Chapter 94: Hello, Development (3)

“Move quietly and make sure you douse all your lights.”

“Yes, Sir.”

The uninhabited island wasn’t large, so they quickly arrived on the other side where the pirates were located. They hid behind a rock and quietly watched the drunk pirates mess around.

“Good. They’ll be easy to capture. Go!”

“Yes, Sir!”

At Milton’s orders, the soldiers hiding behind the rock all rushed out at once.

“Wh… what’s goin’ on?”

“Enemy? They are enemies!”

The pirates were so drunk they were slurring their words; there was no way they could fight back.

“Please… please save me.”

“If you let me live… gah!”

The soldiers ruthlessly quelled the drunk pirates. It was basically one-sided, but there was one person who was rebellious…

“You bastards! Do you know who I am? How dare you attack me! Do you want to die?”

Since he was still the Captain, Red Beard was waving his sword around and trying to fight. 

Milton suddenly appeared amongst the soldiers who captured the pirates.

“Move.”

When Milton stepped forward, Red Beard drunkenly confronted him.

“You! Are you the boss? I am the Southern Sea’s Red Beard… guh!”

The talking fool fell to the ground as Milton kicked him. But he, covered in sand, immediately jumped up and shouted.

“You… you’re pretty good. But I, Red Beard… puh!”

Milton’s fist struck his face.

“Ughh… You’re really good. But I am Red Beard of the… guhhhh!!”

This time, Milton had kicked him in the balls.

Milton spoke as Red Beard collapsed foaming from his mouth.

“He… he’s cowardly.”

“Stop being noisy…”

Crack. Craack.

Milton cracked his knuckles as he approached Red Beard. 

Then, he spoke with a pleasant expression on his face.

“Let’s give you a beating first.”

And indeed, he mercilessly pounded on Red Beard

“Ugh… I am Red… guh…” 

In the end, Red Beard couldn’t even completely say his name and was just beaten up. 

* * *

Red Beard was continuously beaten until Jerome found Max, who was held hostage, and brought him back.

“I’m sowwy, Pwease fowgive me this once.”

Red Beard’s face was beaten to a pulp until he was unrecognizable. His lips were swollen and he couldn’t even speak properly. He could only pray for this thrashing to be over.

“Max, are you alright?”

“Yes, My Lord. I apologize for worrying you.”

“I’m glad you know that.”

Milton was relieved to see Max safe and in one piece

‘Good. He doesn’t seem to be seriously injured anywhere.’

For Milton, Max was someone who he had carefully raised the Loyalty level of and finally someone Milton was able to seriously put to work as a highly trained administrative public servant.  Milton had been furious from the moment he had heard that such a vital talent had been kidnapped by pirates. That was why high-ranking personnel like Jerome and Bianca had both been mobilized and Milton himself had also set out to rescue Max.

“I’m glad you’re safe. I’ll ask about what happened and who’s at fault once we return to the Estate.”

“Yes, thank you, My Lord.”

The soldiers and knights of the estate were moved by how much Milton treasured the talented person. 

As for the pirates who had become captives themselves…

‘Yeup…’

‘Is this love?’

They were thinking a bit differently. 

“But Jerome, who’s that next to you?”

Milton asked after he saw someone tightly bound next to Jerome.

“When I arrived at the ship to rescue the Chief Administrator, I saw this one loading goods onto a boat and trying to escape. So I captured him for now, My Lord.”

“Escape? But none of the people we attacked were able to get away?”

Since this was the case, that meant the guy had been preparing to run away even before that.

Interested, Milton turned to look at him. Then…

‘Huh? What’s up with this guy?’

Interest arose in Milton’s eyes. He had just casually glanced at his status window without much interest, but the guy’s stats were rather unusual.

[Robin]

Pirate LV. 2

Strength — 15         Command — 55

Intelligence — 82        Politics —75

Loyalty — 00

Special Traits — Commerce, Sailing, Materialistic

Commerce LV. 7: Increases one’s overall abilities in commerce, and increases the general chances of generating a profit.

