The nightmare forest, nestled on the border of the Miya Empire, was a paradise for mercenaries and adventurers. For many generations magical beasts had roamed about, so although it was dangerous, it was also full of opportunities. The forest was rich in resources and according to legends it was the entrance to the dwelling place of the elven race. There were some people who claimed to have seen the elves and that it was true, but they were unable to properly confirm. Relying on the geography and environment that was blessed by heaven, many towns developed next to the Nightmare Forest, providing tourists with a place to stay.
The town of Siwa was one of the largest and oldest of those towns, and it was said that its existence could be traced back to the last era.
It was currently the height of summer and the weather was so hot even dogs were too lazy to get worked up. A dark-haired teenager stepped into the entrance of the Siwa Town Mercenary Guild as the sinister sun beat down. He pulled on his collar a little to open it, revealing a small portion of his fair chest and clavicle. The beads of sweat on his neck could not resist the pull of gravity as they slowly slid down.
Once he stepped into the Mercenary Guild with its temperature control array, the youth finally took a break. He fanned himself and wiped off the beads of sweat that were too slow in falling. After that, he walked over to the front counter.
The staff member handling registration had taken note of him as soon as he entered the guild. He was different from the majority of crude mercenaries. The young man was about fifteen or sixteen years old and his appearance was that of one who lived like a prince and had a good education. Furthermore, he did not come off as arrogant and overbearing, and the moment he smiled, others got the feeling that he was very amiable.
Emily, the one in charge of registration, became a love-struck fool for a moment before she snapped back out of it. That kind of mercenary should be a young master coming to experience society for himself. That was beyond what the little registrar could imagine, and she shook her head. Showing a gentle and professional smile, she asked “How can I serve you sir?”
The teenager bowed his head and thought for a moment, then took out a silver badge and handed it to Emily while speaking, “Miss Registrar, I wish to ask if a task to catch a unicorn foal was posted recently. If there is, please allow me to accept.”
Emily looked at the silver badge and she was finally able to converge her thoughts cleanly. She answered, “Please wait a moment, I will check for you. Oh yes, there was indeed a task of capturing young unicorns. Are you sure you want to pick up this request?”
The young man nodded.
Seeing this, Emily also took the silver badge and began to register him, “Zeno, a first-class intermediate level mercenary, accepts the mission to capture young unicorns with a limit of 10 days.”
After the registration was completed, the badge was returned to the youth named Zeno.
Zeno collected his badge and was intending to leave. Suddenly, the corner of the hall grew quite noisy. It turned out that a group of mercenaries had surrounded something and were quarreling, but he did not know what was in the middle.
Out of curiosity, Zeno stopped and took a look at the lively scene. He was cut off from the rest of the world for more than three years. He had grown unbearably bored.
Most of the guys who were mercenaries were tall and strong. They surrounded whatever was going on three layers deep, so no one could see the situation inside.
What sounded like a lively discussion with everybody talking at once became an uproar about an ugly person who had stolen some things.
Zeno hopped up twice where he was standing and rose above the heads of the crowd. With difficulty, he saw the person everyone had surrounded. The mercenaries shoved and insulted him, but no one dared to actually hit him inside the guild.
The man had a large red patch of skin that stretched across the left side of his face and was really terrible at first glance. No wonder he was called ‘Ugly One’.
‘Ugly One’ was being jostled by the people, yet he only slightly lowering his head and did not say a word, as if it was a type of silent rebellion.
A mercenary who claimed to have had his things stolen impatiently reached out to grab the ‘Ugly One’s’ hair and forced him to look up. However, he was stopped by the other’s hand. The hand was elegant and slender, the knuckles smooth, and the fingers long and slightly thin. That hand was truly nice looking and completely different from its owner.
Naturally, that was ‘Ugly One’s’ hand.
‘Ugly One’ finally raised his head, and at that moment Zeno had just jumped up and their gazes accidentally met head-on.
His eyes were cold and deep, and his appearance was calm and caused one to feel frightened. He removed his sight from Zeno and shifted a critical line of sight onto the mercenaries around him.
“I didn’t steal your things.”
The mercenary who was stopped flew into a rage out of humiliation. Such a sturdily built man was actually stopped by the ordinary looking Ugly One. He was even thrown down and lost all face. Then he lunged forward in a rush of hormones, even though the rules of the Mercenary Guild did not allow fighting.
However, he was not capable of teaching a lesson to the Ugly One. The ugly man’s figure was quite flexible and he avoided all the other man’s attacks skillfully and easily. The big man was fuming with rage, and it was like smoke billowed out of his eyes and ears.
The people around them were stunned. We were wrong, we were really wrong. We only knew that he was very ugly, but forgot that despite being ugly, he was also a mercenary. An ugly appearance did not necessarily indicate a weak level of strength.
At that moment, some people stretched out their hands to pull back the big man, and indicated that he should quit while he was ahead. That way, he would not ultimately find himself in an awkward situation.
That big guy was not a fool, he also thought that this Ugly One’s strength was far above his own. However, for the sake of saving face, he was not willing to beat the return drum1.
