Holy Institution: Chapter 55

Chapter 55: Besieging the city (6)

An unexpected guest arrived at night.

Di Lin and Rui Meng felt a slight, dull ache in their heads upon seeing Tang Mi appear outside their door.

“Hey, little guys,” Tang Mi came in lugging a huge picture frame.

Di Lin could only offer his seat to him.

He placed the picture frame on the floor and opened the wrapping, revealing a painting of scenery.

Rui Meng snatched the chance to answer first, “I know the answer this time. It’s the Illusion Lake.” It was rare for him to be able to interpret a painting, so he was extremely excited.

“This is a small game,” Tang Mi was not appreciative of his knowledge. “The goal is to guess how many gulls there are.”

Rui Meng, “…” There were gulls?

Di Lin, Suo Suo, and Kevin shifted closer.

Minding his own business, Tang Mi went to search for a chair to sit on.

Rui Meng asked, “Are there any hints? For example, the position they’re at?”

Tang Mi replied, “Why don’t I let you know that the number of gulls is in the middle of two even numbers?”

Rui Meng said in a small voice, “It’s an odd number.”

Kevin pointed to an area on the painting. “There’s one here.”

Really?

Di Lin and Rui Meng looked doubtfully at the place his finger was pointing to.

Tang Mi uttered, “You should wear glasses. Those are clearly clouds.”

Kevin put down his finger in embarrassment.

Suddenly, Tang Mi beckoned to Suo Suo, who was standing at the side and searching diligently. “Little round face, come here.”

Di Lin softly tugged at Suo Suo who was in full concentration.

Suo Suo turned around blankly.

“Come here,” Tang Mi patted the spot beside him.

Suo Suo sat down in bewilderment.

Tang Mi reached out a hand and stroked his head. “How have you been lately?”

Suo Suo replied after seriously thinking about it, “The food here isn’t as nice as the school’s dining hall.”

Tang Mi nodded. “That’s of course. All of the chefs in Saint Padeus are fire mages. There aren’t many people who can match up to them when it comes to controlling the heat.”

Fire mages as chefs?

Recalling how the institution had used wind magic to distribute the dishes, Di Lin’s group didn’t find it out of the ordinary.

“And?” Tang Mi’s fingers pressed lightly against the top of Suo Suo’s head.

Suo Suo said, “The supervisor is very long-winded.”

Tang Mi commented, “The great majority of officials in the Continent are very skilled at talking. That is their shortcut to promotion.”

Di Lin and Rui Meng didn’t make a sound.

Although he had been quite merciless in his words, this was indeed the current situation in the Continent.

Rui Meng felt somewhat embarrassed. This long-winded supervisor came from Senriga.

Tang Mi changed the topic very quickly. “What do you intend to do during tomorrow’s exam?”

Suo Suo said, “Di Lin allowed me to hide somewhere.”

Tang Mi looked at Di Lin.

Di Lin stated, “His other task is to blow the horn.”

Tang Mi said, “Sounds good. Remember to eat a bit more during breakfast tomorrow. Only then will you have strength.”

Suo Suo hesitated for a moment before uttering softly, “I want to use magic.”

Tang Mi’s snow-white beard brushed across his own chest, forming a pile on Suo Suo’s shoulder.

“I want to help the Institution win against Saint Sauvy,” Suo Suo’s voice was very soft, but also very resolute. His clear eyes looked fixedly at Tang Mi, completely empty of any selfish motives.

Tang Mi sighed, “I can’t undo your seal.”

Di Lin’s brows creased. Although his voice had been very calm when he uttered this statement, his flickering gaze had already betrayed his thoughts.

Suo Suo hung his head.

Tang Mi added, “Actually, you can try to learn magic while under the seal.”

“Under the seal?” Di Lin looked at him as if he was a liar. Allowing Suo Suo to learn magic while under the seal was like allowing someone to read without having eyes.

“Trust me. His perception of the elements is very strong. If his spiritual energy is strong enough, he will become the greatest mage on earth,” Tang Mi directly gave him big shoes to fill.

Di Lin remained unmoved. “Can you elaborate on this in more detail?”

Tang Mi said, “The reason why he was sealed was because he lacked the spiritual energy to control his elemental spirit, which could cause him to fall under the control of the elemental spirit. But if he had sufficiently strong spiritual energy to control that elemental spirit, there would no longer be any meaning to seal’s existence. Of course, he would also become one of the Continent’s top mages.”

Di Lin replied, “But his perception of the elements was sealed.”

Tang Mi said, “The seal doesn’t have as much impact as you think.” This was the conclusion he had arrived at after pondering over it again and again. Rather than worrying all the time about when the seal would lose its effect and allow that explosive fire elemental spirit to rush out again, it would be better to nurture Suo Suo’s spiritual energy. If he could really carry this out, another super mage would appear in the Dream Continent.

Di Lin said, “You’ve never given me a direct answer.”

Tang Mi replied, “I offered you multiple choices. You guys can choose to accept it or not.” He stood up, glanced at the preoccupied Rui Meng and Kevin, and slowly asked, “How is it? How many have you found?”

