“The entire city of Eichemalar has already been closed off for three days. I should have had a date with that girl I like already, and I might even have brought her to watch the tournament together. But now I can’t even go out and go see her, we’re already missed the day of the appointment, and even the tournament’s suspended. I can only sit here and drink my boredom away.”
“Stop mopping here. If the Evil Dragon followers’ plan had succeeded, the whole city would have crashed down. That would have been the real disaster. Shouldn’t you be happily drinking in celebration instead?”
“That’s right buddy, they have to close off Eichemalar entirely to investigate, that’s the only way they can catch all of them without letting a single one slip away. Also, they’re rushing with the water tower’s repairs, The only thing the sky ferries are transporting is the water needed for the city. Where would they find the time to ferry visitors?”
“I never thought that the ‘God of Death’ Lotton from team Hellfire would turn out to be an Evil Dragon follower. No wonder he showed no hesitation when it came to killing.”
“What is even harder to imagine is that even a famous celebrity fighter like Massay from Abel Academy, a member of the vice-champions last year, was also an Evil Dragon follower.”
“There’s also Sea Gale Academy’s Chirade… There are actually so many people bribed by the Evil Dragon followers. With such an unexpected turn of events, they actually announced that the national tournament would resume in fifteen days, but the structure of the tournament should be altered now, shouldn’t it?”
Inside the city, in a tavern covered in rattan vines, a group of half-drunk people was idly chatting away.
The center of the conspiracy this time, the athlete village housing the contestants had also been closed off for three days already. Some damaged facilities were undergoing repair.
In the chaos of that night back then, a total of thirty-seven arcane masters had been confirmed as henchmen of the Evil Dragon followers.
Among them, fifteen were patrollers turned traitors, as well as arcane masters these traitors had secretly let inside the village. The other twenty-two were all members of various participant teams!
Grey Garden Academy in the western part of Eiche even had four of its five main team members who’d secretly become henchmen of the Evil Dragon followers and had participated in team Holy Dawn assassination operation, but the other main member of the team hadn’t noticed anything at all.
That night, in the chaos inside the village, the most intense fighting had occurred in the vicinity of team Holy Dawn’s lodgings.
The team led by Massay and the team that Lotton should have led hadn’t participated in the assassination attempts on team Holy Dawn. Other than them, everyone else had participated in the assault on team Holy Dawn.
However, these killers had ended with grievous casualties, whereas not a single member of team Holy Dawn had been killed. Those assailants hadn’t even been able to enter team Holy Dawn’s residence.
Rumor was, there was only one member of team Holy Dawn who had unfortunate enough to be hit by a water jet caused by the breaking of the water tower. He’d been sprayed through the roof and been a little wounded.
Among the people accompanying team Holy Dawn, there was an old professor who surprisingly was one of the extremely rare Draconic scholars on Doraster!
This had been the direct reason the killer teams had suffered a total rout, but the presence of such a formidable Draconic scholar in team Holy Dawn imperceptibly reminded every academy participating in the tournament that Holy Dawn Academy had once achieved glorious results, and that Holy Dawn Academy was one of the academies with the longest traditions in the entire kingdom.
Holy Dawn Academy weren’t the only ones to have gained a whole new level of respect; the whole city of St. Lauren did.
Because concrete news came that those who played the most crucial part in stopping the Evil Dragon followers’ plan wasn’t Audrey, but Iron Forest Academy’s Ferguillo and Holy Dawn Academy’s Ayrin.
“Ahahaha, Ayrin was sent to the infirmary in the Office of Special Affairs?”
“That pervert, he won’t get out for a short while, there won’t be anyone fighting over Nikita and Sophia with me.”
In team Holy Dawn’s residence, covered all over in bandages, his hands stuck on his waist, Stingham was still delighting in Ayrin’s misery.
After a bit, Stingham rubbed his butt and said, looking miserable, his gloomy, “That said, it’s been three days but I still can’t poo, and I have to hold it back for another two days at least. It’s really too painful!”
“It’s only been three days… Feels like ages. The curfew in the athlete village is lifting tomorrow already, but who knows when that guy Ayrin will come back from the Office’s infirmary…” In Moss’ room, so tired after completing several series of exercises that he didn’t even want to lift a single finger, Moss was staring blankly outside the windows. Back when Ayrin was hitting him and pestering him every single day, he’d itched to stomp Ayrin underground, but now that Ayrin had been away for three days instead of shouting at him brave warrior this brave warrior that, he felt that every day had become a lot more boring.
“You can even defeat a terrifying opponent like Lotton and still come out alive… Moss, you really can’t compare to him right now, he really can afford to mock you.”
