lOriginally, it was the palette squad’s job to investigate and eradicate the evil magician along the way. There was no need to inform Eric, but Easley was not only unwilling to leave Yi Longlong for too long, he was also worried at the same time that Eric would take the opportunity to flee while they were fighting the evil magician, and so decided to bring him along inside the tower.
Having confirmed the tower was right ahead, the palette squad did not rush over there. After lunch, the people made their own preparations, someone was inspecting whether their sword could be smoothly drawn and someone was checking the crossbow, ropes and other equipment. The magician sat down and rested to preserve their peak energy condition.
Even till now, Easley still assumed Eric was a swordsman whose swordsmanship was not really up to par. Worried he was going to pose a hindrance for them in the tower or accidentally let Yi Longlong come into harm, he also made some preparations for Eric. Swordsmanship could not be trained in an instant, leaving no choice but to work with the equipment. He untied the saber by his waist, letting an attendant deliver it to Eric to use as a weapon.
Easley’s saber was naturally a rarely-seen fine artifact. Eric secretly laughed inside, but still accepted the rich nobleman’s ‘generosity’. Yi Longlong lay over his shoulder, casually asking a question with some curiosity, “With the saber given to Alvin, then what sword are you going to use?”
This was the first time since the very first greeting that Yi Longlong spoke to Easley.
Easley froze, thereupon a smile of pleasant surprise surfaced on his face. “Please, uh, please do not worry for me.”
It is seldom that a little dragon will speak to him of their own accord. Happy and surprised, Easley unexpectedly spoke with a stutter. Conscious of his faltering, he rushed to correct himself.
Yi Longlong’s lips curled, retorting in a very small voice, “So did not.”
How could she worry about this fellow who wanted to use money to barter for her?
Easley fixed his clothes in a very serious fashion, fastening the short silver-grey cloak that reached his waist. Afterwards he received from the follower’s hands a long-shaped object wrapped in fine satin that was always carried on the back of the black-haired follower. He untied the ribbon bound around the satin; the first thing to appear was the beautiful blue sapphire sword hilt.
The famed sword Poem of Cerulean, of which the sword hilt was entirely carved out from sapphires.
The saber originally belonged to Eric, however when he left the Heine family, he entrusted it to his brother. This saber then went on to be bestowed to Easley.
It took an hour for all preparations to be ready to go. Only then did the palette squad turn towards the place Roland had mentioned, setting off towards the tower ahead.
Approximately half an hour’s walk later, without knowing how many trees they have passed and how many vines blocking the way were brushed aside, the tower hidden within the dense forest finally appeared in front of Yi Longlong’s eyes.
This was a tower that slightly resembled those tall towers within fairytales used especially for imprisoning princesses. It was around thirty meters tall and the body of the tower appeared cylindrical. From the base of the tower to the top, its width slightly shrank. The slits in between the smooth light-grey bricks were tightly sealed up, not even the thinnest blade could be pierced in; the black colored patterns engraved upon the body of the tower gave off a sense of ancient mystery.
The trees nearby were also very tall. The overgrown canopy rose above the heights of the tower; from far away, it was essentially impossible to tell what was here.
At the base of the tower was an arched wooden door; a lock made of brass hung from it. Roland came to a conclusion with just a single glance, “This door lock is very ordinary, however the placement of the lock is wrong, why is the lock on the outside? Can it be that the master of the tower is not within?”
He turned his head and looked towards Easley. After receiving the latter’s approval, when he was just about to go ahead and attempt to pick the lock, a shadow suddenly stopped him.
The one blocking Roland was the priest in the squad whose behaviors had always not really stood out. His grey tidy hair draped over his shoulder; a serious expression shrouded over his delicate, feminine face. “I can sense it, behind this door are dark evil things, those things are extremely dangerous, it’s best for you to not get too close.”
With a priest within the squad, he would naturally have some special use. The other people did not dare to disbelieve his words. Roland speedily withdrew his hand, asking, “Then how should we do it? Do you reckon you can deal with whatever’s behind the door?”
The priest hesitated and then shook his head, “My abilities are limited, and the things behind the door are too powerful. I cannot purify them, but I can sense that these things only amass at the lower part of the tower. The top is still clean.”
Roland shifted his gaze up, and saw that somewhere two-thirds of the way up the tower there opened a window that was almost as tall as a person. He suddenly sneered. “So it’s like this. I understand now, this door at the bottom is actually just a guise. If someone was to barge in, they will be caught in the trap down there, the real entrance is actually that window.”
