Chapter 36: The Strange Encounters at the Outskirts
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
In contrast to the inner city, the outskirts of Havenwright were still incredibly rambunctious in the night. Although there were yet to be electric lights in this world, a significant amount of people still walked around the place with oil lamps. Most of the shops were still open for business and had great customer flow with no signs of closing for the night. Not to mention the red-light districts, where even the excitement in the most average of bars could be heard from miles away.
As the curfew set by the church only applied to the inner city due to the immense labour strain if it were to be implemented in the much bigger outskirts. The church had no choice but to reluctantly allow the outskirts of Havenwright to develop into something like this.
Most of the income of the Fulners came from the entertainment industry they developed in the outskirts. With this inseparable bond between the nobles and the outskirts, it was even more difficult for the night to be in a serene and quiet one outside the city walls. The devoted followers who loved the peaceful nights usually would either become a priest and enter the inner city, or gather at the Blessed Zone in the outskirts. The Blessed Zone was an area where the church allocated for the people, and although it was full with residents, it was more silent than the inner city.
Aside from the Blessed Zone, there were no other functional areas in the outskirts. If zones such as entertainment zones and residential zones were to be drawn clearly, it would take a long time for the people to join recreational activities due to the large area of the outskirts. Thus, for convenience sake, everything except religion at the outskirts was mixed together.
At this moment, Benjamin was walking on the main roads of the outskirts. He observed the people who hurried around him as he carefully walked towards the place Jeremy mentioned.
The result of a convoluted geographical layout and population was a higher crime rate, which was especially prominent in the west side of the outskirts. Although the country invested much manpower and material resources into maintaining public order, it made no real change to the situation. However, if one ignore the culture of fierceness in the outskirts, the lives of the people were still relatively peaceful.
Benjamin had quite a lot on him: his long-time savings from his pocket money, the cross from the bishop, and the pistol he stole from Claude’s study. If a pickpocket took any of these, he would have no idea where he could go and cry for their return. Hence, he needed to be extremely careful as a brat from the roadside could sneak up on him at any moment and steal his possessions without him knowing.
Just as Benjamin was worrying himself about this, a child walked towards him from not far away.
Oh? Benjamin felt like an oracle, and he started imagining what might transpire:
‘This son of a b*tch looked as squirmish as a rat, and not soon after, he would ‘accidentally’ knock into Benjamin, fall, and run as fast as the wind. Then, Benjamin would realise that he lost his valuables when he finally reacted and searched his pockets. This was what was shown on the television, right?
Does he really look like a gullible, fat lamb that could be cheated like that? He knows of this tact all too well! Come then, and have a fight! I really want to see if you really dare to steal from my hands!’
Thus, Benjamin’s senses were on red alert as he watched the child come closer to him.
Closer…. Closer…. Any time now….
“What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you staring at my child?” A plump, middle-aged woman standing beside the child asked. She swiftly scooped the child up and hugged him as she watched Benjamin with wary eyes, as if Benjamin was a perverted child kidnapper.
“….” Benjamin was stunned silent.
He was too focused on his imaginations that he ignored the fact that there was another person beside the child.
“HAHAHAAHHAAHAAHAHHA!” the System exploded in laughter in Benjamin’s mind.
“….Sorry,” Benjamin kept his face expressionless as he apologised to the woman.
“You lunatic!” The woman held the child as she stepped away from Benjamin, and as she left the scene, Benjamin heard her saying softly to her child, “Now, now, don’t be afraid. The man lost his mind, and we’ll stay away from him, okay?”
Benjamin felt like killing himself. This was his retribution for having too much imagination. This is an illness, Benjamin, cure it.
Just as Benjamin was so ashamed he nearly rammed his head onto the wall, a young boy, disheveled and filthy, ran out from the side. The child ran straight into Benjamin before Benjamin could react and knocked him off. He took off just as Benjamin realised what was going on.
“….” Benjamin reached into his pocket. The money he brought for the gun was missing.
Oh, that moth*rf*cker.
In his mind, the System chortled loudly like it just won the lottery.
Enraged, Benjamin furiously turned around and ran towards the boy. The people on the streets were so surprised by the change of events that they could only dumbly look at the chase between the two. Chaos ensued after that.
