Book 2, Chapter 58

A Lucrative Project

Richard led his troops towards the roadblock without a change in his expression, “We’re going to Camp Bloodstone to try our luck. How much is the toll per person? We didn’t pay a toll when we travelled this route in the past, do the people in Camp Bloodstone know about this blockade?”

The burly man sat down, gently stroking his battle-axe as he spoke menacingly, “One silver per person, two for the bigger ones. One look at your party and I know that you’re all a bunch of poor men. You don’t even have a horse but you want to try your luck at Bloodstone? Be good and hand over the toll. If you don’t have money, you can pay us with whatever you own. Once you pay your toll, you’ll receive a card. Nobody in Bloodstone will bully you if you have it. Blood Scythe Mark is the big boss of Bloodstone Camp!”

Richard frowned, “Isn’t Stormhammer the boss of Camp Bloodstone? Was there a change of leadership?”

The man’s complexion suddenly changed, and he spoke angrily, “Of course Stormhammer is still the boss, but Blood Scythe has a lot of say in the camp! Stop giving me your bullshit, and hand over the toll now!”

Medium Rare grew angry, baring his tusks and stamping the ground with force. He wanted to charge ahead, the earth shaking for a moment with the impact of his stomp.

Looking at the might of the large ogre, the burly man’s expression immediately changed. He grasped his axe tightly to guard himself and shouted, “What are you lot up to?!” His companions behind him also grabbed their weapons and readied fighting stances.

Even though the burly man was not afraid of a full-grown ogre, he did not dare underestimate Medium Rare either. This ogre looked different from the rest.

By that time, Richard had been made fully aware of the situation behind the roadblock. There was a camp that could accommodate twenty to thirty people there, with 28 men waiting in tow including the ones they were talking to right now. They all had different kinds of weapons and armour, some leather and some iron. There were even some people with plate mail boots but a full suit of leather armour instead. Most of these people looked tanned and rosy, and it was difficult to say whether they were sunburned or a lot of dirt and grime had accumulated on their skin. The conditions surrounding the Bloodstained Lands made baths a luxury not all could afford.

Once all his observations were made, Richard was sure of the capabilities of these soldiers. The burly leader was around level 10, making him about the same as a novice knight. The rest were mostly between levels 5 and 8, but judging from their fierce expressions it was obvious that they were used to seeing blood. The Bloodstained Lands really lived up to their name— a mere roadblock had a group of soldiers equivalent to veterans and captains outside.

Richard reached for a gold coin, tossing it to the burly leader, “We’re not up to any mischief, we’ll pay the toll. One gold coin should cover our group, no?”

The gold coin danced in the air, forming a high trail as it reflected blinding sunlight that made it difficult for everyone to open their eyes. One gold coin in the mainland was equal to a hundred and twenty silver. There were less than thirty people in Richard’s party, so even with the addition of the ten wind wolves the tax for passage would still be less than a single gold.

With a soft pop, the gold coin disappeared in the burly man’s hand. He unfolded his hand to closely inspect the beautiful gold coin, suddenly inhaling a breath of warm air as he cried out lowly, “It’s a church coin!”

Even though the weights of the coins on the mainland were standardised in weight, there were different bodies that issued them. The three most common ones were the churches, the kingdoms, and other nobles. Church coins were the highest quality of the lot, with great craftsmanship that was not easy to replicate. This made them more valuable than the rest, being worth 150 silver.

The gold coin Richard tossed out came from the Church of Valour, but how he acquired it was a story for another day. Looking at the gold coin, the burly man’s eyes turned red with greed and the soldiers behind him grew even more excited.

They were only brought back from their daze after Richard coughed several times. Richard then asked, “We’ve given the toll, can you hand over the Blood Scythe card? Since I’ve already paid, I feel like a trip to Camp Bloodstone would be nice.”

The burly man put the gold coin in his pocket, making no effort to hide his greed as he spoke loudly, “No. One isn’t enough, I want two… No! Ten gold coins before I let you through!”

“Isn’t the tax per person one silver coin? How can it be inadequate?” Richard asked, but he already knew the answer.

“It’s one gold coin now!” The burly man proclaimed.

“When did it rise?” Richard asked

The burly man waved his double-edged axe with brute force and said, “Just a few moments ago!”

Another fighter walked up beside the burly man, poking him as he said, “Boss! They have women!”

The burly man stared at him and angrily cried out, “I don’t care about women! We’re here to collect tolls, not snatch girls! What kind of girls can’t we find back at camp if we have money? Your brain is worthless!!”

The man cowered in fear at the lash, but he continued to insist, “Boss, these two are different. Please, look at them again.”

Only then did the burly man shift his gaze towards Richard’s companions. This was a very interesting bunch of troops— not only did they have two ogres, they had elves and more than ten domesticated wolves. He obviously didn’t know the difference between a wind wolf and a normal one. Even if he did not take them into consideration, Gangdor was also someone who would demand attention due to his large physique and aura of dominance. His outer appearance would even make one wonder if he was a strong barbarian warrior. Apart from Gangdor, the three novice knights from amongst the defected soldiers gave off awe-inspiring vibes as well. As for the two women in the party, Flowsand and Waterflower, they were wrapped from head to toe in long white robes to protect them from the strong heat and the sun’s glare. Even though their faces could not be seen clearly, their postures were graceful.

His gaze then fell on Waterflower’s legs. The young lady was still barefoot regardless of circumstance, and her snow-white legs stuck out from under the long robe. The tips of her feet were touching the ground lightly, as she stood there on the scorching sand and stone.

Looking at her pearly white legs, the burly man’s throat violently throbbed as he swallowed a large gulp of saliva.

Richard reached back into his bag, grabbing a fistful of coins. However, the man waved him away, “There’s no rush to hand over the toll. Hey, ladies! Take off your robes and show me what you have! If you’ll keep me company for a while, I won’t collect any toll from your party!”

Waterflower’s body slightly sunk down, as she spread open her ten sparkling toes to get a firm grip on the ground. This was a sign that she was ready to strike. On the other hand, Richard let out a quick laugh and threw over ten gold coins in the air, the light even covering the charm of her legs for a moment.

The coins bumped into one another in the air, producing a melodious clang before they fell back into Richard’s hand. Not a single one fell, displaying some of Richard’s skill. With a crashing sound, Richard put all the gold coins back into his pouch. Smiling at the burly man, he asked, “How should I address you?”

“They call me Big Axe Sam!” The burly man proudly proclaimed, even waving his large axe a few times. Gangdor’s expression turned ugly as he bowed his head slightly, glancing at his own big, thick axe. When he raised his head again, he shuffled his right foot in preparation to charge forward.

“Sam, I won’t be paying the toll anymore. If you don’t wish to die, please be loud in surrendering!” Richard smiled and waved his hands, “Capture them all! If they struggle, there’s no need to hesitate to kill.”

Just as he was done talking, a loud boom sounded as the party behind him surged forward. They threw themselves into the crowd, starting pure slaughter.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA