Volume 2 – Chapter 26: The Truth of the Facade
If it was possible, Qin Lun would rather not participate in the fight between exorcists and witches. He wished to act as an observer, like a video camera that faithfully recorded all the events. It was fine if the exorcists succeeded, but it was also fine if they failed. None of it had anything to do with him.
As for Frank and Catherine, people he had used before, Qin Lun merely regarded them as workers, cameramen. He paid them wages, and they repaid him with labor.
Frank helped him before, so Qin Lun promised to provide him a way of living in the future. Catherine helped him as well, so he indirectly helped the inn’s business improve.
If it weren’t for the existence of the otherworld mission, Qin Lun would have already shut up and stopped pushing the development of current events further. But like the words he had previously spoken, there was no such thing as coincidence, only the inevitable. Once the wheels of fate start turning, then even the camera had no choice but to become part of the event.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it has already been three days and two nights since we entered Maize Forest and suffered from two attacks. However, if we ignore the two sacrifices from the group attacked while on their way to provide assistance, these two attacks were all within our ability. They did not thoroughly defeat us, isn’t that right?” Qin Lun faintly smiled.
The tent quieted down. The exorcists all appeared to have been enlightened as they fell into thought.
“Dr. Stein, please continue speaking.” The seasoned Otto seemed to have thought of something and gave a look of praise towards Qin Lun.
“If the first night’s attack was merely testing the waters, then the attacks from the second night should be the witch urging them to enter a frontal confrontation with us.” Qin Lun lined up more evidence, “Everyone, please think back a bit. If it was a frontal confrontation, then doesn’t that mean the Maize witch does not have the power to completely defeat us at the moment?”
“These are just your conjectures, at least for last night’s attack, the Maize witch didn’t show herself. The moment the witch shows up at the scene and controls the evil organisms, we will fall into an even worse situation!” The exorcist with the net-pattern said somberly.
Qin Lun gave the exorcist a glance but smiled and said nothing. Although he had retorted, he could tell that the experienced exorcist had the same doubts as him. His thoughts on withdrawing from the forest had somewhat weakened.
“The witch did not show up. This could be because she is alone at the moment. There’s a chance she is afraid that we will, by all means, try to kill her. Without any companions by her side to protect her, it would be much easier to surround her.” Otto muttered as if he was talking to himself.
“Based on our past experience, one Maize witch would have, at minimum, two to three evil organisms, and, at most, seven to eight.” The net-cheeked exorcist muttered to himself, then refuted again, “We were attacked by over twenty evil organisms last night, based on that, there should be three to five witches!”
“Don’t mention three to five, even if there were only two witches cooperating, we would have been destroyed last night. We wouldn’t have even had the chance to return!” Lady Nova’s eyes lit up, and she spoke in her low and muffled voice, “We took the initiative to enter Maize Forest this time, even if the Maize witch killed all of us, it would not be considered a violation of the Millenium Contract.”
“Yes, the theory that there is only a single witch can be approved.” The other exorcist, that was a bit older in age, nodded. “Perhaps the witch is a lookout sent to the forest edge by the other Maize witches. If that’s the case, the other witches could have very likely strengthened her magic servants and sent them out to monitor more areas.”
“If there is only one sentry witch in charge of monitoring the area, then why did she not continuing monitoring and wait for the other witches to come and help her? Why must she send so many magic organisms to scare us away, so we would leave… Isn’t all of this very strange?” The net-cheeked man frowned, and a thought came to him.
“Unless our formation was headed in the direction of her lair and is not far away!” All the exorcists looked at each other as excitement took over, “She does not have enough time to wait for the other Maize witches, so she could only send out magic organisms to attack us, causing us to retreat.”
“This is the reason why we saw so many magic organisms but not a single witch personally leading the attacks.” Tony slapped the low table and got up.
“We were all wrong! From our point of view, meeting such fierce attacks was the witch having been prepared long ago. But from the witch’s point of view, how could over twenty exorcists entering the forest not be something major? Perhaps that witch even believes that we were aiming for her, causing her to have such an intense reaction.”
A profound smile formed on Qin Lun’s lips, and he silently left the tent. The doctor understood that the discussion afterwards no longer needed him.
