Volume 2 – Chapter 23: Entering the Forest
Qin Lun sighed in his heart. He had suddenly come to an understanding.
Tony, Laura, and so on might not know the true cause of Steven’s death. They probably believed the cause was a witch. Baron Albert didn’t only hide some truths from outsiders, but his own people as well. The white figure, who was possibly Steven’s wife, Mary Albert, was likely observing him in order to expose the hidden truth.
If Qin Lun had postponed his decision to join the exorcist organization by a few more days, that white figure might have approached him for a talk. If that were the case, he would have already found out whether Steven was actually dead or not and where the missing “corpse” was. His otherworld mission would have been done by now..
However, if that happened, Qin Lun wouldn’t have made it in time to participate in the Maize Forest investigation. Even if he joined the exorcist organization at a later date and got connected with headquarters through Baron Albert, he would not have been invited to the mission.
Between the possible results of his decisions, it was hard to say which one would be good or bad. It was just that, according to the current development, if Qin Lun failed to obtain another trial in Maize Forest, then the killer’s first otherworld mission would likely be a failure.
“Dr. Stein, what are you thinking about?” While Qin Lun was pondering over all his choices, Flower Overlord Nova had already returned to her seat.
“Oh, nothing. Thank you for your gun, Lady Nova!” Now that he was clear about the reason behind Nova’s special attention towards him, Qin Lun finally regained his normal attitude.
“It is merely a trivial matter!” Nova waved her hand in good cheer, then started to deal with the small mountain of food in front of her.
“Hey, Dr. Stein, did you think Lady Nova was… cough cough!” Otto had only spoken halfway before he saw Qin Lun’s expressionless face glare at him. He almost choked before coughing awkwardly, “Don’t worry, the Flower Overlord has no interest in someone with the figure of a bean sprout. Only Catherine would like an elegant young man like you.”
Catherine! Qin Lun paused a bit and thought about the lady boss he hadn’t seen for a while.
“Achoo!” Sitting at the bar counter, the middle-aged beauty’s nose itched, and she sneezed several times in a row.
“Catherine, Dr. Stein still hasn’t returned yet?” A rather plain looking young woman leaned closer to her over the counter and whispered.
“He still hasn’t.” Catherine looked at the small married woman near her and lazily leaned on the high chair, absentmindedly touching the counter. “Don’t worry, when he’s back, I will certainly have him help your man first!”
“Really? Thank you, Big Sis Catherine!” The small married woman’s face turned red as she happily bowed to Catherine.
Catherine was not in the mood to comfort her again. Her sight gazed blankly at the crowd of customers in the inn.
Ever since the residents of the town learned that Qin Lun could cure the plague, her business became better and better each day. Even if the doctor left town and went to Albert Castle, it did not dispel the town’s passion towards Catherine’s inn.
Everyone in Odia Town knew that the lady boss had an affair with the young Dr. Stein. Becoming closer with the lady boss and affirming some connections would help when needed, even if they didn’t have anyone at home that was ill.
This was the first time in years since Catherine’s inn had surpassed the other inn in business. If it were before, Catherine would be extremely happy. But now, as she watched the more and more mournful condition of the town, the lady boss couldn’t cheer her mood up at all.
The middle-aged beauty sitting behind the counter could often see the inn’s customers sneakily size her up. If it were before, no matter if the person who looked at her was male or female, old or young, the flirty lady boss would stick out her check, and regardless of what was going on, throw them some charming eyes and daze them first. However, she didn’t even have the mood for that anymore.
Catherine knew that these people were not really looking at her, but hoping to glean some information from her about Qin Lun.
You devil, you have been gone for so long, why aren’t you back yet! Didn’t you say that you would still come find Catherine? If this boss dies from the plague, would you even be a bit sad or would you forget this boss and find another younger girl?
The inn’s lady boss was full of complaints for Qin Lun as she worried. Although she acted like a hostess and gave out all sorts of promises to treat their illnesses in place of the doctor, Catherine knew that her actions were more like the self-deceiving ways of a girl that had fallen in love for the first time.
Perhaps he simply wasn’t going to return to this inn! Catherine’s peach blossom eyes turned a bit misty as she unconsciously stopped the movement of her hands and weakly leaned against the chair.
“Young Master, are you fine on horseback?” Frank drove the horse carriage while turning his head to ask.
The hunchbacked servant’s injuries had almost all healed into a scar. Even the shoulder that was run through was almost thoroughly healed without breaking open. The “World Tree Flower Nectar” truly contained the essence of life and had powerful healing properties.
Qin Lun nodded and carefully clamped his legs as he sat upright on horseback. The banquet ended very early last night. The exorcists all had very high self-control. No one drank themselves dead drunk because of the mission happening the next day.
The exorcist investigation group setted off early in the morning. What was rather unexpected for Qin Lun was that Baron Albert did not participate in this time’s operation. From the Albert Family, only Tony participated and was the nominal leader within the group.
