Chapter 68: Visiting family (9)
The next afternoon, an official from Senriga came to welcome them. Seeing the students get off the boat with unstable footsteps and complexions as yellow as wax, the official thought that they had rushed day and night to reach this place out of their worry for Langzan. Moved, the official uttered inwardly, they deserve to be called students of Saint Padeus’ Magic Institution!
At this time, the entire of Senriga was worried about the East Rose Desert’s sandstorms. They feared the sandstorms encroaching on the borders as well, so they were especially sympathetic towards the disaster Langzan was facing.
To facilitate their movement to Langzan at the quickest pace, they had specially prepared four large carriages dragged simultaneously by six horses.
The official stated, “It’ll take roughly six days to reach Langzan’s border by carriage.”
“Six days?” Di Lin looked towards Hydin as if wanting to say something but hesitating.
Hydin nodded without uttering a word.
The faces of the other students resembled golden paper. Now, just looking at anything that could possibly sway would trigger a psychologically traumatic response. Even looking at Hydin’s nod just now had rendered them somewhat dizzy.
The official didn’t understand the whole story and even assumed that they found the carriage too slow, so he sighed and said, “There’s nothing we can do about it. The entire Continent now panics at the slightest move, especially us who live in the west. We don’t dare to activate the transmission magic arrays either, otherwise all of you wouldn’t need to travel on a bumpy road.”
At this moment, the students silently resolved to suggest setting up a transmission array within Saint Padeus to the school chairman after returning. There would be no need to activate it during normal times, but at such crucial points, it was necessary for it to be available for use.
Resolutions were resolutions, but at such a time, they had no other option but to get onto the carriage.
Fortunately, the horses for the four carriages were all one-in-a-hundred, good colts, and couldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as uncontrollable wild horses. After adapting to it for a day, all the students grew accustomed to it. The only person who had an ugly expression was Di Lin.
Because after getting onto the carriage, Hydin constantly held him while sleeping. The sleeping Hydin didn’t have to endure much, but for Di Lin, the probing gazes of others were like brambles and thorns piercing through his back. He couldn’t even have peace of mind while sleeping in the hotel.
In this way, they traveled anxiously for six days before finally entering Langzan’s borders.
Huge changes were occurring within the country, and on top of that, they had to prevent others from mounting a sneak attack, so Langzan was extremely busy and overburdened. Yet, the defenses around the border were much tighter now than in the past. If it wasn’t for Saint Padeus’ movements being too large when providing assistance, other countries might not have even known about this secret at this point.
Even though Langzan’s guards had received the news beforehand that Saint Padeus’ Institution’s volunteer army would arrive at a certain time, their checks were still as strict as before.
Di Lin was exceptionally on edge throughout the entire process, fearing that Hydin would be unable to hold himself back and a conflict would take place. Fortunately, after being carsick for so long, Hydin felt unwell and wasn’t in the mood to bother about such things.
In this manner, their identities were repeatedly verified for an entire afternoon before they were sent to Tuta city, the city closest to the border.
When they reached the entrance to the city, the city’s gates were already closed. Only a small door for entry and exit had been left open at the side of the walls.
The official guarding the city’s gates interrogated them meticulously before letting them through.
By this point, Di Lin was also included in the group of students who lacked the energy to be bothered about it. What they most wanted now was a comfortable hot bath and a comfortable soft bed.
Their wish was fulfilled, albeit at a discount –
Di Lin and the rest shivered their way through a cold shower at the hotel’s public baths and then shivered to sleep on hard beds.
When they awoke in the early morning the next day, among the thirty people that made up Saint Padeus’ volunteer army, six collapsed from a fever, eight had headaches, and twelve caught a cold. There were only four left who were bouncing with health.
Hydin and Di Lin stood along the hotel’s pavement and watched two other students who had pulled through running ahead with priests behind them.
“What should we do now?” Di Lin asked. They couldn’t really blame the hotel for unsatisfactory service either. The main issue was that the majority of the citizens within the borders had already been evacuated to other countries after Langzan’s king passed down an evacuation order. The remaining people didn’t have a choice but to do the work of two people. So, anything that could be saved on was saved.
Hydin replied, “I already got Chai Fuang to rush over.”
“Tutor Chai Fuang? Why?” Di Lin recalled that he was the tutor for the first batch who had left to assist Langzan.
Hydin answered without any change in expression, “He’s more suitable as a nanny.”
Di Lin suddenly understood. He asked softly, “You want to throw them to him?”
Di Lin thought about Hydin and Chai Fuang’s relationship and was extremely skeptical that his plot would be realized. “What if he doesn’t come?”
“He will definitely come,” Hydin brimmed with confidence. “I told him that I was very sick and had come down with vomiting and diarrhea. There’s no way he will let such a rare opportunity to taunt me pass by.”
