The Dust of History (历史的尘埃)

Preface - Hunting (1)

With the blade cutting through the neck, the small body in Asa’s hand jerked and twitched, causing a disproportionate tremor. It seemed that all the life contained in it was squeezed out. As the warm and odorous blood dripped into the mouth, the vibration between the fingers gradually deteriorated and finally dissipated. Asa tried to squeeze the mountain rat really hard, and did not care that the remains in its stomach were also squeezed out. Until the last drop of body fluid slowly dripped, Asa dropped the shredded mountain rat and licked the remaining blood on his lips.

I don't want to die.

A bloody odor transpires from the stomach. Asa’s throat makes a low-pitched scream. The voice is dull, long and deep. It does not like it is from an organ, but from a crack in the soul. 

He remembered that voice. When he was three years old, he hid in a tree and saw several hunters in the village rounding up a wounded wolf. He was trembled by the screams of the wolf, not fear, but felt that a deepest string in his soul resonated with it. Since then, he has been obsessed with learning the language of animals for a while.

He now understands that the voice is meaningless, but the roar of life before the threat of death. It is a release of a strong desire for survival and a crazy animal nature in the heart. 

It’s been three days of eating raw animals and drinking their blood under extreme pressure. Asa is close to the limit of his physical strength. The death threat behind him and his strong desire for survival, made him almost a wild beast. But fortunately, rationality is still leading all actions.

Asa is well aware of the gap in his ability with the hunter. He remembered very clearly how the heads of the two infantries were crushed like watermelons in a blink of an eye. The only thing that he can rely on is that he knew the intention of the hunter. 

The hunter is not hunting him with full power. Apparently, he does not want to catch up with him too early, and then risk fighting a desperate beast. This is hunting, which means chasing the prey and letting him fade away in fear and death, and then come over kill him like killing a mouse, and cut off his head. Whether it is physical condition or skill to survive in this swamp jungle, he is unlikely to get rid of the hunter. Both of them know this clearly.

In the past three days, Asa pretended to be the way the hunters wanted to see the escape. His physical energy also drops as quickly as a real escape. Without fire, you won't have enough food. The raw meat of any animal in the Lizard Swamp is lethal as the parasite inside is fatal to humans. Instead, you can eat some non-toxic insects. Although animal's fresh blood is safe, it can only be slightly helpful and is not enough to compensate the loss of sweat and physical strength. The lack of salt and food has almost reached the limit of tolerance. He must end the true illusion of the three days with an action that cannot be mistaken. 

Luckily, Asa quickly found three non-toxic worms from the surrounding grass and shrubs. They are finger-sized and are full of vitality in the hands. Asa pinched their heads with his fingers, slowly moved down and squeezed out the green feces. On one hand you cannot squeeze too hard. Otherwise the body will be broken and the nutritious juice will splash out. On the other hand, you must discharge the poisonous feces as much as possible. This is an extremely sophisticated craft. After a few days of practice, Asa is already very skilled at this.

The tender flesh quickly becomes a thick paste between the teeth, and the greasy bitterness is like a swollen air sticking to the skin as it hangs on the taste buds. Asa carefully grinds the meat with his teeth, searching for the larger pieces of meat with his tongue, ensuring that all the insects can be turned into the smallest possible unit for easy digestion. Every drop of nutrition is precious. it is the hope of living. 

Dig a pit about one foot on the ground with his knife, Asa buried the body of the mountain rat. Every time he kills an animal in these three days, he always buries their bodies.

Put the knife on his back, Asa checks himself carefully, steps on the mound that has just buried the mountain rat, and then slowly squats, lies down on his stomach, like a large amoeba, slowly moves to the sewage next to him.

He focused all his attention on this ugly movement, carefully controlling every muscle in his body, letting the body stick as far as possible on the ground, leaving no visible marks on the soft mud. Any loss of control and inconsistency will make the three-day disguise completely in vain. 

Closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, Asa slowly slips into the sewage that is as deep as his chest, without any splash. The weight of the knife is just enough to make him not float. He moves towards the direction in his memory. This sewage leads to a temporary small river formed by the rainy season. He came here purposely and selected this terrain to bury the body intentionally. Everything works as planned. 

A couple of leeches sucked to Asa’s body and caused slight pains. No need to do anything. When they sucked up the blood, they would let go of their own mouth. Enforcing them out will instead let the sucker stay in the skin and cause infection. Now the most important thing is to sneak as far as possible before the next breath.

Re-examined every detail in his mind and confirmed there were no flaws, Asa starts to feel a great joy of a successful escape. The only problem now is the body of the mountain rat, which must rot to a sufficient extent before the hunter arrives, enough to emit a certain scent. 

“I only need a rotten luck now.” Asa prays as he moves across the decaying mud like a lizard. 

In the afternoon, the sun that was rarely seen in the lizard swamp exposed his face. The sun was cut by the branches and fell to pieces. The damp ground turns the sun's body into a layer of curtains that circulate between the leaves and the ground of the tree. 

The hunter quietly watched a large group of scavenging lizards smashing the body of a mountain rat. He hates the mucus smell of these ugly scavengers, which is too strong for his sensitive sense of smell. A large lizard triumphantly grabbed the body and turned to escape. The other immediately swarmed and disappeared into the forest, leaving only a scoop of pits and traces on the ground. 

As human, this prey is quite good in terms of speed, agility, and strength. The hunter is very interested and has considerable confidence to kill him in a frontal battle. 

But only a fair grasp of confidence is not enough. This is not a battlefield, but hunting. It needs to have 100% certainty of triumph. Since yesterday, the prey’s footprint has begun to become weak and vain. 

Now, the hunter feels that he has enough confidence. 

But this is also a strange prey. Although it is indeed being chased, the footprint does not show the messiness and panic of a desperate prey. The weak pace reveals a strange firmness. It is not a simply escape, something else is hidden.

The cover-ups in these three days have been well done. But they have always made a stupid mistake - to bury the bodies of blood-stained animals. This is completely counterproductive, and the lizard will follow the rotten smell to dig up and eat the body. The hunter can almost just follow the stench of a large group of lizards. 

Incomprehensible mentality and stupid mistakes, there seems to be a connection between the two. This feeling makes the hunter feel a bit strange. However, it is only limited to strangeness. After catching him up, killing, and cutting off his head, there is then no more strangeness about it. No animal can get rid of his tracking in this swamp jungle. On this regard the hunter has absolute confidence. Absolute.

But the hunter was immediately surprised to find that all the traces stopped here and did not extend in any direction. 

Only the strong smell of the swamp lizard is left in the air. The hunter leaned over and scrutinized any clues on the ground. Although the lizard crawls and competes for food that makes a mess around the ground, the traces of the prey are still visible to the hunter’s superb observation and experience, and it just takes some time to find all the traces around. 

Some vain but not flustered steps, did not step on their own footprints to return to the road, just a few turns in the surrounding shrubs, about to find food. The hunter can even tell that the first food the prey found was under two horns, probably a worm. The front half of the two footprints is slightly deeper, showing the center of gravity of the bending action moving forward. But apart from that, nothing was found. The footprints only came to an abrupt stop before the pit where the body was buried.

This is completely beyond the experience of the hunter’s tribe. Escape and cover-up, the hunter can only rely on his own mind to connect them, hoping to get something that is beyond existing experience. But his mind which is lacking logical thinking ability makes it difficult to accomplish this task. When he found himself stepping into a strange trap as the fugitive expected, an irresistible anger frantically occupied all the hunter’s thoughts.

A lizard shook his head and crawled back, sniffing beside the pit, expecting to find some benefits. But it immediately became the target of the angry hunter. Its huge body flew high by a violent blow, then fell into the sewage, causing a big splashing of mud. As the mud water fell ashore, a few leeches fell on the ground. The hunter noticed that. He picked up one and looked at it carefully. He pinched it and tried to taste the blood that flowed out of it. There was then a ferocious smile on the hunter’s face.

Stick to the ground, the most sensitive sense of smell on the entire continent finally distinguishes the taste that he hopes to find from the scent of the mucus from the lizard and the rot of the earth. This taste extends to the sewage.

I will take your heart out when you are still alive, tear it with my teeth when it is still pulsing, and swallow it through my throat with the freshest blood contained in it, and turn your crafty into my power.

The head can't be damaged. I will gradually dig out the brain from the eyelids, peel off the flesh, and ask the best craftsmen to grind the skull. This perfect loot can be placed on the ancestral mausoleum. As a sacrifice, this is a further testimony to the hunting skills that the tribes are proud of.

You are a good prey of mine.

