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Putting the book on the table, Garen continued to flip through the pages.
The yellow surface of the paper was slightly rough and crisp. The corner of the paper broke off after Garen lightly touched it. It was like an extremely thin template.
"Be careful, these books are very old, at least hundreds of years old," Felicity said quietly.
Garen softened his movements even more.
After flipping to the fifth page, it was still the table of contents. Garen ignored it and kept on flipping.
‘Hereby I thank my friend, Lady Liana. If it weren’t for her careful correction and sponsors.h.i.+p, this book might not have been published…’ After this, the words became blurry like they had been soaked in water.
Garen frowned and continued flipping. To his surprise, the actual content of the book was crooked black letters that looked like toads. Garen could recognize individual ones, but when jumbled together, they became garbled and meaningless.
"Could it be… are these special codes? I need to decode it to read the actual content?" Garen said with a frown. He flipped a couple more pages again, but they were are all the same.
"I think so. When writing down important information, a lot of people design their own codes." Felicity nodded and looked through the book alongside Garen.
"Then what do we do?" Garen stopped at a random page. From top to bottom, there was not a single paragraph he could understand. All he could try to comprehend were some drawn engineering designs.
"One of my friends’ grandpa used to use this one method of encryption. I still remember it, so let me try to decode it." Felicity excitedly grabbed the book, took out a pen and started to work her way through the book.
The girl pushed Garen away and even stole his seat.
Standing at the back, however, allowed Garen to see Felicity’s perky b.u.t.t. One of her legs was s.e.xily bent on top of the chair, lifting up her tight black skirt. If he crouched a bit more, he would be able to see what was underneath that skirt of hers.
"I am relaxed and happy," Garen softly whispered to himself. With a grin on his face, he walked back a few more steps and enjoyed Felicity’s beautiful pose.
After about ten minutes.
"Garen, come here, I know what this book is about now!" the girl suddenly shouted.
Garen walked over in a hurry and sniffed her refres.h.i.+ng natural scent. He subconsciously inhaled deeply. However, seeing Felicity’s serious face, he organized his thoughts and looked at the table.
On top of the desk was a piece of paper. It contained a small paragraph decoded from the book.
"I have a general idea of what this book is about," Felicity said with a bit of excitement.
She flipped to the table of contents and pointed at the page.
"There are three parts in the book: nightmare, the color white, ceremony. These three parts are in correspondence to the three strange events the author encountered. It tells the boring and difficult journey he went through to try and find answers, as well as the clues he picked up in the end. Basically, this book is a travel journal. A journal detailing the journey of a man who was seeking the truth behind fables!"
"Travel journal? Does it really have records of the strange events the author encountered?" Garen asked suspiciously.
"It doesn’t really clarify what exactly was going on. However, the author has recorded that he wasn’t sure since when but he began to repeatedly have the same nightmare. To reach the roots of why he was having it and to ease the pain, he went on a journey to figure out why it was occurring. If it really was just about a nightmare, then it couldn’t be categorized as a strange event. But, at the end of the book, the author seems to have learned something. The way he wrote became a little unclear, it was as if he was tabooing something."
"Tabooing something?" Garen squinted his eyes. "Can we find some information on the author?"
"No. From what I’ve noticed, after the author arrived at this one place and came out of it, there was a huge change in the book’s content and it became ambiguous," Felicity explained.
"What is that place?"
"Rochwell Empire Library."
Garen frowned, picked up the book, and flipped through it.
"Look at the back cover, there is something!" Felicity yelled anxiously.
Garen flipped to the last page in a hurry. Immediately, a white piece of paper that was tucked between the cracks of the back cover fell out. If it wasn’t for the cover being cracked after such a long time, a knife would have been needed to pry open the cover to get that piece of paper.
Felicity quickly picked it up and unfolded it.
On it was written only a single line: Navici Tsunami Mountain No. 174, under the third tree and six meters deep. I left the stuff there. – Charlie
"It’s a note! n.o.body has found it before us, or else this piece of paper wouldn’t still be tucked in the book cover." Felicity was thrilled. "Let’s go check it out! Maybe we can get our hands on something cool!"
"Navici… Where is this?" Garen had never heard of this place before.
"It’s at the Jade Mountain Province, on the border of the Confederation. The province’s capital is Navici. The Jade Mountain is a very poor province. It has awful soil and there is a lack of natural resources. Other than an overabundance of sunlight, there isn’t a lot of advantages to that area. Their grapes and honeydew melon are quite nice though." Felicity became even more eager. "What do you think? Want to go? Let’s go together!"
"Jade Mountain Province is too far from here…" Garen was speechless. "If we take the train, it’ll take us a week. Going there and back will take us half a month."
"What are you afraid of? We have plenty of time." Felicity waved her hand, indicating that she did not mind.
Garen thought about it for a second. "How about this, let’s decide after a while. I have to go back to school soon and the timing just doesn’t work out. I also have a lot of errands to take care of. Felicity, don’t you have some stuff going on at home too? How can you squeeze out the time to travel?"
"It’s not that bad." Felicity then remembered something, and her thrilled look faded a little. "You’re right. I do have some stuff to take care of. It might take us a whole month to go there and back. Okay… then let’s make plans for our next break."
"Sure." Garen nodded without hesitation.
The two of them studied the content of the book for a bit longer. Both were rather excited. Only when the clock on the wall announced the time with its loud bangs, did the two of them unwillingly stop.
"It’s almost noon, I have to go get some lunch. There’s some stuff I need to do in the afternoon." Garen stood up and softly sighed.
"Something to do? What do you have to do? It’s our break, yet you’re so busy all the time. Aren’t you tired?" Felicity finally took her leg off the chair. It was numb from keeping the same pose for so long, and she stumbled, falling backward.
Without knowing it, her small b.u.t.t was aimed straight at Garen’s lower body.
At that moment, both of them froze.
Felicity’s cheeks slowly turned red as she felt a warm object slowly rising behind her. It suddenly jumped and stabbed her at a sensitive spot.
She screamed and jumped away as if she had been electrocuted. "You wanna die?" She turned around and cupped her b.u.t.t with her hands. She stared down at Garen.
"I-" Garen shrugged. "You were the one that hit me. I can’t control something like that…" he responded in a low voice.
"Go to h.e.l.l!" Felicity kicked Garen’s lower leg and left angry and red-faced.
Garen helplessly looked at the white and grey footprint on his leg. This kick didn’t even make him itch. To a regular person however, it would definitely be a kick hard enough to bruise their bones. She was wearing a pointy leather shoe after all.
"Whatever. I have to go the old man’s place in the afternoon. Ah, Ying Er is the only one nice to me. Even when she fights me, she doesn’t hit hard."
He dusted off the dirt off his pants and walked out of the library. There was no sight of Felicity. After taking out his card to sign out for leaving, he hailed down a horse carriage and went home.
Sitting in the carriage, Garen closed his eyes and rested his mind while checking the status of his attributes. This was something he did regularly everyday.
Strength 2.22. Agility 1.10. Physique 1.87. Intelligence 1.50. Potential 258%. White Cloud Secret Arts: Great Achievement (Stage 4). Explosive Fist Arts: Intermediate. White Cloud Combat Arts: Intermediate.
"Strength went up a little bit. I’m not sure what to do with the potential I’ve been collecting though…" Garen thought about it with a frown.
"Before I kept on improving my Strength and as a result my Explosive Fist Arts became intermediate level. After acquiring strong defense and solo combat skills, I should be undefeatable in the short term. But if I run into a speedy opponent, then I’m in trouble. With my physique and my grasp on combat, I am considered to be an advanced martial artist. Compared to second senior brother and elder senior sister though, I am still lacking behind by a lot despite my advantage over normal people. I am not sure which attribute I should try to improve next."
He glanced over the Agility attribute. The number 1.10 hadn’t changed since the beginning.
"I remember the elder senior sister telling me a few days ago that real masters cannot have any visible flaws. Even if they have them, they need to learn how to compensate for that weakness. My speed right now should be my most obvious flaw. It seems like I’ll need to greatly improve my agility as well."
After a.n.a.lyzing, he finally focused his view on the Agility attribute.
After a few seconds, the number jumped from 1.10 to 1.20.
Another second pa.s.sed, the Strength attribute hopped as well, from 2.22 to 2.42.
Garen was somewhat shocked. He looked at his Potential Meter. He had used up all of the potential he’d saved up over the last few weeks. There was 158% left.
"Why does improving my agility causs my strength to go up?" He was speechless. "Could it be.." He suddenly thought of a possibility. "Even if I want to keep my strength unchanging and only try to increase my speed, the explosive force that results from it will definitely increase as well. This means speed plus strength creates the real explosive force and damage! I think this is the true trick behind these attributes. With a high strength attribute, I can add a little speed to exponentially increase my explosive force and damage."
He noticed that after the agility attribute went up, another symbol appeared. Looking carefully, the meaning of the symbol naturally flew into his mind.
"The difference between strength and agility is too big, therefore the two of them affect each other." Garen looked at the other attributes. "If that’s the case, then should I try to even out all my attributes? I shouldn’t be too extreme with one attribute because it will drag down my other attributes too."
With the little of potential left, Garen didn’t use it up. The potential in the Black Jade Disk had been dying down and the potential inside was less than he antic.i.p.ated. Because of that, it took longer to absorb the potential and after another time, two at best, there would be nothing left to absorb.
Sitting on the carriage, he slowly took out the Black Jade Disk form his pants’ pocket. This piece of antique that looked like a tough medal was emitting potential that was as thin as a strand of hair.
Garen brushed his fingers over this long rectangular small medal and felt the uneven and b.u.mpy words and carvings.
"After I absorb all of it, I can sell it through a company or through the Golden Hoop. It’ll probably fetch me a lot of money and I’ll be able to use it to find more Antiques of Tragedy." Garen moved around to feel the effects of the change in his attributes. "I guess I won’t go to the old man’s today, but try out my new physique at the dojo. If I don’t familiarize myself, I might screw up in my next combat. I haven’t been that dedicated to going regularly. When I see Master this afternoon, he will lecture me for sure…"
Garen smiled helplessly.