“Authentic Tears of the Forest Goddess, twenty silver coins.”
“Alright, I’ll buy it.”
Early morning, inside an antique store inside Eichemalar. Rinloran watched the shop owner fetch a red garnet bottle. He put his hand inside the pocket of his school uniform, then his face suddenly turned awkward.
He said he was buying it, but he didn’t have his wallet on him. He had to have forgotten it inside his room.
“You don’t have your wallet? I’ll lend you some first,” a somewhat shy voice came to his ears just then.
Only after looking back did Rinloran realize Nikita had come inside somewhen.
He hesitated for a fraction of a second, then nodded. “Alright, I’ll pay you back when we return to the athlete village.”
After Nikita paid for him, the two of them walked out of this antique store, both a little taciturn.
Nikita was different from the other Agate Lake girls Sophia called crazy and deranged, devoid of the style of a demure lady. She’d always been the shiest and quietest one in the team. Meanwhile, Rinloran was the least talkative one in team Holy Dawn. Both of them had set off together from St. Lauren, but they’d barely exchanged a few words along the way.
Two people walking together but not saying anything, that would a curious scene to see.
Rinloran was a boy on top of that, so after a dozen steps, he took the initiative to quietly ask, “What a coincidence, why were you also in that antique store?”
“I saw outside they seemed to have some spider queen medicine inside, the kind that can accelerate spiritual strength training for people with elven bloodlines, but I found out it wasn’t the case when I went in.” Nikita looked at Rinloran, seemingly a little embarrassed, her voice tiny.
Rinloran made a sound of agreement. Seeing Nikita had fallen quiet again, he took the initiative to say once more after a few more steps, “Are you going back to the athlete village now?”
Nikita nodded. Her steps slowed down all of a sudden. “Do you perhaps mind going back together with me?”
“Of course not.” After a blink, Rinloran bluntly said, “Actually, I feel you’re too reserved. You never talk, so I can only take the initiative to talk to you.”
“Sorry.” Nikita shyly hung her head down, apologizing in a quiet voice.
“In fact, all of us are friends, there’s no need to be polite or to be reserved. Just say whatever you want to say.” A smile floated on Rinloran’s lips at her appearance. “Don’t look like you’re a student following a teacher.”
“I… I get it…” Nikita said, fiddling with her fingers in embarrassment.
“Look at you, you’re at it again.” The smile on Rinloran’s lips was even more pronounced now.
Nikita finally lost some of her nervousness and awkwardness. “Well… Why did you buy the Tears of the Forest Goddess? Are you going to give it to someone?”
“No.” Rinloran shook his head. “It’s just that we’d often sprinkle a little of it back when I was little, I’m fond of the smell. These head-clearing doses manufactured from forest flower dew are a rare sight nowadays. I saw it by chance, so I wanted to buy it.”
“Your elven bloodline is very pure, is your father or your mother an authentic elf?” Nikita asked, unable to hold back her curiosity.
Rinloran’s steps faltered for a second. He wasn’t keen on answering at first, but he was also afraid Nikita would misunderstand, so he finally said in a quiet voice, “My father comes from a pure-blooded elven clan, my mother is also a half-elf.”
“My goodness, that’s an amazing elven bloodline,” Nikita exclaimed in surprise. “Rinloran, you have amazing talent, so why don’t you join team Holy Dawn? You don’t like fighting, perhaps?”
Rinloran didn’t want to be uncommunicative, but this question still made him a little taciturn.
“Sorry,” Nikita hurried to apologize, a little at a loss what to do when she saw Rinloran acting different from before.
“No, it’s my own problem.” Rinloran took a deep breath and shook his head at her with a serious air. “It’s because I’ve always thought that, though defending our homes and country is an arcane master’s vocation, truly fighting without regard for anything else will certainly bring your loved ones deep anguish if anything unexpected were to happen. Some people may even be unable to forgive you.”
Nikita suddenly heard something from his words. She felt an ache deep in her heart. “Is it because someone made you some promise but never came back to see you in the end…? Is that why you’re unwilling to forgive, unwilling to become a battlemaster going to war like them?”
Looking at the ground at his feet, Rinloran nodded.
“But they must have missed you very much.”
Nikita’s voice suddenly choked with emotion. “They definitely missed you very very much. They must have been very eager to go back and do what they promised they’d do with you. The reason why they couldn’t isn’t that they didn’t love you, but because they loved you too much. Because they loved you too much, they wanted to protect you, to protect the beautiful peace, that’s the reason why they went to battle and stopped at nothing, even sacrificing their lives.”
Rinloran shook. He turned to look at Nikita’s crying face; tears trailed down from her face like pearls.
“It’s because they have dearly-loved people in this country, people they had to protect at the cost of their lives, that they fought without a care for their own lives,” Nikita added, looking at Rinloran, trailing tears.
Rinloran stayed silent a long while, then whispered a few quiet words.
At the same time, in a sick room not far away from Ayrin’s room inside the Office’s infirmary, Ferguillo was seriously thanking the “perverted doctor” Songat who’d just finished helping him changing his ointments.
Songhat was even holding a half-eaten hot dog. Hearing Ferguillo’s serious expression of thanks, this number one medical master in the Office of Special Affairs casually wiped the yellow mustard sauce from his finger on his own clothes, enthusiastically chewing on the hot dog at the same time. “No need to thank me. I have no idea if rescuing you was of any use anyway. The kid in that other room is still alright. At most he’ll be in the Evil Dragon followers’ crosshair, but he can still count on a freak guy like Liszt in their Holy Dawn Academy, and that old Draconic scholar monster who’s been hiding for who knows how many years.
“The guys in your Divine Shield Academy aren’t as much of a deterrent as Liszt, plus you’re not only in the Evil Dragon followers’ crosshair. House Baratheon might have thought you weren’t that great a threat before, but now, after you get better, House Baratheon might well treat you like a great foe as well. You’ll die real fast if you ever become careless, then I’d have wasted my efforts healing you.”
Ferguillo merely replied with a faint smile to Songat’s ominous words. “What’s the difference between one sufficiently deadly enemy and two of them? In the end, I still need to get stronger myself.”
“I rarely see someone as calm and collected as you. Whatever, it took me a good deal of effort to save you. Since I took a liking to your temperament, I’ll give you a life-saving thing.”
With a very casual and indifferent air, Songat glanced at Ferguillo, fished a box from his clothes, and threw it to him.
Ferguillo opened the box seemingly sculpted from ivory. Inside lay a purple, octahedron-shaped crystal.
This purple crystal seemed to have a heart of light beating and flickering inside, radiating with a formidable dragon aura.
“Dragon Life Essence!”
Ferguillo’s expression suddenly froze. Even his tongue seemed to stiffen.
“What the matter?” Songat said, casually combing his hair with his greasy hand.
“You’re giving away something like this so easily?” Ferguillo said, looking at him in utter disbelief.
Dragon Life Essence was something some chemist had extracted from some dragon bones during the Magus Era after the Era of the War of the Dragons, then added to Stig life gems and amalgamated into a formidable life medicine. This medicine was even dubbed the Rebirth Medicine. The formidable life essence could save the injured from certain death. The most important was, this medicine that had existed only during the Magus Era could even partially transform into arcane particles when mending wounds.
This way, a heavily injured arcane master on the brink of death could almost return to their pre-fight condition all of a sudden with something like that.
On the entire continent, there were probably only a few pieces of this thing.
Ferguillo and Songat were merely patient and doctor. Their paths had never crossed before. It was truly astounding for Songat to directly toss him something like that out of the blue.
“What, was your previous calm all for show? Even a good thing is a waste if not put to use. I’ve always stayed here as a medical master. I might have this thing, but I never go fight in these devil forests. Something I never use, isn’t it waste anyhow? Your undying body bloodline isn’t really undying after all.”
Songat glanced at Ferguillo. “Just take it if you want it, give it back if you don’t.”
Ferguillo took a deep breath and gave a solemn nod. He put the box under his pillow.
“You’re not shy about taking it I see,” Songat mumbled.
He rubbed his hair, turned around. Ferguillo was about to thank him again when he waved him off as though he had eyes growing on his back. “If you want to thank me, then kill a bunch of Evil Dragon followers for me.”
“You…” Ferguillo blinked.
“You also know that a guy like me wants a girlfriend. In fact, it’s not so easy to a pretty girlfriend.” Songat walked out of the room, not even looking back, saying slowly at the same time, “I finally managed to find out before, but she once went on a mission and lost her life to Evil Dragon followers. I’m not a monster born for fighting like Liszt… That said, I think you’re pretty decent.”
“Got it.” Ferguilllo looked at his back. He didn’t say too much, merely spoke those two serious words.