Sailing LV. 5: Increases one’s overall ability to navigate. When you are a  captain, it increases your ability to command.

Materialistic LV. 8: Exhibits a tremendous commitment to money. Money is second only to life, and for the sake of money, you don’t mind suffering any hardships or adversities. 

‘Who is this guy? He’s just a pirate, so why’re his stats so high?

His Intelligence stat was over 80 and his Politics stat was 75. Compared to his ordinary Strength stat, the fact that Intelligence and Politics were so high meant that he was the type of person who used his head to help the pirates. And his Special Trait ‘Commerce’ was higher than Princess Leila’s and he also had skills in sailing. But above all…

‘Materialistic? I’ve never seen this kind of trait in my life.’

Milton was flabbergasted seeing the Materialistic trait having the highest level.

Materialistic LV. 8: Exhibits a tremendous commitment to money. Money is second only to life, and for the sake of money, you don’t mind suffering any hardships or adversities. 

A Special Trait meant that was the ability he had developed all throughout his life. So how much did Robin value money that this kind of Trait would come about? Not to mention, that Trait’s level was eight. In many ways, this was an interesting guy. 

“Let’s keep him for now. And capture the rest of the pirate. We’re heading back to Forrest Territory.”

“You’re not going to deal with them here, My Lord?”

Milton shook his head.

“We just captured them, it’d be a shame to deal with them so quickly. There’s also that mine back home, shouldn’t we at least have them pay the price of their crime?

Jerome nodded in agreement.

“That’s a good idea, My Lord.”

Working in the mine was very risky. For that reason, slaves and criminals have been put to work in the mines since ancient times. And so, the soldiers captured the pirates and dragged them onto the ship.

* * *

As the pirates were being locked up once they arrived on the ship, Milton pointed towards one of them.

“You.”

“Yes? Did you call for me, Marquis?”

Despite Milton suddenly pointing at him, he replied earnestly, as if he had been waiting. That man was Robin, the one with the unusual stats. 

‘He definitely quick on his feet.’

Milton spoke to him.

“I’ll be interrogating you myself. Follow me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Soon, Milton was alone with him in his room on the deck.

“Your name?”

“I’m… called Squid.”

“Squid?”

“Yes. That’s… because I have some ink in my head.”

“Is that so?”

‘I thought you were called that because you’re ugly.’

“So that’s your nickname. Then what’s your real name?”

“Um… Robin, Sir.”

“Alright, Robin. So why were you away from your crew members and trying to escape?”

Almost as though he had been waiting, Squid, no Robin, fell to the floor and prostrated himself and desperately spoke to Milton. 

“Please, please forgive me this once, Marquis. Hans, ah! Hans is that bastard Red Beard.”

“Continue.”

“Yes, Sir. When that bastard Hans started to oppose you, the Marquis by taking hostages, I realized that I couldn’t be with them any longer.”

Is this the loyalty between pirates? Yesterday’s Captain became a bastard today.

“I mean, even if he was gutsy, how could we, mere pirates, dare to carry out a hostage situation against the noble, clever and courageous Marquis?”

The flattery was so extreme it was a bit annoying to listen to, but for now, Milton was patient.

“So, after thinking it through, I gathered up the courage to try to escape and tell all this to you, Marquis. But just as I was about to escape, you appeared and saved me. I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to pay you back for this.”

Milton was dumbfounded by Robin’s flattery filled explanation. 

‘Huh, look at this guy. He’s switching the story around and saying I saved him?’

Milton had known Robin was smart from looking at the status window, but he was also shameless. 

Then, Milton pointed to a package that had been left to one side.

“What is that?”

“Yes, that’s… um.”

The package that had been confiscated from Robin while he was trying to run away was full of treasures that the pirates had hoarded.

“I asked what it was.”

