Chapter 17: The Vichy Harbor
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
After transferring between many carriages during half a month, the group finally reached the northernmost part of Goldspink Empire—the Vichy Harbor.
It was not easy to travel from the Old Earth to the Fey Continent. Only at the beginning at every year would a merchant ship from Fey Continent reach the Vichy Harbor and stay for two days. To avoid missing the ship, the group acted early, and it had not even been the Month of Resuscitation when they reached the harbor.
“Eight days till the Month of Resuscitation. The merchant ship from the Fey Continent does not have a fixed schedule. Eight days earlier was the fastest record it has, and 38 days behind the beginning of the month was the slowest record. We’ll stay in Moonwater City until we board the ship.”
With that, Mara led everyone to the Bounty Guild in the center of the city.
The Bounty Guild was a functional association of all knights in the nation who abode the nation’s laws. They accepted missions from the guild put up by the nation and earned rewards.
Of course, Mara did not bring everyone here to accept missions. The Bounty Guild possessed the most luxurious guest rooms in the whole Moonwater City. One could get services and accommodations that were far better than everywhere else as long as one could afford them. Money was the most important thing of all in the guild.
As an elder of the Morn Family, Mara always carried a fair amount of coins, and he was always willing to spend them. Once at the guild, he directly paid for everything they would need in these days, including Angor’s share.
“You can go wherever you want these days, but I suggest you to stay put in the guild so we can find you quickly when the ship comes,” Mara advised them. He then went back to his own room to meditate using every available second he could get.
Alan and Aleen exchanged a glance and exclaimed in joy. The kids were like prisoners who were allowed a temporary leave and who could not wait to breathe the air of freedom outside. Alan only blinked in happiness, same for Aleen, though the latter paid some attention to Angor who had been standing nearby.
“Brother Padt, let’s look around! People said the Moonwater City is the largest trading port in the country and you can find all kinds of things native to different nations. There’s a street designed to sell foreign merchandise, many people found their treasures there!” Aleen talked to Angor in a childish manner. What she should do next was probably grasp Angor’s arm and beg.
Angor looked towards the girl while feeling a headache. Their relationship warmed up during the traveling month so Aleen was becoming more open. Her initial shyness was no longer there. She was now pretty good at playing cute, although she still knew to avoid… “closer” interaction.
Angor was not bright about reading a girl’s mind but this was enough for him to realize what had been going on. He could not understand though. It was just a couple of days and Aleen was already holding a special attitude towards him. Sigh. Women.
He was still young. Besides, the pressure of that “five-year promise” was still a weight on his heart, so he really could not care for much else. As for Aleen’s childish love, the only thing he could do was to keep a distance—to be responsible to himself and to respect Aleen.
“No. I agreed to the Teacher that I would practice my mind every day, so I’ll go back to my room now. Maybe next time,” Angor declined politely and went back to his room.
Aleen made a duck face, kicked the ground, and left the guild with Alan who had no idea what was going on.
Angor did not take out his teacher’s assignment when he stepped into his room. Instead, he inspected the room in a relaxed manner.
His room was facing the sea, with a broad balcony which allowed him to get a good view at the bustle Vichy Harbor in the distance, as well as the shining surface of the sea.
Angor looked down at the passers-by in the harbor who were as small as ants now. Apart from admiring the prosperity of the city, he also felt sudden, uncomfortable loneliness.
He looked towards the south and through the grassland which extended hundreds of kilometers away. He imagined about the hills behind the grass and the peaceful town sitting among the hills, the place he had been living in for 14 years, his home.
“Brother, Teacher…” He muttered to himself, carrying undeniable homesickness.
A dozen days passed quietly but surely.
As the Month of Resuscitation arrived, the temperature gained an obvious rise, and several important routes on the sea were beginning to unfreeze. Groups of ocean-going ships appeared in the Vichy Harbor.
Mara hired a team of knights from the Bounty Guild to watch for merchant ships from the Fey Continent day and night. Alan and Aleen had their great fun during these days. They went out by dawn, returned after dusk, and bought lots of random stuff. The cold weather did not stop them in the least.