A long-lost excitement floods the running hunter’s body, which is the feeling that only stirs in the body when he is chasing the most beautiful female in the tribe when he just became mature.    

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  • Preface - Hunting (2)

    Is it good luck or bad luck? Asa thought while drinking the broth.

    Meat is good meat. Dry with fine beef and hammer into tight fluffy meat. The whole meat of a cow made this way can be loaded with only a small pocket. When boiled with water, it will be reduced to delicious beef. This is the dry food used by the noble warriors during the expedition. 

    Soup is a good soup. Even the river water in the Lizard Swamp can be as sweet as the purest mountain spring, after the use of a Purify Talisman. Use it to cook a pot of beef soup, plus salt, even the chefs in the city can't pick anything wrong. This Purify Talisman is indeed worth a silver coin. 

    Eat such a good meat, drink such a good soup, even if a dying man will be refreshed. Asa is very clear about his physical condition. Rest for a night, he can lay down a cow with empty hands.

    The bonfire is stacked with a lot of large wood in a good way. Solid dry wood mixed with wet wood can keep the fire until the next day. The heat of the bonfire will cover the temperature of the human body and the two-legged dragon can't detect it. No need to hide in the cold tree holes or holes on the ground. Other beasts and poisonous insects don't dare to approach. Having an ample and safe sleep next to such a bonfire will definitely restore the physical strength. 

    However, even if he can fight five cows with empty hands, Asa is still not confident to confront the hunter directly.

    No matter how well his physical strength is recovered, it won’t be enough for him to match the hunter’s speed. The bonfire is warm, safe, and bright enough to make it visible to any creature in the swamp. 

    "You are really amazing. It is the first time I saw someone walking with just one weapon through the Lizard Swamp." The woman who claimed to be a pharmacist showed a look of admiration. 

    Asa did not feel that he deserved to be admired. He didn't even notice that the skin was still blooding after the leeches had fallen off. Just a few drops of blood almost attracted the carnivorous fish in the entire swamp. So, he had to push a dead wood that had been arched by a wild cow into the river, standing on it and drifting down to avoid the countless mouths under the water. But when a few big crocodiles joined the attacks, he had to go ashore. Time is already dusk. He sees the fire when he is looking for a place to hide. Then he meets this woman who he never thought of. 

    The woman is probably about the same age as Asa. Although the explorer is dressed up with a large parcel and a dirty blanket on her body, the white and delicate skin shows that she is not a civilian. Carrying the kind of efficient dry food with her, and a price of Purify Talisman which is enough for a civilian to live comfortably for a month, this woman is probably from a noble family. 

    "I thought I was the only one brave enough to exploring alone in the swamp for the medicines. The terrain and climate here are unique and many plants only grow here. So, although my father has never agreed, I still sneak out." The woman is like a guileless innocent child who speaks with no reservations. Probably she hasn’t seen a human for a long time. She is not wary of him at all in such a hostile environment.

    The sword at her waist is an Anka sword, thin and long, hard and tough, light and dexterous, good for assassination. Asa recognized it because it was always placed in the most conspicuous place in his father's shop so that the guests could scream at the sword and the price label below. 

    The sword hangs at a good angle at her waist, allowing her to pull out at the fastest speed. The hilt is very tightly wrapped with fine hemp rope, which is the way used by experienced soldiers, so that the hilt will not slip after soaked by the blood. Although the color of the hemp rope is still the color without blood, the sword is definitely not just a decoration, which can be seen from the grips left by the numerous swings. 

    But even with her help, it is not enough to deal with the hunter. The most important thing in a life-and-death fight is not skill, but spirit. Even if she was trained from an early age, she will not be a qualified warrior without hearing the cracking sound of the axe breaking into the bones of the human body, or hearing the wailing of the person who was cut into two pieces and did not die for a while, or feeling the sharpness of the weapon in her body and the tearing pain of the muscles. When faced with the threat of death, or feel the pain that can submerge your mind, one will fear, cringe, and lose the ability to fight.

    It would be great if there is another magician or priest, even who can only cast the most basic blessing, or a few simple fireballs. 

    Asa found himself feel too comfortable with the sudden arrival of the broth and bonfire. It is almost impossible to believe that he can meet another human being in this jungle of hundreds of miles, and comfortably drink broth to replenish energy around the campfire. This is almost unbelievable luck. 

    Chewing a piece of biscuits given by the woman, sending it down to the belly with a broth, and feeling the warmth of this lucky bonfire, Asa sighed with both satisfaction and helpless. 

    The hunter must be peeking at the fire now through a tree hole. Even him had to hide when the two-legged dragon was still hunting in the night sky. But as long as the dawn appeared in the East, after the dragon returned to the nest, he would immediately come catch him as quickly as possible. 

    Whether it is good luck or bad luck, since it has already happened, he must, and can only, try to develop things in the direction where you want to develop. 

    “How far is it from the Dono River?” asked Asa.

    The turbulent Dono River crashed its way through the Lizard Swamp. The current is so violent even the fish cannot swim upstream. That is where Asa was forced to go ashore into the Lizard Swamp. But the water slows down after bypassing the Lizard Swamp. You can flow down the river to the empire's western town of Bracada. 

    "Not very clear, but not far away, probably take a day or two." 

    Maybe a half day under full speed? No, although it is much closer than expected, there is no exact grasp of the exact distance. Asa is sure that the hunter can catch up with him within half a day. The chance to escape directly is too small.

    Tell her the truth and ask her to deal with the hunter with me together? Although the chances of winning are not great, it is probably better than other methods when prepared. Asa is thinking about how to word it.

    "Excuse me, can you accompany me? I plan to go to the depths of the swamp to find new herbs tomorrow. It is my first time deeply into the swamp." The woman suddenly asked, "Of course, I will pay." She rubbed a handful of black hair from her hand. Her black hair stuck on her thin lips, and her lips curled up in a slight cramped arc. Her heels gently twitched each other. This is quite a pair of women's feet, similar size to Asa’s, and wearing a pair of adventurer’s shoes.

    Suddenly, Asa realized a way to escape. This is a very efficient and very promising approach. No traps, no laying out any illusions, no consumption of physical strength, and don't even need to waste the precious time. Just squat now, a little while next to this bonfire, it can waste the hunter quite some time and energy.

    This discovery suddenly made his heart beaten violently.

    "Is that ok?" The woman blinked her eyes. Her eyes were not big and the eyelashes were long. The corners of her eyes curl down slightly. Maybe even if she was angry, there would be a kind of smile flowing inside.

    The bonfire was very bright, and the fire was soft and warm reflected from inside her black eyes, but Asa did not dare to look straight. He took his eyes off and took a deep breath, trying to make his tone natural. "I'm sorry, no, I have something very important and urgent."

    "Oh, is it?" The woman did not know how to hide the disappointment in her tone and expression. 

    "From here to the west for about half a day, there are several kinds of herbs unique to this swamp, which probably have a unique therapeutic effect." Asa felt that his face was distorted, his voice was out of shape, and his meaning was ambiguous. This is the first time he has told such a malicious lie to a very friendly person. And it is for a woman. 

    "Probably? What do you mean?" 

    "Well, I saw a bull. No, it was two bulls who were fighting. One of them had the hind legs injured. No, it was the forefoot. Anyway, it was bitten. Very serious injury. It was going to die on the ground. Then it went to eat those grasses, put them in the place where it hurts, and then it was healed after a little while.” In a hurry, Asa borrowed a story of dog fighting heard from an old adventurer when he was young. Although the meanings was not very clear, the words were more and more fluent. 

    "Oh? Really? What kind of grass are you talking about?" The woman's eyes widened, and her eyes made Asa feel as if he had seen the violent arrow that was shooting at him five days ago, which made him almost want to bent down to dodge. The woman pulled the pen off the backpack adeptly.

    "It's a yellow flower." Asa mixed the characteristics of several wild herbs and shuffled the nonsense. The woman wrote it down seriously. 

    “If you want to go deep into the swamp, you must grind the water mint and pyrethrum and apply them on your clothes and skin. Even if you have insect repellent oil, you must apply it because there are several kinds of poisonous insects that are afraid of only the smell of those grass." Asa said to the woman with a very solemn voice. 

    "On these two kinds of grass? They are everywhere, isn't it?" The woman quickly found it around the campfire. 

    Of course, these two herbs have indeed deworming effects. Asa has been coated since entering the swamp, but these two herbs are not as effective as the special insect repellent oil of the Adventurers Guild. In the past three days, the first thing after the Asa woke up at the dawn inside the tree hole was to pick out the poisonous insects such as the cockroaches in the underarms and pants. 