With no room to advance or retreat, some people thought they would step in to help the big mercenary. Emily discovered that a fight was about to break out. She rushed over and berated the group, “You sure have guts, daring to make trouble in the guild hall. I guess you don’t want ten percent of your contribution points, isn’t that right!”
The complexions of those who had stood in a circle watching and causing trouble transformed and they scattered with their tails between their legs.
In the end, the only one left in that spot was the Ugly One. Emily saw that he would not be doing any fighting, “And you, you have only been in our town of Siwa for a few days. Everyday you stir up trouble, you don’t know what it means to behave with integrity!”
Zeno simply did not know what to say. Although he did not know if this person really stole something, he did not want to pick a fault with him just because he was not pleasing to the eye. He had seen that kind of thing before in Ye Sa City. He and Xi Wei were two young people, and they were also ridiculed by people who deliberately made things difficult for them every day. Fortunately, they had Nami helping them, and their days were not too difficult.
As he considered those things, Zeno could not help but give birth to a feeling of fellow sufferers empathizing with each other. He interrupted Emily, “I can prove that he really didn’t steal the wallet. Those people deliberately accused him.”
When Emily heard him, she somewhat believed in her heart. Then she thought about the troubles he had caused a few times and thought he did not seem like a good person. It was hard to believe entirely, so she muttered a few words, “I’ll pay attention to it next time.”
From the start, Zeno actually did not know anything at all. He gave a false testimony and had a bit of a guilty conscience, but his instincts strongly told him that this Ugly One was definitely not a thief. He had always felt that people with that kind of look in their eyes would feel it beneath their dignity to resort to thievery.
The Ugly One finally looked at Zeno again. His gaze was neither grateful nor wronged and he was as serene as before. Afterwards, he left the Mercenary Guild without so much as a thank you.
Zeno stood in silence and frustration for a while, but seemed to think that this was heaven’s law and earth’s principle2. He could not figure out the strange feelings he was experiencing, and then he flung the incident to the back of his mind to be forgotten.
This time, he had a mission. That was, to strive to stay at the side of his protagonist Xi Wei and continue to serve as an obscure and unknown savior!
In order to reunite after more than three years, he had already planned it out long before. The small town of Siwa was originally the first stop of Xi Wei’s journey to learn through experience. At that time, there would be an immense treasure house opening in the nightmare forest, and the reason was that someone had taken on the task of capturing unicorn foals. In the process, they angered a level six magical beast. When that magical beast grew angry, it smashed into the magic array protecting the treasure house and Xi Wei gained the biggest benefit.
Then the problem arose. According to the inertia of the plot, Xi Wei would surely appear here, but Siwa was so large and finding someone was easier said than done.
He was so damned worried.
There was no other way of moving forward for the moment. Anyway, on the final day, naturally they would meet.
Zeno thought over the plot all the way through once again in his heart and confirmed a few details to ensure there were no mistakes. He even thought about brilliant ways in which he could possibly appear in front of his protagonist.
To reassure himself, Zeno decided to go on a stroll around town. He was unfamiliar with the town of Siwa, so he wandered without purpose. Unconsciously, he walked further and further until he had strayed into an uninhabited laneway.
Suddenly, a faint groan came from the depths of the roadway. It was a woman’s voice. Zeno’s spirit shivered, but he still walked in the direction of the sound. It was midday, so along with the inexplicable tension, he began to heat up with the ambient temperature. In response, he pulled his collar open once again.
According to his original habits, as well as Xi Wei’s teachings since he was a small child, he absolutely should not meddle in other people’s business. Just by hearing the voice he knew it would be troublesome, but he felt in his heart that he wanted to go—it was as if he would miss something important if he did not go.
With those kinds of conflicting views, Zeno could not help turning his steps to walk over there.
Groan. The moaning sound was getting closer and closer. After turning around a corner, everything was revealed in front of Zeno. An ethereal and beautiful woman was lying on the ground on top of some clothes. Her fair face was coated in perspiration and her groaning was tinged with suffering. It seemed that her strength was waning rapidly, and that she was quickly approaching death.
The beautiful woman was actually pregnant. Her belly was large and bulging, and it was clear that she was almost ready to give birth to a child.
There was only one young man next to her. The young man was holding a sharp dagger in his hand and that hand was very stable. He checked his position, then prepared to strike the dagger down.
That was the scene that greeted Zeno as soon as he turned, so he shouted subconsciously, “Stop!”
However, the person holding the dagger did not seem to hear him at all. The dagger in his hand was plunged into the stomach of the pregnant woman and he cut open her abdomen Bright red blood splashed on the young man’s face and seemed to almost fuse with a large patch on his face.
The pregnant woman issued a pain-filled scream.
There was no anaesthetic or narcotics in this era, so one could only imagine the pain of having one’s body cut open.
Zeno watched with his heart alarmed, body leaping, and he just wanted to step forward to stop it. The young man with the knife finally raised his head, and the red mark covering the left side of his face was in full sight.
Volume three came on pretty strong! I feel like there will be lots of questions after this chapter, so, let’s hear what you think! I am planning to do two chapters of RAAS in a row next, so the next release will be a little longer unless Piper has a break in her homework.
Thanks for reading everyone, slowly but surely we are getting through this novel!