Chapter 62: Visiting family (3)
It was close to dinnertime. The fragrant smell of food wafted out from the kitchens of every household, filling the streets.
Di Lin’s appetite was greatly whetted.
The mayor of the town introduced the town to them while leading the way, “Our town’s specialty is grapes, so plenty of grape wine is fermented every year. The taste is excellent. You must give it a try later.”
Di Lin replied, “Many thanks.” Since he was with Hydin, he didn’t have a choice but to proactively take up the role of diplomat.
The mayor stole a peek at Hydin, who hadn’t uttered a word from start to end. He wanted to say something, but feared offending him, so he could only continue to make idle chat with Di Lin. “The rooms prepared for you were originally for my daughter to use when she got married. The place was renovated recently, and everything is new. Please rest assured.”
Di Lin said hurriedly, “No need for the trouble. We’ll be fine staying in a hotel.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” The mayor waved his hands. “She’s only getting married next month. It’s empty now at any rate.”
Di Lin continued to decline. It couldn’t be good to stay in someone else’s new house.
The mayor persisted in saying that it was fine.
The two of them were persisting with their opinions when they heard Hydin utter, “We will stay at the hotel.”
The mayor’s words were cut off midway, the remaining words stuck in his throat. Only after a long time did he blurt out one word, “Okay.”
As such, the group turned back halfway and proceeded to the only hotel in the town.
The mayor muttered incessantly in his heart as they entered the hotel. He should have known earlier to make two sets of preparations. There were usually very few outsiders who stayed in this tiny town, so the hotel was just barely making ends meet. Thus, there was nothing great about its facilities and upholstery. According to his standards, this was a slight to their honored guests.
However, Di Lin was very satisfied with this arrangement.
He and Hydin went to their respective rooms, showered, and changed their clothes. A while later, the mayor finished preparing a delicious dinner.
After Di Lin, Hydin, and the mayor finished their meal, the conversation finally shifted to Vincent·Lin.
The mayor was somewhat apprehensive when he mentioned this name, fearful that he would say something wrong by accident. “Actually, this is also the first time I’m hearing this name. This name doesn’t exist in the population records of Hangu. I’m not sure why he was listed in the records of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Furthermore, the house under his name in the records of the Ministry of Civil Affairs belongs to an elderly man called Shaq in our town’s records. But Shaq already passed away thirty years ago. As he didn’t have any relatives, the house is now listed as the town’s public property.” He finished his statement, carefully went through everything he had said in his mind, and only looked at Di Lin after confirming that there were no errors.
Di Lin inquired, “How did that elderly man Shaq pass away?”
“He was getting on in years and his health was always poor. Do you need to take a look at his medical records? The town’s pastor should have it,” The pastor held multiple roles in different situations, including that of the doctor.
Di Lin glanced at Hydin.
Hydin finally spoke, “Has anyone been to that house?”
The mayor answered, “I ask Tang Na to clean it every month. Apart from her, no one else has been there. For the time being, our small town has no need to put it on the market or rent it out in exchange for anything.”
Hydin said, “Bring us there.”
“But it’s already nighttime now,” The mayor looked at the color of the sky awkwardly.
Di Lin asked, “Is it very far away?”
“It isn’t. But we’ll have to go through a small road in the woods to reach that location from here,” The mayor was unwilling to do so, but neither did he want to go against their desires. “I’ll search for a smaller carriage.”
Reality proved that the carriage he found still wasn’t small enough.
Seeing the carriage that had nearly ended up stuck between two trees, the mayor’s face instantly turned as red as a lantern.
Di Lin and Hydin jumped off the carriage.
“The place is at the end of this path,” The mayor said in embarrassment. “I haven’t been there in a long time, so there was a lapse in my estimations.”
“We’ll head there ourselves. You can stay here and look after the carriage,” Hydin slowly entered the woods without waiting for his reply.
Di Lin spoke to the hesitating mayor, “You can head back first. We know the route and can make it back on our own.”
“All right then,” The mayor felt a reverence deep in his heart towards the cold and detached magic tutor.
Di Lin walked around the woods for a while before realizing that he was lost. The tiny path that should have been under his feet had twisted to who-knows-where. He felt a little anxious. Hydin clearly hadn’t walked far, and he hadn’t been behind him by much either.
Using wind magic, he searched all over the area.
Feeling somewhat discouraged after close to half an hour had passed, he started to contemplate if he should wait at his original spot. After all, a fixed target was much easier to find than a moving target – that is, if Hydin had already realized that he was missing.
He was just hesitating when his arm was suddenly pulled back.
Di Lin drew his sword subconsciously. But a flash flashed in front of him, and a handsome and arrogant face appeared before him.
“Tutor?” He swiftly put away his sword and silently prayed that his movements had been quick enough to avoid detection.
— This was evidently rather idealistic.
“You depend on your sword like an infant depends on their feeding bottle,” Hydin retrieved the flame and walked back while pulling on his arm.
“Where are we going?” Di Lin changed the topic.
Hydin stated, “The place you wanted to go to originally.”
