Chapter 137: Spring Comes Upon A Withered Tree (IV)
The War Camp was located in the southwest of Waiser Forest. Apart from the locals, most of the people who came and went were professionals from all over the world. The streets were bustling, and the sound of vendors marketing their wares was everywhere.
Shang Ke wore a gray cloak and walked slowly into town with a basket of fruit on his back. After a short stroll, he found an open space near a pub and placed the basket down. It was better to gather news at a crowded place. Unfortunately, Shang Ke had no money on him, so he could only squat and wait on the streets, getting familiar with the environment, and earning some tips at the same time.
Just now, he went around a bit to get an idea of the prices here. The fruit in his basket could earn about ten silver coins. Of course, it didn’t matter if they couldn’t be sold. Shang Ke’s main purpose today was to come out and see the world.
Shang Ke’s fruits were very common in appearance. One could only detect its special features by tasting them. After an hour’s watch, Shang Ke only made a single sale of rose apples.
Just as Shang Ke was wondering if he should change locations, a tall figure appeared in front of his stall.
Shang Ke looked up. The man was nearly two meters tall with short maroon hair. Most of his face was covered with bandages, revealing only a pair of golden eyes. Although his appearance was very different from before, Shang Ke recognized his identity at a glance.
Before Shang Ke could say anything, he shoved a question at him. “Why are you here?”
It wasn’t surprising that Shang Ke recognized him, but how did Ivan know it was him even while wrapped in a cloak in this crowd?
“Follow me.” Ivan lifted the fruit basket and motioned Shang Ke to follow him.
Shortly after Shang Ke left, the man who bought five fragrant fruits ran back and saw the empty stall. He couldn’t help but stomp his foot and lament, “Motherfucker, I came too late. He sold me spirit fruits as ordinary goods; he should have said something! He must have done it on purpose. How irritating!”
Shang Ke followed Ivan through an alley and into a small inn. Many mercenaries were sitting inside in pairs and trios, clinking cups and sharing dishes. The voices were loud and noisy.
Several half-elves were drinking with their companions. Suddenly, they seemed to feel something. Qiqi looked at the door, and her gaze latched onto the cloaked man who had just stepped in, tracking him until he disappeared behind the second floor’s entrance.
“What’s the matter?” asked the half-elf’s companion.
“Nothing.” The unusual feeling suddenly disappeared. The half-elves thought about it a beat more, then ignored it and continued drinking with their companions. In any case, they never would have imagined that the person who just passed by was the embodiment of Teldrassil.
Ivan brought Shang Ke into a guest room where four people were sitting inside. They had been discussing something until they came in.
“Ivan, who is he?” Alvin looked warily at Shang Ke behind Ivan.
“My friend, Shang Ke. An elf.” Ivan placed the basket down and introduced the others blandly. “Alvin, Sandy, Morris, and Cassia.”
“Elf?” The four turned to Shang Ke at the same time.
Shang Ke removed his hood, astounding them with his beauty. Although mixed-blood elves were not rare, they were small in number and had excellent magical talents. They were also very popular in mercenary circles. Besides that, all their physical aspects were similar to the average human being’s. It was rare to find someone with such an outstanding appearance.
The four people relaxed and welcomed Shang Ke’s arrival.
“What were you guys talking about?” Ivan asked, seamlessly blocking everyone’s line of sight towards Shang Ke.
“Oh, that’s right! Morris heard some news about the phantom jade.” There was an excited expression on Alvin’s face.
“Oh?” Ivan looked at Morris, who nodded in silence.
Alvin added, “If the source is reliable, the phantom jade should be in the hands of King Jin Yi of the specters. We were just discussing finding allies and working out a plan to steal the phantom jade.”
“I’m afraid we’ll need a lot of oxygen spirit beads. How many can you craft in three months?” Sandy asked.
“If there are enough materials, about twenty,” Ivan replied.
“Only twenty?” The four were rather disappointed.
Shang Ke was surprised. It was unexpectedly difficult to create oxygen spirit beads. He thought it was easy to make two after watching Ivan craft them.
Shang Ke gave Ivan a glance. No emotion was revealed through those strange bandages on his face.
“Ivan, why don’t you teach other alchemists the method of crafting oxygen spirit beads?” Cassia asked. “Although you developed it, we should make a choice in order for the alliance to win.”
Ivan indifferently said, “Not all alchemists can learn how to make oxygen spirit beads.”
“Two if one fails, four if two fail,” Cassia pressed on. “At least one out of ten should be able to learn it, right?”
Does this woman regard Ivan as cheap labor force? She thinks he can go teach some just because she said so?
Shang Ke glanced at Cassia with slightly cold eyes.
Ivan ignored Cassia and said, “It won’t be easy to take the phantom jade from King Jin Yi. I’m afraid three months isn’t enough time for preparation. Besides, are you really sure that the phantom jade is in King Jin Yi’s hands?”
“What do you mean?” Four people asked together.
“What is it that specters are most afraid of?”
“Elves’ natural magic and oxygen elements,” Cassia answered without hesitation.
