-Chapter 56, DGM-
The casino was situated to the north-east of River Valley Village. It was a huge wooden house with two stories, and was also known as the area which drove the economy of River Valley village the most. The casino had the best business out of the entire village. It was reported that the owner of the casino was the mayor’s nephew, as the military never found trouble with the casino.
After entering the casino, Hank and Greedin joined Link by his sides like bodyguards.
The casino was bustling. Most of the people there were red-eyed gamblers. 1 There was a lady at the head of every table, each with smoking hot figures and dressed in skimpy clothing. There were powerful bodyguards stationed at every exit and at places where fights could break out.
In here, prostitutes, pickpockets, conmen and swindlers in gambling; people of all trades could be found here.
Hank scanned the gambling den. His eyes swept over the entire area before stopping on a table in the corner.
Approaching it, he explained to Link, “Senior, can you spot the small guy with yellow hair? He’s known as Jimmy. It’s said that he sells information to the syndicate.”
This was the capability of people on Hank’s level. They had dabbled in this business for a long time, and they knew the twist and turns of the business. This was something that Link had virtually no experience in.
Link raked him over with a measured gaze. This small fellow, Jimmy, was not gambling. Instead, he sat at the side of the table, watching the gamblers play. Evidently, he was quite nifty with his hands. As Link drew nearer to him, he saw each of Jimmy’s hands slip inside the pockets of two gamblers.
He did not pilfer much, managing a few meagre copper coins per person. His hands moved with uncanny speed, like a dragonfly touching the water.2 In an instant, a crime was in the bag. The people around him continued about nonchalantly, oblivious to his actions.
“A thief.” Link muttered.
“Yes, a thief. The syndicate was a band of robbers to begin with.” Greedin shrugged.3
The three people approached Jimmy. Getting uneasy vibes from the trio, Jimmy decided to slink away — only to meet Hank and Greedin on his right and left, wordlessly sealing off his path of retreat.
“What do ya’ll want? I’ll tell ya’ll this, I sure ain’t nobody to be trifled with.” Jimmy swallowed, his adam’s apple bobbing up and down. He stood ramrod straight, his hands slowly creeping towards a dagger at his trousers.4
As his hand felt for his dagger, Greedin raised his own dagger and casually swiped at Jimmy’s wrist.
It was a heavy cut. Jimmy’s wrist recoiled as he let out an ugly screech, seizing his wrist with his other hand. His injured hand would be unable to move for a while.
Link stepped towards him, his disguised crescent magic wand digging into Jimmy’s belly. The faint light of magic flickered at the tip of the wand pressing into Jimmy’s stomach. “I heard you have contacts with the syndicate?”
Link’s whisper was faint, and was virtually covered up by the clamorous din in the gambling den. The trio had also moved discreetly.5 There were a few curious glances from their surroundings, but the glances were soon retracted when they didn’t see anything happening.
In a gambling den or casino like this, disputes like this was ubiquitous. They couldn’t possibly bother with every single fight. As long as the fight didn’t blow up, it was fine.
Poor Jimmy, on the other hand, felt anything but. He could feeling a weird feeling building up at the pit of his stomach. It was slightly cold, and slightly painful. If one added the weak glow of the magic, and put two and two together, even an idiot would arrive at the conclusion that this was a magician. Scared witless, his knees knocking together, Jimmy’s voice wavered as he yielded, “A-A-Aye, I know the syndicate.”
“Then immediately pass on this news: The object is with me. If that woman dies or if I see so much as the slightest bruise on her body, then they can kiss all ideas of getting it. Know this — I am Link, a magician. I reside at river valley inn!” Link’s voice was low, but his eyes were as cold and hard as glaciers. As he spoke, he slightly channeled the mana inside his body, stirring up the air around him. Jimmy watched the air around Link blur and ripple like a heatwave with widened eyes.
He had nearly a hundred points stacked in mana by now, and his mana was also completely full. This was already at the level of an ordinary level 2 magician. Now that he had demonstrated his power, it would be quite terrifying to an ordinary Joe. If it was scaring ordinary people, that was perfectly within his realms of capability.
Jimmy had never met intimidation of this form before, and he immediately ceded, furiously bobbing his head up and down comically. “I-I’ll relay yer message, no, I’ll do it right away!”
The cold and stinging feeling at his stomach vanished like it had never been there. But the crescent magic wand dug even deeper into his belly as Link released a ‘magician’s hand’, painfully pinching the throbbing flesh at his ribs by his heart.
