“It’s Xi Wei right? We meet again,” Xia An spoke, while an evil laugh escaped his lips.
Naomi was a bit surprised, “You know each other?”
Xia An bore a smile that was not truly a smile, and explained, “Of course, Xi Wei comes over every week to bathe Qiqi.”
Nami quickly understood, then showed a happy smile, “Since it’s an employer you have cooperated with many times, that’s much better.”
Zeno stayed silent and scowled. This was unscientific! Why did the boss suddenly blacken without any indication? A few days ago, when they went to bathe Qiqi, everything was totally fine!
What happened these past few days—boss can we talk about life?
Xia An’s temperament was not the only thing that changed. His white garments were exchanged for black robes, and the entire air around him had gone through an earth-shaking transformation. The quiet, shy young man disappeared, removed and replaced by this ‘no-good’ boss.
If you had to add another descriptor, Zeno could not think of anything more fitting than ‘wild demon’.
Xi Wei was the only calm person. He knew their smooth and steady days were over. How could they forget the darkness of the city; the more harmless a person looked, the more likely they were to stab you in the back.
The most kind-hearted and jovial of people could easily be wearing masks, disguising their true selves. Under that kind of façade, how could anyone be taken seriously? At this moment, Xi Wei was exercising his usual extreme level of vigilance.
This boss was obviously not the same as Xia An. Even if they had the same blindness, Xia An behaved like an ordinary blind person, but the boss seemed to have grown a pair of eyes. He did not need any kind of walking stick, and his actions were as good as anyone not afflicted with blindness.
Everyone was busy packing, so no one noticed the unusual atmosphere in their corner.
Nami suddenly smacked her own forehead, “I almost forgot. Mr. Xia An, about this little mercenary; this small child cannot follow us as we explore the snow-capped mountains. Do you have any means to assist in finding care for him?”
In Nami’s opinion, Xia An was rich and generous. He hired so many people to hunt for treasure, so arranging care for a child should only take a matter of minutes.
However, Xia An replied coldly, “There are ways, but why should I help the hired mercenaries take care of the child? Will the mercenary’s commission pay for the care? If I remember correctly, he is only responsible for guarding the magic storage boxes, correct?”
Naomi was slightly embarrassed and unable to answer his questions.
From the start of their conversation with Xia An until goodbye, Xi Wei remained silent. At that moment, he saw that there was no room for negotiation. He held Zeno’s hand and walked directly out the guild door.
Hill was busy leaning against a nearby pillar. The snowflakes were so plentiful they filled the whole sky, but Hill did not cover his body any further.
When he saw them, Hill stood slightly straighter and asked, “What, not going take part in the treasure hunt?”
Zeno broke away from Xi Wei’s grip on his hand and ran quickly up to Hill. He reached up to grab his sleeve, and pulled him down so he could whisper into his ear, “Uncle Hill, can you help me?”
Hill was slightly surprised that Zeno’s face was genuinely pleading and his worries were unconcealed. Xi Wei watched from a distance and he witnessed the two of them whispering closely together as if they were co-conspirators.
When did they become so familiar?
Hill did not ask Zeno much about his request. He just patted his head and praised him, then motioned at Xi Wei behind Zeno with his chin, “Is the treasure hunt in the snowy mountains still a go then?”
Xi Wei, as always, was silent.
“I don’t think you have anybody else you can trust right now, so why not trust me once?”
Xi Wei noticed a longing look on Zeno’s face. He did not know what he was looking forward to, but he did notice an increased level of intimacy between the other two. Even so, he could not trust a stranger that had suddenly appeared.
Xi Wei whispered, “Like him?”
Zeno thought deeply, then nodded his head, “I like Uncle Hill.”
Hill was a friend of this host-body’s mother. Zeno was naturally close to him, and most importantly, his protagonist was obviously asking this question with relation to entrusting Zeno to him.
Zeno wanted to follow Hill for two reasons. The first reason was to save his protagonist any worries, and secondly, he wanted to get Hill to help on the sly.
Xi Wei’s dark eyes were fixed on Zeno. When it seemed like he would no longer change his mind, he turned his head and said only, “Hmm.” He was not the type to be argumentative, nor would he show consideration through superfluous words. He turned around and once again headed to the Mercenary Guild.
Hill picked Zeno up so that he would not have to continue standing in the snow. Instead of leaving immediately, the two of them stared towards the guild’s door.
When Naomi saw Xi Wei leave, she thought he had given up this opportunity because he could not stand the harsh employer. In the end though, he soon came back empty-handed.
“Handsome little guy, did you manage to find care for your little one?”
Xi Wei faintly indicated positively.
Nami revealed a trace of joy on her face, and said in a relieved voice, “Very good, I thought that I might have to replace you.”
Xia An was still standing in the same place. His dialogue was also clearly audible, and the corners of his lips rose up, revealing a strange smile.
Xi Wei did not mind whether the employer was evil or not. It was the employer’s task for him to bathe cats. It was also the employer’s task to guard the storage boxes—it had nothing to do with the employer’s personality.
The three magic storage boxes were quickly handed over to Xi Wei. Each box was only around the size of an ordinary dictionary, but they were indeed very heavy. They were all packed into a sturdy backpack; an ordinary person would not be able to move under the burden. Xi Wei’s basic martial arts abilities make him the best candidate.
Magic storage boxes were a product of the second generation of alchemical products. In the second and third era, magic was not as developed as now, so there was a rapid development in the field of alchemy. There was a particularly brilliant alchemical civilization, but as a new era dawned, vast amounts of knowledge about alchemy and its secrets were lost. The magic storage box managed to survive because of its wide range of applications and uses.
A mighty group of men and horses left the Mercenary Guild. The whole group was led by the employer, Xia An, and Nami. Even the other leaders of the Wind Wolf Corps had to follow behind.
