Chapter 14: Took care of it in advance
The next day, Han Shuo was rudely awakened by a heavy trash bag being dumped on him.
He had been sweetly dreaming when he felt a heavy mountain toppling down on him. He alertly scrambled up from the bed, and rubbed his eyes to see that there was an extra heavy bag of trash on the bed. He immediately understood that someone must’ve thrown their trash in through the warehouse window.
He nagged and cursed randomly, kicking the bag of trash off the bed. The bag landed with a thump and rolled towards the door. Han Shuo was about to go back to sleep, when he realized that the time must’ve been late if someone had thrown a bag of trash in.
The sun had indeed risen high into the sky when Han Shuo pushed open the windows to take in the view. He sighed in turn, thinking that he had overexerted himself with training last night. He had definitely overslept today, and was about to hurry out the door, when he suddenly recalled last night’s dream. He seemed to remember that the little skeleton had gotten revenge on Fitch for him. Han Shuo’s heart leapt in fright when he remembered that last time he had a similar dream, the events had actually happened. His gaze quickly searched towards the wooden bucket.
He was greeted with the sight of the skeleton resting two bony, black hands on the sides of the bucket, and its left leg bone crossed on top of its right leg bone, swinging lazily to and fro, as if it was enjoying a sauna. It looked very comfortable and looked every bit a dapper rogue.
Han Shuo breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing it still in the wooden bucket and mused silently for a moment. He got up and shoved the bucket underneath the bed, and only left the warehouse to tackle his day’s duties after he’d grabbed a trash bag to plug the space underneath the bed.
“Hi Bryan, what took you so long today?” Jack was dusting off the statues as he greeted Han Shuo from afar with a smile.
Han Shuo glanced around him and knew that he was late because no students were passing by on this path. Classes must already be in session.
“Oh, my mind’s groggy after Fitch’s two taps yesterday. That’s why I overslept.”
“Heh heh!” Jack suddenly gave a light, gloating laugh and put his head confidentially next to Han Shuo’s. He said lowly, “Bryan, you don’t need to be mad. I heard the students talking on the way to class today. That the black, seven-winged skeleton, that appeared last time, beat Fitch up last night. His face is bruised and puffy!”
Han Shuo, “….”
So the dream really had taken place, with a few marked differences from what he’d imagined. This time, the little skeleton was noticeably much faster and had already finished executing its commands. No wonder the little skeleton had been lying in the bucket in a different position from the night when he checked the bucket this morning.
“Eh, Bryan. Why aren’t you saying anything? Are you too happy? Haha, that must be the case. That black skeleton is really something. When Fitch had been beaten awake, he only saw the flapping of the seven wings. The skeleton leapt straight down from the window and escaped that way. Oh! Fitch lives on the fourth floor. It’s amazing that the skeleton didn’t land in pieces of broken bones!”
Han Shuo gave two dry coughs and was feeling quite gratified. He glossed over the topic and said, “Well done! I wonder who summoned that little skeleton and got revenge for me. I’ve been so lucky lately!”
No more unlucky things happened to Han Shuo in the next few days, and no one came looking for him to practice magic. In these days, Han Shuo took advantage of the rare quiet to stand outside the necromancy classrooms early in the morning, and eavesdrop on Gene’s lectures with a broom in hand.
Maybe it was due to his beating at the hands of the skeleton, but Fitch didn’t show up to class in those few days. Han Shuo eavesdropped on Gene’s explanations of magical knowledge everyday, and was enlightened on many theories that he simply did not understand prior.
At night, Han Shuo practiced the “Mystical Glacial Spellfire”, and bit by bit, circulated the magical yuan towards his right palm and fingertips according to the spellfire’s prescribed method. It burned with pain each time, but over the course of these few days, Han Shuo had almost circulated the magical yuan to his wrist.
He continued to study “The Foundations of Necromancy”, and would mentally note the portions he didn’t understand to see if Gene, by chance, mentioned any of those topics when Han Shuo was eavesdropping on his classes.
Now that Han Shuo’s rations had increased and his body was receiving more nutrition, not to mention him training his magical yuan, Han Shuo’s originally delicate body unconsciously underwent some fundamental changes. He started to form muscles, and even seemed to grow a bit taller, while his temperament changed as well.
The necromancy students all relegated Han Shuo’s changes as the aftermath of him going crazy. Han Shuo basked in the ease of no one paying him much attention, and continued to work and covertly practice magic. He was happy to witness the changes in his body.
“Oh endless darkness, turn into destructive bone arrows, and destroy according to my will, bone arrows!” A length of cuttingly sharp bone arrow materialized out of thin air when the incantation was completed, and flew towards a straw figure in front of Han Shuo with a flick of his finger. However, it suddenly shuddered halfway through.
The bone arrow suddenly exploded halfway to its target, and from the look of its direction, it had veered greatly off course. It wasn’t aimed towards the straw stuffed figure at all.
