Holy Institution: Chapter 59

Chapter 59: Besieging the city (10)

The carriage finally entered an unfamiliar city nearing evening time.

Di Lin curiously took measure of the buildings on both sides of the street. The various buildings in the Dream Continent each had their own styles and Senriga’s buildings often had domes as roofs. He knew from seeing domes of all sizes on both sides that they were still in Senriga.

The carriage stopped in front of the largest building on the street.

Hydin opened the door and alighted, with Di Lin behind him.

The driver drove the carriage away.

“This is our destination?” Despite resisting for so long, Di Lin eventually caved in and asked.

Hydin side-eyed him in a chiding manner. “You wish for this place to be your life’s destination?”

Life’s destination? That sounded like he was referring to a cemetery.

Di Lin tactfully zipped his mouth shut.

The two people walked in a single file to the entrance of the building.

The main door had a very imposing aura to it. The symbols representing the four great elements were drawn on the door.

Di Lin’s lips moved a little.

Hydin explained without looking back, “These symbols are only for decoration.”

Di Lin inquired curiously, “Why are the elements’ symbols used to decorate the door?”

“It’s still better than having a portrait of the president of the magic guild.”

Di Lin understood very quickly. “This is the magic guild?” There was also a magic guild at Shamanril, but he hadn’t had the qualifications to enter at that time.

Hydin raised a hand and lightly brushed it across a black crystal at the side of the door. The door opened automatically, and Di Lin followed him in.

The inside didn’t differ much from an ordinary hotel.

A large, old counter blocked much of their sight. A thirty or forty-year-old middle-aged man was seated behind the counter. One of his hands supported his head as he slept.

Hydin’s finger drummed lightly against the counter top.

The middle-aged man instantly shot up like a bullet. “Is it time for supper?”

Hydin replied, “No. It’s only dinnertime.”

The middle-aged man looked at him dazedly. “I’ve already eaten dinner.”

“But we haven’t eaten,” This strange topic continued under the course of the two people’s question and answer.

The middle-aged man finally realized that something wasn’t quite right. He glanced at Hydin and then looked at Di Lin, asking in astonishment, “Who are they?”

Hydin twisted the ring on his right hand.

Due to the dim lighting in the building, the middle-aged man couldn’t clearly make out the drawing on the ring. So, he could only place paper and ink on the table.

Hydin gently pressed the surface of the ring onto the ink and stamped it onto the paper.

“This is…” The middle-aged man examined it carefully for a very long time. He even took out a book so tattered that its original visage couldn’t be discerned to compare the images.

Di Lin had never paid attention to the accessories Hydin wore, so it was his first time knowing that his ring could act as a means of identification.

“Saint Padeus’… Magic Institution?” The middle-aged man lifted his head in amazement.

Hydin said, “Your pronunciation is very accurate.”

“Oh. You, no, what has this honorable sir[1] come for?” The middle-aged man’s knuckles had turned pale from his grip on the book.

“Dinner,” Hydin stated. “I told you that right from the start.”

The magic guild and Saint Padeus’ Magic Institution had no relation whatsoever, other than the fact that they both used the word ‘magic’. But between the special status that Saint Padeus had in the Dream Continent, and the fact that they had never lacked nor lost top-rate magic talents, the magic guild had always unilaterally included them in their domain in past meetings. Any magic tutor or student that possessed Saint Padeus’ Magic Institution’s symbol would enjoy the treatment of magic guild members – perhaps even better than an ordinary member.

For example, Hydin and Di Lin now had two extremely comfortable rooms and a sumptuous dinner.

The person in charge of the magic guild in Senriga even instantly used a magic array to rush over from the capital. In fact, he had just heaved a sigh of relief after sending all the Saint Padeus teachers and students back to the institution via boat. Who knew that two fishes who had escaped the net would appear before a day had even gone by?

When Hydin and Di Lin finished eating, he was standing outside the door, all smiles. “What are the both of you here for?”

His opening remarks were as equally lacking in novelty as the receptionist.

Hydin crooked a finger at him.

Though the person-in-charge was displeased at this sort of contemptuous attitude, he still walked over obediently.

“I want to check a person’s record,” Hydin said.

The person-in-charge asked cautiously, “Which person?”

“Vincent·Lin.”

The person-in-charge asked, “Is he also a tutor of your institution?”

Hydin thought for a while. “He was previously.”

The person-in-charge requested, “If it’s convenient, could you furnish some information on his background?”

“Previously, he was my childhood instructor,” Hydin uttered slowly.

Di Lin was startled.

This feeling was akin to finding out that a very powerful magic beast had actually also underwent a period of infancy when they grew permanent teeth.

“Then, how is he now?” The person-in-charge looked him up and down, inwardly calculating the age of this childhood instructor.

“That’s what I want to know,” Hydin replied. “I want to know where he was last in contact with the magic guild.”

The person-in-charge hesitated for a moment. Investigating the contact records of a magic guild member required the approval of the guild’s president. Even if the approval wasn’t required, it wasn’t within his scope of authority either. “I will need to make a request to the president.”

“All right,” Hydin hadn’t counted on him agreeing immediately.

“If you don’t mind, may I have your name?” The person-in-charge asked.

“Hydin·Tagilis.”

Confirming that it was an unfamiliar name, a feeling of disappointment welled up in the heart of the person-in-charge. How great would it be if this person was Chai Fuang? It was difficult for him to conceal his emotions of reverence as he thought of the legendary pre-eminent mage. “Please wait a moment, I will report it right away.”

Di Lin was also very curious about this supposed childhood tutor of Hydin’s. But given the structure of the magic guild, he was aware that they would not give an answer on the spot. At the very least, they would first need to verify Hydin’s identity with Saint Padeus before the president of the magic guild could convene a meeting with figures like the deputy president or elders, and then come up with a verdict. The answer certainly would not be given in a night’s time. Therefore, he went to bed very early.

The next morning, Di Lin reported at Hydin’s room. Sure enough, the magic guild still hadn’t given an answer.

Hydin’s expression started to turn gloomy.

Di Lin was about to stealthily slip off with the excuse of practising magic when he heard Hydin say, “I’ll train with you.”

Seeing the black clouds hanging over his face, the words ‘no need to be so polite’ on the tip of Di Lin’s tongue eventually didn’t make it out of his mouth.

Hydin’s test wasn’t very strict, probably because he was preoccupied with matters. All he did was consolidate his understanding of the breaking-down magic from the other time.

After practising for only half an hour, Hydin stopped. “That’s enough.”

Di Lin happened to be feeling a little dizzy, so he nodded.

Hydin said, “Let’s stroll around the city.” Thus, Di Lin could only play the role of a little attendant.

The scale of this city was much larger compared to the tiny town they had used for the competition. Just the city walls on its own were taller than the town by a full fold. There were many people in the city too; there were stall-keepers on both sides of the street putting novel toys on display.

But for most of the items, Di Lin had already grown used to seeing them in Shamanril, so he wasn’t very curious. On the other hand, Hydin would pause and take a look from time to time.

“Tutor hasn’t gone out for a long while?” Di Lin found something to talk about.

“In my memory, this is the first time I’ve left the institution,” Hydin’s answer was far beyond his expectations.

Di Lin stared blankly. “Then what about your original family?”

Saint Padeus’ Institution was not a children’s shelter – their baseline was set at thirteen years old. Unless Hydin’s memories only dated back to when he was thirteen years old, where was he before that?

“No family,” Hydin said indifferently.

Di Lin’s heart shook. No matter how curious he was, he couldn’t continue to ask.

Unexpectedly, Hydin took the initiative to answer, “In the past, Saint Padeus’ Institution opened a class for talented children and searched the entire Continent for children with aptitude for magic to nurture.”

“What children would be considered to have aptitude for magic?” Di Lin was very curious.

Hydin replied, “I’m afraid only Vincent·Lin will be able to answer that question. A total of twelve were selected at that time, and only me and Chai Fuang didn’t have kin.”

Di Lin watched Hydin’s solitary figure and couldn’t help stealthily grabbing his hand.

Hydin subconsciously wrestled his hand back.

A strong feeling of hurt filled Di Lin. He shouldn’t have forgotten that this person wasn’t the Suo Suo who needed care, nor the same-aged Rui Meng, but his tutor, an adult whose standing was higher than his, and whose vision was wider than his.

“Let’s go back,” After the holding hands episode, Hydin clearly didn’t have any interest in telling stories.

Di Lin inwardly regretted it, but he could only follow behind him silently.

The person-in-charge was already waiting for them in the hall when they returned to the magic guild. He walked over immediately after noticing them. “The things you requested for have been prepared.”

Hydin’s gaze flashed and he strode ahead.

The person-in-charge chased after him, making it seem like Hydin was leading the way.

“This way, it’s this way,” In order to show the way, the person-in-charge didn’t have any option but to break into a jog.

After entering the office with much difficulty, the person-in-charge took out a notebook and pushed it in front of him. “This is the information headquarters offered. I’ve already taken it down.” Just from the words of the president of the magic guild alone, this magic tutor in front of him was definitely not a nobody. Speaking of it, Saint Padeus was full of talented individuals in hiding; who knew how many impressive mages weren’t known to the outside world? Thinking of this, he couldn’t help feeling envious of the youth and youngster before him.

It was every mage’s dream of a lifetime to be able to enter Saint Padeus. At that time, he had also participated in the exam, but unfortunately failed to pass.

Hydin looked through the record wordlessly. His finger finally stopped at the last line. “Five years ago, Santu’s Neil city.”

The person-in-charge moved closer. “Yes. At that time, he issued a reward of five thousand gold coins for elemental crystals. But the elemental crystals he wanted were too large. Even if it was fifty thousand golden coins, we might not be able to find them, much less five thousand gold coins.”

Hydin’s brows furrowed. “You only have records five years back?”

The person-in-charge replied, “Yes. The means of contact he offered at that time was a small, now-demolished hotel in Neil city.”

Hydin closed the book and took it with him without uttering a word.

Di Lin thanked the person-in-charge on his behalf. “Thank you. It’s been hard on you.”

The person-in-charge saw that the older party didn’t have much to say, and thus switched targets to the younger one. “You’re a Saint Padeus student?”

“Yes.”

“I heard it’s very tough to graduate from Saint Padeus’ Institution?”

Di Lin said, “I just entered the school this year.”

“Ah. Is that so? I heard the entry exam this year was much easier than the previous years.”

Di Lin replied, “Perhaps. I didn’t participate in the exam.”

“Why?” The person-in-charge widened his eyes.

Di Lin answered. “Exempted.”

The person-in-charge stood at his spot and pondered over it for a long time before recalling the only exception to Saint Padeus’ recruitment of students. “Ah, nobility?”

But the other party had already disappeared.

Hydin was still in his room. He hadn’t packed up his things and left like how Di Lin had thought he would.

The door to the room was wide open.

“That,” Di Lin stood at the door and suggested hesitantly, “Maybe you can claim the reward?”

Hydin looked up from the notebook. Seeing that it was him, he beckoned him over.

Di Lin walked over.

“I don’t have such a big elemental crystal,” said Hydin.

Di Lin couldn’t understand.

“This is a matter of honesty,” Hydin closed the book. “I will find him, but I won’t do it through lies.”

“…”

Di Lin couldn’t not re-evaluate this person before him. His principles were often contrary to expectations.

“He appeared in Santu,” Hydin casually took out a map from his space bag and looked at the countries bordering Santu. “Kanding Empire and Shamanril, the Continents’ two wealthiest countries. These two are the most likely to have large elemental crystals.”

Di Lin’s heart tensed up. “You think he might be hiding in Shamanril or Kanding Empire?”

“He’s not someone who gives up easily.” If he gave up easily, he wouldn’t have been so dedicated to the wind elements for so many years.

Di Lin contemplated, “If it’s Shamanril, I think I can help.”

Hydin inclined his head, his azure eyes as clear as water.

Thinking that he might be able to help this person, an incomprehensible wave of excitement welled up in Di Lin’s heart. Perhaps it was because he had been beaten down for too long, so he didn’t want to miss this rare opportunity to let the other party depend on him. Even if it meant that he would have to return to that circle that he didn’t want to stay in.

“All right,” Hydin replied.

Di Lin felt his heart settle back down in his chest, and the corner of his lips hooked up gently.

The magic guild had magic arrays in every major city in the Continent that could be used to transfer people, objects, or letters. Saint Padeus had sufficient strength to do this as well, but the first chairman took into account Saint Padeus’ peculiar geographic location as well as their desire not to be disturbed by other people, and issued a school rule banning the installation of any magic transference arrays in any part of the school. Ever since then, the only means of transportation that could enter Saint Padeus were boats.

Including the time when he used the magic array to travel to Julan so that he could go to Saint Padeus with Suo Suo, this was Di Lin’s second time using a magic array, so he was still rather anxious. He turned and glanced at Hydin, who should be using the magic array for the first time yet appeared extremely calm, and secretly admired him.

“What are you thinking of?’ Hydin asked.

Di Lin wanted to express his thoughts out loud. This was a direct affirmation, he believed Hydin would be delighted to hear it.

But he wrongly estimated Hydin’s reaction once again.

“When you’re strong enough, you’ll realize that there isn’t anything particularly scary in this world.” The words ‘you aren’t working hard enough’ was clearly expressed in Hydin’s gaze.

“…” Giving praise was a technique. It was evident that Di Lin wasn’t mature enough yet.


[1] The original term was ‘you’. As mentioned in a previous footnote, there are two ways of saying ‘you’ in Chinese – one is the more casual ‘you’ and the other is the more respectful ‘you’. In this case, it was the more respectful ‘you’, but the meaning wouldn’t be conveyed if it was directly translated, which is why it was replaced with ‘honorable sir’.


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