Translated by Tianic
Edited by Jiem
Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- Fischer Summers: Cohen’s friend and the prince of the Swabia Empire.
- Lily: A slave girl saved by Cohen and Fischer and their maidservant afterward.
By dawn, the village was cleaned immaculately, without a single trace of the killing that had occurred yesterday in sight. Fischer and I did not pay much attention to what had become of Immerse Sunset and his subordinates. Even though their screaming lasted the entire night, I was not a single bit interested in how they had died. Regardless, I still intended to make the village one of my strongholds, thus I left a few IGT members in the village.
The slaves who had been used in the village were freed and given the opportunity to seek refuge in Dark City. However, Lily did not have the slightest intention to go to Dark City with them. I watched her and felt my mood begin to worsen. Had I not grabbed onto you last night, I would not have a single care whether you died or not.
“My friends are all dead anyway. If you don’t want me-” She hugged Arnold tightly, “I’m better off ending up as a goblet.”
“Cohen.” Fischer said, “Just take her with us. This way, we won’t need to hire another maidservant when we arrive at Winper.”
Hearing her mention the wine goblet, my heart incomprehensibly hurt once again. I nodded and took her up. Before we left, out of goodwill I kindly reminded her that if she did not loosen her vice-like grip around Arnold, the poor him would suffocate.
On the third day of travelling, we arrived at Winper.
Winper! This was Winper!
All of us stopped our horses atop a hill outside the city. Meticulously, I sized up this new and developing city. It was not as big as a modern metropolis. A large half of it was comprised of tiny houses that were built next to a harbor and densely packed. A rather wide boulevard clearly divided the whole city into two segments, making the inner half of the city inhabited by gracious mansions with small gardens extraordinarily appealing to one’s eyes.
“Is this our money jar?” I had to admit that Winper City was a little different than what I had imagined.
“I’m sure it is!” Fischer said, “But whether it becomes your money jar, that will depend on you…”
I was good at setting fires and killing, but money-making was… All I felt was uncomfortable. I felt an ongoing headache and stomachache. I wanted to lie down and moan while rolling all over the floor. By the way, I also wanted to swear.
“Master…” Lily cautiously looked at my expression, “May I speak?”
“Aren’t you already speaking?” I said roughly. When it came to this girl, I didn’t have it in me to swear out loud, “Also, don’t call me Master. Call me My Lord or Young Lord, either way will do!”
“Yes, Young Lord.” She said, “I can tell that you’re not very familiar with this place… but I’ve been here before.”
“Really? Enlighten me.”
“En. When I… had not been sold yet…” She said with her head downcast, “I’ve always been here with my best friend.”
Fischer came over and patted her on the shoulder, though he was unable to say a word.
“Look… calm down!” I shifted my gaze to look at the sky, “If you feel sad, Fischer and I are always willing to lend you our shoulder for support.”
Lily made a smile and started introducing the city. We then realized that this small town in my territory was indeed a business trading city through and through. Every day, more than a dozen cargo pulled inshore at the harbor. All kinds of tradings were held fervently, and the diverse number of types of people were innumerable. The gangs and guilds ran wild. However, due to the lack of authoritative administration, this city was more disorderly than most.
“Seems fun…” I grinned, “This way I can wade around in troubled waters…”
“What are you laughing at?” Fischer asked.
“Nothing. Since there are so many good businesses here, I got a little carried away.” I thought about it, “Let’s work in light and darkness!”
“What does light and darkness mean?”
“Get the people in Dark City to send a city lord over!” I made up my mind, “Bring two hundred soldiers, too. Let’s extort these businessmen and tax’em !”
“Look, how much do you think you can collect in such a short period of time?” Fischer asked, “Furthermore, what use does two hundred soldiers have?”
“City lord is only a cover up!” My laughter must have been too exaggerated because Fischer frowned in response, “I’ll make Winper the biggest smuggling port on this continent!”
“Positive!” I said, “Let’s smuggle!”
“Holy Protoss!” Fischer messed with his head, “And you dare count me in on this scheme? What am I supposed to do? And now I’m poaching from my own father’s pocket, huh?”
“Either you smuggle with me, or you ask your father for more money.”
“You got me!” Fischer said in agony, “I think I’ll smuggle.”
After we entered the city, the first thing we did was to find ourselves a hotel. My IGT men who dress as mercenaries also checked in. Unfortunately, I sent them out before they could settle themselves in. Wasn’t it better to clean up the villages on the outskirts of the city before occupying it?
“Anyone who has an attitude like Immerse Sunset’s: no need to report to me.” I made a slashing gesture on my neck.
After a day of relaxing, Fischer and I went to hit the streets to search for prosperous businesses. Of course, Lily followed us with Arnold held in her arms.
