“Azure…” I had some vague recollection of such a city during my brief stint as a human. It was the city closest to Chaik Village that possesses a warrior academy.
“If it’s Azure, I know how to get there. We’ll have to pass through several cities on the way. Without a carriage, it will take us an entire month of walking to get there.” She answered while simultaneously instructing the slave girls to look after the crippled girl.
“Master, you wish to travel to Azure?”
“That’s right, there’s someone I have to find in Azure.” If it’s just finding someone, there shouldn’t be a need for me to hide my motives. Besides expecting someone like me who couldn’t tell north from south to navigate on his own…it would be a miracle if I even had the map turned the right way up.
“Locating a person might be slightly difficult…” the pregnant girl furrowed her brows as she pondered for a second. “May I know if this person has any special characteristics?”
“Characteristics huh.” I thought about it for while: if that wallet was stolen in Azure, that means that she had traveled to Azure, as for the reason why…wasn’t the academy that Sares studied in called Azure Warrior Academy?
So she ended up following Sares…she still chose him in the end…in that case, there’s no need for me to be a third wheel…
No, no matter what the result is, I must verify it with my own two eyes. I finally found my way back to the Western Human Realm. No matter what the cost, I must find Nicole!
I decisively put a lid on any further discussion and said: “The only reason she might be in Azure is to study in Azure’s warrior academy.”
“If she’s a student, that makes our search range significantly smaller but the academy has a pretty strict policy about visitors, usually strangers wouldn’t be allowed in.” The pregnant girl gave her analysis once more, showing off an intelligence which I would’ve never connected to the girl who just moments ago seemed to be on the verge of mental collapse.
“If Master is looking for a student in the warrior academy, it might be a little troublesome, we’ll have to wait outside and pray we run into her…”
“What’s with the sudden change in attitude? I remember you were deathly afraid of me when we first met.” I had to admit this girl’s adaptability sure was something…
“This is all to repay Master’s benevolence. Besides in the short time we’ve known each other, Master doesn’t seem to be as scary as the devils I’ve heard out.” She gave a confident smile and said: “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ancarin, an apprentice mage.”
“…Mo Ke.” For some reason, it felt as if the initiative had always been on Ancarin’s side whenever I had a conversation with this pregnant girl.
“Master Mo Ke, if you wish to visit Azure, I suggest you refrain from traveling alone. After all, your identity is kind of…” Her friendly banter came to an abrupt halt at the mention of my identity as she paused for moment, seemingly deep in thought. “…sensitive.”
“…I guess you’re right, my appearance is kind of a dead giveaway.” I said while staring at my red tinted hands. My appearance was that of a two-star head imp but instead of the usual burly physique of one, I had a leaner physique that had the elegant slenderness of a forest elf.
If it wasn’t for my red skin and horn, I could have passed for a normal human, an unusually thin and bald human. However, it was exactly this ‘if’ that prevented me from hiding my devil identity!
Oh, right…my horn had just been sliced off, leaving a 3mm stump at where it stood. With a hood, I should be able to cover that up entirely.
“If you wear a hooded robe, your identity shouldn’t be easily discernible, in fact it would almost make you seem like an elf. Of course, the skin is still a problem, so you’ll have to wear a mask and probably gloves as well.” She continued on with her teasing that sounded like a compliment but yet was strangely wounding as well.
She then blurted out a sentence that struck deeply into my wounds: “ A beautiful devil like you shouldn’t be that common in hell right?”
“I’m a guy…” The words sounded almost like they had been squeezed through my clenched teeth.
“Ah…you…” Her perky self immediately quietened down as her face turned a deathly shade of white, as if something had just scared the living daylights out of her. Whether it was her or the other slaves, all of them had the same terrified look as they screamed and huddled together.
“What’s going on with you all?” Everything was fine a second ago, how did it turn into this so suddenly?
Truth be told, over 20 beautiful teenage girls huddling together in terror was a pretty interesting sight as well, especially given their rather enticing outfits. A few of them even had holes in certain strategic positions.
The only person who wasn’t terrified was the blonde girl laying on the floor. Was she really that brave or had she simply lost all interest in this broken jar known as her life? Either way, she had an uncaring look on her face.
“Hey, am I really that scary?” As I said this, I walked towards what looked like a mirror inlaid into the wall and gave myself a lookover. Come to think of it, this was the first time I’ve used a mirror ever since I’ve become a devil. What greeted me wasn’t the usual ugly mug of a devil but was instead an enchanting albeit hairless face.
Even without the hair, I had nothing but praises for my peerless face…but why does it look so feminine…before this, I had always assumed I was a man through and through except…for the lack of a pee pee…
“You…won’t do anything to us…will you…” The one who spoke up first was as expected, Ancarin. Noticing me stare at the mirror for a long time, she finally gathered up the courage to approach my back and question me, her perkiness and intelligence seemingly gone with the wind.
Even though she didn’t mention it explicitly, I roughly knew what she meant by “do”. I sighed and said in a helpless tone: “Is it a must that I do all that to you guys?”
