Chapter 282: The reputation of a genius
At the Garden House in the northern part of the city, lush palm trees filled the structure that was suffused with the fresh feeling of spring. The garden had been arranged in an exquisite fashion, with all sorts of flowers emitting pleasant fragrances planted in the surroundings. Several maids moved carefully amongst the flowers, meticulously watering and pruning them.
First Prince Charles was squinting as he conversed with a crude-looking man on a soft patch of grass. The latter had two scars criss crossing on his neck, was a meter and seventy five centimeters tall, and looked very sturdy with his brawny arms and legs. His eyes glinted with a brutal, beastly light.
“Mister Leah, you shouldn’t have challenged those three great swordmasters as soon as you arrived. You’ve just arrived here from the Brut Merchant Alliance after all, and our nation is prejudiced against foreigners. If my father finds out that you’re one of my people, this could affect his impression of me.” Charles frowned with displeasure, clearly irritated by Leah Cain’s unauthorized acts.
Leah Cain leered and chuckled, saying brazenly, “Your Highness First Prince, although I’ve joined your banner upon arriving in the Lancelot Empire, I don’t have to listen to you in all matters. First and foremost, I am a swordsman. Since I’ve come all the way to the Lancelot Empire, I will challenge the local experts as according to my habits. How else will I be able to improve my skills?”
Damn it, what a brute! Why don’t you go challenge Karel Ascot if you’ve the balls! Let’s see how horribly you die then! Charles cursed inwardly, his expression darkening even further. He turned to Leah Cain, “Let’s just drop this matter. I hope you’ll tell me before you do anything like this next time. Do you remember the Bryan whom I mentioned to you? The one I wanted you to help me kill?”
Leah Cain blanked momentarily, then nodded. “Oh, the kid with the strange techniques that you mentioned last time? What? Has he appeared in Ossen City? Do you want me to kill him today?”
Shaking his head ruefully, Charles said, “The situation is different now. Bryan’s reputation has greatly increased over the past couple of days during his leave of absence from Ossen City. His reputation has grown greatly after challenging these experts, and now, word on the street is that he’s returned to challenge you.”
“After this news was released, all of the nobles and experts within Ossen City began paying close attention to this. You’ve been training in the Garden House, so you may not have been aware of this, but even my father is interested in this matter now. It’s no longer appropriate for you to kill him secretly. What I mean for you to do is to go and challenge him directly, then kill him in that way? No one will be able to say anything about this then. What do you think?”
“No! Absolutely not! Who am I? I’m Leah Cain! How can I lower myself to challenge this unweaned brat? Hmph, I’d welcome it if he challenged me, but I’ll never go to the door of an infamous kid just to challenge him!” Leah Cain rejected this suggestion soundly, with no room for discussion.
Sitting in his chair, Charles viciously swiped at the arm rests and cursed inwardly again. If it wasn’t for you really having some skill to your name, I’d already have someone kill you where you stand, damn it! You’re just a brute! How dare you repeatedly talk back to me??
“Alright then. There are many people paying attention to this matter now. There have been some people circling the Garden House for the past two days. They’re likely waiting for Bryan to come and challenge you. I’m not at liberty to come find you. You just need to mind yourself. If Bryan comes, you must kill him immediately to prevent further troubles from developing!” Charles was a bit irritated so he stood up after he’d said his piece to Leah.
“Don’t worry. He’ll be dead without a doubt if he dares to challenge me! Hmph, all young men are asking to die these days by acting so cockily! I’ll have him learn just how much stronger his seniors are!” Leah Cain snorted coldly. After traveling to many ears, the news quickly spread to every corner of Ossen City. Only a few experts and nobles of Ossen City heard of it in the beginning, but once someone upgraded this to a matter of national pride, even commoners learned of it as well.
In this way, Han Shuo’s birth and origins were slowly revealed in the utmost clarity!
A slave when youth, the Babylon Academy of Magic and Force had made an exception and enrolled him when he demonstrated surprising potential. He ascended from a lowly rank of mage apprentice to a rare archmage necromancer in less than two years. He even had a mysterious technique he used. All of this added together made Han Shuo out to be a budding genius.