“You better fucking stop!” Benjamin roared. That was his savings for the past 6 months! Although it was saved by the previous Benjamin, the money still technically belonged to him! The previous incident also did nothing but to hasten his explosion.
The child was obviously very familiar with all this, as he ignored Benjamin’s shouts and slipped into an alleyway with no hesitation.
“Shit, he’s a good runner,” Benjamin exclaimed as he trailed the child. As he ran, he took the gun he clipped at the back of his waist.
He was not blinded by anger. Instead, his mind was clear and fast. Judging by how fast he ran and how familiar he was with his surrounding, this brat was a veteran in this. He was still slightly sore from the training he received in the morning, so if he insisted to chase like this, he will lose the boy. Then, who could he cry to about his predicament?
Thus, Benjamin made up his mind. Since this was a brat, do not blame him for breaking the law of the protection for juveniles!
After another turn in the alleyway, Benjamin dare not to be reluctant anymore. He clicked off the safety and raised the gun as he ran. The shooting interface once again appeared before his eyes.
In a flash, he aimed at the child’s knee.
To shoot a moving target while the shooter was moving will probably be the most difficult training in the gunfire regiment. However, it was as easy as ABC for Benjamin, who was assisted by the shooting interface.
Benjamin shot. The child collapsed to the ground with a cry. He struggled for a moment before he went still, unable to stand and run anymore.
Benjamin was relieved. He finally got his money back. However, not long after, Benjamin was anxious once again. At the other bend of the alleyway, 3 weirdly dressed person walked out. They wore cloaks similar to Michelle’s. They did not have a hood to cover their face, however, which was why Benjamin was able to have a clear look at their faces. 3 of them were adult males, one elder, one tall, and one short, but all of them had the same eerie air around them.
Obviously, they heard the gunshot. Then, they looked strangely at the child lying on the floor before taking a glance at Benjamin. Then, they stopped moving.
Benjamin had a premonition that something was wrong.
If he was not mistaken, those cloaks…. Those cloaks were very similar to Michelle’s cloak? The cloak for mages?
Oh, you gotta be kidding him. What were the odds to run into a few mages when he did nothing but run around in the kingdom? Sir bishop, the actions taken by the church to crack down mages are seriously lacking here!
Benjamin did not feel happy when he knew that it was possible that they were mages, nor did he feel ecstatic for the prospect that he might be able to exchange some knowledge about magic with them. Instead, it was the opposite: Benjamin felt no goodwill from the three. His instincts shouted at him that they were not one of the good folks.
More importantly, Benjamin found out that he arrived at an unknown place after the chase. He was now standing in a dim and narrow back alley, the moon highlighting how deserted the place was. Not even a passerby could be found around him.
Well, he went way overboard with this….
“This had nothing to do with you. This brat is a thief, and he stole my money. I just wanted my money back,” Benjamin shouted at the three after some consideration. He wanted to avoid conflicts as much as he could.
The 3 people exchanged a look. Suddenly, the one who seemed to be the eldest of all spoke.
“He recognised who we are. We could never let them hinder our progress. Terminate them.”
Benjamin’s heart sank. Just as he jumped hurriedly from one thought to the next to find a way out, a voice was heard behind him, “It’s the Fallen Ones! Hurry, don’t let them escape!”
Clad in normal clothing and looking like a pair of husband and wife, two people rushed out from the opening of the alley behind Benjamin and ran straight towards the 3 people. Their agility shocked everyone in the vicinity, and Benjamin realised right after: these people are the watchers from the church! They were just in disguise!
Right, why was he afraid? The people from the church was always with him!
A detailed look at the ‘wife’ of the pair revealed that he was actually a man despite the wig and the dress. He threw the wig away with one hand, and the other went under his dress to draw out 2 swords. He tossed one of them to his ‘husband’, and with the other sword in hand, he hacked towards the three as he sped forwards on his high heels.
Benjamin’s jaw dropped to the ground.
You are amazing, my sister, oh wait, my brother?
The younger two among the three seemed to be shell shocked by this, and did not do anything other than opening their mouths in surprise. Only the eldest of the trio started to chant some spells as his expression changed.
Benjamin felt a disturbance from the water particles. Next, a pale blue bubble enveloped the three of them.
“Water barrier!” Benjamin recited in his heart.
