strode through the large heavy door, closing it behind him.
With a huge clang, the experiment lab's lighting turned even dimmer.
Leylin's brows furrowed. He took out a white coloured rock from his sack.
He then pressed his fingers lightly on the rock and a layer of bright white light radiated from it.
This was a Sunlight Rock. It is an item that magicians normally use during their travels. Slight radiation energy is contained in it that can let out a bright light for a prolonged period of time.
However, this radiation was extremely small and could only be used for illumination.
"This is much brighter than before!" Leylin was very satisfied as he looked at his well-lit surroundings. He then said to Anna, "Store the herbs well, and arrange them in an orderly fashion on the experiment table!"
"Yes." Anna hurried with her task.
Leylin casually picked up a purple coloured fruit. This fruit was the size of a thumb It had lost all the water contained on its surface, thus its wrinkly exterior. Its weight was extremely light too.
"According to the medicine books delivered yesterday, this is the Warter Fruit, a type of fruit that grows in swamps."
Leylin placed a finger on the surface of the fruit, "A.I. Chip! Extract data and save it in your databanks!"
Right now he no longer had to ingest the herbs. He could determine their medicinal properties with a mere touch.
[Beep! Data extraction in progress!]
In Leylin's field of vision, the A.I. Chip overlaid a light blue screen, with many numbers and figures that changed constantly.
[Name: Warter Fruit. The area produced: Swamps. Uses: Mild poisonous properties with a numbing effect. Data stored!]
The A.I. Chip's voice intoned before a second had gone by.
"Very good. Again!" Leylin picked up another dried stem.
This was one of the reasons why Leylin had opened a medicine shop. Through his years of being an apprentice under Kroft, he recorded almost all the herbs used by Potioneering Masters, storing it into the A.I. Chip's data banks.
However, those were special ingredients used by the Magi. As for herbs used by normal people, the A.I. Chip had no record of them. He now had to fill these missing bits of information.
Moreover, Leylin obtained two ancient potion formulas from his mentor and wanted to find substitutes for them. This could only be accomplished through innumerable experimentation and the consumption of huge amounts of precious and rare herbs. Even if Leylin had the A.I. Chip, he could not get around this step in the process.
With such a vast undertaking, Leylin could see no end to the task at hand even if he expended all his magic crystals.
However, if some ingredients could be substituted with herbs used by normal humans, he could economise by a huge margin.
"Although this might just be a daydream, the advantage was the potential savings a successful substitution promised. No matter how many experiments, it would still be considered a favorable exchange. Thus, by utilising the terrifying processing capabilities of the A.I. Chip, there is a glimmer of hope.
Leylin's gaze was resolute, "Anyway, no matter how many ingredients I consume, they are just ingredients used by normal humans. I only need to spend some gold coins to be able to buy them again. This is much better than spending magic crystals!"
As for the investigation he commissioned, it had long since been tossed to the back of Leylin's mind.
After all, there were still two odd years of time and as long as he fully carried it out within these two years his mission would be counted as accomplished.
Even if the mission were to fail, because Kroft was his teacher, the worst punishment would be a fine a few magic crystals. Hence, Leylin was not the least bit worried.
Time slowly passed, and the experiment lab became quiet. There were only the occasional scraping noises Anna made when placing herbs on the table.
Two days later, only Leylin remained in the lab. His face had a happy glow to it.
[3217 types of herbs successfully stored in the databank. Would you like to create a separate folder?]
The A.I. Chip's voice intoned.
"No! Combine them with the earlier record we made of some normal ingredients, establish a folder using the name "Compendium of ordinary ingredients"! Leylin ordered.
[Folder created...transferring relevant simulation models into the databank]
"Alright, next will be an analysis of the various combinations of medicinal properties. This is a huge project, even with the simulation I must still carry out experiments to verify the actual data and increase the probability of getting the results I desire."
"Young Master, it's time for dinner." Anna's muted voice sounded through the door.
"Okay, I'm coming out." When it was time to work, he worked; and when it was time to rest, he rested. This was his principle for living. He would seldom do things like neglect food and rest to conduct more experiments, unlike other magicians.
To him, along the path of pursuing truth, appropriate rest was allowed.
Leylin smiled and tidied up the experiment table before leaving the lab.
"When I am conducting important experiments, I will hang a sign on the door. At that time, do not interrupt me no matter how many days I stay inside. Do you understand?" Leylin told Anna who was serving him.
"I'll do as you bid, Young Master."
"And what's for dinner?" Leylin walked towards one side of the room. Although many masters practiced eating some meals together with their subordinates, this did not fit the customs of the Magi. So Leylin ate alone most of the time.
Several plates of food covered with hemispherical cloche tableware were arranged on a serving platter and placed on a small, round and white-colored table.
"It's veal with purple vegetable soup and apple strawberry pie!" Anna said lightly, lifted the cover. A strong appetising aroma permeated the air.
"Not bad!" Leylin nodded his head as he let Anna place a napkin around his neck. He picked up the knife and dinner fork and began to eat.
"Also, remember to remind me tomorrow to set aside an hour of my time every day for Knight training!"
Leylin said to Anna, having suddenly recalled something. He had already ignited his internal life energy. As a Knight, he only needed to train some more to get his various stats above 3. Although Leylin planned to walk the path of a Magus, he had nothing to lose by increasing his stats.
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