As ordinary logistics personnel, Xi Wei could only hang out at the tail-end of the whole procession.
Zeno saw him and waved hard from Hill’s arms.
His family’s protagonist did not show a single expression or emotion in his eyes.
Hill restrained his laughter and left after Zeno.
The snow continued to fall for a very long time. However, as if the weather understood the eager feelings of the treasure hunters, it stopped snowing on the second day after Xi Wei and company’s departure. According to Nami’s words, when the snow stopped they would proceed up the mountain. Consequently, Zeno could not sit still.
“Uncle Hill, when will we go to Nice’s snowy mountain?” Because the employer was the boss, Zeno could not rest assured.
Although the original boss, Xia An, was killed by Xi Wei, it had happened when they met by accident. The current protagonist was not a killer, and he was still quite innocent. It stood to reason that the boss would not make trouble for such a humble little mercenary. However, the great contrast in his persona from the days before and now made Zeno uneasy.
This time Hill could play the role of the golden thigh.
Hill blew on the barbecued meat in his hand and then stuffed it into Zeno’s mouth and watched him chew it up and swallow. After that, he clapped his hands, and then headed towards Nice’s mountain.
Zeno could not help feeling that the magical world was really not the same, especially for the powerful. Being held by Hill, despite the wind is blowing, it like he was carrying a portable heater. They were warm and comfortable, making people want to cry.
Nice’s snow-capped mountains were a wonderful sight for the people of Ye Sa City. There were many mountains of all size, including some that were thousands of miles high. Only a mountain like that would be covered with snow all year long. That is why there were rumours of treasures on the mountain. Some people believe that the snow was maintained year round by some mysterious magic, but it had never been confirmed.
An avalanche had now taken place, and the clues to the treasure appeared. All those with a little financial force were tempted to think of ways to gain a piece of the pie.
Money moved hearts, and Ye Sa City was certainly filled with desperation.
Hill’s speed was extremely fast. It seemed like Nice’s snow-capped mountains were on the horizon within the blink of an eye. Even more strange was that there was obviously an adult holding a child in a group of treasure hunters, but rather than being shocked by what they saw, it was as if the two of them were transparent.
In this chaotic scene, the team following their boss Xia An were obviously the strongest. It was worth mentioning that the Wind Wolf Corps was the strongest mercenary group in Ye Sa City. The powerful boss and the gorgeous Nami were enough to draw stunned second looks from all who saw them.
Xi Wei hid in the crowd. He was always the least obvious group member, with almost no sense of presence.
Hill walked up to the Wind Wolf Corps. Zeno pulled on Hill’s collar and wondered what he was going to do.
However, the members of the Wind Wolf Corps, as well as the boss and Nami, were unaware of their close proximity. According to the description from the novel, if Hill was a warrior, he would at least be at the level of a peak War Saint. If he were a magician, then he would be a Sage at the very least. In short, he was far more powerful than most people.
Only Xi Wei glanced in their direction—it was like he had telepathy. After seeing that nothing was there, he became even more vigilant. He had strong natural instincts, and he could perceive supernatural forces that most people could not detect. He just lacked proper evidence to prove anything.
Zeno’s plans were to secretly protect Xi Wei. As long as there was no danger to his life, they would not go out at all. If things were urgent, they would step in and help out.
This time, since Xi Wei did not come across the scene of the boss committing a crime, then perhaps the boss would not suddenly try to him?
In fact, the best approach to the boss should be to get rid of him as soon as possible. Having read and re-read ‘Curse’, Zeno was familiar with boss’s weaknesses. In the novel, Xi Wei was able to defeat the stronger Xia An because of his weaknesses. However, the gentle youth that doted on Qiqi, and even prepared the bathroom so that the two mercenaries could wash up, always lingered in Zeno’s mind. Zeno was in a dilemma and he unconsciously sighed.
Curious what could make such a small child so mature, Hill looked at him with interest, “What’s wrong? Are you so worried about how Xi Wei is doing? Have a bit of confidence in your Uncle Hill.”
Zeno’s face crinkled with a little frown and he said, “You don’t understand.”
Even if their hearts were full of contradictions, they had to keep up their pace. Zeno did not believe that this Xia An was truly searching for the imaginary treasure.
The weather condition on the snowy mountains was harsh. Xi Wei was frozen and shivering. The back of his hand, despite the warm soft-shell, seemed to be getting frostbitten—they were quite itchy. Thankfully, he always seems to get more food than anyone else, including some pieces of meat and some vegetables. Once they had managed to survive the first two days, he gradually adapted to the cold weather.
Xi Wei did not say anything. He understood the need to keep a low profile.
Zeno and Hill followed the group for four days. In addition to observing, they would secretly add more food to the protagonist’s dinner. The team was not unusual, and it was not much different from ordinary treasure hunts so far. It was not until the fourth evening that things reached a turning point.
Xia An separated from the team, saying that he was going around for a walk. For him to behave differently like this, something must be up. With this idea in mind, Zeno encouraged Hill to follow along behind him.
Xia An walked steadily for about half an hour before stopping. He waited for a while, then sprang up when a white snowy figure emerged. It was almost integrated with the snow, and very difficult to distinguish unless one looked carefully.
The white shadow quickly and proficiently leaped into Xia An’s arms. Xia An showed a small smile, “Find it, Qiqi?”
Qiqi meowed, then shook her body out with excitement.
No footnotes! Yay! Just hitting my sleepy stage so this is perfect. Any later and I would not have been able to publish this tonight. Although it’s more likely I missed some small typos since I’m falling asleep! Let me know if you find some.
The unicorn-cat is back!!
Hope you all like the changes I made to my website. Shoutout to Jade, who helped me iron out a few things at what felt like the middle of the night.