Jimmy almost felt his heart stop from terror. The feeling of your chest being forcefully squeezed was outright horrifying. His sweat dripped down like water droplets, his body as still as a rock.
“No lies, and be quick. Or I’ll use my magic to crush your heart.” Link retracted his ‘magician’s hand’.
To use it to threaten people who were dumb to magic was one really useful aspect of ‘magician’s hand’. If it was a powerful warrior, this cheap trick would be useless, because the power in this magic spell was dismal. Clawing its way into the body of any warrior well worth his salt would be impossible.
Jimmy was bordering on insanity from the terror. The moment Link released him, he immediately took to his heels as he bolted away, gasping out feebly, “I’ll go an’ deliver yer letter now!”
Perfect. Now all there was to do was wait.
Link turned to Hank and Greedin, “Let’s go. We’ll wait at the river valley inn for the syndicate to make contact with us.”
He knew the power behind the demonising magic runes was important, and this magic rune was actually in his storage pendant. This sealed off all traces it emitted, which was why the syndicate could not track him.
Since they could not find him, after Link threatened them with the magic runes, they would be sure to find Link by sending out people to get in touch with them instead of moving blindly.
Now that Link had done this, Lucy’s life was more or less assured.
What he would do from here on could only be decided after the syndicate made contact with him.
The three of them exited the casino. As they returned to the inn, Link said to Greedin and Hank, “You guys have your doubts, don’t you?”
Hank started, then asked, “Senior, what exactly does the syndicate want its hands on?”
From Link and Jimmy’s conversation, he more or less picked up that Link knew the enemy wanted something from him. And this ‘something’ sure as hell wasn’t gold coins.
Greedin also had the same misgivings as Hank.
Link didn’t bother hiding anything. The cat was out of the bag. “Remember that obsidian crystal Witt had on him? It has a formal terminology for it known as demonisation magic runes. I fancy they want this crystal back.”
“Senior. Can this object be given to them?” Hank asked after much thought.
Link firmly shook his head, saying mildly, “Definitely not. This is a despicable magic tool, and I need it sealed. If we pass this to them haphazardly, it’ll lend ruin to the entire Gwinnett forest, no, the entire Norton Kingdom. A terrible disaster will occur, and it could possibly demolish the entire Gwinnett forest. When that happens, all is lost.”6
It was all the truth. Not even an iota of it was a lie. A disaster would befall the magic academy, a great deal of elite magicians would die. This would be succeeded by the main forces of the dark elves, and Gwinnett forest would be ravaged and razed to the ground. Everything had started from this deceitfully ordinary-looking crystal.
Hearing of the potential destruction the crystal could bring, Hank and Greedin paled and quietened down. They did not know how it could bring about such destruction, but they believed that Link would not lie to them.
A small smile on his face, Link said, “Have you finally experienced the troubles of being strong?”
When one had power, one would experience things ordinary people wouldn’t feel. The things you did would alert your presence to other individuals of similiar strength or stronger strength. Hence, the stronger one was the more danger he or she would be exposed to.
Take the elimination of the dark brotherhood as example. If they had been by themselves, they would not have managed to wipe out the entire dark brotherhood, let alone kill Witt. They would not have gotten their hands on the demonisation magic runes in the first place, and the syndicate would have paid them no mind.
Now, the situation was clearly different.
Hank understood what Link was getting at, and he chuckled darkly. “Senior, everyone dies. The important thing is how we die.7 To be able to challenge and be slain by warriors who were stronger than me in the past would be more than I can ask for.”
Greedin clasped his bow tightly. “Senior, this is the fate of mercenaries.”
Link’s smile brightened. It semeed like his eyes hadn’t chosen the wrong people after all. “The situation isn’t that bad. But our opponent is a branch of the syndicate after all. We’ve exterminated the dark brotherhood, and have slain Witt who was demonised. A bunch of fainthearted thieves like the syndicate won’t be anything!”
If Link was honest, the problem with the syndicate was quite a thorny one. The first thorn was about Lucy’s life but the second thorn was that the syndicate was a global organisation which had its claws all about the human world. Even if they wiped out the branch located at the Gwinnett forest, they would be persecuted everywhere from here on.
Link was totally unaffected by this as once he entered the magic academy, he could just hide inside it. However, Hank and the others would have a bit of trouble on their hands. Link was quite sorry about this. He needed to somehow reduce the risk of pursuers they would face in the near future.
As for how, Link had no idea currently.
‘Screw it, we’ll worry about it when we reach the bridge. We’ll play along when we come to it. Our priority now, first and foremost, should be rescuing Lucy.’ Link killed all worries of the future and focused on his task.