“Then…you…” Having gotten the answer she wanted to hear, Ancarin was visibly more relaxed though she was still wary. Her eyes sneaked a glance at the sore spot beneath my waist before darting back up: “You’re sure you won’t do anything to us?”
“…” I wanted to pull the hair out of my head to express my frustration right now, but I didn’t have any. Unfortunately, I still had to give them an explanation. After all, I couldn’t exactly say “I have no pee pee so you have nothing to worry about.”
I smiled bitterly and said: “If I wanted to do anything to you all, I would’ve done so already. Why would I wait until now? Besides, given your strength, I don’t think any of you can resist me.”
My words were abundantly clear: I am the strongest here so what I say, goes. Since I haven’t harmed you yet, there’s no reason for me to do so in the future either.
“Phew…Master, you should’ve just said so earlier instead of scaring us like that.”
“…” So now it’s my fault? Would you believe me if I told you so earlier? Don’t tell me I have to carve “I’m good guy” on my head just to inform you!
“By the way, how’s her injuries?” The sudden change in topic had thrown my thoughts severely off course. Having no recollection of what we were talking about, I pointed at the crippled girl and asked: “It’s not convenient for me to check on her so who here has some medical background and can treat her?”
“I checked her just now, her limbs have been broken and dislocated. Judging from the swelling they’re in bad shape right now. Those two recovery potions you looted off Young Master should help with that though.” Ancarin replied with the slight aura of a learned person. She calmly retrieved the two test tubes full of red liquid and gave them a shake in front of me.
“If you’ll allow it, I can use of these potions to treat her limbs. Given its efficacy, her bones might even be stronger than before.”
That occultist was a veritable treasure trove of valuable loot. Not only did I manage to find over a hundred gold coins and ten test tubes of recovery potions, there were five more magical scrolls and the necklace he had used to create that barrier. All of these were high-grade enchanted gear that if sold, could easily fetch over ten gold coins with the most expensive being the necklace which could probably fetch over 10,000 gold coins.
“Let her use it.” I answered without any hesitation. She had already suffered enough at such a tender age. For all we knew, her despondency might be in large part due to her crippled limbs.
Having received a definite affirmative, the blonde girl laid there as lifeless as ever but Ancarin on the other hand, was visibly more excited. Her eyes lit up as if she were the one who was getting treated instead. “Alright! I’ll get her fixed up right away.”
She roped in a few slaves to act as her assistants while she went about inspecting the blonde girl’s injuries. Having finished her initial examination, she swiftly popped the bones back in place with a practiced deftness and proceeded to pour the red fluid onto the girl’s injuries.
As the red fluid streamed onto the girl’s skin, it was immediately absorbed into her blood vessels while Ancarin knelt by her side, securing her limbs to ensure that the bones were set right.
The entire process went smoothly without much incident except for a few times when the blonde girl groaned from the extreme pain.
Roughly twenty minutes later, the treatment was over. Ancarin briefly instructed the other slave girls to look after the blonde girl before getting up and giving her sore back a good stretch. “It’s finally over.”
“You seem pretty experienced.”
“Hey, I was a doctor before I became an apprentice mage…” As she said this, her cheerfulness suddenly disappeared, the pride from having just treated the girl vanishing without a trace.
“What’s the matter?” Judging from her expression, she must’ve inadvertently dredged up some painful memories.
Without paying my question any heed, she turned to the bound and gagged occultist, her eyes burning with hatred as she said: “It’s all thanks to him!”
According to her, the majority of the teenage girls here had all been tricked into coming to this place. He would frequent the cities and villages nearby and scout out young and naive girls. Most of the time, his handsome face and seemingly endless wealth were enough to win over the girls.
Over half of the girls here fell to this tactic, of which the most severely injured of the lot, the blonde girl, was one of them.
Ancarin was born into a doctor’s household and had been groomed since a young age. When she was 12, she became an exceptional apprentice doctor. Two years later, her talents allowed her to graduate from apprenticeship, becoming a full fledged doctor. It was at this moment that the black robed caster approached and told her that she had a gift for magic and that he was willing to teach her.
In this world, was there any kid that wasn’t fascinated by magic and its grandeur? Putting that aside, the status that being a mage afforded was more than enough to drive a person crazy. Being a mage elevated one’s status above the common masses and was a surefire way to nobility.
Ancarin was no exception to this rule either. What she really wanted to become was a mage respected by countless people and not some doctor.
(Author’s Note: Medical treatments in the Western Human Realms consists of potions, healing magic and normal drugs. The red fluid belonged to the alchemical category of potions. Healing magic and potions were relatively rare in the Western Human Realms. The majority of the citizenry would instead rely on normal drugs to treat their illnesses.
As such, there were a lot of doctors in the Western Human Realms. These doctors were only there to treat the problems of the commoners. After all, the nobility didn’t lack money and were thus able to afford the rarer and more expensive methods of potions and magic. They were, after all, faster than conventional medicine.)