I had assumed that we might occasionally appear in public grounds. As a result, our identities were businessmen. I was now under the alias Mr. Turner; Fischer as Mr. Phil;. Lily as… let’s call her Lily, anyways.
We walked in a large circle till our feet were sore. However, we had found not a single business that was suitable to invest in. In the meantime, I decided to get Lily a few sets of new garments. Her improper dressing would make me appear to have bad taste.
But, to my astonishment, no decent apparel store in the streets by the harbor side was sighted! Did the people here prefer to buy bundles of cloth; bunches of needles and threads; and baskets of scissors back home to make clothes themselves? Hell, why were even the pepper here sold in huge packs?
“Young Lord…” Lily approached, “This is wholesale…”
“Yeah. Master, Arnold seems to have spotted a clothes store!” Arnold, who was held in Lily’s arms said telepathically, “It’s located at that side street…”
My expression darkened as I took twists and turns to reach the only wide street that was seen and finally saw the legendary clothes store.
“Lily, take your pick!” I sat down for the first time in the seat that was designated for customers, “Your Lord is tired.”
“Oh…” Lily and Arnold then started to shop for clothes.
I rubbed my strained calf and began to size up this rather grand store.
I could tell the store owner was someone who knew how to run a business, judging from the stream of customers that never stopped flowing. The layout was neat and tidy. Different kinds of men and women garments were hung at suitable places, causing the place to not only not appear messy, but also pleasing to the eyes.
What surprised me more was that beside every piece of clothing, be it formal attire or casual wear, there were more than two sets of accompanying fringe laces and buttons, as well as other small decors for the buyer to choose from. This kind of business tactic was indeed brilliant.“Mister!” A shop assistant placed a cup of water on the side desk, “Please, have a drink.”
I grabbed the cup and took a sip. A mild, refreshing taste of mint circulated in my throat and only dissipated a few moments later.
With such friendly reception, it was no wonder that the business thrived! Looking at the high quality of the staff’s outfits, it was surprising to see a business had struck gold just by selling clothes, and thus it brought to me great admiration towards the owner. Now, I was anticipating who exactly was the owner that was akin to an old, cunning fox.
“Young Lord!” Lily called, “I’m done!”
“Yeah?” I went stand by her, “Let me see.”
I could tell that Lily didn’t want me to spend too much money on her as she had chosen a rather dull and cheap looking casual wear without laces or decors of any kind. The dress was light blue in color with a simple white floral pattern that looked pure and fresh.
“Only one?” I asked. Lily nodded resolutely.
“Hey!” I signalled for an employee, “You, yes you! Come here.”
“Yes, mister!” He came over, “What can I do for you?”
“I want two sets of clothing designed like this!” I walked along the wall and picked, “And this style; I want two of them. This too…”
“I’m truly sorry, sir!” The employee said, “We have only one in stock for each style, and the one you are holding has already been reserved. See, this is the reservation mark.”
“Ah?” I was not very content, “One? And it’s sold? Do you not know how to do business!”
“Apologies, sir!” The employee was already sweating, “I’m truly sorry.”
“Get your boss out here!”
Lily was freaking out, and she tugged lightly on my sleeve. Fischer was still drinking his mint flavored water like it was not a matter of his concern. He was clearly acting as if he was a stranger.
“Excuse me, sir!” A voice sounded out from behind, “I am the boss here.”
It was impossible for the boss to actually be an old fox when that voice tinkled like the sound of a bell and was so pleasing to the ears..
I turned around to look at this boss. As expected, she was not an old cunning fox. Rather, she was more like a vixen. She was very young, appearing to be the same age as Lily. Under her mane of flaming red hair was a pair of wild-looking eyes, her entire being emanating the vigor of youth. Although she could be said to be an incredibly beautiful woman, her look full of arrogance was a deal-breaker for me.
“Boss?” I grinned in contempt, “Tom and Jerry should have names.”
“Mister, mind your words!” She held her head up high and glared at me ferociously, “Since your wealth has allowed you to step foot into my store, your actions should reflect it and be more gentlemanly!”
“Gentleman? How regretful!” I said, “I am but a mere businessman!”
“What a disappointment!” She said, “Could it be that all that’s left in Winper are rude rustics?”
“Sorry to let Miss Boss down!” I said, “My am just a rustic, and now, my wanna these clothes!”
“Not a problem!” She said, “We will pack them and have them delivered to your place. Please pay for three clothing sets: the price is a hundred and fifty silverings or fifteen golds. Reds are not accepted.”
“Fifteen golds? Ya’ better off just doing a smash-and-grab!” What a funny joke. Earlier when my poor Lily was on sale, her selling price was a little more than one gold piece.
“We don’t smash-and-grab. We sell attires only. If you are unable to pay or have changed your mind, please put them back as they were.”
“If three sets of clothing priced at fifteen golds is not a robbery, then what is?”
