Volume 2 – Chapter 24: Investigating
There were five people in the position of middle guard. Qin Lun and his attendant Frank, who everyone viewed as logistic personnel, Tony and Otto, the two official exorcists, and lastly, Will, a young exorcist who was barely eighteen.
Like Qin Lun, this was Will’s first time participating in an exorcist mission. Qin Lun came voluntarily, while Will had no choice but to come. His father was also an exorcist but died five years ago on a bounty mission.
Fortunately, Will’s father had left behind some wealth for his orphaned children and widowed wife so they had enough to live. However, Will always wanted to inherit his father’s exorcist profession. Five years ago, he was still too young and could only use the points his father earned to temporarily not go on missions every year.
All the points were finally used up this year. If he did not go on a mission, then he would be deprived of his exorcist qualifications. Once they were lost, Will did not have confidence in regaining them with his own abilities. Plus, he had already reached adulthood this year, so he was determined to do this mission.
The only thing he didn’t foresee was that his first mission would be a large-scale battle mission.
“Will, is this enough firewood?” Qin Lun held a pile of dried branches as he stood by the fire, a bright smile on his face.
“It’s enough, enough. Thank you, Dr. Stein!” The plainly dressed young man took the dried branches piled by the side and busied himself with making hot water for everyone.
After the small team found an open spot in the forest, the five of them started to build their tents and make a fire. While everyone While everyone was doing things, Qin Lun suddenly discovered that he seemed to not be able to do anything. He was even more useless than his servant Frank. After messing up several people’s work, he was finally shooed away to Will’s spot by an angry Otto.
With the fire started, the Great Maize Forest was starting to become enveloped with the curtains of night. Without Qin Lun making a hindrance of himself, the others quickly finished putting up the tents. They took out drinks and food from the carriage, then sat around the fire Will started.
Tony took out a bundle from his person and threw some withered grass from the bundle into the fire. After these things started burning, a faint sweet smell started to form.
“What is that?” Qin Lun, who was observing and learning from the side, finally couldn’t help but ask.
“This is incense grass, so that we won’t be bothered by mosquitoes!” Otto sighed, “Dr. Stein, your experience with surviving in the wilderness is too low. That part of you needs to be strengthened. The witches have lairs scattered in environments with extremely vile conditions. Exorcists need to learn how to survive in every kind of situation.”
“Understood, I hope everyone gives me a lot of pointers in the future!” Qin Lun did not mind and smiled.
Perhaps it was the influence of the surrounding environment, but everyone did not have much cheer for conversations and silently ate their meal. Only Will would often raise his head and nervously look into the dark forest, where faint beast howls could be heard.
“Paaah!” Just when everyone was feeling a bit sleepy, and Tony was about to set the schedule for night watch, a flash of lightning came from deep within the forest. It sounded like the thunder of a rainy day as it passed.
“It seems to be coming from the direction of Nova’s group!” Otto quickly got up and muttered as he watched where the light was coming from.
“Yes, it should be electric-type magic!” Tony’s face was dark, “Today is our first day and our position is still at the edge, yet they actually ran into magic organisms!”
While the two spoke, red light lit up the sky far in the distance. The light lasted longer this time, about ten seconds before slowly darkening again.
“Sire Tony, should we go over and save them?” Qin Lun’s eyes lit up in excitement. He was very interested in the witches and magic organisms of this world.
“There’s no need, they can deal with it. If there is danger, they can send firework signals. The yellow fireworks means they need assistance and red fireworks mean extreme danger. If there aren’t any signals, then it means they can deal with it. They don’t need to endanger the other teams’ formation to rescue them.”
“Hehe, Dr. Stein, rest early. When the sky starts to lighten up, you will be on night watch.” Tony sat by the fire and took out his knight sword, carefully cleaning it.
A strange look flitted through Qin Lun’s eyes, and he silently nodded. Tony’s display within the forest amazed him a bit. This blond youth cleaned up all of his young master attitude that he showed in the castle and turned into a seasoned exorcist. He was completely in place with Otto and the other exorcists.
“Rustle!” Qin Lun suddenly opened his eyes from his sleeping state. His body was slightly tense, but he quickly relaxed once he figured out who the footsteps belonged to.
“Young Master, did I wake you?” Frank scratched his head in embarrassment as he looked at Qin Lun, who had sat up.
“Is it my turn to be on night watch?” Qin Lun took a look at the sky and noticed that dawn was approaching. He remembered what Tony said and quickly realized the reason behind Frank’s appearance.
“Yes, Lord Otto didn’t let me take your place for night watch.” Frank miserably said.
“Go rest.” Qin Lun twisted his neck a bit and headed for the center of the camp, where the fire was.
“Dr. Stein, you’re awake?” Otto looked at Qin Lun and smiled as he called out to him. “Your attendant wanted to take on your night watch, but I refused. Since you want to become an exorcist, you should become familiar with the risks of the wild as soon as possible.”
“Yes, I also think so. As an exorcist, one should always remain vigilant in the wild.” Qin Lun nodded and agreed.
In fact, even if Qin Lun was fast asleep, it was very hard for anyone to get near him. When he was at Hebei Supermax Prison, the prisoners in the same cell as him were all serious criminals, quite a few were death row prisoners.
In that kind of environment, Qin Lun had long cultivated an incomparably vigilant heart. In fact, when Qin Lun had first entered prison, he had not killed his fellow prison mates. However, a prison was like a cage for fighting dogs, there would always be fights happening.
Over time, in this kind of situation, Joey started to appear frequently. Afterwards, the criminals in the same cell as him would basically end up dead within three days. They would die in very tragic ways, slaughtered like cattle. In those years, prisoners that could survive for a week while in the same cell as him could basically be counted on his fingers.
It was in that short time period that Qin Lun and Joey won their nickname, “Dissector,” and truly become one of the serial killers that would strike fear in people’s heart. Sometimes, the serial killer would become the Hebei Supermax Prison and the government’s mechanism to “deal with” some prisoners deemed as “special.”
This was also the reason why, before Hebei Court approved of Qin Lun’s death sentence, he would be able to get preferential treatment in prison.
“Sire Tony went to rest?” Qin Lun turned his head and asked.
“Yes, the two of us have the most experience within this team. He is in charge of the first half of the night, while I am in charge of the second half.” Otto nodded and answered, his brows were tight, seeming to have a lot of his mind.
“Are you worried about something?” Qin Lun noticed and asked.
“Hehe, you noticed?” Otto’s gaze was grave as he looked in the distance. “Last night, the three teams ahead all received different attacks of some degree!”
“The three teams were all attacked?” Qin Lun narrowed his eyes, “This kind of occurrence isn’t very normal, I presume?”
“Hm, two years ago, we formed a five-people team and investigated the forest near Odia Region.” Otto thought back and said, “That time, after we entered the forest, we weren’t attacked at all on the outer fringe. It was only the fifth day, when we went too deep, that we were disturbed by two gargoyles.”
“You don’t need to worry too much, didn’t they not ask for help? Perhaps last night, they just suffered from some beast’s disturbance.” Qin Lun’s gaze flashed, and he smiles as he comforted him.
“If only it were so. In another two hours, they will send people over to inform us of the news. When that time comes, we will know what happened.” Otto’s expression did not lighten up.
Compared to Qin Lun’s uncaring attitude, the old exorcist knew that the attacks on the vanguard last night weren’t made by some beasts. Just a few beasts were unlikely to make an exorcist use magic. For something to be strong enough to force the exorcists to use magic, it must be powerful and resilient, like fearless magic organisms.
Otto’s forecast was not wrong. When the sky was bright and everyone woke up, the three teams ahead each sent a messenger.
The exorcist that was in charge of passing the information was covered in dust and blood. His left hand was supported by a cloth tied around his neck, while the scent of smoke from the battlefield lingered on him.
“Brae, what happened ahead?” Tony and Otto immediately went forth to meet him.
“We met three gargoyles and fought a vicious battle. What was fortunate was that, besides me, no one else got hurt.” The one called Brae was a middle-aged exorcist. He glanced at Qin Lun and the other two newcomers. He played down the seriousness.
Tony and Otto glanced at each other and smiled, “Three gargoyles will have a lot of points, looks like you guys have a rather nice harvest!”
The three exorcist’s light conversation caused the grave atmosphere to relax.
“Dr. Stein, can you deal with Brae’s arm?” Otto turned around and asked.
“I am very willing to help! Sire Brae, please come with me.” Qin Lun smiled and led the injured messenger into a tent.
“Sire Brae, it is merely a dislocation. The bone did not break. However, please don’t overuse this arm in the following days.” Qin Lun helped pop the arm back into its socket and smiled, “I will help deal with your other injuries as well.”
“Thank you, Dr. Stein, having a doctor in the group is really too nice.” Brae waved his arm and happily said.
“Sire Brae, those three gargoyle your five-man team ran into only attacked you guys, and not the other two groups that received attacks yesterday night, right?” Qin Lun stooped down to organize the items for the medical treatment and quietly asked without even raising his head.
The expression on Brae’s face slightly went stiff as he momentarily fell silent, before finally reply, “Yes, Nova and them ran into a grand devil.”
“Is the situation very grave?” Qin Lun expressionlessly closed the medical box.
“If it wasn’t a coincidence, then yes, it is very grave!” Brae solemnly said.
“There is no such thing as a coincidence in this world, there is only the inevitable.” Qin Lun sighed and repeated the words he heard just a few days ago.