    Of course, there is nothing in the deeper part of the swamp that is only afraid of the smells of the two herbs.

    It seems like any skills can be developed. Even things that are difficult, and violating human nature, as long as you practice more, you will get used to it, then be proficient and even immersed in it. With the opportunity of the previous drill, Asa’s voice was now very smooth and calm when telling the most vicious part of this extremely malicious lie. But he never dared to look at the bright eyes. He used the branches to pick up the bonfire and hide his sight.

    "I really thank you. If I find these herbs and understand the medicinal properties, it will be enough to make the old guys in the pharmacy embarrassed." The woman was a little excited, probably thought that the two are already in a relationship. "I have known that the world is so big, there will definitely be drugs that have not yet been discovered. But the old guys always follow the books of their predecessors."

    Don’t need to feel guilty. Even if I didn't tell her and face the death alone, she will not survive the swamp. Once the hunter discovers any other human traces in the swamp, it will never let go. 

    Even if we fight together, we’ll likely die as well. And maybe she won’t be of any help at all. This way her death will be more meaningful, which allows me to get more opportunities to escape. Asa searches for all the reasons in his mind to make his insidious behaviors righteous.

    "Once my results are recognized, not only the Pharmacy, but also the Magic Academy will pay attention to me. Maybe the bishops will personally ask me about these new herbs." The woman's round face turns red because of excitement. Pointing to a tree next to her: "You see, this tree is also one of my discoveries. It is never recorded in any book. But I learned from many retired adventurers that it is very common in the swamp. And I also found that its juice is very irritating and toxic, when splashed into people or animal’s eyes." 

    Your life is actually exchanged for the death of countless other lives, so don't give up every hope of living. 

    There are many small roots on the trunk of the tree, which are straight and thin, much like the pen used by the old adventurer living behind Asa’s village. Asa suddenly remembered what the old guy said about life, which seems to raise the conspiracy to a philosophical depth. Asa thinks that he can probably feel at ease now. But suddenly a sense of disgust swarmed, making him feel extremely tired.

  • Preface - Hunting (3)

    The two-legged dragon whizzes past the top of the tree, and the swept airflow can be felt in the tree hole. These huge flying animals dominate the swamp night, and all animals that emit body temperature are part of their recipes, even those who have similar size like the wild cow.

    There was a similar smell to the lizard in the air, which made the hunter feel very disgusted. He didn't care if there was any connection between the two creatures, but he just hated it. If it weren't for these things that were hunting every night so that he had to wait for the dawn in the tree hole like the prey, he only needed one day and one night to let the prey collapse in the sleepless night. If it weren't for the odors that made his sense of smell almost unsuccessful, he wouldn't be delayed by the setup that almost tricked him, and he wouldn't be looking at the distant fire and feel really confused.

    What does the bonfire do? Eat something for energy? Do you know that I have known your trap? Or is it a trap? 

    Are you provoking me? The hunter furiously thought about it. Are you telling me you are there and come over, let me take your heart out? 

    But the hunter immediately warned himself that he could not lose his calm. In the face of such a cunning prey, losing calm is to trap yourself. There is no doubt that this is definitely a trap, or a follow-up to the trap during the day.

    The river is not far away. Tomorrow morning, I will have a full run and then end the pursuit in a very enjoyable way. The hunter snored with excitement and gripped the huge powerful weapon on his hand. The brain and blood on it formed into a thin shell that became part of the weapon. 

    Don't be too excited, not too excited, stay calm and stay calm. The hunter once again warned himself. Everything you see tomorrow will be carefully observed and carefully considered, and you can no longer be confused by any illusion. Remember to pay attention to the illusion, be careful of the illusion. 

    Do you think that I can be easily fooled? Are you still proud of the head that will soon be twisted down and slowly tasted?

    The hunter was happy with his calm thoughts and made another snoring. 

    The blade cuts the skin, cuts the muscles, cuts the throat, cuts the vein, then cuts the muscles and the skin again and stick out from other side of the neck. It feels so clear, from the fingers to the wrists to the elbows to the arms, and finally trembles into the heart. The level of clarity is as profound as a wonderful poem. Then the bright red blood rushed out of the woman's body with enthusiasm, letting Asa suck it fiercely.

    A few black hairs clung to the thin lips, and the lips picked up a slightly crooked arc, and the eyes were half-closed. The long lashes had a sly smile in it. Looking closely, this is a very beautiful woman. 

    Asa suddenly felt very scared. Fear of the gentleness of the squinting eyes, and the stubborn of the thin lips. The woman is still the expression, but Asa is completely caught in the fear of the sudden discovery of the tender beauty.

    Then he found that it was not just the woman’s throat that was hurt but also his own. Stroking the wound in his neck, the chest echoed the clear and distinct feeling when he cut the wound. He wanted to use this feeling to backfill the wound, but he could do nothing, and Asa moaned painfully.

    Looking at the woman's beautiful gentle face and the stern wound in her neck, he felt his own wound with his hand. Sadness, sorrow, fear, and pain, surrounded Asa tightly like the darkness around him, Asa suddenly woke up. 

    The white belly of the morning has already emerged in the east, and the howling of the two-legged dragon is gradually going away. These creatures hovered from the edge of the swamp and flew back to the nest deep in the swamp. The hunter's position is closer to the depths of the swamp, so Asa has the advantage of early departure. 

    However, Asa did not show much interest in this precious time. Instead, he squatted beside the campfire that was going out, and watched the woman crush the water mint and pyrethrum with stones and applied it to the clothes and skin. Until now, the feelings left by the nightmare still reverberate in the mind, like the sticky mucus from the snoring nose that is hard to remove, the brain is still confused. Fortunately, he can really feel that his physical strength has almost completely recovered. 

    The woman seems to have slept well. After the smear, she began to pack things with her hands. At the same time, she did not forget to chat with him, "You had a terrible nightmare last night and woke me up. I was planning to wake you up."

    Asa looked at the woman's radiant face. The beautiful eyes, the straight nose, the thin lips, the thin white neck looming in the clothes. Asa suddenly produced the illusion that it was bleeding. He chilled violently. 

    The woman has packed up her clothes and said goodbye to him, "Goodbye, if you have a chance, you can come to the Duke of Mulak in The Capital to find me." With a tender smile that infects the morning fogs, "My name is Xiaoyi."

    No chance. It is either that you are dead or that I am dead. Asa did not dare to face this smile, staring at the underground.

    As the woman's back disappeared into the fog in the morning, Asa ran in the direction of the river. 

    He didn't jump into the river to hide his own smell, and he didn't mind leaving a footprint on the soft mud that could be seen by the worst-sighted mice. He also runs fast, and this speed is the most efficient use of physical strength. He is very clear, any kind of cover-up is useless in the eyes of the hunter, so the traces that are clearly displayed will actually confuse him.

    Of course, the hunter still has the possibility to follow this real footprint. But he will have concerns after experiencing the last trap. This possibility should be relatively small. Asa suddenly found himself expecting that the pace of the hunter ring behind him.

    Confusion is useless. This is indeed the most efficient way. Once the hunter has spent a lot of energy and time on the road to chasing the woman, the possibility of running away is bigger. Even after he killed the woman and then re-tracked him, his physical strength prevailed and the possibility of winning increased. Asa shook his head, tried to concentrate on his running.

    But after running for less than half an hour, Asa saw a big river across the front. He had a funny feeling. Everyone includes the hunter's estimate is wrong. Probably because of the rainy season, the river actually diverted from the low-lying areas of the swamp and passed directly through the marshes.

    At this time, a faintly discernible scream echoed from the depths of the swamp.

    After such a long distance, the sound is already very weak, but it is like knocking a huge hammer on the heart of Asa. Immediately the scene of the nightmare appears before his eyes, and the fierce wound on the woman's throat was so clear. He was stunned and his body cannot move an inch.

  • Preface - Hunting (4)

    Another scream was heard. Asa knows that the hunter is tormenting the woman. This is what the race does when hunting humans.

    If he turns around to save her, that is exactly what the hunter wants, and the result is that the two heads together will become an ornament of an orc tribe. 

    The water of the Dono River is flowing rapidly eastward, and waves to him gently. 

    Come on, come on, it will be safe after jumping in, although it will be sad and guilty, but at least you will be alive. After a few years, maybe you will forget about it, and even chat about it at the wine table with friends. If you can't forget it in a few years, you can forget it in decades.

    Maybe you can also use this sorrow as a driving force. After a few years, you will become a general, leading an army, sweeping away all the orcs on the mainland and avenging the woman. 

