15 The Gnome

Seeing the terrifying maw closing in on him, Adam froze in fear. This was completely unexpected. At once, many thoughts appeared in his head.

Why is this beast attacking me?

Isn't killing forbidden inside the city?

Why is this happening to me?

Am I gonna die?

All of a sudden…

In the depths of his soul, the white lotus seemed to have come alive as it started gently rotating and giving off a calming aura. In that instant, Adam felt his mind clear up and he gained clarity.

The fear in his eyes vanished, and he quickly composed himself. He was surprised that the two-headed vulture in front of him had turned into a grey foggy silhouette.

Adam's eyes narrowed and he muttered softly, "A fake?"

The next moment, the menacing vulture easily passed through his body and dissipated in the air. Adam was still rooted on the spot wondering what had just transpired.

"Oh? You were able to see through the illusion?" A slightly surprised voice echoed inside the store.

"Who's there?" Adam looked around in alarm, but couldn't find anyone.

"Down here, ya fool."

"What in the world?" Adam looked down and his gaze landed on a midget. It was an old midget with fair skin, a shiny bald head, pointy ears, and a thick white beard. The midget was about four feet tall and was wearing black boots, brown pants, and a white tunic.

Just as Adam was looking at the midget, the latter was also curiously scrutinizing the youth. After all, Adam was able to see through his illusion, and the most surprising thing was that Adam was a normal person with no exposure to mana!

Adam's eyes lit up as he stared at the midget who was smoking from a pipe. He crouched down and asked excitedly, "Wow! Are you a dwarf? This is the first time I'm— Ouch!"

However, before Adam could finish what he was about to say, the midget grabbed his smoking pipe and knocked the youth on the head.

"Hmph! I'm a gnome, not a dwarf!" The gnome harrumphed and then started smoking from his pipe again.

Adam rubbed his forehead and grumbled, "S-Sorry, sir."

"Hmm." The gnome nodded. He looked deeply at Adam and asked, "Now tell me, boy. How did you see through my illusion? Although it was only a minor illusion spell, it should have been impossible for a layperson like you to see through it."

Ah, so it was an illusion. Adam thought to himself. He looked at the gnome and confirmed. And this person… is a Magus!

Back then, when Adam saw the two-headed vulture pounce at him, he felt the white lotus resonate for a brief moment. He knew that it was because of the lotus that he was able to see through the illusion. However, he couldn't say that to the old gnome.

Hence, he replied innocently, "What do you mean 'see through it'? I just instinctively knew that the vulture was a fake."

"Instinct, eh?" The gnome looked straight into Adam's eyes for a few moments, trying to discern the truth.

"Fine, whatever." The gnome waved his hand and then walked back to the wooden counter, seemingly having lost interest.

Adam followed behind him and asked, "By the way, sir, why did you cast that illusion in the first place? I almost peed myself, ya know?"

"Hehe." The gnome chuckled mischievously as he took yet another puff from the pipe. "What's life without some fun and excitement?"

Adam resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He looked around the store and discovered that it was much larger than it appeared to be from the outside. The walls were filled with rows of wooden shelves, each shelf containing various sorts of herbs, spices, flowers, etc.

At the center of the shop, there was a small waiting area for the customers where couches and tea tables were kept. A pleasant medicinal aroma pervaded the entire store, making one feel relaxed.

Behind the waiting area was a wooden counter where the gnome was sitting. And behind the counter, there were countless books neatly placed on the shelves. Some books looked new, and some looked extremely worn out.

On another wall, there were various potions of different colors organized properly. Apart from potions, there were even ointments and oil. Due to the memory he had absorbed, Adam was able to identify the majority of the items in there.

And this was just the first floor. A spiral staircase led to the second floor, but Adam didn't know what lay there.

He walked toward the wall where the potions were kept. All sorts of potions were carefully stored inside translucent crystal vials and flasks.

Adam's eyes lit up as he caught sight of what looked like a healing potion. He walked toward it and immediately grabbed it. He then opened the cork of the vial and took a whiff of the refreshing aroma.

Seeing Adam's rude behavior, the gnome was angry. "Boy, don't go around touching things without perm—"

However, the words soon got stuck in his throat.

"Honey from the tiger honey bees, caprese moss, stem of the voile glow plant, and…" Adam swirled the red liquid inside the vial and continued, "There seems to be some sort of earthen powder mixed in. Hmm, I'm not sure what the last one is."

He looked at the gnome and asked, "Sir, this earthen powder should be from your experiments, yes?"

The gnome was shocked. He looked at Adam, then at the potion, and then back again at Adam.

Clearly, this boy is a normal human with no mana running in his veins… then how? He thought.

He asked incredulously, "Boy, how do you know so much about herbalism? I refuse to believe that you're an Herbalist."

Adam realized that he might have run his mouth more than necessary. When he saw the potions, he was eager to use the knowledge that he had gained from absorbing the memories of that expert.

"Hehe." Adam laughed sheepishly and lied through his teeth. "I only know some theoretical knowledge. Of course, I'm not a Herbalist, sir. I'm not even a Magus yet."

The old gnome was silent for a long time. He then walked around the counter and toward Adam. He grabbed the vial from the youth's hand and nodded. "You're right. One of the ingredients is the powder I obtained from the shell of a lake worm. It is a product of my experiment."

"I see…" Adam nodded. Although the memory he absorbed had vast amounts of herbalism knowledge, he didn't believe that this knowledge comprised all the herbs and ingredients in the world.

After all, countless unknown ingredients could be found in different places.

"Sir, I would like to buy this healing potion," Adam respectfully stated.

"5 platinum pieces," the gnome replied flatly. "Alternatively, you can also pay 50 gold pieces."

Adam inhaled sharply. "So expensive!"

The gnome smiled mischievously and proposed. "Of course, I can also give it to you for free…"

Adam became vigilant. "W-What do you want in return?"

Next chapter