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Traces of an Artisan (4)

 

“…?”

The boy was acting completely different from a few hours ago. When they had first met earlier, he had treated Ian like an assassin and attacked, but now, he was looking at Ian blankly as if nothing had happened.

“Don’t you remember me?”

Cleven couldn’t speak at all. Earlier, he was so agitated and didn’t seem to be in the state which he could be reasoned with , but now, he couldn’t communicate at well. Both situations were frustrating.

 

‘Probably not the artisan Mitchell Greenriver had met.”

Even though three hundred years had passed, this boy was a completely different figure form the artisan described in the diary. He didn’t have the black hair or pale skin the diary described.

 

“Can you understand me?”

Ian started chanting a rhyme in the Greenriver language. He wanted to check the boy’s language skills, just to see if he was fluent in various languages as the diary described the artisan. Of course, all Cleven did was blink blankly.

 

‘I’m sure he has some sort of connection.’ Ian thought.

 

Ian couldn’t simply dismiss the correlation between the artisan and Cleven. They certainly had the common ability to control artifacts.

 

‘Whether it’s a direct connection, or not.’

There was definitely some sort of connection.

The boy could be some other artisan master.

Or the Artisan’s successor.

Maybe another third party with some other connection.

There were so many possibilities.

‘What a lucky start.’ .

Although he wondered – was it really just luck?

But no matter. He found a clue.

It was easier and quicker than he thought it would be.

“I noticed you have quite an amazing talent…” Ian said, squinting his eyes.

He now spoke in the Dukedom language that Cleven could understand.

“Where did you learn those talents?”

“… . “

Of course, Cleven didn’t answer.

But Ian wasn’t one to stop here.

He continued to ask the questions he wanted answered.

“Is there a particular reason you are helping the chief?”

“…”

“Let’s say, for example, he is threatening you.”

“…”

“I don’t see traces of violence. Or is it drugs? Or could it be..”

“St-stop…”

Cleven clutched his head in hands at Ian’s continuous questions. Was it because of the tranquilizer? It still seemed impossible for him to think logically.

 

“Hm…” Ian murmured, stroking his chin as he looked at the boy groan in agony. It would be a waste of time questioning the boy like this. In order to receive some sort of clue from Cleven, it was essential that Ian helped him get Cleven to think properly again.

 

‘I should meet that chief brat first.’

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Suddenly, there were so many things to ask the chief – how he knew Cleven and he had gotten ahold of the boy. And how he did he know Cleven had special talents?

‘Not that he would answer willingly, of course…’

This was the moment using force would be effective. After all, hadn’t the chief tried to target Ian by using sleeping pills? There was no reason at all for Ian to hesitate.

 

“Why don’t you get some sleep.” Ian said, putting the boy Cleven to slumber.

He did it because the boy looked anxious.

In situations like this, it was best to get some sleep.

 

“And now…”

Ian teleported out of the storage house. His destination was the guest room the chief had led him to. He expected a message to be delivered to him from the chief or his followers.

 

Sure enough, Chief Jackson came to Ian’s room to talk of the ritual. The dragon statue was fixed, and so were the preparations to rip off ‘traveler Ian’.

 

“Join us for the special ritual, if you don’t mind.”

 

“There are leaders among the villagers other than myself who take care of matters in our village. I guess we can call them our administrators.”

 

At his words, Ian had to swallow back contempt.

 

Administrators. Yeah, right.

 

The followers who took over the village with him was more like it.

 

“It is a joint religious service with all the leaders. The ritual won’t be limited to personal prayers, but it’s for praying for the entire village as well.“

“Are outsiders allowed to partake in that kind of ritual?”

“There’s no reason for you not to. Oh, by the way, the special ritual won’t be at the statue in the middle of the village, though. There’s a separate sanctuary we have managed for you. We are not discriminating you, but a quiet ritual is preferred since it’s different from our normal ones…”

Chief Jackson was quite good at lying.

 

Ian didn’t have a problem in sensing this.

It was thanks to the spell he had secretly put on the chief.

 

“If you’re not up for doing prayers at another location, you can wait and partake in the evening ritual. Everything we say is only a suggestion.“ Chief Jackson added, just for sake of not buying suspicion. Of course, things would be a lot easier for him if Lian simply followed up to his suggestions. Jackson had already placed his followers at the special ‘sanctuary’ in the woods, which was just an empty space in the middle of the woods.

 

“Hmm.” Ian murmured, pretending to be thoughtful.

He nodded slowly.

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“Well, I am curious about where this special ritual will be proceeded.”

“Is you say so..”

“I’ll take part in it then. Will you lead the way?”

 

It was done.

It was all over.

Jackson led the way, smelling victory.

The so called ‘special location’ for the ritual service was in the woods, a little ways away from Bordon Village. Perhaps Jackson’s story about the special religious service wasn’t completely made up, because there was also a shabby statue of a dragon in the middle of the woods. The ‘administrators’ Ian had mentioned, or rather, his followers were standing around the statue.

 

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