    The third scream came, and it was already faint as if it were just an illusion of fear. 

    Asa yelled at the most vicious curse he knew, turned and rushed to the road, and made a scream as much as he could, telling the hunter that his stupid trap was as effective as he had hoped. 

    Then in less than ten minutes, Asa saw the hunter and the woman he was caught in.

    The neck-long black hair scatters from the cloak, and covers her painful face. Her right hand was distorted in the form of dead tree vines, and every inch of the bone was broken. That is not the result of a single injury. It is broken and then broken in another place, until there is no place to start. 

    Asa’s mind felt slightly released. Except for this hand, he could not see where else she was fatally hurt. She was just picked up by the hunter in the air like a chicken waiting to be slaughtered. Weak moans came out of her mouth intermittently. It seemed that her neck could be broken by the claws at any time. 

    Following the giant hairy claws Asa first saw the orc who had been chasing him for three days at such a close distance in the bright daylight. 

    It is a foot taller than him, double wide, brown hair covering the whole body, towering ears, yellow pupils, narrow mouth, and a dog-like head. This is a werewolf. The proportion of each part of the body is about the same as that of human beings. But the perfect curve of muscles and bones also shows that the strength and agility contained in this body are hard to match by a human being.

    The werewolf was wearing a special leather armor. The meteor hammer on the ground that had crushed the heads of Asa’s dozens of peers was also specially made. Humans and dwarves could not use such huge weapons. This terrible arm and his body complement each other, enough for him to deal with a whole team of soldiers alone.

    But this werewolf does not seem to be so prestige and dangerous, and even a little messy. The hair on his left arm has been soaked with blood, and the wound is still bleeding slowly. The thin Anka Sword does not reduce its lethality because it can't be used for chopping. The unique blade will smash all the surrounding blood vessels and tissues after it pierces into the body. The slender blade is forged with good alloy from the dwarfs, it can even pierce the bones.

    There is large sign of burnings on the back of the left paw. You can even see the muscles and the surrounding fur that has been burned. This is the trace of fireball. Looking at the curled fur on his head it would be clear that the fireball was originally cast towards his face and was blocked by his hand when he could not dodge. The timing of this fireball must be very good. 

    If I fight the orc together with the woman, the odds of winning are actually quite large. Asa felt incomparably regret. Now I can only do my best. I should still have chance. After all, the chaser’s left arm has already been hurt.

    The hunter snorted and opened his mouth, revealing sharp teeth and moving his shoulders. Asa did not understand the meaning of this expression, but he clearly saw the muscles of the claw around the women’s neck bulged. 

    The prey has come, the purpose has been reached, and the bait is useless.

    "Stop!" Asa yelled and rushed to the hunter.

    "Crack!", Asa heard the sound of a crisp bone fracture. He cannot tell whether it is from the woman's neck or his own body. The over-running legs had no power to dodge in the middle of the full force. Asa almost watched the hunter sticking his foot on his chest and kicked him out like a scarecrow, hitting a tree heavily. The knife on his hand inserted into the tree.

    Asa huddled like a shrimp, and blood spilled out of the nose and mouth. Several ribs were broken. Fortunately, none of them pierced into the internal organs. It feels like there are countless wild cows running in all directions in the chest, squeezing all other feelings out of the body except the pain. Asa cannot even make a simple breath.

    This is really an unsatisfying ending. Looking at the prey who gave him so much trouble in these three days but so vulnerable, the hunter was disappointed. He was looking forward to ending this pursuit with a wonderful kill. 

    When he found the obvious footprints and smells next to the campfire this morning, he definitely thought it was a trap. How can this cunning prey show his trace to me so obviously? It must be a trick. So, he chased another line of footprints that didn't seem like the prey. When he found that his judgment was wrong and was deceived by the prey again, he burst into a complete anger with surprise and embarrassment. 

    And this other human's combat power is unexpected, and he was almost blown up by a fireball. Fortunately, this human being is also very fragile. After the hand was broken, she immediately lost her ability to fight because of severe pain. 

    The result is that he finally won. He successfully enticed the escaped prey to come back, and now he can just go over and easily tweak his head off.

    No, no need to be so fast. He can carefully enjoy the whole process, and see what this human being will do when he knows that his life is about to end. It is also an interesting ending.

    Play a final trick? Fighting? Or wailing with tears? It’s better not to do that. That is pretty boring.

    Asa finally got a sigh of relief. It feels like that the chest were pierced with knives between the ribs, which kept moving up and down with every breath. He barely looked up and saw the knife stuck in the tree. The blades were covered with the white pulp secreted from the tree.

    He recognized the tree. It reminded him of an almost shameless statement. Now he remembered it again. Looked at the woman who had fallen to the ground with no more moans, a strong grief supported him to stand up and pull the knife out of the trunk. Asa used all his strength holding the knife and rush towards the orc.

    The hunter looked at the prey who rushed towards him pitifully. Is this your last struggle? It is as slow as a tortoise. You can even see the pulsation of each of your muscles and the distortion of the movements caused by the pain, and you can easily predict where the knife is falling with what strength.

    The hunter raised the handle of the meteor hammer in his hand, blocking the knife without any deviation, with a loud bang. As expected, the knife and the hand were bounced back, together with his body, and the chest opened wide. After the paws went straight in from below, the hot heart could be pulled out.

    It's just that the hunter ignored a detail that didn't seem to matter. The sap on the knife is turned into countless droplets under intense vibration, splashing into the eyes of the hunter and his wet nose. 

    It is not a sap. It feels like a thousand knives that have been quenched and smothered with thorns and burnt red. The hunter made a miserable scream which was never heard before. 

    The whole world has been filled with pain. The vision was first red then totally black, and the nose was gone. There was nothing but pain. The only voice that can be heard was his scream. Then the body feels immediately that a cold thing has been stuffed into the body from the lower abdomen, reaching the chest, squeezing out its position from the neatly arranged internal organs. 

    A fear that even concealed the pain came in. The hunter grasped a thing under the lower abdomen, with all his strength and fear. Then he heard another scream that was not inferior to his own screams. 

    Asa couldn't hear the sound of his wrist bones broken into pieces. He could only feel that countless bones were swaying in the middle of the muscles and blood vessels. He didn't have the slightest strength. But stimulated by this huge pain he bent his knees to strike the knife handle really hard. A feeling of ruptured heart muscle is passed through from the handle. 

    The hunter suddenly stopped screaming and slammed his chest hard, so hard that the sharp claw pierced into his fur through the leather armor, as if he wanted to recover the broken thing. But after a few steps, he crashed down. 

    Asa screamed on the ground holding his left hand for a while before he could stand up. 

    It’s all over. 

    No, not yet. It is not a good idea to stay here for too long. The scent of the hunter’s corpse will attract a lot of lizards. He is too weak to handle those ugly scavengers. Hopefully there are some useful therapeutic drugs in the women's bags, or some high-end goods like the Purify Talisman.

    Asa stumbled over to look at the woman's pale face. It was once such a beauty with smiles. Soon it will become the food of those ugly animals, just like the body of the werewolf. 

    Sorry, it is my fault. Asa kneeled in front of her in agony. Suddenly he saw that the lips seemed to move, and thought it was his own illusion. But then he heard a groan, stronger than his own.

  • Chapter 1 An Unexpected Calamity

    After listening to Asa telling how his troops were completely destroyed in the hill, the knight took a long breath and lowered his head, locked in contemplation.

    Asa sat on a soft velvet chair with his fingers licking the soft, smooth suede. He had only seen such thing before. The old scholar in the village has such a thin layer in the box that is used to place the holy book. When he was three years old, he saw an older child pinching it with his hand, and then the hand was beaten so hard and he could not hold the spoon for three days. 

    Such a noble, mysterious and dangerous thing, now is actually sitting under his butt. This makes him feel a bit strange, and a little enjoyable. 

    The Duke of Mulak went to the Imperial City to attend a military conference. A young knight who claimed to be the assistant of the Duke received him. 

    The knight's armor and sword are the most upscale goods. The badge of the Holy Knights on them is also seen on those of his captain. Young, handsome, mighty, extraordinary, and noble, and with a perfect-matching temperament, it seems to be the protagonist in the story that he often heard in the mouth of a bard when he was a child.

    Such a character is actually on an equal footing with himself, and is still immersed in the things he reports. It is still feeling a bit strange and enjoyable, like sitting on the chair, but magnified several times.