“Then, how did they seal the Fountain of Life?” Ivan’s tone was gentle as he explained, “The Fountain of Life possesses the purest force of nature and oxygen elements in the world, so the specters wouldn’t dare touch it. Even if they had vessels that could seal it, they couldn’t do it themselves.”
“They can force their slaves to do it for them.”
“Yes, if they want to seal the Fountain of Life, they can only rely on the power of other races.” Ivan’s eyes flashed with a deadly edge. “The Fountain of Life is like deadly poison to them. Do you think they would place such a dangerous thing beside them?”
The four of them grew pensive.
Ivan continued, “The alliance has been searching for the whereabouts of the phantom jade for a long time and received a lot of news about it. But each time, they end up with nothing. I think we should change our thought process.”
“In what way?”
“Look for clues from the powerful people controlled by the specters in those days.”
After discussing business, Alvin and the rest warmly invited Shang Ke to join their mercenary group.
Ivan glanced at the sky and said to Shang Ke, “I’ll take you back.”
“Ah, Ivan, you don’t want to join us, but you can’t stop others from joining us.” Sandy shouted.
“Yes, Shang Ke, join us. Our Tears of Blood mercenary group is very famous throughout the continent.” Alvin added.
Tears of Blood mercenary group… just listening to the name made one not want to join it, alright? Besides, Ivan wasn’t a member of this group, so he was even more uninterested in joining.
With a wave of his hand, Shang Ke said goodbye to them.
Ivan walked out of the hotel and suddenly stopped. He asked Shang Ke to wait a moment, then turned back to the hotel.
When he came out again, he had an extra basket of fruit in his hand.
Alvin looked at him, speechless. “It’s just a basket of fruit, why be so stingy?”
Shang Ke laughed. “Ivan, give these fruits to everyone.”
Ivan picked it up and handed one to each of them, his facial expression screaming reluctance.
Alvin: It turns out that he really is such a stingy man…
Sandy: Actually, you don’t have to force yourself to “part with your treasures”…
Cassia: What the hell? I’ll throw it away later!
Morris: No comment.
Ivan paid no attention to their condescending looks, took Shang Ke to the stables, and picked a horse. They quickly left the War Camp.
“Tsk, whoever wants to eat can eat this.” Cassia abandoned the fruit on the table with disdain.
“Eat more fruits for beauty.” Sandy laughed while washing the fruit.
At this moment, a man walked into the room dejectedly.
“Hey? Mackey, you’re back?” Alvin greeted his companion.
The man called “Mackey” raised his head, saw the sweet fruit on the table, and immediately rushed to it like he was infused with chicken blood. He picked it up and smelled it, then said with pleasant surprise in his voice, “Ah, this is it! You guys also bought it? Where did you get it?”
The four were confused. “Where did we buy what?”
“This kind of fruit! Where did you buy it? How many did you buy?” Mackey pointed to the fruit and asked eagerly.
“What are you asking for? Isn’t this just a wild rose apple?” Sandy picked up the fruit, casually took a bite, and then opened his eyes wide.
“This is a spirit fruit! The very rare spirit fruit!” Mackey looked distressed. “Did you guys think this was just a normal wild fruit?”
Alvin and the rest finally turned their eyes to the fruit in their hands. Their expressions were skeptical.
“In fact, it’s nothing. It tastes just like any ordinary wild fruit.” Sandy finished eating his and calmly asked Alvin, “I remember that you never liked fruit very much, so why don’t you give it to me?”
Alvin chuckled and resolutely stuffed the fruit into his pocket.
Sandy turned to Morris, who was crunching through his.
“I say, where on earth did you buy these fruits?” Mackey couldn’t help but ask again.
Several people exchanged glances, and an elf appeared in their minds.
“Motherfucker, Ivan, that bastard! He must have known!” Sandy suddenly scolded, “He took the whole basket!”
When the rest heard that, they erected a straight middle finger at the same time!
Ivan and Shang Ke returned to Waiser Forest before nightfall.
The baby elves rushed out of the woods and excitedly hung themselves on Ivan.
Shang Ke smiled and went over to pick up the elf hiding behind a big tree.
Ivan saw another baby elf and couldn’t help but ask, “She is?”
“Lorinda.” Lorinda meant flower fairy. Shang Ke hoped that the fire poison in her body would be dispelled one day, and she would become a beautiful flower fairy.
“…How many children do you have?”
“Twelve,” Shang Ke smiled. “I’ll introduce you to them later.”
Twelve, twelve… This number crashed around in Ivan’s brain.
He suspected that Shang Ke had several wives; otherwise, how could he have so many children?
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to meet the mother of your children first.” Ivan said sullenly.
“Keke.” Bubbles blinked and looked serious. “I also want to meet our mother.”
Gray also nodded very seriously.
Shang Ke was speechless. These little guys knew he was both father and mother, but still spoke deliberately. They were simply asking for a beating.
When he glanced at Ivan, the man’s eyes sparkled, and he seemed to realize that there was no so-called “mother” after all.
“I’m hungry. Let’s go home for dinner.” Ivan walked briskly into their garden house, hand in hand with the baby elves.