After Old Welker left, only Leylin and Fraser remained in the room.
The Knight knew of Leylin's status as a magician, so Leylin's attitude was a little more lax too.
Half lying on the recliner, Leylin's eyes squinted, "What is the update on the withering woods?"
Fraser lowered his head to signify his respect, as he said, "Respected Young Master, according to your orders, I sent many scouts out to reconnoiter the withering woods. At the price of 1 dead and 2 seriously injured, I finally uncovered some clues."
Recent events at the withering woods had led to a direct decrease in herb harvesting. As of this moment, several huge factions had also sent scouts with the same intent. But even after having sent many scouts, they were all ambushed.
According to a few eyewitnesses, they had suffered from some ridiculous attacks from a black entity within the woods. So far, it was only known that that entity was an extremely swift monster. Apart from that description, nothing else was known.
"Go on." Leylin's voice was extremely calm.
"One bandit was finally able to see clearly what that monster looked like, during one of its ambushes. This is the sketch he drew."
The Knight handed over a sketch to Leylin.
Leylin took a look. On the sketch paper was a kind of four-legged, snake-like creature. Its body was littered with scales, it had a forked tongue, and on its crown was a small horn.
"What else did the bandit say?" Leylin asked.
"He said that this creature was about two metres in length. Its whole body was a yellowish-brown and it was extremely fast." Fraser added.
"It had such an appearance?" Leylin said as hurriedly recalled an illustrated handbook of unusual creatures he had seen back at the academy, "It's rather similar to the Blue Lizard, but the colour is not right. It also appears to be similar to a snake-type!"
"However, the fact that a few scouts were able to escape shows that this creature is not very dangerous. A level 2 acolyte should be able to deal with it." Leylin calmed down.
At the moment, though, he still did not have any intention of settling this personally. Apart from the potion experiments entering a crucial stage, the withering woods event had not been investigated fully. Unless it was absolutely necessary, Leylin would not risk his life for unknown dangers.
"Pass these orders down. No matter who, as long as they can capture or slay this creature, I will reward them with 2000 gold pieces! Also, any materials from the creature, be it scales, blood, skin or horn, I will give an additional 200 gold pieces for them."
Leylin said blandly.
"Yes, Milord, allow me to issue these mission orders." Fraser bowed.
"Go." Leylin waved his hands. Fraser bowed again before striding off.
Three days later, east of Extreme Night City, in a small canyon.
Leylin wore black robes and walked on the mountainous path along the canyon. Against a person like him with all of the stats above 3, these obstructions were not an issue at all. He trotted on as if taking a leisurely walk in his backyard.
Behind him followed an armoured Greem, who also wore a mask with his helmet to conceal his appearance.
"We're here! Brey Canyon Market!" Leylin said softly as he felt the energy waves fluctuating in the vicinity.
This market was on the map that Bicky had given to Leylin. It was situated close to Extreme Night City and served as a resource exchange point. Previously when Leylin chose the mission, part of his intent was to visit this market.
"Halt!" A girl's voice rang. Leylin turned towards the direction of the voice. He discovered a little girl, riding a mountain goat, moving towards them.
The mountain goat's four hooves skipped and hopped along the cliff. It actually moved very quickly, reaching Leylin's side in a few moments.
"You are a magician?" The little girl sized up Leylin and asked indifferently.
"Yes, I am a wandering magician. I wish to enter the market. This is my servant!" Leylin pointed to Greem behind him.
"This servant's strength has already reached that of a Knight's? You're strong!" The little girl gave a thumbs up, "The fee is 1 magic crystal each for you and your servant. If you think that's expensive then he can wait outside."
"No need for that!" Leylin took out 2 magic crystals and handed it over to the girl.
"I wish to know where in this canyon I can obtain the latest information!" Leylin asked casually.
"You're new here, aren't you? In here, I have the most updated news!" The little girl smugly tilted her head up and her face had an expression that said, "You may beg me for it."
Leylin was rather speechless. From the A.I. Chip's scan, this little girl was a level 3 acolyte. Her strength was actually higher than Murphy's. She was definitely no longer a youth, appearances aside. It was hard to figure out why she maintained the countenance of a child.
"Could this respected guardian tell me what the price would be in order to obtain some news?" Leylin bowed slightly.
"You are rather pleasing to my eyes, so 1 news item in return for 1 magic crystal!" The little girl put on an expression that looked as if she thought highly of Leylin.
"Alright then!" Leylin smiled wryly and handed over a magic crystal.
"What is the progress of the war at Abyssal Bone Forest Academy?"
"Recently, magicians who bought news from me have also enquired about this." The little girl scratched her head, "According to the latest updates from yesterday, Abyssal Bone Forest Academy still persists due to their reliance on their magic spell formation. acolyte fatalities have not been low, however.
