Chapter 50: Song of The Wind (9)
Bazz really didn’t seem to know anything and honestly told Tang Cuo about the time when he was sick.
“At that time, I had spent all my savings and didn’t have money to buy medicine. I didn’t know who to borrow from either. It was a very cold winter, I thought I couldn’t make it till spring, so I even wrote a dying letter, hehe. I didn’t expect Dr. Albert to knock on the door one day. He said that he was seeing Mrs. Lawrence next door and happened to smell the medicine from my room, so he came to have a look.”
When talking about Dr. Albert, Bazz looked very respectful.
Tang Cuo thought, if he takes the initiative to come to Bazz’s door, isn’t it like door-to-door sales? He was reminded of the scammers that managed to cheat quite a lot of old people at the community he lived in when he was still alive.
“How did he treat you?”
“He gave me medicine.”
“Hm… I think there was nothing else? Sometimes Dr. Albert will check on me, but I don’t think I feel wrong anywhere.”
Tang Cuo thought for a moment and continued to ask: “Were you completely conscious when doing the check?”
Bazz scratched his head, tilted to one side and thought about it carefully. It took a long time before he finally said: “I seem to fall asleep on two occasions. I just dozed off and couldn’t remember anything clearly. Is this important? Theodore, Dr. Albert is really a good person.”
“Even if he might have some bad intention?”
“But he saved me.”
Bazz blinked. He just thought about it in the simplest manner and came up with the simplest answer.
By this point, Tang Cuo understood that Bazz probably wouldn’t care about Dr. Albert’s hidden identity or what his evil plan was. The most important thing was that Dr. Aldert saved his life.
At his most desperate moment when no one came to help, Dr. Albert extended a helping hand.
It was just that simple.
“I see, Bazz.” Tang Cuo said nothing more.
Bazz was terribly tired with his his eyelids struggling, and he really didn’t know anything else. Tang Cuo watched him lie down and walked to the window again.
Dawn was breaking.
The dim morning light was shining on the horizon, but the white rays looked as though they were painted on a canvas, their colour bleached and cold. The wind chime quivered, its crisp sound breaking the tranquility of the night.
Jin Cheng was still wandering in the street.
White Leaf District in the early morning was a busy place, without any transition from the calmness of the night to the liveliness of the morning at all. Restlessness and anxiety could be felt bubbling in the rush. Jin Cheng followed a pair of father and son from the residential area to the dock, where he bought a piece of black bread and some potato soup. The bread was dry and hard, and the potato soup really had only potatoes. It was a horrible experience.
But Jin Cheng still sat down by the roadside and finished his breakfast, then he rested his chin on the small harp, watching people come and go.
People passing by could see that he was a bard. The owner of the black bread shop wiped his hands, walked out of the shop and asked him: “Why are you here? Is something wrong?”
Jin Cheng looked up: “Is it like I shouldn’t be here?”
“A bard’s poems should be praises to the great men.”
“What kind of person would be considered a great man?”
Being asked this question, the owner of the black bread shop only replied after a long moment: “A great person, of course.”
Jin Cheng thought this answer was very interesting, but the owner seemed like he was angry. He mumbled something that Jin Cheng couldn’t hear and returned to the shop with a sullen face. Jin Cheng sat cross-legged on the ground and started to play the harp, plucking on the strings.
An old man passing by gave him a strange look, and Jin Cheng asked him: “Would you like to order a song?”
The old man ignored him and left. He might feel that he had encountered a crazy man so early in the morning.
Jin Cheng didn’t care either. He just wanted to lighten up his mood by playing the harp and sort out his thoughts by the way. Thinking left and right, he felt that the key to clear this game was still Bazz.
Because only Bazz was appearing in front of everyone as ‘alive’.
But the system apparently assigned Aesop, who was possibly Dr. Albert, to Tang Cuo and Priest Peter to him respectively. He had no way to intervene with the affairs surrounding Bazz and could only continue to search for Peter.
At this point, he didn’t know that Tang Cuo had already met Peter. After playing a song, he patted his buttock, stood up and decided to go to Celtic.
Celtic was now running between St. Peter and White Leaf District. When Jin Cheng found him, he was at the church.
“Hey, Lancelot, good morning.” Celtic seemed to have a favourable impression of Jin Cheng.
“I didn’t sleep all night, dear Celtic.” Jin Cheng shrugged.
“That sounds bad.”
As the two of them chatted, Celtic pulled Jin Cheng aside and asked: “Where is Theodore? Is he okay?”
Jin Cheng shook his head: “He’s resting. Celtic, do you have news about Peter? Or, have you found any more missing bodies?”
Celtic: “Not yet.”
Jin Cheng: “Then I have an idea.”
Celtic’s eyes lit up slightly and he quickly asked Jin Cheng what the idea was. Jin Cheng said: “You should go to the places where you found the magic circles. There are still living people there, right? I want you to spread the news that some people have died and been resurrected from the dead. The Greenvines Alliance is conducting a thorough investigation and keeping those people in — ”
Jin Cheng glanced around: “In this church.”
