Chapter 522: Legs Turned to Jelly
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Gear Up Tavern
Skinorse was not the type to think things through before opening his mouth. However, he usually exercised great caution when he had to.
When he arrived at the tavern's entrance, he slowed down and took a deep breath to calm himself down. He then raised a hand to wipe at his face, causing it to slacken. His body was able to relax considerably as a result.
The high and mighty air he had assumed before was gone. He now looked like an ordinary customer who was just about to enjoy a glass of beer in the tavern.
Still, he remained standing at the doorway, in no hurry to enter the tavern. He then asked, "Where's he sitting at? What's he look like?"
Eagle Eye Irvan stood behind Morrigan, not daring to let himself be seen by the people in the tavern. He replied in a low voice, "He's sitting on the leftmost corner of the tavern. The guy looks 30, well-built, about six feet tall. He has a steel sword on his waist. Oh, and he's got black hair and has his feet on the table. When I left, he was eating fried green beans."
"Got it." Skinorse nodded. His eyes scanned the throng of people in the tavern and finally found his mark. He muttered, "Can't believe the nerve of this guy. Whole place's jam-packed with people, and he's got the whole table to himself."
Hearing this, Irvan muttered angrily back, "Right? And I was just about to teach him a lesson for being so inconsiderate."
"Better be careful, though. If he's bold enough to do something like this, he must have some skill himself," reminded Moya.
Morrigan said, "The place is teeming with masters of all shapes and sizes at this time of year. Ski, it's not too late to pull out now."
Skinorse remained brimming with confidence. "Don't worry, why would an actual master even come to a place like this? Besides, I've just reached Level-9, and I'm only one level away from Legendary. What are the odds of finding a Legendary master in this tavern?"
His words sounded reasonable enough. Moya and Morrigan could not find the words to change his mind.
Skinorse then smoothed out his shirt, held his head high and walked into the tavern in long strides. When he was inside, he let his eyes wander to the left side of the tavern without making it seem too obvious.
With one glance in that direction, Skinorse's feet turned into jelly. He staggered and nearly fell face-first to the ground.
He immediately stood up without saying a word, then turned to leave the tavern. He passed Moya wordlessly still and kept on walking forward.
Seeing this, Irvan raised a brow and went up to ask, "Skinorse, you okay? Didn't you just say you had just reached Level-9?"
Moya too sensed that something was off. "Skinorse, you having a fever?"
Morrigan the Magician was curious as to what had elicited such a reaction from Skinorse. He entered the tavern and took a look around. When his eyes fell on the leftmost corner, his legs too gave way beneath him. He then turned around and hurriedly left the tavern.
When he caught up to Skinorse, there was a confused look on his face. He looked at Skinorse and asked, "Skinorse, we're probably mistaken. I don't think it's the same person."
Hearing this, bewilderment came across Skinorse's face. He had seen the black-haired young man. His features matched Irvan's description exactly. The man was leaning back on his chair, with his feet propped on the table as he leisurely ate fried green beans from a plate.
At first, he had thought that it was the Lord of Ferde himself, but now, thinking back, he could have been mistaken. The Lord of Ferde should be in Ferde right now. Why would he be in there, dressed up as an ordinary mercenary?
"You're right. It's probably not the same person." Skinorse scratched his head, still unsure of his words.
Moya listened to the conversation between them, puzzled. "What on earth are you two talking about? Why can't I understand anything that you just said? Who was that?"
Eagle Eye Irvan was now curious as well. "Who exactly is this person that gave even a Level-9 master like yourself such a fright?"
Skinorse glared at him. "You'll soil your pants too if I were to tell you who he really is."
Unable to restrain her curiosity, Moya decided to enter the tavern herself. She wanted to take a look at whoever had frightened Skinorse so much.
Before entering, Moya pulled down her hood and then slowly walked towards the tavern. After a few steps, she walked around one of the tables and casually shot a glance to her left.
She furrowed her brows at what she saw.
Before her, a young man was leaning back lazily on his chair, his eyes almost completely shut. His hair was unkempt, his body was covered with a layer of dirt, and the stitching on some parts of his leather armor had frayed. He had all the defining qualities of a ruffian.
Looking at the man for a few seconds, Moya did not notice anything peculiar about him. Still confused, she exited the tavern and asked her three companions, "Who did you mistake the man for?"
Skinorse glanced at Morrigan, who remained mute beside him. He then said to her, "Don't you think that he looks almost like the Lord of Ferde himself?"
"The Lord of Ferde?" Moya shook her head. "Maybe. I was looking at him from afar, so I can't say for sure. You must be mistaken. Why would the Lord himself have the time to loiter around this place?"
This sounded reasonable enough.
Skinorse and Morrigan were more confident that they were mistaken now.
Irvan's heart thumped loudly against his chest as he listened to this. He tried to sound unfazed by this. "This is rubbish. The Lord of Ferde is a Magician. That ruffian back there is a sword-wielding vagrant. How exactly are they the same person?"
Moya turned to him. "Shows how much you know. The Lord of Ferde is extremely proficient in swordplay. He also usually carries a sword with him."
Irvan was shocked upon hearing this. He made a conscious effort to lick his lips wet. He then looked at Skinorse. "Why don't you go back inside again and make sure it's not really him?"
Without needing to be told twice, Skinorse headed back into the tavern. When he was inside, he took a closer look at the man and then exited. "Thank god, they only look like each other. The power he was giving off isn't quite the same."
