Tatara looked gloomy as he walked down the stairs sluggishly.
Once he reached the hall, Shaar was looking at a magician and their facial expressions were equally weird. Shaar was smiling weirdly but the magician was avoiding his gaze from fear.
Tatara was startled when he recognised the magician.
Bidaldo was dying to get away from Shaar and he looked up when he heard his name. A surprised expression showed up on his face when he saw Tatara.
Tatara strode towards Bidaldo and hugged him as if they were old friends. Although it was a tight hug, they moved away immediately after the hug. Tatara gripped Bidaldo’s wrist that was moving towards Tatara’s left pocket. Bidaldo snorted and gripped Tatara’s other hand that was reaching towards the leather pouch around Bidaldo’s waist.
They glanced at each other while smirking before moving away as if nothing happened.
“Haha! It’s you, I wasn’t expecting to see you again!”
“Bidaldo, you look great. I suppose your magic has improved greatly these days.”
Shaar was dumbfounded by their fake smiles.
“You two know each other?”
“Of course,” Tatara feigned a laugh, “Bidaldo was my classmate at the academy! We are close friends.”
While saying so, Tatara’s eyes twitched.
Bidaldo, on the other hand, felt guilty but he still glared at Tatara secretly.
Shaar was humoured. They did look like “close friends”.
“We should find a place and have some drinks to celebrate your reunion."
Bidaldo responded immediately, “That’s right! It’s my treat to celebrate your return! I know a good bar.”
Bidaldo paused and looked at Shaar, “But sir…you are…”
Tatara hesitated and looked at Shaar. Shaar sighed and smiled, “Mmh, I’m Magician Tatara’s attendant.”
Tatara cast a grateful gaze towards Shaar and raised his chin at Bidaldo.
For magicians to have an attendant was a symbol of status.
Bidaldo was startled at first, but he soon sneered at Shaar’s answer. What a joke! He would’ve believed it if it was someone else but Bidaldo was well aware of Shaar’s ferocity. Tatara was on par with him so how could he hire an attendant as powerful as Shaar?
Bidaldo sighed as he glanced at Shaar, he was unlucky to run into him. Bidaldo was thinking of bringing them out of here and finding a chance to slip away once they were outside.
Fortunately, this magical beast hunter didn’t look like he was planning on seeking revenge.
Tatara was able to walk out of the association with a puffed chest, having Shaar as his backup. Once they left the association, Tatara purposely brought up the past to mock Bidaldo. With Shaar beside them, Bidaldo didn’t dare to bicker and this pleased Tatara greatly. After all these years, he could finally win Bidaldo once.
Once they walked across the square and the church, Shaar purposely pulled Tatara to the back and whispered to him, “What is your relationship with him?”
Tatara replied with a soft voice, “Hmph, he’s my competitor.”
Tatara explained their past within a few sentences. Both of them graduated at the same time and because of their limited talent in magic, they didn’t have great accomplishments but they were both sly, greedy and despicable. In order to make a living, they chose to deceive gullible people.
Since they lived in the same town, it was impossible to get away from conflicts. Sometimes they would choose the same target and they would battle with one another. Over time, their grudge deepened but Bidaldo was better at endurance so Tatara lost most of the time. Bidaldo succeeded in finding a teacher which put Tartara at a disadvantage. Soon, he was pushed aside by Bidaldo and he struggled to make a living. Bidaldo was part of the reason why Tatara had to run away from being in debt.
Shaar found it funny and he told Tatara about his previous encounter with Bidaldo. Tatara widened his eyes and he feigned anger when something popped up in his mind, “Damn it! I’m fine with him bullying me in the past but how dare he try to deceive you! I have to teach him a lesson this time!”
Shaar snorted and gave him a side-eye, “Don’t even think about it if you’re trying to use me to avenge you. You’ve learned the Life Curse Technique, try it on him.”
”I, this technique consumes my vitality, I’m worried that…” Tatara cowered which made Shaar glared at him, “Nonsense, are you waiting for it to rot when you’ve exchanged your life for this power. What’s the point in exchanging it then?!”
While saying so, Shaar grabbed Tatara and chased after Bidaldo. Bidaldo was thinking of a plan and he thought that he should bring them to that bar where he had a lot of friends. The three other people of the four heavenly masters of Royal Capital were there too. He could provoke them and overpower them with the number of people. At the same time, he could also seek revenge for the incident at Primal Wildfire.
The three of them rode horses and during the journey, Shaar asked about Tatara’s progress at the association. Tatara’s face fell immediately and he sighed heavily, “They revoked my certificate so I have to undergo another trial!”
Shaar and Bidaldo spoke at the same time but different from Shaar’s confusion, Bidaldo’s voice was filled with surprise.
“What’s a trial?” Shaar asked whereas Bidaldo looked at Tatara with a suspicious gaze, “You…you really chose the trial?”
Tatara snorted, “My certificate is revoked and you know that. There's no need to fake it.”