The two disguised knights rushed towards the three, and without wasting any time, swords were swung, and they came into contact with the bubble. A burst of holy light shone on the swords, and the bubble vibrated intensely. Yet, the latter did not break. The bubble managed to hold on.
Aside from the knights, even Benjamin was surprised by that.
Such a strong water barrier!
If Benjamin was not mistaken, these 2 swords were Blessed before. Even though they were drawn from under a dress, they were still as sharp as before. It was indeed surprising that this thin water barrier could hold its ground against the 2 swords simultaneously.
Benjamin could not help but wonder, when would his magic reach such a peak?
On the other side, the eldest mage scoffed after he saw his bubble successfully blocked the knight’s attacks. “Only two holy knights. You might be able to save your own lives if you’ve worn the Armour of Holy Light, but since you’re not….” He said as he tapped on the other two’s shoulders.
The two snapped back from their stupor after they heard his reminder. They each started to chant their spells and use their magic. Soon, a fireball and a wind blade was formed in each of their hands. Then, they were catapulted towards the 2 knights.
The knights did not lose their composure. As they faced the barrage of magic, their movements remain synchronized: a backward leap followed by a horizontal strike. As a result, the swords, glittering with holy light, cut through the fire ball and wind blade with ease. Seeing this, the eldest mage who was previously smiling smugly morphed his expression into one of anger.
“Are you daft? Why did you separate your attacks? Focus on one knight instead! They won’t be able to disperse 2 magic with 1 strike! What did you do with the techniques I taught you? Fed them to the dogs?” The eldest mage’s outburst was not due to his surprise towards the skills of the knights. Instead, it was more likely to be caused by the idiotic actions of his 2 companions, and thus he could not help but to chide at them.
The knights pressed when he was speaking, and after they each swung their swords another time, they finally broke the bubble. Unfortunately, the eldest mage did not lower his guard as he was criticizing the two. At the moment before the knight could strike a second blow, he immediately patched a second water barrier. This successfully stopped the knights advancements as they remained outside of the water barrier.
Benjamin was impressed. This person was great! Aside from his high levels of magic, he also had a lot of experience in combat, which caused him to look unworried even when there were two holy knights against him. The timing of when he cast the water barrier was basically flawless.
Where did such an amazing mage come from?
For some reason, Benjamin sensed a ‘smell’ from the mages;.a ‘smell’ that hinted that they are not mages who went rogue; instead, they seemed to be from an organisation. When Benjamin was still fascinated, the two young mages moved quicker than before. They immediately cast their spell, and a fireball and a wind blade once again appeared in their hands.
Interestingly, they both chose the ‘wife’ to be their target. It was probably because ‘her’ outfit was too hard on the eye, and they wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, the ‘wife’s’ movements were strangely agile, as with another backwards leap and horizontal strike, both the fireball and wind blade were no more. Taking this opportunity, the ‘husband’ of the pair maniacally launched an onslaught on the water bubble.
“…” The eldest mage’s face was as dark as night.
“Which idiot would focus their attack like this? Didn’t you know how to attack from two different angles? If one of you attacked from the front while the other went for the back, would he be able to stop it with one swing of his sword? Oh, you are driving me nuts, what is this bullshit? Are you daft? Did I not teach you this? Before their sword could even touch me, I’ll probably be dead already, thanks to the anger you both gave me!”
The two was dumbfounded by the scolding. The shorter one finally mumbled reluctantly, “Teacher, how do we control the magic and attack from two different angles? We don’t know how to do that though.”
Thankfully, the knight broke the second bubble right on time, and it resolved the awkwardness in the air. The eldest mage was busy patching the water barrier with his spell, and thus was not so pissed off until he fainted from anger. Benjamin, who was the observer in the situation, vicariously felt mentally exhausted for the elderly mage.
This started as a great fight: a clash between two commendable forces, the mages and the holy knights. What even happened for the fight to deteriorate to this?
Not only the eldest mage was in agony, the two knights were obviously not feeling ecstatic, too. When the bubble appeared in front of them for the third time, Benjamin saw the life draining away from their eyes as they were filled with hopelessness. Especially the one in a dress and heels, Benjamin seemed to have seen tears filling his eyes underneath the thick layer of eyeshadow.
Life is full with hardships indeed….
Nowadays, even holy knights needed to work their life away just to make enough for them to survive.
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