“These sets of clothings are the handiwork of the finest tailor on this continent. Thus, the cost is high!” She explained in a languid manner, “The price also includes the delivery fee and the service fee for the hospitality that was offered to you… and because you are not a nobleman, you are not eligible to enjoy our discount. In this case, it amounts to a total of exactly fifteen golds. You won’t get them with any price under that.”
“How much is it for nobility, then?”
“Four and a half gold pieces. But, as a businessman, you should know that you are not allowed such luxuries!”
“Fine! I’ll buy it!” I gnashed the teeth and reached for my pocket, “You’ll pay for this!”
“I have no need for any of your worries.” With a flip of her hair, she took the clothes away to be packaged.
Fischer, at that very moment, choked on his water and was coughing violently.
“Bitch! Hell!” I vented my anger in the room and kicked the furniture.
“Stop that!” Fischer sat in the only chair of the room that remained intact, “You didn’t look that bad.”
“If that’s not shameful,” I kicked the bedpost again, “What is?!”
“It’s okay, buddy!” Fischer said, “You just need to find a way to shame her in return!”
“Yeah, ya’ right. Why haven’t I thought about that till now?.” I put on my black cloak and dragged Fischer down the stairs with me.
“Hold it! Wait! My dear Mr. Turner!” Fischer said, “What do you plan on doing?”
“Oh! My dearest Mr. Phil. Since you have promised to smuggle with me,” I turned and told Fischer, “You wouldn’t mind stealing a thing or two with me for a warm up, would you?”
“Wait, what? I didn’t mean to disgrace her this way!”
“Whatever. If I go alone, I’ll just grab both her and the money. But, if you come with me, I could consider giving up either one of the two.”
“I’m better off going with you…”
“I’m not forcing you to go with me at all!”
“Yeah, yeah… I insisted to follow you and only then did you agree.”
“Atta boy. Then, let’s go…”
That vixen’s business was indeed impressive! We waited till sunset before she finally got on a luxurious white carriage and left. The carriage was led by two white steeds with an eye-catching nobility sigil. Even the coachman’s uniform had a silver plate pinned on his lapel.
“Hehe…” I cracked my fingers, “You bitch…”
The white carriage drove towards the uptown residential area, while Fischer and I rode slowly from behind. We knew that the path ahead was a long slope where not a single lamp was installed. I grinned, “Firstly, I could take down the coachman with a strong hit, and then drag that woman out of the carriage and slather dirty, smelly mud on her hair and arrogant face. I’ll rip her clothes thoroughly, too. Right, and swear with the crudest of vulgarities!”
The carriage had already reached the slope. It was so dark that even the two lamps hanging by the sides were only emitting a faint and weak glow. Foxy’s coachman slowed down. I shifted my gaze to look at Fischer and signal him to get ready to block the carriage. I had even thought of what to say when the fateful moment arrived.
No one expected that at this moment, the coachman stopped the carriage himself and suddenly, a purposely lowered voice came from the front.
The voice was cold, professional and appalling. But, I was sure that it was not aimed towards Fischer or me. After all, we were far away from the carriage with a distance of ten horses lined up.
In the darkness, I finally set my eyes upon the robber. In front of the carriage stood two men; one short and one tall. Their faces were concealed with the help of their hats and were brandishing daggers that glinted a cold gleam. It looked anything but reassuring. We had met people of the same motive as ours. At the very least, should we go over and say hello?
“Sit right where you are, and don’t you dare move!” The short robber snarled at the coachman cruelly, “We’re only here to take a few things…”
The driver was frightened and obediently stayed put and said not a single word.
“I knew you bastards are rich!” The tall guy approached the carriage, “Driving such a kick-ass carriage…”
He spoke as many vulgarities as I did. I wondered if he was going to rob Fischer and me after they had robbed that bitch.
“Err…” Fischer whispered and asked, “Should we help them out?”
“Help which side?”
“You!” Fischer said, “That lady, of course.”
“If she’s taken by those guys,” Fischer persuaded, “your chance of getting back at her will be gone…”
“Shit, we should still wait it out a bit, even we are really going to help her!” I said, “We’ll help her in her dying moments, so that she’ll be grateful and throw herself at me, plus I’ll be able to get back my fifteen golds and have clothes for the rest of our lives…”
The taller robber was already standing by the carriage door. He took a deep breath and said to the short one, “Mother fucker! Perfume smell… I bet ya it’s a cunt inside…”
“Stupid ass!” The short cursed, “Hurry up with it already!”
On the one hand, I felt excited for the chance to humiliate that bitch, on the other hand, I thought she was supposed to be mine for the taking. While I was busying myself with such conflicting thoughts, the tall man grinned and his hand was already touching the door handle.
(Shit. Bitch, what are you waiting for. How am I supposed to save you if you don’t scream out for help!)