“That won’t do. Moss, you also have to go the extra mile and do your best, you can’t let that guy look down on you!”
Such a voice unconsciously rose inside his mind. Gritting his teeth, Moss stood up again and started another series of exercises.
“Teacher Fran, how are Ferguillo and Ayrin now?”
In Agate Lake Academy’s residence, Sophia and the others immediately surrounded the team-leading teacher Fran as soon as she stepped inside the door.
“There’s a good news and a bad news, which one do you want to hear first?” Fran said, looking at the anxious Sophia and the others.
“Teacher Fran, stop keeping us on tenterhooks!”
Sophia and the others started stamping their feet, shouting in annoyance.
“Alright, girls. The good news is, Ferguillo’s already awake. The bad news is that Ayrin isn’t awake yet.” Fran said, looking helpless.
“Ayrin…” Several Agate Lake girls suddenly had red eyes.
“Don’t be anxious. I hear he isn’t in mortal danger anymore. In fact, this should also be a good news,” Fran said, actually smiling.
“Is it true?” Sophia and the others looked at Fran. “Teacher Fran, they’re lifting the village’s curfew tomorrow already. Can we go visit Ferguillo and Ayrin?”
“That’s actually something you can’t do. The Office’s infirmary is definitely forbidden to outsiders, out of fear that those heavily injured inside get infected with something.” Fran immediately shook her head. “So you can only wait patiently for them to come out.”
“Still haven’t found him yet?”
At a certain sewers exit, a blond arcane master of seemingly very high status was conversing with an arcane team that’d just come out from the sewers moments ago.
“Where on earth did that Lotton come from… There’s clearly no way he could have escaped from Eichemalar, and he’s also suffered heavy injuries. Why is it no one can find a hint of his tracks after three days, even with so many people looking for him?!” this blond arcane master shouted, his face unsightly after receiving a definite answer,
The captain of the team shook his head. “He seems to have totally vanished. Right now, half the people suspect he’s still hiding somewhere below, and the other half suspects he’s already fled outside. I think the only thing we can do is to continue the search without relenting. Also, why don’t you make public the details of that guy’s fight with Audrey, Ayrin, and the others? If we can’t have access to more data about that person, then the less we know about him, the harder it is to track him down.”
“The reason should be very simple to explain,” the blond man said, muttering faintly. “It must surely be because the details about the fight touch upon secrets about Audrey and Ayrin and the others. We likewise don’t want the enemy to have more data, so they’ll definitely keep it secret.”
“Dias’ strength has reached such a powerful degree already, it’s really surprising. He actually managed to flee even while besieged by lord Angil and the others. That guy Liszt even used a sealing skill.” The team’s captain heaved a deep sigh and said, his tone heavy, “Back when Dias tried to kill Liszt and the others, he was at most around the same level as many members of the Office of Special Affairs. But now… This Lotton is also an Evil Dragon follower who’s inherited some of the Evil Dragon bloodline. The speed at which the power of these Evil Dragon followers is growing at is really even faster than many dragon bloodlines. It’s really frightening even thinking about it… No wonder so many people are ready to become their henchmen so that they can obtain the power of that bloodline.”
“For an Evil Dragon follower who’s obtained the bloodline of the Evil Dragon, their power grows really too fast… With Dias’ level back then, even we could have killed him, but now…”
“That’s why there are so many people turning their backs on their own belief. The Evil Dragon followers have become more and more rampant these past few years. Many arcane teams handling them are having a hard time. I wonder if this time will be a turning point…”
At the same time, this sort of voice floated to an asleep Ayrin’s ears.
Ayrin only thought that his sleep was too comfortable.
Hazily hearing such voices reverberating in his ears, seemingly unfamiliar voices at that, his subconscious mind wanted to rub his eyes, stretch, and sit up from the bed, just like when he usually did when he woke up early in the morning back in the academy.
However, his body seemed especially heavy this time, and his sleepiness especially heavy as well.
He couldn’t move his hands; his eyelids were also too heavy to open.
Who knew how much time passed before he finally became a bit more awake. His eyes opened a fraction.
Just when he felt a gentle light falling into his eyes, he heard a shout brimming with delight.
“Where am I?”
Inside the sickroom around him, he began to distinguish a bizarre crystal suspended above his bed. The faint green light it emitted was very gentle, very warm. The one who’d shouted with delight was a short-haired female medical master.
After a dazed moment, he finally realized that the female arcane master wore the uniform of a team from the Office of Special Affairs. She didn’t look like Ciaran. She wasn’t Ciaran either.