Chapter 45: Song of The Wind (4)
Celtic informed Roger Reeds that the Grand Duke had asked him to please come over to discuss how to deal with the secret tunnel. He specifically used the words “please” and “discuss”. Although this was the capital of the Principality of Flange, The Watchman Roger Reeds was a man of high status on the entire continent of Sicilit, putting him nowhere less noble than the Grand Duke himself.
As soon as Roger Reeds left, Celtic whispered to Tang Cuo: “With the matters surrounding this secret tunnel, we will be kept busy again. I hope that the Rose Sect won’t engage in any more evil doings any time soon. The wind brings a good season of harvest, and my aunt Peggy from far away has invited me over to try the fresh ale on her farm.”
Tang Cuo nodded coldly.
Celtic also seemed to be used to Theodore’s dignified boringness and continued: “By the way, Theodore, you said your home is in the Kingdom of Hundred Flowers? That place is much larger than Flange. Why did you come here? “
Flange was a principality under the rule of the Kingdom of Hundred Flowers. Although it wasn’t small, it was only a principality after all. Tang Cuo knew what Celtic meant, but he had to keep to his character settings and just carried on his cold exterior: “Because of faith.”
Celtic was left speechless for a while.
He didn’t really understand. Theodore was clearly quite young, but he held his posture like a nobleman from ancient times. He sometimes looked too stoic and righteous, as well as cold and difficult to approach, but when the three words “because of faith” were said, Celtic felt slightly moved.
Even though he didn’t actually know how to respond to those words from Theodore.
The long-awaited Lancelot then came to his rescue.
The bard seemed to have just wandered back from the eye of a storm. There were several tears on his pants and clothes, his shirt collar unruly open, his hair messy and fluttering in the wind. He was holding the corner of his harp with a smile, looking all handsome despite his disorderly appearance.
Seeing him for the first time, Celtic knew that this must be the man who led the Grand Duke into the tunnel. He took the initiative to step forward: “Mate, are you okay?”
Jin Cheng shrugged: “I accidentally stepped on a magic circle.”
Celtic was immediately alert: “A magic circle?”
“Yes.” Jin Cheng looked serious and reported Lisa’s address at once, then he said: “I suspect there are more than one of such magic circles in the White Leaf District, and most of them have something to do with the inverted pentagram with a rose found inside the tunnel.”
Hearing this, Celtic of course couldn’t stand still and proceeded to investigate at once.
Jin Cheng finally had some time alone with Tang Cuo. He jumped straight to the point: “I triggered a side mission and got a fragment of a movement.”
Tang Cuo was startled, then he asked: “Lancelot’s movement, or the [Twelve Movements]? “
His question was exactly the same as Jin Cheng’s thought. The corner of Jin Cheng’s mouth couldn’t help but curl up: “It’s not clear for now. Perhaps we’ll have to wait until we’ve collected a lot of fragments to see the true appearance of the movement.”
Thereafter, Jin Cheng recounted the content of the side mission to Tang Cuo.
After the mysterious ink drops splashed from the wall, Jin Cheng was sucked into the mural. The world inside the mural was full of thorny roses that furiously attacked Jin Cheng. That was why Jin Cheng’s clothes were cut open with many holes.
However, inside this mural, the seal on Jin Cheng’s bow was lifted. He quickly jumped out and rushed to finish the painting at the last minute.
“The magic circle should have something to do with a priest named Peter. An ordinary woman can’t draw a magic circle just by being a painter. If you search her place, you can find the letter she wrote to Peter.” Jin Cheng didn’t talk much just now because he was afraid it would make Lancelot seem suspicious, which might ultimately boost up the difficulty of this dungeon.
“Peter is the priest that the Grand Duke mentioned earlier.” Tang Cuo said. It wasn’t surprising that a traitor priest would be involved in a wicked incident like this. Since this was a side mission that wouldn’t affect the main plot, even if Jin Cheng didn’t trigger it by himself, the dungeon NPCs would somehow get him to end up in it, one way or another.
But now that a movement had emerged, they ought to pay close attention to such missions in the future, otherwise they might find themselves missing the final fragment after going through so much hard work to gather the others.
Jin Cheng leaned on the pillar with his arms folded and said with a hint of intrigue: “There’s one thing that I find very interesting. Lisa’s letter to Peter says that she doesn’t know whether there’s a flower called ‘rose’, and she hasn’t seen it either. She doesn’t know it and hasn’t seen it, isn’t it interesting? Theodore comes from the Kingdom of Hundred Flowers, has he seen a rose?”
Tang Cuo asked back: “Then how did you know about that secret tunnel? “
Jin Cheng shrugged.