Han Shuo gave a low sigh as he shook his head, thinking that understanding theory was one matter, actually using it was another. Han Shuo had been practicing this lowest level bone arrow magic near the cemetery these days, and he’d never been able to successfully cast it. Either he wasn’t able to summon the arrow, or its direction was greatly off course and would explode mid-flight.
Han Shuo understood that repeated practice was necessary in order to successfully cast necromancy magic. Only through constant practice would he be able to fully grasp the particulars of a spell, and be able to successfully cast it without any errors or flaws.
These days, Han Shuo would always train his magical yuan for a while whenever night fell, then sneak over to the cemetery, where he had once been dumped as a corpse, to practice necromancy in the dead of night. The little skeleton would stand there unmoving once it had hauled over two bags of trash and thrown them away.
Just as Han Shuo was reflecting on the incantation and hand seals he had used just now, and was trying to figure out where he had gone wrong with employing his mental strength, he suddenly heard rushed footsteps in the distance. He started and quickly hid in the randomly scattered rock outcroppings next to the cemetery.
The cemetery was expansive and completely quiet at night. Few visited apart from Han Shuo stopping by to throw away discarded magical ingredients. He furtively practiced magic here because he didn’t want to be discovered, and naturally hid out of sight when he heard footsteps sound.
After a while, a tall, solidly built, blue-haired, middle aged man, with his clothes dyed crimson from blood and bloody froth at his mouth, came into Han Shuo’s line of sight. He wielded a broadsword and staggered forward with an anxious look. He stumbled directionless, and kept checking behind his back.
His body shuddered when he reached the area where Han Shuo had been practicing before, and his footsteps swayed as he fell to the ground. He fished out a grey handbag from an inner chest pocket, randomly pawed at the earth twice and stuck the bag into the dirt. He got up and continued running after he had smoothed over the earth.
“Dylan, where can you run to now!” A benevolent voice carried from afar as a black light flashed and materialized into a thin, frail, old man behind the middle aged man. He wore a compassionate smile on his face and his master’s robes were rimmed with gold. He carried an obviously precious staff that was embedded with a ruby, sapphire, and topaz.
A ball of dark green light swiftly flew in from afar after the frail, old kindly mage had appeared. When it reached the clearing, the dark green light abruptly disappeared and a strongly built, muscular looking swordsman equipped with a longsword appeared.
“Master Duke, how should we handle Dylan?” The swordsman stood politely next to the mage and asked humbly after he had arrived.
The compassionate old mage, Duke, wrinkled his sparse eyebrows and looked at the figure collapsed on the ground with blood coming out of his mouth. “Poor Dylan… he’s probably at the end of his tether. He should not suffer this kind of pain. Erick, send him on his way!”
“The master is too kind!” Swordsman Erick praised with an odd expression on his face, and suddenly flashed like lightning towards the still running Dylan. Han Shuo caught a fleeting glance of a ball of dark green light as blood splattered from Dylan’s back, and he finally fell to the ground, unmoving.
Erick sheathed his longsword and immediately bent down to search Dylan’s body. His facial expression became uglier and uglier, he finally stood up and said resignedly, “Master Duke, it isn’t on him!”
“How is that possible!” Duke was shocked and his expression shifted. He summoned Dylan’s corpse with a wave of his staff, chanted a wind magic incantation, and several sharp blades of wind appeared to shred the corpse’s clothing to pieces.
Han Shou clearly saw it all while hiding behind the outcrop of rock. The dark green light blossoming from Erick’s longsword indicated that he was a senior knight.
That such a senior knight was so respectful to that Duke meant that the identity, or ability of this person, was even higher. It was the first time that Han Shuo had seen a murder committed, and his heart pounded as it raced with panic.
“It really isn’t on him!” Duke muttered to himself and tossed Dylan’s naked body to the ground like trash with another wave of his staff.
Duke shook his staff again, and a strong pulse of mental strength gushed towards Han Shuo. Han Shuo’s body flew up against his will and landed in front of Duke.
“Eh? How did you know I was there?” Not only was Han Shuo panicking internally, but his mouth was panicking as well. He flailed around with his limbs in mid air and yelled with disbelief.
“Heh, what a cute, innocent little fellow! Judging from your clothes, you’re from the Babylon Academy of Magic and Force?” Duke gazed kindly upon Han Shuo and dumped him on the ground after delivering these lines.
“Yeah, I’m an errand boy from the Babylon Academy. I was here to throw away magical trash. I didn’t see anything just now. Eh, it’s getting late. You guys keep chatting, I’m going back now.”
Han Shuo stood up from the ground and responded with a face full of naivete. He took two measured steps towards the academy’s grounds, then increased his speed and ran away with all his might. These two weird guys might do something detrimental to me, best get away as soon as possible.
“Heh, this fellow is a bit shrewd. Erick, why don’t you send him on his way!” Duke spoke benevolently and laughed lightly behind Han Shuo’s back.
Han Shuo felt a strong current of air rapidly approach as soon as Duke had finished speaking.