Celtic wasn’t stupid and understood at once: “Are you trying to set up bait for the Rose Sect? What if they hear the news and withdraw faster?”
Jin Cheng: “At least Peter won’t. I don’t think he will leave the White Leaf District so easily. Moreover, if they withdraw from here, it’ll just show that our suspicion is in the right direction, right?”
Celtic was now convinced and got started immediately. But before he left the church, Jin Cheng called him over, asking him to send more people to East Street and secretly hide there.
At this time, on East Street, an uninvited guest was knocking on Bazz’s window.
Bazz was sleeping soundly and didn’t wake up.
Tang Cuo stood up, turned around and saw the guest outside the window, his heart skipping a beat ― Aesop’s magic puppet. It was wearing the same outfit he saw yesterday, with a tassel earring and an umbrella, but the details on its face were crooked and its stitches were chaotically sewn. Its eyes made of two buttons were staring at Tang Cuo unblinkingly while its mouth made of red threads was arching into an ugly, eerie grin.
Current main mission: Talk to Aesop.
This didn’t seem dangerous.
Tang Cuo calmed his heart, casually walked to the window and opened it: “What’s the matter?”
The magic puppet looked up at him, raised the little black umbrella in its hand and spoke with Aesop’s voice that was tinged with a smile: “Aren’t you afraid of me? “
Tang Cuo: “I can’t defeat you.”
The magic puppet giggled, walked awkwardly across the window sill and jumped into the flat. With a funny posture and its two short legs, it ran away from the window and climbed along the bed frame, then it stood beside Bazz and looked down at him.
It looked left, looked right, tilted its neck, leaned down and almost pressed its eyes on Bazz’s face.
Although Tang Cuo had concluded that there was no danger, his hand was still placed firmly on the hilt of his sword, ready for anything that might happen. Suddenly, the puppet turned its head: “Do not move.”
“What do you want?” Tang Cuo asked.
“How about we make a deal?” The magic puppet sat down on the bed.
“You wanted to kill me yesterday.” Tang Cuo said.
The magic puppet grinned again and Aesop’s voice came with a hint of delight: “You’re much more interesting than your brother. Your name is Theodore, right?”
Tang Cuo didn’t answer.
The magic puppet continued to mutter to itself: “Trust me, you will agree. I don’t need you to kill anyone or do anything that violates a knight’s principles. I only want you to agree that ― you won’t let Bazz fall into the hands of the Rose Sect.”
Tang Cuo was slightly surprised but his expression was unflinching: “Why? Are you not from the Rose sect?”
“Yes, but that doesn’t matter. This is what you also want, isn’t it?
“Since I was going to do it in the first place, why do you bother asking me? What do you want to tell me? Or do you want to tell Roger Reeds or my brother something through me?”
Aesop didn’t answer immediately, and the puppet stared at Tang Cuo for a long time. All of a sudden, it tilted its head and said: “Perhaps you can tell Roger Reeds to not chase after me. If he isn’t so stubborn, I can protect Bazz myself. If we, the Rose Sect, fight among ourselves, isn’t it better for you?”
After that, the puppet jumped off the bed, returned to the window sill using the same route and was ready to leave. Then it raised its little black umbrella: “Let’s just think that I give that secret tunnel to you. You should check it again, maybe you will find some surprises.” The moment his voice fell, the puppet opened the umbrella, cheered happily and let itself fall off the window.
Tang Cuo quickly poked his head out to see the little umbrella already floating away with the magic puppet. Tang Cuo was not Aesop’s opponent at all, so of course he wouldn’t go after Aesop. He leaned on the window sill and frowned, thinking about the conversation just now. He couldn’t really tell whether Aesop was trying to surrender or nesting another evil plan.
Right then, his main mission changed again ― Bring Bazz to the Greenvines Alliance office.
Was it to protect him?
If he didn’t act now, something bad might happen.
Tang Cuo decisively woke Bazz up, and Bazz was totally confused, having no idea what was happening. But Tang Cuo couldn’t explain so much to him, so he managed to fool him by saying that Lancelot was having a problem.
Bazz always sincerely cared for his friends, so he didn’t think much about it and hurriedly changed his clothes to head outside with Tang Cuo.
The two went straight to St. Peter District.
In order to reduce the time spent on the road, Tang Cuo even flagged a carriage that was standing on the street and spent all his money. This carriage was specially designed to carry people, and there were other people beside the two of them inside. After sitting there for a while, Tang Cuo heard some very interesting news.
“I heard that someone died and came back to life on Little Rock Street. It’s so scary.”
“Really? How can there be such a thing?”
“There are people from the Greenvines Alliance here, you don’t have to worry.”
“Praise Flange, I hope nothing bad will happen.”
Tang Cuo remained calm, but Bazz was both worried and curious when he heard it, and he couldn’t help but talk to them. Hearing their conversation, Tang Cuo was certain that this was the work of Jin Cheng.
The Greenvines Alliance was unlikely to expose such news by themselves.
This gave him some other ideas.