In fact, the entire exorcist group was divided into five to six small teams. It felt like they were just scattering sand. Qin Lun had asked Otto about whether or not it was better to pick out a leader from among the group.
Otto did not laugh at his question, rather, he answered the doctor seriously. The reasoning behind the group’s current state had something to do with the way exorcists fight. They had high battle capability, and their basic body compositions were more developed than that of normal human beings. Their defensive abilities were high, but if gathered together, they would not be able to go all out.
From past experience, forcefully making the exorcists act together as an army would not produce a 1 + 1 = greater than 2 effect, but rather, a 1 + 1 = less than 1. Even casualties would arise. The exorcists’ battle teams usually would not surpass five people. Once they were used to each other, very few would welcome a stranger as a member. If there was a large scale mission, there would only be an increase in teams, not an increase in a team’s manpower.
This not only applied to exorcists, but also to witches. In other words, in the human world, where an elite army with an orderly formation could defeat a disorderly mob, the opposite would be true for exorcists.
Apart from the loose command and possibility of teams not unifying during battle, Otto also gave another reasonable explanation. Exorcists’ missions would usually not include complicated battle missions like the army’s. The contents of the majority of their missions would be very simple.
Using this mission as an example, there was only one objective: catch a live witch and pry open her mouth. As for who does what, it was very simple. Just let whichever exorcist that is more specialized in the matter do it, the others could just leave their hands off.
Because exorcists all had a very strong will to fight, as long as they accepted the mission, they had basically made preparations to die in battle. No one would use their own life as a joke, and even less were interested in stealing the position of leader.
In the exorcists’ eyes, the so-called leader was cannon fodder at the very front. If they really had a conflict of views, the minority would just obey the majority. If they absolutely refused to budge on their own views, they could leave the group and solo the mission. There was no such thing as running away before battle.
Qin Lun rubbed the muscles on his thigh. Initially, when he had just started to ride the horse, he was in high spirits, feeling that it was very interesting. Now that a few hours had passed, he felt pain in his waist and back. He couldn’t wait to get off and rest.
The exorcist group had now passed the Crest River and were entering the perimeter of Great Maize Forest.The exorcists with the best vision and experience walked at the very front, acting as the sentinel of the group.
Within the forest, horseback was the only feasible way to travel. The remaining carriages mainly acted as tents and storage spaces. Due to the lack of manpower, his hunchbacked servant was also taken as a carriage driver.
Qin Lun turned around, curiously checking out the huge cart in the middle of their group. Different from the supply carriage next to him, the cart was covered by a giant black tarpaulin. The rattling of iron chains and metals would sound from time to time, as if it were an iron cage.
Occasionally, some strange sounds would originate from the suspected iron cage. However, when Qin Lun asked Tony about it, the blond youth had only smiled mysteriously, not telling him what was inside. This made Qin Lun’s curiosity grow quickly.. He made plans to find an opportunity to peek under the tarpaulin.
The area of Maize Forest was vast, stretching a million square kilometers and touching the borders of six Grand Duchies. The Maize Dutchy, where Odia Town resided, was one of them.
The trees on the outer perimeter of the forest were not dense, sunshine and moonlight were both capable of getting through. However, after going deeper into the forest, the treetops would block the very sky, causing the interior to be dusky. Day and night were simply no different from each other.
The exorcist group did not dare to enter too deeply into the Great Maize Forest. They were merely winding around the forest exterior, hoping they could find a witch’s lair.
The sky slowly turned dark, and Great Maize Forest did not have any large-type animals. The areas that the exorcist group passed through were all especially quiet.
“Lord Otto, should be camp here?” Tony looked at the color of the sky and rode his horse over to Otto.
“Hn, this place is good enough. I will go tell Nova and the others.” Otto quickly rode over and returned, relaying to them, “Nova and the others said they understand. We will camp here.”
“Otto, are they not staying behind?” Qin Lun pointed his finger at the exorcists in front and asked in confusion.
“Hehe, Dr. Stein, have you not noticed that there are four people missing here?” Otto asked, then laughed and explained, “Those four are the rear guards, in charge of helping us clean up our tracks. And those of us here are the middle guard, while the small three people team in front is the vanguard. They still need to go a little farther before setting camp.”
After hearing Otto’s explanation, Qin Lun suddenly noticed that the entire group was like an arrow. The three ahead, acting as the vanguard, formed the arrowhead, while behind were two small teams that formed the arrow’s body. Furthermore, each team was rather far from each other, a distance of about one kilometer.
Qin Lun now has a better grasp of the exorcists’ formation. Over twenty individuals could actually control three kilometers, each one monitoring a kilometer of area. Excluding their combat ability, even if they were only capable of maintaining the formation without scattering, it would still be an amazing thing.