Di Lin, “…”
After approximately a quarter of an hour’s walk, the tiny path finally appeared under their feet.
Di Lin heaved a sigh of relief. “When did you realize I was lost?”
“Earlier than what you had imagined,” Hydin answered.
Di Lin heard the harsh tone of his voice and didn’t dare to continue talking about this topic.
However, Hydin wasn’t prepared to let him off so easily. “Can someone with no sense of direction be a general?”
“I don’t know, I’m just a mage,” Di Lin saw Hydin look back and hurriedly elaborated, “Future.”
“I will add another condition in the future to my criteria for accepting students – I won’t accept people with a poor sense of direction.”
Di Lin secretly stuck out his tongue.
The tail-end of the path gradually revealed itself.
It was a small wooden house with three floors. The solitary wooden house was revealed under the moonlight. A brook at the side could be seen at a glance.
“This place seems disconnected from the outside,” Di Lin commented.
Hydin casually threw out a bunch of tiny flames. Like a chain, they formed a straight line and kept pace with Hydin’s footsteps, showing the way ahead.
The door to the wooden house opened on its own and the flames entered the house.
Di Lin borrowed the light of the flames to scrutinize the interior of the house.
The inside of the house was as simple and crude as its exterior. The tables and chairs were all made of wood. From its workmanship, they should have been made by hand.
“It’s empty,” Di Lin made a nonsensical statement.
Hydin ordered, “Search for clues.” Since Vincent·Lin had left behind this house, he would definitely have left clues.
Di Lin picked up the oil lamp on the table, lit it with a tiny flame, and then made his way upstairs with quick steps.
The owners of houses usually liked to place their secrets upstairs. This was because too many people came and went downstairs, making it easy for their secrets to be discovered. For instance, his father liked to place his books on military strategies and tactics in a secret compartment in his bedroom’s wardrobe, along with his mother’s gold and silver jewelry. Those were the items he treasured most.
Hydin remained on the first floor.
The flames slowly dispersed. Each floated all around the house, lighting up all areas.
He rounded the area, confirmed that there wasn’t anything conspicuous, and decided to head upstairs. But his footsteps came to a stop just as he reached the staircase.
At the top of the stairs, Di Lin’s head was lowered as he looked at him with a pale face. His entire person was as rigid as a stone. Standing behind him was a tall, slim figure completely wrapped in a black gown.
“Vincent,” Hydin said heavily. “Release him.”
Deep laughter sounded from Vincent·Lin’s throat. “You were cuter when you were young. At least, your face was round at that time; acting coy at that time induced more feelings of tenderness.”
Di Lin’s eyes looked to the side, his heart full of gloominess.
From a seniority’s standpoint, Vincent was considered his grand tutor. But at their first meeting, he was controlled like this without having even had the chance to greet him. It was truly a vexing affair.
“This is your student?” Vincent pressed a hand against Di Lin’s head and stroked it gently. “Oh, pretty good talent.”
Hydin asked calmly, “What do you want?”
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?” Vincent beamed. “It was clearly you who came to search for me.”
“Didn’t you set up a barrier here because you were waiting for me to find you?” Hydin quickly realized the reason behind Vincent’s sudden appearance. This wooden house definitely contained a barrier he had set up, allowing him to sense them the moment they entered and rush over in time. “You set up a magic array nearby?” It was impossible for him to reach this quickly without a magic array.
“Is that the main point?” The hand that Vincent was using to stroke Di Lin slowly shifted to his artery. “Isn’t the main point now your cute student?”
Hydin’s brows furrowed. “What exactly do you want?”
“Tsk. You’ve really grown old. I already answered that question. What exactly are you thinking of doing?” Vincent smiled faintly. “You couldn’t have suddenly recalled after so many years that I was your teacher and specially ran over to express your filial piety to me, right?”
“My teacher is Barson!”
“That guy? You have no vision,” Vincent said with dissatisfaction. “What else does he know other than watering the plants and cooking?”
Hydin said coldly, “He doesn’t know much, but he definitely wouldn’t have stolen the Nightmare Forest’s elemental crystals.”
“Elemental crystals. Ah, as expected, I was found out,” Vincent smiled, his smile completely lacking any trace of guilt. “But if I didn’t remember wrongly, you played a huge role in allowing me to obtain the elemental crystals.”
Hydin said, “All thanks to your abduction of a child.”
Vincent smiled widely. “What a big child.”
Di Lin’s right leg was somewhat numb. He thought anxiously, how long are you guys going to reminisce?
“Your student seems to have lost his patience,” Vincent’s fingers pressed against his artery. “His heart’s beating really quickly.”
Hydin replied, “Because it’s his bedtime.”
“…” This excuse really wasn’t anything much. Di Lin couldn’t speak, but that didn’t prevent him from silently expressing his disagreement.
Vincent released his grip abruptly, conveniently undoing the restriction on him. He patted Di Lin’s shoulder. “En, good children should sleep early and rise early.”
“…” Up till Di Lin rushed behind Hydin, he thought somewhat dazedly, I was released just like that? Doesn’t that mean I have no actual value as a hostage?
T/N: Pfft. Poor DL~