Irvan let out a sigh of relief and asked, "Then why don't you go teach him a lesson?"
"Well... I think it's better to let bygones be bygones." Skinorse was still wary about this. The black-haired young man seemed way too nonchalant. He feared that something might go awry.
"Coward!" teased Irvan.
"Fine, I'll go. It's just one mercenary. Worst case scenario, I'll just get beaten up by him."
Skinorse walked back into the tavern. Under the collective gaze of the mercenaries, he strode towards Link. He then drew his dagger out and stabbed it on the table where Link's feet were raised. "Buddy, you look like a tough guy. I'm here to teach you some manners on my friend's behalf!"
Seeing how worked up Skinorse was, Link could not help but smile at him.
He had seen them come in and out of the tavern, trying to get a better look at him. Now that one of them had mustered up the courage to come up to him personally, Link felt that he was probably going to burst out laughing at any moment.
He stretched out his hand and flicked a finger at the dagger that was still stuck to the table. The dagger let out a clear twanging sound, which echoed around the tavern.
The expression on Skinorse's face began to change gradually. He could feel the fine vibrations of power the man's finger had sent off from the dagger.
Only one man in this world possessed such resonant, indescribably oppressive power.
"Why isn't he doing anything?" Irvan asked, looking at them from the doorframe.
Moya swallowed and whispered, "I don't think he can."
Beads of sweat appeared on Morrigan's forehead. "Eagle Eye, this is someone you don't want to pick a fight with. I can't believe you actually met him here."
"What do you mean?" Irvan realized that his hand was trembling.
On the other side of the tavern, Link retracted his finger and softly asked, "What brings you to the South?"
"There's an ancient site here. There's also the king's bounty. I thought I'd just drop by and give it a shot." The truth left Skinorse's lips all of a sudden. Deep down, he was cursing Irvan. What was he thinking, letting himself be dragged into another one of his messes?
Link thought for a while about this, then smiled. "Your power has grown quite a lot. Eliard's here as well as a diplomatic envoy. He's currently investigating the city's bandit troubles. Why don't you go help him out?"
He had wanted to be acquainted with Irvan at first, but the sudden appearance of Skinorse made things much simpler.
Eliard still lacked experience, and Link was worried something might happen to him. With experienced adventurers like Skinorse and the others to aid him on his mission, Eliard was sure to pick things up quickly.
"I'm not saying I can't, it's just... the bounty..." Skinorse tried not to show the trepidation in his voice. He felt guilty about wanting to rough Link up a few moments ago.
"The bounty's all in your dagger."
Link then leaned back into his chair and spoke softly, "Don't reveal my identity out loud. I'm just here to gather some information from these mercenaries. Go now, Eliard should be at the Magic Academy."
"Oh, alright, got it, I'm going." Skinorse pulled out the dagger from the table without giving it a second look and hurriedly walked out of the tavern.
Once outside the place, he let out a long sigh and said to Morrigan, "Come, we're going to Grinth Magic Academy."
Morrigan and Moya followed Skinorse without a word. Only Irvan hesitated.
Skinorse called after him. "What are you waiting for? Let's go, I'll split the bounty with you. How's 1000 gold pieces sound to you?"
Irvan jogged after them. His legs were limp like noodles. His voice quaked with uncertainty as he asked, "The man back in the tavern, was it really him?"
"Yes, you should count yourself lucky that you're still alive," growled Skinorse.
Irvan wobbled a bit and caught Morrigan's shoulder just in time. "I really am one unlucky fellow."
According to what he had heard, the Lord of Ferde possessed power capable of rending the skies and splitting the ground. He had eliminated the army of darkness all by himself. To him, those demons were like flocks of sheep waiting to be slaughtered. Irvan had just raised his fist at the man, and now he feared that he might be placed under some fatal curse for his transgression. Would he just collapse and die on the spot without warning? Would his soul be tortured for eternity?
All kinds of thoughts ran through his mind. He stood there almost in trance, sensing that a curse had already been cast on him.
Skinorse noticed this and patted his back. "Alright now, Irvan, there's nothing to be afraid of. Let me tell you, the Lord seemed to fancy you. Also, if he really wanted to end you, he wouldn't resort to such underhanded techniques. You would have been erased from this plane of existence completely. Under instructions from the Lord himself, the king of Southmoon Kingdom would also have slapped a couple of unpardonable offenses on you to justify your execution."
Hearing this, Irvan cheered up a bit. "Really? The Lord fancied me?"
Mercenaries like him were not worth much in the eyes of any other lord. Irvan swelled up with pride at the thought of impressing someone like Link.
Seeing the foolish grin on his face, Skinorse did not bother with him any longer. Moya added, "The Lord is a tolerant person, he won't take something so minor to heart. Got it?"
"Got it." Irvan sighed, then asked, "Where are we going now?"
"To finish the Lord's mission," said Skinorse. He looked at the dagger in his hand. It was already an Epic-level weapon, but now there was a red gleam around it.
He knocked the dagger against the Reaper's Dagger he was already equipped with, on which a large crack appeared.
"This is good stuff. So worth it."
Grinth Magic Academy.
Eliard had only been there for around an hour, and already trouble had found him.
Upon hearing that he had arrived at the Magic Academy, the king of Southmoon Kingdom immediately hurried over to welcome him personally. There were more than 20 people who had come out to receive him, including the king, queen and princess, all of whom who were illustrious figures in the Southmoon Kingdom.
The king had given him a warm welcome. However, Eliard sensed that something was wrong, but he could not put his finger on it.
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