These exorcists were experienced and shrewd. The reason why they hadn’t noticed this suspicious point beforehand was because they had some misconceptions. After all, not everyone was like him who had learned psychology and could change his perspective to think from another angle.
Of course, even if Qin Lun didn’t point them in a direction, these exorcists would still be able to figure it out given some time. But by then, they would have likely already withdrew from Maize Forest or lost the best timing, allowing the witch to gain backup.
Qin Lun had not walked out for long before the team leaders all left one after another. He had no choice but to admit that the exorcists had a high level of courage and wisdom. Once their doubts were dispelled, they would reach an agreement within ten short minutes. They worked diligently without any sloppiness.
No wonder Otto had previously said that as long as the mission target was identical, they did not need a leader.
“Dr. Stein, everyone wanted me to thank you for your timely reminder. If it weren’t for you, by the time we understood what was going on, we would have been thoroughly discredited.” Otto found Qin Lun, smiled and bowed. “We have decided our course of action. It’s just that…”
“You guys want me to return to Albert Castle first?” Qin Lun wore a strange expression.
“Yes, after the magic organisms get in contact with the exorcists, they can send the image of their enemy to the witch. We plan to have the three vanguard teams deviate from the path and draw away those magic organisms. Our team will then head directly to the witch’s lair!”
Otto explained, “If our judgment isn’t wrong, the following battle will be intense. Your current behavior is already enough to pass the newcomer trial. You don’t need to take any more risks and participate in battle. Plus, those injured exorcists that need to return to the castle also need you to take care of them. No one would question your courage just because of this!”
“Sire Otto, did you think I was trying to show my bravery this entire time by following you guys?” Qin Lun’s face was expressionless as he stiffly said.
“You…” Otto pursed his eyebrows and solemnly said, “Before we entered Maize Forest, Baron Albert had told me that, even if this mission fails, I have to guarantee your safety. You are the only doctor capable of curing the plague right now. The only person that cannot be sacrificed in this team is you!”
“Sire Otto, you don’t understand.” Qin Lun quietly sighed, “I am not following you guys to prove my courage; I also have a reason to come, no matter what.”
“Oh? What reason?” Otto asked in confusion.
“The epidemic situation in the Odia Region is already not something I can fix by myself. The plague’s origin must be found so that we can make a large quantity of antidotes at once. Otherwise, with or without me, the result will be the same.” Qin Lun solemnly said, “If the plague really does have something to do with the witch, then only I can find the origin of it in her lair and make an antidote based on the virus’ composition. Without my medical knowledge, do you guys have the ability to do so?”
“That…” Otto was finally speechless.
Even if they catch the witch, they really might not be able to pry open her mouth or bring her back alive to Albert Castle. Qin Lun’s reasoning was very adequate, so Otto could not refuse the doctor and had to allow him to follow them to the witch’s lair.
Otto once again discussed with the other exorcists, and their plan began immediately. The three teams, headed by Nova and the net-cheeked exorcist, headed eastward, going in a different direction, deeper into the forest. Their mission was to draw away the magic organisms that attacked last night.
If the exorcists’ judgment was not wrong, then they all believed that that witch will continue to urge all her evil organisms to attack and follow them, to show a force of power until they leave the forest.
If their judgement was wrong and the witch wasn’t just putting on an appearance of being strong and was really trying to annihilate them, or if she no longer paid attention to them, Nova and the others would send a signal, telling Otto to withdraw from the forest.
As for the small team under Otto and Tony’s guidance, because they had not met face to face with the magic organisms yet, the witch did not know of their existence. Therefore, the mission to find her lair was given to them. Naturally, Nova and the others did not go off too far. The two of them kept around a half-day’s distance from each other to guard against the unexpected.
The final portion of exorcists were the injured ones. Besides the five that were seriously injured, there were two more from the rear guard team that were with them. They will use the carriage to transport the deceased’s remains and injured exorcists, withdrawing from the forest and returning to Albert Castle.
“Dr. Stein, only Sire Otto and Sire Tony have fighting capabilities in our team of five. After we find the witch’s lair, will we be able to beat her?” The youngest in the team, Will, was sullen and whispered to him without any confidence.
“Hehe, don’t worry little guy. I don’t believe that our team’s battle capability is bad.” Qin Lun laughed and rubbed Will’s head, his line of sight falling onto a certain carriage as he narrowed his eyes.