Rui Meng and Kevin shook their heads at the same time.

“In fact, there are 101,” Tang Mi ignored their confused, darting gazes and wrapped the painting back up. He clasped it under his arm and walked out.

Rui Meng couldn’t resist asking, “Where?”

“In the lake. They were tied to stones and drowned,” Tang Mi helped them to close the door along the way.

“…” Rui Meng wondered, “Who did it?”

The next day, the competition finally started.

An abnormally tense and strained atmosphere permeated the hotel.

During breakfast, the sound of their spoons, forks, and knives seemed louder and clearer than previous days.

So much so that Di Lin could hear the chaotic heartbeats.

Rui Meng wrung his hands. “It’s finally starting.” He hadn’t stopped talking after getting up in the morning; this was his way of reducing his nerves.

Di Lin declared, “Everything’s depending on you, general!”

Rui Meng’s shoulders shrunk back, “Damn it, my leg’s cramping.”

Di Lin smiled. “Do you need me to give you a massage? General daren?”

Rui Meng replied, “No, all you need to do is stand up and grab a slice of bread for me. I’m about to starve to death.”

Di Lin observed, “You’ve already eaten nine slices of bread.”

Rui Meng expressed, “But I’m still hungry.”

“You’re not hungry. You’re nervous,” Di Lin patted his back gently. “Eating will not resolve the problem, stop while you’re ahead. I don’t want to follow a general who can’t move because his stomach is too big.”

Rui Meng steeled his heart and turned to look at Suo Suo, who was calmly drinking milk. “You aren’t nervous?”

Suo Suo responded, “I’m only in charge of blowing the horn.”

Rui Meng said in annoyance, “I should have left that cushy job for myself.”

After finishing their breakfast, all the students gathered in front of the hotel.

Saint Padeus’ magic tutors stood at the front and faced them.

The supervisor told Hydin carefully, “It’s about time.”

Hydin used wind magic to send him ten meters away before telling the students, “You’ll lose face if you fail to win.”

The students were quiet.

“Don’t lose face,” Hydin finished speaking and inclined his head to glance at Melina. “Do they need any extra information?”

Melina glared at him and spoke to the students. “I will throw anyone who loses face into the Illusion Lake for them to lose enough of it.”

This was a naked threat.

There was a tiny commotion among the students.

Hydin was very satisfied with her threat. That was the reason for letting her speak.

“Rui Meng, the rest will be up to you,” He crooked a finger at Rui Meng, but his eyes were fixed on the person beside him, Di Lin.

Di Lin was expressionless.

Rui Meng walked at the front of the group. His right foot which had cramped up still felt somewhat weak, but his youthful face brimmed with a determination to advance bravely without cowering. “Let us put our magic to full use and achieve victory!”

Silence followed.

This was different from the script in Rui Meng’s head. In his imagination, everyone should have passionately repeated after him. Di Lin, Kevin, and Suo Suo had originally agreed to echo his words, but before they could open their mouths, they were suppressed by the immense quiet.

Rui Meng directed a pleading gaze at Di Lin.

Di Lin suddenly applauded, “Good, well said!”

“Well said!” Kevin quickly agreed.

Applause sounded in succession, though their morale hadn’t surged much.

Rui Meng turned and walked in the direction of the city walls.

Di Lin followed after him. When he passed by Hydin, Hydin said in a low voice, “That slogan’s no good.”

Di Lin stared blankly. He turned back, but Hydin had already huddled together with the other magic tutors.

At the top of the city walls, they could clearly see the field beyond the city walls.

The sun would rise there and then set behind them.

Rui Meng worked hard to assign a post to everyone. They had already discussed the matter of cooperation, but only the heavens knew whether or not it would bring about any results.

Suo Suo was stuffed into a corner, his hands firmly gripping the horn.

Di Lin was beside him.

This was Rui Meng’s special consideration.

A dense mass of crude lines appeared at the field and made their way over at an exceedingly fast speed.

The little mages yelled nervously, “They’re here, they’re here.”

Not long after, the faint sound of hoofbeats could be heard.

Di Lin suddenly felt the blood in his chest racing.

If they had to discuss the greatest difference between mages and knights, it was that mages often needed to be calm in order to sense and control magic, while knights often made use of their fervor to win in combat.

Di Lin took a deep breath and slowly suppressed the passion that had been roused within him.

Perspiration seeped out of the hands that Suo Suo was using to grip the horn. He wiped his hands on his clothes and asked, “Blow now?”

“No, wait a while more,” Di Lin replied.

The city doors opened. The magic tutors of Saint Padeus stood underneath the city walls, all dressed in black mage gowns, resembling an insurmountable barrier.

The hearts of the students at the top of the city walls gradually calmed down.

Saint Sauvy’s teachers and students finally arrived.

The silver armor on the white horses glistened underneath the rising sun. Large-scale offense weapons were at the back of their formation.

“So handsome!” Someone at the city walls muttered softly.

Di Lin’s hands tensed up. The blood of the Bascos was roaring in his body, as if blaming him for joining the wrong faction.

The knight at the front dismounted and took off the silver helmet, revealing golden hair that was as brilliant as Hydin’s. He walked to Hydin and extended a hand. “Lucas.”

Hydin glanced at the magic tutor beside him.

The other party walked out very tactfully and shook hands with Lucas on his behalf.

Unconcerned, Lucas shot a smile at Hydin. “The temperament of mages are even queerer than I had imagined.”

Hydin responded faintly, “That proves that you lack imagination.”

This sort of provocation did not influence Saint Sauvy in any way. Every single one of them remained on their horses in silence, awaiting the next command.

The supervisor finally managed to find a chance to make his appearance. “According to the agreement between both parties, you will have to protect the other side’s students. So, may I invite the tutors from Saint Padeus to go behind the Saint Sauvy students, and for the tutors from Saint Sauvy to go up the city walls.”

Lucas raised a brow and waited for Hydin to declare his standing.

Hydin said, “Don’t ruin Saint Padeus’ students.”

Lucas asked in confusion, “Ruin?”

Hydin told him, “The usual meaning.” He waved a hand. “Let’s go.”

Suddenly, all the magic tutors passed through the group of Saint Sauvy knights like wind, appearing at their backs in a flash.

A shiver went through Lucas’ heart. The strength of the top institution in the Dream Continent was indeed outstanding.

He cocked his head, glancing meaningfully at the colleagues behind him.

In the next instant, six swords flew out. With a clang, the swords were affixed to the city walls from top to bottom like a ladder.

In front of the city walls, Lucas leapt up, gently tapped against the fourth sword from the top and jumped onto the top of the city walls.

The rest of Saint Sauvy’s tutors followed after him, jumping onto the city walls rhythmically. The last person casually retrieved the six swords before standing behind the Saint Padeus students.

However, Di Lin and the rest didn’t feel any sense of security at all. In fact, an exceedingly intense pressure pressed down on them, to the point that they nearly couldn’t breathe. Among them, the person who felt it the most was Rui Meng. Just opening his mouth made his throat rough.

He couldn’t help standing by Di Lin’s side, as if he would obtain courage anew from doing so. “What should we do now?”

Perceiving his nerves, Di Lin reached out an arm and gently clasped it around his shoulder. “Follow the original plan.”

Lucas looked in their direction.

Di Lin didn’t turn around.

According to the rules, the tutors of both parties were supposed to protect the students, but deep in their hearts, the tutors would still wish for their own students to win. So, on the premise of guaranteeing every student’s safety, they would use all sorts of methods to help them out.

It was very clear that Saint Sauvy’s method was pressure.

He looked at the imposing, motionless Saint Sauvy students and sighed inwardly. The psychological quality of Saint Padeus’ students paled in comparison.

Woo—

The horn on the other side sounded.

The Saint Sauvy students dismounted uniformly and approached the city walls at a measured pace.

However, they didn’t approach in rows, but instead scattered very loosely to resemble a circular arc.

Rui Meng’s brows creased. “Their attack power will be scattered this way.”

Di Lin said, “Send people to attack the offense weapons first!” He had just finished uttering these words when he sensed two extremely incisive gazes latch onto him from among the Saint Sauvy tutors.

He released Rui Meng and pushed him lightly. “It’s up to you, commander.”

Rui Meng shouted to Suo Suo, “Blow the horn!”

Woo—

The sound was clearly weaker than the other side.

Several tens of fireballs dropped from the skies.

“Damn it,” Rui Meng scratched at his scalp anxiously. “I haven’t said where to attack!”

The fireballs landed on the ground weakly as the little knights below easily evaded them.

Di Lin’s brows furrowed.

This was no good, their morale was too low!

Rui Meng had already rushed to the center of the city walls. He roared, “Listen to me, attack the offensive weapons.”

Balls of fire and water flew towards them individually, but the offensive weapons had already been separated.

Six ladders, and a gigantic wooden battering ram!

The battering ram had already rushed to the front of the city gates.

Overcome by anxiety, Rui Meng shrieked without consideration of the situation, “Attack where there are people!”

Fire and water balls dropped down, yet the students holding onto the battering ram did not evade them at all. In the instant before they landed on them, the fireballs suddenly vanished and the water balls splashed on them, causing neither pain nor itch.

Every student was startled. They looked towards their own tutors behind Saint Sauvy.

Several tutors had their hands stretched out. It was clear that they were the ones who had carried out those actions.

Damn it! They still fell for their trap!

Di Lin suddenly figured out the other party’s ruse.

In a situation where both parties could not be injured, knights could make use of their physical strength to occupy the higher position. As long as they could dash up the city walls, there was no doubt that they would win!

He looked in Hydin’s direction in the distance. Had he genuinely not considered this point, or…

“What should we do?” Rui Meng’s plans had already been thrown into disarray, so he appeared at Di Lin’s side again.

Di Lin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Damn it, we’ll have to throw caution to the wind!”

He pushed Rui Meng to the spot he was guarding, rushed to the center of the city walls, and shouted loudly, “We are great mages! Knights, scram! From now onwards, listen to my commands!”


T/N: The last line didn’t sound as cheesy in the raws…


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