‘My luck is still pretty good. A guide appeared of their own accord…’ Leylin glanced at the white-robed swordsman and his group, a hint of blue shining in his eyes before he left immediately.
The wizard of the group watched their swordsman freeze. She asked with surprise, “What is it?”
“Nothing much. Something felt off for a moment.” The swordsman looked slightly baffled, his right hand on his scabbard as he took a look around. He sat down once more, looking puzzled.
He’d felt a chill up his spine that moment, as if death was right before him. However, that sense of danger had disappeared before he could take stock of the situation.
“You’re being paranoid. We can’t leak news of our mission…” A black-robed person spoke in a low voice.
“Perhaps that’s it,” he said as he sat down. His hand was still on his scimitar, though, and his frown didn’t dissipate.
Leylin had already left the area, and was now strolling along the bustling streets.
‘His senses are good. Even if it was only for an instant, the ability to sense my intent is quite impressive. He’ll probably become legendary in a few years’ time, but that’s only if he can survive this…’
His noble attire, rosy cheeks, and extravagant accessories were signs of wealth, and they caused many small peddlers to pay attention to him.
“Take a look at this, esteemed customer. Old Jafar has the best things here…” One in particular held a golden scepter up for Leylin to see. It was an old white man with golden hair, “Take a look at these patterns and decorations… I unearthed this while I was still an adventurer, braving deadly danger in an ancient ruin. It’s said to hold the secrets of the ancient Sun Dynasty within, and it can be yours for just one hundred kronas…”
“Ancient Sun Dynasty?” Leylin halted his footsteps, a teasing smile on his face. He watched this Old Jafar do all he could to introduce the item.
“Indeed! It was a dynasty from a time before this place became a desert. Legends talk of a large golden river, flowing not with water but honey and milk. The land was filled with golden words in that era, and this scepter contains a secret of theirs…”
“Your name is Jafar, yes?” Leylin stopped in front of the stall, watching this old man who was evidently not a human from the deserts, “Why did you settle here?”
“Sigh… I met the mother of my children during my life as an adventurer. I naturally can’t leave…” Jafar chuckled. Although he seemed honest, there was still a sly look in his eyes that could not be concealed.
“So? Since we’re both from the south, I can sell it ten kronas cheaper. The Goddess of Luck is smiling down on you…”
“I’ll take a look…” Leylin seemed interested, and he crouched down in front of the booth.
“All these things are from ruins?” Jafar had placed decorative ornaments on a greasy black cloth, and some of them still had a layer of rust on them. It gave the illusion that he was speaking the truth.
Unfortunately, Leylin had acquired the Scholarly feat when he’d advanced to the legendary realm. His appraisal skill had hit its limit, and he used the A.I. Chip to immediately see through these fakes.
“This looks pretty good. It’ll look good on my wall…” Leylin ‘appraised’ a dark gold mask that was carved in the likeness of a cobra.
“Of course! How can there be nothing decent from the ancient ruins for an esteemed guest like you?” Jafar’s face wrinkled in his delight.
“This, this, and this. I want it all…” Leylin acted like a deceived noble, buying seven to eight items. Jafar’s smile was so wide he couldn’t close his mouth.
“This too, and these…” Leylin continued to point at things with both hands, basically buying everything in the stall.
“Old Jafar is going to get rich at this rate…” The surrounding peddlers all stared hard at Jafar in envy.
“I’ll buy all of this… Hmm… there seems to be an issue with carrying them…” Leylin looked troubled.
“No issue, there’s no issue at all!” Jafar quickly discarded the items Leylin didn’t want, his movement faster than a high-ranked thief. He placed the four ends of the cloth together and bundled the items up. “How about that? So easy. I can even send this to your inn…”
Old Jafar had a cajoling smile on his face, “That comes up to 1372 gold kronas, and I’ve already given you a discount…”
“Umm…” Leylin appeared like those generous guests that were easily cheated, “Fine! Do you accept bills from the church of wealth, or will you come with me as I withdraw the gold?”
Every market had a church of wealth, and a huge market like the western desert obviously wouldn’t miss out. The small town had one to serve the merchants.
Leylin sent the extremely thankful Jafar away once they exited the church, turning a corner on the street.
‘I never thought I’d find something great from a peddler…’ Leylin flung the bundle in his hands, and all the fake gold items clattered to the ground like trash.
‘A legendary magic beast hide with some information on it…’ Leylin stared at the greasy cloth, blue light flickering in his eyes. This was what he’d set his sights on, the cloth Jafar used to display his goods.
‘I wonder how he managed to get this hide. Could he really have been an adventurer?’ Leylin stroked his chin, but didn’t linger on the thought. He’d paid for the items, so this was his now. He couldn’t be bothered with how Jafar had gotten his hands on it.
‘Just the material alone is worth the price. I’ll need to have the A.I. Chip decipher the information on it.’
Leylin knew the history of the west desert well. It had once been the core of Netheril, and in its days of glory been filled with fertile land and a huge population. Unfortunately, with Netheril fading away and wars involving gods occurring in the place, the west had become a desert.
If not for that, why would an arcanist who leapt through dimensions keep his floating city here?
‘This encryption… It doesn’t seem like an arcanist’s, but there’s still some exemplary strength… It even contains the secrets of a lost civilisation…’ Leylin’s eyes glinted. If Jafar learnt of the secrets of this hide, he’d probably grow so annoyed with himself he’d just commit suicide.
Leylin was in a great mood now that he’d obtained a treasure. He walked out of the corner and then glanced through the items in the stall with more focus. With his foresight and experience, no treasures escaped his sights.
Unfortunately, that had been the only one. Nothing stuck out to him after that.
“Boohoo… Please help us. Please help us…”
Some cries attracted Leylin’s attention at this moment, leading him forward. A large crowd had formed a huge circle up ahead, and caused a disturbance that Leylin took notice of as he drew closer.
In the middle of a circle was an adventurer and a crying little girl.
The adventurer had fallen down, looking like he’d met with great hardships in life. He was no longer young, and his lips were blue. It looked like some sickness had acted up all of a sudden.
“Uncle, uncle! Please wake up…” With such a huge crowd watching, the girl’s cries made her seem even more helpless.
“He must have gotten poisoned. There are many dangerous beings in the desert nearby…” An experienced mercenary went up, touching the adventurer’s neck and pulling up his eyelids to check, “Unless I have a specific antidote, I can’t do anything. Do you know what poison it was?”
The little girl froze after hearing this, and began to bawl more sorrowfully, “I- I don’t know. Vivian is so useless, sniff… uncle…”
“Sigh… Unless a high-ranked priest is here to cast Neutralise Poison, he’s…” The mercenary looked around, “Who amongst you is a high-ranked priest?”
The crowd avoided his gaze, evidently not wanting to be involved in this. A death would cause the guards to come here, and the interrogations and the like would be very time-consuming. They could even be blackmailed by shameless jailors and officials, which caused most of the crowd to leave.
The area was bustling with activity, yet they pretended not to see the little girl and the adventurer who seemed to be breathing his last. There was a great sense of detachment in this place.
“Little girl, we need to look for other methods… At the very least, we’ll need an inn…” The mercenary looked troubled, obviously seeing the impatient urging from his companions. He halted midway his speech, realising that no inn would take in an adventurer on the brink of death, and he was only making things difficult for himself.
“Sigh…” With this thought, the mercenary too looked agonised and place a small bag of copper coins in front of the wailing girl, “Take these and bury your uncle well!”
He then left quickly in large strides, as if afraid of something.
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