    "So, you are the only one who broke out and then was chased in the Lizard Swamp …" The knight repeated Asa's remarks. The words are clear, slow, and logical, as if he fears that others could not hear him or may misunderstood him. 

    Asa nodded, "That's it." The rush on the road made him very thirsty. He picked up the pot on the table and poured himself a cup and found that it was milk tea. 

    "Are you sure that you are the only one escaped?" The knight frowned, looking at him with a deep, elegant look, and asked slowly, one word at a time, as if this is a very important issue. 

    Although he was quite certain, Asa carefully recalled it and then nodded. "Yes, I was alone." This milk tea tastes good, but the cup is too small. Asa keeps drinking and pouring, pouring and drinking. In fact, he originally wanted to drink the pot directly, but the gorgeousness of the Duke's House and the gaze of the opposite knight made him feel uncomfortable to do so. 

    The knight stretched his brow slightly, then frowned more hard and asked more seriously: "So have you told this to anyone?" 

    "No." Asa is very sure about this. After coming out of the swamp, he has been running non-stop. Even now he has a bandage on his left wrist. 

    Thanks to a few Medical Talisman and potions in the bag, they were able to walk out of the river and find a dead tree to float to Bracada. After the local official knew that the injured women was the daughter of the Duke of Mulak, he immediately gathered all the priests and doctors who were within fifty-miles range. The broken ribs of Asa's chest have been re-connected, and there is no serious problem after the treatment, just somewhat fragile. The left wrist was completely broken. It took a whole day and a few butchers to find the bone fragments mixed in the flesh. After Asa was stunned three times under great pain, it was finally put back to its original state, kind of. With a surprising amount of treatments and drugs, the pain is eliminated. But it is also suspected of disability. Now Asa has put all his hopes on the wealthy of the Duke of Mulak, as well as the capabilities of the priests in the Capital.

    "Then why didn't you report the matter to the chief of your army?" The knight was still asking patiently and carefully, as if he wanted to put all the details into his head. His concentrated look is like a child, carefully gazing at the thing in front of him, as if it will suddenly fly away. 

    "Because I don't know exactly who my troops belong to. I just saw that they were recruiting temporary soldiers in Bracada and I joined." Asa also wanted to ask him who he should ask for his salaries for the past ten days, which worth more than a dozen copper coins. But looked at the cup in his hand, it is silver, and he was embarrassed to say it. "I asked Xiaoyi....About who should I report this to. She said that the Duke is the minister of the emperor. I think it might be better to report to him directly." 

    "Oh, I see. Ok, it is good, very good." The knight’s brows were suddenly opened and relaxed, and he was very happy. His smile is as dazzling as his blond hair, which can infect people. Most of the girls’ dream lovers are like this. 

    The knight suddenly thought of something and asked: "So how is Miss Xiaoyi?"

    "She is fine. The mayor of Brakada used a team to escort her. It would take about twenty days or so to get to the Capital." Xiaoyi’s cervical vertebrae cracked under the grip of the werewolf. As she moved out of the swamp, the injury worsened and the bones deformed slightly. The priests of Bracada did not dare to handle it. They had to give it a little of treatment, and then fixed it with a splint and return her to the Capital with a carriage. 

    "Well." The knight nodded. "On behalf of the Duke, I am grateful to you for your heroic rescue of Miss Xiaoxi." After a pause, his eyes looked directly at Asa and said in his very slow and clear voice: "And, you made the right choice to report this to the Duke directly. I think the Duke of Mulak will be very happy too after he knows about this.” His blue eyes reveal an expression of happiness. "You are so lucky, really lucky!" He said those words in a very heavy tone, as if he really rejoices for Asa's luck 

    With no reason, Asa felt a little uneasy from the knight's bright eyes. It didn't seem to be an expression of kindness, but rather a malicious flashing inside. Asa asked: "So who are you?"

    "Kravis Ely Baron, Captain of the Second Division of the Holy Knights, the assistant of the Duke of Mulak." The knight looked back. His voice is smooth and calm, perfectly fitting those noble titles. "Miss Xiaoyi's fiancé." 

    "Ah?" Asa was a little surprised about the knight’s last identity.

    The knight stood up, his eyebrows erected, and his eyes shine like blades. There was no smile on his face, and it looked like he had never smiled. He shouted, "Guards, take him down." 

    More than a dozen fully armed guards appeared at the door of the hall as if they came out from the ground, and rushed in to surround Asa.

    Asa has not yet awoken from the last surprise, and immediately fell into a bigger one. He stood up and said, "Are you guys mistaken, I said ..." 

    The knight’s hand knife did not give Asa any time to react. It accurately hit on the aorta on his neck. Asa immediately fell to the ground like an empty bag. 

    "Put him into prison and guard him carefully. This is an important spy." The knight's voice was more deterrent than his gaze, and the guards hurriedly took Asa out. "Prepare the horse and the badge. I have an urgent military situation and need to see the Duke in the palace." 

    For the Duke, this is a very dangerous yet good luck. Of course, it is also for me as well. The knight picked up the cup on the table and wanted to drink a cup of tea, but found that he had just picked the cup that Asa had just used. He picked up the pot and found it was empty. 

    “Barong!” The knight dropped the cup and pointed to the velvet chair that Asa had just sat on, he said: “This cup, the pot, and the chair, all thrown away.” He added, while stepping out of the door, "Don't let me see them again when I come back." 

    The servants at the Duke’s house are quite efficient, so is the horse. After only about ten minutes, the knight reached the military conference hall through heavy guards and met the Duke of Mulak. 

    After listening to the brief whisper of the knight, the Duke smiled gently, and said to the ministers at the table in a very gentle tone: "Sorry, please allow me to leave. It is my little girl. She was hurt." 

    In the garden outside the hall, the knight told the Duke every word from Asa. 

    The Duke squinted and listened carefully. His eyes are not big, and it seems like he is laughing when he drops his eyelids. He has a very neat moustache, and his body is slightly chunky. His round cheeks make him feel like a kind middle-aged business man who believes in peace and wealth. 

    "My Lord, this thing is very dangerous. Fortunately, this soldier is in our hands. Do you think this shows that there is something wrong with them? Maybe we should …” the knight asked. 

    The smile on the Duke’s face did not stop, and he asked: "I remember you saw them before." 

    "Yes."

    "What kind of people do you think they are?" 

    The knight took a deep breath and showed a look that did not match him. He was not convinced but could not conceal his fearful look, like a stubborn teenager who remembered the beast that had horrified him. The knight frowned and insisted on his own opinion, "But this does appear something is wrong..."

    "No one will not make mistakes, and no one can grasp everything. As long as you have done a sufficiently rational analysis, you should believe in your feelings and minds. Even if something goes wrong, you don't need to regret and hesitate." Like a teacher who is attending classes for students, the Duke carefully explained to the young knight. "Since we believe that they are far more efficient than us in solving such things, we only need to do our best for things on our own side. If something goes wrong, maybe there are some uncontrollable factors, such as luck, then we can't do anything. At least, it doesn't seem to be a problem now. Right?" 

    "Yes." The knight listened very carefully to the words of the Duke. With such a boss, the biggest reward is that there are many things to learn from. 

    There was a slight worry in the eyes of the Duke, and he asked, "How is the injury of Xiaoyi?"

    "Probably nothing critical. The local official sent a team escort her, and they are on the way back."

    The Duke looked at the knight with a blame and sighed softly. Ask again, "What did you do to the soldier?" 

    "Put in the prison in the city, wait for your order."

    The Duke asked, "How do you think I will handle him?"

    "Kill him."

    The Duke asked again, "Where do you think the danger of this soldier is?"

    “Told others what he had experienced.”

    The Duke guided the knight step by step, "Every minute he lives, the danger will grow bigger. And if you know how to deal with him, you should try to minimize the chance he is in contact with others." 

    "I want to wait for you to make a decision. This is very important after all."

    "Don't be too disciplined. Rules are there for dealing with things. No matter under what kind of situation, you should follow your own judgment and rationality first." The Duke looked at the knight and said one word at a time. “The more important thing is to have confidence in your own judgment."

    "Yes." The knight lowered his head and replied firmly.

    When the Duke of Mulak returned to the conference hall with a smile, the ministers all inquired about the injury of the princess. After thanking everyone for their concern, the Duke suggested that the meeting continue with the topic, "I just expressed the support to the General who discussed the need to increase the budget to his western army to clear the orc tribes. I agree with that completely. After all, the security of the country and the people are our top priority. For this reason, budget should be reduced in other areas."

  • Chapter 2 Escape from the Prison

    Asa woke up rubbing his neck and found himself lying on a pile of moldy grass. A mouse jumped from his feet and plunged into the gap in the corner.