Di Lin, “…”
Things went according to Hydin’s expectations.
That afternoon, Chai Fuang used wind magic and rushed over without stinting on spiritual magic. He arrived covered in dust. However, he didn’t see the joyful scene he had imagined, but was instead greeted with a letter held in trust.
“… Damn it!”
The same afternoon, the students who were in the midst of recuperating from their illnesses experienced a horrifying situation where their doors were suddenly pushed open and tutor Chai Fuang, who was usually all smiles, charged in furiously to ‘express his sympathy’.
The priest made his diagnoses room by room in amazement, asking while diagnosing, “Why did the illnesses worsen?”
Langzan’s other cities were also guarded very tightly, but Hydin and Di Lin easily broke through using wind magic and rushed to Langzan’s capital – Xiaobei city.
Xiaobei city was once ranked in the top ten famous cities in the Dream Continent and was famous for its crisscrossed and bustling streets.
But today, although the streets were still crisscrossed, they were deserted.
Di Lin asked, “Let’s go to the imperial palace first?”
Hydin raised a brow. “Oh? You’re familiar with Langzan’s imperial palace?”
“Not familiar. But I want to see Ning Ya,” Di Lin replied honestly. His biggest reason for coming to Langzan was to see Ning Ya.
Hydin didn’t speak.
Di Lin observed him shuttling through the various streets in a familiar manner and asked in astonishment, “You’ve been here before?”
“No,” The times Hydin had ventured out could be counted on one hand.
“You memorized the map of Xiaobei city?” Di Lin asked in admiration.
“Then what are you walking according to?”
For some people, they wouldn’t reach their destination no matter how seriously they took their random walking. But for certain people, they could reach their destination no matter how blindly they walked.
If Di Lin was the former, Hydin was the latter.
But Hydin didn’t appear happy at all.
“We really made it to the imperial palace,” Di Lin said excitedly.
Hydin furrowed his brows. People in the same group did not always share the same destination. He watched Di Lin animatedly explaining to the guard his origins and name, and his originally furrowed brows couldn’t help tightening even further.
After a long interrogation by the guard – so long that Di Lin couldn’t resist gathering a water ball – the other party skeptically went in to report their presence.
A few minutes later, the guard hurriedly ran out and stated, “The head official allowed me to bring the both of you in to rest in the guesthouse.”
Di Lin stared blankly. “What about Ning Ya?”
“The head official will make the arrangements,” The guard replied.
A thread of disappointment flashed through Di Lin’s heart, though he covered it up well.
He and Hydin reached the guesthouse and found it deserted.
The guard explained, “Saint Padeus’ Institution’s support troops are already at the frontline at Dabei city. The head official would like to invite the both of you to have a good rest. We will arrange for a carriage tomorrow to send the both of you over.”
Di Lin inquired, “Will Ning Ya come tonight?”
The guard uttered, “This, I’m not too sure.”
Di Lin sighed.
At the corner, Hydin looked on with detachment, completely silent.
After dinner, Di Lin started to feel restless. The sky was gradually darkening in front of his eyes, yet there was no movement outside the door. He pondered over it and eventually made a risky decision.
Dark, skintight clothes were readily available. After putting them on, he hesitated and wondered if he should take out his sword. That way, his identity wouldn’t be suspected even if he was seen. After thinking it over, he still decided to enter the imperial palace before deciding.
He waited with bated breath beside the door for a while. Only after confirming that there was no movement outside did he tiptoe as he opened the door, tiptoe as he walked out, and then tiptoe as he turned around…
“Are you a thief?” Hydin’s voice echoed along the quiet corridor.
Di Lin’s back stretched taut. He calmly turned around with a smile. “Tutor hasn’t slept?”
Hydin crossed his arms across his chest as he leaned against the wall. “If I’d slept, how would I have seen the good show you put on?”
Di Lin knew he couldn’t hide it from him, so he could only come clean. “I just want to see Ning Ya.”
“Why do you want to see him?”
Di Lin contemplated it. “I feel guilty to some extent for rejecting him the other time. So, I want to see him and confirm that he doesn’t bear any grudges. I’ll have an easier time that way. Even if he doesn’t want to meet me, I want to know the reason for that.”
“Just for that?”
“Also, on account of our friendship, I want to know if he’s been well lately.”
Hydin straightened his body. “Go then.”
“Go?” Di Lin watched Hydin brush past him and walk in the direction of the door. “Is Tutor going too?”
“I’m scared that your clumsiness will cause you to get caught.”
Di Lin caught up to him, both moved and amused.
Hydin continued coldly, “If I go with you, at least I can guarantee that I’ll be able to silence you in time.”