Hank and Greedin sighed in relief. Link was their backbone, and their strongest power. Since he had confidence, all they needed to do was follow his lead, and it would be fine.
The sudden clopping of a horse’s hooves startled Link. Turning back, he saw a beautiful carriage driven by a horse approaching them swiftly in the distance.
The carriage was pulled by four valuable Corot horses of pure blood. The carriage was crafted from firm iron and ebony. Silver magic runes adorned the carriage in many places. With one glance, Link recognised them as defensive enchantments.
This carriage was multiple times better than the one Elliot rode!
“Wonder which important bigshot’s passing by.” Link and the mercenaries moved to one side, clearing the road. As a noble, he understood that a carriage of this sort represented the face of whichever lord it belonged to.
The carriage alone could go for 2,000 gold coins minimum. Link’s miserly father, Hamilton Moloney, also had a carriage of his own. Except that it was only worth 300 gold coins, and was several grades lower than the quality of this.
River valley village was pretty close to the capital city. As Gwinnett forest was quite known for its scenic beauty, many bigshots would travel here often for leisure and vacations. A carriage like this was not out of the norms.
However, his head was full of only saving Lucy. He had no wish to get involved with some bigshot with no relation to him.
What he didn’t expect, however, was when the carriage passed by them. A shadow in the back of the carriage signalled, and the carriage screeched to a halt.
A knight on the horse got off and went to the window’s side, stooping his head like he was listening to someone. After a few short moments, he got back on his saddle and trotted towards Link and the mercenaries.
Hank and Greedin started, gripping their weapons instinctively. Link was also startled, but he lightly motioned to the two mercenaries to put away their weapons. He mouthed, “It’s fine.”
He walked up to greet the knight.
The knight quickly reached Link. Looking down at Link from his high horse,8 he bellowed, “Youngster, introduce yourself.”
Link did not immediately reply, instead watching the knight warily. The knight was plated in ceremonial silver armour and in azure battle attire. The head of a roaring male lion was painted on the chest of the armour. This was the royal family’s coat of arms.
In Norton Kingdom, the roaring lion represented the royal household, the Abel clan.
In other words, the knight before him was affiliated with an important noble of the kingdom. The important person somewhere inside the carriage was probably a member of the royal household.
Link did not know why he’d bothered to ask for his name, but he still replied, “I am Link Moleney. Viscount Hamilton is my father.”
He had identified his noble family’s name. In an exchange between nobles, identifying oneself as a lord/noble would allow one to speak with another noble as an equal. This was important as it allowed for better communication.
As expected, the knight’s contemptuous gaze on him softened considerably. At the same time, a soft exclamation of surprise came from the carriage a few meters away.
Although the voice was soft, it was familiar, and it rang off bells in his head. Link’s memory approached the realm of perverted, and he immediately recognised the identify of the person in the carriage. It was Annie Abel, the only daughter of the Iron Duke and the King’s biological niece.
But wasn’t she in Glaston city? Why would she appear in river valley village?
-Chapter 56, end-
Did ya’ll like how I made Jimmy speak? Makes him sound way more ‘Jimmy’ and lively than in the story, and gives him a local slang befitting of a thief and lowly information carrier.
Let’s get this competition on the road…
I believe some of you already know…Qidian has started to work on this novel. I have no idea if it’s because of the popularity surge due to my translations or whatnot, but irregardless, Qidian has started to work on this novel.
I don’t really have any thoughts on this, just surprised that it came more recently than I expected. I just hope Qidian doesn’t poach my translations (the rumoured blatant plagiarism through copy-paste) but I doubt so, since many terms have been changed, including the synopsis and even the title. Likely, they’re going to work from chapter 1, with a brand new translator. (it hurts to see the quality drop, no offense. I think I really got the hang of this translating thing over the past month, and especially now since I’ve started improving, language-wise)
It’s been a nice road walking with you guys as translator and reader, and I’ve decided to up the ante — I’ll restart posting translations, before Qidian requests a stop or take-down from me…which is a dick move from me actually, but fuck that shit.
I’m not saying to boycott Qidian or anything – it’s not my place to tell you that and Qidian (while shady) certainly doesn’t deserve all the hate of the community. I’m also the ‘villain’ here – just to remember the original translator of this work: ChickenBakuba.
I might or might not be reading on Qidian either lolol
Love ya’ll, cya. Might work on another novel sometime in the future…
P.S. I have a confession to make, I had plans for a steamy scene between Link and Hank for April Fools