“Yes, Sir. That’s the wealth that bastard Hans accumulated by plundering the poor people.”

“And you tried to escape with it?”

“No Sir. I was just… trying to help the poor people…and of course I needed travel expenses to get to you…”

Like he had oiled his mouth, lies poured smoothly from his lips, but Robin’s words began to twist themselves. He had been caught by surprise when the topic of money came out, but he still didn’t give up.

‘Is this the side effect of the Materialistic trait?’

To say that for the sake of money, he didn’t mind suffering any hardships or adversities meant that he was willing to give up almost anything except for his life. Even now, when his life was at risk, Milton saw Robin trying his best to do anything not to lose his money. 

‘Hm… if this works out…’

Milton was trying to decide how to best use this money-grubber. 

“According to the laws of this kingdom, nobles have absolute authority over captured thieves and criminals’ lives.”

“P— please, save me.”

Robin wailed desperately.

He still wanted to live. He wanted to live and earn more money. And…

Actually, no, nothing else mattered. Money was still the best. He wanted to make so much money that he would be buried in gold.

“I’ll do anything if you save me. If you want me to become a dog, I’ll become a dog, so please, save me.”

Well then, Milton had to save him. Robin stopped trying to play petty tricks and sincerely begged Milton. Seeing Robin’s desperation reached its limits, Milton softly hinted at him.

“Why should I save you?”

“That… that’s…”

“What’s in it for me if I saved you?”

Robin immediately raised his head.

“You’ll never regret it. I’ll do whatever the Marquis asks me to do.”

“For example?”

“I’ve been overseeing the finances of the Red Pirates, sir.”

“The pirates’ finances?”

“Yes, sir. I made a lot of profit by selling the plundered goods at a high price. And I know the sea routes very well, so if the Marquis has any intentions in sea trade, I can be of use.”

“Hm…”

Milton crossed his arms and looked thoughtful.

‘He’s very sharp-witted.’

Milton softly smiled as Robin said exactly what he wanted to hear. Milton pretended to think about it for a while.

“Fine. Then, I’ll give you a chance.”

“R— really, sir?”

Robin looked up at Milton. But Milton looked towards the treasure sack of full of gold and jewels that Robin had been trying to steal before speaking. 

“How much is this sack worth?”

“It… it’s not much, sir. It’s only about 5,000 gold.”

“5,000 gold? It looks like it’s worth at least 10,000 gold?”

“N— no, sir. The gems’ values are low and the gold isn’t pure and of low quality.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, without a doubt, sir.”

“I see. Then I guess it can’t be helped.”

Robin was relieved to see Milton gently nod his head, but that was only because Milton hadn’t finished speaking.

“Then I’ll buy this treasure.”

“Sir?”

“You said it was 5,000 gold? You’ll be paid in cash as soon as we arrive at the estate.”

“Th— that’s…”

“What’s wrong? Isn’t that what you said yourself? 5,000 gold?”

“Yes… that’s what I said. B— but…”

Seeing him begin to sweat, Milton spoke with a severe expression.

“Did you lie to me?”

“N—no, sir. It’s 5,000 gold.”

No matter how precious money was, it wasn’t worth more than his life. Robin looked like he was about to cry, but he agreed to 5,000 gold. Truthfully, that sack of treasure was easily worth over 20,000 gold. And if he bargained right, Robin could have gotten 25,000 gold. But, to think he had to hand it over for only 5,000 gold…

‘Ugh… it’s still better than him just taking it.’

Robin thought Milton would just take it, so he had purposefully lowered the value to the treasure. However, now that he thought about it, he was very thankful that he was even getting 5,000 gold. 

‘Knowing the rumors about this guy, he probably plans to give me the 5,000 gold and use it for something else. Hmph, no way. I’m going to take it and run away.’

Robin began to think about how he’d take the money and run away to a distant country and set up a real store using the 5,000 gold as capital.

But Milton wasn’t that easy to trick. 

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