Knowing the correct method of entering, the palette squad immediately came up with battle strategies. The body of the tower was too smooth and difficult to climb, so Roland used the crossbow and shot a grappling hook connected to a rope towards the edge of that window. After it caught on he gave it a tug, tied the other end of the rope onto a tree nearby the stone tower, and after ascertaining the sturdiness of the suspension with a few pulls, he lithely climbed along the rope to the window on the tower.
With his body squatted at the window’s opening, Roland peered inside, then turned back and made an everything’s fine hand signal. Like this, Easley and the others went up in succession. Of course, with all the education Easley had undergone, he would absolutely not climb in a way similar to other people. He stepped once on the ground and nimbly jumped up. When his jump was mid-air, his leg extended out, stepping once on the center of the rope, and borrowing the rebounding force of the rope directly jumped onto the entrance of that window.
Throughout the whole process his movements were smooth and elegant, lithe like a swallow. Obviously he did not put his all in this jump.
This made Yi Longlong slightly change her perception of him: Looks like this brat isn’t one of those embroidered pillows1 that can only put up an attitude. At the very least there’s still some real substance.
Eric placed the wooden box onto the ground, scooped up Yi Longlong and like Easley, also jumped straight to the window, only he did not even borrow the use of the rope, arriving quietly without a sound at the window of the tall tower.
Right at this moment, Easley had just jumped down from the window. He turned around wanting to call Eric up, but suddenly saw that the wandering swordsman had already followed up at some unknown point of time. The white dragon safely lay within his arms, as if it was reclining on top of a comfortable bed.
Seeing Yi Longlong, Easley felt some jealousy, and even forgot to ponder over how Eric could follow up without alerting him.
Yi Longlong’s two paws hung over one of Eric’s shoulders. She looked around with worry. She had lived through two lives, but this was still the first time going not through the doors but through the windows, giving her the illusion of breaking in and stealing.
The internal of the tower was structured into floors, with a staircase linking above and below. Very quickly, the palette squad thus found their target. A black cloak wearing fellow who looked up to no good was currently concocting powdered drugs.
Sighting that magician, Roland got ready to go forth and question him. Negotiation was one of his duties, but Roland’s silver tongue did not get to be displayed, because the moment that magician saw them, he immediately launched an attack.
Just like how it is described within all the tales of legendary adventures, the palette squad and this fellow engaged in a fierce battle. The paints were heroic and fearless, finally defeating him in the end.
Yi Longlong covered her eyes with her paws with some fear, but still could not resist curiously peeking through the slits. She was uneasy from beginning to the end, as for where this uneasiness came from, she had no way of knowing.
The process of the fight was very splendorous. The moment the magician collapsed was the moment Roland landed his final attack. He spun to the back of the magician, piercing the dagger into his body.
Yi Longlong received a fright; her whole body shrunk into Eric’s embrace.
A person really got killed, that stab was the real deal. She originally thought the paints would at least seize the magician for questioning, but did not expect them to act that swiftly.
No, to be exact, the only one acting swiftly was Roland. Easley was quite dissatisfied with Roland’s own actions, however he also felt in his heart that this magician was not any honest person. Giving it a think, in the end he did not reprimand Roland on this matter.
Sheathing the gaudy Poem of Cerulean back into the scabbard, Easley lightly exhaled. Confirming the whole squad did not sustain any serious injuries, he ordered other people to first manage their injuries. Easley did not take heed of his own still bleeding back of his hand, only eagerly looked towards Dixon.
The blond and redhead youths met each other’s eyes, their eyes shone with happiness. The two of them stretched their hands out and clapped with force in mid-air, creating a loud crisp smack.
At this point of time, Easley was finally removed from that stiff model etiquette; his smile finally brimmed with some rare sincerity.
The black haired follower went up, checked the magician’s pulse and ascertained the evil magician had already passed on. After that, an attendant moved the magician to one side.
According to customs, everyone then searched everywhere, acquiring the rewards for this journey.
With a corpse on the side, Yi Longlong was very unsettled, but Eric’s expression was the same as usual and still that calm, as if this was a very normal occurrence. This made Yi Longlong unrestrainedly suspect, can it be that this world is this terrifying?
Not wanting to look at the corpse any further, Yi Longlong let Eric carry her around and sightsee. After some time, she heard a yell coming from above. It seemed to be a cry from the priest by the sounds of it. She tugged on Eric’s collar, the latter immediately grasped her meaning and rushed up.
Going up the stairs to the topmost floor of the tower, Yi Longlong saw the priest, and the cause of the priest’s cry – that was a youth.
1. 绣花枕头Xiùhuā zhěntou – Embroidered pillow, a metaphor for an outwardly attractive but actually worthless person (as according to Dict.cn) ↩