At this moment, Tang Cuo suddenly felt a strong wave of magic coming at them. Although his magic was still very weak, his perception was exceptionally strong. At the most critical moment, he kicked the door open, pushed Bazz and others out of the carriage, then simultaneously drew the Sword of Judgment and slashed in the direction of the magic attack.
The longsword cut off the flash of light from the attack. Tang Cuo rolled on the ground to dodge and quickly glanced at his back: “Bazz, follow me, don’t run around.”
Bazz nodded repeatedly even though his heart was about to leap out of his chest. Although he loved to read the stories of knights and wizards, and he also enjoyed listening to the everlasting poems written by bards, he didn’t have any sword fighting skills or magic!
“Ouch ouch ouch ouch!” He saw the magic attack coming again, looking as though it was about to hit him in the face.
A sturdy figure holding a sword with both hands flashed before his eyes with a speed as fast as a tiger’s and once again cut off the attack. Bazz could only see the image of a most spectacular man glowing in his eyes and desperately wanted to applaud him.
Tang Cuo silently lowered his gaze for a moment as many thoughts flew by his mind. This attack was fierce but not lethal, because the enemy had a clear goal ― they were here to take Bazz away, not to kill Tang Cuo.
The next second, Tang Cuo grabbed Bazz’s wrist and said: “Go!”
He decided to take Bazz into the tunnel.
The tavern wasn’t far from the point of attack. Tang Cuo shielded Bazz as they ran, deliberately making his movements very loud to conveniently alert the guards on patrol and the members of the Greenvines Alliance who were sent to East Street by Celtic.
“There!” This group of people arrived just in time.
Seeing more and more people, Tang Cuo quietly pulled Bazz over and blended into the crowd, rapidly fleeing from the scene.
The person in charge of guarding the tavern recognised Theodore and let them go in after a little questioning. Tang Cuo used this chance to ask them to inform Jin Cheng that he would take Bazz into the tunnel.
He also left behind a note.
After everything was settled and before entering the tunnel, Tang Cuo suddenly stopped, then he turned around and asked Bazz: “Bazz, it may be dangerous later, do you still want to go with me?”
Bazz was taken aback, then he immediately gave Tang Cuo a hearty smile: “Theodore, although I don’t understand what’s happening right now, I believe you.”
Tang Cuo looked at him and said nothing.
About fifteen minutes later, Jin Cheng received the news that Tang Cuo had taken Bazz into the tunnel and saw the note. There was only one word on it ― ‘Bait’.
Celtic didn’t know what ‘Bait’ meant, but Jin Cheng knew. Combined with the information that Tang Cuo had deliberately asked the guard to inform Jin Cheng, he could roughly produce a guess.
Keywords: Bazz, tunnel, and bait.
Who was the bait?
Undoubtedly, it must be Bazz.
Tang Cuo took Bazz into the tunnel as bait, but the tunnel was now tightly guarded by the Greenvines Alliance, so it would be extremely difficult for the Rose Sect to charge in and catch Bazz. Since both ends of the tunnel were blocked, they might be trapped for good, therefore the tunnel was by no means a good place to make their moves.
But Tang Cuo’s simple word ‘bait’ seemed to be certain that the Rose Sect would take the bait, which meant that there must be something important in the tunnel.
This was what Tang Cuo really wanted to convey.
Jin Cheng told Celtic his guess, but Celtic was very puzzled: “If so, why didn’t he make it clear? Theodore isn’t a person who likes to be cryptic.”
“Celtic, do you actually believe that all the people standing around you are on your side?” Jin Cheng asked back: “If Priest Peter can betray the Grand Duke, your comrades can betray you. The Rose Sect’s eyes and ears are everywhere.”
Hearing this, Celtic subconsciously frowned. Although he didn’t want to admit it, he had no way to refute it either and could only say: “I believe in my comrades.”
Jin Cheng shrugged: “But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be cautious.”
Jin Cheng remembered the blackboard at the Greenvines Alliance office in the Kingdom Hidden In The Moonlight Country. There was a rose crest there, so the Greenvines Alliance must have been infiltrated by the enemy. Even if they might not be at the moment, they would be in the future.
He was certain that Tang Cuo must have thought of this too, so he was careful with his message.
“But we’ve thoroughly searched that tunnel and didn’t find anything strange. And we haven’t found any other tunnel.” Celtic still remained suspicious. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe Theodore, rather, he didn’t believe Lancelot.
He was just a bard, a pretty strange bard who happened to cross paths with Aesop The Rebel.
“Then I’ll ask you a question, Celtic ― if those missing corpses are really in the hands of the Rose Sect and they want to do something with the corpses, where will they hide the corpses?”
“Of course in a hidden place.”
“Yes, a hidden place where no matter what happens, no one will ever find out. Don’t you want to think about it carefully?”
Jin Cheng patiently dropped hints and Celtic was guided along. Then he remembered the information that Tang Cuo left behind: “The tunnel?!”
Jin Cheng snapped his fingers: “Yes, the tunnel. You have speculated before that there might be more than one tunnel, right? You haven’t found it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
Celtic couldn’t help being convinced: “Then what do we do now?”
Jin Cheng: “We have to change the plan and act along with Theodore.”
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”.