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Chapter 23



Derrl strolled down the cobblestone street towards the warehouse that served as his home. He had had a full day stocking barrels for Mensk. He had nearly gotten another concussion when he toppled a cask of ale from a top shelf. However, thankfully, he had decided to try out an idea of his that morning. Before he even started storing the ale, he had drawn up the strengthening rune in his mind, just to see how much it worked. Apparently, it not only strengthened his body to resist harm, but it increased the amount of weight that his muscles could cope with easily.

As the barrel had begun to fall, he had reacted instinctively by throwing his arms up palms out-thrust, in order to stop the barrel. His logical mind then kicked in, reminding him that his wrists were likely to be snapped, and the barrel would continue its path and crush him, heedless of any effort on his part. As a result of the rune, his wrists did not break as they should have, and he was able to lift the barrel manually. He then decided that he would ignore the pulley that Mensk had rigged for him. It simply took too long to rig it up and then unhook the barrels. There was no ladder. Instead, there was a sloping gangplank that led up to the top layer of storage. As a result of his accidental discovery, he had managed to finish up several hours before Mensk had expected him to. The old barman had decided to give him the rest of the afternoon off. And had he been able to, he would have spent the rest of his day with Leylau. However, this was not an option, as she was busy with a patient who was suffering from the "Demon's plague." The plague itself wasn't as bad as it sounded. It was essentially a very high fever accompanied by a harsh stomach bug. It was incredibly adaptable and spread rapidly. It passed from one end of the continent to the other, sweeping along with speed. Very few escaped it completely. However, the only who were seriously threatened by it were the old and weak. A close friend of her father's had fallen ill, and was not recovering very well.

Might as well spend the afternoon learning what I can from Kevesk. He added a mental shrug. He pushed open the door in time to see the old mage concluding some exercises. The white-haired man leaned on his staff and looked up. He smiled at the youth. What was surprising was that all of his teeth seemed to be intact. He had a seemingly perfect mouth of teeth. Must be another advantage to being a mage, Derrl thought to himself.

"What had you in such a hurry this morning?" He seemed to be chuckling at him.

"Late for work," he mumbled almost inaudibly. He was staring at the floor with a rather sheepish look on his face. "Almost completely forgot about it."

"No matter. What do you say we get back to your lessons that you so rudely ran away from this morning?" He was laughing unrestrainedly now. His smile threatened to cut his face in two if it grew any broader.

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