    Looking up, you can see that three walls are all made of large bluestone, and only some dim light is leaking from the vent holes on the wall that are slightly larger than the fist. The other side is a wooden fence with arms-think poles. This is a cold dungeon.

    I was in the palatial Duke’s place just a moment ago, but now I am lying in a dungeon cell? This major contrast made Asa feel dizzy and confused for a while. He shook his head and thought about it for a moment. But then he was even more confused.

    Could it be that the knight suspected that there was something fishy between him and his fiancée? Or he thought that the injury of his fiancée is due to his fault? Asa carefully recalled the words of his report, and couldn’t find any loophole. He prepared the whole story about the swamp on his way to the Capital. Is this the knight’s own proposition? Then I will probably have to tell the Duke directly.

    Asa suddenly heard a strange sound in a cell next to him. It is moaning from a man and a woman.

    Before he realized what was happening, the door of the dungeon was kicked open. A thin man dressed as a jailer rushed in and rushed to the door of the jail cell where the sound came from and kicked the wooden fence: "Get out!"

    There was a few loud moaning, then a fatter jailer walked out carrying his pants in his hand.

    The thin jailer shouted: "What is going on with you? Didn’t we agree that I go first?"

    The fat jailer licked his mouth with a feeling that was not enough, and replied slowly: "Why do you come so late? It already passed the shift time. I have to wait."

    "You motherfucker, I’ve never seen you have so much patience. You always keep complaining even when I was a few minutes late. Now you are not in a hurry to go back home? Why do I have to cover your back while you are enjoying it?"

    "Ok, ok. Forget it. It already happened and it is pointless to complain now. It is up to you to do it or not…or maybe you want to wait until she is released from the jail?" The fat man said with a calm and slow tone.

    “Fuck you!” The thin jailer got more outrageous.

    Asa approached the wooden fence and said to the two jailers outside, "I want to see Duke Mulak..." He was thinking about how to explain this to the Duke.

    "See your mother's xx!" The thin jailer jerked around and kicked Asa's chest which is completely unprepared.

    The sound of broken bones is very clear in the quiet dungeon. The still fragile chest ribs were kicked broken again. Asa felt a huge chest pain and fell backwards. The back of his head hit a protruding stone under the straw. He fainted.

    The two jailers heard the crisp sound and saw that the prisoner did not move after falling to the ground. The fat man hurriedly opened the fence, came over to look at Asa, explored the breath, and exclaimed: "Shit, no breathing!" He touched the chest again, "The ribs broke a few. It seems that even the heartbeat is gone."

    The thin man was also surprised at the power of this kick, but tried to calm down, "Don’t panic! What is the fuss about a dead prisoner? I told you that I am a martial art master, and I was quite famous when I was in the army. Go ask someone..."

    The fat man looked at the thin man in horror, and said with a trembling voice, "This prisoner is a spy sent by the Duke's house and we were told to guard him carefully. He was captured by Baron Kravis personally. He may come to inquire him anytime."

    The thin man was still immersed in the power of this lethal kick, his eyes glared, "Don’t be scared." It seems that even if the baron came in person, he could kill him like how he has done with the prisoner. But after a little break, he started to feel worried. After all, recently the stories about pagans and spies are quite dramatic, killing a spy, maybe suspected of being a conspirator, and the baron’s harshness is notorious. The voice of the thin man lowered down, "Let me think about it..."

    Soon after, when the two jailers were just laid out, the knight came.

    "Escaped?" The knight's face is bluer than the bluestone on the wall.

    The two jailers clutched their heads and necks. The thin man replied with a dying voice, "He said that he was seriously injured and asked us to find him a doctor. This is an important prisoner you have seized. We are worried that he will be dead. So, we went in to see him. He suddenly stunned us and ran. " To prove that he is doing his duty, he pointed to other prisoners and said, "You can ask other prisoners, they all saw it." The whole dungeon echoed with some dying sound of the proof.

    A man-killing light burst from Kravis’s eyes. He stared at the two jailers and threw an order, "You two stayed here, wait for me to come back." He turned and ran out of the dungeon.

    Until the footsteps disappeared for a while, the thin man took a breath and said with a disdainful tone: "Don’t put on that disgusting airs in front of me. If I were born in the Ely Family, I would be a General already at your age." Looking at the fat man who is still shaking and scared by the knight’s cruel eyes, the heroic spirit of the think man was resurrected. Pat on the shoulder of the fat man he said: "See, you said that you will deal with the body yourself. That is time-consuming and easy to be discovered. Just give it to the Old Sandro. He is much faster at solving the problem than us. If you were doing it yourself, we would have run out of time."

    The fat man is still shaking, and even the voice is not clear,"His eyes are so scary."

    The thin man said with a sigh of relief, "I told you earlier that he likes to put on airs in front of others. He is just taking advantage of the power of the family. If he were a civilian, I would have killed him with just one kick...." The fat man nodded mindlessly.

    While they are talking, the two have been standing there without moving an inch.

    It didn't take too long, before the legs of the two men felt sore, Kravis returned to the prison after ordering the guards of the Capital to track down and arrest the escaped spy.

    “Who did the prisoner talk to here?”

    "Probably nobody...." The thin man did not dare to face Kravis's eyes and looked at the wall behind him. The fat man is staring at the ground, trembling.

    "Probably?" The voice of Kravis ​​seemed that he is asking, or maybe just talking to himself. The two jailers did not dare to answer.

    "Well." Kravis seemed to have figured out what the problem was, made a decision, and slowly nodded.

    "No one cannot make mistakes. Even if you make a mistake, just try to make up for it. It is useless to regret it. Right?" The two jailers found that the knight's face was not so ugly anymore, no longer the color of horrible cyan, and even showed some warmth in the eyes. He seemed to be forgiving and comforting them. This made them feel relieved, and the thin man quickly replied: "Yes, yes, we will try to make up."

    "Okay, okay, that is the right thing to say." Kravis put his hands on the shoulders of two jailers, which made the two feel completely flattered. The fat man no longer felt afraid, and felt that this handsome young aristocrat is worthier of respect than the statue in the church. The thin man also admitted from the bottom of his heart that this young rich man probably did have something that is better than himself.

    “Pong!” A muffled sound echoed in the air of the dungeon.

    One fat and one thin body leaned down together, as if they were close friends, even their blood and the brains were mixed together and cannot be separated from each other. There were a few screams from within the fences that are nearby.

    The knight frowned, then rebuked with a slow and steady tone, like an adult who is scolding the children, "Quiet. They are just taking responsibility for their faults. You guys are also responsible."

    Returning to the Duke's Mansion, Duke Mulak knew that the prisoner had escaped. He didn’t seem surprised and quietly told him to bring the prisoner's belongings to him.

    The knight looked at the Duke’s calm face and felt sincerely admirable. This is a person who others never know what he is thinking, and his eyes can see the secrets of the deepest heart of anyone. This is what Kravis wants to learn.

    Looking at the knife in his hand, the Duke’s eyes were even thinner. He stroked his fingers along the blade and looked at it for a long while. He suddenly asked Kravis, "What kind of knife do you think it is?"

    Kravis looked at it carefully and replied, "It’s not the type that soldiers use which is produced from weapon factories. It is forged by ordinary private blacksmiths," he looked again carefully, "It's a good blacksmith."

    “Yes, it’s a good blacksmith. The inclination, length, and thickness of the blade are well controlled. Can you see the relationship between the blacksmith and the user of the knife?”

    Kravis looked at it but had no clue, "I can't see it."

    "This knife is very practical. Every useful place is made very well, but there is no trace of any decoration, even the minimum decoration. That is, this knife is not a cargo, not even a gift from a friend. It seems to be made for just self-use." The Duke asked, "How old is the soldier?"

    "About twenty or so."

    "If the knife is made by himself, then he has to start practicing the blacksmith's craft in his mother's womb. It should be his elders who made this knife, maybe his father." The Duke's inference made Kravis feel completely admirable of him. "The iron used in this knife is also very good. A person who joins the mercenary couldn’t afford this. An ordinary blacksmith won’t have so much fine irons, unless it is...."

    "Unless his home is near a mine of fine iron." Kravis went on, "I will send someone to Karendo immediately to find out."

    "No rush, it has been less than an hour anyway. He must still be in town, just searching carefully." The Duke put the knife down, "Where is the chair sit by the soldier and the cup used by him?"

    "Well...hmmm...I ordered to throw them away.

     "Thrown away?" A rare surprising look appeared in the eyes of the Duke, "Why?"