This was odd. Tang Cuo didn’t know whether Theodore had seen a real rose, and Jin Cheng didn’t know why Lancelot knew about the secret tunnel. The two were equally clueless in this role-playing dungeon, truly two birds of the same feather flocking together.
At this moment, Roger Reeds walked over and the two quickly stopped talking.
Roger Reeds glanced at Lancelot, who smiled and saluted him respectfully: “Good afternoon, Your Excellency Roger Reeds.”
“Do you know me?”
“All the bards of the whole continent must have sung poems that are about you. It is my honor to see you here.”
Very good, sucking up to people as smoothly as always.
Tang Cuo really admired Jin Cheng’s acting skills, but Roger Reeds was a cold man who didn’t buy his flattering. He looked at Tang Cuo again and ordered: “You will escort the Grand Duke back to the palace with the guards later. As for you, the Greenvines Alliance thank you for your help, but this incident is related to many important matters, so we hope you can continue to stay and cooperate with us.”
Wasn’t this simply trying to disguise their intention to keep him under their watch?
Jin Cheng thought for a second, then continued to smile: “It’s my pleasure to help.”
Roger Reeds seemed to have more important things, so he left immediately after these short words. Jin Cheng and Tang Cuo glanced at each other and opened the Mission panel together to find the updated main mission.
This time, their main missions finally merged into the same one ― Escort the Grand Duke back to the palace.
The guard squad would set off in half an hour.
After Celtic investigated Lisa’s room, he hurried back to learn that Roger Reeds had already left. He was very upset: “I should’ve come back earlier. That magic circle must be related to the Rose Sect, and I think the matter isn’t over yet. The whereabouts of an important person like His Excellency Roger Reeds has never been easy for us to find out. I don’t know when he will turn up next.”
As he finished the sentence, Celtic hurriedly ran away again.
Tang Cuo suddenly thought of the first person he saw when he came to this dungeon and opened his eyes ― Red Hair. He said that he would introduce Lancelot to Theodore, so he must know Lancelot.
Perhaps he would know about the connection between Lancelot and the tunnel.
Celtic was in a hurry and couldn’t bother about Lancelot for the time being, so Jin Cheng was arranged to join the guards together with Tang Cuo. It was the captain of the guards, who should in fact be called the Knight Commander, that came to meet the Grand Duke.
The Knight Commander had a good impression of Tang Cuo but was wary of Lancelot. His attitude wasn’t distant, but he didn’t talk much either. Lancelot was a clear outlier as he stood in a large group of stern-looking knights, holding a harp and smiling while wearing unique ripped pants.
The squad set of.
Tang Cuoy thought some incidents would take place on the road since the main mission was to escort the Grand Duke back to the palace, but unexpectedly, the trip was utterly smooth-sailing.
The Knight Commander couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as the palace was in sight.
On the way, Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng didn’t get to talk to the Grand Duke anymore. The Grand Duke sat in the only carriage, still the same duke with an air of majesty around him as usual.
However, just as the two were about to leave, an official ran over and saluted them respectfully: “The Grand Duke asked me to tell you two: Thank you for your help today. You are both guests of the palace at any time. The appreciation ceremony will be held in a short while, and we’ll bring you to the Greenvines Alliance office thereafter.”
Jin Cheng returned the gesture: “Then we must thank the Grand Duke.”
Tang Cuo nodded cautiously. When the official had left, the two’s main mission became ‘Go to the bazaar’. They had changed from birds of the same feather to dungeon tourists now.
Jin Cheng joked: “Maybe Yong Ye City finally couldn’t stand Mr. Crow anymore and decided to demote him.”
Tang Cuo declined to comment. He felt that with Jin Cheng’s character, if Mr. Crow was demoted, it might be that Yong Ye City wanted to beat him up by itself. So it’d be better for Mr. Crow to still be in his place.
Although the Grand Duke was attacked, the situation had stabilised and the celebration could continue. The panic amid the crowd never fully dispersed, but on such a jolly day, everyone was willing to put aside their troubles and have a good time.
The noisy bazaar had plenty of small stalls. On this day, the principality wouldn’t charge any fees to set up a stall. All kinds of things could be found on both sides of the road, such as pottery, bronze appliances, big and small accessories, stones from the Elf Forest, flowers from the Kingdom of Hundred Flowers, etc.
The first stop for the two of them was naturally the tunnel entrance, which was also the place where Jin Cheng entered the dungeon. This was within the bazaar.
It was a private house, where the guards had blocked all entrances to prevent anyone from approaching. The two didn’t act rashly and just looked at it from a distance. Tang Cuo asked: “When you entered the dungeon, was there anyone next to you?”
Jin Cheng: “No. Looking at its interior, it should be a rented house with two floors and several families living in it. Today is a celebration, everyone should be out and the doors should be all locked. But I’m sure Lancelot doesn’t live there. He comes to find someone.”