As citizens of Ossen City discussed this matter fervently, a few large guilds were already placing bets on the outcome. Gamblers expressed high concerns towards this matter, and no one knew of the Boozt Merchant Guild betting enormous sums against Cameron’s Merchant Guild.
On the west side of Ossen City, in the middle of the night.
Out of the north, south, east, and west parts of the city, the west side was the dirtiest and poorest part. This place could be considered the congregation zone of all the poor folk. There was trash everywhere on the streets, with flies and bedbugs everywhere. Some beggars, with rags on their bodies, were dozing off in the corner. A stench permanently permeated the surrounding air.
However, the moon still shone, even on the poorest areas. As the pure, white moonlight shone down, it cast long shadows for Han Shuo and the others. Some stifled sobs traveled out slightly from one of the ugly and crude houses.
“I really didn’t want to come here!” Chester’s expression was long as he sighed.
Although Emily stayed within the carriage, her brows were knit tightly together as well. Her tender and white skin was as clear as white jade, and the precious jewels on her head and closely tailored silks and laces marked her as being quite at odds with the surroundings.
Emily had seen Chester’s information and knew that he was born a commoner. Before he had entered the Dark Mantle, he’d spent some time in the western part of Ossen city. However, he didn’t miss those days. That was easy enough to see. No one would think too fondly of a place like this.
“Alright, we’ll leave as soon as we’re done. There are the poor and rich in every country. This is a truth that will never change, and we don’t have the power to change all this!” Han Shuo called out softly as he sat within the carriage.
A troop of about a hundred knights were following behind the carriage at a leisurely pace. The troop was in a long formation in the narrow streets.
“Come on. We don’t have much time, so stop complaining!” Emily also rushed Chester onwards.
Chester didn’t say much else as he skillfully drove the carriage down through the quiet streets. He headed for the dirtiest and poorest part of the west side after making it down this street.
Chester slowed down the carriage after a moment in a place filled with sewage and a disgusting stench. “Master Emily, the broken down buildings ahead are where the intelligence seems to point to.”
Emily changed into a black robe in the carriage and hid her identity as a senior executive of the Dark Mantle. She slowly stepped down from the carriage and spoke to Han Shuo, “According to the intelligence, it’s the buildings in front of us. The enemy is a leader from the Angel Empire called Yoland. He seems to be a sky rider.”
Nodding, Han Shuo released three yin demons and bade them to slowly slip inside. He himself walked towards the troop of knights who were trailing them, telling an officer, “Don’t prematurely alert our enemies. Spread out through the buildings and create a perimeter. Try to approach slowly. Capture anyone alive if you can. Otherwise, execute them on the spot. We can’t let a single one escape.”
“Understood!” The officer responded and gestured towards the knights behind him. The knights slowly spread out and encircled the buildings from a distance away.
There had been several mages in the center of the knights, who were now revealed due to the knights spreading out. The mages in the Magic Corps of the Northern Guard were all journeyman or adept mages. There was only one thunder archmage. Boris had told him before the mission had started that he was to listen to Han Shuo’s commands.
Some of them had been unruly and rebellious at first, but when Boris told them of Han Shuo’s identity, all of became docile and didn’t dare not to listen to Han Shuo’s commands.
Han Shuo had traversed half of the Lancelot Empire in the past few days, challenging villains with infamous reputations. They’d all been killed on the spot, and that kind of violent, ruthless method made Han Shuo’s evil prestige come to life. The group of mages in front of him had all quieted down afterwards.
Someone who could kill numerous experts was someone that they could ill afford to antagonize, not to mention that he had full control over the team from the commander of the Northern Guards. They would be foolish to provoke Han Shuo.
“Alright, all of you find your positions. It’s best to stay in between the knights. Listen to my orders afterwards and attack with the strongest spells you’ve got!” Han Shuo flicked a glance over the thunder archmage and gave his orders.
“Understood, Sir Bryan!” The thunder archmage said respectfully with a nod. He wasn’t angry at all about Han Shuo taking his position as the commander of the Magic Corps.