Bidaldo smiled, “Old friend, you don’t have to say that. After all, we’ve known each other for a long time, it doesn’t feel good to see you like this.” Bidaldo said so but his heart said otherwise. <i> I drank three glasses to celebrate when I heard the news. </i>
Tatara snorted and ignored him. He explained to Shaar about the trial, “A trial is a special form of evaluation for magicians who were penalised. For me to restore my reputation and regain my certificate, I can only accept the trial other than going for a higher rank evaluation. The trial is when the association gives out missions which are usually requests from the branches. For example, they could be looking for some ingredients or they could be looking for helpers to handle beasts attack…there are many types of difficulties, if you’re lucky, you would only need to mine for some ordinary ores or collect some plants. If you’re unlucky, you would have to wipe out some high ranked beasts…”
Shaar was startled whereas Bidaldo seemed delighted at his misery, “But if you chose the trial, you will get three missions and the person can choose to complete the mission with the lowest difficulty unless you’re unlucky and you get three extremely difficult missions. Hmm, Tatara, from the looks of it, it seems like you’ve chosen difficult ones!”
He tried to stifle his laughter but the laughing lines on his face were obvious.
Tatara snorted and pulled out three scrolls from his shirt.
“These are three missions that I’ve drawn randomly…”
His frowning face piqued Shaar’s interest and he pulled open one quickly.
Just when he was opening it, Tatara’s facial expression changed and he yelled, “No! Don’t open it!!”
But it was too late!
Shaar was too fast and once the scroll was opened, the wooden handle flashed with silver light and the writing on the scroll shone in silver!
Shaar looked at it and a simple sentence was seen written in Magik. After the initial silver light, the scroll became ignited and was burned to ashes. Shaar was startled and he let go of the scroll to see Tatara glaring at him with a devastated expression.
“Eh? You…why do you look so upset?”
Tatara was shaking on the horse, “You…you can’t open it! Once it’s opened, it means that you’ve accepted the mission…no! I’m screwed!! The contract has been made!! Damn it…I’ve written my name on the desk when I came out!”
Bidaldo laughed, “Uh...brother, you were too fast. There are three missions and the person can read them when they first receive them. After that, they can bring the scrolls home and think about it before deciding on one. Only then will they open the chosen scroll and once it's opened, the contract is made and it can’t be reverted…”
Shaar realised that he had caused trouble when he saw Tatara’s ashen face. With furrowed brows, he apologised, “I’m sorry...mmh, is it a really difficult mission?”
Tatara almost cried, “They are all difficult. I was going to think about it to see which is more acceptable and maybe I’ll give up on trial. As long as the scroll hasn't been opened, it can be returned but right now…”
Shaar rubbed his head and smiled nervously, “Then...can you still return it? If it’s too hard, I’ll accompany you and tell them to cancel the trial.”
Bidaldo butted in, “Cancel...mmh, you can do that, but for trials, it’s a voluntary option. Once the contract is made, failing to complete or cancelling would be counted as failing the mission. According to the regulations, you can never get the certificate ever again…”
Tatara glared at Bidaldo who rolled his eyes at him in return, “Old friend, there’s no point in getting mad at me, it wasn’t my fault…”
Although Shaar constantly bullied Tatara as he pleased, he still felt sorry for causing him trouble. After some contemplation, Shaar asked Tatara, “I’ll help you with the trial...if you can’t make it, just quit being a magician. What’s the mission in that scroll?”
Tatara swallowed his saliva and replied with a low voice, “Collect ten Devil’s Kiss Yam in 100 days.”
He seemed distressed about it and with a clenching jaw, Tatara continued, “Technically, the other missions were slightly easier...sigh, there’s no point in saying this! You’ve opened this one so it’s meaningless to talk about it.”
“Devil’s Kiss Yam?” Shaar thought about it, “What is it? Is it hard to find?”
Bidaldo’s eyes widened in shock and he looked up and down at Tatara before sucking in a breath. He blurted out, “Devil’s Kiss Yam? Did you get this mission? Oh my goodness! Tatara, I can’t believe you’re still so unlucky!”
Shaar was annoyed and he glared at Bidaldo, “Shut up! Say another word and I’ll shatter your teeth!”
He looked at Tatara again, “Is it really hard to find the Devil’s Kiss Yam?”
“Mmh, not really, the location is well known. Every magician knows where it grows.”
“Uh...then, it must be dangerous? Is it a very dangerous and deadly magical plant?”
“No,” Tatara sighed, “Devil’s Kiss Yam is a beautiful flower, it’s not deadly and it has a magical function. Pick the flower and put the stem on human skin and the stem can grow within human skin. By absorbing the host’s emotions, the flower will bear its fruit. If the host is in fear, the flower will be filled with the power of fear. If it grows on a brave warrior, it will bear the fruit of courage. Other fruits, like hatred, joy, sadness also exist...it depends on the host’s emotions. The fruit can be used on psychic elemental magic, so it’s kind of a precious magical plant.”
“Then why do you look half-dead…” Shaar was confused, “It’s not hard to find and it's not dangerous.”
“That’s because,” Tatara gritted his teeth, “Everyone knows where to find them but it’s hard to get there…”
“Where is it?”
Tatara tightened his jaw, “The Chaos Land...territory of the elves. You can only find it in the territory of the Dark Elves.”