Chapter 597 - Cranston
Nie Yan flew north on his Darkwing Dragon. A small town gradually came into view 10 minutes later.
Crassus, rather than a town, was better described as an enormous manor. Surrounded by fortified wood walls and numerous crossbow turrets, the defenses here were solid.
Frequently besieged by large Lord-class monsters, the residents of Crassus were all fairly strong. The weakest were Level 90 Elites while the mayor was a Level 100 Lord.
This was mainly why Nie Yan chose to lead Phantom Princess Ina here.
Towns below Level 100 rarely had such strong defenses. As for towns Level 100 and up, it was doubtful Phantom Princess Ina would follow Nie Yan there.
Nie Yan had the Darkwing Dragon alight on the outskirts of Crassus. After unsummoning his Darkwing Dragon, he headed into town.
Donning a black cloak, Nie Yan walked through the main gates. He saw shops scattered here and there on both sides of the street. They didn’t appear to have much business, only carrying the most basic consumables, weapons, and armour. He would occasionally cross paths with the odd player. They were all at least Level 70 since the maps in the vicinity were fairly high level. Players generally only came to Crassus if it was related to some quest. The allure of exploring new lands was far greater.
Nie Yan observed the NPCs in town.
“I don’t know how long it’ll take Phantom Princess Ina to arrive. I guess I’ll just have to keep waiting until then. Hmm, what should I do to kill some time?”
Walking along the main street, Nie Yan eventually arrived at the center of the town, where a church which towered over all other buildings caught his eye.
This church was constructed out of white stone and looked fairly ordinary compared to the massive churches and temples in Calore. Nevertheless, it was still the grandest building in Crassus.
Nie Yan had visited this place before in his past life. Back then, apart from the typical furnishings of a church, there was nothing and no one.
“Let’s wait inside.” Nie Yan walked through the doors. Inside the hall were about a dozen rows of pews. There were no NPCs around. The place was empty. Up at the front stood the statue of a goddess. It was poorly maintained, perhaps due to months or even years of neglect, and covered in a thick layer of dust.
“Well, I guess I have nothing better to do…” Nie Yan sat on one of the pews and patiently waited. He couldn’t leave before Phantom Princess Ina arrived.
Nie Yan understood he was bringing disaster to this small town. He prayed the NPCs here would smoothly deal with Phantom Princess Ina.
About 20 minutes later, an elderly man with a cane walked into the church. He spared Nie Yan a brief glance before continuing forward to the statue. He clasped an old holy book in his hands.
This elderly man was already bordering on ancient. His face was withered up like a dry prune and his hair was as gray as ash. His legs shook unsteadily with every step, as though a gentle breeze could knock him over.
Nie Yan’s eyes widened in surprise. In the previous timeline, even if the number of times he’d visited Crassus didn’t reach a thousand, it wouldn’t be far off. Whenever he had time to kill while waiting for a team, he would wander around town or sometimes wait in the church. In the several dozen times he’d been in here, he never once encountered this elderly man. He had no idea where this NPC came from. Thinking long and hard, he confirmed he had never met him before.
Nie Yan could acutely sense this elderly man wasn’t your run-of-the-mill NPC. “I wonder if I can receive a hidden quest or something from him…”
Nie Yan inspected him with Transcendent Insight.Old-Timer Cranston (Elite): Level 180
“My god!” Nie Yan was taken aback. He never expected this unassuming old man to have such an amazing title.
Nie Yan checked Cranston’s health. It was only around 100,000.
Cranston’s stats clearly didn’t match his title and level. Nie Yan finally understood what was called a hero past their prime. In Conviction, unless an NPC was an invincible existence like Karsi or Kelowitz, they would eventually succumb to the weathering of time.
Even unrivalled heroes would return to dust, their eras of glory buried in the river of history.
“Sir Cranston, greetings.” Nie Yan didn’t know if this Level 180 Elite would give out a quest.
Cranston glanced at Nie Yan before turning his attention back to his book.
Nie Yan stood there with an awkward expression. This was the first time he had encountered an NPC who didn’t even bother acknowledging his existence.
Despite encountering a setback, Nie Yan’s determination only grew stronger. He refused to believe this nut couldn’t be cracked. He walked over and attentively listened to the words Cranston was muttering.
Cranston was reading the words from his holy book.
“With a benevolent heart, treat every person with kindness and sincerity. Aspire to be like the Holy Spirit Spring in the Koruns Mountain, supplying life to every tree and never drying…” Cranston spoke in Ancient Common. His soft yet powerful voice carried a sort of cadence that relaxed one’s soul.
Nie Yan was fluent in Ancient Common. These mystical verses gradually calmed his heart.
This was the first time Nie Yan realized that these texts could contain such profound meaning. Each verse left behind a deep impression in his mind.
The more Nie Yan listened, the more entranced he became. He no longer bothered Cranston and simply listened. The text told of one ancient tale after another.
The seconds and minutes ticket away. Nie Yan’s needless worries and doubts washed away. He felt refreshed.
Nie Yan was in no rush. He had nowhere to be, nor was there anything urgent requiring his attention. There was no harm in listening.
About 20 minutes later, Cranston finally reached the last page. He calmly and unhurriedly read out the last verse before closing his book. Turning around, his murky eyes finally focused on Nie Yan. “Passing adventurer, what would you like to buy?”
Hearing Cranston’s words, Nie Yan’s mouth gaped open like a fish. It took a long time for him to regain his wits. What the hell!? This old man is just a merchant! Cranston had only ignored Nie Yan earlier because his eyesight was bad. Only now did he finally get a good look at Nie Yan!