“He doesn’t carry the key, and he’s just a poor bard. This area isn’t cheap.”
This reasoning was so powerful that no one could refute it.
The speculation they had on hands wasn’t enough to determine the truth, but considering that the reason why Lancelot knew about the tunnel hadn’t been made clear, it was unwise for him to have too much contact with the guards and the Greenvines Alliance. Although Jin Cheng could fool them with his cleverness, making up stories surely wasn’t a good way out. If they were exposed, Roger Reeds could send them straight to the heavens with his magic.
But their only hope Red Hair was still nowhere to be seen.
The two went to places with as many people as possible, trying to see if anyone would recognise them and take the initiative to greet them, or if they could trigger any new mission.
Passing by a flower stall, Jin Cheng stopped and asked the gardener: “Do you have any rose here?”
The gardener gave him a strange look, as if he was looking at a madman who was dressed in rags and went around asking stupid questions: “Boy, were you deliberate? Forget it, today is a good day, I won’t care about what you say. If you don’t want to buy flowers, please leave right away. I think you should change your clothes before coming again.”
Jin Cheng touched his nose and turned to look at Tang Cuo, spreading his hands.
Tang Cuo also felt that Jin Cheng’s ripped pants were unsightly, but Jin Cheng rummaged through all the pockets on his body and only found five copper coins. He miserably stretched out his palms to show Tang Cuo five copper coins.
With no expression, Tang Cuo touched his pocket and took out two gold coins.
Don’t bully a poor young man, he may get rich one day. And he has.
Jin Cheng didn’t hesitate one bit to spend Tang Cuo’s money, and he was even especially blatant. The two headed to the tailor shop, where Jin Cheng alone spent half an hour trying on clothes.
Tang Cuo leaned on the edge of the bronze mirror with his arms folded and was forced to give his opinions, which must be from the heart, not just fooling around. Also, his aesthetics were required to be online.
The blonde clerk kept covering her mouth to laugh.
In the end, Jin Cheng chose a set of clothes that were similar to the original, but the materials were more comfortable, while Tang Cuo also changed. He was injured in the first place and had slowly recovered after drinking the potion, but his clothes wouldn’t return to their previous state.
The two walked out of the shop wearing new clothes as the sound of an organ and cheerful singing came from the front, fluttering in the wind as if flying freely in the sky.
Song of The Wind.
Tang Cuo thought of the name of this dungeon.
If [Death of The Poet] was the end of the story and [Song of The Wind] was the beginning, then this serial dungeon started with a celebration and ended with a celebration. It felt like a ritual.
The two inquired about the roses from one passer-by to another, just to learn that there really were no roses on this continent. More precisely, the rose only existed in the books and in the songs of the bards.
Ordinary people wouldn’t pursue the reasons behind this. For them, the rose was probably a kind of flower that had gone extinct since long.
This didn’t seem like something too difficult to understand.
Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng knew that things would never be that simple, and it was extremely likely that records involving such secrets wouldn’t appear in libraries accessible to everyone. The highest possibility was for them to be inside the office of the Greenvines Alliance, or the royal palace.
But of course, their main goal now was still looking for Red Hair.
As they walked around, Jin Cheng suddenly had an idea: “Didn’t you say that Red Hair likes Lancelot’s music? He was going to introduce Lancelot to Theodore today, saying that Lancelot would also be here. As a bard, what will he do at such a celebration?”
Tang Cuo: “Play his music.”
Playing on the street was something Jin Cheng can do.
The small harp was already with him. Jin Cheng only needed to buy a cheap hat from a grocery stall on the side of the road, found a good place with flowers and a gentle breeze, put the hat on the ground and let the music flow.
Tang Cuo sat on the flowerbed next to him and looked around. There was still a transparent white ribbon hanging from the top of the tall building.
Jin Cheng could also sing. From his memory, he sang some songs that sounded exotic yet soothing, but he couldn’t remember all the lyrics and just let the words come out randomly. He sang whatever syllable that rhymed, played very freely and acted all casually.
More and more people gathered in front of him. There were children clutching onto their candies, young men and women, or middle-aged women and old folks holding onto wooden basins. Some of them came and went, while some dropped a coin or two into his hat.
In the distant future, these people might remember that on this sunny afternoon, they stopped and listened to the performance of the most popular bard in the Sicilit continent.
Translator and reviewer at Strictly Bromance blog. In essence, she lives to indulge in plot-driven stories sprinkled with camaraderie and slow-burn drama-free romance, especially more so if they belong to adventure, mystery or supernatural genre. A trope that she always thirsts after: “Comrades who go through life and death together”.