    "I think it's an insult to let those things that were used by such people stay in the house."

    The Duke stared at Kravis for a while. Although knowing that the Duke is not angry or blaming him, Kravis still felt a little chilling on his back.

    "You are still too young." The Duke looked back and concluded in some helpless tone. Then he issued an order, "Tell the captains of the Capital Guards, this spy is extremely dangerous. He should be executed right away once found. No one is allowed to talk to him."

    "Yes." Kravis stepped down. He is very confident about the efficiency of the Capital Guards. Maybe the soldier is already a dead man.

    "Why is it still alive?"

    Asa woke up and the first sentence he heard was a complaint. This kind of tone often appears in the farmer’s market, when an old woman bought some unsatisfactory or shoddy vegetables or meats. 

  • Chapter 3 The Wanted

     In a room full of various corpses, an old man who was taming his body turned his head and looked at Asa, complaining with regret, "I was wondering how the skinny monkey suddenly delivered something to the door today, without even bargaining. I should have known that a bargain is not good.

    Asa wanted to get up. But with his hand just on the ground, a stabbing pain on the chest made him a painful scream. He fell on the ground. The broken ribs are intertwined, and he cannot say a single word under such pain. The old man ignored him and whispered to himself while playing with the body.

    Breathing a few times, Asa struggled to swing his head and look around. This is a big room, or a big house, with a very simple structure, a very high roof, a very large space, and a very wide door. There are a few large glass windows on the walls, which makes the room very bright. Every corpse inside can be seen clearly.

    It is not very accurate to say “corpse” because there are more than a dozen intact bodies, but also dozens of incomplete bodies, and countless organs in glass bottles, which are placed on shelves and countertops. This house is completely a humanoid exhibition hall. Asa lies in the encirclement of a male naked body and several hands and feet, while the old man is smashing a female body.

    A few footsteps approached, then someone knocked on the wide wooden door, and a voice shouted outside, "Is Old Sandra in there? Open the door." The old man shouted back, "Come in yourself." The door is pushed open, a dozen heavily armed soldiers came in. Several of them saw the setting of the house inside and whispered.

    A captain-like soldier asked the old man, "Is there any other people here?"

    "People?" The old man named Sandra nodded, "There are all kinds of people here. Whichever type you need, go find it yourself."

    "I am asking if you saw any suspicious living person."

    "I haven't seen this guy, and that guy as well." Sandra pointed to several soldiers. The soldiers looked at the fingers pointing at them and their faces twisted. The fingers were just taken out of the belly of the female body, full of blood and other liquids.

    "You old man...Here is the situation. A prisoner escaped from the prison in the city today. It was a very fierce spy, and he killed all the people in the prison, including the thin and fat guys who sold the body to you. He is still hiding in the city and we are ordered to search all the places." The captain said.

    "I’ve never seen the spy. There is no one hiding here. Feel free to search." The Old Sandra re-emerged in the body.

    "Alright. Everyone, search everywhere carefully. Remember, it is a man who is about twenty years old, a little taller, with dark hair and dark eyes, and a left-hand injury. Also remember, once you find him then kill him immediately. Don't talk to him. This is the order from Duke Mulak. This guy might know some evil magic. So be very careful.” The captain gave his order loudly and the soldiers slowly spread the search. Several of them were still in the same place, trying to hold the feeling of vomiting.

    Order from Duke Mulak? Asa cannot speak, but he heard it very clearly. Although he did not know how he managed to kill all the people in the prison under such a bad injury and then fled here, he clearly heard the order, “immediately kill, don’t talk.”

    The best way to do now is to close his eyes and continue to pretend to be dead, and wait until the crisis is over. But unfortunately, the room is very bright and everything looks clear, including the bandage on his hand.

    "Hey, look at this." The Old Sandra pulled out something from the abdominal cavity of the female corpse, proudly holding it like a great discovery and showing it in his hand, "I bet that this woman has not given birth, but had an abortion. Someone in the Capital did this to her."

    “Wow...Oh...” The two soldiers next to the captain finally couldn’t help but vomiting. The voice seemed to be contagious, and several other soldiers vomited one after another.

    "Fuck—who brought the new recruits?" The captain's boots were covered with vomit and jumped up. Look at the other soldiers who began to vomit, and then took a look at the things held by the old man in his hands, with a few ribs attached to the female body, the captain shouted, "let’s go, hurry, hurry!" The soldiers immediately ran out like fleeing from a calamity.

    "Hey, clean it before you leave." Old Sandra chased a few steps, slammed a few words, came back close the door, and then walked to Asa. He stared at him strangely and said, "I don't know how you were dragged here by the skinny monkey as a corpse, and then went back and killed him."

    Asa wasn’t able to see him clearly until now. This is a tall man with a monk robe that is so dirty that you can't tell the color. The gray beard hair and the silk of the robes are entangled, so that you can only see part of his face. The only thing clear is the eyes, black and white, and there is no trace of sluggishness that he should have at this age.

    "I don't know what is going on either. If you know that they are looking for me, why don't you give me to them?" Asa asked weakly. The broken bones are whining with each word he said.

    Old Sandra widened his eyes and asked with a natural tone, "Why should I hand you over to them?" He lifted five fingers and shook, "You cost my five Copper Coins. Five."

    "I will pay you back if I can escape." Asa was completely overwhelmed by the situation. With such a heavy injury on his body, he was inexplicably turned into a wanted criminal, and the order of “Don't talk, immediately kill” gave him no chance to defend.

    "No, it seems that you have no chance to go out of town. Even my place was searched. Probably even the women's toilet in the city has been searched as well. What did you do?" asked the old man.

    "Just saved the Duke's daughter from the swamp."

    "And then you went to bed with her? Had a baby? Or you sold her to a brothel? Or a slave trader?" The old man's imagination is very rich.

    "I escorted her all the way to Bracada."

    "Alright, then the way how the Duke express his thanks is really special." Old Sandra shook his head. "But I am not interested in the reasons. I am in shortage of people here. You can work to pay your debts. Anyway, you can't run. They are very serious and won’t give up until they catch you."

    Asa dazed for a while, and said in a fainted voice, "It seems that this is the only way. But please go find a doctor or a priest." His voice has begun to blur due to the huge pain.

    Old Sandro took a look and put his hands on Asa’s chest. His hands suddenly grabbed the ribs on both sides and dragged them. Asa shouted, feeling that a few knives had been twisted into the chest and he almost fainted. After he took a few breath, he realized that the broken bones were re-connected without any problems, and even the pain was almost gone. It took more than a dozen pastors in Bracada who were busy with the treatment for a whole morning. Now the old man seemed to play just a small trick, and it is done. Although Asa did not know about magics, he guessed that this is very high level of healing spells.

    "Three months." said Old Sandra.

    "What?" Asa did not know what the old man meant.

    "I have cured this for you. You have to work for me for three months."

    Asa quickly lifted the left wrist that was smashed by the werewolf and asked, "What about this?"

    The Old Sandra untied the bandage and looked at it carefully, giving a sigh, "At least three years."

    In the Duke's House, inside the reading room, Duke Mulak frowned, while hearing the search reports of the Capital Guards, which had no progress.

    Knight Kravis stood straight ahead. Even under such an angry mood, he did not lose his temper and still behave elegantly, showing what a “knight” must act like.

    But when he looked down at the floor, his eyes burst with angry.

    The Duke did not blame him. The Duke would never blame anyone and would not lose temper to anyone. It is only that Kravis can't forgive himself for committing such a big mistake. This mistake may lead to the failure of the entire plan, and may even put the Duke and himself in danger.

    "Why did you kill everyone in the prison?" The Duke suddenly asked.

    "I am afraid that the soldier leaked something inside." Kravis replied.

        "When someone is inexplicably locked up, how can he have the mood and leisure to chat with others?" Duke Mulak slowed down and aggravated the tone, "The most important thing is that you didn't ask at all. How did he entice the jailers into the cell? How did he stun them? And how did he run out? If we know all the details, we should be able to find something meaningful." The Duke concluded again, "You are too young, too impulsive. Be patient, think about the problem from as many angles as possible, and find more solutions."

    "Yes. I will do everything I can and try my best to catch this soldier."

    "Think a little more from different angle." The Duke repeated tirelessly, "Don’t try too hard. Someone may notice and feel curious about it. Hand it over to the Guards." The Duke thought for a moment, "The chance of a problem is not big. The soldier probably won't know why he is being chased and he dare not go to other places to report. Let’s focus on what we should do. You can leave now. Remember in front of others you should show that you have nothing to do with this fugitive."