Angor stayed inside to organize his belongings, especially the assignments left by Jon.
They required lots of calculation and involved knowledge from different fields. Even a scholar from the Earth would agree that the assignment was vast and difficult. One did not need to be an expert in any of the fields, but one would not make any progress either if one did not have really extensive knowledge.
Giving Angor these assignments showed Jon’s great confidence and expectation towards Angor.
Angor kept a schedule after leaving the Padt Manor. A month had passed, and he had only made like quarter progress with the assignment. He felt defeated.
No matter what he felt though, he had to solve the puzzles. His teacher had left him something behind the puzzles, and he could only make out what that was after solving all of them.
The second weekend into the Month of Resuscitation witnessed fine weather. Following the melted ice, the harbor became even more lively. Since he had been staying indoors for too long, Angor decided to hang out today.
He put on his casual clothes for the first time after all these days, tidied himself up, and stepped out of his room while carrying the signature smile he used to show politeness to others.
The hall of the Bounty Guild was busy as always. The thick smell of sweat greeted his nose. Most people hanging around here were knights living dangerous lives. Even the occasional female knights would mostly wash their exposed faces only. As for the smell on their bodies… they could not care.
Angor frowned. He realized this was not the Grue Town, and his brother could not protect him any longer. He was not even a noble in front of these people, only someone from a remote noble family. With this set in mind, he calmed his expression and resumed his innocent smile.
He ordered a glass of Penang rum and some roasted meat from a bar table in the corner of the hall. He only sipped a little bit of the liquor. This thing with a pungent, fermented smell was not as delicious as the milk wine back in the manor.
He munched on the meat while listening carefully to the various conversations among the surrounding adventurers.
In a bar mixed with all sorts of figures like this, it was always easy to capture some unique information. This was what Jon told him in those Wuxia stories from the Earth.
Angor did not have much experience outdoors so he did not know whether these sayings were true. However, that did not stop him from eavesdropping on the conversations. He would enjoy made-up boasts too.
“Ha! Did ya hear? Heylan Imperials who have been fighting the empire. Lots of strange stuff happened over there. Important guys died for no reason, leaving a miserable sight behind them… Even the knights guarding them would wet’em pants at night!”
“The strongest mercenary knighthood in the guild, the Shining Goldspink Knights, haven’t shown their faces for months. Were they the culprits?”
Another group of adventurers sitting near his table began talking about the war on the front line thousands of kilometers away, “You guys remember? The capital lord of the empire personally posted a job here to assassinate the top commander of Heylan Imperial half a year ago? Trust me, these two incidents are related!”
All the adventurers talked aloud. Some of them were boasting about their own achievements so they spoke exceptionally loudly. The man speaking just now made himself heard across the entire bar.
Everyone agreed. That was their own guild against a hostile nation, naturally, the people here supported the former.
An ice-cold tune abruptly interrupted everyone’s heated discussion. “The Shining Goldspink Knights? Humph! That’s the only thing you know? Let me tell you, the Heylan incident could not be their deed. The Shining Goldspink isn’t powerful enough.”
The speaker was wearing a water-blue long garment with silver patterns on the edges. Expensive stuff.
“Watch what you’re saying!”
“Who the heck are you, talking about Shining Goldspink like that? Do you know what kind of trouble you’ll get into?”
Everyone stared at him fiercely.
“Huh, you again? I know you have the certificate of Heylan Chamber of Commerce but that doesn’t make you do whatever you like in the empire. You’re from Heylan, so just keep shut and do your own business. Or are you looking for trouble?” A rough male voice came up.
The Heylan merchant only gave him a cold glance before a dozen fully-armored nights immediately rushed to protect him.
The rough man could not possibly stand against all of them, but this was Goldspink Empire. The knights in the guild quickly joined him. He might be a common rogue but he was a supporter of Goldspink Empire, and the knights could not just see him beat by the Heylans.
Each side now had a dozen strong, impetuous men wearing armors. The sudden showdown caused everyone in the bar to stop their actions.