Upon saying this, the little girl murmured, "Calm down! Calm down! The war's conflagration will not extend to here. There aren't even that many reliable resource points in this place, so how can it attract the attention of the academies. Only acolytes might come here occasionally."
"I know that. Then do you know the reason for this war?" Leylin handed yet another magic crystal.
The little girl hurriedly took it, "Who knows? It seemed to be for a sceptre or some jewel...."
"So it's like this!" Leylin nodded his head, indicating he had nothing more to ask.
"Young man, I hope you find what you need in this canyon, without any problems!" The little girl waved her hands and patted the goat she rode. It resumed its hopping, and very soon they disappeared from his sight and into the canyon.
"Let us also go in!" Leylin said to Greem behind him.
Coming to the canyon this time, Leylin was on an extremely tight schedule. A number of his experiments have reached a crucial stage. The modified Azure Potion formula was also nearing completion.
It was a pity that some of the magic ingredients he stockpiled before had been depleted. He, thus, had no choice but to venture from his home.
"Soon! I only need to complete the supplementary ingredients, and then begin to try brewing the Azure Potion. By then my spiritual force, which has been slowly increasing, will receive a huge boost!" Leylin eyes seemed to glow with fire.
Following the narrow route along the precipice, Leylin carefully entered the depths of the ravine. In this resource exchange point, the stores were all set up within the holes that dotted the cliff, a little like the caves of primitive men.
Leylin walked into a potions shop called "Langford's Potions". The cave was extremely dark, only a few rocks radiating green light illuminated it.
These rocks seemingly made every item inside the cave emanate a green glow making the scene look extremely gloomy.
"Hehehe! What do you want?" A dark and sorrowful laughter could be heard.
From behind the counter, an old dwarf walked out. His face was full of wrinkles, was bald and most of his teeth had fallen off too.
"I require 20 standard servings each of Tendril Leaves, Water Crystal Fruits and Dragon-Eyed Grapeseed!"
Leylin enunciated slowly.
"Oh!" The old dwarf stood rooted to the floor not moving, "These are all potion ingredients and their prices will not be ordinary! Are you a Potioneering Master?"
"That does not seem to concern you in any way." Leylin's brows furrowed, this old geezer's attitude made him rather displeased.
"Young man! Could it be that no one taught you to respect the elderly?" The dwarf geezer smiled and the pupils of his eyes seemed to swirl continuously.
[Warning! Warning! The target's body is radiating magical energy waves!] The A.I. Chip's alert sounded.
Greem who was behind Leylin fell without making a sound.
"Damn it!" Leylin cursed. A few acolytes and even official Magi, because of getting injured while advancing or due to being contaminated by radiation from experimenting, caused them to become mentally unstable. They often exhibited craziness. Obviously, Leylin met one such today.
According to the A.I. Chip's scan, the dwarf opposite him was a level 2 acolyte, but his spiritual force was much higher than Leylin's.
The magical power in Leylin's body circulated, allowing him to escape from the old geezer's spell, "An Illusionary spell? Doesn't seem like it! It should be some passive spell if it's like this!"
Leylin's robes shook, and a fire red potion was now in his hands. His whole body let off a very dangerous feeling.
"Hahaha...Just like this! Just like this! Death is beautiful, and is descending upon us soon!" The dwarf geezer laughed manically and danced in joy.
"This person has gone completely crazy!" Leylin got ready to throw the explosive potion in his hands, and to find an escape route.
He did not want to engage in a broil with a madman without cause nor reason. Besides, winning will not net him any gains.
"That's enough, Langford!" Just when the dwarf geezer was preparing another spell, a voice travelled over. It was the guardian, the voice of the little girl who rode the mountain goat.
"Marissa! I've had enough of you!" The dwarf geezer howled loudly, and he made an incantation. Black coloured smoke congealed in his hands forming a massive black ball.
The surrounding shelves that held various ingredients were on the verge of collapse under the energy waves emitted by the black ball.
"Damn it! Langford's time is here again. Which one of you can help me?" The little girl's voice travelled over again, this time sounding rather exasperated.
Two extremely short incantations travelled over and gave Leylin a shock, "They're all level 3 acolytes! I heard that not only can the spiritual force of level 3 acolytes support a few rank 0 spells, they have also grasped the technique of phrase casting, which shortens incantations to a few syllables achieving near instantaneous casting."
After the few syllables were cast, many green vines appeared within the cave. Some of the huge vines held Langford's hands and feet together.
Langford roared continuously. He prepared to toss the black-coloured smoke ball out.
At that moment, a red coloured arrow ripped through the air and flew directly at the heart of the ball.
* Poof! * The surroundings let off a light ring as the black smoke and the red arrow continued to counteract each other before finally disappearing into nothingness.
"A positive energy arrow." Leylin's pupils contracted, "The level 3 acolyte who struck from the outside, no matter their battle ability or spell comprehension, they have far surpassed me!"
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