Book 2, Chapter 194

Toll

The elite bat hovered around the target, watching their every move. This was a large caravan of more than fifty supply carriages and twenty just for troops. The guard was comprised of nearly 400 cavalrymen, and atop the carriages themselves were arbalests.

Perhaps it was because they were nearing the human kingdoms, but the guards of the caravan seemed relaxed as they chatted and joked with one another. Richard could vaguely make out through the bat’s sharp ears that they were discussing the bonus after the mission was accomplished. These conversations told him that the bounty was valuable.

Richard reined his horse in, “Gangdor, stop the troops. We have something to do.”

“HALT!” Gangdor roared before taking his battleaxe off his back, “Who are we attacking this time, boss?”

“An old friend. Red Cossack!”

Gangdor, Waterflower, the trolls, and even all the warriors who had fought in the bitter war at the Bloodstained Lands had their eyes light up. They had killed many Red Cossack men, but had lost a lot of comrades as well. Richard’s army was now more powerful than ever, and the same went for his party. They would naturally be a menace to Red Cossack.

“Don’t get too excited, they’re still thirty kilometres away!” Richard couldn’t help but shake his head at the murderous aura of his subordinates. He took out his map and looked through it, deciding on a route.

The troops then took off, arriving at the designated location before getting an hour of rest. When the Red Cossack stopped three kilometres away for lunch, they had already travelled an hour longer than Richard’s army without rest nor food. When time came for battle, their soldiers would use up their energy more quickly. This was a very small detail in a quick skirmish, but if the battle dragged on it would grow to have a heavy impact.

The enemy scouts discovered them when they were two kilometres from the temporary camp. The caravan was stirred up momentarily, but it quickly died down as everyone grew unsure of what to do. Only the guards mounted their horses one by one, tightly gripping their weapons.

“Looks like they’re full of confidence,” Richard said drily from afar.

“Can we win?” Flowsand asked. This caravan was enormous to her; it would not be easy to defeat them in one fell swoop.

Richard had already estimated the difference in strength between them, “You’ll have a lot of work after the battle.”

“I have three others under me now, don’t you mean all of us have to work hard?”

“Even combined, all of them aren’t worth half of you.”

A group of cavalrymen rushed out from the camp, reining in their horses when they were ten metres from Richard. Their leader, a burly fellow, roared out, “Who the hell are you people? This is a caravan of Red Cossack! You cannot come any nearer. Tell me your identities, now! Or get ready to face the consequences!”

This was a real threat. Caravans and bandits were often interchangeable in the Bloodstained Lands, especially with the cruel Red Cossack. They often turned into brigands if they met caravans with profits to be made.

“My name is Richard Archeron. I’m a frontier knight from the Sequoia Kingdom,” Richard said peacefully.

“A frontier knight!” the rider laughed heartily, “Red Cossack doesn’t have much to do with the Sequoia Kingdom, so don’t try to threaten us with any fancy titles! We’ve been in a good mood for the past few days… Let me give you a word of advice: leave. Now!”

“What a coincidence. I’m in a good mood as well. Right now, I’m using my title as frontier knight to demand a toll.”

“What toll?” the leader roared in disbelief, “This is the Bloodstained Lands! We have to pay to pass through here? Where’s your checkpoint?”

“Checkpoint? Gangdor, go plant my flag.” Richard then pointed at the new flag on the red soil, “Here it is.”

The captain grew so angry he laughed uneasily, “Who are you to collect a toll?”

The caravan had a bountiful harvest this time, and with their goal not far away they weren’t interested in a fresh battle. If not for that, he would have had his men charge forth the moment a toll was mentioned.

“The Bloodstained Lands is the territory I marked out,” Richard explained seriously, “I can charge any amount of toll to whomever I want in my territory. For now, I’m setting it to be a hundred gold coins per goods carriage. Go back and get the money ready.

“Also, let me inspect the goods in your carriages. If there’s anything valuable, there will be additional taxes.”

Richard’s serious attitude and speech were completely absurd. The Red Cossack leader turned red all over, his mind blanking for a moment without a way to react. He huffed a few times, saying fiercely, “You want a toll? I have no gold, you can take my life. If you want to, bring it on!”

“Good!” Richard unexpectedly said with a nod.

Without any need for a command, sixty throwers suddenly tossed their axes out. With a mere ten metres of distance to cross, the flying hatchets held unbelievable might. These axes were not thrown without aim; with four each targeting every cavalryman, there was little chance the attacks would miss.

Seeing the sky of flying axes, the Red Cossack riders felt a large shadow looming over their heads. The fear of death paralysed them, stopping even their breaths!  Four of the axes produced the sharpest whistles of the lot. These came from the four elites, all aimed at the knight who had spoken to Richard.

Once the wave of flying axes passed, there was nothing blocking Richard’s sight anymore.

“What happened?!”

“He killed captain Johnny!”

“Get ready for war!”

The roars grew louder and louder. The guards already on their horses rushed forward, creating a barrier in front of the supply vehicles. The labourers and carriage drivers readied their shields and machetes. Some of them even climbed atop the vehicles, crossbows in hand. Even the carriage drivers of caravans who dared to cut through the Bloodstained Lands could become bandits at any time. And Red Cossack was known for their violence and strength.

Richard did not rush into the battle, waving for two groups of desert warriors to flank the left and right so they could block off all escape. The barbarians lifted huge shields in a neat formation, pressing forwards with no hurry. The soldiers of the caravan were not fully dressed in armour, so the barbarians could fight them based on physique alone. And there were two waves of throwers to get through before that was even a possibility.

Powerhouses like Gangdor and the trolls were placed between the ordinary soldiers or behind the troops, awaiting their chance to deliver a fatal blow to the enemy.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA