This was a low rock-strewn mountain, with a clear rivulet flowing and meandering down the mountainside.
They began to do the necessary washing for the day by the spring water. The magician scrubbed off the water droplets from his face, and took a glance back at the young, white dragon asleep next to Lin Qi. He spoke, slightly overcome with some emotion, “If people heard that we’ve caught a dragon, it would definitely be very hard for them to believe it.”
It had already been eight days since that incident-filled night. For that incident, they decisively abandoned the original purpose of the trip, but in order to avoid letting slip to others, they still put up the façade of continuing onwards into the depths of the sea of trees. After taking a turn and exiting the sea of trees, they travelled in the wilderness for a part of their journey to bypass Vanilla Town as well as places much further away, and silently sneak back to their headquarters.
What was different was that amongst their luggage, there was an additional person and dragon.
The sounds of splashing water transmitted through the rocks to Yi Longlong who was asleep on the ground. She shifted her body and prepared to wake up.
Leina and the others noticed her movements and involuntarily paused their actions. They all looked towards the same direction.
The small young dragon extended her two paws and did two seconds of stretching, then she pursed her lips and made painful moans with a childish voice, as if she was having a difficult fight with the sandman.
She really didn’t want to get up from bed.
Yi Longlong miserably thought.
It really is easier to go from frugal to extravagant than the other way around.
Once she slept on the soft bed, she couldn’t get used to camping in the wilds. She had followed Leina and the others here and there around the forest. She slept on the hard ground every night, making her muscles and bones sore. She couldn’t sleep at night, and couldn’t get up in the morning.
However, regardless of how reluctant she was, she still obediently obeyed and complied with their itineries – even if it was in her dreams, Yi Longlong still had this type of clear thinking.
Get up! Get up!
She reached a paw out to the hem of Lin Qi’s clothes and scrubbed vigorously. The friction between her cheeks and the cloth made her slightly more awake. Next, she swung her tail, wriggled her body, stretched the legs for a few revolutions, loosened up the muscles and then stood up as if the body had been flattened by a truck.
She rubbed her sleepy eyes and discovered Leina and the others all staring at her. While slightly muddled, Yi Longlong returned the same graces, giving each person a dispirited stare. After that, she pattered over to the spring water and focused on gargling water and giving her face a wash.
While watching the little dragon by the waters putting its all into scooping up the spring water and lightly splashing it on its face, Leina felt it was unreal. Through these several days’ of interaction, she always felt a sense of misconception, that what she had captured was not a dragon, but a person with the outer appearance of a dragon.
It did not forget to maintain its hygiene under this despicable environment. Whenever it found water, it would wash its face and paws, and always wear clothes and shoes. It didn’t like being watched by too many people, and didn’t let the male members of the squad carry it… these little habits made her feel as if it was filled with human characteristics, and a young female human at that.
Leina quickly quashed the wavering in her heart: This is a dragon, not a human; do not get misled.
These past few days, the atmosphere around the entire squad was quite restrained. Prior to that, no one among them thought that they would have to take a dragon hostage, which was an underhanded method, to coerce a youth who shined brilliantly like a precious stone and possessed a shocking talent.
Through these days of interaction, Yi Longlong’s vulnerability and Lin Qi’s simplicity was put in full display in front of them. When they found out from Yi Longlong that Lin Qi had previously been locked up and tormented for so long that he had become a blank sheet of paper that didn’t know anything at all, the priest cried out “May God Aldin forgive my sins”.
They felt guilty, because there were still remnants of kindness inside their hearts.
But even till now, Leina didn’t regret the decision she made. Whether it be from the short term or long term perspective, the value of this dragon made it worth it for them to do this. The short term results would be that the mercenary troop could directly offer this dragon to His Majesty, in exchange for a ladder up the hierarchy, and if planning for the long term, they could rear up this dragon and save it for the future mercenary troop to use.
Regardless of long term or short term, it would still enhance the overall strength of the mercenary troop.
After taking a look at the height of the sun rising from the mountains, Leina told her companions to prepare breakfast and at the same time make preparations to set off. They were to leave the wilderness today, get into disguises, enter Plumforest Town which was already quite the distance away from Vanilla Town, then return to the mercenary headquarters.
The food rations the Whole Lot squad brought along were not as crude as Eric’s. Naturally, it was not as excessive as that of the Pallet squad, with only meat sandwiched in simple hard bread. When it came into Yi Longlong’s paws, she took the slice of meat and returned the bread.
As she slowly munched on the meat, Yi Longlong felt more and more disspirited. They were about to enter a place inhabited by people. Leina did not chain her up these past several days, because she was certain that Yi Longlong would be unable to escape, so she put up a display of generosity, but once inside the town, Yi Longlong would without question be locked up to avoid being seen by others.
In the past few days, Yi Longlong tried to extract some of her blood and place it inside the food and water of the squad, just like how she had done to deal with Roland from before. Unfortunately, the white-haired monstrous man named Beastmaster saw through the plan and put a stop to it.
Right as she was deep into her thoughts, Yi Longlong suddenly felt someone forcefully tug her back collar. Her whole body was brashly dragged away, tightly followed by a sharp sound of whistling in the air in front of her, and also the sound of something being embedded inside the rocks.
She stabilized her body with some difficulty. Yi Longlong took a steady glance and discovered that in place of where she was before was a bolt embedded at an angle.
Who is it?
While Yi Longlong was stunned about who would want to kill her, Leina was stunned about the person that had encroached on them.
The rogue inside the squad had top notch skills in counter-tracking. Even for the average skilled mercenary or adventurer, it would be very difficult for them to approach the group without being detected, but evidently from the looks of the force from the bolt, the other party had shot it from close by.
She gazed everywhere, with her sight at last landing onto a tree seven or eight meters away. “Why the attacks on us? May the person reveal themself?”
As she slowly spoke, she made the decision in her head to silence the person for good.
It didn’t matter who this person was; the existence of Yi Longlong could not be let known to anyone outside of the mercenary troop.
Leina had originally said those words probingly. She didn’t think that the other party would be instantly lured out, but just as her words fell, she saw a person leap down from the tree.
That person sported some worn-out clothes and single-handedly held a crossbow. He bore a long bow and also a thick canvas rucksack on his back, with a short and long sword hanging from his waist.
Leina was completely in awe. This person had actually, with such a heavy burden on the body, reached such a close proximity to them without being detected.
However, Yi Longlong was even more at awe. “Your clothes, weren’t they…” Stripped off by Lin Qi? The latter half of the sentence was swallowed back beneath the threatening glare revealed by the other party.
Purple hair and eyes. Beneath the eye was a scar shaped like tears.
The person who caught up and nearly killed Yi Longlong was Roland, last seen twenty days ago.