    "Yes."

    Looking at the back of Kravis, the Duke was still frowning. This is a very ambitious young man. He is very capable, works very hard and very energetic. He is definitely a good deputy, a good subordinate, and a good piece. But it is not a person who can have great achievements.

    Too strong, it will cover the rational. Care too much about something, you can't feel the whole picture of things and the subtle changes in them. Being attracted by a leaf, you cannot see the entire forest.

    Too ambitious, and too harsh, will leave no room for changes. Going for far is as bad as not going far enough.

    This young man has a big family stands behind him. The Ely family is a long-lived giant. They have many high-ranking officials in the empire, as well as many rich merchants. He is the eldest son of the family. It is definitely a perfect marriage. But he is definitely not a good husband.

    It is very tough to live with someone who focuses too much on fame and fortune. This kind of person cares only about themselves.

    Sighing in his reading room, Duke Mulak suddenly felt a little tired. 


  • Chapter 4 Ordinary Life

     The search for the horrifying prisoner is still in full swing after a whole month. Teams of guards can be seen everywhere on the street. Portraits of the prisoner is on every street, and people are talking about him all the time. Some people say that he is a spy from the enemy country. Some people say that he is a new kind of orc, and others say he is a cultist of the Necromancer.

    Asa followed the Old Sandra who is with a few vegetable vendors in front of the butcher shop, listening to the shop owner who is talking about how the cultist waved a talisman on his hand, shouted, and then all people in the prison suddenly had their heads off and their blood splashed everywhere. Several vegetable vendors whispered and agreed to go to the church to ask for some holy water.

    "The holy water must be sprayed in a place close to the body, underwear is the most effective." The Old Sandra said to the vegetable vendors. 

    A team of patrolling guards passed by Asa, and several of them curiously glanced at him. 

    It’s just a glance. Even Asa did not dare to stare at himself when facing the mirror. His current face is like a waxy ugly thing that is re-solidified when it is half-melted in the fire. Pits and oily sarcomas are all over the face. The organs on his face are twisted together, and even the eyes are dragged. Even a half-orc or a big-eared monster is 10-times more handsome than him. 

    Of course, this is just a mask. A mask that is well done. You can actually see the pores. The blood vessels on the tumors are looming, and feels like a real skin. Old Sandra's craftsmanship is very good, and Asa doesn't feel any discomfort when wearing it. But Asa doesn't dare to ask him what the mask is made of. 

    Bend the waist, put up some pad on the back, and then cripple when walk, put on a worn robe that covers the whole body, which completely matches his appearance. After following Old Sandro on the street for two days, people on several streets were familiar with him already. They all knew that he was the hunchback assistant of Old Sandra. 

    Old Sandra is actually a member of the School of Magic, and the big house full of corpses belongs to the School of Magic too, which makes Asa somewhat surprised. Even in the countryside of Karendo where he lives, the miners and blacksmiths who are addicted to wines and prostitutes have great respects for the School of Magic. That is the most important institution of the Church. In the minds of many people, it is almost the center of the Church. It is the place to study magic and cultivate pastors and magicians. It is only a vain concept if you mention the Royal or other military affairs to the lower-class civilians. It is far less interesting than the street rumors. But if you are injured, or you did something that makes you feel guilted, you will get help from the priests of the School of Magic. Therefore, in the eyes of ordinary people, it is a sacred and noble place. 

    But just like a holy woman is still a person, who needs to go to the bathroom, if the School of Magic wants to study the Healing Magic, then it needs to study the human body, and there needs to have a place to store the bodies. 

    Of course, considering the sacredness of the Church, such research is only carried out as quietly as necessary, and such a place cannot be inside the School of Magic. The big house was built in a remote corner on the west side of the city. The only living thing in it was Asa and Old Sandra. 

    The work of Old Sandro is actually to store and classify various organs and limbs. He has a lot of leisure time, and sometimes goes to the market. However, most of the time he likes to study the bodies. For example, He will build a human from parts of different bodies, or apply some weird spells on the body, or cut an organ into dozens of small pieces, and soaked in dozens of different kinds of portions. This is a very body-consuming hobby. So Sandra maintains a good relationship with the jailers and the guards in the city. As long as there is an insignificant or unclaimed body, they will sold it to him in a few copper coins. Asa's job is to carry the body, assist in splitting the body, chop the organs, go to the market to buy daily necessities, and prepare food for the two.

    Usually no one is close to the big house at all. But in addition to the three wild cats nearby, there will be one guest every two or three days. It’s also an old man, dressed in a black robe, cheeky and thin like he has never had a full meal. He has black circles under his eyes, as if he had never slept forever. He always came to Sandra at night. When he came Sandra will ask Asa to enter his hut to read books. The two old men will lit candles in the big house full of dead bodies and organs and chatted until midnight.

    Two months ago, Asa saw his troops were slaughtered by the enemy from the hills in the west, then he was chased by the orcs and almost died in the Lizard Swamp. Now he became a notorious fugitive in the Capital, and was playing with a quirky old man in a big house full of corpses. When he thought of the experiences of the past two months, Asa felt it is incredible.

    It is reasonable to say that he can easily slip away without being noticed by Old Sandra. His mask and his current popularity in the city can definitely help him escape. But he didn’t do so.

    There are many reasons for staying. For example, learning magic is an unattainable wish of his childhood. There are a lot of books about magic in Sandra's house. And he is here waiting for the team in Bracada to send Xiaoyi back. This seems to be the only turning point in this dilemma. The Duke’s “kill on the spot” order made him not even have a chance to clarify himself and he was completely unaware of the reasons. The only hope is to wait for her to come back and see if he can clarify the misunderstanding.

    Asa always thought that the Duke wanted to kill him because of some misunderstanding of the relationship between him and Xiaoyi. In the current situation, that is the only guess he can think of.

    But these are not the most important reasons. He hasn’t escaped because he does not feel that there is anything wrong with this strange life. 

    It was probably because that he has experienced too much blood and cruelness at the night two months ago, living in the encirclement of corpses and organs now does not make him feel uncomfortable. 

    Probably because he was so close to death in the Lizard Swamp countless of times, he does not feel nervous at all seeing all the searching guards on the street. Sometimes when seeing a team of young soldiers searching so hard to find him, he almost wanted to stop them, asked them to rest on the street stalls for some food, and advised them not to waste any effort any more.

    It is probably that Old Sandra is used to live with the corpse, so he treated people as corpses without any precautions. He never asked Asa about anything. He didn't even ask Asa's name. In any case, there were only two living people in the big house. When one person opened his mouth, he knew that he was talking to the other guy. On the contrary, Sandra gave names to the three wild cats who often came to the house for food. The two seem to be old friends whose curiosity among them were long gone.

    More importantly, daily magical learning and meditation consumed all his energy. Every day he can feel the progress. From the simplest hemostasis to the true Recovery Spell, from the most basic use of two fingers to ignite a candle to cooking a fish with empty hands. 

    He also found a dusty book from the back of the old man's bookshelf. The pages are made of leather which are very old but intact. This is a very strange book. From the catalogue, there are a lot of amazing magic and various skills related to magic. But in addition to the catalogue and the opening chapter of the method of meditation, it is written in a language that Asa does not know. Asa did not ask Sandra, and he practiced meditation every day just in accordance with the method written in the first article he could understand.

    Every day he did such learning, practice, and meditation. He was completely immersed in this life of continuous improvement, which he started from the age of five. For him, this lifestyle is the quietest and most peaceful. Everything is so natural, without the slightest tension and deliberation. Asa spent a month in this plain life full of corpses and hunt.

    Plain life always makes people relax. After a long time, people's feelings seem to melt into every day detail of this life, no longer want to have any fluctuations and changes. But he knew that this is not enough. After all, some things can't end like this. He can't be a fugitive all his life. He can't live in the shadows for a lifetime. Although there is no danger now, the last thing he can bear is that there is something that limits himself.

    And he cannot just let so many people die in vain on the hills of the wilderness in the west. Out of a strange instinct, Asa felt vaguely that the situation he reported in the Duke's House did not really reach the right person.

    "Hey, let’s go, what are you wondering about?" Old Sandra handed him a pack of things. Asa took it and limp away with his head lowered.

    At night, fascinated by the light shining through the window, Asa walked out of the big house after meditation and saw a bright full moon the second time in his life.

    It’s been right two months from the last time, on the hill in the wilderness of the west. It is the same soft, bright and dazzling moon, no star dares to sneak in the sky. The moonlight took Asa’s memory back to that time, and it was a night of killing.

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