Chapter 1: Fateful Encounter
In a dense forest, a group of one to two hundred people were walking. Tens of horses carried very heavy goods, steadily pacing forward, one following another.
Evidently, it was a merchant’s caravan. In the middle of the caravan thirty to forty merchants walked with horses carrying goods. Surrounding them were a hundred or more mercenaries. Some walked briskly, some rode earth dragons, most had a relaxed demeanor, but there were also some that were tense.
At moment, at the very front of the group, a group of youngsters played around, occasionally laughing very heartily.
“Ramos, we’ve been journeying for about ten days, why haven’t we met even a single mid-class magical beast? This is such a disappointing journey,” a short and stout mercenary complained to his comrade.
“Derry, you little rascal, are you itching to be beaten up? If you’re not satisfied, you can train with me. Sure, if the merchants heard you, at most they would be unhappy, but if Captain Li heard you, he would peel off your skin for sure!” a youngster twenty four to five years old said laughingly to the other young mercenary who were grumbLin. This was Ramos, who had an enviable head of golden hair, pretty face, with noble movements, and at first glance he looked highborn. He had been from an aristocratic family, but it had already fallen. In the group, he liked to stick to people around his age. although his demeanor made him stand out. As for strength, Ramos could also be considered to be an extremely talented person. Derry, the person who just spoke, suffered many times under Ramos’s hand.
Ramos’s remark caused many other mercenaries to laugh kindly. After all, they are all hot-blooded youngsters. To them, only a journey with difficulties would be considered exciting and romantic. Even though they were only in the outer edge of the Magic Beast Forest, a journey for ten days that only allowed them to see low-class magical beasts was indeed disappointing.
“That’s not true, Captain Li wouldn’t do anything to me.” Derry said shrugged off his fellow mercenaries’ ridicule, instead exaggeratedly continued: “I haven’t even met a mid-class magic beast, but when we do I’ll show you my powerful strength.” He twisted his short and fat body while speaking, making the surrounding mercenaries laugh louder and louder.
“I think that if we meet one, it would be nice if you just didn’t piss your pants. I think that Captain Li would take pity on you and forgive your silly ideas,” Lamos said, also amused at Derry’s funny gestures, and couldn’t help but make an appalled expression.
“Young men, what are you talking about? I felt like I heard you guys mention me.” A hearty laugh sounded, and then a man of forty some years of age appeared. His facial features were rough, and he was tall with robust muscles. While wearing a worn piece of armor, he seemed very valiant and rugged.
“Hello, sir.” A group of young mercenaries greeted the approaching figure. Only Derry’s face seemed to be embarrassed. After all, he was boasting just now. Everyone in the mercenary regiment knew that although Derry was very strong, his sword technique was awful. If in the first three strikes he failed subdue the enemy, then he probably could only wait for death.
“Captain Li, just now a person grumbled that this trip was a bit boring, and wants to seem some mid-class beasts for entertainment,” Ramos reported jokingly, without any hesitation while glancing at Derry, making people unable to restrain their laughter.
Captain Li saw Derry looking away from his eyes, walked over to him, and patted him on the shoulder. “How brave, makes me think highly of you. At least, mercenaries are supposed to be brave. In this aspect you are doing well.” When Derry’s face revealed gratitude, Captain Li’s tone changed. “But before that, I think you need to beat Ramos first because he is definitely less scary than a mid-class beast.”
Immediately, Derry’s grateful expression disappeared. Everyone in the mercenary regiment knew that if Derry fought, he would meet a sorry end. Immediately, Derry thought of the hellish defeat.
However, Captain Li Lin’s sincere, charismatic words made the mercenaries secretly feel they didn’t follow the wrong man. At least, his words made them feel that Derry wouldn’t lose his life facing Ramos.
“Hey, what’s so funny, tell me!” a cute feminine voice called. It was Qian Qian, the little princess of the regiment.
Li Lin looked at the young girl, who was wearing boy’s clothes. But the flash of mischievousness in her pair of big eyes was exceptionally quick, only giving a glimpse of a girl’s gentleness.
Accompanying Qian Qian was a woman in green, who truly brightened the eyes and was gorgeous. In this group where the majority was men, she really was a beautiful view. Some of the young men sneaked several side peeks at her. Li Lin understood their desire and didn’t say anything.
“Little girl, don’t come out to looking for trouble, stay aside and be well-behaved. This is the Magic Beast Forest, it’s very dangerous,” Li Lin said to Qian Qian.
Qian Qian naughtily made a face at Li Lin, sticking out her tongue, expressing her disdain. She secretly said to herself, “Don’t bully and treat me like I don’t know anything. It’s already been ten days and we haven’t even met a mid-class magic beast. How boring.”
But, facing Li Lin’s faked anger, Qian Qian could only obediently walk back to the center. The woman in green who had always been by her side gave a brilliant laugh. Her graceful bearing was feast for the eyes of the young men.
Fortunately, it wasn’t early anymore. In an hour the sky would be dark and the mercenaries would take a break, light a fire, and tease the female servants. To the mercenaries who were escorting the merchants, this was what was most interesting.
Even though they didn’t meet any particularly large dangers, the merchants did not rashly proceed. Right now the people in the front were walking on foot. Some time after reprimanding Qian Qian, Li Lin walked back the the center of the group. After Li Lin left, naturally the mercenaries talked more.
They whole way they walked, chatting and laughing, in high spirits.
Now the setting sun’s rays were slanted. On the high branches of the forest, the lush leaves reflected the slanted rays, seeming like it had a layer of gold. Occasionally, some light leaked down and landed on the ground like spots of a leopard. Making many mercenaries feel that the Magic Beast Forest was very beautiful. But this beauty concealed the dangers of the forest.
Suddenly, as Qian Qian’s view wandered around the forest, she shouted, “Ah! There’s someone there!”
Near the path, under a tree, a man was lying down.
After confirming Qian Qian was not joking, many people approached, one by one. A distance away from the tree, they stopped. Qian Qian yelled a couple of words, “Hey, are you ok?” but there was no response. They walked closer and closer.
If there was only one man who appeared here, then it couldn’t be an ordinary situation. Afterall, it was the Magic Beast Forest, even if it was only the fringe of it.
But as the group walked right in front of him, there was no response from him.
His clothing style was very unusual and torn to shreds, making him seem very sloppy. Facing down, you couldn’t tell how he looked like, but you could guess that he was not sleeping, and instead, a victim of some sort.
The Magic Beast Forest had magical beasts come and go frequently. Even if Ramos met a stronger than average magical beast, he also could only escape. If you were unlucky and attacked, then you would be wounded for sure. The mercenaries all felt it would be likely someone would be wounded and then laid here. As for whether he had fainted or was dead, they had to inspect him to confirm.